Protection Warrior Artifact Weapon: Scale of the Earth-Warder – Legion 7.3.5
The World of Warcraft Legion Protection Warrior Artifact Weapon page explains the best possible choices for the Netherlight Crucible, important traits and relic bonuses, and how to progress through your artifact weapon
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Artifacts in Battle for Azeroth
As of June 26th, completing the quest
will further empower your Artifact Weapon, enabling all traits and at least
level 75, further increasing in power over time until the Battle for Azeroth pre-expansion patch.
Therefore, only the Netherlight Crucible recommendations are relevant on this guide page leading up to BFA, as you already receive all Artifact Traits by default. This makes content easier to complete, especially some
content going away
Ahead of the Curve
Mage Tower Challenges
, your Artifact Traits will be removed, and relics will simply increase the item level of your artifact weapon. However, many artifact traits are returning as talents or azerite powers in Battle for Azeroth and we have a compiled a
full list you can read here
Moving forward in Battle for Azeroth, you will still be able to acquire the Artifact Weapon which will mainly interest transmog collectors for the appearances. Learn how to unlock all appearances in BFA with our
Artifact Appearance Guide
Protection Artifact Weapon:
Scale of the Earth-Warder
Scale of the Earth-Warder grants the ability
deals AoE damage and is a potent defensive cooldown against autoattacks, particularly strong when tanking large packs.
You can cast other defensive abilities while channeling, but moving will cancel the cast. It is also canceled by CC and knockbacks, so be careful when timing it!
gives Critical Blocks a 25% chance to deal damage to enemies in front of you and gives you a 30% armor buff for 6 seconds. This is an incredibly strong trait, both offensively and defensively, and adds a lot of power to
gives Blocks a 20% chance to increase your next
by 40%. This is the strongest defensive trait in the tree.
a stronger cooldown, both offensively and defensively.
, turning it into a consistently strong magic defense cooldown with a short cooldown.
are the best dps traits.
is the strongest defensive minor trait available. It's worth 2% more self-healing per rank, and that's great.
Relics and the Netherlight Crucible
is a new feature in patch 7.3 that allows you to empower your relics with additional traits. It can turn even the weakest relics into viable options depending on how lucky you are with its randomly-rolled traits. Netherlight Crucible traits are randomly selected when a relic is first put into the Crucible, so one
may have completely different traits than another
! You should always preview a relic's potential traits before you use it or throw it away unless it is a significant item level downgrade. Previewing a relic's traits will bind it to your character, so if you are thinking of trading it to a party member, don't preview and lock it to yourself.
The Netherlight Crucible grants a simple 3-tier, branching tree of traits to each of your 3 equipped relics. You must choose one trait from each tier. The first tier is always a 5 item level increase to your weapon. The second tier is a choice between a light or shadow trait. The third tier is a choice between one of three weapon traits, and your available options are affected by which direction you went in the second tier (left vs. right). Your ability to choose traits for your relics is gated by your weapon's Artifact Level.
You must be at Artifact Level 75 to completely customize your weapon at the Netherlight Crucible. At current Artifact Knowledge values, this is expected to take several months. Don't worry, it's something to work toward!
Here is a breakdown of Artifact Level values and trait availability:
At 60, you unlock the second tier of your first relic. At 63, you unlock the second tier of your second relic. At 66, you unlock the second tier of your third relic.
At 69, you unlock the third tier of your first relic. At 72, you unlock the third tier of your second relic. At 75, you unlock the third tier of your third relic. Job's done!
Prot Warrior Netherlight Crucible Video Guide
The Netherlight Crucible for Prot Warriors
Tanking is, as always, a bit of a conundrum when it comes to making recommendations. If you're tanking cutting-edge, high-level Mythic raid progression, you will want different things from someone pushing high-level Mythic+ dungeons, working on Heroic raid progression, or occasionally filling in during farm raids on an off-spec. Moreover, the item level approximations that most DPS classes are able to make of their traits doesn't really translate to tanks at all due to the lack of functioning SimulationCraft modules for tanks (even if there were, making those pure DPS numbers translate into the broader picture would either be difficult or useless).
Consequently, the best recommendation I can make is to list the traits in order of value, first defensively, then offensively. I will weigh more heavily toward single-target scenarios for offense. Tanks do much better in AoE (and tank DPS is more relevant in Mythic+ than Mythic raid, for example), but single-target is much more reliable. The Prot Warrior Artifact scales pretty well with weapon item level, so sacrificing a good trait to gain item level is usually worth it.
Tier 2 Traits
Because your choice in Tier 2 affects which traits you can reach in Tier 3, you need to balance both the Tier 2 and Tier 3 bonuses when you make your Tier 2 choice. With the opening of
, it is now possible to obtain
, which increases the potency of your Tier 2 Crucible traits by 50%. It might be a really strong legendary if you are lucky with Netherlight Crucible rolls!
only proc from "Healing spells and abilities." Despite being a great absorb,
does not count as a heal.
are must-haves for the defensively-minded tank. The damage reduction value of movement speed from
is underrated, but the Avoidance provided by
is a serious amount of damage reduction against AoE damage. If they are up against each other in the tree, base your choice on the traits below. If the best trait is in the middle, you're simultaneously lucky and unlucky. Avoidance is solid damage reduction and slightly more reliable than movement speed, so
is a slightly safer choice unless you already have a ton of Avoidance on your gear. (Also, how are you so lucky?!)
