Mythic+ DPS Rankings: A Tier List for Shadowlands

Last updated on Oct 24, 2020 at 18:06 by Petko 8 comments

From the strongest to the weakest class and specialization, each provide unique character distinction, adding value towards shaping the Seasonal "meta" of Mythic+. The DPS specialization rankings provided for Shadowlands's first Season of Mythic+ are based on pure DPS strength and group-added value such as utilities, survivability, mobility and self-sustain.

This list will be updated as new tuning and class changes come out leading up to the release of Shadowlands.

1.

About the Tier List

The tier list is NOT FINAL, it will change and will be updated as often as necessary, there are daily/weekly covenant and class tuning as that will impact the placing of the specs.

I am Petko, a competitive mythic + player and a team captain of "The Boys", most recently MDI summer finalist. More known to be pushing the boundaries of High Mythic + with several World first and Europe rankings among the seasons on a multiple classes. I have been working hard on preparing for the Season 1 of Shadowlands, spending tons of hours per day examining each and every class and spec in dungeon environment. The Tier list will continue to update as much as it requires before and after the release of Shadowlands and it will also focus on what the "meta" will look like, once it stabilizes. Along the way, this Tier list will also be supported by various professional Mythic+ players with high credibility in the community.

To begin with, this Tier list will primarily focus on the first Season of Mythic+ in Shadowlands. At the beginning, there will be also no Warcraft Logs rankings added nor simulation data for the majority of the classes and specs. As a result, the Tier list will be solely based on empirical evidence of the current state of the classes' performance in Mythic+ from my own point of view and the point of view of the group of players testing those classes, who are among the best representative of the class in the community. Moreover, the Tier list will take into consideration every impactful class change and Covenant tuning.

This tier list is entirely based on DPS viability examined in each dungeon of Shadowlands. To understand why exactly some rankings are the way they are, you need to understand the importance of the toolkit that some classes provide to Mythic+ groups.

  • With the removal of War-Scrolls (the old BfA ones are still in the game, but cannot be used at max level and there are no Shadowlands ones), classes like Priest, Warrior and Mage bring additional value to the party, thanks to the similar buffs they provide.
  • Most of the mechanics, mob types or affixes are melee unfriendly, meaning ranged classes are more favorable in the Season 1 of Mythic + in Shadowlands.
  • Classes with very high survivability, self sustain, or immunities have always been valued higher, since you can completely "skip" some mechanics or make the life of the healer easier.
  • At last, only two classes can provide unique Magical damage increase and Physical damage increase to the whole party: Monk with Mystic Touch Icon Mystic Touch and Demon Hunter with Chaos Brand Icon Chaos Brand. This gives these classes priority, depending on group composition.

When deciding what class you want to play for the first Season of Shadowlands, it is important to understand how and why some classes are valued more than the others and what is important in the current dungeons. Dungeons like The Necrotic Wake and Sanguine Depths favor classes with immunities and classes with shorter interrupt cooldowns. Another important thing to keep in mind is the Seasonal affix called Prideful, which prioritizes single target and classes with high self-sustain or off-healing abilities while DPS-ing to help overcoming it.

1.1.

A Final Warning

It is important to understand that this Tier list is NOT permanent and it will be due to change with the upcoming changes and tunings prior to the release of the expansion. I have always advocated on "bring the player, not the class motto" meaning, value the player skill more than the class itself. This Tier list should NOT discourage you to play whatever you enjoy the most, as I have always been playing "off-meta" classes and happened to have really good results in an actual Mythic+ environment. The list will be updated as much as it requires and if something is under-performing now, it could become meta due to a hotfix, as well as the opposite.

2.

DPS Tier List for Shadowlands Season 1 of Mythic+

Below you can find the full rankings for DPS slots in Shadowlands Mythic+. We encourage you to further read and understand why some classes are placed lower or higher than expected, with several factors taken into consideration.

Work in progress Last update on Oct 24, 2020

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

Healer and Tank Class Rankings

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

3.

Full DPS Class and Specialization Rankings

3.1.

S-tier

3.1.1.

Frost Mage

October 23 update: The recent buffs to Frost Mage's main conduits Ice Bite Icon Ice Bite and Icy Propulsion Icon Icy Propulsion will further enhance their dominance in Mythic+, making the spec even better and strengthening its current best choice of a ranged class/specialization in Mythic+.

October 19 update: The most recent Legendary power buff to Freezing Winds Icon Freezing Winds will further enhance their position on their S-tier. This change will directly impact and increase their overalls damage profile, as this is their best performing Mythic+ legendary.

Mage is among the three classes in the game that provides "lust", in other words, Time Warp Icon Time Warp, making them desirable in Mythic+. In addition to their amazing toolkit such as permanent slow of the mobs, making it easier for the tanks to kite, CC such as Polymorph Icon Polymorph and high self-sustain + immunity such as Ice Barrier Icon Ice Barrier and Ice Block Icon Ice Block, Frost Mages also provide one of the highest DPS overalls, which is essential to determine if a spec deserves S, A, B, or a C tier. The high mobility of Mages also adds value, further compounded by the ability to provide Arcane Intellect Icon Arcane Intellect to the whole party making it valuable pick if there is another caster within the group.

