Protection Paladin Best Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits — Shadowlands 9.1
Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits are the most important character customization options in Shadowlands. They have a substantial impact on your toolkit and performance as Protection Paladin. This page's purpose is to help you pick the right options according to the content you intend to do in Shadowlands.
This page assumes that you are already familiar with Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits. If that is not the case, we have a number of pages that can help you get up to speed:
- Covenants Guide, which explains what Covenants are, what perks they bring, and how you can join one;
- Paladin Covenant Abilities, which lists all the abilities that Paladins gain by joining each Covenant;
- How To Change Covenant?, which tells you how you can switch Covenant (rejoining a former Covenant will require you to perform a number of tasks to regain their trusts);
- General Soulbind Guide, which explains what Soulbinds are and how you can pledge yourself to them to open up their Soulbind tree;
- Paladin Conduits, which lists all of the Conduits available to Paladins.
Summary of the Best Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits
Your choice of Covenant as a Protection Paladin is a big choice of your adventure into the Shadowlands. To help you make this choice we have summarised some of the strengths and weaknesses of each covenant:
|Kyrian||Raiding||Combining Divine Toll with Ringing Clarity allows you to have 1-4 Holy Power on demand every minute which can be of value in Raiding. You also gain a large amount of Mastery with Pelagos and a second health potion and a full dispel through Phial of Serenity. Good all-around choice.||B|
|M+|| Divine Toll just feels great in Dungeons. AoE interrupt, up
to 5 Holy Power (depending on amount of enemies) every minute, and it is
very visually satisfying to press.
Phial of Serenity is an extremely potent utility choice in some dungeons, particularly Plaguefall.
|Venthyr||Raiding||Very High Burst DPS and the ability to cast Hammer of Wrath whilst Ashen Hallow is active, but with the downside of a long cooldown. Requires planned use and for you to not be moving the boss too much. In a raid situation this is not likely to be a issue.||A|
|M+||The high DPS from Ashen Hallow is always valuable in M+, however in higher keys you may lose value from this as you find the need to kite. Door of Shadows can open opportunities to do skips, should others be able to skip as well.||C|
|Night Fae||Raiding||Provides buffs for your raid group which need to have some pre-planned use to be the most effective. Soulshape is very valuable mobility in a raid setting, as Flicker can allow you to cross over deadly mechanics.||B|
|M+||The buffs can be quite difficult to manage, as each should go on a different player, but if you are able to manage this task successfully you can provide a good bonus to your group. Soulshape allows you to kite with ease in higher keys.||C|
|Necrolord||Raiding||Vanquisher's Hammer does provide the highest single-target DPS of any Covenant, but it can be quite challenging to use effectively as Protection, as you need to alter how you use Word of Glory. In a raid setting, this can be problematic, as your Shield of the Righteous uptime may be in a good position, but using Word of Glory will put you over the max duration, thus wasting potential uptime.||F|
|M+||Similar to raiding, the concerns with having to alter how you use Word of Glory exist in M+ too. However, you are able to use Fleshcraft more throughout combat periods, as in raiding there will not typically be too much downtime for you to channel this.||E|
An additional note about Arena, as this is an important part of the gearing process this season: Kyrian and Night Fae do quite well in this area. Kyrian gives you more Holy Power for healing, and Night Fae allows you buff your team.
We advise this all-purpose Pelagos (Kyrian) tree for Raiding, Mythic+, and Torghast as Protection Paladin. For more in-depth information about Soulbinds and Covenants as Protection Paladin, please continue to the Choosing the Right Covenant section below.
Best Conduits for Protection Paladin
Conduits are very similar to Azerite Traits in that they are something that you specifically target to enhance your character. They are also shared among all Covenants with the exception of one Potency Conduit, which is Covenant-specific and interacts with the Class ability from that Covenant. These are Ringing Clarity, Hallowed Discernment, Righteous Might and The Long Summer.
Your first Potency Conduit will always be Punish the Guilty. On some Soulbind trees you will find yourself in a position where you are looking to insert another Potency Conduit as not all trees will facilitate you using 2x Potency Conduits. The Covenant Potency Conduits mentioned above will be that 2nd choice.
Best Potency Conduits for Protection Paladin
Best Endurance Conduits for Protection Paladin
Best Finesse Conduits for Protection Paladin
Conduits for Protection Paladin
The Conduits mentioned under each subsection are ranked from best to worst.
Protection Paladin Potency Conduits
- Punish the Guilty turns what was already a strong ability ( Shield of the Righteous) into an even stronger one! A must-have for any Protection Paladin.
- Ringing Clarity (Kyrian) allows your Divine Toll to have a chance to cast 3 more times on the main target. This also means that in Single Target each Divine Toll has a chance to generate 4 Holy Power!
