WoW Protection Warrior Tank Guide

WoW Protection Warrior Introduction

Protection Warrior is the OG tank, sword and board fantasy that specializes in not taking damage (in comparison to other tanks). The spec is in a solid spot going into 10.1 the talent tree is in a great spot with lots of utility, choices between damage and defensives (that doesn’t feel bad to choose from, very important!) and lots of little playstyle changes that you can choose from depending on your needs.

Protection Warrior is one of two tank specs that relies on rage generation to utilize your defensives and damage. The spec has many ways to generate rage both actively and passively making it an all around force to be reckoned with. This tank spec requires a very proactive use of your defensives and mitigations, using a defensive after a tank buster has crushed your health by 50% is almost useless to protection warriors, it’s all about stopping as much incoming damage as possible before it hits.

WoW Protection Warrior Strengths & Weaknesses


1. The main rotation is fairly easy to pick up and play
2. Strong Active mitigation with Shield Block and Ignore Pain
3. Strong defensives with Demoralizing Shout, Shield Wall and Spell Reflect
4. Snap Threat generation is easier than other tank specs.
5. Brings 5% Attack power buff and Rally, very strong buffs and party CD.
6. Brings lots of damage with strong offensive cooldown’s


1. Constant big bleed or magical DOT damage
2. Very little self sustain against big hits or DOT’s.
3. Requires encounter knowledge to be proactive with defensives – hitting a defensive AFTER you’ve taken a tank buster is rarely useful with Protection Warrior.

WoW Protection Warrior Stats

Protection Warrior stats are very important to its gameplay and making it feel fluid, reducing CD’s and the total GCD (global cooldown) of some abilities as well as empowering your defensives. It must be said, but Strength takes priority over any secondary stat as your gearing, once you’re a level of min maxing, take ilvl other secondaries, especially if the upgrade is significant.

  • Haste: Haste is your most important stat in any scenario, it reduces the total cooldown time of Thunderclap, Shield Slam and Shield Block, your 2 main rage generators and your active mitigation, talents like Into the Fray do a LOT of work in the early stages of gearing and remains a solid option in endgame gameplay.
  • Versatility: As noted above, Protection Warrior is great at not taking damage, Versatility decreases damage taken and increases damage and healing done, making it an all around great stat for Protection warrior to have.
  • Critical Strike: Like any other game, this stat increases your critical strike chance equaling more damage done, but for protection warrior, your parry rating is a direct reflection of your Critical Strike rating(the stat, not the %, increasing your CS% will not increase your parry rating). Now warrior is a block spec and most of your mitigation will come from Blocking incoming damage, adding another source of mitigation as well as increasing your damage. Not a stat to prioritize but not one to dump either.
  • Mastery: Mastery for prot increases your base block chance(good!) and your chance to critically block(also good!) but the latter does rely on RnG more than is cared for. It does also increase your attack power, more damage and bigger Ignore Pains(Great!). Due to the RnG nature of the stat it’s not as prioritized as the others but also remains a stat you don’t want to dump either, since critical block combined with Spell Block shores up a major weakness that protection warrior has had for a long time!

In season 2 we’re going to be achieving our diminishing returns more quickly than in previous expansions, since we already like to stack versatility quite a bit, critical strike is next in line, adding a decent source of damage increase and parry. For new Protection Warriors, focus on Versatility first, then add onto your crit afterwards. For the seasoned vets, you can opt for more critical strike much quicker.

Haste > Crit > Vers = Mastery

WoW Protection Warrior Tier Sets

How 10.1 Tier bonuses change our playstyle

2pc – Shield Slam damage is increased by 15% and reduces the cooldown of Last Stand by 2s. During Last Stand there effects are doubled.

4pc – For 20s after Last Stand ends, Shield Slam unleashes a wave of force dealing Physical damage to enemies in front of you and reducing the damage they deal to you by 5% for 5s.

This is a fairly strong tier set bonus that has multiple layers to it.

First off it reduces the cooldown of Last Stand significantly, at a base of 2 minutes(with Bolster) you’ll be able attain a 1m10s total cooldown. Paired with Bolster giving you a 15s of Shield Block per use, having full uptime is going to be a much simpler task. You’ll be able to opt out of certain Shield Block talents once you feel you’ve mastered 100% uptime.

Secondly, Shield Slam is a major portion of our damage for a single target ability, even in AoE, increasing its damage by 15/30% is really solid, then add the AoE component after Last Stand ends, 20s, where Shield Slam deals a frontal cone of AoE damage, we’re looking at something incredibly strong. This is obviously going to shine in mythic plus alongside talents like Violent Outburst.

Last, adding the 5% damage reduction component is a nice little bit to add to the tier set. While 5% isn’t anything crazy, its obviously not bad, giving you a little bit of tankiness.

Onyx Annulet

The Onyx Annulet from the Forbidden Reach is going to be one of our better options for the foreseeable future given its damage and defensive bonuses.

Best setup: Infused Storm Stone, Desirous Blood Stone, Prophetic Twilight

WoW Protection Warrior Enchants, Gems & Consumables

Note: I will be updating this section as further testing occurs after the tuning passes has finished. New embellishments have arrived in 10.1, perhaps changing our Best in Slot embellishment items. Its best to use caution in the first couple of weeks of a new patch to wait on tuning passes before crafting some items. Be aware.

