…or “How I learned to stop tanking and love the BG.”
My guild is starting to put together Rated Battleground runs. Thus far my attempts at Fury and Arms play has been less than stellar, but I did have a brief period of Protection PvP back in Wrath. I decided to look through the new talents and see what I could find and put together. What I discovered was a world of interesting choices completely unlike anything I had seen.
Heroic Throw what you thought you knew about Warrior Protection builds out the window. PvP is a lot more about Situational use abilities. Having the right moves at the right time, therefore a lot of the talents become more viable and several become less important. Certain pillars remain, but it’s definitely a whole new Talent Tree. The main goals being to outlive, outlast, and outplay our enemies. By “outplay,” I mean annoy the ever-loving Fel out of them.
Toughness is still going to be the first thing to take, Survivability being the keystone of a Prot Warrior. Between Incite and Blood & Thunder, I am giving the nod to B&T. Incite’s second guaranteed crit is nice, but it is costly to Heroic Strike twice in such a short time frame when Rage generation can get iffy. Blood & Thunder, however, becomes a solid tool to put pressure on Healers when assaulting key points on the BG. Three or four of the defenders suddenly getting a bleed debuff and an attack speed debuff turns the battle more in your side’s favor and just might freak out that Priest on the other side. Note, if I were building for Arena, I may go with Incite, Prot isn’t as viable there, but on a 5v5 team there may be a spot. Though, with the coming nerf to Heroic Strike Incite will fall further in worth.
Gag Order is the first thing to grab. Those two points give you more of a chance against caster with the power of Silence. Shield Specialization should be maxed out. This should prevent or at least limit Rage stavation with fewer people pounding on you, as you will want to be wearing PvP gear for the Resiliance, which means less Dodge & Parry, but some Mastery, but Shield Mastery will be equally important for giving you the abilities you need when you need them. Hold the Line should be skipped as your Parry rating will be low along with the fact that half of the classes won’t want to be swinging at you at all. So while leveling, grab Gag Order and split the other two, if you are already 85 max both Shield Specialization & Shield Mastery.
Last Stand, Concussion Blow, and Warbringer, take them all. Warbringer first for mobility, then Last Stand. Concussion Blow is a solid stun that will give your side a moment to turn moment, and it has a moderate cooldown, allowing it to be tossed on each new enemy. You will probably wind up taking Bastion of Defense at some point, just to hit the 30 needed for shockwave. The Reduced Crit chance and Enrage are nice, but not SUPER important in PvP, fill those open Shield talents in Level 2 first while leveling to advance.
Devestate and Improved Revenge will give you a bit more bite. Impending Victory will be mostly worthless as you will want to be switching to healthier targets to slow them down. I could see it being useful in a one on one situation for clutch healing as you both wear down, but for now, I say skip it.
Vigilance can and should be skipped. Thunderstruck has great synergy with Blood & Thunder and will give you a ramp up on damage against small crowds. Heavy Repercussions grants a bonus for a buttons you’ll want to be hitting anyway.
Sword and Board always should be maxed, just take it. Safeguard will not be as pointless in a BG or Arena as it helps save your teammates (read as healer or flag carrier). Just remember that Intervene breaks roots too.
Shockwave take it. Leaving the tree looking something like: http://www.wowhead.com/talent#LZZcfhdRRobru
Arms & Fury Talents
Outside of the Protection tree there are a couple of options. First would be to go into Arms for Second Wind, which makes you harder to stop. War Academy is the most solid choice in the tree as it buffs key abilities further. Field Dressing is not as important in PvP but it is fairly equal to the advantage of Blitz, so either can work.
In the Fury Tree, the self healing of Blood Craze may be useful, but Cruelty should take priority making your Shield Slam all the better. Battle Trance will help cut back on Rage Starvation or, working with Shield Specialization, allow you to hit Inner Rage more often in the clutch, or have it ready at the right moment. Second Tier abilities worth reaching for are Piercing Howl to slow down runners and Rude Interruption to give you a damage boost on a healer or caster you just bashed.
Primes are Devestate, Revenge, and Shield Slam, all the Protection key abilities. Major Glyph selection can be a bit more difficult, but I recommend Thunder Clap to spread Rend further, Spell Reflection to give it more uptime, & Shockwave to have it ready when you need it. Minors that will work best are probably Beserker Rage for the bonus rage, Demoralizing Shout since it will benefit your teammates as much as you when you are together, and either Battle or Command based on preference (or group composition if you have someone who can supply the equivalent of the other).
With what was covered here are some example builds.
The “Can’t Put Me Down” – http://www.wowhead.com/talent#LG0bZhZcfhdRRRbbu
The “In your Face” – http://www.wowhead.com/talent#LhZcbzoZcfhdRRobru
The Living Shutdown – http://www.wowhead.com/talent#L0bZcbMoZcfhdRRobru
So next time you hit the battlefield, remember your Sword (Axe, Hammer, etc) & Board and shut some people down.