Prot Warrior Tanking 100 (Part 2)

Welcome back to the Prot Warrior Tanking 100 guide. As promised, here’s Part 2. Remember, this is a guide for the new Warrior just starting off. A lot of what’s talked about here can be useful to new Prot Warriors at 80, but some of it (especially talking about gear) is meant for people leveling through Vanilla as Prot.


At very early levels, gear is basically anything you find that’s “Bear” or “Monkey”. Take Bear over Monkey though, as STR/STAM is better than AGI/STAM. Here’s the basics of why…

STR: You block for more, hit harder, and cause more threat.

AGI: You have more Armor, Crit more, hit slightly harder, and Dodge more often.

STAM: You have more health so you die less.

If you can afford to be picky, a good mix is about 2/3 Bear and 1/3 Monkey.

It also shouldn’t need to be said, but INT and Spirit are worthless to a Prot Warrior, and you should never wear anything except the heaviest armor you can use. Or, in other words, mail until 40, and then plate. You should have all of your mail replaced with plate by the time you hit 50, or at least the vast majority of it.

Why yes, I have left out Defense, Dodge, Hit, Expertise, etc… there’s a reason for this. First, it’s bloody rare to find any of that in low level gear. If you DO find a Defense/STR/STAM item by some grace of god, by all means use it. However, don’t expect to even see these stats commonly until you hit Burning Crusade content. Even in very late Vanilla, they’re a relative rarity outside of the old raids.

Shields are a little unusual in that the raw stats on them are not as important as the armor and block value they provide. Yes, you want to get a shield with Bear or Monkey type stats if possible, but if you’re offered a quest reward shield with a big upgrade in armor and block, but say you lose 2 STAM and gain 4 INT… take the upgrade. And tell anyone laughing at your INT shield to STFU and learn to itemize a Prot Warrior. You’ll sometimes need to ignore a useless stat to benefit from other upgrades the item provides. Example: My TLA Warrior wore a Paladin hat from Burning Crusade for a long time because, aside from the INT and Spell Power, it was a massive upgrade in STR, STAM, and Defense. An upgrade is an upgrade. Just don’t take an INT shield from a Shaman or Pally if they need it too. That’ll get you a bad rep real quick.

As for weapons, the basics of a good tank weapon are, of course, STR or AGI and STAM. Shocked? Well there’s a little more to it than that. You also want a fast swing speed. Top end tanking weapons in game right now are about 1.7 swing speed. Heroic Strike fires “on next swing” so that’s part of why if you’re in a situation where you have enough Rage to spam it. The other part of it has to do with the way Rage generation works at the moment. While a slower weapon would generate more Rage per hit by hitting harder, at the lower levels, while not Hit capped, that slow swing time is wasted if it’s only going to land half the time.

To put it into more simple terms, let’s say you swing 20 times in a minute with a slow weapon (yes, these numbers are exaggerated). You miss 75% of the time and each hit generates 5 Rage.

20 * .75 = 15 * 5 = 75 Rage/Minute

Now let’s say you use a fast weapon. Your miss rate is the same, but you swing 36 times in a minute, and generate 3 Rage per hit.

36 * .75 = 27 * 3 = 81 Rage/Minute

Faster is better… unless you’re a DK, but that’s a whole other topic.

As you level up, you’ll be able to use more and more glyphs. Your first minor glyph should be Thunder Clap. It increases the range of Thunder Clap by a good bit, and makes picking up mobs with your best snap AOE a whole lot easier.

Aside from Thunder Clap, your leveling glyphs are flexible. Many of what you’ll want to have at 80 are not usable until the later levels in the first place. However, as soon as you can, you’ll want these glyphs:

Shield Wall

Thunder Clap

Shockwave gets replaced by Last Stand when you transition to being a raid tank, and Bloodrage gets replaced with… just about anything after you have 4-piece Tier 10 armor. But, until then, there’s your setup. Rapid Charge and Sunder are a couple of the glyphs you can look into while leveling, but just use a little critical thinking and you can find useful options without much problem.

My recommendation for speccing as you level a Prot Warrior is to build up the same spec you’ll be using at level 80 while you level. It’s what I did for my TLA Warrior and it worked out perfectly. This is especially true if you plan to level by way of random dungeons. The build I’m about to outline can tank anything in the Endgame, and can also solo well enough while leveling to not be too annoying. However, if you do plan to level solo for long periods of time, I strongly suggest acquiring dual speccing by whatever means necessary and building and Arms spec to go along with this Prot one.

I’ll now outline exactly where you should put your talent points as you level… this is in order, and is what I did with my little TLA Warrior, so I know it works. This focuses on picking up the talents you need, with a focus on threat (because DPS in Randoms are f’ing morons half the time), so you can pick up the deep tree goodies as soon as possible. Rest assured, if you follow this, it’s not your spec causing you problems with tanking.

