Monday, August 31, 2009

Tankadin 101

(This information is still largely accurate to patch 3.3.5)

This is my guide to Paladin Tanking. It's written on an entry 101 kind of level. If you are new to Paladin tanking, this guide was written for you. For you grizzled veterans, look it over and see if you agree with my advice to our young Padawans. Feel free to email me, or drop me a comment if you feel like something in this article is inaccurate or simply bad advice.

If you find this article eerily similar to the Protection Paladin entry on Raider101.com, that would be because I wrote the article at Raider101.

Introduction
Protection paladins are powerful tanks. They excel at every facet of tanking. At the moment, Paladins have very high threat generation. Paladins can tank every boss in the game and fulfill any tanking role. In addition, they bring powerful group buffs like Blessings, Hands and Auras.

Talent Builds

Standard: http://www.wowarmory.com/talent-calc.xml?cid=2&tal=000000000000000000000000000500503500313231133331232150230201200300000000000000∞You This build has 3 'flavor' points in the lower part of the Prot tree. You can put these three points into Reckoning (for threat), Divine Sacrifice/Improved Hammer of Justice (for a shorter cooldown on your stun, and a bit of utility), or Divine Sacrifice/Divine Guardian (for utility).

Divine Sacrifice/Divine Guardian is best for Paladins who find themselves primarily in offtanking roles or those who do not run with a Holy Paladin. There is one 'wasted' point in the Ret tree, which is currently shown as the second point of Improved Judgement. You need this point to get enough points to go further down the tree. If you are following the 969 rotation (discussed below) to the letter the 2/2 in Improved Judgements is (strictly speaking) sub-optimal as it reduces the CD on Judgements to 8 seconds which is not evenly divisible by the 1.5 second GCD, whereas going 1/2 in Improved Judgements makes the CD 9 seconds which does mesh with the GCD. However, 2/2 Improved Judgment is nice to have in soloing/daily quest situations, so that's why I put the point there.

There is fierce debate among experienced Protection Paladins over Pursuit of Justice (PoJ). Some feel you can get by okay with just a Tuskar's Vitality enchant, which gives you some run speed, but less than PoJ. Others swear by PoJ. I've recently changed to the pro-PoJ camp, however; if you decide to not take PoJ, put those 2 points into Conviction.

Abilities
Primary Seal: Seal of Vengeance if Alliance; Seal of Corruption if Horde

Primary Judgement: Judgement of Wisdom if you need mana or Judgement of Light if you don't. Judgements were normalized in Patch 3.2 so they have the same effect regardless of which Paladin judges them. Your key debuff "Judgements of the Just" is its own debuff now and can no longer be removed from the Boss by another Paladin judging the wrong thing.

Primary Aura: Devotion Aura

Keep Righteous Fury and your assigned blessing active at all times. For Progression Tanking, the Blessings you want (in order of preference) are Blessing of Kings, Blessing Sanctuary, Blessing of Might, Blessing of Wisdom. For 5 mans, you will want Sanctuary.

Threat Rotation

A Protection Paladin uses a "969" rotation. She alternates between abilities with an 8-9 second cooldown (Holy Shield, Judgement of Wisdom∞) and abilities with a 6 second cooldown (Shield of Righteousness, Hammer of the Righteous).

Here is a sample rotation. It looks long, but watch for the "96969" rhythm:

Seal of Vengeance (Actually prepped before)
Avenger's Shield
Divine Plea
Judge(9)
Shield of Righteousness (6)
Consecrate(9)
Hammer of the Righteous(6)
Holy Shield(9)
Shield of Righteousness (6)
Judge(9)
Hammer of the Righteous(6)
Consecrate(9)
Shield of Righteousness (6)
Holy Shield(9)
Hammer of the Righteous(6)
Judge(9)

Other important abilities:
Hand of Reckoning - Single target taunt
Righteous Defense - Backup taunt, multi-target
Hand of Salvation - Cast this on any DPS who is at 90%+ threat

