Warriors are a melee damage-dealing class in World of Warcraft: Shadowlands. They have two DPS specializations and one tank specialization at their disposal. Both specializations are effective in player-vs-player (PvP) and player-vs-environment (PvE) settings. While Protection Warriors are not as effective in PvP as other specializations like Arms and Fury, they can still find their niche and help you climb to your desired rating if played properly.
In PvE, Protection Warriors are great tanks due to their defensive cooldowns, which allow them to soak damage during a powerful dungeon or raid phase. They might not have the highest utility compared to counterparts, like Protection Paladin or Vengeance Demon Hunter, but they make up for it with tools that reduce damage taken, making the healers’ job easier.
In PvP, Protection Warriors are rarely encountered since Arms and Fury are much more powerful, but if you want to try the specialization out, go by the stats priority in this guide to be as tanky as possible. There are some viable compositions you can play in the arena, like Protection Warrior/Windwalker Monk/Holy Paladin, Protection Warrior/Demon Hunter/Resto Druid, or Protection Warrior/Frost Death Knight/Shaman. In rated battlegrounds, Protection Warriors are a nice addition to a composition since they can be a powerful flag carrier who is hard to kill.
Here are the best Protection Warrior talents and build for PvP and PvE.
Protection Warriors are in a decent spot in PvP due to their number of defensive cooldowns that redirect a lot of damage from your partners, making them close to immortal when you aid them. This tactic is highly effective if you’re running with a squishy teammate who went for offensive stats since you’ll be able to protect them long enough for them to dish out a lot of damage. You can go offensive as well, but there’s a big downside to doing so compared to Arms or Fury. Tanks in PvP take additional damage to ensure you can be killed by other players. It’s recommended to trade your defensive cooldowns when you’ve found yourself in a tight spot so that you don’t die with the cooldowns up.
Level 15: Devastator – Devastator is the best default pick in the row since it allows you to use your global cooldown for other abilities by converting Devastate into a passive effect. If you believe that the opponents will tunnel you, then going for Punish is a good alternative since it reduces the damage dealt by opponents to you.
Level 25: Storm Bolt– Storm Bolt is a 30-second cooldown giving you access to a ranged four-second stun. Players can use Storm Bolt in various ways, like going for a kill or peeling for a teammate. Its flexibility is unmatched and should be your go-to pick in all situations.
Level 30: Booming Voice – Booming Voice increases the utility of Demoralizing Shout by giving you 20-percent increased damage against targets affected by it and generates 40 Rage. It is an amazing talent, especially when combined with other talents to boost the utility of Demoralizing Shout even further. Other choices in the row are lackluster and should never be picked.
Level 35: Crackling Thunder – Crackling Thunder increases the range of your Thunder Clap, allowing you to hit targets outside of your melee range. On top of that, players can also synergize this talent with the Thunderstruck PvP talent to root targets hit by your Thunder Clap.
Level 40: Indomitable– This talent gives you a 10-percent increase in maximum health and allows you to self-heal by one percent of your maximum health for every 10 Rage spent. You’ll be much harder to kill if you get tunneled since you’ll be self-healing by depleting your Rage.
Level 45: Unstoppable Force – This talent boosts your Thunder Clap damage during Avatar, allowing you to have a lot of pressure during the 90-second cooldown. On top of that, the cooldown will also be reduced, so you can spam it at will against opponents to do damage and possibly root them if you picked the PvP talent to do so.
Level 50: Anger Management – Anger Management should be your default pick in this row since it reduces the cooldown of your primary defensive tools by one second for every 10 Rage spent. Regardless of you’re getting tunneled or not, you’ll get a lot of utility from this talent. Other choices are decent in niche situations where you might need a lower cooldown on Last Stand or an increased duration on Shield Block.
Your stat priority is Versatility > Haste > Critical Strike > Mastery.
Versatility is your core stat since it increases your damage while also making you harder to kill. While the damage increase might not be as high as the others, the additional survivability is crucial to negate your weakness. Haste is the best secondary stat after Versatility, giving you faster attacks and globals to increase your damage. Mastery and Critical Strike are lower in priority, but if you have higher item level gear with these stats, use them instead. As for the Legendary item, you’ll want to go for The Wall to be harder to kill.
The optimal covenant for a Protection Warrior in PvP is Necrolord. It contains plenty of defensive conduits to make you harder to kill alongside a powerful Covenant ability giving you a huge shield of 40 percent of your maximum health whenever you find yourself without cooldowns.
The three PvP talents you should use by default are Morale Killer, Shield Bash, and Bodyguard. These talents give you more utility and make you a challenge for opposing melee DPS since you’ll be reducing their damage on a short cooldown via Demoralizing Shout.
Protection Warriors are great tanks in Shadowlands. They provide powerful tools to mitigate damage in Mythic+ and raids, allowing healers to focus on picking others up instead.
The biggest downside compared to other tanks is that you rely on mitigating damage and not so much on healing back up or providing utility to your group or raid members. You also have a lower margin of error since your defensive tools have a high cooldown, and every misstep can cost you your life. But there is also an upside compared to other tanks, like the massive mobility in your kit and offensive cooldowns to provide a ton of on-demand DPS.
Level 15: Devastator – Devastator is the best default pick in the row since it allows you to use your global cooldown for other abilities by converting Devastate into a passive effect. It will make your rotation smoother since Devastate doesn’t do that much damage by itself and only acts as a filler ability to generate Rage.
Level 25: Double Time- This talent increases the number of Charges at your disposal by one and reduces the cooldown by three seconds. It’s a great tool to reposition yourself in dungeons or raids.
Level 30: Booming Voice – Booming Voice increases the utility of Demoralizing Shout by giving you 20-percent increased damage against affected targets and generates 40 Rage. It is an amazing talent, especially when combined with other talents to boost the utility of Demoralizing Shout even further. If you need more burst damage for certain encounters, Dragon Roar or Best Served Cold are good alternatives.
Level 35: Crackling Thunder – Crackling Thunder increases the range of your Thunder Clap, allowing you to hit targets who are outside of your melee range. While the range increase might not seem beneficial in many encounters, it’s one of the best tools to deal with a bunch of adds in Mythic+ dungeons.
Level 40: Indomitable – This talent gives you a 10-percent increase in maximum health and allows you to self-heal by one percent of your maximum health for every 10 Rage spent. Since you’ll be soaking a lot of damage and generating a lot of Rage, you’ll get a lot of self-healing in the process as well.
Level 45: Into the Fray – This talent is a nice stat boost, giving you up to 10-percent Haste, two percent for each ally or enemy nearby. Since it is your primary stat to work towards, it’s the best talent in the row.
Level 50: Anger Management – Anger Management should be your default pick in this row since it reduces the cooldown of your primary defensive tools by one second for every 10 Rage spent. Avatar and Shield Wall are some of the strongest cooldowns at your disposal, so reducing their cooldown is crucial to succeeding in certain encounters.
Your stat priority is Haste > Versatility > Critical Strike > Mastery.
Haste is your primary stat until around 20 percent, which is when it becomes less effective the more you stack it. Afterward, stack Versatility since it increases your damage while also making you harder to kill. If you are having issues during some encounters, you can stack more Versatility instead of Haste to take less damage. As for the Legendary item, you’ll want to go for Reprisal to get Shield Block up more often and some additional Rage generation.
The optimal covenant for a Protection Warrior in PvE is Kyrian. Summon the Steward ability is a great additional sustain tool and can help you avoid death in situations where you’re out of cooldowns. The extra seconds granted by its healing can be the main reason you survived an encounter. Outside of that, there are many conduits to make you harder to kill in dungeons and raids.