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Starym

Shadowlands Pre-patch Week 1 DPS Rankings and Analysis

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Update: Today's hotfixes nerfed Shadow Priests and Arcane Mages, but it remains to be seen by how much. You can read the changes here.

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The first reset of the pre-patch has arrived and we're going to be looking at the WarcraftLogs stats for Ny'alotha and the DPS specs in particular. After we checked in on day 2 of the patch many things were hotfixed and the rankings have shifted, so we also poked our guide writers to comment on the current standings, as some specs have already been nerfed from the below rankings.

This time around we'll start with the 95th percentile, where Shadow Priests have pulled ahead even further, and we have a new spec in the top, as Warlocks get one top and one bottom ranking spec:

    Q1eI88P.jpg

    The 50th percentile is a little different, but it's the same specs in the general top, with somewhat different individual standings:

    eWo8shL.jpg

    So why are these specs performing so well? Let's see what our experts have to say.

    Shadow Priest, Publik:

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    Shadow Priest is still a very dominant ranged spec in pre-patch. A large chunk of this strength is coming from the reworked SP having some very overpowered interactions with an Azerite Trait, Spiteful Apparitions Spiteful Apparitions, and not necessarily the base class specifically. The rework changed just about everything with Shadow, including the way Priests generate Shadowy Apparitions Shadowy Apparitions, which directly correlates to this Azerite Trait being even stronger than it already was before pre-patch. Going into Shadowlands without this trait I still expect Shadow to perform very well in raids, simply due to the amount of options available in the toolkit in the form of talents and other baseline changes to the spec, just not to the insane degree it is at now.

    Affliction Warlock, Motoko:

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    First and foremost the new Affliction spec spender changed Affliction fundamentally into a much more versatile spec that is able to deal damage in burst windows and is extremely efficient in doing so. Where previously on distant multi target Affliction damage was limited to single Unstable Affliction Unstable Affliction applications, Malefic Rapture Malefic Rapture for the cost of a single shard can damage ANY target affected by at least 1 DoT. Encounters with relatively short living adds, such as Vexiona or Il'gynoth previously used to be a bit ill-suited scenarios for a Spec without any "burst AoE" capabilities, and even situations with longer living targets (Drest'agath and to a lesser extent Xanesh, Ra-den, N'Zoth) saw the spec constrained by the actual amount of resources generated while still tied to an exclusively single target spender. Malefic Rapture changed all of it, and created a new profile where Affliction can output single and multitarget or plain AoE damage in a cadence that suits both situations where you need high sustained output, or frequent spikes of damage.

    Last but not least, the rotational changes opened up new Essences to be used, in particular Blood of the Enemy Blood of the Enemy, when paired with Manifesto of Madness Manifesto of Madness, and Memory of Lucid Dreams Memory of Lucid Dreams.

    Arcane Mage, Dutchmagoz:

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    One major reason Arcane is doing so well, is due to changes to Rune of Power Rune of Power, which now automatically drops when casting Arcane Power Arcane Power. On October 20th, the interaction with Vision of Perfection and Rune of Power has been nerfed, so you no longer get a free Rune when it triggers Arcane Power. This will cause a pretty sizable drop-off in DPS for Arcane. This will most likely also change the best major Essence for Arcane to Worldvein Resonance Worldvein Resonance again, which wasn't very far behind Vision, but still enough to cause a meaningful nerf. The exact impact of these nerfs will still have to be seen throughout the coming reset.

    Since pre-patch removed corruption, and Arcane wasn't very reliant on corruption compared to other specs and classes (especially compared to Fire Mages), it gained a lot of relative strength. Additionally, Arcane getting its major cooldown Arcane Power reduced from a 3 minute cooldown to a 2 minute cooldown makes it so that it lines up much better with the timers of various adds and fight mechanics in Ny'alotha.

    Alongside the above reasons, Arcane also got some new tools to deal efficient cleave DPS without having to give up any single target DPS via Touch of the Magi Touch of the Magi and Arcane Echo Arcane Echo.

    Another reason Arcane is doing so well is due to the changes to its mastery, which now also boosts Arcane Missiles Arcane Missiles damage. Due to this, talents and traits before seen as "dead" talents and traits, are now very strong, like Amplification Amplification and Arcane Pummeling Arcane Pummeling.

    Beast Mastery Hunter, Azortharion:

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    Beast Mastery is one of the strongest ranged specs in the WoW prepatch, even though it has lost the stat amplifiers that were so strong for it. This is because of its awesome stat scaling combined with Dance of Death Dance of Death letting it keep a huge uptime on the buff. It also changed very little and is very easy to play, with a strong toolkit for both single-target and AoE.

    Unholy Death Knight, Abyssalwave:

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    Currently the combination for Unholy’s new talents, revamped stats, Azerite traits, and Essences let Unholy do ridiculous damage. Unholy’s mastery now also affects their minions which means it affects Magus of the Dead Magus of the Dead from both the Azerite trait and the Talent (Army of the Damned Army of the Damned). You will see people using primarily triple Magus of the Dead and triple Heart of Darkness Heart of Darkness in order to gain as much Mastery as possible. Also the ability to have sockets on every piece of gear lets you stack even more mastery to hit a baseline of over 300-350. Vision of Perfection Vision of Perfection also spawns even more Magus of the Dead which again scale off your mastery. All of this allows Unholy to deal high amount of damage during the prepatch.

     

    We'll be checking in on the DPS logs throughout the pre-patch and analyzing the stats for not only the top specs, but other as well. You can also check out the full pre-patch class guides here, for even more details on each spec.

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