This page is the Protection Warrior build for Cataclysm 4.3. It is obsolete with Mists of Pandara, but is kept here for legacy sake.
For the up to date, for M of P, Prot guide go here.
Protection (35 Points)
Fury (2 Points)
There is a pretty fair amount of leeway in which major glyphs you use. The Primes are pretty much the only real options.
Glyphs will change greatly in the Mists of Pandaria expansion. Among other things, Prime glyphs are going away.
See our Warrior page for MoP info.
Major Glyphs, while not quite as powerful as Prime Glyphs, are still useful and continue to provide a myriad of benefits. Minor Glyphs often times provide small quality of life improvements or visual changes, such as the Glyph of Shadow Form for priests which makes the character more visible through Shadow Form. However, a few provide more significant benefits such as the warrior glyph of Berserker Rage.
There are some additional glyphs here that weren’t shown above. Swap as necessary.
Devastate – Optimal
Shield Slam – Optimal
Revenge – Optimal
Cleaving – Recommended
Shockwave – Recommended
Thunder Clap – Recommended
Here are your highest priority abilities. This is more of a “priority list” than an actual rotation.
Shield Slam – On Cooldown
Revenge – On Cooldown
Rend – Keep Active
Demoralizing Shout – Keep Active
Thunder Clap – Keep Active
Devastate – Primary Attack Ability
Heroic Strike – With Excess Rage
Shockwave – On Cooldown
Cleave – With Excess Rage
Revenge – On Cooldown
Heroic Leap – To begin fight
During a fight you’ll want to keep Rend, Thunder Clap and Demoralizing Shout active at all times. Rend can be refreshed by Thunder Clap if you have the talent Blood and Thunder, otherwise simply reapply it directly using the ability.
Your primary offensive abilities are Shield Slam, Revenge, and Devastate, as well as Heroic Strike when you have excess rage. Anytime Sword and Board procs you should use shield slam, as well as whenever it comes off cooldown.
When dealing with multiple mob situations you’ll want to start the fight with Thunder Clap, unless you’re using a Blood and Thunder build in which case you would Rend followed by Thunder Clap to apply Rend to all targets.
Otherwise your single target rotation remains pretty much the same except for using Revenge before Shield Slam when possible.
As a tank, your cooldowns largely relate to your own survival. Determining when and how many to use depends on a number of factors from fight mechanics to how much mana your healers have left, making it a sometimes difficult and important personal judgement call.
In smaller 5-man situations cooldowns make things easier on healers, but are generally not mandatory, whereas in raid settings there are mechanics that demand the tank use his cooldowns or die. Proper use of cooldowns requires anticipation of, or quick reaction to damage levels that your healers can’t keep up with or are incapable of handling at that moment due to being dead, mind controlled, etc.
Generally speaking if you feel threatened it’s better to blow a cooldown or two rather than potentially die, because if you do die your team will more likely than not follow soon after.
What about Sunder Armor? Threat is somewhat easier to manage since patch 4.3, as all of your abilities now add more threat, so Sunder Armor’s threat generation is less essential. Keep in mind that Devastate adds the Sunder effect and that other classes also offer the effect:
Sunder Armor is a DPS loss for you, but a raid-wide DPS gain. If no one else is sundering and you need the threat (because Devastate isn’t enough) then use it, otherwise skip it.
Protection Warrior Stats, Threat, Etc.
With the changes to threat in patch 4.3 (everything you do generates more threat than before) it becomes less necessary to focus on generating threat (an this is why Hit, Expertise, and Crit are devalued) and allows more emphasis on mitigation (survival.) With that in mind, your recommended stat priority becomes:
- Primary: Stamina > Str
- Secondary: Mastery > Parry >= Dodge
- Weak: Hit/Expertise > Crit > excess Mastery
Stamina is your primary stat as a Protection Warrior, increasing total health and as a result enhancing the effects of Vengeance. Vengeance and your other abilities should be more than enough to maintain threat.
Mastery – Critical Block: Protection Warrior Mastery increases the chance to block as well as critically block, making it the most effective secondary stat for survivability. Stack as much Mastery as possible up to the 102.5% blocking cap.
Parry & Dodge are two methods of avoiding damage. Parry triggers the Hold the Line talent, which is why it has a bit more value than dodge, but they are otherwise equal.
Block: To calculate your current total block chance add up your block, dodge, and parry percentages plus the straight 5% miss chance. If it equals 102.4%, then the boss cannot hit us without some of his hit being blocked. Any block number over that amount is wasted.
Hit/Expertise/Crit: Offensive stats are devalued since the (increased) threat changes in patch 4.3. Your Vengeance should be enough and generating threat should no longer be an issue. Survival now becomes #1.
When reforging gear, it’s important that you look to reforge from your least effective stat into the most effective for whatever gear goal you are currently aiming for.
You want to focus on: Mastery > Dodge & Parry
Your most important stat to reforge into is Mastery for the increased block chance. If a piece of gear already has Mastery, look to reforge into Dodge or Parry, preferably keeping the two as close in value as possible in the process.
Your most important aim is to achieve the block cap of 102.4% above all else (block = block + dodge + parry + 5%.)
Hit, Expertise, Crit, should all be reforged into Mastery, or to Parry or Dodge if the item already has Mastery.
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