PvE Protection Warrior Tank Best-in-Slot (BiS) & Pre-Raid Gear

wotlk pve protection warrior tank best in slot (bis) & pre raid

In this section of the guide, we will help you choose the best equipment (and, if needed, alternatives) that you can use for each of the different phases of the expansion. The Pre-Raid tab will contain the 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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The next best item that you can acquire is Cloak of the Shadowed Sun.

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Those will be your best options for your ring slots.

Alternative: Essence of Gossamer
Alternative: Rune of Repulsion
Alternative / Threat / DPS: Darkmoon Card: Greatness

These are the best options for your Weapon & Shield.

Alternative: Hero’s Surrender
Alternative: Broken Promise

Alternative: Envoy of Mortality

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Those will be the best options for the ring slots.

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Those will be the best Weapon & Shield that you can acquire in the second phase of the expansion.

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Progressive Best-in Slot

Before we dive into the progressive list, there is one aspect that we all must understand! All the Tanking Specializations in WotLK will benefit from different items in different ways depending on the fights themselves. Meaning that while you may often find a set that can work for almost each and every single encounter, this may not hold true in all situations. You will find fights where you may benefit from a higher Parry Chance rather than a higher Block Value or a higher Dodge Chance than Parry Chance, Block Rating, and Block Value.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
Heroic + Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)
Heroic + Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)
Gundrak – Moorabi (Heroic)
The Nexus – Grand Magus Telestra (Heroic)
The Oculus – Cache of Eregos

As a fresh level 80, you have several choices for your head slot. You have two main ways of acquiring adequate equipment for your head slot, you can either directly buy BoE items or craft them yourself, or you can go through a dungeon crawl and acquire progressive upgrades.

You will find items such as Helm of the Ley-Guardian, Arcane-Shielded Helm, and Ground Tremor Helm will prove to be very useful in the beginning before getting access to any raid. This is due to the “Defense” secondary stat that they offer. However, you will quickly find yourself replacing those items with either the BoE items or the new Heroic Plus Dungeon items. Treat them as a stepping stone!

In reality, you will want to swap those items as fast as possible and gain either the crafted Armored Titanium Goggles from engineering or directly buy Tempered Titansteel Helm from the Auction House. Both items grant you quite high baseline stats combined with “Defense Rating”, increasing your overall survivability by quite a high amount.

Your best option will be the Heroes’ Dreadnaught Greathelm, acquired from the new Heroic Plus Dungeons, especially for its high baseline stats, very high “Block Value”, and tier-set bonus that it offers. If you can not manage to gain this item, you can use Thane’s Tainted Greathelm, as it will grant you similar high baseline stats. The only issue is that it offers you a “Parry Rating” instead of “Block Value”, reducing your overall mitigation.

Pre-Raid

Item
Source
Naxxramas – Kel’Thuzad (25)
Naxxramas – Gothik the Harvester (25)
Heroic + Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)
Naxxramas – Sapphiron (25)

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.

For the first two weeks of Ulduar, you will find that the Valorous Dreadnaught Greathelm will prove to be invaluable. This will be mainly due to its high baseline stats and extremely high “Block Value” that it offers. Since it also grants access to the previous set-tier bonus, you will find no better alternative for breaching the gates of Ulduar.

Heroes’ Dreadnaught Greathelm will provide the same type of benefits as its upgrade, giving you quite a powerful option for your head slot, however, if you find yourself “Expertise” starved, you will find that the Helm of Vital Protection will be a better fit.

As a last alternative, you can choose the Platehelm of the Great Wyrm. It has high baseline stats combined with high defensive secondary stats, including “Block Rating”, however, it has one fatal flaw, a lack of gem sockets.

Best-in-Slot

Item
Source
Ulduar – Thorim (25) NM/HM
Ulduar – Mimiron (10) NM/HM
Ulduar – General Vezax (25)
Ulduar – Freya (25) NM/HM
Naxxramas – Kel’Thuzad (25)

In our current build, the best possible item will be the Conqueror’s Siegebreaker Greathelm. This is mainly due to its high base stats, but most importantly for two different aspects. First, we will always want to benefit from the 4-set item bonus. The second reason is the “Shield Block Rating” which will increase your overall damage mitigation by improving your overall chance to “Block” an attack while Shield Block is on cooldown.

Naturally, the next-best option for this slot will be Valorous Siegebreaker Greathelm since it will provide the same type of benefits, only with lower overall stats.

As mentioned earlier, items can depend entirely on the encounter itself. Naturally, you will want items that will increase your “Block Chance” and “Block Value” as Protection Warrior will benefit the most from these stats. But in some situations, items that will provide Dodge or Parry Chance will be your only options.

Helm of the Faceless is a great alternative due to the high defensive stats it offers, even if it does not provide any stat that enhances your block. While Protection Warrior is not a specialization that relies on Parry Rating, the overall increase will improve your mitigation.

Ironbark Faceguard will be a better option if you are “Expertise” starved, granting you quite a high Expertise Rating Value. However, it will decrease your overall survivability, even if its baseline stats are high.

Lastly, the BiS from Phase 1, Valorous Dreadnaught Greathelm, will still prove itself to be a very valuable choice in Ulduar due to the Hit Rating it offers and the extremely high “Block Value” it grants. If you alter the build to specifically include only items that grant a high “Block Value”, this item will perform extremely well compared to the others.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
Heroic + Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)
Heroic + Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)
Heroic + Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)
Gundrak – Zone Drop (BoE)
Ahn’Kahet: The Old Kingdom – Jedoga Shadowseeker (Heroic)
Zul’Drak – Betrayal

As a fresh level 80, you have several choices for your necklace slot. You have two main ways of acquiring adequate equipment for your necklace slot, you can either directly buy BoE items or craft them yourself, or you can go through a dungeon crawl and acquire progressive upgrades.

Your best initial choice would be to buy either Titanium Earthguard Chain or Burning Skull Pendant, with the latter option being the superior choice due to the very high “Block Value” that it grants. You can choose to maintain those items until you can get into a raid or you can attempt to gain either Amulet of Autopsy, Chained Military Gorget, or Medallion of the Disgraced.

The best possible choice will be the Medallion of the Disgraced due to its “Block Value” increase that it offers, however, you can also use the other two options as they have good baseline stats and severely enhance your overall “Defensive Rating”.

Pre-Raid

Item
Source
The Eye of Eternity – Heroic Judgement at the Eye of Eternity
Naxxramas – Kel’Thuzad (25)
Naxxramas – Zone Drop (25)
Heroic + Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)

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.

The best choice before entering Ulduar will be the Nexus War Champion Beads. This will provide you with the best defensive option if you already have the necessary soft “Expertise” cap. Besides its high baseline and secondary stats, the item itself grants you a gem socket that can ideally grant you additional stamina.

Boundless Ambition is the next best option for this slot before breaching the gates of Ulduar, as it grants you similar baseline stats, with a high expertise rating replacing two defensive stats. In some situations, Boundless Ambition can prove itself to be better than the Nexus War Champion Beads, however, it really depends on the rest of your setup.

If you do not have access to the Eye of Eternity Heroic version quest, the Drakescale Collar can be a perfect choice. If you have enough expertise rating from the rest of your items, the Drakescale Collar can be considered even better than Boundless Ambition. Once again, it depends completely on your overall itemization and the rest of your items.

Both Heritage and Medallion of the Disgraced can be considered great initial choices, however, Heritage will be a better option if you don’t have enough “Hit Rating” to reach your soft cap while Medallion of the Disgraced is the superior version if you already have your hit cap as it provides you with a very decent “Block Value”.

Best-in-Slot

Item
Source
Ulduar – Freya (25) HM
Ulduar – Kologarn (25)
Ulduar – Dark Rune Ravager (10)
Ulduar – Dark Rune Ravager, Arachnopod Destroyer (10)

The best possible option for this slot will be the Bronze Pendant of the Vanir. This is mainly due to its insanely high baseline stas and powerful defensive secondary stats. Even if the item itself does not grant you any “Block Rating” or “Block Value” increase, it presents itself with quite a high defensive rating, dodge rating, and parry rating.

If your entire build is oriented around “Block Value”, the Necklace of Unerring Mettle will be your actual BiS as it offers you a very high increase in “Block Value”. Even if the baseline stats will be lower than that of Bronze Pendant of the Vanir, the increase in block value will improve your mitigation overall.

Both Titanstone Pendant and Shard of the Crystal Forest grant you a decent alternative and a very good set of stats with the difference between them being that one grants you Hit Rating while the other one grants you Expertise Rating. All and all, both of them are very good items until you can manage to get your actual BiS.

Nexus War Champion Beads will be used in the beginning weeks of Ulduar until you can replace it, however, if you do not manage to gain it, you can use the Fervor of the Protectorate, even if it grants overall lesser stats.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
Heroic + Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)
Heroic + Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)
Sunwell Plateau – Lady Sacrolash, Grand Warlock Alythess
Gundrak– Drakkari Elemental
Halls of Lightning – General Bjarngrim

As a fresh level 80, you have several choices for your shoulders slot. Since there are no potential BoE items that can be bought, you will either have to go through a dungeon crawl in Northrend or choose the Spaulders of the Thalassian Defender from Sunwell Plateau.

The best possible option will be the Heroes’ Dreadnaught Pauldrons as it also grants you access to the tier-set bonuses. However, Spaulders of the Thalassian Defender gains an honorable mention due to its insanely high “Block Value” while Abomination Shoulderblades can prove itself to be a valuable alternative due to its high baseline and secondary stats.

However, until you get enough gear to join the new Heroic Plus Dungeons or if you never had the chance to raid the Sunwell Plateau, you will want to start with items such as Pauldrons of the Colossus and Iron Dwarf Smith Pauldrons, with the former option being the superior choice.

Pre-Raid

Item
Source
Naxxramas – Loatheb, Gluth (25)
Naxxramas – Gothik the Harverster (25)
Naxxramas – Anub’Rekhan (25)
Heroic + Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)
Sunwell Plateau – Lady Sacrolash, Grand Warlock Alythess

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.

We will have one honorable mention to the Spaulders of the Thalassian Defender item from the Sunwell Plateau, as it grants an insane amount of “Block Value”, proving itself to be quite valuable for damage mitigation. This being said, the item itself can bring value, even if it has lower baseline stats than the rest of the items.

