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Shadowlands Pre-patch Tank Raid Rankings and Analysis

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We still have tanks left in our Warcraft Logs analysis and it's high time we got to them! While these aren't the best tanking stats, as they cover DPS only, but as there's nothing else stats-wise that can be tracked for them, it's still worth noting. We mostly focus on our class guide writers' insight into the rankings for almost all the specs, as they go into detail on both the current and Shadowlands tanking situations.

Paladins have been dominating this particular niche by a rather larger margin, with the other tank classes generally bundled up, and Vengeance DHs at the bottom. Let's start with the 95th percentile:

Data by Warcraft Logs.

Data by Warcraft Logs.

Protection Paladin by Panthea:


Protection Paladin went from zero to hero in pre-patch as it now has the ability to interact with Retribution Azerite traits with the addition of Holy Power, specifically Light's Decree Light's Decree.

With the high amount of Holy Power at your disposal as a Protection Paladin, this means that any moment inside of Avenging Wrath Avenging Wrath is a huge DPS cooldown. Combine this with Holy Avenger Holy Avenger which allows you to have a Holy Power spender every global on demand, can lead to the devastation that is observable on Tank rankings in Nyalotha.

The Major Essence Vision of Perfection Vision of Perfection plays very well into this as it facilitates a higher uptime (by both reducing the cooldown and procing a shorter version) on Avenging Wrath, which subsequently means a higher amount of time that Light's Decree is doing damage.

This trend will continue for Paladin into Shadowlands, and while it wont be as egregious as it is right now in pre-Patch, most of your damage will be coming from your character rather than borrowed power systems. The systems simply enhance the output of your character.

Blood Death Knight by Panthea:


In the pre-patch, the focus has shifted away from handling Corruption to maximising your Haste for DPS. This has led to players using 3x Bloody Runeblade Bloody Runeblade + 3x Heart of Darkness Heart of Darkness Azerite Traits to maximise the amount of Haste they can achieve. Shorter kill times also mean a higher amount of time that you are covered by Bloodlust/Heroism/Time Warp/Ancient Hysteria.

Why Haste? This allows for your highest damaging ability Ancient Flame Ancient Flame (Concentrated Flame Minor Essence) to proc more often and allow you to maintain higher uptime (and higher stack count) throughout the encounter. Haste also scales the damage done from your new spell Raise Ghoul Raise Ghoul (which is up 50% of the time).

In Shadowlands the focus of your damage output as a Blood Death Knight will once again come from external systems rather than your character.

Guardian Druid by Pumps:


Guardian logs in the pre-patch can be used as a  good way to get comfortable with the upcoming Shadowlands changes mainly focused on the return of catweaving and the new found owlweaving to maximise DPS in our rotation.

Gone are the days where you just default pick resto affinity and sit in bear the whole time, as with the addition of the Heart of the Wild Heart of the Wild talent both Feral Affinity Feral Affinity and Balance Affinity Balance Affinity provide massive DPS increases. If you aren't completely comfortable with shifting forms often while tanking and want to sit in bear 99% of the time, taking Balance Affinity and using Heart of the Wild purely for the 30% Moonfire Moonfire damage increase will still provide massive value, however mastering the art of catweaving/owlweaving is extremely rewarding and an enjoyably unique playstyle.

Pre-patch logs don't reflect exactly how Shadowlands will play out as Covenants, Conduits, extra ranks of spells and legendaries all have an enormous impact on all classes. There are also a few things in the pre-patch that are relatively unbalanced. For example, the crafted intellect stacking haste trinket that most classes will find BiS, as the new value of the Haste is just too large and significantly outweighs the competition like the vita-charged trinket from Ra-den.
Also further down on the slippery slope of pre-patch imbalance, the return of spinners, Umbral Moonglaives Umbral Moonglaives from Legion's  Tomb of Sargeras, deal uncapped aoe damage and after the nerf to item levels find themselves at the top of the choices in many AoE encounters such as Vexiona adds/Ra-den adds/Hivemind/N'Zoth and all the trash throughout the raid.

Overall, Guardian DPS is slightly above middle of the pack for tank dps with a very fun rotation due to Heart of the Wild and cat/owl weaving, excelling on multi-dot fights where Moonfire can shine and falling a bit short on heavy AoE due to Thrash Thrash and Swipe Swipe being quite weak.

