Shadowlands DPS Rankings: A Castle Nathria Tier List

Last updated on Mar 15, 2021 at 11:43 by Impakt 93 comments

World of Wacraft has never been perfectly balanced, and Shadowlands is no exception. Some classes are better than others at the high end for raiding, and inevitably, a meta will exist. This ranking is based on the viability and strength of the various DPS specializations for the first raid tier of Shadowlands, Castle Nathria.

1.

About the Tier List

Last Updated: March 15 — Patch 9.0.5 is now live, bringing with it some substantial changes to quite a few specs. Every tier, including the S-tier, has experienced some changes with this patch.

DISCLAIMER

This RAIDING tier list is CONSTANTLY EVOLVING — It CHANGES and IS UPDATED as often as necessary to account for tuning and balance changes and new tiers of content.

Hello! I am Impakt, an officer in the North American guild "BDGG", or Big Dumb Golden Guardians. We finished Castle Nathria as the second best guild in North America, and at World 9th. We are prepping hard for the new raid tiers in Shadowlands, and this list reflects how we are currently feeling about the various classes and specializations for progressing the newest raid tier, Castle Nathria. In addition to our own experience, this list was created and will continue to be update in consultation with raiders of other top guilds.

This tier list is entirely based on DPS viability for the new raid in the first tier of Shadowlands, Castle Nathria. To understand exactly why these rankings are the way they are, you first need to understand what will be valued inside the raid.

  • Sludgefist, Stone Legion Generals, and Sire Denathrius are the most challenging boss fights, and will be roadblocks for most guilds.
  • The majority of fights favor ranged DPS over melee due to an abundance of mechanics that require you to either spread or move away from the bosses.
  • This raid has virtually no spread cleave, instead heavily emphasizing priority target damage and burst cooldowns.

When determining what DPS you want for the raid, your biggest concern will always be damage patterns. The two hardest bosses of the raid by far are Stone Legion Generals and Sire Denathrius, with Sire being the final boss of the raid, and thus the most important fight. The fights have competing damage patterns, with SLG favoring cleave and AoE while Denathrius prioritizes mostly single-target damage followed by a phase 3 single-target burn, where execute damage is the priority. Overall, you are looking to slot more ranged the melee, with an emphasis on better single-target DPS classes. Heavy cleave and AoE is present in the raid (specifically in Stone Legion Generals) but the majority of the time as a DPS your focus will be single-target or priority target damage.

1.1.

A Final Warning

It is incredibly important to emphasize that just because a DPS specialization is low in the tier list, it does not mean that you should ignore it completely. For the vast majority of cases, you should choose to bring the better player, not the better specialization. That does not mean it is a good idea to run nothing but melee dps for the entire raid, but more so that having more melee than usual on your roster is not a hindrance if they play well. All being lower tier means is that, all else being equal, those specs will be less desirable for the raid based on current tuning.

Additionally, this is all very much subject to change. While the raid is out and has been cleared, new balance patches are released frequently. As players understand specs better and discover new things, the meta can and will change.

2.

Shadowlands DPS Tier List for Castle Nathria

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.

Work in progress Last update on Mar 15, 2021

  1. Fire Mage (S-Tier)
  2. Unholy Death Knight (S-Tier)
  3. Balance Druid (A-Tier)
  4. Affliction Warlock (A-Tier)
  5. Marksmanship Hunter (A-Tier)
  6. Shadow Priest (A-Tier)
  7. Fury Warrior (B-Tier)
  8. Windwalker Monk (B-Tier)
  9. Havoc Demon Hunter (B-Tier)
  10. Elemental Shaman (B-Tier)
  11. Destruction Warlock (B-Tier)
  12. Outlaw Rogue (B-Tier)
  13. Retribution Paladin (B-Tier)
  14. Arcane Mage (B-Tier)
  15. Feral Druid (B-Tier)
  16. Frost Mage (B-Tier)
  17. Enhancement Shaman (B-Tier)
  18. Frost Death Knight (B-Tier)
  19. Assassination Rogue (B-Tier)
  20. Arms Warrior (B-Tier)
  21. Beast Mastery Hunter (C-Tier)
  22. Demonology Warlock (C-Tier)
  23. Subtlety Rogue (C-Tier)
  24. Survival Hunter (C-Tier)
2.1.

