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Cleric Guide: Justicar – The Cleric Tank

By on Jul 16, 2013 at 10:00 am, in Article, Cleric, Guides, RIFT  |  Comments: 16 comments

Guide Cleric Tank

If you’re looking to try your hand at tanking on a Cleric, you’re in luck. Justicars are pretty damn awesome. As full tanks, Justicars are capable of tanking anything and everything that RIFT has to offer. They’re also the healing tanks of the game, which means you’ll be able to help raid heal a bit as well as use your multitude of AoE healing tricks in order to help grab aggro on mobs that are running loose. Justicars excel at both AoE tanking and single target tanking. There are many possible Justicar builds out there, but here is one common variation that’s ideal for progression tanking and most other endgame content– the 61 Justicar / 9 Inquisitor / 6 Shaman.

This build gives you the maximum amount of mitigation and Endurance while providing plenty of raid utility and the Shaman’s Ride the Lightning ability, which is a handy mobility boost. For other variations of popular builds, you can check out this Justicar/Cabalist build with added magical mitigation, this Justicar/Inquisitor (+ Purge) build, or this Justicar/Defiler build that gives you a self-cleanse.


The Spec:

justicar tank tree

61 Justicar / 9 Inquisitor / 6 Shaman

Role: Tank
Level Ranges: 1-60
Content Use: Leveling Dungeons, 5-man Experts, Raids, Endgame Group Content

While it’s certainly possible to level and/or farm using a full tank spec, it’s generally recommended to also pick up a DPS spec and learn both roles.



Armor of Treachery, Vengeance of the Winter Storm, Mien of Leadership, and Courage of the Bear.

Mien of Leadership is your self-buff that grants you all of your threat that makes you an effective tank.

Righteous Mandate can be kept on your co-tank or favorite squishy raid member (a Defiler’s often a good choice).



Main single target spam macro:

#show Strike of Judgment
cast Strike of Retribution
cast Precept of Refuge
cast Doctrine of Authority
cast Strike of Judgment
cast Bolt of Radiance
cast Reckoning

Note: Whether you use Doctrine of Authority in a macro or separate is completely up to you. Its threat is quite nice, however. Bolt of Radiance and Reckoning are placed at the end of the macro in order to use against enemies that are ranged.

AoE macro:

#show Even Justice
cast Strike of Retribution
cast Doctrine of Authority
cast Even Justice

Note: Remember to have Precept of Refuge on a separate button in order to keep the block buff up, especially for groups of melee mobs.

Other important skills:

Hammer of Faith
Absolution (your resurrection ability that can be used during combat)
Interdict (interrupt)
Hammer of Duty
Provoke (single target taunt)
Resplendent Embrace (survivability cooldown)
Sovereignty (stun)
Purpose (way to gain mana back)
Righteous Imperative (aoe taunt)
Doctrine of Loyalty
Just Defense (survivability cooldown)
Rebuke (aoe taunt + pull)
Reprieve (emergency self-heal)
Total Assurance
Doctrine of Glory (survivability cooldown)
Ride the Lightning (gap closer)

Optional: If you do a lot of soloing in Justicar and/or are looking to maximize your single target DPS during any particular fight, you’ll also probably want to add Sanction Heretic to your bars (and make more use of Bolt of Radiance and Reckoning as damage attacks).


Rotations and Priorities:

Single Target (Boss enemies):

The best way to begin most boss fights is by taking advantage of Total Assurance’s 1-minute cooldown and using it to instantly gain 7 convictions and pulling with Hammer of Duty. After that, use your single target spam macro to gain 7 convictions and follow up with another Hammer of Duty. Make sure to save your taunts for when taunt swaps happen, keep an eye on positioning and possible add spawns, save your survivability cooldowns for when your health starts to drop low or fight transitions call for cooldowns, and help out your raid with interrupts and raid healing if/when appropriate. A huge part of tanking is about raid and fight awareness, so keep that in mind when first learning the ropes.

Area of Effect (AoE):

When pulling trash, your goal is to stay alive, keep all the bad guys focused on you, and ensure your group travels at a smooth, efficient pace without risking random deaths and/or healers running out of mana. Try and conserve your convictions for beginning pulls in order to initiate with Hammer of Faith. If you find yourself lacking convictions, feel free to take advantage of Total Assurance here as well. Censure can be kept up on groups of enemies, but its damage is quite low, so use it enough to keep the debuff up and that’s it.

Use Rebuke to gather ranged enemies on top of a melee mob to help your melee DPS AoE to their heart’s content. Be wary of frontal cone/cleave-type attacks and keep enemies turned away from your party members. Save taunts and/or ranged attacks for enemies that happen to randomly join the fight or break loose from your pack. Also, don’t forget about the overhealing awesomeness of Doctrine of Loyalty when adds join a fight! Even if a fight may look like it’s headed south and adds are zooming straight toward your healers, a few quick spams of DoL may be enough save the day.

Make sure to keep Precept of Refuge up if you’re taking quite a bit of physical damage even during AoE pulls. There’s a lot of Even Justice spam involved when fighting groups of enemies, but don’t forget to keep an eye on the group and help interrupt and/or heal when necessary.


Situational Abilities and Tips:

Justicar has a lot of situational and utility abilities. We went over most of the attack-based ones above, so let’s talk about the Justicar heals and survivability cooldowns a bit:

When helping your group dish out heals, Doctrine of Loyalty and Doctrine of Authority will generally be the two abilities you should prioritize (which is why I mentioned the fact that Doctrine of Authority goes quite well outside of a macro). Make sure to keep an eye on your convictions when helping raid heal, since you’ll still need to generate them and keep an eye on fight mechanics. Doctrine of Bliss isn’t really worth using once you have access to better heals.

Absolution is your battle resurrection. Be careful when using this, since the person you resurrect will pop up where you happen to be, which is generally in front of a big, ugly thing who cleaves. It’s sometimes best to save your res for a taunt swap or a brief moment when you can dart out from melee range and cast it then.

As far as survivability cooldowns go, Justicars have a pretty awesome setup currently. Just Defense will generally be your most-used cooldown since you can recast it every minute. Don’t hesitate to use this if you know a dangerous special attack is coming or if your healers need a second to recover. The same goes for Doctrine of Glory, which will cost you a bit of DPS since it uses convictions, but will make the lives of your healers a little easier.

Reprieve is also awesome since it heals for quite a bit more than it used to, but make sure to use this one with caution since it will produce a hefty chunk of healing threat. Resplendent Embrace is a little more tricky since it has a longer cooldown, but when things head south, never hesitate to do all you can to stay alive.

There will be times when survivability cooldowns should be used during nasty special attacks and there will be other times when it’s better to simply stagger your cooldowns and help your healers help the raid out. Knowing when to use which cooldown is often a matter of simply becoming familiar with the fights and your groupmates.

Purpose is now a toggle which lets you gain mana for your weapon attacks but stops you from gaining convictions. Only use it when you absolutely need it, of course, but make sure to use it when you have already established threat and are not completely out of mana. In other words, plan ahead. You will probably find as you gain better gear you’ll need this ability less.

When gearing up a Justicar tank, you’ll want Wisdom tank gear, which will feature more Endurance as well as Parry and Block. For most areas of progression raiding, Endurance is currently the way to go for rune choices and enchants, although mitigation choices are also solid options.



This guide was written with the help of a few older Justicar guides and theorycrafting threads that aren’t kept completely updated. Feel free to check out the original threads here and here. Also, feel free to drop us a line in the comments section if you notice something needs to be updated and/or something that’s incorrect. We’ll do our best to keep this updated.

Laura Hardgrave

Laura Hardgrave

Laura is the Editor-in-Chief for Junkies Nation. When she's not writing long editorials or fighting apostrophe errors, she enjoys exploring multiple MMORPGs, getting inspiration for more long editorials, distracting big snarly things for her friends, and writing LGBT science fiction/fantasy.
  • Lunchbox

    Thank you soooo much for writing this. It’s hard to find anything recent on forums or web.

    • Rift Guide Writer

      THIS SAME GUIDE IS ON THE FORUM ALREADY. They just copy/pasted it to their website acting as if it’s a guide they created.

      The person who took the time and effort to make the guide isn’t compensated at all for this. They won’t make ANYTHING either from the ads all over the place too. Stick to the forums for guides, not this place.

      • Laura Hardgrave

        Actually, this one isn’t. The forum’s Justicar guides haven’t been fully completed/updated, so I wrote this one from the ground up. The macros and specs might be pretty commonplace among Cleric tanks, but everything else was written by me.

  • mmogumbo

    thanks for the guide!

  • Pingback: My Cleric builds in 2.3-rebooted | MMO Gumbo()

  • RIftNoob

    What this guide is missing is the soultree progression so people like me know when to put points where.

  • Jason

    What is Reckoning?
    I do not have that ability nor do I see it anywhere. It’s on your Single Target Macro

    • Jason

      Nevermind, it’s level 59, I found it.

  • Yranx

    Niot sure of the use of Strike Of Retribution according to the tool tip Strike of Judgement does more damage then striek of Retribution and has no cd so

    • bum

      Strike of Retribution does not trigger a global cool down.

  • Muiredhach

    guys can you tell me what weapons should I use with this build ? I know newbie question but please ….

    • Laura Hardgrave

      You’ll want a one-handed mace and a shield for tanking. Both with wis.

  • matat


  • Brett Durci

    Is Justicar still viable as a melee-dps/healing spec anymore? Like, if a warrior joins the team who has a tank spec, can you just switch over to Mien or Honor and a two-handed mace or staff, and start beating on shit to be the team’s healer? I feel like the build has lost a lot of the moves that the Chloromancer kept, things that let you heal as a (slightly weaker) damage dealer. So if you didn’t want to tank, you could just swap stances and still be useful to the team.

    From what I’m seeing, Justicar is now just a dedicated tank tree, and any healing done even in Mien of Honor is just supplemental to the team’s “real healer”. It’s been a while since I played, so I was just hoping to get back into it and this has always been one of my favorite classes. I don’t mind if it can’t perform a healer role anymore. Just looking for clarification is all. :)