Protection Paladin 5.4 Overview
I'll paraphrase Celyndrashad to start: The objective isn't to tell you how to build your character and play (though some of that will sneak in). Only you can do that the best way for your situation. But to do that properly you need to know how things work. I'm here to tell you how everything works.
That having been said, I'm going to break from recent practice and give a TL;DR on how to play a Prot Pally in 5.4. I'm going to assume some basic knowledge and I'm not going to go into any details. All the detail you could want is down below this part in the bulk of the post.
Getting your Character Ready
Stats, Gear, etc
Our "good" stats are: Hit, Expertise, Haste and Stam. The rest are less good. Also our tier bonuses are good this time around and worth pursuing; even giving up Warforged off-tier they're worth it. Ball-park, its probably worth giving up maybe 5-10 ilevels for the tier pieces to get the bonus, but not more than that.
Select gear, reforge, gem and enchant that gear based on the following stat priorites:
1 - When choosing gear, balance ilevel vs stat quality. Each "good" stat is worth about ~7 more ilevels for the quality of the piece of gear (Mastery counts as a "good" stat for this, but Hit and Exp only count as "good" if they don't take you over cap). So a Haste/Expertise piece is probably very slightly better than a Dodge/Parry piece that's 13 ilevels higher.
2 - Cap Hit (2550 Hit, anything over is wasted)
3 - Cap Expertise (5100 Expertise, anything over is wasted)
4a - If you're doing 25s, especially Heroics, stack a lot of STAM
4b - If you're doing 10s, stack a lot of Haste (up to cap of ~21k, if you reach it, you win at WoW)
5 - If you're stuck with other stats, your preference goes: Mastery > Parry = Dodge
Use Dancing Steel on your weapon unless you're cheap in which case use Wind Song.
Talents, Glyphs and Professions
Most talents on each tier are pretty well balanced, use the one that seems best for each fight's mechanics. Its ok to swap them around a lot so be sure to keep a ton of the books on hand at any time.
There are two exceptions to this:
- Level 45 talent - Take Eternal Flame (the HoT it gives you is really nice) unless the fight has mechanics that will 2-shot you or suppress your healing done or received in which case take Sacred Shield instead. I'm going to assume you took EF going forward.
- Level 60 talent - Take Unbreakable Spirit (its borderline OP), unless the fight has *nasty* DoTs in which case take Hand of Purity
- Level 75 and 90 talents seem like there would be an obvious winner to take, but they're actually all pretty balanced. Take the one that seems the best for the fight and that you can use the best.
- Don't take Battle healer, it sucks now.
- Your best dps glyphs (in order) are: Focused Shield (single target only), Word of Glory, Alabaster Shield, and Final Wrath
- For add control, Blinding Light and Holy Wrath can help stun stuff
- Divine Protection is good if you expect more Physical Damage than Magic damage
- The rest provide various kinda of utility that might be useful depending on the fight
There are no *must have* glyphs anymore, though WoG is a very versatile dps glyph.
- Blacksmithing and Jewelcrafting are your best bets because you can choose between Haste and Stamina while everything else just gives Stamina or a short-term buff
- Tailoring, Leatherworking and Herbalism are bad, don't take them.
- Everything else is kinda in the middle. Engy is actually pretty weak but has fun toys.
Rotation and Play
You want to hammer your Holy Power producing abilities (CS, J and rarely AS) to create as much HoPo as possible so you can then use it (via ShoR and EF) to keep you alive. The best rotation for this is:
CS - J - X - CS - X - J - CS - X - X (repeat)
Where each X is the best "filler" ability not on cooldown. The order goes:
Avenger Shield > Your level 90 talent > Holy Wrath > Consecration
Sometimes you'll get a proc that clears the cooldown on Avenger Shield, which is nice but still wait until CS and J are on cooldown before using it. Same rotation for AoE, just use HotR instead of CS and move Consecration ahead of Holy Wrath.
Using Holy Power (HoPo)
On the initial pull, cast EF (its off the GCD so easy to do) on yourself as soon as you get 3 HoPo (even if you're at full health) to get the HoT ticking. After that, refresh it whenever you're at 3 or more HoPo and it has less than 5 seconds to go. Getting our 4 piece tier bonus will help a lot with this.
You can hold up to 5 HoPo at a time and any more you generate past 5 get wasted which is bad. If you're about to take a big physical hit or suddenly got slammed for a bunch of health use ShoR. Otherwise only cast ShoR if you're at 5 HoPo and about to generate another. At that point use ShoR even if nothing bad is happening just to keep from wasting HoPo. If things are really bad, you can use ShoR, generate another HoPo via CS or J, and then immediately use ShoR again (it doesn't waste it, the durations stack). Alternatively, you can recast EF on yourself, but it'll mess with the HoT that's helping keep you alive and should only be a last resort.
If you took HA or SW at level 75, when those abilities are active you'll generate a *TON* of HoPo so expect to be firing off ShoR a lot until its over. Use them on the pull, and after that strike a balance between using them when things are bad and using them as often as possible.
Obviously use your cooldowns on big nasty boss abilities. Our biggest defensive cooldown is GoAK, followed by AD, and then DP. Plan out ahead of time when boss abilities will happen and which cooldown(s) you'll use on each. HA and SW are pretty great as defensive cooldowns as well.
Now onto the actual guide:
=Changes by Major Patch=
5.4 has some fairly substantial changes from 5.3. I will try to high-light all of the big ones here so people know what to look for, but some of these changes have implications which might not be immediately obvious.
Crucial changes from Cata to MoP (4.3 to 5.0) you need to know about and might otherwise miss
- Talent tree, cooldowns, coefficients, etc completely revamped.
- You can now store up to 5 HoPo at a time, though you can only use 3 at once
- Abilities mostly have same names, but do different things. ShoR is biggest example. Read up or be surprised.
- No more auras
- Only 1 taunt and it's single target
- Any piece of plate with STR and no Crit is tanking gear
Changes from 5.1 to 5.2
- Grand Crusader now can proc off Dodge/Parries as well, making Avoidance a respectable stat
- AoE target cap raised from 10 targets to 20
- Consecration has a little more base "punch" but scales less well with Vengeance
- Hand of Purity (level 60 Talent option) got buffed
- Seal of Righteousness (aka the AoE seal no one ever uses) buffed moderately. Still don't use it.
- Light's Hammer now also snares enemies damaged by it
Changes from 5.2 to 5.3
- Glyph of Battle Healer nerfed from 30% coefficient to 20%, glyph is still mandatory (unless threat is an issue)
- ShoR base damage reduction nerfed from 30% to 25%, doesn't really change anything
Changes from 5.3 to 5.4
- Sacred Shield talent nerfed 30%, for general tanking, we're now switching from SS to EF
- Eternal Flame talent buffed 40%, for general tanking, we're now switching from SS to EF
- Sanctified Wrath talent buffed, each Judgment during Avenging Wrath now gives 2 HoPo instead of 1. Assuming you're using Eternal Flame, all level 75 talents are pretty close now.
- Glyph of Battle Healer nerfed again. Now it takes your SoI heals, cuts them by 70%, and then sends them to whoever is the most injured (other than you, it won't heal the paladin using it). I have yet to find a situation where we'd want to use it now.
- Multiple changes to Vengeance: Vengeance overall cut 20%, Vengeance in AoE situations significantly reduced (see details in Vengeance section), and Vengeance now has a cap based on your Max Health.
- Grand Crusader changed again, no longer procs at all on CS/HotR, now has 30% chance to proc on successful avoids
- CS now applies Weakened Blows debuff as well as HotR
- Not a big point, but there will be no epic gems so don't wait for them.
The purpose of the Field Manual to assist you in being a better Paladin tank. The goal is to provide the best and most accurate information possible so you can make the best decisions possible. In some cases theory crafting will suggest only one solution, in other cases you will have a variety of solutions, either way it is your choice to use information from this post. If you feel you have something to contribute or correct please feel free to send me a PM or post in this thread.
This guide is written more as a comprehensive reference than as a straight-through guide. While someone who wants to know all about paladin tanking might read it straight through, its pretty long and I figure most people won't do that. My assumption is that people will come here looking for help with specific questions about abilities or looking for more detail about particular mechanics and aspects of the game. People will use the table of contents to find the answers they are looking for and then move on.
As such, I have leaned towards making each section relatively stand-alone. This will hopefully make for more complete answers to those with questions, but the trade-off is that someone who reads it straight through will find a fair bit of repetition "Didn't he just make that same point 2 sections back? And again 3 sections before that?" Yes, I probably did. Just because someone might read the Stat-weights part does not mean they will also read the Rotation part, so if a particular mechanic is important to both those sections, I probably explain it in both sections. Sorry if it gets repetitive. At least now you know why I did it that way.
AD Ardent Defender
AP Attack Power
AS Avenger Shield
BiS Best in Slot
BoK Blessing of Kings
BoM Blessing of Might
CS Crusader Strike
CTC Combat Table Coverage
DP Divine Protection
DS Divine Shield
GAK Guardian of Ancient Kings
GC Grand Crusader
GCD Global Cooldown
HotR Hammer of the Righteous
HoPo Holy Power
HoW Hammer of Wrath
HW Holy Wrath
JotW Judgements of the Wise
LoH Lay on Hands
SoB Sanctity of Battle
SoI Seal of Insight
SoT Seal of Truth
ShoR Shield of the Righteous
SS Sacred Shield
SP Spell Power
TbtL Touched by the Light
WoG Word of Glory
Prot paladin rotation and survivability now revolve around whatâ€™s called â€œActive Mitigationâ€. The idea is that correctly and efficiently executing your rotation will not only increase your damage done, but also will improve your survivability. The idea revolves around the generation and use of HoPo.
Some abilities generate HoPo: CS, HotR, J and AS when the Grand Crusader proc is up. The more you use these abilities, the more HoPo you get.
Some abilities are â€œfinishersâ€ and use HoPo: ShoR and WoG. Both of these abilities require HoPo to use, are instant cast and off-GCD, and help keep you alive. We no longer have Inquisition.
Our level 75 talents allow generation of HoPo more rapidly. Unlike in Cata, generating more HoPo is primarily a survival boost rather than a threat/dps boost since it will allow you to ShoR and WoG more often. The more you use your "generators" the more you will be able to use your "finishers", and the the more you use your "finishers" the better your survivability will be.
