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Protection Paladin Tank Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (WoW 4.3.4)

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In this article, we list your Protection Paladin (WoW 4.3) core abilities and how they should be used together (rotation). We also explain when to use your various cooldowns. Then, we go deeper and present all the subtleties that playing a Protection Paladin will face you with. The other articles of our Protection Paladin guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the left.

1. Righteous Fury↑top

Always have Righteous Fury Icon Righteous Fury active while tanking. You must only activate it once, and it will remain active until you disable it.

2. Single Target Rotation↑top

Your single target rotation revolves around generating and spending your Holy Power. Note that this rotation is merely aimed at maximising your threat generation (and DPS), and it does not take survivability into account. There is nothing you can do or must do, as a Protection Paladin, to improve your survival during an encounter, outside of using your defensive cooldowns (see below). The single target rotation is based on a priority system that can best be summarised as:

  1. Cast Shield of the Righteous Icon Shield of the Righteous (with 3 charges of Holy Power).
  2. Cast Crusader Strike Icon Crusader Strike (on cooldown, to generate Holy Power).
  3. Cast Avenger's Shield Icon Avenger's Shield.
  4. Cast Hammer of Wrath Icon Hammer of Wrath (only available if the target is below 20% health).
  5. Cast Judgement Icon Judgement.
  6. Cast Consecration Icon Consecration (if your mana allows).
  7. Cast Holy Wrath Icon Holy Wrath (if your mana allows).

3. Multiple Target Rotation↑top

The multiple target or AoE rotation is based on the following priority system:

  1. Apply and refresh Inquisition Icon Inquisition (with 3 charges of Holy Power).
  2. Cast Hammer of the Righteous Icon Hammer of the Righteous (on cooldown, to generate Holy Power).
  3. Cast Avenger's Shield Icon Avenger's Shield.
  4. Cast Consecration Icon Consecration.
  5. Cast Holy Wrath Icon Holy Wrath.
  6. Cast Judgement Icon Judgement.

4. Taunting↑top

Hand of Reckoning Icon Hand of Reckoning is your main taunting ability. It only works on a single target and has an 8-second cooldown.

Righteous Defense Icon Righteous Defense is a 3-target taunt that taunts 3 enemies that are attacking the friendly party or raid member that you cast it on. It also has an 8 second cooldown.

5. Seal↑top

You should use Seal of Truth Icon Seal of Truth for most of the time you are tanking.

You can use Seal of Insight Icon Seal of Insight if threat is not an issue and you wish to benefit from the minor self healing that it provides.

6. Survival Cooldowns↑top

As a Protection Paladin, you have a number of defensive cooldowns and other abilities that help you better survive damage spikes or recover from them. You should use them in the ways recommended by us in this section.

6.1. Damage Reduction Cooldowns

6.1.1. Holy Shield

Holy Shield Icon Holy Shield increases the amount of damage that you block by 20% for 10 seconds, on a 30 second cooldown. You should use this ability mostly on cooldown, but you can and should delay it slightly in order to mitigate a high damage spike.

Keep in mind that Holy Shield only serves to reduce physical damage.

6.1.2. Guardian of Ancient Kings

Guardian of Ancient Kings Icon Guardian of Ancient Kings provides you with a 50% damage reduction for 12 seconds, on a 3 minute cooldown. It is an excellent defensive cooldown. You should use this whenever you anticipate that one of these two situations will occur:

  • You will take a large amount of damage (generally due to a boss ability).
  • You will not receive very much healing (because your healers are dead, disconnected or incapacitated by a boss ability).

6.1.3. Ardent Defender

Ardent Defender Icon Ardent Defender is another powerful defensive ability, with a 3 minute cooldown and 10 second duration. It provides the following two benefits:

  • It reduces all damage taken by 20%.
  • It causes the first attack that would normally bring you to 0 health to not kill you and instead heal you for 15% of your maximum health. If this happens, the buff is consumed and you no longer benefit from the damage reduction.

Ardent Defender is best used in the same way as Guardian of Ancient Kings (before you anticipate a high damage spike or lack of healing), but it can also be used to help you bypass mechanics that would otherwise kill you.

6.1.4. Divine Protection

Divine Protection Icon Divine Protection provides you with 20% physical damage and 20% magic damage reduction, on a 1 minute cooldown. If you use Glyph of Divine Protection (see talents and glyphs page for details), it only reduces magic damage by 40%.

Like the previous two cooldowns, Divine Protection is best used in anticipation of high damage.

6.1.5. Divine Guardian

Divine Guardian Icon Divine Guardian is a raid cooldown that reduces all damage taken by all raid members by 20% for 6 seconds, on a 3 minute cooldown.

This ability should be used when the raid is about to take a large amount of damage. It is advised to ask your raid leader when to use this ability.

Note that this does not provide you with any damage reduction, so it cannot be used to mitigate any damage you yourself take.