- Hallowed Discernment (Venthyr) allows Ashen Hallow to heal the lowest health ally and strikes the lowest health enemy an additional time in its duration.
- The Long Summer (Night Fae) increases the duration of Blessing of Summer.
- Righteous Might (Necrolord) increases the damage dealt by Vanquisher's Hammer and heals you for the damage done.
- Vengeful Shock makes targets hit by your Avenger's Shield take more damage for 5 seconds. This was previously a powerful pick but recent tuning has made it a low-priority pick.
- Adaptive Armor Fragment is new for Patch 9.1 and will increase your Strength by a set percentage of your total Strength (3.2% at 226 item level) when you are healed by another player. The relative power of this Conduit compared to all other options means that you are very unlikely to use it.
Protection Paladin Endurance Conduits
- Resolute Defender allows Shield of the Righteous to extend the duration of Ardent Defender turning it into a more powerful defensive cooldown.
- Shielding Words applies a shield after you heal with Word of Glory. As this is only really cast when it is free, it is lower down on the list.
- Golden Path provides passive healing to Consecration. The healing it provides is very minor and should not be chased after for that purpose. It is a nice perk rather than a powerful modification of a spell.
- Royal Decree adds a nice perk to Guardian of Ancient Kings where it makes your next Word of Glory free; additionally it reduces the cooldown of Guardian of Ancient Kings.
- Divine Call reduces the cooldown of Divine Shield when you take damage, but this cooldown reduction has a cooldown of its own making this conduit very unappealing.
- Condensed Anima Sphere is new for Patch 9.1 and will heal you for a small percentage of your Maximum Health when you take damage every 10 seconds. The total amount of healing provided by this Conduit is not worthwhile to consider.
Protection Paladin Finesse Conduits
- Light's Barding increases the duration of Divine Steed. Finally, a way to make our movement speed boost last a reasonable amount of time!
- Echoing Blessings modifies your Blessings. It gives a small speed boost to Blessing of Freedom, but the main reason this would be used is the additional damage reduction it provides to Blessing of Sacrifice and Blessing of Protection. All of these effects stay for an additional 8 seconds after the Blessing ends.
- Pure Concentration allows your Concentration Aura to also reduce the duration of Fear effects. Very specific conditions are required for you to need this conduit. It is more of an "I will take it if I need it" than an "I must use it".
- Wrench Evil reduces the cast time of Turn Evil and increases the range by 10 yards. As you do not really use Turn Evil that often in normal play, enhancing it at the cost of another Conduit seems like a waste of a Conduit.
Choosing the right Covenant
Before going more in depth about Covenants it is important to understand that any of the 4 Covenants can be played as a Protection Paladin. There will definitely be better and worse options but the choice will not be hindering your daily activities.
While all of the Covenants have their place some simply perform better on a day-to-day basis than others. Kyrian and Venthyr are the two that stand out the most for Protection Paladin due to their powerful Class Abilities and Soulbinds.
- Kyrian — Strong in AoE scenarios, Good generic pick
- Venthyr — Strong single-target DPS, group healing, and the ability to teleport!
- Night Fae — Utility for group members
- Necrolord — High single-target DPS but quite restrictive
Kyrian For Protection Paladin
Kyrian is a good generic option for Protection Paladins .
Divine Toll fires up to 5 Avenger's Shields on nearby enemies (total amount is based on enemy count). Each of the Avenger's Shields will generate Holy Power, and bounce to nearby targets. It can be further enhanced and have a good place in single-target scenarios with the Ringing Clarity Conduit.
Summon Steward summons an owlkin steward. You can speak with your steward and he will offer you a range of services, the most important of which are Phial of Serenity. This potion restores 20% of your health and more importantly removes all diseases, poisons, curses and bleeds on you. Being able to remove any of these is a huge benefit of being a Kyrian, as it means that you can use Divine Shield elsewhere.
While Pelagos, Kleia and Forgelite Prime Mikanikos all provide their own strengths, Pelagos is your go-to Soulbind. Combat Meditation is a powerful throughput increase, and Let Go of the Past is a consistent piece of magical damage reduction.
New final trait — Newfound Resolve, working like the Lady Inerva Darkvein Mythic mechanic, and granting you 12% Strength and Stamina for 15s if you succeed in its test. This can be problematic as the add can spawn behind you.
New final trait — Light the Path modifies Valiant Strikes by making each stack grant 0.25% more Critical Strike. When the stacks convert into a heal, you and the affected party member gain 5% Critical Strike. This, again, is just purely offensive.
