Protection Warrior in Shadowlands
Welcome to the Overgear guide on the Warrior’s “Protection” spec! This guide will show you all the intricacies of the 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 Warrior is a classical tank in the world of Azeroth. He is tough, has tons of armor and abilities to fit almost any possible situation. In this guide, you’ll learn not only how to survive, but also how to deal some DPS while protecting your comrades. Which talents you’ll have to choose, which covenant is the best for you, which soulbinds and conduits you should have in your arsenal? What legendary traits are the best and what gear you should get? Answers to all these questions will be given in the following guide.
Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of this specialization:
- Defensive abilities for the group and raid
- Vulnerable to high unblockable physical damage
- Low amount of HP
- High cooldowns on defensive abilities
Basic information on the spec:
Protection Warrior’s main resource is Rage, which is common for this class. As warriors deal damage with auto-attacks or certain abilities, their Rage grows. Accordingly, there are abilities that spend Rage.
Laevate1nn – raider from the Exorsus guild since 2018. Twitch – https://www.twitch.tv/laevate1nn
AoE (Area of Effect) is the area where the effect is actuated regardless of whether it’s damage or healing. This command is usually used to act in a team/raid on several targets. It is also used to describe any ability of a Boss with the aforementioned effect.
Buff stands for any positive effect. Always reflected on the left of the mini-map, by its upper edge.
Burst is an ability allowing multiple ways to deal massive damage within a short period of time.
GCD (Global Cooldown) is the overall shared ability recovery time.
Debuff stands for negative effects. By default, it’s reflected on the left of the mini-map by its lower edge.
DoT stands for Damage over Time.
DPS (Damage per Second) is a measure that reflects the damage done within one second.
Cleave is an ability to damage secondary targets by damaging the main one with no (or minor) loss in the damage done to the main target.
Cooldown (often CD) primarily refers to the ability recovery time. Can be often applied to bursts and various protective abilities.
Melee and Range. Melee is the close-range combat zone, also used in the titles of all the classes and specs that do effective damage in this zone. Range usually refers to a zone that is not a close-range one and is used, respectfully, in the titles of all classes and specs that do effective damage remotely.
Trait is a name for the ‘talents’ on your gear.
Shield Slam – deals high physical damage to the target and generates 18 Rage. Its CD is 9 sec, but using Devastate, Thunder Clap or Revenge grants a 30% chance to reset the cooldown of Shield Slam.
Revenge – costs 30 Rage and deals sufficient physical damage to all enemies in front of you. Your successful dodges and parries cause your next Revenge to become free. CD 3 sec.
Devastate – deals average physical damage, simply allowing you to fill in a pause.
Thunder Clap – deals physical damage to all enemies within 8 yards, reducing their movement speed by 50% for 10 sec. Generates 5 Rage.
Heroic Throw – throws your weapon at the target (8-30 yd range), dealing low physical damage, but generating high threat. CD 6 sec.
Shattering Throw – launch your weapon at the enemy (0-30 yd range), causing damage below average. Deals up to 500% increased damage to absorb shields. Ignores armor and removes any magical immunities.
Whirlwind – AoE ability that inflicts low physical damage to targets within 8 yards. Costs 30 Rage.
Execute – for 20 Rage, allows you to deal high physical damage to targets below 20% HP. The ability can spend 20-40 additional Rage, dealing significantly more damage in this case. If the blow doesn’t kill the target, you restore 20% of its cost.
Slam – costs 20 Rage and deals physical damage.
Victory Rush – causes some physical damage and heals you for 20% of your max health. Can only be used within 20 seconds after killing an enemy that grants experience or honor.
Deep Wounds – passive ability that makes
Devastate and Revenge deal periodical physical damage over 15 seconds.
Mastery: Critical Block – increases your chance to block and critically block. Also increases your Attack Power, depending on the mastery rating.
Rallying Cry – grants all party or raid members within 40 yards 15% maximum health for 10 sec. CD 3 min.
Shield Wall – reduces all your incoming damage by 40% for 8 sec. CD 4 min.
Demoralizing Shout – upon activation, enemies within 10 yards deal to you 20% less damage for 8 sec. CD 45 sec.
