WotLK Classic Protection Warrior Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities

Last updated on Jan 01, 2024 at 13:56 by Abide 2 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 WotLK 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 spell and ability works in detail will greatly increase your understanding of the topics discussed on this page.


Protection Warrior Rotation in Wrath of the Lich King

Protection Warrior has a very simple, yet engaging rotation. Your rotation revolves around 3 key abilities; but with procs, Rage management, short cooldowns, and general tank responsibilities, Protection Warrior has a very deep and satisfying gameplay loop.


Protection Warrior Single-Target Tanking Rotation in Wrath of the Lich King

  1. Shield Slam IconShield Slam when Shield Block IconShield Block is active — Thanks to Shield Block IconShield Block doubling your Block Value and allowing Shield Slam IconShield Slam to bypass the Block Value cap on your Shield Slam IconShield Slam damage, you will want to prioritize using it over Revenge IconRevenge in a pure single-target situation while your Shield Block IconShield Block is active.
  2. Revenge IconRevengeRevenge IconRevenge is your highest-damage ability thanks to Improved Revenge IconImproved Revenge, and is only slightly behind Shield Slam IconShield Slam in terms of threat generation. Seeing as Revenge IconRevenge has a low Rage cost, low cooldown, hits 2 targets, and deals very high damage, you will want to use this every time it is available.
  3. Shield Slam IconShield Slam — Whenever your Shield Block IconShield Block is not active you will prioritize using Shield Slam IconShield Slam after Revenge IconRevenge as the damage Revenge IconRevenge deals is simply too high to pass on using.
  4. Shockwave IconShockwaveShockwave IconShockwave scales very well by utilizing 75% of your Attack Power, which is more than any other ability. This means it becomes a powerful ability to use in single-target situations as you become more geared. At around 3,500 Attack Power you will want to prioritize using Shockwave IconShockwave over Devastate IconDevastate even against a single enemy.
  5. Devastate IconDevastateDevastate IconDevastate is mostly a rotation filler. The talent Sword and Board IconSword and Board gives Devastate IconDevastate a 30% chance to reset the cooldown of Shield Slam IconShield Slam, reducing how many times you will use Devastate IconDevastate as a filler.
  6. Heroic Strike IconHeroic Strike — Lastly, you want to use Heroic Strike IconHeroic Strike whenever you are above 60 Rage to prevent yourself from wasting Rage.

Protection Warrior AoE Tanking Rotation in Wrath of the Lich King

  1. Thunder Clap IconThunder Clap — is your main AoE ability, being greatly buffed in WotLK. This hits unlimited targets and does high damage, especially when paired with Improved Thunder Clap IconImproved Thunder Clap and Incite IconIncite.
  2. Shockwave IconShockwave — This is the 51 point Protection talent spell, dealing massive damage to all enemies in front of the Warrior and stunning them for 4 seconds.
  3. Revenge IconRevenge — This is your third-best AoE ability thanks to Improved Revenge IconImproved Revenge, making this skill hit 2 mobs instead of 1.
  4. Cleave IconCleave — Your last priority when AoEing, only use this when you have extra Rage. Ideally you will be using Glyph of Cleaving Icon Glyph of Cleaving with this.
  5. You will then follow your Single-Target rotation shown above until a higher priority AoE spell is available again.

Protection Warrior Cooldowns in Wrath of the Lich King

Protection Warriors have a selection of cooldowns that all fulfill different needs. Using the proper cooldown at the correct time can easily be the difference a smooth pull with great threat, or DPS players having to hold back and wait for you to get ahead. Improper cooldown usage is also a danger during boss fights, as you must use your limited defensive cooldowns properly to survive what would otherwise kill you.

  • Shield Block IconShield Block — 40-second cooldown with Shield Mastery IconShield Mastery. This is a great cooldown, doubling your Block Value and giving you 100% Block Chance, preventing any attacks from hitting you normally. This is a great defensive cooldown, especially when AoE tanking as it can outright prevent you from taking damage from all but the hardest-hitting mobs. Shield Block IconShield Block also has a hidden feature of allowing our Shield Slam IconShield Slam to bypass the Block Value cap added during original WotLK. This means when you pair Shield Block IconShield Block with Shield Slam IconShield Slam, you will greatly increase the damage output and threat generation of your Shield Slam IconShield Slams.
  • Challenging Shout IconChallenging Shout — 3-minute cooldown. Forces nearby enemies to attack you for 6 seconds. This is useful at the start of a pull if a damage dealer starts AoEing too early. This is not a taunt, as after 6 seconds the mobs will go back to attacking whoever has the highest amount of threat.
  • Mocking Blow IconMocking Blow — 1-minute cooldown. Forces the target to attack you for 6 seconds. This is useful if you have a taunt resist at a crucial moment. This is not a taunt, as after 6 seconds the mob will go back to attacking whoever has the highest amount of threat.
  • Last Stand IconLast Stand — 3-minute cooldown. Increases your max health by 30% for 20 seconds. This is mostly used when you are low health and would likely die if another ability or melee attack lands on you before you get healed.
  • Shield Wall IconShield Wall — 5-minute cooldown. This is your main defensive cooldown, reducing your damage taken by 60% for 12 seconds. You will want to use this whenever a major boss ability is about to go off that will deal high damage to you. You may choose to take the talent Improved Disciplines IconImproved Disciplines to reduce the cooldown down to 4 minutes. That talent paired with Glyph of Shield Wall Icon Glyph of Shield Wall will reduce your Shield Wall IconShield Wall down to only a 2-minute cooldown, but reduce the damage reduction down to 40% instead of 60%. This is useful when you need multiple defensive cooldowns during a fight.
  • Retaliation IconRetaliation — 5-minute cooldown. This is mostly a cooldown you will use on trash. You will attack any mob that attacks you while this buff is active, helping generate threat while gathering mobs.
  • Recklessness IconRecklessness — 5-minute cooldown. Makes your next 3 special attacks guaranteed Critical Strikes and increases your damage taken by 20% while the buff is active. You should be able to use this at the start of a boss fight as you will have all healers focusing you and there is no one else to heal yet.
  • Enraged Regeneration IconEnraged Regeneration — 3-minute cooldown. This will consume an Enrage effect to restore 30% of your max health over 10 seconds. Better when paired together with Last Stand IconLast Stand.
  • Shattering Throw IconShattering Throw — 5-minute cooldown. This should be used as a raid DPS cooldown and coordinated with other raid DPS cooldowns like Heroism IconHeroism / Bloodlust IconBloodlust. The 20% Armor reduction stacks with other Armor reduction debuffs, such as Sunder Armor IconSunder Armor. With multiple Warriors in one raid, this will typically be coordinated to keep the debuff up back-to-back for a longer period of time.


  • 01 Jan. 2024: Updated for Phase 5.
  • 09 Oct. 2023: Updated for Phase 4.
  • 18 Jan. 2023: Reviewed for Phase 2 release ahead of Ulduar raid release.
  • 07 Sep. 2022: Page added.
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