So there are use cases for all covenants for protection warriors, all of them finding moments of viability. After 9.0.5 and the Conquerors Banner change you’ve most likely heard a ton about the banner and how ALL protection warriors should use it and the truth is if you’re not in an environment that will consistently take advantage of the banner then it is probably not going to outweigh other options!
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.
Warrior Specific Covenant Ability: Spear of Bastion is an AoE ability which generates 25 rage on cast as well as tethering targets hit by it (think ursol’s vortex). The ability excels in heavy AoE and a M+ environment but it is also an equally good choice for raid as it generates a nice amount of rage and does decent damage due to its short 1 minute cooldown. If you’re in a more casual environment and are specifically focussed on Protection Warriors this is probably the best all round covenant to pick.
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.
Warrior Specific Covenant Ability: Conquerors Banner is an ability which provides a huge amount of mastery to you and your 2 closest allies. Additionally it also increases movement speed by 30% and makes it so you’re unable to be slowed below base movement speed as well as granting you 4 rage a second for a total of 60 rage generated. The ability on its own is not that strong when you’re not coordinating with your allies which is why it is recommended that you do not take this if you’re more of a solo player or are in an environment where you don’t try to coordinate this sort of gameplay. The ability itself combines really well with the Emeni soulbind as you also buff people around you with main stat whenever you use banner.
Door of Shadows is the ability every Venthyr gets regardless of class. This has less value on a warrior as we have a low cooldown leap.
Warrior Specific Covenant Ability: Condemn is my personal favourite for the protection warriors even if it does feel a bit clunky to use (what can I say? I just enjoy slapping things). On a pure ST fight this will most likely outweigh every other covenant in terms of damage. The ability itself replaces our Execute with Condemn which allows us to use it on targets above 80% HP and below 20% HP. The damage is shadow damage which ignores armor and every time you use it you gain a small shield. The downside of this ability is you do have to give up a lot of defense for it as the shield itself doesn’t outweigh the defensive benefits of Shield Block or Ignore Pain. However, if you’re someone who likes to do a bit of all content as different specs, Condemn might be the choice for you as it is very strong in PvP as well as being a competitive choice for raiding as a DPS.
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.
Warrior Specific Covenant Ability: Ancient Aftershock is a frontal cone which deals decent damage and generates a good chunk of rage over its duration. Additionally, enemies which remain in the visual left on the floor are periodically knocked down. Overall it generates more rage than Spear of Bastion however the rage generated is over time instead of it being front loaded. The ability itself is a very nice choice if you’re mainly focussed on M+ as that is the environment where you will benefit the most from the damage and CC it provides. The ability itself is on a 1.5 minute cooldown which does line up with some of our other cooldowns but unfortunately it is easily desynced if you use Anger Management or its conduit Destructive Reverberations.
Soulbinds and Conduits
Just a note, Kleia is technically the best for offense. If you’re mainly focussed on raiding you should always look at taking Inspiring Presence as it will overall be a bigger gain for your raid team as well.
I won't even bother putting an offensive tree for Necrolord as you would never be going for damage with this covenant since its strength comes from buffing your allies and sacrificing your own gameplay.
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, Korayn does have some potential especially in M+ Wild Hunt Tactics, Face your Foes and First Strike all gain a lot more benefit on consistent AoE. However, Niya is the best all rounder both for offensive and defensive gameplay.
I will list all conduits for Warrior and rank them from best to worse (N/A to the Covenant specific conduits).
- Piercing Verdict (Kyrian Specific is very strong)
- Veteran’s Repute (Necrolord Specific and is more of a defensive gain than offensive.)
- Harrowing Punishment (Venthyr Specific and is not really worth ever taking.)
- Destructive Reverberations (Night Fae Specific is very strong on AoE)
- Ashen Juggernaut
- Adaptive Armor Fragment
- Show of Force
You will most likely only ever use the top 3 here.
- Stalwart Guardian
- Unnerving Focus
- Condensed Anima Sphere
- Brutal Vitality
- Indelible Victory
- Fueled by Violence
Since you will rarely ever have more than 1 finesse conduit, always aim to get Inspiring Presence as this is one of the most valuable finesse conduits in the game.
The Wall is probably the best all rounder legendary. It’s the best defensively for raid and is the easiest to use, just granting your Shield Slam 5 more rage per cast as well as reducing the cooldown of our biggest defensive Shield Wall by 5 seconds per cast. It is a solid choice and should be your first legendary craft if you’re new to the spec.
Reprisal is the best legendary for M+ both for offensive and defensive orientated play. Reprisal grants your Charge and Intervene the added bonus of casting a 4 second Shield Block, giving us a free revenge and generating an additional 20 rage. These effects smooth our gameplay in M+ as high uptime on packs can sometimes leave Protection Warrior without any form of active mitigation. The free revenge also boosts our AoE damage by a significant amount. The playstyle will take some getting used to as you’ll have to leap out with heroic leap and re-charge back in sometimes as well as intervening to allies to get the most value out of the legendary.
Signet of Tormented Kings is the legendary which both DPS warrior specs use so if you’re interested in trying those out then this is a good legendary to craft. It gives your Avatar a chance to grant a mini version of Recklessness and Bladestorm. However, Its effectiveness for protection isn’t that big and you’re more likely better off with either of the other legendaries mentioned here but this one can be the most fun so if you’ve got some spare soul ash, have at it!
Glory is the covenant specific legendary for necrolord. This legendary does have some potential especially if you’re in an environment that will make use of conquerors banner effectively. The legendary itself increases the number of allies you can give the banner to from 2 up to 3 and additionally for every 10 rage you spend it will extend the buff duration on yourself by 0.5 seconds. If you aren’t in that environment then it is most likely worth skipping this legendary as the other options we have available to us provide us with more personal benefit.
Nature’s Fury is the covenant specific legendary for Night Fae. It's a good legendary purely based on damage and since protection warrior is seriously lacking in DPS legendaries, if you are night fae you should really be looking at this if you want to increase your output.
Sinful Surge was changed in patch 9.1.5. It now increases the duration of Avatar by 2.5 Seconds whenever you use Condemn. On pure single target, this is by far your highest DPS legendary if you’re venthyr, and you should consider taking this if you are looking to increase your output on single target.
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.
Shard of Annhylde’s Aegis: an insanely powerful trinket for M+ and any situation where you’re being hit by multiple damage instances at once as this has no cap or internal cooldown on its absorb rate once used.
Reactive Defense Matrix: pretty strong trinket which deals a decent amount of damage as well as preventing.
Salvaged Fusion Amplifier: Our best DPS trinket from the raid as it just provides a flat damage bonus to our auto attacks.
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. (This is still really good if you are struggling on fights)
Weave of Warped Fates: Similar to the Splitered Heart of Al’ar this is a cheat death trinket however this actually makes you die and gives you a small window to revive yourself meaning it can reset certain boss stacks.
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.
Tormented Rack Fragment: A strong primarily passive trinket which adds a small mini game of picking up souls when targets die with it on.
Old Warrior’s Soul: Decent stat proc trinket, provides some small raid healing.
Pretty much every tank is looking at the Blood set as most tanks do not scale well with main stat, blood will give you a large bonus in both survivability and damage without even having to think about it.
For individual shards you should always run
- Shard of Dyz - Unholy
- Shard of Cor / Shard of Kyr - Frost (Depending on if you want damage or defense)