Season of Discovery (SoD) Paladin Tank Build Guide & Best Runes

paladin tank (3)

Paladins were regarded as one of the worst classes for tanking in WoW Classic due to their mana-hungry abilities and lack of a Taunt ability. Luckily for us, Season of Discovery resolves both of those issues, making the class fully viable at last.

The new Rune System introduced by the Season of Discovery grants us access to both new and exciting abilities and passive effects such as Aegis and Exorcist while also granting us access to some old fan-favorite ones such as Hand of Reckoning and Avenger’s Shield.

Build Summary

Paladin Tank in Season of Discovery benefits from many changes that entirely overthrow its bad reputation as a meme and useless specialization. With the addition of the Hand of Reckoning rune, Paladins finally gained a long-desired taunting ability and a much-needed mana regeneration tool. We also benefit from additional survivability tools with the Aegis rune making sure that we survive any tough encounter that we might be faced against.

With a new and improved tanking kit, Paladin Tanks provide a strong frontline for any raid composition, having multiple brand-new abilities that are strong in both Single-Target and AoE encounters. Their rotation changes considerably, with the Avenger’s Shield, Exorcism, Hand of Reckoning, and Divine Storm spells added as potential key abilities through the new Rune System.

Since the old days of staring at a target and mindlessly attacking it while waiting for Judgement‘s cooldown to refresh are long gone, Paladin Tanks will now benefit from much more dynamic gameplay!




  • Increases your block value by 30% and damaging melee and ranged attacks against you have a 10% chance to increase your chance to block by 30%. Lasts 10 sec or 5 blocks. Effect not cumulative with Redoubt.

Objectively speaking, this is one of the best runes that you can acquire for this slot in the majority of cases. Aegis will be mandatory for early raid content, even if it grants diminishing returns when paired up with Redoubt. The 30% Block value gained from the rune is massive for us, especially when combined with Shield Specialization.

Divine Storm

  • An instant weapon attack that causes 110% of weapon damage to up to 4 enemies within 8 yards. The Divine Storm heals up to 3 party or raid members totaling 25% of the damage caused.

While you may expect to see this rune only on a Retribution Paladin, Protection Paladins can also make use of it. Since runes are hot-swappable, Divine Storm can be used as an effective threat-generation tool for any AoE encounter. This rune is especially useful if you don’t have access to Consecration, as it grants you another viable low-cooldown tool.


Hand of Reckoning

  • Taunts the target to attack you, but has no effect if the target is already attacking you. While you know this ability, the threat bonus from Righteous Fury is increased to 80% and Righteous Fury causes you gain mana when healed by others equal to 25% of the amount healed. Additionally, while Righteous Fury is active, damage which takes you below 35% health is reduced by 20%. Righteous Fury will remain active until cancelled.

Finally, Protection Paladins will no longer be considered a meme specialization thanks to this rune! The Hand of Reckoning solves two of our biggest issues as Protection Paladins: the lack of a Taunt ability and the very high mana consumption nature of the specialization. While the taunt effect works just like any other Tank Specialization’s “Taunt”, the mana regeneration effect requires an additional group effort. For those who are familiar with WotLK Classic, the Hand of Reckoning rune borrows the effect of the “Spiritual Attunement” talent. In WotLK Classic, the talent grants mana equal to either 5% or 10% of any healing effect that a Paladin receives, depending on how many points you spend on the talent. However, in Season of Discovery, the effect is vastly superior, with each healing effect granting a static amount equal to 25% of the amount healed rather than a static 5% or 10%.


Avenger’s Shield

  • Hurls a holy shield at the enemy, dealing 165 to 197 Holy damage, Dazing them and then jumping to additional nearby enemies. Affects 3 total targets. Lasts 10 sec.

The primary role of this rune is to grant a new core ability to the Protection Paladin specialization. This iconic spell introduces a potent AoE tool, allowing Protection Paladins to easily tag multiple mobs at the same time. Avenger’s Shield is also an amazing threat-generation tool for Single-Target encounters thanks to its high damage which scales with Attack Power and Spell Power.


  • Exorcism can now be cast on any target and has 100% increased critical strike chance against Undead and Demons.

The primary role of this rune is to overhaul our Exorcism spell, allowing you to use it as one of your core damaging abilities. This rune can be very potent in Single-Target encounters, rivaling Avenger’s Shield in terms of damage output. Since Exorcism has only half the cooldown of Avenger’s Shield, the spell can be considered objectively better.

Divine Sacrifice

  • 30% of all damage taken by party and members within 30 yards is redirected to the Paladin for 10 sec. Damage which reduces the Paladin below 20% health will break the effect and grant the paladin 10% increased damage and healing done for 10 sec.