The best possible choice before the gates of Ulduar are breached will be the Valorous Dreadnaught Pauldrons due to its high baseline stats and Dodge Rating plus Block Rating combination while also granting you access to the 4-set item bonus. However, not all players value the 4-item set bonus, calling it too weak, by merely empowering your Shield Wall for two seconds, preferring either Burdened Shoulderplates or Pauldrons of Unnatural Death instead for their baseline and secondary stats.

Heroes’ Dreadnaught Pauldrons will still provide you a good choice in case you don’t want to raid Naxxramas anymore, however, you will likely want to gain its upgrade instead.

Best-in-Slot

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

The best item for this slot for the second phase of the expansion will be the Conqueror’s Siegebreaker Pauldrons. This is mainly due to the item granting you access to the 4-set item bonus combined with the high baseline stats. The item itself grants you quite a high amount of Expertise Rating besides its Dodge Rating. While it does not enhance your overall “Block Value” or “Block Rating”, the item itself enhances your overall survivability by a high amount.

Shoulderplates of the Deconstructor is the next-best option, especially if you don’t have enough Hit Rating from your other items. If we keep in mind the 4-set item bonus from tier 8, Valorous Siegebreaker Pauldrons will prove itself to be the better option, however, if you find yourself without enough Hit Rating, Shoulderplates of the Deconstructor will simply be better, especially since you don’t want to miss your taunts.

Lastly, Shoulderguards of the Solemn Watch will be your best initial option, especially since it grants you a better “Block Rating” than the previous BiS from phase 1. However, you will want to swap this item as fast as possible with either the tier-8 shoulders or the Shoulderplates of the Deconstructor. Since Protection Warrior benefits more from Dodge Rating rather than Parry Rating, this item can be considered just a stepping stone. Bare in mind, however, that even if Protection Warriors do not primarily benefit from Parry Rating, benefitting primarily from Block Chance and Block Value, they will still improve their mitigation from raw Parry Rating.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
Heroic + Dungeons (Former The Obsidian Sanctum 10 Drop)
Heroic + Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)
The Nexus – Commander Stoutbeard (Heroic)
The Wyrmrest Accord – Honored

As a fresh level 80, you have several choices for your cloak slot. There are two main ways to acquire a good cloak once you reach level 80, you can either directly buy a cloak, either a BoE, crafted, or reputation cloak. Or you can choose to go through a dungeon crawl and acquire much more powerful versions such as the ones released with the new Heroic Plus Dungeons.

The best possible choice will be the Gale-Proof Cloak since it grants you high baseline stats and plenty of defensive secondary stats combined with much-needed Expertise Rating before entering a raid. However, it will not aid you with your Hit Rating.

As a viable alternative, albeit a weaker one from a purely defensive point of view, you can use the Cloak of Armed Strife.

Durable Nerubhide Cape will present itself as a powerful BoE alternative in case you don’t desire to go through the new Heroic Plus Dungeons, providing you with high baseline stats, Expertise Rating, and Dodge Rating. The only issue with the item is that it does not grant you any Defense Rating.

Alternatively, if you have no gold at all and it’s your first character, you can start with items such as Cloak of the Enemy or the Cloak of Peaceful Resolutions. Both grant you a decent amount of baseline stats and defensive stats, however, you will want to swap them as soon as possible.

Pre-Raid

Item
Source
Naxxramas – Zone Drop (Multiple Bosses) (25)
Naxxramas – Zone Drop (Multiple Bosses) (25)
Heroic + Dungeons (Former The Obsidian Sanctum 10 Drop)

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.

The best option before entering Ulduar will remain the BiS from the last phase, the Platinum Mesh Cloak. This is mainly due to the item granting you high baseline stats and a much-needed Hit Rating. Even if it grants you lower defensive secondary stats than the next-best option, the Hit Rating will allow you to use your gems for additional Stamina instead of socketing them with Hit Rating gems.

The next-best option, Shadow of the Ghoul, will grant you quite high defensive stats through increased “Block Rating” and increased “Block Value”, however, it will demand that you change either an enchantment, gem socket, or item to fulfill the need of Hit Rating.

The Cloak of the Shadowed Sun can be a great alternative, however, it grants you lesser secondary stats, making it a stepping-stone item. Since you will want to optimize your equipment as much as possible, you will want to swap this item as fast as possible. In terms of baseline stats, it is quite similar to the items listed above.

If you can not gain any of the above-mentioned items, you may choose to use the Gale-Proof Cloak. While it is not as potent as the other options, it can be a great initial option.

Best-in-Slot

Item
Source
Ulduar – Mimiron (25) HM
Ulduar – Auriaya (25)
Ulduar – General Vezax (10)
Ulduar – Stormcaller Brundir, Steelbreaker, Runemaster Molgeim (10)
Naxxramas – Zone Drop (Multiple Bosses) (25)

By far the best possible choice for Protection Warriors in the second phase will be the Titanskin Cloak. While it does not grant you defensive secondary stats apart from the “Defense Rating”, it will grant you much-needed Hit Rating and Expertise Rating.

The next-best option will be the Cloak of the Makers as it grants you very similar baseline stats coupled up with a high Dodge Rating, a high Defense Rating, and a much-needed Hit Rating.

The Saronite Animus Cloak can be considered the smaller version of the Cloak of the Makers, basically giving you exactly the same type of stats, being different only by granting a lower amount and the item level of the cape itself.

Cloak of the Iron Council will prove to be a stepping stone type of item, granting you decent amounts of baseline stats paired up with a high amount of “Block Rating”, Expertise Rating, and Defense Rating. You will quickly want to swap this item as fast as possible with an upgrade.

Shadow of the Ghoul remains a great option, especially in the first weeks of Ulduar. Since the item grants you both a high “Block Value” and a high “Block Rating” plus high baseline stats, you can safely maintain this item as long as you have enough Expertise Rating, Defense Rating, and Hit Rating until you can get an item such as the Saronite Animus Cloak. Depending on how much “Block Value” your equipment has, you will want to maintain this item for a long time to bolster the remainder of your equipment with raw “Block Value”. Even if it means sacrificing Stamina over it.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
Heroic + Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)
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)

As a fresh level 80, you have several choices for your chest slot. Since there are actual no BoE items that you can directly buy, apart from the reputation chest from the Wyrmrest Accord, you will want to go through a dungeon crawl in order to gain good chest piece.

The best possible choice as a fresh 80 Protection Warrior will be the Heroes’ Dreadnaught Breastplate from the new Heroic Plus Dungeons, however, until you manage to get into those new dungeons , you can start with either Ziggurat Imprinted Chestguard or Sun-Emblazoned Chestplate as they both grant you plenty “Defense Rating” and good initial baseline stats. However, you will want to change them as fast as possible before actually entering any raid.

Massive Skeletal Ribcage can prove itself to be an alright alternative to the tier set item, however, it does not grant you any gem sockets. The strong point of the item is the massive Expertise Rating that it grants.

Pre-Raid

Item
Source
Naxxramas – Four Horseman, Gluth (25)
The Obsidian Sanctum – Sartharion (25)
Naxxramas – Grobbulus (25)
Heroic + Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)
Naxxramas – Gluth, Heigan the Unclean (25)
Naxxramas – Maexxna (25)

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.

For the Pre-Raid option before the release of Ulduar, you have two main choices, both of which can prove very valuable. You can either choose to use the Valorous Dreadnaught Breastplate for its 4-set item bonuses and high baseline stats or you can use the Dragonstorm Breastplate for its almost completely identical baseline stats and secondary stats.

The only true difference between the two items is the difference in secondary stats, one giving you Parry Rating while the other one grants you Block Rating and the item set bonuses.

As an alternative, you can use the Chestguard of the Exhausted as it grants you pretty high baseline stats while also increasing your “Block Rating”, this will be useful whenever Shield Block is on cooldown.

Heroes’ Dreadnaught Breastplate will be a safe choice, especially since it grants you access to the item set bonus. However, you will want to gain an upgrade as soon as possible, since its baseline stats are lower than the previously mentioned items. In terms of secondary stats, it grants you exactly the same type of stats as its upgraded version, only slightly lower.

Breastplate of Tormented Rage and Undiminished Battleplate will be alright initial choices, however, you will want to swap them as soon as possible due to the fact that they have no gem sockets. While Breastplate of Tormented Rage grants you three secondary, the Undiminished Battleplate gives you only two secondary stats, making it the weakest option.

Best-in-Slot

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

The best possible option will be the Conqueror’s Siegebreaker Breastplate. This is mainly due to its high baseline stats, huge increase of “Block Value”, and access to the 4-set item bonuses. Since the 4-item set bonus enhances your Shield Wall, allowing you to reduce magical damage by 10% as well, we will want to have the bonus active, especially for Hardmode bosses.

As a viable alternative, you can use the Unbreakable Chestguard, especially since it grants you the same type of increased “Block Value” that the tier item grants you. Overall, the items themselves are pretty similar in raw baseline stats, however, the tier bonuses simply outclass this item.

Breastplate of the Timeless can be a stepping-stone alternative, especially if you lack Expertise Rating. You can use it for its high baseline stats, however, you will find that the Valorous Siegebreaker Breastplate will be a better option just for the tier-set bonuses alone.

The only reason you would have to pick Breastplate of the Timeless over the Valorous Siegebreaker Breastplate would be the extremely high Expertise Rating that the item grants.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
Heroic + Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)
Ahn’Kahet: The Old Kingdom – Herald Volazj (Heroic)
Heroic + Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)
The Culling of Stratholme – Salramm the Fleshcrafter (Heroic)

As a fresh level 80, you have several choices for your bracers slot. There are two different types of items that you can acquire for this slot. You can either directly buy a pair of bracers from the Auction House, granting you the best possible choice as a Fresh 80 for this slot, the Bracers of Dalaran’s Parapets. Or you can go through a progressive dungeon crawl and gain similar items.

By far the best available choice with the release of the second phase as a Fresh 80 will be the Bracers of Dalaran’s Parapets for its extremely high stats, however, depending on your realm’s economy and whether someone actually buys it and places it on the Auction House you may not have access to this item.

Through a progressive path, you will want to start with items such as the Bindings of Dark Will and the Bracers of the Herald, both of which grant you very high baseline stats and plenty of Defense Rating and Parry Rating. Naturally, the latter item will be the superior choice.