Healer and Tank Class Rankings

If you are interested in our other rankings for Castle Nathria in Shadowlands, please click the links below.

3.

Full DPS Class and Specialization Rankings

3.1.

S-Tier

3.1.1.

Fire Mage

March 15 update: Fire Mages have been exceptionally strong for all of Shadowlands, but recent buffs combined with nerfs to Hunters have pushed them over the edge into the S-tier. Their 1-minute Combustion Icon Combustion timer, uncapped AoE, incredible single-target, execute, and the best defensive toolkit in the game makes them easily the most valuable DPS in raids at the moment.

Fire Mages are currently the most valuable DPS in raids, for good reason. As Night Fae, Fire Mages can get Combustion Icon Combustion down to a 1-minute cooldown timer, allowing them to have incredible burst windows frequently, which really shines on fights such as Sludgefist and Stone Legion Generals. They are one of the few classes that can still do uncapped AoE, which makes their AoE the best in the game at the moment. Outside of some of the best damage output however, Mages have possible the greatest defensive toolkit overall at the moment, with Blazing Barrier Icon Blazing Barrier, Alter Time Icon Alter Time, and Ice Block Icon Ice Block. Combined with Shimmer Icon Shimmer, Mages have a toolkit that can answer any problem thrown their way. Their only real weakness is spread cleave, but that just does not exist inside Castle Nathria, meaning they are exceptional on every fight.

3.1.2.

Unholy Death Knight

December 15 update: Unholy is very strong. Their damage is among the best in the game, they bring the strongest execute out of any DPS, and they are the only DPS class in the game with an AoE damage reduction cooldown for the raid. Despite being melee, Unholy has proven to just be too powerful — they are S-tier.

Unholy's main strength comes from stacked AoE through the same Bursting Sores Icon Bursting Sores combo that made them strong in BFA, but high target stacked AoE is just not found in the raid as much as in Mythic+ dungeons. Luckily, Unholy now also brings both incredible sustained single-target damage and the best execute damage in the game If that is not enough, Death Knights still provide unique utility from Death Grip Icon Death Grip and Anti-Magic Zone Icon Anti-Magic Zone. There are three bosses this tier where Death Grip will be extremely important, but Anti-Magic Zone is one of the strongest defensive abilities that raids will have. It is really hard to understate just how effective AMZ can be if used correctly, especially for Sire Denathrius.

3.2.

A-Tier

These are the DPS specializations that would be considered strong. All else equal, these will make up the majority of raid groups that are looking to be as competitive as possible. The main difference between the A-Tier and the S-Tier is that while these specs are strong, you still will want some comp diversity. The S-tier specs are strong enough in most situations that you could stack them if you wanted to with little downside.

3.2.1.

Balance Druid

March 15 update: Boomkins are still performing exceptionally well overall, but are not quite S-tier. The main reason is that Boomkins have a couple of encounters that pad their overall numbers on logs, making them look a bit stronger than they are. On the more important encounters, Boomkins are still strong, just not S-tier.

Balance Druids have the ability to multi-dot and burst, but their single biggest strength comes from one spell: Starfall Icon Starfall. Starfall is one of the best AoE abilities in the game, allowing then to hit all targets within a 40-yard radius at once, making them ideal for hectic fights like Sun King's Salvation. One of Boomkin's greatest strengths is their Night Fae Covenant ability, Convoke the Spirits Icon Convoke the Spirits. This one spell is what gives them one of the largest burst windows in the game, with incredible single-target and AoE applications.

3.2.2.

Affliction Warlock

March 15 update: Affliction is still an excellent DPS spec in Castle, but I have been asked frequently why it is not S-tier given how high it parses on logs overall. First, Affliction is one of the most commonly buffed specs with external buffs, which inflates the top parses. Second, Affliction and Balance Druids both do exceptional damage, but several fights heavily pad their overall damage, specifically Council. Their actual meaningful damage on the more important fights is still quite strong, but not enough to make them S-tier.