Divine Sacrifice is yet another rune that introduces a powerful utility spell to the Protection Paladin specialization. While the ability itself can potentially be a very risky choice when used by a tank, it certainly provides large-scale damage mitigation for your current party group. The main concern with Divine Sacrifice is that it may potentially result in reaching a point of no return in which healers might not be able to top off the tank quickly enough. As such, Protection Paladins that choose to use this rune should be mindful of their healer group and properly coordinate with them both during the ability’s duration and after its effect expires.

While we won’t be able to benefit from its full raid-wide effect as its WotLK Classic counterpart, the ability can prove crucial for encounters with heavy AoE Damage.

Talent Builds

Consecration Build

protection paladin consecration build
Consecration Build Talent Calculator

The Consecration Build is a niche build that is very useful for any AoE encounter. It spends 5 mandatory points in Redoubt for increasing our overall Block Chance while focusing the rest of the points in the Holy Talent Tree. The first 5 talent choices spent in the Holy Talent Tree depend entirely on your current gear setup. Protection Paladins are notorious for their mana issues in WoW Classic, which means that the Divine Intellect is very potent for us. However, since we now have a reliable way of regenerating mana with the Hand of Reckoning rune, you may choose to select the Divine Strength instead.

Improved Seal of Righteousness will be our only viable choice from the second row, increasing our Seal of Righteousness‘ damage output by quite a significant amount. Lastly, Consecration is the main reason for choosing this specific talent path, offering you a potent AoE tool. This ability is notoriously strong when combined with Righteous Fury, allowing you to generate high amounts of threat and efficiently tank large mob packs.

However, this build lacks both Hit Rating and increased survivability which means that it may not be viable at all when faced against Single-Target encounters. You may choose to experiment with this build and see whether or not the pros outweigh the cons.

Protection Standard Build

protection paladin standard build
Protection Paladin Standard Build Talent Calculator

The Standard Protection Build encompasses several key talents that focus on increased survivability and damage mitigation. While the Consecration Build is an AoE niche build for this early-level bracket, the Standard Protection Build will generally be used for any Single-Target boss encounter. There are two mandatory talents that we should always take: the first talent is Redoubt which increases your Block Chance when being dealt a critical strike while the second is Shield Specialization which increases the overall damage we can block with our shields. Your talent choices are rather diversified with this build, with some Paladins preferring an increase in Armor value by spending points in Toughness while others prefer Anticipation to increase their overall Defense Rating to prevent Crushing Blows. At this current level bracket, the choice is dependent on whether or not the Crushing Blows will be too huge of an impediment for us.

This build also has access to the Precision talent which is a sure way of gaining increased Hit Rating. This is very beneficial for us as Hit Rating is very scarce during this phase.

Lastly, it is entirely up to you if you spend a point on the Blessing of Kings talent. Generally speaking, the new Aspect of the Lion Hunter Rune should render the talent entirely useless, as they will most likely have it active at all times. However, you may choose to get it as a backup, in the eventuality that you won’t have a Hunter present or if they choose to use another rune instead.

Key Spells and Abilities

Righteous Fury

Oh boy, how “funny” it is when your tank randomly says that he forgot to activate this ability. Righteous Fury is a core ability for Protection Paladins, increasing the threat they generate by a considerable amount. In Season of Discovery, this ability is further empowered by the Hand of Reckoning rune, improving its overall threat generation by 80%. It will also grant them access to a mana regeneration mechanic. All and all, this ability is crucial and you should not always have it active, so make sure that you never forget to turn it on!


For the low-level brackets, it’s difficult to name this ability a “Key Spell” since its availability depends entirely on your build. If you use the Consecration Build, this ability will be your core AoE tool besides Avenger’s Shield. The main issue with Consecration is its high mana cost, however, that problem is partly resolved by the Hand of Reckoning rune.

Seal of Righteousness

The Seal of Righteousness is our core Seal as Protection Paladins during this low-level bracket. This ability empowers our normal attacks with additional Holy Damage while also dealing a moderate amount of Holy Damage to a target whenever it’s unleashed by Judgement.

Seal of the Crusader

The Seal of the Crusader is the primary way of empowering all of our Holy Damage, including the unleashed Seal of Righteousness. Its primary effect increases your attack speed by up to 40% while also granting you a 96 increased Melee Attack Power. However, you deal less damage with each attack you inflict, making this seal a bad choice for prolonged use. Its unleashed effect is what we truly desire, empowering all Holy Damage dealt to the target by up to 50 for 10 seconds.

The Seal of the Crusader should be used before pulling a boss and only swapped once you apply its unleashed effect with Judgement. Since its effect can be prolonged by melee attacks, you can treat this as a debuff that you only have to apply once and then never think about it again.


