Protection Warrior Tank Azerite Traits/Powers and Armor — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1
Below, we have listed the best choices of Azerite traits for Protection Warrior in World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth, Patch 8.1. When starting the quest campaign, you will be given a Heart of Azeroth. This allows Azerite traits to activate on the pieces of gear you will earn while leveling and at max-level. If you want to read more about this, you can do so by checking our Heart of Azeroth guide.
1. Choosing Azerite Gear as a Protection Warrior
Firstly, if you are upgrading from an Azerite piece that is below 340, that is, it does not have the Middle Ring, to a 340+ piece, always equip that 340+ piece regardless of the traits it has.
As a general rule, an Azerite piece that is 30 item levels higher than your current piece should be equipped regardless of its traits, unless upgrading will cause you to lose your Deafening Crash trait.
- If your current Azerite piece has Deafening Crash on it, you
only want to replace it with another piece that has Deafening Crash on it. If
you get a piece that is a 45+ item level upgrade, it should be equipped
- You can of course replace your Deafening Crash piece with a non-Deafening Crash piece if you have a piece in another slot with the trait. You want to be using the best combination of your Azerite gear. The important thing is that you always have one Deafening Crash trait active.
- When looking at 15 item level upgrades to non-Deafening Crash gear, generally speaking, taking that 15 item level upgrade is worth it. For example, say you obtain a piece that is 15 item levels higher, has the same Middle and Inner traits, but a slightly worse Outer trait. The higher item level piece should be equipped. Say you obtain another piece where all three rings are a downgrade. In that case, you should keep your current piece.
- If a higher item level Azerite piece has the same or similar strength traits, equip it.
Additionally, it is possible that you will obtain a high item level Azerite piece that you cannot activate any traits on, because your Heart of Azeroth is not the required level. In cases like this, continue to use your lower item level piece until you unlock the first tier on the higher item level piece.
Finally, these are not hard rules, but rather guidelines. A lot of this can vary based on your current traits, the available traits on your higher item level gear, etc. Use your best judgement.
2. Choosing Azerite Traits as a Protection Warrior
2.1. Reorigination Array
All of the Azerite gear that drops from bosses within Uldir has 1 of the 2 Uldir-specific Azerite traits on it, Archive of the Titans or Laser Matrix. These traits are always present on the Outer Ring. In additon to those traits' effects, there is a secondary buff that you gain called Reorigination Array. Reorigination Array requires that you have at least one Uldir-specific trait active on an Azerite piece. Additionally, it is only active when you are in Uldir. Having more than one Uldir-specific Azerite trait active does not buff or stack Reorigination Array.
Each week you kill three bosses in Uldir, the secondary stat gained from Reorigination Array increases by 75. It grants your highest secondary stat. This caps out at 750 secondary stat (10 stacks). For example, say you have more Haste compared to your other secondary stats, and you have killed 6 bosses total, split between 2 weeks. Reorigination Array would grant you 150 Haste while you are inside Uldir (again, as long as you have an Uldir-specific trait active).
Due to this design, these Uldir-specific traits start off being rather weak, but as the weeks go by and more secondary stat is added to Reorigination Array, they will quickly overtake other traits. Generally speaking, you will want to use the available spec specific trait on an Uldir Azerite piece until your Reorigination Array reaches 300+ Haste.
For Protection Warriors, Archive of the Titans is the better Uldir trait.
2.2. Outer Ring Traits for Protection Warriors
The Outer Ring will always have one spec specific trait that you can choose. As such, only the spec specific ones for Protection Warriors are ranked here. This is primarily due to the fact that the non spec specific traits rely on randomness, whereas the spec specific ones provide a consistent bonus. Consistency of survivability is extremely important for tanks. In other words, you are always going to pick a spec specific trait in this Ring.
Prioritize the traits in the following order:
Deafening Crash increases Thunder Clap damage and extends the duration of your Demoralizing Shout casts by 2 seconds, up to 6 seconds. In other words, casting Thunder Clap 3 times within a given Demoralizing Shout cast will extend that Demoralizing Shout by 6 seconds. Any additional Thunder Clap casts after the third do not extend the duration. This is a significant increase to Demoralizing Shout uptime and therefore survivability.
Stacking this trait only further increases Thunder Clap damage. No matter how many Deafening Crash traits you have, the Demoralizing Shout extension is always 2 seconds, up to a max of 6 seconds. As such, you will want to have 1 Deafening Crash trait and no more. All of the other spec specific traits' effects do stack, so doubling/tripling up on them is fine.
Brace for Impact increases your Block by a very solid amount, and also increases Shield Slam damage. Each application of Brace for Impact has its own duration (you never refresh the duration of the buff), so you can have multiple "stacks" up at the same time.