Affliction Warlock is a damage over time, or DoT based spec which also makes them extremely effective on spread cleave, since they can DoT multiple targets, or multi-DoT. Their main source of damage is their new ability Malefic Rapture Icon Malefic Rapture, which deals a burst of damage to any target with DoTs on it, where the damage scales with the number of DoTs from the Warlock. This ability is what makes Affliction so incredibly strong in every situation right now. If you save up shards you can deal some of the highest burst AoE in the game, you have strong sustained AoE, strong sustained multi-DoT cleave, and are able to deal incredible priority target damage when combined with Drain Soul Icon Drain Soul.

Affliction Warlocks also bring an incredible amount of durability and survivability to raid encounters that make them a very desirable DPS for mechanically intensive fights. While you do need to stand still to cast Drain Soul Icon Drain Soul, your DoTs are mostly instant, meaning you do not suffer from movement as much as other casters. Warlocks are one of the most durable DPS classes from a variety of talents and passives, as well as having excellent mobility through Demonic Circle: Teleport Icon Demonic Circle: Teleport, Burning Rush Icon Burning Rush, and Demonic Gateway Icon Demonic Gateway.

3.2.3.

Marksmanship Hunter

March 15 update: With 9.0.5, Hunters were nerfed due to several interactions with their Covenant ability Wild Spirits Icon Wild Spirits getting fixed. This has lowered their 2-minute burst potentially noticeably, and thus they have been dropped into the A-tier. While Marksmanship is still quite strong overall, they lost the dominance that they were showing prior to 9.0.5.

Marksmanship has some of the strongest cooldowns in the game, specifically for AoE and cleave. Volley Icon Volley, Explosive Shot Icon Explosive Shot, and Wild Spirits Icon Wild Spirits have shown to be absolutely incredible AoE cooldowns, making them easily one of the best DPS for dungeons in the first few weeks of Shadowlands. Marksmanship Hunters still have competitive single-target, decent 2-target cleave with the changes to Chimaera Shot Icon Chimaera Shot and Volley Icon Volley, and exceptional 3-6 target cleave due to Trick Shots Icon Trick Shots. The major weakness for Marksmanship Hunter is in spread cleave since they have no ability to hit spread targets. It is also worth noting that Hunters have Aspect of the Turtle Icon Aspect of the Turtle, which will be very useful on some fights in the raid.

3.2.4.

Shadow Priest

December 24 update: While Shadow is still a strong all-around spec, it has been preforming a bit worse than originally predicted. They are good in every situation, but are not the best at anything at the moment. With that being said, Shadow is still a solid A-tier specialization that specifically brings Power Infusion Icon Power Infusion, which has proven to be an incredibly powerful DPS cooldown when used on specific specs like Unholy Death Knights, Marksmanship Hunters, or Affliction Warlocks at the right moments.

Shadow Priests have historically been the kings of multi-dotting, meaning they excel on fights with multiple targets that will live long enough for their DoTs to expire. Thanks in part to some core changes of the spec, Shadow still maintains that superiority on multi-target encounters while also now gaining AoE and single-target power. After the recent buffs, specifically to how Devouring Plague Icon Devouring Plague works, Shadow Priest now being the best funneling damage in the game and one of the best all-around toolkits out of any DPS. This has pushed them straight to the top of the S-tier, finally dethroning Affliction Warlocks.

3.3.

B-Tier

While not as strong as the A-tier specializations, these specs are still viable, and will not be uncommon in raid groups. Some of these might be rarer to see, but more so because the other specs of that class are just so much stronger.

3.3.1.

Fury Warrior

March 15 update: Fury Warriors has been performing extremely well recently as more players are starting to utilize it on the later encounters. Fury is actually one of the best DPS in the game for Stone Legion Generals specifically due to the consistent AoE and cleave throughout the fight, but also performs quite well on other encounters as well. Fury may very well move into the A-tier soon, but is at the pinnacle of the B-tier for now.

Fury Warriors are a strong melee option that excel at two things: execute and stacked 2-5 target cleave. Whirlwind Icon Whirlwind is a strong AoE ability that makes your spenders cleave, which essentially allows them to cleave their entire single-target rotation onto multiple targets, which is extremely useful in Castle Nathria. Warriors also can do Venthyr, which gives them access to Condemn Icon Condemn, which is both a very powerful ability that gives Fury strong opening burst and excellent execute damage. And of course, Warriors are also one of the only DPS classes in the game that bring a raid cooldown with Rallying Cry Icon Rallying Cry. While not as strong as a Death Knight's Anti-Magic Zone Icon Anti-Magic Zone, it is still incredibly useful to the raid.