ShoR costs 3 HoPo to use, is off-GCD, and is like a guaranteed shield block. It reduces incoming physical damage for a short time (25% for 3 seconds, scaling up with Mastery though its capped at 80%. In end-game gear, reaching 50-60% is possible but that would require stacking Mastery when you should really be stacking Haste instead). The more you use it, the less damage you take. Spamming it as soon as 3 HoPo are available isn't a terrible idea but timing it without wasting HoPo could be better. If you know a big hit is coming, youâ€™ll want to wait to make sure its covered by ShoR.
If you cast multiple ShoR's in quick succession, thanks to either stock piling HoPo, taking the Holy Avenger talent, or getting lucky with procs from the Divine Purpose talent, the duration of the buff stacks. Additionally, each ShoR cast (if you miss, you still get the defensive buff, but the mob won't take any damage) gives you a stack of Bastion of Glory which increases the healing done by your next WoG by 10% (stacking up to 5 times and increasing with Mastery up to +150-200% with 5 stacks in end-game gear). There used to be an issue in which ShoR was off the GCD but still had a short cooldown, but that's long since fixed.
One final point on ShoR is that its effect is not recalculated when its duration is increased. So, lets say you pop Holy Avenger and crank out a bunch of HoPo to spam up a nice long ShoR duration. If you pop a Mastery trinket after the first ShoR goes up, the trinket's bonus Mastery will not increase the damage reduced by ShoR until its duration finally runs out. You can use this in your favor. If you pop a Mastery trinket with a 15 second duration, and then 5 seconds before the effect goes away you pop Holy Avenger and start cranking out HoPo and ShoR's (with the first ShoR going out just before the buff ends) your rolling ShoR buff will keep the value of the Mastery trinket until the ShoR duration finally ends, even if its well after the buff from the trinket ends.
Its flexible and can be used with as little as 1 HoPo but scales up with 3 HoPo. Obviously the more Bastion stacks you have, the more attractive WoG looks but it will depend on the situation. ShoR will generally be better, but it does nothing against magic damage and a 3 HoPo, 5-Bastion stack WoG can do a LOT of healing. Figuring out when to use each will be crucial.
With the talent Eternal Flame, WoG turns into Eternal Flame, giving each WoG a 30-second duration HoT as well. In 5.4, EF received a +40% buff while Sacred Shield also received a -30% nerf. As a result, EF is now considered generally superior to Sacred Shield and you will want to periodically cast EF on yourself to maintain the EF HoT.
- MANY abilities that used to be talents prior to 5.0 have become baseline or part of a Specialization package (Prot/Holy/Ret) rather than talented-based
- Every 15 levels, Paladins of all Specs will get to choose one of three available talents. Note that some of these abilities changed significantly during Beta and further changes are always possible.
Level 15 - Mobility
- Speed of Light - Increase run speed by 70% for 8 seconds, 45 second cd
- Long Arm of the Law - Successful Judgment increases run speed by 45% for 3 seconds
- Pursuit of Justice - Baseline +15% to runspeed, plus another 5% for each 1 HoPo
Uptime vs magnitude of speed increase. There is no right answer here, use whichever is most appropriate for fight mechanics or feels the best for you.
Level 30 - Stun/CC
- Fist of Justice - upgraded HoJ - 6 second stun on a 30 second cd, 20 yard range
- Repentance - 1 min cc, 30 yard range, 15 second cd but only 1 target at a time
- Evil is a Point of View - Turn Evil (unless you PvP a lot, you probably forgot you had that ability at all) can now be used on Beasts and Humanoids. PvP ability.
CC vs improved stun vs PvP ability
Level 45 - Defensive/Heal
- Selfless Healer - each successful Judgment cuts FoL cast time and mana cost by 35% and increases its effect by 20% when used to heal others, can stack three times
- Eternal Flame - uses all HoPo to heal and HoT a target, the value of the HoT is doubled if you cast it on yourself
- Sacred Shield - puts shield on target that absorbs damage, shield lasts 30 seconds and refreshes its absorption capacity every 6 seconds. 6 second cd, only 1 shield can be up at a time (though multiple shields can be on the same target from different paladins).
Here's the big shocker of 5.4: for general tanking, we're switching from SS to EF. Yes, Absorbs > Heals, but only if the numbers are close. EF ticks for twice as much as SS absorbs and it ticks twice as often as SS refreshes itself, giving it ~4 times the throughput of SS.
Level 60 - Cleanse/anti-CC
- Hand of Purity - Reduces all damage taken by 10% *AND* reduces the effect of DoTs on target by 80% for 6 seconds, 30 second cd
- Unbreakable Spirit â€“ CD on LoH, DS and DP by 50%. Yes, really. I'm unclear how this isn't OP.
- Clemency - HoP, HoF, HoSac and HoSalv can each be used twice before their cooldowns start ticking. Play with this in game, itâ€™s easier to understand in action than it is to explain in words
These are all extremely strong talents this tier and 2 of the 3 got buffed by 5.4 to boot. Hand of Purity's damage reduction was just increased from 70% to 80% and it works on a few more things now. Unbreakable Spirit is just... Wow. DP on a 30 second CD? There are number of trinkets in SoO that also reduce cooldowns which US stacks with in interesting fashion. Clemency was our go-to talent in ToT because it allowed us (and other tanks, for that matter) to skip some important tank swap mechanisms. There will be far fewer opportunities to do that in SoO, so Clemency will still be occasionally useful (HoPing 2 Healers to avoid big physical damage!) but the other two talents are really strong.
Level 75 - Effectiveness Boost
- Holy Avenger â€“ Abilities that generate HoPo do 30% more damage or healing and give 3 HoPo, lasts 18 seconds, 2 minute cd
- Sanctified Wrath - Avenging Wrath duration is 50% longer, plus it increases healing received by 20% and reduces cd on Judgment by 50% and Judgment gives 2 HoPo instead of 1 while active
- Divine Purpose - Every time a HoPo using ability is cast, there is a 25% chance that you will get a buff causing your next HoPo using ability to not consume HoPo but work as though it used 3 HoPo. The buff lasts 8 seconds
Holy Avenger and Sanctified Wrath give controllable burst survivability/threat with different nuances. HA is more intense and has a shorter cooldown, but SW lasts much longer and has some nice extras which synergize nicely with EF. Divine Purpose provides less controllable HoPo gains than the other two, but its steady and synergizes *really* nicely with our T16 4-piece bonus. SW used to be weak but the buff plus our shift from SS to EF makes SW more attractive. All 3 choices are attractive now, go with whatever works best with fight mechanics and you're the most comfortable with.
Level 90 - Over time healing and damage
- Holy Prism - zaps single target with holy energy. If its an enemy, it takes holy damage, and 5 allies close to it are healed. If its an ally, its healed, and 5 nearby enemies are damaged. 20 second cd, 40 yard range
- Lights Hammer - Creates Consecration-like area that heals allies and damages all enemies inside its area. All enemies that take damage are also affected by a 50% movement speed snare for 2 seconds. 30 yard range, 10 yard radius, 14 second duration, 1 min cd
- Execution Sentence - If cast on enemy, inflicts a DoT that also hits hard when it ends. If cast on ally, provides a HoT that provides a heal when it ends. 1 min cd
All three are reasonably closely balanced, but have dramatically different functionality. Picking the one best suited for your situation and playstyle is recommended. Execution Sentence is probably the easiest to use optimally. Also, ES snapshots your buffs and Vengeance level at the cast while LH's damage and healing updates over its duration.
==Key Talent points==
Normally I shy away from telling people what to do, and mostly you can take whichever talent works best for you, but a few talents are important to be aware of.
- At level 15, take whatever works best for you
- At level 30, take whatever works best for you
- At level 45, you will generally but not always want to take EF. The buffs have increased its throughput to 3x SS's throughput making it overall the better choice. However, SS is still a strong option and will be superior on fights where the tank suffers *severe* damage spikes or fights with healing debuff mechanics.
- At level 60, default choice is Unbreakable Spirit though Hand of Purity is good on fights involving heavy DoTs. Base your choice on which talent helps the most with the mechanics you expect to face.
- At level 75 is the most important question of the talent tree but all three are now strong choices with slightly different strengths and weaknesses but overall fairly well balanced UNTIL YOU GET YOUR T16 4-PIECE SET, at which point DP takes over and becomes your go-to choice unless fight mechanics strongly dictate otherwise.
- At level 90, take whichever fits best with the mechanics you expect to face and your playstyle.
For starters, if you're recently back to WoW, itemization values were changed between Cata and MoP. One itemization point *generally* provides:
- 1 point of a â€œprimaryâ€ stat (STR, AGIL, INT)
- 1 point of a "secondary" stat (Crit, Haste, Spirit, etc)
- 1.5 points of STA
but itemization from gems is different and favors secondary stats. One itemization point from gemming provides:
- 1 point of a "primary" stat (STR, AGIL, INT)
- 1.5 points of STA
- 2 points of a "secondary" stat (Crit, Haste, Spirit, etc)
==Stat Overview and Prioritization==
Gearing Strategies made a comeback for a while, but after a fair bit of thought we've settled on Control/Haste + Stamina as the strategy to follow.
In a nutshell, here's how you gear:
1 - Stack Hit to Cap (7.5% or 2550 rating) to maximize HoPo generation and SoI procs
2 - Stack Exp to Cap (15% or 5100 rating) works like Hit but is slightly worse because it doesn't affect J
3 - Stack STAM until comfortable (varies depending on raid size and difficulty) because STAM is our best survival stat (try to stick to trinkets and enchants, gemming STAM is inefficient and should be a last resort)
4 - Stack Haste (it isn't as good as Avoidance or Mastery at damage reduction, but it is better at damage smoothing which is more important. Plus, it increases your DPS) until you reach the Haste soft-cap at ~21,250 Haste (at which point your GCD hits 1 second and won't go any lower). It still has value after that, but a lot less than before
5 - Mastery and Avoidance aren't bad stats, they're just not as good as STAM for survival and they don't help DPS like Haste
So the queue looks like:
Hit (to cap) > Expertise (to hard cap) > Stamina (to taste) > Haste (to soft cap) > Mastery > Avoidance
The change to GC makes Haste a little less valuable and Avoidance a little more valuable but does not affect the ranking. These stats are not very far apart. Yes, you want to cap Hit, but Dodge still is not a bad stat. If I assigned arbitrary weights to things, Hit would be a 10.0 and either Avoidance stat would be a 9.0 with everything else in between.
