TBC Classic Protection Warrior Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities

Last updated on May 26, 2021 at 10:39 by Abide 14 comments

On this page, you will learn how to optimize the rotation of your Protection Warrior Tank, in order to survive damage and build up threat while doing PvE content in TBC Classic. We also have advanced sections about cooldowns, procs, etc. in order to maximize your survivability and DPS.



If you have not already, please read the spell summary page. Knowing how each of your spells and abilities works in detail will greatly increase your understanding of your different priorities and rotations.


Buffs & Debuffs

You will want to keep up whichever of Battle Shout IconBattle Shout and Commanding Shout IconCommanding Shout you are assigned to for the entire duration of the fight.

Also use Demoralizing Shout IconDemoralizing Shout, as it greatly reduces melee damage dealt by enemies.

Thunder Clap IconThunder Clap greatly reduces melee attack speed and should also be kept as much as possible.


Before the Pull

If you have between 0 and 10 Rage, go into Berserker Stance IconBerserker Stance and use Berserker Rage IconBerserker Rage, as this increases your Rage gained from damage taken. Only do this if the mobs you are fighting do not have a Fear.

If you are not pulling the mobs back towards you with a ranged weapon, you can go into Battle Stance IconBattle Stance and Charge IconCharge into the pack. After this, use Thunder Clap IconThunder Clap if it is a multi-mob pack, or Shield Slam IconShield Slam if it is a small pack. Then swap to Defensive Stance IconDefensive Stance and continue one of the rotations below.

Try to only use Bloodrage IconBloodrage between pulls to keep your Rage pool high when not in combat. If you are using a ranged weapon and pulling mobs backwards, use Bloodrage IconBloodrage after you enter combat with all the mobs, as this will give you a small amount of threat on everything.


Single-Target Rotation

  1. Use Shield Block IconShield Block on cooldown when taking high damage. You may choose to forgo using Shield Block if you are low on Rage and want to generate more threat. This can be risky against bosses, as you may be crushed for extra damage when Shield Block is not up.
  2. Use Shield Slam IconShield Slam on cooldown; it generates very high threat.
  3. Use Revenge IconRevenge. It is very cheap and provides the highest threat per Rage.
  4. Devastate IconDevastate acts as your filler spell. Since this applies Sunder Armor IconSunder Armor, you may want to use it more at the start of a pull to quickly debuff the target.
  5. Use Heroic Strike IconHeroic Strike as your Rage dump. Ideally, every auto attack would be a Heroic Strike IconHeroic Strike if your Rage allowed it. Surpasses Devastate IconDevastate in threat if Expose Armor IconExpose Armor is applied to the target.

Multi-Target Rotation

This is where Protection Warriors struggle the most, when packs have 3+ mobs. If facing a group of 2 or 3 mobs, simply use the single-target rotation and constantly alternate your target, building threat equally on all mobs. Use any stuns or taunts if you lose threat on anything.

Warrior AoE tanking is much more about "juggling plates" than it is about tanking all of the mobs. Know how much threat you have on each mob, which ones you should stun, ones with low threat that you should be ready to taunt. Knowing what abilities to use and when to use them is what makes a Warrior tank able to tank many mobs at once.

  1. Thunder Clap IconThunder Clap generates good threat and reduces the attack speed of nearby enemies by 20%, if talented. You will want to use this on cooldown when tanking multiple mobs.
  2. Whirlwind IconWhirlwind is a great option to use when tanking a high amount of mobs as it deals decent damage. Remember that you can only keep 10 Rage when swapping stances, so do not save up to use this before swapping to Berserker Stance IconBerserker Stance.
  3. Cleave IconCleave should typically only be used when tanking a very high number of mobs, or right on the pull a few times. It is generally better to do more Heroic Strike IconHeroic Strikes on different targets, as it has a much higher base threat.
  4. If you are tanking enough hard-hitting mobs, you will want to keep Demoralizing Shout IconDemoralizing Shout up, as it will grant a large amount of damage reduction.
  5. The long cooldown of Challenging Shout IconChallenging Shout makes this something you need to use sparingly. Use it only in emergencies when you have no other options.
  6. Use Taunt IconTaunt whenever any high health mobs get loose from you. Do not waste this on low health mobs that will die right after.
  7. Mocking Blow IconMocking Blow requires Battle Stance IconBattle Stance and forces the mob to attack you for 6 seconds, after which it will return to its normal threat table.
  8. Disarm IconDisarm severely reduce the damage a mob deals. You can use this if you have no taunts available.
  9. Concussion Blow IconConcussion Blow can be used to stun a mob. Often you can just stun a mob and ignore it if it will die before the stun wears off.
  10. Intervene IconIntervene is great to prevent someone from being auto-attacked and give you time to pick the mob up.
  11. Intercept IconIntercept can be used if someone does pull aggro off you and the mob gets out of your range, so you can close the distance and stun it.
  12. Intimidating Shout IconIntimidating Shout can be used in a worse case scenario, fearing all the mobs to prevent them from killing your healer for a few seconds while you wait for your cooldowns.

Rage Management

Understanding and managing your Rage is a large part of Warrior tanking success. Knowing when to build Rage up, when to spend it, what abilities to use when and where is a huge part of being a great Warrior tank.

While most of this knowledge will come with experience, some of these things you can practice right away.

  1. Learn and know the Rage cost of your abilities.
  2. Always be aware of your Rage. Make sure you can easily see your Rage bar on your UI.
  3. Understand your incoming Rage. Know how much damage you are taking and how much Rage you will get from incoming and outgoing attacks.
  4. Try to always think a few abilities ahead. For example, if your Shield Block IconShield Block falls off in 2 seconds, make sure to plan your Rage spending to have enough Rage left to use it again after it falls off.


  • 26 May 2021: Guide added.
Show more
Show less