Last Stand – increases your current and maximum health by 30% for 15 sec. CD 3 min.
Shield Block – allows you to block all melee attacks for 6 sec. While this effect is active, Shield Slam damage is increased by 30%.
Berserker Rage – removes Fear, Sap, and Incapacitate effects, granting immunity to them for 6 sec. CD 1 min.
Spell Reflection – reduces magical damage you take by 20% and allows you to reflect a spell within 5 seconds. If reflected, the effect ends instantly.
Ignore Pain – costs 40 Rage and absorbs 50% of the damage you take. The amount of damage absorbed depends on the amount of Rage spent. CD 1 sec.
Battle Shout – increases the Attack Power of all raid or party members within 100 yards by 5% for 1 hour.
Heroic Leap – jump to the target location with 8-40 yards. Upon landing, deal minor physical damage to all enemies within 8 yards. CD 45 sec.
Charge – rapidly dash to your opponent (8 – 25 yd range), causing low physical damage and rooting them for 1 sec. Generates 20 Rage. CD 20 sec.
Intervene – rush towards an ally, intercepting all melee and ranged attacks against them for 6 sec while they remain within 10 yards.
Pummel – interrupts an enemy spell cast, preventing any spell of that school from being cast for 4 sec. CD 15 seconds.
Taunt – taunts the target for 3 sec. CD 8 sec.
Intimidating Shout – applied to a target within 8 yards, causing them and 5 closest enemies within the same range to flee for 8 sec. CD 1.5 min.
Hamstring – cripples the enemy, dealing physical damage and reducing their movement speed by 50% for 15 sec.
Challenging Shout – taunts all enemies within 10 yards to attack you. CD 4 min.
Shockwave – stun all enemies within 10 yards in front of you for 2 sec.
Avatar – removes all roots and snares, also grants 20% increased damage for 20 sec. CD 1.5 min.
General information. On reaching certain 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 Tranquil 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 CD, you’ll have to wait for it to recharge in order to change it.
Tier 1 Lvl 15
1.War Machine – your auto attacks generate 10% more Rage. Killing an enemy instantly grants 10 Rage and increases your movement speed by 30% for 8 sec. Your damage doesn’t have to be fatal, you just have to deal any damage the second before they die. This is not the best option at the moment, as 10 Rage is too little, even if there are several opponents. Just a weak Talent.
2.Punish – Shield Slam deals 20% increased damage and reduces damage taken by 3% for 9 sec. Average Talent.
3.Devastator – replaces Devastate. It’s a passive ability that empowers your auto attacks and grants a 30% chance to reset the remaining cooldown on Shield Slam. This Talent is your only option.
Tier 2 Lvl 25
1.Double Time – Charge now has 2 charges, and its CD is 3 seconds shorter.
2.Rumbling Earth – when Shockwave hits at least 3 targets, its CD is reduced by 15 sec.
3.Storm Bolt – you strike an opponent within 20 yards, causing physical damage and stunning them for 4 sec. CD 30 sec.
* By default, you take Double Time, as it grants you mobility, while for M+ you select Storm Bolt or Rumbling Earth for additional control.
Tier 3 Lvl 30
1.Best Served Cold – Revenge deals 20% or 50% increased damage if it has no cost after a successful dodge or parry.
2.Booming Voice – Demoralizing Shout generates 40 Rage and increases damage you deal to affected targets by 20%.
3.Dragon Roar – deals physical damage to enemies within 12 yards, reducing their movement speed by 50% for 6 sec. CD 35 sec, generates 20 rage.
Tier 4 Lvl 35
1.Crackling Thunder – Increases the radius of Thunder Clap by 50%. Take it for M+ when you have to pull raid mobs, or if the stomp range isn’t enough to strike several opponents.
- Bounding Stride – reduces the cooldown on Heroic Leap by 15 sec, upon landing also increases your run speed by 70% for 3 sec.
3.Menace – Intimidating Shout disorients enemies for an additional 4 sec, and causes them to cower in fear instead of fleeing.
* Bounding Stride is your go-to option, as it boosts your mobility. Crackling Thunder is for M+, where mobility isn’t needed. Menace is almost never used.
