Shadowlands DPS Rankings - Best DPS for Mythic+ Season 1
Shadowlands Season 1 began on December 8th (NA) / 9th (EU) and with it, the first season of Mythic+ is now available! Many players are interested in how their spec may perform in dungeons this season, so we’re taking a look at all 24 DPS specs and making predictions about how they’ll do, both in
Need help picking a class? Check out the articles in our Shadowlands Season 1 series!
Mythic Castle Nathria
DPS in Mythic Castle NathriaTanks in Mythic Castle NathriaHealers in Mythic Castle Nathria
Mythic+ Season 1
DPS in Mythic+ Season 1Tanks in Mythic+ Season 1Healers in Mythic+ Season 1
The first season of Shadowlands Mythic Plus is underway! With eight new dungeons, three new affixes, and a new seasonal affix, there’s a tremendous amount that’s changed since BFA, and that’s not to mention class changes, the implementation of the AoE cap, and the addition of Covenant specific bonuses to dungeons! We’ll take a look at all of these factors and then each of the 24 DPS specs to make predictions about what will work well this season.
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About the Author
Dratnos is an Officer in the prestigious World 36th guild
. He's also been found casting MDI and Race to World First events, and co-hosts the
Titanforge WoW Podcast
. He writes the
Weekly Route series on RaiderIO
Shadowlands Dungeon DPS Breakdown
has very consistent pull sizing, with almost every natural pull containing between 4 and 7 enemies. This means that specs hard-capped to 5 targets will suffer a little here, but unless you’re in a very high level group or preparing for a speedrunning MDI-style tournament, you won’t be pulling far beyond where those specs operate.
Every boss in this dungeon ramps up over time -
that never truly go away, the Manastorms cast nasty abilities like
, stacks of
build up during
, and more phases will begin to wear you down on
as you can no longer solo his Shattered Visages.
De Other Side Guide
The AoE cap becomes very relevant in this dungeon during the
miniboss encounter, even at the weekly key level. Groups with specs like Balance Druid that can effectively damage the entire room will spend far less time in that room than those filled with specs hard-capped at 5, though groups with enough single target damage should be able to blow him up at lower key levels before he channels a second time.
This dungeon is made hugely less dangerous with the addition of a Venthyr player to mind control the
Halls of Atonement Guide
This dungeon enforces pull sizing on you throughout the Maze section, limiting the benefit of uncapped AoE even in a speedrunning setting.
Maze RNG aside, this short dungeon is the only one in Shadowlands to have only three bosses, and may be the premier choice for players looking to blast one dungeon as quickly as possible as players did with Maw of Souls back in Legion.
Mists of Tirna Scithe Guide
As the key level rises in this dungeon, some of the packs become very difficult - especially the
packs near the start of the dungeon (or the even nastier
s on the other side of the path). It’s possible to skip these without any special abilities, but it requires you to draw a very narrow line, so groups will likely opt to use
to get through here as soon as the mobs become too punishing.
Bosses in this dungeon can be very harsh, especially
, the last boss, who puts out absurd group-wide damage with her
. Look for this dungeon to be a killer on Tyrannical.
This dungeon may be one of the most challenging this expansion, especially for less coordinated groups, as there are several enemies with very painful abilities that can wipe the group all by themselves, such as the
’s boss gauntlet at the end of the dungeon will be a check on your healer, and the number of targets at a time will be above 5 for most of the gauntlet due to the continuous spawns of
, so hard-capped specs will suffer a little here.
Sanguine Depths Guide
The packs in this dungeon are brutal all the way through, so don’t expect to be pulling multiple packs together all that often unless you’re doing keys at a speedrunning level!
Of particular note here is how the second boss,
, punishes groups with a mix of Ranged and Melee DPS - Ranged players will be happiest if the tank groups up all of the
s created by the
s, while Melee players would prefer the tank keep the boss away from previous
s at all times.
