Protection Talent Guide

This protection talent guide goes over each of the talents in the Paladins protection talent tree. The Protection talent tree is for Paladins that want to tank. The whole way through it offers talents that increase your ability to take damage and deal threat. It also offers one of the better 41 point paladin talents in the way of the Avenger's Shield, which provides an excellent pulling ability. Once you get all the way to the bottom of the talent tree the 51 point talent is an excellent all around ability called Hammer of the Righteous that will increase you damage and threat output.

Paladin tanking is not for the faint of heart though. It requires a lot of dedication to do it properly. You need to learn how to manage threat, manage your gear and you need to spend countless hours gearing up. Tanking in general is a hard skill to learn and one that burns out many players over time. Paladin tanking is made even more difficult by the fact that many players still will not believe that it can be done as well as a Warrior. However, a properly geared and played Paladin tank can be just as formidable a tank as any Warrior or Druid out there, and in some cases better.

Return to the Paladin Talent Guide. The Paladin Talent guide contains the links to the Holy and Retribution Talent guides along with resources to better help you understand Talents and the best ways to go about spending your Talent Points.

Tier 1

Tier 1 is available at level ten, when your first talents open up.

  • Blessing of Kings - 1 point skill, increases all stats on target by 2%
    • A very useful talent and one many people expect all Paladins to have.
    • 2% extra in all stats is not very much though, so expect to spend more points on the improved version.
    • Recommended
  • Improved Blessing of Kings - Max 4 points, increases all stats on target by up to 8%
    • A very useful talent and one many people expect all Paladins to have.
    • Combined with the base Blessing of Kings it provides a huge 10% extra in all stats, which makes a huge difference to most classes.
    • However since for a lot of content you will be using Blessing of Sanctuary, it is better that another Paladin in the group or raid get this ability, always worth having for other players though.
    • Recommended
  • Divine Strength - Max 5 points, Increases your total strength by up to 15%.
    • Strength provides Attack Power and Block Value, both critical for a Protection Paladin.
    • 15% extra strength provides significant boosts to threat and mitigation, and scales with gear.
    • Highly Recommended

Tier 2

Tier 2 talents are available as soon as you have 5 points in that talent tree.

  • Stoicism - Max 2 points, increases your resistance to stun effects by up to 10% and reduces the chance your spells will be dispelled by up to 30%
    • Meant for PvP players and should be taken by them.
    • Not worth the points when tanking though since most stuns are not "stuns" and will not be reduced by this talent.
  • Guardian's Favour - Max 5 points, Reduces the cooldown on your Blessing of Protection by up to 2 minutes and increases the duration of your blessing of freedom by up to 6 seconds.
    • Since Blessing of Protection can be used as your backup taunt, it is useful to reduce the cool down. However there are better things to spend points on.
  • Anticipation - Max 5 points, Increases your chance to dodge by up to 5%.
      • 5% is a huge boost at any level but at max level is even more.
      • As you level up the amount of dodge on an item required to earn a single % boost goes up dramatically, making this critical at high levels.
      • MUST Have for Tanking Paladins

Tier 3

Tier 3 talents are available as soon as you have 10 points in that talent tree.

  • Improved Righteous Fury - Max 3 points, while Righteous Fury is active all damage taken is reduced by up to 6%.
    • This is a core ability for Paladin tanks, since it allows you to take less damage.
    • 6% may not sound significant but your healers will certainly notice if you do not have this ability.
    • MUST have for Tanking Paladins

  • Toughness - Max 5 points, increases your armour value from items by up to 10% and reduces the duration of all movement slowing effects by up to 30%.
    • This ability scales extremely well as you gear up since the better gear provides more armour.
    • The reduction in time affected by movement slowing effects is nice for some fights but not the main purpose of the talent.
    • MUST have for Tanking Paladins

Tier 4

Tier 4 talents are available as soon as you have 15 points in that talent tree.

  • Divine Guardian - Max 2 points, while Divine Shield is active up to 30% of all damage taken by party or raid members within 30 yards is redirected to you.
    • This is a situational ability. Since when you activate divine shield you also drop threat until it is over.
    • Can be useful in some situations though.

  • Improved Hammer of Justice - Max 3 points, decreases the cooldown of your hammer of justice by up to 30 seconds.
    • This is a situational ability. Since most bosses are immune to stuns, it is near worthless to PvE tanks. In PvP though it is extremely useful.
    • Recommended for PvP players.
  • Improved Devotion Aura - Max 3 points, increases the armour bonus of Devotion aura by up to 50% and increases the amount healed on any target affected by Devotion aura by up to 6%.
    • While it sounds like a lot of armour increase, it really doesn't make that much of a difference. At max level the extra armour does almost nothing to your 20,000+ base armour.
    • The real power of this talent is the 6% bonus healing that it grants. Since you are this deep into the tree already, spend the three points and help your healers out.
    • Recommended

Tier 5

Tier 5 talents are available as soon as you have 20 points in that talent tree.

