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Protection Warrior Tank Statistics Priority and Reforging (WoW 4.3.4)

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In this article, we explain what the best statistics are for Protection Warriors (WoW 4.3), how the class benefits from each of them, and what your reforging strategy should be. We also detail what the various caps are and why they should be attained. The statistics priority is important as it influences reforging strategies as well as itemisation choices (gear, enchants, and gems).

Make sure to check our Gear Optimisation Guide, which serves as a support guide for this article. The other articles of our Protection Warrior guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.

1. Basics↑top

For your survival statistics, use the following priority:

  1. Stamina (until you have about 10,000);
  2. Mastery Rating;
  3. Parry Rating;
  4. Dodge Rating.

We do not advise you to gear for threat. Maintaining aggro is possible simply by familiarising yourself with your character and executing your rotation properly. If, for any reason, you wish to increase your threat generation, here is the priority of your threat statistics:

  1. Expertise Rating (until the 56 expertise hard cap);
  2. Hit Rating (until the 8% hit cap);
  3. Strength;
  4. Critical Strike Rating.

If you are unsure what the optimal reforging strategy is for this priority, please refer to the reforging section of our Gear Optimisation Guide.

2. Getting a Better Understanding↑top

2.1. Survival Statistics

You should have enough Stamina to allow you to survive any unavoidable and unmitigatable attacks (mostly magic attacks). Before any raid buffs or consumables, 10,000 Stamina is sufficient for this, in most cases. This means that, at any decent (epic) gear level, you will not have to go out of your way to get Stamina. The Stamina which is present on your gear, and that which you gain through Stamina enchants (which have no other viable alternative), should be sufficient.

Mastery Rating is the best statistic, after Stamina, for a Protection Warrior. You will want to get as much as possible, on all of your pieces of gear, as well as through gems, enchants and reforging. It provides you with increased chance to block and increased chance to critically block, and it will bring you close to (and with sufficiently good gear, will actually grant you) the 102.4% avoidance cap. Note that Mastery Rating remains the best statistic even after reaching this cap, as even if you do block every attack, it increases your chance to critically block.

Parry Rating is slightly better than Dodge Rating, due to the Hold the Line Icon Hold the Line talent. However, you should try to keep a balance between these two stats, rather than focusing exclusively on Parry Rating.

2.2. Threat Statistics

Expertise Rating and Hit Rating, until their respective caps, will provide you with the best increase in threat output, by ensuring that your attacks do not miss or get dodged or parried, causing stability in your ability to maintain threat. Moreover, because more of your white attacks will be successful, your rage generation will improve as well. Both are utterly useless past their hard caps.

Strength is the next best threat statistic, increasing your attack power. This is followed by Critical Strike Rating.

Even if you are gearing for threat, you should never go so far out of your way as to reach Strength or Critical Strike Rating.

2.3. Gearing Goals

In terms of survival, which should be your main priority at all times, as a Protection Warrior, your gearing goals are as follows (and this is reflected in all choices you make in regards to priority, gemming, reforging and enchanting):

  1. Have sufficient health to survive any unavoidable (and unmitigatable) attacks.
  2. Come as close as possible to the 102.4% avoidance cap.
  3. Maintain a suitable balance between your other survival statistics.

It is important to keep in mind, however, that Mastery (Critical Block Icon Critical Block) only protects you from physical attacks, and not from magic damage. So, if you find yourself progressing on an encounter with particularly high amounts of magic damage, you may be better off aiming for a higher amount of Stamina.

Note that this does not take into account any kind of threat statistics, as we do not recommend going out of your way to obtain any of these. Generating sufficient threat should be possible entirely through proper use of your abilities.

If, however, at any point you do feel that you need more threat generation, we advise you to alter either your reforging or simply use an item with more threat statistics, rather than altering gemming or enchanting.

2.4. "Being Unhittable" or the 102.4% Avoidance Cap

The state of being unhittable, as referred to within the community, is when your combined chance to parry, dodge, block or be missed by an attack is great enough that no attacks will reach you. This is somewhat of a misnomer, as blocked attacks do indeed reach you, but their damage is less than that of a full attack (30% of the damage is avoided when an attack is blocked). To achieve this against a raid boss (raid bosses are considered to be three levels above your own), you need a combined chance of 102.4%.

This combined chance is reachable in two ways, for Protection Warriors: a soft unhittable cap (which you reach, temporarily, with the use of cooldowns and procs) and a hard unhittable cap (which you reach permanently). We will detail both of these situations below.

The chance for a boss to miss is fixed by the game at 5%, and you have no control over it. The chances to Dodge and Parry are affected by your Dodge and Parry Ratings, but because of item budget limitations, you will not be able to raise either of them very high (at current gear levels, in any case).

In order to reach the 102.4% mark, you will have to set your focus on your Block Chance. The only way to increase your Block Chance is by increasing your Mastery Rating.

The Protection Warrior Mastery is called Critical Block Icon Critical Block. This introduces a concept which is unique to Protection Warriors: the critical block. In short, each time an attack ends up being a blocked attack (based on the above attack table and your chance to block), it has an additional chance to be a critical block. The chance for an attack to be a critical block is affected only by your Mastery Rating. Critical blocks stop 60% of the incoming damage, up from the 30% stopped by normal blocks.

Critical Block Icon Critical Block provides a baseline 12% chance to block and 12% chance to critically block, after which each extra point of Mastery increases these chances by 1.5% each.

2.4.1. The Soft Avoidance Cap

The soft avoidance cap refers to reaching 102.4% avoidance while cooldowns or other procs are active. For Protection Warriors, the most important cooldown is Shield Block Icon Shield Block. This ability is detailed in the relevant section below, but to summarise, Shield Block increases your chance to block by 25%. Because of its duration and cooldown, you will generally have a 33% uptime on this buff.

This means that, in order to reach the soft avoidance cap, you will need 77.4% avoidance before using Shield Block. This value is easily attainable in almost any gear level, and is something that all Warriors should strive to attain.

2.4.2. The Hard Avoidance Cap

The hard avoidance cap refers to reaching 102.4% avoidance without cooldowns or procs active. In order to reach this, you will require a combination of the following:

  • Top of the line gear, most likely Heroic Tier 12 gear in most slots;
  • A heavy Mastery Rating gemming and reforging set-up;
  • Raid buffs which increase your chance to dodge, such as Mark of the Wild Icon Mark of the Wild and Battle Shout Icon Battle Shout;
  • Mastery Rating consumables, such as Mastery Rating elixirs and food buffs.

Note that the hard avoidance cap will be, for the majority of the playerbase, nothing more than a number to aim for, and not necessarily reach. This is not a problem, however, and it should not deter you from stacking as much Mastery Rating as possible (except for fights which feature a high amount of magic damage, where Stamina might be preferable).

Failing to reach the hard avoidance cap is not something which will negatively affect your performance as a tank, so do not concern yourself too much about it.

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