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Thread: Tanking with the Blessing of Kings - The Protection Paladin

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    Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Tanking with the Blessing of Kings - The Protection Paladin

    Patch Version: Patch 4.3
    Latest revision: 14th January 2012
    Author: Fetzie, Officer of <Allied Enemies> on Anub’arak 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
    1. Commonly Used Acronyms
    2. Commonly Used Abilities
    3. Talents
    4. Glyphs
    5. Rotation
    6. Cooldowns
    7. Stats
    8. Reforging
    9. Diminishing Returns
      1. Combat Table Coverage (also known as Unhittable)
    10. Item Enhancement
      1. Enchanting
      2. Gemming
    11. Professions
    12. Buffs and Stuffs
    13. Raid Utility
    14. Macros
    15. Addons
    16. Encounter Specific Stunts
    17. Further Reading
    18. Acknowlegements

    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.

    Spell Name Level Acquired Tree Acronym
    Crusader Strike 1 Retribution CS
    Judgement 3 Retribution J
    Seal of Righteousness 3 Protection SoR
    Word of Glory 9 Holy WoG
    Righteous Fury 12 Protection RF
    Hammer of Justice 14 Protection HoJ
    Hand of Reckoning 14 Protection HoR
    Lay on Hands 16 Holy LoH
    Hand of Protection 18 Protection HoP
    Judgements of the Just 21 Talented JotJ
    Blessing of Kings 22 Protection BoK
    Consecration 24 Holy Cons
    Holy Wrath 28 Holy HW
    Hammer of the Righteous 29 Talented HotR
    Divine Protection 30 Protection DivProt
    Seal of Insight 32 Holy SoI
    Cleanse 34 Holy
    Righteous Defense 36 Protection RD
    Shield of the Righteous 39 Talented ShoR
    Grand Crusader 43 Talented GC
    Divine Plea 44 Holy DP
    Seal of Truth 44 Retribution SoT
    Hammer of Wrath 46 Retribution HoW
    Divine Shield 48 Protection DS
    Holy Shield 49 Talented HS
    Divine Guardian 51 Talented DG
    Hand of Freedom 52 Protection HoF
    Rebuke 54 Retribution Reb
    Blessing of Might 56 Retribution BoM
    Guarded by the Light 57 Talented GbtL
    Sacred Duty 61 Talented SD
    Hand of Salvation 66 Protection HoSalv
    Ardent Defender 69 Talented AD
    Avenging Wrath 72 Retribution AW, Wings
    Turn Evil 78 Holy TE
    Hand of Sacrifice 80 Protection HoSac
    Inquisition 81 Retribution Inq
    Pursuit of Justice 82 Talented PoJ
    Holy Radiance 83 Holy HR
    Guardian of Ancient Kings 85 Protection GoAK
    Holy Power N/A N/A HoPo
    Combat Table Coverage N/A N/A CTC, "unhittable"

    These are the most important spells in the Paladin’s arsenal. I have left out the Auras as they are generally fairly passive, you will almost always have Devotion Aura active. I will be using the acronyms in the rest of the article.

    2. Commonly used abilities
    • CS – Single target HoPo generator, applies Vindication
    • HotR – Multi-target HoPo generator, applies Vindication to all damaged targets
    • J – mana regenerator and applier of Judgements of the Just
    • AS – Multi-target damage ability, interrupts spell casting instantly on each target
    • ShoR – Single target threat ability, uses all HoPo to cast
    • Inq – Increases holy damage done by 30%, used mostly for Multi-target tanking. Increased duration per HoPo consumed
    • WoG – instant healing ability, increased strength for each HoPo consumed
    • HoR – taunts the current target, forcing its attention onto you for 3 seconds
    • RD – taunts up to 3 enemies attacking the unit you cast the spell on, assuring you their attention for 3 seconds
    • Reb – Interrupts spell casting by the target, 10 second cooldown, off the global cooldown
    • RF – Increases your threat generated by 500%

    3. Talents

    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:

    You will also be able to use your first talent point. Here is an example of a Protection Paladin using their talent points sorted by level:


    Levels 10-17
    Seals of the Pure – 2 points
    Divinity – 3 points

    Levels 19-27
    Judgements of the Just – 2 points
    Toughness – 3 points

    Levels 29-37
    Hammer of the Righteous – 1 point
    Sanctuary – 3 points
    Wrath of the Lightbringer – 1 point

    Levels 39-47
    Shield of Righteousness – 1 point
    Grand Crusader – 2 points
    Wrath of the Lightbringer – 1 point
    Reckoning – 1 point

    Levels 49-57
    Holy Shield – 1 point
    Divine Guardian – 1 point
    Vindication – 1 point
    Guarded by the Light – 2 points

    Levels 59-67
    Shield of the Templar – 3 points
    Sacred Duty – 2 points

    Level 69-79
    Ardent Defender – 1 point
    Improved Judgement – 2 points
    Crusade – 3 points

    Levels 81-85
    Pursuit of Justice – 2 points
    Rule of Law – 2 points
    Reckoning – 1 point

    You may be asking "Why not Eye for an Eye or Judgements of the Pure?" and that would be a fair question. The answer is quite simple - they do not provide as much threat as the alternatives. The additional range on Judgement is, in my opinion, a better investment of two talent points than the 1-3% more damage. Judgements of the Pure is an extremely weak threat talent - after all it only affects our melee swing and the extra seal damage resulting from them.

    Theck on Maintankadin did an in-depth analysis of our threat talents, the results of which can be found in this graph:

    This shows the extent of the weakness of some of our threat talents (and the relative strength of others).

