Tanking with the Blessing of Kings - The TankSpot Guide to the Protection Paladin
Patch Version: Patch 5.4
Latest revision: 6th September 2013
Author: Fetzie on Kazzak EU
The Protection Paladin strides through the battlefield seeking to attract the attention of the most dangerous foes, using the Light to hinder their attempts to attack the Paladin and his allies, and looking good while doing so.
List of Contents
- Commonly Used Acronyms
- Commonly Used Abilities
- Stats and Gearing
- Active Mitigation
- Item Enhancement
- Buffs and Stuffs
- Raid Utility
- Encounter Specific Stunts
- Diminishing Returns
- Further Reading
1. Commonly Used Acronyms
Seasoned Paladin tanks often use acronyms or nicknames for certain abilities which may seem unintelligible to the novice, with the help of this section you too can learn to use GoAK, DP, DS etc.
These are the most important spells in the Paladin’s arsenal. I will be using the acronyms in the rest of the article.
2. Commonly used abilities
- CS – Single target HoPo generator, applies Weakened Blows to the target
- HotR – Multi-target HoPo generator, applies Weakened Blows to all damaged targets
- J – HoPo generator
- AS – Multi-target damage ability, interrupts spell casting instantly on each target
- ShoR – Single target threat ability, primary mitigation spell, uses 3 HoPo to cast
- WoG – instant healing ability, increased strength for each HoPo consumed
- EF - Instant healing ability, increased strength when cast on self, consumes up to three holy power. Replaces Word of Glory
- HoR – taunts the current target, forcing its attention onto you for 3 seconds
- Reb – Interrupts spell casting by the target, 15 second cooldown, off the global cooldown
- RF – Increases your threat generated by 500%
- SoI - Permanent buff applied to yourself, heals the player on melee swing and increases spell haste by 10%
- Holy Power – The Paladin’s main resource, it can now stack up to 5. Spells will still only use up to a maximum of three HoPo, which allows for strategic use of Holy Power to use back-to-back HoPo spending abilities.
The talent system was once again completely overhauled for Mists of Pandaria, talents are now more situationally useful, and often need specific glyphs to be worth using. You change talents just like you change glyphs: right-click the talent, confirm that it will cost a Dust of Disappearance or a Tome of the Clear Mind when you are level 86 or higher. A Tome of the Clear Mind is also used for removing and replacing glyphs when level 86 or higher. You can buy these from the Inscription vendors, the Traveler's Tundra Mammoth, the "Jeeves" repair robot and many "Magical Goods" vendors throughout the world.
When the paladin reaches level 10, he or she can choose to heal people, tank or do damage. As a budding tank you should choose the Protection talent specialization. By doing so, you will learn the following spells:
During the leveling process you will also learn the following specialization specific abilities and passives
In general, you should be looking to get the following talents:
Tier 1: Any are good, depends on the encounter. I prefer Speed of Light for general use.
Tier 2: Fist of Justice or Repentance typically, depending on your needs
Tier 3: Sacred Shield or Eternal Flame, depending on the circumstances
Tier 4: Unbreakable Spirit generally, the other two for specific situations
Tier 5: Holy Avenger or Sanctified Wrath. High haste levels (>25%) give Divine Purpose the edge in ShoR uptime and damage done.
Tier 6: Execution Sentence (single-target damage) or Lights Hammer (multi-target damage and group healing). Holy Prism for snap AoE threat.
Now follows a more in-depth look at the talents.
Tier 1 - Movement Enhancements
My personal favourite is Speed of Light. A significant speed boost on a low cooldown. Long Arm of the Law could be useful for if you need a longer-term speed boost. Pursuit of Justice is a good choice for questing, as you can bank Holy Power for the short sprints between mobs.
- Speed of Light - 70% run speed for 8 seconds on a medium cooldown (45 sec) - My choice.
- Long Arm of the Law - 45% run speed for 3 seconds on a very short cooldown (6 seconds)
- Pursuit of Justice - 15% run speed, and an additional 5% per holy power accumulated (up to a maximum of 30%)
Tier 2 - Crowd Control
None of these are particularly compelling for raiding, both Fist of Justice and Repentance could show themselves to be useful. Evil is a Point of View is not going to see much use in PvE.
