Patch Version: Patch 5.0
Latest revision: 28th August 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.
This guide will be accurate as of Patch 5.0.4 (On Live servers as of 28th August 2012). There will be a further update with the new professions, abilities and other changes made between now and the 25th September.
List of Contents
- Commonly Used Acronyms
- Commonly Used Abilities
- Diminishing Returns
- Item Enhancement
- Buffs and Stuffs
- Raid Utility
- Encounter Specific Stunts
- 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 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
- WoG – instant healing ability, increased strength for each HoPo consumed
- HoR – taunts the current target, forcing its attention onto you for 3 seconds
- Reb – Interrupts spell casting by the target, 10 second cooldown, off the global cooldown
- RF – Increases your threat generated by 500%
- 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
Tier 4: Unbreakable Spirit generally, the other two for specific situations
Tier 5: Holy Avenger or Sanctified Wrath
Tier 6: Execution Sentence (single-target damage) or Lights Hammer (multi-target damage)
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. Burden of Guilt could be useful for situations where you need a snare on an enemy.
- 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)
- Burden of Guilt - Judgement hits reduce the movement speed of enemy targets by 50% for 12 seconds
Tier 3 - Survivability
Selfless healer can be used together with the Glyph of Flash of Light to make for a quite potent self-healing specialization. Otherwise Sacred Shield generally has the greatest utility. Absorbing damage is better than healing it away, and Sacred Shield's absorb can become extremely large (I have seen absorb values above 100k at Madness heroic) as it scales with your Attack Power.
- 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.
- 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, on average it will reduce the cooldown of Divine Protection to 40 seconds, and Lay on Hands will be reduced to the 5 minute limit. Hand of Purity would be godly in fights with significant DoT damage, Clemency has situational use.
- Hand of Purity - Reduces periodic damage taken by the target by 70% for 6 seconds
- Unbreakable Spirit - Every Holy Power spent reduces the cooldown of Lay on Hands, Divine Protection, Divine Shield if activated by 1%, up to 50%.
- Clemency - Hand spells can be cast twice before activating a cooldown
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 (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 to 3 seconds.
- 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.
Tier 6 - Damage and Healing
These abilities are not available until level 90, the hardest hitting is Execution Sentence. It does have the disadvantage of using the AP level when cast, not when the debuff expires to calculate its damage. Light's Hammer is probably the best choice for multi-target damage.
- 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, 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,
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 is the first filler, it generates a Holy Power when cast if Grand Crusader proccs.
The next ability in the priority is the level 90 talent. Obviously, when you are below level 90, this can be ignored.
Following this is Consecrate, followed by Holy Wrath.
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.
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. It is a dps loss to prioritize Grand Crusader proccs of Avenger’s Shield over Judgment. Replace one CS every 30 seconds with HotR to keep the Weakened Blows debuff on the target.
On multiple targets, Hammer of the Righteous and Judgment are followed by Consecration and Avenging Shield. Use Crusader Strike on individual targets if two targets are present.
- 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).
- 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 30% for three seconds. It also applies the Bastion of Glory buff. The damage reduction is activated regardless of ShoR hitting the target.
You now balance your avoidance ratings around the following formula:
- Mastery increases your block chance, it increases the damage reduction of Shield of the Righteous and increases the bonus healing from Bastion of Glory
- 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
- 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
- Hit and Expertise increase your Holy Power generation rate, and increase your damage.
- Crit increases your damage done and is not of great significance
- Haste increases your Holy Power generation by reducing the cooldowns of your rotational abilities
- Shield of the Righteous uptime is directly related to your HoPo/second rate.
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:
There are two schools for reforging:
Total Damage Reduction.
Total Damage Reduction (TDR) is a way of saying "take the least amount of damage". In a scenario with an unlimited amount of melee hits made against you, this would make you take the least amount of damage. This setup will, however, mean that the spikiness of your damage intake is higher, which makes healers spend more mana on big and expensive spells. This means reforging to Parry, Dodge and 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%), soft cap expertise (7.5%) and then stack mastery, followed by parry, dodge and haste. This is my preferred school of reforging and I will be changing my gear and reforging around to adapt to the new stat priority. You can still stack the expertise after 7.5%, however in my opinion this is using gear stat points that could be used as
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.
10. Item Enhancement
- Blacksmithing grants two extra prismatic sockets at skill 400 (so you don’t even need to get it up to Cataclysm levels)
- 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 Parry, 480 Dodge, 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.
- Mining is the most beneficial of the gathering professions, granting a
- 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
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).
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.
Divine Guardian is now gone, it has been replaced by Aura Mastery. This does the same as Divine Guardian as well as including the Interrupt 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 (Majordomo seeds, Rag P2) 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)
RD on mouseover
Clear debuffs (does not work on a lot of stuff in Firelands for some reason)
/cast [@mouseover]Righteous Defense
"I want to lose aggro NOW" : Cancels Vengeance, Righteous Fury and casts Hand of Salvation on yourself.
/cancelaura Divine Shield
/cast Divine Shield
/cancelaura Righteous Fury
/cast [@player]Hand of Salvation
There are very few addons that are needed, however there are a few 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
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.
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.
28[sup]th August 2012: Initial posting.