Shadowlands Healer Rankings: A Sepulcher of the First Ones Tier List (Patch 9.2)
World of Warcraft 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 healing specializations for the new raid in Patch 9.2, Sepulcher of the First Ones.
About the Tier List
April 25 update: Now that Mythic has been out for several weeks, we can make some adjustments based on what differed from our original list. There were definitely a few surprises, but overall the list was quite accurate for Mythic progression, outside of Holy Priests being so prominent. Additionally, Restoration Shaman is significantly less useful than expected.
This RAIDING tier list is CONSTANTLY EVOLVING — It CHANGES and IS UPDATED as often as necessary to account for tuning and balance changes.
Hello! I am Impakt, the raid leader of the North American guild "BDGG", or Big Dumb Golden Guardians. We finished Sanctum of Domination as the second-best guild in North America, and at World 4th. 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 new raid tier in Patch 9.2, Sepulcher of the First Ones. 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 healer viability for the raid in Patch 9.2 of Shadowlands, Sepulcher of the First Ones. To understand exactly why these rankings are the way they are, you first need to understand what will be valued inside the raid. For healers, we value healing throughput, cooldowns, DPS output, and other utility.
In Patch 9.2, class balance is going to be incredibly dependent on the state of your characters. For this tier list, we will assume that you have 2 Legendary items and 4 pieces of your tier set equipped. Even though it will take at least two weeks to unlock the pieces, the vast majority of guilds will be progressing the most difficult raid encounters with this setup.
A Final Warning
It is incredibly important to emphasize that just because a healer 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 class. That does not mean you never need to think about your raid composition, just that most of the time player skill will be more important than the difference between classes, assuming you already have the required raid buffs. All being on a 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 a predictive tier list for the new raid. As we have not actually seen the final 3 bosses yet, there is a higher than normal chance that something in the list is inaccurate. This list will be updated as soon as changes need to be made, especially once we get to see the remainder of the encounters.
Shadowlands Healer Tier List for Sepulcher of the First Ones
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 the healing 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 Apr 25, 2022
DPS and Tank Class Rankings
Full Healer Class Rankings
Healer balance is probably the best it has ever been, or at least close to it. You could easily run any combination of the healers below and do exceptionally well in the Sepulcher of the First Ones raid. The difference in power for the damage done and defensive cooldowns brought is significantly less than it has been previously, and perhaps even more importantly the specs without damage reduction cooldowns have actually gained some massive buffs to their healing throughput. While there are slight differences, ultimately healer choice will come down to personal preference for the vast majority of guilds: play what you are most comfortable with.
Discipline Priests are currently one of the most valuable healers going in to Sepulcher of the First Ones for a variety of reasons. Discipline brings the second best DPS contribution out of any healer without sacrificing healing done, which can be a huge asset during early progression when damage will be tight. Discipline offers incredibly strong EHP (effective health pool) increases through tools like Power Word: Barrier and Rapture, while also retaining some powerful, low-cooldown spells that enable them to setup for high damage periods better than any other healer. Specifically, Spirit Shell when used correctly can almost eliminate the danger that certain mechanics pose even on mythic encounters. With proper setup, Evangelism and Rapture allows them to plan ahead and set up to do some of the highest throughput possible out of any healer to deal with high stress periods during raid encounters. Discipline is not the highest throughput healer overall, but their ability to direct significant healing into the moments that matter results in Discipline being one of the strongest and most important healing specializations going into the new raid tier.
Discipline also has another important tool worth noting: Power Infusion. Priests are able to cast Power Infusion on other players when they do not need it themselves, which is a huge DPS increase for some classes. This alone is more DPS than most healing specs contribute to the raid, which makes them even better when coordinated correctly.
April 25 update: Holy Priests have surprisingly become S-tier healers thanks to an incredible healing toolkit, as they are one of the only healers that can be freely stacked in a comp and succeed. Their ability to handle spot healing and spread sustained throughput is exceptional. Combined with their significant personal DPS and the ability to use both Power Infusion and Benevolent Faerie on a DPS, Holy Priests are the default choice to fill almost any extra spots in a healing comp.