Mikanikos, in Patch 9.1, is a very competitive Soulbind choice. Reactive Retrofitting provides you with a very potent absorb shield on a regular basis. Spawns of Bron are very impactful and the new final trait allows you to use Divine Toll more regularly!
Venthyr For Protection Paladin
Ashen Hallow, when used, creates a large red Consecration-style circle on your targeted location. This will last for 30 seconds and will deal very high damage to 5 targets. Whilst you are inside the Ashen Hallow you are able to use Hammer of Wrath and the damage of it will be increased by 100%. It will also heal allies in the area. Yes, it has a 4-minute cooldown, but the power of it more than justifies the cost.
Door of Shadows is a targeted teleport. If you have played Overwatch before, you know what to expect. Pick a location that is within Line of Sight and after a 1.5-second cast you are teleported there. Typical uses of this are to cover large distances of space, traverse vertically, skip packs in M+, etc.; the possibilities are endless!
Nadjia the Mistblade provides you with a mini bloodlust in the form of Thrill Seeker and increases the effectiveness of consumables with Exacting Preparation. Sinful Preservation is new in Patch 9.1 and this will provide you with an absorb shield when you use a Health Potion or Healthstone; this will be very powerful (as long as you remember to use them!). Nadija will be your default choice as a Venthyr.
New final trait — Fatal Flaw, granting you 20% Critical Strike or Versatility after The Euphoria effect from Thrill Seeker ends for 10 seconds. Since both are percentage ratings, they are unaffected by diminishing returns making it a blatantly ludicrous amount of stats.
Theotar the Mad Duke is a bit of a mix of Nadjia and Draven. However if you can play around the Soothing Shade Parasol you will get the best of both worlds. Soothing Shade provides you with a random chance to spawn a Parasol which grants you Mastery and Wasteland Propriety provides you and the group with Versatility when Ashen Hallow is used.
It's Always Tea Time attaches a damage reduction to the Soothing Shade Parasol. This means if you are able to stay inside the Parasol you will be gaining Damage Reduction from it directly, more damage reduction from having enhanced Mastery on your Consecration, and a higher chance to Block from the Mastery.
New final trait — Party Favors will provide you with an Augment Rune-style item once per day. When used you will gain a 4-hour buff (which persists through death) that provides either Strength or a random secondary stat. This item will have a 1-hour cooldown allowing you to change what benefit you get each time. If you change your Soulbind to Nadija or Draven the buff will disappear.
General Draven provides you with more personal defensive utility than the others. Service In Stone provides you with damage reduction at low health, Enduring Gloom provides you with a health shield when you use Door of Shadows, and Hold Your Ground provides you with more Stamina when standing still. Draven will be picked when you need more Effective Health for Raid Progression — during the last season of content the benefits of Draven were not necessary as a reference — however it comes at the cost of losing DPS.
New final trait — Battlefield Presence provides you with up to 3% damage reduction based on the amount of enemies nearby. This functions the same as the old Protection Paladin talent Last Defender. Ultimately, it is quite a minor gain when compared to other Soulbinds.
Night Fae For Protection Paladin
Night Fae is the group utility pick for Protection Paladins.
Blessing of the Seasons provides you with a new Blessing spell which rotates through 4 individual spells. They always rotate in the following order Blessing of Summer > Blessing of Autumn > Blessing of Winter > Blessing of Spring. These Blessings are best used on other players rather than yourself as the benefit to the group will be greater on them rather than yourself.
- Blessing of Summer — Adds a damage proc to all attacks
- Blessing of Autumn — Increases cooldown reduction
- Blessing of Winter — Adds a small damage proc to attacks and reduces enemy attack speed/li>
- Blessing of Spring — Increases healing done and received
Night Fae Soulbinds
Niya will be your go-to Soulbind choice as a Night Fae. Grove Invigoration provides you with additional health/Mastery whenever you cast Blessing of the Seasons, which is a nice bonus. For reasons that will be mentioned in the sections for Dreamweaver and Korayn, it is your only competitive option as a Protection Paladin.
New final trait — Bonded Hearts, causing you to effectively heal up to 5 nearby friendly targets for 2% of their health every 15s. If you heal somebody from another Covenant — which is kind of difficult considering that 95% of the DPS are Night Fae these days — each stack of Grove Invigoration is amplified by 50%.
Dreamweaver has the unfortunate effect of having Podtender as an inevitable pick, which ultimately makes it a less-than-ideal choice. When Podtender triggers, you lose all threat, are unable to be resurrected until the effect is over, and, worst of all, you just have to sit there and watch whatever killed you kill others. The defensive aspects of Dreamweaver are relatively unimpactful as a Protection Paladin as you will rarely overheal for Empowered Chrysalis and Waking Dreams has a long cooldown associated with the effect.
