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Protection Warrior Tank Starter Guide - Shadowlands 9.2
2022/04/30 at 1:27 AM
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Welcome to our Protection Warrior starter guide, which covers everything you need to start playing a new character in Shadowlands. While our other guide pages go into more individual detail, this simple starter guide covers all the basics in one place, whether you're a new Protection Warrior, a returning player to Shadowlands, hardcore, or casual alike, it's the best place to get a beginners overview on the class. Included are basic talent builds, simplified rotations, stats, legendary recommendations, and more to get you started as quickly as possible.
Please keep in mind that this page is meant to get players started quickly as an introduction, and does not contain much in the way of detailed explanations, mechanics, competitive options, gearing, simulation comparisons, or nuance. For more in-depth information, including all those optimizations and more, check out the complete Protection Warrior Guide pages linked in the navigation on the left-hand side of the page, and if you're leveling up in Shadowlands, you can take a look at our
NEW Patch 9.2 Changes
NEW Tier Set Bonus
Rotation, Priority, and Abilities
Macros & Addons
NEW Castle Nathria Tips
NEW Sepulcher Tips
About the Author
This guide was written by Llarold! I’ve been tanking since Vanilla. During Mists of Pandaria, I saw an opportunity to begin writing guides, and I took it with the hopes of making myself a better tank and making the community into better tanks with me. I hope it’s working!
I am active in all of the tank class Discords but primarily contribute to theorycrafting discussions in
Peak of Serenity
(Monk and Warrior). I’m active on
, where I mostly talk WoW (and basketball), and I’m half of the team responsible for the YouTube channel
WoW at Night
, which focuses primarily on tank guides and previews.
Best Covenants for Protection Warriors
As a quick recap, we've created the table below to highlight the notable differences between covenants. Don't hesitate to click the headers to go to their respective guides!
Best Protection Warrior Covenants and Soulbinds for Raid
Plague Deviser Marileth
Best Protection Warrior Covenants and Soulbinds for Mythic+
Plague Deviser Marileth
Best Protection Warrior Covenants for Raiding
Kyrian and Night Fae's damage output is reasonably competitive, and there is a ton of value in the mobility granted by
on encounters with lots of movement or damage zones you can blink across, so while Kyrian is the most popular Covenant, switching to Night Fae can be a competitive alternative in raids.
Play both sides. That way you always come out on top.
Necrolord is a competitive choice for Protection Warriors looking to maximize group damage in organized raiding groups.
, you become responsible for overlapping it with other players' cooldowns, which puts the burden upon them to play well in order for your Covenant ability to be worth using. It's a lot of responsibility being shifted into someone else's hands, so if you're not playing with a consistent group, it can be a gamble. That being said, it's a really good choice in an organized setting, and the personal buff is very good, so it's not a total waste even if your banner targets don't maximize its value. You just need to be prepared to work a little harder as Necrolord than you would as Kyrian, both in using Banner effectively for your group and in maintaining your personal Banner buff (with
) at 100% uptime.
Best Protection Warrior Covenants for Mythic+
You're not pigeonholed into running Kyrian as a Mythic dungeon-focused Protection Warrior, although it is typically the most popular option.
In Mythic+, Night Fae is still fairly competitive against enemies that don't move around a lot, but loses a lot of value against highly-mobile trash.
deals more burst damage than
Spear of Bastion
, has more Rage generation against 3 or more targets, and offers better crowd control against stationary mobs. The periodic knockdowns are not on the same diminishing returns as other stuns, so it's really effective at locking down casters, which helps somewhat to offset how bad it is against enemies that run away or leap around.
That being said, Kyrian's
Spear of Bastion
is extremely consistent. It will keep enemies that try to leap around or run away locked in place, and it's on a shorter cooldown. Even better, it continues dealing damage to enemies that leave its area and are immune to its grip effect, so you can never lose value due to enemy movement.
With the addition of double Legendary to
in Patch 9.2, Necrolord has seen a significant increase in value, and it is a competitive choice among Mythic+ Protection Warriors, as well.
The Necrolord playstyle is extremely active when compared to other Covenants. It's strong and extremely fun, but it does require a considerable degree of comfort with the spec to play effectively. It's not for the faint of heart or the weak of wrist. You will probably want to build your Mythic+ group compositions around DPS specs that can make good use of a Mastery buff on a 2-minute cooldown, as well.
Best Protection Warrior Covenant
Kyrian Protection Warrior GuideNecrolord Protection Warrior Guide
Night Fae Protection Warrior GuideVenthyr Protection Warrior Guide
Best Legendaries for Protection Warrior in Patch 9.2
Protection Warriors have had two main Legendary options during Shadowlands.
has been the best overall option since it was redesigned in Patch 9.0.5. It’s very good, both offensively and defensively, but it can be a bit of work to use effectively.
is much simpler and more forgiving, but it doesn’t offer as much value, and it doesn’t interact with the new Tier Set bonuses, so its popularity will probably continue to drop even further as Patch 9.2 progresses.
is simply the best! Better than all the rest!