Spires of Ascension Guide
There are a few pulls at the beginning of this dungeon that appear to be nasty for Target Capped specs, but the enemies that cause these pulls to GO above 5 targets are very often small ones like
s that die very quickly, so unless you’re looking to combine several challenging pulls together, the target cap shouldn’t be too much of an issue here.
, the last boss, will take a very long time if your group’s single target is lacking, as you’ll have more and more
s that represent even less uptime on the boss for your group.
Necrotic Wake Guide
This dungeon is the only one in Shadowlands to have five bosses, so it’ll be a real slog on Tyrannical weeks. Disease dispels will dramatically reduce the difficulty of this dungeon, especially in
’s wing. DPS specs like Windwalker Monk, Shadow Priest, and Retribution Paladin will make your life a lot easier here, especially if your healer lacks the ability to clear diseases.
, is a very difficult final boss that will reward players who can quickly control and eliminate the five
s she spawns every
Theater of Pain Guide
For much of Battle for Azeroth, Rogues were invaluable due to the
they brought, in addition to often having well-tuned specs and bringing a lot of other utility. In season four of BFA, the Awakened affix dramatically reduced the need for
for most groups, though it was still very potent for the most high-level strategies.
will be powerful, but there has been a massive relative buff to Invisibility Potions (
), as it now only costs you one potion use instead of up to 5. In a weekly key setting, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get the whole group to use these potions, but for coordinated groups looking to operate without a rogue, it’s more feasible now than it was during all of BFA except for potentially that last season.
Melee in Shadowlands Mythic+
It’s still early to have a definitive answer, but the signs point towards Shadowlands being far less friendly to melee than BFA was. For historical reference, BFA overwhelmingly favored 2 or even 3 melee in most groups, with 2 ranged only emerging as a viable strategy in the final season. Legion, by contrast, often featured triple Ranged compositions as there were several dungeons like Black Rook Hold and Neltharion’s Lair that would just murder non-tank players who got anywhere near the pull.
Shadowlands has target capped melee specs far harder than ranged specs, which is certainly part of the story here, though for many groups that target cap will only rarely come up. The bigger deal is the addition of several mechanics that are melee-unfriendly, including two of the new affixes:
, which disproportionately punish melee players. For most cases, melee will continue to be fine in Shadowlands Mythic+, but we expect the balance to shift among the top groups to favor ranged rather than melee.
Rankings the Shadowlands DPS Specs in Mythic+
We’re ranking each spec based on a couple of metrics.
Its performance in
, such as World First key pushing or keys within a few levels of that.
Its performance in
, such as the higher end of the key levels that you’ll be able to find in the group finder once everyone gets some gear.
The rankings for
use a scale of Excellent, Great, Good, and Fine. A “Poor” category was considered, and would have been used for specs like BFA’s iteration of Affliction Warlock, but so far the balancing seems to have avoided any specs existing in that space.
Regardless of the ranking you see for your spec here, know that excellent play can almost always overcome the differences between the specs, and keep in mind that this is a combination of predictions and opinion, and should not be seen as an absolute, definitive answer.
The Front Runners
Outlaw was a dominant spec throughout most of BFA, and it seems poised to again be an excellent choice in the Shadowlands. Outlaw brings high on-demand AoE, though it’s now hard-capped at five targets, and its single target is also much more competitive now than at several points in the spec’s past.
The primary thing that Outlaw has going for it, and the quality that earns it such high marks in
as well as High Keys, is the utility that it brings. One Outlaw player in the group can control so many dangerous enemies with effects like
s that are far less costly to its dps than the other Rogue specs. Rogue utility was also inexplicably buffed going into Shadowlands with the addition of
. This spec is likely to make its way into MDI-style speedrunning competitions, though expect it to be benched in favor of uncapped specs for dungeons where big pulls exist.
Outlaw Rogue Guide
Markmanship hunters apply large amounts of damage very quickly in their
window and so are particularly well suited to blowing up packs before the other members of your group even get on the meters in lower keys. In higher keys, they’re still fantastic, and the addition of
to their kit closes a utility gap that existed in BFA between them and Beast Mastery Hunters. They do operate under a 5-target cap, but their damage to 5 targets is enough to keep their damage competitive even if a few more targets sneak into the pull.
