Home World of Warcraft Classes Protection Paladin 9.0.5 Guide

Protection Paladin in Shadowlands

Welcome to the guide on the Paladin’s “Protection” spec! This guide will show you all the intricacies of the “Protection” spec in various aspects of the game and teach you how to survive even the toughest Shadowlands challenges. You’ll learn which talents to use, how to equip your character, and which covenant to choose. In each section you will find answers to these and many other questions.

“Protection” Paladin relies on strength and holy magic to eliminate enemies and heal allies.

  • Fantasy: A holy warrior who uses light magic and their shield to protect themselves and their allies.
  • Resources: Paladin’s resources are Holy Power and Mana. Mana is a secondary resource and is not needed for main abilities.
  • Weapon: One- and two-handed axes, swords, blunt and pole weapons; shield.
  • Armor: plate armor.
  • Races: Draenei, Dwarf, Lightforged Draenei, Dark Iron Dwarf, Human — Alliance; Blood Elf, Tauren, and Zandalar for the Horde.
  • Mastery: Divine Bulwark increases your block chance and attack power. Reduces all damage taken while inside your Consecration.


  • Strong protective cooldowns
  • Unique buffs for allies, including Auras and Blessings.
  • High damage
  • Ability to heal yourself and your allies


  • Limited mobility
  • Long cooldown on main defensive abilities

About the author

This guide was written by Chaosyasha, a raider of the Russian “Bannhammer” guild, a fan of Mythic+, and an honored WoW veteran. I’m proficient in many different classes and roles, and on my Twitch streams you can watch walkthroughs of high Mythic+ dungeons and exploration of the current raid content on the highest difficulty.

Main Abilities


On reaching several levels, you will open new Talent tiers. In each tier, you can choose one Talent at a time. Talents can affect your abilities in different ways: add new ones, replace old ones, passively modify various effects and spells. You can change Talents while you’re in Sanctums or in rest areas, but if there are no such places nearby, you can use Tome of the Quiet Mind, which allows you to change Talents within a minute. Note that Talents can’t be changed in combat. Also, if a Talent selected in a certain tier is on cooldown, you’ll have to wait for it to recharge in order to change it. 

Tier 1 — 15 lvl. Survivability

Protection Paladin 9.0.5 Guide

  • Holy Shield — your block chance is increased by 15%, you are able to block spells, and your successful blocks deal holy damage.
  • RedoubtShield of the Righteous increases your Strength and Stamina by 2% for 10 sec, stacking up to 3 times.
  • Blessed Hammer — replaces Hammer of the Righteous. Throws a Blessed Hammer that spirals outward, dealing holy damage to enemies and reducing the next damage they deal to you. Generates 1 Holy Power. Has 3 charges.

Usually, Holy Shield is picked in this tier for its ability to block spells and effects. Note that not all magic effects can be blocked, so be careful.

Redoubt can be taken in cases where you need extra health to tank a powerful attack.

Blessed Hammer can be taken in cases where you don’t need a magical block or additional stamina from Redoubt. The hammer can hit the same target up to 3 times, but it depends on the enemy’s hitbox.

Tier 2 — 25 lvl. Survivability

Protection Paladin 9.0.5 Guide

First Avenger — pick for Mythic+ and against bosses with AoE attacks. Allows you to deal more damage to large clusters of enemies and aggro more targets. Also synergizes well with the Kyrian ability.

Crusader’s Judgment — perfect pick for raids and ST fights.

Moment of Glory — weakest talent in this tier, therefore it’s not used.

Tier 3 — 30 lvl. Control

Protection Paladin 9.0.5 Guide

  • Fist of Justice — each Holy Power spent reduces the remaining cooldown on Hammer of Justice by 2 sec.
  • Repentance — 15 sec cooldown, completely paralizes the target for 1 min. Any damage will cancel the effect. Limit 1 target. Only Demons, Dragonkin, Giants, Humanoids, and Undead can be affected by it.
  • Blinding Light — blinds all targets around you for 6 sec.  Any damage except holy damage will cancel the effect. CD 1.5 min.

