Protection Warrior Tank Azerite Traits/Powers and Armor — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1.5

Last updated on Apr 16, 2019 at 09:37 by Marok 35 comments

Below, we have listed the best choices of Azerite traits for Protection Warrior in World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth, Patch 8.1.5. When starting the quest campaign, you will be given a Heart of Azeroth Icon 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 Icon Deafening Crash trait.

  • If your current Azerite piece has Deafening Crash Icon 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 35+ item level upgrade, it should be equipped regardless.
    • You can of course replace your Deafening Crash Icon 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.

1.1. BfA Season 2 Azerite Gear

Azerite gear that you obtain in BfA Season 2 has an additional Outer Ring on it with class-specific traits. This is not retroactive. That is, Azerite gear that you obtained before Season 2 will not have the new Outer Ring added.

You may end up looting Azerite gear that you already have, but this new piece will have the additional ring on it. Additionally, "Season 2" Azerite gear has ˜20% more Stamina on it compared to the same pre-Season 2 piece of the same item level.

As such, if your current Azerite piece does not have the new ring, and you loot a piece of gear that is the same item level or greater, you should equip that new piece regardless of its traits. You will gain the extra ring of traits and the additional Stamina.

2. Choosing Azerite Traits as a Protection Warrior

2.1. Naming System for Azerite Gear Rings

A piece of Azerite gear has five "rings" or levels to it. The following is how those rings are referred to throughout this guide and what kinds of traits those rings generally contain:

  • 8.1 Ring — Contains only class-specific traits. There are always 2 Protection-specific traits to choose from on this ring.
  • Outer Ring — Contains one Protection-specific trait and one "generic" trait to choose from.
  • Middle Ring — Contains traits that generally provide an offensive and/or defensive benefit.
  • Inner Ring — Contains "utility" traits or traits that provide a defensive benefit.
  • Azerite Empowered — This is at the center of every Azerite piece and increases that piece's item level by 5 once unlocked.

You are able to access these rings in the order that they are listed. That is, 8.1 Ring > Outer > Middle, etc.

Because the 8.1 Ring only contains spec-specific traits, the advice given for the Outer Ring below also applies to the 8.1 Ring.

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 either rely on randomness or are detrimental under certain conditions, 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:

  1. Deafening Crash Icon Deafening Crash (you only want one of these)
  2. Brace for Impact Icon Brace for Impact
  3. Bastion of Might Icon Bastion of Might
  4. Iron Fortress Icon Iron Fortress
  5. Bloodsport Icon Bloodsport
  6. Callous Reprisal Icon Callous Reprisal

Deafening Crash Icon Deafening Crash increases Thunder Clap Icon Thunder Clap damage and extends the duration of your Demoralizing Shout Icon 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 Icon Brace for Impact increases your Block by a very solid amount, and also increases Shield Slam Icon 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.

Bastion of Might Icon Bastion of Might causes Avatar Icon Avatar to grant you an Ignore Pain Icon Ignore Pain cast and increase your Mastery for 20 seconds. On average, this trait provides quite a lot of survivability/damage. In most situations, Avatar Icon Avatar is up enough during active tanking time to justify taking this trait. Just know that, in certain situations, Avatar may line up in a way where it does next to nothing for survivability, in which case you would have been better off picking a different trait.

Iron Fortress Icon Iron Fortress also increases your Block, and blocking an attack deals damage to the attacker.

Bloodsport Icon 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 Icon Ignore Pain. The Leech is a nice bonus as well. In most situations, it is a bit worse than the above traits.

Callous Reprisal Icon Callous Reprisal causes Revenge Icon 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. In practice, the stacks are too difficult to keep up and it generally requires that you sacrifice Rage that could be going towards your active mitigation.

2.2.1. Spec-Specific Trait Rankings for Mythic+

Due to the differences in playstyle and damage intake in Mythic+, the spec-specific traits should be prioritized differently if you are trying to maximize throughput in Mythic+.

  1. Deafening Crash Icon Deafening Crash (you only want one of these)
  2. Bastion of Might Icon Bastion of Might
  3. Iron Fortress Icon Iron Fortress
  4. Bloodsport Icon Bloodsport
  5. Brace for Impact Icon Brace for Impact
  6. Callous Reprisal Icon Callous Reprisal

Bastion of Might Icon Bastion of Might provides a considerable damage and survivability increase when Avatar Icon Avatar is up, and this works very effectively in Mythic+ since you are almost always tanking something.

You tend to cast Shield Slam Icon Shield Slam much less in Mythic+ compared to raids. As such, Iron Fortress Icon Iron Fortress/Bloodsport Icon Bloodsport generally have more value than Brace for Impact Icon Brace for Impact in these situations where you are not able to cast Shield Slam as much.

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.