Key Cooldowns
Divine Protection - Akin to a Warrior's Shield Wall, it's your major active Cooldown. Your 4pc T9 lowers it's cooldown to just 90 seconds.
Ardent Defender - Passive, but a major 'cooldown' for Protection Paladins.
Divine Plea - This should be on cooldown at all times.
Lay on Hands - It's long cooldown means you have to careful when you use it, but the ability to refill your entire life bar will get out of trouble.
Avenging Wrath - Use this when your raid is under the effects of Bloodlust/Heroism or anytime you need a threat boost. Note that using this will prevent you from using Divine Protection for 30 seconds.

Key Stats

Stats are listed in order of importance. All these stats are useful, but look for gear with more stats from the top of the list.

Stamina
Defense Rating - minimum of 540 Defense (689 Defense Rating)
Dodge Rating
Parry Rating
Armor
Strength
Block Value
Hit Rating
Expertise
Attack Power
Block Rating

You must have at least 540 Defense if you want to tank raids. If you have less, bosses can critically hit you for double damage. You will die a horrible death and your raid will wipe. Likewise you must have at least 535 Defense for Heroics. Having more than these minimums is not a problem. On the contrary, Defense is one of the best ways to improve your avoidance (chance for the Boss to miss you).

With Diminishing Returns added to Block Value in Patch 3.2, Block Value will fluctuate in it's importance as a stat.



  • If your raid-buffed BV is <> BV > Hit > Expertise > AP
  • If your raid-buffed BV is > 2500 but <> Expertise > AP, with BV rapidly declining in value
  • If your raid-buffed BV is > 2950 then Hit > STR > Expertise > AP, and BV is worthless for threat

Recommended Glyphs

Major
Glyph of Divine Plea
Glyph of Righteous Defense
Glyph of Seal of VengeanceOr Glyph of Hammer of the Righteous

Glyph of Hammer of the Righteous will be better if you run mostly Heroics, but Seal of Vengeance is better for Raids. Once you have over 25 Expertise Skill, the value of the Seal of Vengeance glyph goes down slightly.

Minor
Glyph of Sense Undead
Glyph of Lay on Hands
Glyph of Blessign of Kings

Recommended Enchants

Enchants are listed from best and most expensive to least expensive. If you have a crafting profession, you may have access to crafter-only enchants which are better than these recommendations.

Head: Arcanum of the Stalwart Protector
Shoulders: Greater Inscription of the Pinnacle or Lesser Inscription of the Pinnacle
Chest: Greater Defense
Cloak: Titanweave
Bracers: Major Stamina
Hands: Armsman
Belt: Eternal Belt Buckle
Legs: Frosthide Leg Armor or Jormungar Leg Armor
Feet: Tuskar's Vitality or Greater Fortitude
Weapon: Blood Draining for survival, or Accuracy for threat
Shield: Defense

Recommended Gems
Meta: Austere Earthsiege Diamond or Eternal Earthsiege Diamond
Red: Shifting
Yellow: Enduring or Thick Only use Thick if that's the only way for you to maintain the Defense minimum.
Blue: Solid
Prismatic: SolidIf you are a Jewelcrafter, Solid Dragonseyes should still be placed in Red slots if the bonus is less than 9 stamina.

Recommended Consumables
Flask: Flask of Stoneblood
Food: Dragonfin Fillet

Additional Tips

  • Make sure the mobs you are tanking are in front of you. That way you can block and parry their attacks.
  • Practice your rotation on Target Dummies until it becomes ingrained. You will have much more to pay attention when progression tanking than just your action bar.

Sources and Other Resources
Maintankadin - Go there, find the Basic Training section and read all the stickies. Then close your browser. Open it up again, go back to Maintankadin, back to the Basic Training section and read all the stickies again. Then go tank something. When you are done, go back and read all the stickies again.
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