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Protection Paladin Tank Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (Legion 7.1)

Last updated on Oct 17, 2016 at 15:33 by Vlad 100 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

On this page, we list your Protection Paladin core abilities and how they should be used together (rotation) in World of Warcraft Legion 7.1. We also explain when to use your various cooldowns. Then, we go deeper and present all the subtleties that you will need to know if you want to excel at playing a Protection Paladin.

The other pages of our Protection Paladin guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.

About Our Reviewer

This guide has been reviewed and approved by Treckie, one of the best Protection Paladins in the world, who raids in Nihilum. You can watch his stream on Twitch and you can follow him on Twitter.

1. Single Target Rotation

The Protection Paladin rotation is based on a priority system, and it differs slightly depending on whether you are trying to maximise your survivability or your damage. In addition to this rotation, you will have to make use of your Shield of the Righteous Icon Shield of the Righteous (and to a lesser extent your Light of the Protector Icon Light of the Protector) to stay alive, as we explain below.

In the case of a fully defensive rotation with Blessed Hammer Icon Blessed Hammer, every other ability you use should be a Blessed Hammer Icon Blessed Hammer. Doing so will ensure high uptime on the debuff it applies. Aside from that, using your abilities following this priority system will maximise your survivability.

  1. Judgment Icon Judgment;
  2. Consecration Icon Consecration;
  3. Avenger's Shield Icon Avenger's Shield.

If you are not concerned about survivability as much as about doing more damage (either because you are not actively tanking, or because the content is not too dangerous), then the positions of Judgment and Avenger's Shield are reversed.

Keep in mind that due to your Grand Crusader Icon Grand Crusader passive, there is always a chance for your Avenger's Shield to have its cooldown reset.

2. Multiple Target Rotation

The multiple target rotation is also based on a priority of abilities. It is as follows.

  1. Avenger's Shield Icon Avenger's Shield;
  2. Consecration Icon Consecration;
  3. Blessed Hammer Icon Blessed Hammer (or Hammer of the Righteous Icon Hammer of the Righteous, if you are not using Blessed Hammer);
  4. Judgment Icon Judgment.

3. Active Mitigation

Shield of the Righteous Icon Shield of the Righteous and Light of the Protector Icon Light of the Protector are your two active mitigation abilities (though Light of the Protector is a heal, so it does not really mitigate damage).

In the sections that follow, we will explain their recommended usage. Keep in mind that both of these abilities are 20% more powerful when you are standing in your own Consecration Icon Consecration, so that is a good habit to develop.

3.1. Shield of the Righteous

Shield of the Righteous Icon Shield of the Righteous is your main damage mitigation ability. It has 3 charges, and each use grants you a 4.5-second buff that reduces the damage you take (the exact reduction amount depends on your Mastery: Divine Bulwark Icon Mastery: Divine Bulwark). Shield of the Righteous also deals damage to your target.

Shield of the Righteous is off the global cooldown, so you can easily fit it in together with your normal rotation. The exact timing for when to use it depends greatly on your circumstances, but in general, you should aim to have it active whenever you are taking significant amounts of damage, while always making sure that at least one of its charges is used so that you do not waste the recharge time. Ideally, you should keep at least 1 charge in reserve.

It is not possible to keep 100% uptime, so you should not even attempt this.

3.2. Light of the Protector

Light of the Protector Icon Light of the Protector heals you for 30% of the amount of health you are missing. It is also off the global cooldown.

The heal of Light of the Protector is quite low in most cases (until you reach 3/3 in  Icon Scatter the Shadows (rank 3)), and is basically your only means of self-healing aside from Lay on Hands Icon Lay on Hands.

Given its rather long cooldown, you should wait to use Light of the Protector until your health is at a comfortably low level (around 30-50% health, depending also on your  Icon Scatter the Shadows rank), so as to gain the highest possible benefit from it without dying. Correctly maximising the efficiency of Light of the Protector is essential.

4. Taunting

Hand of Reckoning Icon Hand of Reckoning is your taunting ability. It only works on a single target and has an 8-second cooldown, forcing the target to attack you for 3 seconds, putting you on top of the mob's threat table, and causes you to generate 3 times more threat for 3 seconds.

5. Cooldown Usage

As a Protection Paladin, you have a number of defensive cooldowns and other abilities that help you better survive damage spikes or recover from them. This is how they are best used:

  • Guardian of Ancient Kings Icon Guardian of Ancient Kings provides you with a 50% damage reduction for 8 seconds, on a 5-minute cooldown. It is an excellent defensive cooldown. You should use this before a period of large damage, or when your healers are unable to heal you for a while.
  • Ardent Defender Icon Ardent Defender is another powerful defensive ability, with a 2-minute cooldown and an 8-second duration. It reduces all damage taken by 20% while it is active, and it causes the first killing blow against you to heal you up to 12% of your maximum health instead of killing you (the latter effect consumes the Ardent Defender). This ability is best used to bypass deadly encounter mechanics, or to save your life in critical moments.
  • Lay on Hands Icon Lay on Hands is essentially a massive heal with a very long cooldown. It will heal you (or a targeted ally) for your maximum health, with a 10-minute cooldown. It is best used as an emergency heal, either for yourself or another raid member.
  • Divine Shield Icon Divine Shield makes you immune to all damage for 8 seconds. Normally, this ability is difficult to use while tanking (since the boss will immediately attack the next target on the threat table), but it can be employed to clear certain debuffs, or to avoid fatal encounter mechanics. It can also be combined to great effect with the Final Stand Icon Final Stand tier 5 talent.

Additionally, your artifact grants you  Icon Eye of Tyr, an ability with a 1-minute cooldown that causes all nearby enemies to deal 25% less damage to you for 9 seconds (and also damages them). Use it defensively, as often as possible throughout the fight, to reduce your incoming damage, or save it for periods of high damage.

