Shadowlands Healer Tier List Predictions - Sanctum of Domination Predictions for Patch 9.1
Welcome to Wowhead's Patch 9.1 Shadowlands Healer Tier List Predictions for the Sanctum of Domination Raid. With the help of our class writers, we've made some Tier List predictions for raiding in Patch 9.1, commenting on the strengths and weaknesses of each Healer spec towards the raid and how we think each spec will perform in the next raid tier based on the current information and PTR raid testing.
This page will continue to be updated as players are able to test the raid on live servers and as tuning passes are made, so stay tuned to Wowhead for updates!
Sanctum of Domination Strategy Guides
If you are the type of person who likes to choose your class based on its power in the current raid, this guide goes over the best Healer specs in the current raid tier and an explanation on why from our Class Writers.
Sanctum of Domination Class Guides
The Sanctum of Domination page in our Class Guides has recommended talent builds, gear and raid tips for each boss in the raid!
Blood DKFrost DKUnholy DK
Havoc DHVengeance DH
Balance DruidFeral DruidGuardian DruidRestoration Druid
Beast Mastery HunterMarksmanship HunterSurvival Hunter
Arcane MageFire MageFrost Mage
Brewmaster MonkMistweaver MonkWindwalker Monk
Holy PaladinProtection PaladinRetribution Paladin
Discipline PriestHoly PriestShadow Priest
Assassination RogueOutlaw RogueSubtlety Rogue
Elemental ShamanEnhancement ShamanRestoration Shaman
Affliction WarlockDemonology WarlockDestruction Warlock
Arms WarriorFury WarriorProtection Warrior
Disclaimers About These Tier List Predictions
This Guide contains
made by Wowhead's Class Writers about how each Healer spec performs in the upcoming Patch 9.1 raid,
, based on current tuning and information from PTR Raid Testing. Raid Testing on the 9.1 PTR was much shorter than previous tiers, with many mechanics changing after the testing had completed. Normal raid testing never occurred on the 9.1 PTR, so there is less information about the
raid fights than previous tiers. We will update these rankings as more information is determined about these fights on live servers and as tuning continues to happen.
The rankings for the predictions use a standard Tier List format, ranking classes on the scale of the best (S Tier) to unviable (F Tier) based on the criteria of throughput, utility and defensive value in Sanctum of Domination.
This Tier List contains predictions and due to the fact that the raid does not release until July 6th and the uncertainty of upcoming class tuning, we're not putting any spec in the S Tier or below a C Tier at the moment. However, once Sanctum of Domination releases, we'll be updating this Tier List to include these Tiers.
These predictions were made by our Class Guide Writers, who are experts at their particular spec, but the rankings are ultimately still their opinion. You may disagree with some of their predictions, as each person values things slightly differently.
Patch 9.1 Shadowlands Healer Tier List Predictions for Sanctum of Domination
For these Tier List Predictions, here is how each class writer is ranking each Healer spec in Sanctum of Domination for Patch 9.1.
: We predict that you are valuable on every encounter in Sanctum of Domination, bringing strong throughput, exceptional survivability and universal utility.
: We predict that you excel in most situations in Sanctum of Domination but have some weaknesses on one or two encounters with your throughput, survivability or utility.
: We predict that you are a solid choice in Sanctum of Domination. You may have a niche on some encounters but lack throughput, survivability and/or utility.
: We predict that you are viable in Sanctum of Domination but suffer from many weaknesses in your throughput, survivability and utility.
: We predict that you are viable, but the spec suffers from many weaknesses and should only be brought if there isn't another option.
No spec has been placed below a C tier, as all specs are viable.
Comments by Pelinal
Comments by Niseko
Comments by Automaticjak
Comments by Jaydaa
Comments by Anomoly
Comments by Automaticjak
Patch 9.1 Shadowlands Healer Ranking Predictions and Explanations
A+ Tier Predictions
Overall Rating: S
Paladins saw some recent nerfs in Patch 9.1.0 mostly focused around reducing their damage output. Unfortunately however, the buffs to the caster playstyle that Blizzard seems to be trying to incentivize weren't enough, and as such Paladin gameplay hasn't changed much since its 9.0.5 iteration. This is for a combination of reasons such as, tank durability, encounter damage patterns, overall power level of other healers, and importance of passive damage. As such, very little for Paladin has changed, they simply will do a bit less damage (roughly 15% overall), and care about mana a bit more.