    Hallowed Ground can be used in a build designed for AoE tanking, however these situations are few and far between, making this a very seldomly useful talent. Don't forget that Consecrate has a 30 second cooldown and only 10 seconds duration.

    4. Glyphs

    You can enhance spells with glyphs to make them stronger, or even completely change how they work. You get to use the first set of Prime, Major and Minor glyphs at 25 and additional sets become available at levels 50 and 75.

    Level 25
    At level 25 you get to choose your first set of glyphs. As you do not yet have some of the core spells, the first glyphs are fairly boring.
    • Prime: Hammer of the Righteous is available at level 29, but this is probably the best choice you have at this level as you will hit level 29 about half an hour after dinging 25 anyway. The only other prime glyph that would make any sense would be Word of Glory.
    • Major: Lay on Hands, there are hardly any others
    • Minor: BoM
    Level 50
    The second set of glyphs allows a bit more choice, as you now have a lot of the spells that the glyphs can influence.
    • Prime: Shield of the Righteous or Seal of Truth
    • Major: Holy Wrath
    • Minor: BoK
    Level 75
    The third set of glyphs is the most interesting as you now have all of the spells that glyphs can modify.
    • Prime: Shield of the Righteous or Seal of Truth
    • Major: Divine Protection
    • Minor: SoT
    Maximum Level
    • Prime: Seal of Truth, ShoR, CS/HotR, WoG
    • Major: Lay on Hands, Divine Protection, Holy Wrath/AS(single target only
    • Minor: BoK, BoM, SoT

    Theck performed an analysis of our glyphs, the graph can be found below:

    The different bars represent gear and seal choices, the yellow and maroon bars are the ones relevant to most paladin tanks (the other two are priorities involving Word of Glory).

    Here is a list of the glyphs relevant to tanking:

    • Seal of Truth: Increases your expertise by 10 while SoT or SoR are active. About as mandatory as it gets, no other glyph will grant such a large bonus.
    • Shield of the Righteous: Increases your hardest hitting ability's damage by 10%. A very considerable threat boost.
    • Crusader Strike: Increases Crusader Strike's critical strike chance by 5%. While on paper not an obvious choice, the simulations done show it performing quite well. The third choice for threat.
    • Judgement: Increases J damage by 10%. Judgement is one of our lower damage abilities, this glyph is less useful than others.
    • Hammer of the Righteous: Increases damage done by the physical and splash components by 10%. If you are going to be using HotR a lot, use this glyph
    • Word of Glory: Increases the healing done by WoG by 10%. If you find yourself WoGing frequently, this glyph will make it more effective. It's heyday, unfortunately finished with 4.2 and the 20 second cooldown on Word of Glory for non-holy paladins. In T13 with the abundance of threat, it can be used for controlled survivability with well-timed WoG casts.
    • Seal of Insight: Increases healing done by 5% when SoI is active. Should only ever be paired with WoG glyph.

    • Focused Shield: Increases the damage of our hardest hitting filler by 30%. The highest threat increase from major glyphs.
    • Dazing Shield: Gives AS the daze it had in WotLK. Useful for kiting enemies.
    • Lay on Hands: Reduces the cooldown of Lay on Hands by 30% (from 10 min to 7 min). Very strongly recommended.
    • Holy Wrath: Holy Wrath also stuns dragonkin and elementals with this glyph. What with the abundance of both enemy types in Cataclysm this glyph shines especially well.
    • Consecration: Increases the duration and cooldown of Cons by 20%. Not recommended due to consecrate's pitiful damage and fixed location when casted.
    • Divine Protection: Changes DivProt from a 20% to all damage reduction to a 40% magic only reduction. Very useful for fights with large amounts of magical damage, there is a use for it on every boss in Firelands and most bosses in Tier 11.
    • Hammer of Wrath: Removes the mana cost of a spell you will be using about 4 times in a boss fight (if you are lucky, remember you won't be casting it on cooldown). Not really worth the cost of a glyph slot in my opinion.
    • Rebuke: Useful for if interrupting while not being attacked in melee (Nefarian phase 2 for example). Otherwise not particularly interesting.
    • Hand of Salvation: Turns HoSalv into a targetted "Fade", temporarily removing a player from the boss' threat table.
    • None of them are particularly compelling, just take the three that you like the look of.

    Here is a link to a sample talent tree including glyph recommendations.

    Using this following script ingame (paste it into the chat box) will set the talents in linked above (you need to unlearn your current talents first):
    /run t,p,a={2,13,22,42,53,83,91,102,112,121,132,141,151,162,171,182,193,201,1,3,23,32,52,62,}SetPreviewPrimaryTalentTree(t[1],GetActiveTalentGroup())for i=1,#t do a=t[i]if a<9 then p=a else AddPreviewTalentPoints(p,floor(a/10),a%10)end end

    5. Rotation

    The protection paladin rotation is based on a Holy Power generator, filler spells and finisher spells.

    We alternate the Holy Power generator (Crusader Strike) with filler spells (mostly Avenger's Shield and Judgement), and consume Holy Power with a finisher (Shield of the Righteous, Inquisition or Word of Glory).

    the backbone of the rotation looks therefore like this:

    HoPo generator - filler - HoPo generator - Filler - HoPo generator - Finisher

    or with the fillers and finisher set in place:

    CS - AS - CS - J - CS - ShoR - CS - Cons - CS - J - CS - ShoR...

    There is a priority system behind this madness.

    ShoR > CS > AS > J > Cons > HW

    This means that the finisher takes priority over everything, and that the non-CS styles have to fit in around the Crusader Strike cooldown.