If you are facing an AoE tanking situation, putting zero points into Hit and Exp and stacking Avoidance is arguably your best approach (as GC procs would let you spam the crap out of AS at them) but good luck finding a fight where its worth reforging to handle a 10+ target AoE fight. Overall, if you are still gearing up, simply take the highest ilevel pieces available to you. Seriously. A piece with Dodge/Parry that's a half-tier upgrade is clearly superior to a slightly lower ilevel piece with Hit/Haste.
Increases damage done for all abilities and also gives you a lot of Parry.
Strength contributes 2 AP per STR. Thanks to Guarded by the Light, AP then converts to Spellpower at a 2:1 ratio (so, 2 AP = 1 SP), and most Paladin abilities actually scale off SP, which increases damage done by all paladin abilities. Defensively, STR provides Parry rating just like Parry itself does and Parry Diminishing Returns is applied against their combined total. After accounting for Kings, STR provides only very slightly less Parry rating than Parry itself does.
Level 90 - 1% Parry requires 952 STR (before DR)
Gives more health like always.
Stamina, of course, remains important in providing for a large health pool. Vengeance is no longer a function of STA, so there is no longer offensive value in stacking it.
Terrible stat. Avoid.
Generally speaking a piece of gear with Agility is a piece of gear intended for a class other than us.
Increases chance of Dodging attacks.
Dodge rating will continue to be on equipment and is arguably as attractive as it has ever been for Prot Pallies (though its still in a tight race with Parry for our worst stat). It is now possible to Dodge many ranged attacks that could previously only miss. Dodge is now a minor source of HoPo/threat as any Dodge has a 30% chance of procing the Grand Crusader buff. Note that Dodge (and Parry) get significantly stronger in AoE tanking situations.
Level 90 - 1% Dodge requires 885 Dodge rating (before DR)
Increases chance of Parrying attacks.
Like Dodge, continues to be on equipment and is less unattractive than it used to be. Like Dodge, any successful Parry has a 30% chance of procing the GC buff making it even stronger in AoE tanking situations. As mentioned above, Parry % will also be gained from STR.
Level 90 - 1% Parry requires 885 Parry rating (before DR)
A word on dodge & parry...
Although Dodge and Parry are able to generate HoPo now via GC procs, remember that the bulk of your HoPo generation will still come from CS/HotR even in AoE situations. So, yes, its nice, but it should not be impacting your play except in serious AoE situations. However, if you get a chance to hang onto some little trash mob attacking you will you tank the boss, it will double your GC procs for as long as the trash mob survives.
Technically you can balance Dodge and Parry to minimize the impact of Diminshing Returns, but frankly its extremely small potatoes. You're much better off reforging which ever one you've got more of into Haste or Mastery rather than trying to balance them for DR purposes. However, circumstances do allow you to balance Parry and Dodge, Theck has graciously written a macro to help you do it.
" /run ChatFrame1:AddMessage(format("Ideal pre-dr parry/dodge ratio: 3.597, yours is %.3f%%, if too high reforge more parry to dodge",(GetParryChance()-3.67)/(GetDodgeChance()-5.01))) "
Reduces chance of Miss for both Physical and Spell attacks.
Hit cap is now 7.5% instead of 8%. Hit rating makes you more likely to actually hit the stuff you will be tanking (no damage, no threat) and is an extremely important stat for both offensive and defensive reasons. While threat is generally not be a problem, tanks should now be contributing significantly to raid dps and Hit is very valuable for this. Defensively, as we will get into in more detail in the Active Mitigation section, successfully landing your HoPo generators (CS and J) will in fact improve your survivability and Hit is the best stat for making that happen.
Best practices for raid tanking, both in terms of maximizing survivability and dps, is to cap Hit (2550 rating, not counting racial).
Level 90 â€“ 1% requires 340 Hit rating (not counting racial)
A valuable stat that helps both our physical and spell attacks successfully hit. For physical attacks, reduces chance of opponent Dodging or Parrying your attacks, like Hit reduces chance of Miss. For spell attacks, stacks with Hit to reduce chance of Spell Miss. Its a worse stat than Hit because it doesn't work on J.
Like Hit, capping points are now at 7.5% instead of 8%. Works like Hit except instead of reducing our chance of Missing, it reduces an enemyâ€™s chance of Dodging or Parrying our attacks. Up to 7.5% Expertise will reduce and, at 7.5% (which is called "Soft Capping"), completely eliminate the chance of Boss Dodge AND Spell Miss (assuming you're also at 7.5% Hit). Above 7.5% it will reduce and, at 15% (which is called "Hard Capping"), eliminate Boss Parry. In Cata and before, each point of Expertise would reduce both Dodge and Parry at the same time. This is no longer true.
Best practices in Paladin tanking, for both maximizing survivability and dps is probably going to remain stacking Expertise to "hard cap" or 15% to completely eliminate Boss Dodge and Parry. This requires 5100 Expertise rating (not counting racial).
Level 90 â€“ 1% expertise requires 340 Expertise rating (not counting racial)
Makes our attacks come faster.
Haste has, surprisingly, become a useful stat for Prot Pallies. Thanks to Sanctity of Battle, Haste reduces the length of both the GCD when used on virtually all tanking abilities as well as the cooldowns on those abilities, plus it increases our autoattack speed. As a result, Haste allows us to squeeze more moves (especially HoPo generators) into the same amount of time, increasing our ShoR uptime, speeding up the rate at which Sacred Shield refreshes, and increasing the number of SoI procs we get all while increasing our DPS. Its our third best stat after Hit and Exp.
Level 90 - 1% Haste requires 425 Haste rating
Terrible stat. Avoid.
Increases chance of Critical hits. Critical hits do more damage and threat, but otherwise do nothing for us. Try hard to avoid gear with Crit.
GC prior to 5.2
Prior to 5.2, the ability Grand Crusader (GC) worked such that each CS or HotR (only the physical part, not the holy nova) had a 20% chance of procing the GC buff. The GC buff would immediately reset the cooldown on AS and if you used AS within 6 seconds it gave you 1 HoPo even if AS missed. Roughly speaking, GC produced 1/6 of our HoPo, not counting talents.
GC in 5.2 and 5.3
Starting in 5.2, GC works a little differently. Each CS or HotR (still just the physical part) has a 12% chance of procing the GC buff. The gap is made up by GC also having a 12% chance to proc from each blow the tank Dodges or Parries.
GC in 5.4
Starting 5.4, GC no longer procs on our attacks (CS or HotR). Now it has a 30% of procing on each blow the tank Dodges or Parries. Against a single boss that does steadily melees with roughly a 1.5 second swing timer (which they mostly have these days) we should get roughly the same number of GC procs as before. However, if the boss interrupts its melee to cast a spell or more around you will get fewer GC procs. On the other hand, AoE tanking can quickly turn into a GC-proc fest if you have enough mobs on you.
The change to GC is simultaneously a very small nerf to Haste and slightly larger buff to Avoidance, with Mastery mostly unchanged. Its not enough to change anything, though if you were building a set of gear purely for really big AoE situations, you'd want to put a lot of Parry and Dodge on it.
Mastery is a "universal" stat that depending on the player's spec provides different benefits. For Protection Paladins, Mastery improves your chance of blocking unavoided attacks, reduces damage when the SHoR buff is active and increases the bonus to WoG healing given by a stack of Bastion. While Mastery itself does not suffer from Diminishing Returns, the amount of Block% you get from Mastery will be reduced by DR.
Level 90 â€“ 1% increased block (before DR), damage reduction and increased WoG heal requires 600 Mastery rating
In Cata, whenever a Prot paladin took damage, the Paladin received a bonus to AP based on how hard they were hit which was capped by function based on the tank's STA and gradually decayed over time if the tank stopped getting hit. That system is being simplified for MoP.
In MoP, whenever a tank is damaged, the tank receives 1.5% of the unmitigated damage taken as AP for 20 seconds (remember that this is unmitigated damage, so before armor, blocking, etc. Expect to get, very roughly, 5% of the damage you actually take as AP) and the total is capped at the tank's health. If there are situations in which you can engineer taking gigantic amounts of damage and survive (using AD, or a mechanic than increases your health and damage taken) you can do very large amounts of damage. Bear in mind that most avoidable damage (dodgeable void zones, for example) generally does not give Vengeance and Vengeance from Critical hits (which should only happen if you are working to make them happen) give reduced Vengeance.
As of 5.0, CTC is dead. While not technically impossible (It'll take ~33k Mastery to block cap in MoP with the t15 4piece bonus running. Who knows? Maybe there will be trinkets in the final tier that proc for 10k+ mastery and 33k will be reachable temporarily) to achieve under current rules, it should not be considered a goal. It would require extraordinary circumstances to get there even temporarily.
While you likely will not be achieving CTC during MoP, it is worth reviewing how combat actually works because its different than it was in Cata (as well as previous expansions). During prior expansions, a "single roll" system was used. When a boss attacked, a single 1-100 roll was made, and all the result was tallied. In a single roll system, it was possible to push â€œHitâ€ entirely off the combat table, making â€œBlockâ€ the worst possible result, with regular hits no longer possible. This was where the term CTC came from. The Combat Table was completely Covered, so thanks to stacking defensive stats only positive outcomes are possible.
For example, a CTC set of defensive stats might be: 5% miss, 25% dodge, 25% parry and 45% block. The combat table looked like:
So "Hit" only happened if you rolled a 101+ (which was impossible). If you had a little less Parry or Block, then Hit would creep back onto the table and become possible. You'd have lost CTC.
In MoP, however, a two-roll system is now in effect. Lets say you have 5% miss, 25% dodge, 25% parry and 45% block again. In Cata, this gave us CTC but lets see how it looks in MoP.
If, and only if, Roll 1 was a "Hit", then we go to Roll 2.
So you still have the same stats as before, but the stats don't work together as well as they did in Cata. Instead of having a 0% chance of a "Hit" its now 0.45*0.55= 24% of getting a hit, and to actually entirely remove hits, you need to get either your Block or your Avoidance to 100% without help from the other one. While no specific rules make this impossible, it probably won't be possible with the gear available this expansion.
That's not to say that stats don't work together in MoP, they just work together differently than they used to.
This doesn't feel like a great place to stick these, but I can't think of anywhere better. I'm open to suggestions. Also, I'm aware it at least arguably should be "bonii", it just doesn't do it for me.
