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Protection Warrior: Mists of Pandaria Rotation Changes, Talents, and Glyphs (Patch 5.0.4)

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This article is no longer being updated. Please check our Protection Warrior guide, which is fully compatible with Mists of Pandaria, and is being constantly updated. Thank you.

In preparation for the updates to our guides for Mists of Pandaria Patch 5.0.4, we are releasing articles such as this one, explaining what has changed for a particular class and spec, and what the new rotation is likely to be.

Keep in mind that this is still a work in progress (both from Blizzard's side and from our own) and that this article assumes you are at least somewhat familiar with the Cataclysm version of the Protection Warrior rotation and playstyle (such as from reading our guide).

We will first list the most important changes to the Protection Warrior Cataclysm abilities, and then we will proceed to explaining the (likely to be) optimal rotation. Keep in mind that we do not document every single change or new ability, only those that impact the rotation.

Finally, we will give you some information about the most useful talents and glyphs you should choose.

New Abilities

  • inv_shield_07.jpgShield Barrier is a damage mitigation ability which absorbs a reasonable amount of damage, based on your attack power. Currently, it scales extremely well. It costs 20 rage, but if you have up to 60 rage available, it will consume it, increasing the amount of damage absorbed. It does not have a cooldown - instead, it has 2 charges (which regenerate once every 15 seconds), and Shield Barrier can only be used twice within a 15 second window.
  • achievement_boss_kingymiron.jpgDeadly Calm is a cooldown that reduces the rage cost of your next 3 ability_rogue_ambush.jpgHeroic Strike or ability_warrior_cleave.jpgCleave attacks by 10.
  • demoralizing_banner.jpgDemoralizing Banner summons a banner that reduces the damage done by all enemies within 30 yards by 10% for 15 seconds.
  • mocking_banner.jpgMocking Banner summons a banner that taunts all enemies within 30 yards, forcing them to attack it for 6 seconds.
  • warrior_skullbanner.jpgSkull Banner summons a banner that increases critical damage by 20% for 10 seconds.
  • inv_sword_48.jpgExecute is a damaging spell that can only be used on targets that have 20% or less health. Previously, this spell was not usable in ability_warrior_defensivestance.jpgDefensive Stance.
  • Tier 2 talents offer a choice between ability_warrior_focusedrage.jpgEnraged Regeneration, spell_impending_victory.jpgImpending Victory, and a passive ability, ability_hunter_harass.jpgSecond Wind. We discuss these talents in greater depth in the Talents section.
  • Tier 4 talents offer a choice between ability_warrior_bladestorm.jpgBladestorm, ability_warrior_shockwave.jpgShockwave, and ability_warrior_dragonroar.jpgDragon Roar. We discuss these talents in greater depth in the Talents section.
  • Tier 6 talents offer a choice between warrior_talent_icon_avatar.jpgAvatar, ability_warrior_bloodbath.jpgBloodbath, and warrior_talent_icon_stormbolt.jpgStorm Bolt. We discuss these talents in greater depth in the Talents section.

Changes to Existing Mechanics

  • ability_defend.jpgShield Block has been heavily redesigned and turned into a much more interesting ability. It blocks all incoming attacks for 6 seconds. It has a high rage cost of 60 rage, but it has no cooldown - instead, it has 2 charges (which regenerate once every 15 seconds), and Shield Block can only be used twice within a 15 second window.
  • inv_shield_05.jpgShield Slam generates 15 rage instead of costing rage.
  • ability_warrior_revenge.jpgRevenge now generates 10 rage instead of costing rage. It now has a 9 second cooldown, and dodging and parrying attacks resets the cooldown.
  • spell_nature_thunderclap.jpgThunder Clap no longer costs rage.
  • ability_backstab.jpgDeep Wounds is automatically applied each time you cast inv_sword_11.jpgDevastate.
  • ability_backstab.jpgDeep Wounds is now automatically applied each time you cast spell_nature_thunderclap.jpgThunder Clap. This is the equivalent the old way of spreading ability_gouge.jpgRend (now removed) through the warrior_talent_icon_bloodandthunder.jpgBlood and Thunder talent.
  • ability_warrior_warcry.jpgWeakened Blows (the new version of ability_warrior_warcry.jpgDemoralizing Shout), is applied each time you cast spell_nature_thunderclap.jpgThunder Clap.
  • ability_warrior_swordandboard.jpgSword and Board now increases the amount of rage generated by inv_shield_05.jpgShield Slam, instead of removing its rage cost.
  • inv_sword_11.jpgDevastate no longer costs rage.
  • ability_warrior_rallyingcry.jpgCommanding Shout now increases the Stamina of raid members by 10%, instead of by a fixed value.
  • ability_warrior_battleshout.jpgBattle Shout now increases the attack power of raid members by 10%, instead of increasing Strength and Agility.
  • ability_warrior_warcry.jpgDemoralizing Shout is a minor personal cooldown. It has a 1 minute cooldown, and for 10 seconds, it causes nearby enemies to deal 20% less damage to you.
  • ability_criticalstrike.jpgRecklessness no longer increases damage taken.

