Tobold's Blog
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Paladin tanking in 3.3?

I'm all fired up by the prospects of the new WoW LFG system, and hearing how much fun other people have with it. My own experiences were likewise good, finding a random heroics group with my level 80 tank instantly, and completing it quickly with no problems. But when I tried to join a random group with my paladin, I didn't have much luck. He's only level 51, and on the first days I guess people are rather playing their level 80 characters in Icecrown than their alts. But more importantly the paladin is obviously specced retribution for soloing, and the queue showed 3 dps and a healer waiting for a tank that never came.

Now having recently made a small fortune with thorium (thorium ore sold for 20 gold per stack less than thorium bars), I decided to buy dual spec for my paladin. And as all my gear is with strength and stamina, with no spellpower anywhere, I think I'd rather use the second spec for a tank role than for a healer role.

Only problem is I never played a paladin tank, which presumably is different than playing a warrior tank. Can anyone here direct me to a good site with tanking tips for paladins? A first Google search resulted in finding lots of outdated information. What build, glyphs, and rotation would a paladin tank use in patch 3.3?

At level 51 or so I did Maraudon with my Paladin and had an absolute blast.

I judged Light and occasionally cast a heal. I used my crusader-ed epic twohander and just zerged really aggressively. I was Ret specced.

I was top on dps by a mile, top on healing and main tank.

Don't forget to keep Righteous Fury active :-)
Oh - an afterthought: you can probably short-man a level 50 dungeon. As Prot or Ret all you really need is a healer and maybe one dpser.

This is the best ever information that I found. You wont need anything else.

And pallie tanking is very much fun :)
you might try maintankadin, or ofc elitist jerks forums :)
I'd assuredly browse tankspot, too.

start here :
Maintankadin is very solid.

If you want to try some soloing as prot as well, you might find some fun in aoe-grinding - if you want to try that try to combine the reckoning talent with a shield spike (and at a little higher lvl the shield from Sporeggar is awesome, can be equipped at lvl 62 I think). will lay out everything you need to know. also has some great information, and a little bit more of a personal touch to it.
Maintankadin is great for Paladin tanking info.

Tankspot also good for any tank.
This is my tankadin Tobold: Stephanius' armory
You can see what I'd recommend in spec and glyphs there.

Tankspot would be my recommendation for information on any open questions.

I recently put this up
Paladin tanking is in a very good spot at the moment. Lots of tools for various situations, and even if it's a bit spammy, I find it loads of fun and not too clumsy.

What you have to know is the '9696' mechanic (numbers refers to the CDs on your basic tanking habilities) and how to not be mana starved, which might be the problem at low lvls.
Rather than a lot of websites let me give you a few of the things that I do:

Always keep Righteous Fury up, I forget it often enough myself that its on my list. basically i boosts your threat to reasoanble levels.

Always keep your back away from the mobs. Blows from the front can be dodged or parried, if they come in from behind you get hit with the full force. If you are new to this I recommend getting your back to the nearest wall. This is especially true when facing packs of mobs and also the hardest thing to perfect!

Corner pull is your friend, at least till you get the silencing Avengers shield. Dont be afraid to use line of site to control the casters. Smack them with a ranged ability (Judgement, Hand of Reckoning, Avengers shield etc) and get out of LOS and get them nicely clumped up.

Last but not least rather be cautious before you learn all the tricks than run in guns blazing.

With regards to rotation its been so long since I was level 50 as well as the fact that its changed so radically that this might or might not be true but I dont think you have many abilities other than concecrate ground and judgments (masybe hammer of wrath?).

At higher levels try to mix the cooldowns of long and short abilities (the famous 969 :-D) so that you always have something off cooldown.

For initial pulls Hand of Reckoning (does initial damage) followed by avengers shield can provide a respectable amount of start threat.

Honestly I dont have much more advice for you at that level other than to work on the basics, the rest will come naturally as you play more and more as a tank.

Best of Luck.

If you would like to have a longer chat about pala tanking feel free to let me know and we can organise some way to chat. I know each role feels this way but I honestly think tanking requires the most in terms of theorycrafting to and balancing to work out well.

I'm pretty sure it's up to date, but it's also focused on Level 80 End Game Tanking. Some of the information may still be useful to you at 51.
Maintankadin is definitely the best and most comprehensive resource for protection paladins.

