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Shadowlands Mythic+ Season 3 Meta Analysis

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Our Mythic+ writer Petko gives us a thorough meta analysis for the upcoming Shadowlands Mythic Season 3!

Hey guys, great to see you once again and I hope you are as excited as I am for the final season of Mythic+ that Shadowlands has to offer. One of the most frequently asked questions that I answer daily is "what will be meta next patch"? While the answer is not straightforward, this article will showcase what is likely to be performing the best from all of the testing I have so far done on PTR.

How is the Meta Shaped?

The meta is shaped through a few stages:

  • Balance changes are the biggest factor affecting which spec will be superior. This goes on not only during the PTR builds, but also after the release of a new patch. Usually, the final tunings of each specialization come out during the first week of Mythic progression (Most of the time, sometimes there are later changes incorporated, which we account for and adjust in the tier list based on that).
  • Compatibility; some classes and specializations benefit from each other more compared to other classes. An example of that can be a specialization like Windwalker Monk, which synergizes well with another melee due to the fact that Monks provide Mystic Touch, which increases Physical damage done by 5%.
  • "Borrowed power", or in other words, who gets better things going forward to the next patch. An example of that can be that some classes have way better Conduit scaling than others and superior double Legendary Powers in Patch 9.2. This is a recent example, but if you go back in previous tiers or expansions you can point out other details, like the Corruption scaling on some classes in Battle for Azeroth. I didn't mention the secondary stats scaling in this category, as that is not a borrowed power, but it is a well-known fact that some classes scale way better than others late game.
  • Finally, there are a few more minor details going into consideration such as Utility, Survivability, self-sustain, mobility, and immunity, which also contribute towards the "value" of a specific spec compared to others. Things like funnel damage or priority-target damage also play a role in the final selection of the 'flavor-of-the-month" classes. But above all is Damage; once a spec can deliver extraordinary amounts of damage, you can find a way to fit it in, even if they don't have all of the other traits mentioned above.

What Currently Looks Good for Season 3?

To answer that question, I have to split this section into 3: Tanks, Healers, and DPS. I just want to highlight this as a massive disclaimer, nothing I say is final; what looks good now might be nerfed or even buffed in the upcoming PTR tunings. Nothing is guaranteed before the opening of Mythic Sepulcher of the First Ones (usually the 3rd week of every new patch), so even if your class is not mentioned, they can come above in the end. Finally, this is a SUBJECTIVE opinion. If you don't agree with me, you can always leave your comments below and let me know with constructive criticism why you feel I am wrong. If you think a class should be considered or added, let me know in the comments. Without further ado, let's begin.

9.2 Healer Meta

So far we have a clear winner and that is Restoration Shaman. From the highest damage profile healer, to one of the best party utilities, Restoration Shaman will be likely one of the best healers, unless severely changed. Some of their notable utility toolkit is Capacitor Totem, Earthbind Totem, Tremor Totem, Bloodlust/Heroism, Purge, and many more. To top this, the spec is also quite "tanky" enabling them to be picked up on even on the high-end keys.

There are few more notable healers to consider, as I don't think the meta will be one-sided:

  • Restoration Druids, despite the recent Kyrian-based build nerf, more specifically Kindred Affinity, their HPS profile is currently one of the best in Mythic+ compared to specs like Holy Priest, and Mistweaver Monk, which are notoriously known to have amazing HPS output. With that, combined with their great party utility toolkit, high survivability, and also high mobility, I wouldn't be surprised if they become a great pick going forward to Season 3, especially when we have high-damage profile tanks, like Brewmaster Monk and Protection Paladin, which also can make up the difference in DPS between you and Restoration Shaman by simply healing them more and not letting them kite as much during off-cooldown periods.
  • Holy Paladin; yes, I know they have been nerfed quite a lot, but hear me out. Their toolkit is just way too good to ignore, although, their DPS won't be nearly as good as specs like Restoration Shaman, I still believe it will be a viable pick. It may not be the best but is still good enough.

9.2 Tank Meta

Now here, in my opinion, is just a two-sided coin, as both Protection Paladin and Brewmaster Monk are just the superior tanks. Not only are they high damage profile tanks, but also offer great utility and personal toolkits. On top of this, they have great single-target DPS, which is another important feature to have as a tank. And no, we don't just talk about "high-keys" but also focus on low- to mid-level keys.