All of the reasons to bring a Paladin in 9.0 are still there, such as utility through
, Healer Damage,
and just high overall HPS throughput. Combine that with the ability to use either
to suit encounters and Paladins are just as good as they were before despite the nerfs. The only healer that comes close to a paladin in terms of "free" damage is Discipline Priest, and they don't have the same opportunities (and thus flexibility) to invest even more into damage. They also saw several throughput-related nerfs, bringing their overall power level down a bit.
as a raid also lends itself to lots of "burst" damage windows where a large amount of healing is required in a small amount of time making
Domination sockets also contribute to this, for most healers the new "Domination Sockets", and their bonuses aren't that great. Healers in general got the short-end of the stick with these powers. However paladins do damage, and heal which means that many of these "dps" focused sockets, have an extra benefit for Holy Paladins.
Paladins do have some weaknesses however, most notably our weakness outside of cooldowns such as
. Meaning that any fight that has consistent raid damage, our throughput will suffer. Additionally being in melee can be a real problem on some encounters, but there aren't any that stand out as problematic in
. Paladin mobility is also fairly low, it's not unbearably bad as
is not bad as a mobility ability. However if an encounter requires constant movement, or nothing is attackable such as
phase, Paladins don't shine as much.
With the tier being out, it is safe to say Paladin has earned its rank (again) as S tier. Due predominantly to its free passive damage, and the strength of
as a cooldown. Realistically, encounter design for healers has been stagnate for some time, and its no surprise that Disc Priest and Paladin continue to dominate when most encounters boil down to bursts of damage, instead of raid rot or priority healing scenarios.
Overall Rating: A+
is on a similar path as
was, with Restoration Shaman being very popular and wanted. The very top end of guilds buy a lot into the Discipline Priest and Holy Paladin meta with their strong damage contribution and especially damage reduction against the bursty patterns of this raid, but Restoration Shamans are still very much in demand and is always the first healer you'd fill in. While not as strong as other raid damage reductions,
offers 10% on top of the health redistribution which can defuse a lot of very dangerous situations. Restoration Shamans provide very consistent healing and even though we can deal with burst damage patterns decently, its not quite as great as Discipline Priest and Holy Paladin.
We continue to bring a diverse healing toolkit which can be used to fit any encounter combined with strong cooldowns such as
and great mana sustainability. Healing effectiveness differs depending on the encounter, but on particularly difficult ones
kicks in and provides us with great throughput potential.
The utility side is proving to be very useful --
offers multiple encounters where
excels, for example the
intermission has you dodge a series of spikes; or dodging the
slices during the
encounter. Interrupting with
has a few uses:
which need to be interrupted with similar circumstances throughout the
encounters. Good usage of
will keep your other healers happy. Regarding mobility, we do still struggle to quickly move to another location at times unless you're Night Fae with its
, but its also not too bad due to
giving us a small boost and
allowing us to cast during movement.
Mythic intermission phase for example features a wall of spikes without a way through, for which you either have to be Venthyr, Night Fae or a Goblin
to safely cross on your own - but at the same time we have the least issues in this phase healing due to
not making us channel and
enabling us to heal effectively while dodging everything.
For survivability we're looking at
and if you're Necrolord you have access to what is probably the most useful defensive cooldown:
. Combined this is quite a decent stack of defensives and should get you out of most of the tricky situations, especially when the health from
is combined with a defensive - for example when you are breaking a
encounter, during which you're likely outside of all raid cooldowns.
From a weakness point of view I'm again seeing the lack of damage contribution, whether passive or active and regardless of covenant, which doesn't come close to something like a Paladin or a Discipline Priest. This is more relevant in guilds closer to world first, but still something to consider. While the raid spreading out continues to harm the effectiveness of some of our abilities, its rare with the current design of encounters that this is an actual problem and I don't see many issues in
With some hefty nerfs to
, both in its transfer rate from
in 9.0.5 and now a 30 second additional cooldown applied in 9.1, Discipline is moving primarily over to
and also making a Kyrian covenant swap, the mass absorbs of
have had some application in a world first environment in Sanctum of Domination but generally the higher output of
has won out. This is due to
's higher cooldown, relatively low cap at 11x your spell power which is capped out too easily and the lower rate of
In particular, some guilds have utilized two Discipline Priests, one with
and one with
for bosses like
happen so infrequently (around 2 minutes except for one bad overlap) that multiple Disciplines over fantastic coverage. On the other hand, bosses like
have such high passive damage and burst damage that
is the undisputed king as you can more easily reverse the main damage mechanic
with 1.5min intervals featuring "strong" and "weak"
timers whereby you alternate
respectively to maintain high output. Even if that "weak" situation you're still producing high burst and you can also bring
along for those smaller shields to increase team's survivability.
