Protection Paladin Tank Azerite Traits/Powers and Armor — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1.5
This page contains information on which Azerite traits are the best to use in World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth, Patch 8.1.5, when playing as a Protection Paladin. If you have not yet obtained your Heart of Azeroth, you can check out our Heart of Azeroth guide for a walkthrough of how to do so, as well as further information on it.
1. Choosing Azerite Gear for Protection Paladin
When comparing Azerite Gear pieces, the general rule of thumb is to use the item with the highest item level you have. In very rare cases, it can be better to use a lower item level Azerite piece if it only has great Azerite traits, compared to one with only terrible traits. However, your main goal with your Azerite gearing is mainly going to be to obtain Inspiring Vanguard somewhere in your set. It is also recommended to have one Soaring Shield trait in your gear set, especially for Mythic+.
All Azerite traits stack and multiple traits stack on certain parts of their effect, normally only in the parts that would otherwise be increased by having a higher item level piece.
2. Best in Slot
Defensively, your best in slot combination of Azerite pieces will feature 3x Bulwark of Light, 1x Inspiring Vanguard and 1x Soaring Shield. The 6th trait from the outer rings can be any good trait, such as Blood Rite, Bonded Souls, or even Righteous Conviction. This combination gives you the most desired defensive set-up available. Note that there are several alternatives available from both raids and Titan Residuum, as this exact combination will be difficult to obtain early on.
3. Choosing Azerite Traits for Protection Paladin
3.1. How to Use this List
S Tier traits are the strongest traits available. These are the exceptional traits that you will mainly be aiming for when choosing Azerite gear.
A Tier traits are situationally strong or can provide good throughput, but are not as strong as S Tier traits.
B Tier traits are typically weaker bonuses that are either too inconsistent or unreliable for general use, or they provide minor bonuses that do not have a significant impact on your ability to tank. Some of these can provide significant offensive value, however.
C Tier traits do not provide relevant tanking-related combat bonuses, and should not be considered for survivability purposes. Some of these can still be considered offensively but is really only something you choose should you require to use that Azerite Piece due to another rings exceptional traits.
The traits within each tier are presented in a rough descending order of usefulness. This list mainly cares about survivability, however a big damage increase can be more useful than some really bad defensive traits.
3.2. Outer Ring and Second Ring
The Outer Ring and the Second ring shares most of their traits and are therefore listed together as they have the same priorities. Your gear will be able to fit a combination of six different traits, which are shared between the Outer ring and the Second ring. As mentioned above, two of these six traits should always be Inspiring Vanguard and Soaring Shield. The last 4 will depend on what Azerite pieces you happen to be able to choose from, and you can follow this list.
Note that these rings also features a single non-Paladin trait, which is specific to that piece and the effect is specific to the raid/dungeon/zone it is originally from. This trait is the top left trait in the Second Ring.
3.2.1. S Tier
- Your first Inspiring Vanguard trait.
- Your first Soaring Shield trait.
- Bulwark of Light is a strong and reliable Azerite trait which does very well if stacked multiple times. If at all possible, stacking 3x Bulwark of Light might be ideal for survivability as it is possible while also maintaining the essential traits.
- Blood Rite provides a great Haste buff which is refreshed when enemies die. It can be very strong in Mythic+, but also has plenty of uses in raids with adds. This trait can be incredibly difficult to obtain as it only exists on very few pieces.
- Bonded Souls provides a few very small heals to you and your nearest ally, while also giving you an increasing amount of Haste. The healing part of this trait is rather tiny, but the Haste part of this trait makes it a really solid trait to have.
- ONLY if you are raiding Uldir: Archive of the Titans, as well as Laser Matrix. Having ONE of these traits inside the Uldir raid is essential, at least once Reorigination Array reaches at least 3 stacks. By that time, you should hopefully have been lucky enough to get a piece with it to equip, and use from here on out.
3.2.2. A Tier
- Righteous Conviction empowers Light of the Protector slightly, but during Avenging Wrath, it also guarantees maximum healing increase, which makes it very potent defensively during that period. The first Righteous Conviction trait is a lot more valuable than multiple ones. The first Light of the Protector cast in Avenging Wrath is a guaranteed critical strike, meaning Righteous Conviction ensures it will basically be a full heal.