    Because Grand Crusader has a 20% chance to reset the AS cooldown every time we land a CS, we will usually see AS becoming ready sooner than it otherwise would. In this case, the AS will also generate a Holy Power. It's usage therefore requires a little more thought:

    If GC proccs and you have just gained your second or third HoPo from the CS, you should wait until after the CS following the HoPo dump, as seen here (the GC procc is notated as CS_GC and the HoPo carrying AS is notated as AS_!):

    ShoR - CS - AS - CS - J - CS_GC - ShoR - CS - AS_! - CS - ShoR

    If, however, the Grand Crusader procc occurs before you have gained the second Holy Power, you should use it earlier:

    ShoR - CS_GC - AS_! - CS - ShoR - CS - J - CS - Cons/HW - CS - ShoR

    This, however, has little impact on the priority queue, as dumping Holy Power with ShoR and keeping CS on cooldown by hitting it every other GCD still take preference over the GC enhanced Avenger's Shield.


    What does change the Priority a little is adding Inquisition into the mix. As we know from before, Inquisition enhances all holy damage dealt by 30% for its duration.

    In fact, Inquisition takes preference over a non-sacred duty ShoR and over a non-Inquisition boosted ShoR. This means that if you have three Holy Power, and Sacred Duty and Inquisition are both not up, then use Inquisition instead of Shield of the Righteous.

    The priority now looks like this:

    (SotR if Sacred Duty or Inquisition active)>Inq>CS>AS_!>J>AS>Cons>HW

    You may be wondering what to do with that shiny button that flashes when the boss hits 20% - Hammer of Wrath, our version of Execute. Well, it is fairly simple. It does about the same damage as AS, but cannot proc SD, so it gets fitted in like this:

    (SotR if Sacred Duty or Inquisition active)>Inq>CS>AS_!>J>AS>HoW>Cons>HW

    This is now our Single target priority list.

    After the buff to Judgement in the 4.3 patch, it's damage is now on par with Avenger's Shield. You can get a higher uptime of the T13 2set shield if you prioritise J over AS and sims run by Theck on Maintankadin show this to also be ~10 dps increase.

    Now you can go have a cup of tea, because next we look at the Multi-target priority, aka "how much higher than the top DPS can I get while tanking 20 mobs?". The answer depends on the following:

    Multi-target Tanking

    Which spells are better for AoE?

    Our holy power generator is now Hammer of the Righteous (HotR). Our AoE fillers are Avenger's Shield (AS), Consecrate (Cons) and Holy Wrath (HW) and the main HoPo dump will be Inquisition (Inq). The aim is to get as much Inq uptime as possible while hitting as many AoE fillers as we can. Unfortunately, Cons has a 30 second cooldown and HW has a 15 second cooldown, so every now and again we will need to resort to single target attacks (this is, at least, better than not doing anything!)

    We start with

    HotR - Cons - HotR - AS - HotR - Inq - HotR - HW - HotR - J - HotR - ... and this is where it gets complicated.

    Do we refresh Inq prematurely and "waste" 3 seconds of its duration, or do we hit a mob with a massive ShoR? Well what I do is look at my Sacred Duty uptime, if it is active, getting a ShoR crit with Inq active and near full Vengeance will likely do more damage than the HotR splash on the mobs will if Inq boosted. On the other hand, the HotR splash is not (as far as I know) limited to the AoE cap, thus if there are enough mobs (more than 8 is my rule of thumb) it can be worth sacrificing a HoPo and hit a fourth HotR or clipping the Inq duration.

    Something that can happen is that our old friend Grand Crusader decides to activate, refreshing the Avenger's Shield Cooldown and giving us a free Holy Power. If this happens fairly early on in the cycle and you end up with more than 4-5 seconds of Inquisition and you are sitting at 3 HoPo, go ahead and whack an enemy with a massive ShoR (hopefully crit). If Avenging Wrath (aka wings) is active you can often see a 70+k ShoR crit, after which that specific enemy will stick to you like glue.

    the priority, therefore is


    However, depending on your mana pool you may wish to prioritize Judgement, especially when the group of enemies starts to die and your Sanctuary mana regeneration is reduced, as Consecrate uses over half of your mana pool.

    The Pull is very important.

    There are quite a few ways to start, but the method that has stuck with me is as follows:
    1. Divine Plea
    2. Inquistion (Start moving towards the boss)
    3. Avenging Wrath
    4. Avenger's Shield (~15-20 yards away)
    5. Crusader Strike (melee range, start the single target)
    6. Judgement
    7. Crusader Strike
    8. Consecrate
    9. Crusader Strike
    10. Shield of the Righteous (if everything lands, this still has the INQ buff and will catapult you way above the top dps on threat)

    This is a lot less dependant on the first ShoR landing, as this is by no means sure, especially at such low hit and expertise values as you should be at. If Grand Crusader proccs, use AS at the next possible opportunity to ensure ShoR gets the Inq damage boost.

    6. Cooldowns
    • Holy Shield should be used as often as possible, and its 30 second cooldown lends itself to frequent usage. However, of course, you should not use it when you are not being hit. It increases the damage reduction of a block from 30% to 50% (31% to 51% with the block value Meta gem), it is therefore more reliable the closer you come to full CTC (an unblocked hit with HS up will still deal the full damage).
    • Divine Protection is your go-to cooldown. It reduces all damage taken by 20% for 10 seconds on a 60 second cooldown. If glyphed it becomes a potent magical damage reduction (40%), but it loses the melee reduction. This can be very useful when you are taking a lot of magical damage.
    • 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.
    • Divine Plea is, for non-protection Paladins, merely a mana regeneration tool. However, 3 points in Shield of the Templar causes it to generate 3 HoPo on demand on a 2 minute cooldown. This can be used on the pull to have a 3 HoPo finisher at the beginning of the fight, or can be used during combat to generate a full power WoG when you need it. Cancelling the DP buff does not cause the HoPo to disappear.

