Tank Rankings / Tier List for Phase 1 of Wrath of the Lich King Classic
While DPS in Wrath 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 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 tank ranks.
Tank Rankings Summary
Below you can find a quick summary of the current PvE tank rankings:
- Protection Paladin (S-Tier)
- Blood Death Knight (A-Tier)
- Feral Tank Druid (B-Tier)
- Protection Warrior (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.
DPS and Healer Class Rankings
If you are interested in other PvE role rankings for Wrath, 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 can the tank 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 first tier of Wrath, know that every tank is viable. You can easily complete any raid with any combination of tanks. This still holds true in tier 8, although tanking is more important and more difficult than it was in tier 7.
S-Tier Classes and Specializations
Protection Paladins are the absolute best tanks for all of Wrath, without exception. Paladins in general are considered to be the overall winners of Wrath, and for good reason. As a class, Paladins bring the best raid buffs in the game, to the point where most raids will want at least 3-4 total just to cover the various auras and buffs that they offer. As a tank, Protection brings the strongest defensive cooldowns in the game combined with the overall best damage mitigation to make them extremely desirable throughout Wrath. Paladins have virtually no downsides when it comes to tanking in Wrath, and specifically shine when it comes to AoE threat generation and consistency when compared to the other tank classes. At the high-end, some guilds will even opt to run double Prot Paladins for a significant portion of Wrath. Paladins are everything you want in a tank, with virtually no downsides.
A-Tier Classes and Specializations
Blood Death Knights
Blood Death Knights are also exceptionally strong when it comes to tanking throughout Wrath, but struggle slightly early on in the gearing process. They lack the shield block that Protection Paladins have, making them much more vulnerable to larger groups of enemies and sustained smaller hits. Blood relies more heavily on self-healing and moderate cooldown usage, but makes up for it quickly with a bit of gear. Most notably Blood has exceptional single-target snap threat for pulling bosses and quickly picking up new enemies thanks to Icy Touch, and has the unique ability of being able to grip enemies with Death Grip. While Death Grip is not always required, it is extremely useful in niche cases where relocating specific adds can be very beneficial.
B-Tier Classes and Specializations
Feral Tank Druid
Feral Tank Druids have the highest damage out of any tank, specifically on single-target and small-target cleave situations. Their damage with Berserk and Mangle (Bear) on three-target cleave is competitive even amongst DPS specs, making them adept at generating threat on new enemies. They do suffer some on AoE however, as Swipe (Bear) is not the strongest AoE threat generation.
In terms of damage taken, Druids do require some scaling. Early on with little gear, Druids lack the avoidance and mitigation that tanks like Protection Paladins inherently bring. They are still viable, but will struggle early on with larger bursts of damage, making them must less consistent than other tanks when it comes to spike damage, especially against larger groups of enemies. Druid's primary mitigation, Savage Defense is specifically designed to work best against single enemies, making them far more vulnerable in Dungeons or places with lots of enemies trying to hit you.
Protection Warriors are reasonably strong early on in terms of base damage mitigation, but they have a much higher skill cap to achieve similar results. Warriors have far more damage and utility buttons at their disposal for Dungeons and other larger pulls, but ultimately lack strong AoE tools for consistent AoE threat generation. Holding aggro on large pulls as a Warrior is frankly quite difficult. More importantly though, Warriors do not have quite the same number of powerful cooldowns that other tanks like Death Knights and Paladins do, putting them behind defensively in harder content. Warriors do offer probably the most engaging tank rotation and playstyle out of any tank however, so if you are looking for a challenge and for a class where you have room to express personal skill, Warrior can be a fun choice.
- 17 Jan. 2023: Updated for Phase 2.
- 21 Sep. 2022: Page added.
- Wrath Classic Patch 3.4.1 Notes
- Wrath Classic Phase 2 Launching on January 17th
- Naxxramas Achievement Rewards to Remain Available Throughout Wrath Classic
- Patch 3.4.1 PTR Development Notes: January 6th
- Summon Gargoyle Changes on the Wrath Classic PTR
- Ahead of the Curve and Cutting Edge Achievements Coming to Wrath Classic
- No Changes Planned for Ulduar Tier Sets Beyond 6 Item Level Bump
- Wrath Classic Season 1 Ends January 9th