Your choice in this tier depends on which effect you need the most. For Mythic+, take Blinding Light for more AoE control. For ST — Repentance. In every other situation you can pick Fist of Justice.

Tier 4 — 35 lvl. Mobility and survivability

Protection Paladin 9.0.5 Guide

Your choice in this tier depends on the type of content you tank in. If you require a so-called “magic BoP” against a certain boss — pick Blessing of Spellwarding. In other cases, during raids and in M+ you should take Unbreakable Spirit. Cavalier should be chosen only if you don’t need extra protection, usually when free roaming.

Tier 5 — 40 lvl. DPS and Survivability

Protection Paladin 9.0.5 Guide

  • Divine Purpose — Holy Power abilities have a 15% chance to make your next Holy Power ability free and deal 20% damage and healing.
  • Holy Avenger — triples your Holy Power generation for 20 sec.
  • Seraphim — increases your secondary stats for 15 sec. CD 45 sec. Costs 3 Holy Power.

By default — Divine Purpose. This talent can proc several times in a row.

Holy Avenger can be taken for Mythic+ for large pulls. While it’s active, you can heal yourself with Word of Glory, without losing Shield of the Righteous.

Seraphim looks like a DPS talent, but it doesn’t have much use — Divine Purpose grants about the same damage bonus, and sometimes even bigger.

Tier 6 — 45 lvl. Healing

Protection Paladin 9.0.5 Guide

Hand of the Protector is usually picked for raids, to use Shining Light when you don’t need healing.

Consecrated Ground — choice for M+, as it allows to kite enemies.

Judgment of Light is worth taking into raids if you don’t need Hand of the Protector.

Tier 7 — 50 lvl. Survivability

Protection Paladin 9.0.5 Guide

Sanctified Wrath — default choice for raids and average M+ dungeons. With it, you must prioritize using Judgment during Avenging Wrath.

Righteous Protector — increases Avenging Wrath and Guardian of Ancient Kings uptime. Can be used with Holy Avenger, however, the first talent in this tier is more useful.

Final Stand — worth taking for high M+ dungeons as an extra save for big pulls.

Here are your common builds:


  1. Holy Shield
  2. Crusader’s Judgment
  3. Your choice (Blinding Light by default)
  4. Unbreakable Spirit / Blessing of Spellwarding if you need magic immunity.
  5. Divine Purpose
  6. Judgment of Light
  7. Sanctified Wrath


  1. Holy Shield
  2. First Avenger
  3. Blinding Light
  4. Unbreakable Spirit
  5. Holy Avenger
  6. Consecrated Ground
  7. Final Stand


Covenant system — one of the main additions in Shadowlands. As you level up, you’ll get to know all 4 Covenants. Each Covenant occupies its own area in Shadowlands. We advise you to take a closer look at each of the Covenants, because at level 60 you’ll have to decide which one to join.

Kyrian reside in Bastion, Necrolords control Maldraxxus, Ardenweald is the home of Night Fae, and Venthyr rule in Revendreth. Selecting a covenant will unlock two new abilities: a signature ability for all Covenant’s allies and a class ability.

In this guide we’ll look at all the new Covenant abilities and how they affect gameplay.

Covenant rating


  • Best choice: Kyrian


  • Venthyr > Kyrian > Necrolord > Night Fae

Universal choice:

  • Kyrian

Currently, Kyrian can be recommended as a Covenant for Mythic+. Their class ability is perfect for AoE damage with defensive potential. Plus, it can be quite useful in Torghast, free roam, and won’t lag behind against a single target.

Venthyr — choice for raids. Their class ability is pretty boring, but has good damage and healing stats. Besides, the Venthyr have a good defensive soulbind with strong passive effects.

Night Fae can be recommended for raids, with a big BUT, though. Effective use of the covenant’s ability requires a well-coordinated team and predetermined buffs. Otherwise Venthyr would be better.

Necrolord is the weakest option, due to their mediocre class ability. It performs well in solo fights, but has no AoE bonuses.


  • Class ability: Divine Toll — instantly cast Avenger’s Shield on 5 targets within 30 yds. CD 1 min.
  • Signature ability: Summon Steward — summons a minion that gives you 3 Phials of Serenity that restore 20% health and remove all diseases, poisons, curses, and bleeds. These potions have a separate cooldown.

