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Protection Warrior Tanking Guide for patch 4.3

Protections Warriors are the original tanks and some say that they’re still the best tanks. They fit the image: heavily armored with shield and gnarly weapon of choice. They have all the tools to command the attention of what they’re fighting while the team burns it down.

Talent Build:


Glyphs come in three varieties, Prime, Major and Minor.

Prime glyphs enhance core aspects of your class and generally provide the greatest benefit of the three types.

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 Battle which extends the duration of Battle Shout.  other provide more significant benefits such as the Warrior glyph of Berserker Rage.

Prime Glyphs:

Major Glyphs:

Minor Glyphs:
These are our recommended minor glyphs for Arms Warrior PvE.

Single Target Protection Rotation:

Here are your highest priority abilities and their priority of use.

  1. Shield Slam– Whenever available
  2. Revenge – Whenever available
  3. Rend – Keep rend on your target always
  4. Devastate – Whenever available
  5. Heroic Strike — with over 65 rage

AoE Rotation:

  1. Shockwave
  2. Thunder Clap
  3. Inner Rage
  4. Cleave
  5. Revenge


You should use your cooldowns whenever possible. However, you need to use them as effectively as possible. You should only use them when you will be fighting for the full time of the ability. In other words you should not use your cooldowns just to fight weak trash that will die in 5-10 seconds.

Stat Priorities:

Stamina > Mastery > Parry > Dodge > Expertise > Hit Cap (8%) > Strength > Crit

Especially with the changes to threat in patch 4.3 the offensive stats (Hit, etc.) aren’t as necessary as before. The mitigation stats have more value and make your healer’s life easier. Mitigation also helps protect against massive damage spikes.

  • Stamina scales with Vengeance, helping you generate more threat. It will also increase your health and survivability.
  • Mastery – Each point of mastery increases your block chance by 1.5% making this a great stat for damage reduction.
  • Parry: Due to the talent Hold the Line Parry has a bit more value than Dodge
  • Dodge: Not taking damage is a good thing.
  • Melee Hit: 8% melee hit is enough hit to keep your special attacks from missing boss (level 88) mobs. More misses = less threat, however the 4.3 changes mean that each hit does a lot more threat than before, diminishing the importance of Hit and other stats. Note that if you are in charge of interrupts that you will need more hit, up to the 8% cap, to make sure that they hit.
  • The 26 Expertise will make monsters unable to dodge your attacks. DPS has little use for Expertise above 26, but Tanks can make good use of it up to 55 (the point at which mobs can no longer parry your attacks.) With the 4.3 changes it’s less valuable than before, for the same reasons as Hit.
  • Strength and Crit – Same as for hit. Useful, just not as useful as before.


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.  See our stat priority list for more information.

  • 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 Strength will provide a fair amount of Parry, so Dodge is probably what you will be reforging into, if not Mastery.

Your most important aim is to achieve the block cap of 102.4%, above all else.


You will need at least 2 yellow gems to activate your meta gem, but since you’re gemming for Mastery that’s not a problem.

Gem for Mastery above all else, even ignoring socket bonuses unless they offer a +20 Mastery bonus, per gem, and then use a combination gem.



Protection Warrior Single Target Raid Build

(View this build on WoWhead)

Protection Warrior Single Target Raid Build


Protection Warrior Area Effect Raid Build

Protection Warrior Area Effect Raid Build

Our class guides for whichever class you’re playing:

Death Knights – Druid – Hunter – Mage – Paladin
Priest – Rogue – Shaman – Warlock – Warrior

The GotWarcraft Gold Guide

Cataclysm Heroic Guides

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1 thought on “Protection Warrior Tanking Guide for patch 4.3”

  1. Guide is wrong on spec. with current threat mechanics taking deep wounds is a foolish waste. you DON’T need the extra threat from it. It is much better to take Blood craze as an additional survivability proc.

    [Good point. I’ll make a note of it. Thanks. -Rog]

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