- Fist of Justice - Reduces the cooldown of Hammer of Justice to 30 seconds
- Repentance - 1.5 sec cast time crowd control, max 60 sec duration. Only works on Demons, Dragonkin, Giants, Humanoids and Undead, and it breaks on damage taken (except Censure)
- Evil is a Point of View - Allows you to fear humanoids and beasts with Turn Evil.
Tier 3 - Survivability and Healing
Selfless healer can be used together with the Glyph of Flash of Light to make for a quite potent self-healing specialization. Due to the significant buff to Eternal Flame in 5.4 and the quite significant nerf to Sacred Shield, Eternal Flame is now a contender for this talent choice. Depending on how much haste you have it will most likely be worth taking over the hitherto king of the tier Sacred Shield, simply because the healing output is such a large amount. When you have the T16 4p bonus, which removes the opportunity cost for Eternal Flame by making it cost zero Holy Power when you have three Bastion of Glory stacks, it will likely become the default choice in this tier unless encounter mechanics strongly favour the absorb of Sacred Shield instead.
- Selfless Healer - Successful Judgments reduce the cast time and mana cost of your next Flash of Light by 35% per stack and improve its effectiveness by 35% per stack when used to heal others. Stacks up to 3 times.
- Eternal Flame - Replaces Word of Glory, adds a HoT effect to Word of Glory. Effect doubles when cast on self.
- Sacred Shield - 30 sec duration buff that absorbs damage for 6 seconds, absorb shield is renewed every 6 seconds.
Tier 4 - Utility
Unbreakable Spirit is my personal choice for general usage here. Divine Protection is reduced to a 30 second cooldown giving it 33% uptime. Hand of Purity would be good in fights with significant DoT damage, Clemency has situational use. Unbreakable Spirit has an interesting symbiosis with the T15 4set bonus.
- Hand of Purity - Reduces periodic damage taken by the target by 80% for 6 seconds. Also reduces all damage taken by 10% for the duration.
- Unbreakable Spirit - Reduces the cooldowns of Divine Protection, Lay on Hands and Divine Shield by 50%
- Clemency - Hand spells have two charges
Tier 5 - Cooldowns
Holy Avenger works the same as Retributions’ Zealotry in the Cataclysm expansion. It basically enables you to take reduced physical damage for about 20 seconds as it gives you almost full ShoR uptime for the duration. As ShoR casts that occur before the buff expirce add the duration to the buff, you can get extremely long ShoR buff uptimes (see the duration in the picture):
- Holy Avenger - Abilities that generate Holy Power will deal 30% additional damage and healing, and generate 3 charges of Holy Power for the next 18 sec.
- Sanctified Wrath - AW lasts 50% longer, you recieve 20% more healing and Judgement's cooldown is reduced by 50%. Judgement grants two Holy Power per cast.
- Divine Purpose - Abilities that cost Holy Power have a 25% chance to cause the next Holy Power ability to cost no Holy Power and cast as if you had 3 Holy Power.
Sanctified Wrath also gives you full ShoR coverage for the duration, however it also gives you an additional 20% more healing. It does, however, have a 3 minute cooldown instead of 2 minutes for Holy Avenger. Divine Purpose's utility scales exponentially with the amount of haste you have. The more haste you have, the more chances it has to proc, and it can proc from a procced ability. There's a meme in there somewhere.
Tier 6 - Damage and Healing
These abilities are not available until level 90, the hardest hitting on single targets is Execution Sentence. It does have the disadvantage of using the AP level when cast, not when the debuff expires to calculate its damage (although this can also be an advantage depending on the situation). Light's Hammer is probably the best choice for multi-target damage and for use as a raid healing cooldown. Holy Prism is useful for instantly generating large amounts of threat on multiple enemies.
