Healer Rankings / Tier List for WoW Classic Season of Discovery
The Season of Discovery is aiming to completely disrupt the established meta of WoW Classic by including new Runes that drastically increase the power available to all classes. These runes even allow Mages to heal as well! Keep reading on to find out our early findings on Healers in SoD, power levels and rankings so far.
Summary of Healer Class and Specialization Rankings
February 9th, World first Gnomeregan adjustment: most predictions went as expected, but Restoration Shaman surprised by using the new Spirit of the Alpha and Nature Resistance Totem critical utility, plentiful Mana sustain runes to churn out Healing Rain and Chain Heal constantly for massive throughput in the world first clear!
Priests continue to be the most flexible healers, capable of performing all healing types with great efficiency, and the other healers are all a notch below, with Paladins continuing to be the worst healers, at least until all of their new runes are found.
Below is a quick summary of the full healer rankings for Season of Discovery WoW Classic. This summary is intended to give a quick outline of the standings of specializations in comparison to one another, and we recommend reading the full rankings to understand why specializations are ranked as they are:
- Holy Priest (S-Tier)
- Discipline Priest (S-Tier)
- Restoration Shaman (S-Tier)
- Arcane Mage (A-Tier)
- Restoration Druid (A-Tier)
- Holy Paladin (B-Tier)
DPS and Tank Class Rankings
If you are interested in our other rankings for WoW Classic, please click the links below.
Full Healer Class and Specialization Rankings
All healer classes have their unique perks and bring valuable buffs, which makes ranking them on a Tier format very difficult as, depending on group composition, all of them can be considered invaluable. Thus, we will be valuing their throughput (including damage, for Mage, specifically) and ability to get effective healing in single and AoE incoming damage scenarios.
S-Tier Classes and Specializations
Discipline and Holy Priest
February 9th, World first Gnomeregan adjustment: Priest rune healing was nerfed, with Circle of Healing, Penance, and Prayer of Mending all being hit. New runes in Phase 2 somewhat compensate for these losses, however, with the added Mana from Dispersion and potentially Shadowfiend being very welcomed. Priest continue to be the most versatile healer, with the most healing-dedicated amount of runes, allowing them to quickly swap their focus between single and area healing, and also enabling multiple damage reduction cooldowns on demand, such as Pain Suppression and Power Word: Barrier.
Discipline Priests and Holy Priests are best viewed as one single spec for tier ranking, as the runes that define their playstyle are freely interchangeable. Priests are the iconic healing class of WoW Classic. With Power Word: Shield, Renew, and Flash Heal, they have the most complete healing toolkit out of any healer, and also the most healing-focused rune options, which cover any kind of healing style, including absorb-focused healing, which no other healer can do.
Thus, while their kit might not be the very best for a single scenario, they earn their high ranking through their unmatched versatility and ability to adapt to any healing requirements. Between Strength of Soul, Serendipity, Circle of Healing, Penance, Prayer of Mending, Homunculi, Power Word: Barrier, Pain Suppression, and other powerful runes, you can bring a healing team composed of only Priests are be absolutely fine in any situation.
February 9th, World first Gnomeregan adjustment: the huge threat increase utility provided by Spirit of the Alpha, high damage reduction for Gnomeregan provided by Nature Resistance Totem, massive Mana regeneration provided by Shamanistic Rage, Water Shield, and Mana Tide Totem, and the excellent throughput of Healing Rain and Chain Heal has combined into an extremely strong package for the world first Gnomeregan clear, and this is before Power Surge was found to add even more Mana and DPS to the package, making Shamans the absolute kings of area healing in this phase.
Restoration Shamans shine for their utility: they can bring almost every buff in the game, allowing you to have most group buffs in even small groups such as dungeons or 10-man raids. Their main weakness is that they specialize in large group healing with Chain Heal and the new Healing Rain, which is powerful but requires many damaged allies stacked closely together, which is not always easy to have in a 10-man raid environment.
While Shamans struggled with Mana in WoW Classic, Season of Discovery introduces many runes that alleviate such concerns, such as Water Shield, Shamanistic Rage, and the new Power Surge / Maelstrom Weapon and Level 40 Mana Tide Totem.
These allow Shamans to be able to afford to spend much more Mana than their healer counterparts, thus reducing the gap usually caused by Shamans having more expensive spells relative to their throughput. As Gnomeregan fights seem to allow for stacked raid healing to occur, Shamans are currently one of the strongest healers, and they also bring essential utility in Spirit of the Alpha and multiple buff totems such as Nature Resistance Totem.
A-Tier Classes and Specializations
February 5th, Phase 2 predictions: Temporal Beacon is getting nerfed, with all area spells now doing 80% reduced damage to healing conversion, rather than just Arcane Explosion. Fortunately, the addition of the new Missile Barrage rune will bring both higher single target damage and Mana sustain to compensate, and Arcane Power plus Presence of Mind will still allow you to do very strong burst healing when needed.