Our 4 piece bonus in tier 14 looked sexy but was actually a little underwhelming. If you had ShoR up, you probably weren't going to die so making it a little better was nice but didn't really do you that much good. I think there's a chance our 4 piece could be a big deal, especially if everyone starts stacking Mastery. Theck doesn't think so, though.
Tier 14 set bonuses
2 piece: Reduces the cooldown on Ardent Defender by 60 seconds
4 piece: +10% to WoG healing and to ShoR damage reduction. Its multiplicative, not additive. So 40% reduction becomes 0.4+(0.4*0.1) = 44% reduction, not 50%.
Tier 15 set bonuses
2 piece: Casting WoG gives a +40% additive bonus to block, lasting 5 seconds for each HoPo expended
4 piece: When Divine Protection is up, you get 1 bonus HoPo for every 20% of your life you take while DP is up. Ballpark, this provides the defensive value of ~2000 Haste for every 100% of your life you take. Roughly 900 Haste will increase your ShoR uptime by +1% (say, from 40% to 41%). If ShoR is worth a little less than half the defensive value of Haste, then that's 400 per 20%. Haste is somewhat mediocre defensive stat so while this is better than nothing its not a big deal.
Tier 16 set bonuses
2 piece: When you use DP, it keeps track of all the damage you take during its duration and then gives you a HoT which heals 7.5% of that amount every second for 10 seconds afterwards. So if you take 2M damage during DPs duration, when DP finishes you will heal 150k per second for 10 seconds.
4 piece: When you reach 3 stacks of Bastion of Glory, your next WoG or EF will consume no HoPo and be cast as though you used 3 HoPo. Assuming you are using EF, this will allow you to continue using your HoPo on ShoR while firing off free EFs to maintain your EF HoT. If you are using SS, its lackluster.
Stamina is our best stat for surviving spikes of damage, which is the primary way tanks die. While Haste/Mastery/Avoidance also are useful for reducing spike damage, STAM is the best at it. While those other stats are better than STAM at reducing damage, you should be getting enough of those stats to not be a liability on your gear already. Having too much STAM is not a problem, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A MANA SPONGE TANK ANYMORE. Productive raid healers have more than enough throughput to keep you up no matter how much Health you have.
Once you work out with your healers how much you need to survive damage spikes, you can put more into other stats. Since Haste is our best non-Hit/Exp DPS stat and just as good as Mastery or Avoidance at survival, Haste it the next stat to stack. Typically, the more undergeared you are, or the harder the content is that you are working on, the more Stamina you need. Every raid is different.
During Firelands and Dragon Soul, during which Prot Pallies could get block capped, gearing priority was to first get block capped and then stack as much stamina. Because being block capped acted as a multiplier on the value of Stamina, it was kind of like a magic number you wanted to shoot for before doing anything else.
*There is no magic number to reach anymore*. If you are getting burst down too quickly, stack more Stamina.
Now for a word or two about reforging. Reforging will allow you to shift secondary stats around on gear to (hopefully) optimize your build by moving 40% of a secondary stat to a better secondary stat on the same item. Primary stats (Strength/Stamina/Agility/Intellect only. Spirit is no longer a primary stat) cannot be reforged to or away from and you cannot reforge to a stat already present on a piece of gear.
So, first, there's the part that's mandatory:
==To be a properly geared protection paladin raid tank, you MUST:==
- Cap Hit (7.5% or 2550 rating)
- Cap Exp (15% or 5100 rating)
- Wear the highest ilevel gear with STR and no Crit you can find, yes, take Parry/Dodge gear over Hit/Haste gear if its higher ilevel
- After capping Hit and Exp, gem/reforge/enchant into STAM and Haste
==What do tank stats do for you?==
Tank stats do three things: reduce damage taken, smooth incoming damage, and increase our dps done.
Reducing damage done gets all the glory, but its actually not that important. Sure, different stats reduce damage taken by different amounts, but the difference between the best ones (Parry) and the worst ones (Expertise) is relatively small in the grand scheme of things. A tank who is stacking the best stats will take 15% less melee damage than the one stacking the worst stats but most gearing strategies operate in a tighter range. Generally sustained melee damage isn't what kills tanks so modestly reducing sustained damage is only a modest win and its a debate as to whether even 20% more sustained damage is enough to be a serious problem.
While we've discussed that Hit and Exp are valuable survival and dps stats, its worth taking some time to discuss in a little more detail why they are so good especially for avoiding spikes. As you stack Hit and Exp, not only do you increase % of the time you have ShoR up, even better, your reduce the chance of having "bad luck" stretches that leave you without ShoR for long periods of time. With capped Hit and hard capped Exp, with a perfect rotation on a Patchwerk fight, you will never go more than 4.5 seconds without having ShoR up. This means the boss simply cannot land more than about 3 full-power hits in a row.
With no Hit or Exp, however, you have almost a 50/50 chance of having a HoPo generator Miss/Parry/Dodged resulting in a 9+ second period of time without ShoR up every 30 seconds or so. During a 9 second gap the boss could land as many as 6 full power hits, resulting in far more spike damage. This is a HUGE difference in terms of keeping tanks alive.
The key is that each HoPo generator that fails to land, depending on where you are in your rotation, will push out your next ShoR by 1 to 3 GCDs, creating a longer period of vulnerability during which you take more damage. The longer the period is, the harder the boss could potentially burst you. Eliminating Misses/Dodges/Parrys by capping out Hit and Exp creates reliable HoPo generation and is the single best thing you can do for improving your survivability.
Additionally, melee blows that land will frequently proc SoI giving you a steady stream of incoming heals.
==DPS gear vs Tank gear==
Tank gear for prot pallies is any piece of STR plate which does not have Crit. Expect loot arguments with plate DPS. The recent change to GC has reduced these loot debates slightly by making Avoidance more attractive and Haste less, but its still an issue. Trying to repurpose "DPS gear" is more productive than it has been in previous expansions. Since traditional DPS stats like Hit, Haste, and Expertise are now useful Mitigation stats (though not Crit. Crit sucks for us) reforging DPS gear can be more productive than before. Additionally, the Mitigation stats (other than Mastery) will improve your dps as well as your survivability which may have value for your raid.
Do not forget that gemming and enchanting can add to secondary stats so keep in mind your gemming and enchanting choices when reforging and vise-versa.
When does armor come into play?
Armor plays no role in determining how a hit is resolved on the combat table. Only after a hit has been resolved on the table and if it does any physical damage then armor is applied. Armor is another form of mitigation.
They vary enormously depending on your other stats. While there are example stat weights around, your best bet is to use Theck's graciously crafted spreadsheet and work out your own. For damage reduction, you can use this spreadsheet https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AjPXp3A1frAgdFQzc3hRSjNuYUZDZzFqcjRESkVXb0E#gid=2 while for different gearing strategies, Theck posted some notes here: 5.2 Protection Paladin stat weights
==ShoR and EF up-time==
Hit and Exp increase your ShoR buff uptimes nicely but Haste and now Avoidance will increase it as well. Mastery is really the only stat that doesn't help out your uptime, but it does reduce your damage taken while ShoR is up. Calculating ShoR uptime is complicated even without counting talents, is complicated. As a starting point, playing perfectly with 0% Hit/Exp/Haste/Avoidance, you will probably be able to reach approximately 30-32% uptime.
Adding in stats and talents should significantly increase uptime, depending on fight mechanics. Generally speaking, in SoO-appropriate gear, you should be shooting for well over 50% up-time while you are actually tanking the boss, and 100% uptime on any physical special abilities the boss uses. With Haste-capping, the DP talent, and T16 4 piece on a Patchwerk-style fight, you could theoretically exceed 80% ShoR up-time.
With the Eternal Flame talent, maintaining 90+% uptime is a significant survivability boost. On the pull, fire off your first EF as soon as you have 3 HoPo regardless of Vengeance or BoG stacks. DO NOT cast EF with less than 3 HoPo unless you will absolutely die without casting it. After that, refresh your EF whenever the buff gets under 5 seconds and you have 3 HoPo. If the fight has a lot of mechanics or movement, you may not have many (or any) BoG stacks but that's the way it goes. Better to maintain a weak EF than to let it lapse while waiting for a big one. If a big special hit is coming up for which you need ShoR, refresh EF early or otherwise juggle your timing to ensure you have the ShoR available when needed.
If you speced into HA or SW and its currently active, you will be able to crank out BoG stacks reliably and quickly. If one of those abilities is currently active, its ok to wait a few extra seconds if it means being able to crank out a couple extra BoG stacks before casting EF but absolutely try not to let EF ever fall off.
Several abilities were removed from Protâ€™s arsenal (Bye, Exorcism. It was fun) and others have been changed significantly (ShoR). Paladin tanks should be careful to familiarize themselves with what our abilities now do. Additionally, Holy Power has been tweaked so that while you still cannot spend more than 3 on an ability, any level 85 or higher Paladin is allowed to â€œbankâ€ up to 5 HoPo at a time.
Paladins no longer have auras. The mounted speed buff for Crusader is now baseline and Devotion Aura has been turned into a cooldown. The rest have been removed.
[Seal of Insight] - Formerly known as Seal of Light and is now (and has been for a while, sorry, I was really slow in updating this) our primary tanking seal. It heals the paladin for 0.15*(AP+SP) on each swing as well as restoring a small amount of mana. In addition, it increases casting speed by 10% and improves healing by 5%.
[Seal of Righteousness] â€“ AoE Seal that does 9% of normalized weapon damage to all targets within 8 yards as holy damage. You'll never use it.
[Seal of Truth] - Single target dps seal to use when survival isn't an issue. Applies a stacking DoT called Censure on each hit (application of which can miss). Does 2.5% unnormalized weapon damage as holy damage on hit. Censure does 21+1.9% SP every 3 seconds for 15 seconds, stacking and refreshing on each new application. Stacks up to 5 times.
Note that different abilities fall into different categories which affects whether they hit. For terminology clarification, 7.5% Hit is called "hit capped", 7.5% Expertise is called "softcapping Expertise" and 15% Expertise is called "hard capping Expertise".
- Melee attacks have a 7.5% Miss chance, a 7.5% Dodge chance and a 7.5% Parry chance. Hit will reduce your chance of missing and Expertise will reduce your chance of Dodge and Parry, but will only affect one at a time. To cap melee attacks, you need 7.5% Hit and 15% Expertise. Melee attacks include autoattacks, CS, HotR, and ShoR.
