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Protection Paladin Tank Gear, Legendaries, and Best in Slot (BfA 8.0.1)

Last updated on Jul 16, 2018 at 16:35 by Treckie 4 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

This page is a gear reference for Protection Paladins. It lists your best items and Legendaries, gives you gearing advice, and shows you how you will be competing for loot with other classes.

The other pages of our Protection Paladin guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.

About Our Author

This guide has been written by Treckie, a long-time leading Protection Paladin who has competed for world first kills for 5 years. He is one of the casters for both last year's and this year's upcoming Mythic Dungeon invitational. You can watch his stream on Twitch and you can follow him on Twitter.

1. Best in Slot List for Protection Paladins

We are currently not providing a Best in Slot list, but we do make trinket, set bonus, and legendary item recommendations below.

When it comes to gear, the item level of the items always comes in question, thus a list to blindly follow will not do much good, since any item can be competitive if it comes with a socket or if it is sufficiently Warforged/Titanforged. Defensively, the only thing to really try to avoid are items with Critical Strike. A general rule of thumb is that if the item has Critical Strike, it needs to be either 5 item levels higher OR have a socket to really compete with a piece that has Haste and Mastery/Versatility.

Mythic+ can also proc high item level pieces, which means they are highly competitive as well, and if you have some at a high item level they are likely to be some of your strongest trinkets.

2. Trinkets for Protection Paladins

2.1. Non-Raid Trinkets

Darkmoon Deck: Immortality Icon Darkmoon Deck: Immortality is one of the strongest trinkets out there for reliable Physical damage reduction, despite its item level being capped at 900.

Writhing Heart of Darkness Icon Writhing Heart of Darkness has a very high and reliable uptime of solid damage reduction, although it requires you to deal damage to the target constantly. It loses strength where you might be running in and out of melee range or swapping targets a lot, but for single target, it is very powerful.

Unstable Arcanocrystal Icon Unstable Arcanocrystal provides lots of secondary stats and because of it, this is a strong trinket despite its item level; its strength and weakness comes from being passive.

Toe Knee's Promise Icon Toe Knee's Promise is one of the strongest AoE trinkets you can obtain. Its damage is dealt over a couple of seconds and you want to make sure you can stack all targets on top of each other to maximize its damage.

Horn of Valor Icon Horn of Valor provides a lot of on-demand Strength. This is great for dishing out more damage since its cooldown lines up with that of Avenging Wrath Icon Avenging Wrath, which results in very high damage when coupled with Seraphim Icon Seraphim.

Mac'Aree Focusing Amethyst Icon Mac'Aree Focusing Amethyst is always a Haste stat stick. There are several other trinkets that can be Strength Haste stat sticks, and any of them work just as well. A high item level stat stick is a very solid option, both defensively and offensively.

Memento of Angerboda Icon Memento of Angerboda is comparable to most stat trinkets but instead has a proc than passive stats, while less reliable than passive stats it provides a lot more damage when it does proc.

2.2. Raid Trinkets

Aggramar's Conviction Icon Aggramar's Conviction is a Strength stat stick together with a Versatility proc that is fairly small. While the Aggramar's Fortitude proc will heal you to full health, due to it being unreliable when that actually happens (and only works in Antorus), the trinket does not have great personal value right away. With that being said, you will be able to slowly upgrade this trinket to item level 1000 and it starts outshining other trinkets, and it greatly helps the rest of the raid to obtain the Pantheon proc to empower their trinkets, making it a lot more attractive to use in Antorus.

Aman'Thul's Vision Icon Aman'Thul's Vision is essentially an item level 1000 Unstable Arcanocrystal Icon Unstable Arcanocrystal. It is great for all the same reasons that Unstable Arcanocrystal is great, but in addition to that, it has two other procs. 2200 Avoidance straight-up caps you at 20%, and it adds about 10% Leech which is pretty good; the speed is always welcome as well. When empowered by the Pantheon, it is a lot of Strength for damage purposes, but best of all is that it is another way to empower Pantheon trinkets, as this needs 4 unique Pantheon buffs to work (only in Antorus). Note that this trinket is legendary but does not count as a legendary when counting how many you can have equipped; it does instead count as a Pantheon trinket, of which you can only have one.

