Tank Rankings / Tier List for WoW Classic
There are three tanking specializations in WoW Classic and there is a clear hierarchy amongst them for all of WoW Classic. All tanks are not created equal while Warriors exist. Tanking is an important role, and while DPS can sometimes get leeway while playing on a less viable spec, tanks do not have the same luxury. While anything is possible, this tier ranking for tanks will generally hold true throughout all of WoW Classic for most guilds.
If you were looking for TBC Classic advice, please refer to our TBC Classic Tank Rankings.
Summary of Tank Class and Specialization Rankings
Below is a quick summary of the full rankings that we have detailed on this page. While this gives a good outline of the standings of specializations in comparison to one another, we recommend reading the full rankings to understand why certain specializations are ranked as they are.
DPS and Healer Class Rankings
If you are interested in our other rankings for WoW Classic, please click the links below.
Full Tank Class and Specialization Rankings
The jump in tiers between Warriors, Druid, and Paladins is intentional. The difference between the tanks is so huge that just a single tier difference is not enough to showcase just how different the tanks are.
S-Tier Classes and Specializations
For the entirety of WoW Classic, Warriors are simply the best tanks, without question. For leveling and early dungeons, Warriors can tank in their DPS specializations to do high DPS while holding aggro and not dying, or can go Protection to ensure that they take little damage. Warriors have some incredible cooldowns, such as Shield Wall, amazing defensive talents and stats, and simply the best tanking toolkit for dealing damage and damage mitigation. They also bring incredibly important debuffs with Sunder Armor, Thunder Clap, and Demoralizing Shout. Every guild in WoW Classic will have multiple Warrior tanks for as long as they raid.
B-Tier Classes and Specializations
Druids are not Warriors, but have some strengths that make them viable and even useful in some raids. While every guild will have multiple Warrior tanks, some guilds may choose to have a single Feral Druid who will usually switch between tanking and DPS depending on the fight. Druids bring some useful debuffs and buffs, with Leader of the Pack and Faerie Fire (Feral), and are also able to do the highest single-target threat in the game due to the power of Maul. While Druids do not have issues with single-target threat, they do have issues with damage taken. Druids do not have the same damage mitigation tools that Warriors do and will take much more damage. There are some fights that Druids simply cannot realistically tank on, due to their damage intake being too high, making them prone to dying at any moment. That being said, Druids are a viable off-tank choice to have one of in the raid, putting them solidly in the B tier.
D-Tier Classes and Specializations
Protection Paladins have their strengths, but not for raiding. They deal the most AoE damage, thus generating the highest AoE threat out of any tank, making them passable in dungeons, where AoE is more prevalent. However, their single-target threat is simply not good enough. Paladins rely on Holy Shield to generate threat while the target is attacking them, which means, if they are off-tanking a raid encounter, they are limited in their ability to generate threat. This would not be an issue normally, but Paladins also do not have a taunt. This combo makes them simply non-viable for the majority of raid encounters. Additionally, Paladins are the only tank that uses Mana. They are forced to gear defensively, but this means they do not have Intellect or Mana regeneration on their gear, and suffer from major Mana problems throughout all of WoW Classic. Paladins are acceptable in dungeons since pulls are much shorter, allowing them to drink frequently. But in raids, Paladins do not have the same luxury, and will frequently run out of Mana in the middle of encounters, leaving them unable to generate threat. Simply put, Paladins are non-viable in raids and should be avoided, putting them squarely in the D tier.
- 15 Sep. 2019: Guide added.
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