Judgement is one of the core abilities of a Protection Paladin, which allows them to unleash the secondary effects of their seals. You will consistently use this ability on cooldown!

Hammer of Justice

Make them stand their ground while contemplating their sins! While unlikely, we can only imagine that is what a Protection Paladin has on his mind while using this ability. The Hammer of Justice is a utility ability that can stun mobs for 4 seconds. Beware, however, that bosses are generally immune to stun effects, which means you can’t use this ability to interrupt their spell-casting.


Purify is a utility spell that can remove 1 Poison and 1 Disease effect. While this type of spell is usually used by your healers, you will want to use it on yourself to lessen the burden placed on healers.

Example Best-in-Slot

Below is an example of an all-round Best-in-Slot list that you can tweak to fit your individual needs.




Noteworthy Items

Beazel’s Basher

Beazel’s Basher is a great Main-Hand weapon that Tank Paladins can acquire. While it grants a high amount of Strength, its weakness is that it grants Spirit which is not the best stat for us. The lack of Stamina will impact our overall survivability but the high Weapon Damage makes up for it to a certain degree. While this item is a BoE which should make it easily accessible, you should expect some heavy competition for it, especially during the early days of SoD.

Shining Silver Breastplate

The Shining Silver Breastplate is a great item that provides large amounts of Strength and Stamina! The best part about this item is that it’s a craftable item that all Blacksmiths can acquire since its recipe is taught by a Blacksmith Trainer. This means that everyone should be able to acquire this item,

Mutant Scale Breastplate

The Mutant Scale Breastplate is an item that can be directly compared to the Shining Silver Breastplate, as it offers almost the same stats. You may use this item in case you can’t manage to find any Blacksmith willing to craft the Shining Silver Breastplate or if you simply can’t find it at the Auction House.

Commander’s Crest

The Commander’s Crest is an item that can be easily obtainable from Shadowfang Keep, as its drop chance is quite high. The shield grants you decently high amounts of Strength, Stamina, and Spirit, making it a great item to obtain before venturing into Blackfathom Depths.

Jimmied Handcuffs

The Jimmied Handcuffs are a great addition for any Protection Paladin that wishes to increase its Health Points, granting a high amount of Stamina and a moderate amount of Strength. This item can be easily acquired since you can farm in the Stockades.

Seal of Wrynn

The Seal of Wrynn is one spectacular ring that we can acquire, offering us a plethora of baseline stats. However, it comes with a catch, a very long questline serving as a wall between you and this amazing item. The questline itself is quite difficult, forcing you to run back and forth in circles, complete a dungeon, and even fight two very powerful higher-level mobs. It is highly advised to gather a group of strong adventurers when attempting to complete this chain quest, as the mobs you will be facing are far too powerful to be fought alone.

While the questline itself is tedious, its reward is surely worth all the trouble!

Race Choice

In Classic, the Paladin Class is exclusively available for the Alliance faction. Humans and Dwarves are the only races able to become stalwart defenders of the Holy Light.


Noble defenders sworn to uphold the principles of the Holy Light and the Silver Hand, Humans are a great option for the Protection Paladin specialization. Their main beneficial racial effects for PvE content are Sword Specialization and Mace Specialization, with both racial effects increasing their Weapon Skill whenever they use a Sword or a Mace. This effect grants them an edge over Dwarf tanks, as Hit Rating is rather hard to come by in the Season of Discovery. Since Protection Paladin doesn’t benefit from the Meditation effect that some healing specializations have, The Human Spirit is useless for us during any combat, with the effect only slightly decreasing our downtime in between pulls. Other than those effects, the rest of them are quite useless in PvE, with Perception being a PvP/Leveling effect that has close to no practical use in any raid content, while Diplomacy is only useful for acquiring the reputation rewards from Warsong Gulch and Ashenvale slightly faster than other races.


There should be no surprise that the stout Dwarves make resilient Protection Paladins! Dwarves have two main racial effects which focus on improving survivability, with the rest of their racial effects being either situational or outright unfit for our specialization. Stoneform is the first racial effect that will be useful for us as tanks, providing us with a reliable way to remove Bleed effects while also granting a 10% increased Armor for 8 seconds. Frost Resistance is the second racial effect that can be very useful for Protection Paladins, especially in the first phase of the Season of Discovery, as Blackfathom Depths will certainly feature bosses and mobs that deal Frost Damage. The rest of Dwarf’s racial effects are not properly suited for us in PvE, with Find Treasure being a gimmick ability for the open world while Gun Specialization is entirely useless since we can’t even use guns.


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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3 months ago

Hi Nevermore, question about Greater Blessing spamming in SOD. Is it possible or worth while?

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