Skip to content

Protection Warrior Tanking Guide for Cataclysm 4.3

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 It is obsolete with Mists of Pandara, but is kept here for legacy sake.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)

  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 damage 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 Warrior page for MoP info.

Faster Leveling with Zygor

Click here for
Easy and Fast Leveling

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.

Prime Glyphs:

Devastate – Optimal
Shield Slam – Optimal
Revenge – Optimal

Major Glyphs:

Cleaving – Recommended
Shockwave – Recommended
Thunder Clap – Recommended

Minor Glyphs:

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


AoE Rotation

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.

Leveling in Mists of Pandaria, the Fast and Easy Way

Click Here and get leveled through Mists of Pandaria, Fast.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.