Spinning Shields and You: Prot War PvE Guide (repost from Official WoW Forums)

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Spinning Shields and You: Prot War PvE Guide (repost from Official WoW Forums)

Post by Gotshammit on Tue Jan 11, 2011 7:47 am

Oorginally posted by Dellingr
Re-Posted for Resurrection by Gotshammit

Spinning Shields and You: A Cataclysm PvE Protection Warrior Guide

This is my Protection Warrior guide for Cataclysm. Suggestions, corrections, thoughts, and comments are all welcome. This guide is mostly intended for people who want to avoid excessive amounts of math and those just wanting TL;DR style conclusions. Obviously, if you are wondering at all what the reasoning is behind certain choices, ask away!

INDEX(bracketed code will skip you to that section on search):

I Threat [THR1]

II Glyphs [GLY2]

III Talents [TAL3]

IV Gearing [GEAR4]

V Enchanting [ENCH5]

VI Gemming [GEM6]

VII Reforging and Stat Values [REFO7]

VIII Macros [MAC8]

IX Profession Selection [PROF9]

X Consumables [CON10]

Future updates:

HM loot list, Redo for clarity on the threat section.

[THR1] Threat:

Threat is 75% rotation, 25% gear. Clean up your rotation, and your threat will generally improve dramatically. Warriors revolve around a priority system for both AoE and Single Target threat.

For Single Target(Assumes B&T, Priority is from Top to Bottom):

Shield Slam off CD  |  1st/2nd GCD after (no S&B proc) | 3rd GCD after (no S&B proc)
Shield Slam        |  Thunderclap (1.5s on rend)      | Thunderclap(4.5s on rend)
                    |  Concussion Blow                | Concussion blow
                    |  Revenge                        | Shockwave
                    |  Rend (if not up)                | Revenge
                    |  Devastate                      | Rend (if not up)
                    |                                  | Devastate

Any time you are over 50-60 rage, you should be using Heroic Strike. If you're having trouble using your rage, don't hesitate to use Inner Rage. This ability is generally of higher value for AoE or DWing bosses, but will still have use for any boss that doesnt have a 5s swing timer (Magmaw and Chimaeron being the only ones presently.) Shield Block has very little value as a defensive "burst" cooldown in its current form, so try to use it on cooldown to maximize its uptime for increased shield slam damage/reduced overall damage. If you need to debuff your own mob while tanking single target, try to put your Demo Shouts in the last GCD before Shield Slam comes off cooldown as often as possible to maximize your threat. Obviously, if you're more worried about survival, prioritize debuff maintenance over threat. Finally, heroic throw can be fit in on cooldown single target around the value of non-HR shield slam (even with heroic throw resetting your swing timer,) but I generally like to keep it available for potential utility. Your mileage may vary.

For AoE threat, your priority order should be to start with a rend application into a Thunderclap/Shockwave, Cleaving if rage allows. Alternatively, you can open with a thunderclap before your initial rend application. Both ways work, so its really a judgement call on you. Once the pull is established, you fall into a priority system of Shockwave > Cleave (if 3 targets) > Thunderclap > Cleave (more than 3 targets) > Revenge > Shield Slam > Devastate. Apply Demo shout if the damage intake is high, ignore it otherwise.

In either case, you should open your pull with a shout/zerker rage/heroic throw/charge if possible. The additional rage at the start does help. Don't hesitate to use your shout again during the pull if you accidentally rage starve yourself during an avoidance streak, as well.

A slow weapon will provide you the best damage/threat possible now that heroic strike is not tied to your swing timer. Avoid fast weapons wherever possible. Some basic thoughts on threat stats; Very unlikely to be necessary with the current implementation Vengeance, although as that implementation might change, here is some basic information about threat stats. Basic "caps" are as follows:

8% hit (maxed melee hit)
26 Expertise (dodge cap, is twice as valueable as hit in terms of rotational threat up to this point.)
56 Expertise (this is the point at which parry hard caps and expertise becomes worthless to stack. You won't be reaching this, generally.)

