wotlk pve protection warrior tank stat priority
  • Author: Nevermore
  • Date: August 20, 2022
  • Expansion: WotLK Classic

Protection Warriors are one of the most intimidating behemoths that you can meet in Azeroth, having a reputation for being a purely physical class. With such a reputation, we will naturally benefit from the same stats as all other tanking specializations and physical damage dealers; however, Protection Warriors must meet the requirement for Spell Hit Chance when it comes to their taunt abilities.

Important Note: The Stat Priority of “Block”, “Dodge”, and “Parry” change depending on whether you are the Main Tank or the Off-Tank. As a “Main Tank” you will want to prioritize Dodge/Parry/Block while as an “Off-Tank” you will want to prioritize “Block”->”Dodge”->”Parry”. Whatever role you are assigned, keep in mind that Block Chance/Block Value will always be among the best stats, especially since it influences your “Shield Slam”/”Sword and Board”.

Stat Priority

  1. Hit Rating
    • Cap: 263 rating
  2. Expertise
  3. Defense Rating
    • Cap: 540
  4. Stamina
  5. Armor
  6. Block Chance/Block Value
  7. Dodge
  8. Parry
  9. Strength
  10. Agility
  11. Attack Power

Stat Explanations

Hit Rating is by far the most important stat for a Protection Warrior. If your hit chance is not capped, you will often find yourself missing your melee attacks and spells, risking losing threat on your target, which will likely lead to a wipe. Protection Warriors are by all means considered to be a physical melee class. However, both their Taunt and Challenging Shout abilities are actually treated as spells, meaning that you will want to pay attention to your spell Hit Rating cap as well. You need 32.79 Hit Rating for 1% physical hit chance, and 26.232 Hit Rating for 1% spell hit chance.

To never miss physical attacks, you will need 8% increased hit chance, or 263 Hit Rating. We, unfortunately, don’t have any talents or other effects which increase our hit chance, but if you have a Draenei in your group, you get the Heroic Presence buff which increases your hit chance by 1%; This means you only need 7% bonus hit chance, or 230 Hit Rating.

Capping spell hit chance is more challenging, as you need 17% bonus spell hit chance. Sadly, Protection Warriors benefit from absolutely no Hit-Chance-enhancing talents or effects, having to rely on their allies for such bonuses.

Fortunately, in 25-man raids you’ll typically have a Shadow Priest or a Balance Druid, who will apply a non-stacking debuff (Misery / Improved Faerie Fire) which increases your hit chance by a further 3%, reducing the cap down to 14% spell hit chance, or 365 Hit Rating. Having a Draenei in your group reduces that target by a further 1%, meaning you will only need 13% bonus spell hit chance, or 341 Hit Rating.

Expertise is a stat that reduces the chance of your attacks being dodged or parried. You get 1 Expertise for every 8.1974 expertise rating you have, and each point of Expertise reduces the chance that your attacks get dodged or parried by 0.25%. Thus, it takes 26 Expertise (referred to as the “soft cap”) for your attacks to no longer be dodgeable, and 56 Expertise (the “hard cap”) for your attacks to also not be parriable.

As a Protection Warrior, we get 6 Expertise for “free” from our incredibly powerful Vitality talent, which every Protection Warrior should take. This means that you need 20 more Expertise, or 164 expertise rating, in order to reach the soft cap. It is generally not recommended that you go for the hard cap, as it simply takes way too much investment to get there. But, if you wanted to do so for some reason, you’d need 50 Expertise, or 410 expertise rating — assuming you have the 6 bonus Expertise from Vitality.

Defense Rating is the most important stat that you will need to acquire as a tank, with many believing that it should be prioritized even before Hit Rating and Expertise Rating! Defense Rating grants you a reduced chance to be hit by critical strikes, a reduced chance to be dazed, an increased chance of a boss missing his attacks on you, an increased dodge rating, and an increased parry rating.

Defense Rating also increases the chance to Block, Parry, and Dodge any incoming attack!

You will always want to have your defense capped, that is, at 540! Beyond 540, the Defense Rating will only continue to increase your Parry and Dodge stat.

In the current meta of the expansion, Stamina is one of the best stats that you can acquire for any type of tanking specialization. Stamina increases your overall health, allowing you to “tank” some of the most grievous wounds and withstand deadly blows.

Even though there is no precise number for how much Stamina you should acquire, we can tell you that you should aim to stack as much as possible, from any form of equipment, enchantments, gems, and flasks!

Armor Rating reduces all physical damage taken while also granting us a small bit of attack power through the Armored to the Teeth talent. As a Protection Warrior, you will want to stack as much armor as possible, through enchantments, equipment, and gear, due to how important this stat is for us.

You will get roughly 3 attack power for every 108 Armor Rating. For example, you would gain 300 attack power from 10800 Armor Rating, making the stat not only defensive, but also offensive.

Protection Warriors are the most specialized users of Shields, requiring high Block Chance and high Block Value. First of all, it is very important to understand that Block Rating and Block Value are definitely not the same thing! Block Rating increases the chance to block an attack, while Block Value simply increases the amount of damage you can block.

Block Value will also directly increase the damage of Shield Slam! This is very important since we will use Shield Slam often as a result of the Sword and Board proc!

Even if Warriors have access to Shield Block, you should still acquire considerable amounts of Block Chance. In the first phases of the expansion, you should aim for around 18% to 24% Block Chance. You will get 1% Block Chance for every 16.40 Block Rating.

