pve protection paladin pre raid & best in slot (bis) (wotlk 3.3.5a)
  • Author: Nevermore
  • Date: January 8, 2024
  • Updated: January 10, 2024
  • Expansion: WotLK Classic

In this section of the guide, we will help you choose the best equipment or alternatives that you can utilize for each of the different phases of the expansion. Having the Pre-raid tab contain items that you will want to acquire before you start any serious raiding!

This guide is divided into two sections. The first section is basic lists, providing you full sets for a fresh level 80 pre-raid, a level 80 preparing for their first foray into Trial of the Crusader, and an example of ideal gear to aspire to from Trial of the Crusader. The second section provides more alternatives for each slot, giving an example of gear progression between these three areas of gearing.

Heroic++, otherwise known as Defense Protocol Beta drops gear from 10-man Ulduar and Naxxramas. Heroic+, otherwise known as Defense Protocol Alpha, drops gear from 10-man Naxxramas, as well as regular Heroic gear. Future Phases are likely to add further Heroic difficulties.

Best-in-Slot

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Those will be your best options for your ring slots.

Alternative: Essence of Gossamer
Alternative: Defender’s Code
Alternative / Threat / DPS: Darkmoon Card: Greatness

Those will be your best options for your Weapon & Shield

Alternative: Hero’s Surrender
Alternative: Broken Promise

Alternative: Libram of Obstruction (If you need to be beefier / don’t need threat)

Due to a lack of Hit Rating in Phase 2, the majority of Tanking Specializations will have around 4-5% Hit Rating from their equipment. This can be mitigated by adding Hit Rating Enchantments and Gems.

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Those will be the best options for the trinket slots.

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Those will be your best options for your ring slots.

Alternatives: Devium’s Eternally Cold Ring

Those will be your best options for your Weapon & Shield

Alternative: Havoc’s Call, Blade of Lordaeron Kings

Alternative: Bloodvenom Blade

Alternative: Libram of Valiance (Threat generation!)

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Progressive Best-in Slot

Before proceeding to the in-depth part of our guide, we will grant you some very important tips that you will have to keep in mind, especially as you progress through your journey and come across many different items.

As a fresh level 80, you have several choices for each separate slot. You will either be able to directly buy BoE items from the Auction House and other players, or, you will go through a progressive item hunt from Normal Dungeons, Heroic Dungeons, and the brand-new Heroic Plus Dungeons.

Your Pre-Raid options will often be defined by the BiS items from the previous raid tiers, and any other new dungeons or raid BoE items that arrive with the new phase.

Your Best-in-Slot items will often vary depending on the rest of your equipment and the situation you find yourself in. Depending on the class itself, the specialization, the phase you find yourself in, and the PvE encounter you currently face, your BiS items can completely change to better adjust to whichever situation you may find yourself in. In some cases, you will find a single BiS set that can be 100% functional in any situation, while in other cases, you will need to adjust your set from one PvE encounter to another.

As a Tank, this is especially true! For example, you may find situations where you will want to stack more Block Value against Bosses that deal Physical Damage while you may want to stack Magical Resistances against bosses that deal heavy Magical Damage.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
(Titan Rune Dungeon) Multiple Locations (All Titan Rune Dungeons) (Former Naxxramas 10)
(Titan Rune Dungeon) The Nexus – Ormorok the Tree-Shaper (Former Naxxramas 10)
The Nexus – Grand Magus Telestra (Heroic)

One of the best initial choices that you can opt for is the Tempered Titansteel Helm thanks to the very high Stamina baseline stat that it offers, being accessible to everyone by either directly contacting a Blacksmith or seeking the item on the Auction House. Alternatively, if you have Engineering, you can craft the Armored Titanium Goggles which is a slightly better version of the Tempered Titansteel Helm by offering you Expertise Rating as an additional stat.

Alternatively, you can start with the Arcane-Shielded Helm as it is easily accessible while also providing you with great initial stats such as high Stamina and Defence Rating.

The best possible item that you can acquire as a fresh level 80 will be the Heroes’ Redemption Faceguard that you can now gain from the new Titan Rune Dungeons, granting you access to the Tier 7 set bonus while also providing you with high baseline and secondary stats. The best part about this item is the Shield Block Value that it offers, as the Tier 7 set bonus can be quite underwhelming unless you activate the 4 items set bonus.

As an alternative to the Heroes’ Redemption Faceguard, you can use Thane’s Tainted Greathelm, however, you will want to swap it as fast as possible as you will find stronger items quite fast.

Pre-Raid

Item
Source
Naxxramas – Kel’Thuzad (25)
(Titan Rune Dungeon) Multiple Locations (All Titan Rune Dungeons) (Former Naxxramas 10)
Naxxramas – Gothik the Harvester (25)
Naxxramas – Sapphiron (25)

For the Pre-Raid phase of Ulduar, you will still use the Phase 1 BiS, namely the Valorous Redemption Faceguard. This is mainly due to the overall high baseline stats and secondary stats it offers, with an emphasis on the Expertise Rating and increased Block Value. The item also grants you access to the powerful 4-set item bonus from Tier 7 that can extend the duration of your Divine Shield and Divine Protection.

Naturally, the best alternative will be the Heroes’ Redemption Faceguard as it grants you precisely the same type of stats and effects, only by a smaller amount. The Helm of Vital Protection can also be used effectively, however, you will lose quite a significant amount of Block Value by doing so. The Parry Rating will supplement the Block Value loss, however, it won’t grant you the same effectiveness.

As a last resort, you can use the Platehelm of the Great Wyrm for its overall high stats, however, the lack of gems, especially a meta gem, will create a massive drawback for your overall tanking performance.

Best-in-Slot

Item
Source
Ulduar – Thorim (25)
Ulduar – General Vezax (25)
Ulduar – Freya (10)
Ulduar – Mimiron (10)

The best possible choice will be the Conqueror’s Aegis Faceguard! This is due to different reasons such as higher Defense Rating than the Helm of the Faceless, access to the Tier 8 2-item set bonus, and quite high overall stats. While the Shield Block Rating isn’t quite desired due to our Holy Shield, it can still be useful whenever the effect is not active.

Helm of the Faceless is the next-best alternative available in the current expansion tier that can grant you quite high overall stats, however, it has quite a low Defense Rating when compared to the Tier 8 Helm. You also don’t have access to the Tier 8 set bonus, which means you will have an overall reduced Threat Generation.

The Ironbark Faceguard is another great alternative, however, you will lose some of your damage mitigation in favor of increased Expertise Rating. The item itself is a better choice than the Helm of the Faceless if you don’t have enough Defense Rating.

Lastly, you can keep using the Valorous Aegis Faceguard until you manage to find any of the other presented items. Depending on the rest of your items, you may want to preserve it until you manage to find any of the previously mentioned items.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
(Titan Rune Dungeons) Gundrak – Gal’darah (Former The Eye of Eternity 10)
(Titan Rune Dungeons) The Culling of Stratholme – Infinite Corruptor (Thrash Drop)
Gundrak – Zone Drop (BoE)
Ahn’kahet: The Old Kingdom – Jedoga Shadowseeker (Heroic)
The Culling of Stratholme – Mal’ganis (Heroic)

You have many choices for your first item for the Necklace slot! You can either directly buy a BoE item, whether it is a drop or a crafted item or you can go through a slow dungeon-crawl to acquire powerful items.

The best possible choices will be represented by the Drakescale Collar and the Medallion of the Disgraced. You can now acquire them thanks to the new Titan Rune Dungeons that got released in the second phase of the expansion! Both items grant a similar amount of mitigation, albeit different in the nature of the stats themselves. The Medallion of the Disgraced is the better choice if you already have other sources of Block Value while the Drakescale Collar can offer a similar type of mitigation in the form of Shield Block Rating and Parry Rating.

The Chained Military Gorget was the previous best option for a fresh 80, before the release of the new TItan Rune Dungeons, as it grants quite high overall stats, especially Stamina. The item also grants a decent amount of Hit Rating, aiding you in reaching the soft cap.

In terms of BoE items, you can either buy the Titanium Earthguard Chain as it grants a decently high amount of Defense Rating, even if it does not grant other stats, or you can buy the Burning Skull Pendant as it grants a very high amount of Block Value and Defense Rating paired up with similar stats.

If you don’t have enough gold to buy a BoE or if you can’t access Titan Rune Dungeons yet, your best options will come from Heroic Dungeons. You will want to use either the Shadowseeker’s Pendant or the Pendant of the Nathrezim as they both offer good baseline stats and decent secondary stats with an emphasis on Defense Rating.

Pre-Raid

Item
Source
Naxxramas – Kel’Thuzad (25)
(Titan Rune Dungeons) Gundrak – Gal’darah (Former The Eye of Eternity 10)
(Titan Rune Dungeons) The Culling of Stratholme – Infinite Corruptor (Thrash Drop)
Naxxramas – Zone Drop (25) Multiple Bossess

Once again, the best possible choice for this slot depends on the rest of your current gear. You may choose between the Nexus War Champion Beads and the Boundless Ambition as your primary options. Boundless Ambition is a great item if you struggle with your overall Expertise Rating, however, for an overall better damage mitigation, you will want to choose the Nexus War Champion Beads since it offers Parry Rating and Shield Block Rating.

The Drakescale Collar is the pre-upgrade version of the Nexus War Champion Beads, granting you the exact same type of stats, only in a lower amount. This makes it a great alternative, even inside Ulduar. This is especially true since now you can acquire it from the new Titan Rune Dungeons.

The Medallion of the Disgraced is another great alternative, even if it has a low item level! You can compare it to the Drakescale Collar in terms of damage mitigation, however, it can be considered stronger if you already stacked a large amount of Block Value from other sources.

Lastly, Heritage is another good alternative, however, it is focused more on providing you with Hit Rating and overall good baseline stats rather than secondary stats that aid you with damage mitigation.

Best-in-Slot

Item
Source
Ulduar – Freya (25) HM
Ulduar – Kologarn (25)
Ulduar – Zone Drop (25) Multiple Bosses

The best possible choice for this slot depends on the encounter you find yourself in! Your main two contenders for the BiS spot will be the Bronze Pendant of the Vanir and the Necklace of Unerring Mettle. In most situations, the Bronze Pendant of the Vanir will be the better choice as it grants a gem socket paired up with high values of Dodge Rating and Parry Rating, however, in some situations where bosses hit hard on every attack, you will want to use the Necklace of Unerring Mettle for the increased Block Value.

Both the Titanstone Pendant and the Shard of the Crystal Forest are great alternatives, each fulfilling a very similar role. While both items grant extremely similar stats, they are differentiated by the Hit Rating and Expertise Rating that they offer. Depending on your current needs, you may choose to opt for the Shard of the Crystal Forest if you lack Hit Rating, and opt for the Titanstone Pendant if you lack Expertise Rating.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
(Titan Rune Dungeons) Multiple Locations (All Titan Rune Dungeons) (Former Naxxramas 10)
(Titan Rune Dungeons) Azjol-Nerub – Krik’thir the Gatewatcher (Former Naxxramas 10)
Sunwell Plateau – Lady Sacrolash, Grand Warlock Alythess (Special Mention)
Gundrak – Drakkari Colossus (Heroic)
Halls of Lightning – General Bjarngrim (Heroic)

The best possible choice as a fresh level 80 will be the Heroes’ Redemption Shoulderguards. This is mostly due to the access to the Tier 7 item-set bonuses while also granting you a high amount of baseline and secondary stats. However, until you manage to get to the new Titan Rune Dungeons, you will want to begin with other items. The Abomination Shoulderblades enter the same category, granting you quite high overall stats paired up with a very beneficial Hit Rating that will help you early on. However, they are as well only available through the new Titan Rune Dungeons.

For the players that managed to raid the Sunwell Plateau before reaching Northrend, we have a special mention in the form of the Spaulders of the Thalassian Defender. The item itself is extremely powerful and can be used confidently in a Naxxramas 25.

As for two great options that you can use once you enter Heroic Dungeons, the Pauldrons of the Colossus or the Iron Dwarf Smith Pauldrons are great initial choices, both granting you decently high baseline stats paired up with a great amount of Defense Rating.

Pre-Raid

Item
Source
Naxxramas – Loatheb, Gluth (25)
Naxxramas – Anub’Rekhan (25)
Naxxramas – Gothik the Harvester (25)
(Titan Rune Dungeons) Multiple Locations (All Titan Rune Dungeons) (Former Naxxramas 10)

The best possible choice for the Pre-Raid phase of Ulduar will remain the Phase 1 BiS, the Valorous Redemption Shoulderguards. This is mostly due to the very high baseline stats that the item offers combined with high defensive secondary stats such as Dodge Rating and Parry Rating. While we do prefer Block Value, those two stats are just as powerful, especially when combined.

The Pauldrons of Unnatural Death is a great alternative, especially since it also allows you to customize the item with one gem socket while also providing you with a solid amount of Expertise Rating. You can also use the Burdened Shoulderplates, however, you won’t benefit as much from the Shield Block Rating that it offers since you already have Holy Shield.

Lastly, you can use the Heroes’ Redemption Shoulderguards as its the precursor of the Valorous Redemption Shoulderguards. While you can directly use it until you gain its upgrade, you should still consider the other two options we have presented.

Best-in-Slot

Item
Source
Ulduar – XT-002 Deconstructor (25)
Ulduar – Yogg-Saron (25)
Ulduar – Thorim (10)

For this slot, you have two possible choices that can be used as a BiS! You can choose between the Shoulderplates of the Deconstructor and the Conqueror’s Aegis Shoulderplates. The Conqueror’s Aegis Shoulderplates are a better overall defensive choice due to the very high Shield Block Value that it offers along with the Threat Generation from the 2-set item bonus. The Shoulderplates of the Deconstructor are a better overall choice if your build doesn’t have enough Hit Rating, however, it offers lower damage mitigation than the Tier 8 item.

