DPS PvP Rankings / Tier List for TBC Classic
With TBC, comes the introduction of the Arena, inside which 2v2, 3v3 and 5v5 matches occur. Doing well in the arena will increase your team's rating, and the higher you go, the more points will be gained upon the weekly reset. These points can then be used to buy arena gear, which mirrors PvE gear in item level, but with some item budget allocated to Resilience and PvP oriented set bonuses.
We will be ranking each DPS class available in TBC below, alongside a short explanation on the reasoning behind its position. This list will be kept updated as TBC progresses, in order to always reflect the current meta DPS ranks.
Feel free to also consult our PvP Healer rankings page if you are interested in learning more about your potential healer partners in the arena, or our guides on compositions in each bracket (2v2, 3v3, and 5v5) to learn which kinds of teams best suit your class.
PvP DPS Rankings Summary
You can find below a quick summary of the current PvP DPS rankings:
- Warlock (S-Tier)
- Mage (S-Tier)
- Rogue (S-Tier)
- Warrior (A-Tier)
- Hunter (A-Tier)
- Shadow Priest (B-Tier)
- Elemental Shaman (B-Tier)
- Balance Druid (C-Tier)
- Enhancement Shaman (C-Tier)
- Retribution Paladin (C-Tier)
- Feral Druid (C-Tier)
In order to further understand the reasoning behind these ranks, we would recommend you to read the rest of the page, as that is explained in more detail in the next few sections.
Healer PvP Rankings
If you are interested in other PvP rankings for WoW TBC, check the following links:
PvP DPS Ranking Details
When sorting out the rankings for DPS in PvP, we are primarily concerned with three things:
- Damage Throughput — first and foremost, DPS are there to deal damage. You will not win unless you kill the other team. Unlike in PvE, however, sustained damage is usually less important than burst damage, although some classes still rely more on sustained damage to overwhelm the enemy healer.
- Utility — this is probably the most skill-based portion of PvP, and where the best players shine. Control abilities such as Fear and Polymorph are game-defining abilities in Arena matches, as you effectively can take other players out of the fight for short periods of times. Effective use of control abilities, and the number of options available to a class are hugely important in how valuable a class is in Arenas.
- Survivability — just as you want to kill your enemies, you are also trying to not die. Defensive abilities and cooldowns are also quite important, especially when you are trying to reset or live long enough to regain offensive pressure. Some classes are significantly more durable than others, which has a huge impact on their effectiveness in Arenas.
These rankings will focus on these factors, and are specifically written in the context of 2v2 and 3v3 Arena. These rankings also could hold up decently well for 5v5 arena, but 2v2 and 3v3 are the significantly more popular and more competitive brackets. It is also important to note that group composition is incredibly important in Arena; playing a comp that utilizes your class's strengths can turn a B-tier class into an A-tier comp.
S-Tier Classes and Specializations
Warlocks are the single most powerful DPS class in PvP. While there are several Warlock Arena builds that could be considered high-tier, the most powerful and popular build will be the SL/SL build, or the Affliction-based build that specs into Siphon Life and Soul Link.
Warlocks utilize DoTs to overwhelm their opponents over time, but at the same time utilize some incredible defensive tools that make them incredibly difficult to kill. Their health regen from Siphon Life along with Drain Life is quite high, their passive damage reduction is among the best out of any class, and they have some incredible control spells to deal with anyone in range. For all of TBC, Warlocks will always be in the highest levels of the Arena and PvP meta.
While Mages may not be quite as powerful as Warlocks overall, they are still an S-tier class in PvP, and for good reason. In TBC not all match-ups are equal; each class has inherent strengths and weaknesses in who they face. Mages are weak against Warlocks, but they are incredibly strong against many other classes. Mages lack some of the sustain and passive defensive capabilities of Warlocks, but Mages bring more control, more burst damage, and more mobility.
Blink is the bane of melee, enabling them to break stuns and disengage quickly. Most Mages choose to play Frost in high-tier Arena, giving them access to tons of Roots, Slows, and other control spells that allow them to set up incredible control chains on enemy healers. The Mage playstyle is less about overwhelming your enemy team and more about securing a win by bursting down one target while keeping every other target out of the game through continuous control abilities. There is no question that Mage is a force to be reckoned with, and is a staple class in some of the most popular and most successful Arena comps.
Rogues are one of the most popular melee classes for PvP in TBC, and for good reason. Possibly the single most popular Arena comp is Rogue-Mage, because their playstyles are so similar. Rogues have incredible utility and amazing burst, but lack passive sustain and defense. Rogue's signature Stealth allows them to control matches from the start, picking and choosing how to open. Rogues offer a powerful array of cooldowns that make them extremely appealing to new players looking to learn, but also have an almost limitless skill ceiling where players can always find new ways to showcase their skill and finesse.
A-Tier Classes and Specializations
Warriors are the antithesis of Rogues; instead of utilizing a stealthy, controlled style of play to set up and execute kills, Warriors are there to smash. Warriors can put incredible pressure on enemy healers thanks to a combination of high burst and solid sustained damage.
Warrior's biggest weakness is what you would expect out of a melee: uptime. Inexperienced Warriors can be easily countered by Mages and other ranged classes, meaning it is up to the Warrior and their team to work together. With the right support, Warriors are unstoppable juggernauts that will wreak havoc in the Arena.
