Tank Rankings / Tier List for Phase 5 of TBC Classic
While DPS in TBC have very different power levels, which determine to which extent you want to stack them, all healers and tanks are welcome in raids and dungeons, as they all have unique benefits that are worth learning about.
We will be ranking each tank 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 tank ranks.
Tank Rankings Summary
Below you can find a quick summary of the current PvE tank rankings:
- Protection Warrior (S-Tier)
- Feral Tank Druid (A-Tier)
- Protection Paladin (A-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.
DPS and Healer Class Rankings
If you are interested in other PvE role rankings for WoW TBC, check the following links:
Tank Ranking Details
When sorting out the rankings for tanks in PvE, we are looking at several factors:
- Damage mitigation — the ability of a tank to mitigate their damage intake, both from Physical and magic damage.
- Damage smoothness — how smooth is their damage intake? Is the tank likely to take huge spikes of damage, or is their damage intake relatively consistent.
- Damage output — how much damage the tank can do in both single target and multi-target situations?
- Threat generation — the ability of tank to generate and hold threat on either a single enemy or multiple enemies at once.
To put it simply: tanking is messy. There are tons of factors that go into what makes tanks good or bad depending on the encounter. While this ranking is specifically for the final tier of TBC, know that every tank is viable. All three tanks have both pros and cons, and all three tanks are 100% viable in every raid and dungeon.
S-Tier Classes and Specializations
Protection Warriors are the most complete tanks in TBC. They bring the most to the table as a tank, especially early on in the first tier. Perhaps the most valuable tools that they bring are their cooldowns, as their Shield Wall and Last Stand are above and beyond what either of the other tanks bring, which enables them to survive where others cannot.
Looking back at our criteria, it is obvious why Warriors are in the S-tier. Warriors have the best damage mitigation early on thanks to how powerful the combination of defense and Block are as stats. Warriors have the best initial health scaling, giving them the largest health pool early on. Combined with Spell Reflection this makes them the best choice for dealing with magic damage. Warriors are also the only tank with a low-cooldown defensive ability, Shield Block. With all of this, Warriors have both the best mitigation and the best damage smoothing capabilities early on.
Threat is the one area where Warrior is not dominant, but even then they are competitive. Thunder Clap is a great spell for AoE threat, while Warriors can still use their wide array of single-target spells for single-target threat generation. They may not bring the single-target damage/threat generation of Bears or the AoE damage of Paladins, but they are still perfectly fine. Warriors' real strength lies in their defensive toolkit, which just enables them to do more with less.
A-Tier Classes and Specializations
Feral Tank Druid
Feral Tank Druids are scaling monstrosities that gain ridiculous amounts of avoidance as they get more gear, to the point of being untouchable meat shields. Bears scale incredibly well with Stamina, Armor, and most defensive stats at an incredible rate, and even by the end of the first tier they can have some staggering numbers. Druids also bring top tier single-target threat generation, great damage, and some other nice utility spells. In Phase 5 content, they can become absolute juggernauts on fights like Brutallus, where having a meat shield that can handle his scaling damage is vital.
However, Druids also have some very real disadvantages. The biggest problem with Druids is their damage smoothing, as they have no ability to protect against crushing blows. Even while crit immune, a few unlucky hits in a row and you could easily fall over. Druids lack the same defensive cooldowns that Warriors bring, cannot block, and are prone to huge spikes in damage because of this. While their average intake may be low, that does not mean much if you can still potentially die in just a few hits. Bears will catch up with Warriors, but it takes the final tier of scaling before the defensive layers of avoidance that Bears bring really start to stack up.
Protection Paladins are in a significantly better spot than they were in Classic, but still have some noticeable weaknesses in TBC. That being said, Paladins are actually quite desirable in raids and make excellent off-tanks. Paladins primarily excel at AoE damage/threat and raid utility, as they generate the most AoE threat out of any tank, without question. This makes them incredibly valuable in high-target situations where getting aggro quickly is important.
Paladin's primary downside is their reliance on gear. Paladins desperately need gear to scale, particularly when it comes to stacking defense. They are slower to start than Warriors or Druids, and need a bit more time and energy to get up to the defensive level needed. Paladins also lack any sort of defensive cooldowns, which makes damage smoothing a big problem on some encounters.
- 07 May 2022: Updated for Phase 5.
- 13 Jan. 2022: Updated for Phase 3.
- 13 Sep. 2021: Updated for Phase 2.
- 03 Jun. 2021: Guide created.
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