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Pimp My Profile: Pre-Heroic Protection Paladin

Dan O'Halloran

Welcome to the first edition of our new twice-monthly column, Pimp My Profile. Readers submit their Armory profile to us and every two weeks we pick one to review. We provide a Gear Check, Talent Tune Up, AddOn/Macro recommendations and more to help you reach your goals in the game.

For the inaugural column, I asked my long time friend Jon to submit his new Paladin for da pimpage. He had recently shelved his Warrior in favor or leveling a new Paladin to 70 to be the main tank for our casual group. Having played the class for only two months, he had a few questions and concerns. Here is what he had to say:

"I'm highly aware of needing to obtain the "uncrittable" defense numbers so far in order to get a defense anywhere near 490 I've found that I have to sacrifice too much spell damage which eats into my ability to hold agro. I abandoned a 63 warrior in favor of my Pally tank and the teary eyed joy that comes with being able generate lots of agro quickly on multiple mobs. Big spell damage is essential to my ability to tank for my trigger happy friends whose 5 man instance approach is more akin to "Who's Line Is It Anyway" rather than the production of Shakespeare most people reading this think their guild regularly produces."

Jon's goals as a new level 70 Protection Paladin on the verge of tanking Heroics are:
  1. To attain uncrushability by equipping more avoidance gear (+Dodge,+Parry or +Block equipment)
  2. Regain his threat generation through +Spell damage
  3. Retaining his uncrittable status by keeping his Defense at least at 490
Let's look at Jon's current set up and what he, or any pre-Heroic L70 Protection Paladin, can do to achieve those goals.

For his level and class, Jon should be sitting at
  • 12k AC
  • 10-12k Health
  • 490 Defense
  • 102.4% Avoidance (adding up the Dodge, Parry, Block Rating and Miss percentages with Holy Shield up)
  • +200 Spell Damage.

His AC is good, his health is a little low, his Defense is a little high and his Avoidance and Spell Damage both need a big boost.

To achieve his Defense goals Jon chose armor that didn't cater to his other needed stats. Green "of the Champion" gear off the Auction House was a good start, but now he needs to replace that with gear, enchants and gems that will help boost his Avoidance and Spell Damage.

Since Jon is still working through pre-Heroic content, I'm keeping all of these recommendations to Normal 5-mans, outdoor quests, faction rewards and items crafted by other players. Jon shouldn't be put off by the Revered faction necessary for many of these upgrades. He'll need Honored in many of these to get his Heroic keys anyway and the push to Revered for most of these factiona are usually just 5-6 normal instance runs beyond that.

Gear Check

We worked up a new gear profile that will result in:
  • 12.7k AC
  • 10.8k Health
  • 514 Defense
  • 103.3% Avoidance
  • +199 Spell Damage
Attaining all of this is going to take more than a night or two of 5-manning for Jon, but it is well worth the effort for any Protection Paladin who takes their tanking role seriously. And, of course, there will be a large number of other gear options opening up when Jon hits Heroics, not only as drops, but from Badges of Justice, not to mention the upgrade goodness from Magisters' Terrace when Patch 2.4 goes live.

Fortunately for Jon, Paladins have a talent that adds 30% to their Block, so his gear only needs to add up to 72.4% minimum for uncrushability. Here's what I recommend:

Helm of the Righteous
1x Solid Star of Elune
1x Powerful Earthstorm Diamond
Enchant - Glyph of the Defender

The Helm is part of the Paladin T3 Dungeon set. It has an 11% chance to drop from Pathaleon the Calculator in The Mechanar. These two gems, like all the ones listed below, can either be bought from the Auction House or commissioned from Jewelcrafters.

The Glyph of the Defender enchant can be bought from the Keepers of Time faction at Revered. This is one of the easier Outland factions to get, requiring only the completion of the CoT quests plus one or two extra runs through Old Hillsbrad and Black Morass. And at Revered, the Continuum Blade and Timewarden's Leggings also become available. Three outstanding Paladin items for one easy faction grind.

Strength of the Untamed

This requires Revered with Cenarion Expedition out of Zangarmarsh. Honored is pretty easy to achieve through Zangarmarsh questing and running through Slave Pens and Underbog . Five to six full clears of Underbog and/or The Steam Vaults after that will get him Revered if he has no more quests to run.