The new Heroic Plus Dungeons will grant you access to the former 10-man raids, allowing you to gain either the Minion Bracers which will grant you extremely high baseline stats and defensive secondary stats for a 10-man item or the Bracers of Lost Sentiments which will aid you in reaching your Expertise and Hit soft caps at the expense of some defensive stats.

Pre-Raid

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

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.

For the Pre-raid phase of Ulduar, your best option will be the Bindings of the Hapless Prey. This is mainly due to the high “Defense Rating” and very high “Block Value” that it grants paired up with quite high baseline stats. Since Protection Warrior benefits the most from stats such as Block Rating and Block Value, you will want to gain as many items that give you those two stats as long as you have enough Hit Rating and Expertise Rating.

You can use Bracers of the Unholy Knight as a viable alternative, especially since it grants similar baseline stats. Even if Protection Warrior benefits the most from Block Rating and Block Value, it will still gain mitigation value from stats such as Dodge Rating and Parry Rating, making this item quite a powerful alternative.

Another relatively good choice would be the Bracers of Dalaran’s Parapets, granting you quite high secondary stats alongside high baseline stats. This item alone has stats that can compare even to the highest available loot in Ulduar! The best part of this item is that you can directly buy it from the Auction House since it is a BoE item.

Best-in-Slot

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

Sadly, Ulduar does not grant us a lot of choices when it comes to the wrist slot. We will have two main options to pick from, with Mimiron’s Inferno Couplings being the best choice. This is mainly due to its highbaseline stats combined with the high secondary stats. It will also grant you much-needed Hit Rating. While it does not exceed in defensive stats, it still proves to be the best option for the simple lack of a better option.

Flamewatch Armguards are the only alternative presented by Ulduar, granting you both decent baseline stats and secondary stats. There is not much else to say about this item, other than that it can be considered a lesser version of Mimiron’s Inferno Couplings, practically giving you the exact same type of secondary stats.

If you wish to skip over the Flamewatch Armguards, you can still use the Bindings of the Hapless Prey as it grants you high baseline stats and severely enhances your “Block Value” while still granting you plenty of Defense Rating.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
Heroic + Dungeons (Former The Obsidian Sanctum 10 Drop)
Heroic + Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)
Kirin Tor- Exalted
Violet Hold – Ichoron (Heroic)
Halls of Stone – Zone Drop (BoE)
The Sunwell Plateau – Felmyst

As a fresh level 80, you have several choices for your gloves slot. You have the choice to either directly buy a BoE item or a reputation-based item as your first pair of gauntlets or you can choose to go through a progressive dungeon crawl.

The best possible choice will be the Heroes’ Dreadnaught Handguards, it becomes available through the new Heroic Plus Dungeons in the second phase of the expansion. This is mainly due to its high baseline stats paired up with a decent amount of Expertise Rating and Defense Rating/Parry Rating.

Gauntlets of the Master will prove itself to be a great alternative, especially as a fresh level 80 character. Since it gives quite similar stats to both in baseline stats and secondary stats, the only clear differences will be the accesibility to the item tier set bonus and the fact that one of the items will aid you with your Expertise Cap while the other one will aid you with your Hit Rating. The Gauntlets of the Master also has no gem sockets compared to the Heroes’ Dreadnaught Handguards

However, until you can get into the new Heroic Plus Dungeons, you have other more affordable options or simply easier dungeons that you can explore for some juicy loot. You can gain the Fireproven Gauntlets from the Kirin Tor quartermaster as a decent initial choice or you can directly buy an average initial choice such as the Refined Ore Gloves.

As an honorable mention, the Borderland Fortress Grips will grant you stats which will remain relevant even in the initial raids of WotLK.. As the item grants decent baseline stats and secondary stats. While the item itself can hold up on its own, you will likely want to swap it pretty fast.

Pre-Raid

Item
Source
The Obsidian Sanctum – Sartharion (25)
Naxxramas – Gluth, Noth the Plaguebringer (25)
Heroic + Dungeons (Former The Obsidian Sanctum 10 Drop)
Naxxramas – Grand Widow Faerlina (25)

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.

The best possible choice for the Pre-Ulduar gearing part will be the Valorous Dreadnaught Handguards. This is mainly due to the high baseline stats and the high “Defense Rating”/”Parry Rating” that it offers paired up with the item set bonuses. The Hit Rating will also help you reach your soft cap, especially since its crucial to land your taunts.

Gauntlets of the Disobedient will be the next-best option, even if they do not grant you access to the tier set bonus. This is mainly due to the high baseline stats and the decently high “Block Value” that it grants paired up with “Block Rating”.

Heroes’ Dreadnaught Handguards will be a good alternative until you manage to get your “Hands” on any of the previously mentioned items. It basically grants the same type of benefits as the Valorous Dreadnaught Handguards, with slightly lesser stats.

Lastly, Callous-Hearted Gauntlets can be a great option for fights where “Block Value” is outshined by Parry Rating and Dodge Rating, granting you quite a high baseline stats.

Best-in-Slot

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

The best possible option for this slot and the only item that will not be a tier item from this set will be the Handguards of Revitalization. This is mainly due to the very high baseline stats, combined with the two gem sockets and high secondary stats. Even if Protection Warrior benefits more from “Block Value”, the high amounts of Parry Rating and Dodge Rating will increase your overall mitigation.

Handguards of the Enclave will provide you with the next-best alternative, especially since they grant you a spectacular amount of “Block Value”. However, the item has no gem sockets, meaning that it will have an overall lower Stamina than our first choice.

Conqueror’s Siegebreaker Handguards grants you a decent alternative, however, it is better suited for sets that do not have enough Hit Rating. The item itself grants you lower overall defensive stats than the previously mentioned items, being treated as a stepping stone. Most Protection Warriors choose to ignore the item altogether, however, it can still provide you with plenty of value in lack of any better option.

Lastly, the Gauntlets of the Royal Watch provide a very well rounded option, granting you high Stamina, high defensive secondary stats while also granting you a good amount of Hit Rating. While the item itself is quite good, you will want to gain either Handguards of Revitalization or Handguards of the Enclave as they are simply better items stats-wise.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
Heroic + Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)
Utgarde Pinnacle – Skadi the Ruthless (Heroic)
Azjol-Nerub – Anub’arak (Heroic)
Drak’Tharon Keep – Zone Drop (BoE)

As a fresh level 80, you have several choices for your waist slot. You have two main choices when first searching for the proper equipment for your waist slot, you can either go through a slow dungeon crawl and acquire progressive upgrades or you can directly buy a BoE item and directly jump into some low-tier raids.

With the release of the second phase of the expansion, the new Heroic Plus Dungeons grant us some very interesting new choices that allow us to gear our characters much more efficiently. For your waist slot, the Waistguard of the Tutor will prove itself to be the best possible option that you will be able to acquire before entering any 25-man raid. This is mainly due to the high baseline stats combined with a very high “Block Value” secondary stat. Just like we mentioned in the previous sections, Protection Warriors thrive specifically when they stack large amounts of “Block Value”

As a great alternative, you can use Skadi’s Iron Belt, as it grants you similar stats to the best available option, especially enhancing your Block Value.

However, until you can manage to get into the new Heroic Plus Dungeons or gather enough emblems to buy an item such as the Waistguard of Living Iron which offers pretty decent defensive stats, you will want to either buy the Waistguard of the Risen Knight as it is a great initial choice or simply try to gain the Ancient Aligned Girdle from Heroic Azjol-Nerub as it grants you a very high amount of Stamina. The only issue with the item is that it only grants two secondary stats instead of three secondary stats, as you will find on the majority of items. Once again, you should treat the Ancient Aligned Girdle as a stepping stone item, merely a survivability boost until you can gain an upgrade that will optimize your defensive stats.

Pre-Raid

Item
Source
Naxxramas – Maexxna (25)
Heroic + Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)
Naxxramas – Patchwerk (25)

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.

The best possible choice for Pre-Ulduar would be the Ablative Chitin Girdle. This is mainly due to is very high baseline stats combined with the gem socket and the combination of Defense Rating, Parry Rating, and Hit Rating. While Parry Rating does not scale perfectly with Protection Warriors, it will increase your overall survivability while the Hit Rating will be a much-needed necessity since we always want to be the reaching our soft Hit Cap.

The next-best alternative will be the Waistguard of the Tutor. This is due to the very high “Block Value” combined with high baseline stats that the item offers. This alternative is perfect if you already have your Hit cap and Expertise cap.

Best-in-Slot

Item
Source
Ulduar – Razorscale (25)

For the Waist slot, the BiS choice differs the most depending on which fight you currently find yourself in. As some fights favor Block Value over Parry and Dodge Rating while others favor Block Rating and Block Value completely, you will find yourself wanting to swap between two items in order to optimize your mitigation completely.

For fights that favor Block Value, your best choice will be the Dragonslayer’s Brace, as it provides very high baseline stats paired up with high “Block Value” and quite a high “Block Rating”. The only issue the item has is that it has no “gem sockets”.

The second choice which is better in fights that do not rely so much on Block Value will be the Indestructible Plate Girdle. The best part of this item is that you can quickly attain it since it is a crafted item and it has extremely high stats, both for its baseline and secondary stats. It also has two gem sockets.

As a decent alternative to the two previously mentioned items, you can use the Shieldwarder Girdle, as it grants you high amounts of Stamina paired up with quite a high amount of Dodge Rating and Hit Rating. The item itself can be considered quite good, however, it pales in comparison to the previously mentioned items, being used as a stepping-stone of sorts. The good part about it is that while the recipe for the crafted item may not be looted and the Dragonslayer’s Brace may simply not drop, this item can be acquired through Emblems of Conquest, removing the RNG element to some extent.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
Heroic + Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)
Heroic + Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)
Violet Hold – Cyanigosa (Heroic)
The Oculus – Cache of Eregos (Heroic)
Utgarde Keep – Ingvar the Plunderer

As a fresh level 80, you have several choices for your legs slot. Since there are no good BoE items that you can gain right after reaching level 80, you will have to rely on a slow progressive dungeon crawl. Luckily, the new Heroic Plus Dungeons that come with the second phase of the expansion, will grant us some pretty neat gearing options.

Since we know that gearing our Protection Warriors depends on what type of fights you will encounter, your best choice will be between the Legplates of Inescapable Death and the Heroes’ Dreadnaught Legguards. The first option will grant you plenty of baseline stats and very strong secondary defensive stats, especially in the form of “Block Value”, while the second option grants you access to the tier-item set bonuses while also granting you high baseline stats and a different form of damage mitigation through Dodge/Parry rating.

