Protection Warrior Tank Guide — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1

Last updated Today at 13:57 by Marok 31 comments

Welcome to our Protection Warrior guide for World of Warcraft — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1. 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. Patch 8.0 Changes for Protection Warriors

Many talents have been removed or have had their place changed in the talent tree. See the talents page.

3.1. Mechanical Changes

  • Tank threat generation has been significantly reduced. In Legion, tanks received a +900% bonus to threat generation, which is now +350% in Battle for Azeroth.
  • Some abilities that were not on the global cooldown in Legion now are: Intercept Icon Intercept, Ignore Pain Icon Ignore Pain, Demoralizing Shout Icon Demoralizing Shout, and Avatar Icon Avatar.
  • Rage from Damage Taken (often referred to as RFDT) has been removed. In its place, Rage is gained when the player gets meleed, and Rage is gained when the player melees.
  • The damage reduction from blocking is no longer a flat 30% (or 60% for a critical block). It is now based on the Block stat.

Further details on Rage generation and Block are provided in the rotation page.

3.2. Ability Changes

  • Demoralizing Shout Icon Demoralizing Shout is now on a 45-second cooldown, down from 90 seconds.
  • Shield Block Icon Shield Block's recharge time is now 18 seconds, up from 13 seconds. It costs 30 Rage, up from 15 Rage. It still has 2 charges despite what the tooltip says.
  • Ignore Pain Icon Ignore Pain
    • The Attack Power ratio has been significantly nerfed, and it now ignores 50% of damage instead of 90%.
    • It now has a flat Rage cost of 40.
    • Its cap is now 1.3 times the on-cast absorb amount, down from 3 times.
    • Its duration is now 12 seconds, down from 15 seconds.
  • Spell Reflection Icon Spell Reflection reduces magical damage by 20%, down from 50% (with Artifact).
  • Thunder Clap Icon Thunder Clap now reduces enemy movement speed by 20%, down from 50%.
  • Intercept Icon Intercept no longer reduces enemy movement speed.

3.2.1. Removed Abilities

  • Battle Cry has been replaced with Avatar Icon Avatar.

3.2.2. New Abilities

  • Avatar Icon Avatar is now Protection's baseline damage cooldown and it also generates 20 Rage. It causes you to deal 20% more damage for 20 seconds.
  • Battle Shout Icon Battle Shout increases the attack power of all your party/raid members by 10% for 60 minutes.
  • Intimidating Shout Icon Intimidating Shout causes a target enemy to cower in fear, and up to 5 additional enemies within 8 yards to flee.
  • Rallying Cry Icon Rallying Cry increases all your party/raid members' current and maximum health by 15%.
  • Shockwave Icon Shockwave is now baseline. The cooldown reduction when you hit 3+ targets has been moved to a talent. This ability stuns all enemies for 2 seconds within a frontal cone.
  • Vanguard Icon Vanguard is a passive ability that provides a 35% Stamina increase and causes Armor to be increased by 45% of your Strength.

4. Protection Warrior's Strengths

5. 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 magic/non-blockable damage.
  • Lacks impactful crowd control ("mob displacement") dungeon utility when compared to other tank specs.

6. 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.

7. Changelog

  • 10 Dec. 2018 (bosses page): Updated for Patch 8.1.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (this page): Updated 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 (enchants page): This page has been reviewed and there are no changes necessary 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 (spells page): Updated 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 (talents 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 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated for Patch 8.1.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (rotation page): Updated for Patch 8.1.
  • 10 Dec. 2018 (easy mode page): Updated 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 (mythic+ 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.
  • 29 Sep. 2018 (mythic+ page): Added note about kiting.
  • 29 Sep. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Reorganized page. Added note about rotational changes with Deafening Crash.
  • 29 Sep. 2018 (bosses page): Added note about Spell Reflection on Vectis.
  • 10 Sep. 2018 (gear page): Updated gear suggestions for Uldir.
  • 10 Sep. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Updated Azerite gear recommendations.
  • 10 Sep. 2018 (bosses page): Added tips for each boss.
  • 02 Sep. 2018 (stats page): Added note about Armor. Expanded explanation on the stat priority.
  • 02 Sep. 2018 (enchants page): Changed weapon enchant recommendation to Haste enchant.
  • 02 Sep. 2018 (easy mode page): Updated stat priority slightly.
  • 24 Aug. 2018 (enchants page): Added note about Haste weapon enchant.
  • 22 Aug. 2018 (gear page): Updated trinket suggestions.
  • 18 Aug. 2018 (enchants page): Adjusted formatting.
  • 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 (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.
  • 18 Aug. 2018 (gear page): Updated trinket suggestions. Added Shields section.
  • 14 Aug. 2018 (FAQ page): Added page.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (azerite traits and gear page): Added Protection Warrior Azerite page.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (bosses page): Page added (empty for now).
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (gear page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (talents 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 (spells page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (how to improve page): Page added.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (easy mode page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (stats 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 (rotation page): Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 13 Aug. 2018 (mythic+ page): Page added.
  • 16 Jul. 2018 (this page): Updated for the Battle for Azeroth pre-patch.
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