This is the spec I believe to be the most beneficial to Protection Warriors who will be tanking in Patch 4.0.1 and beyond. There is not a lot of changes to the basic theory behind Warrior Tanking to be had in this patch, but in the interest of thoroughness let's go through the abilities and why I chose them (or left them out).
Bear in mind that this is a LEVEL 85 BUILD, so there are more points delineated below then are currently available.
From the Protection Tree
Incite: 3/3: This selection seems fairly self explanatory. Heroic Strike is on of your most basic tools used to generate threat. Though Shield Slam has replaced Heroic Strike and the mainstay of threat to a Prot Warrior, Heroic Strike is still extremely useful. It serves both to increase the threat against an enemy, as well as a satisfactory rage dump. After all, what point is there in maintaining a full rage bar??
Toughness: 3/3: This one should be a no brainer. As a tank you get hit….. A LOT. The higher your armor, more physical damage is absorbed rather then felt => the less healing you need => more raid healing that can be done => ability to win goes up.
Blood and Thunder: 3/3: After much thinking, crunching some numbers and a heart-to-heart with my mentor, I have decided that this talent was actually a pretty good investment. Applying Rend to all the targets hit by your Thunder Clap is a nice addition to the Prot Warriors limited AoE Tanking arsanal.
Shield Specialization: 3/3: Again, another that is self explanatory. Without rage….you cannot use any abilities. While I said you do not need to maintain a full rage bar, having SOME rage is necessary if you plan on doing more then just auto-attacking.
Shield Mastery: 3/3: These abilities (well, maybe not Spell Reflect, but the other two at least) consist of a crucial piece of my rotation, as well as a "Oh-SHIT" button used to mitigate physical damage when i need to "pop a cooldown" in the heat of combat.
- Shield Block should be used in conjunction with Shield Slam EVERY TIME they are available together. For that matter, ensure you are using Shield Slam EVERY TIME it is available. Do not wait for Shield Block to use your Shield Slam, you will lose a significant amount of DPS…….and as any tank will tell you…..DPS equates to threat.
- Shield Wall is used to reduce physical damage taken for a specified period of time (60 % for 12 sec). This is useful to help the healers if they are in a bind, or if the tank healer goes down and you are awaiting for him to get battle rez'd.
- Spell Reflect I honestly do not use that often, but if you are fighting a bunch of casters, it is handy to try and remember this ability.
Hold the Line: 1/2: Here is another that is fairly easy to comprehend. Critical Strikes lead to higher DPS which leads to more threat. Being able to block critical blows is always nice too lol.
Gag Order: 2/2: Heroic Throw is something I use in my macro I use to start most encounters so any improvement to that (especially when adding a silence) is welcome:
/cast Heroic Throw/stopcasting/cast Charge
BE WARNED THOUGH, if there are multiple bosses for a single fight (i.e. Iron Council in Ulduar and Blood Princes in ICC) if you charge in with that macro, YOU WILL DIE!!! For those fights, a simple Heroic Throw and strafe to position yourself is all that is required.
Last Stand: 1/1: This is another must have "OH-SHIT" button. Useful especially if the other tank fails to taunt in time during the Soul Reaper mechanic during the Lich King fight in ICC…….or any other time you are about to die and need a boost of health before the healers are able to pop a heal off on you.
Concussion Blow: 0/1: So after looking at this ability closer, and again conferring with my mentor, this ability is not all that great. It does provide another stun, but lets face facts....only really used it before to unlock Vigilance--but more on that later.
Bastion of Defense: 2/2: Let's look at this a piece at a time. First of all, if you are tanking, you HAD BEST BE in DEFENSIVE STANCE!! Anything that reduces that chance you will be critically hit is always a welcome addition. And with the Enraged effect (20% is actually a pretty good odds), the extra damage again equates to higher DPS, which leads to more threat, which means you will hold aggro better.
Warbringer: 1/1: This ability allows you to rush back at your opponent, after a knockback, to allow you to re-engage your enemy. Along with this ability, I recommend the Glyph of Charge, which allows your charge to be used in stance. Charge is the only one of the three options that does not require rage. Intercept and Intervene are, in my opinion, worthless. I have never found a viable reason to use them in a raiding environment.
Improved Revenge: 2/2: Revenge is another ability that should be used whenever it becomes available. The increased damage (again….) increases your DPS which in turn increases your threat.
Devastate: 1/1: For a refresher: Sunder Armor. With this ability, I don't even have Sunder Armor on my Action Bar. Not only does it perform all the actions of Sunder Armor, but it also adds increased weapon damage, thus adding threat. On top of that, the Sunder Armor ability should be maintained on enemies at all times, as the weakened armor allows DPSers the ability to do more damage to the target, making the kill that much smoother.
Impending Victory: 0/2: This is another one of those abilities that sounded good, but the more that my mentor and I delved into it, turned out to be not that great. The chance of it actually doing any good is about......0.
Thunderstruck: 2/2: Again, pretty self explanatory. Increased Damage output = Increased Threat = Better Tanking
Vigilance: 0/1: The use of this ability has changed with the new patch. The only time i would consider taking this ability would be for specific fights where i need the cooldown on my taunt to be constantly reset (think phase I of Lich King). Since I, like my boss, don't believe very much in speccing for specific fights, and because this ability is not as glorious as it used to be, we collectively decided to drop it.
Heavy Repercussions: 2/2: Shield Block and Shield Slam should be used together whenever possible, especially if you invest the talent points in this ability. Shield Block raised your block value by 100 for 6 seconds, and Shield slams damage is based on your block value. SO, you add the added block value from shield slam, and then the increased damage from this ability, and you hit pretty f'ing hard with your shield. =)
Safeguard: 0/2: I never use Intervene, so putting points into this would have been a waste. With placing a point in Warbringer, I always charge so I never Intervene or Intercept anyway.
Sword and Board: 3/3: More damage = more threat.
Shockwave: 1/1: Basic warrior ability.
That was my look at every talent in the Protection Tree for 4.0.1. These selections left me with 7 unused talent points, and these are the abilities from the other trees I decided to invest in.
From the Arms Tree
Field Dressing: 2/2: More healing means you can stay alive longer, and also makes the healers have to heal you less, which means they can focus on the raid and increases the chance of a WIN.
From the Fury Tree
Blood Craze: 3/3: I know that neither a 10% chance nor 7.5% of your life are very big numbers, but in long tricky fights, every little bit helps.
Cruelty: 2/2: Once again, more damage = more threat.
This concludes my explanation. I hope you found it useful =)