Kyrian is a great covenant for AoE fights, especially in M+ dungeons. Divine Toll can generate 5 Holy Power, damage, and interrupt up to 5 enemies around you every minute. Unfortunately, it’s not as powerful during raids and solo fights, but Kyrian conduit slightly fixes this issue.

Pros: high AoE DPS, ability synergizes with legendaries and talents.

Cons: low single-target DPS and Phial of Serenity can be used only once during the fight.


  • Class ability: Ashen Hallow — hallows the target area for 30 sec. Enemies in the area suffer damage, while allies heal. Within the Hallow, you may use Hammer of Wrath on any target, and its damage is increased by 100%. 1.5 sec cast time, CD 4 min.
  • Signature ability: Door of Shadows — blink with a 1.5 sec cast time. CD 1 min.

Venthyr — good covenant for raids. Of all covenant abilities, Ashen Hallow grants the biggest damage bonus. In addition, the Venthyr have a great defensive soulbind — General Draven. Door of Shadows is also useful for a Paladin.

Pros: High DPS and mobility.

Cons: Ashen Hallow requires you to stay in a particular area, has a long cooldown and is not very useful to your allies.

Night Fae

  • Class ability: Blessing of the Seasons
    • Blessing of Spring — blesses an ally for 30 sec, increasing their healing done by 10% and healing received by 20%. CD 45 sec. Turns to Summer after use.
    • Blessing of Summer — blesses an ally for 30 sec, causing their attacks to have a 40% chance to deal 30% additional damage. CD 45 sec. Turns to autumn after use.
    • Blessing of Autumn — blesses an ally for 30 sec, causing their cooldowns to recover 30% faster. CD 45 sec. Turns to winter after use.
    • Blessing of Winter — blesses an ally for 30 sec. Their attacks deal additional frost damage and reduce enemies’ movement speed. CD 45 sec. Turns to spring after use.
  • Signature ability: Soulshape — teleports you 15 yds forward and increases your movement speed by 50% for 12 sec. CD 1.5 min. While this effect is active, you can activate it again to use blink every 4 sec.

Night Fae — covenant, more suited for raids. Blessing of the Seasons — good supporting spell for allied healers and damage dealers. However, aside from buffs, this covenant doesn’t provide you with special bonuses and DPS. On top of that, it’s hard to track their class ability without WeakAuras to see the next buff.

Pros: High mobility and usefulness to the group.

Cons: Complicated ability, requires WeakAuras. Not very useful to the caster.


  • Class ability: Vanquisher’s Hammer — deals shadow damage to the target and empowers your next Word of Glory to automatically trigger Shield of the Righteous. Generates 1 Holy Power.CD 30 sec.
  • Signature ability: Fleshcraft — after channeling for 4 sec, grants a shield equal to 20% of your max health. Channeling near a corpse boosts the shield even further — up to 50% of your max health. Bosses and powerful enemies grant the maximum shield bonus. CD 2 min.

Necrolord — average covenant for the Paladin-tank. Its DPS is good only against a single target. Fleshcraft channels for 4 sec, during which you can’t block, parry, and dodge attacks.

Pros: Good DPS against a single target, higher Shield of the Righteous uptime.

Cons: Effectiveness depends on Word of Glory. Low AoE DPS, Fleshcraft has obvious issues.


After you join a Covenant, you’ll have the ability to link your souls and powers with three soulbinds.

Soulbind is a specific NPC, with whom you create a spiritual connection, granting you access to a separate talent tree. Each tree has both common passive effects and slots for conduits.

A Conduit is an item similar to a gem that has a unique effect for your class and specialization. By visiting The Forge of Bonds at your Covenant sanctuary, you can apply Conduits and then swap them out just like the essences in Battle for Azeroth.

It’s worth noting that each Soulbind has predetermined slots for Conduits in their talent tree, and each of them comes in three types. A Conduit of a certain type can only be inserted into a slot specifically designed for its effect.

Plan your Soulbind’s talent tree carefully — if you make a mistake when choosing Conduits, you’ll have to wait a long time to replace them.

