Protection Paladin Tank Spec, Builds, Talents, and Glyphs (MoP 5.4)

Protection Paladin Art Image
General Information

On this page, we present the viable talent and glyph choices for Protection Paladins in World of Warcraft MoP 5.4. We detail what each of the talents and glyphs do and in which situations they should be taken.

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 Theck (@TheckPhD), the main author of Sacred Duty (a well respected, and arguably the most valuable Protection Paladin theorycrafting resource).

1. Talent Choices↑top

Level Choices
15 Speed of Light Long Arm of the Law Pursuit of Justice
30 Fist of Justice Repentance Evil is a Point of View
45 Selfless Healer Eternal Flame Sacred Shield
60 Hand of Purity Unbreakable Spirit Clemency
75 Holy Avenger Sanctified Wrath Divine Purpose
90 Holy Prism Light's Hammer Execution Sentence
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  • Performance-enhancing
  • Survival
  • Crowd Control
  • Movement
  • Utility
  • Situational

There is no longer such a thing as a default build. Most of the talents are now viable. They can easily be changed, thanks to Dust of Disappearance Icon Dust of Disappearance (and Tome of the Clear Mind Icon Tomes of the Clear Mind from level 86 to 90). You will frequently find yourself changing talents and glyphs between encounters, in order to adapt your play style to different mechanics. Therefore, it is important to understand what each of your talents does and how they affect your play style.

2. Tier 1 Talents↑top

Tier 1 talents offer you a choice between 3 means of improving your movement speed.

  • Speed of Light Icon Speed of Light is an active ability, with a 45-second cooldown, which increases your movement speed by 70% for 8 seconds.
  • Long Arm of the Law Icon Long Arm of the Law causes your successful Judgment Icon Judgments to increase your movement speed by 45% for 3 seconds.
  • Pursuit of Justice Icon Pursuit of Justice passively grants you 15% increased movement speed, and an additional 5% increased movement speed for each charge of Holy Power that you have, up to a maximum of 3 (so, up to a grand total of 30% increased movement speed).

Your choice here will depend entirely on your playstyle and the requirements of the encounter.

Speed of Light Icon Speed of Light is excellent because it offers you a reliable movement speed burst.

Pursuit of Justice Icon Pursuit of Justice offers you a constant, passive movement speed boost, which is excellent for moving out of harmful effects.

Long Arm of the Law Icon Long Arm of the Law offers more frequent but shorter bursts of speed than Speed of Light, and in case this is beneficial for a particular encounter or playstyle, the talent can be appealing.

3. Tier 2 Talents↑top

Tier 2 talents offer you a choice between 3 means of crowd-control.

  • Fist of Justice Icon Fist of Justice is an improved version of Hammer of Justice Icon Hammer of Justice, which it replaces. Fist of Justice stuns the target for 6 seconds, with a 30-second cooldown, from a 20-yard range.
  • Repentance Icon Repentance puts the (Demon, Dragonkin, Giant, Humanoid, or Undead) target to sleep for 1 minute. Damage done to the target will break the effect, and only one target can be under this effect at one time (from the same Paladin).
  • Evil is a Point of View Icon Evil is a Point of View allows you to use Turn Evil Icon Turn Evil on Humanoids and Beasts.

The talent choice here is largely irrelevant, and it will not affect your performance in any way. You should choose based on your own preference, or on the requirements of the encounter, in terms of add crowd-control.

4. Tier 3 Talents↑top

Tier 3 talents offer you a choice between 3 healing abilities.

  • Selfless Healer Icon Selfless Healer causes your Judgment Icon Judgments to reduce the cast time and mana cost of your next Flash of Light Icon Flash of Light by 35% per stack, up to a maximum of 3 stacks. If cast on players other than yourself, it also increases its healing by 20% per stack. When casting Flash of Light on yourself, its healing is increased by 20% for each stack of Bastion of Glory Icon Bastion of Glory that you have, consuming these stacks in the process.
  • Eternal Flame Icon Eternal Flame replaces Word of Glory Icon Word of Glory. It costs Holy Power (up to 3), heals the target for an amount roughly equal to Word of Glory's healing, and places a HoT on the target, lasting 30 seconds. The power of the HoT is dependant on the amount of Holy Power with which the spell is used. When Eternal Flame is used on yourself, the HoT's power is increased by 100%.
  • Sacred Shield Icon Sacred Shield places a 30-second buff on the target, which then goes on to create a damage absorption shield every 6 seconds. The individual shields being broken by damage or expiring has no effect on the main buff. Sacred Shield can be active on more than one target at once. It uses a charge system, having 3 charges and a 10-second recharge time.

The choice in this tier comes down to either Sacred Shield Icon Sacred Shield or Eternal Flame Icon Eternal Flame, but we feel that Eternal Flame is currently the best choice.

When self-cast at 4-5 stacks of Bastion of Glory Icon Bastion of Glory, Eternal Flame's heal-over-time component does about 3-4 times as much healing as Sacred Shield absorbs, and ticks twice as frequently. While Sacred Shield adapts to your damage intake pattern to provide a natural smoothing effect and does not cost Holy Power, the sheer amount of healing that Eternal Flame produces smooths damage intake more efficiently through brute force.

Sacred Shield is a close second choice, however, and may be worth using on fights that stress Effective Health through high-damage single attacks (Talon Rake, etc.) or at lower gear levels.

Selfless Healer Icon Selfless Healer is useful for self-healing and for healing other raid members, but is a distant third to the other, more powerful choices in this tier.

5. Tier 4 Talents↑top

Tier 4 talents offer you a choice between 3 ways of situationally improving your utility.