3.3.2.

Windwalker Monk

March 15 update: Windwalker has not had a good week. The recent patch fixed several "bugs" in Windwalker's toolkit that have been around for a long time, which significantly affected the spec's output. This might be reverted or changed at some point, but their overall output has dropped substantially enough to drop them into the B-tier.

Windwalker Monks have a pretty fun toolkit and are enjoyable to play, and with recent buffs are quite a competitive and viable spec in Castle Nathria. Windwalkers are actually reasonably strong with their current toolkit, but sadly their position as a melee without utility is what keeps them out of the A-tier now. There is just no reason to bring a Windwalker other than for damage, and they do not bring the damage necessary to justify taking up a melee spot.

3.3.3.

Havoc Demon Hunter

March 15 update: While Havoc is still noticeably lacking in single-target damage, their cleave and AoE is actually quite strong. Overall Havoc is performing a better and better, and the 9.0.5 changes helped them out even more.

Every single-raid will always want at least one Demon Hunter for the unique 5% magic damage buff that they bring, which alone is reason enough to justify their spot here. Demon Hunter's biggest strength comes in the for of strong 2-5 target cleave and burst AoE from Unbound Chaos Icon Unbound Chaos and Sinful Brand Icon Sinful Brand. However, Demon Hunters still have an awkward 4-minute cooldown with Metamorphosis Icon Metamorphosis, which while strong, is awkward to plan out during most fights. While their AoE/Cleave may be strong, their single-target damage is mediocre compared to other specs in the A-tier. More importantly, Demon Hunters fill a melee spot, and a second Demon Hunter will be far less valuable to most raid groups that other options.

3.3.4.

Elemental Shaman

November 1 update: Elemental has received a mix of both buffs and nerfs to several Conduits and legendaries over the past two weeks, but the takeaway is that they are performing slightly better. Elemental will be moving up slightly on the tier list.

While Elemental Shamans have been plagued by the catastrophe that was Fulmination for all of beta, they just recently got a redesign, and are back to using Maelstrom as a resource. This change combined with some substantial buffs to a few key spells that has give them some much needed love. Their main source of power is stacked AoE and cleave from Chain Lightning Icon Chain Lightning and Earthquake Icon Earthquake, but with the recent changes they have some other powerful tools to help them even more. Their single-target has gone from low-tier to decent, which is enough to put them into the B-tier, making them a decent choice to fill out a roster going into Shadowlands.

3.3.5.

Destruction Warlock

March 15 update: More Warlocks have picked up Destruction recently, and while it is not close to Affliction's level at the moment, it is performing much better than expected. Destruction seems to scale solidly, and is worth watching out for next tier. For now it is moving back up into the B-tier.

Destruction is reasonably competitive in most areas, but currently has some of the strongest sustained AoE cleave in the game thanks to Rain of Chaos Icon Rain of Chaos and their new Legendary power Wilfred's Sigil of Superior Summoning Icon Wilfred's Sigil of Superior Summoning. This combination drastically lowers your cooldown on Summon Infernal Icon Summon Infernal while spamming Rain of Fire Icon Rain of Fire, which in its current state lets Destruction Warlocks drop their Infernal cooldown to under 2 minutes in sustained AoE situations. This absolute dominance in high target sustained AoE is only moderately useful on a couple of fights however, which is not enough to put them above the B-tier given what they are lacking on single-target and spread cleave.

3.3.6.

Outlaw Rogue

November 20 update: Outlaw has been performing better and better recently, so we will be bumping them up into the B-tier to more accurately reflect their position in the new raid. Their cleave damage is incredible, and their toolkit is still quite strong.

Much like Assassination, Outlaw just lacks the raw single-target damage Output that Subtlety brings. Outlaw's damage pattern has not changed since BfA, meaning while it lacks the single-target damage, it is still incredibly strong for cleave thanks to Blade Flurry Icon Blade Flurry. Unfortunately, Blade Flurry does not make them strong for priority target damage, which is the majority of cleave in Castle Nathria. With Subtlety as strong as it is, Outlaw is unlikely to see much play in the new raid.