    7. Stats
    • Mastery is the Protection Paladin’s best stat, it should be on every item. It is the most efficient way to reduce your damage intake. When you are at the CTC hardcap of 102.4% when raidbuffed, you should either reforge Mastery to Parry or Dodge Rating, or turn the Mastery on gems into Stamina.
    • Parry and Dodge should ideally be on every item you have, together with Mastery. You should try to keep your parry and dodge rating amounts similar when raid buffed (dodge should ideally be about 160 more than parry when unbuffed because of the Parry rating contribution from Battle Shout, Horn of Winter or Strength of Earth totem). However, balancing in this way is more of an ideal than a practical target, Firelands gear for example showers you in parry rating making this target practically unreachable.
    • 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 while useful, is not worth gemming or enchanting for.
    • Hit and expertise are purely for threat, which is a non-issue due to Vengeance. This is even more enhanced now that Righteous Fury has a 500% multiplier.
    • Crit and Haste are next to worthless.

    8. Reforging

    Every item without Mastery on it should be reforged so that mastery is on it. Prioritize the reforging of threat stats (hit and expertise usually) to mastery. If the item has Mastery and a threat stat, reforge the threat stat to dodge or parry rating, depending on which you have less of.

    9. 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). Both parry and dodge ratings diminish at the same rate. As they decay at the same rate, and start at the same point, one should try to balance the ratings.

    This is a very simplified example of how Diminishing Returns works (in reality the maths and numbers are rather more complex):

    Assuming 1 dodge rating is 1% dodge and that the next rating point grants 0.01% dodge less each time, 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.

    9.1 Combat Table Coverage aka. Unhittability aka. Block Capping

    The reason we go into all this trouble understanding Diminishing Returns, and what Mastery does is the quest for removing normal hits off the Combat Table.

    This is what the normal combat table looks like:

    Crit Taken care of by Sanctuary (5.6% chance, +200% damage)
    Crush Only from Level+4 enemies (+150% damage)
    Hit Normal Swing damage
    Block Blocked Swing (=30% less damage)
    Parry Parried Swing
    Dodge Dodged Swing
    Miss Swing that misses

    We only really need to worry about Hits, blocks, parrys and dodges as we never* encounter crushing blows or critical strikes in a normal fight.

    In tabletop terms, the game rolls a D10000 (with faces 0-9999)to determine what happens with the swing (this allows for 0.01% steps in avoidance. Your avoidance and block chances change the amount of times the boss hits you with a full swing. Let us say a tank has 15% dodge, 15% parry and 50% block against the enemy attacking him:

    Hit 8500-9999 (15%)
    Block 3500-8499 (50%)
    Parry 1999-3499 (15%)
    Dodge 500-1999 (15%)
    Miss 0-499 (5%)

    The boss has a 15% chance to land a normal hit.

    Now let us imagine that our tank has magically got 15% block out of nowhere (maybe he equipped two mastery trinkets).

    Hit Cannot be rolled for
    Block 3500-9999 (65%)
    Parry 2000-3499 (15%)
    Dodge 500-1999 (15%)
    Miss 0-499 (5%)

    Our tank has got so much block that the normal hits have no more valid numbers that the game can choose, so the tank can no longer take a normal hit, only taking blocks or not being hit at all. Increasing the values for avoidance gives the game less possible values to deal a blocked swing, even if the block chance on paper remains the same:

    Block 4500-9999 (55%)
    Parry 2500-4499 (20%)
    Dodge 500-2499 (20%)
    Miss 0-499 (5%)

    The possible roll results between 3500 and 4499 have been turned from block chance (i.e. take lower damage) into avoidance chance (take zero damage).

    This means that gradually with increasing avoidance Paladin tanks require less and less mastery to cap the stat. This means that in future patches, with ever increasing avoidance levels, we will be able to reforge OUT of mastery and into avoidance and use more stamina gems instead of mastery gems while maintaining full coverage of all combat table eventualities.

    But why go to all this trouble? The answer is fairly simple: If we can make every hit that lands a block, we take a permanent 30% less damage from a boss' melee swing, and Holy Shield makes us take a massive FIFTY percent less damage. It is like we have GoAK up for 20 seconds of a 60 second fight, while for the other 40 seconds Divine Protection is permanently active. This is a massive amount of damage we can eliminate, making the healers' job much easier.

    10. Item Enhancement

    10.1 Enchanting

    10.2 Gemming

    My personal preferences are the Eternal Shadowspirit Diamond, the Puissant Elven Peridot in blue and yellow sockets and Defender’s Shadow Spinel in red sockets. However, when you reach full CTC which will probably happen when you are around full 378 item level, I would recommend turning the mastery in your gems into stamina. This means Solid Deepholm Iolite in blue sockets, Puissant Elven Peridot in yellow sockets and Defender’s Shadow Spinel in red sockets. Avoidance and Mastery socket bonuses can be ignored so long as you retain full CTC, in which case place a Solid Deepholm Iolite in the gem socket.

    The Eternal Shadowspirit Diamond pulls ahead of the Austere at about the point at which your combined dodge, parry, miss and block chances add up to 75% (about half 346 blue and half 359 epic gear). Before this point the Austere meta gem provides a higher damage reduction.