New final trait — Dream Delver is a very simple damage/healing benefit which increases your damage/healing to targets by 1% per event for 4 seconds, stacking up to 3%. The uptime on this effect is near 100%.
Korayn is similar to General Draven as it is a strictly defensive option, however similar to Draven it comes at the cost of DPS. Face Your Foes is a consistent damage reduction as you are always facing your foe! Alternatively you can use Hold the Line for a larger amount of damage reduction, however it is only Physical damage that is reduced (this is a majority of your damage taken in many scenarios).
You are also able to make Korayn into a Damage-oriented Soulbind by capitalizing on First Strike windows and playing around Wild Hunt Strategem, however it typically comes at a lower total DPS amount than Niya.
New final trait — Wild Hunt Strategem allows you to gain a small amount of execute damage whenever you trigger First Strike. However, to trigger Wild Hunt Stratagem you will require another target on low health, therefore in many realistic scenarios it will be very difficult or impossible to trigger.
Necrolord For Protection Paladin
Necrolord is our last Covenant. When stacked against the other Covenants it does not have a remaining clear strength, but it is still strong in its own right.
Vanquisher's Hammer is a strong single-target damaging ability that when cast will generate 1 Holy Power and make your next Word of Glory also trigger Shield of the Righteous. While this seems good in theory, it quite heavily restricts how you use Word of Glory as you only get 1 free cast each time Vanquisher's Hammer's cooldown is back.
Fleshcraft is a 3-second channel granting you a shield for 40% of your Maximum Health, with 20% damage reduction bolted on to it for good measure. You are still able to block, dodge, and parry during it, and its cooldown is reduced by 1 second every time you walk past a corpse you helped kill.
Plague Deviser Marileth provides you with some interesting effects. Volatile Solvent passively soaks up corpses and grants you buffs related to the enemy type it came from: 120 Mastery for Humanoids, 2% Primary Stat for Beasts, 5% Stamina for Demons, and a 5% heal for Undead. In Mythic+, this means you will almost always have 120 Mastery, and get relatively frequent 5% max HP heals at the end of packs.
Ooz's Frictionless Coating provides you with a 15% shield every 30 seconds (it triggers when below 50% health, but as part of normal play as a Protection Paladin it is every 30 seconds at least). Ultimate Form will allow you to regenerate Health during and after Fleshcraft and be immune to Crowd Control.
New final trait — Kevin's Oozeling will spawn when you use Vanquisher's Hammer. It will spawn a pet guardian that melees whatever you autoattacked last. Whenever somebody nearby takes real damage (i.e. not absorbed), they gain a small shield. You gain 2% extra damage to anything the oozeling touched while it was up. When it despawns, all the effects go away.
Emeni will be your go-to pick. Lead by Example provides you and nearby allies with primary stat when you use Vanquisher's Hammer. Emeni's Magnificent Skin provides you with a max health buff for 30 seconds after using Fleshcraft. Gnashing Chompers provides you with stacking Haste when an enemy is defeated, great in Mythic+, not so great in most raiding scenarios. Resilient Stitching will provide you with a shield that absorbs 15% of your max health of magic damage every minute. It is simple and powerful.
New final trait — Pustule Eruption triggers when you cast Fleshcraft. You will generate 3 pustules per second you channeled Fleshcraft. When you take damage a pustule will detonate and deal some damage to nearby enemies and heal nearby allies as well.
Bonesmith Heirmir is a more DPS-oriented Soulbind choice with Serrated Spaulders reflecting damage taken and Heirmir's Arsenal: Marrowed Gemstone further enhancing your damage output. Waking Bone Breastplate provides you with a 5% health buff when you are surrounded by 3 or more enemies which can be quite frequently, even in raid scenarios.
New final trait — Mnemonic Equipment is a fairly simple damage buff to targets below 35% health.
- 28 Jun. 2021: Updated for Patch 9.1.
- 09 Mar. 2021: Updated Soulbind trees. Included new Necrolord change that it generates 1 Holy Power as of Patch 9.0.5. Updated Fleshcraft in line with 9.0.5 rework. Updated text on Dreamweaver as it looks like it is not changing any time soon.
- 01 Mar. 2021: Added Royal Decree to Endurance Conduit list.
- 20 Jan. 2021: Added summary table of Covenants.
- 05 Dec. 2020: Added small note to Punish the Guilty to indicate it is still best after nerfs.
- 21 Nov. 2020: Updated to fix Soulbind trees and update some information with regards to Fleshcraft.
- 20 Nov. 2020: Updated with latest changes.
- 17 Nov. 2020: Page created
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