Mythic+ Healer Rankings: A Tier List for Shadowlands
From the strongest to the weakest class and specialization, each provide unique character distinction and add value toward shaping the seasonal "meta" of Mythic+. The Healer specialization rankings provided for Shadowlands's first season of Mythic+ are based on pure healing strength and group-added-value such as utility, survivability, mobility, and self-sustain.
This list will be updated as new tuning and class changes come out over the course of the Shadowlands expansion.
About the Tier List
This tier list is NOT FINAL; it will change and will be updated as often as necessary. There are often moments of Covenant and class tuning that will impact the placing of the specs.
I am Petko, a competitive Mythic+ player and a team captain of "The Boys", most recently an MDI summer finalist. I am more known to be pushing the boundaries of High Mythic+ with several World first and Europe rankings among the seasons on multiple classes. I have worked hard on preparing for the Season 1 of Shadowlands, spending tons of hours per day examining each and every class and spec in a dungeon environment. This Tier list will continue to be updated as much as it requires over the course of Shadowlands and it will also focus on what the "meta" will look like as 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, this 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, this Tier list will take into consideration every impactful class change and Covenant tuning.
This tier list is entirely based on healer performance in Mythic+. The factors that are considered are HPS and DPS output, external cooldowns, utility, and mobility.
A Final Warning
It is important to understand that this Tier list is NOT permanent and it will be due to change with upcoming changes and tunings over the course of the expansion. I have always advocated to the "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.
Healer Tier List for Shadowlands Season 1 of Mythic+
Below you can find the full rankings for Healers 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 Mar 19, 2021
DPS and Tank Class Rankings
If you are interested in our other rankings for Mythic+ in Shadowlands, please click the links below.
Full Healer Class Rankings
March 19 update: The slight increase in the Mana cost, from 14% to 16%, of Holy Shock will not impact Holy Paladin's spot as the best healer in Mythic+ as of now.
Holy Paladin is notorious for having one of the best cases of late-game-scaling with secondary stats in the healing scene. This means that the spec will improve as the season goes on and better gear becomes available. Their main disadvantage comes from the lack of healing output outside of their cooldowns, making it extremely hard to heal any heavy incoming damage without any preparation. Another disadvantage is low mobility outside of Divine Steed. Finally, being a Melee healer can significantly make some encounters harder.
Holy Paladins do have great damage output thanks to Avenging Wrath and are also the only healer with an immunity: Divine Shield. Their toolkit is also great and has several external cooldowns for the party such as Aura Mastery, Blessing of Sacrifice, and Blessing of Protection. Moreover, Holy Paladins have passive party-wide damage mitigation with Devotion Aura. To conclude, their damage output significantly outperforms any other healing specialization in Mythic+ as of now, making it the most desirable healer.
March 19 update: Restoration Shaman received a massive 35% damage buff to its core damaging ability: Chain Lightning Furthermore, although normally only applying to Elemental Shaman, the 70% damage buff to Earthquake also affected the Deeptremor Stone Legendary Power. This has allowed Restoration Shaman to further increase its damage profile, a feature it lacked, to become one of the best healers in Shadowlands' Mythic+.
Restoration Shaman's biggest weakness in Battle for Azeroth was its damage output and lack of a strong external cooldown for the tank outside of their Spirit Link Totem. Since then, Blizzard has partly changed the core build of the spec for Shadowlands. Restoration Shaman is the best spec at coming back from a critical situation, or healing very high, consistent damage as long as the targets are close to each other. Its main healing weakness comes from the party members being spread, making Chain Heal and Healing Rain less valuable. Restoration Shaman is the only healer with an interrupt through Wind Shear, and also has the ability to self-resurrect upon death with Reincarnation. Overall, it is one of the best healer specializations in Mythic+ with competitive damage output and among the highest HPS. The lack of strong external cooldowns can definitely make some fights really tough, however.
One of the best-performing dungeon healers, Discipline Priest is definitely a solid pick among any keystone level difficulty, hence its ranking in A-tier. The specialization provides the best external party cooldowns in a Mythic+ environment with Pain Suppression and Power Word: Barrier, making it perfect against Manifestations of Pride while still maintaining high DPS. The overall output of Discipline Priest is mediocre, but to compensate for that they have an amazing utility toolkit. They also carry Power Word: Fortitude along with Power Infusion, which can directly benefit the DPS players in the group. Moreover, Priest is one of two classes that can readily negate the Bursting affix with Mass Dispel which makes them extremely valuable.
Discipline Priest's main disadvantage is its raw healing output in a dungeon format. While they are a versatile spec with high mobility and damage output Discipline Priests have trouble sustaining continuous high HPS due to its highly cooldown-dependent playstyle.
March 19 update: Restoration Druids received slight buffs to their core healing abilities, with Rejuvenation's healing being increased by 12% and Wild Growth's increased by 7%. These changes will definitely help on heavy-HPS dungeon encounters and will ease dealing with the Prideful seasonal Affix. However, these changes are not enough to put Restoration Druid on the S-tier list, falling slightly behind compared to Restoration Shaman and Holy Paladin.
