Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Patch 5.0.4 Protection Paladin Talents

Orv is a prot pally who, while avoiding doing too much questing in the beta, has been running dungeons the last few months so he can be ready when the new patch drops.

     Happy Patch Day!  This isn't intended to be a complete guide for playing a pally post patch 5.04, just an update to my previous talent guide. If you want a more comprehensive overview Rhidach has a much more in depth post up over here. If you're more the hard numbers type Theck has been breaking down our stat priorities the past few weeks.

     My last talent post broke down the choices a protection paladin faced while leveling in Cata. In MoP most of what had previously been talent choices are now selected automatically when you choose your specialization. Talents are now chosen every 15 levels, which each tier of talents revolving around a certain theme. One important difference from previous talent choice design is that it is difficult to pick a “wrong” talent. There may be one choice that is superior to the others, but making the “wrong” talent choice in MoP is not going to be as damaging to your overall success. Many of the talent choices are situational, and you should feel comfortable making your choice based on your personal play-style or the preferences of your co-tank or healers. Talents may be swapped out between fights as well, allowing you to change up your “spec” to optimize for a particular encounter.

Tier 1 (Level 15)
The paladin tier one talents focus on mobility.

Speed of Light is a flat 70% speed boost with an 8 second duration on a 45 second CD. Finally paladins have a meaningful gap closer. This will probably be my choice for most encounters.

Long Arm of the Law gives a 45% speed boost every time you judge. This is currently available as a ret talent and there are a few encounters (Spine, transitions on Madness) where I would love to have this talent while tanking.

Pursuit of Justice- Base 15% movement speed increase with an extra 5% for each charge of holy power (up to 3) the pally is holding. This will probably be my choice when soloing.

Tier 2 (Level 30)
Tier two talents are our “crowd control” section.

Fist of Justice is like Hammer of Justice on steroids. When I’m PvPing I will probably roll with this choice.

Repentance is currently available to our retribution specced brothers and sisters, and I miss it on those odd raid weeks where we are light on CC. This will almost certainly be my choice for dungeons and raids. Its CD is vastly reduced from Cata, bringing it more in line with other classes CC.

Burden of Guilt is situational, and probably more useful in PvP than PvE.

Tier 3 (Level 45)
Tier 3 is a healing/mitigation tier, and probably my favorite in the whole tree.

Selfless Healer is a probably the weakest choice. A free flash of light every 3 judgments (buffed if cast on someone else) isn’t bad, it just isn’t as strong as the other choices.

Eternal Flame replaces Word of Glory. It is a stronger version of  (edit: Theck has kindly pointed out that the tooltip on Word of Glory is wrong. Eternal Flame is just WoG with a HoT. Currently the buff from SotR does not buff the HoT so it does not scale with Mastery.) Word of Glory with a HoT. I’ve read that it is impacted by our Mastery the same as WoG which makes this an attractive talent. I’m still going to go with...

Sacred Shield: 30 second duration on a 6 second CD, Sacred Shield gives you a bubble (roughly) equal to your spell power. Since our spell power is derived from our attack power which more than ever is impacted by vengeance, Sacred Shield looks to be an incredibly useful mitigation tool. Also I’ve missed it all Cata long.

Tier 4 (Level 60)
I think of this as the “Hands” tier.

Hand of Purity is a new Hand spell which reduces DoT damage on the target. I will LOVE THIS in PvP and I think it is a solid choice for Holy Pallys in general.

Unbreakable Spirit will probably be my choice for MoP as it will reduce the cooldown on three different CDs when I spend holy power. More uptime on commonly used CDs is wonderful and the chance to get Lay on Hands off twice in a fight is pretty special.

Clemency allows a paladin to use each of their “Hand” spells twice before triggering the cooldown. This feels like another talent that is more useful for PvP or healers (or even Ret pallies who do more than hump meters).

Tier 5 (Level 75)
Tier 5 is the Holy Power tier.

Holy Avenger is very similar to the ret pally cooldown Zealotry. Every 2 minutes CS/HotR will generate 3 charges of holy power. This would provide constant mitigation from SotR and quickly stack the Bastion of Glory buff to WoG for the 18 seconds it is active. This will be a great choice for fights that have a burst damage component. (Even if it is magical burst damage this will smooth your incoming physical damage and quickly buff WoG to let you help with your healing.)