Frost Mages also have one of the best 2-target cleave DPS and very high single-target DPS, making them perfect to "nuke" important mobs, Prideful or Bosses. Moreover, being able to enter stealth with Invisibility Icon Invisibility provides Frost Mages with the unique ability to skip certain packs, mobs or bosses. To top it off, they also have Spellsteal Icon Spellsteal, which can create an opportunity for them to benefit from an enemy magical buff for 2 minutes within the dungeon.

3.2.

A-Tier

Below are displayed the DPS specs are considered strong, but not "meta" unlike S-tier specs. In other words, you are perfectly fine bringing any of those specs and all of them will perform almost equally good, each of them bringing unique tools to cope with the dungeon timers.

3.2.1.

Marksmanship Hunter

October 23 update: Marksmanship Hunter received a major revamp of their Serpentstalker's Trickery Icon Serpentstalker's Trickery Legendary, severely nerfing its value and thus the spec's overall damage performance. This opens the door for other builds to take place and change the current playstyle of the spec. This change is primarily targeting AoE damage output, where Marksmanship Hunter excels. As a result, the spec moves from S-tier to the top bracket of A-tier.

While the toolkit remains the same, the damage nerf will put this spec into the upper bracket of A-tier.

Marksmanship Hunter currently has one the highest AoE bursts and overall DPS in the game. The combination of the Trueshot Icon Trueshot cooldown and Trick Shots Icon Trick Shots passive makes their burst reach unparalleled numbers. On top of this, the ability to freely move while casting makes it easier to dodge avoidable damage, which is crucial to ensure higher group DPS. Hunter is also among the three classes in the game that can provide "lust" in a form of Primal Rage Icon Primal Rage. In addition to the amazing toolkit, Marksmanship Hunter also have a knock-back spell in the eyes of Bursting Shot Icon Bursting Shot which can be utilized on a several occasions in Mythic+. Hunter also has great mobility, thanks to Disengage Icon Disengage and Aspect of the Cheetah Icon Aspect of the Cheetah.

The Hunter toolkit is among the best for Mythic+. From slow such as Tar Trap Icon Tar Trap, to immobilize Binding Shot Icon Binding Shot, Hunter provides unique tools to cope and release pressure from the tank and the healer. Finally, the great self-sustain from Exhilaration Icon Exhilaration and immunity from Aspect of the Turtle Icon Aspect of the Turtle makes Hunters a top contender for DPS slot for Shadowlands Mythic+.

Hunter is also one of the two classes able to transfer its current aggro towards the tank using Misdirection Icon Misdirection which works similar to Rogue's Tricks of the Trade Icon Tricks of the Trade and have the ability to dispel enrage effects with Tranquilizing Shot Icon Tranquilizing Shot.

3.2.2.

Subtlety Rogue

October 23 update: Subtlety Rogue suffered another major nerf to their core conduits Deeper Daggers Icon Deeper Daggers and Planned Execution Icon Planned Execution, severely damaging their single-target, priority-target, and AoE damage. This significant nerf will lower the spec from S-tier to A-tier, and it will equalize the power of Subtlety Rogue to the rest of the melee specializations on the A-tier. To conclude, the spec will top the ranks of A-tier, but it will no longer hold domination over the rest of the melee specializations, potentially opening the door for new group compositions.

October 19 update: Subtlety Rogue's major power spike comes from the unique Legendary's, Akaari's Soul Fragment Icon Akaari's Soul Fragment, interaction with their core abilities, further buffing their value from 15% to 25% (which was previously nerfed from 50% to 15% on October 8), will secure the spec as the current strongest Mythic+ melee choice in Shadowlands. In addition, nerf to their core talent Enveloping Shadows Icon Enveloping Shadows from 1 to 0.5 seconds per combo point spent, will have a slight negative impact on their overall damage.

Rogue has been dominating Mythic+ for quite some time now. In BfA, Rogue was always required in a group and things are no different now. Subtlety Rogue is among the top contenders for a spot in a group and will most likely be part of the "meta" of Season 1 in Shadowlands. Their strength comes from the insanely high single-target burst, due to the combination of the Legendary power Akaari's Soul Fragment Icon Akaari's Soul Fragment and the conduit Deeper Daggers Icon Deeper Daggers. This makes Subtlety Rogues perfect for dealing with important mobs, Prideful and bosses, cementing their place as a to pick for every Mythic+ group.

Contributing to Subtlety Rogue's strength is the Rogue's toolkit, with high survivability (Feint Icon Feint, Evasion Icon Evasion, or Riposte Icon Riposte), immunity (Cloak of Shadows Icon Cloak of Shadows), self-sustain (Crimson Vial Icon Crimson Vial), and high mobility. On top of that, Rogues are the king of the mob control in dungeons, paired together with unique Vanish Icon Vanish skips and out of combat CC such as Sap Icon Sap and Shroud of Concealment Icon Shroud of Concealment.

If that was not enough, Rogue is also one of the two classes able to transfer aggro to the tank using Tricks of the Trade Icon Tricks of the Trade, making it easier for the tanks to hold threat.

3.2.3.

Outlaw Rogue

October 23 update: With the recent round of beta changes, Outlaw Rogues suffered significant nerfs to their most powerful conduits Ambidexterity Icon Ambidexterity and Triple Threat Icon Triple Threat. This change will negatively affect their overall damage, but it will not be enough to push the spec off the A-tier list.

