|This Protection Paladin tanking guide is primarily intended for use at level 90. However, the principals will still apply during the leveling process. If you’re looking for advice on leveling your Paladin, check out our Paladin Leveling Guide.
If you want the same in-game step by step leveling guide that we use to get to level 90 as fast as possible, take a look at our favorite in-game leveling guide.
Other Paladin Guides:
Protection Paladin Tanking Talents
- Speed of Light is grants you a burst movement cooldown, a good choice.
- Long Arm of the Law offers less than the other two and is not recommended.
- Pursuit of Justice is a constant speed increase, pick between this and Speed of Light depending on your personal preference and the demands of an encounter.
- Fist of Justice is an improved version of Hammer of Justice, a single target CC.
- Repentance is a single target CC that lasts longer than Fist of Justice and has a longer cooldown.
- Burden of Guilt lets you slow targets with judgement.
Pick whichever suits the encounter best as none of them should ever dramatically impact your tanking.
- Selfless Healer has no real benefit for us.
- Eternal Flame is decent, but again not the greatest choice for our role.
- Sacred Shield is my recommended choice from this tier, it also uses none of your Holy Power.
- Hand of Purity could come in handy, but is very situational.
- Unbreakable Spirit seems rather unimpressive at first, but if you build Holy Power fast enough as you should be then it really starts to shine.
- Clemency is unlikely to be very useful most of the time.
- Holy Avenger is a very good cooldown, my recommended choice.
- Sanctified Wrath is quite attractive, a viable option, but I feel it falls a little short of Holy Avenger.
- Divine Purpose is unreliable, making it inferior to the guaranteed effects of Holy Avenger.
- For single-target encounters Execution Sentence is likely to be the best choice, while if you need AoE damage Holy Prism or Light’s Hammer will prove the better option.
- Holy Prism and Light’s Hammer are both viable AoE options.
- Execution Sentence is optimal for single target fights.
Most of the available glyphs add utility instead of damage or defense. Youi’ll probably be switching them around, depending on the fight. Make sure you stop by the Reagents vendor and have some Tome of the Clear Mind handy.
- Glyph of the Alabaster Shield - definitely useful as a threat increase.
- Glyph of Focused Shield - Use this when fighting bosses or other single targets.
- Glyph of Consecration - More versitility.
- Glyph of Divine Protection - Makes this ability useful against physical damage. Situational.
- Glpyh of Hammer of the Righteous - Definitely useful.
- Glyph of Battle Healer - Useful when running Seal of Insight as it will help out your healers by a decent amount.
These are mostly just cosmetic. Pick whatever suits you.
- Glyph of Righteous Retreat – Bubblehearth
Protection Stat Priorities
- Primary Stats: Strength & Stamina
- Secondary: Hit to 7.5% > Expertise to 15% > Mastery = Haste
- Weaker: Avoidance (Parry, Dodge)
Your abilities are designed around actively mitigating damage, therefore Hit and Expertise become very important, to make sure those abilities function at the highest rate possible. See the rotation section below for more details.
15% Expertise removes all the boss’s dodge and parry. In addition to making sure your attacks land it also makes sure you are generating maximum threat. Certain races have Expertise, as do some gems and enchants.
Reforging: Try to get to 7.5% Hit from just gear stats, then reforge to Expertise and then Mastery.
The old strategy was avoidance, and the stat order would look like this:
- Stamina > Parry/Dodge > Mastery > Hit (7.5%) > Haste > Expertise (7.5%)
In-Depth Rotation Guide
As a tank our rotation largely focuses on generating Holy Power for defensive purposes, primarily the use of Glyph of Word of Glory for self healing and Shield of the Righteous for the Bastion of Glory buff and 30% damage reduction for 3 seconds. Bastion of Glory increases the effectiveness of Glyph of Word of Glory when used on yourself by 10% each stack up to a maximum of 5 stacks or 50% increased healing.
- Boundless Conviction, a passive, allows us to store up to 5 charges of Holy Power at a single time meaning we can pool Holy Power if necessary for use at crucial moments rather than simply expend it the instant we reach 3 charges.
