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Cataclysm 4.3 Protection Warrior Guide

This page is very old. Newer guides can be found on the main site and the following links will get you there: The rest of this page is just here for legacy sake.


Protection Warrior Guide

Other Warrior Guides



The Protection Warrior

Level Fast and much more with Dugi's in-game guides!

Click Here to check it out.

Protection warriors used to be the defnitive tanks of the World of Warcraft, representing the original meatshields from the old times as well as remaining premier tanks for almost all top raiding guilds. However warriors have been surpassed in situational circumtances by the other tanks: Paladins, Druids, and Death Knights

Still, Warriors represent to many the cutting-edge of meat-shields, and in many ways they are. So if you're looking for the required threat mechanics, gear basics, and everything required to start tanking your first raid, you've come to the right place.

PvP as a protection warrior is painful, due to lack of damage, but can work in certain areas, such as carrying flags or guarding areas in the Battlegrounds. See our PvP Warrior guide for more info on the Warrior PvP game.

Leveling (questing) isn't bad, expecially when you can round up a bunch of mobs and burn them down.



The Protection Warrior, in Short:




  • Blacksmithing allows slotting of two +50 gems, for +20 total value over other Profs.
  • More

Gems & Enchants:

  • Gem for Mastery
  • Reforge Hit, Haste, Crit to Mastery
  • Enchant for Stam, Mastery, and Dodge/Parry where possible.
  • More

Prot. "Rotations"

  • Single target: Slam > Revenge > Rend > Devastate
  • A of E: Rend > Thunderclap > Shockwave > Revenge > Single target abilities
  • Interrupts: Spell Reflection (now has 25 sec cooldown) > Shield Bash > Shockwave > Concussion Blow

Master the Raid:

  • Raiding 101, Detailed Walkthroughs For Every Raid, Complete Class Guides, Consumables, Enchants & Glyph Guide, Extra Bonus Guides - PvE Formula

If you like this guide how about sharing it?

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Race Choices for the Protection Warrior

Any and all races can be Warriors, and none of the racials are so awesome as to make one race much better than the others. Of course, the only real Warriors are Humans, Nelves, Orcs, and Undead, but don't let that stop you from picking a lesser race. ;)

Expertise is a solid threat stat, and Orcs, Dwarfs, Humans, and Gnomes all have some, but with patch 4.3 threat should no longer be an issue, so Expertise has a bit lower value.

Best tank:

  • Alliance: Night Elf for the Avoidance
  • Horde: Orc for Blood Fury and Stun resistance, Tauren for War Stomp and a bit more Stam.


Blood Elf - Useful point blank area effect ability

  • Subject to off-color jokes
  • Arcane torrent is useful Vs some trash and to restore a bit of Rage

Goblin - Not much here.

  • Rocket Jump might have some gap closing utility
  • 1% Haste isn't bad, but it's far from your best stat.

Orcs - Nice DPS increase

  • Blood Furyis great for those times when a bit more burst is nice.
  • Resistance to stuns is rarely useful outside of PvP
  • Expertise with Axe saves some point shuffling, if an Axe is the best weapon available

Tauren - Useful point blank area effect ability

  • War Stomp has some use Vs certain trash mobs and in PvP.
  • Increased health adds very little at high levels
  • Size makes it a bit easier for team mates to find you.

Troll - Berserking has its uses.

  • Berserking is nice for the extra burst.
  • Regeneration is insignificant
  • Extra damage Vs. Beasts helps against some trash

Undead - Their escape can help with a few instance mechanics.

  • They just look the part, ya know?
  • Will of the Forsaken is nice against certain raid encounters
  • Cannibalism is great for those "In Your Face" moments in PvP, if you were actually able to kill anyone in PvP.


Draenei - Hit is less useful than before 4.3.

  • Yeah, right... whatever
  • +1 to Hit helps with some end-game gearing.
  • A self heal is always useful for all Warriors.

Dwarf - Not much here for tanking, though Stone Form has occasional use.

  • Stone form washes bleeds and adds 10% damage reduction, which has some use in those "Uh oh..." moments.
  • Expertise with Maces is nice, if the Mace is the best weapon to be had.

Human - Not much here for tanking.

  • Expertise with Swords and Maces is nice, if those are the best weapons to be had.
  • Increased Rep is nice if you're rep grinding, but hardly a tanking stat.
  • Escape ability allows the use of two DPS trinkets in PvP.