Removed Abilities

Rotation and Spell Usage

The way in which you will play your Protection Warrior will change rather considerably. The core abilities have remained the same (with the notable addition of inv_shield_07.jpgShield Barrier), but their usage is now different.

The main reason for this is that rage is no longer a highly fluctuating resource. Most abilities in your rotation no longer cost rage, and, in fact, some even generate it. Rage's most important uses now are your two active damage mitigation abilities, ability_defend.jpgShield Block and inv_shield_07.jpgShield Barrier.

Your rotation will resemble its Cataclysm version, which we detail in our guide, along these lines:

Since, except for Heroic Strike, these abilities do not cost rage, the main use of rage will be to mitigate damage through ability_defend.jpgShield Block and inv_shield_07.jpgShield Barrier. The idea is that you will want to pool your rage, and use it when you want to reduce the damage you take.

At the same time, you have to make sure of the following.

  • You avoid being at maximum rage, since this wastes your rage.
  • You use Shield Block and Shield Barrier often enough to make use of their very low cooldowns (two uses within a 15 second window for each).
Your gameplay will change drastically from encounter to encounter, depending largely on the type of damage that is happening (melee damage that you will prefer to use Shield Block against, or unblockable damage that you will prefer Shield Barrier against).

In AoE situations, your only options are spell_nature_thunderclap.jpgThunder Clap, ability_warrior_cleave.jpgCleave, and your tier 4 talent of choice.


Tier 1 talents offer a choice between 3 talents that affect your ability_warrior_charge.jpgCharge:All of these talents are situational. They will mostly be useful against adds, and choosing one over the other will depend on the manner in which the adds move and enter the encounter.

Tier 2 talents offer a choice between 3 self-healing talents:

ability_hunter_harass.jpgSecond Wind is mostly a PvP talent, so it is unlikely that you will choose it often, if ever.

We believe that spell_impending_victory.jpgImpending Victory will be the default choice in the vast majority of situations, due to its low cooldown, which allows you to use it precisely when needed.

ability_warrior_focusedrage.jpgEnraged Regeneration may be better in situations where you need a bigger heal at a certain moment of the fight.

Tier 3 talents offer a choice between 3 crowd-control talents:

None of these talents will be particularly useful in PvE. Choosing one over the others will be based on the kiting method which you will have to employ in the encounter.

Tier 4 talents offer a choice between 3 important, gameplay-altering abilities:

In terms of pure DPS (and therefore threat) output, ability_warrior_dragonroar.jpgDragon Roar is a clear winner.

ability_warrior_shockwave.jpgShockwave is very useful, especially in heroic dungeons and against adds, because it allows you to better control mobs, thanks to its stun component (and low cooldown).

Occassionally, you may choose ability_warrior_bladestorm.jpgBladestorm if you wish to benefit from its properties that ensure you do not lose control of your character.

Tier 5 talents offer a choice between 3 abilities that help you protect raid members:

ability_warrior_shieldbreak.jpgMass Spell Reflection is unlikely to be very useful in PvE raiding, since very few boss abilities can be reflected.

ability_warrior_safeguard.jpgSafeguard is excellent if your raid is lacking in external damage reduction cooldowns, as it reduces damage taken by the target by 20% for 6 seconds (on a very low, 30 second cooldown).

ability_warrior_vigilance.jpgVigilance is also a sort of external damage reduction cooldown, although the damage is not reduced - instead, 30% of the damage the target takes over 12 seconds is redirected to you. This ability also has a higher cooldown than Safeguard, namely 2 minutes.

The choice between these 3 talents will depend on what you need most in the encounter.

