Arms Tier Set Bonuses
Like a lot of recently revealed Dragonflight Season 1 tier bonuses, Arms tier bonus looks rather boring at first glance, but it hides a surprising amount of nuance and influence over the rotation. Although the set has only a chance to proc, due to being triggered on critical strike, this helps ensure that Mortal Strike/Cleave/Execute take precedence over other abilities within the rotation; something that was not entirely certain before. More importantly, the set bonus helps cement the use of Cleave
in higher target count situations (such as M+ dungeons), and even encourages weaving it into single target rotations over filling with Slam, although you're still probably not going to talent into Cleave in purely single target situations.
- (2) Set Bonus: Mortal Strike and Cleave damage and chance to critically strike increased by 10%.
- (4) Set Bonus: Mortal Strike, Cleave, & Execute critical strikes increase your damage and critical strike chance by 5% for 6 seconds.
Fury Tier Set Bonuses
Fury's tier set bonuses are very straightforward, revolving entirely around one spells - Execute. Unlike some other bonuses, this does effectively require talenting into Sudden Death
, though its position on the tree makes it extremely likely every build would take it anyway, so it's not actually as invasive as it looks. More interestingly, it has a trickle down effect of also putting a great deal of emphasis onto taking Ashen Juggernaut
and to a lesser degree Massacre
, and this is where it starts to feel like it impinges on the freedom of build crafting, since we're now talking about dedicating three talent points instead of just one. That said, all three of these happen to be very strong and useful talents that are easy to reach, so how much of an issue this is falls on whether you happen to like them or not.
- (2) Set Bonus: Execute’s chance to critically strike increased by 10%.
- (4) Set Bonus: Sudden Death’s chance to reset the cooldown of Execute and make it usable on any target, regardless of health, is greatly increased.
Protection Warrior Tier Set Bonuses
In the latest Dragonflight Beta Build, tier sets were finally implemented! Dragonflight’s Season 1 tier set bonuses are much simpler than the Sepulcher of the First Ones bonuses, and that’s fine. With more player power being shifted into the talent tree than at any point in WoW’s history, the reduction in value from tier set bonuses is alright.
Here are the two Protection Warrior Tier Set Bonuses:
- (2) Set Bonus: Revenge grants you Vanguard’s Determination, increasing your damage done and reducing damage you take by 4% for 5 seconds.
- (4) Set Bonus: During Vanguard’s Determination, gain Ignore Pain equal to 5% of damage you deal.
How Good Are They?
The 2-piece bonus provides 4% damage output and damage reduction as a reward for performing your rotation normally. This is a simple bonus that is pretty easy to maintain. It has a minor negative synergy with Barbaric Training
, but that talent has been nerfed into non-viability anyways. For the most part, it is pretty unintrusive in the standard rotation and your talent choices. Elite players will monitor the buff and manage their rotation to ensure it never falls off, but the difference in playstyles between being super hardcore or just playing normally is going to be fairly minor. You hit Revenge often enough that even if you aren’t paying much attention, your buff uptime should be pretty high. UNTIL THE EXECUTE PHASE!
THEN IT COMPLETELY DISRUPTS YOUR ROTATION!
If this tier set bonus is revamped to also work with Execute, it will be great. If it is not, the 5-second duration will severely
limit Protection Warrior’s capability to deal Execute damage and maintain this buff. The latest round of Rage nerfs have made it considerably tougher to generate the Rage needed to keep this buff active and have anything left over to Execute. That won’t be a gigantic, class-ruining problem in Mythic+, but it is a serious issue in raids. Since both the 2-piece and 4-piece are built around maintaining high uptime on this buff, it will essentially mean that you either sacrifice BOTH tier set bonuses during Execute phases, or (lol) you just ignore the Execute phase and pretend you're playing BFA Protection Warrior. Neither of these options are great. This is a fundamental failure of Execute being a second offensive Rage dump for Protection Warriors, rather than a Rage generator like it is for Fury (and Hammer of Wrath is for Protection Paladin), but all signs point to that design sticking around for another expansion
, so this tier set needs changes or it will directly interfere with Protection Warrior's core class design.
The 4-piece practically functions like 5% Leech while the 2-piece is active, but unlike Leech, which has no value when you are at full health, pouring extra absorb value into Ignore Pain is basically always good while actively tanking. Compared to Brutal Vitality
, it is a much weaker effect – but Brutal Vitality
requires an active Ignore Pain to pour more absorb value into. The 4-piece creates Ignore Pain, which then synergizes beautifully with Brutal Vitality
. Together, they sort of
give Protection Warrior 40% Leech. There are two mechanics that can cause gaps in uptime (letting the 2-piece fall off & Ignore Pain being consumed) that keep this interaction relatively well-balanced, but the design on paper is very appealing.
Do They Affect Your Rotation and Talents?
Outside the Execute phase, not really. Neither of these bonuses significantly affect your rotation or talent choices beyond the two mentioned above. Barbaric Training
is a talent that loses a bit of value, but it's already not great. Brutal Vitality
is a good talent that gets much stronger. Extending the duration of the 2-piece bonus by a few seconds so that it’s a little easier to maintain would be a good quality of life bonus, and it would make dealing with mechanics that force you out of melee range less punishing.
The Execute issue with the 2-piece is a pretty serious concern, but it's very easy to fix. Even if it stays as-is, these bonuses are both good. They are boring (and fairly annoying during the Execute phase), but that’s alright. Protection Warriors are receiving major changes in Dragonflight. The rotation is becoming more complex. Talents are going to create way more potential playstyles and provide more offensive and defensive cooldown options. Players are going to need time to get comfortable with the new state of Protection Warriors. By giving the class a pair of simple tier set bonuses, Blizzard is staying clear of some of the issues that they created in Patch 9.2, where Protection Warrior was a good tank once you acquired tier set and Double Legendary bonuses
, but pretty painful to play until that point. Struggling until you pick up tier set bonuses would be extremely disappointing. The base class is excellent, the Season 1 tier bonuses are good, this is all great.