Protection Warrior PvP Rotation and Playstyle (Shadowlands / 9.2.5)

Last updated on Jul 29, 2022 at 19:45 by Karanze 1 comment

PvP requires you to perform various actions in the course of a duel, match, or battleground: interrupting/silencing enemies, damaging them, bursting them down, defending yourself, keeping yourself alive, etc.. It is a game mode that fully utilizes your kit, especially spells that are rarely used in PvE. On this page, we go through all the spells you need to use in PvP as an Protection Warrior, how you should use them, and we explain what your playstyle should be.

This page is part of our Protection Warrior PvP Guide.


Playstyle for Protection Warriors

The Protection Warrior focuses solely on stalling a game and protecting his team for as long as possible. While doing this, you must push out as much damage and pressure as you can to help drain the enemy team's Mana pool.

In general, PvP comes down to good judgment and decision-making. There are no two matches that are identical, and you will have to use your toolkit differently versus some enemies than the general guidelines indicate. However, the most important part is to master the fundamentals of playing Protection Warrior, like dealing damage and reacting to enemy cooldowns, before thinking about how to outplay your opponents, and you should therefore focus on the information and rotations listed in this section for starters.


Before the Gates Open

Coordinate with your team who your kill target is going to be, and any potential swaps you can do. The main focus of your team should be to hit the target you can do the most damage to, but also prevent the most damage from, like an enemy Shadow Priest.


Offensive Rotation


Understanding Protection Warrior Damage

The damage rotation of Protection Warrior is not that complex, and is mostly about Shield Slam Icon Shield Slam and Thunder Clap Icon Thunder Clap being used on cooldown.

Revenge Icon Revenge should only be used when it procs.

Your filler ability, Devastate Icon Devastate, should only been used when you cannot use the above (or Revenge Icon Revenge with a proc).


Sustained Damage

This list serves as your sustained damage rotation priority.

  1. Maintain Hamstring Icon Hamstring on your kill target at all times.
  2. Use Avatar Icon Avatar for when you wish to burst.
  3. Use Execute Icon Execute when the enemy drops below threshold.
  4. Use Shield Slam Icon Shield Slam on cooldown to deal damage and generate Rage.
  5. Use Thunder Clap Icon Thunder Clap when Shield Slam Icon Shield Slam is not available.
  6. Use Revenge Icon Revenge when it procs.
  7. Use Devastate Icon Devastate if nothing else is available.

Rage Spenders

Your Rage should be spent on Ignore Pain Icon Ignore Pain most of the time, but can also be used on Shield Block Icon Shield Block against Physical damage users. It is important to note that Shield Block Icon Shield Block only works against Physical melee or ranged attacks, meaning the damage of Templar's Verdict Icon Templar's Verdict or Envenom Icon Envenom is not reduced by the block.

Do not be afraid to sit on high or maximum Rage: you should keep it high so you can chain Ignore Pain Icon Ignore Pain back to back when needed or use Execute Icon Execute at maximum power to close out the game.


Burst Damage

When you have the enemy healer in crowd control and you are trying to kill an enemy, you use your burst damage.

  1. Make sure you have the Outburst Icon Protection Warrior 2-Piece bonus ready
  2. Use Storm Bolt Icon Storm Bolt to stun your kill target.
  3. Use Conqueror's Banner Icon Conqueror's Banner or Spear of Bastion Icon Spear of Bastion
  4. Use Shield Slam Icon Shield Slam to consume Outburst Icon Outburst
  5. Use Avatar Icon Avatar for Outburst Icon Protection Warrior 4-Piece bonus and gain another Outburst Icon Outburst.
  6. Use Ancient Aftershock Icon Ancient Aftershock if Night Fae
  7. Use Shield Slam Icon Shield Slam on cooldown to deal damage and generate Rage.
  8. Use Thunder Clap Icon Thunder Clap when Shield Slam Icon Shield Slam is not available.
  9. Use Revenge Icon Revenge when it procs.
  10. Use Devastate Icon Devastate if nothing else is available.

Defensive Techniques

Shield Wall Icon Shield Wall is your primary defensive cooldown, and is extremely strong for both you and your team when combined with Unbreakable Will Icon Unbreakable Will. If playing with this legendary, do not be afraid to spend the ability on your allies rather than yourself.