Tier 5 Lvl 40
1.Never Surrender – Ignore Pain can prevent 40%-100% more damage, based on your missing health.
2.Indomitable – increases your maximum health by 10%. Restores 1% max HP for every 10 Rage spent. This is the best Talent so far, nothing can compete with it.
3.Impending Victory – replaces Victory Rush. Costs 10 Rage, deals minor physical damage and restores 30% of your maximum health. After getting a kill that grants experience or honor, the ability will instantly recharge. It also heals for 30% HP, but has a 30 sec CD. Not the best Talent.
* Indomitable is way too powerful.
Tier 6 lvl 45
1.Into the Fray – grants 2% Haste for each enemy within 15 yards, up to 10% Haste.
2.Unstoppable Force – Avatar amplifies the damage of Thunder Clap by 100%, and reduces its CD by 50%. It’s the best Talent in this tier, as it allows you to deal massive burst damage with Thunder Clap while Avatar is active. Mostly used in raids and M+.
- Ravager – throw a whirling weapon at the target location that inflicts damage to all enemies within 40 yards over 7 sec. While Ravager is active, your chance to parry is 35% higher.
* Unstoppable Force is a great Talent for raids and M+.
Tier 7 Lvl 50
1.Anger Management – every 10 Rage you spend reduces the remaining CD on Avatar and Shield Wall by 1 sec.
2.Heavy Repercussions – Shield Slam extends the duration of Shield Block by 1 sec, and Shield Block increases the damage of Shield Slam by an additional 30%. The weakest Talent in this tier.
3.Bolster – Last Stand‘s cooldown is reduced by 60 sec, and it additionally allows you to block all melee attacks.
* Anger Management is your standard choice. Bolster is also possible, we’ll mention this one later.
Here are your common builds:
- Double Time
- Booming Voice
- Crackling Thunder
- Unstoppable Force
- Anger Management.
This one is perfect for any content, as it enhances your damage output.
Weaker, but has potential:
- Double Time
- Dragon Roar
- Crackling Thunder
Provides slower gameplay and grants less damage, but more burst damage. Improves your survivability.
At this moment the most popular choices are Kyrian and Night Fae. Venthyr are also good. Necrolords were redesigned in 9.0.5 and maybe will have some potential in 9.1 raid progression.
- Condemn – a better version of Execute, which you can use on enemies above 80% HP, damaging them with Shadow magic and ignoring their armor.
This ability deals decent damage, thus being suitable for raids if you’re the third tank, but not for M+.
- Door of Shadows – castable blink with a great potential (skipping enemies in Mythic+ dungeons and outplaying such mechanics as those of Queen Azshara).
- Spear of Bastion – throw a Kyrian spear at the target location, dealing Arcane damage instantly and an additional damage over 4 sec. Deals reduced damage beyond 5 targets. Enemies hit are tethered to Spear of Bastion’s location for the duration.
Pretty good ability for AoE and single-target raid bosses, when the first 20% isn’t that important. It also generates a greater amount of Rage during the GCD than any other ability. At the moment, it’s the best choice, also due to Phial of Serenity.
- Summon Steward – call your steward to bring you a Phial of Serenity. CD 4 min. It may seem useless, but don’t underestimate the extra heal. It also removes all Curse, Disease, Poison and Bleed effects – very useful, isn’t it?
The Night Fae
- Ancient Aftershock – unleash a wave of anima, dealing Nature damage to up to 5 enemies and knocking them down for 1.5 sec. The ground will continue to expel anima, dealing Nature damage to up to 5 enemies and generating 16 Rage per enemy over 12 sec. Every 3 sec, targets are briefly knocked down.
Very similar to Spear of Bastion, but deals slightly more damage and has a higher CD. In terms of damage, if you use it on recharge, the spear is supposed to provide higher DPS, but in terms of Rage, it always grants 25, while Ancient Aftershock generates 36-180 Rage over 12 seconds, depending on the number of enemies hit.
- Soulshape – turn into a Vulpin, teleporting 15 yards forward and increasing your movement speed by 50%. You may reactivate Soulshape every few sec to teleport again. Lasts 12 sec, or indefinitely while in a rest area. Additional sprint and blink for the mobile class.
