Tank like a girl
Apr 08 2009

10 Things all protection warriors should know

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This is information for patch 3.1 and not completely accurate anymore. I am currently in the process of updating this for 4.0.1

It’s day 2 of the 31DBBB challenge, and today’s task is to write a list post. I am going all out here and think big, so I shall try to come up with 10 things all protection warriors should know, if you ask me. Most items are old hats and just recycle known concepts, but my goal is to deliver concise information in one list. Credit goes to the many posters at Tankspot, Veneretio, Durnic, and commenters over in this little blog. :)

  1. Build threat based on priorities – Do not make the mistake of using a set rotation. For ideal TPS, choose your next ability based on its priority: Shield Slam > Revenge > Concussion Blow > Shockwave > Devastate. However, keep in mind you want 5 sunders on bosses. Confused? This flowchart hopefully makes more sense.
  2. Use your selfheal – In tricky situations when your health dips low, use your selfheal. What heal? Enraged Regeneration. Before you use it, make sure that you also use all health increasing effects first: Commanding Shout, trinkets like Repelling Charge, Last Stand. The higher your max-health, the more health will be returned. If you need numbers, Last Stand and Enraged Regeneration will restore 39% of your health in 10 seconds. Hot!
  3. Defense is our best avoidance stat – If you are building an avoidance set, don’t be shy with going well beyond 540.
  4. Parry is our weakest avoidance stat – Don’t bother with gemming for it. Parry will come naturally with gear, but dodge and defense are superior.
  5. Expertise is our strongest threat stat – If you are building a threat set, expertise will provide you with more threat than hit in most cases, plus it will add additional survivability once you have reached the parry cap.
  6. Intervene for fun and profit – With the advent of Warbringer, there are many fun options for this overlooked ability.
  7. Devastate is for support – The old role of Devastate was to be used as main ability of any protection warrior. Devastate spam was the preferred method of prot warrior DPS (if you can call it that). In WotLK Devastate threat is inferior to most of our abilities, plus it does subpar damage. Use it to provide a full sunder debuff for your physical DPS and once that is up only to get S&B procs.
  8. Faster weapons are better for tanking than slow ones – Faster weapons allow for more Heroic Strikes, which in high-rage situations should be used every swing. More Heroic Strikes = more DPS you contribute + additional threat. Slower weapons have higher Devastate damage, but that is insignificant compared to our other stronger abilities (Concussion Blow, Shockwave, etc.)
  9. The pull matters – Be smart about pulling. You don’t need to blindly charge into every group, even if you can. Use Heroic Throw to pull casters. Use of line of sight is still appropriate. Cluster your groups. Bring all ranged mobs into your melee range using your various abilities. Do not Shockwave until you have a cluster all nicely lined up. A good place to test basic clustering involving large pulls is dead-side Stratholme. Heroic Throw one Guardian, charge the other, Shield Bash, move towards the other. Clustered? Shockwave. Excellent for practice.
  10. Do not leave the house without glyphs – Apply glyphs based on what content you run. Heroics are trash-heavy, so you would use other glyphs than a raider does. Inform yourself about what glyphs are relevant, e.g. here or here. In case of the latter post, make sure to read the comments for different perspectives, and a perfect proof that you should base your glyphs on the content you run, and not generalize. I learn from mistakes. ;)

    28 Responses to “10 Things all protection warriors should know”

    1. Tarsus says:

      I would add: “Gather groups together with Thunder Clap. Back up two steps and Shockwave.”

      It seems so simple, but I must do it like… 50 times a Naxx run so it’s not like it doesn’t get used as a technique a lot.


      admin Reply:

      Okay, absolutely, I will add that. The backstepping is absolutely crucial for proper positioning or you end up with mobs not hit by Shockwave.


    2. Talldar says:

      Two more suggestions:
      ad 1: Since Cuncussion Blow went off the GCD it should be as important as Shield Bash and used whenever available

      ad 9: Mind that there should no mobs ever be behind you. While this is as basic as being crit-immune I see it happen alot and it happens to myself sometimes that with charge and the easy multimob-tanking we are having now tanks get stabbed in the back.

      Talldar´s last blog post..Is it time for a raid-alliance-tool?


