PVE Protection Warrior Tank Guide WotLK 3.3.5a
  • Author: Nevermore
  • Date: August 20, 2022
  • Expansion: WotLK Classic

Welcome to our PvE Protection Warrior Tanking guide for World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King!

Cladded in heavy armor and wearing the scars of thousands of battles, Protection Warriors are behemoths that intimidate even the fiercest monsters. Training their whole lives, mastering the art of shield and sword, these individuals can withstand any malicious blow thrown their way. Stalwart and proud, they carry themselves with little care for their own well-being — always having a vigilant eye over their battle-born allies at all times, ready to intervene in case of impending danger.

This guide will teach you how to play a Protection Warrior in PvE encounters, no matter if they are difficult dungeons or terrifying raids. We will be covering everything from enchants and consumables, to talents, rotations, macros, and addons. By the time you finish reading this guide, you will be a masterful tank, capable of taking the front-line position and tanking in any raid!

Protection Warrior Strengths & Weaknesses


  • Strong survivability
    Protection Warriors have access to several strong defensive abilities. Besides those, they also have high overall armor and health pool. Since most of the fights involve blockable damage, it’s important that Protection Warriors are experts in using Shielfs, earning them a very high spot when it comes to survivability.
  • Strong utility
    This specialization has several strong utility tools to share with their allies, such as disarming their opponents, reducing their overall attack speed, and even rushing to their allies when aid is required.
  • Extremely good mobility
    Protection Warriors enjoy high mobility thanks to their Warbringer talent. It allows them to use charge, intercept, and intervene during combat! This strong ability lets them reposition themselves extremely quickly to counteract displacement effects.
  • Strong Threat generation
    This specialization can generate insane amounts of threat in single-target fights, especially since their abilities are extremely spammable against single targets.


  • Weak AoE threat generation
    Protection Warriors struggle with AoE threat generation and AoE pulls. Although their abilities are extremely spammable, they struggle to maintain aggro if there is anyone else damaging the target, so their threat generation is much better suited for single-target fights.
  • Heavily gear-dependent
    Protection Warriors are extremely gear-dependent, being quite weak without proper equipment. Equipment is the most important aspect of every RPG, and this is emphasized even further in tanking. Without the essential defensive stats offered by the equipment, your character runs the risk of getting one-shot very quickly.
  • Low demand
    Protection Warriors are sadly in low demand, especially due to the lack of their self-sustain. Since other tanking specializations come with much higher self-sustain, Protection Warriors are, sadly, viewed as an inferior tank choice.

Protection Warrior Utility

  • Vigilance
    This is one of the strongest threat-generation tools in the entire game. You can use this ability on your most powerful damage dealer to transfer 10% of the threat they generate to yourself while also shielding them, granting them a 3% damage reduction.
  • Intervene
    This ability can be used to rush to an ally’s aid, fully absorbing the next melee or ranged attack targeting them. This ability is great for both mobility and for protecting your allies! Keep in mind that it’s better suited for dungeons than raids, but can still be used as a mobility tool for the latter.
  • Sunder Armor
    This ability severely reduces an enemy’s armor, and is one of the greatest in the game. It’s available to all Warriors. Yet, Protection Warriors do an even better job at applying this debuff to an enemy, since their specialization allows them to both damage the target and apply the effect through Devastate.
  • Commanding Shout and Battle Shout
    All Warriors can make use of these special buffs which inspire their allies, either increasing their health pool or their attack power. However, most of these buffs do not stack with others, such as the Paladin’s Blessings. Commanding Shout does not stack with Blood Pact, but most cases won’t have an Imp as only Destruction Warlocks use those, so it will fall to you to use this buff.
  • Disarm
    Disarm is one of the most useful spells in your arsenal against mobs founds in dungeons or raids! You can use this ability to severely dampen any melee or ranged mob’s damage output, as long as they are not classified as “caster”. Furthermore, you can even use this ability against some dungeon bosses, effectively weakening them considerably if they use melee or ranged weapons!
  • Demoralizing Shout
    This is a strong debuff which can affect multiple enemies at once, reducing their attack power by a considerable amount. Keep in mind that this effect is highly sought after, easily applied by a Protection Warrior (even if all other Warriors can also apply it)!


We hope this guide helped you decide if PvE Protection Warrior is the class/spec for you. Make sure to check out our other sections, such as talents, gear, gems, etc., to get more information on how to improve your performance as a Protection Warrior in WotLK!


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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1 year ago

These builds are incorrect for the content they are meant to be for.


For 5 man dungeon’s it is best to run this build for aggro and doing the most damage possible
These will make you keep aggro in aoe much better and make your time in a dungeon go so much smoother while also making sure you are more safe with shield wall glyph.

For a off tank position in a raid (not adds in ruby sanctum) you would go this
This will provide more support while pumping your surviviability by a lot more with the glyphs. Commanding presence + improved demo shout will make you have more hp with commanding and take less damage while demo shout is active. Piercing howl will let you slow adds and slow valks on lich king (very important to not let people die)

For a main tank position in a raid, you would do this
The reason you grab deep wounds instead of commanding presence is because as a warrior your aggro isnt that good. So deep wounds will provide more aggro generation that should help you keep aggro off the big boy dps in your raid. we do NOT take damage shield for one main reason, its really bad in icc tier for the damage it does. It’ll do 400ish per block/hit which barely keeps up with 2% crit when you have deep wounds. If you are in earlier tiers like Tier 9 it would be way better.