    11. Professions

    • Blacksmithing grants two extra prismatic sockets at skill 400 (so you don’t even need to get it up to Cataclysm levels)
    • Juwelcrafting grants three extra powerful gems at skill level 500. I place mine in the Gloves BS prismatic, the Belt buckle prismatic and the Libram prismatic sockets. I would recommend using three of the 67 mastery Fractured Chimera Eyes. When you reach full CTC, try to replace these with the 101 Stamina Solid Chimera Eye.
    • Alchemy increases the effect of Elixirs and Flasks which you can make through Mixology. You also get a craftable stamina trinket with additional mastery, making Alchemy a nice way to get the first epic trinket.

    --- These three are also the only professions that can provide a bonus to your mastery ---

    • Inscription, and Enchanting provide an 120 Stamina bonus while Engineering allows for an Armor use on the gloves and an absorb shield use on the belt, you can also craft an ilvl 359 helmet.
    • Leatherworking provides a 195 Stamina bonus at the cost of 50 dodge rating, and a free leg enchant with the same stats as the epic version.
    • Mining is the most beneficial of the gathering professions, granting a 120 Stamina bonus.
    • Tailoring, Herbalism, 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.

    12. Buffs and Stuffs

    13. Raid Utility

    Divine Guardian
    A very powerful raid damage reduction, only failing is the quite restricted range. Reduces the damage taken by affected party and raid members by 20% for 6 seconds. 3 minutes cooldown.

    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 (so about 200k damage). 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).

    Divine Radiance
    Is a spell cast on a target, healing all friendly units within a short rage over 3 seconds. It has a 3 second cast time, and is thus unlikely to be cast unless you are not currently tanking as you cannot avoid or block attacks while casting.

    Hand of Protection
    Makes the target immune to melee and physical damage. This includes most bleeds, mortal strike debuffs and armor penetration debuffs. It can also make players immune to knockbacks like Halfus Wyrmbreaker's Furious Roar knockback or the Squall Line at Al'Akir.

    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.

    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 (Majordomo seeds, Rag P2) take this into consideration.

    14. Macros
    RD on mouseover
    /cast [@mouseover]Righteous Defense
    Clear debuffs (does not work on a lot of stuff in Firelands for some reason)
    /cancelaura Divine Shield
    /cast Divine Shield
    Instant WoG. To be used after hitting Divine plea to cancel the -healing before casting WoG.
    /cancelaura Divine Plea
    /cast Word of Glory
    "I want to lose aggro NOW" : Cancels Vengeance, Righteous Fury and casts Hand of Salvation on yourself.
    /cancelaura Vengeance
    /cancelaura Righteous Fury
    /cast [@player]Hand of Salvation

    15. Addons

    There are very few addons that are needed, however there are a few that make life a LOT easier.

    Tidyplates + threadplates plugin.
    A scrolling combat text mod
    A boss mod
    Buff/debuff management addon such as Powerauras or Weakauras

    Do NOT use Tauntmaster. It is based on faulty premises that are explained here.

    16. Encounter Specific Stunts

    Tier 11
    • Magmaw: Hand of Protection stops damage during Mangle.
    • Chimaeron: Ardent Defender sets you to 15% even during the no-heal final phase
    • Nefarian: Blood Elves can use Arcane Torrent to interrupt the adds in Phase 2 without being on the platforms

    • Halfus: Use the /cancelaura macros to remove stacks of the Malevolent Strikes debuff. Hand of Protection makes the target immune to Furious Roar, allowing for an easy interrupt.
    • Cho'gall: Use unglyphed Avenger's Shield to interrupt all Worships instantly.
    • Conclave of Wind: Divine Shield removes the Wind Chill stacking debuff at Nezir, removing the need to tank swap with the Anshal tank. Hand of Freedom makes you immune to the frost patches.
    • Al'akir: Hand of Freedom makes you immune to the frost path damage and slow effect.Divine Shield removes Acid Rain stacks.

    Tier 12
    Unfortunately a lot of the debuff removing shenanigans don't work here. This is a list of stuff that neither Divine Shield nor Hand of Protection will remove:
    • Widow's Kiss (Beth'tilak MS effect)
    • Jagged Tear (Shannox + Riplimb bleed)
    • Tormented (Baleroc, but the tank shouldn't get this anyway)
    • Burning Wound (Ragnaros)
    Divine Shield and Hand of Protection prevent the application of Searing Seeds at Majordomo Staghelm and can prevent a Molten Elemental from spawning in Phase 2 at Ragnaros.
    Ardent Defender will allow you to take a single Slash alone at Majordomo, giving the healers less to worry about.
    Alternate unglyphed Divine Protection and Holy Shield while kiting Hatchlings at Alysrazor to the Lava Worms.

    17. 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.
    Vexryn's Gear Compilation is a comprehensive list of the tanking gear currently available.

    18. Acknowledgements
    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 PM.

    Revision History
    31st July 2011: Initial posting, formatting and typo error fixes.
    31st July 2011: Added more stuff to the glossary, expanded on cooldowns and the rotation section.
    1st August 2011: Glyphs section expanded.
    2nd August 2011: Raid Utility added + formatting changes. Addressed Hallowed Ground talent and CTC/Unhittability.
    4th August 2011: Tricks at bosses added.
    10th August 2011: Hand of Salvation clarification.
    17th August 2011: Righteous Fury hotfix noted.
    4th October 2011: Fixed Hand of Sacrifice description, Tauntmaster warning, added Divine Shield, Hand of Protection and Lay on Hands utility in Firelands.
    17th October 2011: Mastery post-CTC cap addendum.
    28th November 2011: Patch 4.3 changes.
    18th December 2011: Minor alterations to WoG glyph description and adjustment of the Priority to account for Judgement buff.
    14th January 2012: I forgot to amend the gems section after the introduction of epic gems.
    Last edited by Fetzie; 01-13-2012 at 07:19 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    This part of the guide is intended to be a discussion of upcoming changes to Protection Paladins, explaining what the changes are going to do, and going into a bit of background as to what the changes will mean. As I have got the guaranteed beta thing from the annual pass (I will make a video of the pet combat with the pokemon theme music I promise) I will be able to update this post with Beta experiences before they get added/edited into the actual guide as the beta draws to a close and Mists of Pandaria is released.