Start with the Protection tree…

Improved Thunder Clap: 3/3
Shield Specialization: 2/5

Incite: 3/3
Anticipation: 2/5

Revenge: 2/2
Last Stand: 1/1
Shield Master: 2/2
Toughness: 5/5

Gag Order: 2/2
Concussive Blow: 1/1
Improved Disciplines: 2/2

One-Handed Weapon Specialization: 5/5

Vigilance: 1/1
Improved Defensive Stance: 2/2
Focused Rage: 3/3

Vitality: 3/3

Next level, go up and put one more into Anticipation…
Anticipation: 3/5

Devastate: 1/1
Warbringer: 1/1
Critical Block: 3/3

Sword and Board: 3/3
Damage Shield: 2/2

Shockwave: 1/1

Now that you have the best of the Prot tree goodies, take a detour to the Arms tree…

Deflection: 5/5
Improved Heroic Strike: 3/3

Improved Charge: 2/2

Impale: 2/2
Deep Wounds: 3/3

Now go back to the Prot tree and fill in Anticipation…

Anticipation: 5/5

And finally, a trip to the Fury tree…

Armored to the Teeth: 3/3

And there’s your build. It’ll serve you well throughout your leveling experience as well as through any content you ever tank from here till Cataclysm.

I’ve covered a lot of ground here, and if you’re still with me, thank you for reading. I’m sure there’s a lot more I could talk about but right now, I’m drawing a blank. Please leave a comment with any questions and I’ll be happy to answer them. If I get enough, I’ll compile them into a follow up post.


~ by Udiyvli on 07/07/2010.

11 Responses to “Prot Warrior Tanking 100 (Part 2)”

  1. I’m always a few days behind, but – Thanks for this. Passed this one along to my warrior-tank friend too. By the time I get around to trying to (finally) tank myself… I will have a lot of source material to reference! (Of course, by then, who knows what classes will look like!)

  2. Great stuff! As a Previous pally tank who is just learning the warrior profession (level 32 and counting), I am quite grateful for the detailed info on warrior tanking. Keep up the great work, I will continue to watch your site with interest!

    – Hawk

  3. Thanks a bunch for these two guides. Im a newb player and trying to level up my first Prot Tank. So much content online is aimed at high-end gear and techniques, this guide was very helpful.


  4. I’ve been playing wow since the beginning of BC, yet all of my toons have been ranged dps. This guide has been extremely helpful at expanding my horizons and learning how to tank with my new warrior. Keep up the good work!

  5. I never stop to leave comments on peoples sites but I just felt I had to stop and tell you that I love your site. Love your design and I love reading your posts. Keep up the good work. 🙂

  6. You ever think of making a 80-85 tank gearing guide? That would be amazing. This guide helped me a ton thanks!

  7. Would you
    Pls update talents for me . Good job thanks

    • An update to tanking your way to 85 is being worked on in light of all the changes to talent trees and levels that we acquire skills in Cata. I have no idea when it’ll be done, but it is being worked on 🙂

  8. Umm isnt dodge expertise mastery and parry now more inportant than stam in cata?
    Every tank I have talked to has said this.

    • Thanks for the question!

      The latest theory crafting puts Stamina in a slight lead over Mastery which is in a significant lead over Parry and Dodge which are roughly equal to each other with Parry being ahead up to a point (see the Parry/Dodge Sweet Spot chart in the guide).

      Now, to be clear, when I say Stamina has a slight lead that’s exactly what I mean. You shouldn’t sac 50 Mastery for 55 Stamina for example. And, really, unless you’re doing hard modes the gear you have (plus BIS enchants and using the standard gemming guide) is going to give you all the Stamina you’ll need. Most tanks won’t need to make a conscious choice between the two on anything except trinkets, and in the current tier, if you’re only going to carry two trinkets, I’d suggest Mirror of Broken Images and Vial of Stolen Memories. Both have great on use bonuses, and one’s a ton of Mastery while the other’s a ton of Stam. Nice and balanced.

      If you’re doing hard modes, Stamina starts to matter more. Things simply hit that hard in many cases, and two Stamina trinkets are usually the way to go (especially now that a well times Shield Block can counter things like Crackle (from Nef) just as well as Mirror’s on use can).

      Oh and Expertise is pretty much worthless in raids. Past the first 10 seconds of any boss fight, you shouldn’t have threat issues even with zero Expertise and no Hit. I’ve heard Death Knights argue differently, but this is a Warrior blog. I don’t profess to know what DKs do or their reasoning really 😉 That said, some Exp and Hit sure makes 5-mans easier, but I actually find the Troll 5s much easier to do in full raid gear, not my Exp/Hit off set (which is the same iLevel. The extra mitigation from the raid set just makes that much difference.)

      So, TL;DNR…

      Short of T11 Hard Mode you really don’t *need* a Stamina trinket, but it’s good to have one of them… Vial if possible for the on use Dodge. Short of trinkets, it’s unlikely you’ll really have to pick between Stam and Mastery on gear, but Stam is absolutely more important than Parry, Dodge or Expertise without a doubt or any debate.

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