Protection Warrior Tank Easy Mode — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1
On this page, we explain how to easily play Protection Warrior in World of Warcraft — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1, 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 specialisation without being overwhelmed by the numerous subtleties and active abilities that need to be taken into consideration for optimal play.
2. The Basics of Protection Warriors
Protection Warriors have great mobility and a diverse toolkit, both in terms of utility and defensive options. Due to their ability to block attacks, Protection Warriors have a predictable and smooth damage intake, making them relatively easy to heal.
Your primary goal throughout fights will be to maximise your Rage generation, and then use this Rage on your active mitigation abilities in order to keep yourself alive. Making good use of your defensive cooldowns and utility is also an integral part of proper play.
3. Talent Choice for Protection Warriors
3.1. Recommended Build for All Content
This build is best for the vast majority of situations. It does require proper planning and timing of defensive abilities such as Last Stand, but even with minimal practice it beats the passive build just below.
- Into the Fray
- Bounding Stride
- Unstoppable Force
- Rumbling Earth
- Booming Voice
- Anger Management
3.2. Passive Build for Brand New Players/Tanks
This build is not recommended whatsoever. However, if you are still learning how to properly use your defensive cooldowns, or just want something as passive and easy as possible despite that fact that you are sacrificing survivability/damage, this will work.
- Bounding Stride
- Unstoppable Force
- Rumbling Earth
- Booming Voice
- Heavy Repercussions
4. Stat Priority for Protection Warriors
Currently, you want to prioritise secondary stats as follows:
- Critical Strike
Another important thing to note when choosing what gear to wear is item level. Generally speaking, the stat priority should only be followed when comparing gear of the same item level. A piece of gear with a higher item level than what you currently have should be equipped regardless of its secondary stats.
5. Basic Ability Priority for Protection Warriors
The basic rotation as a Protection Warrior is based on the following priority. As said, this is a priority. It is not the exact sequence in which abilities should be cast, but rather for each time you are able to cast an ability, you should start at the top of the list and cast the first available ability.
The ability priority is the same for both of the above talent builds.
- Cast Shield Slam on cooldown. Watch out for resets from Devastate, Thunder Clap, and Revenge.
- Cast Thunder Clap on cooldown.
- Cast Revenge only if it is free.
- Cast Devastate.
Against multiple targets, using the above priority will still generate the most Rage, thus allowing for the most active mitigation usage and best survivability. If you are interested in simply dealing more damage against multiple targets, then you should use Revenge even when you do not have a proc (although it is likely to proc often when tanking multiple enemies anyway).
In addition to the above, you should use Intercept to generate extra Rage throughout the fight. If you are actively tanking, use this only if you can avoid turning the boss around, moving it from its position, or causing yourself or the raid to take extra damage. If you are not actively tanking, you can use Intercept on the current tank to help reduce some of the damage they are taking. Intercept can cause things like stacking debuffs to go on you instead of the current tank, potentially causing issues, so use it on melee DPS if you are not sure if it safe to use on the current tank. If you will need to use Intercept for movement, make sure to save at least one charge for that time.
While not part of the ability priority, make sure you are buffing yourself or your group with Battle Shout before entering combat.
6. Active Mitigation Abilities for Protection Warriors
Shield Block is your primary active mitigation ability. It should be used anytime you are actively tanking an enemy and should be kept up as much as possible. Using this takes priority over using Ignore Pain. While you are not tanking, you should generally spend a charge if you are about to be at 2 charges (which is the max). Even when not tanking, Shield Block increases Shield Slam's damage.
Ignore Pain should be used in addition to Shield Block. While Shield Block is limited by its cooldown, Ignore Pain is simply limited by the amount of Rage you have available. As such, once you have Shield Block up and on cooldown, spend your remaining Rage on Ignore Pain, making sure you save enough Rage to use Shield Block once it comes off cooldown. If you know a large amount of damage is incoming, it is worth pooling your Rage in order to cast Ignore Pain right before the damage goes out, increasing the likelihood that you survive.
7. Cooldown Usage for Protection Warriors
As a Protection Warrior, you have a number of defensive cooldowns at your disposal.
- Last Stand can and should be used in two different ways, depending on the situation. With Bolster, Last Stand increases your block chance to 100% for its duration, essentially acting as Shield Block. As such, if you do not have Shield Block available but are actively tanking and need to block for survivability purposes, then Last Stand should be used in this situation. If there are many high-damage mechanics or if you are able to have Shield Block up for the majority of your active tanking time, then Last Stand should instead be used if your health drops to a dangerously low level, or in preparation for receiving a large amount of damage.
- Shield Wall should be used before you receive a large amount of damage. Since it lasts for a reasonably long time, you should try to use it for longer periods of high damage intake.
- Demoralizing Shout should be used as many times as possible during the encounter for Rage generation purposes as stated in the ability priority. However, it is absolutely worth not using it in that way and saving it if you need another cooldown for a period of high-damage.
- Spell Reflection reflects the next spell cast against you back to the attacker, and reduces magic damage taken by 15% for 5 seconds (or until a spell is reflected). Most magic damage boss abilities cannot be reflected. As such, the primary use of Spell Reflection is for mitigating magical damage rather than reflecting spells. It is important to know beforehand where that magic damage is and use Spell Reflection accordingly.
7.1. Offensive Cooldowns
- Cast Avatar on cooldown. With Unstoppable Force, Thunder Clap is available every other global cooldown. Just be aware of this and make sure to continue to follow the ability priority. You may have streaks where you constantly rotate between Shield Slam and Thunder Clap due to Thunder Clap resetting Shield Slam.
- 10 Dec. 2018: Updated for Patch 8.1.
- 02 Sep. 2018: Updated stat priority slightly.
- 13 Aug. 2018: Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
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