    3. Jalavier says:

      Nice top 10 list, I learned a few new things. I have found a lot of discussion around ideal warrior rotations to maximize threat. I believe this largely depends on your stats since stacking attack power increases the damage and threat of certain abilities.

      If you load up Rawr you can chart Threat as a function of abilities. For my chart at the present time Shield Slam > Revenge > Shockwave > Heroic Throw > Conc Blow etc.


    4. Doomhammer says:

      Hiii Kadomi,

      Just another basic, usefull, understandable post, just the way i like em!!
      Keep up the good work, you blog is my primary resource!
      I looove your shoppinglists and always looking forward to a new post :)

      Kind regards,


      admin Reply:

      Thank you, appreciate it. :)


    5. Pike says:

      Great post– starring in my Google Reader for future reference :)

      Pike´s last blog post..Quick! Freezing Trap! And… Tame Beast!


    6. vendelcrow says:

      Thanks for the post! I have a question that I’ve been digging around the net and blizz forums but cant seem to find a definitive answer for. What is a good number to shoot for as far as block? I know its a weaker stat than dodge, but I can’t imagine wanting to let it drop too low because of the mitigation/SS values it provides. Thanks again!


    7. Rakasha says:

      Since 3.2, devastate higher in threat list then SW or CB, so it’s part of your priority list way higher then it was. We can now keep our AE tanking ability (SW) for AE situtation.


      Kadomi Reply:

      A re-write for 3.2 about our rotation is on my to-do list! :)


    8. chris says:

      You should state clearly why Parry is the worst avoidance stat. Ability-wise, Parry is better han Dodge because both avoids the attack, but Parry makes your next swing come faster.

      You should clarify and write that 1 point of parry is worse than 1 point of dodge, because of faster diminishing returns on the stat. Parry is not the worst avoidance stat, it’s just more costly than dodge in itemization. Given the choice, I’d rather Parry than Dodge any attack.


    9. Cyberial says:

      Imo, the sexy girl tanks should get extra threat from big bad looking monsters >.<
      Cheers and gl ;)


    10. garyj says:

      I have looked at both of your builds, and find holes in both of them you might want to rethink. For starters in the 15/5/51 build you have 2 points in cruelty which would be much more effective in shield specialization (which should ALWAYS be maxed in any prot build). You also have 2 points in gag order. This is only going to help on trash, and in a trash pull what is 3 seconds when you can shockwave, concussion blow the casters, and shield bash them for longer. That would free up 2 more points to max your shield specialization, and put one in improved blood rage. The other point I would change is you are having rage problems is I would only put 2 points in deep wounds and put 1 more in reduced bloodrage. You will take less damage by making these little changes and free up the healer to cast on party members.
      In the 5/10/56 spec you have 2 points in improved disciplines. If you need your shield wall that often you need to find a better healer lol. You are missing 2 points in improved charge, and once again have 2 points in gag order and none in improved blood rage.
      These are both little tweaks that will make a huge difference as your gear quality increases and you develope rage issues.
      It is also important to mention that when you are tanking trash it is good to switch targets alot and keep your main focus on the target who’s life is dropping fastest. That is usually the one that you will lose threat on.


      Kadomi Reply:

      Okay, I was willing to take you seriously until I read your ‘lol, Improved Disciplines’ line. Any serious raid tank will use Imp Disciplines because no matter how good the healer, you want to be able to have Shield Wall available as often as you can. I get zero use out of Imp Charge in a raid setting. Add to that your claims that Gag Order is useless.

      In fights like General Vezax, Mimiron, Northrend Beasts, Anub’arak, you want every possible damage reduction. No matter how good your healer, and my guild has pretty fabulous ones.

      If you don’t believe me, feel free to check the specs of top raid tanks like Kungen or Xav.


    11. garyj says:

      Just wanted to correct myself, gag order also increases your shield slam by 10 %, and is also in my talent tree lol. I am currently using a 15/3/53 spec which is not the common cookie cutter spec. It is more of a combo thrash/mt raid spec.



      Joe Reply:

      Well written post, it answered a few questions I had about 3.3, ty kadomi. Any garyj, your spec is a basic cookie cutter threat tank spec, minus 2 points in cruelty and missing a major glyph that helps you.