As a viable alternative, you can use the Bolstered Legplates since they give you very high baseline stats, two gem sockets, and a very high “Defense Rating”, allowing you to reach your Defense Soft Cap pretty fast in the early gearing process. Ley-Guardian’s Legguards can be treated as the lesser version of the Bolstered Legplates, as it grants the same type of stats, only slightly lower.

If none of the previous items are available, you can start with the Staggering Legplates, as they will grant you a very high Stamina baseline plus a high Hit Rating, allowing you to quickly reach your Hit Soft Cap.

Pre-Raid

Item
Source
The Eye of Eternity – Malygos (25)
The Obsidian Sanctum – Sartharion (25)
Heroic + Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)
The Eye of Eternity – Malygos (25)

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.

The best possible choice for the Pre-Ulduar gearing phase will be the Legplates of Sovereignty. This is mainly due to the very high Stamina baseline that it offers alongside its high secondary stats. Due to an insanely high “Defense Rating” paired up with a high Parry Rating and Expertise Rating, this item will fully a big portion of your mitigation stats while also helping you in achieving your Expertise Soft Cap faster.

As viable alternatives, you can use the Dragon Brood Legguards, especially if you lack Hit Rating or the Legplates of Inescapable Death since it offers you a very high amount of “Block Value” alongside its gem sockets and decently high baseline stats. Since the Legplates of Inescapable Death has two gem sockets, you can end up having as much Stamina as the Legplates of Sovereignty.

Lastly, you can use an item such as the Valorous Dreadnaught Legguards. While its stats are similar to the other items, providing you with decently high baseline stats and secondary stats, alongside the potential tier-set bonus, the other items will simply outshine it in terms of pure mitigation. Notheless, it is still a very good option in case you can’t get the other items.

Best-in-Slot

Item
Source
Ulduar – Freya (25)
Ulduar – Hodir (10)
Ulduar – Algalon the Observer (25) HM

The best possible choice for the second phase of the expansion will be the Conqueror’s Siegebreaker Legguards. This is mainly due to its high baseline stats, two gem sockets, potential for the tier-set item bonuses, and its fantastic secondary stats. Since Protection Warriors benefit the most from “Block Value”, this item will grant you an outstanding amount of it, allowing you to increase your overall survivability.

Naturally, the Valorous Siegebreaker Legguards come as a second-best choice, since they are the basic version of the item, granting you the same type of stats and item bonuses.

As viable alternatives, you can choose either the Wyrmguard Legplates or the Legplates of the Endless Void. As mentioned previously, even if Protection Warrior benefits the most from Block Value, there will be fights where other forms of mitigation such as Parry Rating and Dodge Rating will be required. Meaning that for some fights, the Legplates of the Endless Void will prove invaluable, especially since they offer you insanely high overall stats.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
Naxxramas – Anub’Rekhan, Gluth (25) (BoE)
Heroic + Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)

As a fresh level 80, you have several choices for your feet slot. There are two main things that you can do for this slot, especially as a fresh level 80. You can either buy BoE items directly, or you can go through a slow progressive dungeon crawl.

If you managed to get plenty of gold, you can actually directly buy the best possible option directly from the Auction House, if you are lucky enough to find it available. Inexorable Sabatons will grant you the best possible stats, being powerful enough to carry your stats even in the beginning of Ulduar. The item grants you extremely high baseline stats combined with a very high “Block Value”, severely enhancing your overall survivability and damage mitigation. You should still keep in mind that some fights won’t favor “Block Value”, meaning that you will have to rely on items that grant you Parry Rating and Dodge Rating instead.

However, since the item will be extremely contested, you may want to start with an item such as the Tempered Titansteel Treads which will be easier to acquire.

As viable alternatives, you can use either of the Plague-Impervious Boots, Greaves of Ancient Evil, or Slaughterhouse Sabatons as perfectly acceptable options. Both Plague-Impervious Boots and the Greaves of Ancient Evil are great options for fights where “Block Value” won’t grant you the best form of mitigation, both items granting you Dodge Rating and Parry Rating, instead.

As a great alternative for a build that focuses on Block Rating and Block Value, you can use the Slaughterhouse Sabatons, as they are a great pick and great alternative to the Inexorable Sabatons.

Pre-Raid

Item
Source
Naxxramas – Anub’Rekhan, Gluth (25) (BoE)
Naxxramas – Gluth, Thaddius (25)
Heroic + Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)

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.

Just like stated before, the Inexorable Sabatons will be your best choice for the Pre-Ulduar gearing phase, especially since they grant you a very high “Block Value”. However, you should keep in mind that there are other alternatives that you may find useful, especially in fights where “Block Value” will not prove so efficient. A perfect example of this situation would be the Kyzoc’s Ground Stompers, granting you plenty of Dodge and Parry Rating to increase your overall survivability.

The Sabatons of Endurance are a perfect alternative in case you don’t have enough Expertise Rating while the Plague-Impervious Boots are another great option for fights where “Block Value” won’t be efficient.

Best-in-Slot

Item
Source
Ulduar – Zone Drop (25)
Ulduar – Mimiron (10) HM
Naxxramas – Anub’Rekhan, Gluth (25)

Just like in the previous sections of this guide, the best option depends entirely on the encounter itself. There are two main options which can be swapped depending on the fight itself, meaning that you may want to gain both items to optimize your fights as much as possible.

The Greaves of the Stonewarder will be the best possible option when it comes to encounters where Block Value is the most efficient stat while the Greaves of the Iron Army is the best choice if it comes to fights where you benefit the most from Parry Rating. The Greaves of the Iron Army will be especially good if your overall gear lacks Expertise Rating.

As viable alternatives, you can directly buy either Spiked Deathdealers or even the Inexorable Sabatons, as both options are great. Following the same school of thought, the Spiked Deathdealers will be a great initial option, especially in fights where you benefit more from Parry Rating and Dodge Rating while the Inexorable Sabatons are a lot better in builds that stack as much “Block Value” as possible and in encounters where “Block Value” is the most efficient form of mitigation.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
The Sunwell Plateau – Entropius
Heroic + Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)
Heroic + Dungeons (Former The Obsidian Sanctum 10 Drop)
Utgarde Keep – Ingvar the Plunderer (Heroic)
Drak’Tharon Keep – The Prophet Tharon’ja

As a fresh level 80, you have several choices for your ring slots. You have 3 main options which you can use, you can either use a very powerful ring from a previous expansion, buy a powerful initial ring from the Auction House and pair it with one from a dungeon, or you can directly go through a slow progressive dungeon crawl to acquire the best possible options before raiding.

The Titanium Earthguard Ring can be a great choice for the beginning as it will be very affordable directly from the Auction House, giving you decently high baseline stats and moderate amounts of defensive secondary stats.

Until you can reach the new Heroic Plus Dungeons, you can start with a slow progressive dungeon crawl and acquire good initial items such as the Keystone Great-Ring or the Unsmashable Heavy Band which provide you with great starter stats, the latter option being strong enough to be taken even into raids.

Once you get into the new Heroic Plus Dungeons, you will be able to gain either Deflection Band or the Signet of the Accord which grant very high baseline stats combined with quite powerful secondary stats which will help you get closer to your Defense Cap, Hit Rating Soft Cap, and the Expertise Soft Cap.

Pre-Raid

Item
Source
Naxxramas – Sapphiron (25)
Naxxramas – Zone Drop (25)
The Sunwell Plateau – Entropius
Heroic + Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)
Heroic + Dungeons (Former The Obsidian Sanctum 10 Drop)
Utgarde Keep – Ingvar the Plunderer (Heroic)

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.

For the Pre-Ulduar phase of the gearing process, you will have many available choices when it comes to your ring slots, each of them giving varying types of benefits that tend to be similar to each other. Therefore, we will differentiate the items through slight stats adjustments, since all of them are very similar.

Among the best combinations, you will find the Signet of the Impenetrable Fortress and the Gatekeeper. While they do not grant high defensive stats, they grant you plenty of Hit Rating and Expertise Rating to reach your soft caps. If you choose to use those rings, you will gain most of your defensive stats from the rest of your equipment.

The Sand-Worn Band is a great option if you already have plenty of Expertise Rating as it will aid you in increasing your overall Mitigation by adding Parry Rating and Dodge Rating to your stats.

The Ring of Hardened Resolve is an honorable mention, even if it comes from the previous expansion, as it grants you a very high amount of “Block Value” and quite a decent amount of Expertise Rating and Defense Rating. The only downfall of the item is the relative low Stamina that it grants and the fact that it only brings Stamina as a baseline stat.

Both the Deflection Band and the Signet of the Accord grant you similar types of stats and can be quite useful, depending on which stats you need to optimize, as one of them grants you Hit Rating and Dodge Rating while the other one grants you Expertise Rating and Parry Rating.

Lastly, the Unsmashable Heavy Band can be a good initial choice, even if it grants overall lower stats than the rest of the items as it grants quite a decently high amount of “Block Value” which will prove valuable in a lot of encounters.

Best-in-Slot

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

Considering the best possible choices for your ring slots as a Protection Warrior in Ulduar, we sadly don’t have many choices. However, the choices presented are very powerful, even if they are not very diversified. The most powerful ring that you can pair up with any of the other 3 choices will be Fate’s Clutch. This is mainly due to its high baseline/secondary stats paired up with complementary Expertise Rating to aid you in reaching your Expertise Soft Cap.

The second ring that you will want to use depends entirely on the encounter itself with options such as the Signet of the Earthshaker providing you with a great deal of “Block Value” while options such as the Platinum Band of the Aesir grant you additional Expertise Rating and Dodge Rating as a main form of Mitigation.

Lastly, you can use the The Leviathan’s Coil, however, you may want to swap it as fast as possible since you should only treat this item as a stepping-stone due to its low overall stats.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
Azjol-Nerub – Hadronox (Heroic)
Heroic + Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)
Darkmoon Faire – Darkmoon Nobles Deck
Gundrak – Gal’darah (Heroic)

As a fresh level 80, you have several choices for your trinket slots. Since the only Trinket that you can actually directly buy from the Auction House, Darkmoon Card: Greatness, is a trinket meant for a Hybrid Build that helps with Threat Generation, you will want to go through a slow progressive dungeon crawl in order to get your hands on some good trinkets.