  • Blessing of Sanctuary - 1 point skill, reduces all damage taken by 3%. In addition when the targets blocks, parries or dodges an attack they gain 10 rage, 20 runic power, or 2% of maximum mana.
    • Since this provides damage reduction and mana returned when you avoid attacks, it is a key tanking ability.
    • If you are at all struggling with mana or over-geared for an encounter this allows you to have mana throughout the fight.
    • Use this when tanking trash then switch to Kings when on the Boss.
    • Strongly Recommended
  • Reckoning - Max 5 points, provides up to a 10% chance after taking damage, to gain an additional attack on your next 4 attacks for the next 8 seconds.
    • You are going to be hit, so you may as well hit back. In fact you need to to keep up your Judgements. This allows you to do just that.
    • This also allows you to get of twice the amount of threat from seal of righteousness as long as you have a 2.0 attack speed or faster weapon, since you will get to use all 4 charges.
    • This is very useful until you get into very high level raid content and are geared extremely well. It then starts becoming negligible.
    • Recommended for Tanking Paladins until max level

Tier 6

Tier 6 talents are available as soon as you have 25 points in that talent tree.

  • Sacred Duty - Max 2 points, increases your stamina by up to 6%, reduces the cooldown on Divine Shield by up to 1 minute and can eliminate the attack speed penalty altogether.
    • The main advantage here is the extra stamina, since paladins are at a health disadvantage over Druids and Warriors already. While not huge 6% helps close the gap slightly.
    • While not strictly required, it sure helps.
    • Recommended
  • One-Handed Weapon Specialization - Max 5 points, increases all damage done while you have a one-handed weapon equipped by up to 10%
    • While causing additional damage is nice, better yet it adds to seals and procs while using a one-handed weapon.
    • This can add almost 20% to your total output of damage once everything is factored in.
    • Must have as a Paladin Tank

Tier 7

Tier 7 talents are available as soon as you have 30 points in that talent tree.

  • Holy Shield - 1 point skill, increases your chance to block by 30% for 10 seconds or 4 blocks (whichever comes first) and causes holy damage back for each block.
    • This is one of the de facto talents for tanking Paladins. This needs to be kept active at all times to increase your blocking percentage and generate threat in return.
    • Must Have for Tanking Paladins
  • Ardent Defender - Max 5 points, reduces damage by up to 30% when you are at less than 35% health.
    • Very useful in that it provides healers with a little bit of a buffer if things go wrong in a fight.
    • Can be skipped in the odd situation where something causes enough damage to take you from 35% to dead in one hit though.
    • Recommended

Tier 8

Tier 8 talents are available as soon as you have 35 points in that talent tree.

  • Redoubt - Max 3 points, Increases your block value by up to 30% and damaging melee or ranged attacks against you have a 10% chance of increasing your block chance by up to 30% for 10 seconds or 5 blocks.
    • An increase of your block value by 30% is very significant when AoE tanking.
    • At max level it becomes even more important as block value increases become harder to gain.
    • The increase chance to block is nice, but because it is such a low percentage chance to occur, it is hard to count on it.
    • Strongly Recommended
  • Combat Expertise - Max 3 points, Increases your expertise by up to 6 points and your stamina by up to 6%.
    • A must have in the protection tree, the 6% stacks with the earlier 6% and your 10% from kings, providing a higher total increase.
    • The expertise provides a better chance to actually hit your target causing damage and threat.
    • Must have Talent.

Tier 9

Tier 9 talents are available as soon as you have 40 points in that talent tree.

  • Avenger's Shield - 1 point skill, Throws your shield at the enemy causing holy damage to them and dazing them for 6 seconds, then jumps to and affects up to two additional targets.
    • This will become your main pulling method as a protection based paladin. It allows you to front load a lot of threat on targets.
    • It takes practice to use when using crowd control though, and is not very sap friendly. All CC should be done post pull.
    • While I have heard of many Paladin tanks that do not use this ability due to its semi random nature on secondary targets, I believe it is too good to pass up.
    • Strongly Recommended for Tanking Paladins
  • Guarded by the Light- Max 2 points, reduces all spell damage taken by up to 6% and reduces the mana cost of your Holy Shield, Avenger's Shield and Shield of Righteousness spells by up to 30%.
    • While 6% is not a lot of damage reduction, Paladin tanks weak point is spells, so it is very useful.
    • The mana reduction is generally not a real concern though as you will be getting mana back constantly from being healed.
    • If you can spare the 2 points, it can be worth taking it to help out with damage reduction when tanking.

Tier 10

Tier 10 talents are available as soon as you have 45 points in that talent tree.

  • Shield of the Templar - Max 3 points, Increases the damage of your Holy Shield, Avenger's Shield and Shield of the Righteousness spells by up to 30%.
    • While the 30% increase in damage is nice, it is not a huge boost to threat.
    • If you have the points you can take, it however there are better choices.
  • Judgements of the Just - Max 2 points, your judgement spells also reduce the melee attack speed of the target by up to 20%.
    • When tanking single targets this debuff to the enemy can be nice as it cuts down on the incoming damage.
    • When tanking multiple targets however the change is negligible as it only effects the creature that you judged

Tier 11

Tier 11 is the top tier talent and is available as soon as you have 50 points in that talent tree.

  • Hammer of the Righteous - 1 point skill, Instant cast attack. Hammers the current target and 2 additional targets causing 3 times your main hand damage per second as holy damage.
    • This will become your main tanking attack when dealing with three or fewer enemies.
    • It causes a large amount of damage and threat to your targets.
    • This ability allows Paladin tanks to really contribute to the damage done on creatures when you are trying to kill them.
    • Must have talent

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Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Byron 1
Byron has been playing and writing about World of Warcraft for the past ten years. He also plays pretty much ever other Blizzard game, currently focusing on Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone, while still finding time to jump into Diablo III with his son.


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