October 9 update: Further nerfs to Outlaw Rogue's signature ability Blade Flurry Icon Blade Flurry (making it three times less powerful) will hurt their AoE damage. On the positive side, the energy cost for Roll the Bones Icon Roll the Bones is reduced by half. Those changes do not affect the spec's current rankings.

Outlaw rogue is the specialization with the best CC in Mythic+. Gouge Icon Gouge is an incredible ability to disturb enemies' casts and is off the Diminishing Return list, just like Blind Icon Blind. Outlaw rogues are also the melee spec with the longest melee range if Acrobatic Strikes Icon Acrobatic Strikes is chosen, which makes it easier to maneuver in a melee situation. Just like other Rogue specs, Outlaw provides high survivability, self-sustain, and immunity, making it a great pick for any group.

The biggest weakness of Outlaw Rogue comes from its inconsistent DPS number due to Roll the Bones Icon Roll the Bones, making it unpredictable. All in all, Outlaw does not contribute enough to overall DPS to allow for a S-Tier placement.

3.2.4.

Shadow Priest

October 23 update: Shadow Priest received several changes with the recent beta patch, from several of their core abilities getting nerfed (Devouring Plague Icon Devouring Plague and Mind Flay Icon Mind Flay) to a core talent choice nerf for Mythic+ (Auspicious Spirits Icon Auspicious Spirits). In contrast, the aura modification of Mind Blast Icon Mind Blast was increased from 0.7 to 0.8 (direct buff) and several major conduits received buffs ( Dissonant Echoes Icon Dissonant Echoes, Haunting Apparitions Icon Haunting Apparitions, and Mind Devourer Icon Mind Devourer). Those changes were mainly focused on the priority-target and single-target damage of the Shadow Priest, slightly tuning it down, while the nerf to Auspicious Spirits Icon Auspicious Spirits is compensated by the buff of Haunting Apparitions Icon Haunting Apparitions. To conclude, Shadow Priest will not swap position in the current tier list and it will remain as one of the stronger Ranged options in Shadowlands.

The biggest strength from the rework comes from the redesigned talent tree. Shadow Priests can choose uncapped burst AoE with Searing Nightmare Icon Searing Nightmare, or heavy spread target multi-dotting with Misery Icon Misery. When it comes to damage style, they can also choose Ancient Madness Icon Ancient Madness for burst Voidform Icon Voidforms, Hungering Void Icon Hungering Void for sustained single-target damage (great for Prideful targeting), or Surrender to Madness Icon Surrender to Madness to get double the amount of uses of their major cooldown, Voidform.

Shadow Priest's main strength is multi-dotting, for which it is the best class in Mythic+. Shadow Priest also provides very good overall "peel" for the group composition, group off-heal, and high self-sustain. Vampiric Embrace Icon Vampiric Embrace is very useful during heavy HPS encounters and Prideful. With Purify Disease Icon Purify Disease, Dispel Magic Icon Dispel Magic, and Mass Dispel Icon Mass Dispel, Shadow Priest is among the top ranged contender for a spot in the group. Outside of that, Priest is the only class in the game that provides Power Word: Fortitude Icon Power Word: Fortitude, increasing the health pool of all party members. Finally, Priest is the only class that can get rid of the Bursting Icon Bursting affix by using Mass Dispel Icon Mass Dispel, which makes them extremely valuable.

Shadow Priest also provides excellent CC with as Mind Control Icon Mind Control, Psychic Scream Icon Psychic Scream, Shackle Undead Icon Shackle Undead, and Psychic Horror Icon Psychic Horror.

The main weakness of the spec comes from Silence Icon Silence's long cooldown (among the highest in the game for an interrupt). Interrupting and disturbing targets in Mythic+ is essential to avoid as much damage as you can in order to increase over group DPS.

3.2.5.

Havoc Demon Hunter

Havoc Demon Hunter is one of the specs with the highest mobility and survivability in the game, thanks to Fel Rush Icon Fel Rush and Vengeful Retreat Icon Vengeful Retreat paired together with the jump of Metamorphosis Icon Metamorphosis. Its unique ability to provide Chaos Brand Icon Chaos Brand in the group makes it favorable pick in a combination with several casters in the party. Out of combat CC such as Imprison Icon Imprison gives you an ability to skip mobs without getting in combat, allowing you to "buy" time in each dungeon. To top that, Havoc Demon Hunter have two immunities, one being Netherwalk Icon Netherwalk and the other being the 1 second jump of the Metamorphosis Icon Metamorphosis. High self-sustain and amazing group toolkit such as Darkness Icon Darkness and Chaos Nova Icon Chaos Nova makes the spec among the best melee specs in Shadowlands Mythic +.

The biggest disadvantage comes from the capped AoE on most of their abilities such as Blade Dance Icon Blade Dance, doing significantly lower overall damage than any of the mentioned S-Tier specs. The medium to low single-target DPS of the spec is also something to take into consideration, as the focus of this Seasonal affix in Shadowlands is high priority damage due to Prideful.

3.2.6.

Unholy Death Knight

October 23 update: The recent nerf to Unholy Death Knight's Convocation of the Dead Icon Convocation of the Dead and Embrace Death Icon Embrace Death conduits will mainly impact their single-target and priority-target damage output. This change will not change the ranking of the spec, but its value will definitely diminish, as Apocalypse Icon Apocalypse can no longer be used as frequently.

