Hey guys! These last few days I've been putting a good amount of time into Proving Grounds as Ret, so I thought I might write a detailed guide about everything you need to get far as ret. Hope you enjoy!
T1- Long Arm of the Law: The on-demand mobility makes this the top choice here. Pursuit of Justice is also viable, but I would highly recommend LAotL as later will be discussed you need to circle around amber balls coming towards you, and 30% increased speed (what PoJ gives you, assuming you have 3+ HP) isn't enough to do it efficiently, while 45% increase from LAotL is just enough.
T2- Fist of Justice: There are a few times throughout the 10-wave cycle that you need burst CC, and FoJ far surpasses the other two options in the tier simply for the fact that it is instant. While repent in theory could fill the same role, the need to stand still and cast for ~1.4 seconds make it far worse than FoJ.
T3- Has no effect.
T4- Unbreakable Spirit: The reason why this is mandatory is because, as will be later discussed, if you mess up you may need to bubble to get out of an amber prison, and this cuts the cooldown on bubble in half, which obviously gives you twice as many breaks
T5- Sanctified Wrath: I myself have always been a SW player in and out of PG, and I was just most comfortable using this thus developed my strats around it. I'm sure HA could perfectly viable as well, but as I have no experience with it, my guide will revolve around the use of SW. I would NOT recommend Divine Purpose simply because of the RNG aspect which makes it unreliable.
T6- Light's Hammer: Ret Pally AoE is somewhat lacking compared to other classes, and this compensates. In addition, you can cleave at least 3-4 mobs with this every wave with correct placement. Furthermore, you can precast this. These factors combined make this better than ES, especially because ret has the CD's to make the single target waves (5, 10) trivial in comparison anyway.
G1- Glyph of Inquisition- This makes inquisition a non factor. You cast it once on wave 1 and never have to worry about it again. Save lots and lots of HP making it a huge dps increase.
G2- Glyph of Double Jeopardy- Every single wave (not counting 10) has more than 1 mob, making this glyph a direct dps increase.
G3- Glyph of Burden of Guilt- This is an unconventional choice, but it is what I found to be the best. The main alternative would be Glyph of Mass Exorcism, but in my experiences this glyph is actually BAD for PG. This is because on waves where the mobs are clumped enough for GoME to benefit from are so few, while the amount of times that the range reduction on Exorcism comes into play are many. GoBoG is good for keeping Banana-Throwers more in place and helps you catch up to them more quickly when not already in melee range.
Amber-Weavers: These mobs can come in small and large form. They cast a spell called 'Amber Globule' (interruptable) every ~9 seconds which creates a floating ball that moves towards the player's current location (changes course as the player moves) that last ~11 seconds or until they reach something to explode on. If they DO reach something, they encase that thing + everything within ~6 yards in amber, which stun said thing(s) for 5 seconds and cause that target to take 50% increased damage for the duration.
Mystics: They cast a spell called "Heal Illusion" every ~18-20 seconds (unsure exactly how often) which heals a nearby injured illusion for a moderate sized chunk.
Guardians: These mobs cast a shield which encompasses 180 degrees of their model, and that 180 degrees they block all attacks. They recast this and face it in a new random direction every 10 seconds, but during their cast (~2 seconds long) they are prone to attacks from all 360 degrees.
Banshees: Can come in big and small. When they spawn (which is at a set timer on waves that they do spawn), they spawn with a timer, that if it runs out and they are still alive, end the proving ground instantly and forces you to restart. Also said, they have a timer, they must die in that time, if they don't, you lose.
Banana-Thrower: These throw bananas at the players location that take ~2-3 seconds to land. If you are hit by one of these, you get a 2 second debuff that reduces your hit chance by 75%. They have a cirlce around them with about a ~12 yard radius which if you are in, they DO NOT throw bananas at you. The bananas they throw are dodgeable though, as they do take ~2-3 seconds to land. There is a small circle animation on the ground that show where the bananas are going to land.
Shas: Have a barrier which causes them to take 50% less damage while the shield is active. When the shield is NOT active they gain a debuff which causes them to take 300% additional damage. So they take EIGHT times more damage with the shield down than with the shield up.
Plain Illusions: Some mobs have no abilities, do not move, they do absolutely nothing. All you have to do is kill them.
Proving Grounds is a endless cycle of the same 10 waves over and over until you fail a wave. These 10 waves are as follows:
Orange Circle: Amber-Weaver
Green Circle: Mystic(Healer)
Blue Circle: Guardian(Shield-Bearer)
Red Circle: Where a Banshee spawns
White Cirlce/Dot: Non-Ability/Non-Moving mobs
Black Cirlce: Sha
Yellow: Where a Banana-Thrower spawns
Keep in mind that the FRONT and BACK of the room are important here. In all of my pictures you can see Trial-Master Rotun off to the right. Where he is standing is the FRONT of the room, the opposite side is the BACK of the room. You can also put down floating markers to make it visually easier to locate each in the heat of the PG.
WAVE 1: Cooldowns: None
This wave is fairly simple. With ~1-0.5 seconds until it starts, throw a LH in the middle of the room (take in mind you CANNOT LH this wave after the first time, as it will still be on cooldown from the previous wave). Start standing next to where one of the AWs spawns as kill it immediately. Interrupt the cast the one your attacking does. It should die before the other two AWs globules reach you. As it does (or is about 15-20%, you can walk away and cast your ranged attacks: HoW, Jud, Exo while you move towards the next mob) you can move either to the middle 6 small illusions, or to one of the other AWs, it doesn't really matter. If you go to the middle, make sure you drag the currently active globules into the small illusions to make them take more damage. If you move to another AW, go behind it so the currently active globules hit the AW you're attacking and it takes 50% additional damage for every globule debuff it has. Make sure you keep one AW alive (but low health enough to be 1 hit by a Jud, this is a very delicate process that you get better at the more you do) and kite the globules around until around ~3 seconds on the wave timer. At this point you want an active globule chasing you, and to kill the AW with a Jud. If you can position it perfectly, the globule will hit the mystic in the next wave just as it spawns.
WAVE 2: Cooldowns: None (Avenging Wrath optional between 2 and 3)
You want to start this wave by pre-casting LH so it hits both the AW and one of the guardians. You need to LH at the VERY start of the wave, if you're 10 seconds in and you realized you forgot, don't do it not, just don't do it at all. You want to start the wave by getting on the mystic asap. You can also FoJ the AW to make things cleaner, but when doing this wave at higher levels you shouldn't FoJ, as you need the globules the AW casts to make the wave faster. Kill the mystic asap, than move to whichever guardian has a shield which is more favorable. Take in mind that that you can cast judgement EVEN WHEN A SHIELD IS FACING DIRECTLY AT YOU. THIS APPLIES TO ALL GUARDIANS ON ALL WAVES. Judgement does damage from above, so a shield has no effect on it. You want to start kiting globules into whatever you're killing at the moment. Take in mind a Banshee spawns at 0:30 on this wave, so be ready. The same as in the first wave, you want to keep the AW as long as possible, because if you can land a globule in the DEAD CENTER of the room just as WAVE3 starts, it makes WAVE3 MUCH easier. Try to end the wave with a J and 5 HP as always.
WAVE 3: Cooldowns: None (Avenging Wrath optional between 2 and 3)
You should LH asap when this wave starts. You should FoJ a Banana-Thrower right after your LH, and start killing it. As long as it is stunned (and amid the small illusions) you can Divine Storm instead of TVing to help your aoe. Make sure to dodge the bananas from the 2nd Banana-Thrower as you kill the first. Once you kill the first BT, go the 2nd and kill it. Once this is dead, due to your LH and DS, many of the small illusions should be dead/very low. Clean up the rest, while making sure to have 5 HP as the wave ends.
WAVE 4: Cooldowns: GoAK
You want to start by popping GoAk exactly when the wave starts and killing guardians. Cycle through the guardians killing as many of them as you can until 0:31, making sure to be using the globules the AW spawns on the guardians to kill the guardians faster. At 0:31 you wan to LH to cleave the AW, where the Banshee will spawn, and any guardians that are still alive (Should be no more than 2 with one of them at 50%). Switch to the banshee and kill it, than switch to the AW and kill that as you are already in the middle. After this clean up any remaining guardians with 5 HP, and stand where the BT spawns in WAVE5.
