- Author: Nevermore
- Date: August 20, 2022
- Updated: August 20, 2022
- Expansion: WotLK Classic
Protection Warriors don’t actually have a typical “standard rotation,” but rather a priority list of abilities they should use! This is mainly because most of their abilities have similar cooldowns, overlapping each other.
- Use Heroic Throw together with Charge to initiate.
- Use Devastate at the beginning of the fight to apply 5 stacks of Sunder Armor.
- Use Thunder Clap at the beginning of the encounter.
- Use Demoralizing Shout as soon as possible!
- Use Heroic Strike — it is not affected by GCD.
- Use Concussion Blow on cooldown.
- Use Devastate consistently throughout the fight.
- Use Revenge on every proc!
- Use Shield Slam on cooldown! Prioritize Shield Slam when Sword and Board is active.
- Use Shockwave if adds are present besides the boss.
- Use Cleave only if you have to tank 2 or 3 targets at the same time.
Just as was mentioned earlier, there is no “single-target rotation,” per se. Basically, you have a list of priority spells which will be best to maintain at all times! However, keep in mind that each situation might require a bit of alteration when it comes to your priority lists. For example, there may be fights where you will want to quickly swap the target of your Vigilance, or come to the aid of one of your healers while also maintaining aggro on the boss.
- Charge -> Heroic Throw -> Bloodrage -> Demoralizing Shout -> Thunder Clap (Upkeep!) -> Devastate (Until 5 stacks of Sunder Armor) -> Heroic Strike (Constant spam) -> Revenge (High Priority!) -> Shield Slam (Spam on CD & Proc) -> Shield Block (On Cooldown!) -> Shield Wall & Last Stand (Before or during high-damage abilities!) -> Concussion Blow (On cooldown)
Since we cannot stress enough that your rotation works like a priority list instead of an actual rotation, we will once again emphasize this fact in the “In-Depth” section, just to make sure that you are getting the most out of your gameplay!
You will always want to start combat with a macro for Heroic Throw. You can simply do this by binding it to your Charge ability. Note that after using Heroic Throw in the beginning of the fight, you should also use it every time its cooldown becomes available.
Charge is your main initiation tool. It allows you to cover ground very fast and reach your enemies, ready to bludgeon or slash them to death. However, keep in mind that you should always check to see if you are still going to be in the healer’s range. Charging forward without keeping an eye on your allies can result in a quick and painful death; we want to avoid that at all costs!
Demoralizing Shout is one of the first abilities that you should use, to ensure that you severely weaken your target! You can choose to use this ability instantly or after you manage to apply 5 stacks of Sunder Armor. Generally speaking, it is way better to apply it before you apply Sunder Armor.
Thunder Clap severely reduces our target’s attack speed by 22% thanks to the Improved Thunder Clap talent. This is one of the main abilities you should use at the beginning of a fight due to its massive debuff. Also, you should always strive to upkeep the effect at all times, just like Sunder Armor.
Devastate is an amazing ability reserved only for Protection Warriors! It allows you to deal high amounts of damage while also applying Sunder Armor. Devastate is a very important tool in your arsenal, and should be your top priority at the beginning of the fight. After you successfully apply 5 stacks of Sunder Armor, Devastate will be your priority only if Revenge and Shield Slam are on cooldown, or if Sunder Armor is about to expire!
Heroic Strike is one of our core abilities as a Warrior. The most beautiful aspect of this ability is the fact that it is not bound by Global Cooldown! A good Protection Warrior is able to convert most of thier basic attacks into Heroic Strikes.
Remember that you can effectively bind Heroic Strike to any of your abilities with macros. When it comes to ability priorities, constant use of Heroic Strike is absolutely mandatory as it produces high threat as well, besides its damage.
Revenge is a very strong ability that has a prerequisite in order to be used. Luckily, you can trigger it constantly due to how easily it can be triggered by our high block chance, especially when combined with abilities such as Shield Block! As far as priority goes, Revenge is the first ability that you are supposed to use after Devastate.
Shield Slam is the next ability that comes in line after Revenge: it has a special condition where Sword and Board enables you to reset Shield Slam‘s cooldown while also allowing you to use it without any rage cost. Shield Slam always comes before Devastate in the priority order after you have managed to apply 5 stacks of Sunder Armor!
Let’s talk about defensive abilities. There are two main ones that you will want to keep for critical moments, such as special boss mechanics or large groups of AoE mobs, and one ability that you should always spam on cooldown.
Shield Block should always be used on cooldown. It significantly empowers your defensive capabilities, increasing your block chance and block value to 100%. Not only does it massively boost your defense, but it also empowers your Shield Slam, to an extreme degree!
Shield Wall and Last Stand should be reserved for critical moments. You can choose to use both of them together or you can use them separately, depending on the encounter you are facing. You can also choose to macro these together, with other defensive effects, such as armor potions, healing potions, or even Shield Block, working functionally as a panic button. However, if you choose to bind Shield Block, keep in mind that Shield Block alone can grant you nigh physical immunity for its duration, as you can repel any physical attack. So, if you choose to bind it as well, you should only use the macro for bosses with hybrid damage, such as dragons!
Concussion Blow is an extremely good crowd control tool! Nevertheless, raid bosses can’t be stunned, making this an ability much more suited for mobs or dungeon bosses. So, Concussion Blow is the lowest priority spell in your rotation, being way more valuable in dungeons.
Prior to the WotLK Beta, Warriors have been known to have a tougher time with AoE situations compared to other tank specializations. However, Protection Warriors might enjoy a new era, where their AoE capabilities could actually become way better!
- Heroic Throw -> Charge -> Demoralizing Shout-> Cleave (Constant spam, not affected by GCD) -> Thunder Clap (On cooldown) -> Revenge (On proc) -> Shield Slam (Proc) -> Shockwave (Once the mobs are packed together)
- Shield Block -> Shield Slam (Spam on cooldown and on proc)
- Devastate (Only in fights against mobs with high health pools!)
When it comes to AoE, Protection Warriors are about to see some changes with the release of WotLK, having the potential for highly increased AoE damage.
Just like with the single-target rotation, you should start with Charge and Heroic Throw, after which you should instantly apply Demoralizing Shout. Once their offensive abilities are diminished, your next priority is applying Thunder Clap while literally spamming Cleave!
Thunder Clap will generate high amounts of aggro while also severely dampening any enemy’s attack speed by 22%! You will always want to spam this ability on cooldown. However, you will not want to prioritize this ability if Revenge is available.
Cleave just like Heroic Strike, is entirely unaffected by GCD, allowing you to properly spam it even while using other abilities. This makes up for the perfect AoE tool! What’s more, you can choose to macro this ability to any of your other abilities to increase its effectiveness.
Lastly, we will want to use Shockwave properly: you will need to group up every enemy in your proximity and make sure they are aligned first. Shockwave is a great crowd control ability, besides being a great threat generator, meaning that you should always prioritize its use whenever it’s on cooldown! If you are about to pull a small pack of mobs, you can even consider using it early on in the battle.