Protection Warrior Tank Guide — Season 4

Last updated Yesterday at 12:50 by Mwahi 47 comments
General Information

Welcome to our Protection Warrior guide for World of Warcraft — Season 4. 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.

If you were looking for WotLK Classic content, please refer to our WotLK Classic Protection Warrior guide.


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.


Strengths and Weaknesses

V Strengths
  • +Excels in situations with high amounts of physical/blockable damage.
  • +Smooth damage intake.
  • +Has high mobility with Charge Icon Charge, Intervene Icon Intervene, and Heroic Leap Icon Heroic Leap.
  • +Decent raid and dungeon utility in Rallying Cry Icon Rallying Cry, Battle Shout Icon Battle Shout, Shockwave Icon Shockwave, Spell Reflection Icon Spell Reflection, and Intimidating Shout Icon Intimidating Shout.
  • +Can specialize for heavy AoE damage, single target damage or go for a fully defensive build with talents.
X 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 niche situations.
  • -Has some difficulty against bleeds, damage over time abilities and non-blockable damage.

Mage Tower Challenge

From Patch 9.1.5 onward, both Legion Timewalking and the Mage Tower have returned. As such we have created a separate guide detailing what you can expect from the Mage Tower challenge available to Protection Warriors.


Protection Warrior and Guide Changes for Season 4

Protection Warrior received no new changes with the Season 4 release.

The guide has been reviewed and updated for Season 4. Some of the more significantly modified pages can be found below.

  • Gear and Best in Slot — Overhauled to include all the returning loot for Season 4;
  • Vault of the Incarnates and Aberrus, the Shadowed Crucible — pages make a return with their respective talent builds and tips.

Leveling and Getting Started as a Protection Warrior

Before jumping straight into leveling, take a look at our Addons page. Setting up your User Interface with suitable addons will help you improve significantly! Setting up your interface early will also help you to get used to where things are on your screen, so once you hit the end-game content, you can focus on learning that.

Leveling as a tank can seem like a daunting task, but it is actually very easy. You can pull a lot of enemies at once and still survive because of your various defensive abilities! To get a better understanding of leveling as a Protection Warrior, you can look into the leveling guide below.


Basic Guidance for Protection Warrior

As a tank, your main job is to stay alive while keeping the enemies off of your squishier raid/party members. To do so, you will try to generate as much Rage as possible and then use it, depending on the situation, on either defensives, like Shield Block Icon Shield Block, or offensive abilities, like Revenge Icon Revenge. You can learn about the various spells you will have at your disposal by reading the Spell Summary page.

To just get a quick idea of how the class works, you can look into the Easy Mode guide linked below. This page will briefly go over the main things that you need to know in order to play the class.

If you want to go more in-depth about Protection Warrior and understand exactly what makes it work, you can start by looking at our Talents page. This will go over all the main things you need to know about the talents and when to choose them.

Protection Warrior's whole playstyle is based on generating and spending Rage. This means that you will have abilities that will generate Rage, like Shield Slam Icon Shield Slam, and abilities that will use that Rage, for example, Ignore Pain Icon Ignore Pain. In case you are already familiar with the abilities and talents of Protection Warriors and are just looking for information regarding the rotation and various interactions the spells have with each other, you can look into our Rotation guide below. This will go over everything you need to know about when to press what button!


How to Gear Up a Protection Warrior

There are a lot of different things when looking at gear, and it can be overwhelming at start. To begin with, you can take a look at our Best in Slot guide linked below. This will go over the best gear you can get from various content, like Mythic+ and Raids.

In order to understand why a piece of gear is considered best in slot, we have to understand what the various Stats on the gear are providing us. Some stats can be more valuable than others, and your stat priority can also change depending on the content you are doing. To get a better understanding of what all the stats are providing Protection Warriors, you can take a look at our Stats page.

To get even more out of our gear, we have the possibility to put enchants on specific pieces, and if we are lucky, the gear will also have gem sockets. Choosing the right Gems and Enchants for your gear will be an important step for a well-optimized character. In order to know what to put on your gear, you can look into our Enchanting & Gemming guide below.


Protection Warrior in Dragonflight

There are a lot of new and interesting changes for Protection Warriors in Dragonflight, most of these come from the thoroughly revamped talent system. We get back some previously lost things like Battle Stance Icon Battle Stance and Defensive Stance Icon Defensive Stance while also gaining new things like Spell Block Icon Spell Block and Bitter Immunity Icon Bitter Immunity.

The new talent system allows us to create a lot more situation-dependent choices. We can opt for a more Shield Block Icon Shield Block heavy tree with Enduring Defenses Icon Enduring Defenses, Heavy Repercussions Icon Heavy Repercussions and Bolster Icon Bolster or turn around 180 degrees and go for a heavy single-target damage build with Massacre Icon Massacre and Sudden Death Icon Sudden Death. Both the base class and Protection specific talent trees are really well put together and provide enough options to cover any situation you might find yourself in.

To fully understand all the nuances and synergies of the various talents, take a look at our more in-depth guide below.


End-Game as Protection Warrior

After reaching the maximum level, you can start looking into doing the end-game content. These activities include mainly Mythic+, Raiding, and PvP. These activities will provide you with some of the best gear in the game and are definitely worth doing.

Mythic+ is something that can be done at any time since it only takes 5 people for the dungeon. To get a better understanding of what Protection Warriors bring to the Mythic+ dungeons you can look at our Mythic+ page.

Raiding is another big part of end-game content that provides you with some of the best rewards available. There are a lot of various things to keep in mind when first stepping into a new raid. Protection Warriors main mitigation is Shield Block Icon Shield Block, so we need to know exactly which abilities are blockable and which are not so we know what to expect.

While PvP as a Protection Warrior is viable, you would probably find more success when trying to PvP as either Fury or Arms.


How to Improve as a Protection Warrior

Once you have a basic understanding of how Protection Warrior works, you can have a look at the How to Improve section. This will go over the main things that Protection Warriors make mistakes with and help you avoid them.

Another useful page to look into would be the FAQ. This covers the most frequent questions asked by your fellow Protection Warriors and explains the answers briefly.

While our main responsibility as tanks is to stay alive during the encounter, this does not mean that we should not try to optimize our damage output. This can often be tricky and hard to get started with, but to help you ease into the process, you can take a look at the Simulations guide below!


Protection Warrior Viability in the Current Patch

Protection Warrior's main strength comes from dealing with heavy blockable physical damage. Even if the damage profile is not favorable to Protection Warriors, we have the option to swap over to other talents which suit the encounter better. There are very few scenarios where Protection Warriors will truly struggle. Due to the nature of how Shield Block Icon Shield Block and Spell Reflection Icon Spell Reflection work, there is a very niche learning curve, but once it is mastered, the class will pay dividends. While our utility is not the greatest, especially in terms of Mythic+, we make up for it with our high damage output, strong defensive capabilities, and mostly smooth damage intake.



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