WAVE 5: Cooldowns: Avenging Wrath
Start this wave by FoJing the mystic on your first global. Than burst down the Banana-Thrower as quickly as you can, it MUST die before the FoJ runs out and mystic gets a heal off on the BT. After the BT is dead, kill the mystic than switch to the sha(the shield will still be up). At 0:30 a small banshee will spawn, kill it. Make sure you are the watching the shield timer on the sha, as you need to have 5 HP stored up when the shield falls. When the shield falls instantly pop your Avenging Wrath and go to town. If you have wiggle room (you should) you should be able to save up 5 HP for the next wave. KEY: DO NOT use LH on the sha at all.
WAVE 6: Cooldowns: None
You should pre-cast LH with 1 second left on wave 5 (assuming sha is already dead) in the dead center of room. You should also be standing in the middle of the room when WAVE6 starts. You should divine storm (AW is still active from WAVE5, and you should have 5 HP stored up, or at least 3 for a DS) than immediately move to a mystic and start killing it. Both mystics will heal on of the small illusions in the middle (they will heal the same one- the lowest health one- so don't even bothering interrupting either on their first cast) but you can ignore it. You should still have 8-9 seconds of Avenging Wrath to burst one of the mystics down, it SHOULD die before they cast another heal, but if they do you need to FoJ the one you're not attacking and rebuke the one you're attacking. Than switch to 2nd mystic and kill it, finishing the wave off by finishing the small adds. Make sure to have 5 HP saved up as always.
WAVE 7: Cooldowns: GoAK
Start this week by Blinding Lighting standing in a location that will hit the Banana-Thrower and one of the Amber-Weaver. With your next global you want to LH in a position that will hit two of the guardians. As you cast your 3rd global, you also want to hit GoAK. Your should start out by bursting the Banana-Thrower down. After the Banana-Thrower is dead this wave becomes fluid, as there are so many globules your main priority is to be attacking something that has the globule debuff on it. I would also suggest killing 1 of the 2 Amber-Weavers soon after the Banana-Thrower is dead. Make sure to use globules to your advantage, and you should be good. If possible you want to have an active globule from am AW for WAVE8, and 5 HP as always.
WAVE8: Cooldowns: Avenging Wrath
Start this wave by popping Avenging Wrath instantly and bursting down the mystic asap. THREE Banshees spawn during this wave (sorry I don't have their times recorded) But at least the mystic should be dead before the 1st spawns. Between the mystic and first Banshee, you should switch and kill one of the two standard illusions, you will still have avenging wrath active while doing this. After that you can switch to the 2nd standard illusion but be ready to switch to Banshees. Two banshees spawn about 5 seconds apart so you need to be ready for them both, don't procrastinate killing the first Banshee as you are able to in other waves, you need to switch immediately. After this kill the 2nd standard illusion and have 5 HP ready. You should be standing in the dead middle of the room in preparation for WAVE9.
WAVE9: Cooldowns: Berserking buff provided by box
You want to start this wave by getting berserking buff about 2 seconds before wave starts so you can be ready with it in middle of room. Burst down the Banana-Thrower asap. Once it is dead it becomes a matter (similar to WAVE4) about using the globules to help you kill the 3 mobs + Banshee (spawns at 0:30) as efficiently as possible. Having a globule up for WAVE10 is very irrelevant, and even 5 HP is much much less relevant than the other waves.
WAVE10: Cooldowns: Avenging Wrath & GoAK
This wave is all about the 20 seconds of burst you get on the sha and maximizing it. Just do your standard dps rotation WITHOUT cooldowns until 0:32. At ~0:32-31 you want to pop GoAK but NOT Avenging Wrath yet. At 0:30 exactly you want to pop Avenging Wrath. The reason for this 1-2 second difference is because when GoAK runs out, the guardian does a burst of damage and you want that available if you need it for the sha. Make sure to have 5 HP saved up for the second the shield drops. When the shield drops go nuts and go as hard as you can, and you should be able to finish this out without much of a problem.
If you noticed I only designated 1 of the 2 berserking buffs the room provides you. You NEED one on wave 9, but the other one you can use on whichever you so decide you need. WAVE4, WAVE7, and WAVE10 are the most likely candidates.
I hope this was helpful! If I missed anything let me know, I hope it was coherent enough, I know it was somewhat rambley.