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The Light and How to Swing It: Danger looms on the PTR for prot

Matt Walsh

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Protection specialist Matt Walsh spends most of his time receiving concussions for the benefit of 9 other people, obsessing over his hair, and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

Well, this is it. Pack it in, we had a good run. We once were lions amongst melee, kings amongst tanks -- but no more! Thanks to the latest PTR build and the villainous Ghostcrawler, we couldn't even tank an adorable, spiked battle Corgi, let alone Garrosh!

How was that -- dramatic enough? I'm trying to capture the special spirit of despair that the official forums usually excels at. (Ok, yeah, room for improvement.)

Anyway, truthfully, these aren't particularly devastating nerfs, and on the whole won't do much to tamper our survivability. If anything it hurts our utility a bit, though there are worse spheres to be nerfed in. So, let's dig in and talk about what each change means and how it will reverberate.

Grand Crusader gives avoidance a buff, at haste's expense

The change as written is that Grand Crusader now "no longer procs from Crusader Strike or Hammer of the Righteous [but] has a 30% proc chance, up from 12%." That means that one a dodge or parry, you will have a 30% chance to proc a free Avenger's Shield.

For starters, I really wish the devs would stop trying to slather lipstick on the pig that is avoidance. Dodge and parry are relics from a different age of tanking, and it's not an accident that they have been largely dumped by many tanks for sexier and sleeker stats. But that's really a post for another day, the deficiencies of avoidance are too many to recount in this space.

The said, while the change will make avoidance more valuable, it still won't make it worth to gem, enchant, etc. The sims will still show it as weaker for survivability compared to stamina, mastery, and even haste, when gearing for smoothness.

In terms of haste, the stat's survivability value will be lessened for sure, but ultimately we're not really stacking haste for pure survivability, we do it for the DPS gain. The sims will likely bear our that the relative rankings of stats will generally remain the same, with haste being slightly weakened, and dodge/parry being slightly strengthened in their respective positions.

Glyph of the Battle Healer reworked

While this change grieves me, I rationally cannot argue against it. It was largely the product of the law of unintended consequences -- coming into Mists, we were going to tank with Seal of Truth, and eventually were shifted to using Seal of Insight instead. This opened up the Glyph of the Battle Healer as an option for prot, whereas it was designed for holy paladins who wanted to stand in melee and generate holy power with Crusader Strikes.

So suddenly it because very, very viable for protection paladins to strap on that glyph and pour out free heals to those in melee. And it only got more powerful as we stacked more and more haste, and made our Insight procs (and thus the free heals) more frequent. Battle Healer also allowed paladin tanks to game healing aggro for some raid encounters, like Tortos, which simplified solo-tanking the whole fight.

In short, it was very broken and we should be grateful we were allowed to play with it as long as we have.

So now, the change coming in 5.4 is that the glyph will convert the self-heal proc into a smart heal that will hit the "most wounded member of your raid or party instead of you." In other words, using the glyph will remove the personal survivability benefit of Seal of Insight.

This will neuter the glyph's mandatory nature (it's probably the only glyph I've never removed once it was equipped) and make using it in higher level of content nigh-suicidal. I can see corner cases where it'll still be viable for prot, particularly on a fight where raid damage is more concerning than tank damage. And farm content, of course.

Some new glyphs datamined

On the bright side, the nerf will free up that glyph slot for some of the possible new glyphs that have been dug up, including:

  • Glyph of Divine Shield - Removing harmful effects with Divine Shield heals you for x% for each effect removed.
Could be pretty useful on some debuff heavy fights. One of those super-situational glyphs.
  • Glyph of Devotion Aura - Devotion Aura no longer affects party or raid members, but the cooldown is reduced by x sec.
Maybe worth it in a 25s raid that suffering (read: enjoying) a glut of paladins, and then probably only worth it for the tank to give themselves another cooldown.
  • Glyph of Hand of Sacrifice - Hand of Sacrifice now reduces damage taken by the target by 20%, but no longer redirects damage to the Paladin.
Good for non-tanks who want to use the spell. Personally, I'd stick to unglyphed Hand of Sacrifice and its 30% damage reduction effect, since the damage hook isn't really that worrisome.

Losing mana regen from Seal of Insight

That last nerf isn't really much of a big deal, though could have been for some tanks. Seal of Insight will no longer restore mana with its procs, come 5.4 This is a change pointed at holy paladins, I think it's safe to assume, but potentially could have caused issues for prot.

Tanks with more than 40% haste have reported that they were having mana troubles, and the change to Insight threatened to near guarantee that high haste would cause tanks to go OOM mid-fight. Thankfully the community and the devs were on top of that possibility and Blizzard has also reported that they will buff Guarded by the Light's passive mana gain component to at least 10% in an upcoming build, so the mana loss from Insight won't cause any problems when the patch eventually drops.
The Light and How to Swing It shows paladin tanks how to combat the Sha in the strange new land of Pandaria. Try out the new control gearing strategy, learn how to make the most of the new active mitigation system on your tankadin, and check out how to deck out your fresh 90 tank to get ready for any raids!

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