Prot Warrior Tanking Guide (4.1 Edition)
Hello and welcome to Version 4.1 of my Prot Warrior guide. Honestly, hardly anything has changed, but I’m going over the guide with a fine tooth comb anyway and updating or simply polishing anything that needs it. If most of it seems unchanged from before, well, you’re not imagining things! Prot saw some changes in 4.1 but functionally we’re doing the same stuff.
For the sake of reference, the previous version can be found here.
Without further ado, onward!
A Quick Review of 4.1 Changes:
If you need to read the full blue posts, those are easy enough to find. This is just going to be a really quick overview.
Shield Bash is gone. You now use Pummel. It doesn’t make a sound to confirm it landed a hit… have fun with that.
Spell Reflect now has a 25 second CD, up from 10 seconds.
The Shield Mastery talent no longer reduces the cooldown of Spell Reflect, but it does give Shield Block a 7/14/20% reduction to incoming magical damage for 6 seconds. Don’t forget this when it’s time to mitigate a large nuke, like Nef’s Crackle.
Heroic Leap is off the GCD, meaning it’s more useful than ever before.
Gag Order, thank god, now applies its silence via Pummel since Shield Bash is gone.
We have a new raid-wide Last Stand. It’s called Rallying Cry, it’s on the same cooldown as Last Stand, it’s 20% of max health, and it effects everyone in the raid. Coordinate its use with other Warriors in raid to help even out things like Chimaeron feuds or Nef Crackles in Phase 2 for people on your platform (it does have a max range and won’t hit the other platforms).
Spec (Minor Changes):
This is the spec I’ve been using for a bit now, and the one I recommend especially for raids.
The only difference you’ll find is that I’ve dropped the one point out of Impending Victory and placed it instead in Piercing Howl. Now some of you might be wondering why that’s a good trade off, especially if you haven’t had to deal with fights like Nef, Cho’gall, or being the add tank on Maloriak. Having an ability to spam snare unlimited targets is pretty crazy on those fights, and puts Prot Warriors at the top of the list for roles such at Maloriak add tank among the tanking specs. Also, if you start as the second tank for Cho’gall, you’ll be free for each slime spawn to assist with snaring them if need be. It’s a great dose of utility that doesn’t really sacrifice much in trade.
Aside from that, the spec is the same. The one change I could suggest if you’re having serious single target threat issues would be to move one point out of Thunderstruck and move it into War Academy. It’s a change I’ve considered myself, but really I haven’t seen a need for it so long as DPS gives me the 5 to 10 second lead time on a boss pull that I need for Vengeance to ramp up. I mention it here for consideration regarding your personal situation.
Glyphs (Minor Changes):
The prime glyphs remain the same and are still Devastate, Revenge, and Shield Slam.
Thunder Clap and Shockwave remain as Major glyphs, but I’ve replaced Resonating Power with Piercing Howl. That increased radius is a pretty huge deal when you’re trying to keep twelve foaming at the mouth, exponentially self-buffing adds from eating your face so your team can get an achievement.
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.
Enchants (Minor Changes):
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
Mastery (50 Mastery)
Stat Priority and Reforging (Major Changes):
Here’s where things get weird. First off, I need you to understand two very unusual things about Cataclysm tanking:
1) Taunt never misses in Cata.
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. Why does this work? Vengeance. As a boss hits you, your attack power goes up. Way up… so while you’re going to be parried, blocked, dodged, and straight up miss, you’re also going to completely plaster the boss when you do connect. Once the fight gets going (5 to 10 seconds depending on encounter) you’re usually fine on threat even with zero Hit and Expertise.
Now, with that in mind, here are you stat priorities.
Stamina > Mastery > Parry ≥ Dodge
When reforging, 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, reforge Hit to Parry
If it has Mastery and Expertise, reforge Expertise to Parry
If it has Parry and Dodge, reforge Dodge into Mastery.
If it has Parry and Hit, reforge Hit into Mastery.
If it has Parry and Expertise, reforge Expertise into Mastery.
If it has Dodge and Hit, reforge Hit into Mastery.
If it has Dodge and Expertise, reforge Expertise 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.
Now here comes the big “but it’s really not that simple” part. Mastery may never experience diminishing returns, but Parry certainly does. However, Parry is also the trigger for Hold the Line, so it’s importance is higher than Dodge. Dodge, however, is more valuable the deeper into Parry’s diminishing return you get. There exists a sweet spot for Parry vs Dodge that is determined by your current Mastery rating.
Some fellow who I do not know personally, by the name of Swcarden, put together a handy graph we can use to calculate this sweet spot with relative ease. Do note that this graph assumes you are facing a single enemy with the standard 2.5 second swing time. For fights against multiple enemies, Dodge will outweigh Parry more so than this graph depicts, and for a slow attack speed fight like Chimaeron (who wings once every five seconds), Parry becomes more valuable than Dodge. The ultimate goal of this graph is to optimize Hold the Line uptime while having the highest combined evasion possible.
First, look at your total Mastery and consult the upper right portion of the chart. This will show you the corresponding color for your Mastery.
Second, add your total Parry and Dodge ratings and find the resulting sum on the bottom of the graph. This is your Total Avoidance Rating.
Now, draw a line straight up from your Total Avoidance Rating until you hit the circle of the color pertaining to your Mastery.
Finally, draw a line from that circle to the left edge of the graph to find your Parry/Dodge Ratio.
Using this ratio, you can tweak your reforging to get as close to the optimal ratio as possible. Keep in mind though that it probably won’t be possible to reach it exactly, but it’s a good idea to try for it.
Example: Your ratio is 1.25. You should have 1.25 Parry pre 1 Dodge. Divide your Parry by your Dodge and see how it stacks up. If it’s higher than 1.25, you need more Dodge. If it’s lower than 1.25, you need more Parry. Just get as close as you can, but *never* reforge Mastery into either Parry or Dodge.
Gemming (Minor Changes):
Gemming has gotten a lot easier with no caps to shoot for…
If the socket bonus of an item isn’t Parry, Dodge, Mastery or Stamina then gem straight Stamina gems.
If the socket bonus is Parry, Dodge, Mastery or Stamina, then gem like this.
Red = Parry/Mastery
Blue = Stamina
Yellow = Stamina/Mastery
Prismatic = Stamina
Meta = Eternal Shadowspirit Diamond
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.
Threat Rotations (Minor Changes):
For an AOE pack:
Rend > Thunder Clap > Shockwave > Revenge > Cleave spam as rage crosses 60.
For a boss, tell your DPS to wait roughly five to ten seconds before unloading the heavy artillery, 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 60.
Be sure to also use any Revenge or Sword and Board procs you get while performing this opener.
Shield Slam > Revenge > Devastate > Heroic Strike spam as rage crosses 60
Thunder Clap as needed to maintain Rend and the Thunder Clap debuff.
Demoralizing Shout as needed to maintain the debuff.
Shield Slams should always be followed by Revenge if it’s available and by Devastate if it isn’t. If this then procs a Sword and Board, you should then Shield Slam again and again follow with Revenge or Devastate.
A Brief Word on Trinkets (No Changes):
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.
That wraps up this update of the guide. As always, please feel free to leave questions. Enjoy 4.1 and here’s hoping 4.2 isn’t too far off. What’s being shown of Firelands looks like a lot of fun!