    Patch Notes relevant to Protection Paladins.

    PTR Version 4.3.0 - Build 14890
    26th October 2011

    Blessing of Might
    • The melee attack power bonus from this raid buff has been increased to 20%, up from 10%. The ranged attack power bonus remains 10%.
    Q: What does this change?
    A: We do more threat. This is a change to buff all melee dps classes, the fact that we will be getting about 3000 AP (raid buffed total attack power with vengeance is about 30k) "for free" is simply a knock-on effect of this change.

    • Vengeance for Protection warriors, Protection paladins, Blood death knights, and Feral druids has been redesigned slightly. It no longer ramps up slowly at the beginning of a fight. Instead, the first melee attack taken by the tank generates Vengeance equal to 33% of the damage taken by that attack. In addition, as it updates periodically during the fight, it's always set to at least 33% of the damage taken by the tank in the last 2 seconds. It still climbs from that point at the rate it did previously, still decays when damage is not taken, and still cannot exceed a maximum based on the health and Stamina of the tank.
    Q: What does this change?
    A: What this change means is that we get Vengeance ramped up faster. Currently Vengeance stacks up fairly slowly, it takes about 10 to 15 seconds to reach a stable maximum, giving overly zealous dps plenty of time to pull aggro with Bloodlust and personal cooldowns. With this change, the first swing the tank takes will increase their Vengeance level by a third of the total damage. So a 60k swing will set your Vengeance to 20000 AP. Currently, the same 60k swing would set your Vengeance to just 3000 AP. The upper limit on Vengeance stays the same, but the build-up time is reduced, and the decay is slowed.

    Holy Radiance
    • Holy Radiance now has a 3.0-second cast time, no cooldown, and requires a player target. That target is imbued with Holy Radiance, which heals them and all group members within 10 yards instantly, and continues to heal them by a smaller amount every 1 second for 3 seconds.
    Q: What does this change?
    A: Holy Radiance is no longer instant, and therefore will only be feasibly cast when you currently do not have aggro on the enemy (when casting you cannot avoid or block attacks). It is now cast on a target, not as a proximity AoE heal around the paladin.

    Seal of Insight
    • Seal of Insight, when Judged, no longer returns 15% base mana to the paladin. Judging Seal of Insight still causes damage, and melee attacks will still restore 4% of base mana.
    Q: What does this change?
    A: Seal of Insight no longer grants a chunk of mana when judged. Instead it will increase your in-fight mana regen through spirit (Addition to talent "Seals of the Pure" in the Holy tree). As Protection Paladins have no spirit regen, this change will not benefit us.

    Seal of Truth
    • Seal of Truth, when Judged, now benefits from a multiplier of 20% per stack of Censure, up from 10%.
    Q: What does this change?
    A: Judgement now does more damage. This is part of the Retribution buffs that also effects us as tanks. It also increases the Shield granted by the Protection T13 2set bonus.

    Tier 13 Bonuses
    2 Set: Your Judgement ability now also grants a physical absorb shield equal to 25% of the damage it dealt.
    4 Set: Reduces the cooldown of Divine Guardian by 60 sec and increases the radius of its effect by 70 yards.

    T13 Gear Choices
    Preliminary Gear List for Paladin tanks

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _______

    This Section is to follow the changes that spells go through during the iterative process that is the Alpha and Beta testing of Mists of Pandaria. You can see the current state of the Talent Tree at

    Fomatting to follow. No wowhead links because spell IDs can change. Dates are in the European format (DD/MM/YYYY)

    Patch 5.0 Changes


    • Blessing of Might:
    Grants 5 Mastery instead of 20% mAP, 10% rAP and Mp5 (08.12.2011)

    Level 15
    • Speed of Light
    3% Mana cost (08.12.2011)
    • Long Arm of the Law
    Duration up to 3 sec, from 2 (08.12.2011)
    • Pursuit of Justice
    In addition, adds 10% movement speed at all times (08.12.2011)
    Level 30
    • Fist of Justice

    • Repentance
    Mana cost up to 10% from 9% (08.12.2011)
    • Burden of Guilt

    Level 45
    • Blessed Life

    • Sacred Shield
    Absorbs 191 damage, down from 1703 (08.12.2011)
    • Ardent Defender

    Level 60

    • Selfless Healer
    • Eternal Glory
    • Holy Shield

    Level 75
    • Veneration
    • Acts of Sacrifice
    • Clemency

    Level 90
    • Holy Avenger:
    Now affects the next 5 abilities, same duration as GoAK (08.12.2011)
    • Sanctified Wrath
    • Divine Purpose

    Last edited by Fetzie; 12-18-2011 at 08:31 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Frikking awesome guide, needs stickying. You could say something about Divine Plea in the CD section, you mention it in the glossary, but no mention as to when you should use it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Quote Originally Posted by Tengenstein View Post
    Frikking awesome guide, needs stickying. You could say something about Divine Plea in the CD section, you mention it in the glossary, but no mention as to when you should use it.
    Has been added, thanks for the catch.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Ok, here's a shot at making it a bit more fool-proof :P