Other than those two items, the Valorous Aegis Shoulderguards is the next-best alternative that you can use. It offers you the exact same type of stats and benefits as its upgraded version, only in an overall smaller amount.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
(Titan Rune Dungeon) Gundrak – Drakkari Colossus (Former Naxxramas 10 )
Utgarde Keep – Zone Drop (Heroic) (BoE)
The Nexus – Commander Kolurg/Commander Stoutbeard (Heroic)

As a fresh level 80, the best possible choice will be the Cloak of Armed Strife. The item itself grants a good amount of baseline stats, combined with a very decent amount of Defense Rating and Hit Rating.

The Durable Nerubhide Cape is another alternative that can be great early on, however, besides the high baseline stats and great Dodge Rating and Expertise Rating as secondary stats, the item itself doesn’t grant any form of Defense Rating.

The Tattered Castle Drape is another great alternative that grants high baseline stats combined with a good amount of Defense Rating. In addition to those stats, the item grants a very high amount of Block Value, granting you a great deal of damage mitigation.

As a last resort, you can use the Cloak of the Enemy as it grants good baseline stats and Defense Rating, however, its a better choice for builds that massively lack Hit Rating.

Pre-Raid

Item
Source
Naxxramas – Zone Drop (25)
Naxxramas – Zone Drop (25)
(Titan Rune Dungeon) Gundrak – Drakkari Colossus (Former Naxxramas 10 )

The best choice for the Pre-Raid phase before Ulduar will remain the BiS from Phase 1, namely the Shadow of the Ghoul. This is mostly due to the item granting you the highest possible baseline stats for a cloak in the first phase of the expansion, along with quite a high Block Value.

The next-best option will be the Platinum Mesh Cloak. This is mainly due to the overall high baseline stats combined with a great amount of Defense Rating, a good amount of Dodge Rating, and quite a helpful amount of Hit Rating that should help you reach your Hit Cap.

Another interesting alternative is the Cloak of the Shadowed Sun. While it does not grant as many secondary stats as the other items, it can still be quite a powerful item if you take the high Armor Value it offers in consideration. A great choice for fights against bosses that have high physical damage.

If you don’t have access to any of the previously mentioned items and you have no time to grind for them, you can use either the Cloak of Armed Strife as it grants a decent amount of Defense Rating and Hit Rating, or the Durable Nerubhide Cape. However, the Durable Nerubhide Cape should only be used as a last resort since it doesn’t grant any Defense Rating.

Best-in-Slot

Item
Source
Ulduar – Mimiron (25) HM
Ulduar – Auriaya (25)
Ulduar – General Vezax (10)
Ulduar – The Iron Council (10)

The best possible choice will be the Titanskin Cloak. This is due to the very high baseline stats it offers, especially Stamina, paired up with Hit Rating and Expertise Rating which will aid you in reaching your soft caps. The cloak also grants you a very high Defense Rating of 80, being especially potent!

The next-best alternative will be the Cloak of the Makers. This is due to the high baseline stats it offers, almost the same as the Titanskin Cloak, paired up with overall high secondary stats. The item itself grants you more mitigation through its Dodge Rating, however, you will lose quite a considerable amount of Expertise Rating.

Both the Saronite Animus Cloak and the Cloak of the Iron Council are great initial choices, however, the choice really depends on the rest of your build. With the Cloak of the Iron Council being the better choice if you lack Expertise Rating while the Saronite Animus Cloak is a better choice if you lack Hit Rating.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
80 Emblem of Heroism
Vault of Archavon (Archavon the Stone Watcher)
(Titan Rune Dungeons) The Nexus – Commander Stoutbeard/Commander Kolurg (Former Naxxramas 10)
Halls of Stone – Sjonnir the Ironshaper (Heroic)
Drak’Tharon Keep – The Prophet Tharon’ja (Heroic)
The Wyrmrest Accord – Revered

For this slot as a fresh level 80 you will have multiple available choices that can be used in a Naxxramas 25-man raid. The most powerful choice will be the Heroes’ Redemption Breastplate, however, it comes at a steep price of 80 80 Emblem of Heroism. The only other viable option for attaining this item is through the Vault of Archavon raid, but that implies quite a heavy amount of RNG.

The Massive Skeletal Ribcage is another great option for a fresh character, especially since it becomes available with the new Titan Rune Dungeons. This is mainly due to the very high amount of baseline stats that it offers alongside its high Defense Rating combined with a very high Parry Rating and a very high Expertise Rating. The only downside to this item is that it lacks any form of gem sockets, however, the stats themselves are high enough to not impact your overall build.

Besides those two initial choices which are extremely powerful, you can also use items such as the Sun-Emblazoned Chestplate and the Ziggurat Imprinted Chestguard which are great from a stats point of view, albeit considerably weaker than the previous options.

Another alright alternative, especially for a beginner character would be the Breastplate of the Solemn Council which can be easily attainable thanks to the Dragonblight questline. The item can be easily acquired from the Wyrmrest Accord quartermaster, provided you have the gold and reputation. Compared to the other items, the very high Defense Rating that it offers paired up with the high amount of Stamina as a baseline stat turn it into an extremely solid choice for your dungeon adventures and even early raids.

Pre-Raid

Item
Source
Naxxramas – Four Horsemen, Gluth (25)
The Obsidian Sanctum – Sartharion (25)
80 Emblem of Heroism
Vault of Archavon (Archavon the Stone Watcher)
Naxxramas – Grobbulus (25)
Naxxramas – Gluth, Heigan the Unclean (25)

The best possible choice for the Pre-Raid phase before Ulduar will remain the BiS from Phase 1, namely the Valorous Redemption Breastplate. This is both due to the overall stats that it offers such as Stamina, Block Value, and Defense Rating while also granting you access to the T7 set bonuses.

As a viable alternative, you should use the Dragonstorm Breastplate as it grants precisely the same baseline stats combined with Dodge Rating and Parry Rating as Damage Mitigation tools. In terms of pure “Tankiness”, you could consider both items to be on the same level.

The Heroes’ Redemption Breastplate is the precursor item to the Valorous Redemption Breastplate, granting you precisely the same type of stats as its upgraded version, only in an overall lower amount. While you may be able to use it confidently, it comes at a steep price of 80 Emblem of Heroism, making it quite a difficult item to attain if your character is rather fresh. The only other way of attaining the item is through the Vault of Archavon raid in Wintergrasp, however, that requires a large amount of RNG.

The Chestguard of the Exhausted is another great alternative, especially if you reached your soft Hit Cap and soft Expertise Cap while the Breastplate of Tormented Rage is a better choice for builds that lack Hit Rating. The only issue with the Breastplate of Tormented Rage is that it lacks any gem sockets, however, it supplements its lack through increased baseline stats.

Best-in-Slot

Item
Source
Ulduar – Auriaya (25)
Ulduar – Algalon the Observer (10)
Ulduar – Hodir (25)
Ulduar – Yogg-Saron (10)

For this particular slot, you have multiple different choices that can actively be used as a BiS! As mentioned in the beginning of the progressive list, you will find that the majority of your items can be swapped resulting in an altered build based on the rest of your current items and the encounter you find yourself in.

Among the most notable choices we will have the Unbreakable Chestguard and the Breastplate of the Timeless. The Unbreakable Chestguard is a great item if you already have other sources of Block Value as they will grant you a high amount of mitigation once you stack a high value. The item has great baseline stats, however, it has quite a mediocre Defense Rating when compared to the rest of the items.

The Breastplate of the Timeless offers similar baseline stats with an emphasis on Parry Rating and Expertise Rating as secondary stats. This item is a better alternative if you don’t have enough Defense Rating, as it offers quite a huge amount.

As an alternative to those two items, you can use the Tier 8 Chest, the Conqueror’s Aegis Breastplate. However, this option is only viable if you somehow manage to activate the 4-item set bonus resulting in a considerate boost of Block Value. The item itself is powerful enough on its own, however, the other options are simply better if look at it from a perspective where you remove the T8 set bonus.

Lastly, you can use the Valorous Aegis Breastplate until you gain its upgraded version or any of the previously mentioned items. The item itself grants quite decent stats, however, it pales in comparison to the rest of the items.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
(Titan Rune Dungeons) The Culling of Stratholme – Infinite Corruptor (Thrash Drop) (Former Naxxramas 10)
Ahn’kahet: The Old Kingdom – Herald Volazj (Heroic)
The Culling of Stratholme – Salramm the Fleshcrafter (Heroic)

As a fresh level 80, you will have access to two very powerful options, one of which can be accessible with gold or through the new Titan Rune Dungeons. The Bracers of Dalaran’s Parapets will be the best choice, especially since it grants high baseline stats combined with a very good amount of Defense Rating. The item also grants you Hit Rating which will aid you early on.

The Minion Bracers are the next-best option, especially as it grants similar baseline stats and almost the same amount of Defense Rating. While the item doesn’t grant you any Hit Rating, it does grant a good amount of Dodge Rating and Parry Rating.

The Bracers of the Herald is a good alternative for the beginning of your journey, even though it grants only two secondary stats. A large amount of Parry Rating can offer the same amount of mitigation as the Minion Bracers.

If you can’t gain access to any of the previously mentioned items, the Bindings of Dark Will is quite an impressive item that provides quite powerful stats. It is very similar to the Bracers of the Herald.

Pre-Raid

Item
Source
Naxxramas – Maexxna (25)
Naxxramas – Instructor Razuvious (25)

For the Pre-Raid phase before Ulduar, your best choice will remain the BiS from Phase 1, namely the Bindings of the Hapless Prey. This is due to the massive overall stats that it grants us, however, it claims explicitly this spot thanks to the large amount of Block Value that it offers us.

Alternatively, you can use the Bracers of the Unholy Knight as your next-best option. While it does not grant Block Value, it still provides plenty of damage mitigation through Parry Rating and Dodge Rating. The item also has a gem socket that allows you to further customize it with either increased Hit Rating or Stamina.

You can also use the Bracers of Dalaran’s Parapets as it grants impressive stats, however, it’s an item far better suited for builds that already have a lot of damage mitigation tools but don’t have enough Hit Rating. Out of all 3 items, this is the most accessible since it’s a BoE item.

Best-in-Slot

Item
Source
Ulduar – Flame Leviathan (25)
Ulduar – Flame Leviathan (10)

The best possible item for this slot will be Mimiron’s Inferno Couplings. This item grants the best overall stats compared to any other Bracer available in Ulduar. While it does not grant any Block Value, it grants plenty of damage mitigation through its Dodge Rating while also offering you a good amount of Defense Rating.

The Flamewatch Armguards are the predecessors of Mimiron’s Inferno Couplings, granting you precisely the same type of stats, only in a lower overall amount. They can be used as a great alternative until you manage to find the BiS.

The Bracers of Dalaran’s Parapets are the last available alternative that works very similarly to the two previously presented items. The only difference is the overall stats which are lower and the difference in the damage mitigation provided in the form of Parry Rating instead of Dodge Rating.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
60 Emblem of Heroism/Vault of Archavon ( Archavon the Stone Watcher)
(Titan Rune Dungeons) Halls of Stone – The Tribunal of Ages (Former Naxxramas 10)
Dalaran – Kirin Tor Quartermaster (Exalted)
Gundrak – Gal’darah (Heroic)
Halls of Stone – Zone Drop (Heroic) (BoE)
Violet Hold – Ichoron (Heroic)

For this slot, as a fresh level 80, you have quite a lot of options. Depending on whether you want to simply acquire a BoE item such as the Refined Ore Gloves or simply farm dungeons for items and emblems such as the Gauntlets of the Master and the Fireproven Gauntlets, the choice is entirely yours as many of the items are quite similar in terms of stats and power.

The best option will be the Heroes’ Redemption Handguards as it grants high overall stats, a gem socket that allows you to increase your Stamina, and access to the Tier 7 item-set bonuses. You can either acquire it by farming Emblems of Heroism or by having a good RNG in the Vault of Archavon raid. The Gauntlets of the Master are the next-best alternative, especially since they have higher overall baseline and secondary stats. The downsides of this item are that there is no gem socket that can be used to increase your overall Stamina and no access to the Tier 7 item-set bonuses.

Pre-Raid

Item
Source
The Obsidian Sanctum – Sartharion (25)
Naxxramas – Gluth, Noth the Plaguebringer (25)
Naxxramas – Grand Widow Faerlina (25)

The best possible choice for the Pre-Raid phase before Ulduar will remain the Phase 1 BiS, namely the Valorous Redemption Handguards. This is mainly due to the decently high baseline stats and the access to the Tier 7 item-set bonuses. While the item itself doesn’t grant a lot of damage mitigation stats, it does improve your overall Hit Rating. Since we want to be as close to the soft Hit Cap as possible, this item will aid us greatly.

The next-best option will be the Gauntlets of the Disobedient. While it does not grant any gem sockets, it has amazing baseline stats combined with a large amount of damage mitigation in the form of Block Value. On the same note, the Callous-Hearted Gauntlets represent another great alternative, presenting themselves with the same baseline stats and a different combination of secondary stats that grants a high amount of damage mitigation.

Lastly, you can use the Heroes’ Redemption Handguards as they have the same type of stats as the Valorous Redemption Handguards, only in a lower amount. We positioned it on the last spot due to the overall stat differences between the the item itself and the other possible alternatives, however, if you take the 4-item set into consideration, you can freely position it on a higher spot.

