Outdated Prot Guide, Please remove.

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I'm not going to be playing a warrior for MoP, So this thread will not be updated. Feel free to replace.

Spinning Shields and You: A Cataclysm PvE Protection Warrior Guide

This is my Protection Warrior guide for Cataclysm. Suggestions, corrections, thoughts, and comments are all welcome. This guide is mostly intended for people who want to avoid excessive amounts of math and those just wanting TL;DR style conclusions. Obviously, if you are wondering at all what the reasoning is behind certain choices, ask away!

INDEX(bracketed code will skip you to that section on search):

I Threat [THR1]

II Glyphs [GLY2]

III Talents [TAL3]

IV Gearing [GEAR4]

V Enchanting [ENCH5]

VI Gemming [GEM6]

VII Reforging and Stat Values [REFO7]

VIII Macros [MAC8]

IX Professions [PROF9]

X Consumables [CON10]

XI Protection Warrior Simulator [MEW11]
[THR1] Threat:

With 4.2, threat is generally even less of an issue than it previously was. Even still, threat (and its relation, damage) can always be improved by a cleaner, tighter rotation. As always, gear will play some part, but I personally would say close to 90% of threat issues are rotation related.

Protection warriors function on a priority system revolving around the cooldown of Shield Slam to maximize their single target damage, and around Shockwave and Thunder Clap's cooldowns for AoE.

For Single Target(Assumes B&T, priority is from top to bottom, left to right):

Shield Slam off CD | 1st/2nd GCD after SS (no S&B proc) | 3rd GCD after SS (no S&B proc)
Shield Slam | Thunder Clap (1.5s on rend) | Thunder Clap (4.5s on rend)
| Revenge | Shockwave
| Rend (if not up) | Revenge
| Devastate | Rend (if not up)
| | Devastate

-Heroic Strike over 50 Rage
-Inner Rage on cooldown if unlimited (or near unlimited) rage
-Shield Block on cooldown

Do note that you can add concussion blow/heroic throw for additional threat since they both have 2x damage threat modifiers, but this is generally not optimal in a normal rotation. Also note that you can drop rend/thunderclap entirely single target, and should, if you're not comfortable maintaining it for at least 2-3 refreshes without refreshing early.
For the sake of people that have trouble with the table: essentially the rotation boils down to Shield Slam any time the ability is available > refresh rend if it has less than 1.5s on it (if you're rolling rend) > Revenge > Shockwave if you're on the last global before Shield Slam would naturally come off cooldown > Devastate.

Looking at peoples combat logs, this is where I see the majority of most peoples issue with personal damage. Heroic strike is a large, large percentage of a protection warriors damage (seeing 25-30% on a rage unlimited or near-unlimted encounter is not unusual.) Generally newer players tend to be light on the number of heroic strikes on any given encounter, and not use Inner Rage nearly enough. Make sure you're ALWAYS using heroic strike if you're over the rage threshold where you can safely do so without costing yourself on the global cooldown abilities.

For Multitarget/AoE(Assumes B&T)

The priority systems in multitarget situations tend to involve heavier use of shockwave/thunderclap, followed by the use of the single target priority system while switching through available targets. The general priorities are as follows:
Shockwave on Cooldown > Thunder Clap on Cooldown > Revenge > Shield Slam, Cleave over 50 rage
Generally before falling into this rotation, you will want to Rend and Thunder Clap once, to prevent rage starving yourself by stunning everything in the initial important seconds of the pull. If you're confident you can spare the global to rend before the first thunderclap without aggro going everywhere, do so. If you're not, rend afterwards.

In either AoE or single target, you should open your pull with a shout/zerker rage/heroic throw/charge if possible. The additional rage at the start is extremely helpful. Don't hesitate to use your shout again during the pull if you accidentally rage starve yourself during an avoidance streak, as well.

Gear Selection for Damage/Threat Gains:

When choosing a weapon, you will always want to choose the slowest (2.6 speed), highest damage range weapon available to you (hopefully with dodge or parry or mastery!) Avoid using a fast weapon wherever possible, as this will have a serious impact on certain abilties damage.
Keep in mind, that threat stats should generally not be necessary for threat purposes in the slightest unless your dps outgears you to a ridiculous degree (You're in greens, they're in tier 12.) For the sake of increasing your DPS, the stat priorities are as follows:

26 Expertise (Removes the chance for you to be dodged by your target, lowers their parry chance by half; 24 for non-raid bosses.)
8% Hit (Removes the chance for you to miss)
56 Expertise (Completely removes the targets chance to parry; Not acquireable in current gear. 24 for non-raid bosses.)
Critical Rating
Stamina (If capable of vengeance capping in the content you're doing)
[GLY2] Glyphs:

Protection Warrior glyphs are not fairly obvious overall. The only choices of consequence are in majors, and even then are generally marginal and encounter specific.