- Inspiring Vanguard if you already have one Inspiring Vanguard trait, more still increase your Strength gained even further, which means it is still a great trait.
- Soaring Shield will still increase your Mastery gained beyond the first trait, which means it is still a great trait.
3.2.3. B Tier
- Filthy Transfusion deals good damage and also heals you.
- Avenger's Might turns Avenging Wrath into a slightly stronger cooldown with a large amount of Mastery.
- Treacherous Covenant provides a lot of primary stats while above 50%, but also increases damage taken by 15% while below 20% health. Taking 15% increased damage when you are below 20% is far from optimal, but in many situations, even without 15% increased damage, you would still die from a raid boss hitting you if you are still below 20% for the next hit. It has high uptime, but overall is not optimal for a tank. It is still a great damage dealing trait.
- Seductive Power provides a good amount of stats, however it requires some movement to maintain, which can be complicated at times and greatly reduce its effectiveness.
- Battlefield Focus and Battlefield Precision only deals damage but is one the stronger traits for pure damage.
- Thunderous Blast only deals damage but is also one of the stronger traits for pure damage.
- Indomitable Justice provides fair single-target damage that you are able to benefit from most of the time.
- Rezan's Fury only deals damage, and relies on the DoT ticking for 12 seconds to do damage, which is not always the case in dungeons.
- Meticulous Scheming provides a solid Haste buff.
- Champion of Azeroth is hard to obtain but good and reliable secondary stats.
- Unstable Catalyst can only be obtained on one item, but is a good trait.
- Tidal Surge provides pure damage as well as a small slow for a few seconds.
- Grace of the Justicar is generally a healing trait, but it deserves a special mention as it can provide a fair amount of raid-healing in very rare situations, but only in those situations where the whole raid is constantly below 100% health. This is mostly useful on Mythic Jaina in BoD, and is a very weak trait for other content.
3.2.4. C Tier
- Secrets of the Deep has good uptime on the main stat, but requires moving around.
- Inner Light provides a small AoE DPS increase if played correctly, but has an internal cooldown causing it to not deal damage often. The block it provides is mostly redundant but in AoE situations it has value.
- Ruinous Bolt only deals damage to nearby enemies when it procs.
- Incite the Pack provides you with some Mastery as well as two allies with a very small Mastery buff.
- Judicious Defense performs very poorly due to rather low numbers, as well as not having very reliable uptime. This works better against enemies which attack fast, but with smaller attacks.
- Blightborne Infusion is a rather big buff, however since it is to Critical Strike it is defensively weak.
- Tradewinds provides both you with a Mastery effect, and up to 2 allies with a minor Mastery effect; it is a low impact buff that helps others as well.
- Swirling Sands provides Critical Strike and is defensively weak.
- Dagger in the Back is an obvious damage dealer trait; it performs very poorly for tanks outside of sustained single target due to its positional requirement.
3.3. Third Ring
3.3.1. S Tier
- Ablative Shielding is our strongest raid-oriented trait, but it loses some value in Mythic+ or rather, when AoE tanking. It is able to proc frequently, as you are likely to go below 40% rather often.
- Overwhelming Power provides a Haste buff which diminishes when you are hit. It is strong against a single target, and while slightly weaker when AoE tanking, it is still a strong trait. It can still only lose one stack per second from attacks, no matter how many hits you take.
3.3.2. A Tier
- Azerite Veins has an unreliable proc, but provides solid healing over time. It does well in Mythic+, and rather weak in raids if you get topped up to full Health too fast.
- Lifespeed, Blood Siphon, and On My Way are all reliable passive traits with a small amount of secondary as well as tertiary stats.
- Crystalline Carapace has rather low impact, but is very reliable.
- Woundbinder provides a small amount of Haste with a fair uptime as it can proc from Judgment of Light as well.
3.3.3. B Tier
- Elemental Whirl gives good uptime on random secondary stats.
- Strength in Numbers is unreliable but very strong when it procs. It is only useful for Mythic+.