Iron Fortress also increases your Block, and blocking an attack deals damage to the attacker.
Bloodsport is a bit unique amongst the rest of these traits as it is not a percent damage reduction, but rather reduces damage by a flat amount. More specifically, it increases the size of your Ignore Pain. The Leech is a nice bonus as well. In most situations, it is a bit worse than the above two traits.
Callous Reprisal causes Revenge to reduce the damage enemies deal to you by 0.5%, stacking up to 3 times. This trait does stack. For example, if you have 3 of these, you would gain 1.5% damage reduction, stacking up to 3 times (for a total of 4.5%). It also increases the damage of your Revenge.
Bastion of Might causes Avatar to grant you an Ignore Pain cast and increase your Mastery for 20 seconds. In most situations, delaying Avatar to better line up the effects of this trait with higher damage intake is not worth the damage loss. As such, this trait can be a bit hit or miss. The other spec specific traits provice a much more consistent survivability increase.
2.3. Ranking System for Middle/Inner Rings
S Tier traits are the strongest traits available. They will provide the most benefit to you in almost all circumstances, and you should aim to get these traits on your gear whenever possible.
A Tier traits are situationally strong or provide good throughput, but are not as strong as S Tier traits in all situations.
B Tier traits are typically weaker bonuses that are either too inconsistent or unreliable for general use, or they provide minor bonuses that do not have a significant impact on your ability to tank.
C Tier traits do not provide relevant tanking-related combat bonuses, and should not be considered for survivability purposes.
The traits within each tier are listed in very rough order from best to worst.
2.4. Middle Ring Traits for Protection Warriors
2.4.1. S Tier
- Azerite Veins grants you a chance on taking damage to heal every 3 seconds for 18 seconds. Reaching full health will cancel this effect early.
- Lifespeed passively increases your Haste and Avoidance.
2.4.2. A Tier
- Crystalline Carapace causes incoming damage that is greater than 10% of your maximum health to grant you Armor and deal damage to your attacker.
- Ablative Shielding causes damage that takes you below 40% of your maximum health to grant you Armor for 10 seconds. Taking further Physical damage will reduce the Armor bonus granted. This can only occur every 30 seconds.
- Blood Siphon passively increases your Mastery and Leech.
- Winds of War causes incoming damage to grant you Dodge for 3 seconds, stacking up to 10 times.
2.4.3. B Tier
- Shimmering Haven grants a chance on taking damage to create a pool beneath your feet for 10 seconds. While you stand in this pool, your maximum health and Armor are increased.
- Earthlink increases your primary stat, with the exact amount cycling between a minimum value and maximum value every 6 seconds.
- Elemental Whirl causes your damaging spells to have a chance to increase one of your secondary stats for 10 seconds.
- Overwhelming Power causes your damaging spells to have a chance to increase your Haste. The amount of Haste granted decreases every second or whenever you take damage.
- Strength in Numbers grants a chance on taking damage to increase your maximum health for each nearby enemy for 15 seconds.
- Unstable Flames causes your damaging spells to have a chance to grant a Critical Strike buff for 5 seconds, stacking up to 5 times.
2.4.4. C Tier
- Heed My Call gives your damaging abilities a chance to deal additional Nature damage to the target, and a smaller amount of damage to nearby targets.
- Gutripper gives your damaging abilities a chance to deal additional Physical damage. This bonus damage occurs more often when the target is below 30% Health.
- Azerite Globules gives your damaging abilities a chance to apply a debuff to your target. This debuff stacks up to 3 times, and when it reaches 3, the target explodes, doing AoE damage.
2.5. Inner Ring Traits for Protection Warriors
2.5.1. S Tier
- Gemhide causes you to gain Avoidance and Armor for 10 seconds when you take damage that exceeds 10% of your maximum health.
- Impassive Visage heals you when you take damage. It can not occur more often than every 6 seconds.
2.5.2. A Tier
- Resounding Protection causes you to gain an absorb shield every 30 seconds.
- Bulwark of the Masses causes you to gain a moderate absorb shield when surrounded by 4 or more enemies, but can only occur once every 15 seconds.
- Moment of Glory causes your Rallying Cry to grant additional health and its duration is increased to 12 seconds.
- Personal Absorb-o-Tron grants you a chance, when taking damage, to gain a large absorb shield for up to 1 minute. This trait is only obtainable through crafting Engineering goggles.
2.5.3. B Tier
- Intimidating Presence causes your Intimidating Shout to reduce the movement speed of affected enemies by 50%, and prevents a small amount of damage from each affected enemy after Intimidating Shout ends. This trait has very little use in raids, but has the potential to prevent a lot of damage in dungeons, depending on the number of enemies.