Prime Glyphs:
Glyph of Shield Slam
Glyph of Revenge
Glyph of Devastate

Major Glyphs:
Glyph of Thunder Clap
Glyph of Victory Rush
Glyph of Cleaving
Glyph of Shield Wall
Glyph of Shockwave

Minor Glyphs:
Glyph of Demoralizing Shout
Glyph of Berserker Rage
Glyph of Battle
Glyph of Command
Glyph of Enduring Victory

2/2 Heavy Repercussions
Shield block has extremely high uptime if you're pressing it on cooldown like you should be. Take this.

3/3 Sword and Board
Shield Slam is your core rotational ability. Extremely important talent.

1/1 Shockwave
Mandatory for multiple targets and a single target threat boost as well.

Optional Talents:

2/2 Gag Order
Ranged Silence and reduced cooldown on Heroic throw as well as a silence on shield bash. Very useful for heroics, but of debateable value in a raiding build.

1/1 Concussion Blow
Solid single target threat ability, as well as stun utility. Could be considering mandatory by some, but you can get by without.

1/1 Last Stand
With the addition of Rallying Cry, this is a talent that mostly depends on your raid comp and how often you need a cooldown with a longer duration/slightly higher max health gain.

2/2 Impending Victory
Currently extremely mediocre, as it only works in execute range. Self healing in a single target build might potentially be useful though, however underwhelming the talent is.

1/1 Vigilance
A single target buff you put on your co-tank in a multiple-tank situation. Increases your Vengeance when they get hit, and refreshes your taunt cooldown when they get hit. Extremely useful in any situation with tank swaps/adds, all but completely useless when doing single tank fights/5 mans.

2/2 Thunderstruck
(mostly) AoE talent. Weak on anything that won't live longer than 3 shockwave cooldowns. Moderately useful at best, Terrible at worst.

(Arms)3/3 War Academy
Devastate and Victory Rush damage increase. Reasonable Talent, required for a DW build.

(Arms)2/2 Field Dressing
6% healing taken increase, increased self healing by 20%. Not mandatory, but definately worth taking in most builds (best choice, in my opinion, for a deep wounds spec.)

(Arms)3/3 Deep Wounds
Very good threat talent, just not accessible in certain builds.

(Fury)2/2 Cruelty
10% Crit on Shield Slam. Generally strong threat talent.

Sub-Optimal/Extremely Situational Talents:

(Fury)3/3 Blood Craze
Extremely weak, not worth the points.

(Fury)1/1 Piercing Howl
Dubious value to prot, weakens your spec to go this deep fury. If your raid needs an aoe snare, the possibility is there.

(Arms)2/2 Blitz
Not useful enough to justify the point cost.

(Arms)2/2 Drums of War
Massive cost for free pummels. Pooling rage when you need to interrupt is a better option.

2/2 Safeguard
As always, extremely situational. If you run into a boss in raiding that requires the cooldown on the other tank, pick it up by all means. Useless other than that in PvE.

My Suggested Builds:

5-Man Build.

Progression Raiding. Can trade points from cruelty to IV if desired.
[GEAR4] Gearing:

Basic gear guide. Includes gear from first tier heroics up to top tier raid gear.

- Selections were based on ideal itemization. Obviously don't pass up significantly higher ilevel (30+ ilevel) pieces because they're not very well itemized for tanking.
- I haven't listed every possible item in some slots, just the item's I would prefer to use.
- Order per slot is listed at a quick glance, may not be perfectly ideal. Your current stats will likely adjust the order slightly.
- With the ease of entry level raiding and original heroics, sub-heroic level gear is not included unless it is an exceptional piece.
- Only the top piece at the 346 level is listed.
- This is a per-item list. Set bonuses aren't considered.
- Items marked with an Asterix (*) are worse than the top piece of the previous tier (profession items not included.)

