Protection Warrior Tank Spec, Builds, and Talents — Shadowlands 9.1
On this page, you will find out the best talents for each tier for your Protection Warrior in World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.1. 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.
If you were looking for WoW Classic content, please refer to our TBC Classic Protection Warrior talents.
This page will go over all the talents, explaining each and every one of them in detail. Regardless of whether the talents are passive or active, they can change how we play the class entirely. To get to know if any of the talents influences Protection Warrior's rotation, you can look into our Rotation guide!
There are also some talents that are good in certain environments, while lacking in others. For more information regarding talents that are good in Mythic+, you can take a look at our Mythic+ guide.
Talent Choices for Protection Warrior
|15||✗ War Machine||? Punish||? Devastator|
|25||? Double Time||? Rumbling Earth||? Storm Bolt|
|30||? Best Served Cold||? Booming Voice||? Dragon Roar|
|35||✓ Crackling Thunder||? Bounding Stride||✗ Menace|
|40||✗ Never Surrender||✓ Indomitable||✗ Impending Victory|
|45||? Into the Fray||? Unstoppable Force||? Ravager|
|50||✓ Anger Management||✗ Heavy Repercussions||? Bolster|
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 Still Mind and Codex of the Still Mind can be used to temporarily allow players to change talents anywhere, as long as they are out of combat.
Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents for Protection Warriors
|✘ War Machine||? Punish||? Devastator|
- War Machine makes your auto attacks generate 50% more Rage and provides 10 Rage any time a enemy dies, while also giving a short movement speed boost.
- Punish causes Shield Slam to deal 20% more damage and applies a stackable debuff to the enemy that reduces their damage against you by 3% per stack for 9 sec.
- Devastator replaces Devastate. It makes Devastate passive by moving the ability to your auto-attacks, and instead of having a 30% chance to reset Shield Slam, it has a 20% chance.
War Machine makes your auto attacks give you 1 extra Rage per swing. The more important part of this talent is the 10 Rage provided by the enemies when they are dying. This has potential to give you a lot of extra Rage when there are multiple enemies dying throughout the fight constantly.
Punish is essentially a permanent damage reduction on single-target. The debuff is applied to the enemy, not the player. In other words, when Shield Slam is used on an enemy, that enemy gets debuffed and deals less damage to the player for 9 seconds, depending on how many stacks they have.
Devastator provides us with a solid amount of extra Rage, due to the possibility of our auto attacks resetting Shield Slam. While Punish is better defensively in ST situations, the extra Rage obtained from Shield Slams that Devastator provides makes it a better AoE option.
Tier 2 (Level 25) Talents for Protection Warriors
|? Double Time||? Rumbling Earth||? Storm Bolt|
- Double Time provides you with 1 extra charge of Charge and reduces its CD by 3 sec.
- 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.
Each talent in this tier is situationally useful. Generally speaking, Double Time will be the most universally useful. Rumbling Earth has its uses in Mythic+ dungeons, where pulls constantly have more than 3 enemies. If your group already has multiple AoE stuns, then you should take Storm Bolt instead for a ST stun.
Tier 3 (Level 30) Talents for Protection Warriors
|? Best Served Cold||? Booming Voice||? Dragon Roar|
- Best Served Cold increases the damage of Revenge by 20%, or 50% when it can be used for free.
- Booming Voice causes Demoralizing Shout to generate 40 Rage and increase the damage you deal to targets affected by Demoralizing Shout by 20%.
- Dragon Roar deals a large amount of damage to enemies within 12 yards, provides 20 Rage, and critically strikes for 3 times normal damage on a 30 sec CD.
This row is mostly about increasing our damage output. Dragon Roar and Booming Voice are both good options that provide us with a variety in the gameplay. Dragon Roar is a really strong option in any AoE situation and helps you out with snap threat a lot. It can deal devastating damage when it crits, thanks to the triple damage, and also provides us with some Rage. Booming Voice, on the other hand, is the best Rage generating ability on this row, that also increases the damage of our other abilities. The 45 sec CD also syncs up with the base CDs of Avatar and Ravager.
Best Served Cold makes Revenge deal a lot of damage in any AoE situation, but, unfortunately, it also competes with our defensive abilities for Rage, meaning that both Dragon Roar and Booming Voice are better options. This option does become a lot more appealing and viable when used together with the Legendary power Reprisal.
Tier 4 (Level 35) Talents for Protection Warriors
|✔ Crackling Thunder||? Bounding Stride||✘ Menace|
- Crackling Thunder increases the radius of Thunder Clap by 50% and increases the slow by an additional 10%.
- 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.
- Menace causes Intimidating Shout to knock back all nearby enemies except your primary target and makes them cower in fear for 15 sec.