Let’s look at the more powerful passive effects of every Soulbind.

Soulbinds rating


  • Raids, Mythic+: Pelagos
  • Alternate pick for Mythic+: Kleia


  • DPS: Nadjia
  • Survivability: General Draven

Night Fae:

  • Raids, Mythic+: Korayn


  • Raids, Mythic+: Emeni




  • Valiant Strikes — occasionally, depending on the frequency of your critical hits and those of your allies, it stacks a buff and heals you when you drop below 50% health.


In summary:

  • Pelagos: universal choice for any type of content.
  • Kleia: good choice for M+.
  • Mikanikos: not used.



  • Thrill Seeker — being in combat and killing opponents grants you stacks of “Thrill Seeker”. At 40 stacks it grants you Euphoria, increasing your Haste by 20% for 10 sec.


General Draven

  • Enduring GloomDoor of Shadows  grants you a shield that absorbs damage equal to 15% of your maximum health.
  • Service In Stone — damage taken below 40% health is reduced by 10%. Upon death you leave a stone husk behind which shatters after 3 sec, inflicting damage to enemies around it.

In summary:

  • Nadjia: good choice for dealing damage.
  • Theotar: weak option.
  • General Draven: great choice for survivability.

Night Fae



  • Field of BlossomsBlessing of the Seasons creates a zone at your feet for 15 sec that increases Haste by 12%.
  • Podtender — when you take fatal damage, creates a wildseed with 9700 hp. If it gets destroyed in 10 sec, you’ll die. Otherwise, you rejuvenate with 30% health. May only occur once every 30 min.


  • First Strike — damaging an enemy before they damage you increases your chance to critical strike by 25% for 5 sec.
  • Hold the Line — after standing still for 5 sec, you take 15% less physical damage until you move.
  • Wild Hunt Tactics — your damage to targets above 75% health is increased by 10%.

In summary:

  • Niya: weak option.
  • Dreamweaver: not used.
  • Korayn: good soulbind for all types of content.




Bonesmith Heirmir

  • Serrated Spaulders — enemies that attack you in melee, take damage from dark magic.
  • Heirmir’s Arsenal: Marrowed Gemstone — after landing 10 critical strikes, you gain 12% increased crit chance for 10 sec. May only occur once every 50 sec.
  • Forgeborne Reveries — upon death your armor comes to life for 10 sec, allowing you to continue fighting. You cannot be healed and your damage is reduced by 50%.

In summary:

  • Marileth: weak option.
  • Emeni: the only good Necrolord choice.
  • Bonesmith Heirmir: not worthy of attention.


Now let’s talk about Conduits. They come in three types — Potency, Endurance, and Finesse. Let’s look at the ones the Paladin has.


Put a Conduit for your Covenant ability in the first slot (except Necrolord). Necrolords should pick Punish the Guilty. If you have a second slot, pick Punish the Guilty (Necrolords can put Vengeful Shock, but it’s best to choose a Soulbind without a second Potency slot).


Resolute Defender is a must.
Second slot: Shielding Words.

Third slot (if available): Golden Path.


Finesse Conduit doesn’t give bonuses to damage and survivability, so pick whichever you like the most.


A total of 16 Legendaries are available to Paladins — 8 class ones and 8 general ones. We will highlight only those that are noteworthy.

Best Legendaries for a Paladin-tank:

Currently only these options are viable for Paladins. Bulwark of Righteous Fury can be used in low and average M+ dungeons to deal maximum damage. Holy Avenger’s Engraved Sigil can be used for high M+ dungeons and (sometimes) in raids. It’s a universal option that grants bonuses both to DPS and survivability.

Relentless Inquisitor is another great choice for raids. Its effect is quite boring and unnoticeable, but it will be active all the time.


Let’s look at the Paladin’s class mechanic.

Holy Power mechanics

Patch 9.0 completely overhauled Paladin’s abilities. Now they are divided into 2 types — those that generate Holy Power, and those that spend it — so-called finishers. 

Abilities that generate Holy Power:

Abilities that consume Holy Power:

Other abilities (like Flash of Light) still require mana to use.