Shadowlands will provide Guardian with 2 high DPS covenants (Necro and Venthyr) and 1 powerful defensive covenant (Kyrian), along with a handful of situationally exceptional legendaries such as Draught of Deep Focus IconDraught of Deep Focus for single target or Luffa-Infused Embrace IconLuffa-Infused Embrace for heavy AoE. All of this will have an enormous positive impact for our overall dps and standing in the tank line up.

Brewmaster Monk by Sinzhu:


At a glance, one might look at the dps performance of Brewmasters in Ny'alotha right now and assume the worst. They must be in dire need of a buff if they're second-to-last! However, the truth is a little more complicated.

The first major factor to remember right now is that class design for Shadowlands was largely changed in preparation for how each specialization is meant to play at Level 60, not Level 50. This lower level brings with it an abundance of secondary stats and strange scaling issues - Summon Black Ox Statue Summon Black Ox Statue, for example, is more or less invincible at lower levels before fixing itself near the level cap. With Brewmasters naturally being a tank that doesn't quite "feel" the benefits of secondary stats like Haste, their performance in a farm environment can also fall behind. Where Brewmasters instead shine the most on logs is in the early days of a tier. There, they can usually afford to optimize for damage versus the other tanks having to instead focus more on survival.

Beyond scaling and farm-status, Brewmasters also no longer have the opportunity to deal as much damage in fights with long periods of AoE. Rushing Jade Wind Rushing Jade Wind and Spinning Crane Kick Spinning Crane Kick are capped at only 6 targets. Breath of Fire Breath of Fire deals incredibly low damage on one target, let alone multiple. This leaves Keg Smash Keg Smash as the only ability that can both put out consistent damage and reliably deal with increased target counts. For example, fights like Shad'har, which is purely single-target, has Brewmaster comfortably in the middle of the pack damage-wise among tanks even in farm status. Carapace of N'zoth, however, shows this pain-point well, with too many adds to hit with anything but Keg Smash. Fortunately, Castle Nathria for the most part will not have fights with more enemies than target caps can account for, which should help address this concern.

Overall, Brewmaster performance in Ny'alotha during pre-patch has not been terrible. They have remained comfortably in-line with the other non-Paladin tanks, but a buff to all tanks that brings them closer to Paladin would be preferred over Paladin nerfs.

Moving into Shadowlands and Castle Nathria, we will be back in a progression raiding environment with lower secondary percentages and fights without as many targets to AoE. These three factors should combine to give Brewmasters a bit of an edge on logs, though one should probably not expect them to be at the very top. So long as there is not as big of an outlier as Protection Paladin right now, Brewmasters should remain fine.

Vengeance Demon Hunter by Excidias:


DPS notwithstanding, Vengeance is currently sitting in an overall decent position in relation to other tanks. Survival in both Mythic+ and raids is not an issue. With the introduction of Fel Devastation Fel Devastation combined with the Demonic Demonic talent, an on-demand Metamorphosis Metamorphosis is available on a 1 minute cooldown. With the removal of Gluttony Gluttony, the total up time of Metamorphosis will be lower, but Demonic will make it on-demand which provides a lot of value.

The issue with Vengeance is that the damage from the base kit is relatively low compared to other tanks. Prior to the pre-patch, Vengeance relied heavily on Corruption for damage output. The overall high HP combined with several Twilight Devastation Twilight Devastation levels produced massive damage output. It was common to see 40+% of the total damage come from Corruption on single target raid fights. Without this borrowed power, Vengeance dropped to the bottom of the list for overall damage among tanks.

Moving forward into Shadowlands:
Vengeance will be sitting in an overall decent position in Shadowlands. Survival in raids will remain the same due to the lower mitigation up time being negated by taunt swaps. Tanking in Mythic+ is still waiting on another tuning pass of scaling on enemy damage. There are various builds that can help mitigate overall incoming damage, but there will probably be times where the tank will have to kite to survive in higher keys. Damage will once again be carried by borrower power. With the recent nerf to the Kyrian Sigil (from Elysian Decree IconElysian Decree) spam build, the overall damage of Vengeance took a huge hit. Despite the recent nerfs, either Kyrian or Venthyr should come out on top as the highest percentage of damage. If the remaining Covenant abilities aren't changed between now and release, Vengeance will sit near the top of damage output, depending on maximizing the Covenant ability usage. The main issue is that the Covenant choice is no longer a choice. Depending on how tuning plays out between Kyrian and Venthyr, the winner will be the only real choice. Choosing the wrong covenant will drastically lower the players ability to do damage.

You can check out even more details on the specs in the pre-patch by checking out our class guides, and you can also check out this week's DPS rankings where we took a look at the recent class tuning effects, or the healer rankings as well.

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