Protection Paladin Quick-Start Guide For WoW Patch 5.4 – Stats, talents and spec, glyphs, rotation, reforging and gems, priorities and tanking strategies

It’s nearly the end of the expansion – but first, us Prot Paladins get to bring the Holy wrath to Garrosh. Which, let’s face it, is long overdue. So, if you’re staring at your Protection Paladin in confusion after WoW’s Patch [patchnumber], 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.

Updated [guideupdated] for World of Warcraft Patch [patchnumber]

Protection Tanking “Rotation” and Priorities

Single-target Tanking

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.

For the “Something Else” slot:

  • Top Priority: Use Judgement if available. If not, case Avenger’s Shield if that’s available.
  • Second Priority: Use your Tier 6 talent (probably Light’s Hammer if you’ve chosen talents as below) if it’s available. Use Hammer of Wrath if it’s available.
  • Third Priority: Use Consecrate.

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.

AOE Tanking

After your pull 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, use single-target priorities, but use Consecration as top priority after Judgement.

Use Shield of the Righteous any time you have 5 Holy Power.


Use Shield Of The Righteous when you’re about to take a lot of damage, and Word of Glory / Eternal Flame to recover after taking damage. Note that whilst Shield Of The Righteous costs 3 Holy Power always, Word Of Glory / Eternal Flamecan be cast with any amount of Holy Power.


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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!


Use Seal of Insight. Make sure you have Righteous Fury active.

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 5.0 talent system are very flexible. Having said that, here is a good loadout for common situations. When in doubt, we’ve chosen the easiest abilities to use with minimal effort:

  • Tier 1: Pursuit of Justice.
  • Tier 2: Fist of Justice.
  • Tier 3: Eternal Flame.
  • Tier 4: Unbreakable Spirit.
  • Tier 5: Holy Avenger
  • Tier 6: Light’s Hammer

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.

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.
  • Icy Veins’ excellent Prot Paladin guide is now Theck-Approved
  • 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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