Unholy Death Knight's biggest strength comes from very high single-target DPS and AoE burst windows. Furthermore Death Grip Icon Death Grip and a second disturb spell (with Gnaw Icon Gnaw) make Unholy Death Knights a great addition to any group composition. They can also bring a single-target stun with Asphyxiate Icon Asphyxiate or a massive AoE slow Grip of the Dead Icon Grip of the Dead, depending on talent choices. At last, Death Knights can bring Anti-Magic Zone Icon Anti-Magic Zone to the party making it very effective versus heavy magical damage such as Prideful pulsating ticks and the ability to resurrect allies with Raise Ally Icon Raise Ally.

The biggest disadvantage of the Unholy Death Knight is its low mobility and high reliance on cooldowns, making it hard for the spec to compete with those ranked S-Tier.

3.3.

B-Tier

Specialization place under B-Tier are a viable choice for any group looking to excel with either of the specs placed under. The main reason why those specialization are placed on B-Tier is not because they are bad, but rather other specs just scale better or have better utility. In Mythic+, not everything comes down to raw output, but rather to group composition and utility; in other words, "what do you bring to the group to help complete the dungeon".

3.3.1.

Windwalker Monk

October 23 update: Windwalker Monk's recent buffs to their core Potency conduits Calculated Strikes Icon Calculated Strikes and Inner Fury Icon Inner Fury will reflect on their single-target, priority-target and AoE damage. This change will put the spec into one of the top contenders for B-tier list and will further strengthen their spot among melees in Mythic+.

Windwalker Monks do not scale very well with secondary stats, so they will be better during the early stages of the Shadowlands Mythic+ Season 1, before falling behind. With their great toolkit, they will be a more than viable choice. Windwalker Monks have great group utility with Tiger's Lust Icon Tiger's Lust and Leg Sweep Icon Leg Sweep. Their overall raw output is great, comparable to the specs placed under A-Tier. Their single-target DPS and Execute ability (Touch of Death Icon Touch of Death) provide great output. They also have several defensive cooldowns, depending on talents chosen. Monk is the only class that can provide a 5% physical damage increase, thanks to Mystic Touch Icon Mystic Touch.

The biggest disadvantage of the spec is its inability to fit within the majority of group compositions. A heavy melee or physical damage composition is the best fit for Monks, which in the current state of Shadowlands is very unlikely to be seen (outside of Rogue and Marksmanship Hunter). The spec has little to no self-sustain and lacks passive mitigation. Their overall output is not as good as S-Tier group but competitive to be on the same level as A-Tier.

3.3.2.

Retribution Paladin

Retribution Paladin is one of the strongest specs to be placed under B-Tier. With their great utility toolkit with abilities such as Blessing of Freedom Icon Blessing of Freedom, Blessing of Sacrifice Icon Blessing of Sacrifice, Lay on Hands Icon Lay on Hands and Devotion Aura Icon Devotion Aura, Retribution Paladins are certainly a strong pick in the current state of Shadowlands. Their recent changes allowed them to hold one of the strongest AoE and single-target bursts in the game, with the combination of Execution Sentence Icon Execution Sentence, Avenging Wrath Icon Avenging Wrath, and Final Reckoning Icon Final Reckoning. They also have an immunity with Divine Shield Icon Divine Shield.

The biggest disadvantage of Retribution Paladins is how dependent they are on their cooldowns for damage, low mobility outside of Divine Steed Icon Divine Steed, and low self-sustain, making the spec less desired in a standard group composition.

3.3.3.

Assassination Rogue

October 23 update: Assassination Rogue received a round of nerfs to their major conduits Poisoned Katar Icon Poisoned Katar and Maim, Mangle Icon Maim, Mangle. While utility, survivability and self-sustain factors for Assassination Rogue are one of the best, their damage output is average, and with the recent nerfs, their rankings will drop from A-Tier to B-Tier.

Assassination rogues are known to have an amazing single-target burst with Vendetta Icon Vendetta and amazing mob control using Garrote Icon Garrote, incredibly useful against caster mobs. Just like Subtlety and Outlaw Rogue, Assassination rogues have very high survivability, self-sustain, and immunity making it a perfect pick for a melee slot. The main disadvantage comes from the inability to provide enough overall DPS to compete with the other specs put under "S or A-tier". Its AoE Cleave is significantly lower than Outlaw or Subtlety rogue, but the overall toolkit brings it right to the border of the upper side of B-Tier. Overall DPS has a huge impact on overall group composition and solely for that reason, Assassination Rogues are rewarded with B-tier.

3.3.4.

Enhancement Shaman

October 23 update: Enhancement Shaman received a significant buff to their spec-specific weapon imbue Windfury Weapon Icon Windfury Weapon and best performing dungeon Legendary Doom Winds Icon Doom Winds. Those massive buffs were balanced by several core conduit nerfs to Magma Fist Icon Magma Fist, Focused Lightning Icon Focused Lightning and Unruly Winds Icon Unruly Winds. All in all, the buffs that Enhancement Shaman received outweigh the conduit nerfs to the spec, bringing it from C-Tier to B-tier, and further strengthen their spot as a viable melee option for any group composition.

