Protection Warrior Tank Guide — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1.5

Last updated on May 14, 2019 at 23:05 by Marok 35 comments

Welcome to our Protection Warrior guide for World of Warcraft — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1.5. Here, you will learn how to tank as a Protection Warrior in both raids and Mythic+ dungeons. We cover everything from the basics all the way to min-maxing techniques to optimize your survivability.

1. Protection Warrior Overview

Protection Warriors excel in fights with high amounts of physical damage, or where mobility is needed. Much of the damage they take is mitigated through blocking, making their damage intake smooth and predictable. Additionally, they provide a healthy amount of utility, whether it be crowd control or raid buffs. They are a formidable tank all around, making them a worthy choice in both raids and dungeons.

Note that this guide focuses on aspects which are specific to Protection Warriors and general tanking strategies are beyond its scope. If you wish to know more about the tanking role and what you can do to improve, we recommend that you read our tanking guide.

2. Patch 8.1 Changes for Protection Warriors

2.1. Mechanical Changes

  • Ignore Pain Icon Ignore Pain is now off the global cooldown. A 1-second cooldown has been added (mainly to prevent accidently double-tapping it and wasting Rage).
  • Intercept Icon Intercept is now off the global cooldown.
  • Physical ranged attacks are now blockable. The same rules that apply to blocking melee attacks apply to this change. You must be facing the attack, and the attack must be a targeted ability against you.

2.2. Ability Changes

  • Shield Block Icon Shield Block's recharge time is now 16 seconds, down from 18 seconds.
  • Vanguard Icon Vanguard now increases your Stamina by 45% and your armor by 60%, up from 40% and 50% respectively.

2.3. Azerite Changes

3. Protection Warrior's Strengths

4. Protection Warrior's Weaknesses

  • More unforgiving of mistakes or improper play compared to other tanks.
  • Weaker self-sustain compared to some other tank specs. This is only an issue in certain Mythic+ situations.
  • Has some difficulty against magical/non-blockable damage.
  • Lacks impactful crowd control ("mob displacement") dungeon utility when compared to other tank specs.

5. Protection Warrior Viability in the Current Patch

When put in the right situation, Protection Warriors are not only very strong, but have the potential to completely outclass other tank specs. Against fights where the vast majority of the damage intake is blockable, Protection Warriors are one of the strongest, if not the best tank spec. Even in situations where the spec does not have all the right tools, it still fares very well. There are very few scenarios where Protection Warriors will truly struggle. What we lack in generally sought after utility in Mythic+, we make up for in our high AoE damage output.

In Patch 8.1, Protection Warriors received several buffs and quality of life changes. While the community's perception of the spec has been rather negative as of late, in Tides of Vengeance, Protection Warriors are more than viable for all types of content.

