How To Improve As Protection Paladin — Shadowlands 9.1
On this page, you will find out how you can improve at playing Protection Paladin in World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.1. We list the common mistakes that you should try to avoid and the small details that can greatly improve your performance.
Improper Holy Power Management
With any combat resource system you want to avoid waste. With Holy Power we have abilities that build Holy Power ( Judgment, Avenger's Shield, Hammer of the Righteous/ Blessed Hammer, and Hammer of Wrath) and abilities that spend Holy Power ( Shield of the Righteous, and Word of Glory). Your aim here is to ensure that you use your Holy Power spenders before reaching 5 Holy Power. Learn how to plan your ability rotations so that this scenario does not occur.
As an additional tip: You should try to ensure that your Shield of the Righteous casts that are empowered by Judgment. Casting Judgment increases the damage the target takes from Shield of the Righteous by 25%, and you want to make sure that unless absolutely necessary, it is empowered by it. This can be tricky or in some cases impossible to pull off if you need prolonged uptime on Shield of the Righteous and are unlucky with Grand Crusader procs.
Consecration has a very short cooldown, but a long duration (duration lowered by your Haste as it ticks faster), it is generally very easy to have 100% uptime on Consecration. However, since you can only have one Consecration active, and casting it again overwrites the old one, it is a rather big loss to your rotation to constantly be recasting Consecration when you do not have to. This means it is important to know how much duration your current Consecration has to know when to prioritize it in your rotation again.
Word of Glory
Word of Glory is a self-heal with that increases effectiveness the lower health you have. Due to its Holy Power cost outside of 5 stacks of Shining Light you need to restrain from using it until you are rather low in health. A common mistake is to spend Holy Power on it when you are only missing a very small amount of of health, thus reducing potential Shield of the Righteous uptime, or wasting a Shining Light buff that makes it free to cast. It is a fine line as you obviously need to make sure to not use it too late and you end up dying. This requires a lot of knowledge of how high and immediate the incoming damage is. You also need to know what cooldowns or active mitigation you have up or available, to make sure you can survive going as low as you can without a risk of dying. Planning this takes a bit of practice since it is on the global cooldown.
Utilizing Your Group Utility
Having an Aura active
You should always have an Aura active. Which aura depends on the situation you and your group is in.
- If you are the only Paladin in your group/raid, you should use Devotion Aura.
- If there is a Holy Paladin in your group/raid, they should be using Devotion Aura, and you should use another aura.
- If there are multiple Paladins in your group/raid, discuss who should use which aura.
- If you are mounted, use Crusader Aura.
Paladins are one of the tanks with the most group utility out there, and it is important to make use of these as it can turn the tide in many situations. Your blessings are some of the strongest spells for your group there is, and a common mistake from Paladins is that they only focus on their own play rather than helping the group when possible. This is especially true for Blessing of Sacrifice, which can be used often whenever you know a team member will be taking damage; this is even more important for your co-tank in raids. Blessing of Protection or Blessing of Spellwarding are also tools you should try to find situations for to help your group out. While Blessing of Freedom has more limited uses most of the time, there are still moments where it shines and it is a mistake not to use.
Hand of the Protector
If you have chosen the Hand of the Protector talent, you got an amazing tool for getting allies out of being at dangerously low health with the press of a button. Be careful when helping others with this though, as it does so at the cost of Shield of the Righteous casts or potential self-heals you may need, but hopefully it means the healer can focus more on you instead of panic healing the both of you. It also upsets your rotation since it takes up a global cooldown from your normal rotation.
Lay on Hands
Lay on Hands is an instant full heal on you or another player that is off the global cooldown. This is incredibly strong to get you out of a low health situation should your Word of Glory not be free right now, or you not having the Holy Power available, or in real emergencies, if you can not wait for the global cooldown of Word of Glory, Lay on Hands might need to be used.
Planning Defensive Cooldowns and Externals
If a raid or boss ability will require you to use specific cooldowns, personals, or externals to survive, you want to build up a plan for when to use these strong cooldowns against what abilities. Make sure you are using some form of add-on to track other team members strong cooldowns to be able to call for them.
With Protection Paladins not being able to keep 100% uptime on their Shield of the Righteous, in many situations we are required to fill in the gaps of Shield of the Righteous uptime with cooldowns to smooth damage intake. Try either using short cooldown external, or Ardent Defender to buy you a few more seconds of safety while you let Shield of the Righteous recharge.
Balancing Offense and Defense
While it is always cool to dish out a lot of damage, even as a tank, going overboard with offensive tools often times will blow up in your face. If you are unprepared for the situation you are in, being in a high offensive gear-set or mentality can easily get you killed. While all the damage you can do is nice, it is no good to anyone if you end up dying. The right amount of offensiveness is completely player dependent, meaning certain players feel comfortable and safe at a lower defensive level than others
On the flip side, there are many players out there who just goes all out in survivability. This means survivability talents, gearing, trinkets, and consumables. While a tank's first and foremost job is to not die, there comes a point where a lot of that survivability becomes redundant. High survivability at the cost of damage output usually leads to threat issues, making you have to work a lot more to keep threat off of damage dealers or co-tanks. It is a fine line to balance between survivability and damage output but a general rule of thumb is to start with going overly defensive, then systematically you go for more and more damage output, while still staying at a level you consider yourself to be safe at.
- 28 Jun. 2021: Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
- 29 Nov. 2020: Replaced Shield of the Righteous management tip with Holy Power management tips. Added Aura tips.
- 23 Nov. 2020: Reviewed for Shadowlands launch. Corrected typo.
- 13 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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