Classic Warrior Tank Guide

Last updated on Jan 28, 2021 at 17:27 by Seksixeny 37 comments

Welcome to our Warrior Tank guide for WoW Classic, tailored for PvE content. Here, you will learn how all you need to know to play the Warrior class as Tank. Click the links #below to navigate the guide or read this page for a short introduction.

If you were looking for TBC Classic content, please refer to our TBC Classic Protection Warrior guide.

Warriors are the undisputed kings of WoW Classic tanking, being capable of swapping between excellent defensive capabilities plus decent threat building, or excellent threat building plus decent defensive capabilities. They also have multiple ways to taunt back enemies, or otherwise catch up and crowd control them before casualties happen among their allies.


Warrior Tanks in the Season of Mastery

Although the Season of Mastery brings with it a number of changes to how you may experience the content of WoW Classic, these tweaks do not include any adjustments to how you play Warrior. As such, this guide will cover all you need to know regardless of which version of Classic you wish to play.

However, due to certain pieces of content from later Phases now being available at an earlier date, gearing recommendations for Warrior will be different. Because of this, we have created additional pages detailing your best in slot items for both pre-raid gear and the current raids available.


Warrior Strengths as a Tank

  • Can have the smoothest damage intake in WoW Classic, due to the ability to push critical hits and crushing blows completely off the table with Shield Block Icon Shield Block, without requiring huge amounts of defense to do so.
  • Is able to swap from the best defense discussed above, into a very offensive style supported by consumables and world buffs, capable of outputting massive threat.
  • Has the widest array of tanking tools in WoW Classic, and all sets except AQ40's are tanking oriented in stats and set bonuses.

Warrior Weaknesses as a Tank

  • More unforgiving of mistakes or improper play compared to other tanks, especially when using an offensive build that only uses shield when needed.
  • Gearing can be difficult, due to the high popularity of Warriors in groups.
  • Solo leveling is slow and dangerous: dying is a constant possibility and dropping combat can be hard.

Best Races for Warrior Tanks

Warriors are the only class that can be played by any race in WoW Classic. While racials are important, look and feel is even more important for many players. These should be your main consideration when picking a race!


Best Races for Alliance Warrior Tanks

Human is the best race for PvE and Dwarf / Gnome are the best races for PvP, with Dwarf being great in PvE also, although it is of debatable usefulness to be tank specced in PvP to begin with. Night Elf is slightly behind the rest but still slightly better than Gnome for PvE tanking.


Human Warrior Tanks

Human is the best catch-all race for PvE in the Alliance, as the extra weapon skill from Sword Specialization Icon Sword Specialization and Mace Specialization Icon Mace Specialization is a huge threat increase, and also provides you with more Rage from the extra hits landed. If your interest mainly lies in PvP, with some PvE tanking on the side, pick one of the other races, however.


Dwarf Warrior Tanks

  • Find Treasure Icon Find Treasure allows you to sense nearby treasure (chests mainly), making it appear on the minimap.
  • Frost Resistance Icon Frost Resistance increases your Frost Resistance by 10.
  • Gun Specialization Icon Gun Specialization increases your skill with Guns by 5, which increases your chance to hit with a gun.
  • Stoneform Icon Stoneform makes you immune to all bleed, poison, and disease effects, and instantly removes them, which is great against Blind Icon Blind! Is also increases your armor for 8 seconds, on a 3-minute cooldown.

Dwarf has Stoneform Icon Stoneform, which is a strong defensive ability, especially against Rogues (disables Blind Icon Blind) and Princess Huhuran (disables her powerful poison attacks). While it lacks Human's offensive power, it has higher baseline Stamina and Strength, and can be considered the Alliance's most defensive race.


Gnome Warrior Tanks

Gnome has Engineering Specialization Icon Engineering Specialization, which is quite useful in WoW Classic, due to the power of this profession. Their active ability, Escape Artist Icon Escape Artist, breaks root effects, which are usually very annoying for Warriors, especially in PvP.


Night Elf Warrior Tanks

  • Nature Resistance Icon Nature Resistance increases your Nature Resistance by 10.
  • Quickness Icon Quickness increases your Dodge Chance by 1%.
  • Shadowmeld Icon Shadowmeld is an ability that allows you to become stealthed while standing still when used, on a 10 second cooldown. This cannot be used in combat.
  • Wisp Spirit Icon Wisp Spirit causes you to transform into a wisp upon death, increasing your movement speed by 50% while dead.

Night Elf has Quickness Icon Quickness for slightly increased dodge chance, and Shadowmeld Icon Shadowmeld has its niche uses, making Night Elf a decent choice for tanking.


Best Races for Horde Warrior Tanks

Troll is the best race for PvE Main-Tanking, Tauren is the best race for survivability and Orc is the best race if you will ever be doing DPS in a group or also want to PvP. Finally, Undead is the worst Warrior race, but can still give you some leeway in bosses that fear, so keep reading to learn all the details on each race!