The best possible choices will be the Essence of Gossamer and the Figurine – Monarch Crab. However, the Figurine – Monarch Crab can only be attained from Jewelcrafting, meaning that it will depend entirely on you if you want to dedicate to an entire profession only for a trinket that you may find yourself changing fast.

Due to the new Heroic Plus Dungeons, we can get early access to the Repelling Charge, granting you a high initial Defense Rating that you can use to reach your cap faster. However, until you can actually get into a Heroic Plus Dungeon, you will want to progress through Normal Dungeons and Heroic Dungeons, meaning that you will start with items such as the Offering of Sacrifice.

Lastly, the Valor Medal of the First War can be a great choice due to the high Dodge Rating that it offers, however, you will have to keep in mind that the Meta is highly focused on stacking stamina, meaning that ultimately, you will actually want to prioritize Essence of Gossamer as much as possible.

Pre-Raid

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

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.

For the Pre-Ulduar gearing phase, you will be able to use trinkets such as the Defender’s Code and the Essence of Gossamer for your best choices due to the Stamina, Armor, Dodge Rating, and “Block Value”-like effect that they grant you. Realistically speaking, Figurine – Monarch Crab is a better choice than Defender’s Code, but you must have Jewelcrafting as a requirement in order to craft it and actually use it.

Rune of Repulsion is a valuable alternative as it grants you a decent amount of Parry Rating, especially on the on-use effect, however, it drastically reduces your overall Stamina.

As an alternative for Hybrid Build, you can use the Darkmoon Card: Greatness or the Grim Toll which will aid you with Threat Generation. However, bare in mind that some people might consider this as “Trolling”

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)
Ulduar – General Vezax (25)
Ulduar – Thorim (10) HM
Naxxramas – Zone Drop (Multiple Bosses) (25)

The second phase of the expansion grants us quite some interesting trinkets to use. The best possbile combination will be the Heart of Iron and Royal Seal of King Llane mainly due to the very high stamina that they will grant you and the on-use effects that they will grant you.

As second-best alternatives, you will be able to choose between the Essence of Gossamer and the Figurine – Monarch Crab 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.

Sadly, Ulduar doesn’t have many other competent tanking options, leaving you with alternatives such as the Furnace Stone or The General’s Heart as viable options. Neither of them can be considered great, as they will reduce your overall Health Pool.

Furnace Stone is good for fights where you will take high amounts of Physical Damage as you can greatly increase your Armor while The General’s Heart actually grants you an effect similar to “Block Value”.

Lastly, there is a possibility for you to create a Hybrid Build with a focus on Threat Generation by adding items that increase your overall Attack Power or Armor Penetration. Some examples for this type of build would be the Mjolnir Runestone or the Grim Toll. However, many would consider such a build on the Troll side.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
Heroic + Dungeons (Former Naxxramas  10 Drop)
Utgarde Pinnacle – King Ymiron (Heroic)
Heroic + Dungeons (Former The Eye of Eternity 10 Drop)
The Oculus – Varos Cloudstrider (Heroic)
Utgarde Keep – Prince Keleseth (Heroic)
Heroic + Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)
Heroic + Dungeons (Former The Eye of Eternity10 Drop)
The Nexus – Keristrasza (Heroic)

As a fresh level 80, you have several choices for your weapons slot. Since we will now have access to the new Heroic Plus Dungeons, we will be able to gain more powerful items quite quickly after reaching level 80.

The best possible choice will be the Slayer of the Lifeless from the Heroic Plus Dungeons paired up with either The Skull of Ruin or the Barricade of Eternity. However, until you can reach the new Heroic Plus Dungeons, you will most likely start with options such as the Bulwark of the Noble Protector and the Infantry Assault Blade, or the Cloudstrider’s Waraxe.

The Red Sword of Courage paired up with the Royal Crest of Lordaeron will be the best option before actually entering any Heroic Plus Dungeon or Raid due to their very high baseline stats.

You can also use Hailstorm as an alternative, especially if you have issues generating Threat, however, the weapon itself is largely considered a “meme” choice.

Pre-Raid

Item
Source
Naxxramas – Kel’Thuzad (25)
Naxxramas – Four Horsemen (25)
Naxxramas – Patchwerk (25)
Heroic + Dungeons (Former The Eye of Eternity 10 Drop)
Naxxramas – Kel’Thuzad (25)
Heroic + Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)
Heroic + Dungeons (Former The Eye of Eternity10 Drop)
Naxxramas – Patchwerk (25)

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.

The best Weapon & Shield combination for the Pre-Ulduar gearing phase will be the Last Laugh and the Wall of Terror. Together they offer a very good combination of baseline stats and secondary stats, in terms of raw Stamina, Defense Rating, Hit Rating, Parry Rating, and Dodge Rating.

Ideally, you will want to gain those two weapons, however, if you do not manage to do so, there are plenty of alternatives that display very similar stats. The closest alternative to the Last Laugh in terms of similar stats will be the Broken Promise.

You will also have alternatives such as the Split Greathammer and Hailstorm which are more damage-oriented and they aid you in generating Threat, however, they will lower your overall “Defense Rating”.

Both The Skull of Ruin and the Barricade of Eternity will provide great alternatives to the Wall of Terror, one of them providing you with increased “Block Value” while the other one provides you with Parry Rating. Both items are very similar, their use depends entirely on two factors: whether or not you have your Expertise Soft Cap and whether or not you will benefit more from Parry Rating or Block Value in a specific encounter.

Best-in-Slot

Item
Source
Ulduar – XT-002 Deconstructor (25) HM
Ulduar – Hodir (10) HM
Ulduar – Flame Leviathan (25)
Ulduar – Thorim (10)
Ulduar – Yogg-Saron (10) HM
Ulduar – Thorim (25)
Ulduar – Algalon the Observer (25) HM
Ulduar – Hodir (10) HM
Ulduar – Hodir (25)
Ulduar – Auriaya (10)

There are many weapon choices with the coming of Ulduar, however, when it comes to the BiS, we will have Sorthalis, Hammer of the Watchers, and Bulwark of Algalon as our main choices. This is mainly due to their insanely high baseline stats, the combination of Expertise Rating and Parry Rating granted by Sorthalis, Hammer of the Watchers along with its Defense Rating, and the combination of high defensive secondary stats paired up with a gem socket granted by the Bulwark of Algalon.

However, until you can manage to get those items, you may find items such as the Shiver or Titanguard perfectly viable as alternatives for your main weapon. Both weapons grant you a much-needed Hit Rating, especially if you did not manage to get the soft Hit Cap from your other items while also granting you moderately adequate defensive stats.

As a stepping stone, you can choose the Legacy of Thunder, however, you will quickly want to swap it with an upgrade, since its stats are good enough only for Ulduar’s progression and not for any Hardmode content.

You can also use weapons such as the Caress of Insanity or Vulmir, the Northern Tempest which are traditionally DPS items for fights where you need to generate more Threat. However, you should always keep in mind that those weapons will be highly contested, especially at the beginning of Ulduar. A raid may choose to equip its tank with such a weapon only in the case that it has huge troubles in generating and maintaining Threat.

Returning to shields that you can use, The Boreal Guard is the next-best alternative to the Bulwark of Algalon. Since both items have very similar stats, the only difference is that one grants you Dodge Rating while the other one grants you Parry Rating and one additional gem socket.

Northern Barrier is a great alternative if you lack Hit Rating and Expertise Rating, especially if you are close to hitting your caps. Lastly, the Shieldwall of the Breaker will grant you very similar stats, however, instead of Hit Rating, it will grant you Parry Rating and a lower baseline stat amount than the Northern Barrier.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
Heroic + Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)
Heroic + Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)
Ahn’Kahet: The Old Kingdom – Herald Volazj (Heroic)

As a fresh level 80, you have several choices for your ranged slot. By far the best possible choice will be the Armor Plated Combat Shotgun, especially due to the Stamina it offers paired up with Defense Rating and Hit Rating. Due to how strong the item is in itself, it may be the best possible item that you can acquire, especially early on. You may even choose to disregard any other possibilities, but due to our policy to inform you, we will present you with some alternatives.

Accursed Bow of the Elite is a perfectly viable alternative, even if it does not grant any defensive rating, especially due to the Hit Rating it offers. The Haste Rating in itself does not really do anything for you as a Protection Warrior but the Agility that it grants will increase your overall Dodge Rating and Armor Value.

From the same perspective, the Nerubian Conquerer will grant you Agility, being an alright alternative, even if it does not grant you any defensive secondary stats.

However, since both items require you to access the new Heroic Plus Dungeons, you can start with an item such as Titanium Compound Bow from Ahn’Kahet, as it will grant you a decent amount of Agility.

Pre-Raid

Item
Source
Naxxramas – Noth the Plaguebringer (25)
Naxxramas – Kel’Thuzad (25)

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.

Just like in the previous chapter, the best possible item for this slot, especially during the Pre-Uludar gearing phase will be the Armor Plated Combat Shotgun. However, you may find plenty of alternatives in case you wish to simply try a different item or you can’t find any engineer or any Armor Plated Combat Shotgun at the Auction House.

Spinning Fate will be the next-best alternative since it will grant you a decent amount of Hit Rating and a decent amount of Agility. Envoy of Mortality will only grant you Agility which will enhance your defensive stats by a tiny amount, however, it won’t grant you direct defensive stats through its secondary stats.

Best-in-Slot

Item
Source
Ulduar – Razorscale (25)
Ulduar – XT-002 Deconstructor (10)

The best possible choice for your ranged slot will be Veranus’ Bane. This is mainly due to the high Stamina that it offers paired up with solid defensive stats and Hit Rating. Since it is very important to hit our Defense Cap and our Hit Rating soft Cap, this item will be extremely valuable.

As a viable alternative, we can use the Magnetized Projectile Emitter, even if it does not grant any solid defensive stats. Simply put it, apart from Veranus’ Bane, the only item that can actually grant similar stats will be the Armor Plated Combat Shotgun, so you may want to keep it until you can actually gain the best option.

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 Warrior, you will mainly want to focus on Block Value gear as it grants the best possible stat value. However, this is not always the case, with some items providing better overall Avoidance through stats such as Parry Rating and Dodge Rating. You will find that your BiS items for this phase, are a mix comprised of all the Avoidance Stats, including Block Value, Armor, Parry Rating, Dodge Rating, Block Rating, and Defense Rating.

