Protection Paladin Tank Easy Mode — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1
On this page, we explain how to easily play Protection Paladin in World of Warcraft — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1, using the simplest rotation, talent tree, stat priority, gear setup, etc., without sacrificing performance.
This page is intended for players who are new to the game or class, have no intentions of raiding Mythic difficulty, or simply want a more straightforward way to play their specialization without being overwhelmed by the numerous subtleties and active abilities that need to be taken into consideration for optimal play.
2. The Basics of Protection Paladins
Protection Paladins are tanks with a very versatile skill set. In general, your damage intake varies depending on whether or not Shield of the Righteous is active. It is important to get comfortable and not panic just because you get low on health, as you have great tools to get yourself out of low-health situations. No other tank class has quite the array of tricks and utility up their sleeve that a Paladin does.
Aside from keeping yourself alive and healthy, you have a variety of abilities that can help the rest of your team out to ensure the best possible outcome of the encounter.
3. Talent Choice for Protection Paladins
These choices are optimized for ease of use. That said, only viable talents are suggested and the gains in survivability and DPS from choosing only the "best" talents are not game-breaking.
- Level 15: Holy Shield
- Level 30: Crusader's Judgment
- Level 45: Fist of Justice
- Level 60: Cavalier or Blessing of Spellwarding (against heavy magic damage)
- Level 75: Final Stand
- Level 90: Judgment of Light for raids, Consecrated Ground for Dungeons
- Level 100: Righteous Protector for raids, Last Defender for Dungeons
4. Stat Choice for Protection Paladins
Currently, item level is by far the most important aspect of gearing as all stats outside of Critical Strike are extremely similar. If at all possible you would want to prioritize like this:
- Critical Strike.
5. Basic Rotation for Protection Paladins
The main goal with your rotation is to generate Shield of the Righteous charges while also maintaining Consecration uptime.
- Cast Judgment
- Cast Consecration IF you are not standing in it.
- Cast Avenger's Shield
- Cast Hammer of the Righteous
- Cast Consecration
The Protection Paladin rotation is not very complicated, since all abilities have different cooldowns, and you basically just press whatever is coming off cooldown next. When two abilities are ready at the same time, you prioritize according to the list above. Having downtime with nothing to cast is not uncommon. Note that casting Consecration overwrites any previously active Consecration on the ground.
Note that the above-mentioned points do not include your active mitigation (covered further down the page).
6. Azerite Traits
6.1. Protection Paladin Traits
When obtaining Azerite gear you should always be a look out for these traits in the Outer and Second Rings:
- Inspiring Vanguard, where the Strength stacks but the 5% does not. You want one of these traits.
- Soaring Shield, where the Mastery stacks but the extra target does not. You want one of these traits in Mythic+
- Bulwark of Light gives a shield whenever you use Avenger's Shield.
6.2. Other Ring Traits
Most Azerite traits are fairly low-impact and end up doing mostly minor damage or minor healing, however all traits can become very strong if you are able to stack them in all 3 Azerite item slots.
7. Active Mitigation Abilities for Protection Paladins
Shield of the Righteous and Light of the Protector are your two active mitigation abilities (though Light of the Protector is a heal, so it does not really mitigate damage). Since Shield of the Righteous is off the Global Cooldown it is easy to fit in whenever best suited to reduce physical damage intake, without upsetting your rotation. However, due to Light of the Protector being on the global cooldown, it is likely to delay your rotation when used. There is no issue with this if the heal will save your life.
Optimal Shield of the Righteous timing depends greatly on your circumstances, but in general, you should aim to have it active whenever you are taking significant amounts of damage, while always making sure that at least one of its charges is used so that you do not waste the recharge time. Ideally, when tanking, you want to try to keep at least 1 charge in reserve in case of emergencies, and if you know a longer period of damage intake is coming, save two charges. Under normal circumstances, it is not possible to keep 100% uptime for an extended period of time, so be ready for the damage coming in after it fades. Your Avenger's Shield empowers both the damage and Armor of your next Shield of the Righteous cast by 20%. You want to try to avoid casting Shield of the Righteous twice right after each other and give some time for an Avenger's Shield cast in between.
Effective self-healing from Light of the Protector is essential, as a big heal can turn the tide, while a small heal will be useless and put the spell on cooldown. If you are slowly getting low on health, you can reliably wait until you drop down to 30-50% remaining health before casting it to maximize the heal. If the boss has abilities that deal burst damage, try to either time it to heal you up before the hit if you are not full health, or time it right after a big attack has hit, so your health goes right back instantly. Light of the Protector being on the global cooldown complicates timing your heal perfectly, so do not use it too late.
8. Cooldown Usage for Protection Paladins
Due to the strength of Shield of the Righteous, it is best to try to use these cooldowns when Shield of the Righteous is not available, in order to smooth the damage intake, as very rarely will you need a cooldown AND Shield of the Righteous.
- Guardian of Ancient Kings should be used before a period of high damage intake, or when your healers are unable to heal you for a while.
- Ardent Defender is best used to bypass deadly encounter mechanics, or to save your life in critical moments. As it is our fastest recharging cooldown, it is usually the first one we choose to use when we want a little bit of damage reduction, so do not be afraid of using it often.
- Avenging Wrath increases damage done and healing done by 20%, as well as 20% critical strike chance. This is a good offensive cooldown, but also very useful defensively for self healing.
- Lay on Hands should be used as an emergency reactive cooldown to top yourself off when you have dropped low on health. Note that you can also use it to save other raid members.
- Divine Shield can be used to clear debuffs or avoid fatal damage as you are immune to damage for its duration. Final Stand turns Divine Shield into a usable tank cooldown that makes you immune to damage while also forcing all enemies to attack you, without the Final Stand talent however, the boss will not attack you and instead move to the next target on the threat table.
- 20 Jan. 2019: Minor edits with Season two Azerite Rings.
- 10 Dec. 2018: Minor edits for talent and Azerite recommendations.
- 02 Sep. 2018: Minor edits on Azerite and Talent recommendations.
- 13 Aug. 2018: Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
- 09 Aug. 2018: Added Azerite recommendations to page.
- 18 Jul. 2018: Swapped Unbreakable to default.
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