- Holy Prism - Deals damage to your target and heals your allies
- Light's Hammer - Creates an AoE damage effect on the ground, damaging enemies and healing your allies
- Execution Sentence - 10 sec duration Damage-over-Time ability, causes a large amount of damage to the target when the debuff expires
Here is a list of the glyphs relevant to tanking:
I marked the ones that will see the most use in dark green. Divine Protection will be a mandatory Major Glyph on many fights. Focused Shield is a large DPS increase. Double Jeapardy is a dps increase if two targets are available. Immediate truth is a dps loss for us due to the lack of weapon damage. Consecration will be useful for fights with a stream of adds from set locations, however it does require more attention to be paid when targetting it. Alabaster Shield is a dps increase, and Avenging Wrath has a nice interplay with Sanctified Wrath. Harsh Words is a slight dps increase while not tanking, and Final Wrath should be taken as the third DPS glyph if you are going for a maximum damage setup. Glyph of the Battle Healer is, after the change made to it, not going to be used by protection paladins. Glyph of Hand of Sacrifice will be a nice glyph to use, with the danger of using Hand of Sacrifice disappearing.
- Alabaster Shield: Your successful blocks increase the damage of your next Shield of the Righteous by 10%. Stacks up to 3 times.
- Avenging Wrath: While Avenging Wrath is active, you are healed for 1% of your maximum health every 2 sec.
- Consecration: Allows consecrate to be placed anywhere within a 25 yard radius of the caster. Do not use this glyph if you do not need to be able to do this, as it requires a mouse-click to place the targeting reticule on the ground, and thus takes longer to execute
- Dazing Shield: Your Avenger's Shield now also dazes targets for 10 sec.
- Divine Protection: Reduces the magical damage reduction of your Divine Protection to 20% but adds 20% physical damage reduction.
- Double Jeapardy: Judging a target increases the damage of your next Judgment by 20%, but only if used on a different second target.
- Final Wrath: Your Holy Wrath does an additional 50% damage to targets with less than 20% health.
- Flash of Light:When you Flash of Light a target, it increases your next heal done to that target within 7 sec by 10%.
- Focused Shield: Your Avenger's Shield hits 2 fewer targets, but for 30% more damage.
- Hammer of the Righteous: The physical damage reduction caused by Hammer of the Righteous now lasts 50% longer.
- Harsh Words: This Glyph turns WoG into a ranged damaging attack that deals holy spell damage. You will do marginally higher damage with this ability than with ShoR if you are not currently tanking (especially if you would be using Alabaster Shield.) You will, however, need a macro that will cast the spell on yourself or a target to heal as the default action of WoG will be to damage the enemy you have targeted and not to heal when using this glyph. Does not work with Eternal Flame.
- Holy Wrath: Your Holy Wrath now also stuns Aberrations (=Sha-creatures), Elementals and Dragonkin.
- Immediate Truth: Increases the instant damage done by Seal of Truth by 40%, but decreases the damage done by Censure by 50%. Damage loss
- Word of Glory: Increases your damage by 3% per Holy Power spent after you cast Word of Glory or Eternal Flame. Lasts 6 sec.
- Hand of Sacrifice: Hand of Sacrifice no longer redirects damage to the paladin.
All others are cosmetic and/or convenience only.
Single Target Tanking
The rotation is constructed around the cooldowns of Holy Power generators, Filler abilities and Holy Power spends.
Crusader Strike and Judgement generate Holy Power.
Avenger's Shield with a Grand Crusader procc follows J in the rotation. Holy Wrath is the highest damage non-holy power generating spell, and should be prioritized over AS. Sacred Shield is best placed just before Consecration. Hammer of Wrath should be cast when available, but only if Holy Wrath is on cooldown and Grand Crusader has not procced.
Shield of the Righteous can only be cast with three holy power. It is not on the global cooldown, and reduces your physical damage taken for three seconds. It also increases the effectiveness of your next Word of Glory by 10%, this can stack up to 5 times.
Word of Glory can be used to heal yourself or another player and can be cast with 1, 2 or 3 Holy Power. It is not on the Global Cooldown. It's effect is increased by Bastion of Glory, which is stacked by casting ShoR.
The rotation consists of three triads, ending up looking like this:
CS-J-X ... CS-X-J ... CS-X-X
Where X is replaced by Avenger’s Shield, Consecrate, Holy Wrath and (if you take it) Sacred Shield or Eternal Flame. It is a dps and ShoR uptime loss to prioritize Grand Crusader proccs of Avenger’s Shield over Judgment. You no longer need to replace one CS every 30 seconds with HotR to keep the Weakened Blows debuff on the target, as CS applies this debuff as of 5.4.
