Protection paladins in PvP
Protection PvP gained popularity throughout Wrath
and is greatly responsible for drawing the attention of developers to min-maxed specs that cherry-pick from two trees to get the best of both (PvP) worlds. In some way, protection healing helped pave the way for the new talent tree paradigm that prevents branching out into other trees until 31 points have been invested into the main specialization. Protection lost a big deal with the nerf to Cleanse, a critical PvP spell that raised paladin survivability immensely. Still, protection has got a few tricks up its sleeve ...
- Divinity This is a pretty basic, lackluster spell that should be picked up because its important to survivability, which is a key word in paladin PvP post-4.0.1. It's expensive at three points, but considering the idea in Cataclysm is higher health and longer battles, a 6 percent boost to heals will make a difference in the long run.
- Eternal Glory I like this little roulette spell because there's a chance you can fire off two, three, or even four Words of Glory in a row before consuming your holy power. In PvP, that's a pretty substantial boost -- instant-cast, uninterruptible free heals. If you luck out on the procs, you can cast enough heals to boost your (or an ally's) health significantly, paying for it only with a few global cooldowns. I'm generally not a fan of gambling spells, but 30 percent should see it proc pretty often.
- Judgements of the Just The new seal system which only sort of resembles the old system is pretty cool; it essentially buffs your strikes, which means you no longer have to rely on Judgements to apply a debuff. This means better target swapping without a buildup. You'll want to pick up this talent for its buff to the Seal of Justice effect, extending its duration to 6 seconds per strike. Slowing down your opponents melee and ranged attacks is a pretty good bonus, too.
- Improved Hammer of Justice Sometimes, the simplest things are the best. Here's a tier 2 talent that reduces the cooldown of Hammer of Justice by 20 seconds. Pretty basic, straightforward, and non-negotiable. The only difference now is that there are so many good tier 1 and 2 talents that holy and ret speccing into protection just to get this is no longer a no-brainer. If you're going down the protection tree, anyway, there's just no reason not to pick it up.
- Sanctuary Even though Sanctuary is the tier 3 prerequisite for three more talents deeper into the tree, Sanctuary is the only talent worth discussing for PvP. The other talents are good to have, but nothing impacts protection PvP the way Sanctuary does. The crit reduction against melee and the mana gain is good, but the important aspect of this talent is the damage reduction, which plays well into the new PvP environment.
- Hammer of the Righteous and Grand Crusader Hammer of the Righteous is now merely a shadow of its former self but is still a decent spell and should replace Crusader Strike as the holy power-generating strike for protection paladins. It's a one-point talent that is worth the investment -- but that's not why you pick it up. You want it because of Grand Crusader, which makes your Hammer of the Righteous or Crusader Strike proc an Avenger's Shield reset. Avenger's Shield is a crazy-awesome spell, and being able to cast it more often than 15 seconds is sexy. Because you're likely to match up against melee classes in the battlegrounds, keep a good eye on an enemy caster for when Grand Crusader procs. Avenger's Shield has an awesome-for-paladins, 30-yard range, so enemy casters at a distance aren't safe! It's also a blanket silence, so you don't even have to wait for your target to cast anything. It hits very hard, so don't hesitate to use it on any target, not just casters (the silence effect hurts death knights and paladins quite a bit, too). In fact, you should be casting Avenger's Shield whenever you can just because it hits like a truck. Tailor it for PvP by glyphing with Glyph of Focused Shield (major), which makes it hit like an Optimus Prime mack truck on one target, and Glyph of Dazing Shield (major), which applies a snare. You now have an instant ranged attack that silences for 3 seconds, dazes for 10 seconds, hits for a ton, and can reset off a proc. That's just wrong.
- Guarded by the Light In PvP, you will want to cast Word of Glory on yourself. That's what it was designed for. This means that your stacks of holy power should probably not be wasted on Shield of the Righteous, as tempting as the damage might be. Guarded by the Light will remove any temptation, anyway, and protection paladins should always try to keep themselves topped up, as overhealing caused by Word of Glory will apply a shield effect. That means protection paladins will be even harder to dent than they already are.
- Shield of the Templar Have I raved enough about Avenger's Shield? No? Because here's a talent that shaves its cooldown from 24 seconds to 15. That means you've got a 3-second blanket silence available every 15 seconds with a chance to proc it sooner with Grand Crusader. That's a caster's nightmare. Oh, it also reduces Avenging Wrath's cooldown to 2 minutes, which is pretty neat, too.
Protection PvP is formidable against melee classes, although there's no longer that holy porcupine feel that punishes attackers with Holy Shield
. Most of the talents in the tree are geared towards handling melee opponents, but Avenger's Shield should allow the spec to handle most casters. Still, since protection can handle melee pretty well, consider using the Glyph of Divine Protection
(major) to mitigate magical damage. Overall, the tree doesn't lend itself overtly well to PvP, but it should be viable, especially in high-stamina environments. It's a tank spec, so survivability shouldn't even be a question, and PvP in Cataclysm
will be all about survivability.