Hunters offer several different, unique playstyles based on what specialization you choose.
Beast Mastery is a glass-cannon, offering some of the highest burst and sustained damage in the game while bringing the least utility and control out of any Hunter spec.
Marksmanship and Survival offer excellent control abilities that can be utilized for a slower playstyle built around Viper Sting for a slower-paced game.
Hunters have options, and the comps are as varied as the playstyles. However, Hunters also have some issues, specifically around line-of-sight and how easily pets can die in Arenas. This mainly presents an issue for Beast Mastery, and is why the spec is primarily played in 2v2 where games are either shorter or it is harder for the pet to be killed if facing only a single DPS. Overall, Hunters bring excellent damage and control, while they are still able to survive with higher levels of Resilience from gear.
B-Tier Classes and Specializations
Shadow Priests are similar to Warlocks in their playstyle, but provide less utility in favor of more defensive tools. Shadow Priests have access to significant off-healing from the standard Priest healing arsenal, which allows teams to play defensively even if the healer is being pressured or controlled. They still have some control, and more importantly offer Mana Burn if you are looking to play a drain-comp or are trying to overwhelm the enemy healer with high damage and Mana drain. Their damage is a bit lower and they have little mobility, but Priests still offer some solid strengths that can be utilized for some strong 2v2 and 3v3 Arena comps.
Elemental Shamans are known for their top-tier caster support in PvE, but they bring all of that support and more into Arenas. Elemental Shamans have a variety of powerful totems and buffs to support their team, with perhaps the most powerful buff being Bloodlust/Heroism. This huge Haste buff enables your team to set up extremely dangerous burn periods where the other team will be running scared and forced to play defensively.
As a hybrid class, Elemental Shamans also offer some of the most effective off-heals in the game, helping their team to play defensively when needed. Purge is also a powerful tool for clearing enemy players of debuffs and helping to set up kills. Above all, though, Elemental offers some incredible burst thanks to their own hard-hitting abilities' cooldowns, which enables them to set up kills with even only moderate set-up. Shamans do lack the sustained damage and control that other classes above bring, however, which makes them harder to play effectively the higher you go in Arena.
C-Tier Classes and Specializations
Balance Druids originally earned the name "Boomkins" in TBC because of their massive Starfire crits, allowing them to nearly one-shot enemies sometimes with the right setup. The TBC talent overhaul was a huge leap forward for Balance, offering massive buffs to damage and sustain. However, they unfortunately still experience many of the issues that plague them throughout TBC in arenas.
While Balance brings the standard Druid arsenal of utility and defensive tools, their damage is significantly harder to set up than that of other casters. Balance can do massive burst damage, but the setup and cast times are quite long, and ripe for interrupts or disruption by the enemy team. Line-of-sight is another major issue, which can make it difficult to set up kills. Balance Druids can be deadly, but require a solid team with significant coordination to properly set up and execute kills, but even then are highly susceptible to control and focus from the classes above, which can force you to play more defensively. This is another major issue for Balance, as playing defensively can severely limit your damage output which makes it difficult to regain control of games.
Enhancement Shaman in raids are a powerful melee support that brings some incredible buffs. In PvP, they bring those same buffs, but are unfortunately less effective overall. The type of melee-cleave that Enhancement Shamans excel in is not as strong during TBC, where control-based casters and Rogues dominate the meta. Enhancement still offers some solid burst that can make for some cool highlight clips, but their consistency is a bit lacking. Enhancement is also unfortunately a bit weak on defense, and presents a prime kill target for most comps. Shamans still do bring Bloodlust however, which is an excellent buff for your team and can create some solid pressure for any comp.
Retribution Paladins take a big step forward in TBC, with the introduction of Avenging Wrath and Crusader Strike to give the spec some more consistent damage and powerful burst.
Retribution is a more defensive, utility-based version of a Warrior, where you sacrifice damage and mobility for utility and defensive capabilities. Retribution still offers exceptional burst, but it is much less consistent and a little RNG-based compared to what other classes can bring. Retribution Paladins do offer the entire Paladin arsenal, however, which includes some incredible utility and defensive cooldowns to help get your team out of a tight spot. Retribution's biggest problem is mobility, however, as their only mobility spell is Blessing of Freedom. Outside of Freedom, you can easily be controlled and kited which can make it extremely difficult to deal with some classes without coordinated help from your team.
Feral Druids offer the jack-of-all-trades toolkit that Druids bring, with a focus on melee DPS. However, Ferals suffer heavily inside Arenas for several reasons.
First, their damage is rather limiting, making it incredibly hard to set up burst on players. Building Combo Points is slow and difficult, especially since Shred has a positional requirement, meaning you often have to settle for Mangle instead. Your burst is rather weak compared to other melee, and your sustained damage is also lackluster.
Feral's biggest strengths come from being a Druid. Druids bring incredible control, some of the best defensive abilities in the game, decent off-heals, and Bear Form for when you are the kill target. While Ferals may excel in certain PvP situations such as in the open world, they are relatively weak in Arenas where their limited damage and Energy capabilities make it challenging to set up kills with your team.
- 13 Sep. 2021: Updated for Phase 2.
- 03 Jun. 2021: Guide created.
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