I highly recommend that you use Seal of Insight while tanking. Tank damage is quite high, and Seal of Insight can put out some very impressive healing, as well as increasing the frequency of Sacred Shield and Eternal Flame ticks.
On multiple targets, Hammer of the Righteous and Judgment are followed by Consecration and Avenging Shield. Use Crusader Strike on individual targets if only two targets are present. Do not use Glyph of Focused Shield when playing an encounter with multiple targets that need tanking/killing.
- Divine Protection is your go-to cooldown. It reduces magical damage taken by 40% for 10 seconds on a 60 second cooldown. If glyphed it loses 20% magical damage reduction, but gains 20% physical damage reduction (i.e. a reversal of the Cataclysm version). With Unbreakable Spirit talented its cooldown is reduced to 30 seconds.
- Ardent Defender is an emergency cooldown that works rather like the Guardian Spirit of a holy priest. It reduces your damage taken by 20%, and if you would have died from damage it saves you and sets your health to 15% maximum health. The cheat death function does not have an upper damage limit.
- Guardian of Ancient Kings reduces your damage taken by 50% for 12 seconds on a 3 minute cooldown.
- Lay on Hands heals you instantly to 100% health and is off the GCD, however it applies Forebearance, preventing another paladin from using LoH on you for 60 seconds and preventing the use of Divine Shield for the same duration.
- Shield of the Righteous can be cast whenever you have three Holy Power, and reduces your physical damage taken by 25% for three seconds. It also applies the Bastion of Glory buff. The damage reduction is activated regardless of ShoR hitting the target and is increased by your Mastery.
Maximizing ShoR Uptime
Maximising ShoR Uptime ultimately means "maximizing Holy Power generation". The uptime of the ShoR buff is directly proportionate to the rate of Holy Power generation. 0.45 Holy Power per second (which is the approximate Holy Power generation when hit and expertise capped) gives a ShoR uptime of 45%. 1 Holy Power per second would mean 100% ShoR uptime. For this you reforge to Hit cap (7.5%), hard cap expertise (15%) and then stack haste, followed by mastery. Parry and Dodge are not important. This is my preferred school of reforging and I will be changing my gear and reforging around to adapt to the new stat priority.
TLDR: Reforge to 7.5% hit (2550 rating) and 15% expertise (5100 rating, or 4400 rating if you use the Expertise elixir). Then prioritize haste over mastery.
8. Stats and Gearing
- Hit and Expertise increase your Holy Power generation rate by giving you a reliable Holy Power income, and increase your damage.
- Haste increases your Holy Power generation by reducing the cooldowns of your rotational abilities and reduces the time between Sacred Shield and Eternal Flame ticks
- Mastery increases your block chance, it increases the damage reduction of Shield of the Righteous and increases the bonus healing from Bastion of Glory
- Stamina increases your maximum health, giving healers more time to heal you up after taking damage. While not your primary focus, stamina should not be neglected.
- Strength is going to be on every piece of gear you have equipped and increases your parry chance significantly
- Parry is gained from parry rating and from strength. Expect to have 2-3 times as much chance to parry as to dodge.
- Dodge is gained from dodge rating
- Crit increases your damage done by a small amount and is not of great significance to your survivability
- Shield of the Righteous uptime is directly related to your HoPo/second rate.
While you can try to optimize your avoidance by manipulating the ratio of dodge rating to parry rating, increasing your haste and mastery level is a much more worthwhile use of your time, I include the information on it in section 19 (located at the end of the article) only for completeness' sake:
Sacred Shield, Eternal Flame and their Interaction with Haste.
Sacred Shield works like a HoT spell, in that Haste (or rather, Spell Haste) reduces the time between applications of the absorb shield. This means that we can get more absorbs out of a single cast of Sacred Shield, making it a very potent spell indeed. Because Sacred Shield scales with Spell Haste, it also scales with the 10% Spell Haste from Seal of Insight, and the 5% Spell Haste from Moonkin Aura, Darkness and Elemental Oath.
Sacred Shield grants, when naked and without buffs, 5 shields of 6 second duration and has a standard duration of 30 seconds. It grants an extra shield at the following amounts of Spell Haste:
and every 20% there-after.