- Ranged melee attacks have a 7.5% Miss chance and a 7.5% Dodge chance, but cannot be Parried. 7.5% Hit and 7.5% Expertise are required to cap Ranged melee attacks, except for J which is special. J cannot be Dodged or Parried and only requires 7.5% Miss to cap. Ranged melee attacks include J and HoW.
- Spell attacks have a 15% Miss chance but cannot be Dodged or Parried. However, Expertise reduces Spell Miss just like it reduces Parry or Dodge. So, 7.5% Hit and 7.5% Expertise will cap Spell attacks. Spell attacks include AS, HW, Cons, Repentance, HoJ and Turn Evil.
[Avenger Shield] â€“ Hard hitting spell attack which requires the Paladin to throw their shield (requires a shield to be equipped to use) at a target. If it hits, the shield will chain to up to 2 more targets and it will intelligently avoid ccâ€™ed enemies. Each target hit is damaged, interrupted and silenced for 3 seconds. Grand Crusader procs from CS will refresh the cd and cause an AS cast to grant 1 HoPo. Hard hitting popular pulling tool. 30 yard range, 15 second cd. At 90 it inflicts 6732+32%SP+82%AP holy damage.
[Consecration] â€“ Decently hard hitting AoE spell attack which creates a glowing patch of ground under your feet with a 10 yard radius lasting 9 seconds and periodically damaging all enemies within its area. 9 second duration, 9 second cooldown. Ticks every second. At 90, does 914+16%SP holy damage per tick. Vengeance makes this a surprisingly hard hitting ability on targets which remain in the area of effect for the full duration.
[Crusader Strike] â€“ Soft hitting melee attack which generates a charge of Holy Power if it hits and applies a seal. *DOES* apply Weakened Blows debuff to opponents and shares a cooldown with HotR (it didn't used to, you used to have to cast HotR for it). 4.5 second cd which it shares with HotR. At 90, does 120%+791 normalized weapon damage.
[Hammer of the Righteous] â€“ AoE version of CS, does the exact same thing. Swap from CS to this at 3 or 4 targets. 4.5 second cd which it shares with CS. At 90, the initial target physical hit does 20% normalized weapon damage, while the holy nova damage does 35% normalized weapon damage.
[Hammer of Wrath] â€“ Hard hitting â€œexecuteâ€ ability only useable on targets under 20% health. Ranged melee attack that can Miss or be Dodged but cannot be Parried. 30 yard range, 6 second cd. At 90 inflicts 1838 + 161%SP holy damage.
[Reckoning] - Reckoning has lost its damage component so it is no longer preferable as a single target pull. It now, for all intents and purposes, works the same as the Warrior's taunt. This ability can no longer miss regardless of how good/bad your hit rating is. Also, threat generation is increased by 200% for 3 seconds after a taunt, making tank-swaps much cleaner than they used to. Just be sure to have a couple hard-hitting abilities lined up for use immediately after a taunt.
[Holy Wrath] â€“ Hard-hitting â€œMeteor-styleâ€ spell AoE attack. Single target, its our hardest hitting ability after AS. Does a flat amount of holy damage which is evenly spread among all possible targets. So the more targets in range, the softer it will hit each one. Also stuns demons and undead in range for 3 seconds, and can be glyphed to stun more creature types. 10 yard burst range, 9 second cd. At 90, inflicts 4300+91%AP holy damage split among targets.
[Judgment] â€“ Medium hitting ranged melee ability which generates a charge of Holy Power and applies a seal. J is special in that it can Miss but cannot be Dodged or Parried. This means that Expertise does nothing for it. Once you hit 7.5% Hit, it'll land every time, baring special mechanics. 30 yard range, 6 second cooldown. At 90, inflicts 623+0.33%AP+0.55%SP holy damage
[Righteous Fury] - This ability increases all threat generated by 500%. Also Blizzard has been nice enough to remind Paladins in the tool tip that this ability makes you a better tank.
[Sacred Shield] - Must be talented into. SS is a self-renewing absorb shield you can cast on any friendly target, but you should generally cast it on yourself (or possibly the other tank if its a tank swap). A paladin can only have 1 SS up at a time, but multiple paladins can all stack their SS's on the same target. SS lasts 30 seconds, and every 6 seconds after its cast, puts up an absorb shield. The first shield goes up 6 seconds after SS is cast. Every 6 seconds after that, the shield is renewed back to full absorption regardless of how much damage it took during the prior 6 seconds. Haste makes it better, shortening the time between refreshes and with enough Haste eventually adding more refreshes per cast. 40 yard range, 6 second cooldown (though after each recast, there is a 6 second delay before the first shield comes up). Absorb is 4156+56%SP at level 90, refreshed every 5 seconds modified by Haste.
[Shield of the Righteous] â€“ Used to be our principle single target attack, now itâ€™s a medium-hitting, off-GCD melee attack which we will still use frequently for its value in Active Mitigation. This requires 3 HoPo to use and as such will not activate unless you have at least that much on your HoPo gauge. When used, reduces physical damage taken by 30% (Mastery increases this up to a cap of 80%) for 3 seconds and adds 1 stack of Bastion of Glory (BoG increases healing done by your next WoG by 10%. Stacks up to 5 times). Note that the increased damage reduction from Mastery is not recalculated if you refresh the duration of ShoR. So if you pop a Mastery trinket mid-ShoR, it won't do that ShoR any good but it will improve the next one. If you bank up a bunch of HoPo and pop Holy Avenger, and then pop a Mastery trinket just before the first ShoR goes out, you might be able to roll that Mastery bonus for longer than its stated duration. 1.5 second cd which is now reduced by Haste so Bloodlust/Heroism no longer can cause conflicts. At level 90 inflicts 636+62%SP holy damage.
[Word of Glory] â€“ No longer has a cooldown nor can it be used for pre-emptive shielding. An instant, off-GCD HoPo powered heal with no mana cost. Can be used offensively as a damage spell with the Glyph of Harsh Words. 40 yard range, at level 90 heals for 5538+49%SP per HoPo used.
These abilities help you survive situations where your risk of death is elevated. These situations range from the obvious - a special attack on a predictable timer - to the more subtle but no less deadly, like a debuff that disables or distracts your healers. Here are a couple guidelines for using cooldowns effectively:
â€¢ Use cooldowns before you take damage. If you use GoAK at 800k HP, the cooldown is effectively adding 800k more HP before you die. If you wait until things look bad and you reach 200k HP, it only adds an effective 200k HP. Waiting to use your cooldowns until youâ€™re at low HP makes them less effective.
â€¢ You get the most impact by waiting to use cooldowns during the most dangerous situations, but the more frequently you use them, the more total value you get. Itâ€™s a balancing act.
â€¢ Match the cooldown to the level of threat by planning your cooldown usage before the fight. Save GoAK for when you know a big hit is coming, but unless there is a special ability with which it lines up well, DP should be used early and often even on regular incoming damage.
[Ardent Defender] â€“ While active, reduces all damage taken by 20%. Additionally, one attack that would have killed the paladin (must happen while AD is active) will instead heal the paladin for 15% of max health. Note that this does not typically work on environmental effects, such as falling damage, and a few â€œbig hitâ€ boss abilities are able to negate the â€œsave deathâ€ ability. However, most abilities do not. Being able to survive a gigantic hit may allow shenanigans with Vengeance stacking since it is now driven by damage taken. 10 second duration, 3 minute cd.
[Avenging Wrath] â€“ The paladin does +20% damage and healing while active. Talents like Holy Avenger and its glyph can add to its effectiveness. 20 second duration, 3 minute cd.
[Devotion Aura] â€“ Divine Guardian and Holyâ€™s Concentration Aura rolled into one. When active, all party and raid members within 40 yards take 20% less magic damage and become immune to Silences and Interrupts. Doesnâ€™t affect physical damage, but most raid damage is magical anyway. 6 second duration, 3 minute cd.
[Divine Protection] â€“ DP has been changed so that, while active, it provides a 40% reduction in magic damage taken but does not affect physical damage. It can be glyphed back to the Cata version of 20% damage reduction against everything. 10 second duration, 1 minute cd.
[Divine Shield] â€“ Makes the Paladin temporarily invulnerable but also reduces damage done by 50% and removes the tank from the bossâ€™s aggro table. Many â€œbig hitâ€ boss abilities are able to penetrate DS (Garalon's Massive Crush being an example). Using DS typically makes the boss immediately turn and attack someone else, so needs to be used with care. It is often used in conjunction with a /cancel macro to quickly cast and remove the effect, as it clears many, though not all, debuffs. This ability also causes Forbearance. Note that both Divine Shield and Hand of Protection can both be used, carefully, as true defensive cooldowns by pairing them with taunts. Cannot be cast while Forbearance is in effect. Causes Forbearance for 1 minute. 10 second duration, 5 minute cd.
If a Paladin tank pops Divine Shield, then immediately taunts the mob, instead of heading for the next target on its aggro table, the mob will be stuck on the tank for the duration of the fixate (3 seconds). Obviously the mob will head for the next target as soon as the fixate expires. So while this can be a clever way of avoiding damage entirely for a few seconds, it must be used very carefully and probably in conjuction with a macro to quickly remove the shield. The Glyph of Righteous Retreat makes the activation time of a Hearthstone shorter than the duration of DS, allowing for a bubble-hearth (which should not be used mid-raid, because that would be "bad").
[Guardian of Ancient Kings] - This is now the major cooldown for tanking Paladins. GAK will reduce damage to the tanking Paladin by 50%. 12 second duration, 3 minute cd.
[Hand of Protection] - Hand of Protection can be used on yourself or any party or raid member. While active, it makes the target immune to physical damage but also prevents them from attacking physically (spells are still fine) and also cleanses many physical effects like bleeds. Its like DS in that if you cast it on yourself while tanking, it will often cause you to lose aggro and the boss will turn and destroy someone else. Cannot be cast while Forbearance is in effect. Causes Forbearance for 1 minute. 40 yard range, 10 second duration, 5 minute cd.
[Lay on Hands] - LoH remains an important cooldown for tanking Paladins. Cannot be cast while Forebearance is in effect. Casting it will heal the target equal to the maximum health of the casting Paladin. It is off the global cooldown, cannot crit heal, is not effected by many healing boosting effects, and will cause Forbearance for 1 minute on whomever it's cast. 10 minute cd.