Beyond that, gearing for strength, crit, and haste in that order after hit and expertise will maximize your threat. Obviously, using strength gemmed crit/haste pieces generally won't be ideal for any content that you don't massively overgear, so don't take this as a suggestion to gear this way.

[GLY2] Glyphs:

Protection Warrior glyphs are not overly difficult or mathy. We have very few choices that are not obvious.

Prime Glyphs:
Glyph of Shield Slam
Glyph of Revenge
Glyph of Devastate

Major Glyphs:
Glyph of Thunder Clap
Glyph of Victory Rush
Glyph of Cleaving
Glyph of Shield Wall
Glyph of Shockwave

Minor Glyphs:
Glyph of Demoralizing Shout
Glyph of Berserker Rage
Glyph of Battle
Glyph of Command
Glyph of Enduring Victory

[TAL3] Talents:

Prot Warriors are in the wonderful situation of having more talents that are useful than points to spend. There are many, many good threat talents that you'll need to choose between. These are the talents I consider 100% mandatory at 85 (note that you need to take other talents beyond the truely mandatory to progress down the tree completely):

3/3 Incite - Strong threat talent single target. You should not be skipping this ever.

3/3 Toughness - Increased armour? Yes please.

2/2 Blood and Thunder - Very significant for AoE threat. A Single target threat/damage gain, as well.

3/3 Shield Specialization - If you're playing correctly, you're likely not going to have enough rage without this talent. Take it.

2/2 Hold the Line - Threat and damage reduction all rolled together. Awesome talent.

3/3 Shield Mastery - Reduces the cooldowns of shield wall and shield block. Very important for anything you could be doing.

1/1 Last Stand - An additional cooldown.

2/2 Bastion of Defense - Critical strike immunity and an enrage effect.

1/1 Warbringer - Probably not 100% mandatory, but it is an extreme amount of mobility for a 1 point investment. It would be silly not to take it.

1/1 Devastate - Your key filler ability for threat.

2/2 Improved Revenge - Revenge is one of your highest damage/threat abilities. 60% damage is sweet.

2/2 Heavy Repercussions - Shield block has extremely high uptime if you're pressing it on cooldown like you should be. Take this.

3/3 Sword and Board - Shield Slam is your core rotational ability. Extremely important talent.

1/1 Shockwave - Mandatory for multiple targets and a single target threat boost as well.

(Arms)3/3 War Academy - Heroic Strike and Cleave are both important abilities for your threat. Very important talent.

Optional Talents:

2/2 Gag Order - Ranged Silence and reduced cooldown on Heroic throw as well as a silence on shield bash. Very useful for heroics, but of debateable value in a raiding build.

1/1 Concussion Blow - Solid single target threat ability, as well as stun utility. Could be considering mandatory by some, but you can get by without.

2/2 Impending Victory - Currently pretty mediocre, as it only works in execute range. Self healing in a single target build might potentially be useful though, however underwhelming the talent is.

1/1 Vigilance - A single target buff you put on your co-tank in a multiple-tank situation. Increases your Vengeance when they get hit, and refreshes your taunt cooldown when they get hit. Extremely useful in any situation with tank swaps/adds, all but completely useless when doing single tank fights/5 mans.

2/2 Thunderstruck - (mostly) AoE talent. Weak on anything that won't live longer than 3 shockwave cooldowns. Moderately useful at best, Terrible at worst.

(Arms)2/2 Field Dressing - 6% healing taken increase, increased self healing by 20%. Not mandatory, but definately worth taking in most builds (best choice, in my opinion, for a deep wounds spec.)

(Arms)3/3 Deep Wounds - Always a good threat talent, just not accessible in certain builds.

(Fury)2/2 Cruelty - 10% Crit on Shield Slam. Generally useful threat talent, but difficult to fit into most builds.

Sub-Optimal/Extremely Situational Talents:

(Fury)3/3 Blood Craze - Extremely weak, not worth the points.

(Fury)1/1 Piercing Howl - Dubious value to prot, weakens your spec to go this deep fury. If your raid needs an aoe snare, the possibility is there.

