Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Wotlk Paladin Tanking Guide part 2: Talents (Patch 3.1)

by Flyingfish

Patch 3.1 has brought many changes to the paladin talents, that's why felt it was neccesary to rewrite this part of my guide. The grading system is the same as I used in the first version: I will comment on each talent from the protection tree, plus the relevant talents from the retribution and holy tree. Additionally I will give each talent a score from the following coloring system, from best to worst:

MustHave - Epic talents that every paladin tank should have.
GoodToHave - Talents very good to have and will help your tanking a great deal.
TakeOrLeave - Talents that will help your tanking, but not at all mandatory.
LeaveIt - Useless talents when it comes to tanking.

Note that the scores are given based on my personal experience and opinion only.

Protection talents

Tier 1:

Increses healing done by you and done to you by 1-5%. A tank stays alive by getting healed, 5% may not sound like a big deal, but these 5% may just be the difference between a wipe and a kill in many situations.

Divine Strength
Now that paladins also receive block value from strength, Divine Strength has become a very good tanking talent, that is probably why it was moved from the holy tree. The extra threat is just a bonus.

Tier 2:

PvP talent, the benefits are almost useless to tanks.

Guardian's Favor
PvP talent, totally useless.

Mandatory tanking talent and the only one worth taking in the whole tier.

Tier 3:

Improved Righteous Fury
Tanking is about two things, threat generation and damage mitigation. This talent provides 6% damage reduction, there is no need to say more.

Tanks always want to have more armor, the reduction to movement slowing effects is a bit useless though, due to Hand of Freedom.

Divine Sacrifice
New talent! An active ability that transfers 30% of all damge taken by party/raid members to you for 10 seconds. Very handy ability in situations where the whole raid takes heavy damage, or when the other tanks need a bit help with damage mitigation. I strongly recommand that you use this ability together with Divine Shield, and I strongly recommand that you pop your bubble first.

Tier 4:

Divine Guardian
New talent! Increses the effect of Divine Sacrifice and Sacred Shield. If you took Divine Sacrifice, you should spend 2 points in this talent as well, because the bonuses are very nice, especially the improvement to Sacred Shield.

Improved Hammer of Justice
I have only seen a very few tanks spending points in Imp HoJ, but this talent is very useful in my opinion. This talent combined with the Judgement of the Just talent will bring the cooldown of HoJ down to 20 seconds, which means we have a spell interrupter every 20 seconds.

Improved Devotion Aura
As I mentioned before, tanks always want to have more armor. But it is the bonus healing effect that makes this talent truly incredible. 6% addition to the amount healed may just be the 6% that saves your ass, you will love this talent, your healers will love this talent, even the damage dealers will love this talent.

Tier 5:

Blessing of Sanctuary
Damage mitigation and threat generation in one talent, this is the best blessing a tank can have, unless you are a bit undergeared for the encounter, in which case BoK will benefit you more.

A very popular talent due to the fact that it roughly doubles your damage output for the duration of the proc. When fighting multiple mobs, it procs all the time, which makes Reckoning one of our best grinding tools. But is it good for tanking? The extra threat from the proc is great, but I still consider Reckoning a bad tanking talent, because the proc makes you hit more. The more you hit the more you get parried, the more you get parried the more damage you take. When tanking hard hitting bosses, this talent can be your death.

Tier 6:
(from this point on, the talents are more or less mandatory, most tanks will maximize the rest of the protection tree)

Sacred Duty
Tanks always want to have more stamina, even more than armor! The bonus effects are very nice too, since Divine Protection is our life-saver.

One-Handed Weapon Specialization
Another great tool to help you generate threat.

Tier 7:

Holy Shield
Damage mitigation, the chance to mitigate damage and threat generation in one talent, if you don't take Holy Shield, you are out of your mind. And keep Holy Shield up at all times!

Ardent Defender
This talent is is underestimated by many, sure it wont save you from hard hitting bosses like Brutallus, but it increases your effective health by a great amount. There is an addon to register how many times Ardent Defender saves you from dying (I can't remember the name, sry), I was surprised to see the number, because I myself was one of those who underestimated this talent, I don't anymore.
Spiritual Attunement
New talent! Used to be a passive ability, it's nevertheless still mandatory for tanking.

Tier 8:

Again a super talent, more block value equals more effective health and more threat. The increased chance to block is an useful (useless you already are block-capped) but unreliable bonus.

