Dragonflight Tank Rankings: Vault of the Incarnates Raiding Tier List (Patch 10.0.2)
World of Warcraft has never been perfectly balanced, and Dragonflight 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 tank specializations for the first season of raiding in Dragonflight.
About the Tier List
February 5 update: Tank balance has gotten slightly better in the past couple of months, but ultimately the rankings have not changed. Warriors are still king, and Guardian Druids still need some buffs to really have a place in raids.
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 Tank viability for the new raid in Patch 10.0 of Dragonflight, Vault of the Incarnates. The main things you want to look for in tank choice are damage dealt, ability to handle or recover from incoming damage of all types, cooldowns, and utility.
While the traits that make a character valuable in a raid have not changed much, there are two incredibly important new factors to consider.
- Raiding now has a new gearing system, the same group loot system that exists in Classic WoW. This completely changes how your raid should view loot and class distribution. Having a varied raid comp is more important than ever to make full use of all loot drops. Even more so, if you stack too many classes on specific armor types or tier tokens, those classes will gear up significantly slower than if you have a well-balanced raid composition.
- Because of the new talent trees, classes now have the freedom of choice to decide how to build in various situations. However, this also means that certain classes are forced into specializing in either AoE or single target for different bosses. While some classes have excellent pure single target damage, they can lose a significant portion of that damage when forced to take even a few points of AoE talents. The same especially holds true for tanks in terms of choosing between maximizing damage dealt or their durability.
A Final Warning
It is incredibly important to emphasize that just because a tank 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 lower tier means is that, all else being equal, those specs will be less desirable for the raid based on current tuning.
Dragonflight Tank Tier List for Vault of the Incarnate
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.
- Protection Warrior (S-Tier)
- Blood Death Knight (A-Tier)
- Vengeance Demon Hunter (A-Tier)
- Protection Paladin (A-Tier)
- Brewmaster Monk (B-Tier)
- Guardian Druid (B-Tier)
DPS and Healer Class Rankings
If you are interested in our other rankings for the Season 1 Raid in Dragonflight, please click the links below.
Full Tank Class Rankings
Tanks are reasonably close together when it comes to defensive power. Defensively, every tank is 100% viable. The major differences between the tanks are damage output, utility, and unique buffs that they bring to the raid. In other words, most raids could go in with any combination of tanks and do just fine.
Important Utility: Battle Shout, Rallying Cry.
Protection Warriors have not only a required buff, but also the strongest non-healer raid cooldown in the game with Rallying Cry. The reason that Protection Warriors are the only S-tier tank however, is that they are absolutely the best tank in the game defensively. The only time they lose out is on surviving large single hits of magic damage where Blood DK is better, but for 95%+ of situations, Warriors are absolute gods when it comes to just staying alive as a tank. To put it in perspective, Protection Warriors take roughly the same damage as every other tank outside of their Defensive Stance. Inside of Defensive Stance, Warriors can just survive damage that would kill anyone else. Warriors also bring incredible damage output, but their durability is what makes them the only S-tier tank.
Blood Death Knight
Important Utility: Death Grip, Anti-Magic Zone, Gorefiend's Grasp.
Blood Death Knights are the best tank in the game when it comes to dealing with huge bursts of magic damage, as will be the case on Raszageth, the final boss in Vault of the Incarnates. Blood DKs are definitely on the upper end of defensive power overall, but their main weakness is damage. Blood DKs are still the lowest damage output out of any tank. Finally, while they bring a solid raid cooldown, Blood does not bring any required buff, which lowers its value as a tank slightly.
Vengeance Demon Hunter
Important Utility: Chaos Brand.
Vengeance Demon Hunters are a strong all-round tank that has excellent self-healing and durability in almost any situation. Their damage output is strong, they have solid defensive abilities, and they are an above-average choice when it comes to choosing tanks for the raid. The main reason to bring a Vengeance DH would be for Chaos Brand, but if you already have a Havoc your options are more open. While there are stronger tank options either offensively or defensively, Vengeance is an excellent choice no matter what your goal is.
Important Utility: Devotion Aura.
Protection Paladins have two primary reasons for being in the A-tier: damage and immunities. Protection Paladins have among the highest single target damage output of any tanks, which can be important depending on fight tuning in Mythic. More importantly however, Paladins are the only tank that has an immunity, and they have two of them. It is hard to understate just how valuable Divine Shield and Blessing of Spellwarding are as a tank, especially with some of the tank mechanics on the later encounters.
Important Utility: Mystic Touch, Generous Pour, Close to Heart.
Brewmaster Monk is the worst tank defensively in Season 1, especially once stagger damage is factored in. Their damage is mediocre compared to other tanks, and their cooldowns are some of the weakest and least reliable out of any tanks. The main reason to bring a Brewmaster would be for Mystic Touch, but both other Monk specializations are strong at the moment, which devalues Brewmaster. Finally, Brewmaster is the only Monk spec that cannot reliably provide the other class tree buffs since they only have a 10 yard range.
Important Utility: Mark of the Wild, Innervate, Stampeding Roar.
Guardian Druids are quite strong in M+ content at the moment due to their party healing and AoE damage, but unfortunately that does not translate well into raid content. Their healing is much less valuable in raids, and their single target damage is mediocre compared to other tanks. Defensively they are still one of the weaker options, and perhaps most important the utility they bring is perhaps the least important out of any tank given that the three other Druid specs can all bring what they do.
- 06 Feb. 2023: Updated for patch 10.0.5.
- 22 Nov. 2022: Updated for Season 1 of Dragonflight.
- 18 Aug. 2022: Updated for Season 4.
- 23 Jun. 2022: Check-in since last update.
- 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.
- Riders of Azeroth Spotted in Zaralek Cavern in Patch 10.1
- A Preview of the Druid Crucible Raid Tier Set in Patch 10.1
- To-Do List for Dragonflight Patch 10.0.7 Week #2
- World Boss Liskanoth Available on Live Servers During the Week of March 28th
- Dragonflight Patch 10.0.7 Hotfixes, March 27th: Class Tuning
- A Preview of Sporebat Rock Mounts in Patch 10.1
- A Preview of Death Knight Crucible Raid Set in Patch 10.1
- Dragonflight Patch 10.0.7 DPS Log Rankings for Vault of the Incarnates: Week 1