Restoration Druid are currently considered a solid choice in Shadowlands with decent raw damage output and a great HPS profile. Restoration Druid's utility is one of the best compared to the rest of the healers, providing Ursol's Vortex, Cyclone, Soothe and Stampeding Roar. Restoration Druid's external cooldown Ironbark is among the shortest external cooldowns in the healer scene, making it extremely effective. Their ability to sustain group HPS while doing damage is what really makes them stand out. Moreover, Restoration Druids are the most mobile healers in Shadowlands and the only healing spec with combat resurrection in the form of Rebirth. They have great passive mitigation and possess one of the shortest defensive personal cooldowns with Barkskin.
The only disadvantages of having a Restoration Druid in your party are the inability to compete in DPS compared to Holy Paladins or Restoration Shamans, and the Night Fae Covenant already being a common choice among classes compared to Venthyr or Necrolord. Unfortunately, these alternative Covenants are not recommended options for Restoration Druids.
March 19 update: Holy Priests received a massive buff to Divine Hymn, potentially opening the door for new possibilities to overcome heavy-HPS fights. Furthermore, the entire Priest class received a huge buff to their Night Fae ability Fae Guardians, with the Guardian Faerie now providing 20% damage reduction up from 10%. This is a much-needed tool to cope with the lack of a damage-reduction ability within the toolkit of the Holy Priest, which results in now placing the specialization as the best performing spec of the B-Tier ranking.
The main strength of Holy Priest comes from their high healing output in heavy-HPS encounters. The spec also has the ability to cast spells upon death through Spirit of Redemption, a feature exclusive to Holy Priest. Moreover, Holy Priest provides several useful tools and group utilities such as Holy Word: Chastise, Mass Dispel, Power Infusion, and Leap of Faith. In addition, Mind Soothe can sometimes be a deciding factor in a dungeon, if you wish to skip a pack without getting in combat. Holy Priest also provides the party with the external cooldown Guardian Spirit, which can be used as a "cheat-death" on its benefactor. The spec can further excel by providing a purge with Dispel Magic and the Censure talent can act as an optional single-target stun. Finally, Priest is one of two classes that can readily negate the Bursting affix with Mass Dispel which makes them extremely valuable.
Holy Priest is one of the weakest healers compared to the rest of the list, as they provide significantly less damage output compared to the rest of the healing specializations. The spec's mobility is also mediocre, further justifying its placement on the B-Tier.
March 19 update: Mistweaver Monk received adjustments to the Mana costs of their Vivify and Renewing Mist abilities. While the minor buffs will definitely make Mistweaver Monks less Mana-hungry, the core issues have not been addressed properly, namely the lack of damage contribution and a strong damage-reduction external cooldown.
Mistweaver Monks provide one of the highest raw HPS output out of any healer currently in Shadowlands. Their "spot"-healing is among the best, but with the cost of a significantly lower damage output compared to the rest of the healing specializations. Other disadvantages of the spec are having no external cooldowns to provide to the party other than Life Cocoon and no party-wide damage reduction abilities to help in hard encounters, making Mistweaver a less viable pick. Indeed, while they do provide Mystic Touch which increases the party's Physical damage done by 5%, there is no significant DPS bump they can offer. Mistweaver Monk offers great utility such as Tiger's Lust, Leg Sweep, and Ring of Peace. They also have strong mobility with Roll and Transcendence as well as in-combat crowd-control from Paralysis.
On a more positive note, Mistweavers are one of the few specializations that can readily negate the Bursting affix with Revival which makes them somewhat valuable. Mistweaver Monk will also still be a decent choice for any group with a Melee-heavy composition that can benefit the most from Mystic Touch.
Mythic+ Dungeon Difficulty Rankings
For a full ranking of the relative difficulty of the different Mythic+ dungeons based on the current week's Mythic+ affixes, please check out our guide below.
- 19 Mar. 2021: Guide updated based on the latest patch notes (9.0.5.)
- 31 Jan. 2021: New round of changes to all healing specializations based on the most recent Build (37176).
- 13 Jan. 2021: Guide requires no changes after recent tuning changes based on the most recent Build (37142).
- 14 Dec. 2020: New round of class and spell changes.
- 07 Dec. 2020: New round of class adjustments.
- 16 Nov. 2020: New round of class and spell changes.
- 09 Nov. 2020: New round of class and spell changes based on the most recent Beta Build (36512).
- 30 Oct. 2020: New round of class, spell and conduit changes based on the most recent Beta Build (36401).
- 24 Oct. 2020: New round of class, spell and conduit changes based on the most recent Beta Build (36294).
- 12 Oct. 2020: Second round of updates based on continued Discord feedback.
- 08 Oct. 2020: First round of updates based on 36165 Beta Build.
- 08 Oct. 2020: Holy Priest and Holy Paladin changes.
- 07 Oct. 2020: Guide added.
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