3.3.7.

Retribution Paladin

November 1 update: Retribution saw significant buffs to most of their potency Conduits this build, which should give them a nice boost in DPS. This will bump Retribution up a couple of spots on the tier list.

After the most recent round of changes, Retribution now has one of the better burst setups in the game thanks to the combination of Execution Sentence Icon Execution Sentence, Final Reckoning Icon Final Reckoning, and Final Verdict Icon Final Verdict both for single-target and AoE. Retribution now also has extremely competitive execute damage thanks to The Mad Paragon Icon The Mad Paragon with Hammer of Wrath Icon Hammer of Wrath. While its sustained damage is a bit behind the A-tier specs, the burst is top-tier, giving Retribution some very real strengths. It is also worth noting that as a Paladin, they have access to Blessing of Protection Icon Blessing of Protection, which is incredibly useful on some fights, enough so that you could plan some strategies around immunities and BoPs. Picking up a Retribution Paladin is nothing to be afraid of for Castle Nathria, and will actually be quite strong on some fights.

3.3.8.

Arcane Mage

March 15 update: Arcane is doing better after some buffs in 9.0.5, and is pumping out some stellar numbers for single-target damage. For now they will remain in the B-tier, but they could potentially rise soon.

Arcane brings all of the bells and whistles that Mages enjoy, with incredibly strong movement, survivability, and utility basically everywhere you would want it. Arcane has a specific niche in raid right now, which is single-target damage and the burst that they bring from their legendary choice along with Arcane Power Icon Arcane Power. While this niche is not game-breaking in Castle Nathria, it is absolutely something to watch out for going forward into future raids.

3.3.9.

Feral Druid

February 2 update: While there are still some issues with Feral, the numbers are undeniable. Feral is quite competitive at single-target damage. This strength is enough to warrant them being pushed into the B-tier.

Feral is still a bit lacking in Shadowlands at the moment. Much of their single-target potential revolves around Bloodtalons Icon Bloodtalons, but after several design iterations it still feels bad to use compared to the old design. More importantly though, for what it brings as a melee, it does not feel like it brings the appropriate amount of damage. Feral brings excellent single-target damage at the moment, but this is the only area in which it is competitive. The bigger problem as well is that Feral DPS are melee, meaning your space in raids will be limited anyways. At the moment, Feral Druids lack the utility and damage output that other melee offer, making them a tough sell when melee spots are so tight.

Feral's biggest strength right now comes from Primal Wrath Icon Primal Wrath, which is an uncapped AoE finisher that places Rip Icon Rip on all enemies it hits. Feral might be C-tier or even B-tier if they could consistently get good use out of this, but the use is just not there inside Castle Nathria. There is a lack of high target, large scale stacked AoE that would make Primal Wrath excel, and when there is large AoE, the enemies die far too quickly.

3.3.10.

Frost Mage

February 2 update: Frost has fallen quite a bit since the launch of Shadowlands. While there is some potential in its cleave, Frost just does not do the type of damage that is valuable for any encounter inside Castle Nathria. The spec is both under-tuned and poorly synergized with the raid.

Frost Mages were originally hyped up at the expansion launch, but have since fallen quite a ways. After multiple late rounds of nerfs in beta, Frost is just not at a competitive level for the necessary damage profiles that you need for Castle Nathria. Glacial Fragments Icon Glacial Fragments is quite strong for cleave specifically, and is Frost's one competitive niche at the moment. They are mediocre for single-target damage, but their true strength lies in cleave, and specifically for funneling. There are no encounters in Castle Nathria where they really get to make good use of this strength, and thus are not nearly as valuable as others specs like Fire.

3.3.11.

Enhancement Shaman

December 4 update: Enhancement is actually doing quite well, and even as a melee is looking to be very competitive in Castle Nathria. Their damage output is among the best out of any melee, and perhaps even more importantly Windfury Totem Icon Windfury Totem has proven to be an incredible buff for several melee specs, making an Enhancement Shaman an extremely attractive choice to round out a melee comp for the new raid.