- Crusader Strike and Judgment should be used as often as possible to generate Holy Power.
- When Grand Crusader procs use Avenger’s Shield for an extra charge of Holy Power. Avenger’s Shield can otherwise be used without the proc for extra damage and threat.
- Hammer of Wrath should be used when the target is below 20% health.
- Hammer of the Righteous is used to apply Weakened Blows assuming no one else is already applying this debuff.
- Consecration and Holy Wrath provide extra damage and threat and should be used when you have nothing else available.
- Reckoning is our taunt, forcing the target to attack us for 3 seconds on a cooldown of 8 seconds.
When facing multiple targets Hammer of the Righteous replaces Crusader Strike as your primary holy power generating attack. Seal of Righteousness should be active and Consecration used as often as possible.
- Avenging Wrath increases damage and healing done by 20% for 20 seconds with a 2 minute cooldown. This both increases our damage and thus threat and enhances our self-healing capabilities.
- Divine Protection reduces magical damage taken by 40% for 10 seconds with a 1 minute cooldown. The effect can be changed to 20% magical and 20% physical damage reduction with the Glyph.
- Ardent Defender reduces damage taken by 20% for 10 seconds and while active causes the first attack that would otherwise kill you to instead heal you for 15% of your maximum health
- Guardian of Ancient Kings grants us 50% damage reduction for 12 seconds with a 3 minute cooldown. This is one of our more powerful defensive cooldowns and should be reserved for moments of heavy damage.
- Lay on Hands is an emergency heal that instantly heals for maximum health with a 10 minute cooldown. Due to the lengthy cooldown this can rarely be used more than once in an encounter and should be saved for when it is absolutely necessary either to use on yourself or another member of the raid.
Tier 3 Talented Abilities:
- Selfless Healer allows us to toss out quick flash heals to raid members and should be used whenever the buff reaches 3 stacks making Flash of Light instant cast.
- Eternal Flame simply replaces Glyph of Word of Glory as an enhanced version of the original spell, continue to use it as you would have normally use Word of Glory.
- Sacred Shield should be used on yourself as often as possible for optimal benefit.
Tier 5 Talented Abilities:
- Holy Avenger allows us to generate almost limitless amounts of Holy Charges for the duration of the effect which contributes to our self healing and survivability as we can temporarily use Shield of the Righteous often enough to keep the damage reduction active at all times.
- Sanctified Wrath improves the benefit of Avenging Wrath by increasing the duration of the healing buff it provides. It also allows us to use Judgment more often and therefore generate more charges of Holy Power.
- Divine Purpose grants us a 25% chance to have a free 3 Holy Power ability use.
Protection Gems for Tanking
How much does it all cost? Let us count the ways…
- Buy your gems, enchants, gear, repairs, enhancements, and consumables.
- Do the same for your alts.
- Do the same for your buddies
- Collect a second gear set for your Ret/Holy build.
- Buy your PvP set, at least the starting one.
- Collect mounts and pets.
- Throw gold at guildies, beggars, and those Gnome/ Undead dancers in the taverns.
- Got enough gold to do all that? If not, check out the Tycoon addon.
Gems with Stamina have 50% more value than gems with primary stats and the gems with secondary stats are double value, so you have 160 Str Vs 240 Stam Vs 320 Mastery. This means that it will be worth matching socket bonuses, at least for Str, Mastery, or Haste. Gem for what you need, but a general plan is:
- Red sockets: use Skillful Vermilion Onyx or Sovereign Imperial Amethys
- Yellow sockets, for a bit more DPS/threat use the orange gems, otherwise yellows
- Blue sockets: Use the green gems.