Dodge is the second form of mitigation available to Death Knights, allowing you to completely avoid an attack. Dodge chance is affected by diminishing returns, meaning that the more Dodge rating you acquire, the harder it will be to increase your overall Dodge percentage.

At the start, it takes 39.35 Dodge rating to get a 1% increase in Dodge chance. Going forward, the higher your Dodge rating is, the more points you will need to get 1% increased Dodge chance.

Parry allows you to deflect your opponent’s attacks, granting you further avoidance!

At first, it takes 45.25 Parry rating in order to get 1% increased Parry chance. However, there are diminishing returns to Parry rating, meaning, the higher your Parry rating, the more points you will need to get a 1% increased Parry chance.

In the earlier phases of the expansion, an 18%-20% Parry chance will be a good amount to aim for, as a general rule of thumb.

Strength is a stat that increases your overall attack power, innate to Protection Warriors. As a tank, you generally do not want to acquire a large amount of Strength. However, just like a Protection Paladin, Protection Warriors gain increased Block Value based on their Strength!

The conversion point for Block Value is quite simple: you gain 0.5 Block Value for each 1 Strength point, before buffs. This effect is fairly strong, though not strong enough that you’ll want to start stacking strength gems, enchants, etc.

Some people may be confused to see Agility on this list, as it is typically associated with Rogues and Hunters. Nonetheless, it’s not exclusively useful for them, as it confers a variety of benefits for everyone. Specifically, it increases armor, dodge chance, and critical strike chance. 2 of those 3 benefits are obviously very useful for tanks.

The catch here, sadly, is that, while not a bad stat by any means, it’s typically mainly found on leather and mail pieces, which aren’t good for tanking, hence we rate it so low on the list. If you do see it on an otherwise decent item, however, don’t be put off — it’s still a useful stat!

Attack Power is the core stat for any physical damage dealer, including us as Protection Warriors. More Attack Power means more damage and thus more threat, which is great. However, you generally don’t want to focus on this stat at all; you will get a decent amount of Attack Power via your strength and armor stats (thanks to the Armored to the Teeth talent), and it’s not worth it to sacrifice stamina for a tiny bit of extra, unneeded damage.


About the Author


Hey there folks, I am Nevermore and have been deeply passionate about WoW for more than a decade. Whether we talk about the hidden mysteries of Azeroth or the otherworldly Outland, my journey brought me here to share the things that I have experienced with you all.
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6 months ago

There are no Crushing Blows anymore in WoW – they’re gone with TBC. The only thing we need to worry about is Critical Strikes.

Defence Rating should be Number 1 – there is no difference between having 539 Defence and 500 Defence. The player with 539 Defence would likely experience less critical strikes, but they’re doing the same amount of damage to both players. (In terms of raiding – the same rule applies for anything below 535 in heroics)

while Block Value simply increases the amount of damage you can block.

This isn’t true. Block Value also increases the damage of our Shield Slam. And with Sword and Board, it’s an integral part of our rotation.

1 month ago

Have you actually read your own guide?

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You're A Joke
Reply to  Nevermore
1 month ago

Lol – it took you FIVE months to understand that crushing blows are no longer a thing.

You’re still valuing Hit/Expertise over Defense.

You forgot that Defense also increases Block Chance.

Armor, Dodge, and Critical Strike Chance are ALL important to Warrior tanks, not just 2/3 of them.

You're A Joke
You're A Joke
Reply to  Nevermore
1 month ago

The reason I mentioned the fact that Defense Rating also increases your chance to block is because you said, “Beyond 540, the Defense Rating will only continue to increase your Parry and Dodge stat,” which isn’t completely true, considering the additional block chance we receive.

The reason tanks prioritize Defense Rating before Hit and/or Expertise is pretty simple:

If I’m tanking a boss, and I haven’t prioritized Defense Rating properly, and I don’t meet the 540 requirement, there’s no way for me to counteract that fact. In other words, I can’t do anything mid-fight to reach the Defense Cap. In terms of threat generation, yes, it is incredibly important, but there are two things to always remember:

1. It doesn’t matter how much threat you can generate if you’re dead.
2. Hunters (Misdirection) and Rogues (Tricks of the Trade) will assist you in threat generation if you need it – this threat is guaranteed.

It is true that both Hit Rating and Expertise are important for any class and role. However, Defense Rating will always come first.

“It is true that the most important stat for a tank is Defense Rating after all.”

Then why is it third on your list of priorities…?

“The guides themselves are a perpetual WIP since there may always be insights that the community may provide that I might miss.”

The fact that you do not respond for over five months and you do not alter your guide for more than five months shows that you don’t actually listen to community feedback.

You're A Joke
You're A Joke
Reply to  Nevermore
1 month ago

I can understand and appreciate a busy schedule, but five months though? Really?

Realistically, if you’re trying to taunt any enemy in the game, there will always be a chance that your taunt will miss since no Warrior is going to focus on achieving 17% Hit Chance. In terms of taunting mobs, we actually have three chances to taunt – Taunt, Challenging Shout (Yes, one mob would be a waste) and Mocking Blow. Additionally, Expertise has nothing to do with Taunt landing. So, if you want to use “taunt landing” as a reason to put Hit Rating above Defense Rating, Expertise would then fall below it.

With a 30-second cooldown, Misdirection will likely be usable when necessary – not to mention the fact that most raid groups generally have more than one Hunter.

At the end of the day, your Stat Priority list is completely wrong.

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You're A Joke
Reply to  Nevermore
1 month ago

Just needed to add….

“I always try to improve my guides and always take community feedback into account!”

…says the person who takes over 5 months to respond to comments.

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