Protection Warrior Tank Spec, Builds, and Talents — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1
On this page, you will find out the best talents for each tier for your Protection Warrior in World of Warcraft — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1. We also have default talent lists for various types of content, such as raiding or Mythic+. If you play with Warmode on, we have your PvP talents covered as well.
1. Talent Choices for Protection Warrior
|15||✓ Into the Fray||? Punish||✗ Impending Victory|
|30||? Crackling Thunder||? Bounding Stride||? Safeguard|
|45||✗ Best Served Cold||✓ Unstoppable Force||✗ Dragon Roar|
|60||✗ Indomitable||✗ Never Surrender||✓ Bolster|
|75||? Menace||? Rumbling Earth||? Storm Bolt|
|90||✓ Booming Voice||✗ Vengeance||✗ Devastator|
|100||✓ Anger Management||✗ Heavy Repercussions||✗ Ravager|
Talents can be freely changed when out of combat and in a rested XP area (such as an inn or a capital city). Moreover, Tome of the Tranquil Mind and Codex of the Tranquil Mind can be used to temporarily allow players to change talents anywhere, as long as they are out of combat.
2. Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents for Protection Warriors
|✔ Into the Fray||? Punish||✘ Impending Victory|
- Into the Fray gives 3% Haste for each enemy or ally within 10 yards, up to 15% Haste (a maximum of 5 stacks).
- Punish causes Shield Slam to deal 20% more damage and apply a debuff to the enemy that reduces their damage against you by 3% for 9 seconds.
- Impending Victory replaces Victory Rush. It costs 10 Rage, deals a bit of damage, and heals you for 20% of your maximum health. It is on a 30 second cooldown.
Into the Fray provides a significant Haste increase, increasing the uptime on Shield Block. Not only do you gain stacks from allies and enemies, ally pets and similar units give stacks as well, making it relatively easy to gain max stacks.
Punish is essentially a permanent 3% damage reduction on single-target (it can also have 100% uptime on 2-3 targets with good Shield Slam procs). The debuff is applied to the enemy, not the player. In other words, when Shield Slam is used on an enemy, that enemy deals 3% less damage to the player for 9 seconds.
Impending Victory is not competitive from a damage or survivability standpoint when compared to the other two talents. Its niche use as a reactive heal will rarely turn out to be useful.
Into the Fray is better than Punish for survivability as long as you are able to consistently keep at least 2-3 stacks up on the buff, which is pretty much always the case. Punish has the potential to be better in situations where the majority of the damage is not blockable, or if for some reason you are consistently at 1 stack of Into the Fray.
3. Tier 2 (Level 30) Talents for Protection Warriors
|? Crackling Thunder||? Bounding Stride||? Safeguard|
- Crackling Thunder increases the radius of Thunder Clap by 50%, bringing its range from 8 yards to 12 yards.
- Bounding Stride reduces the cooldown on Heroic Leap by 15 seconds, and it also increases your movement speed by 70% for 3 seconds when you land.
- Safeguard causes Intercept, when used on an ally, to also transfer 30% of the damage they take to you for 6 seconds.
Each talent in this tier is situationally useful. Generally speaking, Bounding Stride will be the most universally useful. The increased Thunder Clap range from Crackling Thunder can be extremely useful, particularly in dungeons. You might find a great use for Safeguard on a particular encounter. Safeguard, in particular, has the potential to be very helpful since it more or less acts as an external cooldown.
4. Tier 3 (Level 45) Talents for Protection Warriors
|✘ Best Served Cold||✔ Unstoppable Force||✘ Dragon Roar|
- Best Served Cold increases the damage of Revenge by 5% per target, up to 5 targets (25%).
- Unstoppable Force increases the damage of Thunder Clap by 100% and reduces its cooldown by 50% while Avatar is active.
- Dragon Roar deals a large amount of damage to enemies withing 12 yards, and slows those enemies by 50% for 6 seconds. It generates 10 Rage and it on a 35 second cooldown.
Unstoppable Force and Dragon Roar are competitive in terms of Rage generation/survivability. Both provide about an extra 20 Rage per minute. However, Unstoppable Force is much stronger for damage in the vast majority of situations. Dragon Roar can be powerful in situations where you specifically need the slow that it provides, but otherwise the go-to here is Unstoppable Force.
With the amount of Rage generation that Protection Warriors have, constantly casting Revenge is not feasible, so Best Served Cold will really only be good on sustained, heavy AoE where Revenge is constantly getting reset.
5. Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents for Protection Warriors
|✘ Indomitable||✘ Never Surrender||✔ Bolster|
- Indomitable increases your health by 10%.
- Never Surrender increases the size of Ignore Pain by up to 100% based on your missing health.