|Protection Paladin Gem Priorities|
|Meta||Austere Primal Diamond: +324 Stam and 2% Increased armor from items|
|Red||Bold Primordial Ruby: 160 Str|
|Yellow||Quick Sun’s Radiance: +320 Haste Fractured Sun’s Radiance: +320 Mastery|
|Orange||Skillful Vermilion Onyx: +80 Str and 160 Mastery Fierce Vermilion Onyx: +80 Str and 160 Haste|
|Blue||Solid River’s Heart: +240 Stam|
|Green||Puissant Wild Jade: +160 Mastery and +120 Stam|
|Purple||Defender’s Imperial Amethyst: +160 Parry and +120 Stam Sovereign Imperial Amethyst: +80 Str and +120 Stam|
|Prismatic||Bold Primordial Ruby: 160 Str|
|Cogwheel||Quick Tinker’s Gear: 600 Haste Fractured Tinker’s Gear: 600 Mastery - requires an engie helm, such as this.|
Paladin Tank Enchants
Helm enchants are gone in Mists of Pandaria, shoulder enchants are from the Inscription profession. A couple of slots here have choices for more offense or defense. It’s your call depending on exactly what your style happens to be. The boot enchant adds some extra Hit if you need that, the glove enchant some extra expertise. See the profession section below for profession buffs/enchants.
|Weapon||Enchant Weapon – Dancing Steel: Offense: Sometimes gain 1,600 Str for a few seconds. Enchant Weapon – River’s Song: More defense: Sometimes increase Dodge by 1650 for 12 seconds.|
|Shield||Enchant Shield – Greater Parry: +170 Parry|
|Shoulders||Secret Ox Horn Inscription: +750 stam, 100 Dodge, Requires Inscription Ox Horn Inscription: +300 Stam, 150 Dodge|
|Cloak||Enchant Cloak – Greater Protection: +200 Stamina|
|Chest||Enchant Chest – Superior Stamina: +300 Stam Enchant Chest – Glorious Stats: +80 to all stats|
|Bracers||Enchant Bracer – Superior Dodge: +170 Dodge|
|Gloves||Enchant Gloves – Superior Mastery: 170 Mastery Enchant Gloves – Superior Expertise: 170 Expertise|
|Belt||Livingsteel Belt Buckle: New gem slot for gem of choice.|
|Leggings||Ironscale Leg Armor:: 430 Stam & 165 Dodge|
|Boots||Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step: 140 Mastery, slight movement speed increase. Enchant Boots – Greater Precision: 170 Hit|
|Rings||Enchant Ring – Greater Stamina: 160 Stam, Requires Enchanting 555|
Consumables for the Paladin Tank
Note that Pandarens get twice the food buff. All food buffs last one hour and provide only one stat. If you have the Alchemy skill the effect and duration of flasks and elixirs will be increased, including the value of secondary stats, by about 30% and an hour. Foods are available that provide secondary stats, but they’re only worth about 200 points.
- Potion of Mogu Power: 4k Str for 25 Seconds
- Potion of the Mountains: 12k Armor for 25 seconds
- Master Healing Potion: Heals 60k HP, probably worthwhile to have a few of these on your bar.
Elixirs – you can have one battle (offensive) and one guardian (defensive) elixir up at a time. This will be more worthwhile than the one flask.
- battle: Elixir of Weaponry: 750 Expertise for one hour.
- battle: Monk’s Elixir: 750 Mastery
- battle: Elixir of the Rapids: 750 Haste
- battle: Elixir of Perfection: 750 Hit
- guardian: Mantid Elixir: 2,250 Armor
- guardian: Elixir of Mirrors: 750 Dodge
Protection Paladin Race Choices
Pandarens will be unable to become Paladins.
Draenei: Might be the best Pally race for raiding, due to:
- Increased chance to hit: a 1% increased chance to hit doesn’t sound like much, it’s a weak stat for you, but it is a free point and it makes the end-game gearing a bit easier. Since 4.0 this is a self-only ability.
- The heal isn’t worth much to you.
- Good with Jewelcrafting.
- Stone Form: Nice against bleeds and, as such, is useful for PvP, but only occasionally elsewhere. The 10% damage reduction might be useful for those “Uh oh…” moments.
- Ranged Expertise – Not really useful for you, since most of you attacks use the Melee expertise mechanics. But if you’re using Wrath from your Druidic symbiosis sharing…
- May be the best Pally race for PvP, nothing special for raids.