Furthermore, Discipline brings good passive damage by dealing damage to produce healing and their survivability, while low, especially on heavy physical damage bosses are made slightly better with frequent uses of the conduit for
and they will continue to improve in Sanctum with updates to soulbinds like Mikanikos' new
Where Discipline falters somewhat is relative to their competition. Paladins have stronger passive damage and utility, most other healers are more mana efficient, have a higher potential "maximum" output and are less hungry for external mana. Multiple Disc Priests on an encounter is very strong this tier as there are a high number of stacked fights, good for
does not feature the same restrictions or punishments for overlapping ramps that
does. For mobility, Discipline will feel the loss of the Venthyr's
for mobility and encounters like
where you could use door to jump to the other side of his
with ease. With Raznal and with encounters like
threatening to knock you off to your death, Venthyr or not, the already popular Goblin racial
for Discipline Priest's will become even more valuable in this raid.
Despite some of these issues, Discipline's mass burst healing of Legion and BfA rises again and is difficult to replace, no matter how much damage reduction or side utility from Tank/DPSers like
that you might have. A 1.5 minute cooldown that produces massive healing for the entire raid, consistently results in a substantial boost to the raid's odds of survival and your team's chances of killing the boss.
A Tier Predictions
Overall Rating: A
Although we're entering a new patch with 9.1.5, nothing is really changing with healers in general or even specifically Restoration Druids. We're receiving some cosmetic changes for
, all of which look awesome, but nothing functionally is changing with the class besides a tweak the mechanics of Necrolord
. Covenant swapping doesn't really offer us too much in
simply because we've already been playing with our best covenant, Night Fae. There may be some niche cases for the other 3 covenants; expect some shenanigans with Kyrian
being used to significantly boost the output of a single DPS, but overall it's unlikely to shake up the currently existing meta in raid.
Restoration Druids have some of the highest healing throughput in
only being outclassed by Mistweaver Monk. How we deliver that throughput has also evolved in recent expansions; where previously we were typically more sustain-oriented healers, the sheer number of burst cooldown abilities (
, and now Night Fae's ) have catapulted us to one of the premier burst healers in Shadowlands.
The positives don't stop at just strong throughput. Our survivability, especially for a healer, is nearly unmatched with
, our passive healing
, an on-demand defensive via
that can be further juiced up with
, and even a passive
-like effect via our conduit
. The only thing missing would be a complete immunity, but to say it's difficult to kill a Restoration Druid would be a understatement. Combine this with exceptional mobility, both personally and raid-wide via the cooldown
, and you'll see there's a lot to love with Restoration Druids. There's definitely renewed emphasis on mobility in
, especially for
Where we tend to fall short is our less than stellar unique raid utility toolkit, specifically our ability to passively contribute damage and lack of a raid-wide damage reduction cooldown. We do still bring the highly valued
for tanks in addition to
, and a host of other more niche utility. Unfortunately, most of that utility can be replicated by the other Druid specs. To deal meaningful damage, which can be invaluable in raiding, we need to commit significant time and potentially even cooldowns like
which can erode our healing throughput. Fortunately, we're able to quickly switch our Domination Shards to
for some additional damage without completely destroying our healing throughput; however, all healers have access to this tool so this doesn't really put us ahead or behind any of them. Finally, reducing the dangerous onslaught of burst damage via absorbs or raid-wide damage reduction, especially when undergeared, can prove invaluable to raid survival, yet Restoration Druids still lack a significant way to contribute in this area. This limitation really sticks out on Mythic
where you're trying to soak a large number of
s to extend the length of the encounter.
Unless there are any major last minute or post-launch changes, expect Patch 9.1.5 to stick to the status quo when it comes to healing.