  • Hand of Purity Icon Hand of Purity places a 6-second buff on a target, reducing the damage they take from harmful periodic effects by 80%, and from harmful periodic effects that cannot be prevented by immunities by 40%. It also reduces all damage taken by 10%.
  • Unbreakable Spirit Icon Unbreakable Spirit reduces the cooldown of Divine Shield Icon Divine Shield, Divine Protection Icon Divine Protection, and Lay on Hands Icon Lay on Hands by 50%.
  • Clemency Icon Clemency gives each of your Hand spells 2 charges. This means that you can use them twice before triggering the cooldown (but the cooldown will begin ticking as soon as it is used for the first time).

Unbreakable Spirit Icon Unbreakable Spirit gives you more frequent access to several potent personal cooldowns, and this should be your default choice for encounters where Clemency Icon Clemency and Hand of Purity Icon Hand of Purity do not provide a larger benefit. Note also that thanks to the Tier 15 and 16 Set 2-piece Bonus, Unbreakable Spirit becomes even more powerful.

Clemency Icon Clemency is great for times where being able to use your hand spells (most notable Hand of Protection Icon Hand of Protection) twice as much is beneficial. This is usually the case when your hand spells can be used to negate certain encounter mechanics.

Hand of Purity Icon Hand of Purity is only worth taking when you can reduce the damage of a very powerful DoT.

6. Tier 5 Talents↑top

Tier 5 talents offer you a choice between 3 powerful performance-enchancing talents.

  • Holy Avenger Icon Holy Avenger is a 2-minute cooldown that, for 18 seconds, causes your abilities that generate Holy Power to deal 30% additional damage and healing, and to generate 3 charges of Holy Power, instead of 1.
  • Sanctified Wrath Icon Sanctified Wrath passively increases the duration of Avenging Wrath Icon Avenging Wrath by 50%, and Judgment Icon Judgment generates an extra charge of Holy Power. Additionally, while Avenging Wrath is active, all healing received by you is increased by 20%, and the cooldown of Judgment Icon Judgment is reduced by 50%.
  • Divine Purpose Icon Divine Purpose gives your abilities that cost Holy Power a 25% chance to cause your next Holy Power-costing ability cost no Holy Power and be cast as if you had 3 charges of Holy Power.

All 3 talents are pretty solid here, but we advise you to take Holy Avenger Icon Holy Avenger in most situations, because it gives you more control over when you can benefit from it than the other two talents. Holy Avenger can also be coupled with Avenging Wrath Icon Avenging Wrath, which, in case you are interested in boosting your DPS, will greatly increase its value.

It is also worth noting that, due to the frequent tank switching mechanics in raids, your uptime on Holy Avenger while actively tanking the boss will be much higher than it would initially appear (you will have it active roughly half the time you are tanking).

Divine Purpose Icon Divine Purpose procs randomly and gives you less control over your survivability and DPS, but also gives the largest average effect in both departments. It requires more finesse and skill to use properly, but can be very effective in situations where you are tanking a boss continuously for the entire encounter.

Sanctified Wrath Icon Sanctified Wrath is competitive, but problematic because using it properly requires that you alter your rotation (you need to prioritize Judgment Icon Judgment ahead of Crusader Strike Icon Crusader Strike) if you wish to get the maximum benefit from it.

7. Tier 6 Talents↑top

Tier 6 talents offer you a choice between 3 abilities that are centered around damaging multiple enemies and healing multiple allies.

  • Holy Prism Icon Holy Prism can be cast on an ally or enemy target. If cast on an enemy, Holy Prism deals damage to them and heals 5 nearby allies. If cast on an ally, it heals that ally and damages 5 nearby enemies.
  • Light's Hammer Icon Light's Hammer places a hammer at a target location on the ground for 16 seconds. During this time, the hammer will heal the 6 most injured nearby allies, as well as damaging all nearby enemies. Enemies' movement speed is also reduced by 50% for 2 seconds each time they take damage.
  • Execution Sentence Icon Execution Sentence can be used on enemies or on allies. If used on an enemy, they take a certain amount of damage over 10 seconds (the damage they take is low at first, and it increases gradually). If used on an ally, they will be healed for a certain amount over 10 seconds (the effect is also gradually increasing). If Execution Sentence is dispelled, it will instantly deal damage or healing to the target (depending on who it is cast on) equal to 5 times the value of the most recent tick.

The best choice in the vast majority of situations is Light's Hammer Icon Light's Hammer. This spell provides you with AoE damage and healing, and can also serve to burn down groups of adds.

Execution Sentence Icon Execution Sentence is the best in terms of single-target DPS or healing, but the healing has a ramp-up time that often causes it to be ineffective.

Finally, Holy Prism Icon Holy Prism lags behind the other two choices both in terms of DPS, and in terms of healing. It has a shorter cooldown, being available more often, but this also means that you need to spend more global cooldowns on it. It is most useful as a snap aggro tool, because casting it on yourself or on an ally will usually pick up the nearest 5 enemies in a single global cooldown.

8. Major Glyphs↑top

There are no mandatory glyphs, but Protection has quite a few interesting Major Glyphs to choose from.

9. Minor Glyphs↑top

Glyph of Focused Wrath Icon Glyph of Focused Wrath turns your Holy Wrath Icon Holy Wrath into a single-target attack. This is useful when there are crowd-controlled mobs around your primary target, but you still want to get to use Holy Wrath against that primary target.

Other Minor Glyphs are purely cosmetic, and have no effect on your gameplay.

One glyph is worth mentioning, though. Glyph of the Righteous Retreat Icon Glyph of the Righteous Retreat increases the cast speed of your Hearthstone by 50% while Divine Shield Icon Divine Shield is active, allowing you to successfully bubblehearth once again.

10. Changelog↑top