- Bolster reduces Last Stand's cooldown by 60 seconds, and for the duration of Last Stand your block chance is increased by 100%.
Indomitable is not bad, but it will only ever be used in situations where the raw health is needed to survive.
Never Surrender is simply far weaker than both of the other talents in this tier. It scales linearly with missing health, so you need to be at basically 0% HP to get the full 100% increase out of it. It is not a consistent talent, and you are much better off picking something else.
Bolster turns an already powerful cooldown into an even more powerful cooldown. With Last Stand lasting 15 seconds, it essentially gives the time to gain a full Shield Block charge as well. Compared to the other two talents, this is absolutely the go-to, as long as Last Stand is used correctly.
6. Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents for Protection Warriors
|? Menace||? Rumbling Earth||? Storm Bolt|
- Menace causes Intimidating Shout to disorient enemies for an additional 4 seconds, and instead of those additional enemies fleeing, they will remain stationary.
- Rumbling Earth reduces Shockwave's cooldown by 15 seconds when it hits at least 3 targets.
- Storm Bolt is a single-target ability that deals a bit of damage and stuns an enemy for 4 seconds. It has a 20 yard range and is on a 30-second cooldown.
These talents will find use mostly only in dungeons. You will mainly want to use Rumbling Earth. The vast majority of pulls in dungeons will have at least 3 targets, and as such having a 2-second stun on a 25-second cooldown is very powerful.
Storm Bolt can be very useful in situations where you need an extended stun for a particular enemy. It really depends on the situation. Having a second stun can be a lifesaver.
Menace can be extremely powerful if used correctly. The disorient provided by Intimidating Shout is broken if you deal a decent amount of damage to the enemy, however, say there is a trash pack with a couple particularly dangerous enemies. You could use Intimidating Shout on that pack, pull the enemy you want to kill away, and remove those two enemies from the fight for 12 seconds. This is very situational, and in most cases, you would be better off with Rumbling Earth.
7. Tier 6 (Level 90) Talents for Protection Warriors
|✔ Booming Voice||✘ Vengeance||✘ Devastator|
- Booming Voice causes Demoralizing Shout to generate 40 Rage and increase the damage you deal to targets affected by Demoralizing Shout by 15%.
- Vengeance causes Ignore Pain to reduce the Rage cost of your next Revenge by 33%, and causes Revenge to reduce the Rage cost of your next Ignore Pain by 33%.
- Devastator replaces Devastate. It makes Devastate passive by moving the ability to your auto-atttacks, and instead of having a 30% chance to reset Shield Slam it has a 20% chance.
All three of these talents affect the same thing: Rage generation. As such, the choice here comes down to what provides the most Rage.
Booming Voice is the default choice for this tier. Not only does it provides the most Rage in most situations, it also deals the most damage.
Vengeance works in such a way that the cost of Revenge + Ignore Pain is more than just Ignore Pain on its own. There are a few important details that you must understand about Vengeance to see where this talent is good and why.
- Casting Revenge + Ignore Pain normally costs a total of 70 Rage.
- With Vengeance (assuming one is cast after the other), casting both costs ˜47 Rage (20 Rage for Revenge, 27 Rage for Ignore Pain), saving you 23 Rage.
- If you are in a situation where you would have already been casting Revenge without Vengeance (for example, due to excess Rage), then with Vengeance you are saving 23 Rage every time you cast Revenge then Ignore Pain (or vice versa). This is saving you a large amount of Rage, allowing for more casts of Revenge/Ignore Pain than you would have normally had in that situation.
- When playing for survivability, you do not cast Revenge other than when you get a free Revenge proc (via parries/dodges). The only thing Revenge provides over say, a Devastate, is increased damage. Both Revenge and Devastate have a 30% chance to reset Shield Slam. Revenge costs 30 Rage, Rage you could be putting towards Ignore Pain.
- As such, in situations where you are not casting Revenge (outside of procs), then rotating between Revenge and Ignore Pain is a survivability loss. You are spending 47 Rage to cast for an Ignore Pain which only costs 40 Rage on its own.
With that said, the proper usage of Vengeance for survivability purposes is to only cast Revenge when you get a free proc. That way you are spending ˜27 Rage for those Ignore Pains, and the normal 40 Rage for all the other Ignore Pains. Essentially, for every Revenge proc, you save ("gain") 13 Rage. If you look at the average amount of Revenge procs over the course of a typical encounter, the total Rage gained is less than Booming Voice. However, that is again only in situations where you are not casting Revenge. The more you cast Revenge (only if it is necessary to do so), the more value you get out of Vengeance. Generally speaking, the only situation where Revenge is cast out of necessity due to increased Rage generation is dungeons, but even with that said Vengeance is still not the recommended talent in this tier. More on that just below.