Apocalypse Drive Icon Apocalypse Drive is a perfect trinket for Protection Paladins. Stat wise, it has Haste and the on-use effect is where it really shines. This trinket, when used, absorbs a lot of damage on the next 10 melee attacks against you for the next 20 seconds. If you are AoE tanking, the effect will be used up quickly, but it is usually very effective as you are rarely AoE tanking multiple enemies that hit much harder than the shield, and the cooldown will also be considerably shorter.

Diima's Glacial Aegis Icon Diima's Glacial Aegis is a really strong trinket that gives you armor on demand with a short cooldown. Its about 170 Armor for 12 seconds on a 1-minute cooldown is really solid against any fight with periods of increased physical damage intake. It also deals a lot of AoE damage when used, as well as slowing all enemies by 70% to allow you to kite easily.

Eye of F'harg Icon Eye of F'harg/Eye of Shatug Icon Eye of Shatug is an interesting trinket pair you can swap between mid-fight. Defensively, with the high Stamina and Versatility, Eye of Shatug is a strong option against encounters with incoming magic damage; it will just increase your survivability flat out. Eye of F'harg is a weaker option defensively, but instead features Strength and Armor. It also provides a very small buff to the other tank should he be wearing one as well.

Riftworld Codex Icon Riftworld Codex features 3 defensive procs that all heal or shield you. It is a solid defensive option to help with self-sustain due to its frequent procs for 5mans where you constantly jump in and out of combat.

Smoldering Titanguard Icon Smoldering Titanguard is the trinket to use against big hits this tier. While the shield is going to be incredibly big, it will only last for 3 seconds, and you can not move or use abilities meanwhile. This one is a strong option against bosses with really hard-hitting abilities that tanks have to soak with big cooldowns.

3. Tier 21 Set Bonuses for Protection Paladins

These set bonuses give you flat-out block chance that is not affected by diminishing returns. These bonuses, coupled with Holy Shield Icon Holy Shield (also unaffected by diminishing returns) makes it super easy to reach really high block chance. Once you have acquired the 2-piece and 4-piece, it is advised to defensively almost always use Holy Shield, as your chance to block things is naturally really high.

Note that against abilities that can be blocked, but which you would need to have Shield of the Righteous up for anyway, the 4-piece is actually useless. The 4-piece's strongest case is against low/medium incoming damage that you will survive fine without Shield of the Righteous Icon Shield of the Righteous in the first place as a form of just general damage reduction.

These Set Bonuses are mainly only defensive, even though having higher block chance with Holy Shield Icon Holy Shield will make enemies take some reflected damage, but in doing so, you lose out on Blessed Hammer Icon Blessed Hammer as an offensive tool.

The best Set Pieces, in order, are:

  1. shoulders;
  2. chest;
  3. legs;
  4. gloves;
  5. cloak;
  6. helm.

The 2-piece Tier 20 Set Bonus is still decently strong and will still be preferred for DPS, if you can get some high Titanforged pieces (this is especially good on AoE, since Avenger's Shield Icon Avenger's Shield is your hardest-hitting ability and it hits multiple targets).

4. Legendary Items for Protection Paladins

Legendary items have a high item level of 265, which makes them extremely strong. They are so strong, in fact, that a legendary item is always going to be worth equipping over any other item you might have in that slot.

However, there is a limitation on the number of legendary items you can have equipped at any one time (by default 1, but by now most players should be able to equip 2). Since some legendary items are better than others, if you have more items than the limit, you will have to choose which ones to equip.

Below, we will do our best to guide you through this process, as well as provide any other relevant information.

Saruan's Resolve Icon Saruan's Resolve adds a second charge to your Light of the Protector Icon Light of the Protector, which is very strong in any healing situation, and it also reduces the cooldown slightly. It should always be coupled with the Hand of the Protector Icon Hand of the Protector talent for quick healing and off-healing. This is by far the best survivability legendary you have, giving you a lot more flexibility with healing yourself.

Pillars of Inmost Light Icon Pillars of Inmost Light reduces the cooldown of Ardent Defender Icon Ardent Defender by 25%. Together with Unbreakable Spirit Icon Unbreakable Spirit it can reduce its cooldown down to just over a minute. Reducing its cooldown to half is fairly significant, and should you find yourself needing to use it much more often, it is a solid option.