- Conqueror’s Banner – Brandish the Conqueror’s Banner, granting 400 Mastery and 30% increased movement speed to you and your 2 nearest allies, and preventing movement speed from being reduced below 100%. Lasts 15 sec. Also grants 4 rage per second.
This is a nice buff for you and 2 allies near the banner, has a huge CD.
- Fleshcraft – form a shield of flesh and bone over 4 sec that absorbs damage equal to 20% of your maximum health for 2 min. Channeling near a corpse claims their essence to grow the shield, up to 50% of your maximum health. This is most effective against powerful enemies.
Surprisingly powerful absorb, a bit better than the kyrian Phial. It can be extremely useful against raid bosses that periodically take massive damage.
Soulbinds and Conduits
As for Soulbinds, we can highlight the following:
Works great with the venthyr Condemn and Massacre.
It empowers your raid’s defenses.
Additional heal has a nice synergy with Impending Victory. It can be used for extra survivability at any stage of the game.
The most useful features are: Stalwart Guardian, Show of Force, Unnerving Focus, Brutal Vitality.
Nadjia the Mistblade, Venthyr Soulbind, has no powerful abilities for the tank.
Theotar the Mad Duke, Venthyr Soulbind, has 1 important ability:
Wasteland Propriety – activating Condemn signals the start of tea time, granting 10% Versatility to you and 4% Versatility to up to 4 nearby allies. Lasts 10 sec. Tea time may only occur once every 1 min.
General Draven is a good Soulbind for tanks, he has the following useful ability:
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 100% of your maximum health in damage split among nearby enemies, and healing for 100% of your maximum health split among nearby allies
Kleia, a powerful Soulbind for tanks, has 1 significant ability:
Valiant Strikes – you and your nearby allies’ critical strikes grant you stacks of Valiant Strikes, up to 40. At 40 stacks, you heal yourself for 10% of your maximum health and up to 4 nearby allies for 5% of their maximum health over 10 sec.
Pelagos has a couple of useful abilities:
Let Go of the Past – using a spell or ability increases your Versatility by 1% for 10 sec. Using another spell or ability increases this amount by 1% when it is not a repeat of the previous spell or ability, stacking to 5%.
Combat Meditation – activating Spear of Bastion increases your Mastery by 5% for 20 and occasionally expels Sorrowful Memories. Walking through Sorrowful Memories extends this effect by 3 sec.
Forgelite Prime Mikanikos – Soulbind who provides 2 relevant abilities:
Hammer of Genesis – damaging a new enemy grants you 2% Haste for 10 sec, up to 5 stacks (a tree with 1 less Potency Conduit).
Bron’s Call to Action – after using 90 damaging or healing spells and abilities, your next spell or ability summons Bron, knocking back enemies on arrival and attacking and healing your targets for 30 sec.
Plague Deviser Marileth has no useful abilities for DD’s.
Emeni, thought, has a few of them:
Gnashing Chompers – gain 1% Haste for 20 sec after defeating an enemy, up to 5% (a tree with 1 less Potency Conduit).
Lead by Example – activating Conqueror’s Banner increases your primary stats by 5% and nearby allies’ primary stats by 2% for 10 sec. You gain 5% additional primary stats for each ally affected, up to 15%.
Soulbind Bonesmith Heirmir has 2 powerful abilities for you:
Heirmir’s Arsenal: Marrowed Gemstone – after landing 10 critical strikes, you gain 12% increased chance to critically strike for 10 sec. May only occur once per 50 sec (a tree with 1 less Potency Conduit).
Forgeborne Reveries – your armor continues the fight for 10 sec after your death. Damage and healing done reduced by 50%. Healing received reduced by 100%.
The Night Fae:
Niya offers you 3 helpful abilities:
Niya’s Tools: Burrs – Your damaging attacks and spells have a chance to toss Niya’s Spiked Burrs under your target. The burrs latch onto the first enemy to cross them, reducing movement speed by 20% and inflicting Nature damage over 6 sec (a tree with 1 less Potency Conduit).
Niya’s Tools: Poison – your interrupting abilities apply Niya’s Paralytic Poison to the target, dealing Nature damage over 30 sec. Targets with Niya’s Paralytic Poison take additional Nature damage if interrupted once more.
