So 3 out of the 4 covenants have some use cases for Protection Paladin, Necrolord being the odd one out which really has no viability in its current form. Ashen Hallow is the best for your damage as the cooldown is super overloaded due to its long cooldown. Kyrian is really nice for your own personal defense and utility especially when paired with First Avenger. Night Fae is the most supportive covenant as you’re able to provide even more blessings to your party or raid, some of them being super strong for certain classes (I’m looking at you shadow priests going after my autumn blessing!!)
With the addition of double legendaries, Night Fae has moved up in the ranks as, when used properly, a good timed blessing of summer can severely increase the damage of another party or raid member. Ashen is still an excellent choice for raiding; you just don’t gain much from the secondary legendary.
Summon Steward is an ability every Kyrian gets regardless of their class. This signature ability will give you a potion called Phial of Serenity which gives you an extra health pot that doesn’t share a cooldown with the normal health potions and healthstones. It also has the additional effects of removing debuffs such as bleeds and diseases on you which is very valuable in both dungeons and raids.
Paladin Specific Covenant Ability: Divine Toll shoots out up to 5 Avenger’s Shields on nearby enemies, the total is determined based on the enemies around you. Each shield generates holy power so if you’re fighting 5 enemies you will max out on holy power with a single button press. This ability excels in an AoE environment such as M+ as that’s where you will gain the most benefit from the ability. It is still strong in a raid especially when paired with Pelagos which will grant you a large mastery boost when used however it does lose a lot of its value on pure single target. The ability also has a very short cooldown of just 1 minute.
Signature Ability: Fleshcraft is the ability every Necrolord gets regardless of class. The ability itself provides a shield which strength is based on time channeled. Additionally you gain 20% DR while it is channeling. It is a unique channel so you are able to dodge, parry and block while channeling. This is an insanely good ability as you’re pretty much immortal while channeling.
Paladin Specific Covenant Ability: Vanquisher’s Hammer is a 30 second cooldown which throws out a hammer at 1 target and empowers your next Word of Glory to additionally grant Shield of the Righteous. Defensively, it increases your uptime on Shield of the Righteous but your uptime is usually fine once you reach a decent amount of haste (About 20%). A great benefit of Necrolord is that Fleshcraft is by far the best universal covenant ability for tanks. With the recent buff to Righteous Might, there is potential for this on pure sustained single target damage, more testing will need to be done however before we can confirm this.
Door of Shadows is the ability every Venthyr gets regardless of class. This is pretty valuable for a protection paladin as we don’t really have many mobility abilities.
Paladin Specific Covenant Ability: Ashen Hallow is a casted ability which places an insanely large version of Consecration on the ground which lasts for 30 seconds, while inside the area you are able to cast Hammer of Wrath on any target, regardless of health and it deals 100% increased damage. Additionally, the Hallow ticks on both allies and enemies, healing and damaging each respectively. The only downside of Ashen Hallow is that it has a whopping 4 minute cooldown but it is justified as the ability is insanely strong. It is insanely good in raids and allows you to burst as much as some DPS and is definitely the best covenant to go if you’re interested in pushing your damage. It is pretty good in M+ as well, often decimating a pack or two, you might lose some value in higher keys when you have to kite as you might have to kite out of it however it has such a large radius that you should be able to remain in it throughout the kite. The main thing about this ability is you need to plan ahead when using it as you ideally want to remain inside the area for the full 30 seconds.
Soulshape is the ability every Night Fae gets regardless of Class. Similar to the Venthyr ability, this one provides us with extra mobility in the form of a blink and a movement speed increase which is better than the venthyr one.
Paladin Specific Covenant Ability: Blessing of the Seasons is a set of buffs which are on a rotation that changes each time you use one. The 4 buffs are:
- Blessing of Summer - Adds a damage proc with a 40% chance to all attacks in which the attacks will deal 30% additional holy damage.
- Blessing of Autumn - Increases all cooldown recovery rate by 30%
- Blessing of Winter - Causes melee attacks to deal a small amount of additional damage and apply a debuff to the target which reduces it’s attack speed by 2% and movement speed by 3%, this stacks 10 times.
- Blessing of Spring - Causes the target to deal 10% more healing and receive 20% more healing.
The buff starts on Blessing of Summer and resets to Blessing of Summer when you pull a raid boss. These buffs can provide a nice boost to members of your raid, mainly Autumn and Spring. Autumn is very strong on classes such as Shadow Priests where they can make use of their own cooldown reducing abilities on top of this to reduce their cooldowns even further. Spring can be placed on a specific healing during their cooldowns to increase their effectiveness or can be placed on yourself or your co tank if you know you’re going to be taking a lot of damage as the 20% increased healing received is really nice. Just a note, placing Spring on Kael’Thas means he takes 20% increased healing from all sources which means he can be pushed extremely fast! The blessings are harder to utilise fully in M+ as you have no way to reset the rotation. Blessing of Summer is really strong on AoE especially on a fire mage during cooldowns.
Soulbinds and Conduits
Foregelite’s ability Bron’s Call to Action was changed in 9.1 and it is now very good for tanks as they increased his damage and it’s uptime.