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

  • Lifespeed Icon Lifespeed passively increases your Haste and Avoidance.
  • Crystalline Carapace Icon Crystalline Carapace causes incoming damage that is greater than 10% of your maximum health to grant you Armor and deal damage to your attacker.
  • Blood Siphon Icon Blood Siphon passively increases your Mastery and Leech.

2.4.2. A Tier

  • Ablative Shielding Icon 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.
  • Winds of War Icon Winds of War causes incoming damage to grant you Dodge for 3 seconds, stacking up to 10 times.
  • Earthlink Icon Earthlink increases your primary stat, with the exact amount cycling between a minimum value and maximum value every 6 seconds.
  • Elemental Whirl Icon Elemental Whirl causes your damaging spells to have a chance to increase one of your secondary stats for 10 seconds.
  • Overwhelming Power Icon 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.
  • Azerite Veins Icon 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.

2.4.3. B Tier

  • Shimmering Haven Icon 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.
  • Strength in Numbers Icon Strength in Numbers grants a chance on taking damage to increase your maximum health for each nearby enemy for 15 seconds.
  • Unstable Flames Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon Gemhide causes you to gain Avoidance and Armor for 10 seconds when you take damage that exceeds 10% of your maximum health.
  • Impassive Visage Icon Impassive Visage heals you when you take damage. It can not occur more often than every 6 seconds.

2.5.2. A Tier

2.5.3. B Tier

  • Intimidating Presence Icon Intimidating Presence causes your Intimidating Shout Icon 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.
  • Vampiric Speed Icon Vampiric Speed causes you to self-heal and gain Speed for 6 seconds whenever an enemy you damaged dies.
  • Bury the Hatchet Icon Bury the Hatchet causes your Victory Rush Icon Victory Rush to grant you a large Physical absorb for 10 seconds.

2.5.4. C Tier

  • Longstrider Icon Longstrider increases your movement speed by a percentage of your highest secondary stat, with a maximum movement speed gain limit.
  • Self Reliance Icon 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 Icon Deafening Crash, after casting Demoralizing Shout Icon Demoralizing Shout, Thunder Clap Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon Revenge in order to keep the debuff up, only if doing so still allows enough Rage for Shield Block Icon Shield Block.

4. Best Azerite Gear for Protection Warriors

Please note that the suggestions below assume that you are obtaining these pieces at the same item level.

4.1. Best Azerite Gear for Raids

Taking all of the above into account, the following is the overall best set of Azerite gear for raids.

You would want to take Deafening Crash Icon Deafening Crash on the Chest from this set. Pick the rest of the traits based on the rankings above.

Desert Guardian's Breastplate Icon Desert Guardian's Breastplate is slightly better than the Sea Swell Chestplate Icon Sea Swell Chestplate, so if you have nothing else you want to spend your Titan Residuum Icon Titan Residuum on, you should purchase and use that instead.

4.1.1. Raid-Only Set

The following is the overall best set of Azerite gear for raids using only gear that is obtainable from Battle of Dazar'alor.

You would want to take Deafening Crash Icon Deafening Crash on the Chest from this set. Pick the rest of the traits based on the rankings above.

4.2. Best Azerite Gear for Mythic+

This set gets you three Bastion of Might Icon Bastion of Might traits to maximum damage while also prioritizing some defensive traits as well. There are sets of Azerite gear you can obtain that would net you more AoE DPS, so consider the following to be more of a "balanced" set.

You would want to take Deafening Crash Icon Deafening Crash on the Chest from this set. Pick the rest of the traits based on the rankings above.

4.3. Engineering Goggles

If you are having trouble obtaining a high item level Deafening Crash Icon Deafening Crash Azerite piece and you are an Engineer, you can craft Charged SP1-R1-73D Orthogonal Optics Icon Charged SP1-R1-73D Orthogonal Optics, as these have Deafening Crash on them.

Take Relational Normalization Gizmo Icon Relational Normalization Gizmo on the Outer Ring, and Personal Absorb-o-Tron Icon Personal Absorb-o-Tron on the Inner Ring.

4.4. Azerite Gear Vendor

Thaumaturge Vashreen (located in Dazar'alor/Boralus) sells item level 415 (and lower) Azerite gear in exchange for Titan Residuum Icon Titan Residuum, which is obtained from the weekly Mythic+ chest and by scrapping/disenchanting Azerite gear.

You should save up enough Titan Residuum Icon Titan Residuum to buy the pieces you want directly, rather than spending less on the randomly rolled Relinquished pieces.

One exception to that is if you are trying to obtain good Azerite shoulders for Mythic+. All of the shoulder pieces available from dungeons contain either Deafening Crash Icon Deafening Crash or Bastion of Might Icon Bastion of Might (or both). As such, it may be worthwhile for you to randomly roll a shoulder piece.

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.

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Head Items Shoulders Items Chest Items