A notorious fight where Protection Warrior truly thrives as a “Block Oriented Tank”, is the ToC’s last boss, Anub’arak. A fight where you may wish to tweak your gear towards more Block Value rather than any other Avoidance Stat.

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
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)
Trial of the Champion – Eadric the Pure (Heroic)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)
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. The best possible choice for this slot will be the 225 Ilvl T8 item, namely the Valorous Siegebreaker Greathelm. Since we can gain the T8 pieces from the new Heroic ++ dungeons, the T8 4-item set bonus will be a great addition to our abilities.

If you can’t get the T8 helmet, the next-best alternative will be the Ironbark Faceguard. While it doesn’t grant the same damage mitigation as the T8 helmet offered through its Block Rating, the item grants a large amount of Expertise Rating which will allow you to optimize the rest of your gear slots towards a more defense-oriented build.

The Helm of the Crestfallen Challenger is another viable alternative if you can’t find any of the Ulduar items, especially for builds that lack Hit Rating. This item has decently high stats and provides a large amount of Hit Rating that will be useful, especially in the beginning, as tanks generally have a Hit Rating issue with their builds.

Apart from the Ulduar items and the new items from ToC, both the Heroes’ Dreadnaught Greathelm and the Thane’s Tainted Greathelm remain valuable options, even if they come from the first phase of the expansion. While they pale in comparison to the Ulduar items, you will find them to be great buffer options in the meantime.

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

Item
Source
Ulduar – Thorim (25) NM/HM
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)
Ulduar – General Vezax (25)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)
Naxxramas – Kel’Thuzad (25)

In our current build, the best possible item for the Pre-Toc gearing phase will remain the Conqueror’s Siegebreaker Greathelm. This is mainly due to its high base stats, but most importantly for two different aspects. First, we will always want to benefit from the 4-set item bonus. The second reason is the “Shield Block Rating” which will increase your overall damage mitigation by improving your overall chance to “Block” an attack while Shield Block is on cooldown.

Naturally, the next-best option for this slot will be Valorous Siegebreaker Greathelm since it will provide the same type of benefits, only with lower overall stats.

As mentioned earlier, items can depend entirely on the encounter itself. Naturally, you will want items that will increase your “Block Chance” and “Block Value” as Protection Warrior will benefit the most from these stats. But in some situations, items that will provide Dodge or Parry Chance will be your only options.

Helm of the Faceless is a great alternative due to the high defensive stats it offers, even if it does not provide any stat that enhances your block. While Protection Warrior is not a specialization that relies on Parry Rating, the overall increase will improve your mitigation.

Ironbark Faceguard will be a better option if you are “Expertise” starved, granting you quite a high Expertise Rating Value. However, it will decrease your overall survivability, even if its baseline stats are high.

Lastly, the BiS from Phase 1, Valorous Dreadnaught Greathelm, will still prove itself to be a very valuable choice in Ulduar due to the Hit Rating it offers and the high “Block Value” it grants. If you alter the build to specifically include only items that grant a high “Block Value”, this item will perform extremely well compared to the others.

Best-in-Slot

Item
Source
Trial of the Crusader – Argent Crusade Tribute Chest (25) Heroic
Ulduar – Thorim (25) NM/HM

The best possible choice for the third phase of the expansion will be the Wrynn’s Greathelm of Triumph if you are Alliance or the Hellscream’s Greathelm of Triumph if you are Horde. This is due to the access to the T9 item set bonuses which are particularly strong when compared to the previous phases. combined with very high amounts of both baseline and secondary stats. Besides a great Defense Rating, the item also grants a ridiculous amount of Block Value, meaning that you will want to prioritize it.

Due to how powerful the T9 item-set bonuses are, the next-best alternatives will be the 245 Ilvl version of the item, namely the Wrynn’s Greathelm of Triumph/Hellscream’s Greathelm of Triumph, and the 232 Ilvl version, Wrynn’s Greathelm of Conquest/Hellscream’s Greathelm of Conquest.

As there are not many other viable choices for damage mitigation, both of the 245/232 Ilvl helmets from Onyxia’s Lair, namely the Helm of Wrath and the Faceguard of Wrath, will be the best alternatives for this slot due to the high avoidance they provide. Besides the avoidance gained from Dodge Rating, Parry Rating, and Defense Rating, the items also grant you a small amount of Resistances that can be useful in ToC, as you will encounter Frost and Shadow Damage.

The Faceplate of the Honorbound/Headplate of the Honorbound is yet another valid alternative, albeit a rather expensive one. This alternative is best used for builds that don’t have enough Expertise Rating, as it trades avoidance for increased expertise. The only issue with the item is the steep price that it has, sharing the same token for its acquisition with the T9 item. This item is best used only if you already have the T9 4-item set bonus activated from your other slots and decide to use the “Head Gear Slot” as an “Off-piece Slot”.

You can continue to use the Conqueror’s Siegebreaker Greathelm as a valid option thanks to its great stats until you manage to either gather enough Emblems of Triumph or get lucky enough to gain one of the Onyxia helmets.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)
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.

The Medallion of the Disgraced will be the next alternative thanks to its Block Value and increased Block Rating which offers increased damage mitigation. Even if the item itself grants more “Defensive Stats”, the raw Armor Value provides higher survivability according to the “Sim Tools”. The Warlord’s Depravity is another similar alternative that grants nearly the same amount of survivability. Whichever one of the two items you choose will not make a huge difference, as they are very close in terms of performance.

The Chained Military Gorget is another viable alternative for builds that don’t have enough Hit Rating while the Amulet of Autopsy is another viable alternative that focuses on providing general “Avoidance” and damage mitigation.

Pre-ToC

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

The best possible option for this slot will be the Bronze Pendant of the Vanir. This is mainly due to its insanely high baseline stats and powerful defensive secondary stats. Even if the item itself does not grant you any “Block Rating” or “Block Value” increase, it presents itself with quite a high defensive rating, dodge rating, and parry rating.

If your entire build is oriented around “Block Value”, the Necklace of Unerring Mettle will be your actual BiS as it offers you a very high increase in “Block Value”. Even if the baseline stats will be lower than that of Bronze Pendant of the Vanir, the increase in block value will improve your mitigation overall.

Both Titanstone Pendant and Shard of the Crystal Forest grant you a decent alternative and a very good set of stats with the difference between them being that one grants you Hit Rating while the other one grants you Expertise Rating. All and all, both of them are very good items until you can manage to get your actual BiS.

Nexus War Champion Beads will be useful in case you can’t access any other Ulduar item until you can replace it, however, if you do not manage to gain it, you can use the Fervor of the Protectorate, even if it grants overall lesser stats.

Best-in-Slot

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

The best possible choice for this slot in the third phase of the expansion will be The Arbiter’s Muse for Alliance and the Legionnaire’s Gorget for Horde. This item grants the highest possible damage mitigation for this slot, even if it only has two secondary stats. The reason why this item is stronger than any other item in terms of damage mitigation is the raw Armor Value which it grants. When compared to an item such as the Bronze Pendant of the Vanir, the raw Armor Value is superior to the raw Parry Rating you gain.

The Bronze Pendant of the Vanir is the next-best alternative due to the damage mitigation stats that it provides. From a pure “Avoidance” point of view, the amount of baseline stats combined with the defensive secondary stats will grant the highest possible survivability besides the actual BiS.

Another viable alternative for builds that already have a large amount of defensive stats yet require more Expertise Rating is the Endurance of the Infernal/Fortitude of the Infernal. Due to its large overall stats, both baseline and secondary, it grants a high amount of survivability, ranking it better than other options.

The Arbiter’s Muse/Legionnaire’s Gorget 245 Ilvl versions will be the last viable alternative from ToC, being a better option than the Endurance of the Infernal/Fortitude of the Infernal if you already have enough Expertise Rating.

Lastly, you can continue to use the Necklace of Unerring Mettle as a viable option if you haven’t managed to gain any of the ToC items or the Bronze Pendant of the Vanir. You may even want to prioritize it for fights such as Anub’arak as Block Value is incredibly powerful in that encounter.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)
Trial of the Champion – Argent Confessor Palatress (Heroic)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)

With the new Heroic ++ Dungeons, the best possible option as a Fresh level 80 will be the Valorous Siegebreaker Pauldrons. This is due to the access to the T8 4-set item bonuses, along with a great set of baseline stats and secondary stats. The Expertise Rating will prove extremely useful to reaching your Soft Expertise Cap while the Dodge Rating it grants will improve your overall Avoidance.

The next-best alternative will be the Regal Aurous Shoulderplates, especially due to the valuable Hit Rating that it grants. Since Hit Rating can be hard to come across when talking about Tanking Items, you will want to make use of it in case you struggle finding other Hit Rating pieces.

The Heroes’ Dreadnaught Pauldrons come close in terms of survivability to the Regal Aurous Shoulderplates due to its raw baseline and secondary stats. However, the T7 piece is inferior, especially since the T7 item-set bonuses can’t be easily activated in this current phase, losing a certain amount of relevancy.

Lastly, if you are unlucky with the drops for any of the previously mentioned items, you may use the Abomination Shoulderblades as it provides decently high stats, with an emphasis on much-needed Hit Rating.

Pre-ToC

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

The best item for this slot as preparation for ToC will be the Conqueror’s Siegebreaker Pauldrons. This is mainly due to the item granting you access to the 4-set item bonus combined with the high baseline stats. The item itself grants you quite a high amount of Expertise Rating besides its Dodge Rating. While it does not enhance your overall “Block Value” or “Block Rating”, the item itself enhances your overall survivability by a high amount.

Shoulderplates of the Deconstructor is the next-best option, especially if you don’t have enough Hit Rating from your other items. If we keep in mind the 4-set item bonus from tier 8, Valorous Siegebreaker Pauldrons will prove itself to be the better option, however, if you find yourself without enough Hit Rating, Shoulderplates of the Deconstructor will simply be better, especially since you don’t want to miss your taunts.

Lastly, Shoulderguards of the Solemn Watch will be your best initial option, especially since it grants you a better “Block Rating” than the previous BiS from phase 1. However, you will want to swap this item as fast as possible with either the tier-8 shoulders or the Shoulderplates of the Deconstructor. Since Protection Warrior benefits more from Dodge Rating rather than Parry Rating, this item can be considered just a stepping stone. Bare in mind, however, that even if Protection Warriors do not primarily benefit from Parry Rating, benefitting primarily from Block Chance and Block Value, they will still improve their mitigation from raw Parry Rating.

