A while back, a couple of paladins in my old guild were interested in trying out prot, and I wrote this guide to pre-raid and pre-heroic gear for them. I had seen this guide at WoW Vault, and I liked the list, but in my opinion, a lot of the gear suggestions weren't ideal. A prot paladin can get by in warrior gear, but if you want to tank heroics and Kara, you'll be much better off with more focused gear.
The goal of this guide is to get a newly-70 paladin tank geared up enough to tank heroics and Karazhan. Therefore, none of the gear listed drops in heroics or raids. It's all attainable by questing or running non-heroic instances. (Or in some cases, by dropping a ton of money at the auction house.)
- Crystalforged Sword. Pick this bad boy up in the auction house for about 200 gold, or grind like mad in Ogri'la until it drops for you. The AH is your best bet, though.
- Seeker's Gavel is available when you hit Revered with the Shattered Sun Offensive, and edges out the Crystalforged Sword in threat.
- You could also get a Continuum Blade when you're Revered with Keepers of Time.
- Major Spellpower - Your weapon alone will now give you the majority of the spell damage you need to hold rock-solid aggro.
- Libram of the Eternal Rest - Ugh. This is the only pre-heroic tanking libram that's worth anything, and it's still pretty awful. Do yourself a favor, and as soon as you start running heroics, save up your badges for a Libram of Repentance.
- Sunward Crest requires Exalted with the Shattered Sun. Amazing for paladin tanks, and the rep grind is remarkably fast.
- Crest of the Sha'tar requires Exalted with the Sha'tar, and is your best bet if you're after raw stamina.
- Aegis of the Sunbird - drops in Botanica
- Platinum Shield of the Valorous - drops in Shadow Labyrinth
- Major Stamina - probably the best choice, and so easy to get
- Shield Block - if you're still having trouble reaching uncrushable
- Tankatronic Goggles - if you're an engineer, it doesn't get better than this. These babies will last you until well into T6 content.
- Helm of the Righteous - drops in Mechanar
- Greathelm of the Unbreakable - drops in Shattered Halls
- Felsteel Helm - crafted by Blacksmithing, a fairly common recipe
- Glyph of the Defender - requires revered with Keepers of Time
- Strength of the Untamed - requires Revered with Cenarion Expedition. Great if you want avoidance.
- Shattered Sun Pendant of Resolve - requires Exalted with the Shattered Sun. Gives a huge boost to stam, but if you're Scryers, the proc isn't so hot. Highly recommended if you're Aldor.
- Mark of the Ravenguard - reward from a simple quest in Sethekk Halls. Another good stam piece.
- Nexus-Guard's Pauldrons - reward from a quest line in Netherstorm, starting with this quest. Don't let the green fool you! These are great shoulders to get while you try for a gemmable piece, and still good to hang onto for AoE tanking.
- Spaulders of the Righteous - drops in Botanica
- Shoulderguards of the Bold - drops in Shadow Labyrinth
- Obviously, pick the best one you qualify for from your respective faction (Aldor/Scryers).
- Devilshark Cape - drops from the last boss of Steam Vaults. I'm not even going to bother listing any other options, because this is what you want, no questions asked. Every warrior or paladin tank should be wearing this cloak until they get badge/raid gear, and sometimes even after that.
- Steelweave - vastly superior to +12 dodge rating, the pre-patch 2.4 favorite
- Jade Skull Breastplate - drops in Mechanar. A rock-solid choice that will give you the stamina you so badly need without expensive gems.
- Breastplate of the Righteous - drops in Steam Vault, which you're going to be running anyway to get the Devilshark Cape.
- Vindicator's Hauberk - requires Revered with Aldor. Even if you don't need the defense, it's good to have around to make up the defecit, for instance, if you have to wear resist gear.
- Defense - usually the best choice
- Exceptional Stats - very popular with paladins, though in my opinion, inferior to Defense
- Sha'tari Wrought Armguards - reward from a simple quest in Shadow Labs.
- Bracers of the Green Fortress - crafted by blacksmithing, but the pattern is rare and the mats are expensive. You can't beat these for pre-raid tanking bracers, though.
- Major Defense - if you still need to reach 490
- Gauntlets of the Righteous - drops in Shattered Halls.
- Felsteel Gloves - crafted by Blacksmithing, and a very solid choice.
- Gauntlets of the Chosen - only available if you're Revered with the Scryers.
- Dauntless Handguards - reward from a quest in Shattered Halls. Unfortunately not available to Horde paladins.
- Major Spellpower - a good beginner enchant, will help you build threat when you're starting out.
- Threat - superior to Major Spellpower once you're able to put out about 500 threat per second. Watch your threat meter while you're tanking to see if it's right for you.
- Sha'tari Vindicator Waistguard - reward at the end of the (very long) quest chain to get the Arcatraz key. If you're Aldor, start here. If you're Scryers, start here. The quest chain eventually sends you into Mechanar and Botanica, but the rest is soloable.
- Belt of the Guardian - if you've got about a thousand gold burning a hole in your pocket. Crafted by blacksmithing; mats are very expensive, but this is another piece that will last you into T6 content.
- Legguards of the Resolute Defender - reward from a quest chain in Netherstorm, starting with this quest. Complete the chain up to at least this step, then go start this chain. These are great pants for avoidance.
- Timewarden's Leggings - requires revered with Keepers of Time. With the right gems, you can't beat these pants for stamina. Try to get these.
- Felsteel Leggings - crafted by blacksmithing. They have high armor, and make a good choice if you're still trying to reach 490 defense.
- Clefthide Leg Armor - pretty affordable on the auction house
- Nethercleft Leg Armor - if you want to spend the extra cash.
- Flesh Beast's Metal Greaves - absolutely wonderful boots that you can get for completing the escort quest at the end of Mana Tombs. It's pretty tough, though--run it with a guild group if you can. There's really nothing comparable outside of heroics.
- Boots of the Protector - if you're a blacksmith with a couple thousand gold to burn, these are another piece that will last you until T5/T6 content. The boots are bind on pickup, but you can buy the pattern on the auction house.
- Fortitude - you can't go wrong with stamina
- Dexterity - good for a little extra avoidance. Good luck finding someone who can do it, though.
- Wind Trader's Band - quest reward in Netherstorm, starting with this quest. Again, don't let the green fool you! This ring is wonderful. Get it. Love it.
- Iron Band of the Unbreakable - drops in Old Hillsbrad
- Elementium Band of the Sentry - drops in Arcatraz
- Figurine of the Colossus - drops in Shattered Halls, and is utterly amazing for paladin tanks. It makes things like this video possible. You can see about halfway through, he pops the trinket, and a few seconds later his health is back to full again. I get chills.
- Adamantite Figurine - drops in Shadow Labyrinth
- Goblin Rocket Launcher or Gnomish Poultryizer - if you're an engineer, it doesn't get better than this. Huge stamina boost, plus somewhat useful abilities.
- Darkmoon Card: Vengeance - something every pally tank should shoot for, but requires you to buy a couple thousand gold worth of cards on the AH. Just watch the auction house for cards that are below market price, and pick them up whenever you can.
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