Protection Paladin Tank Easy Mode — Shadowlands 9.1
On this page, we explain how to easily play Protection Paladin in World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.1, 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.
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.
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 25: Crusader's Judgment
- Level 30: Fist of Justice
- Level 35: Unbreakable Spirit or Blessing of Spellwarding (against magic damage)
- Level 40: Divine Purpose
- Level 45: Judgment of Light for raids, Consecrated Ground for Dungeons
- Level 50: Righteous Protector
If you want a more in-depth explanation of when what talent is best utilized, the full talent page is linked below.
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.
The stats page will go into more detail on exactly what exactly each stat does for us Paladins.
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 Consecration IF you are not standing in it.
- Cast Judgment
- Cast Hammer of Wrath
- 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.
A quick words on Auras and how to best pick the one for the situation you're 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.
You can go to the rotation page to find out more about the rotation and what it means for Protection Paladins here.
Note that the above-mentioned points do not include your active mitigation (covered further down the page).
Active Mitigation and cooldown Abilities for Protection Paladins
Shield of the Righteous and Word of Glory are your two active mitigation abilities (though Word of Glory 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 Word of Glory 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.
Shield of the Righteous uptime is relatively high under normal play scenarios. Your aim will be to have it as close to 100% as your gear/talents will allow.
However, if you have low amounts of haste you will want to pay attention to not overcapping the buff. It can be extended for 3x the base duration 4.5s x 3 = 13.5s. If you are above 9-second duration, try to avoid pressing Shield of the Righteous unless you are about to go over 5 Holy Power.
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.
- 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.
You can read more about all the spells in the spell summary page.
Covenant Choice for Protection Paladins
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 for Protection Paladin
The Kyrian signature ability is Summon Steward. This 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.
Recommended Kyrian Soulbind
The new final trait, Newfound Resolve, works like the Lady Inerva Darkvein Mythic mechanic, and granting you 12% Strength and Stamina for 15 seconds if you succeed the test. This can be problematic as the add can spawn behind you.
Venthyr Soulbind For Protection Paladin
The Venthyr Covenant Ability is Ashen Hallow. This ability is on a 4-minute cooldown but is very powerful. When used, it creates a large red Consecration-style circle on your targeted location which deals a large amount of damage, allows you to use Hammer of Wrath (which deals double damage), and heals allies in the radius of Ashen Hallow.
The Venthyr signature ability is Door of Shadows. This is a targeted teleport; pick a location that is within line of sight and after a 1.5-second cast you are teleported there.
Recommended Venthyr Soulbind
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 with 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.
The 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 (persists through death)that provides either Strength of 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 Soulbind to Nadjia or Draven the buff will disappear.
You can read more about all of the Covenants on the Covenant page.
Conduit Choice for Protection Paladin
Below is a short list of the best Conduits of each type for Protection Paladin.
Best Potency Conduits for Protection Paladin
Best Endurance Conduits for Protection Paladin
Best Finesse Conduits for Protection Paladin
You can read more about all of the Conduits on the Covenant page.
Legendary Choice for Protection Paladin
In the table below, the recommended slot for each item is bolded.
|Raiding||The Magistrate's Judgment||Wrist or Finger||Xav the Unfallen (Theater of Pain)||Haste and Mastery or Versatility|
|Single-Target DPS||The Mad Paragon||Waist or Feet (after killing Sylvanas Mythic it is worthwhile to re-craft on Waist for a small gain in stats)||Quest: The Great Vault||Haste and Mastery or Versatility|
|Mythic+||Bulwark of Righteous Fury||Shoulder or Finger||High Adjudicator Aleez (Halls of Atonement)||Haste and Mastery or Versatility|
|Torghast||Stable Phantasma Lure||Neck, Wrist or Back||Torghast (Layer 6+)||Haste and Mastery or Versatility|
|Generic Legendary||Holy Avenger's Engraved Sigil||Head or Waist||Torghast (Fracture Chambers, Layer 3+)||Haste and Mastery or Versatility|
You can read more about all of the Legendaries and alternate recommendations for each style of content on the Legendaries page.
- 21 Jul. 2021: Corrected typo in Legendary table column header.
- 18 Jul. 2021: Removed Kyrian M+ Legendary choice.
- 28 Jun. 2021: Updated for Patch 9.1.
- 09 Mar. 2021: Changed recommended Level 50 talent as the previous suggestion was only recommended for expansion launch where gear levels were very low. Updated Pelagos tree. Updated Theotar tree. Added Legendary focus (single-target DPS).
- 05 Jan. 2021: Re-written Shield of the Righteous section to highlight uptime and how to manage it.
- 23 Nov. 2020: Removed BfA info.
- 26 Oct. 2020: Added section on Auras.
- 13 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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