Best-in-Slot

Item
Source
Ulduar – Freya (25) HM
Ulduar – Mimiron (25)
Ulduar – The Iron Council (25)

The best possible choice for this slot will be the Handguards of Revitalization! This is due to the large amount of stats that it can grant you, considering both the baseline stats and the secondary stats. While it doesn’t grant you any Block Value, the Dodge Rating combined with Parry Rating that it grants you will still provide massive amounts of damage mitigation.

The next-best alternative is the Conqueror’s Aegis Handguards. This is due to the similar amount of baseline stats that it offers, however, it provides damage mitigation in a different form by granting you a large amount of Block Value. This item is better than the Handguards of Revitalization if you already have a lot of other items that provide Block Value.

The Tier 8 piece is also better if you already have 3 other Tier 8 pieces as you can activate the 4-set item bonus which can grant you a significant amount of Block Value. However, for this build, we recommend that you don’t opt for the 4-item set bonus, and use pieces that don’t belong to the set instead.

As a last alternative, you can use the Handguards of the Enclave as it grants a similar amount of Block Value, however, it doesn’t grant any gem sockets making the item rather weak by comparison.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
(Titan Rune Dungeon) Utgarde Pinnacle – Gortok Palehoof (Former Naxxramas 10)
Utgarde Pinnacle – Skadi the Ruthless (Heroic)
Azjol-Nerub – Anub’arak (Heroic)
Drak’Tharon Keep – Thrash Drop (BoE)

The best possible option as a fresh level 80 is the Waistguard of the Tutor. Thanks to the new Titan Rune Dungeons, you can effectively gain this item quite early on, boosting your overall baseline stats by a high amount. You will also benefit from quite a large amount of Defense Rating and Block Value from this item.

The Waistguard of Living Iron is another great alternative as it grants a high amount of beneficial stats, however, its steep price of 40 Emblems of Heroism can be a huge downside of the item. The choice is entirely yours. In retrospective, Skadi’s Iron Belt is an item that comes extremely close to the Waistguard of Living Iron in terms of pure stats. The only difference is that the form of damage mitigation comes from the Block Value instead of Dodge Rating and Parry Rating.

Both the Ancient Aligned Girdle and the Waistguard of the Risen Knight are great initial choices for their overall stats, however, you should swap them as fast as possible since they only have two secondary stats, instead of three secondary stats. Both items are great if you look at their baseline stats and the amount of Defense Rating that they offer.

Pre-Raid

Item
Source
Naxxramas – Maexxna (25)
(Titan Rune Dungeon) Utgarde Pinnacle – Gortok Palehoof (Former Naxxramas 10)
Naxxramas – Patchwerk (25)

The best possible option for this slot during the Pre-Raid phase of Ulduar will be the BiS from Phase 1, namely the Ablative Chitin Girdle. This is mainly due to the high baseline and secondary stats that the item offers, especially the Hit Rating, paired up with one available gem socket. This item is especially good if you are not close to your soft Hit Cap.

As the next-best alternative, you can use the Waistguard of the Tutor as a more defensive-oriented option. This item is quite strong since it offers a very high amount of Block Value, however, it doesn’t have any gem socket, limiting the overall customizability of the item.

Either the Fleshless Girdle or the Waistguard of Living Iron as both have very good stats, however, the latter option is considerably weaker than the former, as it has overall lower stats.

Best-in-Slot

Item
Source
Ulduar – Razorscale (25)

For this slot, the best option depends entirely on the rest of your build. For our current setup, the best option will be the Shieldwarder Girdle as it grants us a considerable amount of Hit Rating. The next-best alternative if you managed to gain Hit Rating from other sources will be the Indestructible Plate Girdle. This will be due to the two available gem sockets paired up with very high baseline stats and high secondary stats.

The Dragonslayer’s Brace is another viable alternative, however, it is considerably weaker than the other two options. The only benefit of this item is the high Block Value that it grants, meaning that you will want to swap it swiftly.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
(Titan Rune Dungeon) Multiple Locations (All Titan Rune Dungeons) (Former Naxxramas 10)
(Titan Rune Dungeon) Ahn’kahet: The Old Kingdom – Jedoga Shadowseeker (Former Naxxramas 10)
Violet Hold – Cyanigosa (Heroic)
The Oculus – Ley-Guardian Eregos (Heroic)
The Culling of Stratholme – Chrono-Lord Epoch (Heroic)

As a fresh level 80, you have different available options for this slot, with two items being particularly strong. You can use either of the Heroes’ Redemption Legguards or the Legplates of Inescapable Death as they both have exactly the same type of stats, only with different stat values. The most noticeable difference is the access to the Tier 7 item-set bonuses.

The Bolstered Legplates are an extremely good alternative, especially early on since it grants very high baseline stats combined with a great amount of Defense Rating and Hit Rating. The Ley-Guardian’s Legguards can be considered the precursor item to the Bolstered Legplates, as it grants exactly the same type of stats, only in a lower amount.

Lastly, the Legplates of the Infinite Drakonid are a good initial choice that you can use in case you can’t find any of the other available options. It provides great baseline stats combined with a great amount of Defense Rating. Though, you will want to seek an upgrade as fast as possible, as it grants only two secondary stats.

Pre-Raid

Item
Source
The Eye of Eternity – Malygos (25)
Naxxramas – Thaddius, Gluth (25)
(Titan Rune Dungeon) Multiple Locations (All Titan Rune Dungeons) (Former Naxxramas 10)
(Titan Rune Dungeon) Ahn’kahet: The Old Kingdom – Jedoga Shadowseeker (Former Naxxramas 10)
The Obsidian Sanctum – Sartharion (25)

The best option for the Pre-Raid phase before Ulduar will remain the Phase 1 BiS, namely the Legplates of Sovereignty. This is due to the extremely high baseline stats that the item offers, combined with the very high secondary stats, namely a very high amount of Defense Rating, paired up with a very high amount of Parry Rating and Expertise Rating.

Normally, this slot was reserved for the off-piece, however, you can still use either of the Valorous Redemption Legguards or the Heroes’ Redemption Legguards as viable alternatives. In terms of pure defensive power, the Tier 7 items are actually stronger than the Legplates of Sovereignty since they offer Block Value, however, you will remove a great deal of Expertise Rating by using them.

The Legplates of Inescapable Death are a very similar alternative to the Tier 7 items, however, just as it was the case with them, you will need plenty of Expertise Rating from your other items in order to maintain the cap.

The Dragon Brood Legguards is yet another great alternative, however, its an item that is far better in builds that lack Hit Rating as it grants quite a high amount of Hit Rating.

Best-in-Slot

Item
Source
Ulduar – Algalon the Observer (25)
Ulduar – Freya (25)
Ulduar – Flame Leviathan (10) HM
Ulduar – Kologarn (25)

For this slot, you have several available choices, with two options that can be considered BiS depending on the rest of your current build. The best option from a raw stats perspective is the Legplates of the Endless Void. It grants phenomenal baseline stats, paired up with 3 gem sockets, and a large amount of defensive secondary stats.

The Conqueror’s Aegis Legguards is the other viable alternative to the Legplates of the Endless Void, granting precisely the same type of stats, only in a lower amount, with only two gem sockets instead of three. The item is slightly better only if you take into consideration the 4-item set bonus that it can grant you.

The Gilded Steel Legplates are a viable alternative, however, a considerably weaker one. The item is great if you have a high deficiency of Expertise Rating, however, it has lower overall baseline stats and secondary stats than the other two items, with only one gem socket available.

The Saronite Plated Legguards are another viable alternative based on the high baseline stats that the item offers. However, it only grants two secondary stats, even if it has two gem sockets. This item can be used until you manage to gain an upgrade, as the lack of secondary stats can hurt your overall performance, even if the baseline stats are quite high.

Lastly, the Wyrmguard Legplates is a great alternative if your entire build consists of items that have Block Value. The overall baseline stats that the item offers are very good, however, it comes at a steep price of 39 Emblems of Conquest, making it quite a hefty purchase.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
Naxxramas – Anub’Rekhan, Gluth (25) (BoE)
(Titan Rune Dungeons) Gundrak – Slad’ran (Former Naxxramas 10)
Ahn’kahet: The Old Kingdom – Herald Volazj (Heroic)
The Wyrmrest Accord – Revered
The Wyrmrest Accord – Revered

As a fresh level 80, there are plenty of choices when it comes to your feet slot. For this slot, we recommend that you try to gain a BoE item or a reputation item as there are plenty to choose from. The most powerful BoE that you can acquire is the Inexorable Sabatons which actually holds the BiS spot for Phase 1. However, it completely depends on whether another player posted the item on the Auction House or not.

You can choose other BoE alternatives or Reputation items such as the Tempered Titansteel Treads, the Sabatons of Draconic Vigor, or the Conqueror’s Darkruned Boots, however, each of them can be considered a temporary item as you will want to upgrade to the Inexorable Sabatons.

Another item that is on par with the Inexorable Sabatons in terms of pure stats is the Plague-Impervious Boots, however, the damage mitigation comes in the form of Parry Rating and Dodge Rating which means that you won’t benefit as much from Holy Shield.

Pre-Raid

Item
Source
Naxxramas – Anub’Rekhan, Gluth (25) (BoE)
Naxxramas – Gluth, Thaddius (25)
(Titan Rune Dungeons) Gundrak – Slad’ran (Former Naxxramas 10)

The best possible choice for the Pre-Raid before Ulduar will be the previous BiS from Phase 1, namely the Inexorable Sabatons. This is due to the extremely high baseline stats combined with the very high Block Value and Block Rating that this item grants.

The next-best alternative is the Sabatons of Endurance, as it can grant you quite powerful stats. However, it is an option far better suited for builds that severely lack Expertise Rating and already have a large amount of damage mitigation stats such as Parry Rating, Dodge Rating, and Block Value.

Either of Kyzoc’s Ground Stompers or Plague-Impervious Boots are great alternatives that can be used efficiently as both items have the exact same type of stats, with the only difference being their precise values. As Parry Rating and Dodge Rating are both great alternatives to Block Value and Block Rating, it really depends on the rest of your build

Best-in-Slot

Item
Source
Ulduar – Mimiron (10) HM
Ulduar – Zone Drop (25) Multiple Bosses
Ulduar – Ignis the Furnace Master (25)

The best possible option for this slot will be the Greaves of the Iron Army. This is due to the very high baseline stats, the two available gem sockets, and the overall high secondary stats that it grants. The item is great since it boosts your overall Expertise Rating by quite a large amount while also granting you a very large amount of Defense Rating. While it is not the best item when it comes to damage mitigation, you will most definitely need the Expertise Rating.

Either one of the Greaves of the Stonewarder or the Spiked Deathdealers can act as a great alternative, especially since both items are very similar. The Greaves of the Stonewarder are a better choice for builds that stack Block Value and Block Rating while the Spiked Deathdealers are an universally great choice due to the Parry Rating/Dodge Rating stats.

Lastly, the Charred Saronite Greaves are a great choice for builds that severely lack Hit Rating, as the item grants a considerable amount of Hit Rating.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
(Titan Rune Dungeons) Halls of Lightning – Loken (Former The Obsidian Sanctum 10)
(Titan Rune Dungeons) Halls of Lightning – General Bjarngrim (Former Naxxramas 10)
Utgarde Keep – Ingvar the Plunderer (Heroic)
The Oculus – Drakos the Interrogator (Heroic)
Halls of Stone – Maiden of Grief (Heroic)
Ahn’kahet: The Old Kingdom – Elder Nadox (Heroic)

You have many choices when it comes to your ring slots as a fresh level, however, the best choices will come from the new Titan Rune Dungeons. The best possible ring combination will be the Signet of the Accord/Deflection Band. This is mainly due to the amazing amount of Stamina that they provide, combined with a very good amount of Defense Rating and Parry/Dodge Rating for damage mitigation. The rings also help you achieve your soft Hit Cap and soft Expertise Cap. Those two rings will serve you well until you can manage to gain upgrades from Naxxramas 25 or Ulduar 10.

The Titanium Earthguard Ring is a viable alternative that can be accessed directly after leveling to 80 since its a BoE item. It will grant you a solid amount of stats, with the possibility of adding one extra Stamina gem for overall increased survivability. The Defense Rating is a bit low when compared to other purple items or even blue items, but the Stamina itself will massively aid you.

The Unsmashable Heavy Band is another viable option that is actually on par with the first two options since it grants a large amount of Stamina paired up with quite a high amount of Block Value. Even if the item has only two secondary stats, the large amount of Block Value makes up for it.

Either one of the Band of Torture, the Woeful Band or the Nerubian Shield Ring can work as an initial option, however, you will want to change them as fast as possible considering there are multiple better alternatives. You can consider those items as necessary stepping stones in your gear progression.

Pre-Raid

Item
Source
Naxxramas – Zone Drop (25) Multiple Bosses
Naxxramas – Sapphiron (25)
(Titan Rune Dungeons) Halls of Lightning – Loken (Former The Obsidian Sanctum 10)
(Titan Rune Dungeons) Halls of Lightning – General Bjarngrim (Former Naxxramas 10)

The best ring combination for the ring slots for the Pre-Raid Phase will remain the BiS from Phase 1, namely the Sand-Worn Band/Signet of the Impregnable Fortress. This is mainly due to the overall high baseline stats that they offer and a perfect combination of both complementary Expertise Rating/Hit Rating stats and defensive stats such as Defense Rating, Parry Rating, and Dodge Rating.