  • Reinforced Bio-Optic Killshades
  • Spiritshield Mask
  • Helm of the Proud

  • Tier 11:
  • Daybreaker Helm
  • Dragon Bone Warhelm
  • Earthen Faceguard
  • Daybreaker Helm
  • Dragon Bone Warhelm
  • Earthen Faceguard*

  • Tier 12:
  • Helm of Blazing Glory
  • Faceguard of the Molten Giant
  • Helm of Blazing Glory
  • Faceguard of the Molten Giant*

  • ================
  • Pauldrons of Edward the Odd
  • Pauldrons of Sacrifice
  • Earthshape Pauldrons

  • Tier 11:
  • Pauldrons of the Apocalypse
  • Earthen Shoulderguards
  • Heaving Plates of Protection
  • Pauldrons of the Apocalypse*
  • Earthen Shoulderguards*

  • Tier 12:
  • Pauldrons of Roaring Flame
  • Shoulderguards of the Molten Giant
  • Spaulders of Recurring Flame
  • Pauldrons of Roaring Flame
  • Shoulderguards of the Molten Giant
  • Spaulders of Recurring Flame

  • ================
  • Icebone Hauberk
  • Chestplate of the Steadfast

  • Tier 11:
  • Earthen Chestguard
  • Battleplate of the Apocalypse
  • Earthen Chestguard
  • Battleplate of the Apocalypse

  • Tier 12:
  • Carapace of Imbibed Flame
  • Chestguard of the Molten Giant
  • Chestguard of the Molten Giant
  • Carapace of Imbibed Flame

  • ================
  • Hardened Elementium Girdle
  • Girdle of the Mountains

  • Tier 11:
  • Jumbotron Power Belt
  • Thunder Wall Belt(Parry or Dodge and Mastery)
  • Jumbotron Power Belt*
  • Thunder Wall Belt*(Parry or Dodge and Mastery)

  • Tier 12:
  • Uncrushable Belt of Fury
  • Girdle of the Indomitable Flame
  • Uncrushable Belt of Fury

  • ================
  • Legguards of the Unforgiving
  • Triton Legplates

  • Tier 11:
  • Earthen Legguards
  • Legguards of the Unseeing
  • Earthen Legguards
  • Legguards of the Unseeing*

  • Tier 12:
  • Legguards of the Molten Giant
  • Legplates of Frenzied Devotion
  • Legguards of the Molten Giant
  • Legplates of Frenzied Devotion
  • Lavaworm Legplates
  • Lavaworm Legplates*

  • ================
  • Pyrelord Greaves
  • Gryphon Rider's Boots/Boots of Sullen Rock
  • Rock Furrow Boots

  • Tier 11:
  • War-Torn Crushers
  • Molten Tantrum Boots
  • Molten Tantrum Boots*

  • Tier 12:
  • Cracked Obsidian Stompers
  • Mirrored Boots
  • Cracked Obsidian Stompers*

  • ================
  • Ricket's Gun Show
  • Sandguard Bracers

  • Tier 11:
  • Bracers of Impossible Strength
  • Bracers of Impossible Strength*

  • Tier 12:
  • Bracers of the Fiery Path
  • Bracers of Regal Force
  • Bracers of the Fiery Path

  • ================
  • Bone Plate Handguards
  • Fingers of Light

  • Tier 11:
  • Earthen Handguards
  • Gravitational Pull
  • Earthen Handguards
  • Gravitational Pull
  • Earthen Gauntlets

  • Tier 12:
  • Handguards of the Molten Giant
  • Eternal Elementium Handguards
  • Handguards of the Molten Giant

  • ================
  • Amulet of Protection
  • Fireheart Necklace
  • The Lustrous Eye

  • Tier 11:
  • Caelestrasz's Will
  • Ironstar Amulet
  • Ironstar Amulet*
  • Rage of Ages*

  • Tier 12:
  • Firebound Gorget
  • Stoneheart Necklace*
  • Firebound Gorget*

  • ================
  • Lylagar Horn Ring
  • Elementium Moebius Band
  • Ring of Three Lights

  • Tier 11:
  • Dargonax's Signet
  • Permafrost Signet(Dodge or Parry and Mastery)
  • Bile-O-Tron Nut*
  • Ring of the Battle Anthem*
  • Permafrost Signet*

  • Tier 12:
  • Adamantine Signet of the Avengers
  • Theck's Emberseal
  • Deflecting Brimstone Band
  • Theck's Emberseal*

  • [ENCH5] Enchants:

    Arcanum of the Earthen Ring

    Greater Inscription of Unbreakable Quartz

    Enchant Cloak - Protection

    Enchant Chest - Greater Stamina

    Enchant Bracer - Dodge
    Scroll of Enchant Bracer - Major Stamina

    Main Hand
    Enchant Weapon - Windwalk

    Enchant Shield - Mastery

    Enchant Gloves - Greater Mastery

    Drakehide Leg Armor

    Enchant Boots - Lavawalker
    Enchant Boots - Earthen Vitality

    [GEM6] Gemming:

    Austere Shadowspirit Diamond
    Eternal Shadowspirit Diamond

    Defender's Demonseye
    Fine Ember Topaz

    Solid Ocean Sapphire
    Puissant Dream Emerald

    Puissant Dream Emerald
    Fractured Amberjewel


    Stamina versus Mastery gemming is one of the major decisions you have to make in terms of your gear. The choice of how you choose to gem depends on multiple factors (the content you're running, the quality of your gear, the quality of your healers gear, among others.) If you're mostly running heroic 5 mans or normal mode raiding, "stacking" mastery is likely ideal for your situation once you're at a health level where you're comfortably able to survive damage bursts (generally, you'll be at that health level fairly easily from gear alone.) Early on in HM progression raiding, damage tends to be significantly higher to the point where you're trying to scr<strong/>ape together as much EH as possible because of massive tank damage while undergeared, although this isn't 100% agreed with anywhere.

    Also worth mentioning: once you can *passively* hit 102.4% combined block, dodge, and parry with mastery gemming/specific gearing, it is undeniably worth doing so.

    The decision you make for meta socket depends on your gear and what content you're running; Generally if you're not near pushing full hits off the combat table, Austere is the meta gem for you.
    [REFO7]Reforging and Stat Values:

    For the sake of simplicity, generally you will want to always reforge a piece so it has mastery on it, with parry or dodge (depending on your current ratings) being the second choice.

    With the interactions between Parry and Hold the Line, you're going to want to keep your parry rating ahead of your dodge rating. Reforging all of your dodge away for parry is a very bad idea. You'll generally want to keep your parry:dodge ratio at 1.3~:1, or 120~ parry rating ahead, whichever is easier for you in your gear. The difference between the two is close to nil.

    You can also potentially reforge DPS stats such as crit or haste on mis-itemized but substantially higher item level gear or excess threat stats on normal tank gear to an avoidance stat, or avoidance into more threat stats if that is what you feel you need (generally threat stats beyond what you get incidentally should prove to be unnecessary).

    Relevant stats in no particular order (Avoidance stats are pre-DR):

    1% Dodge requires 176.71 rating
    1% Parry requires 176.71 rating
    1 Stamina = 16.905 HP (Sentinel x Plate Spec x 14 HP per stam)
    Armor cap vs boss(level 88 mob) is 97717.5
    1 Mastery Point requires 179.3 rating
    1 Strength provides 2 AP, and 15% of total str is converted to parry rating
    1% hit requires 120.1 rating
    1 Expertise Point requires 30.03 rating

    [MAC8] Macros:

    I personally do not find myself using many macros to improve my play. The only ones I personally use are the cancelaura and intervene ones.

    Warbringer Macro:
    /castsequence [harm] reset=15 Charge, Intercept; [help] Intervene
    If your target is hostile, it will use charge. if charge is on cooldown and your target is hostile, it will intercept. If your target is friendly, it will intervene.

    Shield Block/Shield Slam Macro:
    /cast Shield Block; /cast Shield Slam
    Some people swear by this, although I'm not a fan. Maximizes your Shield Block uptime if you're forgetful about it.

    Mouseover Intervene Macro:
    /cast [target=mouseover] Intervene
    Intervenes the target you're mousing over. Can be intergrated into your warbringer macro, as well.

    Cancelaura Macro:
    #Showtooltip Shield Slam
    /cast Shield Slam
    /cancelaura Hand of Protection
    /cancelaura Hand of Salvation
    For those paladins that like to troll you, or tend to be bad about fatfingering. I've sadly had this macro (and other ones like it for other classes) save many, many pulls of raid bosses.
    [PROF9] Profession Selection:

    As always, choosing the ideal 2 professions can be something fairly easy to mess up if you don't stop and think about it. Here is a quick overview of the perks of each profession. I'll compare each and rank in terms of the stamina provided.

    Leatherworking (155 stamina vs 50 dodge)
    With the bracer enchant providing 195 stamina and the lack of a Cataclysm health bracer enchant, this is the largest stamina upgrade profession as far as I'm aware. It also provides cheap leg enchants.