Gnomes - Not much here for tanking.

  • Small size makes it a bit harder for people to click on you.
  • Expertise with small weapons means you should roll as a Rogue.
  • Escape ability can make short work of some dungeon/raid mechanics.

Night Elf - Avoidance is a nice tanking racial.

  • 2% Avoidance is a nice tanking stat and will help your healers just that much.
  • Shadowmeld is only useful for you in PvP, so you can keep your death count a bit lower.
  • They look the best in gear.

Worgen - Crit and Sprint have their uses.

  • Fleas.
  • 1% crit rating is an Ok threat stat.
  • Sprint-like ability might have some gap closing utility

 Go To => Top - Quick Guide - Race - Profs - Build - Video - Stats - Gems/Enchants - Level Faster

Profession Choices for the Protection Warrior

All of the professions offer some form of stat buff that will be of some use. All of those buffs will be much greater in the Mists of Pandaria.

  • Blacksmithing - You can create two self-only gems slots, one for gloves, the other for your bracers. Pop a Stam or Resilience or other gem in those, as the need arises. With the intro of the epic gems in 4.3 Blacksmithing becomes the best /min/max prof., providing more stats than the others if you can afford those epic gems.

  • Alchemy - Lots of useful potions, you get 80 more points from the top end buffing potions than poeple without this skill will get. You also get added benefit from the other pots you create.

  • Inscription - Inscription of the Earth Prince adds +195 Stm, +25 dodge to shoulder item.

  • Enchanting - you can enchants your own rings with something like Enchant Ring - Greater Stamina for +60 Stam

  • Engineering - lots of interesting items. Synapse Springs is a good items for those times when you need a little more burst (for threat.)

  • Jewelcrafting - Make three self-only gems that add 101 Stam instead of 60, or 67 Resil., instead of 40.

  • Tailoring - Swordguard Embroidery - Sometimes increase AP by 1,000, which might be nice at times.

  • Leatherworking - Draconic Embossment - Stamina adds +130 Stam to your bracer.

  • Mining adds 120 Stam
  • Herbalism adds a heal and haste
  • Skinning adds some crit rating.

 Go To => Top - Quick Guide - Race - Profs - Build - Video - Stats - Gems/Enchants - Level Faster


4.3 Protection Warrior Patch Notes

Full 4.3patch notes are here.

  • Charge (and related abilities) should now correctly path to a target even if the target moves during the Charge. This change should decrease the likelihood of the warrior Charging to a different location than the target.
  • Slam now uses a new character attack animation.
  • Colossus Smash now uses a new character attack animation.


Protection Warrior Tanking Build

As a Protection Warrior your basic abilities are:

  • Shield Slam - Whack the opponent with your shield causing damge, high threat, and dispelling one magical effect.
  • Sentinel - Increases Stam and Black chance, increases Rage generated by attacking targets that are not attacking you.
  • Vengeance - Damage taken increases your attack power.
  • Mastery: Critical Block - Improves your chance to block

View the full build here.

The following build is a nice, general tanking build. Feel free to move things around for your particular situation. For example, Gag Order might not be necessary for your game so drop it and grab something else. The same might be true for Incite and Cruelty.

Blood Craze (Fury) not taken here, can make your healer's life easier.

Protection (35 Points)

