Thursday, May 21, 2009

Martyr vs. Command

With the advent of Retribution Paladins actually being USEFUL in raids, a big debate has popped up over Seal of the Martyr versus Seal of Command. (where Alliance Martyr = Horde Blood)

Seal of the Martyr: All melee attacks deal [0.22 * mw] to [0.22 * MW] additional Holy damage, but the Paladin loses health equal to 10% of the total damage inflicted. Lasts 30 min.

Unleashing this Seal's energy will judge an enemy, instantly causing [.36* MW + .25* SP + .16* AP] Holy damage at the cost of health equal to 33% of the damage caused.

Seal of Command: Gives the Paladin a chance to deal [0.45 * mw] to [0.45 * MW] additional Holy damage. Only one Seal can be active on the Paladin at any one time. Lasts 30 min.

Unleashing this Seal's energy will judge an enemy, instantly causing [0.24 * mw + 0.16 * AP + 0.25 * SPH] to [0.24 * MW + 0.16 * AP + 0.25 * SPH] Holy damage. This attack will always be a critical strike if the target is stunned or incapacitated.

Now, a lot of people will argue that Command is better, because of the Glyph of Seal of Command, which increases your chance of dealing Command damage by 20%.

The big difference between Command and Martyr, in my mind, is that Command is a proc ability, meaning it does not hit on every attack, and Martyr is an 'on melee hit' ability.

The numbers (crunched by people smarter than I am) say that Command unglyphed will proc 7 times per minute, glyphed it will proc a little over 8 times per minute.

Martyr will deal damage with every Crusader Strike, every melee swing, every Divine Storm (and have the potential to crit with every strike).

When I was first playing around with switching from Command to Martyr, having grown up in the era of pre-Martyr Alliance Paladin, where Command was IT... I had the Command Glyph and I was rockin' the Command bandwagon.

Then I noticed in a raid that I was in that another ret paladin was using Seal of the Martyr. They were doing more DPS than I was (unpossible, but it happened). And so ... I started to take a look.

On Recount, using Seal of Command, my #1 ability was Melee, followed by Judgement, followed by something else, often CS or Seal damage. (It's been a while since I've used SoC, so forgive me that I can't remember.)

On Recount, using Seal of the Martyr, my #1 ability was Seal Damage, followed by Melee, followed by Judgement.

So, a lightbulb flicked on in my head... if my melee damage is constant (and there's no reason it shouldn't be, since Seal damage counts as it's own section in recount), the only thing changing is my seal damage and judgement damage... and OMG, my Seal damage is blowing past my overall melee damage.

My DPS jumped up by a bunch, I don't know exact numbers, but all of a sudden, Martyr was lookin' pretty hot, even unglyphed compared to Command as it is.

Actually, let me bring pretty pretty pictures!

Or numbers... here is a comparison of my WWS on a recent Nax25 run compared to Vialora, who used mainly SoC (he switched to Martyr briefly at one point, then habitually went back to SoC)... if I could figure out how to list us both side by side, I'd do that. But I'm dumb.

We both did about 4 million damage overall with just Swing damage.

His Seal of Command did 2 million damage.

My Seal of the Martyr did 5.5 million (of which, 10% of that was done to myself, but 10% of 5 million still means somewhere in the neighborhood of 4.9 million damage done to the mobs, unless I'm doing numbers TOTALLY wrong).

His Judgement of Command did about 2 million.

My Judgement of the Martyr did a little higher than that. Again, 33% of that damage was done to myself, but that still leaves my judgement damage to other mobs comfortably over the two million mark.

And he is using the Glyph of the Seal of Command.

The argument 'It puts a strain on the healers', is largely negated by Judging Light, Art of War and Divine Storm.

Now, there are stories untold of people killing themselves with Seal of the Martyr/Blood on Prince in Karazhan, and even some talking about Thaddius in Naxx. Are there going to be situations where if you're expecting to take a ton of splash damage that MAY drop your health low enough where you can kill yourself, you need to WATCH yourself (or use a different seal)? Yes.

However, I haven't had a problem yet. I use it on Gluth and his decimates. I use it on Thaddius with his polarities. I use it on Malygos with his vortex and falling damage. I use it on Loatheb with his unable to heal yourself debuff.

I have yet to kill myself.

And I kick ass.


  1. Using SoC in a raid is just dumb at this point IMO. The only time not to use Martyr is if there is too much raid damage going on for you to not kill yourself.

    I know Paladin that dont even spec into SOC anymore.

    In a recent Heroic VOA, I outdid a much better geared ret pally by about 1000 dps....he was using command for some reason while I was using Martyr.

  2. @Darraxus: Without getting any gear upgrades, Vialora ran a Nax25 tonight, using Martyr only. He went from 2800 average DPS to almost 3200, by JUST switching seals.

    SoC is still useful in PvP, afaik.

  3. Thanks for doing some homework on this. My main spec is Prot but I wanted to try lolret and see how it went. I was never sure with seal to use but I'll definately be switching to see the difference.

    Thank you!

  4. I killed myself on Gluth once. :(