The spec feels very rewarding and fun to play, one of the most complete specialization in Shadowlands so far. However, there are several factors that determine its low placing such as mediocre damage output, low self-sustain, no immunity, and low mobility. The spec can really shine if paired with mostly melee and heavy physical damage group (because of the Windfury Totem Icon Windfury Totem it provides greatly benefiting them).

On the positive side, Shaman's utility is among the best in the game, thanks to Earth Elemental Icon Earth Elemental, Capacitor Totem Icon Capacitor Totem, Earthbind Totem Icon Earthbind Totem, and Tremor Totem Icon Tremor Totem. Furthermore, the class has the shortest kick in the game with Wind Shear Icon Wind Shear (12-second cooldown), which makes Shaman very valuable in groups where other players have high-cooldown interrupts. Finally, it brings Hex Icon Hex and Purge Icon Purge.

Sadly, the great utility and mediocre output is not enough to warrant a placement higher than B-Tier, but it definitely makes Enhancement Shaman one of best choices within this tier. This spec can really shine if the value of the numbers get tuned up and adjusted accordingly.

3.3.5.

Frost Death Knight

October 23 update: Further nerfs to Frost Death Knight's main conduits Unleashed Frenzy Icon Unleashed Frenzy, Everfrost Icon Everfrost and Eradicating Blow Icon Eradicating Blow will continue to diminish the spec's position on the B-tier list. This change is primarily targeting their overall damage profile, hurting their AoE, single-target, and cleave damage.

October 10 update: Recent nerfs to Frost Death Knight core abilities such as: Obliterate Icon Obliterate, Pillar of Frost Icon Pillar of Frost and Might of the Frozen Wastes Icon Might of the Frozen Wastes negatively impact their overall AoE cleave and Single Target output. Furthermore, this change will reflect down on their current B-tier rank, but will not shift any tiers lower.

Frost Death Knight's strength comes from AoE and Cleave damage output the spec provides. Frost Death Knights have the same utility as Unholy Death Knight, with the exception of having little self-sustain if specced into Permafrost Icon Permafrost. Their single-target burst can be spiky, and sustain in single-target situations is at most mediocre.

The biggest drawback of the spec, just like Unholy Death Knight, comes from low mobility and cooldown dependency (low DPS outside of their cooldowns). That said, the overall damage output is not comparable to the specs listed in A-Tier, and they further lack group utilities. With just Anti-Magic Zone Icon Anti-Magic Zone and Death Grip Icon Death Grip, Frost Death Knights are one step behind into reaching higher rankings.

3.3.6.

Beast Mastery Hunter

October 23 update: The Recent major nerfs to Beast Mastery Hunter's best performance conduits Bloodletting Icon Bloodletting and One With the Beast Icon One With the Beast are a direct hit on their overall damage capabilities. The spec's current ranking position was at most mediocre, and this will further endanger their placing on the B-Tier list.

Beast Mastery Hunter is known to scale amazingly well with secondary stats. This means that early on in Shadowlands, its performance will not so great, but it will rapidly increase with better gear. Despite this, the spec earns its place in the rankings partly because of sustained AoE from the Barbed Shot Icon Barbed Shot and Stomp Icon Stomp combination. Beast Mastery Hunter provides the same utility as Marksmanship Hunter, except for the Bursting Shot Icon Bursting Shot but in return, it offers spec specific Intimidation Icon Intimidation. Beast Mastery Hunter is one of the few classes in the game with unlimited mobility and ton of ways to avoid damage or mechanics while not sacrificing DPS, which makes it extremely valuable in heavy movement situations, such as Mythic+ dungeons.

Hunter is also one of the two classes able to transfer its current aggro towards the tank using Misdirection Icon Misdirection, which works similarly to Rogue's Tricks of the Trade Icon Tricks of the Trade. Another strength is the ability to dispel enrage effects with Tranquilizing Shot Icon Tranquilizing Shot.

The spec biggest disadvantage comes from solely relying on its pet to do the majority of the damage. There are multiple abilities from mobs to bosses that can kill your pet and make you go through Revive Pet Icon Revive Pet, which was changed from 2 to 4 seconds in Shadowlands compared to BFA. In addition, the spec's overall damage is not enough to put it anywhere higher than B-Tier.

3.3.7.

Balance Druid

October 8 update: The specialization received several notable talent buffs such as Shooting Stars Icon Shooting Stars, Soul of the Forest Icon Soul of the Forest and Starlord Icon Starlord, directly impacting overall damage output and priority target execution. Furthermore, they received 10% flat damage increase to all the core Balance abilities abilities, which is a pretty substantial buff. This change was needed as the spec was lacking raw damage numbers. As a result, the spec is moving from C-tier to B-tier, and looking promising coming into Shadowlands.

Balance druids are among the top contenders for group-wise utilities. From Ursol's Vortex Icon Ursol's Vortex and Typhoon Icon Typhoon to Soothe Icon Soothe and Stampeding Roar Icon Stampeding Roar, Balance druid biggest strength comes from providing the tools the party needs to release pressure off the tank and the healer. Its Force of Nature Icon Force of Nature ability can ease a lot of hard pulls during dungeon runs. Moreover, the ability to provide Innervate Icon Innervate to the healer in HPS intensive fights can make or break the encounter. Balance Druids also hold one of the shortest defensive cooldowns in the game with Barkskin Icon Barkskin, topped with great passive mitigation from Bear Form Icon Bear Form.