Troll Warrior Tanks

  • Beast Slaying Icon Beast Slaying gives a 5% damage bonus against Beasts.
  • Berserking Icon Berserking is a 3-minute cooldown that gives you between 10-30% increased attack and casting speed depending on your health, with the effect being greater the more hurt you are.
  • Bow Specialization Icon Bow Specialization increases your skill with Bows by 5, which increases your chance to hit with a bow.
  • Regeneration Icon Regeneration gives +10% passive health regeneration and allows you to regenerate 10% of your total health regeneration during combat.

Troll is the best choice for main tanking in PvE, as Berserking Icon Berserking can easily be activated for its full value if you are the first, and primary, target of bosses. Outside of this strong niche, however, Troll is nothing special.


Tauren Warrior Tanks

  • Cultivation Icon Cultivation increases your Herbalism skill by 15.
  • Endurance Icon Endurance increases your total health by 5%.
  • Nature Resistance Icon Nature Resistance increases your Nature Resistance by 10.
  • War Stomp Icon War Stomp is a 2-minute cooldown that stuns up to 5 enemies within 8 yards for 2 seconds, with a 0.5 second cast time.
  • Due to their large sizes, Tauren have a larger hitbox than other races, which allows you to hit, and be hit from further afar. This can be great when trying to chase a target or problematic when trying to flee from melee enemies.

Tauren were often considered the best Horde tank in the past due to the extra health from Endurance Icon Endurance but, nowadays, as the value of threat in a fully buffed group has become better understood, Trolls and even Orcs have gained a lot of popularity. Their large hitbox is great for hitting enemies first, helping establish quick threat, but their racials mostly help with survivability. Overall, Taurens make for great defensive tanks, but you might need to call for your group to wait for full Sunder Armor Icon Sunder Armor stacks before going all out.


Orc Warrior Tanks

  • Axe Specialization Icon Axe Specialization increases your skill with axes by 5, which increases your chance to land a blow on a target with axes.
  • Blood Fury Icon Blood Fury is a 2-minute cooldown that increases your base melee attack power by 25% for 15 seconds and reduces healing effects on you by 50% for 25 seconds.
  • Command Icon Command increases your pet damage by 5%.
  • Hardiness Icon Hardiness increases your chance to resist stuns by 25%.

Orc can be a strong threat-builder, due to Axe Specialization Icon Axe Specialization providing a permanent DPS and hit chance increase when using axes. However, what really makes Orc a great pick is that it is also a very good PvP race, and the best PvE damage dealer, making it the best catch-all choice in the Horde. Keep in mind that Blood Fury Icon Blood Fury is not good for tanks, as it causes you to receive 50% less healing for 25 seconds.


Undead Warrior Tanks

  • Will of the Forsaken Icon Will of the Forsaken is a 2-minute cooldown that makes your immune to all Fear, Sleep, and Charm effects for 5 seconds. This will also break you out of any current effects.
  • Cannibalize Icon Cannibalize is a 2-minute cooldown that lets you channel to consume a nearby corpse, regenerating 7% of your total health every 2 seconds for 10 seconds for a total of 35% health.
  • Underwater Breathing Icon Underwater Breathing allows you to breath underwater for 300% longer than normal.
  • Shadow Resistance Icon Shadow Resistance increases your shadow resistance by 10.

Undead is the weakest tank overall. Will of the Forsaken Icon Will of the Forsaken, while generally very strong, is mostly forgettable for warriors, who can use Berserker Rage Icon Berserker Rage to achieve the same result (fear immunity) on a much shorter cooldown. Undead are good for PvP and bosses who fear often, however, as you can never have enough crowd-control breaking tools for these.


Best Professions for Warrior Tanks

The strongest of tanks will carry as many Engineering explosives with them as possible, allowing them to output much higher threat, especially in area of effect situations!

While Mining is usually a good pair with Engineering, because tanks take forever to kill the pesky NPCs that attack you while you are only trying to go about your Mining duties, we would instead recommend picking up Alchemy for Transmute: Arcanite IconTransmute: Arcanite, which will come in handy when creating Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker Icon Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker and high end epic gear.

Consult our profession guides to learn everything there is to know about these and the remaining professions.



