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The Best Protection Warrior PvE Tank build

The Best Protection Warrior PvE Tank build

Protection Warrior is one of the most popular tanking spec in World of Warcraft making it a very solid pick for Raids

Protection Warrior PvE Tank Build
Odealo's Pocket Guide
Updated for Patch 8.1.5

You can find all our Pocket Guides for other World of Warcraft classes right here: Best WoW Builds

Spec Overview

Protection Warrior is one of the most popular tanking specializations in World of Warcraft. It is a solid all-around class based on high physical damage mitigation, good mobility, and high Raid utility. Warriors are typical sword & board type of characters, and blocking is one of their core defensive mechanics. Warriors generate Rage during combat, which is used to fuel your abilities, and using it effectively is one of the primary aspects of this guide.

 Pros  Cons
 Very high physical damage mitigation and high block chance  Requires learning how to manage your Rage
 Good mobility thanks to InterceptIntercept and Heroic LeapHeroic Leap  Mediocre self-sustain
 Stable and predictive damage intake  Mediocre defenses against magic damage
 High team utility in Raids and Mythic+ Dungeons  Weak crowd-control
 The most tank-themed specialization in the game, making it a perfect choice for role players :)  Weaker, in general, than other tanking specializations


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Statistics Priority

  1. Haste -  the most important attribute for Protection Warriors. It increases your attack speed and reduces global cooldowns on your primary abilities, which increase your DPS and Rage generation. The extra Rage also contributes to how much damage is prevented with Ignore PainIgnore Pain and to even more Rage generated by Anger ManagementAnger Management.
  1. Versatility - reduces all your damage taken, as well as, increases your damage and healing. It is a solid stat that grants passive bonuses regardless of the situation. It is extremely useful in magic-packed fights when playing as a Prot. Warrior
  1. Mastery - Mastery: Critical BlockMastery: Critical Block passively increases your chance to block, the chance to critically block, and Attack Power. A great overall stat which synergizes well with Ignore PainIgnore Pain
  1. Critical Strike -  increases your chance to parry attacks thanks to  RiposteRiposte. Parrying an attack makes your next RevengeRevenge cost no Rage which is also very useful
  1. Strength -  Provides you with Attack Power that increases the damage of your auto attacks and abilities. It also increases your Armor thanks to VanguardVanguard which passively reduces all your physical damage taken

 

The Best Talent Choices

Into the Fray
Level 15: 
Recommended choice - Into the Fray
Into the FrayInto the Fray gives you up to 15% increased Haste; 3% for each nearby enemy or ally. This is the best choice for Raids and also one of the best choices overall 
PunishPunish is a decent pick as well, however much more suited for Mythic+ progression, when you don't fully benefit from Into the FrayInto the Fray. On the other hand, Impending VictoryImpending Victory is a decent pick for leveling. It is a good finisher skill which will heal you for 20% of your maximum Life if you kill an enemy that yields experience. Otherwise, it has no uses in end-game PvE.
Bounding Stride
Level 30: 
Recommended choice - Bounding Stride
Bounding StrideBounding Stride is, in general, the most useful talent on this Tier. It reduces the cooldown of Bounding StrideHeroic Leap and grants you increased mobility after using it, making it a great mobility skill. 
Crackling ThunderCrackling Thunder increases the radius of Thunder ClapThunder Clap, and while being useful, it merely makes the skill more convenient to use but has no meaningful impact on actual encounters. SafeguardSafeguard, the last of the choices you get on level 30 is very situational. It causes InterceptIntercept to transfer 30% of the damage dealt to your target to you if used on an ally.
Unstoppable Force
Level 45: 
Recommended choice - Unstoppable Force
Unstoppable ForceUnstoppable Force increases the damage of Thunder ClapThunder Clap by 100% and reduces its cooldown by 50%.  It grants unparalleled damage increase on this tier and helps you generate Rage
Dragon RoarDragon Roar is also a decent Rage generating skill and a potent AoE slow but the gap between the Unstoppable ForceUnstoppable Force's damage is too high to consider it. RevengeBest Served Cold increases the damage of RevengeRevenge skill, but this could be only rendered useful in fights that have your RevengeRevenge's Rage constantly removed by blocking and parrying
Bolster
Level 60: 
Recommended choice - Bolster
BolsterBolster reduces the cooldown of Last StandLast Stand by 60 seconds and, on top of that, it makes you block all incoming melee attacks for the duration. It's the best pick for this tier, which greatly enhances an already potent defensive cooldown
Indomitable isn't a bad pick either, but it just slightly increases your effective Health pool, making it a very mediocre pick against Raid Bosses. Never SurrenderNever Surrender is the worst talent on this tier, which is very situational, and requires you to be near to 0 Health to grant any significant effect.
Storm Bolt
Level 75: 
Recommended choice - Storm Bolt
Storm BoltStorm Bolt is a very potent single-target stun. It does not enhance or replace any existing ability, so basically it adds a second stun to your arsenal, and will be our recommendation in most of the cases.
MenaceMenace can be also extremely useful, but it's a very situational skill. Requires you to understand. If played correctly, it allows you to crowd-control up to six enemies simultaneously for up to 12 seconds. Rumbling EarthRumbling Earth is a good pick for dungeons. It reduces the cooldown of ShockwaveShockwave if it hits three or more enemies, making it a much more convenient stun on lower tier content.
Booming Voice
Level 90: 
Recommended choice - Booming Voice
Booming VoiceBooming Voice - is an extremely useful Rage generating skill. It causes your Demoralizing Shot to generate 40 Rage and increases your damage to affected enemies by 15%. It should be your primary pick on this tier as it grants a stable flow of Rage and the highest damage bonus