Grove Invigoration – healing or dealing damage has a chance to grant you a stack of Redirected Anima, up to 10. Activating Ancient Aftershock grants you 1% maximum health and bonus Mastery per stack for 30 sec.
Dreamweaver’s ability is the following:
Podtender – when you take fatal damage, rejuvenate within a wildseed, regaining 30% of HP over 10 sec. If the wildseed gets destroyed during this time, you die.
First Strike – damaging an enemy before they damage you increases your chance to critically strike by 20% for 10 sec (a tree with 1 less Potency Conduit).
Wild Hunt Tactics – your damage to targets above 75% health and healing to targets below 35% health are increased by 10%. When your spells and abilities are enhanced this way, you gain 10% bonus movement speed for 5 sec.
Arms Warrior has 16 available Legendary Items in total.
Let’s have a look at the most useful of them:
Good item effects:
The best items effects:
As for non-class Legendary Item Effects:
- Echo of Eonar – summons a spiritual familiar to your side. Your spells and abilities have a chance to send your familiar to a nearby ally, increasing their damage and healing by 10% for 20 sec. If no allies are present, your familiar will flock towards your nearest enemy, increasing your damage against them by 8% for 15 sec.
This feature is fairly useful for the whole raid or certain classes in it.
- Vitality Sacrifice – the first time you damage an Elite enemy, absorb the subsequent damage from that enemy and reflect it back to them. You may only have one shield active at a time and this effect can only occur once every minute.
Has a good potential in M+ dungeons.
If you have different Legendaries that are not listed above, and you want to find out which one will suit you better, we recommend using Simcraft.
First things first – damage, as it has a direct impact on your Rage generation.
Shield Slam on recharge/proc.
Revenge when another tank is tanking the boss.
Thunder Clap on recharge.
Revenge if you can do it with no cost.
- Don’t forget to use Intervene, unless it may result in unwanted moves/turnarounds by the boss.
AoE for 3+ targets:
- Keep in mind that this priority requires a high amount of Rage, while you still need it for defensive abilities.
With the Devastator Talent:
Revenge (if you can use it with no cost)
Incoming damage reduction: Protection Warriors’ active abilities that mitigate damage are Shield Block and Ignore Pain.
You have 2 charges, each of which grants a 100% chance to block a melee attack for 6 seconds. Blocking an attack reduces its damage by 30%. Your block can be critical, reducing incoming damage by 60%. Each Shield Block buff duration is summed up.
Shield Block should be used against physical melee attacks.
Not all special enemy attacks can be blocked, so sometimes you will have to learn it by trial and error.
This spell is effective against groups of enemies.
Ignore Pain. This ability can absorb 50% of X damage, where X is defined by your Attack Power and Versatility. The maximum absorb equals triple Ignore Pain. Never Surrender can double the effect. While tanking, you should gain the maximum number of stacks on Ignore Pain before you take over the boss.
Ignore Pain works against all types of damage.
Despite the fact that this ability is considered to be an effective damage reduction tool, its use may vary depending on the gameplay. There are several bosses who require you to have active damage reduction for some ability, so you should use Shield Block in this case.
Shield Block or Ignore Pain?
If you are going to receive physical damage from the boss while at your max HP – use Shield Block, and after losing some health, proceed with Ignore Pain.
In general, when actively tanking, focus on gaining the maximum uptime on Shield Block. Ignore Pain should be cast at a low HP level or before taking a huge amount of damage.
Avatar – DPS cooldown that should be combined with your various damage Talents, such as Demoralizing Shout (when you have the Booming Voice Talent).
Last Stand – used in case of emergency, as it amplifies both your current and maximum health.
You can also use it before taking a large amount of damage, since healing a tank with a higher max health value is much easier, as you can survive for a longer period of time.
Shield Wall – best used right before taking massive damage rather than when your HP is already low.
Demoralizing Shout – same as Shield Wall, cast it before receiving damage. The damage reduction effect is much weaker, which means you can use this ability more often. The best time to cast it is when you pull or draw aggro – it’s exactly when your raid/group healers may fail to react in time and regenerate your missing health.