(Arms)2/2 Blitz - Not useful enough to justify the point cost.

(Arms)2/2 Drums of War - Massive cost for free shield bashes. Pooling rage when you need to interrupt is a better option.

2/2 Safeguard - As always, extremely situational. If you run into a boss in raiding that requires the cooldown on the other tank, pick it up by all means. Useless other than that in PvE.

My Suggested Builds:


The build I'm thinking I will use for Cataclysm Heroics while gearing there.


Likely what I'll go with for progression raiding. Depending on how Impending Victory plays out, I may move points there from Cruelty. Alternatively, Gag Order is an option if you need silences (for whatever reason.)

[GEAR4] Gearing:

Basic heroic 5-man level gear guide. Includes crafted profession items (both profession required, and BoE.)


- Selections were based on ideal itemization. Obviously don't pass up significantly higher ilevel pieces because they're not very well itemized for tanking, don't avoid an agility weapon if it is significantly higher DPS, etc.

- Last item per slot is generally a normal mode or other extremely easily aquireable piece.

- I haven't listed every possible item in some slots, just the item's I would prefer to use.

- Unknown BoE drops are assumed to be zone drops ala WotLK's 5 man BoEs.

- Order per slot is listed at a guess, may not be perfectly ideal.

- Weapons were chosen for human racials. There are many, many other weapons if you aren't human to choose from(maybe I'll fill this in later.)

- With the currently unsure state of the value of EH vs the value of overall damage taken, I'm not going to 100% go either way so both options are listed.


- Hardened Elementium Hauberk

- Chestplate of the Steadfast

- Beauty's Plate

- Breastplate of the Witness


- Gryphon Rider's Boots

- Baron Silverlaine's Greaves

- Darksky Treads

- Ramkahen Front Boots


- Numbing Handguards

- Fingers of Light

- Gloves of the Greymane Wall

- Fingers of Light


- Reinforced Bio-Optic Killshades

- Helm of the Proud

- Helm of Setesh

- Crown of Wings

- Helm of Setesh


- Greaves of Splendor

- Triton Legplates

- Stone-Wrapped Greaves


- Earthshape Pauldrons

- Sunburnt Pauldrons

- Raz's Pauldrons

- Earthshape Pauldrons


- Hardened Elementium Girdle

- Sand Dune Belt

- Girdle of the Mountains

- Iron Will Girdle

- Belt of Guardianship

Sand Dune Belt

- Sandguard Bracers
- Alpha Bracers
- Shackles of Undeath
- Armguards of Unearthly Light
- Alpha Bracers

- Wrap of the Great Turtle
- Twilight Dragonscale Cloak
- Billowing Cape
- Cloak of War

- Elementium Guardian
- The Lustrous Eye
- Carrier Wave Pendant
- Darkhowl Amulet

- Elementium Moebius Band
- Ring of Three Lights
- Felsen's Ring of Resolve
- Red Rock Band
- Umbriss Band

- Lifebound Alchemist Stone
- Figurine - Earthen Guardian
- Leaden Despair
- Throngus's Finger
- Impetuous Query

-Elementium Earthguard
-Blockade's Lost Shield
-Shield of the Iron Maiden
-Shield of the Four Grey Towers
-Bulwark of the Primordial Mound
-Truthbreaker Shield

Main Hand
-Cookie's Tenderizer
-Elementium Fang
-Mace of Transformed Bone
-Sun Strike
-Dragonscorn Mace

-Abatement Cannon
-Silenced Blunderbuss

Normal Mode Raid BiS(Survivability) List:

Chest: Earthen Chestguard
Feet: Gryphon Rider's Boots
Hands: Earthen Handguards
Helm: Daybreaker Helm
Legs: Thunder Wall Greaves
Shoulders: Heaving Plates of Protection
Belt: Thunder Wall Belt
Bracer: Bracers of Impossible Strength
Cloak: Wrap of the Great Turtle
Neck: Ironstar Amulet
Ring #1: Elementium Moebius Band
Ring #2: Elementium Moebius Band
Trinket #1: Symbiotic Worm
Trinket #2: Vial of Stolen Memories
Shield: Akmin-Kurai, Dominion's Shield
Main Hand: Mace of Acrid Death
Ranged: Crossfire Carbine

