The main covenant choice for prot warrior at the moment is Necrolord, as the increased rage generation from our 4set allows us to reach almost 100% uptime on Conquerors Banner which itself generates more rage, fueling a feedback loop with the set bonus and Anger Management.
Kyrian can also be used if you’re just picking up the spec or struggling with threat in a Mythic+ setting.
Night Fae has a couple of very niche use cases when you want the mobility from soulshape (such as Mythic Xymox in SotFO).
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 (3 with Unity) 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 the duration of the banner, extended by 0.5s for every 10 rage spent. This synergises extremely well with Anger Management and the tier set to allow you generate 15+ rage per second and have 100% uptime of Conqueror’s Banner with optimal play.
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 for 4 seconds (8 seconds with Unity) in a manner similar to a Druid's ursol’s vortex, and also gives you 25% crit damage (similar to Strikethrough) while you remain in the spear. The ability is strongest in heavy AoE and a M+ environment and can also be situationally viable 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 want to play all 3 warrior specs this is probably the best all round covenant to start with.
Soulshape is the ability every Night Fae gets regardless of Class. The added mobility is nice, but quite unnecessary most of the time as warrior is already one of the most mobile tanks.
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 on a 1.5 minute cooldown which does line up with some of our other cooldowns but unfortunately it is almost always de-synced from Avatar due to Anger Management or the Night Fae conduit Destructive Reverberations. Overall quite lackluster compared to Spear of Bastion’s more frequent burst and less restrictive positioning requirement.
Door of Shadows is the ability every Venthyr gets regardless of class. Similar to the Night Fae Soulshape, the 4th mobility spell is quite overkill unless you want the teleport for a specific mechanic.
Warrior Specific Covenant Ability: Condemn is a spell, replacing execute, which deals heavy damage to a target above 80% or below 20% health, and prevents a small amount of damage they deal to you. With Unity each Condemn cast will extend an active Avatar by 2.5s.
Condemn has suffered quite a lot over the course of the expansion, with Execute getting buffed in 9.1, it now deals about 30% more damage than Condemn (though Condemn is shadow damage and thus ignores the target’s armour), and the season 4 buff to Ignore Pain has left Condemn even further behind defensively. This along with some small anti-synergy with the 4set as cooldown reduction on Avatar (via Anger Management) is more valuable than extending an existing Avatar (due to the free Outburst when you first press Avatar) leads to Venthyr being the weakest covenant for Protection Warrior.
Soulbinds and Conduits
The only real choice in the Marileth tree is an obvious one, as prot warrior’s second endurance conduit in Unnerving Focus is significantly stronger and less situational than the second finesse. More rage will help to maintain Conqueror’s Banner and contribute to a lower cooldown on Avatar.
Ultimate Form is also very useful as the CC immunity also applies to knockbacks on fights like Halondrus, Lihuvim, Jailer and many others.
The choice between a third potency and endurance conduit largely comes down to how much value you can get from Hammer of Genesis. In keys or raid fights with regular add spawns this can bring a lot of offensive and defensive strength.
Niya’s passive mastery buff from Grove Invigoration, combined with the damage from Niya’s Tools: Burrs make her the most consistent Night Fae soulbind. In keys where you can get value from Niya’s Tools: Poison a third potency can outperform Niya’s Tools: Burrs.
The main choice of the Nadija soulbind tree is whether to pick up Dauntless Duelist or a third potency, which basically amounts to whether you’re doing M+ or raid. On a single target 3% damage, and 1.5% flat damage reduction can be very strong, but mainly Venthyr is hampered by the weakness of Condemn and its associated conduit Harrowing Punishment.
I will list all conduits for Warrior and rank them from best to worse (N/A to the Covenant specific conduits).
- Veteran’s Repute/Piercing Verdict
- Adaptive Armor Fragment
- Ashen Juggernaut
- Destructive Reverberations
- Show of Force
- Harrowing Punishment
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
In raid you should always take Inspiring Presence, but in keys there is an argument for Safeguard as a low cooldown external to help your party, especially as you’ll be regularly casting Intervene to proc Reprisal.
With the advent of double legendary, Reprisal has taken the top spot as the legendary of choice with its superior rage generation and also helping to shore up your Shield Block uptime. With this legendary you should aim to cast Charge and Intervene as close to on cooldown as possible. Using shockwave to stun packs, or waiting for a boss cast, in order to move out and Charge back in as well as making efficient usage of Intervene can be the key to making the most of this legendary.
