Protection Warrior Guide - WOW Dragonflight
Game Guides , World Of Warcraft , WOW Gameplay Guides
Protection Warriors have been in the game since it launched way back in vanilla, and were World of Warcraft’s original tank spec, and they are one of only two tank specializations that use a shield and a one-handed weapon. Protection warrior is the tank specialization that fits most completely and neatly fills the “Tank” image and fantasy.
Why play Protection Warrior
There are plenty of things to list out as reasons to play Protection Warrior, and to name a few:
- The defensive cooldowns that a Protection Warrior has access to are incredibly potent and incredibly versatile, their toolkit is complete in the way that it supports the specialization and it is one of the best tanks in the game due to this.
- The offensive cooldowns that a Protection Warrior has access to are equally strong, Protection is one of the highest damage dealing specializations in the game when it comes to burst AoE damage.
- Protection warrior has access to nearly unrivaled mobility and it is incredibly effective in all content.
- Spell Reflect is not always useful, but there are plenty of times and scenarios where it is completely and entirely game-breaking and overpowered.
- Protection Warriors are one of the best tanks in the entire game at raw damage mitigation.
There are a few weaknesses of Protection Warrior and it’s important to understand those, too:
- Protection Warrior is incredibly susceptible to damage if misplayed, you will melt if you make a major mistake.
- As a Protection Warrior, your self-healing is limited compared to tanks like Vengeance Demon Hunter and Blood Death Knight.
- Rotation does have downtime
- Managing your cooldowns, both offensively and defensively, requires a high amount of skill and situational awareness.
The basics of Protection Warrior gameplay
As one of the tanks that has been in the game since the beginning, Protection Warrior has access to a very well-defined, large toolkit.
Protection Warrior is relatively simple in the way that it functions and the complexity comes into play when relying on your situational and spatial awareness to use your defensive and offensive cooldowns.
Protection Warrior functions by generating Rage, either by getting hit or by using your rage-generating abilities such as Shield Slam or Thunder Clap etc, then spending that Rage on Ignore Pain and Shield Block and Revenge. If you need more defensives, spend your Rage on Ignore Pain and if you need more damage, spend your rage on Revenge. Spamming Revenge in AoE or Execute in the execute phase of a fight will give you a burst of damage, but requires an unsustainable amount of rage generation, so keep generating Rage with Shield Slam and Thunder Clap and you will have more damage over the course of a fight, and to reiterate, maintain and use Shield Block any time you are tanking, it is critical to your success as a Protection Warrior. Letting Shield Block fall off is when most Protection Warriors die.
And lastly, always use Shield Slam on cooldown. It is an incredibly important and potent ability for both damage and for generating Rage.
Protection Warrior Cooldowns & Utility
Protection Warrior has an almost hilarious amount of utility both for yourself and for your group. Using this utility effectively is what sets a great tank apart. Your utility is the following:
- Shield Wall is your primary defensive cooldown, it has a pretty short cooldown with the talents you will take and is a 40% damage reduction for 8 seconds. This is an incredible defensive that you want to use early and use often.
- Demoralizing Shout is a middle of the pack defensive cooldown, it’s not quite as strong as Shield Wall, but it’s on a shorter cooldown, especially if talented into Thunderlord and in AoE. If you’re talented into Booming Voice, you will want to use Demoralizing Shout on cooldown, it becomes a major rage generator and offensive cooldown.
- Spell Reflect could have an entire guide on it’s own, it is an incredible tool in any offensive or defensive aspect to applicable spells, but make sure to use it frequently as you can, even if you won’t gain any reflected damage out of it or stop yourself from taking the damage, it’s a 20% damage reduction from spells.
- Last Stand is, while very basic in it’s baseline application just increasing your health, if talented into Bolster, it gets a lot of CDR and becomes a major source of Shield Block uptime and should be used frequently.
- Rallying Cry is a your group or raid wide cooldown. This has incredible utility in the way that it alleviates pressure off of healers, and while you can use it selfishly for a last ditch effort to keep yourself alive, you should always focus on using this to help your raid and your party.
- Hamstring has a lot of value in it’s low cost, easily spammable application to create space when needing to back away from most mobs. It’s not an ability you will use often but when you do need it, it is invaluable.
- Battle Shout is your buff, and Warrior is the only class that provides this Attack Power buff to your party or raid. This is incredibly useful in increasing the damage output of your group and is a major benefit of bringing a Warrior so you won’t have any trouble finding a spot in groups.
- Warrior has access to Heroic Leap and Charge, as well as Intervene if talented and all of these abilities function as incredibly useful gap-closers as well as the ability to create space when necessary.
- If talented, Shockwave is a frontal AoE stun that deals damage and AoE stuns will always play an integral role in pushing through dungeons more effectively. This ability, if talented, will always find use. In Mythic+ it is a must have.
If you’ve read all of this and Protection Warrior sounds like the spec for you, I recommend reading through the spell summary inside the game and spending time with target dummies, as you want to keep all of these abilities ready to use. Keep an eye out for more guides, we’ll be covering Spell Reflect usage, Mythic+ routes and tanking and so much more!
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