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Have Warriors been Replaced as Main Tanks?

In this weeks editorial I look at yet another question that has come up in my guild recently. Since myself and one other Paladin have started tanking for the guild in Karazhan (KZ) and Zul'Aman (ZA), several of the other players have asked why warriors are ever needed. Many of the guild players asking, even have warrior tanks and are just in the group to play and gear their DPS or healers, so they know the warrior tanking mechanics.

With the recent changes to level out health between Warriors and Paladins, have Warriors become redundant? Have they lost their primary role? Since I am far more educated on how Paladin tanks work, I am going to mainly focus on where they do well and compare it to a warrior.

Paladin Strengths

Paladins are just one of the three forms of tank in the World of Warcraft (WoW) and until very recently the most shunned. However in Patch 2.3 Blizzard gave the Paladin some love in the form of a 10% stamina buff that brings them into the same ballpark health wise as a Warrior or Druid tank. This simple change has made many more players sit up and take notice of the Paladin tank. What they don't realize is that Paladin tanks were every bit as good before the health increase as after. The health increase is just a very visual item that allows players to see Paladin health as being up to the task of tanking.

The obvious first strength to look at then is a Paladin tanks health pool. The main difference is now that Paladins have nearly the same health pool as a warrior in similar gear. This makes it far easier for a paladin to get a job in a group or guild tanking. Previously, Paladins were always behind by about 12-15% health wise due to Warriors having an extra 10% stamina buff and an available ranged weapon slot that could be filled with a weapon providing stamina. Now that Paladins have the same 10% increase in stamina we are only slightly behind in health. So, while warriors will still always have higher health pools with similar gear, the gap is close enough now that due to tanking mechanics I believe this actually works out in our favor. This is because we generally have to stack more avoidance bonuses to ensure uncrushable status.

The next strength is usually viewed as a weakness, however I firmly believe it is a solid advantage to a Paladin tank, crushability. In any raid (other than ZA) bosses can land crushing blows if you do not have at least 102.4% avoidance. Warriors can reach this number very easily since their abilities provide them a 75% chance right off the bat, while a Paladins Holy Shield (HS) only provides a 35% chance. This advantage to warriors means that many warriors never think twice about avoidance or crushability. Paladins however struggle long a hard before being able to reach the target number. This struggle ensures that they learn all about avoidance, how it works, how to maximize it, and its importance. Many players have found that if you want a good understanding of tanking gear, ask a local protection Paladin. To me, this forced learning is critical in the training of how to tank, and makes the average Paladin tank more aware of it than a Warrior.

The last strength advantage that a Paladin tank has is their Area of Effect (AoE) damage and threat ability, consecration. This proves useful in so many ways that many players wonder how they ran instances or raids before playing with a Paladin tank.Once geared properly an average Paladin tank can run difficult level 70 instances such as Shattered Halls in less than an hour (my record is 32 minutes which was before I was finished getting KZ and badge gear) with almost no crowd control (cc). This makes instances and raids much easier to deal with as there are generally no monsters left running around, and AoE players such as a Warlock or Mage can truly let the DPS fly. The mage's in my guild are always asking for Paladin tanks to run heroic instances, since they don't have to worry about drawing aggro on AoE groups and being killed. While Warriors have an ability that allows them to grab aggro from everyone around them it is on a long cool down and not as useful as consecration.

Warrior Strengths

Warriors shine in mana drain fights, since they have no mana. There are several boss fights and many Mob fights that Paladins have difficulty with since there is a mana drain ability involved. The simple fact with Paladins is that if they have no mana, they are about as useful as a wet paper bag at stopping that monster from getting to the group. Luckily there are not that many of these fights, and due to our mana regen through healing, we can limp through these fights. Warriors however have a huge advantage here and there is no getting around that.

Silence is another mechanic that Warriors have an advantage with. While Silence shuts down every ability a Paladin has, Warriors can still function and hold threat while silenced. There are some abilities they can not use, but they can still do enough to hold aggro. The average Paladin tank needs DPS to slow drastically during a silence effect or they will lose aggro.

The last advantage that I feel Warriors really have over a Paladin tank is the ability to stance-dance through fear effects. While this does not work on all fear effects is still allows Warriors to largely ignore fear, or minimize the chance it will take place. This may or may not be as important with the new fear ward changes since all priests now have it. However, since it is now on a 3 minute timer it may remain just as important.


As a Paladin tank I would love nothing more than to say that we are the end all and be all of tanking, however I see many times that a Warrior tank is flat out better than we are. For example, one problem fight I have is the Maiden in KZ since the silence is always interrupting everything I try to do. I end up sitting there spamming my spells over and over to actually get them through. The silence has never actually made me lose aggro, but is does hold my threat way down and is very annoying. On the other end of the scale though, it is very easy for a Paladin tank to hold Moroes and an add or two instead of having them CC'ed, Attumen and his horse, and any AoE group in an instance or Raid.

It is very common for a new guild member to join one of our heroic runs or KZ / ZA runs and be horrified that a Paladin is going to tank. Then, once they see a few pulls with no CC and no loss of aggro despite everyone going full out to be amazed and ask why warriors bother tanking any more. A prime example was the other night running ZA with a rogue that was from an alternate KZ group (we run 3-4 groups in our guild) that had not seen a Paladin tank at work. After just a few Mobs and the first boss he asked how anyone ever pulls aggro, because he had been using all his cool downs and abilities and never come close. When in his KZ group with a similar warrior, he had to constantly watch threat. All the DPS from my KZ group immediately said that since they got a paladin tank, threat was never an issue and they would never go back. The rogue then asked about joining our KZ group.

I don't for a second believe, as much as my ego would like too, that it is just me. I have run many instances and raids with my other characters and far prefer a Paladin tank to any other. I almost never pull aggro from one, can go full out on DPS more often, can use multiple target abilities more often, and large heals can take place without risking the adds switching onto the healer. There is almost no situation where I have said to myself "I wish a Warrior tank was here", but there have been many times I have said "I wish we had a Paladin tank".

All of the above leads me to the fortunate ability to say that most of the time we (Paladin Tanks) are better. Warriors will always be considered by many "the only real tank", however with a Paladin's equalized health pool, AoE threat ability, and overall general utility I believe that the Protection Paladin has become the must have tank in a group. I also believe that as more players are exposed to competent Paladin tanks, more will start looking for them over Warriors. I know that the Wa

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