Spaulders of the Righteous
1x Subtle Living Ruby
1x Solid Star of Elune
Enchant - Inscription of Warding

These shoulders are the second of the Paladin T3 Dungeon set. This one has a 1 in 5 chance of dropping from Laj in the Botanica. The Inscription can be bought with Honored Aldor faction. Jon can farm Marks of Kil'jaeden from low level Burning Legion mobs in the Outlands or buy them off the Auction House.

Devilshark Cape
Enchant - Dodge

Jon already has this from Warlord Kalithresh out of the Steamvaults. He can add the Dodge enchant and cross it off the list.

Jade-Skull Breastplate
Enchant - Exceptional Heatlh

Nethermancer Sepethrea in the Mechanar drops this bad boy 16% of the time. Jon already has it, but for those who don't, it's an easy mob to hit on the way to Pathaleon for the recommended Helm. The enchant will add 150 to his health pool, never a bad thing.

Bracers of the Green Fortress
Enchant - Fortitude

The Bracers are crafted by a Blacksmith and require 1 Primal Nether, among other materials. The cost may be steep (probably about 500g), but the fact that Jon is a Miner will help him offset some of the acquisition costs.

Felsteel Gloves
1x Solid Star of Elune
1x Subtle Living Ruby
Enchant - Agility or Major Spell Power

Jon already has the crafted gloves, he just needs to replace the Stamina gems with Parry/Dodge gems and add the Agility enchant or +20 spell power for extra threat.

Sha'tari Vindicator's Waistguard

This is a reward near the end of a quest chain that also results in your Arcatraz key, so double goodness. Plus the key quest puts him in a position to get the helm drop, the chest drop if he still needed it and more faction.

Timewarden's Leggings
1x Subtle Living Ruby
1x Thick Dawnstone
1x Solid Star of Elune
Enchant - Clefthide Leg Armor

The leggings will be available with Revered Keepers of Time faction that he will need for the Helm enchant and his main hand weapon as well. The leg enchant is crafted by Leatherworkers.

Flesh Beast's Metal Greaves
Enchant - Fortitude

The footwear is a reward from an escort quest in Mana-tombs, Someone Else' Hard Work Pays Off. The quest is a little buggy, but the payoff is worth it. Jon already has this also, he just needs to upgrade the enchant.

Protector's Mark of the Redemption
Elementium Band of the Sentry

The Mark is a quest reward from a chain out of Shadowmoon Valley, Dissention Amongst the Ranks. The Band is a 15% drop from Harbinger Skyriss in the Arcatraz. Until he can run it, he may also consider the crafted Delicate Eternium Ring.

Adamantine Figurine
Figurine of the Colossus

The first trinket drops from Blackheart the Inciter in the Shadowlabs. It's an 11% chance drop, but not a fun fight (the two-headed ogre mind-controls the group every 40 seconds.) The second trinket comes from Warchief Kargath Bladefist in the Shattered Halls (13% chance.)

Main Hand Weapon
Continuum Blade
Enchant - Major Spellpower

Like other tank classes, one of the ways a Paladin generates threat is by dealing damage. However, instead of relying on a high dps weapon for melee damage, the Paladin uses their Holy spell damage backed by their Talent spec and the threat multiplier of Righteous Fury. This means using a weapon with high +Spell damage is more useful than one with high dps.

Instead of holding on to Grom'tor's Charge Jon should look into a 1 handed weapon with 120-130 +spell damage. The Continuum Blade will be easy to get since Jon is grinding Keepers of Time faction anyway. But there is another one on the list that has not only +Spell damage, but both Stamina and Block Rating: Crystalforged Sword. It's an 11% drop from the Shartuul event in Blade's Edge Mountains or off the AH if he has the cash.

Crest of the Sha'tar
2x Solid Star of Elune
Enchant - Shield Block

This shield is tough to get, requiring exalted with The Shatar which means lots and lots of Tempest Keep runs. In the meantime, Jon may consider Platinum Shield of the Valorous from Ambassador Hellmaw in Shadowlabs who he has to plow through to get to Blackheart anyway for the Trinket recommendation.

Libram of the Eternal Rest

This drops from Darkweaver Syth in Sethekk Halls (15%). It increases the damage of the Paladin's Consecration spell which helps them retain aggro on multiple mobs. There isn't many other options until Jon can start running Heroics at which point he should spend his first 15 Badges on a Libram of Repentance for its crazy good Block Rating.