Holy Priest received some significant buffs going into Patch 9.2, and they now offer exceptional healing output with some of the stronger throughput cooldowns in the game. Holy has been overshadowed by Discipline for a long time not necessarily because it is weak, but moreso because Discipline has been extremely strong when you can correctly coordinate and plan out your cooldowns in a progression setting. However, with the significant buffs to their throughput, Holy could easily see play over Disc on several encounters in 9.2 if given the choice. Holy on its own still brings a solid raid throughput kit, great AoE healing even while spread, and powerful throughput cooldowns with Divine Hymn and the option of talenting into Apotheosis or Holy Word: Salvation. While Holy Priests will not bring the top-tier damage reduction or other types of cooldowns you would see from Discipline, they do bring excellent throughput that could round out a healing composition where you already have other strong raid cooldowns.
Holy Priests also require a special note for their unique cooldown, Symbol of Hope. In a tier where personal cooldown usage is so incredibly important, Holy Priests are the only spec in the game capable of increasing their usage for the entire raid.
April 25 update: High sustained healing throughput is much stronger in Sepulcher than we predicted, which makes Restoration Druids an amazing choice for any fight. Shorter damage reduction cooldowns have proven to be less useful than sustained, high-throughput cooldowns, which allows Druids to carry the healing.
Restoration Druids offer exceptional overall healing output with a solid throughput toolkit, making them an excellent option for any healing composition. Restoration Druids specifically offer strong burst healing through their cooldowns, as they have a set of cooldowns they can use together or apart from each other. On top of the usual Tranquility and Flourish, Druids have access to Convoke the Spirits, which is basically another raid cooldown that has very strong synergy with Flourish. In Shadowlands, Druids can also use Heart of the Wild to do some solid burst DPS when necessary. While their overall damage will still remain low compared to specs like Discipline Priest or Holy Paladin, there will be an option to power through certain parts of the fight with extra DPS. The biggest downsides remain to be a lack of damage reduction cooldown and steady damage contribution.
Mistweaver Monks currently do the most healing out of any healer. Their healing output is exceptionally high, which, combined with their strong damage output, excellent mobility, and decent durability, makes them possibly the most valuable healer to bring to raids in Patch 9.2. Previously the lack of a damage reduction cooldown was too big of a gap to overcome compared to other healers, but they do enough throughput that it is more than worth the loss. Revival especially is much stronger now as well, and does substantial raid healing. Mistweavers are excellent at all damage patterns, which makes them one of the better healers to bring if all you care about is keeping your raid alive in the Sepulcher of the First Ones.
It is also important to mention that Monks do bring a 5% Physical damage buff, which could be considered required for most raid groups. You do not have to use a Mistweaver Monk to get it, but if you have no other Monks then picking up a Mistweaver would be a great way to get the buff.
Holy Paladins are still a valuable healer going into Sepulcher of the First Ones, but they have been noticeably nerfed in Patch 9.2. Venthyr Paladins with the Ashen Hallow ability are still able to do tank-level damage with virtually no loss in healing capabilities, making them an incredibly valuable asset in Mythic progression where damage is tight. The utility that Paladins bring, specifically with Blessing of Protection and Divine Shield, are going to be quite useful on the later Mythic encounters. Finally, Aura Mastery combined with Devotion Aura is still one of the best raid cooldowns in the game as a damage reduction cooldown, which will be quite valuable in Mythic.
The reasons for their drop from S to A-tier in Patch 9.2 are mainly the nerfs that they are about to see. Ashen Hallow took a significant damage hit, and Holy is also losing some power on their main cooldown, Avenging Wrath. Their overall healing output will be perhaps the lowest out of any healer going into 9.2, but their damage and utility are still significant enough that they could easily warrant a raid spot.
April 25 update: Now that the raid has been fully progressed, we now know that almost every encounter has significant movement or spread throughout the fights. As most of the fights are designed to require high sustained HPS, Restoration Shamans are simply a worse choice when compared to healers like Holy Priests or Restoration Druids who excel at that type of sustained healing on spread or mobile raids.
Restoration Shaman is looking to be extremely strong going into Sepulcher of the First Ones, primarily thanks to an exceptionally strong new tier set. They bring one of the best raid cooldowns in the game, Spirit Link Totem, which combined with their other available cooldowns is invaluable on most raid encounters. Restoration specifically has also been putting out some lethal damage output in recent buffs as Kyrian with their Vesper Totem, giving them an exceptional offensive build available should a fight call for it.
- 25 Apr. 2022: Updated after first few weeks of Mythic.
- 18 Feb. 2022: Updated for patch 9.2.
- 06 Nov. 2021: Updated for patch 9.1.5.
- 04 Aug. 2021: Updated for first couple of Mythic weeks.
- 13 Jul. 2021: Updated after Heroic week.
- 24 Jun. 2021: Page added.
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