So 3 out of the 4 covenants have some use cases for Protection Paladin, Necrolord being the odd one out which really has no viability in its current form. Ashen Hallow is the best for your damage as the cooldown is super overloaded due to its long cooldown. Kyrian is really nice for your own personal defense and utility especially when paired with First Avenger. Night Fae is the most supportive covenant as you’re able to provide even more blessings to your party or raid, some of them being super strong for certain classes (I’m looking at you shadow priests going after my autumn blessing!!)
Summon Steward is an ability every Kyrian gets regardless of their class. This signature ability will give you a potion called Phial of Serenity which gives you an extra health pot that doesn’t share a cooldown with the normal health potions and healthstones. It also has the additional effects of removing debuffs such as bleeds and diseases on you which is very valuable in both dungeons and raids.
Paladin Specific Covenant Ability: Divine Toll shoots out up to 5 Avenger’s Shields on nearby enemies, the total is determined based on the enemies around you. Each shield generates holy power so if you’re fighting 5 enemies you will max out on holy power with a single button press. This ability excels in an AoE environment such as M+ as that’s where you will gain the most benefit from the ability. It is still strong in a raid especially when paired with Pelagos which will grant you a large mastery boost when used however it does lose a lot of its value on pure single target. The ability also has a very short cooldown of just 1 minute.
Signature Ability: Fleshcraft is the ability every Necrolord gets regardless of class. The ability itself provides a shield which strength is based on time channeled. Additionally you gain 20% DR while it is channeling. It is a unique channel so you are able to dodge, parry and block while channeling. This is an insanely good ability as you’re pretty much immortal while channeling.
Paladin Specific Covenant Ability: Vanquisher’s Hammer is a 30 second cooldown which throws out a hammer at 1 target and empowers your next Word of Glory to additionally grant Shield of the Righteous. The ability is very underwhelming compared to other covenants and shouldn’t ever really be taken, yes it increases your uptime on Shield of the Righteous but your uptime is usually fine once you reach a decent amount of haste (About 20%). The only benefit of Necrolord is that Fleshcraft is by far the best universal covenant ability for tanks.
Door of Shadows is the ability every Venthyr gets regardless of class. This is pretty valuable for a protection paladin as we don’t really have many mobility abilities.
Paladin Specific Covenant Ability: Ashen Hallow is a casted ability which places an insanely large version of Consecration on the ground which lasts for 30 seconds, while inside the area you are able to cast Hammer of Wrath on any target, regardless of health and it deals 100% increased damage. Additionally, the Hallow ticks on both allies and enemies, healing and damaging each respectively. The only downside of Ashen Hallow is that it has a whopping 4 minute cooldown but it is justified as the ability is insanely strong. It is insanely good in raids and allows you to burst as much as some DPS and is definitely the best covenant to go if you’re interested in pushing your damage. It is pretty good in M+ as well, often decimating a pack or two, you might lose some value in higher keys when you have to kite as you might have to kite out of it however it has such a large radius that you should be able to remain in it throughout the kite. The main thing about this ability is you need to plan ahead when using it as you ideally want to remain inside the area for the full 30 seconds.
Soulshape is the ability every Night Fae gets regardless of Class. Similar to the Venthyr ability, this one provides us with extra mobility in the form of a blink and a movement speed increase which is better than the venthyr one.
Paladin Specific Covenant Ability: Blessing of the Seasons is a set of buffs which are on a rotation that changes each time you use one. The 4 buffs are:
- Blessing of Summer - Adds a damage proc with a 40% chance to all attacks in which the attacks will deal 30% additional holy damage.
- Blessing of Autumn - Increases all cooldown recovery rate by 30%
- Blessing of Winter - Causes melee attacks to deal a small amount of additional damage and apply a debuff to the target which reduces it’s attack speed by 2% and movement speed by 3%, this stacks 10 times.
- Blessing of Spring - Causes the target to deal 10% more healing and receive 20% more healing.
The buff starts on Blessing of Summer and resets to Blessing of Summer when you pull a raid boss. These buffs can provide a nice boost to members of your raid, mainly Autumn and Spring. Autumn is very strong on classes such as Shadow Priests where they can make use of their own cooldown reducing abilities on top of this to reduce their cooldowns even further. Spring can be placed on a specific healing during their cooldowns to increase their effectiveness or can be placed on yourself or your co tank if you know you’re going to be taking a lot of damage as the 20% increased healing received is really nice. Just a note, placing Spring on Kael’Thas means he takes 20% increased healing from all sources which means he can be pushed extremely fast! The blessings are harder to utilise fully in M+ as you have no way to reset the rotation. Blessing of Summer is really strong on AoE especially on a fire mage during cooldowns.