The Gatekeeper can be an alternative, however, it only has two secondary stats, meaning that you will want to swap it as fast as possible with either one of the previously mentioned items. Gatekeeper is a better option for builds that focus entirely on stacking Stamina.

One of the Signet of the Accord or the Deflection Band is a good alternative, depending on your build’s current lack. The Signet of the Accord is a great choice if you lack enough Expertise Rating while also providing a significant amount of Stamina while the Deflection Band is a similar alternative that should be helpful in case you lack enough Hit Rating.

Best-in-Slot

Item
Source
Ulduar – Thorim (25) HM
Ulduar – XT-002 Deconstructor (10) HM
Ulduar – XT-002 Deconstructor (25)
Ulduar – Auriaya (25)
Ulduar – Flame Leviathan (25)

The best possible ring combination for the ring slots will be Fate’s Clutch/Signet of the Earthshaker with various variations depending on your current build. The other two possible combinations are either Fate’s Clutch/Platinum Band of the Aesir and Fate’s Clutch/Seal of Ulduar.

Fate’s Clutch is generally regarded as the most powerful ring that you can acquire as a Protection Paladin in the second phase! This is due not only to the item level upgrade it received but also due to the overall impressive stats that it boosts.

Depending on the rest of your build, you will want to pair it with the Signet of the Earthshaker for a build that emphasizes Block Value, the Platinum Band of the Aesir for builds that lack Defense Rating/Expertise Rating, and the Seal of Ulduar for increased Stamina at the cost of reduced Defense Rating and Expertise Rating.

As a last resort, you can also use The Leviathan’s Coil, however, you should aim to find any of the previously mentioned items, as the The Leviathan’s Coil is quite underwhelming.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
Azjol-Nerub – Hadronox (Heroic)
Darkmoon Faire – Darkmoon Nobles Deck (Threat Generation)
(Titan Rune Dungeons) Violet Hold – Moragg (Former Naxxramas 10)
Gundrak – Gal’darah (Heroic)

The best possible combination of trinkets will be the ones that increase your overall Stamina as much as possible. The best possible options are the Essence of Gossamer and the Figurine – Monarch Crab.

The Valor Medal of the First War is a great alternative that can be used as a “Panic Button” since it offers a large amount of Dodge Rating On-Use. On the other hand, the Seal of the Pantheon is another valid alternative for a “Panic Button” while also offering you a large amount of Defense Rating which will aid you in optimizing your early gear.

In the same idea, the Repelling Charge can grant the same type of “Panic Button” as the Valor Medal of the First War or the Seal of the Pantheon.

The Darkmoon Card: Greatness is a great trinket for Threat Generation as it can grant you a large amount of Strength. This is especially useful for early tanking in dungeons and raids where you have very strong DPS players in your group.

Lastly, the Offering of Sacrifice is a good initial alternative that serves the same function of offering you a “Panic Button”. More precisely, a way of increasing your overall Maximum Health by quite a decent amount. While it may seem like a small amount, 3000 Health is quite a large amount of health for critical moments.

Pre-Raid

Item
Source
Azjol-Nerub – Hadronox (Heroic)
Naxxramas – Sapphiron (25)
Naxxramas – Zone Drop (25) Multiple Bosses
Darkmoon Faire – Darkmoon Nobles Deck (Threat Generation)

The best possible combination for the Pre-Raid Phase will be the Essence of Gossamer/Rune of Repulsion. This is the best combination in case you don’t have Jewelcrafting. If you have access to Jewelcrafting, your best combination will be Essence of Gossamer/Figurine – Monarch Crab due to the very high Stamina that they can grant you when paired up.

The Defender’s Code is another valid alternative, however, it won’t bring you any Stamina, lowering your overall Effective Health Points. This item is better for encounters where the bosses deal high physical damage as it grants a good amount of Armor. The Dodge Rating granted is also perfect in combination with other defensive cooldowns, creating a perfect “Panic Button”.

The Darkmoon Card: Greatness is an alternative used for Threat Generation. This is great for builds that already have a large amount of defensive stats. It also works great in the beginning in raid groups where you have a lot of powerful DPS in the group.

Best-in-Slot

Item
Source
Ulduar – Ignis the Furnace Master (25)
Ulduar – Yogg-Saron (10)
Azjol-Nerub – Hadronox (Heroic)
Ulduar – Ignis the Furnace Master (10)

The best possible trinket combination for the second phase will be the Heart of Iron/Royal Seal of King Llane. This is due to the massive Stamina boost that those two trinkets can grant you when paired up. Besides the massive Stamina boost for more Effective Health Points, you will also gain two very powerful On-Use effects that can either be stacked or used independently. You can macro those two trinkets together and create a “Panic Button” along with other spells such as Holy Shield or Divine Protection.

Your next-best alternative would either be the Jewelcrafter’s only trinket (Figurine – Monarch Crab) or the Essence of Gossamer. Since that trinket is tied to a profession, we will emphasize the Essence of Gossamer as a better alternative. This is due to the high amount of Stamina that it grants combined with an effect that is similar to the Block Value stat, basically an absorption effect.

As a last alternative, you can use the Furnace Stone for the very powerful On-Use Armor effect that can save you from bosses that deal very high physical damage. You also gain a considerable amount of Dodge Rating. The only downfall of this item is that it reduces your overall Stamina by a considerable amount when compared to the other possible trinkets.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
(Titan Rune Dungeons) Utgarde Keep – Skarvald the Constructor (Former Naxxramas 10)
Utgarde Pinnacle – King Ymiron (Heroic)
(Titan Rune Dungeons) Gundrak
Utgarde Keep – Prince Keleseth (Heroic)
The Oculus – Varos Cloudstrider (Heroic)
(Titan Rune Dungeons) Violet Hold – Zuramat the Obliterator (Former Naxxramas 10)
(Titan Rune Dungeons) The Culling of Stratholme – Mal’Ganis (Former The Eye of Eternity 10)
The Culling of Stratholme – Mal’ganis (Heroic)
The Nexus – Keristrasza (Heroic)

For your Weapon & Shield slots, you will have quite many options as a fresh level 80. You can either directly buy BoE items or go through a slow dungeon-crawl and progressively gain powerful items.

You will most likely start with items such as the Bulwark of the Noble Protector/Titansteel Shield Wall & Cloudstrider’s Waraxe which are quite decent from an overall stat point of view, however, you will not want to bring them to raids. With the release of the new Titan Rune Dungeons, you will gain access quite fast to more powerful weapons & shields that were previously only available through the 10-man raids.

The best possible weapon choices will be either the Slayer of the Lifeless or the Red Sword of Courage, due to their very high baseline stats and secondary stats combination. Both items are actually quite similar, meaning that it is up to you which one you choose to use. Of course, it does depend on the rest of the build as well.

Hailstorm is a valid alternative that can be used, even though it has no Defense Rating. This is due to the low weapon speed combined with Hit Rating and Armor Penetration which will help you pick up aggroo, especially in the beginning. However, we do not advise to use this weapon in actual raids, as you will most definitely need to tweak the rest of your build.

When it comes to shields, the The Skull of Ruin is a great choice if you managed to gain a large amount of Block Value from your other items. If you prefer to stack Stamina instead and Parry Rating/Dodge Rating, the Barricade of Eternity is the better option. If you can’t find any of those two items, your best alternative to them will be the Royal Crest of Lordaeron. However, besides its great baseline stats, it only offers two secondary stats, meaning that you will want to swap the item as fast as possible.

Pre-Raid

Item
Source
Naxxramas – Kel’Thuzad (25)
Naxxramas – Four Horsemen (25)
(Titan Rune Dungeons) Utgarde Keep – Skarvald the Constructor (Former Naxxramas 10)
Utgarde Pinnacle – King Ymiron (Heroic)
Naxxramas – Noth the Plaguebringer (25)
Naxxramas – Kel’Thuzad (25)
(Titan Rune Dungeons) Violet Hold – Zuramat the Obliterator (Former Naxxramas 10)
Naxxramas – Patchwerk (25)
(Titan Rune Dungeons) The Culling of Stratholme – Mal’Ganis (Former The Eye of Eternity 10)

The best possible Weapon & Shield combination for the Pre-Raid phase before Ulduar will remain the BiS from Phase 1, namely Last Laugh & Wall of Terror. This is mainly due to the to the very high Stamina offered by both items combined with the perfect stat spread such as Defense Rating, Hit Rating, Parry Rating, Dodge Rating, and Shield Block.

The Broken Promise is the closest item in terms of pure stats when compared to the Last Laugh, making it the perfect alternative. Either one of Slayer of the Lifeless or the Red Sword of Courage can act as a worthwhile replacement, being quite strong even in Ulduar 10, however, you will want to upgrade your weapon as fast as possible. While both weapons have extremely decent stats considering that you can acquire them from dungeons, your overall build will not be completely optimized if you choose to keep using them.

The Angry Dread is another viable alternative that can be used as an effective tanking weapon, however, you will lose a considerable amount of Defense Rating by choosing to use it, meaning that you will have to supplement it from other sources if you intend to use this weapon.

The Skull of Ruin is a great alternative to the Wall of Terror if you have a build that emphasizes Block Value, however, the Hero’s Surrender is a better shield from an overall Stamina point of view, offering different damage mitigation tools through a considerable amount of Parry Rating and Dodge Rating.

The Barricade of Eternity is another great alternative from a Stamina point of view, however, it is better for builds that don’t have enough Expertise Rating as it replaces one of the secondary damage mitigation stats.

Best-in-Slot

Item
Source
Ulduar – XT-002 Deconstructor (25) HM
Ulduar – Hodir (10) HM
Ulduar – Freya (10) HM
Ulduar – Flame Leviathan (25)
Ulduar – Algalon the Observer (25)
Ulduar – Hodir (10) HM
Ulduar – Hodir (25)

For your Weapon & Shield slots, you will have many interesting choices in Ulduar that can fit the BiS spot. The best possible Weapons are Sorthalis, Hammer of the Watchers & Shiver while the best possible Shields are the Bulwark of Algalon and the The Boreal Guard.

Sorthalis, Hammer of the Watchers would normally be the actual BiS due to its very high baseline stats combined with a great amount of Defense Rating, Parry Rating, and Expertise to help you reach your soft Cap. However, depending on your current Hit Rating, you will find situations in which you will want to use either Shiver or Serilas, Blood Blade of Invar One-Arm instead. The only downside of using Serilas, Blood Blade of Invar One-Arm is that the item has no Defense Rating, meaning that you need to gain it from your other items.

Titanguard is another viable option that grants a good amount of Hit Rating, Defense Rating, and Stamina, being close in power to Serilas, Blood Blade of Invar One-Arm.

Both the Bulwark of Algalon and the The Boreal Guard have very similar types of stats with the main difference being that one grants you Parry Rating while the other one grants you Dodge Rating. From a raw stats point of view, the Bulwark of Algalon will always be considered BiS.

The Northern Barrier can be considered the last viable alternative to the other Shields, however, you will want to find an upgrade to this item as fast as possible since its stats are not great when compared to the previous options.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
Naxxramas -Gothik the Harverster (25)

As a fresh level 80, one of the best items that you can acquire early on by spamming a few dungeons is the Libram of Obstruction. This item is strong enough to carry you through the entirety of Phase 1’s content and even during Ulduar’s progression. This is due to the massive amount of Block Value that it offers you which has the potential to be maintained indefinitely if you perform your rotation properly.

As the only viable alternative, you can use the Libram of Resurgence for dungeons and early AoE encounters. Even if the item itself doesn’t grant you any form of damage mitigation, it will prove itself to be useful for maintaining your threat, especially for thrash pulls in dungeons and early 10-man raids. You can choose to use the item even during Ulduar if you have enough damage mitigation from your other items, especially if your Righteous Fury doesn’t keep up with strong DPS characters.

Pre-Raid

Item
Source
Naxxramas -Gothik the Harverster (25)

The best possible choice for the Pre-Raid phase of Ulduar and even throughout Ulduar’s progression is the Libram of Obstruction. This is due to the massive amount of Block Value that it can grant you and the possibility of maintaining the effect indefinitely. Provided you time Judgement right in your rotation.

Since you have no other viable alternative, you can use the Libram of Resurgence for encounters that emphasize AoE combat as it enhances the overall potency of your Consecration. However, the item is best used for thrash pulls, especially early on, as it will result in a huge Block Value deficit if you use it for Boss encounters.

Best-in-Slot

Item
Source
Ulduar – General Vezax (25)
Naxxramas -Gothik the Harverster (25)

The most powerful libram that you can utilize in the entirety of Phase 2 is the Libram of the Sacred Shield. This is due to the massive amount of Block Value that it grants. However, the true power of this libram is emphasized by the fact that you can indefinitely maintain the effect active, as it triggers whenever you use Holy Shield. This means that you will always benefit from an increase in your Block Value by 450.

The next-best alternative to this libram is the Libram of Obstruction, however, it grants a lower amount of Block Value. You can theoretically maintain the effect indefinitely just as you would do it with the Libram of the Sacred Shield, however, you will still experience some downtime depending on how you perform your rotation and how well you keep track of the buff.

Lastly, you can use the Libram of Resurgence for encounters that emphasize AoE combat as it enhances the overall potency of your Consecration. However, the item is best used for thrash pulls, especially early on, as it will result in a huge Block Value deficit if you use it for Boss encounters.

Before proceeding to the in-depth part of our guide, we will grant you some very important tips that you will have to keep in mind, especially as you progress through your journey and come across many different items.