There are alternatives to this gear set up, but I wanted to give Jon a basic road map to start with. Some of these items Jon already has, others he can get very quickly off the AH, while others are going to take some faction grinds and instance runs, but the end result meets his goals. As he replaces his gear with upgrades in Heroics, he can start using Stamina gems and enchants instead of Avoidance ones to get his health higher.

Talent Tune Up

The 31 point Protection talent Holy Shield is the the key to Paladin tanking as it boosts the Paladin's Block ability by 30%, deals damage for each attack blocked and generates additional aggro from that extra damage. Also, the 41 point talent Avenger's Shield is critical for immediate and significant threat generation either for initial pulling or getting a mob off of a squishy especially at range.

Jon has chosen to work with a 13/48/0 build to take advantage of the key talents in the Protection tree mentioned above while getting some healing utility out of the Holy tree to keep himself alive and back-up heal in emergencies where he isn't the main tank.

However, part of achieving maximum Avoidance requires that Jon change his Talent build. He needs to free up points from the Holy Tree to take advantage of the +5% Parry in the second Tier of the Retribution Tree. It's great that he can heal in a pinch, but it's better that he focus on tanking priorities first. A 0/49/12 build will help him tank.

The last two points in Improved Judgement can be spent elsewhere if there is another talent Jon has his eye on.

If Jon discovers he is missing his Holy/Protection build, there is another option which is a 14/47/0 build that gives him more mana, less interruption while healing, lower cooldown on Lay On Hands and more resistance to Fear. The extra survivability from this build may be very useful if Jon can make up for the +5% Parry talent he will be losing in the Retribution tree. Though he may have to change back for certain fights with dual wielding bosses.

Tanking Strategies

A Paladin's threat comes primarily from Holy Spells combined with a threat multiplier ability. Since aggro is generated from the Paladin's mana pool as opposed to a Warrior/Druid's slowly building rage bar, Paladin's can cut loose with a great deal of threat generation immediately.

On top of that, their AE spells plus damage shields causing damage (thus threat) on every mob hitting them means this class has little problem in locking down multiple mobs quickly. Not to mention, the talent that allows Paladin's mana pool to get replenished every time they are healed means their mana pool stays full enough to maintain aggro during a longer fight.

So what does this mean to pulling and locking down mobs for the rest of the group to take down? That's a bigger topic than I can cover in this one article. There are a few guides I recommend Jon reads if he feels he is having problems with aggro. The first is our very own WoW Insider Guide to Paladin Tanking written by our class columnist Chris Jahosky, the second is WoW Wiki's Tankadin Guide which sums up the major strategies very cleanly and the last is Gestalt's Paladin Guide on the official forums. Gestat's Guide covers more than tactics so giving the entire piece a read can only improve any Paladin's understanding of their class and the role they play.


A list of Paladin Addons are kept updated on the official forums. That list doesn't mention where to find them, but they should be on Curse, WoW Interface, WoW Ace or WoW Inc Gamers. Jon should also keep an eye on Maintakadin's Addons forum.

I think many players are intimidated by using macros or just don't want to be bothered, but with a minimum of set up time, many of these macros can be the difference between a wipe and a last minute save. I suggest Jon check out this great overview of macros with Paladin specific ones, the WoW Insider's Paladin Macro Guide, and the Maintankadin extensive list of Protection Paladin macros.


For further research into the topics brought up in this column, check out the following:

Paladin Tanking Sites
Maintankadin Forums

All Inclusive Paladin Guides
Elitist Jerk's Tankadin Guide
Ten Ton Hammer's Tankadin Guide
Geld's Paladin Guide
WoW Insider's The Light and How to Swing It weekly Paladin column

Gear Lists
Questable Tankadin Weapons
Maintankadin List of Pre-Raid Tanking Gear

Talent Builds
WoW Insider Guide to 0/46/15 Tankadin Build

Tanking Strategies
WoW Insider Guide to Tankadin DPS

A final word on Jon's goals. He shouldn't wait until the magical 102.4% Avoidance before diving into Heroics. If he's close and has a good healer, he should jump in and start farming Badges and Heroic drops. It's not as critical to hit these numbers for Heroics as it is for 10-manning.

Would you like your profile pimped? Send your first name, armory profile link and a brief description of goals, playstyle (solo, grouper, raider, etc.) and how you normally handle a pull to We'll be picking one profile every two weeks to highlight.

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