Base priorities

Main rotation

AoE rotation (3 or more targets)

Don’t use Shield of the Righteous if you already have an armor bonus lasting more than 10 seconds. Its duration is capped at 13.5 sec and you should spend 1-2 GCD on other abilities.

You shouldn’t use Word of Glory without Shining Light. This rule has exceptions:

  • If you’re taking magic damage and don’t need an armor buff
  • If you’re sure that the armor bonus will be active at all times
  • If you’re using Holy Avenger

You can cast Word of Glory on your allies if you don’t need healing. This is especially true when you take the Hand of the Protector talent.


Before you start choosing gear, remember one important rule — item level comes first! Never equip an item that is 10 or more ilvl lower, even if it has better stats. This rule also means that Strength and Stamina are the best stats for us, so they will not be mentioned in the priorities below.

Moving on to the stat priority for survivability:

Haste > Mastery => Versatility > Crit

Haste reduces the intervals between your auto attacks, GCD, and cooldowns of main abilities that generate Holy Power. Thus, Haste increases the uptime of your Shield of the Righteous armor buff.

Mastery: Divine Bulwark — increases block chance, attack power, and reduces all incoming damage while inside your Consecration. This stat is similar to Versatility, but slightly superior due to increased block chance.

Versatility is a good passive stat for all tanks — increases damage dealt and reduces damage taken by half.

Critical Strike is basically a pure dps stat. Critical Strike Rating increases the chance to parry an attack, but has a diminishing effect — the more crit you have, the less chance to parry is given by each stat increase. In general, it’s quite a weak stat for a tank, hence its ranking in last place.

Tanks can use Simcraft for DPS calculations. Therefore, the use of raidbots and Pawn for character optimization is welcome.

Based on the priorities above and simulations of your character you can choose gems, enchants, and consumables.





Temporary buffs

Choosing a race

Keep in mind that in any content the difference between racial bonuses is relatively minor. So if you’re not aiming to get on the first page of WowProgress, you can safely choose a race by their appearance.

Below I list the races with the most significant bonuses for each faction.



  • Tauren — good defensive choice for the Horde.
  • Blood Elf — not a bad choice for M+ due to their AoE dispel.

BiS Gear + Trinkets

Understand that BiS Gear for a tank in Shadowlands is relative. Apart from rings and accessories, you should prioritize item level over stats.

Nevertheless, here is a list of the gear that you can strive for.


Interrupt with modifiers, hold Shift to cast it on the focused target, otherwise — on the current one

/cast [mod:shift,@focus][] Rebuke

Macro to cancel Blessing of Protection might be useful:

/cancelaura Blessing of Protection

..and to cancel Divine Shield:

/cancelaura Divine Shield

Dispel on cursor, useful for clearing your allies’ debuffs: 

/cast [target=mouseover] Cleanse Toxins

Taunt on cursor:

/cast [@mouseover] Hand of Reckoning

Blessing of Sacrifice on cursor:

/cast [@mouseover] Blessing of Sacrifice

BoP on cursor:

/cast [@mouseover] Blessing of Protection

Freedom on cursor:

/cast [@mouseover] Blessing of Freedom


Addons for World of Warcraft is a purely subjective matter. Many experienced players don’t use addons or use them sparingly. Others completely rework the UI. I’ll recommend those I use myself, that not only change the game’s appearance, but also can be useful in a variety of situations.


A powerful and very flexible addon that displays almost any information at any time you need. It started out by displaying buffs, debuffs, and alerts during fights, but has improved considerably over time. Today WAs allow you to create and send other players important information on bosses, replace standard interface elements, track other players’ abilities, and much more.

WAs can be found on wago.io, but I’ll list the most important ones:

  • ZenTracker + Interrupt Tracker and Party CDs. An essential tool for M+, allowing you to keep track of party cooldowns. For raids, tracking the defensive cooldown of your healers can be useful.
  • Dungeons – Targeted Spells — highlights party frames if a mob casts a dangerous spell, also shows their targets on the enemy’s nameplate. Useful for M+.
  • Afenar Paladin — a nice WA for Paladin’s class abilities and active buffs.
  • Castle Nathria + Co-Tank Auras — WA for main abilities of bosses in the first Shadowlands raid — Castle Nathria, as well as important debuffs on other tanks in the raid.


