tbc classic pve protection paladin tank talents & builds burning crusade classic
  • Author: Kurathis
  • Date: April 1, 2021
  • Expansion: TBC Classic

When we look at running dungeons, heroics or raiding content, Protection Paladins have two general builds that they can choose between for effective tanking. Both have pros and cons, so let’s jump into this, beginning with the more popular or common Sanctity Aura build.

Sanctity Aura Build

The main appeal and sole reason for its existence is to grab Sanctity Aura, increasing our Holy damage by 10%. With this increase, our threat generation increases by 10%, as well:

There are a few things to keep in mind if you do choose to use this particular build:

  • Depending on how quickly your guild or group can defeat a boss, Sanctity Aura‘s benefit will fluctuate. For example, if we’re to look at Consecration during a three-minute fight, we’ll see an increase of 2,188.8 total threat, while in a two-minute fight, we’ll see an increase of 1,459.2 total threat.
  • This particular build excels when fighting against Undead or Demon targets given the limitation of Exorcism in the Burning Crusade.
  • Depending on your tanking and gearing style, this build may not actually generate any more threat than another build. For example, if we chose this build, had Precision for 3% Hit, and opted for “seal-twisting,” we may find that when compared to another Paladin who has higher Hit Chance with an alternative build that we’re actually providing less threat overall.
  • If we have a Retribution Paladin in our raid group or party, our Sanctity Aura will be made useless since most Retribution Paladins opt for Improved Sanctity Aura.
  • If we look at Retribution Aura, that is potentially 49.4 threat per hit we take. Unfortunately, it does not work when you Block, Dodge or Parry. However, if we look back at a three-minute long fight, and the boss is hitting you every two seconds, that would mean 90 attacks. Assuming we avoid 50% of those attacks, that will be 49.4 x 45 = 2,223 total threat. The downside to this would be when tanking caster mobs or bosses since it doesn’t trigger against spells.
  • Most of the abilities that we will be using in our tanking rotation rely on either Melee Hit Rating or Spell Hit Rating. Apart from Holy Shield and Consecration (It is possible for it to not cause damage on its first tick, but after that it will generally cause damage on every tick), you’re not guaranteed additional damage unless you reach either (or both) mentioned Hit Caps. Another important note to consider is Expertise if we’re focusing on “Seal-twisting.”
  • This build relies on favorable RNG.

Alternative Tanking Build

This build sees us picking up Improved Retribution Aura and Crusade at the expense of Ardent Defender. With our Tier 5 set providing a bonus to Retribution Aura damage (+15) this will bring us up to roughly 61 Holy damage per hit we take. This translates to roughly 115.9 threat per hit.

There are a couple of different things to take into consideration when considering this build:

  • We do pick up Avenger’s Shield, which will act as our pulling strategy. Avenger’s Shield is also a great addition when we begin to engage a non-demon or undead target, since we can’t use Exorcism. Sitting at a roughly 780 mana cost to cast, though, most players find this to not be worth it. However, Avenger’s Shield – without taking into account increased damage – can cause, on average, 1,045 threat per mob hit.
  • We do skip over Ardent Defender – we have to ask ourselves if the 36% reduction in damage taken at 35% health is really worth spending five points into this. This will depend on the content that you are currently running.
    • If we look at a Pre-Raid geared Paladin tank having 12,000 HP, and find out that 35% of that is 4,200 – most regular dungeon bosses won’t cause that much damage in one swing. However, Heroics and Raids have been known to cause quite a bit of damage. This is especially the case if you happen to be crushed – while this shouldn’t happen since you should aim for uncrushability very early on, some tanks opt for pieces for threat rather than mitigation.
  • We don’t go for Improved Seal of the Crusader, causing our party/raid damage to be slightly less if you do not have another Paladin who has this talent. However, you may be focusing more on maintaining Seal of Light or Seal of Wisdom on your target.


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2 months ago

Depending on raid composition, BoK is actually a very handy buff for a prot paladin. Your Holy paladin/s will have the improved versions of might and wisdom, so they will be giving out those buffs instead of BoK. If you don’t have it, then you restrict yourself to salv. Maybe you have a ret paladin with BoK, but maybe you don’t.

I’m not sure if you are familiar with the 0/40/21 build (sactity aura), but this is a very viable alternate to your build. It is very good when you are performing the role of OT and while tanking trash in dungeons/heroics/raids.