Sanctified Wrath increases the duration of your Wings and cuts the CD of Judgment in half while wings are popped, as well as buffing healing received. Since Judgment is a Holy Power generator now this also means faster HP generation. (Edit: If you read the comments you will see that Theck has also pointed out Sanctified Wrath is the DPS winner among these three choices. My choice of Holy Avenger is, in large part, a matter of my comfort with the Zealotry buff, and my experience using that talent in the beta, not a matter of hard numerical research.)

Divine Purpose is another variation of a current Ret pally ability. Powers that consume HP have a 25% chance to give you a free 3 HP cast of any HP consuming ability. Currently I’m leaning towards Holy Avenger as my choice but I know DP can have an impact on the damage smoothing in a hit/expertise/mastery build, and I will likely check out DP at some point for comparison purposes.

Tier 6 (Level 90)
These talents are not available until MoP drops (obviously).

Holy Prism: Is an interesting ability. You blast a target with a beam of light. If it is an enemy they take damage and radiate healing to nearby allies. If it is an ally they take healing and radiate damage to nearby enemies.

Light’s Hammer creates a 10 yard AoE zone that damages enemies and heals allies.

Execution Sentence is basically a Holy DoT that ramps up until expiring in a burst of damage. It can also be cast on an ally to provide healing. This is the choice that I am currently leaning towards the most, though I expect to swap this one out fairly often.

    In my Cata tanking post I didn’t address glyphs, but I’ve had enough people ask (either in person or in the comments) about glyph choices that I think it is worth including a section on them here. In Cata I was a big proponent of swapping out your glyphs from fight to fight (as were most pally tanks, given how many of our glyphs were situational). This is even more true in MoP. My first reaction to checking out our MoP glyph selection was that I didn’t see much that I would consider a “must have.” This isn’t a bad thing. Unless you’re looking for someone to map out the very best glyphs for you . If that’s what you’re here for my advice to you is that you look over each glyph, consider the enemies you’ll be facing, and make the best choices you can with what you know. Don’t be afraid to play around with your set up.

     As always please feel free to drop any questions in the comments and I'll do my best to answer them.

*Note: In my last talent guide I included links to all of the talents. At this time wowhead has not switched over from Cata to MoP talents so I am holding off on inserting the links for a few days.


  1. Nice post. Only a couple comments:
    1) EF's base heal isn't any larger than WoG's. They use the exact same formula. The tooltip for WoG has been wrong for quite a few beta builds now. Also, as of our last testing, the HoT didn't benefit from Bastion of Glory at all, making it rather weak. Sacred Shield is by far the strongest choice that tier, and probably will be even if EF gains synergy with BoG.

    Holy Avenger also increases the damage of your Holy Power generators by 30% while active, which isn't such a big deal for CS, but is great for our hard-hitting J's and AS's.

    Sanctified Wrath also increases healing taken by 20% during Avenging Wrath now. I should also mention that it's our highest-DPS choice this tier.

    I think a lot of people are overlooking the power of Clemency. Unbreakable Spirit is definitely great, and may well be the default choice. But Clemency is a lot like Hand of Purity - very strong in certain situations. Being able to HoProtection or HoSacrifice twice opens up a lot of neat tricks (example: Heroic Anub'Arak kiting).

    1. Wow, thank you for both reading my post and adding your comments to it. That means a lot to me coming from someone whose tanking and theorycrafting I have so much respect for.

      1) That's what I get for trusting those tooltips!

      2) I didn't realize SW was outpacing HA for dps. I really enjoy the Zealotry mechanic and think that will "feel" the most natural for me, but that is good to know for any fights where we're feeling light on DPS.

      3)I agree that both of those have the opportunity to be very strong situationally. (I probably would have gone with Clemency when I first started single tanking normal Madness, the Extra HoP would have made handling the Impales even easier.)

      I'm not sure how well it came across to anyone reading the post, but I tried to emphasize in my introduction that I expect to see a lot of talent swapping between bosses where different combinations can be more powerful depending on what mechanics are present in each fight.

  2. Great post, Orv!

    Since I only really dink around on my Pally as an alt, this was perfect for me.

    Thanks again,