Spell Reflection – allows you to reduce incoming magic damage by 20% for 5 sec, and even reflect a spell (unless you encounter a boss with powerful magic abilities). Works against one type of damage, so use it accordingly.
Your basic stats priority is the following:
Haste > Versatility > Crit > Mastery > Strength
Haste increases your attack speed (=more Rage) and casting speed. It also reduces your GCD for spells and some melee abilities.
For this spec, Mastery increases your chance to block and critically block, and grants Attack Power.
Versatility simply amplifies damage dealt and reduces damage taken.
Crit increases your chance to deal double damage with your abilities.
These stats are connected quite tightly, while their value is constantly changing.
For that reason, we recommend that you use Simcraft or Raidbots.com after getting new equipment so that you will know for sure what attributes to focus on.
Based on the above-mentioned characteristics and your own simulation results, let’s move on to Gems, Enchants, and Consumables.
“Versatile Jewel Cluster”/”Quick Jewel Cluster” by default, or “Deadly Jewel Cluster”/”Masterful Jewel Cluster”
Gloves “Enchant Gloves – Eternal Strength“
Rings: “Enchant Ring – Tenet of Critical Strike” or “Enchant Ring – Tenet of Haste”
Cloak “Enchant Cloak – Soul Vitality”
Chest “Enchant Chest – Eternal Stats”
Weapon “Enchant Weapon – Lightless Force”’
Sharpening Stones, Oils, and Armor kits
Shaded Sharpening Stone/Shaded Weightstone
Heavy Desolate Armor Kit
Feast of Gluttonous Hedonism or Tenebrous Crown Roast Aspic
Flasks and Pots
Eternal Cauldron > Spectral Flask of Power
Potion of Spectral Strength
Potion of Phantom Fire( if Embalmer’s Oil applied to a weapon for single targets)
Spiritual Healing Potion
- Charge at the target/cursor position.
/cast [@mouseover, harm, nodead][harm,nodead] Charge
- Pummel with a modifier, cast on the focus target or on the current target.
/cast [@focus, exists, harm][@target, harm, nodead] Pummel
#showtooltip Heroic Leap
/cast [@cursor] Heroic Leap
- Heroic Throw at the cursor position. If there’s no target at the cursor position, the ability is applied to the current target.
#showtooltip Heroic Throw
/cast [@mouseover,harm,nodead][@target] Heroic Throw
- Taunt at the cursor position. If there’s no target at the cursor position, the ability is applied to the current target.
/cast [@mouseover,harm,nodead][@target] Taunt
Bartender4 – panel addon with great customization
Chatter – chat customization addon
Deja Character stats – even more info on your character
Sexy map – makes your minimap sexy!
Shadowed unit frames – ElvUI alternative, unit frames only
WeakAuras – possibly the most important in modern WoW. You can tune almost anything with it, and at wago.io you can find hundreds of useful auras and import them within a few clicks. You also can find a special aura pack for your spec, here’s a link on Prot auras.
BigWigs/Deadly Boss Mods – timing and warning addons for the raid and m+ bosses, pick one of them. It’s also very useful for PvE in general. If you want instance warnings for your BigWigs addon – get a LittleWigs addon.
ElvUI – a global “all-in-one” addon, makes your interface very neat. Replaces dozens of addons at once. You can also find a lot of profiles for it on wago.io.
Details! Damage Meter – the most modern and popular DPS meter atm.
Plater Nameplates – addon comes from Details author, it changes enemies nameplates. It is fully customizable with a lot of features and profile import from wago.io – what else do you want?
Pawn – helps you on improving your gear. Requires Simcraft string for usage.
SimulationCraft – Makes your character simulation easier by creating an in-game Simcraft string for import to Raidbots or SimCraft.
Exorsus Raid Tools – raiding addon with tons of useful features.
Move Anything – this addon resizes and moves any part of the user interface.
World Quest List – Organizes your world quests to the left of your map and sorts them by zones.
Here’s the list of abilities that you can reflect in Castle Nathria:
This guide ends here. We hope that we have answered all of your questions and the only thing left for you is to try all of this by yourself. Thank you for reading this! Wish you the best of luck in Azeroth, Champion!