Protection Paladin Tank Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities — Shadowlands 9.0.2

Last updated on Nov 23, 2020 at 23:52 by Panthea 23 comments
General Information

On this page, you will learn how to optimize the rotation of your Protection Paladin, depending on the type of damage you will be tanking. We also have advanced sections about cooldowns, procs, etc. in order to maximize your survivability and DPS. All our content is updated for World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.0.2.

If you were looking for WoW Classic content, please refer to our Classic Protection Paladin Tank rotation.

1.

Rotation for Protection Paladins

The Protection Paladin rotation is based on a priority system. The main goal with your rotation is to generate Holy Power that you can spend on Shield of the Righteous Icon Shield of the Righteous charges while also maintaining Consecration Icon Consecration uptime. In addition to this rotation, you will have to make use of your Shield of the Righteous Icon Shield of the Righteous (and to a lesser extent your Word of Glory Icon Word of Glory) to stay alive.

If you are new to playing Protection Paladin, you can follow the Easy Mode page to when still in learning, that explains things in an easier way.

You can take a lot of this information with you to when you rung Mythic+ dungeons, however the Mythic+ page is more dedicated to situations you constantly encounter in such instances.

2.

Single Target Rotation for Protection Paladin

Please note that Active Mitigation or defensive cooldowns are discussed further down the page, as you generally have to juggle these independently of the rest of your rotation.

The priority system is not very complicated, since all abilities have different cooldowns, and you basically just press whatever comes off cooldown next. When two abilities are ready at the same time, you prioritize accordingly. Having downtime and not having any abilities you can cast is not uncommon.

This rotation is not only the best for damage, it also provides the best Holy Power generation for survival.

You want to always try to make sure you are currently standing inside your own Consecration Icon Consecration to reduce damage intake. Usually, during your rotation, you will get a chance to refresh it early when all other abilities are on cooldown. By tracking the uptime of Consecration, you should be ready a few seconds before it will run out to be ready to prioritize it above most of your usual rotational abilities. Keep in mind that due to your Grand Crusader Icon Grand Crusader passive, there is always a chance for your Avenger's Shield to have its cooldown reset.

If you are specced into Seraphim Icon Seraphim, you will want to use it on cooldown to deal as much damage as possible; you should always try to pair Avenging Wrath Icon Avenging Wrath up with every third Seraphim by waiting with using Avenging Wrath until the third Seraphim is ready.

3.

Multiple Target Rotation for Protection Paladin

Against two targets, our rotation stays the same as in single target, but against 3+ targets the only difference is that Avenger's Shield Icon Avenger's Shield gets priority. Coupled with First Avenger Icon First Avenger, this becomes a huge difference in AoE damage against 5 targets. While both Hammer of the Righteous Icon Hammer of the Righteous and Blessed Hammer Icon Blessed Hammer deals damage in AoE situations, it is rarely ever worth prioritizing them above Judgment Icon Judgment or Hammer of Wrath Icon Hammer of Wrath.

4.

Active Mitigation for Protection Paladins

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 is a heal, so it does not really mitigate damage).

4.1.

Shield of the Righteous

Shield of the Righteous Icon Shield of the Righteous is your main damage mitigation ability. It costs 3 Holy Power, and each cast grants you a 4.5-second buff that increases your Armor (the amount of Armor is increased by your Strength). Shield of the Righteous deals damage to all enemies directly in front of you and does not require a target to cast.

Shield of the Righteous is off the global cooldown, so you can easily fit it in together with your normal rotation. The exact timing for when to use it depends greatly on your circumstances, but in general, you should aim to have it active whenever you are taking significant amounts of damage. You want to never cap out at 5 Holy Power while using a Holy Power generating ability, but you also want to avoid using Shield of the Righteous Icon Shield of the Righteous when at 3 Holy Power, as you may not have time to build up the Holy Power again should you need it right after each other.

Under normal circumstances it is not possible to keep 100% uptime for an extended period of time, so be ready for the higher damage intake after it fades.

4.2.

Word of Glory

Word of Glory Icon Word of Glory costs 3 Holy Power and is a small heal which is increased by your missing health.

Given its cost of Holy Power, you should wait to use Word of Glory until your health is at a comfortably low level (around 30-50% health) to gain the highest possible benefit from it without dying. Every 5 casts of Shield of the Righteous Icon Shield of the Righteous will cause give you a buff that makes your next Word of Glory free to cast. While this buff is active, you can not gain more Shining Light Icon Shining Light charges.