The Conclave "of the..." pieces are slightly stronger than the other pieces (although the stats don't display properly in the tooltips or on wowhead; they're missing a second rating that is present on the actual item.) Rings are debateable; Ring of the Battle Anthem is an option as well. 4pc is situational for certain fights, so don't write it off entirely; the stat loss from shoulders/helm are both about equally bad, so take what you will. There is also some alternative pieces of similar value to the ones listed.

Note: These are still fairly unsure because of the EH vs Avoidance debate. After hearing about some of the Heroic level raid damage, I'm leaning towards EH if it stays the way it is now. The gem selections are assuming the socket bonuses are worth taking, which it seems they mostly will be. Also keep in mind I'm not mentioning profession specific bonuses (Inscription shoulder enchants, LW bracer enchants, etc.)

[ENCH5] Enchants:

Arcanum of the Earthen Ring

Greater Inscription of Unbreakable Quartz

Enchant Cloak - Protection

Enchant Chest - Greater Stamina

Enchant Bracer - Dodge
Scroll of Enchant Bracer - Major Stamina

Main Hand
Enchant Weapon - Windwalk

Enchant Shield - Blocking

Enchant Gloves - Greater Mastery

Charscale Leg Armor

Enchant Boots - Earthen Vitality
Enchant Boots - Lavawalker

[GEM6] Gemming:

Eternal Shadowspirit Diamond (Bugged, use Austere until they fix it)
Austere Shadowspirit Diamond

Defender's Demonseye
Guardian's Demonseye

Solid Ocean Sapphire

Puissant Dream Emerald

[REFO7]Reforging and Stat Values:

Reforging is going to be a fairly long winded section. Bear with me here.

With the interactions between Parry and Hold the Line, you're going to want to keep your parry rating ahead of your dodge rating, but only slightly (in the range of probably 1%~). Reforging all of your dodge away for parry is a very bad idea. Avoid stacking too heavily.

Mastery is a new stat in Cataclysm, and is fairly complicated. It has varying breakpoints depending on your total avoidance rating where you should or should not reforge to it from parry/dodge. Takethecake over at tankspot has made some pretty graphs that illustrate these breakpoints fairly well, if you're curious to find out more. To give the jist of his graphs, for overall damage reduction, you should be reforging to dodge or parry over mastery if you have less than 4600 combined avoidance rating (mastery + parry + dodge), trying to aim for ~1500 mastery at 4800-4900 combined avoidance rating, 1300~ mastery at 5000 combined avoidance rating, either ~1100 or 3000+ mastery at 5200 avoidance rating, and once you're passing 5400 combined avoidance rating, mastery will prove to be universally equal to or better than dodge/parry. Best in slot T11 gear will likely put you around 5400 combined avoidance rating depending on your gear choices.

You can also potentially reforge DPS stats such as crit or haste on mis-itemized but substantially higher item level gear or excess threat stats on normal tank gear to an avoidance stat, or avoidance into more threat stats if that is what you feel you need (generally threat stats beyond what you get incidentally should prove to be unnecessary).

Relevant stats in no particular order(All rating conversions are pre-DR. If you're interested in the DR formula or any other relevant stat conversions, credit goes to the wonderful people of EJ):

1% Dodge requires 176.71 rating

1% Parry requires 176.71 rating

1% dodge from agility requires 430.7 agility

1 Stamina = 16.905 HP (Sentinel x Plate Spec x 14 HP per stam)

Armor cap vs boss(level 88 mob) is 97717.5

1 Mastery Point requires 179.3 rating

1 Strength provides 2 AP, and 15% of total str is converted to parry rating

1% hit requires 120.1 rating

1 Expertise Point requires 30.03 rating

[MAC8] Macros:

I personally do not find using macros to improve my play. Heroic Strike/Cleave macros into on GCD abilities are almost universally a bad idea. Don't do it. Some people find certain macros helpful, so I'll list some of the potentially useful ones here.