- Gutripper is good for damage, more so in extended periods sub 30% health.
- Heed My Call provides nice AoE damage in Mythic+.
- Azerite Globules is good for AoE damage.
3.3.4. C Tier
- Shimmering Haven has an unreliable and small proc compared to some other effects.
- Earthlink provides a weak Strength buff that varies in value.
- Unstable Flames can be hard to maintain but is average for damage.
- Winds of War has a short duration, but it is maintained most of the time; that said, Dodge is not a reliable stat.
3.4. Fourth Ring
All healing traits in this Inner Ring are fairly small by themselves but having several Azerite items with the same trait can be effective.
3.4.1. S Tier
- Gemhide is an overall great trait, as this effectively has 100% uptime in any dangerous situation, increasing both Avoidance and Armor. Overall it is great for survival. Generally, this is the best trait in Raids.
- Impassive Visage has a small, but reliable and frequent effect. Generally, this is the best trait in Mythic+.
3.4.2. A Tier
- Vampiric Speed is very useful in Mythic+, but can have limited uses in raids except encounters that spawn adds.
3.4.3. B Tier
- Bulwark of the Masses is reliable with timing when it can be used in Mythic+.
- Resounding Protection while reliable, has a very long cooldown.
- Empyreal Ward grants the target of Lay on Hands a minor armor buff for 1 minute.
- Gallant Steed is nice to have one of for cooldown reduction, but it is very weak otherwise.
- Longstrider benefits from being stacked (in the maximum amount it can stack to, but not the percentage of the secondary stats that are turned into movement speed).
3.4.4. C Tier
- Stalwart Protector can help the raid out as a very minor raid cooldown, and can be stacked with other Paladins.
- Self Reliance is useless for tanks.
4. Reorigination Array
All of the Azerite gear that drops from bosses within Uldir has 1 of the 2 Uldir-specific Azerite traits on it, Archive of the Titans or Laser Matrix. These traits are always present on the Outer Ring. In addition to those traits' effects, there is a secondary buff that you gain called Reorigination Array. Reorigination Array requires that you have at least one Uldir-specific trait active on an Azerite piece. Additionally, it is only active when you are in Uldir. Having more than one Uldir-specific Azerite trait active does not buff or stack Reorigination Array.
Each week you kill three bosses in Uldir, the secondary stat gained from Reorigination Array increases by 75. It grants your highest secondary stat. This caps out at 750 secondary stat (10 stacks). For example, say you have more Haste compared to your other secondary stats, and you have killed 6 bosses total, split between 2 weeks. Reorigination Array would grant you 150 Haste while you are inside Uldir (again, as long as you have an Uldir-specific trait active).
Due to this design, these Uldir-specific traits start off being rather weak, but as the weeks go by and more secondary stat is added to Reorigination Array, they will quickly overtake other traits. While inside the Uldir raid, you need to always have one of the Uldir traits on a piece of gear to activate Reorigination Array, even if this means going down in item level or losing other valuable traits and gets more and more important each week. You should aim to always have Reorigination Array provide Haste to get as much value from it as possible.
5. Find Azerite Armor By Trait/Power
In the table below, you can see all of the Azerite gear available to your Protection Paladin. By using the + button located next to each item, you can expand the list of Azerite powers that this item possesses (to collapse the list, simply click the - button).
If you want to filter items according to the powers that they offer, you can use the filters below.
- 12 Mar. 2019: Added note about critical hits to Righteous Conviction.
- 05 Mar. 2019: Added BiS list, Grace of the Justicar and Judicious Defense.
- 20 Jan. 2019: Added Season 2 Outer Ring and the new traits.
- 12 Dec. 2018: Added new trait Empyreal Ward.
- 10 Dec. 2018: Added new trait Righteous Conviction.
- 21 Nov. 2018: Revamped the page with S-B Tier list.
- 02 Sep. 2018: Added Uldir raid traits and minor rearrangements.
- 20 Aug. 2018: Revamped the page, and added traits.
- 13 Aug. 2018: Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
- 09 Aug. 2018: Page added.
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