Protection Warriors – the first, the greatest tanks. If you’ve got a shield, you’ve got a sword, and you’re about to persuade something taller than a small office block that it wants to try to pound your face in, we salute you. So, welcome to Patch 4.3, where you’re going to be waving a shield around and shouting at things with lots of apostrophes in their na’mes. Erm, I mean, names. So, here’s a quick-start guide to protection warrior tanking in Patch 4.3, including talent specs, glyphs, gems, reforging and stats, and tanking mechanics and rotations. Now you’ll be able to get to the insulting gods, greater elementals, and stray Deathwing body parts bit of your job faster!
Updated 11th May 2012
Protection Warrior changes in Patch 4.3
This one’s quick – there aren’t any, except for the global Melee DPS buff, which will also affect you.
The 2-piece Tier 13 set bonus, which makes Revenge also give you a damage shield, doesn’t appear to do a lot of mitigation – however, if you want to squeeze out every last ounce of mitigation, you could use Revenge as top priority once you have it, after you have established solid threat. It’s not going to be a game-changer either way.
The 4-piece T13 set bonus is fantastic, and changes your cooldowns – if you have it, remember, you have TWO raid-affecting damage reduction cooldowns.
Prot tanking “rotation”
No, of course we don’t have an actual “rotation” – instead, we have a couple of different priority lists. Use the highest ability on your priority list that is currently available.
- Top Priority Use Shield Block if it’s off cooldown. Use Shield Slam if it’s available.
- Second Priority Use Revenge if it’s available. Use Rend if it’s not currently on the target.
- Third Priority Use Devastate. Use Heroic Strike if your Rage is over 60.
- Top Priority Use Rend if it’s not currently on your target.
- Second Priority Use Thunderclap if it’s available, and Shockwave if it’s not, but Shockwave is available.
- Third Priority Use Revenge if it’s available, Inner Rage if it’s available and Cleave if your Rage is above 60.
Inner Rage is technically only useful if you have enough Rage for the additional Cleaves it generates, but with a 30 sec CD and a 15 sec duration, it’s basically worth spamming it whenever it’s up if you have nothing more important to do.
Buffs: Use Commanding Shout, make sure you’re in Defensive Stance.
The Pull: Use Commanding Shout, then Charge, and either Shield Block followed by Shield Slam on single-target or Rend followed by Thunderclap on multi-target. On a boss, use Heroic Throw before Charge to gain more threat.
Cooldowns: You’ve got 4 cooldowns: Shield Wall, Last Stand, Enraged Regeneration and Rallying Cry. Last Stand and Rallying Cry share a cooldown – do remember you can use Rallying Cry to save anyone, not just yourself! Save them for tight spots. Enraged Regeneration works well with Last Stand – you’ll get more health back if using it under Last Stand.
Mobility: Protection Warriors are the most mobile tanks. Remember you have Heroic Leap, Charge AND Intervene – in particular, using Intervene can be a make-or-break for the party. Remember you can also use these to get away from damage if needed for a few seconds.
Interrupts: If an ability can be reflected, use Spell Reflect rather than an interrupt. Remember that a lot of your abilities can be used as interrupts – not just Pummel, but also Shockwave, Concussive Blow, Charge, and Heroic Throw.
Protection Warrior Talent Spec
Protection warriors have a lot of optional talent points resulting in significantly different builds for different roles.
This is a good basic Protection talent spec for 4.3 single-target tanking. Note that the AOE rotation skips Rend with this talent tree, because you don’t have the Blood and Thunder talent.
Stats, reforging and gemming for Protection
Mastery is probably our most important stat – whilst Stamina is also nice, we’re no longer in WoTLK, and high HP totals aren’t everything. If you are starting out tanking at 85, or if you are getting one-shot by bosses, prioritise Stamina – otherwise, Mastery is best.
After Mastery, Dodge and Parry should be roughly equal and are the second most important stats.
If you’re having threat problems, which is unlikely, Expertise and then Hit to cap (aim for 8% hit and 26 Expertise) are our best threat stats.
Reforging: Reforge everything you possibly can to Mastery, threat stats first. After that, reforge to Parry or Dodge unless you are having threat problems. Reforge Haste and Crit first, then Hit and Expertise, then Parry and Dodge to Mastery only.
Gems: Everything With Mastery!. If a single non-Yellow socket can give you +20 to Mastery, Dodge or Parry, use a combination gem – Puissant Dream Emerald for Blue sockets, and Fine Ember Topaz for Red sockets. Otherwise, use Fractured Amberjewel.
Meta Gem: Austere Shadowspirit Diamond. Needs Yellow gems, so no problem there.
If you’re getting one-shot: If bosses are killing you before healers get a chance to react, try re-gemming some of your sockets – preferably blue sockets – to Stamina until you have a high enough health pool to take a few hits.
Combat Table Coverage: If the total of your parry, block and dodge are above 102.4%, start reforging out of Mastery and into Parry and Dodge (aiming to keep Parry 1% higher than Dodge). Commenter “Ysosrs”, below, has some excellent further advice on this.
Protection Warrior Enchants
You should almost always use a profession enhancement item if it provides appropriate stats instead of a general enchant – Inscription of the Earth Prince on shoulders from Inscription, for example.
|Head||Arcanum of the Earthen Ring|
|Shoulders||Greater Inscription of Unbreakable Quartz|
|Back||Enchant Cloak – Protection|
|Chest||Enchant Chest – Greater Stamina – not Peerless Stats!|
|Wrist||Enchant Bracer – Superior Dodge|
|Hands||Enchant Gloves – Greater Mastery|
|Belt||Ebonsteel Belt Buckle|
|Legs||Drakehide Leg Armor|
|Feet||Enchant Boots – Lavawalker (or Earthen Vitality if your Stamina is very low)|
|Weapon||Enchant Weapon – Windwalk|
|Shield||Enchant Shield – Mastery|
Prot Warrior Glyphs
Prime: Shield Slam, Revenge, Devastate
Major: Shockwave, Thunder Clap and Cleave are good – choose other Major glyphs if they look more useful for your playing style, though. Don’t use Victory Rush or Intervene.
Minor: Demoralising Shout, Intimidating Shout, and one other of your choice.
Guides are a bit thin on the ground for Prot Warriors.
- Icy Veins Protection Guide As usual with IV, very, very thorough and well worth a read. Updated to 4.3!
- Elitist Jerks Protection Warrior Guide Not as thorough as most, but still useful. Not updated yet
- MMO-Champion Prot Warriot Guide – some really nice explanations here. Not updated to 4.3 yet.
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