Combat Expertise
Tanks always want to have more stamina, they also want to have more expertise, because expertise reduces the chance that you will get dodged and more importantly parried. The additional crit chance is nice too.

Tier 9:

Touched by the Light
The damage (thus threat) a paladin deals is based on attack power and spell power, spell power increased by 30% of your stamina is a huge amount, because you will have high stamina as a tank. I don't know why it comes with a healing bonus though, it is useless to tanks since we almost never heal.

Avenger's Shield
This is the ability I use most of the time when pulling mobs, generates a great amount of threat initially. Combined with Exorcism and Judgement, the threat paladin tanks generates in a pull makes all other tanks cry for their mother.

Guarded by the Light
6% less spell damage taken is very nice. But the new bonus effect is very very very nice, it ensures that Divine Plea is up all the time, meaning you don't have to worry about mana anymore. And combined with the new Divine Plea glyph, you get an exstra 3% damage reduction from all sources.

Tier 10:

Shield of the Templar
Another 3% damage reduction, which is always welcome. The silencing effect to Avenger's Shield gives us another spell interrupter besides HoJ and a great advantage when pulling and tanking caster mobs.

Judgement of the Just
One of the first things I learned when I was a warrior tank, was that I have to keep Thunder Clap up. Well, this is our Thunder Clap, and it comes with Judgements, which we will be using anyway. As mentioned before, together with Imp Hoj, the cooldown of HoJ is down to only 20 seconds.

Tier 11:

Hammer of the Righteous
This talent is what keeps us on the throne as the best AOE tanking class! What makes it even better is in addition to the "4 times your main hand damage", it also applies the active seal to all 3 targets.

Retribution talents

Inspite of being in the retribution tree, this is a tanking talent, and a very good one.

Since all the abilities we use when tanking are instant abilities, this talent is helpful for keeping the mana up, but imo far from worth investing 5 talent points in.

Improved Judgements
A must have for paladin tanks due to the 96969 rotation (see part 5 of my guide), but only 1 point, not 2!

Heart of the Crusader
Very useful talent in encounters with a time limit, or in general to speed up the killing process. But every retribution paladin and many holy paladins have this talent, so it's not a must have for tankadins.

Persuit of Justice
Used to be a very popular talent among prot paladins due to the fact that it used to reduce the chance of you being hit by spells. Sadly not anymore. The speed bonus is still very nice though.

Holy talents

Seals of the Pure
Since you will be using either Seal of Righteousness or Seal of Corruption/Vengeance when tanking, this is a very good talent for additional threat.

Talent build
This is my "basic" build, where I have left out 9 talent points. If you want to interrupt more often, put 2 points in Imp HoJ. If you want to help the raid, Divine Sacrifice, Divine Guardian and Heart of the Crusader are all good choices. If you are not comfortable with your threat generation, you may want to put some points in Seals of the Pure. If you find yourself OOM often, then Benediction is the way to go. The point is, there is no "best build", what is the best solution depends on the situation. And feel free to experiment:)
Patch 3.1 has also brought many new and exciting glyphs, so version 2 of the glyph part is coming up soon, stay tuned :D


  1. <3 ur guide...

    how is it going?

  2. You are not even prot specced! But thx anyway :D

    The baby requires a lot of attention and time, but it's going ok.

  3. well ye im not prot, but knowin everything about the classes i play, or other classes.. makes me a strong player....

    thats why im so prooo

  4. Dich you made me laugh there, "knowing everything...makes me a strong player", that so doesn't sounds like coming from your mouth, you are more like "Princy is mad, Princy is mad..." kinda guy :D

    But if I remember right, you have decent tank gear right? You should go prot like Matt, and show him who is da man!!!

  5. meh, im not playin much on my paladin, started a shaman at got him to 70. and ofc 3.1 came and i cba to lvl him now, got things to workout on with my main so :D

    and, "princy is mad, princy is mad" pff thats not me at all..
    after all my years in wow, i have tried nearly all classes, all specs, readin on all class forums, have made me the awesome player i am today!!! DNT laUGH! i think of myself as a good player :) sadly u dont .................................................... Tripple fuckin dot ...!!!

    im on a school shit atm, been fixin on motors all day and wont be able to play wow til thursday.. so plx give me more to read while im stuck in this internett explorer world. nothin good on forums this days :'(