Best Single Legendary for Protection Warrior in Patch 9.2
Best Single Legendaries
Best Double Legendaries for Protection Warrior in Patch 9.2
Eternity's End allows players to wear two Legendary items at once, albeit with a restriction. One of the two legendaries must be your Covenant Legendary. This causes the balance of Covenant Legendaries to play a role in your choice of Covenant. Double Legendaries become available during week 5, after completing that week’s story chapter.
At this time, Kyrian is the recommended Covenant for raid and Mythic+.
The interaction of the new Tier Bonuses with
and the ability to wear it without giving up
makes Necrolord a very competitive option. Maintaining
around 100% uptime is possible with good play and decent gear. It’s very strong.
Best Double Legendaries
Patch 9.2 Legendary Changes & Tuning
Players may now equip two Legendaries, but one must be
Best Protection Warrior Talents
Protection Warriors use the same talents for a lot of content, although there are several spots where you can and should switch talents.
Best Served Cold
is a simple, passive DPS increase that can have a significant impact on your DPS in Mythic+ and AoE situations.
adds a lot of offensive value and Rage generation onto
, but it also adds another offensive cooldown to monitor and use effectively. It's better at adding single-target damage, but not as effective at adding consistent AoE damage.
is an excellent Mythic+ talent, but it requires a little more effort than
Into the Fray
to maximize its value.
has higher potential when used well, but
Into the Fray
is still a terrific option while you're learning, and generally the best option in raids even for experts.
The damage and cooldown increase of
is great for any content that isn't too challenging, but when you're tanking something difficult, or still learning the spec, the extra defensive value of
is really valuable. The added uptime on
is extremely nice, and will keep your health pool stable.
This talent build is primarily focused on raiding for players getting started with end game activities, but our Protection Warrior Talent Guide goes into more detail for each talent, as well as providing specific builds for questing, Mythic+, and Raids.
Protection Warrior Talents Guide
Protection Warrior Stat Priority
Unlike previous expansions, primary stats such as Strength are much more important than they used to be, and secondary stats are close enough together that item level is typically a larger factor when it comes to choosing gear. You can find out more about how stats work, including sample stat weights and scaling plots in the Stats Guide, or get an overview of the best-in-slot gear to look for from dungeons and raids in the Protection Warrior Gear Guide.
Strength > Haste > Versatility > Mastery = Crit
: Increases all damage done by native class spells, abilities, and auto attacks, and increases the value of your Ignore Pain. Overall the best stat available to Protection Warriors, which makes raw item level important. When in doubt, wear the highest item level piece available. Warrior strong! Warrior smash!
: Compresses the rotation by reducing both the GCD and the cooldown of main rotational abilities Shield Slam and Thunder Clap. Also reduces the cooldown of Shield Block. Increasing your Shield Block uptime is immensely valuable to improving your survivability. It is the preeminent secondary stat.
: Increases damage done and reduces damage taken by half the amount. It’s simple, but it’s reliable. It's boring, but good.
: Increases damage done by abilities, auto attacks, and trinkets, and increases your chance to parry enemy autoattacks. The defensive value of parrying attacks is actually quite high, and historically Critical Strike has been one of the best stats for reducing total damage taken,
that’s not nearly as important as it may seem, and the moment-to-moment smoothness provided by Haste and Versatility is much more reliable and valuable. It’s pretty good offensively, for what it’s worth.
: Increases your chance to block and Critically Block. It’s good for passively reducing your damage taken, and it’s more reliable than Critical Strike, but it’s still less reliable than Haste or Versatility, and it has less offensive value. It’s not a great stat.
Protection Warrior Stats Guide
Protection Warrior Enchants and Consumables
: Increase stamina and tertiary bonuses. Avoidance is good for reducing unavoidable AoE damage, and Speed can help make dodging boss effects easier -
Enchant Cloak - Fortified Avoidance
Enchant Cloak - Fortified Speed
: Strength & Stamina -
Enchant Chest - Eternal Stats
: Hearth cooldown? -
Enchant Bracers - Shaded Hearthing
: Increases Strength -
Enchant Gloves - Eternal Strength
Enchant Gloves - Strength of Soul
: Reduced fall damage -
Enchant Boots - Soul Treads
: Increases Haste -
Enchant Ring - Tenet of Haste
Enchant Ring - Bargain of Haste
: AoE damage proc -
Enchant Weapon - Lightless Force
Protection Warrior Enchants Guide
Best Protection Warrior Rotation
This is a typical Protection Warrior DPS rotation. More detailed information can be found in the Protection Warrior Rotation Guide.
to spend Rage (if you need defense)
Use Covenant skills when available
to dump Rage (if you don't need defense)
to dump Rage (if you don't need defense) outside Execute phase
as filler (if not using Devastator)
Protection Warrior Rotation Guide
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Our Protection Warrior guides are always updated with the latest information from in-game experience, simulations, and logs; make sure to check our changelog to this page, by clicking on
at the top of the page. If you are interested in more in-depth Protection Warrior guides for , make sure to browse the
below, and our list of
just beneath the
Table of Contents
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