As a fresh level 80, you have several choices for each separate slot. You will either be able to directly buy BoE items from the Auction House and other players, or, you will go through a progressive item hunt from Normal Dungeons, Heroic Dungeons, and the brand-new Heroic ++ Dungeons. Depending on your group, you may be able to directly join a Heroic ++ Dungeon, effectively skipping a harsh gearing process.

With the release of Phase 3 of the expansion, the new Heroic Defense Protocol Beta Dungeons will grant you both T7 and T8 items, per Boss Kill, with a guaranteed former Ulduar 10 (225) Ilvl drop. Heroic++, otherwise known as Defense Protocol Beta drops gear from 10-man Ulduar and Naxxramas. Heroic+, otherwise known as Defense Protocol Alpha, drops gear from 10-man Naxxramas, as well as regular Heroic gear. Future Phases are likely to add further Heroic difficulties.

However, those dungeons no longer provide any blue gear, meaning that if you seek a particular rare (Blue) item, you will have to venture through the Heroic version of the Dungeon.

Your Pre-ToC options will often be defined by the BiS items from the previous raid tiers, and any other new dungeons or raid BoE items that arrive with the new phase.

Your Best-in-Slot items will often vary depending on the rest of your equipment and the situation you find yourself in. Depending on the class itself, the specialization, the phase you find yourself in, and the PvE encounter you currently face, your BiS items can completely change to better adjust to whichever situation you may find yourself in. In some cases, you will find a single BiS set that can be 100% functional in any situation, while in other cases, you will need to adjust your item sets from one PvE encounter to another.

As a Tank, this is especially true! For example, you may find situations where you will want to stack more Dodge Rating or Parry Rating against Bosses that deal Physical Damage while you may want to stack Magical Resistances against bosses that deal heavy Magical Damage.

As a Protection Paladin, you benefit from all the “Avoidance” stats, including Block Value, Block Rating, Dodge Rating, Parry Rating, and Defense Rating. The main issue you will encounter during the third phase will be your Hit Rating. You will find yourself swapping between items often to optimize your Hit Rating as much as possible and get it as close as possible to the 8% Soft Hit Cap.

However, the 8% Soft Hit Cap is not always mandatory, meaning that you can comfortably play while being under the cap. You will manage to perform the same with only around 6%-7% Hit Rating. As your Hit Rating will drop, you will start missing most of your attacks and abilities, with the threshold at which you start completely failing being around 3% Hit Rating.

Phase 3 is also known for being one of the few phases that provides the exact same type of item for both factions, with the major difference of having a different name depending on the faction you belong to. We will emphasize which item belongs to which faction by placing a “Faction Flag” next to the item itself.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
Trial of the Champion – Eadric the Pure (Heroic)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)

With the introduction of the new Heroic ++ Dungeons, you will find that acquiring powerful gear as a Fresh 80 is a lot faster and a far smoother process. Since our main issue with our gear will be Hit Rating, the best possible item you can acquire for this slot early on is the Helm of the Crestfallen Challenger.

If you managed to get enough Hit Rating from other gear slots, the best defense-oriented alternative will be the Valorous Aegis Faceguard. This is not only due to its secondary stats but also due to the access to the T8 item-set bonuses. With our current setup, you won’t be able to activate the 4-item set bonus unless you either give up on one of the other off-piece items which were supposed to be filled with a T8 item or use this slot for the T8 helmet.

If you already have enough Hit Rating and you still can’t find the T8 helmet, there are multiple other viable items that have a focus on Expertise Rating, Defense-Oriented Stats, or a mix between them.

If you require more Expertise Rating, the Ironbark Faceguard grants the highest possible Expertise Rating while also having a decently high amount of defense-oriented stats. In terms of providing Expertise Rating, if you can’t find the Ironbark Faceguard, you may use the Heroes’ Redemption Faceguard as a valid alternative. The only downside is that it provides half the Expertise Rating in comparison to the Ulduar item, however, it will grant you access to the T7 item-set bonuses if you also have other T7 items in your setup.

The Thane’s Tainted Greathelm is a great temporary item that you may find during your dungeon-crawling journey as it provides decent amounts of defense-oriented stats. Nonetheless, you will swap this item as soon as you find any of the previously mentioned items.

Lastly, you can acquire crafted items such as the Tempered Titansteel Helm or the Armored Titanium Goggles which act as a great initial choice before entering the new Heroic ++ Dungeons due to their very high raw stats. While those items only possess a few secondary stats when compared to the other options, they will allow you to tank a Heroic ++ Dungeon without encountering many issues.

Pre-Toc/Onyxia’s Lair

Item
Source
Ulduar – Thorim (25)
Ulduar – General Vezax (25)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)

The best possible choice will be the Conqueror’s Aegis Faceguard! This is due to different reasons such as a higher Defense Rating than the Helm of the Faceless, access to the Tier 8 2-item set bonus, and quite high overall stats. While the Shield Block Rating isn’t quite desired due to our Holy Shield, it can still be useful whenever the effect is not active.

Helm of the Faceless is the next-best alternative available in the current expansion tier that can grant you quite high overall stats, however, it has quite a low Defense Rating when compared to the Tier 8 Helm. You also don’t have access to the Tier 8 set bonus, which means you will have an overall reduced Threat Generation.

The Ironbark Faceguard is another great alternative, however, you will lose some of your damage mitigation in favor of an increased Expertise Rating. The item itself is a better choice than the Helm of the Faceless if you don’t have enough Defense Rating.

Lastly, you can keep using the Valorous Aegis Faceguard until you manage to find any of the other presented items. Depending on the rest of your items, you may want to maintain the Valorous Aegis Faceguard until you manage to find any of the previously mentioned items.

Best-in-Slot

Item
Source
Trial of the Crusader – Argent Crusade Tribute Chest (25) Heroic
Onyxia’s Lair – Onyxia (25)
Onyxia’s Lair – Onyxia (10)

The best possible choice for the third phase of the expansion will be Turalyon’s Faceguard of Triumph/Liadrin’s Faceguard of Triumph. This is mainly due to the very high overall stats and access to the T9 item-set bonuses that the item grants, with an emphasis on increasing your Block Value. Since we benefit the most from Block Value, this item will be the perfect fit for our set.

Naturally, the next-best alternatives will be its 245 Ilvl version, Turalyon’s Faceguard of Triumph/Liadrin’s Faceguard of Triumph, followed up closely by the 232 Ilvl version, Turalyon’s Faceguard of Conquest/Liadrin’s Faceguard of Conquest. Each version of the T9 Helmet grants progressively lower stats with each lower Ilvl version, however, the T9 item-set bonuses remain the same.

If you still struggle with Hit Rating or managed to activate the 4-item set bonus from your other gear slots, you have the option to use the Onyxia helmets as viable alternatives. Both the Judgement Heaume and the Judgement Helmet are excellent options for increasing your Hit Rating, with the former option granting stats comparable to the 258 Ilvl version of the T9.

You may even want to maintain the Judgement Heaume as your main item and postpone using the T9 helmet until you can manage to gather enough Hit Rating from your other gear slots!

Lastly, the Faceplate of the Honorbound/Headplate of the Honorbound is yet another alternative available for you in the third phase of the expansion with a focus on increasing your Expertise Rating. The main issue with this item is that it is quite underwhelming when compared to the rest of your gear slots and the amount of Expertise Rating you can gain from them. As you will want to gain the T9 Helmet as your BiS, you may use this item as a last resort if you optimized the rest of your gear entirely, with Expertise Rating being the only missing piece.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)
Trial of the Champion – The Black Knight (Heroic)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)

The best possible option as a Fresh 80 with the release of the new Heroic ++ Dungeons will be the Mark of the Unyielding. This is thanks to the high baseline stats that the item grants combined with a fairly high amount of secondary stats. Even if the item has only two secondary stats, the item still grants you a high damage mitigation through the Armor Value that it offers.

The Fervor of the Protectorate is the next-best alternative both in terms of damage mitigation and Expertise Rating. While it may not offer Defense Rating or Block Value, it offers a high amount of raw Armor Value which mitigates a considerable amount of Physical Damage.

If you can’t find any of the previously mentioned items, you will be able to use any of The Warlord’s Depravity or the Medallion of the Disgraced as a defense-oriented alternative. Both items are extremely close in terms of performance, granting almost the same degree of survivability, even if their stats are not the same.

Since our build has overall issues with our Hit Rating, you may choose the Chained Military Gorget as a valid alternative to get as close as possible to the 8% Soft Hit Cap. By doing so, you will reduce your overall survivability, however, the penalties won’t be massive.

Lastly, the Amulet of Autopsy is another defense-oriented alternative that can be used in case you can’t find any of the previously mentioned items. This item is better if you already have plenty of Expertise Rating and Hit Rating from your other gear slots.

Pre-Toc/Onyxia’s Lair

Item
Source
Ulduar – Freya (25) HM
Ulduar – Kologarn (25)
Ulduar – Zone Drop (25) Multiple Bosses
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)

The best possible choice for this slot depends on the encounter you find yourself in! Your main two contenders for the BiS spot will be the Bronze Pendant of the Vanir and the Necklace of Unerring Mettle. In most situations, the Bronze Pendant of the Vanir will be the better choice as it grants a gem socket paired up with high values of Dodge Rating and Parry Rating, however, in some situations where bosses hit hard on every attack, you will want to use the Necklace of Unerring Mettle for the increased Block Value.

Both the Titanstone Pendant and the Shard of the Crystal Forest are great alternatives, each fulfilling a very similar role. While both items grant extremely similar stats, they are differentiated by the Hit Rating and Expertise Rating that they offer. Depending on your current needs, you may choose to opt for the Shard of the Crystal Forest if you lack Hit Rating, and opt for the Titanstone Pendant if you lack Expertise Rating.

Best-in-Slot

Item
Source
Trial of the Crusader – Fjola Lightbane (25) Heroic
Ulduar – Freya (25) HM
Trial of the Crusader – Fjola Lightbane (25)
Ulduar – Kologarn (25)
Trial of the Crusader – Lord Jaraxxus (10) Heroic
Trial of the Crusader – Lord Jaraxxus (10)
Onyxia’s Lair – Onyxia (25)

For this specific gear slot, we section the items into two different categories: items that provide you with Expertise Rating and items that provide you with Avoidance-increasing stats such as Dodge Rating and Parry Rating.

Since we benefit from the Glyph of Seal of Vengeance paired up with Expertise Rating from our other slots, you will generally want to prioritize defense-oriented items for this slot. The Arbiter’s Muse/Legionnaire’s Gorget is the best possible option for this slot due to having the highest possible baseline stats paired up with very high defense-oriented stats. Instead of the typical Parry Rating, you would get from such an item, this item replaces Parry Rating with a large amount of raw Armor Value, providing a solid Physical Damage Reduction.

The next-best alternative will actually be the Bronze Pendant of the Vanir from the previous phase of the expansion instead of the 245 Ilvl version of the BiS. This is due to the Gem Socket that it grants paired up with high amounts of Defense Rating, Dodge Rating, and Parry Rating. In terms of increasing our overall survivability, the difference between the previous BiS (Bronze Pendant of the Vanir) and The Arbiter’s Muse/Legionnaire’s Gorget is quite minor, with the main distinction being the Gem Socket mentioned earlier. This means that you can effectively use The Arbiter’s Muse/Legionnaire’s Gorget if you don’t wish to try and gain the Bronze Pendant of the Vanir.

The Necklace of Unerring Mettle receives an honorable mention if you plan on creating a build specifically designated for “Block Tanking”. Such a build would be particularly useful in encounters such as Anub’arak.

If you still have issues with your Expertise Rating after using the Glyph of Seal of Vengeance and other Expertise Items, your best alternative for the Necklace Slot will be the Endurance of the Infernal/Fortitude of the Infernal followed up by its 232 Ilvl alternative, the Endurance of the Infernal/Fortitude of the Infernal.

The Eskhandar’s Links comes very close to the Endurance of the Infernal/Fortitude of the Infernal since it has a higher baseline and higher defense-oriented stats. However, since it provides a lower amount of Expertise Rating, it will be the worse choice.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)
Trial of the Champion – Argent Confessor Palatress (Heroic)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)
Gundrak – Drakkari Colossus (Heroic)
Halls of Lightning – General Bjarngrim (Heroic)

With the new Heroic ++ Dungeons, the best possible option as a Fresh level 80 will be the Valorous Aegis Shoulderguards. This is due to the access to the T8 4-set item bonuses, along with a great set of baseline stats and secondary stats. While you might struggle with Hit Rating, as long as you manage to gain Hit Rating from your other gear slots, you should prioritize the T8 shoulders as they grant a large increase of Block Value and Block Rating.

Similarly, the Heroes’ Redemption Shoulderguards are another excellent option for increasing your overall defense-oriented stats. While not as strong as the T8 shoulders, you may use the T7 shoulders as long as you already have plenty of Hit Rating from your other gear slots.

However, if you have issues with your Hit Rating and can’t gain it from your other gear slots, you may use either one of the Regal Aurous Shoulderplates or the Abomination Shoulderblades as a valid alternative. The former option is stronger than the latter due to the sheer amount of stats it grants, with both options granting their user the precise same types of stats.

Lastly, if you can’t access any of the previously mentioned items, you may use either one of the Pauldrons of the Colossus or the Iron Dwarf Smith Pauldrons as your beginning options. Both items focus on improving your overall survivability, granting rudimentary defense-oriented stats. You will want to keep those items until you can successfully enter the new Heroic ++ Dungeons.