  1. Incite - Rank 3/3 - Increases the critical strike chance of your Heroic Strike by 15%, and gives your Heroic Strike criticals a 100% chance to cause the next Heroic Strike to also be a critical strike. These guaranteed criticals cannot re-trigger the Incite effect.
  2. Toughness - Rank 3/3 - Increases your armor value from items by 10%.
  3. Blood and Thunder - Rank 2/2 - When you Thunder Clap a target affected by your Rend, you have a 100% chance to affect every target with Rend.
  4. Shield Specialization - Rank 3/3 - You generate 15 extra Rage when you block an attack. You generate 60 extra Rage when you Spell Reflect a magic attack.
  5. Shield Mastery - Rank 3/3 - Reduces the cooldown of your Shield Block by 30 sec, your Shield Wall by 180 sec and causes your Shield Block to also reduce magic damage taken by 20% for 6 sec.
  6. Hold the Line - Rank 2/2 - Improves your critical strike and critical block chance by 10% for 10 sec following a successful parry.
  7. Gag Order - Rank 2/2 - Gives your Pummel and Heroic Throw a 100% chance to silence the target for 3 sec. Also lowers the cooldown on Heroic Throw by 30 sec.
  8. Last Stand - Rank 1/1 - Temporarily grants you 30% of your maximum health for 20 sec. After the effect expires, the health is lost.
  9. Concussion Blow - Rank 1/1 - Stuns the opponent for 5 sec and deals damage based on attack power.
  10. Bastion of Defense - Rank 2/2 - Reduces the chance you'll be critically hit by melee attacks by 6% while in Defensive Stance. In addition, when you block, dodge or parry an attack you have a 20% chance to become Enraged, increasing physical damage done by 10% for 12 sec.
  11. Warbringer - Rank 1/1 - Your Charge, Intercept and Intervene abilities are now usable while in combat and in any stance. In addition, your Intervene ability will remove all movement impairing effects.
  12. Improved Revenge - Rank 2/2 - Increases the damage of your Revenge ability by 60% and causes Revenge to strike an additional target.
  13. Devastate - Rank 1/1 - Sunder the target's armor causing the Sunder Armor effect. In addition, causes 150% of weapon damage plus 854 for each application of Sunder Armor on the target. The Sunder Armor effect can stack up to 3 times.
  14. Thunderstruck - Rank 2/2 - Improves the damage of your Rend, Cleave and Thunder Clap by 6%. In addition, your Thunder Clap improves the damage of your next Shockwave by 10%. Stacks up to 3 times.
  15. Vigilance - Rank 1/1 - Focus your protective gaze on a party or raid member. Each time they are hit by an attack, your Taunt cooldown is refreshed and you gain Vengeance as if 20% of the damage was done to you. Lasts 30 min. This effect can only be on one target at a time.
  16. Heavy Repercussions - Rank 2/2 - While your Shield Block is active, your Shield Slam hits for an additional 100% damage.
  17. Sword and Board - Rank 3/3 - Increases the critical strike chance of Devastate by 15%. In addition, when your Devastate or Revenge deal damage, they have a 30% chance of refreshing the cooldown of your Shield Slam and reducing its cost by 100% for 5 sec.
  18. Shockwave - Rank 1/1 - Sends a wave of force in front of you, causing (75 / 100 * AP) damage (based on attack power) and stunning all enemy targets within 10 yards in a frontal cone for 4 sec.
Arms (4 Points)
  1. War Academy - Rank 2/3 - Increases the damage of Mortal Strike, Raging Blow, Devastate, Victory Rush and Slam by 10%.
  2. Field Dressing - Rank 2/2 - Increases all healing received by 6%, and the effectiveness of your self-healing abilities by an additional 20%.
Fury (2 Points)
  1. Cruelty - Rank 2/2 - Increases the critical strike chance of Bloodthirst, Mortal Strike and Shield Slam by 10%.


Glyphs are learned permanently. Get them all and them swap them in and out depending on the situation. All you need is a dose of powder or dust from your nearby Inscription Supplies vendor.

There is a pretty fair amount of leeway in which major glyphs you use. The Primes are pretty much the only real options.

Glyphs, Prime

  1. Glyph of Shield Slam- Increases the damage of Shield Slam by 10%.
  2. Glyph of Revenge - Increases the damage of Revenge by 10%.
  3. Glyph of Devastate- Increases the critical strike chance of Devastate by 5%.


  1. Glyph of Shockwave- Reduces the cooldown on Shockwave by 3 sec.
  2. Glyph of Thunder Clap- Increases the radius of your Thunder Clap ability by 2 yards.
  3. Glyph of Cleaving- Increases the number of targets your Cleave hits by 1.


  1. Glyph of Demoralizing Shout- Increases the duration by 15 sec and area of effect by 50% of your Demoralizing Shout.
  2. Glyph of Battle- Increases the duration by 2 min and area of effect by 50% of your Battle Shout.
  3. Glyph of Intimidating Shout- All targets of your Intimidating Shout now tremble in place instead of fleeing in fear.

Glyphs will change greatly in the Mists of Pandaria expansion. Among other things, Prime glyphs are going away.

See our new Warrior page.





Talents not taken:

  • Safeguard might have some use if you know someone is going to take a big hit and you can react in time without wrecking your other duties.
  • Impending Victory is too situational and not enough healing to be worthwhile.
  • Blood Craze (Fury) - not taken. Nice if you're getting hit by a lot of mobs, not so hot if you're fighting singles.
  • Rude Interruption (Fury) - not taken. A free damage increase for those times when it can be used, but still situational and not useful Vs bosses.
  • Piercing Howl (Fury) - not taken. Slows enemies w/i 10 yrs for a few seconds, might have some kiting, or other, application in certain situations.