Best-in-Slot

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

The best possible choice for this slot in the third phase of the expansion will be the Wrynn’s Pauldrons of Triumph/Hellscream’s Pauldrons 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 Warrior.

Lastly, you can still use the Conqueror’s Siegebreaker Pauldrons until you manage to either gain the T9 item or the Pauldrons of the Silver Defender/Sunreaver Defender’s Pauldrons, as you will want to prioritize those two options over the Shoulderplates of Enduring Order/Shoulderguards of Enduring Order.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former The Obsidian Sanctum 10 Drop)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)

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. The next-best alternative will be the Cloak of the Iron Council which grants you a similar set of defense-oriented stats, only this time with a focus on Expertise Rating. You may choose between those two items, depending on whether you need more Hit Rating or Expertise Rating.

While not as strong as the first two options, you can also use two different alternatives that can be acquired from the same Heroic ++ Dungeons, namely the Gale-Proof Cloak and the Cloak of Armed Strife. Both items come from the first phase of the expansion, serving a similar role to our first two mentions, with one of the cloaks granting you a Hit Rating and the other an Expertise Rating depending on your current needs.

Lastly, if you can’t participate yet in a Heroic ++ Dungeon, you will want to acquire the Durable Nerubhide Cape as it is a great starting item that can be acquired fairly easily. It will provide you with great initial stats that should aid you at the beginning of your journey while also being available for purchase either from a Leatherworker or the Auction House.

Pre-ToC

Item
Source
Ulduar – Mimiron (25) HM
Ulduar – Auriaya (25)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)
Naxxramas – Zone Drop (Multiple Bosses) (25)

By far the best possible choice for Protection Warriors in the Pre-ToC gearing phase will be the Titanskin Cloak. While it does not grant you defensive secondary stats apart from the “Defense Rating”, it will grant you much-needed Hit Rating and Expertise Rating.

The next-best option will be the Cloak of the Makers as it grants you very similar baseline stats coupled up with a high Dodge Rating, a high Defense Rating, and a much-needed Hit Rating.

The Saronite Animus Cloak can be considered the smaller version of the Cloak of the Makers, basically giving you exactly the same type of stats, being different only by granting a lower amount and the item level of the cape itself.

Cloak of the Iron Council will prove to be a stepping stone type of item, granting you decent amounts of baseline stats paired up with a high amount of “Block Rating”, Expertise Rating, and Defense Rating. You will quickly want to swap this item as fast as possible with an upgrade.

Shadow of the Ghoul remains a great option since the item grants you both a high “Block Value” and a high “Block Rating” plus high baseline stats. You can safely maintain this item as long as you have enough Expertise Rating, Defense Rating, and Hit Rating until you can get an item such as the Saronite Animus Cloak. Depending on how much “Block Value” your equipment has, you will want to maintain this item for a long time to bolster the remainder of your equipment with raw “Block Value”. Even if it means sacrificing Stamina over it.

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
Ulduar – Mimiron (25) HM
Trial of the Crusader – Lord Jaraxxus (25)
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.

Pride of the Eredar/Pride of the Demon Lord is another viable alternative that is similar to the former BiS from phase 2, namely the Titanskin Cloak. This is due to the large amount of Expertise Rating that it grants while also granting a large amount of both baseline stats and defense-oriented stats. While the Titanskin Cloak is similar to this item, it remains a far better item for builds that lack both Expertise Rating and Hit Rating at the same time. You can still confidently use it, however, with the 272 Ilvl Cloaks, you will want to swap it as soon as you can get your hands on them.

Pride of the Eredar/Pride of the Demon Lord in its 232 Ilvl version will be a weaker overall choice than the Titanskin Cloak, especially as our build has an issue with its Hit Rating. While you may operate under the 8% Hit Rating Cap successfully, you may want to get as close as possible to it before you reach your actual BiS items to ensure that you do not cause a wipe. The Cloak of the Makers is yet another alternative that provides Hit Rating which may be used to ensure your success.

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 Siegebreaker 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 the Expertise Rating.

If you can’t gain any of the Ulduar items from the new Heroic ++ Dungeons, you can confidently use either one of the Heroes’ Dreadnaught Breastplate or the Massive Skeletal Ribcage from the first phase of the expansion. With both items granting decently high overall stats, the choice depends entirely on whether you need more Avoidance which can be received from the T7 chest piece, or more Expertise Rating which can be received from the Massive Skeletal Ribcage.

However, if you can’t find a group for the new Heroic ++ Dungeons, you can easily acquire Breastplate of the Solemn Council from The Wyrmrest Accord quartermaster or stroll through two different Heroic Dungeons to acquire either one of the Sun-Emblazoned Chestplate/Ziggurat Imprinted Chestguard as your initial items.

Pre-ToC

Item
Source
Ulduar – Hodir (25)
Ulduar – Auriaya (25)
Animated Constellation – 32 Sidereal Essence ( Sidereal Essence Vendor)
Ulduar – Yogg-Saron (10)

The best possible option will be the Conqueror’s Siegebreaker Breastplate. This is mainly due to its high baseline stats, the huge increase of “Block Value”, and access to the 4-set item bonuses. Since the 4-item set bonus enhances your Shield Wall, allowing you to reduce magical damage by 10% as well, we will want to have the bonus active, especially for Hardmode bosses.

As a viable alternative, you can use the Unbreakable Chestguard, especially since it grants you the same type of increased “Block Value” that the tier item gives you. Overall, the items themselves are pretty similar in raw baseline stats, however, the tier bonuses simply outclass this item.

Breastplate of the Timeless can be a stepping-stone alternative, especially if you lack Expertise Rating. You can use it for its high baseline stats, however, you will find that the Valorous Siegebreaker Breastplate will be a better option just for the tier-set bonuses alone.

The only reason you would have to pick Breastplate of the Timeless over the Valorous Siegebreaker Breastplate would be the high Expertise Rating that the item grants.

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 Wrynn’s Breastplate of Triumph/Hellscream’s Breastplate of Triumph as your actual BiS to activate 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 (Wrynn’s Breastplate of Triumph/Hellscream’s Breastplate of Triumph), and the 232 Ilvl version (Wrynn’s Breastplate of Conquest/Hellscream’s Breastplate of Conquest) as your next-best alternatives.

The Chestguard of the Warden/Stoneskin Chestplate is a similar alternative to the T9 chest piece, offering the exact same type of stats and the exact same precise amounts of stats as the 245 Ilvl version of the T9 chest piece. The only main difference is the lack of access to the T9 item-set bonuses. Realistically, you may want to use this item until you can gain a Trophy to upgrade your T9 chest piece, however, you will want to swap it instantly after you manage to upgrade the T9 item.

In a similar fashion, the Breastplate of the White Knight/Breastplate of the White Knight provides the same type of stats, with the added difference of having one additional Gem Socket. The item is also easier to acquire since it is a crafted 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.

If you can’t gain access to any of the previously mentioned items, the Minion Bracers are a good option for increasing your overall Avoidance while the Bracers of Lost Sentiments are a decent option for improving your overall Hit Rating and Expertise Rating.

Pre-ToC

Item
Source
Ulduar – Flame Leviathan (25)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)
Naxxramas – Maexxna (25)

Sadly, Ulduar does not grant us a lot of choices when it comes to the wrist slot. We will have two main options to pick from, with Mimiron’s Inferno Couplings being the best choice. This is mainly due to its high baseline stats combined with the high secondary stats. It will also grant you a much-needed Hit Rating. While it does not exceed in defensive stats, it still proves to be the best option for the simple lack of a better option.

Flamewatch Armguards are the only alternative presented by Ulduar, granting you both decent baseline stats and secondary stats. There is not much else to say about this item, other than that it can be considered a lesser version of Mimiron’s Inferno Couplings, practically giving you the exact same type of secondary stats.

If you wish to skip over the Flamewatch Armguards, you can still use the Bindings of the Hapless Prey as it grants you high baseline stats and severely enhances your “Block Value” while still granting you plenty of Defense Rating.

Best-in-Slot

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

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 performing 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.

On the same note, Mimiron’s Inferno Couplings will still prove useful for providing Hit Rating, even more so than the 232 Ilvl version of the Dreadscale Armguards/Dreadscale Bracers. The only issue with it, when compared to the other Hit Rating options, is that it provides lower overall Avoidance due to the overall lower stats it grants.

Fresh 80

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

For this slot, you will have multiple viable options that depend entirely on the rest of your items. The best possible option, the Valorous Siegebreaker Handguards, will grant you access to the T8 item-set bonuses while also offering a large amount of both baseline and secondary stats. The key stat that this item confers is the Hit Rating, especially as we will struggle with it early on.

If you still require Hit Rating and can’t find the T8 gloves or don’t wish to sacrifice your Gem Sockets for increased Hit Rating, you can use the Gauntlets of the Master as a viable alternative. However, it will provide lesser overall survivability when compared to the T8 gloves.

The next-best alternative will be the Adamant Handguards as it grants quite a substantial amount of defense-oriented stats. However, it’s better to use this item only if you have enough Hit Rating. On a similar note, the Gauntlets of the Iron Furnace can also be used due to their high baseline stats and Defense Rating that the item provides. Even if the item provides Armor Penetration, you will still gain a considerable amount of survivability.

If you already have enough Hit Rating but lack Expertise Rating, either of Heroes’ Dreadnaught Handguards or Mercy’s Hold to increase your overall Expertise Rating while also buffing up your overall survivability.

Pre-ToC

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

The best possible option for this slot during the pre-gearing phase for ToC and the only item that will not be a tier item from this set will be the Handguards of Revitalization. This is mainly due to the very high baseline stats, combined with the two gem sockets and high secondary stats. Even if Protection Warrior benefits more from “Block Value”, the high amounts of Parry Rating and Dodge Rating will increase your overall mitigation.

Handguards of the Enclave will provide you with the next-best alternative, especially since they grant you a spectacular amount of “Block Value”. However, the item has no gem sockets, meaning that it will have an overall lower Stamina than our first choice.