Bounding Stride can be used when you do not need the extra utility provided by the 2 other options on this row. This is especially useful in raiding scenarios where you often have to move around and position the boss in specific places.
Menace has niche uses in Mythic+ scenarios, where you need the extra enemy displacement. In general, Crackling Thunder would be the better option in most AoE situations and Bounding Stride should be taken in Raiding scenarios.
Tier 5 (Level 40) Talents for Protection Warriors
|✘ Never Surrender||✔ Indomitable||✘ Impending Victory|
- Never Surrender increases the size of Ignore Pain by 40% to 100%, based on your missing health.
- Indomitable increases your health by 10% and heals you for 1% of your maximum HP for every 10 Rage spent.
- Impending Victory replaces Victory Rush. It costs 10 Rage, deals a bit of damage, and heals you for 30% of your maximum health. It is on a 30-second cooldown.
Indomitable is the clear winner on this row. It provides you with a lot of extra passive healing over the course of the encounter. Impending Victory may also find use in some certain scenarios where on-demand burst healing every 30 sec is needed, but, in general, it falls behind Indomitable. Never Surrender is not worth picking, as the increased Ignore Pain only becomes noticeable at low health, where it is effectively useless.
Tier 6 (Level 45) Talents for Protection Warriors
|? Into the Fray||? Unstoppable Force||? Ravager|
- Into the Fray gives 2% Haste for each enemy or ally within 10 yards, up to 10% Haste (a maximum of 5 stacks). It is still a solid Haste boost and can be competitive with the other options, especially from damage point of view.
- Unstoppable Force increases the damage of Thunder Clap by 30% and reduces its cooldown by 50% while Avatar is active.
- Ravager is an active ability with a 45-second cooldown. You throw your weapon at the targeted location, where it will spin for 12 seconds, chasing and damaging up to 8 enemies. Each time it deals damage it also provides you with 10 Rage.
Unstoppable Force has undeniable synergy with Anger Management, so it will get stronger if you are pairing the two together. It also makes using Avatar a lot more satisfying, as you can use Thunder Clap every other GCD. Thunder Clap is also one of our rotational Rage generating abilities, so the extra casts will also provide us with extra Rage. In general this is not worth taking over the other two choices on this row. Ravager performs better in AoE and Into the Fray better on single target..
Ravager is a strong offensive CD that also provides us with a decent chunk of Rage. The 45-second CD also lines up with the base CDs of Demoralizing Shout ( Booming Voice) and Avatar, meaning that you can pair them together for heavy burst damage.
While the Haste provided by Into the Fray is a nice passive bonus, it can feel a bit underwhelming when compared to the other 2 options. Haste reduces the cooldown of Shield Block, Shield Slam and some other abilities making it a competitive option in certain scenarios.
Tier 7 (Level 50) Talents for Protection Warriors
|✔ Anger Management||✘ Heavy Repercussions||? Bolster|
- Anger Management causes every 10 Rage you spend to reduce the remaining cooldown of Avatar and Shield Wall 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 makes Shield Slam generate 3 extra Rage.
- Bolster reduces Last Stand's cooldown by 60 seconds, and provides you with Shield Block for its duration.
Heavy Repercussions, while good, does not provide the same amount of benefit that Anger Management and Bolster do in most situations. Bolster is generally better than Heavy Repercussions defensively and Anger Management is better offensively (in AoE). While not being as good as the other 2, it can still find uses in mainly ST situations, like Raids.
Bolster is the best option on the row if you are going for a more defensive setup. The extra Shield Block uptime it provides helps us cover our Shield Block gaps, making our damage intake a lot smoother overall.
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.
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.
General PvP Talent
- Use Adaptation. It is a passive that removes any loss of control effect over 5 seconds on 1-minute cooldown.
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.
If you have Conflict and Strife selected as your Major essence, you will gain access to Thunderstruck without using a talent slot and within PvE content/while War Mode is turned off. Unless there is a specific situation where you need to constantly root enemies, this unfortunately does not have much use.
While PvPing as Protection Warrior can certainly be fun you might also want to try out PvPing as either Fury or Arms Warrior. Both of these specs will deal a lot more damage while being squishier.
- 28 Jun. 2021: Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.1.
- 09 Mar. 2021: Updated Best Served Cold's viability to conditional, due to the synergy with Reprisal.
- 16 Jan. 2021: Further clarification on Unstoppable Force.
- 07 Jan. 2021: Added a note for Unstoppable Force about its usage.
- 08 Dec. 2020: Added clarifying information about Into The Fray.
- 23 Nov. 2020: Added Into The Fray as plausible damage option.
- 23 Nov. 2020: Updated for Shadowlands.
- 12 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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