The self-healing provided by
is pretty modest. They are both excellent DPS traits, but their defensive value is near the bottom of the pack. They do provide about as much healing as
, which doesn't grant *any* damage, so they are better choices in that situation.
is a good defensive gain, (~600k shielding/minute, so ~10k HPS), but its lack of offensive value is a drawback.
is good for both offense and defense.
are hands-down the two best offensive traits, and unlike
, they have modest defensive value.
Mastery isn't a great offensive stat, making
not a great offensive trait.
is a great trait for single-target DPS, but it has some problems for tanks. In addition to its lack of defensive value, it is predicated on maintaining a DoT on a single target as much as possible. Because Prot Warriors deal near-constant AoE damage, that can become an impossible feat in multi-target scenarios, resulting in a lot of lost DPS in the place tank damage actually matters most.
was buffed to deal 40% increased damage, but its 8-second fuse and the low proc rate of 1 PPM still make it a niche choice at best. It can deal a lot of damage in large-scale AoE, but it can't do much of anything in other scenarios.
can increase the offensive value of Concordance if you line up your cooldowns with it, but that can require some luck and the results aren't that big even in the best-case scenarios.
Tier 3 Traits
Again, your Tier 2 choice will need to consider your available Tier 3 options. One thing to bear in mind is that
, which is rarely available on relics around the world, is perfectly available through the Netherlight Crucible. Unlike the Tier 2 abilities, most weapon traits do not offer both offensive and defensive value. The defensive gains from traits below
are extremely low, and even for more defensively-minded players, offensive traits will probably outweigh them in total value.
is not the best defensive trait in every situation, but it is the best all-around choice. It will also synergize well with the Tier 21 4-piece bonus (
Item - Warrior T21 Protection 2P Bonus
- the link is correct, the title is currently bugged) as it currently exists.
is the best damage reduction against autoattack damage, but it is useless against everything else. This trait is still very good, the best in some situations, but it's not as versatile as
. This trait will synergize wonderfully with the Tier 21 2-piece bonus (
Item - Warrior T21 Protection 2P Bonus
) as it currently exists.
is pretty much worthless, and should never be taken. NEVER! If it's on the relic itself and the relic is a decent item level upgrade, then it's probably still worth it, but you should never voluntarily take
in the Netherlight Crucible.
is good in single target, but weak in AoE. Considering tank DPS has the biggest impact in AoE, this trait falls behind pretty quickly.
are great in AoE and single target. They are reasonably competitive with each other, dependent on how aggressively you are playing and how much AoE you are handling. If you are super aggressive,
. If you are playing very defensively, then
is the clear winner.
well, particularly against large-scale AoE.
Patch 7.2 added the ability to unlock 4 new traits and an infinite trait (
) that grants a Versatility proc with ~33% uptime. Additionally, you will be able to put a fourth point into your existing 3-point traits, which provides a modest amount of customization.
is a 1-pointer, and the first new trait. It's great! Get it ASAP.
is the new minor trait, and will noticeably reduce autoattack damage intake. It's good, not great, due to its lack of effect against spell or ability damage. You will need to put in all 4 points to reach the following traits, so it is still a rather high priority.
greatly increases the damage reduction value of
, giving Warriors a 50% damage reduction tool on a fairly short cooldown. Strong overall, and helps fix a hole in the class' defensive toolkit.
provides solid damage reduction against targets that will be alive for a while. Stacking it fully can take some time, so its value won't be as good against low-health enemies. As such, it will be best for pushing higher level Mythic dungeons, or tanking add packs during raid encounters. Against single targets, it's cool. Not earth-shatteringly great, but pretty helpful.
is a random Versatility proc. It can only be unlocked once you have put 4 points into every single minor trait in the tree.
is one of the best minor traits available, and should be at the top of the list for putting in a 4th trait.
are the two best DPS traits, and should be high 4/4 priorities as well.
remains one of the weakest traits in the tree, and should be your lowest priority.
Recommended build paths
The recommended initial artifact path is this:
Once you've unlocked all three Gold Dragon traits, complete
, in that order.
empower your weapon
(requires unlocking the Broken Shore, reaching AK 26, and completing a short questline):
You should always favor relics with increased item level.
Offensive Relic traits to prioritize:
- This trait scales at a higher rate than
, but Thunder Clap is used less frequently than Revenge. This trait plays extremely well with
- Although Revenge was nerfed in 7.2.5, this trait is still valuable for DPS.
- The best minor trait for single-target DPS, but not great for AoE.
The relative values of
will depend upon whether you use
, and how frequently you use
. For most players, they will be fairly close in value.
Defensive Relic traits to prioritize:
- The premiere minor trait for survival.
- Autoattack damage is generally not that dangerous, but it all adds up and this reduces it very effectively. At this point, it definitely appears to supplant the following trait as a backup defensive option. Against large-scale AoE packs, this
the best defensive trait.
- Kinda weak, but reliable against physical damage.
Trait to avoid:
- The value of a larger Rage pool falls off quickly.
is a fun Relic trait for dungeons and some raid encounters. With a few Relics and
, you can bring its cooldown to 20 seconds, and make even Monks and Demon Hunters envy how mobile you are! Beyond that, it's not great, so this trait should never be a high priority.
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