VengeanceVengeance causes your Ignore PainIgnore Pain to reduce the Rage cost of your next RevengeRevenge by 33% and causes RevengeRevenge to reduce the Rage cost of your next Ignore PainIgnore Pain by 33%. Majority of this talent's benefits is wasted as you 1)You should use RevengeRevenge only when it's Rage cost is removed; 2)You will usually use RevengeRevenge before Ignore PainIgnore Pain, increasing the total cost to cast Ignore Pain by 7 Rage when you have the pay the full Rage cost. DevastatorDevastator is a replacement skill for DevastatorDevastate, which increases its damage, and has a 20% chance to reset Shield SlamShield Slam's cooldown. Compared to the other two talents it generates the least Rage and shouldn't be considered

Anger Management
Level 100: 
Recommended choice - Anger Management
Anger ManagementAnger Management -  is the best, and most well-rounded talent pick for this tier. It reduces the cooldown of all your major defensive cooldowns by 1 second for each 10 Rage spent. This synergizes extremely well with high Haste gear and previously chosen talents. It also offers great flexibility because of the number of skills it affects
Heavy RepercussionsHeavy Repercussions while also a very solid talent, does not provide enough benefit to be picked up over Anger ManagementAnger Management. It makes Shield SlamShield Slam increase the duration of Shield BlockShield Block, and makes Shield BlockShield Block increase the duration of Shield SlamShield Slam by 30%. RavagerRavager is overall weaker and is heavily reliant on parry rolls which are not the most reliable defensive mechanic for Warriors. 

 

The Basic Rotation

Below you will find the basic rotations for Protection Warrior as well as utility skills breakdown including defensive cooldowns, crowd-control, and taunts.

 

