Protection Paladin Tank Spec, Builds, Talents, and Glyphs (WoD 6.0.3)

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Protection Paladin Art Image
General Information

On this page, we present the viable talent and glyph choices for Protection Paladins in World of Warcraft WoD 6.0.3. 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).

6.0.2 Transition Guide

If you want to read all about the Patch 6.0.2 changes and learn how they affect your character, make sure to read our Paladin Transition Guide!

1. Talent Choices↑top

Level Choices
15 Speed of Light Long Arm of the Law Pursuit of Justice
30 Fist of Justice Repentance Blinding Light
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
100 Empowered Seals Seraphim Holy Shield
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  • Performance-enhancing
  • Survival
  • Crowd Control
  • Movement
  • Utility
  • Situational

Talents can easily be changed, thanks to Tome of the Clear Mind Icon Tomes of the Clear Mind. 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).
  • Blinding Light Icon Blinding Light is an active ability that disorients all enemies within 10 yards for 6 seconds. It has a 2-minute cooldown.

The talent choice here is largely irrelevant, and it will not affect your performance in any way, unless you are tanking stunnable adds. Against stunnable adds, Fist of Justice Icon Fist of Justice can be very useful, allowing you to prevent large amounts of damage from enraged or hard-hitting adds.

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 35% per stack.
  • 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 10 seconds per Holy Power spent. When Eternal Flame is used on yourself, the HoT's power is increased by 50%.
  • 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.

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

In Tier 17 gear, Sacred Shield produces roughly the same amount of absorption as Eternal Flame produces in healing, but over 2/3 of Eternal Flame's healing comes from the direct component, which is often wasted. That, combined with Eternal Flame's Holy Power cost, means that Sacred Shield gives better average survivability than Eternal Flame under most circumstances.

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%. 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.

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 causes your Holy Wrath Icon Holy Wrath to generate 1 Holy Power, and also increases its damage significantly.
  • 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, and produce similar levels of damage output and survivability. Divine Purpose Icon Divine Purpose has a slight lead in survivability, while Sanctified Wrath Icon Sanctified Wrath has a slight lead in DPS, with Holy Avenger Icon Holy Avenger being the middle-of-the-road choice in both. However, the differences are small enough that personal preference and encounter mechanics should determine your choice.

Take Holy Avenger if you want more control over when you can benefit from the extra survivability, treating it as an additional damage mitigation cooldown. It is also worth noting that in encounters with tank swaps your uptime on Holy Avenger while actively tanking the boss may be much higher than it would initially appear, because some of the downtime will be during times you are off-tanking. This can give it a slight edge on such fights. It is also a good choice on encounters which require a large burst of damage or survivability in a very specific time window.

Divine Purpose procs randomly and gives you less control over your survivability and DPS. Experienced tanks will use procs to fill gaps in their Shield of the Righteous Icon Shield of the Righteous uptime and time-shift their cooldowns around lucky proc streaks. Divine Purpose 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 turns Holy Wrath Icon Holy Wrath into your hardest-hitting rotational spell and a Holy Power generator, making it worth prioritising very highly in the rotation. This gives a substantial increase in DPS and the increase in Holy Power generation produces higher Shield of the Righteous uptime. Since this talent increases the damage of your AoE snap aggro tool, it will be a strong choice on encounters where timely add pick-ups are critical.

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 (in this case, the largest tick occurs first, with the healing then gradually decreasing). 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.

Execution Sentence Icon Execution Sentence is the best in terms of single-target DPS or healing.

Light's Hammer Icon Light's Hammer is the best choice for AoE damage and healing, and it works great for bursting down groups of adds.

Finally, Holy Prism Icon Holy Prism provides similar amounts of DPS and healing to Light's Hammer. 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. Tier 7 Talents↑top

Tier 7 talents offer you a choice of 3 ways to increase both damage and survivability.

  • Empowered Seals Icon Empowered Seals causes your Judgment Icon Judgment to apply a buff based on your active seal. By switching between seals (often called seal twisting), you can keep all three of these buffs active. Each buff lasts for 20 seconds.
  • Seraphim Icon Seraphim is an active ability that costs 5 Holy Power and has a 30-second cooldown. It lasts for 15 seconds, and it increases your Haste, Critical Strike, Mastery, Multistrike, Versatility, and Bonus Armor by 1000.
  • Holy Shield Icon Holy Shield passively increases your chance to block by 15%, allows you to block spells, and deals damage to the attacker whenever you block.

All three of these options perform well in both DPS and survivability. In fact, they are surprisingly close given their great diversity.

Holy Shield Icon Holy Shield is a great baseline choice. Since it is passive, it is easy for a beginner and gives competitive survivability. The only major downside is that it lags behind slightly in single-target DPS compared to the other two talents, though it has a slight advantage when tanking multiple mobs.

Seraphim Icon Seraphim requires a little more coordination on the part of the player. To get the most out of this talent, you want to pool Holy Power right before the cooldown expires so you can recast it immediately, maximising uptime. This leaves you vulnerable during that pooling period, so you may want to use a cooldown like Divine Protection Icon Divine Protection during that time. Seraphim also produces the highest burst damage of any of the three talents, so it can be valuable for time-critical DPS burns, especially when coupled with Holy Avenger Icon Holy Avenger.

Empowered Seals Icon Empowered Seals is the most difficult of the three talents to use effectively, but it is also the most versatile. At its core, Empowered Seals allows you to rotate between Seal of Insight Icon Seal of Insight, Seal of Righteousness Icon Seal of Righteousness, and Seal of Truth Icon Seal of Truth to keep all three buffs active nearly 100% of the time. Doing so produces DPS and survivability that is similar to Seraphim and Holy Shield. However, this is rarely the optimal way to use the talent.

In practice, Empowered Seals lets you adjust to the situation to maximize what you care about. You get the most DPS by ignoring Seal of Insight entirely and "twisting" Righteousness and Truth, but at a significant survivability loss. However, while off-tanking, survivability is rarely a concern, so you can increase your damage by 5-10% with no downside. Likewise, you get the most survivability by staying in Seal of Insight and ignoring Righteousness and Truth, but at a significant DPS loss. So in a particularly dangerous phase, you may choose to forego the extra DPS for more survivability.

Thus, Empowered Seals allows you to produce the best extreme values out of the three talents, should you choose to adapt to the situation. The downside is that it requires more attention, both in terms of global cooldowns spent twisting seals and in terms of keeping track of which buffs you have active. It is not recommended for a beginner, but in the hands of an experienced player it can be incredibly effective.

The one exception is if you have chosen to take Empowered Seals Icon Empowered Seals as your tier 7 talent. In that case, you should be casting whichever seals are appropriate for the buffs you've chosen to maintain. This can be done in any empty global cooldown (i.e., as if it were a step 9 above) or as your absolute first priority if a desired buff has expired.

9. Major Glyphs↑top

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

10. 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 Righteous Retreat Icon Glyph of 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.