Pre-Toc/Onyxia’s Lair

Item
Source
Ulduar – XT-002 Deconstructor (25)
Ulduar – Yogg-Saron (25)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)

For this slot, you have two possible choices that can be used as the best option for the Pre-Toc gearing phase! You can choose between the Shoulderplates of the Deconstructor and the Conqueror’s Aegis Shoulderplates. The Conqueror’s Aegis Shoulderplates are a better overall defensive choice due to the very high Shield Block Value that it offers along with the Threat Generation from the 2-set item bonus. The Shoulderplates of the Deconstructor is a better overall choice if your build doesn’t have enough Hit Rating, however, it offers lower damage mitigation than the Tier 8 item.

Other than those two items, the Valorous Aegis Shoulderguards is the next-best alternative that you can use. It offers you the exact same type of stats and benefits as its upgraded version, only in an overall smaller amount.

Best-in-Slot

Item
Source
Trial of the Crusader – Argent Crusade Tribute Chest (25) Heroic
Trial of the Crusader – Faction Champions (10) Heroic

The best possible choice for this slot in the third phase of the expansion will be Turalyon’s Shoulderguards of Triumph/Liadrin’s Shoulderguards of Triumph.

This is mostly due to two different factors, its highly required Expertise Rating and the access to the T9 item-set bonuses. In terms of damage mitigation, the item itself is not the best possible option, however, in our set, the item plays a pivotal role due to how powerful the item-set bonuses are.

Naturally, the 245 Ilvl versions and the 232 Ilvl versions of the item will be the next-best alternatives, due to the item-set bonuses, even if the overall stats will be lower.

If you already accessed the 4-item set bonus, the next-best alternative will be the Pauldrons of the Silver Defender/Sunreaver Defender’s Pauldrons. This is due to the overall high baseline and secondary stats with an emphasis on increased Block Value. Since we specialize in “Block Tanking” this item will actually be extremely powerful for encounters such as Anub’arak.

Another viable, yet underwhelming alternative when compared to the other options is the Shoulderplates of Enduring Order/Shoulderguards of Enduring Order. The main issue with this item is its steep price and the fact that the cost itself is shared with the T9 item, making it a less favorable choice. In terms of pure damage mitigation, the item has great stats, however, it is weaker than the Pauldrons of the Silver Defender/Sunreaver Defender’s Pauldrons due to the Block Value itself being stronger on a Protection Paladin.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former The Obsidian Sanctum 10 Drop)
Utgarde Keep – Zone Drop (Heroic) (BoE)

For this slot, you have many new possible options with the arrival of the new Heroic ++ Dungeons that can enhance your character in many different ways. The best possible option will be the Saronite Animus Cloak which grants a great mix of defense-oriented stats combined with a much-needed Hit Rating. This item is extremely important as you will have a hard time acquiring Hit Rating early on before actually gaining access to any raid.

If you can’t find the  Saronite Animus Cloak, the next-best alternative for increasing your overall Hit Rating will be the Cloak of Armed Strife. While its overall stats are not as high as the Ulduar cloak, the Hit Rating granted is very similar, with only a 9 Hit Rating difference between the two items.

If you already have plenty of Hit Rating from your other item slots and still lack enough Expertise Rating, the next-best alternative will be the Cloak of the Iron Council. As a valid alternative for increasing your Expertise Rating, you may use the Gale-Proof Cloak as a close alternative to the Ulduar cloak, granting almost the same amount of survivability and Expertise Rating.

If you can’t find any of the previously mentioned items, you may choose between two BoE items that can grant great initial bonuses. The first one, the Durable Nerubhide Cape, is a great BoE choice if you can’t find any of the items specialized in granting Expertise Rating.

The second BoE is the Tattered Castle Drape, which is a great beginner choice for your dungeon-crawling journey as it grants a high amount of Block Value and Defense Rating for a fresh character. However, you will find yourself changing this item as soon as you can find either one of the Expertise Rating or Hit Rating options from the new Heroic ++ Dungeons.

Pre-Toc/Onyxia’s Lair

Item
Source
Ulduar – Mimiron (25) HM
Ulduar – Auriaya (25)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)
Ulduar – The Iron Council (10)

The best possible choice will be the Titanskin Cloak. This is due to the very high baseline stats it offers, especially Stamina, paired up with Hit Rating and Expertise Rating which will aid you in reaching your soft caps. The cloak also grants you a very high Defense Rating of 80, being especially potent!

The next-best alternative will be the Cloak of the Makers. This is due to the high baseline stats it offers, almost the same as the Titanskin Cloak, paired up with overall high secondary stats. The item itself grants you more mitigation through its Dodge Rating, however, you will lose quite a considerable amount of Expertise Rating.

Both the Saronite Animus Cloak and the Cloak of the Iron Council are great initial choices, however, the choice really depends on the rest of your build. The Cloak of the Iron Council is the better choice if you lack Expertise Rating while the Saronite Animus Cloak is a better choice if you lack Hit Rating.

Best-in-Slot

Item
Source
Trial of the Crusader – Argent Tribute Chest (25) Heroic
Trial of the Crusader – Argent Tribute Chest (10) Heroic
Trial of the Crusader – Lord Jaraxxus (25) HC
Trial of the Crusader – Lord Jaraxxus (25)
Ulduar – Mimiron (25) HM
Ulduar – Auriaya (25)

The best possible option for this slot in the third phase of the expansion will be Magni’s Resolution/Cairne’s Endurance. This is due not only thanks to its very high Ilvl but also because of its extremely high stats, displaying both potent baseline and secondary stats. The item itself is far better suited for builds that already have enough Hit Rating and Expertise Rating, as its focus is solely on providing defensive stats.

The Cloak of the Unmoving Guardian/Cloak of the Unflinching Guardian is the next best alternative, offering precisely the same type of stats as the Magni’s Resolution/Cairne’s Endurance, only in lower overall amounts.

For builds that still require Expertise Rating, the best alternative will be the Pride of the Eredar/Pride of the Demon Lord, as it grants a large amount of Expertise Rating. Naturally, the next-best alternative for increasing your Expertise Rating is its 245 Ilvl version, the Pride of the Eredar/Pride of the Demon Lord.

However, the Titanskin Cloak is an item from the previous phase of the expansion that remains extremely strong and it’s even better than the Pride of the Eredar/Pride of the Demon Lord in situations in which you still need both Expertise Rating and Hit Rating. If you didn’t manage to find the Titanskin Cloak, the Cloak of the Makers remains one strong option for increasing your Hit Rating if you can’t gain more Hit Rating from your other gear slots.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
Animated Constellation – 32 Sidereal Essence ( Sidereal Essence Vendor)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)
80 Emblem of Heroism
Vault of Archavon (Archavon the Stone Watcher)
Heroic + Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)
The Wyrmrest Accord – Revered
Halls of Stone – Sjonnir the Ironshapper (Heroic)
Drak’Tharon Keep – The Prophet Tharon’ja (Heroic)

Depending on your current Expertise Rating, the best possible options for a fresh 80 will be either the Breastplate of the Timeless for builds that lack Expertise Rating or the Valorous Aegis Breastplate for builds that have plenty of Expertise Rating and require more “Avoidance”. With both items having great baseline stats, the choice is entirely dependent on whether you can activate the T8 4-item set bonus or if you lack enough Expertise Rating.

If you can’t gain any of the Ulduar items from the new Heroic ++ Dungeons, you can use the Massive Skeletal Ribcage as a way of increasing both your Hit Rating and Expertise Rating while tweaking the rest of your gear towards defense-oriented stats. The only issue with the T7 chest piece, the Heroes’ Redemption Breastplate, is that it requires a long grind until it can be acquired, meaning that you will probably want to avoid it altogether. The only viable option is to receive the T7 chest piece from a VoA raid, that is if you can enter one as a fresh level 80.

Lastly, if you can’t find a group for the new Heroic ++ Dungeons due to your current gear, you can easily acquire Breastplate of the Solemn Council from The Wyrmrest Accord quartermaster. You also have the option to stroll through two different Heroic Dungeons to acquire either one of the Sun-Emblazoned Chestplate/Ziggurat Imprinted Chestguard as your initial items. All of those three choices are quite potent on their own and should be more than enough to get you into a Heroic ++ Dungeon!

Pre-Toc/Onyxia’s Lair

Item
Source
Ulduar – Auriaya (25)
Animated Constellation – 32 Sidereal Essence ( Sidereal Essence Vendor)
Ulduar – Hodir (25)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)

For this particular slot, you have multiple different choices that can actively be used as a BiS for the Pre-Toc gearing phase! As mentioned in the beginning of the progressive list, you will find that the majority of your items can be swapped resulting in an altered build based on the rest of your current items and the encounter you find yourself in.

Among the most notable choices, we will have the Unbreakable Chestguard and the Breastplate of the Timeless. The Unbreakable Chestguard is a great item if you already have other sources of Block Value as they will grant you a high amount of mitigation once you stack a high value. The item has great baseline stats, however, it has quite a mediocre Defense Rating when compared to the rest of the items.

The Breastplate of the Timeless offers similar baseline stats with an emphasis on Parry Rating and Expertise Rating as secondary stats. This item is a better alternative if you don’t have enough Defense Rating, as it offers quite a huge amount.

As an alternative to those two items, you can use the Tier 8 Chest, the Conqueror’s Aegis Breastplate. However, this option is only viable if you somehow manage to activate the 4-item set bonus resulting in a considerate boost of Block Value. The item itself is powerful enough on its own, however, the other options are simply better if look at it from a perspective where you remove the T8 set bonus.

Lastly, you can use the Valorous Aegis Breastplate until you gain its upgraded version or any of the previously mentioned items. The item itself grants quite decent stats, however, it pales in comparison to the rest of the items.

Best-in-Slot

Item
Source
Trial of the Crusader – Icehowl (25) Heroic
Trial of the Crusader – Icehowl (25)
Trial of the Crusader – Argent Crusade Tribute Chest (25) Heroic
Trial of the Crusader – Anub’arak (10) Heroic

In our current setup, there are two possible BiS variants for this slot, with the BiS depending on what item you are using in your Leg Slot. If you are using the T9 legs to activate your T9 4-item set bonus, your BiS will be the Chestplate of the Towering Monstrosity/Hauberk of the Towering Monstrosity due to the Expertise Rating that it grants. Naturally, the next-best alternative for it will be its 245 version, the (Chestplate of the Towering Monstrosity/Hauberk of the Towering Monstrosity).

If you use the Expertise Rating legs(Legguards of Feverish Dedication/Legplates of Feverish Dedication), you will want to use Turalyon’s Breastplate of Triumph/Liadrin’s Breastplate of Triumph as your actual BiS for both the defense-oriented stats and access to the T9 4-item set bonus.

Naturally, for the situation in which you are using Legguards of Feverish Dedication/Legplates of Feverish Dedication for your Legs Slot, you will want to use the 245 Ilvl version of the T9 Chest as you next-best alternative, (Turalyon’s Breastplate of Triumph/Liadrin’s Breastplate of Triumph). However, you will not want to use the 232 Ilvl as a follow-up alternative since it grants considerably lower stats.

Instead, you will want to use either one of the Breastplate of the White Knight/Breastplate of the White Knight or the Chestguard of the Warden/Stoneskin Chestplate as your next best options since they are closer in terms of raw stats to the 245 Ilvl version of the T9 Chest. Preferably, you will want to use the Breastplate of the White Knight/Breastplate of the White Knight since it’s a BoE-crafted item that can be much more easily acquired than the Chestguard of the Warden/Stoneskin Chestplate.

Lastly, you may want to hold onto your Emblems of Triumph and postpone purchasing Turalyon’s Breastplate of Conquest/Liadrin’s Breastplate of Conquest in favor of obtaining any of the 245 Ilvl items. The reason for this is its poor stats, with the T9 item-set bonus not being enough to compensate for the weak overall stats granted by the item.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)
60 Emblem of Valor (BoE)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)

Since there are not many great options for this slot, the best possible choice will be the Flamewatch Armguards. The item is especially good as it provides us with Hit Rating, a stat that we will struggle to optimize. Depending on whether you can find it on the Auction House or not, the Bracers of Dalaran’s Parapets provide a similar set of stats, only for a lower overall amount. The main difference is the Avoidance form granted, with one item offering Dodge Rating while the other offers Parry Rating.

Since we really require Hit Rating early on, another viable option will be represented by the Bracers of Lost Sentiments. This option will also grant you a decent amount of Expertise Rating in case you are not close to the Expertise Soft Cap.

Lastly, if you can’t find any of the Hit Rating options which were previously mentioned, you may find that the Minion Bracers can be a suitable alternative for increasing your overall survivability. This is thanks to the decently high defense-oriented secondary stats that the item grants.

Pre-Toc/Onyxia’s Lair

Item
Source
Ulduar – Flame Leviathan (25)
Ulduar – Flame Leviathan (10)

The best possible item for this slot during the Pre-Toc gearing phase will be Mimiron’s Inferno Couplings. This item grants the best overall stats compared to any other Bracer available in Ulduar. While it does not grant any Block Value, it grants plenty of damage mitigation through its Dodge Rating while also offering you a good amount of Defense Rating.

Besides its defense-oriented stats, we truly want to acquire the Mimiron’s Inferno Couplings as it grants the highest possible amount of Hit Rating before accessing any of the ToC or Onyxia’s Lair items.

The Flamewatch Armguards are the predecessors of Mimiron’s Inferno Couplings, granting you precisely the same type of stats, only in a lower overall amount. They can be used as a great alternative until you manage to find the BiS.

The Bracers of Dalaran’s Parapets are the last available alternative that works very similarly to the two previously presented items. The only difference is the overall stats which are lower and the difference in the damage mitigation provided in the form of Parry Rating instead of Dodge Rating.