Soulbinds and Conduits
Just a note, Forgelite prime is technically the best for dps yes, but you lose a lot for not going pelagos as he has some really nice defensive paths and the dps increases from forgelite to pelagos is very minor!
Just a note, Emeni is nice as you buff your allies around you whenever you use your Vanquisher’s Hammer. In a M+ Scenario it is advised that you take the path to unlock Gnashing Chompers as you’ll have a decent uptime on the buff, in raids you should take the 2nd potency slot.
Just a note, on pure ST it is technically better to run Nadja and what you can do if you want to be super sweaty is you can pop a tome on prepull, pre pot a potion to gain the benefit from Refined palate and swap to Nadja just before the pull for the largest DPS gain.
Just a note, Niya is still probably on par defensively as you get a large amount of mastery every time you use one of the blessings but Korayn is another viable option.
I will list all conduits for Paladin and rank them from best to worse (N/A to the Covenant specific conduits).
- Ringing Clarity (Kyrian Specific and is okay, should be taken as 2nd potency)
- Righteous Might (Necrolord Specific and you should take it as a 2nd potency)
- Hallowed Discernment (Venthyr Specific and you should always take it)
- The Long Summer (Night Fae Specific is very strong on AoE)
- Punish the Guilty - Always take this.
- Vengeful Shock
You will most likely only ever use the top 2 here.
Relentless Inquisitor is effectively a 5% flat haste bonus as each holy power spending ability gives you 1% haste for 12 seconds, stacking up 5 times. This legendary is the best all rounder option for raiding as it gives an offensive and defensive gain. With this legendary you’ll most likely never really have an issue with Shield of the Righteous uptime.
The Mad Paragon is by far the best legendary for DPS especially when combined with venthyr’s Ashen Hallow as it increases the damage of your Hammer of Wrath by 30% as well as increasing the duration of your Avenging Wrath by 1 second. This legendary is unmatched for damage increase and if you’re not having any issues surviving then I highly recommend you run this to boost your already absurd damage even further.
Bulwark of Righteous Fury increases the damage of your next Shield of the Righteous by 30% per target your Avenger’s Shield hits. This ability can stack up to 5 for a total of 150% increase. This is your go to legendary for M+ as you’ll have high uptime on a large number of mobs and no other legendary will come close to this one in terms of sustained AoE damage.
The Magistrate’s Judgement will increase your total holy power generation over a longer period as your Judgement has a 45% chance to reduce the cost of your next holy power spending ability to 2 down from 3. This is one of the more defensive options however it is very similar to Relentless Inquisitor and doesn’t really provide any offensive gain. If you prefer this legendary that's fine, however, I would personally recommend Relentless Inquisitor.
As a general rule of thumb, all tanks right now should get the majority of their gear from PvP as all PvP gear has high values of verse which every tank needs as one of their 2 best stats. Protection Paladin does have some exception to this rule as defensively they gain more from Mastery than versatility due to their Mastery: Divine Bulwark.
Some really good trinkets to be mindful for are:
Blood-Spattered Scale: A really strong on demand shield which scales based on the number of targets around you.
Stone Legion Heraldry: A nice flat stat trinket to just have and it gets better for every person in your party who also has the trinket.
Skulker's Wing: A strong on demand priority damage nuke, it is very nice when you need to save for specific damage windows.
Splintered Heart of Al'ar: A really good trinket to have when you’re learning fights as it grants you an extra cheat death which allows you to limit test easier.
Phial of Putrefaction: A very strong trinket in terms of DPS and completely passive, boring yes, but strong and if you’re looking at pushing damage this is the trinket you want to go for.
Dreadfire Vessel: A strong on demand priority damage nuke, it is very nice when you need to save for specific damage windows.
Memory of Past Sins: Another strong on demand damage trinket that scales the more people that have it, definitely worth a look.
Inscrutable Quantum Device: This trinket is very strong for paladin especially if you’re venthyr just due to the fact that your cooldowns are so front loaded with Ashen Hallow.