6. Changelog

  • 14 May 2019 (Crucible of Storms page): Added boss tips.
  • 14 May 2019 (rotation page): Updated the opening ability priority.
  • 22 Apr. 2019 (gear page): Removed Legplates of Unbound Anguish from the page as they no longer drop for Protection.
  • 16 Apr. 2019 (mythic+ page): This page has been reviewed and there are no changes necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 16 Apr. 2019 (talents page): This page has been reviewed and there are no changes necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 16 Apr. 2019 (how to improve page): This page has been reviewed and there are no changes necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 16 Apr. 2019 (Crucible of Storms page): Page added.
  • 16 Apr. 2019 (simulations page): This page has been reviewed and there are no changes necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 16 Apr. 2019 (easy mode page): This page has been reviewed and there are no changes necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 16 Apr. 2019 (stats page): This page has been reviewed and there are no changes necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 16 Apr. 2019 (spells page): This page has been reviewed and there are no changes necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 16 Apr. 2019 (enchants page): This page has been reviewed and there are no changes necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 16 Apr. 2019 (addons page): This page has been reviewed and there are no changes necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 16 Apr. 2019 (gear page): Added information and recommendations for the loot in the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 16 Apr. 2019 (rotation page): This page has been reviewed and there are no changes necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 16 Apr. 2019 (FAQ page): This page has been reviewed and there are no changes necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 16 Apr. 2019 (azerite traits and gear page): This page has been reviewed and there are no changes necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 16 Apr. 2019 (this page): This page has been reviewed and there are no changes necessary for the release of the Crucible of Storms raid.
  • 25 Mar. 2019 (addons page): Changed from Kui to Plater nameplates addon.
  • 25 Mar. 2019 (stats page): Updated stat priority.
  • 25 Mar. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Added additional information for Grong.
  • 25 Mar. 2019 (rotation page): Adjusted opener ability priority.
  • 25 Mar. 2019 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated Azerite gear and trait recommendations.
  • 25 Mar. 2019 (gear page): Added Gore-Crusted Butcher's Block to trinket recommendations.
  • 06 Feb. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Added tips for each boss.
  • 06 Feb. 2019 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated Azerite gear suggestions and adjusted the ranking of a few traits.
  • 06 Feb. 2019 (rotation page): Expanded explanation of Avatar and Demoralizing Shout usage.
  • 21 Jan. 2019 (gear page): Updated for BfA Season 2.
  • 21 Jan. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Page added.
  • 21 Jan. 2019 (enchants page): Updated for BfA Season 2.
  • 21 Jan. 2019 (rotation page): Updated for BfA Season 2.
  • 21 Jan. 2019 (mythic+ page): Updated for BfA Season 2.
  • 21 Jan. 2019 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated for BfA Season 2.
  • 21 Jan. 2019 (FAQ page): Updated for BfA Season 2.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (enchants page): This page has been reviewed and there are no changes necessary for Patch 8.1.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (stats page): This page has been reviewed and there are no changes necessary for Patch 8.1.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated for Patch 8.1.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (spells page): Updated for Patch 8.1.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (simulations page): This page has been reviewed and there are no changes necessary for Patch 8.1.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (how to improve page): This page has been reviewed and there are no changes necessary for Patch 8.1.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (mythic+ page): Updated for Patch 8.1.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (this page): Updated for Patch 8.1.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (talents page): Updated for Patch 8.1.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (rotation page): Updated for Patch 8.1.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (FAQ page): This page has been reviewed and there are no changes necessary for Patch 8.1.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (easy mode page): Updated for Patch 8.1.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (addons page): This page has been reviewed and there are no changes necessary for Patch 8.1.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (gear page): This page has been reviewed and there are no changes necessary for Patch 8.1.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (Uldir page): Updated for Patch 8.1.
  • 29 Sep. 2018 (Uldir page): Added note about Spell Reflection on Vectis.
  • 29 Sep. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Reorganized page. Added note about rotational changes with Deafening Crash.
  • 29 Sep. 2018 (mythic+ page): Added note about kiting.
  • 10 Sep. 2018 (Uldir page): Added tips for each boss.
  • 10 Sep. 2018 (gear page): Updated gear suggestions for Uldir.
  • 10 Sep. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated Azerite gear recommendations.
  • 02 Sep. 2018 (stats page): Added note about Armor. Expanded explanation on the stat priority.
  • 02 Sep. 2018 (easy mode page): Updated stat priority slightly.
  • 02 Sep. 2018 (enchants page): Changed weapon enchant recommendation to Haste enchant.
  • 24 Aug. 2018 (enchants page): Added note about Haste weapon enchant.
  • 22 Aug. 2018 (gear page): Updated trinket suggestions.
  • 18 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Added note to the item level section. Adjusted the rankings of a couple of traits.
  • 18 Aug. 2018 (enchants page): Adjusted formatting.
  • 18 Aug. 2018 (gear page): Updated trinket suggestions. Added Shields section.
  • 18 Aug. 2018 (this page): Added more detailed descriptions for the new abilities.
  • 18 Aug. 2018 (talents page): Changed recommended PvP talents.
  • 18 Aug. 2018 (stats page): Expanded explanations for the stat priority and some stats.
  • 14 Aug. 2018 (FAQ page): Added page.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Added Protection Warrior Azerite page.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (talents page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (rotation page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (mythic+ page): Page added.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (spells page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (Uldir page): Page added (empty for now).
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (stats page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (easy mode page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (enchants page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (addons page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (gear page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (this page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (simulations page): Page added.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (how to improve page): Page added.
  • 16 Jul. 2018 (this page): Updated for the Battle for Azeroth pre-patch.
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