In certain situations, it is also worth taking a hit or two without Shield of the Righteous Icon Shield of the Righteous active (only do this when you can do it safely), but as soon as the hit lands, you instantly heal yourself back up and apply mitigation; that way, you can buy yourself a few seconds buy you time to build up Holy Power for Shield of the Righteous.

5.

Taunting

Hand of Reckoning Icon Hand of Reckoning is your taunting ability. It only works on a single target and has an 8-second cooldown, forcing the target to attack you for 3 seconds (even if you currently have an immunity effect active), putting you on top of the mob's threat table, and causing you to generate 3 times more threat for 3 seconds.

6.

Cooldown Usage for Protection Paladins

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 provides you with a 50% damage reduction for 8 seconds, on a 5-minute cooldown. You should use this before a period of large damage, or when you are unable to use Shield of the Righteous Icon Shield of the Righteous.
  • Ardent Defender Icon Ardent Defender is another powerful defensive ability, with a 2-minute cooldown and an 8-second duration. It reduces all damage taken by 20% while it is active, and it causes the first killing blow against you to heal you up to 12% of your maximum health instead of killing you (the latter effect consumes the Ardent Defender). This ability is best used to bypass deadly encounter mechanics, or to save your life in critical moments. It also allows you to play at low health and still be safe.
  • Avenging Wrath Icon Avenging Wrath increases both damage done and healing done by 20%, as well as gives your Paladin abilities 20% critical strike chance. This is not only an offensive cooldown, but also very useful defensively when specced into Sanctified Wrath Icon Sanctified Wrath, as Judgment Icon Judgment will then give you two Holy Power per cast.
  • Lay on Hands Icon Lay on Hands is essentially a massive heal with a very long cooldown. It will heal you (or a targeted ally) for your maximum health, with a 10-minute cooldown. It is best used as an emergency heal, either for yourself or another raid member, if you are unable to cast Word of Glory Icon Word of Glory due to its global cooldown, or because you recently used it.
  • Divine Shield Icon Divine Shield makes you immune to all damage for 8 seconds. Normally, this ability is difficult to use while tanking (since the boss will immediately attack the next target on the threat table unless you Taunt it, and only lasts for 3 seconds), but it can be employed to clear certain debuffs, or to avoid fatal encounter mechanics. Final Stand Icon Final Stand however, turns Divine Shield into a usable tank cooldown that makes you immune to damage while also forcing all enemies to attack you.

You also gain additional cooldowns and abilities from your talents. We cover these in a subsequent section.

7.

Optional Read: Mastering Your Protection Paladin

While the information we gave in the previous section will yield very good results, there are a few things you should be aware of, in order to play your Protection Paladin to its full potential.

7.1.

Creative Divine Shield Usage

Divine Shield Icon Divine Shield (and to a lesser extent, Blessing of Protection Icon Blessing of Protection) frequently allow you to bypass or break certain encounter mechanics. While this sort of thing is usually an advanced technique, there are some simple tricks that you can use to great effect, even if you are not an experienced Protection Paladin.

7.1.1.

Divine Shield Taunting

Taunting a boss with Hand of Reckoning Icon Hand of Reckoning forces them to attack you for 3 seconds (commonly called a "3-second fixate"). You can use this in combination with Divine Shield Icon Divine Shield to "cheese" certain mechanics. Simply cast Reckoning and then immediately cast Divine Shield. Then, use a macro such as this one to cancel Divine Shield about 2 seconds later. The idea is that while the 3-second fixate is up, the boss will continue to attack you, despite you being shielded by Divine Shield. For this reason, it is important to cancel Divine Shield before the 3 second fixate is up.

You can use this to remove many harmful debuffs (most DoTs and bleeds), or to avoid an otherwise fatal attack. Also note that some attacks do bypass Divine Shield, and this trick will obviously not work for those effects.

7.1.2.

Avoiding Mechanics

There are a number of encounter mechanics that choose a random target (or several random targets) from amongst a raid group. Many of these effects ignore players that are immune having such effects applied when targets are being chosen. By using Divine Shield Icon Divine Shield at the appropriate time, you can often divert the target choice to another player, or in many cases eliminate the spell cast entirely, resulting in an easier encounter.

7.1.3.

Blessing of Protection

Blessing of Protection Icon Blessing of Protection lets you pull many of the same tricks on other players (since you can cast it on any raid member). It removes many Physical DoTs and bleeds. In a raid team with several Paladins, this can eliminate the danger from an otherwise complicated mechanic.