Marksmanship Hunter Guide
Moonkins bring very high Single Target dps as well as uncapped, massive AoE through
. There are several moments where this is incredibly powerful in Shadowlands, such as the
, or the
pull in the first boss room of
. They also contribute tremendous amounts of utility with effects like
, and now
. They do prefer a little ramp-up time to get their damage going, so in very low keys or extremely uncoordinated settings they may not quite reach their full potential.
It’s very hard to overstate just how good
is for High Key pushing - helping the tank for even a few seconds is often the difference between a pull being doable and a wipe.
Balance Druid Guide
Subtlety is back after two years after being nerfed for their sins on the
. This spec continues to bring strong priority damage when needed, but with the addition of
, they also can meaningfully participate in AoE (up to 8 targets), when in the past the spec had few options for that.
They’re particularly well suited to
as a seasonal affix, as their
cooldown is very well oriented towards single target damage and they don’t need to press it in AoE, so they can easily save it for the
or the boss that follows!
Subtlety Rogue Guide
Fire Mages provide great burst DPS, especially with the overlap of the Night Fae
ability with their
. In lower level keys, it can be hard to find good opportunities to use this much damage, but as mobs get enough health to live through a full
, Fire truly begins to shine. Though
was capped to spread to only 8 targets,
has no such cap, and the current Fire AoE rotation can basically be described as “
”. It’s also worth noting that
has risen in value, since Drums have been nerfed in Shadowlands.
Fire Mage Guide
Unholy Death Knight
Unholy DK is a spec that blasts damage. They destroy in single target, and they have a powerful execute with
, and their AoE remains incredible. There were some attempts made to cap their AoE going into Shadowlands, but the spec scales with new targets in so many different ways that a few (
wound generation, for instance) slipped through the cracks such that they remain a powerhouse in bigger pulls, especially when compared to most other Melee specs that were hit with much harsher caps.
The addition of
may also give them utility in High Keys against those bosses that begin to feel almost impossible, such as
- 20% less damage from a round of
is a godsend there.
Unholy Death Knight Guide
Frost is a fantastic spec for Priority damage, where extra targets mean more
s and more
s dumped into the primary target. They also deal great Area of Effect damage, which can be further improved with the Night Fae covenant’s
, or they can focus on Single Target with the Venthyr
ability that they primarily use for raiding.
If the tank wants to kite, a Frost Mage is their best friend with a huge array of slows and roots, but be careful as many enemies this expansion have anti-kite mechanics that may murder innocent bystanders if they’re closer than the tank!
Frost Mage Guide
Paladins bring sizeable burst damage with their
cooldown. Venthyr Paladins augment this every other cast with the incredible 4-minute cooldown
, which can be unbelievably powerful as the keystone level gets higher, so that it’s available for all of the hardest pulls of the dungeon. Ret Paladins can also be Kyrian in Mythic plus for a shorter cooldown ability in
, and substantial offhealing capabilities, this spec brings a ton of utility that can either be used to counter specific mechanics in High Keys or used at will to help carry a group through a Weekly Key. It's also worth noting that while this spec has been hit with some target-capping, almost all of their AoE damage during cooldowns is actually uncapped, which can be useful for the most important big pulls and is fairly rare amongst melee specs.
Retribution Paladin Guide
Demonology has received several improvements since Battle for Azeroth. With imps lasting for a full 40 seconds now, they no longer suffer between pulls as their pets die out and are forced to begin building up anew at the start of the next one, which means that at any keystone level they can pump out reliable damage.
Like all Warlock specs, their AoE is almost entirely uncapped, and their class’ natural tankiness means they scale well into High Keys. Look out for this spec, especially as we move later into the patch and average item levels climb.
