Protection Paladin Tank Easy Mode — The War Within Pre-Patch

Last updated Yesterday at 00:30 by Panthea 55 comments
General Information

On this page, we explain how to easily play Protection Paladin in World of Warcraft — The War Within Pre-Patch, 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 Icon 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 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.

Two default builds are detailed below. These provide a balance of throughput and unique utility. You can also import them as loadouts into the game with either of the "Copy Export String" buttons:


Beginner's Guide to Protection Paladin in The War Within

Single-Target Talents Mythic+/AoE Talents Basic Rotation Defensive Spells

Beginner Single-Target Talents for Protection Paladin

This build is optimal for pure single-target situations.

Be sure to make use of the 'Copy Export String' button to import the best build directly into your game!


Beginner AoE and Mythic+ Talents for Protection Paladin

This is our recommended build for AoE scenarios. This works well for AoE Fights in Raids, as well as most Mythic+.

Be sure to make use of the 'Copy Export String' button to import the best build directly into your game!


Beginner Protection Paladin DPS Rotation

The main goal of your rotation is to generate Shield of the Righteous Icon Shield of the Righteous charges while also maintaining Consecration uptime.

  • Cast Consecration Icon Consecration IF you are not standing in it.
  • Cast Shield of the Righteous Icon Shield of the Righteous when you are at 3-5 Holy Power to prevent overcapping on Holy Power.
  • Cast Judgment Icon Judgment
  • Cast Hammer of Wrath Icon Hammer of Wrath
  • Cast Avenger's Shield Icon Avenger's Shield
  • Cast Blessed Hammer Icon Blessed Hammer/Hammer of the Righteous Icon Hammer of the Righteous
  • Cast Consecration Icon 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 Icon Consecration overwrites any previously active Consecration on the ground.

A quick word on Auras and how to best pick the one for the situation you are in:

  • If you are the only Paladin in your group/raid, you should use Devotion Aura Icon Devotion Aura.
  • If there is a Holy Paladin in your group/raid, they should be using Devotion Aura Icon Devotion Aura, and you should use Retribution Aura Icon Retribution Aura.
  • If there are multiple Paladins in your group/raid, discuss who should use- which aura.
  • If you are mounted, use Crusader Aura Icon 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 in the defensive spells portion of this page).


Defensive Spells for Protection Paladin

Shield of the Righteous Icon Shield of the Righteous and Word of Glory Icon Word of Glory are your two active mitigation abilities (though Word of Glory Icon Word of Glory is a heal, so it does not really mitigate damage). Since Shield of the Righteous Icon 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 Icon 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 healing will save your life.

Shield of the Righteous Icon 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 Icon Shield of the Righteous unless you are about to go over 5 Holy Power.

Due to the strength of Shield of the Righteous Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon Ardent Defender is best used to bypass deadly encounter mechanics or to save your life in critical moments.
  • Avenging Wrath Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon Divine Shield can be used to clear debuffs or avoid fatal damage as you are immune to damage for its duration. Final Stand Icon 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.


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:

  1. Haste;
  2. Mastery;
  3. Versatility;
  4. Critical Strike.

The stats page will go into more detail on exactly what exactly each stat does for us Paladins.



  • 23 Jul. 2024: Updated for The War Within pre-patch.
  • 07 May 2024: Reviewed for 10.2.7.
  • 22 Apr. 2024: Reviewed for Season 4.
  • 19 Mar. 2024: Reviewed for Patch 10.2.6.
  • 15 Jan. 2024: Reviewed for Patch 10.2.5.
  • 06 Nov. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.2
  • 04 Sep. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.1.7
  • 10 Jul. 2023: Updated talent trees for Patch 10.1.5.
  • 01 May 2023: Updated talent trees for Patch 10.1 and included Shield of the Righteous to rotation priority list.
  • 03 Apr. 2023: Added clarification for Blessed Hammer/Hammer of the Righteous.
  • 20 Mar. 2023: Updated both talent builds and talents for Patch 10.0.7 Changes.
  • 24 Jan. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.0.5.
  • 11 Dec. 2022: Reviewed for Dragonflight Season 1.
  • 28 Nov. 2022: Updated for Dragonflight launch.
  • 24 Oct. 2022: Updated for Dragonflight pre-patch.
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