    1) Missing abbreviations for talented abilities. Also, it's called unhittable, none of that CTC stuff please!
    2) RF doesn't increase your threat by 300%. It multiplies it with 300% (thus increases it with 200%). Nitpick, but wording could confuse people
    3) Why Rule of Law and not Eye for an Eye or Judgements of the Pure? Why not the GoCS? Why not mention Glyph of Focused Shield? Basicly, explain a bit better why you pick certain talents & glyphs over others, so new players don't just know what is best, but also know why! (and maybe make a link as well as the pic)
    7) Dodge should not be 160 less than Parry because of DR, but because of Windwalk. Other than that pretty spot on.
    9) Might want to clarify that the example is a simplified version, not actual in-game DR rules.
    10) Should explain that Eternal > Austere once you get close to Unhittable, way better once you reach it.
    11) It's spelled Jewelcrafting. Also, might wonna add the trinket to Alchemy as starting-gear bonus. And technicly, LW provides a 195 Stamina bonus at the cost of 50 Mastery (there is no Cataclysm Bracers - Stamina enchant to 'upgrade'). The other two professions provide 120 Stamina, not 80.
    12) I was under the impression the Scroll didn't stack with raid sta buffs, not an elixir. (My Warrior seems to remove it when I use Commanding shout) Good for heroics when you just start though.

    Other than that, I like it, definately worth a sticky
    Quote Originally Posted by Ion
    Damn old people, screwin' with my grind.
    Mists of Pandaria Protection Warrior Spreadsheet
    Warlords of Draenor One Minute Field Guides

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    "Unhittable" can be confusing to a new tank or a non-tank because they could assume it to mean "cannot be hit at all", and then be surprised when they take damage. Admittedly this is something I could add

    I'll edit the guide to reflect your comments, they are all fair and things I should have seen myself.

    7. Should dodge not be slightly higher than parry when unbuffed to take battle shout/horn of winter's parry rating contribution into consideration? I dislike the idea of balancing one's avoidance stats around a 30% uptime buff.

    You can see in this screenshot that I have the scroll of stamina buff together with power word: fortitude, so yes they do stack
    Last edited by Fetzie; 07-31-2011 at 04:43 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    I was thinking about dusting off my paladin and started reading, sadly the rotation section left me even more confused than before. Maybe it is just because I am reading it on my cell phone but I had a really hard time understanding it and going back and forth up to the abbreviations that I just gave up.

    Also yes, scrolls say on them "battle/guardian elixir"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Oh yeah, Parry from buffs, definately need to add that into gearing.
    Then again, wouldn't Windwalk kinda (on average) negate what you get from buffs?

    Let's see....

    An average tank should be at ~3.3-3.4k Strength with heroic gear (atleast my Warrior is, doubt Paladins got a whole differnt gear set). Add 549 Strength from buff, That's let's say 3.9k.
    Add Kings/MotW for another 195, so let's round that to 4.1k, or roughly a 750 Strength increase.
    At 27% Str->Parry conversion, you'ld get just over 200 Parry Rating from buffs, with only minor gains once in full Firelands gear (about 500-600 base Strength, so ~25-30 extra from Kings, worth up to an amazing 8 Parry Rating).
    Assuming Windwalk is 160-200 Dodge on average, that'ld be about the same.

    In other words, if you have Windwalk, ignore Parry buffs. Unless you go for Unhittability, then get Parry = Dodge + 200-210 and get a better enchant
    Quote Originally Posted by Ion
    Damn old people, screwin' with my grind.
    Mists of Pandaria Protection Warrior Spreadsheet
    Warlords of Draenor One Minute Field Guides

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    But if you are going for unhittability, as most paladin tanks should be (unlike warrior where it is rather more difficult), then getting unhittable only when WW is active is going to leave you open for unblocked hits when WW is inactive. WW is a procc with about 30% uptime. I am not going to recommend potentially leaving oneself unhittable for 40 seconds out of every 60 just so that WW is not "overkill" (which it wouldn't be as it would start to push block off the combat table, further reducing your damage taken.)

    @ Darksend I'm am rewriting the rotation segment as I write this reply

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Quote Originally Posted by Pyrea View Post
    But if you are going for unhittability, as most paladin tanks should be (unlike warrior where it is rather more difficult), then getting unhittable only when WW is active is going to leave you open for unblocked hits when WW is inactive. WW is a procc with about 30% uptime. I am not going to recommend potentially leaving oneself unhittable for 40 seconds out of every 60 just so that WW is not "overkill" (which it wouldn't be as it would start to push block off the combat table, further reducing your damage taken.)@ Darksend I'm am rewriting the rotation segment as I write this reply
    Awesome. But yea reading it again this morning after I wrote that reply, and not 2 minutes before I go to bed I think it was just a matter of being overwhelmed with the abbreviations since a it wad a lot of scrolling up and down on a cell phone and b paladins have so many similar sounding abilities (a situation I know all to well from writing about feral talents) that tiredness was making me forget what each ability did

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Nono, I meant that ignore Windwalk for Unhittability and go to go near equal (damn, meant Parry = Dodge - 200, not plus ofc!)
    Quote Originally Posted by Ion
    Damn old people, screwin' with my grind.
    Mists of Pandaria Protection Warrior Spreadsheet
    Warlords of Draenor One Minute Field Guides