However, while utility is very important, raw damage output is equally if not more valued. Unfortunately, Balance Druids have mediocre at most DPS outputs in Mythic+, relying heavily on cooldowns with low sustain AoE. Its single-target DPS is average at best and generally not strong enough to be put anywhere above B-Tier. We believe that slight raw number changes could bring this spec higher in the rankings, but as for now it remains in the B-Tier.

3.3.8.

Fury Warrior

October 9 update:Fury Warrior received major ability buffs to Bloodthirst Icon Bloodthirst, Raging Blow Icon Raging Blow and Whirlwind Icon Whirlwind, getting the spec in a competitive shape to be one of the top contenders of B-Tier.Furthermore, the slight buff of Single-Minded Fury Icon Single-Minded Fury will increase their overall damage output, turning the spec into one of the better melee choices for Season 1 of Shadowlands.

Fury Warriors provide great overall raw output, with decent single-target DPS and AoE cleave. They are also high mobility spec with great self-sustain. Warrior is the only class in the game that provides Battle Shout Icon Battle Shout making it incredibly useful for heavy melee composition. In addition, they have great passive mitigation coming from Warpaint Icon Warpaint. They do also provide Spell Reflection Icon Spell Reflection, which can further reduce their magical damage intake by 20% (very useful in many cases). Finally, they are one of the few DPS classes in the game that provide a defensive tool to the whole party with Rallying Cry Icon Rallying Cry.

The biggest disadvantage of Fury Warrior comes from no immunity and inability to adapt in heavy caster composition. Their overall raw input is not as good as the classes displayed under A-Tier further justifying its placing.

3.3.9.

Elemental Shaman

October 23 update: Elemental Shaman's recent nerfs to their core dungeon Legendary, Echoes of the Great Sundering Icon Echoes of the Great Sundering, significantly impacted their AoE, single-target, and priority-target net damage. Moreover, the interaction with the Legendary Echoes of the Great Sundering Icon Echoes of the Great Sundering was finalized (meaning it is no longer bugged and will work as intended). In addition, their core conduit Shake the Foundations Icon Shake the Foundations was also nerfed which further impacts their dungeon performance. On the other end, Call of Flame Icon Call of Flame conduit received a significant buff which opens the door for several new build variations that Elemental Shaman can run. These changes will move Elemental Shaman from A-Tier to B-tier of our rankings and will endanger their spot as favorable Ranged choice for each group composition.

Elemental Shaman's biggest strength comes from the spiky AoE burst made possible by the combination of their Legendary power Echoes of the Great Sundering Icon Echoes of the Great Sundering and Master of the Elements Icon Master of the Elements. Their single-target DPS and very high off-heal utility of Ancestral Guidance Icon Ancestral Guidance makes it a great choice for a ranged representative in the group. Moreover, the high spectrum of utility tools provided to the party by the Shaman makes it a valuable pick. Shaman is also one of the three classes in the game that provides "lust" in the form of Heroism Icon Heroism or Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust.

Tremor Totem Icon Tremor Totem, Earth Elemental Icon Earth Elemental, Capacitor Totem Icon Capacitor Totem and Cleanse Spirit Icon Cleanse Spirit are among the most used utilities of the Shaman. Recently added to the Elemental toolkit, Spiritwalker's Grace Icon Spiritwalker's Grace closed a gap in their play-style, with the ability to move while sustaining DPS, thus making Elemental Shaman a valuable pick for any group composition. Elemental Shaman is the caster with the shortest cooldown of interrupt in the game with Wind Shear Icon Wind Shear, making it a great combination with any other ranged in the group, such as Frost mage + Elemental Shaman combination.

However, the low passive mitigation and lack of immunity prevents the spec from reaching higher than A-Tier.

3.3.10.

Arcane Mage

October 23 update: The recent attention to Arcane Mage brought the spec from mediocre performance to one of the better ranged choices in Mythic+. However, that power was recently diminished with the nerfs to Artifice of the Archmage Icon Artifice of the Archmage and Nether Precision Icon Nether Precision. This update will not change the current rankings of the spec, but it will definitely diminish their single-target and priority damage output.

Arcane Mage recent changes reverted the power that was once brought to the spec. Its uncapped AoE could boost the spec up the rankings if it was not for the cooldown dependent game-play. Most of Arcane's abilities are out of sync making it harder to time cooldowns without "holding" them for a long time. The utilities that Arcane Mage provides are similar to Frost and Fire, except for Cauterize Icon Cauterize available only to Fire Mages. Arcane Mage's biggest strength comes from one of the highest single-target DPS or 3-target burst. That said the combined raw output of the spec and its group utilities are not enough to put it anywhere higher in the rankings.

3.4.

C-Tier

Specialization listed under this tier lack several things to be placed higher. Specs under this tier need either raw damage tuning or covenant-abilities interactions to be able to be competitive.

3.4.1.

Destruction Warlock

October 23 update: Further nerfs to the Destruction spec's best conduits, Infernal Brand Icon Infernal Brand and Combusting Engine Icon Combusting Engine, is directly impacting its single-target and priority-target damage. These changes will place the spec under the bottom of the Ranged spec choice availability for Mythic+ and will further justify its placing under C-tier.