==Buffs, Taunts, Interrupts, & Stuns==
Note that Hand of Righteousness is gone, so Prot paladins now have only 1 taunt and its single target.
[Rebuke] - Now a baseline ability, this allows you to interrupt spellcasting, and like all non-damaging interrupts it cannot miss.
[Reckoning] - Single target taunt, never misses. Increases your threat to equal whatever player has the highest amount of threat on the target. Also forces target to fixate on you (only attacks you) for 3 seconds. During the fixate period, your threat generation on that target is increased by a further 200%, so be sure and hit it with something hard during those 3 seconds. 30 yard range, 8 second cd.
[Blinding Light] - AoE blind/disorient centered on the Paladin. Disorient breaks on any damage except Censure ticks and it counts as CC for abilities like AS. 10 yard radius, disorient has a 6 second duration, 2 minute cooldown. Glyphing it turns it into an actual knockdown/stun but reduces the duration to 3 seconds.
[Hammer of Justice] - A dedicated stunning ability. 20 yard range, 1 minute cd.
[Blessing of Kings] â€“ Now increases party and raid membersâ€™ STR, AGIL and INT by 5%. Does not increase STA or Spirit.
[Blessing of Might] â€“ Now increases party and raid membersâ€™ Mastery by an amount that scales with level.
Level 90 - 3000 Mastery
=Mechanics & Rotation=
1. If you spec'ed into Holy Avenger or Sanctified Wrath, you may want to pop it here
2. Cast Judgment to get your first HoPo
3. Cast Avenger Shield for more threat
4. CS or HotR for the Weakened Blows debuff, depending on number of targets
5. Start normal rotation
6. Self-cast EF as soon as you have 3 HoPo
The pull is arguably the rockiest part of a fight for us and using cooldowns on the pull can help a lot.
Threat used to be questionable because RPPM mechanics allowed dps to reliably fire off all their procing abilities simultaneously (so, naturally they'd also use all their cooldowns) on the pull, right when you were at zero Vengeance. Since Paladins are the most Vengeance dependent tanks for threat/dps, this could be frustrating. RPPM mechanics have been adjusted so this doesn't happen as much anymore and the pull-threat isn't as much of an issue.
Popping DP (glyphed or not, depending on the fight) during the pull can help with the vulnerability. For threat, popping Avenging Wrath is a good idea. Technically it will be a net dps loss for the fight as you will be using your offensive cooldown when you have your lowest Vengeance of the fight. However, failing to establish threat early will cause your raid more overall trouble than your piddly loss of dps.
Spec'ing into either Holy Avenger or Sanctified Wrath, makes popping AW (or HA+ AW) significantly more effective.
SW will extend the length of your period of additional damage, give healers a +20% on healing down to you during that period, will reduce the cd on J and causes J to give 2 HoPo per cast instead of 1. The cooldown reduction on J will serve as a further threat boost, plus it will increase your HoPo generation, allowing more and earlier ShoRs which is both a further threat increase as well as a significant survivability boost. SW used to be the weakest of the level 75 talents, and it still generates less HoPo per time period than HA (1.3 HoPo/second instead of 1.6 HoPo/second) but it synergizes nicely with EF and is now on even footing with HA and DP.
Popping both AW and HA means that for almost the entirety of AW, every HoPo generating ability will do +30% damage (in addition to the +20% from AW) and will generate 3 HoPo instead of 1. This means the J you cast as you approach the boss will give you 3 HoPo, enough to use ShoR as your first melee attack on the boss (use HotR second). You can then continue slamming the boss with buffed HoPo generators and ShoRs until the buffs wear off. This approach will give you a gigantic early threat lead and make you extraordinarily sturdy during arguably the most dangerous part of the fight. I'm a huge fan of this approach.
First off, you should be using Seal of Insight at all times. As for the rotation, its totally changed since Cata. CS and HotR now have 4.5 second cds, so our rotation feels more like Retâ€™s rotation felt in Cata though our HoPo finishers are both off the GCD. The rotation is also heavily affected by HoPo (as described above) and we want to generate and use as much HoPo as possible.
The way to maximize your rotation is to take your best moves and use them first, and if you have two moves that are equally good, use the one with the shortest cd first and the one with the longer cd second. You end up being able to use your abilities more and have fewer empty GCDs this way. CS and J are our two most important abilities on the GCD (because they generate HoPo) and CS has the shorter cd, so its the most important, followed by J. For the most part, this rotation hasn't changed for 5.2 with the exception of single-target Holy Wrath moving ahead of Consecration at raid-levels of Vengeance.
An easy way to think of the rotation is we cast CS every 3rd GCD, and fill in the empty spots with Filler moves.
==Single Target Queue==
CS - Filler â€“ Filler â€“ CS â€“ Filler â€“ Filler â€“ CS â€“ Filler â€“ Filler (and so on)
For filler moves, your priority should be:
J > AS (whether GC is up or not) > Execution Sentence (if you spec'ed into it) > Holy Wrath > Consecration > Holy Prism (if you spec'ed into it)
If you spec'ed into Light's Hammer instead of ES or HP, you should use it more like a raid cooldown. Cooldowns on the Filler moves should be short enough that these abilities will be close to GCD-locking you. Once youâ€™re past the pull, incorporating the priorities into the basic queue gives us something that looks like:
CS â€“ J - AS â€“ CS â€“ L90 â€“ J â€“ CS â€“ HW - Cons (and so on)
Though it wonâ€™t be static because when GC procs, AS should be used in place of anything except CS or J and you should be getting one every 15 GCDs or so. ShoR and WoG are off GCD so they arenâ€™t in the rotation.
Once you have cast your initial EF, be sure to recast EF with 3 HoPo every ~25 seconds to ensure the HoT does not fall off. As a general rule, recast it whenever you have 3 HoPo and less than 5 seconds remaining on the HoT. If you need those HoPo for a ShoR for a boss special ability, then delay the EF or try to juggle things so that you refresh the EF earlier.
ShoR should be cast as quickly as possible for defensive purposes and as a bonus it starts building Bastion stacks. Slowly accumulating extra HoPo up to the cap of 5 is a good safety move, allowing speedy access to a ShoR or WoG if things go bad. However, never ever waste HoPo by going over the cap. Every time you waste HoPo an angel gets demoted and loses its wings.
Every lost HoPo, either from going over the cap, using the wrong abilities or mashing your buttons too slowly costs you one second of reduced damage from ShoR. If you miss 10 over the course of a fight, thatâ€™s 10 seconds during which you take full damage when you could be taking at least 30% less physical damage (and probably much less).
One big caveat to this rotation is if you spec'ed into Sanctified Wrath, during the period AW is active, your priorities will change. During this period your cd on J drops to 3 seconds. This makes J's cd shorter than CS's, so J becomes our most important move. To take advantage of this, you will want to prioritize J over everything else (including CS). Your new priority queue will look like:
J > CS > AS (whether GC is up or not) > Your level 90 talent > Holy Wrath > Consecration
Use this queue until AW fades, then return to your normal queue.
==AoE Queue (3 or more targets)==
We no longer have Inquisition, so donâ€™t worry about trying to use it. If survivability isn't an issue, you can switch to Seal of Righteousness from Seal of Inisght and HotR instead of CS. Probably the biggest change comes from the change to GC. Each successful Dodge or Parry has a 12% chance of procing GC, allowing another AS (with GC proc). The more mobs attacking the tank, the more GC procs they'll get and in serious AoE situations an Avoidance-stacking tank could find themselves casting AS very frequently.
HotR - Filler â€“ Filler â€“ HotR â€“ Filler â€“ Filler â€“ HotR â€“ Filler â€“ Filler (and so on)
and the Filler prioritization looks like this:
J > AS (with GC proc) > Cons > AS (no GC proc) > Your level 90 talent > Holy Wrath
Giving us an end result something like:
HotR â€“ J - Cons â€“ HotR â€“ J â€“ AS - HotR â€“ Level90 - HW (and so on)
In major AoE situations a tank can end up a rapid stream of GC procs and AS will eventually be castable so frequently it can move ahead of J on the prioritization table. In fact, it could even more ahead of HotR with enough tank avoidance and attacking mobs. Enough attacking mobs will get enough GC procs to push your average AS cd to be shorter than J and even HotR, pushing it ahead of them on your priority queue.
20% Avoidance - AS passes J at 10 mobs and HotR at 14 mobs
25% Avoidance - AS passes J at 8 mobs and HotR at 11 mobs
30% Avoidance - AS passes J at 7 mobs and HotR at 9 mobs
Barring extreme situations like the ones outlined above, J remains ahead of AS (even with GC) because it has a shorter cooldown and prioritizing the shorter cooldown ability maximizes your HoPo generation and we need the HoPo for ShoR. As long as you keep targets in its area of effect for the full duration, Consecration really does hit quite hard and really does move ahead of AS with as few as 4 targets.
If you have Sanctified Wrath and AW up and running, still prioritize J over HotR. Yes, you'll lose some AoE damage, but HotR hits like a wet noodle anyway so you aren't losing very much. If its a serious AoE situation (10+ mobs) and your survival isn't an issue, then I guess you can prioritize HotR over J, but that would make it a pretty bad time to use AW. Do what you've gotta do.
Refer to the section on Gearing Strategies and try to pick up the stats that are important for the Strat you are following.
Note that Stamina is not included on the lists, because (as noted in the Stat section) Stamina is an oddball. It doesn't reduce damage at all, it just makes you more likely to survive it. As a result, you have to work out with your healers how much you need to survive damage spikes, and once you have enough you can put more into other stats, typically Haste. Typically, the more undergeared you are, or the harder the content is that you are working on, the more Stamina you need. Every raid is different.
During Firelands and Dragon Soul, during which Prot Pallies could get block capped, gearing priority was to first get block capped and then stack as much stamina. Because being block capped acted as a multiplier on the value of Stamina, it was kind of like a magic number you wanted to shoot for before doing anything else.
*There is no magic number to reach anymore*. If you are getting burst down too quickly, stack more Stamina. After that, start working with whatever prioritization list above works best for you.
Various professions offer various benefits for a tanking Paladin. Below is a summary of what professions provide what. An immediate concern is that profession perks are somewhat all over the place in terms of value provided, instead of being cookie cutter precisely equal as they were in Cata. My impression is that some standardizing tweaks are likely before MoP hits. Still, we can guess at which professions will be more valuable than others.