Arcane Mages can now be healers, due to their new healing spells, such as Regeneration, Rewind Time, and Mass Regeneration. While all of these spells can do some healing on their own, they rely on a unique mechanic, Temporal Beacon, which causes some of the Mage's Arcane damage to be converted to healing to all friendly targets with the Mage's beacons.
Even with this powerful effect, there are two weaknesses to Mage healing: very high Mana costs on heals and the need to apply timed beacons before the damage to healing conversion can occur, which requires some foresight and / or delays healing. You will also often be forced to choose between damage spells, such as Arcane Blast, and healing spells, such as Rewind Time, making the balance between direct healing and beacon healing be a delicate one.
This means Arcane Mage is the one of the few healers that can do high DPS while healing, making it a fantastic complement to your healing roster. Due to its high targeting limitations, however, you will still almost always want to bring non-Mage healers as well to a raid group, in order to cover unpredictable damage on random raid members.
February 5th, Phase 2 predictions: Wild Growth will still be the main carry of Druid healing, and other than Nourish, which could provide a strong spot heal depending on its launch tuning, the Phase 2 runes look to reinforce the hybrid DPS Restoration Druid with Dreamstate and Eclipse providing strong damage and Mana sustain while healing is mostly done through Wild Growth on cooldown.
Restoration Druids in SoD can finally stop relying on Healing Touch as their heals over time can now be applied freely without overwriting world buffs or important consumables. This enables Rejuvenation, Regrowth, and especially the new Lifebloom and Wild Growth to become much important to your healing.
Druids will also gain access to Mana-free damage with Fury of Stormrage, which also enables instant Healing Touch casts, and give out the Mark of the Wild group buff. They also benefit from many runes that increase single target damage drastically, such as Eclipse and Starsurge, allowing them to be great damage dealers that press Wild Growth and Starsurge on cooldown and, otherwise, heal only when necessary. They also have unique utility with the only combat resurrection in game, Rebirth.
This being said, healing over time requires time to fully run its course, and targets can die before they are healed or be healed to full very quickly if there are other healers present in the group, making Healing Touch or Nourish usage important in such scenarios.
B-Tier Classes and Specializations
February 5th, Phase 2 predictions: while they are dodging nerfs and receiving some minor buffs, the focus on Phase 2 for Holy Paladin seems to be Holy Shock-focused damage dealing, rather than healing. Regardless, their tank healing will now be incredibly powerful with the new rune combo of Sheath of Light and Sacred Shield (which will put you at 62%+ crit chance with Flash of Light) combined with Illumination, which should free enough Mana for Beacon of Light usage.
Holy Paladins bring some of the strongest raid buffs in the game (including previously unavailable ones such as Horn of Lordaeron), along with having incredibly useful auras.
Their Mana is great at Level 40 with Sacred Shield giving you 50% extra crit on Flash of Light by itself and thus making most casts free with Illumination. This allows Paladins to finally make full usage of Beacon of Light, which will ensure its target stays topped but is likely to heavily overheal in most fights unless damage is heavily focused on a single target.
Paladins will also have access to either Inspiration Exemplar, which compares favorably to Tremor Totem, an interrupt in Rebuke, or Divine Sacrifice, a powerful group cooldown but also heavily situational.
Unfortunately the best Flash of Light rank at Level 40 is from Level 34, making it much weaker than most other heals, and the lack of options for area healing and SoD-specific alternatives for their once unique utility, such as Heart of the Lion makes Paladin the weakest healer in Phase 2, overall.
- 09 Feb. 2024: Adjusted Shaman healer ranking up post world-first Gnomeregan.
- 05 Feb. 2024: Updated healer rankings with Phase 2 pre-launch predictions.
- 14 Dec. 2023: Revamped the original text of most classes to make it purely Level 25 relevant.
- 08 Dec. 2023: Ranking revamps now that BFD has been cleared many times over and all runes / raid compositions are being used.
- 01 Dec. 2023: Sent Priest back to S-Rank post world first BFD clear.
- Upcoming Season of Discovery Phase 2 Class Tuning: February 27th
- WoW Hardcore Self-Found Mode Begins February 29th
- Dragonflight 10.2.5 and Season of Discovery Hotfixes, February 21st
- Gnomeregan Trinket Sends Player to Forbidden Zones in SoD Phase 2
- Season of Discovery Hotfixes: February 20th
- Blizzard Acknowledges Gnomeregan Raid Lockout Bug
- Blizzard on AoE Threat in SoD Phase 2
- Season of Discovery and Classic Era Hotfixes: February 16th