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The Light and How to Swing It: Streamline your prot paladin tanking with macros

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Protection specialist Matt Walsh spends most of his time receiving concussions for the benefit of 24 other people, obsessing over his hair (a blood elf racial!), and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

Tanking successfully often hinges on control -- control over your surroundings, the enemies around you, your damage intake, the threat ceiling, and so on. The more drops of tanky goodness you can squeeze out of your every one movement, the better. And that means that the more efficient you are with your GCDs, the better your performance will be.

One of the easiest ways to make your actions more efficient is with the judicious use of macros. No, I'm not talking about the heresy that was the oft-paired 9 macro and 6 macro back in Wrath, but rather some neat little tricks that can give new forms to your abilities, prevent disastrous side effects from others, give you better raid utility, or even allow you to dominate the interrupts chart on a certain fight.

Debuff? What debuff?
/cancelaura Divine Shield
/cast Divine Shield
One of the dark secrets of the tankadin is how deliciously overpowered Divine Shield can be. Okay, it's not so secret, but my point stands. The above macro, when hit twice, will cast and then immediately remove your Divine Shield, immediately purging any painful debuffs right off you. For example, a prot paladin can immediately slough off a stack of Halfus' Malevolent Strikes.

This macro has been amazing for a long, long time. Tankadins have been dropping debuffs since time immemorial for challenges like Nightbane's Bellowing Roar, Nalorakk's Mangle, or Gormok the Impaler's (aptly named) Impale. Basically, as long as there have been bosses slapping debuffs on paladin tanks, we've been shedding them like worn-out snake skin.

Of course, this fleeting deification can also be given to other tanks with the help of Hand of Protection. But you can't beat the fire-and-forget facilitation that is the Divine Shield macro.

An emergency heal that doesn't shoot us in the foot
/cancelaura Divine Plea
/castsequence Divine Plea, Word of Glory
Probably one of the better uses for Divine Plea is to allow for an emergency 3-holy power Word of Glory heal, since the threat benefit from popping the ability and then Shield of the Righteous is often a wash, considering the ramp-up time and the huge possibility of a miss at current hit/expertise levels. However, Divine Plea reduces our healing by 50% while active. This can, you'd be wise to assume, easily put a damper on any emergency heal.

To mitigate the existential agony of shooting yourself in the foot with the elephant gun while Stampy is bearing down on you, slap a cancelaura for Divine Plea at the beginning and (like the first macro) hit it twice to quick-chain two GCDs together for an excellent heal. Apply Vengeance vigorously for additional wonder.

Be more than a pretty face for your allies

Share the love with the following macros:
/cast [@mouseover,help] Word of Glory

/cast [@mouseover,help] Hand of Protection

/cast [@mouseover,help] Hand of Salvation

/cast [@mouseover,help] Cleanse
Sometimes the tank isn't the one immediately in danger. Especially when content slowly becomes farm and your every motion doesn't hinge on the balance of life and death, you'll find yourself with the spare GCD or two to assist the healers by keeping some member of the raid alive. You can be an immense help to your comrades by throwing out the occasional WoG for a quick boost (I know, it hurts me too thinking of spending our hard-earned holy power on anyone other than ourselves), Hand of Protection to clear some awful debuff or make them drop threat from an add, Salvation to knock the topmost knucklehead from a lofty perch at the top of Omen, or perhaps throw a Cleanse to remove a poison or disease effect from a raid member and save your healer the mana from doing it himself. (This also works for the remaining Hands, like Sacrifice and Freedom, of course.)

Granted, these can also all be accomplished through the addon Clique. If that's not your cup of tea, at least go for the macros.

Save your co-tank's skin

Carrying futher the sentiment of the last batch of macros, remember that as a prot paladin, you don't just bring your own damage reduction cooldowns to the table; you bring cooldowns for the whole tanking family, like a life-saving bucket of chicken or something.

Focus your co-tank and proceed to make liberal use of the following:
/cast [@focus] Hand of Sacrifice
This transfers 30% of the co-tank's damage taken to your heroic self, at a cap of 12 seconds or 100% of your maximum health. Train yourself to be more cognizant of when your equally iron-plated buddy is takin' the hurt and lend a helping hand to shave some of that damage off, and give your healers some breathing space (plus that fun moment of shock when they have to suddenly wonder why you're suddenly taking 15,000 damage when you're not even tanking).

"Can someone post the interrupts chart? Oh, I was in first? I wonder how that happened?"

One fight where a macro can place front and center is on Cho'gall. That walking riposte to the adage two heads are better than one has a delightful ability in which he'll mind-control random raid members into worshipping him until their adorations are interrupted. As a tankadin on that fight, you can perform some fantastic feats of interruption with the following Avenger's Shield macro:
/cleartarget
/targetenemyplayer
/cast Avenger's Shield
/targetlasttarget
Assuming your raid stacks up during the non-add worships, you'll be able to quickly dispatch up to three mind controls in one button press! Not too shabby.

Using this macro, I was easily able to post around 75% of the interrupts done while my guild was learning the Cho'gall fight. Nothing else can compare to the quick reaction that a macroed shield toss can provide. And on top of that, the players you release are barely inconvenienced at all, with the remains of a 3-second silence. Much easier to recover from than a multiple-second fear interrupt that removes players' control of their characters!

E-peen aside, the addon can also be a lifesaver if you're on Cho'gall while the co-tank is off wrangling the add. When it's you and a tank healer or two, having one of your lifeguards knocked out with worship can spell disaster. However, with judicious use of this macro, you can usually free your healer(s) of their forced reverence and get them back to healing you with precious little downtime.

And now I turn it to you

I'm sure there are some macros I haven't stumbled upon or haven't figured out that can be huge life- (or effort-) savers. Do you have any secret weapons? Perhaps some much more efficient versions of the ones above? I'd love to hear them!
The Light and How to Swing It tries to help paladins cope with the dark times brought by Cataclysm. Check out our protection 101 guide and our suggestions for protection paladin addons.

Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

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