 Go To => Top - Quick Guide - Race - Profs - Build - Video - Stats - Gems/Enchants - Level Faster


Video Guide to Cataclysm Warrior Tanking


 Go To => Top - Quick Guide - Race - Profs - Build - Video - Stats - Gems/Enchants - Level Faster


Stats, Numbers, Etc.

With patch 4.3 the priorities have changed. Threat has been buffed enough that threat builds shouldn't be necessary, so our recommendation is to go with Mitigation builds.

Previously you had a choice between the Threat route or the Survival route. For most cases your abilities and Vengence will provide ample threat, especially in 4.3. More advanced details are available on ElitistJerks.

Mitigation stats:

Ample mitigation makes life easier for your healer(s) while still maintaining adequate threat. Especially with the 4.3 rules and with Vengence your abilities shouild be generating enough threat that you can easily afford more Mitigation.

  • Stamina - You need enough that you can't be "one shot" by some boss attack. With the Cataclysm gear, especially at high levels, this is probably not really an issue.
  • Mastery - Stack as much as you can, then get more.
  • Parry is a hair better than Dodge due to synergy with your talents, but both are worthwhile. As an average it's probably best to have a bit more Parry than dodge (10-20% or so)
  • Dodge share Diminishing Returns and effectiveness with Parry.
  • Hit is only really necessary if you're on Interrupt duty and if they need to hit.
  • Stacking expertise isn't necessary either.

Stas for More Threat:

  • Expertise & Hit are much better than Strength or Crit.
  • Actually landing the hit is far more important than a little extra damage. Missed interrupts can be bad.
  • Str and Crit aren't bad, but missing counts for a lot more and you don't want to miss.

Don't bother with...

  • Agility - provides insignificant value
  • Int, Spirit - you're not a mage.
  • Resilience - PvP only.

Reforging Stats

  • Everything other than Dodge/Parry into Mastery.
  • Hit, Crit, Haste, Expertise... all into Mastery.
  • The goal is to hit the 102.5% block cap.
  • Do not refoge dodge or parry, though.

Single target threat

  • Shield Slam > Revenge > Rend > Devastate
  • Demoralizing Shout and Thunderclap will help to reduce incomming damage and should be kept up.
  • Sword and Board has a chance to provide a free Shield Slam when Rev or Dev do damage.
  • Rend is great for area threat, not so hot for single targets, though not useless. Try to let it run its full course before refreshing.

A of E Threat

  • Rend > Thunderclap > Shockwave > Revenge > Single target abilities
  • Blood and Thunder applies Rend to all your opponents and keeps that threat ticking.
  • Thunderstuck improves Rend, Cleave, and Thunderclap damage and buffs your next Shockwave


  • Make it your job to shut down enemy casting as offten as possible, unless you know that youir other team members area already on that job.
  • Spell Reflection (now has 25 sec cooldown) > Shield Bash > Shockwave > Concussion Blow
  • Any of your stuns: Charge, Intercept, Heroic Throw,Intimidating Shout
  • Pummel is now usable in all stances.

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Protection Warrior Enchants

The first enchant listed is the recommended tanking enchant. If you need more gold to pay for the enchants, gems, gear, repairs, vanity items, mounts, pets, fund your alts and your guild, give money to strangers, and so on, then read our Tycoon gold addon review.















Protection Warrior Gems

Gem for Mastery above all other Stats, until you're at the 102.5 block cap. Ignore socket bonuses unless they're Mastery and they're pretty high.

If you can't afford the epic gems then it's not a big deal to drop down to the next best. If you need the gold to afford better gear and gems then check our gold guide or Tycoon review.









Protection Warriors can level very quickly in the dungeons, with a near zero wait time in the Random Dungeon queues. They can also level quickily by questing since they excell at mashing down groups of mobs. You can also dual build and go arms or fury while leveling.

If questing's your game then nothing gets you to 85 faster than Zygor's guide. You will always know exactly where to go and what to do, even if you just gained ten levels dungeon tanking or switched to Arms and cleared out a few of the battlegrounds.

Constantly, and quickly, updated to the latest expansions and patches, Zygor's guide will get you where you want to be as quickly as is possible.

Grab yours here.



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