  • 28 Jan. 2021 (spells page): Minor text change.
  • 05 Dec. 2020 (gear page): Adjusted some gear slots.
  • 01 Dec. 2020 (gear page): Reworked the BiS guide with Naxxramas and clarity in mind.
  • 01 Dec. 2020 (enchants page): Added Phase 6 shoulder enchants, Frozen Runes, and the Silithus world buff.
  • 15 Nov. 2020 (gear page): Added the Phase 6 best in slot list.
  • 05 Nov. 2020 (gear page): Added a Frost Resistance gear list.
  • 05 Sep. 2020 (enchants page): Changed cloak enchant to dodge.
  • 03 Sep. 2020 (gear page): Fixed a small typo with the alternative belt suggestions.
  • 30 Aug. 2020 (gear page): Added Ayamiss the Hunter to the list of sources for Gauntlets of the Immovable.
  • 06 Aug. 2020 (gear page): Transferred the Ahn'Qiraj gear into the main guide.
  • 27 Jul. 2020 (gear page): Added a link to the Nature Resistance gear guide.
  • 27 Jul. 2020 (stats page): Updated Strength to be preferred to Agility for threat-generation while tanking in the current phase due to better scaling.
  • 20 Jul. 2020 (gear page): Added AQ40 BiS gear section.
  • 14 Jul. 2020 (enchants page): Updated enchant and consumable list for Phase 5.
  • 05 Jul. 2020 (rotation page): Added the Battle Shout tanking style and details on why it might be meta in Phase 5.
  • 04 Jun. 2020 (spells page): Added Challenging Shout.
  • 19 May 2020 (gear page): Added Silithus twilight boss summoning gear.
  • 19 May 2020 (enchants page): Updated with current World Buffs as of Phase 4.
  • 07 May 2020 (enchants page): Added Smoked Desert Dumplings.
  • 07 May 2020 (stats page): Reworked some outdated sections.
  • 16 Apr. 2020 (gear page): Swapped item priority of Girdle of the Fallen Crusader and Therazane's Link.
  • 15 Apr. 2020 (enchants page): Added Zul'Gurub consumables and enchants.
  • 14 Apr. 2020 (gear page): Updated with Zul'Gurub gear.
  • 20 Mar. 2020 (enchants page): Added Lesser Arcanum of Constitution as a head / leg enchant option.
  • 19 Mar. 2020 (stats page): Corrected some minor typos in the critical strike section.
  • 11 Mar. 2020 (gear page): Updated with Arathi Basin gear.
  • 21 Feb. 2020 (gear page): Added a disclaimer on offensive gear VS defensive gear and a link to the Warrior DPS BiS page.
  • 12 Feb. 2020 (gear page): Updated BiS list for Phase 3 of WoW Classic and split the guide into multiple pages.
  • 07 Feb. 2020 (enchants page): Added Gordok Green Grog and an additional list for expensive extra consumables you can use.
  • 02 Feb. 2020 (enchants page): Added another enchant option for cloak and changed head / leg enchant to agility.
  • 31 Jan. 2020 (gear page): Reworked pre-raid BiS shoulders.
  • 28 Jan. 2020 (gear page): Typo fixes and added Eskhandar's Collar.
  • 25 Jan. 2020 (gear page): Added PvP reputation gear and more ranked PvP gear.
  • 11 Jan. 2020 (enchants page): Added a note on Juju Flurry lowering your DPS by 3% when used.
  • 11 Jan. 2020 (rotation page): Elaborated on 2H tanking and Heroic Strike / Cleave causing your off-hand attacks to always hit while queued.
  • 11 Jan. 2020 (talents page): Updated the Tank Talent guide with 2H tanking as well as all talent builds.
  • 23 Nov. 2019 (gear page): Updated BiS list for Phase 2 of WoW Classic.
  • 26 Oct. 2019 (gear page): Added Bulky Iron Spaulders to the pre-raid bis list.
  • 13 Oct. 2019 (gear page): Added Phase One Molten Core / Onyxia gear bis list.
  • 11 Oct. 2019 (gear page): Added Dire Maul gear and reworked the pre-raid best in slot list.
  • 09 Oct. 2019 (enchants page): Added Elixir of Giants to the essential consumables list.
  • 30 Sep. 2019 (rotation page): Reworked the pre-combat rotation to make it clear that you should not swap stance if that will cause a Rage loss.
  • 29 Sep. 2019 (enchants page): Added a section with the essential consumables, and added Major Healing Potions and regular Fire Protection Potions to the list.
  • 12 Sep. 2019 (rotation page): Changed the area of effect rotation based on Demoralizing Shout threat nerf / fix hotfix.
  • 04 Sep. 2019 (rotation page): Added Mocking Blow as an alternative Taunt button.
  • 27 Aug. 2019 (this page): Added a section for each race to make the guide easier to read.
  • 24 Aug. 2019 (this page): Reworked race section and improved the professions section, adding more details, item links and tips.
  • 16 Aug. 2019 (gear page): Added new special gear to the list and changed the position of this list to the bottom of the guide.
  • 12 Aug. 2019 (enchants page): Changed the recommended enchants based on feedback.
  • 28 Jul. 2019 (stats page): Added information on the white hit critical strike cap.
  • 21 Jul. 2019 (gear page): Removed some weak gear recommendations to make the best in slot list more accurate and easy to read.
  • 20 Jul. 2019 (stats page): Corrected some theorycraft due to feedback.
  • 20 Jul. 2019 (talents page): Changed the balanced talent build based on feedback.
  • 16 Jul. 2019 (gear page): Updated some gear recommendations.
  • 16 Jul. 2019 (enchants page): Fixed a typo on the description of Goblin Sapper Charge and added Blessed Sunfruit.
  • 15 Jul. 2019 (this page): Added more information on the available races, their strengths and weaknesses.
  • 18 Jun. 2019 (this page): Added notes about Professions.
  • 12 Jun. 2019 (gear page): Page added.
  • 12 Jun. 2019 (enchants page): Page added.
  • 12 Jun. 2019 (stats page): Page added.
  • 12 Jun. 2019 (rotation page): Page added.
  • 12 Jun. 2019 (talents page): Page added.
  • 12 Jun. 2019 (spells page): Page added.
  • 12 Jun. 2019 (this page): Page added.
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