Enhancement has one of the more complete toolkits and has probably seen the most positive feedback for the longest period of time compared to other DPS specializations. Enhancement has mid-high tier sustained single-target damage, competitive cleave, decent utility, and reasonable cooldowns for solid burst. While Enhancement may be more of an uncommon spec to see, it is solidly in the B-tier. It is, simple put, a solid spec, and well deserving of a melee spot in most groups.

3.3.12.

Frost Death Knight

December 4 update: Unholy has been performing extremely well, surpassing Frost in most areas. Frost is looking a little worse than previously expected, which has essentially swapped Unholy and Frost in the rankings, dropping Frost down into the B-tier. While Frost is still viable, Unholy is poised to be the dominant Death Knight DPS specialization this tier.

Death Knights are in an excellent spot right now in terms of viability, and with a little bit of damage tuning could easily climb a few spots. Frost Death Knights main damage strength comes from their AoE and cleave, specifically from Breath of Sindragosa Icon Breath of Sindragosa. Their damage itself is competitive, but their main usefulness comes from Death Grip Icon Death Grip and Anti-Magic Zone Icon Anti-Magic Zone. There are three bosses this tier where Death Grip will be extremely important, but Anti-Magic Zone is one of the strongest defensive abilities that raids will have. It is really hard to understate just how effective AMZ can be if used correctly, especially for Sire Denathrius.

3.3.13.

Assassination Rogue

March 15 update: After some massive buffs in 9.0.5, Assassination has surged into the Rogue meta. Assassination is now performing the best out of all Rogue specs for single-target, and is quite competitive overall. They have moved into the B-tier for now, but this could very easily change soon as more people start to play it.

After some massive buffs in 9.0.5, Assassination is looking to be one of the most competitive single-target specs in the game. Thanks to huge energy generation buffs and the ability to use more Envenom Icon Envenoms, Assassination has room to do damage now. Their sustained single-target is substantial, which combined with Rogue's natural utility and durability, makes them an excellent melee DPS choice going forward. Castle Nathria unfortunately does not play towards Rogue's toolkit well, which keeps them in the B-tier for now. However, this could very easily change in future raids.

3.3.14.

Arms Warrior

March 15 update: Fury is far ahead of Arms now in terms of overall benefit to the raid. Arms just does not bring the AoE and overall output that Fury does, except for on 2-target cleave. However, 2-target cleave is really only useful on a couple of encounters, making Fury a much better choice overall.

Arms Warriors have access to their covenant ability Condemn Icon Condemn Covenant ability that gives them strong opening burst and execute damage. Arms has decent 2-target cleave due to Sweeping Strikes Icon Sweeping Strikes and solid execute potential, but Arms is still struggling overall. With the recent buffs, Arms is looking much more promising, although is still on the lower end of the DPS meters. It is worth noting that Warriors are one of the only DPS classes that bring a raid cooldown with Rallying Cry Icon Rallying Cry, which can be incredibly valuable on most raid encounters.

3.4.

C-Tier

This is where you start getting into the lower end of the tier list, or the specs that still need some more attention and tuning.

3.4.1.

Beast Mastery Hunter

March 15 update: Recent buffs have made Beast Mastery more competitive, and potentially will be moving to the B-tier soon. However, more data is needed, since not enough people are trying it out at the moment to say definitively. Beast Mastery also has a major issue on Mythic Sire Denathrius, as pets cannot travel between the platforms, making the spec terrible during the second phase of the encounter.

Beast Mastery has great scaling with tons of room for growth, but at the moment is mainly just lacking in tuning for this first tier. With the loss of BFA systems, Beast Mastery suffered more than most, and lost the massive amount of stats that made the spec so incredibly powerful in Ny'alotha. Without the crazy amount of stats and specifically the Dance of Death Icon Dance of Death and Primal Instincts Icon Primal Instincts Azerite traits, Beast Mastery has reverted back to its previous iteration seen earlier with just maintaining Frenzy Icon Frenzy. This is normally quite rough at the start of an expansion, but thanks to the new Scent of Blood Icon Scent of Blood talent and Bloodletting Icon Bloodletting Conduit, it feels doable even at low gear levels. Beast Mastery brings reliable, mid-high tier single-target damage which is great on the more mechanic heavy raid encounters, especially those with heavy movement. The spec also offers some solid sustained cleave damage from Beast Cleave Icon Beast Cleave, but suffers heavily on 2 target cleave and any sort of spread cleave. Beast Mastery actually feels decent to play, but is just behind Marksmanship in terms of raw output in most situations.