- Auto-Self-Cauterizer grants you a chance, when taking damage, to self-heal for a large amount and remove most bleed effects as well as slowing nearby enemies by 30% for 5 seconds. This trait is only obtainable through crafting Engineering goggles.
- Vampiric Speed causes you to self-heal and gain Speed for 6 seconds whenever an enemy you damaged dies.
- Azerite Fortification heals you when you are stunned, immobilized, or knocked back.
- Bury the Hatchet causes your Victory Rush to grant you a large Physical absorb for 10 seconds.
2.5.4. C Tier
- Longstrider increases your movement speed by a percentage of your highest secondary stat, with a maximum movement speed gain limit.
- Self Reliance causes you to be healed every 3 seconds while no enemies are within 12 yards of you.
3. Rotational Changes for Protection Warriors
With Deafening Crash, after casting Demoralizing Shout, Thunder Clap becomes your absolute highest priority ability until you have cast Thunder Clap 3 times. Once you have cast Thunder Clap 3 times (this gets you the maximum 6 second extension on Demoralizing Shout), you should return to the normal ability priority.
Here is a WeakAura if you are looking for something to help track that.
If you have a Callous Reprisal trait, you should track the debuff on your target and make sure to maintain 3 (max) stacks of the debuff. This means it is worth forcing/spending Rage on Revenge in order to keep the debuff up, only if doing so still allows enough Rage for Shield Block.
4. Best Azerite Gear for Protection Warriors
4.1. A Note on Deafening Crash Gear
Within Uldir, there are no Azerite pieces with a Deafening Crash trait. As such, there are only three sources of high item level (370+) Azerite gear with a Deafening Crash trait. The weekly Mythic+ chest, the daily Emissary quest, and the Warfront gear cache (or other PvP related rewards). These systems are rather random, and as such it may be some time before you get a high item level Azerite piece with Deafening Crash.
Doing Emissary quests that reward 370 Azerite gear is by far the best way to get your hands on a 370 piece with Deafening Crash on it, so do those as often as you can.
You will want to save all of your high item level Azerite gear because you may receive a high item level Deafening Crash piece in a any of the available slots (head/shoulder/chest).
4.2. Best Azerite Gear for Uldir
Taking all of the above into account, the best combination of Azerite gear possible for Uldir is the following (assuming equal item level):
- Helm: Gridrunner Galea, looted from M.O.T.H.E.R. in Uldir.
- Shoulders: C'thraxxi Binders Pauldrons, looted from the weekly Mythic+ chest.
- Chest: Ashvane Warden's Cuirass, looted from the weekly Mythic+ chest.
The chances that you receive those the Mythic+ pieces from your chest is slim. As mentioned above, hold on to any high item level Azerite gear that you get so you can always make sure you are using the best combination of your available gear.
4.3. Best Azerite Gear Outside of Uldir
In terms of what is best outside of Uldir (since you do not have Reorigination Array), the pieces above are still the best combination. The only caveat being that when you are not raiding, you will want to use the Azerite Reforger to switch the helm's ( Gridrunner Galea) trait over to Brace for Impact.
If doing that becomes too expensive, the following pieces would be best (again, assuming equal item level):
- Helm: Sea-Brawler's Greathelm, looted from the weekly Mythic+ chest.
- Shoulders: Skyscorcher Pauldrons, looted from the weekly Mythic+ chest.
- Chest: Ashvane Warden's Cuirass, looted from the weekly Mythic+ chest.
4.4. Azerite Gear Vendor
Thaumaturge Vashreen (located in Dazar'alor/Boralus) sells item 385 Azerite gear in exchange for Titan Residuum, which is obtained from the weekly Mythic+ chest and by scrapping/disenchanting Azerite gear.
If you are not having any luck getting your best Azerite pieces out of the weekly chest, you can purchase them here. You should save up enough Titan Residuum to buy the pieces you want directly, rather than spending less on the randomly rolled Relinquished pieces.
5. Find Azerite Armor By Trait/Power
In the table below, you can see all of the Azerite gear available to your Protection Warrior. By using the + button located next to each item, you can expand the list of Azerite powers that this item possesses (to collapse the list, simply click the - button).
If you want to filter items according to the powers that they offer, you can use the filters below.
- 10 Dec. 2018: Updated for Patch 8.1.
- 29 Sep. 2018: Reorganized page. Added note about rotational changes with Deafening Crash.
- 10 Sep. 2018: Updated Azerite gear recommendations.
- 18 Aug. 2018: Added note to the item level section. Adjusted the rankings of a couple of traits.
- 13 Aug. 2018: Added Protection Warrior Azerite page.
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