DPS PvP Rankings / Tier List for Wrath of the Lich King Classic
This guide will focus on rankings for the Arena, where 2v2, 3v3, and 5v5 matches occur. Doing well increases 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 Wrath below, alongside a short explanation on the reasoning behind its position. This list will be kept updated as Wrath progresses, in order to always reflect the current meta DPS ranks.
PvP DPS Rankings Summary
You can find below a quick summary of the current PvP DPS rankings:
- Warrior (S-Tier)
- Elemental Shaman (S-Tier)
- Death Knight (A-Tier)
- Warlock (A-Tier)
- Mage (A-Tier)
- Rogue (A-Tier)
- Feral Druid (A-Tier)
- Retribution Paladin (B-Tier)
- Hunter (B-Tier)
- Shadow Priest (B-Tier)
- Enhancement Shaman (B-Tier)
- Balance Druid (B-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
Feel free to also consult our PvP Healer rankings page if you are interested in learning more about your potential 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 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.
If you would like to know more about recommended arena compositions for any of its brackets, consult our guides below.
S-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 deal high consistent damage, while also tanking through enemy incoming damage. Warriors can put incredible pressure on enemy healers thanks to a combination of high burst and solid sustained damage, as well as Mortal Strike.
Warrior's biggest weakness is what you would expect out of a melee: up-time. 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, using tools such as Dispel Magic and Hand of Freedom, as well as the Warrior's own Spell Reflection.
With the right support, Warriors are unstoppable juggernauts that will wreak havoc in the Arena. Wrath has increased Warrior's own toolkit for getting back in range tremendously as well, most notably being the addition of in-combat charge. Wrath's arena style and meta overall lend themselves heavily to Warrior, and the larger number of tools in their toolkit allow Warriors to really shine throughout the expansion.
Elemental Shamans are known for their great 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 unique Lava Burst into Chain Lightning, Frost Shock and Hand-Mounted Pyro Rocket combo, which lands simultaneously in many situations for nearly one-shot damage.
This damage enables them to set up kills with even only moderate set-up. That burst combined with new CC in the form of Hex and the knockback of Thunderstorm are what make Elemental Shamans so dominant throughout the expansion in PvP.
A-Tier Classes and Specializations
Death Knights are similar to Warriors, as plate armored melee juggernauts who dominate the arena. The main difference between them in Warriors is the lack of the healing reduction brought by Mortal Strike and, instead of having a charge, they bring spells like Death Grip and Chains of Ice to bring their targets to them and keep them there. They also have much better anti-caster tools in general, but worse options to deal with physical damage dealing opponents.
Death Knights have no movements speed spells or dashes, which makes their biggest weakness similar to Warriors: up-time. However, with certain comps and proper support from your allies in keeping you mobile with Dispel Magic and Hand of Freedom, you can increase your ability to connect and finish the game with extremely burst from abilities such as Summon Gargoyle.
One of the most common comps in Wrath is "TSG", which is Warrior plus Death Knight, plus Holy Paladin, known for being a melee cleave with high durability from its three plate wearers, and extremely high burst damage as long as they can connect, with the Paladin being there to keep them as mobile as possible.
Warlocks are a great class in PvP in terms of sustained output and durability. Most Warlocks play either Affliction for the high sustained damage over time playstyle, or Destruction for a burst-based playstyle.
Affliction Warlocks utilize DoTs to overwhelm their opponents over time, while also having great defenses from Soul Link and high health regen from Siphon Life and Drain Life. They also great Fear effects to keep enemies away or under control.
Destruction Warlocks utilize Conflagrate and Chaos Bolt in quick succession to burst down their opponents quickly, typically while their healer or peeling teammates are crowd controlled by Fear or Shadowfury.
Mages have always been strong, especially in the context of the Rogue, Mage and Priest (RMP) team composition, but Wrath is not a period where they particularly excel, especially for how difficult they can be to play optimally.