Soul of the Highlord Icon Soul of the Highlord is a very strong legendary defensively if auto-attack damage is relevant. It gives you Holy Shield Icon Holy Shield, but in fact what it gives you is the ability to run both Holy Shield and Blessed Hammer Icon Blessed Hammer. If the auto-attack damage is irrelevant, then Blessed Hammer is defensively irrelevant, and you will be better of speccing into Holy Shield and using another legendary. On any fight where auto-attack damage is threatening, both Blessed Hammer and Holy Shield will help reduce damage intake and the legendary performs very well, and really makes use of the 4-piece Tier 21 Set bonus.

Breastplate of the Golden Val'kyr Icon Breastplate of the Golden Val'kyr is not a strong option against single target. Its real strength comes from being high on stats (and good stats at that). Being able to regularly hit multiple enemies with Avenger's Shield Icon Avenger's Shield greatly increases the potency of this item, such as in Mythic+.

Archimonde's Hatred Reborn Icon Archimonde's Hatred Reborn provides a big absorb shield on a very short cooldown. This is a very strong legendary effect if utilized well. It also explodes for 75% of the damage absorbed, split between all nearby enemies, making it effective both offensively and defensively. Its total usefulness is not amazing, but the absorb is nice to have.

Heathcliff's Immortality Icon Heathcliff's Immortality is a fairly solid legendary, with great stats for you, although its effect is not exactly revolutionary (but still quite good nonetheless). It does better the higher the damage output of the boss is.

Tyelca, Ferren Marcus's Stature Icon Tyelca, Ferren Marcus's Stature provides a sizable DPS increase, and it shines in all 5-man content. In raids, however, its usage is very situational due to few fights constantly having multiple targets to hit.

Sephuz's Secret Icon Sephuz's Secret is a very strong legendary where it can proc, but since it can sometimes be hard to proc in raids, its uses are limited there. It still gives a bit of a benefit when it does not proc, but you definitely want to be able to proc it for it to be effective. It shines in 5-man content, and is one of the better legendaries for Mythic+ or raid encounters where you can reliably proc it. Note that Sephuz will proc off Avenger's Shield Icon Avenger's Shield on most trash mobs.

Prydaz, Xavaric's Magnum Opus Icon Prydaz, Xavaric's Magnum Opus gives you a shield for 15% of your maximum health every 30 seconds; this sounds a lot better than it actually is, which means it produces decent numbers over the course of the fight, but if you do not take advantage of knowing when the shield will come, you are getting a lot less out of this legendary than you could. It has a guaranteed socket, and 3 passive stats, making it passively a decent throughput legendary.

Chain of Thrayn Icon Chain of Thrayn is a decent legendary for damage, but it is overall rather unimpactful. Its main use is that it also increases healing done by an additional 50%, making Light of the Protector Icon Light of the Protector heal you to close to full health every time. If coupled with Hand of the Protector Icon Hand of the Protector, you can also do very solid off-healing to raid members or the co-tank during your burst.

Insignia of the Grand Army Icon Insignia of the Grand Army simply increases all damage done by 2% and all healing done by 2%. Easy to obtain legendary but very minor overall effect.

Rethu's Incessant Courage Icon Rethu's Incessant Courage has great stats, and 3 sockets, so you can add 3 gems of your favorite stat. The heal itself is fairly weak and slow, but realistically it is not why you get this legendary.

Aggramar's Stride Icon Aggramar's Stride is a nice movement and quality of life increase; it is a lifesaver for any progression encounter where more mobility is an important element. That said, it is weak on low movement fights.

Uther's Guard Icon Uther's Guard increases the duration of your blessings and heals their target for a small amount; both of these effects are minimal. If you do have it, there might be some encounter where a 15-second Blessing of Protection Icon Blessing of Protection or Blessing of Spellwarding Icon Blessing of Spellwarding is useful, and an 18-second Blessing of Sacrifice Icon Blessing of Sacrifice can be nice for your co-tank or someone who has a debuff; that said, it is not a very useful legendary.

5. Loot Competition for Protection Paladins

Regarding the loot you will get from raid or dungeon bosses, you will compete with other classes in the following cases:

Item Type Competing Classes
Tier Tokens Demon Hunters, Holy/Retribution Paladins, Priests, and Warlocks
Plate Armor Death Knights, Holy/Retribution Paladins, and Warriors
  • Amulets
  • Cloaks
  • Rings
Trinkets Blood Death Knights, Vengeance Demon Hunters, Feral Druids, Brewmaster Monks, and Protection Warriors
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