I covered Paladin tanking techniques in a past article, so I'm just going to jump right into the build. This is one that people are sure to have mixed feelings about, but then again, that usually happens on Build Shop. The most scandalous suggestion I'm making in this build is not picking up Reckoning, but I have a few reasons why -- read on to find out.
There are a few reasons I don't generally include Reckoning in my Prot builds anymore. First off, it's unpredictable. It's great when it procs, and you get some extra threat, but by the time it procs you usually don't need any more threat and at any rate, it's not good to count on procs to build threat when tanking. Second, these extra swings can be parried by your target. As all tanks should know by now, when your target parries it counterattacks without resetting its swing. While this may not be such a big deal on trash and 5 man bosses, imagine giving a raid boss that you're tanking 4 potential free attacks against you. This can spike the damage you take and kill you if you're unlucky enough, since it's unexpected and your healers likely won't be able to respond. Reckoning is great for Prot grinding, but I think that One Handed Weapon Spec is a better use of your 5 points if you're tanking in raids. So there you have it. Let me know exactly how much you agree or disagree in the comments.
Now, on with the build! I'm going with 0/46/15, which is a heavy Prot build that also incorporates talents from Retribution that will help with damage mitigation.
Protection (46 points)
- Redoubt - Melee and ranged attacks against you now have a 10% chance to increase your block chance by 30%. Aside from being required for Shield Spec, you'll be getting hit a lot as a tank and a lot of the threat you create comes from blocks. This gets better as you tank multiple enemies at once.
- Precision - Increases chance to hit with spells and melee weapons by 3%.
- Guardian's Favor - Reduces the cooldown of BoP by 2 minutes, and increases the duration of BoF by 4 seconds. Sometimes a mob gets loose and goes straight for a healer or other squishy -- this can be used to give you time to re-establish aggro without danger to the squishy (provided that they're not getting spells cast at them).
- Toughness - Increases armor from items by 10%. This one is a toss-up. Some paladins like having this and anticipation, some like one or the other. I like Toughness since my Prot Paladin is already at 490 defense, but your mileage may vary.
- Blessing of Kings - Increases target's stats by 10%. This is one of two Blessings only available to paladins with points in protection.
- Improved Righteous Fury - Reduces damage you take by 6% (while Righteous Fury is active) and increases the amount of threat caused by Righteous Fury by 50%.
- Shield Specialization - Increases the amount of damage absorbed by your block by 30%.
- Spell Warding - A nice passive talent that reduces damage from spells by 4%.
- Blessing of Sanctuary - This is the Blessing I use on my prot Paladin when tanking. Reduces damage from all sources by up to 80, and deals 46 holy damage to the attacker when you block.
- Sacred Duty - Increases stamina by 6%, reduces the cooldown of your Divine Shield by 1 minute, and reduces the attack speed penalty of Divine Shield by 100%. More stamina, reduced cooldown on your bubble, and when using your bubble you swing as normal? Pretty decent talent, I'd say. This can sometimes be used to clear status effects off yourself, but remember to cancel it immediately or whatever your tanking will go for the rest of your group!
- One Handed Weapon Specialization - Increases damage you deal while wielding a 1 handed weapon by 5%. This applies to all damage, not just damage from your weapon, so this is essentially a 5% damage increase.
- Holy Shield - Increases your chance to block by 30% for 10 seconds. Each time you block with this up, the attacker will take 185 holy damage and it will expend 1 of the 4 charges of Holy Shield. This is a great talent for generating threat and mitigating damage, and should be up at all times while tanking.
- Improved Holy Shield - Increases the damage caused by Holy shield by 20%, and also gives you 4 additional charges. With this talent, Holy Shield will have 8 total charges, making it much easier to keep it up constantly.
- Ardent Defender - Reduces the amount of damage you take by 30% when you have less than 35% health. Functions as sort of a low-grade Last Stand that's always on, but this talent can give your healers the time they need to top your health off. Anything that lets you live longer or mitigate damage as a tank is gold, so don't miss this one.
- Combat Expertise - Increases your Expertise by 5 and your total stamina by 10%. The extra stamina is great, but the Expertise lowers the chance your attacks will be dodged or (more importantly) parried by 1.25%. Costs 5 talent points, but is definitely worth it.
- Avenger's Shield - Hurls a shield at the target, causing a bunch of holy damage and dazing the target for 6 seconds. This can also jump to 2 other targets and deal damage/daze if they're close enough. Good for pulling, and great for grabbing a bunch of threat at the beginning of a fight.
Retribution (15 points)
- Benediction - Reduces the mana cost of your Judgement and Seal spells by 15%. If mana is an issue for you, I would take this over Improved BoM, but it's up to you.
- Deflection - Increases your chance to Parry by 5%. This is a 5% mitigation boost, and great for tanking. Well worth picking this up.
- Vindication - It's up to you how to spend these last 5 points, but I like putting 3 of them in Vindication to decrease the target's stats by 15%. It may not work on bosses, but it's pretty good for trash.
- Pursuit of Justice - Again, you can choose to spend these last 5 points somewhere else, but I also like the new Pursuit of Justice talent. The speed increase is nice, but it also gives you a bit of mitigation by reducing the chance you're hit by spells by 2%.
So there it is -- the very first Paladin Build Shop on WoW Insider. Those of you that are legally able to drink may break out the champagne now, just make sure to save me some! All in all I think Protection is a strong build, and I'm glad that these types of paladins are not only accepted but also desired. I know I'm a bit biased, but I'd rather run an instance with a Paladin tanking than any other type of tank.
That wraps up this edition of Build Shop, but I'll be back again next week. What do you want to see on Build Shop? Send me an email with your questions or comments, and we'll talk shop.