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, such as Frost Nova, that allow them to set up incredible control chains on enemy healers.
The Mage play style 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 crowd control abilities such as Polymorph, but it is still an extremely class in the hands of coordinated teams.
Rogues are one of the only melee classes that have stealth and rely on dishing out controlled burst damage to stunned or otherwise controlled targets in their opener. For that reason, Rogue has one of the highest skill ceilings in the game, and is one of the most popular melee classes to play in PvP.
Possibly the single most popular Arena comp is Rogue, Mage and Priest (RMP), because their playstyles are so complementary. 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 have multiple powerful long cooldowns, making them very strong while they are available, but also weak when completely out of cooldowns, thus putting the pressure on the Rogue to use them appropriately to secure the win before running out of gas.
Feral Druids offer the jack-of-all-trades toolkit that Druids bring, with a focus on melee DPS and bleed damage over time. They have great burst damage, especially against low armor targets or when all damage over time effects are ticking, but with large Energy costs and positional requirements attached to them, bursting is not always easy.
Feral's biggest strength comes from the Predatory Strikes talent, which allows for instant cast spells, with Cyclone being a great option to take enemies out for a while, prevent healing, or allow yourself or your teammate to recover. They can also do decent off-healing, and have Dire Bear Form for when they are the kill target, making them excellent all-rounders, and especially powerful when combined with the Discipline Priest support and CC toolkit.
B-Tier Classes and Specializations
Retribution Paladins are also a very strong all-rounder melee class, which has great burst with their major cooldown, Avenging Wrath, as well as multiple instant damage abilities, such as Divine Storm and Crusader Strike. They also have instant cast spell mechanic with The Art of War which can used for offensive or defensive purposes.
Outside of burst windows with Avenging Wrath, Retribution is a more defensive Warrior, where you sacrifice damage, Mortal Strike's healing reduction effect and mobility for added utility and defensive capabilities. The utility kit includes Hand of Freedom and Hand of Protection, which can keep you mobile or help teammates.
Hunters offer unique play styles based on your specialization.
Beast Mastery is a glass cannon, offering solid burst and pet-centric damage while bringing the least utility and control out of any Hunter spec.
Survival offers excellent control abilities that can be utilized for a slower playstyle built around Viper Sting's Mana drain for a slower-paced game.
Hunters have multiple viable comps, but 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 solid damage and control, but suffer compared to the burst or CC chain potential of the classes ranked above. They also have one of the weakest defensive toolkits out of any class, and mostly rely on Disengage and Deterrence, making them excellent targets for any comp.
Shadow Priests are similar to Warlocks in their playstyle, but provide less utility in favor of more defensive tools and support. 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 also have decent control options with Psychic Scream and Silence, and 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.
Enhancement Shaman in Raids are great melee supports that bring excellent physical damage buffs and Bloodlust/Heroism, on top of doing high damage themselves. In PvP, they bring those buffs, and also have high consistent damage and decent durability, but lack gap closing abilities and a Mortal Strike effect.
Overall while Enhance PvP has its perks, its relatively low ability to catch up to targets and keep them within range allows it to be mostly controlled in many caster matchups, and its mail armor suffers against physical damage heavy teams.
Balance Druids originally earned the name "Boomkins" in TBC because of their massive Starfire burst damage, allowing them to nearly one-shot the whole enemy team with the right setup and critical strike RNG. Wrath continues that trend for Balance Druids, offering them shiny new tools and talents that both increase their damage and give them utility to survive and thrive in arenas.
While Balance brings the standard Druids arsenal of utility and defensive tools, their damage is amplified in cleave setups thanks to Starfall and their DoTs. Balance can do massive spread damage, but they are prime kill targets 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 also die easily and require a solid team with significant coordination to properly set up and execute kills, mostly relying on the Starfall window, which can be easily shut down by line of sight or CC on the Druid.
- 19 Jun. 2023: Reviewed prior to Phase 3 patch.
- 21 Sep. 2022: Page added.
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