Just a note, on pure ST it is technically better to run Nadja and what you can do if you want to be super sweaty is you can pop a tome on prepull, pre pot a potion to gain the benefit from Refined palate and swap to Nadja just before the pull for the largest DPS gain.
Just a note, Niya is still probably on par defensively as you get a large amount of mastery every time you use one of the blessings but Korayn is another viable option.
I will list all conduits for Paladin and rank them from best to worse (N/A to the Covenant specific conduits).
- Ringing Clarity (Kyrian Specific and is okay, should be taken as 2nd potency)
- Righteous Might (Necrolord Specific and you should take it as a 2nd potency)
- Hallowed Discernment (Venthyr Specific and you should always take it)
- The Long Summer (Night Fae Specific is very strong on AoE)
- Punish the Guilty - Always take this.
- Adaptive Armor Fragment
- Vengeful Shock
You will most likely only ever use the top 2 here.
The Mad Paragon is by far the best legendary for DPS especially when combined with venthyr’s Ashen Hallow as it increases the damage of your Hammer of Wrath by 30% as well as increasing the duration of your Avenging Wrath by 1 second. This legendary is unmatched for damage increase and if you’re not having any issues surviving then I highly recommend you run this to boost your already absurd damage even further.
Bulwark of Righteous Fury increases the damage of your next Shield of the Righteous by 30% per target your Avenger’s Shield hits. This ability can stack up to 5 for a total of 150% increase. This is your go to legendary for M+ as you’ll have high uptime on a large number of mobs and no other legendary will come close to this one in terms of sustained AoE damage.
The Magistrate’s Judgement will increase your total holy power generation over a longer period as your Judgement has a 45% chance to reduce the cost of your next holy power spending ability to 2 down from 3. This is the best defensive option for paladin when it comes to raiding as it also allows you to provide more off-healing to your raid with all the extra holy power you will have.
Radiant Embers increases the duration of Ashen Hallow by 15 seconds to a total of 45 seconds, however if you leave it the effect will end. Additionally, the cooldown of Ashen Hallow is reduced by up to 50% proportionally to how long you were standing inside the effect. This legendary has some niche use cases, if you want ashen for a short period of time and want it more frequently then this would be a decent legendary to choose as the ashen itself doesn’t lose any of its power and effectively can put an exceptionally strong cooldown on 2 minutes down from 4.
So, unfortunately, the strongest covenant, in my opinion for raiding (Venthyr), doesn’t gain much from double legendary. The most it really does is allow you to cancel the ability for a shorter cooldown if you misplay and time it incorrectly when the boss moves out of it.
The one I am personally most excited about is the night fae legendary. Blessing of summer is already an insanely strong ability when paired with the right classes at the right time (Fire mages on AoE, for example). Just making that ability stronger as a baseline when it is already good can lead to some very insane moments when communicated with your allies. The Necrolord legendary is good as it fixes the issues with the ability itself, forcing you to use your Word of Glory sub-optimally now. You won’t be punished too harshly for doing so. It does decent damage, but it still feels a bit clunky to play compared to Venthyr. Kyrian legendary simply makes the ability stronger, it’s already the go-to play in M+, and this will remain the same with the legendary just enhancing what the ability already does.
- Protection Paladin 2 set, when you cast Shield of the Righteous, you will increase your block chance by 4% for 15 seconds, stacking up to 3 times.
- Protection Paladin 4 set, when you take damage, you have a chance equal to 100% of your block chance to cast judgment at your attacker.
So the protection paladin set is pretty good. The 2 set is a nice boost to survivability because you can easily have it permanently up and is just a flat 12% increased chance to block. The 4 set is also pretty decent as it will proc off random raid damage. It’s just an excellent survivability increase from all the extra holy power you’ll be generating and completely free passive damage that you don’t even need to think about. Ultimately your playstyle will not change much with these tier sets other than you’ll be able to pump out a few more Word of Glory’s without losing your Shield of the Righteous.
Some really good trinkets to be mindful for are:
Blood-Spattered Scale: A really strong on demand shield which scales based on the number of targets around you.
Shard of Annhylde’s Aegis: an insanely powerful trinket for M+ and any situation where you’re being hit by multiple damage instances at once as this has no cap or internal cooldown on its absorb rate once used.
Reactive Defense Matrix: pretty strong trinket which deals a decent amount of damage as well as preventing.
Salvaged Fusion Amplifier: Our best dps trinket from the raid as it just provides a flat damage bonus to our auto attacks.
Weave of Warped Fates: This trinket was recently changed in 9.2 and now is effectively the exact same trinket as the Splintered Heart of Al’ar, apart from the fact that it doesn’t explode on death and hurt your allies.
Phial of Putrefaction: A very strong trinket in terms of DPS and completely passive, boring yes, but strong and if you’re looking at pushing damage this is the trinket you want to go for.
Tormented Rack Fragment: A strong primarily passive trinket which adds a small mini game of picking up souls when targets die with it on.
Old Warrior’s Soul: Decent stat proc trinket, provides some small raid healing.