Demonology Warlock Guide
The fundamentals of the Shadow Priest kit have improved for Mythic+ as compared to its BFA iteration - it no longer suffers a tremendous loss of resources as the
build did whenever the tank takes a few seconds between each pull, which makes it feel a lot nicer to pilot in uncoordinated Weekly Key pugs.
It also has some serious Single Target dps this expansion, even in a Mythic+ build, and
has seen an increase in value with the change of
to a Magic effect.
Shadow Priest Guide
Affliction does well in High Keys, especially when it can get through multiple
windows, and if it can set up a good
it can feel unfair on the damage meters. In lower keys, however, it suffers from pulls not lasting long enough for its damage over time to ramp up, though it is certainly still a fine choice for those keys, as any pulls that are important and may make or break the run will last long enough for the spec to get going.
Affliction Warlock Guide
The Solid Picks
These specs all have compelling strengths in a Mythic Plus setting, though they may lack the all around power of the Front Runners or may have some weaknesses that need to be played around. The ceiling for how well these specs can be played is often very comparable to the Front Runners, but it may require more effort to get there.
Beast Mastery Hunter
Beast Mastery may be less popular this season than Marksmanship, but it’s still a great choice to bring to your
, as it’s very mobile and brings
through its pets with
or similar spells. Marksmanship can also technically do this, but loses some damage through the dropping of Lone Wolf stacks.
Beast Mastery is a great choice for weeks with affixes like
that force constant movement for ranged players, as they lose zero dps from having to move, and though their AoE is also mostly capped to five targets, it’s quite competitive at that number.
Beast Mastery Hunter Guide
Elemental’s primary source of AoE damage is
, and it hasn’t been target capped going into Shadowlands. Their ability to funnel priority damage is also notable, and with the Necrolord
ability they are able to blast several enemies for huge damage after building up some
s. Defenses can be a challenge for Elemental as the keystone level gets higher, but with careful management of defensive cooldowns
, along with tossing out
s, they can still survive most mechanics - it just requires great play.
Elemental Shaman Guide
As Night Fae, Arcane Mages create massive burst windows through the combination of
, and they’re very happy with on-demand burst AoE situations. Though
still has a hard-cap at five targets, the rest of the spec largely avoided the Great Shadowlands Target Cappening, so this is a spec that’s especially well suited to big pulls that die quickly, such as you may find in MDI-style speedrunning tournaments.
Arcane Mage Guide
Windwalker has a kit that is naturally well suited for Mythic+, with several abilities like
that naturally cleave and are their best buttons against any number of targets.
has been hard-capped at 6 targets, as has
, so they will struggle if pulls get much larger than that, but in most cases they should be fine.
Surviving in higher keys is the hard part for Windwalkers, especially as Shadowlands has added more mechanics that are hostile to melee - these can be particularly brutal if you’re caught in a bad place while rooted by
. Windwalkers do have several great tools to survive tough situations, but they’re all active rather than passive, and some, like
, may be used offensively and then not be available when needed defensively. These challenges aren’t insurmountable but they do mean that Windwalkers playing at High Keys must keep focused at all times.
Windwalker Monk Guide
Assassination is a difficult spec to rank due to the existence of both Outlaw and Subtlety at the top of this list. Were those two specs not to exist, Assassination would likely be brought to many top groups for the wide suite of Rogue utility. As both Outlaw and Subtlety exist and are looking to be great this patch, you likely won’t see as many Assassination rogues this tier in Mythic+.
Their damage is a little more cooldown reliant and a little less on-demand than the other two Rogue specs, though they do have the advantage of being mostly capped at 8 targets like Subtlety rather than Outlaw’s 5. Lining up
buffs can absolutely melt bosses, so good Assassination Rogues will be very helpful on tough Tyrannical weeks.
Assassination Rogue Guide
The Dark Horses
Havoc Demon Hunter
Havoc’s kit has taken a beating coming into Shadowlands, with several offensive and defensive tuning nerfs and the imposition of a hard-cap at 5 targets for
. They operate on a 4-minute cooldown with
which can be very helpful in those
where there’s really only one or two bosses that stand between you and victory, but without access to meta they can struggle to compete on most other pulls.