Warbringer Macro:

/castsequence [harm] reset=15 Charge, Intercept; [help] Intervene

If your target is hostile, it will use charge. if charge is on cooldown and your target is hostile, it will intercept. If your target is friendly, it will intervene.

Shield Block/Shield Slam Macro:

/cast Shield Block; /cast Shield Slam

Some people swear by this, although I'm not a fan. Maximizes your Shield Block uptime if you're forgetful about it.

Mouseover Intervene Macro:

/cast [target=mouseover] Intervene

Intervenes the target you're mousing over. Can be intergrated into your warbringer macro, as well.

[PROF9] Profession Selection:

As always, choosing the ideal 2 professions can be something fairly easy to mess up if you don't stop and think about it. Here is a quick overview of the perks of each profession. I'll compare each and rank in terms of the stamina provided.

Leatherworking (155 stamina)
With the bracer enchant providing 195 stamina and the lack of a Cataclysm health bracer enchant, this is the largest stamina upgrade profession as far as I'm aware. It also provides cheap leg enchants.

Jewelcrafting (123 Stamina)
3 JC-only gems, as well as a couple entry level trinkets. Overall a flexible and strong choice, especially at entry level.

Blacksmithing (120 stamina)
Add an additional socket to your bracers and gloves. One of the more flexible professions, 2 additional gems nets you a good chunk of stats for any spec.

Enchanting (120 stamina)
Gives you the ability to enchant your rings for 60 stamina or 40 strength (the only two relevant as a warrior,) another solid choice.

Alchemy (120 stamina while flasked)
Mixology is still alive and kicking. This profession also provides a reasonably good entry level tanking trinket. Bonus, you get to turn into a dragon and make your friends ride you around!

Mining (120 stamina)
Unsurprisingly as much stamina as the other professions from this bonus as well.

Inscription(120 stamina)
Upgraded shoulder enchant. Nothing else particularly exciting as a warrior.

Engineering (1500 armor for 12s/min, 16k-21k absorb/5min or Cardboard Assassin)
Unfortunately, even though this is my favourite profession, it is looking fairly weak as it stands now. I wish, hope, and pray that they buff this profession some, as the utility of the various tinkers probably will have a difficulty time keeping up with the stamina potential of the other professions. Provides an entry level helmet, as well.

Herbalism/Skinning/Tailoring (0 stamina, 0 defensive stats)
Pretty much useless for tanks outside of threat. Don't take these if you intend to even remotely maximize your professions.


Consumables are an important part of any raid. Fortunately, for the most part, the choices here are pretty easy. You get to use 1-2 potions per encounter (2 if you pop a potion right before combat starts.) Fortunately, potion choice is extremely easy, as there is only one of note (healing potions still suck, sorry):

Earthen Potion - Provides a ~6.8% increase to your effective damage reduction for the duration at 50% DR for 25 seconds. Unfortunately, armor potion duration was nerfed for cataclysm.

For your Flask/Elixir choice, theres 2 potential choices that I can see:

Flask of Steelskin - 300 Stamina pre-modifiers. The obvious choice if you need to maximize your effective health.

Elixir of Deep Earth or Prismatic Elixir and Elixir of the Master - 900 armour or 90 resist all and 225 mastery. This averages out to ~1.36% Effective DR @ 50% DR from Deep Earth, 9%~ magic DR from Prismatic (Post raid buffs) and ~1.88% Block/Crit Block from Master. Better for overall damage reduction, if that is your aim.

For Well Fed buffs, these are the choices I see as being optimal (there is also a new feast option for the lazy/cheap, but these are better):

Crocolisk Au Gratin - 90 Expertise/90 Stamina; the best possible threat food as long as you aren't expertise hard capped.

Lavascale Minestrone - 90 Mastery Rating/90 Stamina; this is the choice for avoidance.

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