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Quote Originally Posted by Darksend View Post
    Awesome. But yea reading it again this morning after I wrote that reply, and not 2 minutes before I go to bed I think it was just a matter of being overwhelmed with the abbreviations since a it wad a lot of scrolling up and down on a cell phone and b paladins have so many similar sounding abilities (a situation I know all to well from writing about feral talents) that tiredness was making me forget what each ability did
    I have added a caveat that the rotation segment is quite abstract and therefore reading it when tired or otherwise distracted is probably not a good idea. I will also be making a narrated video to explain the rotation in the near future. Hopefully it is now more intelligible.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Wonderful guide. May I ask what you prefer to use in terms of gems with the JC profession? Do you favor the Stamina or the Mastery Gem?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    The 67 Mastery gem. I have added this to the relevant section.
    Last edited by Fetzie; 07-31-2011 at 06:24 PM.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    - I miss the Word of Glory & Insight alternatives, combined with a healing centric build you can dish out quite some decent WoG for "sustained" self healing.
    - Divine Protection? Outside of Nefarian's Electrocute i never really considered that glyph worth a thought, regulary you'll still get beaten during that timeframe and i prefer a mini-shieldwall for this. Matter of taste?
    - 'Focused Shield' is a must for single target aggro, you can still unglyph it for Rhyolith's adds and exchange it for Dazing Shield while on Riplimp duty.
    - After managing to go oom on Nef some time ago during phase 2.. i also like the Rebuke glyph quite a bit.
    - On boss' with a rather long sub 20% range (Domo/Ragnaros) Hammer of Wrath is also a noteworthy addition for increased dps during that timeframe.
    - Depending on the fight/special strategies a glyphed Hand of Salvation can be golden (eg: Cho'gall heroic, having your arms warrior going rampage on the blobs without drawing their attention).
    - I prefer Insight/Truth + x so i can cycle through them without the manacost hassle if needed.

    Besides the healing centric build/glyphs combo mentioned above you can also use a more (aoe) aggro orientated specc especially if you refuse to WoG often. 1/2 Hallowed Ground greatly simplifies the use of consecration and you can get another 5% crit on your both combopoint builder.

    I prefer hardcasting Exorcism, using AS while running by and Wings after actually reaching the boss. This way i can squeeze in another HotR with Divine Plea.

    Great guide altogether, one thing you might can add: Specialties of the paladin, eg the usage of your bubble to get advantages over the other tanking classes on trash and bosses in Fireland. There are quite some nifty ways to (ab)use it

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    The trouble with eternal glory is that WoG has a cooldown now. So basically all it is, is a chance to be able to hit ShoR after hitting WoG. Which makes it into a fairly weak threat talent, not a survivability talent. Being able to hit WoG every 20 seconds (wasting two global cooldowns because you generate holy power every 3 seconds) is not "sustained healing". Yes it was very awesome when you could run SoI and WoG together and put out back to back 50k WoG crits every 9 or so seconds, but you can't do this anymore.

    GoDivProt current uses in firelands:
    Lord Rhyolith hellfiring adds, stomp, concussive stomp
    Baleroc inferno blade
    Alysrazor in the final charge up phase
    Shannox in P2 when he rams his spear in the ground for fire AoE
    Majordomo scorpion slash (you can get one DivProt to cover multiple casts)
    Ragnaros burning wound, molten elementals spawn
    I don't tank downstairs at Beth'tilak, but I believe the drones do a fire damage spit on the tank

    I don't feel that Focussed Shield is required to keep ahead on ST threat, although on a fight on which you are only going to ever be hitting a single target it is a very good glyph.

    Ragnaros (on normal at least) does not have a particularly long "execute" phase, as this is only 10% of his health. All that the HoW glyph does is remove the mana cost, I already have HoW in the ST priority list (it is above Judgement btw)

    I never did heroic cho'gall so I can't comment on that fight, but don't the blobs have 5 million threat on a random player?

    None of the minor glyphs are particularly compelling, I chose those two because they are the spells you will most likely be using infight after someone got battle rezzed.

    I'll put in alternative speccs just for completeness.

    I intend to add in specific utility stuff, however Divine Shield seems fairly useless in Firelands (doesn't get rid of riplimb bleeds, doesn't get rid of tormented, doesn't wipe widow's kiss etc). Although I guess that is worth a mention.
    Last edited by Fetzie; 08-01-2011 at 09:36 AM.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    We don't typically sticky threads in the theorycraft forum (threads hardly ever fall off the first page when they're pertinent) so once this guide is deemed ready I'll move it to the Critical Guide forum and if I can remember how, I'll link it in the guides/links thread as well for new people to find.

    READ THIS: Posting & Chat Rules
    Quote Originally Posted by Turelliax View Post
    I will never be a kaz.. no one can reach the utter awesomeness of you.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Is there anything missing that you guys would like to know? I believe I have addressed the concerns raised so far.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    It's a very nice guide. One thing that you might consider adding is any specific tips you have for prot paladins on the T11 and T12 boss fights, rather like are provided for ret paladins here:

    I know it's not required, but it relates to the "where's the tank in tankspot?" discussion. It was said there that boss fight videos should not tell players how to play their class. But I suspect that people interested in guides like this (e.g. me) are often new or latecomers to current raid content and would appreciate any tips that veteran tanks can pass on.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Excellent work. I always look for guides on the internet to improve my tanking ability and your guide is one of the best. You gather a lot of information in an easy way to understand.

    I play as a paladin and in gemming i wonder how much i should invest in Puissant Dream Emerald or Fractured Amberjewel. In my current gear I realize that's sometimes it's better to forget some slot bonus and put Fractured Amberjewel in it to reduce my damage intake. In other words, i think its hard to decide when it's better choose more mastery or mastery + stamina. What is your thought on this?

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