Ignore Pain Icon Ignore Pain enjoys the liberty of having only a 1-second cooldown, unlike Arms Warrior and Fury Warrior who have a 12-second cooldown on this ability. This means that, as long as you have the Rage for it, you can keep yourself permanently shielded, and this is vital for reducing the damage you take and keeping your healer's Mana high.

Heroic Leap Icon Heroic Leap has great pursuit potential but can be equally powerful when trying to survive. Breaking the line of sight of enemies will nullify most of their damage, and is a great way to prevent being killed by unstoppable cooldowns like Combustion Icon Combustion.

Rallying Cry Icon Rallying Cry is a great defensive for you and your team, especially when in conjunction with Inspiring Presence Icon Inspiring Presence. Beware, as the health gained is lost at the end of the duration and can surprise kill you or your teammates.

Shield Block Icon Shield Block blocks any non-enhanced melee attack and ranged attack (Hunters). It does not work against abilities like Templar's Verdict Icon Templar's Verdict or Obliterate Icon Obliterate, that is Frost-enhanced. Shield Block serves as a great defense against any weapon based attackers, even physical ranged ones like Hunter.

Victory Rush Icon Victory Rush is not usable often, but it can still be used sometimes. You can gain this ability after killing an enemy or an enemy pet. So, if you need a heal, you can quickly try to kill a pet and hit an enemy for a heal. Often times, you will be running with Impending Victory Icon Impending Victory to make it available without having to score a kill first.

Shield Bash Icon Shield Bash is great for your team as well, allowing you to reduce the damage of a target, or even multiple targets, by 15% permanently.


Good Avatar Usage

Avatar Icon Avatar is your primary burst cooldown, which greatly enhances your damage output and is almost crucial to being able to apply any pressure. However, roots are also a great counter to Protection Warrior, and it can often be a good idea to hold onto Avatar for abilities such as Frost Nova Icon Frost Nova, so you can break free and help your team.


Good Intimidating Shout Usage

Intimidating Shout Icon Intimidating Shout is a very powerful ability that can make or break your game. This ability is as strong offensively as it is defensively. For this reason, this ability can be the hardest to determine how to use best.

Some good ways to use it offensively are to use it as a followup-CC to an already applied CC on the enemy healer, or to start a CC chain. The enemy team will try to stop your team from applying other forms of CC like Polymorph Icon Polymorph or Hex Icon Hex. If you can land an Intimidating Shout Icon Intimidating Shout onto all of the enemy team, your team will be in a prime position to burst and apply CC without having to worry about being stopped. This way, you can turn the tides of a fight by, for an example, using it on a Windwalker Monk with Storm, Earth, and Fire Icon Storm, Earth, and Fire during Fists of Fury Icon Fists of Fury, to nullify their offensive burst and letting you Storm Bolt Icon Storm Bolt your kill target to counter pressure with your team.



Intervene Icon Intervene is one of the best tools Protection Warriors have for the team. It allows you to quickly reposition to your chosen teammate, and then redirect all melee and ranged attacks onto you. Keep in mind that this ability does not do anything against spells unless you have the Safeguard Icon Safeguard Conduit. Use it frequently and in respond to enemy attempts to kill your teammates.

Shattering Throw Icon Shattering Throw also made a return in Shadowlands and is great for when a Mage uses Ice Block Icon Ice Block or a Paladin uses Divine Shield Icon Divine Shield/Blessing of Protection Icon Blessing of Protection. This ability can also be used to deal a very large amount of damage to absorption shields like Life Cocoon Icon Life Cocoon, almost breaking them entirely.



It is advised to use Macros to use abilities on enemies or allies without having to target them. For this reason, we have a page dedicated to them.



  • 29 Jul. 2022: Updated for Shadowlands Season 4.
  • 31 May 2022: Reviewed for Patch 9.2.5.
  • 28 Feb. 2022: Page updated for Patch 9.2.
  • 08 Nov. 2021: Page reviewed for Patch 9.1.5.
  • 04 Jul. 2021: Updated for Patch 9.1.
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