Reply to  Kurathis
2 months ago

This is all well and good, in theory. However, in my experience it’s often a case of when you don’t have BoK, your raid/party members want it.
5-man normal dunegons/heroics: It’s been a while since I’ve done a normal, but it’s quite easy to get a few pieces with spell hit (sword from caverns of time, ring from spirit shard hand ins, ring from cenarion expedition, etc). Not that any of this stuff is really essential for normals, as you could just run heaps of spell damage to counter any threat issues. Mitigation is hardly needed as it will ruin any potential mana returns from spirit attunement. Heroics are a bit different because of course you’ll want to look after your healer, and not give him/her a heart attack. Being the only paladin in a 5 man, which is generally the case, can leave some of your dps classes feeling pretty annoyed if you can’t give them BoK. Rogues and Hunters have very little need for salv since they have their own abilities to drop threat (and prefer BoK over might). Mages/druids/warriors/shaman/priests are 50-50 as to whether or not they need/want salv (I’ve experienced players of these classes expect BoK over salv). The only dps class that MUST HAVE salv is a warlock. I have also seen healers prefer BoK over wisdom.
25-man raids: I’m yet to attend a raid with more than 2 paladins (but I do play Horde, and we do tend to have less of them in our overall population). When you talk about DPS classes having full buffs/consumables, a paladin tank should also have these things (which will increase their threat output). If you aren’t using weapon oils/elixirs/potions/flasks/food/scrolls to improve your tanking performance, then you shouldn’t expect your DPS classes to do the same (or you shouldn’t be raiding with them if you are neglecting your consumable use).

TLDR: Personally, I am much happier knowing that I can give BoK, instead of having 5% more movement speed and 1/5% more spell avoidance (I wonder if Blizzard will ever fix this?).

Reply to  ReDoubt
2 months ago

I can vouch for the build that includes sactity aura. It is great in the current phase of the game.

1 hour ago

No offense, but your “Notes for Sanctity Aura Build” are really weird.

  • Sanctity Aura benefit fluctuating depending on length of fight: The longer a fight goes the more total threat a tank will cause (regardless of talent build). The longer a fight goes the more total healing a healer will do. A fight could go for 20 seconds, but you will still see a threat increase in the Sanctity Aura build. What is your point here?
  • Threat generation dependant on tanking style (seal twisting) and gear (Precision and hit rating): What build would involve not having 3/3 Precision? Both of your builds do. No Prot Paladin is going out of their way to stack any form of hit rating on their gear at this stage of TBC (they would be sacrificing more important stats if they did). When mentioning “seal twisting” specifically, you are talking about melee hit rating. I can guarantee you that no competent Prot Paladin is going out of their way to stack melee hit rating, regardless of talent build. No piece of Justicar/Crystalforge Armor has hit rating.
  • Being grouped with a Ret Paladin: A Prot Paladin will rarely (almost never) be placed in the same group as a Ret Paladin in a 25 man raid setting. Your Prot Paladin is going to be put with your Elemental Shaman, Shadow Priest, etc… whereas your Ret Paladin will be put in a Windfury group. Having Prot and Ret Paladin in the same group is just poor raid composition.
  • Retribution Aura: Retribution Aura causes threat, but this paragraph doesn’t tell the full story. Sanctity Aura is going to increase the threat of holy vengeance/blood corruption, seal of righteousness, holy shield, judgement of righteousness/vengeance/blood, consecration, and exorcism if it can be used. Many of those abilities rely on melee or spell hit rating (stats you wouldn’t stack), but as you’ve said, Retribution Aura relies on avoidance (the stats you are stacking to reach 102.4% work directly against Retribution Aura).
  • I will directly quote you here: “Most of the abilities that we will be using in our tanking rotation rely on either Melee Hit Rating or Spell Hit Rating… you’re not guaranteed additional damage unless you reach either (or both) mentioned Hit Caps. Another important note to consider is Expertise if we’re focusing on ‘Seal-twisting’.” What does any of this have to do with the talent build itself? Prot Paladin, regardless of talent build, are not aiming for melee or spell hit caps (or expertise). It’s interesting that you don’t look at Avenger’s Shield in the same way (it can miss, causing 0 threat at the expense of 780 mana. At least if a Judgment resists you aren’t losing 780 mana).
  • Quoting you again: “This build relies on favourable RNG”. Avenger’s Shield relies on RNG (as does Retribution Aura). I don’t think I need to mention melee/spell hit again. The only ability that a Prot Paladin has that is unaffected by RNG is consecration (minus the first tick).

It just seems like you are throwing lines of text at people to confuse them.

4 days ago

0/46/15 is the boomer prot pally spec. You want to be 0/40/21. Sanctity Aura is so much better than Avenger’s Shield.

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