However, there are two wildcards that many of you might see as a surprise:

  • Guardian Druid, despite having bad single-target damage, if played with premade can be an amazing tank. I can guarantee that you will see Guardian Druids in competitive play such as MDI or The Great Push, because of their ability to pull big, mostly the combination of Incarnation: Guardian of Ursoc and their two-Legendary synergy. Pair that on top with the Guardian 4-piece tier set bonus that deals an absurd amount of damage (even after the nerf), and you are going to have a tank that can burst numbers like 100k+ (yes we all have seen those clips). But let's be honest, how many times do we see pugs pull more than 10 mobs in Mythic+? Hardly ever, so if you can play up to the Guardian Druids strength, the tank can be considered S-tier.
  • Another notable mention here is Vengeance Demon Hunter, which is the most mobile tank out of everyone and has great utility like Sigil of Silence and Chaos Brand (among others), along with great AoE damage output, but is not nearly as tanky as someone like Guardian Druid. In my opinion, this tank will be S-tier if you are playing moderately low- to mid-level keys at most, but the moment you want to try higher keys, you will be running out of the mobs in melee faster than Usain Bolt running 100m, and I am not even kidding, which will result in your group having lower damage output the more you run.

9.2 DPS Meta

Oh boy; there are so many good DPS specializations going forward to the next tier, but here are few of my favorite picks.

  • Without a doubt, Subtlety Rogue will likely remain one of the strongest, if not the strongest, melee pick. You might want to ask why? They offer the best funnel-target damage, the best priority-target damage, are one of the highest survivability specs (Evasion, Cloak of Shadows, Feint, Cheat Death), with great party-utility and amazing mob-control (Kidney Shot, Cheap Shot, Blind). To top that, their single-target DPS is also amazing, with the only disadvantage being lower AoE output, but if you pair that with 2x DPS classes that can focus on AoEing the mobs, you are going to be set for life.
  • Even though Frost Mage was recently nerfed, I still believe they will be a great pick up for the next season; they may be not as dominant as Season 2, but still one of the best ranged specs. They offer great funnel-damage, paired with good priority-target damage and amazing AoE. To top this, they have some of the highest survivability among the ranged specs with 2x immunities coming from Ice Block paired with Cold Snap. If that wasn't enough, they also have Ice Barrier every 25 seconds, an additional shield from Tempest Barrier (their Endurance Conduit) which scales well with the item level of the Conduit, Podtender, which is pretty much a "Cheat-Death", and also Mirror Image. Their main disadvantage is in offering slightly less single-target DPS if you fight only one mob and nothing else.
  • Here is one wild-card: I believe Destruction Warlock will be really strong, likely to have one of the strongest AoE outputs among all classes, but won't be utilized to its full potential because you can really shine if you pull big back-to-back. And once again, this is a similar case to Guardian Druid; you won't get the full value out of the spec in pug groups, but rather in pre-made gameplay, hence why you are likely to see them shine in MDI or The Great Push (don't be surprised). Their low mobility and mediocre utility is something that really hurts them, and if that is addressed, the spec is going to become a god-tier, not just top-tier. Sure, everyone can benefit from some single-target buffs, right?
  • Survival Hunter is something I don't really want to comment on since they still have some major bugs unsolved, which makes them do a lot more than intended. Once they get fixed, then we will see their "true" damage profile, but even then, I am sure they will be in great shape and likely to be played a lot and not thought of as a meme anymore. They bring great AoE and great utility. Survivability is ironically an issue, yes, but if you play with higher Versatility, that will solve things. Single-target-wise is an area they can use some improvements, but overall, it is a solid spec.
  • A worthy mention, Fury Warrior is going to also be super strong. From its consistent AoE damage profile, good single-target, and also survivability (there are a lot of things you can "cheese" with Spell Reflect), Fury is going to be a great pick. Keep in mind, utility-wise you are not really amazing, but if you pair them with any melee-orientated comp, Battle Shout can be a deciding factor, adding tons of value.
  • This is another wildcard, but in my opinion, Elemental Shaman is going to perform great in Season 3. Its newly-introduced builds will make their single-target skyrocket, which is an area where they previously struggled to compete. Its AoE damage has always been amazing, but single-target was something that needed to be addressed and with the new upcoming builds, I am sure they will be doing fantastic; not to mention that they hold one of the best party utilities in the game. You certainly can't go wrong with Elemental Shamans.
  • Finally, Windwalker Monk. Yes, I know they have been nerfed, and yes, I know their tier set bonuses are not amazing, but trust me, they are still going to be flying in DPS. Their biggest feature – AoE – is still going to be amazing. Pair that with great utility and you get yourself a super solid spec. The only disadvantage is having slightly less single-target, but you can't have it all, right?

Final Thoughts

I hope you found this to be useful and that you got some insights into what looks strong before Season 3 hits. Now keep in mind, these specs might get nerfed or buffed, or there might be other specs that will come into the spotlight, but this is MY early prediction. If you want to hear more details about each of the specs individually, follow our Mythic+ tier list pages. Very soon you will what we have been working on for months, finally coming to light. Thank you once again for reading this, and I hope to see you here more often.

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