by Jon on January 15th, 2008

I respec’d to protection back a few months ago, my standard pally build being retribution with a short affair as a healadin back in Azeroth at level 60. I had always avoided the protection tree in the past for fear of even slower leveling and a real lack of confidence regarding the tanking abilities of our hybrid class. I know I’m a bit late to the party but I’m hear to say that tanking as a paladin is not only viable, but also insanely enjoyable.

I’ve only ran a couple of instances as the frontman.. err frontlady. Mana tombs at level 70 was relatively easy, but Shattered Halls in Hellfire Citadel gave us a decent challenge. We made the huge mistake of attempting the heroic version of SH prior to our regular run… we couldn’t make it past the first pull. A definite reality(gear)-check. We made it through the normal Shattered Halls without too much trouble. Learned a few valuable lessons, laughed, cried, killed and plundered.

The actual tanking play-style requires a high degree of micromanagement. I rarely find myself spamming a single spell over and over *cough*healading*cough* but rather I’m constantly trying to manage my timing, cooldowns, and buff/debuff durations to maximize both my threat and my survivability. The key is being able to not just have a tried and true cycle of skills but being able to adjust them based on the circumstances. In one scenario, i might not be taking enough damage to require consistent healspamming, which ultimately affects my mana pool as I won’t be getting much of a bonus from spiritual attunement, so i’ll bust out my seal/judgement of wisdom. On the other hand, a hardhitting boss or an unfortunately large trash pull will result in seal of light to help ease the job of the healer. There’s also times where i’ll need to throw on my wings or pop a spell-damage trinket to keep up with the threat from a hard-dotting lock or a crithappy boomkin.

So with my newfound role comes a desire to master it. I’ve found the Maintankadin Forum to be an invaluable resource for a newb prot pally such as myself. The other part of the equation of course is gear. Much like a warrior, paladins have to maximize mitigation and staying power through typical stats like defense, dodge, parry and block but there’s also a need to maintain a certain level of spelldamage as that’s where the majority of our threat comes from. This stat juggling turns gearing up a paladin into a fine science.

This science is made infinitely more convenient with addons like Rating Buster and TankPoints as well as awesome theorycrafting tools like Warcrafter allows you to import your character from the Armory (or start from scratch with a blank template), and switch out any piece of gear imaginable to see its effect on your overall stats. It also includes the ability to add various enchants and gems and calculates for further fine-tuning. I highly recommend checking it out. I’ve saved my current gear wish-list at It’s probably not the most efficient or definitely not the best gear arrangement possible, but it does offer a good mix of what I would consider obtainable items over the next month or so and gets me over 490 defense (uncrittable by bosses) and close to 102.4% total avoidance (uncrushable) with holy shield up.

Time to go tank another instance. =)

  1. Chris permalink

    Great Link!!!! I could get lost in that sandbox for quite some time. Thanks for referring to it!! Hope your get your stuff soon!

  2. Great description of Paladin tanking. I think that many Warriors (and Druids) are envious of Paladins for their more dynamic style of tanking. My husband plays a Warrior and has often complained that Rage-based tanking is incredibly boring with a set rotation and little to no room for improvisation. I’ve been trying to convince him to level his first character, a 60 Retribution Paladin, to 70 and to use HIM as his PvE character since the style of tanking seems so much more engaging.

  3. It depends on how much damage you are taking. At the raid level, you are taking enough damage that you drop into the set rotation of Holy Shield, Consecration and Judgement/Seal.

    Warriors also have extra moves like Spell Reflect or Shield Wall. As well, warrior tanking is hightly proactive, especially when tanking multiple mobs. You have to parcel out your rage to different mobs. In contrast a paladin tank is highly reactive. Tanking 3 mobs is pretty much the same sequence as tanking 1 mob, because your threat relies a great deal on the mob hitting you and passive damage.

    Also, gearing as a science sounds fun, but rapidly becomes annoying when you realize that you need very specific pieces to become uncrushable especially at the pre-Kara stage.

  4. A few days ago I switched my Paladin from Ret to Prot, as 66 seemed to be the level of choice to do so. Now I’m happily tanking. I’ve noticed that sometimes I have to drop defense gear so that I take enough damage, and in one fight I considered getting my 2h sword out again, just so that the hist would hurt more.

    These were 60-62 instances – so is that pretty normal if you’re doing a lower instance. eg. At 70 will I be doing the same in the 68-69 Instances?

Leave a Reply

Note: XHTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS