Prot Warrior Tanking Guide (4.0.6 Edition)
Note: This guide is out of date. The 4.1 version can be found here: http://glaivecow.wordpress.com/2011/05/16/prot-warrior-tanking-guide-4-1-edition/
Hello again, everyone. Yes, I know it’s been quite a while… I’ve been a very busy cow. However, after a long while experimenting with specs, gearing and reforging options, I finally feel prepared to write an updated guide without fear of providing incorrect information. If you’ve been waiting, I appreciate the patience. Let’s get started!
The biggest change I’ve made recently is to go to a more standard spec.
Without belaboring the details, this spec has slightly more AoE threat than my previous one, slightly more DoT threat (both handy when single tanking fights with adds such as Al’Akir 10 Phase 2), and a little more focus on self-healing. I still don’t pick up Safeguard (but I do urge you to remember that it can be a Pain Suppression for your OT should you find you need it), and I move out of Incite and into Cruelty. This point is one I personally don’t fully support, but it’s what the most top end of the top end does, and I can’t say I see any difference in threat from making the change.
Glyph choices haven’t changed much. The prime glyphs are still Devastate, Revenge, and Shield Slam. No shock there.
For major glyphs, I still use Thunder Clap, Shockwave and Resonating Power. You may find Cleaving to also be useful if you AOE tank lots of 5-mans, but with the build above, I don’t find that it’s needed to keep threat on lots of mobs at once.
Minor glyph selection should still include Battle and Command. I’ve gone with Demoralizing Shout as my third, because I’m the one keeping that up in raids, but you may find something else more useful if you have someone else doing that debuff.
Here are the enchants you should be going for. In cases where the best available cost maelstrom crystals (which are still fairly rare for most people), I’ve listed the affordable alternative. Keep in mind that the following list assumes that you are not a crafter and do not have access to proprietary buffs that they can provide. For example, ring enchants or the substantial (and best in slot if you can get it) self-only Stamina bracer enchant for Leatherworkers.
90 Stamina, 35 Dodge (Earthen Ring Revered)
75 Stamina, 25 Dodge (Therazane Exalted)
Protection (250 Armor)
Greater Stamina (75 Stamina) <– Best
Stamina (55 Stamina) <– Affordable
Dodge (50 dodge)
Greater Mastery (65 Mastery) <– Best
Greater Expertise (50 Expertise) <– Affordable
Charscale Leg Armor (145 Stamina, 55 Agility)
Lavawalker (35 Mastery, Run Speed) <– Best
Earthen Vitality (30 Stamina, Run Speed) <– Affordable
Windwalk (Dodge and movement boost proc) <– Best
Mending (Self-heal proc) <– Affordable
Blocking (40 Block Rating)
Stat Priority and Reforging:
Here’s where things get weird. First off, I need you to understand two very unusual things about Cataclysm tanking:
1) Taunt never misses now. I’ve still never seen a blue post confirming this, but I’ve also never had a taunt miss, and neither has any tank I know.
2) Hit and Expertise are pretty much worthless stats now. Expertise still has its place for smooth threat generation, but Hit is basically ignorable. Case in point… the warrior that tanked the world first Sinestra kill has less than 1% Hit and Expertise in the low teens.
Now, with that in mind, here are you stat priorities.
Stamina > Mastery > Parry > Dodge
When reforging, personally, I suggest leaving Hit and Expertise alone. If you have it, great, leave it be. If you don’t, however, then don’t ever reforge *into* it.
Look at each piece of gear that you have and follow this thought process:
If it has Mastery and Parry as the two stats you can reforge, leave it alone.
If it has Mastery and Dodge, reforge Dodge for Parry
If it has Mastery and Hit, leave it alone
If it has Mastery and Expertise, leave it alone.
If it has Parry and Dodge, reforge Dodge into Mastery.
If it has Parry and Hit, reforge Parry into Mastery.
If it has Parry and Expertise, reforge Parry into Mastery.
If it has Dodge and Hit, reforge Dodge into Mastery.
If it has Dodge and Expertise, reforge Dodge into Mastery.
If it has Haste or Crit, then pick the higher stat and reforge it into Mastery if you can, or Parry if Mastery is already on the item.
The one caveat to the above guide is when diminishing returns are really kicking in for Parry. After about 15.2% Parry, you’ll get more total evasion by keeping some Dodge (or even reforging Parry into Dodge) than you will by using the above guide. If you’re sitting at about 16% Parry and 8% Dodge, sum the two, reforge something out of Parry and into Dodge, and sum again. Repeat till the gain is trivial. While Parry does outperform Dodge these day, highest total evasion chance is still your ultimate goal. Being over 100% chance to Dodge, Block or Parry when Shield Block is used is a very desirable thing, and entirely doable with T11 normal gear.
Gemming has gotten a lot easier with no caps to shoot for…
If the socket bonus of an item isn’t Parry, Mastery or Stamina then gem straight Stamina gems.
If the socket bonus is Parry, Mastery or Stamina, then gem like this.
Red = Parry/Mastery
Blue = Stamina
Yellow = Stamina/Mastery
Prismatic = Stamina
Meta = Eternal Shadowspirit Diamond
(Note: With the nerf to this meta in today’s build, it might not be the best option anymore. The numbers are not in yet. Should I find that the +Armor meta is better, I’ll amend this guide.)
If you find that more mitigation works better for you and your raid team, then use this alteration…
Yellow = Mastery
Blue = Stamina/Mastery
In the end, you want to have around 150K HP unbuffed for T11 normals. More, from around 165K to 180K, for T11 hard modes. Past those milestones, depending on content, you can focus more on the mitigation stats. It really depends on what you and your raid are planning to tackle.
For an AOE pack:
Rend > Thunder Clap > Shockwave > Revenge > Cleave spam as rage crosses 70.
For a boss, tell your DPS to wait till they see three Sunder stacks, and then follow these opener and maintenance rotations.
Charge > Shield Block > Shield Slam > Devastate to three stacks of Sunder > Rend > Demoralizing Shout > Thunder Clap > Heroic Strike spam as rage crosses 70.
Shield Slam > Revenge > Devastate > Heroic Strike spam as rage crosses 70
Thunder Clap as needed to maintain Rend and the Thunder Clap debuff.
Demoralizing Shout as needed to maintain the debuff.
One final note as I wrap this up… There’s a good amount of debate regarding straight Stamina trinkets vs mitigation trinkets. From what I’m finding, it depends on what you have access to. If you have epic mitigation trinkets, but blue Stamina trinkets, the extra stat budget of the epics seem to outweigh the standard rule of using Stamina trinkets. The reverse is also true if your Stamina trinkets are epic. Another factor is whether or not you’re a Jewelcrafter, as having access to the epic Stamina cuts makes up a decent amount of ground for not using a blue quality Stamina trinket. So does being a Blacksmith (more sockets) or Leatherworker (giant Stam enchant to bracers).
Of course, all things being equal, you should have a complete set of both and use them as the case warrants it. High spell damage fights are always going to favor higher Stamina, while high melee damage fights will always favor mitigation.
At any rate, I strongly suggest you pick up the Mirror of Broken Images (Mastery / Resist trinket) from Tol Barad and the Darkmoon Card: Earthquake (Dodge / Max HP trinket, reforge for Mastery) as soon as possible. Coupled with the two Stamina trinkets from the raid content, these four provide a lot of flexibility.
I hope this guide has been helpful. Other current projects include guides for each of the 5-man Heroics, the Stone Drake achievements, and perhaps even some raid guides. Happy tanking to all, and enjoy Patch 4.0.6.