10% Haste is granted by Seal of Insight alone, so you will always get a 6th absorb out of Sacred Shield, even without a single point of haste rating on your gear. In essence, this means that if you get a short-term haste buff, be it a trinket use, bloodlust or an encounter buff, you should definitely think about refreshing Sacred Shield before that buff drops off. Likewise, if you get a negative haste effect, such as Curse of Tongues, you should aim to replace the Sacred Shield when it is convenient to, as this will make you lose ticks.
Eternal Flame grants, when naked and without buffs, 10 heal ticks over 30 seconds, with 3 seconds between each heal. You gain an extra heal tick at the following spell haste levels:
15.01% for 12 total ticks
25.03% for 13 total ticks
34.98% for 14 total ticks
45.03% for 15 total ticks
and so on.
You can find a link to the maths behind SS haste scaling (and thus any other over-time effect) linked here
9. Active Mitigation
Active Mitigation is the new buzzword of the tanking scene. Much like CTC (Combat Table Coverage) in Cataclysm, it serves to reduce our damage intake. Unlike CTC, however, Active Mitigation requires rather more interaction with the character’s abilities. This means that the distinction between a good tank and a not quite so experienced tank is more than who can generate more threat, and thus more damage. To this end, Shield of the Righteous, Word of Glory and our Mastery have been redesigned for Mists of Pandaria.
Shield of the Righteous is now a short duration buff which reduces your physical damage taken by 30% (increased by Mastery) for 3 seconds. Word of Glory no longer has a cooldown and, due to the removal of the Vengeance cap, can now heal for a lot more than in Patch 4.3. Both abilities have been removed from the Global Cooldown. Our Mastery now grants less block chance; however it now increases the damage reduction of the ShoR buff by 1% per point and also increases the power of Bastion of Glory by 1% per point of Mastery. Bastion of Glory is a buff which increases the power of the next WoG the tank casts on themselves by 10%, and can stack up to 5 times. It is applied when ShoR is cast. This buff can make WoG incredibly strong, 200k heals are no rare occurrence when Vengeance is stacked up, which is around half of the raidbuffed health of a level 90 tank in first Tier gear. Due to the fact that we can now bank up to 5 HoPo at any one time, hitting WoG, CS, and then WoG again can be almost as potent a self-heal as Lay on Hands (even without the second WoG having the Bastion of Glory boost.)
Mists of Pandaria has seen the re-introduction of the Sacred Shield spell, it can now be trained as a talent at level 60. It creates an absorb shield that has a 6 second duration, which is refreshed or recast every 6 seconds. This shield’s size scales with your Attack Power and, given enough damage intake, can reach extremely high absorb amounts (especially as Vengeance is calculated from the unmitigated and unabsorbed damage taken.) Absorbs above 100k damage are not uncommon after a significant damage spike.
Blocking is now a much diminished mechanic, it is now practically impossible for a Paladin tank to reach full CTC due to our new two-roll attack table, and the diminishing return on block chance which can already be observed at low-middle block chances (15-20%). Blocks continue to reduce the damage of a melee swing by 30%, or 31% with the Eternal Diamond meta-gem, and with the Alabaster Shield major glyph increase the damage of the next ShoR by 10%, which can stack up to three times, making Mastery not only a Mitigation stat but also indirectly a minor damage increase stat.
There is a "non-numbers" version of this part of the guide, if you are into numbers, you can skip the first two paragraphs.
Now follows what is probably the longest TLDR section ever written:
The stats which can influence your Holy Power generation are Hit, Expertise and Haste. Hit and Expertise make Crusader Strike, Hammer of the Righteous and Judgement hit more often, while Haste allows you to cast your rotational abilities more often. ShoR uptime is directly linked to Holy Power generation, and thus it follows that Hit, Expertise and Haste increase the ShoR uptime.
Because of ShoR's mechanics, it is possible to increase the uptime beyond 100%. When we cast ShoR before the previous ShoR buff expires, the new duration is simply added on to the old duration. This enables us to have an extremely long ShoR buff. The most efficient way to do this is to use Holy Avenger. HA trebles the amount of HoPo generated by CS, HotR, J and Grand Crusader buffed Avenger's Shield, effectively reducing the time between ShoRs from about 7 seconds to about 2 seconds.