    12. Bruno says:

      Very nice list, as a not-yet-so-skilled war tank, I found what I was looking for in few seconds.

      Casters are my nightmare, mostly when you play with dps who want to pull for you, I’m gonna train on souls forge instance making intensive use of silencing techs, and change my UI to have better access to the heroic throw button during pull sequence (already use space bar shield bash).

      Thanks again, you’re now in my favorites.


      Kadomi Reply:

      I’ve been doing fine with the Forge of Souls pulls if you keep doing certain things: 1) at the start of the pull, Heroic Throw one caster, charge into the other, and you have a nice cluster easy to tank. 2) Spell reflect every cooldown. As long as you have initial aggro, that mob over there casting at you will stick to you like glue if their spells hit them right back in the face. :)

      Best of luck. :)


      Bruno Reply:

      thanks for the advice, I’ll try this, makes sense, I would use a macro with HT on focus, avoiding targeting misses…^^


    13. Smush says:

      Just gearing up and this list changed my whole understanding of how to play @ 80.
      This site and list are great. Thanks for the help and keep up the good work.

      For the Horde!
      Lok’tar Ogar!


    14. Dee says:

      It is nice to know I’m not the only lady out there tanking. I started WOW on a Shaman. Loved the shaman so much that I have two 80′s, one an allie server and horde (both restro).

      I have now tried my hand at tanking. A taruen warrior and I LOVE HER. It is nice for a change killing stuff and taking charge, and not sitting in the back ground thinking (“oh hum” i have healed this so much I can check out e-bay while i do this.. and yes I have with split screen and running HGundrak)

      I checked out your warroir prot stats. I notice we had much of the same. I was wondering if you would not mind me trying your spec out for myself.

      Thank you,


      Kadomi Reply:

      My secondary main is a resto shaman, so I can totally relate!

      As for my spec, sure, go for it! I actually went ahead and recently ditched one of my two tank specs to mess with a fury build, so the spec I have left is my progression raid tanking spec. It has Imp Demo Shout, Improved Disciplines and does not go down Arms for Deep Wounds. Good to see more female prot warriors out there. :)


    15. Dee says:

      Great! Thanks!

      I just changed the spec and can’t wait to try it out. I’ll let you know how it goes.




    16. Dee says:


      Ran UP for the first time (last night) at level 77 and first time ever tanking it. (random dungeon) I used your spec. I ran with my husband who was 79 boomkin, hunter 79, druid healer 78, and a 79 DK (who was a complete moron)

      The spec works awesome. I have never been able to hold agro like I was holding. My husband was going all out in his boomkin. Everyone was trying to pull of me and I was able to hold all the agro.

      The only problem i had was the Dk would not focus on my target and pull other stuff. It did cause us to wipe once. After that I stated . “you pull it you own it” We were able to make it through.

      My next question is: once I reach 80 and I am defense capped. What kind of gems should I use. stam, expertise, haste or hit.

      Thanks for taking the time to help out.



      Kadomi Reply:

      Assuming you are at 535 defense for heroics/540 defense for raiding, I would use the following gems:

      Blue: Solid Majestic Zircon/Sky Sapphire
      Red: Guardian’s Dreadstone/Twilight Opal until you have 26 exp, after that Regal Dreadstone/Twilight Opal
      Yellow: Enduring Eye of Zul/Forest Emerald

      Unless the socket bonus is 9 stamina or better always use blue gems, but make sure to use at least one red gem to activate Austere Earthsiege Diamond as meta.

      For heroics I would probably use a different spec, mine is really optimized for raid tanking. This spec here is still great: Deep Wounds build


    17. Dee says:

      Thanks for the information :)

      Your spec that you use for raids works great for me. I just hit level 79 and 4 of my guildies and I ran FOS POS and HOR normal. I was able to tank the first two no problems. The last one I was able to do the first two bosses. I had trouble on the event were you run from the LK. I made it as far as the last ice wall and one mob was left standing… group wipe. We tried it a couple more times but I just could not hold the agro on the last walls in that event very well. But all in all your raid spec works great in there. I was very happy on how I did being 79.

      Thanks for all your help and advise.



    18. DeGei says:

      This needs an updated for 4.0.1 Version.


      Kadomi Reply:

      It’s on my to do list!


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