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Padre’s Tips for Tanking: A closer look at Prot Pally talents (Part 1 of 2).

by on November 19, 2012

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For those of us in the US this week is the unofficial beginning of the holiday season and the week in which we celebrate Thanksgiving.  I would like to give thanks for the revamped talent trees and the almost universal elimination of  trap talents.  MoP brought about a paradigm in which the difference between talents is mostly in the margins and choices can be made on a fight by fight basis.

With that in mind I’m going to take the opportunity to list out a template that I’ve been using lately on my Paladin Tank.  Keep in mind if you use these talents, watch for particular encounters in which a slight change could benefit your party.

Caveat:  I feel like Blizzard has done an excellent job balancing out talents in this patch, so most of these choices are a toss-up. The conclusions below represent only my preference.  Any talent build can be played effectively at most content levels.

Tier 1 (Movement)

Speed of Light vs Long Arm of the Law vs Pursuit of Justice

In this tier we are deciding between a significant sprint on a 45 second cooldown, an speed boost that is married to one of our main rotational abilities and a passive always-on run speed increase that is boosted when we can sit on a few holy power.

I have been going with Pursuit of Justice here.  I would have a really hard time sitting on Judgment now that it generates Holy Power and an active sprint loses a bit of usefulness to me since my Prot Pally is an engineer.  The always on nature of the talent combined with the fact that I can spend the last 10% or so of a trash encounter banking Holy Power means that in the average heroic my healers are left cursing me while I pull the next group.

Verdict: Take Pursuit of Justice unless a sprint would help you avoid a particular mechanic.

Tier 2 (Crowd Control)

Fist of Justice vs Repentance vs Burden of Guilt

Fist of Justice replaces and upgrades Hammer of Justice by doubling the range and halving the cooldown.  A slightly underwhelming talent but in terms of damage reduction, a six second stun can do wonders against non-immune mobs. While running cata heroics Repentance would have been of much more use than the wrath style AoE fests that current tier heroics feel like. Burden jumps out to me as a PvP talent but could see some value in a kite tanking scenario.  My talent of choice so far has been Repentance even though I haven’t pushed that button since MoP dropped.

Verdict: Doesn’t matter much but Repentance may see some use if running challenge modes or if the trash in the next tier needs to be cc’d.

Tier 3 (Self Heals and Mitigation)

Selfless Healer vs Eternal Flame vs Sacred Shield

Now we’re talking mitigation and healing, this tier is the tier that most directly influences tanking and overall damage taken.  Selfless Healer will result in a free, instant cast Flash of Light about every eighteen seconds (slightly lowered by haste.) I want to love this talent but the my main issue with it stems from the fact that the increased healing portion of this talent only works on others and I’ve found the healing amounts to be pretty underwhelming. Eternal Flame replaces Word of Glory with an identically powered Heal over Time effect. and adds a smallish Heal over Time component. Meh (yeah that’s pretty much how I feel about this one.)  Sacred Shield provides a thirty second buff that will proc a shield every six seconds that absorbs around five thousand damage modified by attack power (more precisely by spellpower but don’t forget Guarded by the Light.) Let that sink in for a moment modified by attack power. As any good tank knows, our attack power is increased by damage taken through the Vengeance  mechanic which can result in gigantic absorb shields.

Verdict:  If you care about your healers and your overall damage mitigation, for the love of all that is holy, take Sacred Shield and work it into your rotation as appropriate.

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