Conqueror’s Siegebreaker Handguards grants you a decent alternative, however, it is better suited for sets that do not have enough Hit Rating. The item itself grants you lower overall defensive stats than the previously mentioned items, being treated as a stepping stone. Most Protection Warriors choose to ignore the item altogether, however, it can still provide you with plenty of value in lack of any better option.

Lastly, the Gauntlets of the Royal Watch provide a very well-rounded option, granting you high Stamina, and high defensive secondary stats while also granting you a good amount of Hit Rating. While the item itself is quite good, you will want to gain either Handguards of Revitalization or Handguards of the Enclave as they are simply better items stats-wise.

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 the Wrynn’s Handguards of Triumph/Hellscream’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 (Wrynn’s Handguards of Triumph/Hellscream’s Handguards of Triumph) and the 232 Ilvl version (Wrynn’s Handguards of Conquest/Hellscream’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)

For a fresh level 80, there is a special item that can be acquired from the second phase of the expansion which will boost your overall survivability by massive amounts. We are talking about the Indestructible Plate Girdle, a crafted item that grants huge amounts of both baseline and secondary stats, with a focus on defense-oriented stats such as Dodge Rating, Parry Rating, and Defense Rating.

If you don’t have enough gold to acquire the Indestructible Plate Girdle, you may choose to use either one of the Stormtempered Girdle or the Girdle of the Pallid Knight as the next-best alternative, however, their overall stats are considerably lower while also having a focus on Hit Rating rather than overall enhanced Avoidance. Since we have major issues with our Hit Rating, you might consider using either of the items until you can gain Hit Rating from your other gear slots.

If you can’t find any of the previously mentioned items, you can use either one of the Waistguard of the Tutor or the Skadi’s Iron Belt as they can be easily acquired while also providing you with a solid amount of survivability, even if they generally have lower overall stats than the rest of the options.

Pre-ToC

Item
Source
Ulduar – Razorscale (25)

For the Waist slot, the best choice differs the most depending on which fight you currently find yourself in. As some fights favor Block Value over Parry and Dodge Rating while others favor Block Rating and Block Value completely, you will find yourself wanting to swap between two items in order to optimize your mitigation completely.

For fights that favor Block Value, your best choice will be the Dragonslayer’s Brace, as it provides very high baseline stats paired up with high “Block Value” and quite a high “Block Rating”. The only issue the item has is that it has no “gem sockets”.

The second choice which is better in fights that do not rely so much on Block Value will be the Indestructible Plate Girdle. The best part of this item is that you can quickly attain it since it is a crafted item and it has extremely high stats, both for its baseline and secondary stats. It also has two gem sockets.

As a decent alternative to the two previously mentioned items, you can use the Shieldwarder Girdle, as it grants you high amounts of Stamina paired up with quite a high amount of Dodge Rating and Hit Rating. The item itself can be considered quite good, however, it pales in comparison to the previously mentioned items, being used as a stepping-stone of sorts. The good part about it is that while the recipe for the crafted item may not be looted and the Dragonslayer’s Brace may simply not drop, this item can be acquired through Emblems of Conquest, removing the RNG element to some extent.

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) HC

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.

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 either Expertise Rating or Hit 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 increased Avoidance, the best possible option is the Valorous Siegebreaker Legguards while for increased 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 Block Value while the other one simply brings an incredible amount of Expertise Rating alongside high defense-oriented stats.

On the same note, Archaedas’ Lost Legplates and the Legguards of Abandoned Fealty will both be viable alternatives for builds that lack Expertise Rating, with the former being stronger than the latter due to the sheer amounts of stats it grants.

If you can’t gain any of the previously mentioned items due to unlucky drops or lack of Sidereal Essence, you can confidently use either one of the Legplates of Inescapable Death or the Heroes’ Dreadnaught Legguards as a viable alternative. Both items will increase your overall damage mitigation (Avoidance) either through increased Parry Rating/Dodge Rating or Block Value/Block Rating.

Pre-ToC

Item
Source
Ulduar – Freya (25)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Ulduar 10)
Ulduar – Algalon the Observer (25) HM

The best possible choice for the Pre-Toc gearing phase of the expansion will be the Conqueror’s Siegebreaker Legguards. This is mainly due to its high baseline stats, two gem sockets, the potential for tier-set item bonuses, and its fantastic secondary stats. Since Protection Warriors benefit the most from “Block Value”, this item will grant you an outstanding amount of it, allowing you to increase your overall survivability.

Naturally, the Valorous Siegebreaker Legguards come as a second-best choice, since they are the basic version of the item, granting you the same type of stats and item bonuses.

As viable alternatives, you can choose either the Wyrmguard Legplates or the Legplates of the Endless Void. As mentioned previously, even if Protection Warrior benefits the most from Block Value, there will be fights where other forms of mitigation such as Parry Rating and Dodge Rating will be required. Meaning that for some fights, the Legplates of the Endless Void will prove invaluable, especially since they offer you insanely high overall stats.

Best-in-Slot

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

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 the Wrynn’s Legguards of Triumph/Hellscream’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 (Wrynn’s Legguards of Triumph/Hellscream’s Legguards of Triumph), and the 232 Ilvl version (Wrynn’s Legguards of Conquest/Hellscream’s Legguards of Conquest) as the next-best alternatives since they are basically the same item. The only major difference is the sheer amount of stats granted by the different Ilvl versions of the item.

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 (Wrynn’s Breastplate of Triumph/Hellscream’s Breastplate of Triumph), 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.

You may still choose to use the Conqueror’s Siegebreaker Legguards until you can gain the T9 legs, however, their value will be quite underwhelming compared to the T9 item-set bonuses that you can gain. On the other hand, the Legplates of the Endless Void are an extremely strong alternative to the T9 legs, that you can use to increase your overall avoidance through increased Parry Rating and Dodge Rating.

Fresh 80

Item
Source
Animated Constellation – 19 Sidereal Essence ( Sidereal Essence Vendor)
Naxxramas – Anub’Rekhan, Gluth (25) (BoE)
Trial of the Champion – Eadric the Pure
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former Naxxramas 10 Drop)
Ahn’kahet: The Old Kingdom – Herald Volazj

Depending on your current gear, you have multiple initial options that will greatly enhance your overall performance as a Fresh Level 80. You will have access to two strong options that became easily accessible through the new phase of the expansion, namely the Greaves of the Iron Army and the Boots of Heartfelt Repentance. Those two options are for builds that lack Expertise Rating, providing a large amount of Expertise Rating while also granting a decently high amount of survivability.

If you already have enough Expertise Rating and simply seek pure damage mitigation, the Spiked Deathdealers will be the best possible choice that you can acquire as a fresh level 80. This is especially true due to the item’s BoE nature, allowing you to simply buy it from a Blacksmith or the Auction House.

Another potent alternative if you already have enough Expertise Rating will be the Inexorable Sabatons. This item will still provide a large quantity of damage mitigation (Avoidance) through the increased Block Value and Block Rating.

If you can’t gain any of the previously mentioned items, you can choose to use either one of the Plague-Impervious Boots, the Greaves of Ancient Evil, or the Tempered Titansteel Treads as they all grant great initial stats until you can manage to find an upgrade.

Pre-ToC

Item
Source
Ulduar – Zone Drop (25)
Animated Constellation – 19 Sidereal Essence ( Sidereal Essence Vendor)
Naxxramas – Anub’Rekhan, Gluth (25)

Just like in the previous sections of this guide, the best option depends entirely on the encounter itself and the rest of your gear slots. There are two main options that can be swapped depending on the fight itself, meaning that you may want to gain both items to optimize your fights as much as possible.

The Greaves of the Stonewarder will be the best possible option when it comes to encounters where Block Value is the most efficient stat while the Greaves of the Iron Army is the best choice when it comes to fights where you benefit the most from Parry Rating. The Greaves of the Iron Army will be especially good if your overall gear lacks enough Expertise Rating.

As viable alternatives, you can directly buy either Spiked Deathdealers or even the Inexorable Sabatons, as both options are great. Following the same school of thought, the Spiked Deathdealers will be a great initial option, especially in fights where you benefit more from Parry Rating and Dodge Rating while the Inexorable Sabatons are a lot better in builds that stack as much “Block Value” as possible and in encounters where “Block Value” is the most efficient form of mitigation.

Best-in-Slot

Item
Source
Trial of the Crusader – Lord Jaraxxus (25) HC
Trial of the Crusader – Fjola Lightbane (10) HC
Trial of the Crusader – Lord Jaraxxus (25)
Ulduar – Zone Drop (25)
Animated Constellation – 19 Sidereal Essence ( Sidereal Essence Vendor)
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.

Lastly, if you already have enough Hit Rating but still require Expertise Rating, the Greaves of the Iron Army will be the best possible choice, taking both ToC and Ulduar items into account from a sheer stats point of view.

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 Naxxramas 10 Drop)
Heroic ++ Dungeons (Former The Obsidian Sanctum 10 Drop)
Utgarde Keep – Ingvar the Plunderer (Heroic)

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 don’t have access yet to any of the previously mentioned items, you can still use the rings from the first phase of the expansion as their stats will still prove to be useful.

The Deflection Band is a great initial option for builds that lack Hit Rating while the Signet of the Accord fulfills the same roles as the Seal of Ulduar. The main difference between the Phase 1 Rings and the Phase 2 rings is that the Phase 1 rings grant you Defense Rating while the Phase 2 rings will grant you Armor instead.

If you already have plenty of Expertise Rating/Hit Rating from your other slots but still can’t find any of the other previously mentioned items, you can use either one of the Unsmashable Heavy Band or the Titanium Earthguard Ring as a defense-oriented initial option.

Pre-ToC

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

Considering the best possible choices for your ring slots as a Protection Warrior in Ulduar, we sadly don’t have many choices. However, the choices presented are very powerful, even if they are not very diversified. The most powerful ring that you can pair up with any of the other 3 choices will be Fate’s Clutch. This is mainly due to its high baseline/secondary stats paired up with complementary Expertise Rating to aid you in reaching your Expertise Soft Cap.

The second ring that you will want to use depends entirely on the encounter itself with options such as the Signet of the Earthshaker providing you with a great deal of “Block Value” while options such as the Platinum Band of the Aesir grant you additional Expertise Rating and Dodge Rating as a main form of Mitigation.

Lastly, you can use The Leviathan’s Coil, however, you may want to swap it as fast as possible since you should only treat this item as a stepping-stone due to its low overall stats.

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)