Single-target DPS rotation:
  1. Intercept nearly always is going to be your first initiating skill. Whether you are going to use Taunt afterward depends on your personal confidence on how well you can keep your aggro on the target for the initial few seconds
Intercept ⇒  Taunt
  1. Avatar is an offensive cooldown which increases all your damage by 20%. It also removes all roots and snares, which you may want in certain encounters, so Avatar is not always going to be your opening skill
Avatar
  1. Demoralizing Shout should be always used early in the fight to generate extra Rage and increase your damage
Demoralizing Shout
  1. Shield Block is a powerful defensive cooldown
Shield Block
  1. Shield Slam whenever on cooldown. Keep in mind that its cooldown can be reset by DevastateDevastate, Thunder ClapThunder Clap, and RevengeRevenge. Keep an eye out on those procs
Shield Slam
  1. Use Thunder Clap when on cooldown
Thunder Clap
  1. Revenge which should be cast only if the Rage cost is removed by parrying or dodging an attack. During encounters when you are not expecting to be in a dire need of Ignore PainIgnore Pain you spend excess Rage on Revenge
Revenge
  1. Devastate used on cooldown
Devastate
Multi-target DPS rotation:
  1. Exact same opener as in Single-target rotation
    InterceptIntercept/TauntTaunt ⇒ AvatarAvatar  ⇒ Demoralizing ShoutDemoralizing Shout ⇒ Shield BlockShield Block ⇒ 2.
Intercept ⇒ Taunt 
  1. Thunder Clap which should be used whenever off-cooldown. It's the primary skill for AoE DPS
Thunder Clap
  1. Revenge on cooldown
Revenge
  1. Shield Slam on cooldown
Shield Slam
  1. Devastate on cooldown
Devastate
Taunting with Protection Warrior:
  1. Taunt is your primary single-target taunt. Warriors don't have an AoE taunt, so it's much more important to generate threat via Thunder ClapThunder Clap and RevengeRevenge abilities. Also, you can reset your Taunt's cooldown by using Heroic LeapHeroic Leap
Taunt
  1. Heroic Throw is the second skill that can be used as a single-target taunt. You throw your weapon at your target, dealing damage and generating high threat. Be wary that it does not guarantee you getting targeted by the enemy
Heroic Throw
Warrior's cooldowns:
  1. Shield Block is Protection Warrior's main damage mitigation mechanism. It is essential to have Shield Block active while you are expecting a lot of incoming blockable damage (mainly melee attacks and a lot of Bosses' abilities). Outside of big fights, when you aren't expecting a lot of incoming damage, you can use Shield Block to increase your Shield SlamShield Slam's damage
Shield Block
  1. Last Stand has similar usage to Shield BlockShield Block. With BolsterBolster talent picked up, it makes you block all incoming melee attacks. Last Stand and Shield BlockShield Block shouldn't overlap each other 
Last Stand
  1. Ignore Pain is another important damage mitigation cooldown for Protection Warriors. However, its damage reduction is limited by a flat amount, making it an addition to Shield BlockShield Block rather than a viable substitute. When using Ignore Pain, you should always make sure you will have enough Rage to use your next Shield BlockShield Block when it comes off cooldown
Ignore Pain
  1. Avatar is an offensive cooldown, which increases your damage and helps you generate Rage. Make sure you always dump excess Rage on Ignore PainIgnore Pain or RevengeRevenge
Avatar
  1. Shield Wall is a very powerful cooldown which should be used when you are expecting high burst damage coming your way
Shield Wall
  1. Demoralizing Shout with Booming VoiceBooming Voice talent is a very powerful and low-cooldown skill. It reduces monsters' damage, increases your damage against affected enemies, and generates a substantial amount of Rage. It is easy to keep near 100% uptime on the buff with Anger MangementAnger Management
Demoralizing Shout
  1. Spell Reflection is Warrior's primary magic damage mitigation skill. It can be used to either block a specific incoming spell, or to generally reduce magic damage taken. Keep in mind that reflecting a spell will cause the buff to end
Spell Reflection

 

Tips and Tricks for Improving your Gameplay

  1. Never exceed your maximum Rage! You should always make sure to dump it on useful skills when you are close to reaching your cap
  1. Make sure you use your active abilities on cooldown, and RevengeRevenge whenever it becomes a free cast
  1. Make sure you always have enough Rage for your next Shield BlockShield Block cast which is your primary tanking cooldown
  1. Analyze your threat generation - save your TauntTaunt and Heroic ThrowHeroic Throw for targets that you are not confident with keeping on your
  1. Learn fights prematurely, and make sure you know when to use your defensive cooldowns


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END NOTE

This is the premiere version of our Protection Warrior guide to Raid and Mythic+ Dungeons tanking. Please let us know in the comments below, which aspects of the class we should include in future, upcoming updates.

Pictures used in this article are the intellectual property of Blizzard Entertainment Inc.