Best-in-Slot

Item
Source
Trial of the Crusader -Icehowl (10) HC
Trial of the Crusader – Icehowl (10)
Ulduar – Flame Leviathan (25)
Trial of the Crusader – Fjola Lightbane (25) Hc
Trial of the Crusader – Fjola Lightbane (25)

Depending on your current Hit Rating and how performant you are under the 8% Soft Hit Cap, you will have two main options for this slot in the third phase of the expansion. If you already have enough Hit Rating and your performance is great while being under 8% Soft Cap, the best option will be the Bracers of the Shieldmaiden/Armguards of the Shieldmaiden. This item also grants you a considerable amount of Expertise Rating besides its great baseline stats and high defense-oriented secondary stats. Naturally, the best alternative for it will be the 245 Ilvl version of it (Bracers of the Shieldmaiden/Armguards of the Shieldmaiden).

If you struggle to perform under the 8% Soft Hit Cap, the best possible option will be the Dreadscale Armguards/Dreadscale Bracers as it has similar overall stats with a focus on Hit Rating. While it provides overall lower damage mitigation, it will allow you to successfully land your attacks and taunts.

Saronite Swordbreakers/Saronite Swordbreakers can be considered the next-best alternative for the Dreadscale Armguards/Dreadscale Bracers, offering almost identical stats with the added benefit of being a BoE-crafted item. This item is more defense-oriented, offering higher overall defensive stats over Hit Rating, however, it will still provide a considerable amount of Hit Rating, fulfilling its purpose.

Lastly, the 232 Ilvl of Dreadscale Armguards/Dreadscale Bracers is extremely similar to the previous BiS, Mimiron’s Inferno Couplings, in terms of pure stat values. You may use whichever one of them as there is barely any visible difference.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)
Trial of the Champion – Argent Confessor Palatress
60 Emblem of Heroism/Vault of Archavon ( Archavon the Stone Watcher)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)

For this slot, you will have three main options as a fresh level 80 viable that depends entirely on the rest of your items. You will be able to pick between items that increase your overall Avoidance, items that grant a mix of defense-oriented stats and Expertise Rating, or items that grant a mix of defense-oriented stats and Hit Rating.

For increasing your overall survivability, you will want to use either one of the Valorous Aegis Handguards or the Adamant Handguards as both items grant very similar stats. The main distinction between the two items is the access to the T8 item-set bonuses which will make the Valorous Aegis Handguards the stronger option once the 4-item set bonus is activated.

For increasing your overall Expertise Rating, the only viable option will be Mercy’s Hold. Since there are no other close alternatives, you will either have to specifically farm this item or simply gain Expertise Rating from your other slots in case you are unlucky with the item drop.

As for Hit Rating options, you may choose between two items from the first phase of the expansion, namely the Heroes’ Redemption Handguards and the Gauntlets of the Master. Since the T7 gloves can be hard to acquire, we suggest that you use the Gauntlets of the Master since it doesn’t require a long grind to attain.

Pre-Toc/Onyxia’s Lair

Item
Source
Ulduar – Freya (25) HM
Ulduar – Mimiron (25)
Ulduar – The Iron Council (25)

The best possible choice for this slot will be the Handguards of Revitalization! This is due to the large amount of stats that it can grant you, considering both the baseline stats and the secondary stats. While it doesn’t grant you any Block Value, the Dodge Rating combined with Parry Rating that it grants you will still provide massive amounts of damage mitigation.

The next-best alternative is the Conqueror’s Aegis Handguards. This is due to the similar amount of baseline stats that it offers, however, it provides damage mitigation in a different form by granting you a large amount of Block Value. This item is better than the Handguards of Revitalization if you already have a lot of other items that provide Block Value.

The Tier 8 piece is also better if you already have 3 other Tier 8 pieces as you can activate the 4-set item bonus which can grant you a significant amount of Block Value. However, for this build, we recommend that you don’t opt for the 4-item set bonus, and use pieces that don’t belong to the set instead.

As a last alternative, you can use the Handguards of the Enclave as it grants a similar amount of Block Value, however, it doesn’t grant any gem sockets making the item rather weak by comparison.

Best-in-Slot

Item
Source
Trial of the Crusader – Argent Crusade Tribute Chest (25) Heroic
Ulduar – Freya (25) HM
Ulduar – The Iron Council (25)

The best possible option for this slot in the third phase of the expansion will be Turalyon’s Handguards of Triumph/Liadrin’s Handguards of Triumph. This is due to the overall great stats that the item grants, with both baseline and secondary stats being very high. Not only that the item has great stats, it also provides you access to the T9 item-set bonuses.

Considering that you will want to gain the 4-item set bonus, the next best alternatives to this item will be the 245 Ilvl version of it (Turalyon’s Handguards of Triumph/Liadrin’s Handguards of Triumph) and the 232 Ilvl version (Turalyon’s Handguards of Conquest/Liadrin’s Handguards of Conquest).

Since there are no other viable options from ToC, you will want to use the Handguards of Revitalization from Ulduar as it grants precisely the exact types of stats as the T9 item, only in lower amounts and with no access to the T9 item-set bonuses.

Lastly, you can continue using the Handguards of the Enclave from the previous phase of the expansion, especially in encounters such as Anub’arak due to the increase in Block Value that it offers. Compared to the T9 item, the Handguards of the Enclave are overall weaker with the exception of the Anub’arak encounter where Block Value is extremely beneficial.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)
Trial of the Champion – The Black Knight
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)
Utgarde Pinnacle – Skadi the Ruthless (Heroic)

While there are plenty of defense-oriented items for this slot that can benefit a fresh level 80, you will want to prioritize Hit Rating items as your best option since we will initially struggle with reaching the Soft Hit Cap. Considering this, the Stormtempered Girdle is the best possible option for this slot!

The next-best alternative will be the Girdle of the Pallid Knight as it grants a decent amount of Hit Rating. Considering there are no other Hit Rating options, you should really attempt to gain either one of the previously mentioned items to optimize your build. If you really can’t find any of those two items, you will have to resort to different methods of gaining Hit Rating, either through Gems or other gear slots.

If you manage to gain Hit Rating from your other gear slots, the next viable alternatives will focus on improving your general survivability. The best possible option for increasing your overall “Avoidance” will be the Indestructible Plate Girdle. This is due to the massive amounts of stats that you gain by using the item, paired up with the fact that you can easily acquire it since it is a BoE-crafted item.

While you should strive to buy the Indestructible Plate Girdle, there are other viable options that you can use to increase your overall survivability if you can’t afford to do so. The next viable alternative will be the the Waistguard of the Tutor followed up closely by Skadi’s Iron Belt, with both of the alternatives having a focus on improving your overall Block Value and Defense Rating.

Pre-Toc/Onyxia’s Lair

Item
Source
Ulduar – Razorscale (25)

For this slot, the best option depends entirely on the rest of your build. For our current setup, the best option will be the Shieldwarder Girdle as it grants us a considerable amount of Hit Rating. The next-best alternative if you managed to gain Hit Rating from other sources will be the Indestructible Plate Girdle. This will be due to the two available gem sockets paired up with very high baseline stats and high secondary stats.

The Dragonslayer’s Brace is another viable alternative, however, it is considerably weaker than the other two options. The only benefit of this item is the high Block Value that it grants, meaning that you will want to swap it swiftly.

Best-in-Slot

Item
Source
Trial of the Crusader – Faction Champions (25) HC
Trial of the Crusader – Faction Champions (25)
Trial of the Crusader – Lord Jaraxxus (10) HC
Ulduar – Razorscale (25)
Trial of the Crusader – Lord Jaraxxus (10)

The best possible choice for this slot will be the Girdle of Bloodied Scars/Belt of Bloodied Scars. Since ToC offers multiple waists that all have the precise exact same types of stats (Defense Rating, Dodge Rating, Parry Rating), you will want to use Girdle of Bloodied Scars/Belt of Bloodied Scars as it has the highest amount of sheer stats.

Naturally, the next-best alternative will be its 245 Ilvl version (Girdle of Bloodied Scars/Belt of Bloodied Scars), followed up closely by the Girdle of the Nether Champion/Belt of the Nether Champion which provides precisely the same type of bonuses, only in lower amounts.

Among the ToC options, the Indestructible Plate Girdle from the previous phase of the expansion will still represent one of the stronger options, being stronger even than the 232 Ilvl version of the Girdle of the Nether Champion/Belt of the Nether Champion. The reason for this is mainly due to the fact that the BoE-crafted item from Ulduar has higher overall Stamina if you add two Stamina Gems while also granting slightly lesser yet similar stats to the Girdle of the Nether Champion/Belt of the Nether Champion.

Since we mentioned earlier that you will want to alternate between Block Value items and Parry Rating/Dodge Rating items depending on the encounter, there is only one viable exception for this slot that applies to that specific rule.

The Dragonslayer’s Brace is an exception that should be used only in the Anub’arak encounter as that fight requires a (Block Tank) to mitigate the vast amounts of damage that the boss and its adds deal.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)
Animated Constellation – 25 Sidereal Essence ( Sidereal Essence Vendor)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)
Trial of the Champion – Grand Champions
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10)

For this slot, you will often have to choose between items that grant you sheer avoidance through increased Parry Rating, Dodge Rating, and Block Value or items that grant you two main defense-oriented stats and focus more on providing Expertise Rating. This slot can be customized depending on the rest of your gear as there are many viable choices that you can pick, depending entirely on the rest of your gear.

For increasing your overall Avoidance, the best possible option will be the Valorous Aegis Legguards while for increasing your Expertise Rating, the best possible option will be the Gilded Steel Legplates. Both items display extremely high stats, with one of them granting you access to the T8 item-set bonuses and a large amount of Dodge Rating/Parry Rating while the other one simply brings an incredible amount of Expertise Rating alongside high defense-oriented stats. The Valorous Aegis Legguards is also overwhelmingly stronger than the other defense-oriented options on the list, which means that you should prioritize gaining it as fast as possible.

If you can’t find either of the previously mentioned items, and you still need Expertise Rating, the Archaedas’ Lost Legplates will be the best possible alternative followed up closely by the Legguards of Abandoned Fealty. Both items grant precisely the same types of stats, with the former option being stronger simply because it provides more overall stats.

As for other possible alternatives for increasing your overall survivability, you may use either one of the Legplates of Inescapable Death or the Heroes’ Redemption Legguards, depending entirely on which one you find first. As we mentioned previously, the T8 Legs will be the superior option, meaning that you will only want to use either of those two items until you can find them.

Pre-Toc/Onyxia’s Lair

Item
Source
Ulduar – Algalon the Observer (25)
Ulduar – Freya (25)
Animated Constellation – 25 Sidereal Essence ( Sidereal Essence Vendor)
Ulduar – Kologarn (25)

For this slot in the Pre-Toc gearing phase, you have several available choices, with two options that can be considered BiS depending on the rest of your current build. The best option from a raw stats perspective is the Legplates of the Endless Void. It grants phenomenal baseline stats, paired up with 3 gem sockets, and a large amount of defensive secondary stats.

The Conqueror’s Aegis Legguards is the other viable alternative to the Legplates of the Endless Void, granting precisely the same type of stats, only in a lower amount, with only two gem sockets instead of three. The item is slightly better only if you take into consideration the 4-item set bonus that it can grant you.

The Gilded Steel Legplates are a viable alternative, however, a considerably weaker one. The item is great if you have a high deficiency of Expertise Rating, however, it has lower overall baseline stats and secondary stats than the other two items, with only one gem socket available.

The Saronite Plated Legguards are another viable alternative based on the high baseline stats that the item offers. However, it only grants two secondary stats, even if it has two gem sockets. This item can be used until you manage to gain an upgrade, as the lack of secondary stats can hurt your overall performance, even if the baseline stats are quite high.

Lastly, the Wyrmguard Legplates is a great alternative if your entire build consists of items that have Block Value. The overall baseline stats that the item offers are very good, however, it comes at a steep price of 39 Emblems of Conquest, making it quite a hefty purchase.

Best-in-Slot

Item
Source
Trial of the Crusader – Argent Crusade Tribute Chest (25) Heroic
Ulduar – Algalon the Observer (25)
Trial of the Crusader – Lord Jaraxxus (25) Heroic
Trial of the Crusader – Lord Jaraxxus (25)

For this slot, the BiS depends entirely on your preference, the drop chance itself, and whether or not you are currently using the T9 Chest Piece or an Off-Set item.

If you choose to use the Off-Set chest, the (Chestplate of the Towering Monstrosity/Hauberk of the Towering Monstrosity), the BiS choice for your Legs Slot will be Turalyon’s Legguards of Triumph/Liadrin’s Legguards of Triumph. You can think of it as a trade-off since the T9 Legs offer a large amount of defense-oriented stats while also making sure that you will activate the 4-item set bonus.

Naturally, if you choose to pursue this itemization path, you will want to use the 245 Ilvl version of Turalyon’s Legguards of Triumph/Liadrin’s Legguards of Triumph, closely followed up by the 232 Ilvl version, Turalyon’s Legguards of Conquest/Liadrin’s Legguards of Conquest. The only major difference between is the sheer amount of stats granted by the different Ilvl versions of the item.

If you choose to pursue the T9 path, you may use the Legplates of the Endless Void as a better alternative than the 232 Ilvl of the T9 Legs as it grants higher overall sheer stats. The only downside of doing so is that you will renounce the T9 item-set bonus in favor of the sheer amount of stats. You should not use this item if you have access to the 245 Ilvl version of the T9 Legs!