You also gain additional cooldowns and abilities from your talents. We cover these in a subsequent section.

6. Optional Read: Mastering Your Protection Paladin

While the information we gave in the previous section will yield very good results, there are a few things you should be aware of, in order to play your Protection Paladin to its full potential.

6.1. Artifact Ability

 Icon Eye of Tyr, your artifact ability, damages nearby enemies and debuffs them to deal 25% less damage to you for 9 seconds.

Generally, using it for the damage it deals is not worth doing. Instead, you should use  Icon Eye of Tyr to reduce the damage that your enemy or enemies will deal to you. You should aim to use it frequently since it has a rather short cooldown, but unless you use it to stack with Shield of the Righteous Icon Shield of the Righteous for a big burst from the boss, Eye of Tyr is best used to cover any gaps you might have when Shield of the Righteous is not up. During the 9 seconds of damage reduction, you can save Shield of the Righteous charges and can follow up instantly with that. Since it does damage it can be used as an AoE pick-up tool as well if all else is on cooldown.

6.2. Creative Divine Shield Usage

Divine Shield Icon Divine Shield (and to a lesser extent, Blessing of Protection Icon Blessing of Protection) frequently allow you to bypass or break certain encounter mechanics. While this sort of thing is usually an advanced technique, there are some simple tricks that you can use to great effect even if you are not an experienced Protection Paladin.

6.2.1. Divine Shield Taunting

Taunting a boss with Hand of Reckoning Icon Hand of Reckoning forces them to attack you for 3 seconds (commonly called a "3-second fixate"). You can use this in combination with Divine Shield Icon Divine Shield to "cheese" certain mechanics. Simply cast Reckoning and then immediately cast Divine Shield. Then, use a macro such as this one to cancel Divine Shield about 2 seconds later. The idea is that while the 3-second fixate is up, the boss will continue to attack you, despite you being shielded by Divine Shield. For this reason, it is important to cancel Divine Shield before the 3 seconds are up.

You can use this to remove many harmful debuffs (most DoTs and bleeds), or to avoid an otherwise fatal attack. Also note that some attacks bypass Divine Shield, and this trick will obviously not work for those effects.

6.2.2. Avoiding Mechanics

There are a number of encounter mechanics that choose a random target (or several random targets) from amongst a raid group. Many of these effects ignore players that are immune to damage when the targets are being chosen. By using Divine Shield Icon Divine Shield at the appropriate time, you can often divert the target choice to another player, or in many cases eliminate the spell cast entirely, resulting in an easier encounter.

6.2.3. Blessing of Protection

Blessing of Protection Icon Blessing of Protection lets you pull many of the same tricks on other players (since you can cast it on any raid member). It removes many physical DoTs and bleeds. In a raid team with several Paladins, this can eliminate the danger from an otherwise complicated mechanic.

In addition, mobs that fixate on a random player often ignore the immunity granted by Blessing of Protection. This is particularly helpful when the mob targets a caster or healer, as it can allow them to skip kiting a mob and maintain their full DPS/HPS output.

Finally, Blessing of Protection frequently bypasses the target-selection mechanics the same way Divine Shield does. Casting Blessing of Protection on a player before the target-selection process can ensure that they do not get chosen. This can allow them to move to locations that would otherwise be dangerous to themselves or the raid.

Keep in mind that if you take the tier 4 Blessing of Spellwarding Icon Blessing of Spellwarding talent, your Blessing of Protection is replaced by this new ability that instead protects against magic damage and sometimes allows you to remove or bypass magic debuffs.

It is also important to note that Blessing of Protection Icon Blessing of Protection does not prevent the targeted player from continuing to attack, so using it on friendly melee players is perfectly acceptable.

6.3. Abilities and Cooldowns from Talents

6.3.1. Tier 4 Talents

Blessing of Spellwarding Icon Blessing of Spellwarding replaces Blessing of Protection Icon Blessing of Protection, causing it to instead grant magic damage immunity. Its usage remains largely the same as for Blessing of Protection, but naturally adapted to magic damage.

6.3.2. Tier 5 Talents

Final Stand Icon Final Stand allows you to continue tanking (and forces all targets within 15 yards to attack you) for the duration of your Divine Shield Icon Divine Shield. Obviously, this turns Divine Shield into an even more powerful cooldown, and its uses are quite straightforward.

6.3.3. Tier 6 Talents

Aegis of Light Icon Aegis of Light should be used to protect as many raid members as possible from extreme damage. It will require proper positioning not just from yourself, but also from the rest of the raid, which should be stacked up in such a way that allows you to protect them.

6.3.4. Tier 7 Talents

If you have chosen Seraphim Icon Seraphim, you will generally want to try and use it as soon as possible every time it is available to get the most effectiveness out of it in terms of offensive value. Remember that this comes at a considerable survivability loss (due to it consuming Shield of the Righteous Icon Shield of the Righteous charges), so only use it when it is safe to do so (you are not actively tanking or the boss damage is low).

7. ChangeLog

  • 17 Oct. 2016: Updated the Eye of Tyr text to correctly mention that all damage is reduced, and expanded its recommended usage.
  • 22 Sep. 2016: Updated Hand of the Protector and Light of the Protector healing percentage (now 30% of missing health).
  • 19 Sep. 2016: Made some small updates to the Light of the Protector section.
  • 29 Aug. 2016: Updated for Legion's launch.
  • 21 Aug. 2016: Updated the Light of the Protector description to account for a recent hotfix.
  • 20 Jul. 2016: Updated the explanation for using Seraphim to clarify that it is a survivability loss to do so and that you should be careful not to die.
  • 18 Jul. 2016: Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
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