Until you reach a more than comfortable level of haste, enchant your rings with Haste and Gem Haste wherever possible.


  1. Howling Rune is a 2 hour consumable that increases your haste, best in all forms of content.
  2. Frozen Devotion(Enchant) – Best for damage
  3. Sophic Devotion – Best defensively since the Strength proc won’t out damage Frozen Devotion but will provide you with more defensive benefits.

Cloaks & Bracers
There are now solid Leech enchant you can acquire to be placed on those pieces of gear, with our talent build we start out with 10% base leech, and since our weakness is consistent self sustain, leech helps to shore that up, combined with the Indomitable talent, we have very consistent healing to keep us going, meaning even if we’re at 50% hp, we’re still incredibly difficult to kill.


  1. Tepid Versatility is my all around go to phial of choice, while it may not be best in all scenarios, it’s a solid option in every scenario. A nice stat increase of a stat we already like to stack.
  2. Eye of the Storm is a Strength increase based on the number of enemies that have hit you to a max of 5, this is a solid phial to be using in Fortified weeks of Mythic plus, but loses value on bosses(only 1 target is hitting you), unless you pull trash onto them (not always recommended or possible).
  3. Glacial Fury is a damage proc phial which can see its best use in AoE pulls. Unfortunately it offers no defensive benefits but does do nice damage.

Lastly, our pants! Fierce Armor Kits replace the Shadowlands consumable into a full “enchant”, which now increases our primary stat and stamina permanently.

WoW Protection Warrior Basics

Active Rage Builders

  • Thunderclap & Shield Slam are your active use rage builders. While there are other abilities and talents to increase your rage these will be your main forms of rage. Bloodsurge bleeds and Auto attacks both generate rage passively.

Rage Spenders

  • Shield Block, Ignore Pain and Revenge

Active Mitigation

  • The Strength of Protection Warrior lies in its active mitigation, Shield Block does a lot of work in blocking incoming physical damage while Ignore Pain absorbs 50% of all incoming damage. These two abilities will be doing the brunt work to keeping your HP bar as full as possible.

Off The Global Cooldown

  • Shield Block and Ignore Pain are both off the GCD, meaning you can press one of them with your main rotation simultaneously. This makes Protection Warrior a high Action per Minute spec that requires aggressive play. The more rage you build and burn the more health you regenerate and are able to keep up your active mitigations.


Defensives on Protection Warrior are to be used proactively, its of very little use to you to use it after you’ve taken a big tank buster hit as an oh shit button, at that point its best to rely on your healer to top you off or Impending Victory to top you off.

  • Shield Wall: Reduces all incoming damage by 40%(variable CD, 3m30s baseline). This is your big defensive, combined with Shield Block and a couple stacks of ignore pain, you’ll barely feel a tank buster.
  • Demoralizing Shout: This is to be used frequently, best at the start of pulls while your still setting up your position and gaining threat since with selected talents you’ll apply a 20% damage taken debuff(by you) to the affected targets.
  • Spell Reflect: A 6 second Magic damage reduction can reflect or deflect a large number of spells for big damage.
  • Spell Block: Grants you the ability to block spells, in the past this has been a huge pain point for Protection Warrior. This defensive ability is a huge ability added in Dragonflight.

WoW Protection Warrior Talents

The new talent trees for Dragonflight offer us two trees, a spec tree and a class tree. The class tree is a more general tree which sees all three warrior specs with the same options, the spec tree is Protections and Protections alone, both of these trees are stupid strong for protection and offer a lot of flexibility in talent specializations based on encounter scenarios. Below is an all around solid build combining offensive abilities and strong defensives useful in most encounters, that being said you can tweak it as you need of course, sometimes you just don’t need 2 charges of Shield Wall, etc.

The most important thing any new protection warrior needs to know and focus on is Shield Block, the power of this active mitigation is genuinely insane and best out of all the tank specs. While building up your warrior, focus on having full combat uptime on Shield Block and prioritize rage dumping into this defensive, DO NOT LET IT DROP!, under any circumstance.

WoW Protection Warrior 10.1


WoW Protection Warrior Class Tree

The class tree offers a lot of great utility and some of our core abilities we’ve had since the dawn of WoW.

There is some flex you choose from if you want to tweak your utility based on what you need. The nice additive of these trees to Dragonflight and how warriors was specifically made, is there are no cookie cutter builds to be made here, if you want more interrupt CD, more healing, total rage pool or damage, you can tweak it here which offers the player a good choice based on encounter profiles.

In this guide I’ll first take about staple talents you’ll almost never swap away from, then Flex talents, talents you can choose to opt away from for something different. I won’t be breaking down every talent option here, since some are self explanatory (5% movement speed…) or are simply there for pathing reasons.

Stance Dancing is back! The class tree gives protection warrior Battle Stance and Defensive stance back! The tldr, battle stance gives us 3% increase crit, defensive stance reduces incoming damage by 15% but also reduces our damage by 10%. 95% you’ll be in battle stance, only using defensive stance when you’re in trouble, or you know you just need a bigger defensive. Defensive stand is nice because it’s an on demand (3 second cooldown to swap), 15% damage reduction. Below is a macro to make swapping stances one button (incredibly useful) since protection warrior does suffer from minor button bloat.

Battle Stance Change Macro
#showtooltip /cast [stance:2]!Defensive Stance;!Battle Stance