The reason why I advise reforging to the melee hit cap and expertise dodge cap is that our ShoR uptime is directly proportional to the rate of Holy Power gain. Our Holy Power generation rate is dependent on Crusader Strike, Hammer of the Righteous and Judgement landing, and can be calculated as follows (assuming all hits land):
We generate 1 Holy Power with CS/HotR every 4.5 seconds. 1 / 4.5 = 0.22 HoPo/s
We generate 1 Holy Power with J every 6.5 seconds (GCD causes it to get pushed back). 1 / 6.5 = 0.15 HoPo/s
About every 20 seconds, Grand Crusader proccs from a CS hit, granting a HoPo from AS. 1 / 20 = 0.05 HoPo/sec
This gives us a basic Holy Power gain of 0.42 per second. ShoR has a 3 sec duration, and is cast on average every 7.14 seconds (3 HoPo @ 0.42 HoPo/s => 3/0.42 = 7.14 s), giving us that (7.14 / 3)*100 = 42% uptime.
Haste buffs increase the Holy Power uptime directly. Bloodlust, a 30% haste increase, increases the Holy Power uptime to 54.6%. To achieve 100% uptime of ShoR, we would need nearly 240% haste!.
We can emulate the effect of such a huge haste boost by simply changing the amount of Holy Power generated by abilities. Enter Holy Avenger. Paladins familiar with the Retribution spec in Cataclysm will recognize the spell as a renamed “Zealotry”. It increases the Holy Power generated by spells and effects from 1 Holy Power per cast to 3 Holy Power per cast (i.e. an effective haste increase of 300%). The Holy Power generation goes to 0.67 from CS, 0.46 from J and around 0.15 from GC_AS, adding up to 1.28 Holy Power per second, giving a 128% uptime of ShoR. The extra 28% uptime isn’t lost either as you may think; rather the new 3 second buff is simply added to the existing buff. This has the interesting effect of extending the ShoR buff’s duration past the expiration of Holy Avenger! HA has an 18 second duration, during which (18x1.28 = 23.04) HoPo are generated, so our ShoR buff, assuming zero Holy Power and an expired ShoR at the beginning of Holy Avenger, is extended by a little over 5 seconds beyond the duration of HA. With a moderate amount of Mastery this amounts to a 23 second, 50-60% physical damage reduction, 2 minute cooldown ability, and when combined with a Mastery trinket /use you can drive the reduction even higher.
It gets even more fun if you use Holy Avenger during Bloodlust. Our already increased Holy Power generation (0.54 per second) allows for an even longer ShoR buff (18x(0.54*3)=29.8 seconds total duration, and this can be extended even more by the increased HoPo generation under Bloodlust after the expiry of HA, especially if you are lucky with Grand Crusader proccs!) Of course, this is a “once per fight” thing, and relies on you needing the damage reduction at that point in time, however as the buff also increases your Holy Power Generator abilities’ damage, it could be worth your while to use it regardless as a dps increase, although this isn’t something that you should do without taking the encounter mechanics into consideration. Also, do not forget that this requires you to spend almost all, if not all, of your Holy Power on ShoR. If you need the WoG heal (which would be certain to have all 5 Bastion of Glory stacks) do not risk dying just so that you can show off with your ShoR buff duration!
A similar effect is seen with Sanctified Wrath. With the reduced cooldown of Judgement and it also granting double holy power, we also observe full ShoR coverage with each Avenging Wrath cast. With the Vial of Living Corruption, the cooldown of Avenging Wrath is reduced to almost 2 minutes, making it the superior choice to Holy Avenger. Sanctified Wrath does see a rotational change, with Judgement taking its position at the head of the priority list, in front of Crusader Strike and Grand Crusader enhanced Avenger's Shield.
10. Item Enhancement
The legendary meta gems are rewarded by the Patch 5.2 stage of the Wrathion legendary questline. The Capacitive Primal Diamond is approximately a 5-10% damage increase. The Indomitable Primal Diamond shall have approximately 60% uptime, and is being buffed to affect all damage taken, not just physical damage. I would recommend taking the Indomitable meta gem for progression tanking, although ten man tanks may decide that they do not feel sufficiently endangered by the damage intake in which case they are welcome to take the Capacitative Diamond instead. Tanks intending on tanking Garrosh should buy the tanking cloak, as he melee hits for 450k in 10 man normal, and that damage gets higher in the other difficulties.
