After writing about which talents are garbage and about how a warrior on my server’s misadventure in talent spec made me weep for warriors everywhere, I figured it about time to write about what I think is a good spec.
Improved Bloodrage – Regular bloodrage is great and is used several time in any boss fight. This talent just makes an already good ability better. Using it as I engage a boss means I can open with a shield slam and have enough spike threat the allow dps to get going almost immediately.
Anticipation – Excellent avoidance for minor point investiture. Obviously important if you are having trouble getting to 490 to be uncrittable. 5/5 is a staple of any build while you are doing progression content but once you get to the end, your gear will have more than enough defense that you can drop points from this talent to spend them on other, more aggressive talents.
Shield specialization – Gives you 1 point of rage every time you block. Whoop-dee-doo. But this allows you to get Improved Shield Block which is absolutely vital. If this talent didn’t do anything except allow you to access Imp Shield Block I would still take it.
Toughness – Armor is good. This is a must for any tank doing progression content. Once you get to the end though, you can sacrifice a few points here for more aggressive talents. That said, I am at the end and I like an aggressive talent build but I still have 5/5.
Last Stand – Armor and HP is great for tanking. Druids have lots of armor and HP. Warrior have oh shit buttons to make up for their lacking armor and HP. If you don’t get this talent, then you are tanking like and undergeared druid.
Improved Shield Block – Bosses crush and crushes kill tanks. This talent gives an extra shield block charge and basically is what allows warriors to avoid crushing blows. This is an absolutely vital talent. Without this talent you will get crushed and you don’t have the armor and HP to survive it.
Defiance – Job #1 for a tank is holding aggro. If you can’t hold aggro, it doesn’t matter how much HP, armor and avoidance you have. This talent helps you do job #1 and is indispensable.
Improved Sunder – Used to be meh but now that devastate gets the bonus from it, it has turned into a good talent. When you are doing progression though, you will probably not be able to max out this talent as you will be spending your points on other things to keep you alive. You could forego Imp HS to put points here but I would rather have two talents with 2/3 than one with 3/3 and the other with only 1/3 or 0/3. If you aren’t doing progression and opt for a more aggressive build, then absolutely max this talent.
Concussion Blow – This talent has its uses but it certainly isn’t game changing. But it is a requisite for Shield Slam. Like Shield Specialization, if this talent did absolutely nothing except give access to Shield Slam, I would still take it.
Shield Mastery – Increases your mitigation and increases your damage from Shield Slam. If Job #1 as a tank is hold aggro then Job #2 is stay alive. This talent helps you do both.
One Hand Specialization – Helps you do Job #1. If you do your talents right then there is room for 5/5 in a progression build and it is an absolute must for any aggressive build. As a note, this talent DOES affect shield slam damage and main hand damage while dual wielding.
Improved Defensive Stance – Armor is good because it reduces physical damage. This reduces magical damage. This is an absolute necesity for a progression build but it is the first to go if you are using an aggressive build. It makes a difference but not a game changing difference. On progression content every little thing counts which is why you will have this talent. If you spend the majority of your time in farm content then this really won’t have an impact and you are better off spending those points elsewhere.
Shield Slam – If I have to tell you that this talent is good, the go respec MS. Or even better, go spend 31 points in Arms WITHOUT getting MS.
Focused Rage – Job #1 is aggro. You generate threat by spending rage. This talent makes you more rage efficient. This is a must for progression and aggressive builds.
Vitality – HP is good. The strength portion of this talent really doesn’t have an impact because not a lot of tank gear has significant amounts of strength on it. You will notice the strength bonus when you put on your dps gear though. You are basically taking this talent for the stamina bonus.
Devastate – Was always decent and got a few buffs, especially in 2.3 which moved it out of the decent category into good. If Shield Slam is great (and it is), then Devastate definitely isn’t great. Its pretty good though and if you have already spent enough points in prot you would be remiss to skip Devastate.
Deflection – excellent avoidance for minimal expenditure. Druid tanks absorb damage and warriors avoid damage. This talent increases your avoidance and makes yu a better tank.
Improved Thunderclap – When you are fighting progression bosses you have two choices – make sure someone in the raid has a Thunderfury out at all times or have Improved Thunderclap. The attack speed reduction means that you are less likely to go splat. The increased damage also helps out a lot on a warriors weakest point – aoe tanking.
Improved Heroic Strike – In a rage rich environment in an ideal scenario you will be using HS for every single swing. Making HS more rage efficient means that you can use it more often and at a lower threshold. Being able to spam HS will push your threat through the roof.
Cruelty – Whether you are specced Arms, Fury, Prot, Hybrid, Resto, HARP, Deep Arcane or Destruction, you take cruelty. Critical strikes mean more damage and more threat. Since you are a prot warrior you only have 7-10% crit to begin with so this talent will be increasing your crit rate 50-100%. I cannot begin to tel you how vital cruelty is without devolving into the very basics of tanking and overall game mechanics. I assure you, you need this talent.
To clarify what I mean by a progression build vs an aggressive build:
Progression build is for when you are facing a brand new boss every week and he is going to be hitting you hard and trying to kill you. The progression build is all about keeping you alive as long as possible with as many defensive talents as possible. The ideal progression build is 8/5/47 with an extra point to put wherever you feel like it.
Aggressive build is for farm content. If your guild has been running Karazhan for 6 months with no end in sight and you are neven in danger of dying because you aren’t pushing the envelope of what your gear can handle, then you can forego a lot of the defensive talents in favor of some more aggressive ones. The aggressive build will increase your rage efficiency and threat generation. The ideal aggressive build is 12/5/44 and is what I currently use.
There are all kinds of different builds and for the most part they are all capable of getting the job done. As long as you have 14 points in protection, you can tank anything. One of these days I will have the balls to go raid as 0/0/14 without telling the raid leader just to see what would happen. A skilled player can make any spec work. I like to think I am skilled and I have played with many different specs and have done passably with all of them but the two I mentioned above were better than the rest. Your mileage may vary