October 8 update: Destruction Warlock received major talents nerf to Rain of Chaos Icon Rain of Chaos and Roaring Blaze Icon Roaring Blaze. With Rain of Chaos Icon Rain of Chaos being the preferred choice for Mythic+, this will severely affect Destruction's AoE burst and it will put the spec on the lower end of C-tier.

With the recent nerfs to Decimating Bolt Icon Decimating Bolt, Destruction Warlocks lost in AoE power. The current state of the spec feels weak outside of their major cooldown Summon Infernal Icon Summon Infernal. The spec relies on the interaction between the Legendary power Wilfred's Sigil of Superior Summoning Icon Wilfred's Sigil of Superior Summoning and shard spending AoE abilities, such as Rain of Fire Icon Rain of Fire, to be able to excel in damage output. Furthermore, the spec' party utilities (Mortal Coil Icon Mortal Coil, Create Healthstone Icon Create Healthstone, Banish Icon Banish, Shadowfury Icon Shadowfury, and Demonic Gateway Icon Demonic Gateway) are not particularly amazing, making it not as attractive as other choices among ranged DPS.

With that said, the class is one of the two ranged classes in the game with a combat resurrection Soulstone Icon Soulstone. In addition, their 2-target cleave due to Havoc Icon Havoc is currently among the strongest in the game. Warlock is the only class in the game that has Curses available in their toolkit such as: Curse of Exhaustion Icon Curse of Exhaustion, Curse of Tongues Icon Curse of Tongues and Curse of Weakness Icon Curse of Weakness which has little impact in a Mythic+ environment. Finally Warlocks are the only source of Healthstone Icon Healthstone, although the ability to pick those prior to entering the dungeon (so, without having to bring an actual Warlock in the group), makes it less valuable.

All in all, Destruction Warlock lacks mobility outside of Burning Rush Icon Burning Rush, has low self-sustain and no immunity, while also not providing enough raw damage output or utility to be placed anywhere higher than a C-tier at its current state.

3.4.2.

Feral Druid

October 10 update: Feral Druid received a flat 5% buff on its core abilities, bringing up the overall spec's numbers in a better shape. This change directly impacts AoE cleave and single-target damage and will further positively reflect Feral's rankings on the tier list, making it a solid contender for the C-Tier rankings.

Feral Druid's current state in the beta is no different than its Balance counterpart. The lack of raw damage output puts the spec behind. Moreover, its single-target is not very high, but its cleave and AoE capabilities are among the top of the C-Tier group. Primal Wrath Icon Primal Wrath is a rare uncapped target cleave ability that is rare to have as a melee, making the spec a potentially viable option if its ability raw numbers get increased. In addition, they have great survivability with Survival Instincts Icon Survival Instincts and Barkskin Icon Barkskin and great passive mitigation in the face of Bear Form Icon Bear Form.

Feral Druid's damage is known to scale well with secondary stats and we do believe that the spec will move up tiers as players get more gear, but for now, it lacks the package needed to get out of C-Tier.

3.4.3.

Affliction Warlock

October 23 update: The recent beta build changes nerfed Affliction Warlock's main conduit: Focused Malignancy Icon Focused Malignancy. This change will hurt the spec's damage output by bringing the numbers for single-target, priority-target, and AoE damage down, but it will not change their current placing on the tier list.

Affliction Warlock is one of the strongest spec in the C-Tier category and, while it performs great in raiding, things are not the same in Mythic+. Affliction's core problems come from being unable to excel on low health pool mobs, lacking strong AoE burst, and having low mobility and no immunity. Affliction Warlock's single-target DPS is among the strongest in the game, as well as, its sustained Cleave AoE damage from Vile Taint Icon Vile Taint and Malefic Rapture Icon Malefic Rapture.

The spec provides mediocre party utilities (Mortal Coil Icon Mortal Coil, Create Healthstone Icon Create Healthstone, Banish Icon Banish, Shadowfury Icon Shadowfury, and Demonic Gateway Icon Demonic Gateway), making it not as attractive as other ranged DPS. In addition, the spec self-sustain is not very good and they completely lack mobility boost outside of Burning Rush Icon Burning Rush if talented.

We believe this spec will greatly improve in the rankings once its secondary stats start scaling up, but for now, its raw output and low contribution to beneficial group utility spells, no immunity and, low mobility prevent Affliction from reaching higher than C-Tier.

3.4.4.

Fire mage

October 10 update: Fire Mage received buffs to several core abilities such as Fire Blast Icon Fire Blast, Fireball Icon Fireball, Flamestrike Icon Flamestrike, and Pyroblast Icon Pyroblast, bringing the spec's AoE and single-target damage output in a competitive shape. The changes will not affect its placing on the tier list, but it will strengthen its position under the C-Tier.

Fire Mage suffered a great loss when they lost the ability to passively spread Mastery: Ignite Icon Mastery: Ignite. The result of that makes their current DPS numbers not competitive enough for the spec to be put anywhere above C-Tier. Fire Mage is highly dependent on cooldowns and outside of its burst window, it feels extremely weak. Frost Mage dominates in both cleave fight, AoE and pure single-target situations. The spec provides the same utility as other Mage specs to the party outside of Dragon's Breath Icon Dragon's Breath and the cheat death from Cauterize Icon Cauterize. These factors combined put Fire Mage in C-Tier.