If you were wanting to tank adds in ruby sanctum you would also choose the 5 man build (replace shield wall glyph with shockwave) and wear dps gear to do as much damage as possible, ive done 2.3m damage to embers myself in an average rs run.


Now to generate aggro you follow a rotation
For Single target with a 1.5 speed weapon
Shield Slam > Revenge > Concussion Blow > Devastate

For single target with a 2.4 – 2.6 speed weapon
Shield Slam > Revenge > Devastate

For Multi-target
Shockwave > Revenge > Shield Slam > Devastate

Spam heroic strike if you need to tank one target, spam cleave if you need to tank 2+ targets

For cooldowns you have a wide array of them and understanding each one is important
Shield block: 40 second cooldown, small cooldown. Increases block value and block chance by 100%
Always use this on pull to keep yourself from dying instantly and let healers set up
Shield Wall: 2 min cooldown (4 min without glyph), major cooldown. Gives a 40/60% damage reduction.
Use this before big damage comes in to reduce it as much as possible
Last Stand: 2 min cool down (3 min without glyph), major cooldown. Gives 30% bonus health
Use this if you are about to take big damage or if you are about to die, it can be a life saver
Bloodrage: 1 min cooldown (only with 4 set tier 10), minor cooldown. gives 20% of health as an absorb shield
This is best used before a big hit (like breath or soul reaper) along with last stand to increase the amount it absorbs


For gemming/enchanting, this is what you wanna do (or what I personally do myself)
Gemming: All +30 stam gems with one +10 exp + 15 purple gem in the biggest stam socket bonus (like head) for meta gem. Meta gem should be +stam and 2% armor value

For enchants:
head: 37 stam + 20 defense
shoulders: +30 stam + 15 resilence
Back: +225 armor
Chest: +275 hp
Bracers: +40 stamina (+102 stam with leatherworking proffesion)
Hands: +240 armor (+885 armor with engineering)
Belt: Eternal Belt buckle, put +30 stam in it
Pants: +55 stam + 25 agi
Boots: +22 stamina (Nitro boots if engineering)
Rings: +30 stam (If enchanting)
Weapon: Mongoose
Shield: +18 stamina

This is my armory, If you want to see how I gear my prot warrior.

This is the first time im actually compiling information to help fledgling prot wars so if you want more personal questioning as Ill never check this website really, dm me on discord at: Dova#8659

I am NOT the best prot war, im just a guy who loves prot war and wants to make sure the right information is out there and to fill in the gaps where this guide doesn’t. Enjoy the read and message me if you want answers.

Reply to  Dova14
1 year ago

Since I cant edit my original message ill add here.
For stat priority its pretty simple
Defense cap > Stamina >Bonus Armor > 5% melee hit > dodge> block value/rating >= parry >= defense

The defense cap for raids is 540 or 536 with pvp shoulder enchant.
Resilience reduces crit chance by 0.04% for every 4 resilience you have and it works in pve.

Stamina is our stat of choice to stack obviously, I sit at a comfortable 80k health in icecrown with 30% buff active (30% more max health)

Bonus armor is a good stat to go for on your gear if avaliable in that slot. If you don’t know, bonus armor is when the armor number is in green or if its on jewellery like weapon, neck, and rings. Armor will reduce physical damage you take so it’s good to stack it to survive one more hit if possible.

5% melee hit is our sweet spot for taunt as it converts to enough spell hit with taunt glyph + 3% hit chance debuff to always land the taunt.

Dodge is the better avoidance stat than parry due to its slower diminishing returns. So id put block based stats, parry, and defense all together. If you wanna know what item is better based on avoidance, compare how much avoidance each item gives you.

Now for expertise its kinda iffy, you need some yes, but not 26. My warrior sits at 18 (22 with food) and is generally fine and can keep aggro and hit my stuns on shamblings/adds easily. Don’t sacrifice armor or stamima for expertise!

Reply to  Dova14
10 months ago

Why Tactical Mastery in your main tank skill. When I change stances?

Btw thanks for your great guide

Reply to  osaeft
9 months ago

Yes Tactical mastery is a must have if you are going down the arms tree as it will give you 25 rage when you transition into battle stance, which is enough to do shattering throw. I will however recommend changing improved charge to improved Rend, as Rend will provide more TPS above 75% than a rend. (Cant edit original comment so ill put it here)

Reply to  Dova14
8 months ago

Hi mate i was wondering why dont you have expertise and hit capped ?

Reply to  daccooo
6 months ago

I barely check here but this is the answer

Threat stats aren’t very relevant in WOTLK due to ToT + MD carrying your threat by a huge margin that makes you be able to focus more on stam and bonus armor items like Pillars of Might. The most hit you rly need is enough to cap taunt (17% spell hit including glyph.)

Reply to  Dova14
7 months ago

Hello dova.

First tnx for guide,is realy good, second can you add your tank gear in armory or sc.

Reply to  Dova14
6 months ago

are the builds/stat prio/ rotation you listed viable for a fresh progression realm starting in phase 1? Or are they only for geared warriors? I mainly want to tank dungeons for faster queues and kinda confused whether to follow your guide or not. Thanks

Reply to  Zeuss4
5 months ago

Generally yes you can follow the same builds/stat prio/rotation

I havent played older tiers as a prot war so stat prio can be different. As I know in Phase 3 (ToC) you prio avoidance. I suggest trying to find a much more indepth and more professional guide past this comment. as they will surely have more information on the subject.

5 months ago

La información en su mayoría es errónea, muy mala fuente para orientarse

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