One of the main reasons why you may want to prioritize the T9 legs instead of the T9 chest is the large amount of Block Value that you can gain by using the T9 legs. Since Protection Warriors benefit the most from Block Value, this stat will be extremely impressive, especially in encounters against Anub’arak where (Block Tanks) really shine.

If you choose to use the T9 Chest piece, the actual BiS you will want to use is the Legguards of Feverish Dedication/Legplates of Feverish Dedication. Once again, you can think of it as a trade-off, gaining Expertise Rating and a plethora of useful defense-oriented stats alongside Gem Sockets from this item while gaining the T9 4-item set bonus from your Chest Piece.

If you choose to use the Expertise Rating legs, the next-best alternative for them will be their 245 Ilvl version, the Legguards of Feverish Dedication/Legplates of Feverish Dedication, as it’s basically the same item, only with lower overall stats.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
Naxxramas – Anub’Rekhan, Gluth (25) (BoE)
Animated Constellation – 19 Sidereal Essence ( Sidereal Essence Vendor)
Trial of the Champion – Eadric the Pure
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)

In our current setup, the best possible option as a fresh level 80 for this slot will be the Spiked Deathdealers. The main reason for this choice is due to how you will want to acquire Expertise Rating from your other gear slots. Besides wanting to gain Expertise Rating from your other gear slots, this option is the strongest due to its very potent stat spread. The Spiked Deathdealers is also a BoE-crafted item, meaning that if you have plenty of gold you should be able to acquire it extremely easily.

The next-best alternative for this slot will be the Inexorable Sabatons as it grants access to a Gem Socket while also providing a large quantity of defense-oriented stats.

If you can’t gain Expertise Rating from your other slots, the Greaves of the Iron Army will be your best possible option, providing even better overall survivability than other more defense-oriented stats. This is due to the sheer amount of stats and Gem Sockets that the item grants. In a similar fashion, the Boots of Heartfelt Repentance provide better overall survivability thanks to the Gem Socket that they grant.

Lastly, the Plague-Impervious Boots and the Tempered Titansteel Treads will be good initial choices, albeit considerably weaker than any of the previously mentioned items. You will want to use them until you can manage to find any of the above-mentioned items. If you can, you should generate as much gold as possible to acquire the Spiked Deathdealers.

Pre-Toc/Onyxia’s Lair

Item
Source
Animated Constellation – 19 Sidereal Essence ( Sidereal Essence Vendor)
Ulduar – Zone Drop (25) Multiple Bosses
Ulduar – Ignis the Furnace Master (25)

The best possible option for this slot in our current setup for the Pre-Toc gearing phase will be the Greaves of the Iron Army. This is due to the very high baseline stats, the two available gem sockets, and the overall high secondary stats that it grants. The item is great since it boosts your overall Expertise Rating by quite a large amount while also granting you a very large amount of Defense Rating. While it is not the best item when it comes to damage mitigation, you will most definitely need the Expertise Rating.

Either one of the Greaves of the Stonewarder or the Spiked Deathdealers can act as a great alternative, especially since both items are very similar. The Greaves of the Stonewarder is a better choice for builds that stack Block Value and Block Rating while the Spiked Deathdealers are a universally great choice due to the Parry Rating/Dodge Rating stats.

Lastly, the Charred Saronite Greaves is a great choice for builds that severely lack Hit Rating, as the item grants a considerable amount of Hit Rating.

Best-in-Slot

Item
Source
Trial of the Crusader – Lord Jaraxxus (25) HC
Trial of the Crusader – Lord Jaraxxus (25)
Ulduar – Zone Drop (25) Multiple Bosses
Trial of the Crusader – Fjola Lightbane (10) HC
Trial of the Crusader – Fjola Lightbane (10)

The choice for this slot is extremely similar to the Bracers Slot, as it depends on how comfortable you are operating under the 8% Soft Hit Cap. While performing under the 8% Soft Hit Cap is entirely possible and even viable, it will also force you to depend on RNG, especially for successfully landing your Taunts.

If you choose to operate under the 8% Soft Hit Cap, the BiS option for this slot will be the Dawnbreaker Greaves/Dawnbreaker Sabatons as it grants the highest amount of raw baseline stats combined with a very large amount of defense-oriented secondary stats. However, if you choose to ignore Hit Rating items for your other slots as well and only focus on defense-oriented items, you may find major issues in both maintaining aggro and actually hitting your target.

The next-best alternative for choosing this path will naturally be the 245 Ilvl version of this item, the Dawnbreaker Greaves/Dawnbreaker Sabatons, which grants the exact same type of stats in lower overall amounts.

If you also choose to pursue more defense-oriented items for this slot, the Greaves of the Stonewarder is yet another viable option that increases your overall avoidance through increased Block Value. This item is also extremely strong in the Anub’arak encounter as (Block Tanks) are highly sought after for that encounter.

The Sabatons of the Lingering Vortex/Greaves of the Lingering Vortex will be your BiS if you choose to optimize your Hit Rating to get as close as possible to the 8% Soft Hit Cap. By doing so, you will renounce a small portion of your overall Avoidance Rating in favor of getting as close as possible to the Soft Hit Cap.

As for the next-best alternative when it comes to the Hit Rating path, the 232 Ilvl Sabatons of the Lingering Vortex/Greaves of the Lingering Vortex will be the only viable option.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
Animated Constellation – 15 Sidereal Essence ( Sidereal Essence Vendor)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)
Trial of the Champion – Grand Champions (Heroic)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former The Obsidian Sanctum 10 Drop)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)

With the release of the new Heroic ++ Dungeons and the new Sidereal Essence Vendor, you will have multiple available options as a fresh level 80 when it comes to your ring slots.

The most potent ring combination will be the Seal of Ulduar & Signet of Winter. This is mainly due to the incredible stat spread that you can gain by using both of the rings, gaining access to a large amount of Armor, Parry Rating, Dodge Rating, and Expertise Rating. From a sheer stats point of view, there isn’t any other option that grants you as many stats as this combination.

If you don’t have enough essence to gain the Seal of Ulduar, you may use the Mark of the Relentless as the next-best alternative, as it offers the same types of stats in lower overall amounts. If you can’t gain access to either of them, although you should be able to gain the Seal of Ulduar through the new vendor, you can use the Signet of the Accord as a valid alternative for increasing your Expertise Rating.

If you already have plenty of Expertise Rating from your other gear slots yet you lack Hit Rating, you will want to use the Deflection Band as a potent alternative for increasing your overall Hit Rating.

Lastly, if you have spare gold, you can choose to buy the Titanium Earthguard Ring as a starting option to help you clear the new Heroic ++ Dungeons for better items!

Pre-Toc/Onyxia’s Lair

Item
Source
Ulduar – Thorim (25) HM
Animated Constellation – 15 Sidereal Essence ( Sidereal Essence Vendor)
Ulduar – XT-002 Deconstructor (25)
Ulduar – Auriaya (25)
Ulduar – Flame Leviathan (25)

The best possible ring combination for the ring slots in the Pre-Toc gearing phase will be Fate’s Clutch/Signet of the Earthshaker with various variations depending on your current build. The other two possible combinations are either Fate’s Clutch/Platinum Band of the Aesir and Fate’s Clutch/Seal of Ulduar.

Fate’s Clutch is generally regarded as the most powerful ring that you can acquire as a Protection Paladin in the second phase! This is due not only to the item level upgrade it received but also due to the overall impressive stats that it boosts.

Depending on the rest of your build, you will want to pair it with the Signet of the Earthshaker for a build that emphasizes Block Value, the Platinum Band of the Aesir for builds that lack Defense Rating/Expertise Rating, and the Seal of Ulduar for increased Stamina at the cost of reduced Defense Rating and Expertise Rating.

As a last resort, you can also use The Leviathan’s Coil, however, you should aim to find any of the previously mentioned items, as The Leviathan’s Coil is quite underwhelming.

Best-in-Slot

Item
Source
Trial of the Crusader – Anub’arak (25) Heroic
Ulduar – Thorim (25) HM
Trial of the Crusader – Fjola Lightbane (10) Heroic
Trial of the Crusader – Anub’arak (25)
Ulduar – XT-002 Deconstructor (25)
Ulduar – Auriaya (25)
Animated Constellation – 15 Sidereal Essence ( Sidereal Essence Vendor)
Onyxia’s Lair – Onyxia (25)
Onyxia’s Lair – Onyxia (10)
Trial of the Crusader – Fjola Lightbane (10)

The best possible choices for your ring slot in the third phase of the expansion will be a combination of Signet of the Traitor King/Band of the Traitor King and Fate’s Clutch. While the Signet of the Traitor King/Band of the Traitor King is the best possible choice in terms of pure damage mitigation that you can acquire in ToC, Fate’s Clutch will be our second choice due to the Expertise Rating that it grants which is vital in our current setup.

In terms of damage mitigation, you can use Loop of the Twin Val’kyr/Band of the Twin Val’kyr as the next-best alternative to the Signet of the Traitor King/Band of the Traitor King, followed up closely by its 245 Ilvl version as an alternative, the Signet of the Traitor King/Band of the Traitor King.

If you can’t gain access to any of those damage mitigation options, you may use either one of the Clutch of Fortification or the Loop of the Twin Val’kyr/Band of the Twin Val’kyr as a potent alternative, with the former being stronger than the latter due to higher overall stats.

As valid alternatives for the Fate’s Clutch, you will want to use the Platinum Band of the Aesir as the next-best alternative for increasing your Expertise Rating, followed up by the Seal of Ulduar as a decent alternative.

The 232 Ilvl Loop of the Twin Val’kyr/Band of the Twin Val’kyr is the weakest option presented among the available choices, however, it will still serve you well at the beginning of your gearing journey until you can attain more powerful options. If presented with the choice of using this ring versus using a ring from Ulduar such as the Signet of the Earthshaker, you should maintain the Ulduar Rings, as they are stronger.

The Signet of the Earthshaker is especially useful for encounters such as Anub’arak where Block Value is mandatory!

Lastly, a special mention for the Signified Ring of Binding and the Runed Ring of Binding which are special rings used for encounters where you will suffer heavy Magical Damage. Those two rings are used for boosting your overall resistances and can be stacked with other resistance-increasing buffs such as Gift of the Wild, Prayer of Shadow Protection, ETC.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
Trial of the Champion – The Black Knight
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)
Azjol-Nerub – Hadronox (Heroic)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10)

With the arrival of the new Heroic ++ Dungeons and the Trial of the Champion Dungeon, we now have access to many powerful trinkets that can be acquired fairly easily.

The best possible trinket that you can use in this phase and can also be acquired very early on is The Black Heart. This is due to both the static Stamina buff that it grants and its On-Equip effect which grants an extraordinary amount of raw Armor Value on a very short internal cooldown. The best possible trinket you can combine it with as a fresh level 80 is the Royal Seal of King Llane which also offers a more powerful static Stamina buff, however, it grants a weaker On-Use effect than The Black Heart.

As for viable alternatives that you can gain fairly easily, the Essence of Gossamer and the Figurine – Monarch Crab will be the next-best alternatives, as they will both grant you the best amount of Stamina available. However, you can only gain the Figurine – Monarch Crab if you have Jewelcrafting as one of your professions.

The Furnace Stone is another viable alternative that will grant a different form of damage mitigation through Dodge Rating and Armor Value. The only reason this trinket is not higher on the list is due to its long cooldown.

If you can’t find any of the previously mentioned items, you can also use the Repelling Charge as a viable defense-oriented trinket with a fairly decent On-Use effect.

While there may be stronger trinkets that you can realistically use from Naxxramas, it will be hard to attain them as a fresh level 80 unless you form a guild run or manage to find a group that will carry you and pass the loot over.

Pre-Toc/Onyxia’s Lair

Item
Source
Trial of the Champion – The Black Knight
Ulduar – Ignis the Furnace Master (25)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)
Azjol-Nerub – Hadronox (Heroic)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)

The best possible trinket combination for the Pre-Toc gearing phase will be the Heart of Iron/The Black Heart. This is due to the massive Stamina boost that those two trinkets can grant you when paired up. Besides the massive Stamina boost for more Effective Health Points, you will also gain one On-Use effect and one On-Equip effect which are extremely powerful. You can macro the Heart of Iron and create a “Panic Button” along with other spells such as Holy Shield or Divine Protection or you can keep its effect until you gain the increased Armor Value from The Black Heart and stack the two effects together with  Divine Protection to create an extremely powerful damage mitigation chain-effect.

The next-best alternative will be the Royal Seal of King Llane, which was one of the BiS trinkets from the second phase of the expansion. It fits the same role as the Heart of Iron and can be used together with it just like in the previous phase of the expansion.

Your next alternative would either be the Jewelcrafter’s only trinket (Figurine – Monarch Crab) or the Essence of Gossamer. Since that trinket is tied to a profession, we will emphasize the Essence of Gossamer as a better alternative. This is due to the high amount of Stamina that it grants combined with an effect that is similar to the Block Value stat, basically an absorption effect.

As a last alternative, you can use the Furnace Stone for the very powerful On-Use Armor effect that can save you from bosses that deal very high physical damage. You also gain a considerable amount of Dodge Rating. The only downfall of this item is that it reduces your overall Stamina by a considerable amount when compared to the other possible trinkets.

Best-in-Slot

Item
Source
Trial of the Crusader – Faction Champions (25) HC
Trial of the Crusader – Faction Champions (25)
Trial of the Champion – The Black Knight
Ulduar – Ignis the Furnace Master (25)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)
Trial of the Crusader – Faction Champions (10) HC