- Bonus to Rep gains: Nice if you intend to gain faction with any of the many factions in the game. In the long run this may save you many hours of faction grinding.
- Increased Expertise with Swords/Maces: Nice, if these are the best weapons available.
- Escape: Very nice for PvP, occasionally useful elsewhere. Allows the use of two “non-escape” trinkets in PvP and can break the occasional PvE mechanic.
Blood Elf: Now the 2nd best Horde race for Paladins
- Arcane Torrent: Provides both an A of E silence, nice for PvP, occasionally useful elsewhere; and also regains a small amount of mana, occasionally of small use.
- Best hair of any race.
- Best Horde Pally race
- War Stomp stuns nearby opponents – great for general usage and PvP.
- Increased Health – Always useful
- Hebalism skill and speed increased – The heal obtained from herbalism also adds Haste, which isn’t a great stat for you, but it’s free.
- Target of a wide variety of bovine jokes.
The crafting professions all have some form of self-0nly buff or enchant that adds about 320 or so points of Str . They’re generally pretty expensive to level so might very well not be worth the effort to get those few points. Your call, here’s the rundown:
- Alchemy – You will be able to create a large variety of useful potions that will heal, restore mana, and more. You get better effect from your own potions, so more Str, Stam, Mastery, etc. You also get two hours instead of one on the elixirs and flasks.
- Blacksmithing – Add two extra sockets to add two more of the finest gems you can afford. Since gems with secondary stats have twice the value of those with primary stats, you can socket 640 Haste or Expertise Vs 320 Str or 480 Stam, Blacksmithing might be the most useful profession for you.
- Enchanting – One of the most expensive professions to level, but you can save a lot of gold by disenchanting items into parts that you can sell or use. Enchants your rings for additional Str or Stam.
- Engineering – Very expensive to level, but you will be able to create some nifty gadgets, including those motorcycles you see some people riding around in. Synapse Springs is a killer item for burst damage and backfires, which might cause additional threat, might not be so bad either.
- Inscription – Not as grimly expensive to level as some of the others, but you will go through a lot of herbs. Create glyphs, cool magic items, and some enchants. You will be able to create killer shoulder enchants, there one for Str and another for Stam, that are way better than otherwise available.
- Jewelcrafting – You can be your own Tiffany Diamonds Company. Well, not quite, but you will be able to cut all kinds of interesting gems and make some nice jewelry. Ultimately you will be able to make better gems, for your own use, than others have access to.
- Leatherworking – Makes a nice self-only bracer enchant as well as those leg-armor enchants that everyone wants.
- Tailoring – Has a nice self-only cloak enchant, that sometimes adds 4k attack power, and you can make yourself a flying carpet.
- Herbalism – Yes, you’re a flower picker. Note that you will also gain a small heal and very nice haste effect (2880 at 600 skill) with this skill. A nice little gold maker or a skill, too.
- Skinning – Also a fine gold making skill. This skill also builds your crit rating.
- Mining – Another good skill for earning gold. Your ores are used by blacksmiths, engineers, Jewelcrafters, and sometimes others. Mning also builds your stamina, probably from swinging that heavy pick around all day. 120 Stam at 525 skill, 480 at 600.
- Cooking – You can cook up lots of interesting foods, some of which will buff various stats. These buffs stack with those of any of the above skills, as well as with other buffs.
The Fastest Paladin Leveling Guide
Leveling a Protection Paladin is interested. Your damage isn’t hot, but you can take piles of mobs and burn them down so it actually works as a leveling spec outside of the dungeons. Want to go even faster and get your Protection Paladin leveled and into that juicy end-game content? How about never again having to wonder “Where to go?” or “What do I do next?”
Zygor’s guide is your ticket to much faster leveling. Zygor’s is an in-game guide that shows up as a small window on your screen. It shows the current quest, tasks, and displays an arrow pointing the way to go, showing you the most efficient way to knock out the most quests in the least time. Imagine having an expert partner helping you out every step of the way, showing you what to skip and the most efficient way to level. Heck, you may never again have to consult your quest log, nuch less some website for quest tips.
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