Compared to the other two talents in this tier, Devastator is simply worse for overall Rage generation. Even if you assume that 20% of your melee swings result in a full Shield Slam reset, which would be 15 Rage per reset, this talent is on par with Vengeance or Booming Voice at best. Realistically, most Shield Slam resets from Devastator would not be close to full value. Some resets would overlap with a reset from another ability, or a reset may line up where Shield Slam has a GCD left on its cooldown, meaning that reset did absolutely nothing for you. With that said, it should be clear that Devastator is not competitive when it comes to Rage generation.
In short, for overall Rage generation and therefore survivability, Booming Voice is the best for most content. Vengeance will generally provide the most Rage in dungeons, but that really depends on the pulls and the enemies you are up against. With the way most pulls are, the fact that mobs can be stunned/crowd controlled, and considering that you will generally have cooldowns to cover the entirety of a trash pull, the burst damage and immediate Rage gain from Booming Voice is much more valuable for dungeons. You do not need that bit of extra survivability from Vengeance in dungeons. You are way better off with the increased damage from Booming Voice. Vengeance may have a place in very high level Mythic+ with Fortified, where you are tanking trash packs for an extended period of time. But outside of that, Booming Voice is the go-to.
8. Tier 7 (Level 100) Talents for Protection Warriors
|✔ Anger Management||✘ Heavy Repercussions||✘ Ravager|
- Anger Management causes every 10 Rage you spend to reduce the remaining cooldown of Avatar, Last Stand, Shield Wall, and Demoralizing Shout by 1 second.
- Heavy Repercussions causes Shield Slam to extend the duration of Shield Block by 1 second when there is already a Shield Block buff active. It also causes Shield Block to increase the damage of Shield Slam by an additional 30%.
- Ravager is an active ability with a 1-minute cooldown. You throw your weapon at the targeted location, where it will spin in place for 7 seconds, dealing damage to all enemies within 8 yards every second. Moreover, using Ravager increases your Parry chance by 35% for 12 seconds.
Anger Management is the go-to talent in this tier, mainly due to the synergy it has with many other talents. When taken with Bolster and Unstoppable Force (Anger Management reduces Avatar's cooldown), and because Demoralizing Shout has such a short cooldown, uptime on those cooldowns in addition to the high uptime on Shield Block/block makes Anger Management very powerful.
Heavy Repercussions, while good, does not provide the same amount of benefit that Anger Management does, particularly because Anger Management provides so much flexibility in the way of cooldowns. Not only that, but with Bolster, uptime on Shield Block/block is not that much less compared to Heavy Repercussions anyway.
Ravager is still significantly weaker compared to the other two choices on this row. It does not provide a consistent survivability increase, but rather it relies on the RNG nature of parry. Heavy Repercussions and Anger Management both provide a consistent, "guaranteed" survivability increase.
9. PvP Talents (War Mode)
Opting into War Mode (by clicking on the button in your talents pane) makes you eligible for open world PvP, but also grants you the following benefits:
- World Quests at maximum level have 10% increased rewards.
- You gain 10% increased experience while leveling.
- Grants you the use of PvP talents in the open world.
With the benefits of enabling War Mode for leveling and PvE content, it is recommended that you enable the feature to maximize your leveling and rewards at maximum level. However, you will make yourself eligible for open world PvP, and the possibility to be "ganked" while leveling or doing World Quests exists.
9.1. PvP Talents for Protection Warriors
Below are the recommended PvP talents for leveling and PvE content. You are able to choose 1 general PvP talent and 3 spec specific talents.
9.1.1. General PvP Talent
- Use Adaptation. It is a passive that removes any loss of control effect over 5 seconds on 1-minute cooldown.
9.1.2. Protection Warrior PvP Talents
- Morale Killer reduces the cooldown of Demoralizing Shout by 30 seconds, bringing its cooldown to 15 seconds, and causes enemies to deal reduces damage to all targets, not just you. This allows for 100% uptime on Demoralizing Shout.
- Dragon Charge causes you to charge a long distance at high speed in the targeted direction. It does not require a target. It deals damage and knocks back any enemies that are hit by the charge. The movement that this talent provides is extremely useful for questing, or getting out of dangerous situations. It is almost like having another Heroic Leap in terms of movement.
- Sword and Board increases the critical strike chance of your Devastate and Shield Slam by 30% while Shield Block is active, providing a nice passive damage increase.
These are simply recommendations. You may find other PvP talents more useful depending on your playstyle.
- 10 Dec. 2018: Updated for Patch 8.1.
- 18 Aug. 2018: Changed recommended PvP talents.
- 13 Aug. 2018: Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
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