BS, JC, Inscription, and Enchanting are extremely closely balanced, providing 320 itemization points of value and being flexible for dual-spec characters. BS and JC are arguably slightly ahead as they provide slightly more flexibility, allowing some choice in what stat the bonus points go into. Alchemy also provides flexibility in terms of stat bonus and allows placing cauldrons, but requires re-flasking if you need to change to another role. Mining is a step behind as its +STA gain is acceptable for tanking but a dual-spec player would get minimal benefit for an off-spec. Engineering looks good for entry raiding, as the crafted helms are easily the best available pre-raid, and the various gadgets provide helpful utility. Leatherworking is also a superb profession
Skinning, Herbalism, and Tailoring remain unattractive to paladin tanks.
The benefits to tanking are useful but lacking in flexibility. Additional benefits include a percentage bonus benefit when using potions/flasks/etc and longer durations on flask/elixir based buffs through [Mixology] possibly providing +720 Armor and +240 Mastery or +480 STA. A penalty of Alchemy is that one must swap flasks/elixirs if one changes specs and wants to keep the profession bonus.
Beyond crafting your own plate gear, the primary purpose of this profession is to provide you with two additional gemming slots ([Socket Bracer] [Socket Gloves]) to stuff additional gems, allowing 480 Stamina or 640 of secondary stats. The range of gems available makes this a very flexible profession. We're not getting Epic gems this expansion, so don't expect BS to suddenly get OP the way it did in Wrath and Cata.
The primary benefit enchanting has for tanking is the +240 STA to each of your rings for a total gain of 480 STA stamina. For those with Retribution off-specs there are the +STR ring enchants to consider as well.
Engineering has filled the role of crafting usable equipment, namely specialized helms and ranged weapons. This continues with MoP. While the crafted head is an excellent early raiding piece (the selection of choices for the head slot for early tanking are pretty bad), the overall benefit of the hand enchant is weak. The options are Synpase Springs which will increase your highest non-STA primary stat, presumably STR, by 2940 for 10 seconds, with a 60 second cd (average value 490) and Phase Gloves which work the same way but increase Dodge (average value of 490 again). STR is actually a pretty good tanking stat for us these days and also contributes some DPS, so Synapse Springs > Phase Gloves.
Herbalism provides little benefit to tanking Paladins; [Lifeblood] provides 20 seconds of 2880 Haste every 2 minutes (averaging 480 Haste, but its really dependent on length of fight) plus a small self heal. Haste does have some survival value for us, but getting a big chunk like this is likely to make it less efficiently used and the heal is too small to be of use in a raid.
The main benefit of Inscription is the special shoulder enchants only available to Inscriptionists, which provide the exact same bonus options (net of the more widely available shoulder inscriptions) as Enchanting (+480 STA). As a further bonus, Inscriptions can craft a number of items including shoulder enchants (thatâ€™s correct, should enchants will now come from Inscriptionists rather than from a faction vendor). Beyond that if you have good access to herbs you can create your own glyphs.
Jewelcrafting can provide interesting trinkets but its primary benefit is the unique gems ([Solid Chimera's Eye]) only usable by jewel crafters, the net benefit of which is 320 Primary stats or 480 Stamina, making it comparable to Blacksmithing, though less flexible.
The primary benefit for tanking Paladins provided by leatherworking would be the Draconic Embossment for bracers with the +STAM enchant presumably the most attractive providing a net 750 STA gain though at a loss of 170 Mastery. Combined with the potential raid utility of the surprisingly still functional Drums of Speed, LW is an attractive tanking profession though additional wrist enchants could become available.
[Toughness] is the main benefit provided by mining and it is worth 480 STA. It provides little benefit to dps/healing off-specs. Mining is also the support profession for Blacksmithing, Engineering, and Jewelcrafting.
Provides [Master of Anatomy] which gives 480 Crit. Crit provides zero defensive value making this one of the least optimal professions for us.
Tailoring allows for the embroidering of cloaks. None of the embroidering options are ideal for Protection Paladins so this profession is also one of the least optimal for tanks.
=Glyphs, Enchants, Gems and Consumables=
Prime glyphs are gone and we are now back to just having Major, and Minor glyphs again. As usual Minor glyphs are mostly cosmetic, though a few actually do things though Major glyphs are also less game-changing than most of the Prime Glyphs were. The glyphs are definitely more niche than before and the choice of top glyphs is less clear. Expect to swap your Major glyphs around a lot for fights. You get 3 Major and 3 Minor glyphs.
A few things worth noting are:
- Battle Healer used to be a must-have, but now its situational at best.
- The damage increase from Alabaster Shield looks pretty good even though its been nerfed in half, not because its great, but because the other Glyphs are so situational. I think it works out to something like a 1% overall dps increase, even single target. In a situation where you're tanking multiple mobs allowing it to stack quickly, it can increase its value quite a bit. Our 3rd best single target dps glyph and 2nd best for AoE.
- Focused Shield is our best DPS increasing glyph single target, but it costs you AS's cleave for both DPS and add pick-up purposes so its bad when there is more than one target.
- Glyphing Consecration takes some getting used to (suddenly you have to target Consecration) but can be extremely useful in 5-mans.
- Glyph of Final Wrath makes Holy Wrath hit, single target during execute phase, like a truck that's dual-wielding Lich Kings. Well, perhaps that's overstating it slightly, but HW already hit about as hard as HoW during executes. This makes it hit +50% harder. In a fight where the last 20% is important, this might be nice. If the last 20% isn't especially important, this should only be used if you're using 3 dps glyphs and its an AoE fight.
- Glyphing Divine Protection isn't as much of a no-brainer as you might think. ShoR should be up quite a bit, and in any situation where you've got enough warning to use DP, you should be able to have ShoR up. Having both up significantly reduces the value of DP against physical damage (-20% when you're already enjoying -40% isn't as big a deal). ShoR does nothing against Magic damage so having -40% available on a fairly short CD might be handy.
- Glyph of Word of Glory, as newly changed, is actually pretty good in a world where we're casting lots of EFs (though its almost useless if you're going with SS). Our second best dps glyph single target and our best in cleave or AoE situations.
[Glyph of Alabaster Shield] â€“ Successful blocks increase the damage of ShoR by 10%, stacking up to 3 times.
[Glyph of Avenging Wrath] â€“ When Avenging Wrath is active, you heal 1% of max health every 2 seconds. A 10% heal over 20 seconds every 3 minutes. Meh.
[Glyph of the Battle Healer] â€“ Melee attacks with Seal of Insight heal a nearby (within 30 yards) wounded ally for 20% of damage done by direct physical attacks (auto-attack, physical part of HotR, CS, ShoR). This is really, really good.
[Glyph of Blinding Light] - Turns the Blind into a Knockdown. Good for an AoE stun on adds.
[Glyph of Consecration] â€“ Consecration can now be targeted anywhere within 25 yards of the Paladin. Fantastic for 5-mans and trash pick-up but I find it awkward to use.
[Glyph of Dazing Shield] â€“ Avengerâ€™s Shield now dazes targets for 10 seconds
[Glyph of Divine Protection] â€“ Itâ€™s the opposite of how it worked in Cata. Divine Protection is now a 40% reduction in magic damage but does nothing to physical damage. With the glyph itâ€™s a flat 20% damage reduction against everything.
[Glyph of Double Jeopardy] - Increases damage from Judgments by 20% when your next Judgment is used on a different target than the last one
[Glyph of Final Wrath] â€“ Holy Wrath does +50% damage against targets with less than 20% health
[Glyph of Focused Shield] â€“ Avenger Shield now hits 2 fewer targets and hits 30% harder. Good for single target
[Glyph of Hammer of the Righteous] â€“ Causes the damage reduction debuff from HotR to last 50% longer. Useful quality of life.
[Glyph of Harsh Words] â€“ Allows Paladin to cast WoG on an enemy, doing damage equal to WoG healing. Potentially useful as a ranged pickup tool.
[Glyph of Holy Wrath] â€“ Holy Wrath normally damages everything in range and stuns Undead, Aberrations and Demons for 3 seconds. This glyph makes it also stun Elementals and Dragonkin. Situationally useful.
[Glyph of Immediate Truth] â€“ Seal of Truth damage increased by 40% (buffed from 30%), but Censure damage reduced by 50%. Itâ€™s a net damage loss, but makes damage slightly burstier which could help picking up adds or something. Not really worth it.
[Glyph of Word of Glory] - Increases damage done after casting WoG by 3% per HoPo used. Lasts 6 seconds.
The only real survivability glyphs are Avenging Wrath which is pretty lackluster for raiding and Divine Protection which doesnâ€™t really add survivability instead just shifting it around. Instead you have a choice of utility/helping others (Dazing Shield, Battle Healer, HotR) vs threat tweaking (Focused Shield is great single target, while Consecration and perhaps Double Jeopardy are better for AoE situations).
Minor glyphs are mostly cosmetic only. The only ones that have an actual effect are:
[Glyph of the Falling Avenger] â€“ Casting Avenging Wrath also affects you with Slow Fall
[Glyph of Focused Wrath] â€“ Holy Wrath only affects one target. Might be interesting in single target vs AoE situations. Kind of surprising it exists because its such an outlier from the other Minor glyphs.
[Glyph of the Mounted King] â€“ Mounting a paladin class mount auto-casts Blessing of Kings on you
[Glyph of Righteous Retreat] â€“ While Divine Shield is active, Hearthstones take half as long to activate. This is the first minor glyph I picked up. Remember, using this ability to abruptly bubble-hearth mid-raid would be wrong. *WRONG*!
Many enchants have been changed/removed to reflect the new stat system that has been implemented. Below are suggested enchants for tanking Paladins; choices might depend on your build. Do keep in mind your enchanting choices relative to your gemming in gearing choices when reforging later.
Head â€“ none. Head enchants no longer exist.
Shoulders [Greater Ox Horn Inscription] +300 STA and +100 Dodge made by Inscriptionists. [Secret Ox Horn Inscription] is the Inscriptionist-only version.
