More and more Paladins are working their way into the Protection tree to start tanking these days. While there are excellent resources available here for these new tanks to learn the theory and techniques behind their role, I find gearing information on how to actually reach a few tanking stat goals to be lacking. At best, any guide for gear suggestions is a hodge-podge of random tanking gear made for all tanking classes that offers little insight on why the gear was chosen. Furthermore, there are some sample talent builds available in other threads but none of them provide detailed information about why someone would choose those particular talents.
It is the objective of this guide to bridge over these weak spots in Paladin tanking information, with suggestions and insights that are relevant to Paladin tanks. I make a few assumptions throughout:
I have gone into detail on what talents are of use to a Paladin Tank in the following thread:
I'd like to begin by making gear suggestions by slot, then I'd like to offer a sample build using what I consider the ideal (based on ease of obtaining as well as quality) build.
Let's face it. There are a lot of helms you COULD use. Frankly, all of the others are inferior to the Felsteel Helm (unless you're desperate for a meta gem). Add to this the fact that ANY Paladin can grab a Felsteel Helm off the Auction House for cheap the moment they hit level 70 and it's really a no brainer. If you REALLY want to waste mats, the Stalwart Defender a smidgen better, but come on... I really wouldn't consider it worth it. Of course, if you're an engineer you can ignore that whole shpiel and make some Tankatronic Goggles which will hold you into Tier 5 content.
Replace the Mark of the Ravenguard or Strength of the Violet tower with one of the first three ASAP, but they do work to get you started. The Strength of the Untamed is really easy to get, and is likely the best choice for most tanks that are gearing up still. Once you have enough gear to keep you uncrushable, the Shattered Sun Pendant of Resolve is amazing for its stamina and proc. Aldor receive +5% Dodge, and Scryers get a chunk of Expertise. For a Paladin, the Aldor proc would be far better in most cases, though high-end Warriors would love Expertise.
If you can get the Spaulders of the Righteous, do it. The Shoulderguards of the Bold are a nice piece too. Honestly though, the Nexus-Guard's Pauldrons give you more towards being uncrushable, so hold on to them after completing the quest for them in Netherstorm, because you may be putting them on for boss tanking. If you have all of the avoidance you need and really really want to be in all purples ASAP the Gladiator's Lamellar Shoulders aren't a total waste of space and actually offer some pretty decent Stamina and a bit of threat.
Enchants: Put either the Inscription of the Knight (+13 Def) (Scryers Honored) or Inscription of Warding (+13 Dodge) (Aldor Honored) on them. If you have the rep and can afford it, put the greater versions on.
The Devilshark Cape is fantastic. While getting CE rep for your necklace, hope this drops in Steam Vaults. Until then, snag a Cloak of Eternity from a tailor. If you've run SV sixty times and luck just isn't with you, consider the badge cloak, Slikk's Cloak of Placation. It is superior to the Devilshark, and if you're geared enough to get badges it just might be worth it.
Enchants: Either stick Dodge (+12 Dodge) or Steelweave (+12 Defense) on it.
Easy choice here. Most tanks will be using the Jade-Skull, and it also adds quite a bit more to being uncrushable. The Vindicator's Hauberk is in theory better, but by the time you want to start replacing Block with Dodge, you probably have enough badges for one of the new Quel'Danas badge chests which are FAR superior to either of these.
Enchants: Either put Exceptional Health (+150 HP), Exceptional Stats (+6 All Stats), or Fortitude (+15 Def) on it.
There are other half-decent options for bracers, including one from Netherstorm quests.. But honestly, with the ease in obtainting the Sha'tari Wrought Armguards there's really no need for them. The Green Fortresses are great, but expensive. If you have the money, consider them, but they are slightly inferior to bracers that drop off of the first boss in Kara.
Enchants: Stick Fortitude (+12 Sta) or Major Defense (+12 Def) on it.
Just get them. I don't even want to hear discussion about other gloves because with the ease of obtaining the Felsteel, no tank should be level 70 for longer than it takes to buy a flying mount without getting them.
Enchants: Threat (+2% Threat) is the ideal enchant for them. Until then, you may consider a Heavy Knothide Armor Kit (+10 Sta). Major Spellpower (+20 Spell Damage) may be tempting, but theorycrafting has shown that +2% Threat is more effective once you reach around 630 Threat Per Second sustained, an easy goal. Do not fall into the mistake of comparing these two based on your total Spell Damage.
