Protection Warrior playstyle and rotation guide

Patch 9.2.5 Last Updated: 2nd Aug, 2022
Tokaine Protection Warrior Author
Tokaine
Alex Protection Warrior Author
Alex

Playstyle & Rotation

General Rotation:

  1. Cast Avatar / Conqueror’s Banner on Cooldown. (Only exception is if there is some downtime or you are unable to hit anything at this moment in time)
  2. If Talented into Booming Voice, Cast Demoralizing Shout on Cooldown (Unless there is an Add wave about to spawn then you should hold for that)
  3. Use Spear of Bastion / Ancient Aftershock (Unless there is an Add wave about to spawn then you should hold for that)
  4. Cast Ravager if you’re specced into it (Unless there is an Add wave about to spawn then you should hold for that)
  5. Cast Dragon Roar if you’re specced into it (Unless there is an Add wave about to spawn then you should hold for that)
  6. Cast Shield Slam on Cooldown. (It can be reset by Devastate (Or a Devastator auto attack), Thunder Clap, Revenge or Execute and should always be cast next global)
  7. Cast Thunder Clap on Cooldown
  8. Cast Execute or Condemn if you don’t need the rage for survivability purposes
  9. Cast Revenge if you have a free proc or you can’t use Execute as a rage dump

Just a note, you should only be casting Revenge on a single target if you really don’t need the rage to go into Ignore Pain. It is a common trap to just use rage on revenge but that usually means you’re taking way more damage than needed and you’ll often struggle more than if you just dumped the rage into Ignore Pain.

Opener:

If you are going to be actively tanking on pull this is the order you should follow, if you will not be the first tank then you should skip out the rage on Shield Block and dumping it into Revenge or Ignore Pain if a taunt swap is coming soon.

  1. Cast Taunt, Charge and Avatar
  2. Cast Shield Block
  3. Cast Shield Slam
  4. Cast Demoralizing Shout if Booming Voice is talented
  5. Cast Thunder Clap
  6. Return to general rotation.

If you’re charging into multiple targets it is worth using Thunder clap before you Shield Slam so you can get aggro on them easier.

Multi Target:

  1. Use Spear of Bastion / Ancient Aftershock on cooldown.
  2. Cast Ravager on cooldown, if talented.
  3. Cast Dragon Roar on cooldown, if talented.
  4. Cast Revenge if you have the rage for it and don't need the rage for survivability.
  5. Cast Thunder Clap on cooldown.
  6. Cast Shield Slam on cooldown.

Playstyle

Protection Warrior is an exceptionally strong tank when the fight’s primary damage is physical. It does have moments where you will be punished for incorrect play more than other tanks and that mainly comes with improper rage use as well as poor active mitigation uptime. 

Rage Management

So rage management is a vital part of Protection Warriors. You have a few rage spenders, Execute, Revenge, Ignore Pain and Shield Block. It is very easy to not plan ahead with warriors and simply just dump the rage into revenge spam (something I did when I first started playing it) what this results in is when you have to swap and it is your turn to start tanking then you just have no rage pooled ready to take the boss, no shield block or Ignore pain up so you start taking large chunks of damage called Spike Damage which is something every single tank wants to avoid.

What you need to do as a Protection Warrior is to plan ahead, if you know a swap is coming soon you should start dumping your rage into Ignore Pain so you have a large shield ready for when you swap. Additionally, having some rage left over and pooled is good so you can instantly Shield Block on the swap. Just these simple things will drastically reduce the damage you take and the overall strain on the healers. One of the most important things as well is knowing how much rage X ability generates so you never over cap as over capping rage is a huge waste.

Utilise that Utility 

Protection warriors bring a lot of utility in their kit. Rallying Cry, Battle Shout, Stuns and Fears, Intervene which can be used as a DR or just fully stop an ally taking damage (think of goliath feast on stone legion generals.) As well as the necrolord Conquerors Banner. Utilising all of these things can make you very versatile at helping your team.

Spell Reflect can have some funny interactions with mechanics as well and one of the best protection warriors “Sense” created a SL Blockable / Reflectable Spells Spreadsheet which lists all the abilities and which ones you can abuse with Spell Reflect.

Block is OP - Survivability

This goes for all tanks but it is especially true to Protection Warriors, you need to know how hard you will get hit with certain cooldowns during certain mechanics. A mistake a lot of new tanks make is they either over commit to using a defensive when in reality Shield Block would’ve just been enough. Block is insanely strong for physical mitigation as it is just a flat DR and if you crit block then that doubles and things that may destroy other tanks will just tickle you.