6.2. Self-healing Cooldowns

6.2.1. Word of Glory

Word of Glory Icon Word of Glory is a self heal that costs Holy Power and has a 20 second cooldown. Normally, you should use your Holy Power to cast your threat abilities, as mentioned in the priorities above. However, if you are taking high damage or simply feel that more healing on you is necessary (and losing aggro is not a risk), then you can use Word of Glory to heal yourself.

If you find yourself making extensive use of Word of Glory, then you should consider both the Eternal Glory Icon Eternal Glory talent and the Glyph of Word of Glory glyph (see the talents and glyphs page for more details).

6.2.2. Lay on Hands

Lay on Hands Icon Lay on Hands is essentially a massive heal with a very long cooldown. It will heal you for your maximum health, with a 10 minute cooldown (7 minutes if you are using Glyph of Lay on Hands).

This is very useful to cast either on yourself or on other raid members to save them from dying. Keep in mind that it causes the Forbearance Icon Forbearance debuff (and it cannot be cast if you have the Forbearance debuff on you).

6.3. Threat and Utility Cooldowns

6.3.1. Avenging Wrath

Avenging Wrath Icon Avenging Wrath provides you with a 20% increase to your damage and healing done for 20 seconds, on a 2 minute cooldown.

It can be used either to improve your threat generation (especially during the pull) or to buff your healing from Word of Glory Icon Word of Glory. This second use is not very viable, since it will only improve a single cast of Word of Glory.

6.3.2. Divine Plea

Divine Plea Icon Divine Plea regenerates some of your mana over a 9 second period and instantly provides you with 3 charges of Holy Power. This ability is very useful in the following two situations:

  • At the pull, in order to allow you to generate more threat quickly.
  • During the fight, when you are in urgent need to cast Word of Glory Icon Word of Glory on yourself.

7. Optional Read: Mastering Your Protection Paladin↑top

While the information we gave in the previous section will yield very good results, there are a few things you should be aware of, in order to play your Protection Paladin to its full potential.

7.1. Vengeance

Vengeance Icon Vengeance is a passive ability that you receive for choosing the Protection specialisation. Essentially, it increases your attack power for 5% of the damage you receive, up to a maximum of 10% of your maximum health. It is an essential mechanic in allowing you to maintain aggro of mobs.

7.2. Your Single Target Rotation in Detail

Based on the priority listed above, your rotation will most likely look like this:

Crusader Strike Icon Crusader Strike has a 3 second cooldown and it is your primary means of Holy Power generation. As a result, you will mostly use it every other global cooldown. The only exception to using Crusader Strike Icon Crusader Strike when it is available is if you have 3 charges of Holy Power, in which case you should consume them first (usually by casting Shield of the Righteous Icon Shield of the Righteous).

Your filler spells will be the spells from the priority list, in descending order. It is not possible to establish a clear succession of abilities, due to the randomness introduced by procs from Grand Crusader Icon Grand Crusader.

7.2.1. Grand Crusader Procs

Thanks to the Grand Crusader Icon Grand Crusader talent, your Crusader Strike Icon Crusader Strike (and Hammer of the Righteous Icon Hammer of the Righteous, in your AoE rotation) has a 20% chance to reset the cooldown of your Avenger's Shield Icon Avenger's Shield and cause it to generate a charge of Holy Power if used within 6 seconds.

7.2.2. Consecration

Consecration Icon Consecration is worth using, even on a single target, in terms of DPS and threat. It is important to keep two things in mind, however:

  • It costs a very high amount of mana to use, so make sure you keep an eye on your mana pool.
  • It is only worth using if the boss will be in the affected area for the entire duration.

7.3. Multiple Target Rotation in Detail

The multiple target rotation, based on the priority above, is rather simple to execute and does not warrant in-depth analysis. However, there are two things we would like to briefly explain: Inquisition Icon Inquisition and Crusader Strike Icon Crusader Strike vs. Hammer of the Righteous Icon Hammer of the Righteous.

7.3.1. Inquisition

Inquisition Icon Inquisition is a self buff that increases your Holy damage by 30%. It costs Holy Power to cast, and it lasts 4 seconds for each charge of Holy Power used.

While AoE tanking, maintaining 100% Inquisition uptime is crucial for your threat generation and DPS. It is your top priority.

7.3.2. Crusader Strike vs. Hammer of the Righteous

Crusader Strike Icon Crusader Strike and Hammer of the Righteous Icon Hammer of the Righteous are your Holy Power generating abilities, and they share a cooldown. Normally, you will want to use Hammer of the Righteous, since it hits more than one target. However, if the AoE situation is one in which your raid is focusing on one target while cleaving/spreading DoTs to the other targets, you can switch to using Crusader Strike on the target that requires the most attention.

7.4. How to Pull

Because the first few seconds are the most crucial part of the fight for tanks, in most cases (this is when threat generation is weakest and there is a likelihood of someone else taking aggro), we suggest that you use one or more of the following techniques to pull:

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