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

by on August 27, 2012


Come the Siege of Orgrimmer, WoW patch 5.4, warrior tanks are finally getting some much needed DPS buffs; it’s a bit late in the game for them, but they’re still going to be might handy as you dish the pain to Wardouche Garrosh Hellscream. And as luck would have it, the Quick Start Guide is here to help you out without needing you to read War And Peace before your LFR queue pops. So, if you want to know how Protection Warriors work in MoP 5.4, what this Active Mitigation thing is, what our tanking priorities are, what talent spec to use, or how you should choose reforging, gems, or glyphs (and what stats underlie that) – we’ve got you covered.

Updated 17th September 2013 for WoW Patch 5.4

Thanks to Zellviren for this fantastic update to our guide! Much appreciated!

Protection Warrior Changes in WoW Patch 5.4

Riposte is the biggest change. This passive buff converts avoidance from gear into critical strike rating, giving warriors a gearing and playstyle choice to make for the final raid patch of the expansion. Warriors can also now get Enrage procs from Shield Slam and Devastate critical strikes, as well as also receiving substantial damage buffs to Deep Wounds and Thunderclap. Ultimatum now activates from a Shield Slam critical strike and will always be a critical strike and, lastly, Enraged Regeneration and Impending Victory have both had their healing buffed. There’s a lot to love in this patch if you’re playing a Protection warrior.

Protection Tanking “Rotation” and Priorities

There are two parts to our tanking now. Our threat generation, which also generates Rage (yep, we don’t get Rage from being hit any more), and our Active Mitigation, which prevents us from going splat.

Single-target Tanking Threat/Rage

Our single-target priorities are pretty simple.

  • Top Priority: Use Shield Slam if it’s off cooldown. If not, use Revenge if it’s off cooldown. If you’re at maximum Rage, burn some rage before using either of these.
  • Second Priority: Use Thunder Clap if your target isn’t debuffed with Weakened Blows. Use Demoralizing Shout if it’s off cooldown.
  • Third Priority: Use Battle Shout or Commanding Shout if they’re off cooldown – whichever you prefer (see Buffs). Otherwise, use Devastate.

AOE Tanking

  • Top Priority: Use Shield Slam if it’s off cooldown. If not, use Revenge if it’s off cooldown. If you’re at maximum Rage, burn some rage before using either of these.
  • Second Priority: Use Thunder Clap if it’s off cooldown. Use Dragon Roar or Shockwave (depending on your choice) if it’s off cooldown. Use Demoralizing Shout if it’s off cooldown.
  • Third Priority: Use Battle Shout or Commanding Shout if they’re off cooldown – whichever you prefer (see Buffs). Otherwise, use Devastate.

Active Mitigation

You have three abilities that can be used whenever you want (they don’t trigger the Global Cooldown). Use them as often as possible – don’t let your Rage stay at maximum – according to the fight you’re on.

  • If you’re currently taking heavy damage and it’s predominantly physical, use Shield Block.
  • If you’re taking lighter damage, or are predominantly taking magic or Damage over Time damage, use Shield Barrier.
  • DPS Option: Always prioritize Shield Block, as the Glyph of Heavy Repercussions puts a lot more wallop into your Shield Slam. Using rage on Heroic Strike is a waste.

There’s a lot more to Active Mitigation, but this guide should see you through! See the Links section for links to much more detail if you want or need it.

Cooldowns

Protection Warriors have a LOT of cooldowns.

  • Last Stand – Use it when you’re about to die, and you’d prefer not to!
  • Shield Wall – Powerful damage reduction cooldown – use it when you’re about to take very heavy damage.
  • Rallying Cry – Increases the health of your whole party or raid. Use it when the entire party is taking heavy damage, or when your raid leader tells you to.
  • Demoralizing Banner – Reduces the damage taken by your whole party or raid. Use it when the entire party is taking heavy damage, or when your raid leader tells you to.
  • Berserker Rage, Recklessness – Use on cooldown or otherwise as often as possible; these are for effectively DPS, and you should only use Recklessness when Riposte is up.

Buffs

Stay in Defensive Stance. If you’re raiding, coordinate with your Raid Leader as to whether you should be using Battle or Commanding shout.

Protection Warrior Talent Builds

There are no “cookie-cutter” talent builds any more, and we heartily encourage you to try out different talents in different situations.

However, if you want a quick, solid, easy-to-use, general-purpose talent build, we recommend:

  • Tier 1: Juggernaut (just because Double Time is more complicated)
  • Tier 2: Second Wind
  • Tier 3: Disrupting Shout
  • Tier 4: Dragon Roar
  • Tier 5: Safeguard.
  • Tier 6: Bloodbath. Gives you a DPS cooldown.

Stats, reforging and gemming for Protection Warrior

It’s pretty clear at this point that “Control” and Active Mitigation gearing is better in Mists of Pandaria. That means our stats are very different to the old days of Cata and before where we avoided “threat stats”.

Our stat priorities are Hit to cap (7.5% / 2550), Expertise to cap (15% / 5100), then Mastery if you want to be smoother to heal, or avoidance if you want to make the most of Riposte.

Reforging: Reforge for Hit to cap, then Expertise to cap, then Mastery or avoidance. Reforge from excess Hit and Expertise first, then Haste and Crit.
Gems: Use Guardian’s Imperial Amethyst (Stamina/Expertise) gems in red slots unless you’re Expertise capped, in which case use Defender’s Imperial Amethyst (Stamina/Parry gems). Use Fractured Sun’s Radiance (Mastery) or Regal Wild Jade (Stamina/Dodge) yellow gems, and Puissant Wild Jade (Mastery/Stamina) or Regal Wild Jade gems in blue sockets.
Meta Gem: Use the Indomitable Primal Diamond if you’re far enough on with Wrathion, otherwise the Austere Primal Diamond is the best choice.
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 Warrior Glyphs

Major: Glyph of Heavy Repercussions and Glyph of Hold the Line are mandatory. After that, you should choose from Glyph of Bullrush, Glyph of Unending Rage or Glyph of Death From Above.
Minor: Glyph of Intimidating Shout is useful. Others are your choice and have no effect on your, erm, effectiveness.

Protection Warrior enchants and item enhancements

You should almost always use a profession enhancement item if it provides appropriate stats instead of a general enchant.

  • Shoulders – Greater Ox Horn Inscription
  • Back – Enchant Cloak – Greater Protection
  • Chest – Enchant Chest – Superior Stamina
  • Wrist – Enchant Bracer – Mastery
  • Hands – Enchant Gloves – Superior Mastery
  • Belt – Ebonsteel Belt Buckle
  • Legs – Ironscale Leg Armor
  • Feet – Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step
  • Weapon – Enchant Weapon – River’s Song
  • Shield – Enchant Shield – Greater Parry

Links

The Icy Veins guys win the prize for speedy updating, as they’ve already got a 5.4 Prot Warrior guide out there.

  • Icy Veins are threatening to take Elitist Jerks’ crown as the de facto source for detailed theory. They have an extremely detailed guide for Prot Warriors in 5.4 – particularly worth reading for the Active Mitigation discussion.
  • 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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