A multipurpose addon for nameplates. With it you can easily see which enemies are aggroed on you, how and who they attack. In addition it shows you certain buffs and debuffs on enemies, including control effects.

Moreover, Plater supports third-party mods suitable for a variety of situations. You can download them on wago.io in the Plater section.

Details! Damage Meter

An addon that shows your group/raid damage and healing. That’s it? Not quite — it can show you the uptime of buffs and debuffs, damage to specific targets and during specific boss phases. In M+ you can see who broke control, who and how many times interrupted spellcasting, and much more.

BigWigs + LittleWigs

Shows you the cooldown of bosses and mobs, reminds you when these abilities are about to go off. Very useful for raids and Mythic+. Alternatively, you can use the Deadly Boss Mods. Their functionality is very similar.

Leatrix Plus

Useful little addon that allows to automatically repair gear, sell junk to vendors, accept and complete quests, includes the ability to quickly loot items, and much more.


Despite it not having any particularly important features, it’s very popular among players. With it, you can customize frames, command bars, and almost every aspect of the UI.

Pro Tips & Tricks

In this section I’ll talk about the spec’s intricacies, as well as do’s and don’ts for a more effective play as a tank.

  • Proper damage/defence balance. The Paladin is a DPS-oriented tank, and while in some cases it’s okay to go “all in” with DPS, such situations will not always occur. I’m talking about talents, accessories, temporary buffs, and equipment. Always assess incoming damage adequately. If it’s too high and you die quickly, take a step back and change into more defensive gear. At the same time, if the incoming damage is low and you easily survive boss fights or pulls in M+, you should respec your talents and gear toward dealing damage.
  • Shield of the Righteous uptime. A paladin cannot have 100% uptime on their main defensive ability, yet sometimes you need to actively tank for a long time. When you run out of Holy Power, you can use Ardent Defender or Guardian of Ancient Kings, or ask the healer for a save.
  • Consecration uptime. This ability’s duration is longer than its cooldown, so keeping it active is not an issue. There’s no need to renew Consecration before the previous one expires, it leads to loss of DPS and survivability. So you should always be aware when your Consecration will expire and recast it in the nick of time.
  • Proper use of Word of Glory. This ability heals you and its effectiveness scales with the amount of health you’ve lost. Without Shining Light it costs 3 Holy Power. Plan on using Word of Glory when you’re low on health, but won’t die from one extra auto attack. No point in using it when you have 80% health, since you’ll just waste 3 Holy Power charges on an insignificant heal. Wait for your health to drop or for Shining Light to proc. This requires awareness of when and how much damage you will take, therefore only comes with experience.
  • Use of support spells. Paladin is a tank with a wide array of such spells, so they must be used wisely. You should always think not only about your own survival, but also about your allies. If you’re OK, but someone in your group is dying, time to use Blessing of Sacrifice. This is especially true for raids when your teammate acts as a tank. Blessing of Protection also has its uses in raids and M+. In some cases, Blessing of Spellwarding can provide serious protection from magical effects. Even Blessing of Freedom is useful against slowing effects, especially in M+.
  • Use of external cooldowns. Your healers have saves, too — they can use them on you at the right moment. Coordinate with your healer, schedule your cooldowns so that they don’t overlap with their defensive abilities.

External cooldowns are:

Dealing damage. A common notion among tanks is that it’s unnecessary to inflict maximum damage, you should just stay alive. That’s only partially true. Undoubtedly, the tank’s top priority is survivability. Still, it’s always worth maximizing your damage. The more damage you deal, the faster you can finish a dungeon or kill a boss. As such, tanks and healers are no different from simple damage dealers in this regard — everyone should maximize their damage output. Sometimes a total respec is necessary.


The Paladin in Shadowlands is a DPS-oriented tank with a lot of support spells. Proper use of these advantages will help you take your place in a raid, find a good party for Mythic+, or just enjoy the game.

Thanks for tuning in! Best of luck in the world of Azeroth!

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