3.4.5.

Arms Warrior

October 19 update: The most recent Legendary nerf from 25% to 16% to Exploiter Icon Exploiter (from October 8) was reverted, bringing back the power of the execute, the outstanding trademark of the Arms Warrior.

The recent changes to Arms warrior with its mastery spell interactions, brought the spec slightly up the rankings, while its core build remains the same, Arms' output is significantly lower than Fury's. The spec can shine if put into heavy melee composition, where Battle Shout Icon Battle Shout can be a deciding factor but overall Fury Warrior is the better spec. Moreover, the spec's biggest strength comes from burst AoE and "execute" power spike, which is its main power value. Both specs provide identical group utilities with the exception of Arms warrior completely lacking self-sustain. Furthermore, Arms Warriors have no immunity and lower passive mitigation, which is highly desirable in Mythic+ environment.

Arms Warrior is another spec where it needs slightly more time to scale with its secondary stats before shinning and moving up the ranks. We believe later in the season, Arms will be in a better shape than what it is right now.

3.4.6.

Survival Hunter

October 23 update: Survival Hunter's main source of AoE damage comes from Wildfire Bomb Icon Wildfire Bomb, and with the recent nerf of the Flame Infusion Icon Flame Infusion conduit, that power is slightly diminished. The spec's current performance is one of the weakest in Mythic+, making it even less valuable as a specialization choice. We will closely monitor how that will continue to impact the spec's overall performance.

Survival hunter is currently the weakest Hunter spec. It is suffering from major gameplay bugs, preventing it from ranking high. Wild Spirits Icon Wild Spirits is NOT working as intended. As a result, the spec sees very limited play (its hybrid melee-ranged status does not really help) and data to judge it is very limited. Its AoE numbers feel inflated and high, but its single-target DPS is among the lowest in the Mythic+ scene, with the majority of the damage coming from Covenant spells rather than its own spells. Survival hunter also have great party utilities (Binding Shot Icon Binding Shot, Tar Trap Icon Tar Trap), decent self-sustain from Exhilaration Icon Exhilaration, and a great mobility from Disengage Icon Disengage and Aspect of the Cheetah Icon Aspect of the Cheetah. Finally, the spec has an immunity Aspect of the Turtle Icon Aspect of the Turtle and is one of the three classes in the game with a "lust" (Primal Rage Icon Primal Rage).

Hunter is also one of the two classes able to transfer its current aggro towards the tank using Misdirection Icon Misdirection, which works similarly to Rogue's Tricks of the Trade Icon Tricks of the Trade. In addition, they have the ability to dispel enrage effects with Tranquilizing Shot Icon Tranquilizing Shot.

Unfortunately, with the current state of the spec, Survival's raw numbers are one of the weakest in the Mythic+ environment. That and the fact that Survival is hybrid melee-ranged (hard to fit in comps) puts the spec into the lower end of C-tier.

3.5.

D-Tier

Specialization placed under D-Tier lack complete toolkit or damage output in Mythic+. The specs placed here need raw damage increase or change of their core or Covenant abilities.

3.5.1.

Demonology Warlock

October 23 update: Demonology Warlock received a recent nerf to their best performing dungeon conduit Carnivorous Stalkers Icon Carnivorous Stalkers, cutting its power in half. This change will only impact their overall damage output and justifies the spec's placing under the D-Tier rankings.

Demonology Warlock is the weakest out of the 3 Warlock specializations. Its raw damage output is significantly lower than both Destruction and Affliction. While the spec does not rely on a long cooldown (a good thing!), Summon Demonic Tyrant Icon Summon Demonic Tyrant, its DPS numbers are lower than what they should be and that alone is a massive factor in Mythic+. Furthermore, the class provides mediocre party utilities: Mortal Coil Icon Mortal Coil, Create Healthstone Icon Create Healthstone, Banish Icon Banish, Shadowfury Icon Shadowfury and Demonic Gateway Icon Demonic Gateway, making it not as attractive as other ranged DPS options. We can also cite its low mobility, outside of Burning Rush Icon Burning Rush.

That said, Warlock does have a combat resurrection Soulstone Icon Soulstone (one of the 2 ranged classes in the game to have such a spell). Demonology Warlocks also have great passive mitigation with Soul Link Icon Soul Link.

Just like in BFA, Demonology Warlock will continue to scale well with secondary and primary stats once we start increasing the power of our items, and we believe with slight damage adjustments, the spec has the potential to shine and climb the rankings, but overall utility, damage output, low mobility, and no immunity bring the spec into D-Tier.

4.

Changelog

  • 24 Oct. 2020: New round of class, spell and conduit changes based on the most recent Beta Build (36294)
  • 19 Oct. 2020: New round of changes based on the most recent Beta Build (36206)
  • 12 Oct. 2020: Third round of changes based on continued Discord feedback and latest balance changes.
  • 09 Oct. 2020: Second round of updates based on recent Beta Build.
  • 09 Oct. 2020: Fury Warrior and Outlaw Rogue changes.
  • 08 Oct. 2020: First round of updates based on 36165 Beta Build.
  • 08 Oct. 2020: 15 specialization and class talents, legendaries and covenant changes.
  • 07 Oct. 2020: Guide added.
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