Reprisal should be crafted on Boots with Haste and Versatility.
Another legendary worth mentioning is The Wall, which gives your Shield Slam 5 additional rage generation and reducing the cooldown of Shield Wall by 5s with each Shield Slam cast. Unfortunately the rage generation aspect does not synergise with Outburst, generating only 50 rage rather than the 60 you might expect.
This legendary is good in situations where you need more access to Shield Wall than only Anger Management can provide, though these situations are quite rare. The Wall can also be used if you’re looking for a slightly simpler playstyle of Prot Warrior without the management of Reprisal, though note that you will be sacrificing some defence by doing so.
The Wall should be crafted on Cloak with Haste and Versatility.
So the most notable covenant-specific legendary is probably the Necrolord legendary, Glory. This will lead us towards a build centered around generating and spending as much rage as possible in order to keep extending the Conqueror’s Banner, reduce Avatar’s cooldown and in turn generate even more rage. With optimal play it should be possible to reach 100% uptime on Banner and ~60% uptime on Avatar. This is a ludicrous boost to both your offensive and defensive capabilities.
Nature’s Fury is just a flat damage boost as it doesn’t provide any defensive gain, so yay, more damage!
Elysian Might is also another good boost to damage. Additionally it will be very strong in an M+ setting due to the duration of the tether increasing.
Sinful Surge is the worst of the 4 covenant-specific legendaries, but it’s still a decent boost to your damage if you enjoy Venthyr.
- Protection Warrior 2 set, will make it so consuming 30 rage will grant you a stack of Seeing Red which turns into Outburst at 8 stacks. This causes your next Shield Slam or Thunderclap to be 200% more effective and additionally grants you ignore pain.
- Protection Warrior 4 set, increases Avatars damage dealt bonus by 10% and now additionally decreases your damage taken by 10%. Avatar will also grant you Outburst.
The protection warrior tier set sends our rage generation through the roof. Combine this with efficient use of Reprisal, and it's going to be easy to cap your rage, so you'll need to be keeping an eye out on your Seething Red stacks so you know when to Outburst. Your rage gain from a single Shield Slam will go from 15 to 45 rage when it's an Outburst empowered Shield Slam, and this is a huge gain!
Additionally, our survivability will be increasing from this tier set just due to the sheer excess of rage we can dump into Ignore Pain on top of the free Ignore Pain we will get every time we consume Outburst. Overall the only gameplay change you need to be conscious of with this tier set is making sure you primarily use the Outburst boost on your Shield Slam's and being careful to avoid overcapping rage.
In season 4 with the continuation of the Creation Catalyst you should simply aim to use the highest item level tier pieces available to you.
Best Protection Warrior Trinkets & Weapons
Some strong pieces to look for or potentially spend Dinars on are:
Old Warrior’s Soul: A decent stat proc trinket, and provides some small raid healing. A somewhat high haste stat stick that takes a small amount of time to ramp up. One of the best, and most versatile, trinkets available even after the 10% nerf in season 4.
Reactive Defense Matrix: A pretty strong trinket with a high proc rate, reflecting a moderate amount of damage taken back to your attacker.
Shard of Annhylde’s Aegis: An insanely powerful defensive trinket for M+ and or any situation where you’re being hit by multiple damage instances at once as this has no cap or internal cooldown on its absorb once used.
Devastated Worldshard: Simply the highest item level, and best stat weapon available in the game currently.
Ruined Crest of Lordaeron: Much like Devastated Worldshard, this is the highest item level shield with the best stat optimisation available in season 4.
Weave of Warped Fates or Splintered Heart of Al’ar: Both of these trinkets allow you to “Cheat Death” once every 8 minutes, both are very powerful for progression raiding as usually a tank death would be an automatic wipe. If you have the choice of either, then Weave of Warped Fates is marginally better, due to the lack of friendly fire when the cheat death procs.
Logic Loop of Recursion
Overclocking Bit Band: The combination of these two rings will give you a significant amount of free haste (90 haste at 290), making them far over budgeted compared to their competition.
Soleah’s Secret Technique: A fairly simple stat stick trinket that you use on an ally to gain their highest stat. With many classes favouring haste, it should be easy to get a desirable stat with this.
Codex of the First Technique: When taking heavy damage this is one of the best trinkets in the game, reflecting 10% of damage taken from all sources to your target, with a cap that you will never realistically hit. Excellent in high keys or Mythic raid.