Another no brainer. There a slightly better belts that you can get in heroics, but they aren't really worth it. This will be your belt until you either get Moroes' belt in Kara or a badge belt. Still, a huge portion of your uncrushability will come from this piece.
Since you need the Glyph of the Defender anyway, you might as well get your KoT rep up and get the Timewarden's. They are marginally superior to the Felsteels. Still, if it's going to be a while, you can get Felsteels cheap at the Auction House. There's no reason any tank should not have good legs the moment they hit 70.
Enchants: Put Clefthide Leg Armor (+30 Sta/+10 Agi) on them. You don't have to waste money on Nethercleft for these pants, but your next ones (probably the new awesome Badge pants) should definitly get it.
Okay.. so you'll want to replace these Flesh Beasts pretty quickly after you get your foot into Kara, but there really isn't much for boots until then. If you're a Blacksmith, you can make yourself the very nice Boots of the Protector.
Enchants: Stick Fortitude (+12 Sta) on these. There's no point wasting your money on Boar's Speed for these rather junky pieces.
There are TONS of rings that you can use, but these four are all reasonably easy to obtain and can easily replace any of the others that you may have from Jewelcrafting or earlier boss drops. Andormu's Tear is almost a must. When you don't need Andormu's Tear to remain uncrushable, taking one of the other rings that offers more Stamina may be a wise choice. Hold on to it none the less, you can't get quest rewards back and you very likely will have to swap it in several times in the future.
There are a couple other decent trinkets for Defense, including one from an early Hellfire Peninsula quest. Most people will pair a Figurine of the Colossus (before you get the Libram of Repentance you'll almost definitly need this) and Dabiri's Enigma or Adamantine Figurine. Jewelcrafters can replace the Enigma with a Dawnstone Crab, or if Empyrean Sapphire is available, the Empyrean Tortoise is an AMAZING defense trinket.
Do people still use the Continuum Blade now that the Crystalforged Sword is around? Well, since you're going to have the KoT rep anyway, go ahead. For a measly 200 gold you get a better sword though. The Gladiator's Gavel is a nice little piece for threat, but by the time you NEED that threat, you are geared enough to obtain better weapons anyway. Spell damage is critical here. You know all those really crappy tanks you've seen that can't keep aggro off of you when you DPS? They probably don't have spell damage weapons.
Enchants: Major Spellpower (+40 Spell Damage). Don't even think about putting anything else on it. You will get the majority of your threat from a spell damage weapon with a spell damage enchant on it.
The Shield of the Wayward Footman will be your bread-and-butter until you get rep with one of the other factions. It gives a HUGE ammount to uncrushability, so don't be fooled by its armor or block values. The Sunward Crest should be your upgrade objective. The Crest of the Sha'tar is obsolete with 2.4, as there are BETTER rep reward shields available. Frankly, the Sunward Crest is superior (arguably) to the shield that Nightbane drops in Kara. You'll have it for a while.
For a more detailed analysis of pre/early-raid shields from a Paladin's perspective, see this thread.
Enchants: Stick Major Stamina (+18 Stamina) or Shield Block (+15 Block Rating) on it. You shouldn't need more Block Rating, and it's HUGELY expensive, so Major Stamina is probably your better bet.
Before the Libram of Repentance really, who cares. When you can start getting badges together, it should be your goal. It will be a huge asset to you for a huge portion of your tanking career.
If you've been following along with the gear listed, the only thing you should need to gem for is Stamina. There is no need to gem for Defense or Avoidence with the above suggestions, however if you want to cut a few corners, you can put in Regal Nightseye (for dodge) or Enduring Talasite (for defense). Pure gems like Thick Dawnstone (defense) or a Subtle Living Ruby (dodge) might have something to offer you as well.
Just to show you how it's done, this is my preferred sample build from taking the gear above. All gem slots are socketed with Solid Stars of Elune, and I have selected enchants from the options that I provided.
Stats for a Blood Elf with a normal talent build:
With Holy Shield up, that's 103.83% combined Block + Avoidance. We've successfully breeched 102.4% and we have 490 Defense. All of this was done with VERY easy gear to obtain. Assuming you have a decent population on your server (to get into the instances and to get the auction house items and enchants) it shouldn't be difficult to acquire this gear in a single weekend of WoWing, or a couple weekends if you're a little more casual. Many of us could probably do it in 1 or 2 weekdays.
|Parts of this page were originally written by Losie.