The cloak obtained in the Patch 5.3 stage of the legendary questline shall be upgraded to a legendary quality cloak in 5.4. You can find the stats and procs on the two relevant cloaks here:
Qian-Ying, Fortitude of Niuzao
Gong-Lu, Strength of Xuen
The tank version is essentially a cheat death, which completely absorbs the next killing blow on a 2 minute cooldown. It is my opinion that this is extremely overpowered (although now that all tanks have it, that makes it balanced in a backwards sort of way). The DPS version will add damage to your output (obviously), however its proc chance is reduced by 40% for tanks. I shall be using the tank version of the cloak for progression tanking, however, the more astute reader will have noticed that these cloaks are no longer unique. This means that you can have multiple legendary cloaks, and switch between them as you see fit. The base cloak costs 7000 gold and the upgrade item costs 125 gold from the Black Prince Quartermaster.
- Blacksmithing grants two extra prismatic sockets
- Juwelcrafting grants two extra powerful gems at skill level 550. I place mine in the Gloves BS prismatic and the Bracers BS prismatic sockets. You have a choice between 480 Stamina, 480 Mastery, 480 Haste, 480 Expertise, 480 Hit and 320 Strength.
- Alchemy increases the effect of Elixirs and Flasks which you can make through Mixology.
--- These three are also the only professions that can provide a bonus to your mastery ---
- Inscription grants access to an extra-powerful Shoulder enchant with 750 stamina or 520 strength.
- Enchanting provides Ring enchants: Stamina or Strength.
- Leatherworking gives you a 750 stamina enchant or a 500 Strength bracer enchant.
- Engineering gives you a crafted epic helmet, item level 476 that can take a meta gem and two cogwheels. It also gives you a short-term use 1920 Strength or 2880 Dodge tinker that stacks with a normal enchant on the gloves.
- Mining is the most beneficial of the gathering professions, granting a 480 Stamina bonus
- Herbalism grants a short-term Haste buff that grants 2880 Haste Rating
- Tailoring and Skinning provide little to no useful bonus for tanking.
Blacksmithing and Juwelcrafting are probably the most versatile professions - they provide bonuses regardless of the stats you require. There are no epic gem cuts introduced in Patch 5.4 .
12. Buffs and Stuffs
13. Raid Utility
Hand of Salvation
Reduces the threat of a friendly target by 20% over ten seconds (2% per second). Use in the first 20 seconds of combat is a waste, as a fifth of, say, 100000 threat is much less than a fifth of 500000. As the threat is reduced multiplicatively, the total threat reduction is only about 18.3%. Jere was kind enough to volunteer some number crunching, you can see his post here.
Hand of Sacrifice
Redirects 30% of damage from the target, up to your own maximum health. This redirected damage can be mitigated with cooldowns and the transferred damage is of the same school as the original damage (physical damage transfers physical damage, magical damage will transfer damage of that particular magic school). Damage transferred by Hand of Salvation does not contribute to your Vengeance level. When glyphed, this ability becomes a flat "30% less damage taken by the target" ability, it loses the damage transfer.
Hand of Protection
Makes the target immune to melee and physical damage and abilities. This includes most bleeds, mortal strike debuffs and armor penetration debuffs. It can also make players immune to physical knockbacks and stuns.
Hand of Freedom
Makes the target immune to snares and roots, causing them to often also be immune to damage auras produced by these abilities.
Divine Guardian is now gone, it has been replaced by Devotion Aura. This does the same as Divine Guardian as well as including the Interrupt and Silence immunity from the Cataclysm Aura Mastery.
Lay on Hands and Word of Glory can also be used to heal other raid and party members. Lay on Hands cannot be cast on players with Forebearance, and causes Forebearance on the target, meaning that they cannot use Divine Shield or gain Hand of Protection for 60 seconds. If you are using a Hand of Protection based strategy take this into consideration.
Blessing of Kings now only increases Strength, Agility and Intellect by 5%.
Blessing of Might now increases Mastery Rating by a nominal amount (893 @level 85, 3000 @level 90). This is equivalent to 5 Mastery.
"Clear my Debuffs"
"Pull Timer with Bigwigs and DBM"
/cancelaura Divine Shield
/cancelaura Hand of Protection
/cast Divine Shield
/pull time (in seconds)
There are very few addons that are needed, however there are some that make life a LOT easier.
- Skada Damage Meter
- Bigwigs, Deadly Boss Mod, DXE Boss Mod
Do NOT use Tauntmaster. It is based on faulty premises that are explained here.
16. Encounter Specific Stunts and Tips
Garajal: using Hand of Protection and Divine Shield on yourself will not cause the boss to de-aggro.
Horridon: Using the "Unbreakable Spirit" talent will allow you to use Divine Shield to remove the first phase's stack of Triple Puncture, Hand of Protection to remove Phase 2's Triple Puncture stack and then use Divine Shield to remove the third phase's stack.
Megaera: Using Hand of Purity on the first fire breath, unglyphed Divine Protection on the second and Hand of Purity on the third will significantly increase your survivability on this fight.
Tier 16: TBA
17. Avoidance and Diminishing Returns
Diminishing Returns on avoidance stats were introduced in Wrath of the Lich King to stop tanks reaching 100% avoidance against bosses (druids and rogues could literally not be hit by a boss).
This is a very simplified example of how Diminishing Returns works (in reality the maths and numbers are rather more complex):
Let us assume that the two ratings diminish at the same rate, and that 1 dodge rating is 1% dodge and that the next rating point grants 0.01% dodge less each time. While not representative of the current mechanics, this makes it rather easier to understand. Thus, avoidance diminishing returns works a bit like this:
The first point of dodge rating gives 1% dodge.
The next 1 dodge rating gives 0.99% dodge (2 dodge rating = 1.99% instead of 2%)
The next 1 dodge rating gives 0.98% dodge (3 dodge rating = 2.97% instead of 3%)
The next 1 dodge rating gives 0.97% dodge (4 dodge rating = 3.94% instead of 4%)
The next 1 dodge rating gives 0.96% dodge (5 dodge rating = 4.90% instead of 5%)
Now I said to balance the ratings because of the diminishing return. This is the reason why:
5 Parry Rating = 4.90%
3 Dodge Rating = 2.97%
Total = 7.87% Avoidance
Now if the ratings were balanced... (note we still have the exact same number of points)
4 Parry Rating = 3.94%
4 Dodge Rating = 3.94%
Total = 7.88% Avoidance
7.88% > 7.87%
By shifting one parry rating into dodge rating, our avoidance has increased by 0.01%, even though the total amount of rating remained constant.
You can balance your avoidance ratings around the following formula:
Character Screen Parry chance = baseParry + Cd/Cp(character screen dodge – base dodge)
Or, with the numbers replaced:
Parry chance = 3.67 + 3.5883(dodge chance – 5.01)
If the character screen parry chance is less than the number that the equation spits out, then you need more parry rating. If it is higher than the number that the equation spits out, then you need more dodge rating (Only do this when raid buffed of course).
So that you don't need to do so much maths, here is a list of dodge chances and the respective optimal parry chances:
In general, your parry chance should be about 2.5-3 times as large as your dodge chance. But, like I said earlier, not really relevant.
18. Further Reading
The MainTankadin forums are a veritable goldmine of information regarding paladin tanking.
Elitist Jerks is also a useful resource for theorycrafting
Sacred Duty is a blog concerning paladin tanking which features a lot of interesting articles and theorycrafting.
Theck (Maintankadin) for the rotation, talents and glyphs theorycrafting
Quinafoi (TankSpot) for the DR balancing example
Chamenas/Lulia and Raysere (TankSpot) for helping me decide on the guide's name (although I went with something of my own in the end :))
Jere (TankSpot) for the Hand of Salvation clarification and maths
If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to post a reply to this thread or send me a Private Message.
25th September 2012: Initial posting.
3rd October 2012: First revision
10th November 2012: Gems added, Sacred Shield addendum
20th February 2013: Changed a few things due to Patch 5.2
3rd March 2013: Changed order of chapters 7-9 to make the guide more coherent.
22nd May 2013: Update for Patch 5.3
6th September 2013: Update for Patch 5.4
20th April 2014: moved avoidance and DR to end of article