They still bring
, which is one of two CC effects (the other being
) that doesn’t cause the target to enter combat if you approach it, and their
has gone up in value with many groups becoming more centered around Magic damage this patch.
Havoc Demon Hunter Guide
Enhancement’s damage can be phenomenal, and they’re a rare melee spec without serious target caps on their damage. The
they bring has also gone up in value with the nerfing of Drums, and they often represent a good source of the Venthyr covenant for dungeons where it’s very valuable like
. With the
Legendary effect, they also have powerful and frequent burst windows that scale well into AoE, with most of the damage being un-capped!
The challenge for Enhancement Shaman in High Keys is a defensive one, as their spec has even fewer defensive options than Elemental without the
talent to give them
, and they have to be in melee which has become a very dangerous place in Shadowlands. Like Windwalkers, expect any Enhancement Shaman you see timing High Keys to be incredibly skilled players!
Enhancement Shaman Guide
Destro does well in lower
, where everything dies within a single
. As mobs start to live longer, however, it becomes a very cooldown reliant spec that can struggle to compete outside of Infernal windows, though there’s still potential for the spec, especially if those cooldown windows are lined up with the
buff to eliminate particularly dangerous bosses or pulls.
Destruction Warlock Guide
Frost Death Knight
Frost Death Knight has a few different builds available to it that all function somewhat differently and that aren’t super easy to swap between due to the different covenants they prefer. Of particular interest is the Venthyr
build, as Breath does far better in most pulls than it did in BFA, thanks to its multi-target behavior being changed to square-root scaling rather than 30% flat damage per additional target.
This build has potential in higher keys, and there are many other options to explore with this spec, so it’s absolutely possible that someone will discover something that makes Frost an incredible choice for Mythic+.
Frost Death Knight Guide
While everyone else has been complaining about getting target capped, Fury’s been there for years! Unfortunately, their sustained DPS seems to have landed a little on the low end this patch, but the ability to cleave around Venthyr
s is certainly powerful and may shine on some pulls with multiple enemies with different health pools. Fury is also naturally tanky, with
healing in addition to a powerful defensive and healing cooldown in
. They don’t have an immunity but if they’re not in danger of dying this second, they’ll provide a lot of their own HPS and lessen the burden on the healer.
Fury Warrior Guide
) have been hit with the brutal 5-target hard cap, though some of Survival’s damage through
still scales well with extra targets. Survival also brings an immunity and access to powerful pet utility, and though they’re a melee spec they do have the ability to continue to do some effective damage from range with
, which can help against affixes like
. Currently it looks like the numbers for Survival are going to be a challenge, but it’s always possible that a strong Mythic plus build exists for it that could crush the meters.
Survival Hunter Guide
A huge chunk of Feral’s AoE damage, from
, has escaped being capped, so they are a rare melee spec that can function in large AoE. They also bring the full suite of Druid utility in
was also given to Resto and Balance this expansion, while
remains a very powerful effect that Balance has and Feral does not.
Feral can also toss out
s every few seconds without losing much damage, which can be very helpful if the healer is struggling. Though they suffer from being melee, this is another spec that is often underrated in PvE content and will surprise you with its strength if you can find it played by a strong pilot.
Feral Druid Guide
Arms deals solid consistent DPS and has the unique ability with
s to absolutely crush two-target situations, provided the two targets are near each other. They also have the ability to briefly tank without dying through
, which can allow tanks to drop stacks of Necrotic, for example.
Overall, their sustained defenses are a weak point, as unlike Fury they do not provide much self-healing, and their offensive numbers don’t appear to be stellar this patch. They also suffer from wanting to be Venthyr for
in raid but gaining much more AoE from Kyrian’s
or Night Fae’s
, while Fury does gain AoE benefits from
Arms Warrior Guide
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