Protection Warrior Tank Easy Mode — Shadowlands Pre-Patch 9.0.1

Last updated on Oct 12, 2020 at 12:43 by Mwahi 1 comment
General Information

On this page, we explain how to easily play Protection Warrior in World of Warcraft — Shadowlands Pre-Patch 9.0.1, 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.


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.


Talent Choice for Protection Warriors


This build is solid for the vast majority of situations.

There are times where you would need more defensive options, like higher Mythic+ where enemies live longer. In such cases you should use the following build.

Swapping out Unstoppable Force Icon Unstoppable Force with Ravager Icon Ravager will provide you with an on-demand Rage generator, which deals a considerable amount of damage. By taking Bolster Icon Bolster you will be gaining a lot of extra Shield Block Icon Shield Block uptime which makes your damage intake a lot smoother.

To get a better understanding of how the talents work together and when to pick which one, you should take a look at the Talents guide linked below. This will give an in-depth explanation as to why certain talents are better than others, as well as going over the various benefits and drawbacks of each.


Stat Priority for Protection Warriors

Currently, you want to prioritise secondary stats as follows:

  1. Haste
  2. Versatility
  3. Critical Strike
  4. Mastery

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.

While the stat priority mentioned here will work well everywhere, you can still optimize your stats depending on the content you are doing. To understand the value of each stat in specific content, take a look at our Stats page.


Basic Ability Priority for Protection Warriors

To understand the ability priority listed below, you first need to understand what all the abilities do. For in-depth information regarding all the abilities mentioned here, as well as many more, you can look into the Spells Summary guide linked below.

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.

  1. Cast Avatar Icon Avatar on cooldown.
  2. Cast Demoralizing Shout Icon Demoralizing Shout on cooldown (with Booming Voice Icon Booming Voice talented).
  3. Cast Shield Slam Icon Shield Slam on cooldown. Watch out for resets from Devastate, Thunder Clap, Revenge, and Execute.
  4. Cast Thunder Clap Icon Thunder Clap on cooldown.
  5. Cast Execute Icon Execute if the enemy is below 20% HP.
  6. Cast Revenge Icon Revenge only if it is free.
  7. Cast Devastate Icon Devastate — you will not have this if you picked Devastator Icon Devastator.

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 Icon Revenge even when you do not have a proc.

If you picked Ravager Icon Ravager and/or Dragon Roar Icon Dragon Roar, then these abilities should be placed in the priority list right above Shield Slam Icon Shield Slam.

While not part of the ability priority, make sure you are buffing yourself or your group with Battle Shout Icon Battle Shout before entering combat.


Active Mitigation Abilities for Protection Warriors

Your rotation is only there to generate Rage for you, which you should then invest into your active mitigation abilities, Shield Block Icon Shield Block and Ignore Pain Icon Ignore Pain.

Shield Block Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon Shield Slam's damage by 30%.

Ignore Pain Icon Ignore Pain should be used in addition to Shield Block Icon 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.

While the above briefly explains how and when to use each ability, there are a lot more specific things and interactions going on between various spells. Understanding all of these is crucial as a Protection Warrior. All of the interactions are explained in the Rotation guide below.


Cooldown Usage for Protection Warriors

As a Protection Warrior, you have a number of defensive cooldowns at your disposal.

  • Last Stand Icon Last Stand can and should be used in two different ways, depending on the situation. With Bolster Icon Bolster, Last Stand gives you Shield Block Icon Shield Block for its duration. 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 Icon Shield Wall should be used before you receive a large amount of damage. It decreases all the damage you take by 40% for its duration. Since it lasts for a reasonably long time, you should try to use it for longer periods of high damage intake.
  • Demoralizing Shout Icon 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 instead if you need another cooldown for a period of high-damage.
  • Spell Reflection Icon Spell Reflection reflects the next spell cast against you back to the attacker, and reduces magic damage taken by 20% 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.

Offensive Cooldowns

  • Cast Avatar Icon Avatar on cooldown. With Unstoppable Force Icon Unstoppable Force, Thunder Clap Icon 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 Icon Shield Slam and Thunder Clap due to Thunder Clap resetting Shield Slam. In such cases you should pay more attention to your Rage bar to avoid going over the maximum and using Ignore Pain Icon Ignore Pain or Revenge Icon Revenge to spend some of that Rage.

Azerite Traits for Protection Warriors

Make sure that you have one Deafening Crash Icon Deafening Crash trait and no more. The Demoralizing Shout Icon Demoralizing Shout extension from this trait does not stack, so there is no defensive benefit to using more than one. Once you have Deafening Crash, prioritize traits as follows.

In raids, prioritize using Brace for Impact Icon Brace for Impact. Bastion of Might Icon Bastion of Might is also a solid choice if Brace for Impact is not available.

In Mythic+, use as many Bastion of Might Icon Bastion of Might traits as you can. Another outstanding trait in Mythic+ is Iron Fortress Icon Iron Fortress.

Note that most of the spec-specific traits for Protection Warriors are solid choices, so even if you recieve Azerite gear without the above traits, it still should genreally be equipped assuming it is an item level upgrade.


Azerite Essences for Protection Warriors

In raids, use Vision of Perfection (Vision of Perfection Icon Vision of Perfection) in your Major slot, with Memory of Lucid Dreams (Lucid Dreams Icon Lucid Dreams), Nullification Dynamo (Null Barrier Icon Null Barrier), and Formless Void (The Formless Void Icon The Formless Void) in your Minor slots.

In Mythic+, use Vision of Perfection (Vision of Perfection Icon Vision of Perfection) in your Major slot, with Memory of Lucid Dreams (Lucid Dreams Icon Lucid Dreams), Aegis of the Deep (Aegis of the Deep Icon Aegis of the Deep), and Conflict and Strife (Conflict and Strife Icon Conflict and Strife) in your Minor slots.

Keep in mind that other Essences will perform better in specific situations. See the Essences page for more information.



  • 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
Show more
Show less