In addition, mobs that fixate on a random player often ignore that the target is in fact immune from Blessing of Protection. This is particularly helpful when the mob targets a caster or healer, as it can allow them to skip kiting a mob and maintain their full DPS/HPS output.

Finally, Blessing of Protection frequently bypasses the target-selection mechanics the same way Divine Shield does. Casting Blessing of Protection on a player before the target-selection process can ensure that they do not get chosen. This can allow them to move to locations that would otherwise be dangerous to themselves or the raid.

Keep in mind that if you take the tier 4 Blessing of Spellwarding Icon Blessing of Spellwarding talent, your Blessing of Protection Icon Blessing of Protection is replaced by this new ability that instead protects against Magic damage and sometimes prevents the application of debuffs. It does, however, not remove Magic debuffs like Divine Shield Icon Divine Shield does.

7.2.

Abilities and Cooldowns from Talents

7.2.1.

Tier 4 Talents

Blessing of Spellwarding Icon Blessing of Spellwarding replaces Blessing of Protection Icon Blessing of Protection, causing it to instead grant magic damage immunity. Its usage remains largely the same as for Blessing of Protection, but is adapted to magic damage.

7.2.2.

Tier 5 Talents

Holy Avenger Icon Holy Avenger can guarantee 100% uptime on Shield of the Righteous Icon Shield of the Righteous for its full duration, and then some. Every ability that generates Holy Power will then generate 3 Holy Power, meaning one Shield of the Righteous every time. This is way more Holy Power than you would need, and Shield of the Righteous caps at 13.5 seconds.

If you have chosen Seraphim Icon Seraphim, you will generally want to try and use it as soon as possible every time it is available to get the most effectiveness out of it in terms of offensive value. Remember that this comes at a small survivability loss (due to it consuming Holy Power), so only use it when it is safe to do so (you are not actively tanking or the boss damage is low). However, due to Shield of the Righteous only reducing Physical damage, in the absence of threatening Physical damage Seraphim becomes fairly decent at reducing damage.

7.2.3.

Tier 6 Talents

Hand of the Protector Icon Hand of the Protector can be used to help with off-healing a bit. But due to Word of Glory Icon Word of Glory already being able to be cast on other players, the talent only makes it slightly stronger without fundamentally changing Word of Glory. This means an unempowered Word of Glory may be strong enough to push someone out of harm's way without the talent.

7.2.4.

Tier 7 Talents

Final Stand Icon Final Stand allows you to continue tanking (and forces all targets within 15 yards to attack you) for the duration of your Divine Shield Icon Divine Shield. Obviously, this turns Divine Shield into an even more powerful cooldown, and can be used to completely negate boss mechanics for 8 seconds.

To maximize the uptime of Avenging Wrath Icon Avenging Wrath-powered Seraphim Icon Seraphims, your best option is still to use Seraphim on cooldown and delay using Avenging Wrath by 15 seconds until Seraphim becomes ready again. This does, however, give you the flexibility to choose if you want 5 seconds of Avenging Wrath before or after Seraphim, which can be a nice trick to know depending on the fight.

7.3.

Auras as a Protection Paladin

With Shadowlands comes the return of Auras and each Aura will be used in a specific scenario.

  • Devotion Aura Icon Devotion Aura: When active, this Aura will reduce the damage everyone in range takes by 3%. This Aura will be used by default, the only exceptions to this are when you have multiple Paladins in the group, where one will use another Aura to ensure you all benefit from multiple Auras. In the scenario you have a Holy Paladin in the group, they should use Devotion Aura Icon Devotion Aura as their Aura Mastery Icon Aura Mastery will empower it to make it stronger.
  • Retribution Aura Icon Retribution Aura: When active, this Aura will give you a Avenging Wrath Icon Avenging Wrath for 8 seconds. This Aura will likely be used when there are multiple Paladins in the group and one has Devotion Aura Icon Devotion Aura active.
  • Crusader Aura Icon Crusader Aura: When active, this will increase all mounted speed by 20% for all players in range. Interestingly, this also applies to Divine Steed Icon Divine Steed. This Aura will primarily be used when you are mounted.
8.

Changelog

  • 23 Nov. 2020: Updated for Shadowlands.
  • 29 Oct. 2020: Removed reference to Light of the Protector.
  • 26 Oct. 2020: Added section on Auras.
  • 13 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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