As some have already pointed out, at level 51 it's probably the best choice just to stay Ret, keep Righteous Fury active and use Judgement of Light to keep some stress of the Healers.

But if you wanna get Prot as your 2nd Spec, and get some experience at some 'serious' paladin tanking, spec as deep into prot as possible to get Avengers Shield for pulling and Hammer of the Righteous for group aggro.
Example spec for Level 60:

Despite keeping Righteous Fury as well as Blessing of Santuary active at all times, try to keep up Holy Shield as much as possible, and cast Consecration on cooldown on multi mob pulls if your manapool allows it.

Use Seal of the Righteous for maximum threat, but if aggro is not a problem and your healer is a bit slow you can use Seal of Light.

Judgement of Light on the primary target, if there are undead enemies do not forget to use Holy Wrath for some serious damage and a neat little AoE-stun.
If your are having mana problems use Judgement of Wisdom.
Pally tanks are a joy to play. They hold aggro with any size crowd with ease, and they can even heal themselves and others for a limited time when the situation gets desperate.

One thing you want to do for sure is install the Pally Power add on, if you haven't already. Not only will it track the party's buffs to make sure you never run out, but it will also help you notice when you forgot to turn on righteous fury. Forgetting to recast fury after a wipe is the number one cause of additional wipes with pally tanks.

A lot of people have mentioned the 9696 rotation, but let me sum it up for you if it helps. You have two direct damage spells with a 6 second cooldown: shield of righteousness and hammer of righteousness. You also have three utility spells with a 9 second cooldown -- Holy shield (extra blocking), judgement (passively regenerate health or mana while attacking), and consecration (which holds aggro in groups). Basically you want to always be alternating between a spell in the first and second groups.

One final thing that many pallies forget is casting "Divine Plea" before a fight. With the correct protection talent, divine plea can keep your mana regenerating endlessly throughout a fight. If you ever find yourself running out of mana, it's likely that you have forgotten about this spell. However, it also gimps your healing, so remember to click off the effect if your healer dies or goes OOM.
I am in complete agreement with you Tobold. As a matter of fact I wrote about the new LFG and my experiences with it thus far this morning myself. I had a great time with it yesterday, and while I can see some updates that need to be made to it, I think they did a very good job regardless.
I have almost been levelling a paladin and got him dual spec too. I'm level 71 and was planning on tanking at 80. All these comments and links are therefore very helpful to me also, so thank you all.

This links very nicely with your last post regarding more people willing to roll tank and healers too. A nice addition to this is that as an undergeared toon at 80, I will still get a group using the new LFG system, instead of "link achiev pls" and all that nonsense.
Tobold, I hate plugging my own site but I wouldn't unless I felt you'd really find value in this information...

This guide is specifically for new paladin tanks and includes everything you'd need to know:
I have always like Blessing of Kings.
This is the best Paladin Tank blogger out there IMHO.
At a low level, toss on that thing that increases aggro and spam consecrate. Pally tanking in normal instances may well be the easiest thing in the game.
"why do we do our utmost to banish learning from MMORPGs?"
I have to agree with the shift with healers especially. I am sort of the opposite as you. I never healed before, but at level 34, my pally is getting pulled into groups rather frequently. I think the longest I have had to wait is 5 minutes on any level character to get a group.

The Exp gain is off the chain, and I am not a person that ever sets foot in a dungeon. I have been converted by this change. It takes much longer to PvP your way to the top then it does to just buckle down and go play the dungeons.

I still feel a bit strange since I have hardly visited any dungeons, but almost every group I have encountered, even at level 80 have been very forgiving and patient.

I am sold on this system and hope to see more systems be integrated in this manner going forward.

You can catch my latest comments at
IIRC Righteous Fury is now a toggle and doesn't have a time limit as it used to. Set it and forget it.
I think this tool is of the best benefit to tanks. It's about the same rate of service as the old LFG for DPS though. Tanks are always the one position that is waiting to be filled. Sometimes for... 15-20 minutes at a time.

I LOVE paladin tanks! (My main is a warlock, and I have 'grown up' with a paladin tank. I never realized I had threat issues until I started trying runs with other tanks.)

All of these other commenters have pretty much covered any suggestions I could make. My paladin tank friend frequents MainTankadin and Tankspot, as well as reading Blessing of Kings and Honors Code.
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