All Change! Yes, it’s that time again – time for the game to change again, and time for us Prot Paladins to relearn everything we know about being hit very hard by something taller than a small office block. In Mists of Pandaria, possibly a Panda taller than an office block. Odd image. So, if you’re staring at your Protection Paladin in confusion after WoW’s Patch 5.3, here’s everything you need to know about our talents and advised specs, glyphs, rotation (such as it is), reforging priorities, preferred stats, gem choices and more. Let’s into the Throne of Thunder!
Updated 22nd May 2013 for World of Warcraft Patch 5.3
Protection Paladin Changes in WoW Patch 5.3
* Stat priorities have changed.
Protection Tanking “Rotation” and Priorities
We use a “CS-X-X” rotation, meaning that when tanking, our rotation should go Crusader Strike – Something Else – Something Else – Crusader Strike – Something Else – Something Else – Crusader Strike and so on.
After your pull, immediately apply Sacred Shield to yourself, and use Hammer of the Righteous on your target. Then use Crusader Strike and go into your rotation.
For the “Something Else” slot:
- Top Priority: Use Hammer of the Righteous if Weakened Blows has dropped off your target, or Sacred Shield if your Sacred Shield has gone down and it’s off cooldown.
- Second Priority: If not, use Judgement. If that’s not available, use Avenger’s Shield or Consecration.
Importantly – use Shield of the Righteous any time you have 5 Holy Power. It’s off the Global Cooldown, so you can literally use it whenever you like. This will build up charges of Bastion of Glory (see “Cooldowns”)
If you want to maximise your DPS, ignore Sacred Shield, but otherwise perform the rotation as normal.
As above, after your pull put up Sacred Shield and use Hammer of the Righteous on your targets.
For AoE, we use Hammer of the Righteous rather than Crusader Strike, so our rotation goes Hammer Of The Righteous – Something Else – Something Else and so on.
For the “Something Else” slot:
- Top Priority: Use Sacred Shield if it has dropped off you and it’s off cooldown.
- Second Priority: Use Avenger’s Shield if it’s off cooldown. If not, use Consecration if it’s not down.
- Third Priority: Use Judgement if it’s off cooldown.
Use Shield of the Righteous any time you have 5 Holy Power. As above, if you’re just interested in maximising DPS, ignore Sacred Shield.
Using the standard talent spec you have 6 cooldowns (at level 90):
- Guardian of Ancient Kings – Save for periods of very heavy damage, or “I’mgonnadie” moments
- Divine Protection – Use on cooldown unless you know there is a regular spike of damage in the fight (or you’re not taking any damage at that point).
- Ardent Defender – Use if you’re about to die, and you’d prefer not to.
- Lay On Hands – Often best used on someone other than yourself. Use if you or another vital party/raid member is about to drop. I usually have this bound so I can one-click cast it using raid frames, using Clique or a mouseover macro.
- Holy Avenger – Supercharges Holy Power generation – good for massive threat or damage output, as well as temporarily granting significant protection by spamming Shield of the Righteous and Word of Glory.
- Execution Sentence – Can be used to heal yourself or damage foes, but more useful on yourself most of the time. Use on cooldown if you’re taking at least moderate damage.
- Devotion Aura – A more limited raid-wide damage protection, only useful against magic. Use in conjunction with your raid leader’s guidance, or when the party’s taking heavy damage and you’re pretty sure it’s magical!
Holy Word can also be considered a mini-cooldown. Ideally, use it with 5 stacks of Bastion of Glory for a big heal when you need it. This is the reason to keep 2 stacks of Holy Power back at all times – it makes it much easier to suddenly pop a WoG when needed.
Use Seal of Insight.
Use Blessing of Kings unless there’s a druid in the group, in which case use Might. Coordinate with other Paladins and Monks in the group if you have them to make sure the group has Kings and Might (or the Monk equivalents).
Protection Paladin Talent Choices
Talent choices in the new 5.0 talent system are very flexible, and currently are still in the early stages of being worked out. So I’d heartily recommend experimenting and choosing individual talents from the 5 we will have available before MoP for specific situations.
Having said that, here is a good loadout for common situations:
- Tier 1: Pursuit of Justice.
- Tier 2: Fist of Justice.
- Tier 3: Sacred Shield.
- Tier 4: Unbreakable Spirit.
- Tier 5: Holy Avenger
- Tier 6: Execution Sentence
Note on Tier 4: If you’re facing heavy DoTs in a fight, you may wish to swap to Hand of Purity – it’s that good.
Stats, reforging and gemming for Protection Paladins
It’s now clear that the “Control” strategy for Protection Paladins is superior for most situations.
Get Hit to cap (2,550 rating or 2,210 for draenei), then Expertise to cap (2,550 rating). Then stack Haste.
Reforging: Reforge to Hit first, then Expertise, then Haste. Reforge out of Hit and Expertise above the cap, then Crit, then Dodge and Parry, then Mastery,.
Gems: If you have to, gem for Expertise to hit the cap. Then use Quick (Haste) gems.
Meta Gem: Austere meta gems are still the best option – search for Austere on the AH and choose whatever fits your budget best and has the biggest numbers!
Getting one- or two-shot? If you’re dying before healers can heal you, you need more Stamina. Gem blue sockets with Stamina gems until it’s no longer a problem.
Expert tanks may still wish to gem for Haste, but everyone else should lean toward Mastery.
Prot Paladin Glyphs
Glyphs are a very personal choice in MoP – there aren’t many automatic must-haves. Having said that, here’s a good selection:
Major: Glyph of Divine Protection, Glyph of the Battle Healer and Glyph of Alabaster Shield. For AoE fights, Glyph of Word of Glory may be better. Glyph of Consecration is fantastic for AOE pickups and 5-mans.
Minor: Your choice – they don’t affect your tanking. Glyph of Righteous Retreat is useful if you’re likely to want to bubble-hearth.
Protection Paladin enchants and item enhancements
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.
These are VERY approximate choices that should be OK for either stat strategy (above).
- Shoulders – Greater Ox Horn Inscription
- Back – Enchant Cloak – Greater Protection
- Chest – Enchant Chest – Superior Stamina
- Wrist – Enchant Bracer – Dodge
- Hands – Enchant Gloves – Superior Mastery
- Belt – Living Steel Belt Buckle
- Legs – Ironscale Leg Armor
- Feet – Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step
- Weapon – Enchant Weapon – River’s Song
- Shield – Enchant Shield – Greater Parry
If you want more in-depth information:
- Theck’s blog at Sacred Duty is THE resource for Protection Paladins right now if you want more detail.
- Maintankadin can be hard to navigate, but is a truly excellent source of info.
- Finally, as a WoW player, you should really check out the latest and greatest from the blogosphere on World of Warcraft, here at the Melting Pot.
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