Damage aside, it is also worth noting that Beast Mastery Hunter is the only ranged specialization in the game that can perform 100% of its rotation while moving. This is a incredibly perk that could potentially make them pull ahead on some bosses with lots of movement, but specifically is useful for when you need a ranged DPS to do high movement jobs on fights without sacrificing a ton of damage, such as on Artificer Xy'Mox.

3.4.2.

Demonology Warlock

November 1 update: Since the latest update, Demonology has seen some significant Conduit nerfs along with some legendary tuning. With these changes, Demonology has dropped several ranks and will be moving back into the C-tier.

Demonology Warlocks are one of the most durable DPS in the game thanks to Soul Link Icon Soul Link combined with the standard Warlock toolkit. Demonology might not have the strength that the other two Warlocks specs offer, but they still bring reasonable single-target damage with exceptional burst AoE, burst cleave, and burst single-target. However, Demonology has poor sustained cleave, no multi-dot, and are generally a bit weaker for the types of bosses that you will see in Castle Nathria. This is both a lack of tuning and a poorly designed damage kit that is missing the abundance of secondary stats found in Ny'alotha.

3.4.3.

Subtlety Rogue

March 15 update: With the recent buffs to Assassination, Subtlety has lost its niche. Assassination is strong on single-target now, meaning there is nothing where Subtlety performs better than other Rogue specs, let alone other DPS. Subtlety is dropping into the C-tier for now.

Subtlety Rogues are a very durable melee spec with strong utility, but unfortunately has mediocre damage output overall. Their strength currently comes from the combination of their legendary Akaari's Soul Fragment Icon Akaari's Soul Fragment and their potency Conduit Deeper Daggers Icon Deeper Daggers. While single-target damage is their primary strength, they are getting beat out by Assassination and other DPS specs at the moment, which has left them without any meaningful strengths in raid.

In addition to their strong damage profile, Rogues have exceptional mobility, Cloak of Shadows Icon Cloak of Shadows for an immunity, and Feint Icon Feint for survivability.

3.4.4.

Survival Hunter

September 27 update: Now that we have had more of a chance to see the spec perform since getting fixed, Survival is dropping into the C-tier. Survival's damage still leaves much to be desired, and it really lacks any sort of cohesive spec identity. Survival needs developer attention more than most.

Survival Hunter has had probably the roughest time out of any other DPS specialization throughout beta, almost entirely due to a game-breaking bug. For the majority of the beta, their passive focus regeneration was half of what it should be, which led to a very low play rate, and an inability to test the spec where it needed to be tested. After this recent fix, Survival is one again playable and looking like a real spec again, but is still just several iterations behind where other specs are at the moment.

All of that being said, Survival still not in a good state. It is lacking any real strengths other than being a melee DPS with an immunity, but it really needs a cohesive spec identity. There are just not tangible strengths or areas where it shines right now, which is disheartening, especially for a melee spec that has been struggling for awhile.

4.

Changelog

  • 15 Mar. 2021: Updated for 9.0.5 after week 1.
  • 06 Feb. 2021: More DPS updates, specifically moving Fury up.
  • 02 Feb. 2021: Updated after reviewing the Mythic raid data from January.
  • 24 Dec. 2020: Updated after first Mythic week.
  • 15 Dec. 2020: Updated after Heroic week.
  • 04 Dec. 2020: Updated after first 10 days of Shadowlands.
  • 20 Nov. 2020: Updated with class tuning, final update before Shadowlands launch.
  • 01 Nov. 2020: Updated with recent Conduit tuning.
  • 18 Oct. 2020: Updated with recent legendary tuning.
  • 03 Oct. 2020: Updated with September 30 covenant tuning.
  • 27 Sep. 2020: Updated with September 24 balance changes.
  • 21 Sep. 2020: Updated Subtlety, Destruction, and DH based on recent changes and feedback.
  • 08 Sep. 2020: Second round of updates based on continued Discord feedback.
  • 07 Sep. 2020: First round of updates based on Discord feedback.
  • 04 Sep. 2020: Guide added.
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