    Jewelcrafting (123 Stamina or 81 Mastery)
    3 JC-only gems, as well as a couple entry level trinkets. Overall a flexible and strong choice, especially at entry level.

    Blacksmithing (120 stamina or 80 Mastery)
    Add an additional socket to your bracers and gloves. One of the more flexible professions, 2 additional gems nets you a good chunk of stats for any spec.

    Enchanting (120 stamina)
    Gives you the ability to enchant your rings for 60 stamina or 40 strength (the only two relevant as a warrior,) another solid choice.

    Alchemy (120 stamina while flasked)
    Mixology is still alive and kicking. This profession also provides a reasonably good entry level tanking trinket. Bonus, you get to turn into a dragon and make your friends ride you around!

    Mining (120 stamina)
    Unsurprisingly as much stamina as the other professions from this bonus as well.

    Inscription(120 stamina)
    Upgraded shoulder enchant. Nothing else particularly exciting as a warrior.

    Engineering (1500 armor for 12s/min, 16k-21k absorb/5min, Rocket Boots)
    Unfortunately, even though this is my favourite profession, it is looking fairly weak as it stands now. Crippling misfires and underwhelming mitigation make this a fairly poor choice. Provides an entry level helmet, as well.

    Herbalism/Skinning/Tailoring (0 stamina, 0 defensive stats)
    Pretty much useless for tanks outside of threat. Don't take these if you intend to even remotely maximize your professions.


    Consumables are an important part of any raid. Fortunately, for the most part, the choices here are pretty easy. You get to use 1-2 potions per encounter (2 if you pop a potion right before combat starts.) Fortunately, potion choice is extremely easy, as there is only two of note:

    Earthen Potion - Provides a ~6.8% increase to your effective damage reduction at 50% DR for 25 seconds.

    Golemblood Potion - 1200 Strength for 25s. Useful for encounters with extremely tight enrage timers, and for prepotting.

    For your Flask/Elixir choice, theres 2 potential choices that I can see:

    Flask of Steelskin - 450 Stamina pre-modifiers. The obvious choice if you need to maximize your health.

    Elixir of Deep Earth or Prismatic Elixir and Elixir of the Master - 900 armour or 90 resist all and 225 mastery. This averages out to ~1.36% Effective DR @ 50% DR from Deep Earth, 9%~ magic DR from Prismatic (Post raid buffs) and ~1.88% Block/Crit Block from Master. Better for overall damage reduction, if that is your aim.

    For Well Fed buff, the ideal choice is Lavascale Minestrone - 90 Mastery Rating/90 Stamina.
    [MEW11] Protection Warrior Simulator:

    Yawning has added support for Protection Warriors with his latest build of Mew.

    Supports just about anything you could reasonably expect in a class simulator (variable boss premit damage/swing speed, unblockable specials, set bonuses, profession bonuses, reasonable raid dps trinket procs and just about anything else I could think of are supported in the UI. Rotation changes require editing the script, but this is not overly difficult to figure out.)

    Download can be found here:
    (he is lazy about updating the front page and it isn't mentioned in the resources yet, but it is there.)

    Points of note:
    - Blood Craze and Impending victory assume best case (zero overheal.)
    - Higher Iterations yield better results, as in any other sim.
    - Dagger normalization isn't included. If you use daggers anyway you make me a sad panda.
    - Default rotation is max mitigation first, TPS second, DPS last (prioritizes TC/Demo, uses abilities with lower damage but threat multipliers.)
    - Cooldown use (other than shield block, as this is generally not held for use as a defensive CD) is not included. This also applies to damage reduction trinket procs and armour potions.
    I am in the process of reading this.
    great guide. but are you really saying that 15% parry and 15% dodge would be the best way to go? I understand that we'd want to become unhitable however that seems like we'll become mana sponges too. I am not saying you're wrong at all, I just thought we'd need a bit more avoidance than that.
    Mana sponging is a function of overall damage reduced over the course of an encounter; Past that percentage of avoidance (approximately, I haven't harassed someone to math out the exact tipping point for me) the mitigated block damage will give you less damage taken overall as Mastery does not have diminishing returns.
    Makes sense Dell, thanks for explaining it. The percentages does seem a little low but it does make sense when you factor in DR. once again, great guide, I hope it gets stickied :)
    Expertise softcap was dropped to 23 at level 80, it will be back to 26 at 85. Undocumented change that has been confirmed by a blue post.
    If you read the first paragraph, you'll note I'm not writing this for the last month of wotlk.

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