Back [Enchant Cloak â€“ Greater Protection] - +200 STA
Chest [Enchant Chest â€“ Superior Stamina] - +300 STA
Wrist [Enchant Bracer â€“ Dodge] - +170 Mastery, LWs will use [Fur Lining â€“ Stamina] and BSs will socket for another gem. +170 Dodge is also available but is inferior to Mastery
Hands [Enchant Gloves - Superior Mastery] - +170 Mastery or +150 STAM (Sha armor kit from LW). [Synapse Springs] is the superior Engy-only enchant and it stacks with the regular enchant
Finger [Enchant Ring - Superior Stamina] - +240 STA (Enchanters Only)
Legs [Ironscale Leg Armor] - +430 STA and +165 Dodge, made by LWs
Feet [Enchant Boots â€“ Pandarenâ€™s Step] - Multiple good options. +150 STAM (Sha armor Kit from LW), +140 Mastery and increased run speed, +175 Hit and +175 Haste are roughly comparable in value (though if you took PoJ Mastery will be a little worse since the runspeed doesn't stack) so go with whatever fits best for you
[Enchant Weapon â€“ Riverâ€™s Song] â€“ your melee attacks can proc a 1750 Dodge buff lasting 7 seconds (2 ppm, chance of procing on melee attacks that hit or are dodged or parried, but not miss, no cd). Currently appears to be averaging in the neighborhood of 40-45% uptime for Prot pallies, making the enchant worth perhaps 700-800 Dodge.
[Enchant Weapon - Colossus] â€“ your melee attacks can proc an 8000 damage absorb shield (3 ppm, chance of procing on melee attacks that hit or are dodged or parried, but not miss, 3 second cd) . Its actually pretty good, though its value is slowly fading as bosses hit harder and harder.
[Enchant Weapon â€“ Windsong] â€“ your melee attacks and non-periodic spells and heals can trigger a random buff which can either be +1500 Mastery, +1500 Haste or +1500 Crit, with a 12 second duration. You can have more than 1 of the buffs up at a time. Over the course of a long fight, will average out to being worth roughly +200 Mastery, Haste and Crit but there will be significant variability (*real* 2 ppm, chance of procing on all non-periodic damage or healing of any kind. When it procs, has an equal chance of activating one of the three buffs. 1 second cd)
[Enchant Weapon - Dancing Steel] - your melee attacks can proc a 1750 STR buff (unless you've been stacking AGIL for some strange reason in which case you could get AGIL) lasting 12 seconds (2 ppm, chance of procing on melee attacks that hit or are dodged, but not missed or parried, no cd). Uptime looks like it could be 35-40% making the enchant roughly worth 650 STR on average.
Bear in mind that the days of BC and really punchy weapon enchant effects are long past. In all likelihood, your healers won't notice which enchant you're using or even that you're using one at all other than the glow on your weapon. However, this is no different from whether or not you are using a flask or have a food buff or a host of other things. The value of each buff is individually small to unnoticeable, but they are all worth getting because collectively they have a big impact.
For 5.4, go with Dancing Steel as it will slightly increase your dps as well as your survivability. Windsong actually isn't that bad as Mastery, Haste and even Crit (for EF heals) all have value but its still worse than Dancing Steel.
Dancing Steel > River Song > Windsong > Weapon Chain > Colossus
Dancing Steel >> Riverâ€™s Song >> Weapon Chain > Colossus > Windsong
Shield [Enchant Shield â€“ Greater Parry] - +170 Parry
Gems are one of the least changed items from Cata to MoP. Itemization levels have been increased by a factor of 4, but the same colors, kinds of cuts, etc are all still in place. Below are preferred gems for Protection Paladins. Given the breath of viable gearing options, there are a wide range of gemming options as well.
[Austere Primal Diamond] - +324 Stamina and 2% increased armor from items
[Effulgent Primal Diamond] - +324 Stamina and -2% spell damage taken
[Eternal Primal Diamond] - +324 Stamina and +1% shield block value
Those above are the regular meta gems and I believe their alphabetical order will also be the order of their usefulness. However, if you progress far enough into the Legendary question chain, two more meta gems become available
[Indomitable Primal Diamond] - +324 Stamina and chance of hit to gain -20% to damage taken
Is your best overall option for survivability while
[Capacitive Primal Diamond] - +324 Crit and chance on hit to gain Capacitance
is a *huge* dps upgrade. Use whichever you need more though the Capacitive Diamond had its proc rate nerfed while used by someone in tank spec.
Ideally, you should only ever gem for 4 stats: Hit, Exp, Haste and Stam. And honestly you don't want to gem for Stam because its less efficient in terms of itemization. Ideally you'll want to match socket bonuses, but we have *SO MANY* red sockets on our gear this tier and so much Expertise already on our gear that overcapping on Expertise is a very real problem. In your BiS gear, you will probably only be able to match half, or less, of your red gem sockets. The gem cuts you want are:
- Wicked (Orange - Haste + Expertise)
- Accurate (Purple - Hit + Expertise)
- Precise (Red - Expertise)
- Quick (Yellow - Haste)
- Wicked (Orange - Haste + Expertise)
- Lightning (Green - Haste + Hit)
- Forceful (Green - Haste + Stam)
- Accurate (Purple - Hit + Expertise)
- Rigid (Blue - Hit)
- Guardians (Purple - Exp + Stam) - Grudgingly
A food and other self applied buffs are necessary to be effective. The following are appropriate foods, potions, elixirs, flasks, and scrolls to use while tanking.
Your first food choice should be the new Noodle Cart. Someone in your raid should complete the quest line and get the +300 top-end Noodle Carts. They're more efficient per mats used than the feasts in addition to providing superior food since everyone in raid should be able to get 6 food from each cart (eat one for the buff, then get 5 more for later) and the food doesn't go away during a log-out.
Failing that, the new "feast" of MoP is [Pandaran Banquet], which will provide the +275 of a useful stat for 1 hour (note that this is not a useful stat+STA, its just the useful stat). This version is for 10-man raids. [Great Pandaran Banquet] is the 25-man version. Food appears to only boost a single primary stat, making it much less flexible than it has been in past expansion.
Prot Pallies have four non-feast food options. The first three are probably, with proper planning and itemization, superior to any feast (though whether they're enough better to make up for the cost is up to you and your raid) and the fourth could be superior as well depending on your situation
[Chun Tian Spring Rolls] - +450 Stamina
[Spicy Vegetable Chips] - +300 Expertise
[Spicy Salmon] - +300 Hit
[Black Pepper Ribs and Shrimp] - +300 Strength
The value of potions diminishes a bit from Cata to MoP. While rare gem and profession perk benefits go up roughly 400%, potion itemization budgets only increased ~250%. So pre-potting will still be valuable, but it may generate slightly less punch than it did in Cata. This gap could be made up by the doubling of itemization for secondary stats, but there arenâ€™t any potions for increasing secondary stats.
Beyond the usual health and mana potions, there are two possibly useful ones. Remember, only one potion can be used per fight (two with pre-potting).
[Potion of the Mountains] - +12000 armor for 25 seconds, for times of high incoming physical damage
[Potion of Mogu Power] - +4000 STR for 25 seconds, on the pull or during burn phases when tank dps is crucial.
As usual there are a variety of elixirs to choose from. Below is a list of the most likely that you'll need. Remember that you can have only 1 of each type of elixir (Battle and Guardian) at any given time. Note that the itemization gained from using a pair of elixirs is substantially superior to using a flask. Each lasts for 1 hour. Like potions, itemization totals have only gone up 250% from Cata, but the doubling of Secondary stats makes up for it. Note the introduction of a +Dodge Elixir. Pairing Mastery (or Haste) and Armor Elixirs is likely your best option. Hit and Exp could be attractive depending on your itemization but I wouldn't recommend it because if you go that way, you really won't want to let them wear off.
[Elixir of Perfection] - +750 Hit rating (Battle Elixir)
[Elixir of Weaponry] - +750 Expertise rating (Battle Elixir)
[Elixir of the Rapids] - +750 Haste rating (Battle Elixir)
[Monkâ€™s Elixir] - +750 Mastery rating (Battle Elixir)
[Elixir of Mirrors] - +750 Dodge rating (Guardian Elixir)
[Mantid Elixir] - +2250 Armor (Guardian Elixir)
One flask also counts as a Battle and Guardian Elixir and they last for an hour. Guild perks will no longer extend duration for non alchemists, so stock up. Below are recommended flasks.
[Flask of Winterâ€™s Bite] - +1000 Strength
[Flask of the Earth] - +1500 Stamina
Given current options, either Flask of the Earth for STA or Monkâ€™s + Mirrors Elixirs are likely to be the most attractive options, though Mantid Elixir could be a dark horse.
Macros are intended to make your life easier. Below are a few macros for your benefit. Please send me any macros you think maybe useful for tanking Paladins.
Quick De-buff Clearing Macro
This macro activates Divine Shield and then immediately cancels the effect. This will force almost all de-buffs and other negative effects to be removed from you and simultaneously cancel the shield so you do not lose threat for more than a moment.
#showtooltip (needs to be hit twice)
/cancelaura Divine Shield
/cast Divine Shield
Sacred Shield Macro
/cast [@mouseover,help][help][@player] Sacred Shield
/cast [@mouseover,help][@target,help][@targettarget,exists,help][@player] Cleanse
Hand of Protection Macro
/cast [@mouseover,help][@target,help][@targettarget,help][@player] Hand of Protection
Hand of Salv/Hand of Sacrifice Macro
/cast [mod,@mouseover,help][mod,help] Hand of Salvation; [@mouseover,help][help] Hand of Sacrifice
Interrupt Focus Macro
/cast [@focus, exists, harm][@focustarget, exists, harm][ ] Rebuke
Theck's Parry/Dodge balancing macro
/run ChatFrame1:AddMessage(format("Ideal pre-dr parry/dodge ratio: 3.597, yours is %.3f%%, if too high reforge more parry to dodge",(GetParryChance()-3.67)/(GetDodgeChance()-5.01)))
Thanks to Darkside, Malthrin, and emptyrepublic from whom Iâ€™ve taken the formatting.
Theck and the rest of the Maintankadin crew for their vast awesomeness.
Also thank you to Corylus, Ronark, and Celydrashad for the advice and suggestions.
Other excellent sources for information on Prot Pally theorycrafting are:
Theck's Sacred Duty Blog (cutting edge Theck material!) - Sacred Duty | A Protection Paladin Blog
Maintankadin, particularly the Advanced Theorycrafting and Calculations section - Maintankadin • View forum - Advanced Theorycraft and Calculations
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