Protection Warrior Tank Guide — Shadowlands 9.0.2
Welcome to our Protection Warrior guide for World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.0.2. 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 WoW Classic content, please refer to our Classic Tank 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
- 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 magical/non-blockable damage.
- Lacks impactful crowd control ("mob displacement") dungeon utility when compared to other tank specs.
Shadowlands Changes for Warriors
We are maintaining a list of changes for Warriors for Shadowlands, the upcoming World of Warcraft expansion, which you can access using the link below. We also have pages for the new Covenant abilities and Anima Powers.
Patch 8.3 Changes for Protection Warriors
While the changes for Protection Warriors do not go far beyond simple bug fixes, you can view the Patch 8.3 change list below.
In addition, we have:
- new gear from the Ny'alotha raid, which can drop corrupted (see our guide to Corrupted Items for more information);
- a new Legendary Cloak;
- 7 new Patch 8.3 Essences;
- changes to existing Essences (including a 3rd Minor slot);
- a new Azerite trait ( Heart of Darkness);
- and a new reusable augment rune ( Lightning-Forged Augment Rune).
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, or offensive abilities, like 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, and abilities that will use that Rage, for example, 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 Shadowlands
Shadowlands introduces a lot of new and some old features. Legendaries are back once again to provide us with some choice that alters our gameplay but we must craft them before we can use them and this takes some time. Covenants and Soulbinds are a new feature that let us pick between 4 different paths that all provide us with signature abilitites like Spear of Bastion and Ancient Aftershock. To get a better understanding of which ones benefit Protection Warriors the most take a look at the guides 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 so we need to know exactly which abilities are blockable and which are not so we know what to expect. Please take a look at the Raiding page below to get a better understanding of all the ins and outs of raiding as a Protection Warrior.
Torghast, Tower of the Damned is a place you will be visiting fairly often. You can collect Soul Ash from Torghast which is needed to craft Legendary items. On top of this you can also just play it for fun as the Anima Powers available there will give the specialization a whole new flavour. As you climb the Tower it will become more and more difficult making it also challenging. As you can not change your gear or talents inside the Tower you should be prepared ahead of time. Take a look at our Torghast guide to prepare yourself for the climb.
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
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 and strong defensive capabilities.
- 24 Nov. 2020 (easy mode page): Added Covenant abilities to Rotation list.
- 24 Nov. 2020 (rotation page): Added Covenant abilities to Rotation order.
- 23 Nov. 2020 (talents page): Updated for Shadowlands.
- 23 Nov. 2020 (spells page): Updated for Shadowlands.
- 23 Nov. 2020 (talents page): Added Into The Fray as plausible damage option.
- 23 Nov. 2020 (addons page): Page updated for Shadowlands.
- 23 Nov. 2020 (FAQ page): Updated for Shadowlands.
- 23 Nov. 2020 (enchants page): Removed Augment Rune and added new Enchants, Gems, Potions and extra consumables.
- 23 Nov. 2020 (stats page): Updated for Shadowlands.
- 23 Nov. 2020 (easy mode page): Removed Azerites, Essences and added Legendary, Covenant and Soulbind information.
- 23 Nov. 2020 (rotation page): Removed mentions of Azerite.
- 23 Nov. 2020 (this page): Added sections for Shadowlands in general and Torghast
- 23 Nov. 2020 (mythic+ page): Added Legendary and Covenant sections. Updated default talent choices.
- 23 Nov. 2020 (how to improve page): Updated for Shadowlands.
- 23 Nov. 2020 (gear page): Replaced Battle for Azeroth sections with Legendary sections and added new Best in Slot and Trinket list.
- 22 Nov. 2020 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Added alternative Soulbind paths for all the Covenants.
- 22 Nov. 2020 (Legendaries): Formatting changes and added alternative options for Raiding, Mythic+ and Torghast.
- 20 Nov. 2020 (Legendaries): Page created.
- 19 Nov. 2020 (Torghast): Page created
- 15 Nov. 2020 (Covenants and Soulbinds): Page created.
- 12 Oct. 2020 (FAQ page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
- 12 Oct. 2020 (how to improve page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
- 12 Oct. 2020 (simulations page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
- 12 Oct. 2020 (gear page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
- 12 Oct. 2020 (gear page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
- 12 Oct. 2020 (addons page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
- 12 Oct. 2020 (enchants page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
- 12 Oct. 2020 (stats page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
- 12 Oct. 2020 (Ny'alotha page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
- 12 Oct. 2020 (mythic+ page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
- 12 Oct. 2020 (talents page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
- 12 Oct. 2020 (spells page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
- 12 Oct. 2020 (easy mode page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
- 12 Oct. 2020 (this page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
- 12 Oct. 2020 (rotation page): Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
- 26 Aug. 2019 (The Eternal Palace page): Added a few more boss tips. Updated Essence suggestions.
- 15 Jul. 2019 (The Eternal Palace page): Added several boss tips.
- 09 Jul. 2019 (The Eternal Palace page): Page added.
- 25 Jun. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
- 25 Jun. 2019 (Crucible of Storms page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
- 25 Jun. 2019 (Uldir page): This page has been reviewed for the release of Patch 8.2 and no changes are necessary.
- 14 May 2019 (Crucible of Storms page): Added boss tips.
- 16 Apr. 2019 (Crucible of Storms page): Page added.
- 25 Mar. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Added additional information for Grong.
- 06 Feb. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Added tips for each boss.
- 21 Jan. 2019 (Battle of Dazar'alor page): Page added.
- 10 Dec. 2018 (Uldir page): Updated for Patch 8.1.
- 29 Sep. 2018 (Uldir page): Added note about Spell Reflection on Vectis.
- 10 Sep. 2018 (Uldir page): Added tips for each boss.
- 13 Aug. 2018 (Uldir page): Page added (empty for now).
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