Tier 6 talents offer a choice between 3 powerful threat and damage-increasing cooldowns:

warrior_talent_icon_avatar.jpgAvatar gives you a 20% damage increase and 30% increased rage generation for 20 seconds. It also makes you immune to movement-impairing effects for its duration. Currently, we feel that, in terms of DPS (and threat), this talent is best.

ability_warrior_bloodbath.jpgBloodbath is a rather lackluster talent that causes your attacks to place a bleed on the target, for 12 seconds. It has a 1 minute cooldown.

warrior_talent_icon_stormbolt.jpgStorm Bolt is, in a way, very similar to the old ability_thunderbolt.jpgConcussion Blow ability. It is a single target stun that also deals some damage, with a 30 second cooldown. In case the target is immune to stuns (most bosses are), it deals a much higher amount of damage.

We believe that the choice of talents will depend on what the encounter requires. If you are simply looking to do more DPS and threat, then Avatar is the right choice. If, however, you wish to control various adds better, then you should choose Storm Bolt.


There are several Major Glyphs that are worth considering:
  • inv_glyph_majorwarrior.jpgGlyph of Heavy Repercussions increases the damage of inv_shield_05.jpgShield Slam by 50% while ability_defend.jpgShield Block is active. Given the high uptime of Shield Block, and the frequent usage of Shield Slam, this glyph will probably be nigh-mandatory.
  • inv_glyph_majorwarrior.jpgGlyph of Hold the Line increases the damage of ability_warrior_revenge.jpgRevenge by 50% after you parry an attack. Again, this glyph will probably be nigh-mandatory.
  • inv_glyph_majorwarrior.jpgGlyph of Unending Rage increases your maximum rage pool by 20. We believe this glyph will be an important element in helping you better pool rage. Pooling rage and saving it for moments when you need to use your mitigation abilities will be a central part of the Protection playstyle.
  • inv_glyph_majorwarrior.jpgGlyph of Incite causes your inv_sword_11.jpgDevastate to reduce the rage cost of the next ability_rogue_ambush.jpgHeroic Strike or ability_warrior_cleave.jpgCleave by 20, when used during achievement_boss_kingymiron.jpgDeadly Calm.
  • inv_glyph_majorwarrior.jpgGlyph of Gag Order causes your inv_gauntlets_04.jpgPummel and inv_axe_66.jpgHeroic Throw to also silence the target for 3 seconds. This glyph could be useful on fights where you need to deal with caster adds.
  • inv_glyph_majorwarrior.jpgGlyph of Enraged Speed increases your movement speed by 20% while you are enraged. You become enraged each time you score a critical block, so the uptime of this effect should end up being quite high.
  • inv_glyph_majorwarrior.jpgGlyph of Death From Above reduces the cooldown of ability_heroicleap.jpgHeroic Leap by 15 seconds, and increases its damage by 100%. This glyph could be useful on fights where mobility is a very important factor.
There are also two Minor Glyphs of interest:
  • inv_glyph_minorwarrior.jpgGlyph of Bloody Healing increases the healing you receive from bandages by 20%, while ability_backstab.jpgDeep Wounds is active. The effect of this glyph is going to be minor at best, but since it is a theoretical benefit, we chose to list it.
  • inv_glyph_minorwarrior.jpgGlyph of Intimidating Shout causes the targets of your ability_golemthunderclap.jpgIntimidating Shout to cower in fear (standing in place) rather than to run around. This is useful especially in dungeons, when you wish to use crowd-control on the mobs without having them run into other trash packs.
This concludes our Protection Warrior preview for Mists of Pandaria. We hope you have enjoyed reading it and that it proved useful to you. As always, we are looking forward to reading your opinions on the matter!

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very nice guide, cant wait for MoP yet I would like to see Unholy DK rotation

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Am I right to assume that getting hit and hitting with normal attacks no longer generates rage? (or at least a lot less than it does now)

Because 80-120 rage every 7.5 seconds is required to keep both defCDs up all the time - and lets be honest, rage is a nonissue at the moment.

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Loving the few tweaks with rage and looking forward to some of the new abilities. I like the changes to shield block and shield barrier looks interesting as well. To an extent it puts more emphasis on the tank rather than just popping a cd every 3minutes or whatever.

Will pass this on to our tank for sure!

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Am I right to assume that getting hit and hitting with normal attacks no longer generates rage? (or at least a lot less than it does now)

Because 80-120 rage every 7.5 seconds is required to keep both defCDs up all the time - and lets be honest, rage is a nonissue at the moment.

I should have mentioned this in the guide - I'll add a mention later.

Attacking no longer gives you rage. Taking damage doesn't give you rage anymore either.

You automatically get 1 rage every 3 seconds you are in combat, in Defensive Stance. You generate rage with your abilities.

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