Protection Warrior Rotation and Priorities
This section of the Protection Warrior guide provides an overview of all spec abilities, when and how to use them. This guide is written by
creates videos on Youtube
and authors the
Blood Death Knight Guide
. He has previously authored the Proving Grounds Tanking and Brewmaster Monk guides on Wowhead.
Rotation & Abilities
Macros & Addons
Offensive Priority List for 7.1.5
if a free Revenge cast is available, if Vengeance: Revenge is active, if Vengeance: Ignore Pain is not active, or if you have excess Rage to dump.
Cleave damage (damage to secondary targets)
Now that all offensive abilities reset the cooldown of
, the Cleave and AoE priorities are nearly identical to the single target priority. While
are better damage-dealing abilities against 3 or more targets, they are defensively far inferior to
, so should generally not be prioritized over it.
AoE Damage (damage to all targets)
The AoE and Cleave rotations are virtually identical. The only difference is that you may have more Rage to dump via
, and more Parry procs making it free to cast.
Assuming you are using
(both reasonable assumptions), the ability priority when using
is as follows:
only if you are about to cast Ignore Pain and do not have Vengeance: Ignore Pain active
if a free Revenge cast is available and you do not have Vengeance: Ignore Pain active, or if you are about to cap out on Rage.
While this rotation seems similar to the standard ability rotation, it is dramatically different due to managing the autoattack timer. Whenever an autoattack will land before the next Global Cooldown, you should wait on casting
until the autoattack has landed and you know if it has procced
as much as possible whenever you are actively tanking. It is your primary defensive skill.
to mitigate incoming damage, but try to never leave yourself too Rage-starved to cast
Be sure that
is active before casting
. This not only increases the damage output, but due to
, it provides a substantial defensive gain.
With proper play and gearing you should be able to maintain nearly 100% active time on
If you have excess Rage and aren't in danger, and you aren't using the
talent, dump Rage with
If you are using
, alternate between casting
To maximize your damage reduction, pool up to 39 Rage before casting
To maximize damage output, cast
as soon as you have at least 13 Rage.
When soloing, any opportunity to abuse
goes a long way toward keeping yourself alive through difficult content.
In groups, make liberal use of
on allies for Rage and try to get killing blows on adds as much as possible to open up
For any bosses that have increased damage taken phases, combining
is the best way to push your damage output for all it's worth.
are all useful in buying a few seconds of relief when tanking dangerous add packs.
: Gives 5 seconds of guaranteed crits, so be sure you cast at least one
while it is active.
: The Protection Warrior artifact ability is a channeled cast that provides 3 seconds of guaranteed Critical Blocks and decent AoE damage. It is a solid AoE damage cooldown, but is not worth using offensively in single target most of the time. Additionally, the guaranteed Critical Blocks increase your chances of proccing
, so be sure you are actively tanking when you cast it!
: Your weakest defensive cooldown; use it as your first line of defense in dangerous situations and against special attacks. It has a 10 yard range, so make sure you are in range of your targets when you cast it.
: It's the artifact ability again! It is a very solid defensive cooldown when
is not active.
: Strong against massive special attacks and useful in dealing with emergencies like off-tank or healer death when combined with
: The granddaddy of all defensive cooldowns, this will keep you alive - big time. Use it when you think you're about to get destroyed by a boss or a massive add pack.
: A short cooldown that gives a substantial amount of spell damage reduction. AoE spells and many boss abilities cannot be reflected, but their damage will still be reduced by the 30% spell damage reduction component. Once you acquire the Artifact Weapon trait
, it lasts for its full duration regardless of how many spells it reflects.
: The quintessential utility for tanks. Take aggro on the target and generate 200% increased threat on it for the duration of the
: Allows you to break out of a few CC effects, most notably fears.
s are never scared!
: Move from point A to point B immediately, and look like Beast Mode Incarnate doing it.
: Useful for pulling mobs at range or generating threat after you've cast Taunt from range.
: An all-purpose gap closer, it generates 10 Rage, moves you to the target, and either roots them or takes the next autoattack that would hit the friendly target.
: A standard interrupt.
: A self-sustain skill for questing in the world and an occasional self-healing tool in group play. Very helpful when you pull massive packs while questing.
The Tier 19 2-piece and 4-piece bonuses are strong, but don't affect the active rotation in a meaningful way aside from providing more Rage. This translates into more
casts, but does not alter other skill usage significantly.
a stronger defensive ability for your ally and less punishing for you, so you should use defensive
are a solid damage increase. You should cast
are on cooldown, but don't use it while they are available.
a decent defensive component, and makes it worth casting both offensively and defensively while tanking AoE. Use it over
against multiple targets.
gives another defensive benefit to
, which is already at the top of your priority queue. It makes
more valuable defensively, so this is strongest in single-target encounters.
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: Removed references to Revenge from the Kakushan's Stormscale Gauntlets section.
: This guide has been updated for Patch 7.1.5.
: This guide is up to date for Patch 7.1, and the heading has (finally!) been updated to indicate that.
: Slight language improvements concerning single target rotation and Rage management. Updated the Active Mitigation and Rage Management sections.
: Updated language concerning how to use Revenge, Thunder Clap, and Neltharion's Fury. Also corrected an incomplete sentence surrounding Spell Reflection and added language regarding Kakushan's Stormscale Gauntlets.
: Updated the single target priority to reflect that Revenge should only be used if a Devastate proc would no longer be a benefit. Hopefully this playstyle changes, because it's excruciating.
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