Overall Rating: A
In the patch we received buffs to our main damage abilities
. We also received a buff to
in terms of our Mastery,
, now triggering when we use it. There was also a small mana cost reduction to
. Finally, there were changes to both
to now work with the healing triggered by
. However, please note, at this time, the healing increase from
does not work when it is used with
. All of this pointed to a HPS increase for Mistweavers.
The above are solid updates to Mistweaver Monk. The damage changes will equate to a direct buff to
and increase the healing we can do with that legendary. Our
is even more powerful, allowing it to be come a true instant raid throughput cooldown. This is especially true when paired with
HoTs or some of our covenant abilities such as
. Also with
healing now being increased by our conduits, we have another efficient healing cooldown. In general, these changes do two things to support Mistweaver Monks; We increase our throughput and also gain this throughput through efficient healing with
. There are no fights this tier that would move your away from a mob for an extended period of time, so you should always be able to keep
on cooldown and make use of
and our other melee triggered healing. With
we negate a lot of the movement needed such as blinking over
to quickly breaking
. You will also be able to negate the knockback during
From a weaknesses perspective, Mistweaver Monks do not bring anything in the extreme. We do not have the damage of a Paladin, the various totems of a Shaman, or the large absorbs of a Discipline Priest. Those classes, particularly when played at the highest level, provide something that allows you to live through an otherwise unlivable amount of damage. Beyond this, however, Mistweaver Monks are a very good choice in terms of raw healing output. The other weakness, which is tied to that output, is that Mistweaver Monks must be in melee range of a mob. Particularly tough bosses to keep connected with during damage is
or during the intermission phase of
. If you can stay in melee and use your spells efficiently, Mistweaver Monks do have a solid amount of healing throughput.
While frequently in the shadow of its sister spec Discipline, Holy has been steadily improving throughout Shadowlands, this time in 9.1 with buffs to
. While immobile and with fair survivability, Holy brings some of the best single-target heal support, multiple raid cooldowns and NOW in Patch 9.1 Holy Priest finally brings
to the team in the form of damage reduction.......sort of. This makes Holy Priest one of the most flexible additions to a heal team that a raid can pick up.
's change is extremely unique in that, unlike a Discipline Priest's
where the user is activating a defensive for the raid,
instead puts the onus on the raid members to recognize that their defensive is being reduced in cooldown (
full list below
) and to subsequently take advantage of the additional, potential use. While unfortunately this does not reduce the cooldowns of immunities, for many classes in the game they are significant defensives that can warrant additional casts at critical moments to improve their survivability.
For all abilities, user Dracolich created a handy list.
decreases cooldowns of:
All specs -
All specs -
All specs -
All specs -
All specs -
All specs -
All specs -
All specs -
All specs -
From a gameplay perspective, Holy historically is the "Jak of all trades, master of none" but this mold has been broken in Shadowlands.
has resulted in the spec shifting tremendously towards single-target healing, while also bringing a plethora of raid healing and supporting cooldowns to assist in handling key mechanics. Spot-healing is always a challenge in a raid environment and too often healers progressing mythic will struggle more heavily with properly supporting their tanks and priority targets, having a healer on hand who is primarily focusing on this is a strong benefit to improve the diversity of your healing squad.
While Holy is rarely polarizing in its performance on encounters, there are some particular fights where it can really shine. A strong example of this is the very beginning of the raid with the
encounter where its
mechanic requires hefty soaks and leaves behind lingering DoTs.
later on in the raid also has some hefty single-target healing requirements through his
that afflict players while other raid-wide AoE is going out reminiscent of
Mobility for the raid can look similar to Discipline depending on covenant choice. For pure Holy players who go Fae then they'll have
at their disposal, though as Castle Nathria demonstrated, many Holy players have opted for the middle ground with their covenant to allow more flexibility if they wanted to play Discipline. In either case, challenging encounters like
can blast players off his platform and punish the immobile healers leading many towards the Goblin racial
Holy's largest challenges for the
are two-fold. To no surprise, #1 is Holy's low damage contributions that weigh on the spec in the World First Raiding Scene (which naturally trickles down into the everyday "meta"), especially in this strange timeline that we live in where Paladins still deal miles more damage than any other healer.
The 2nd is that for all the work the developers put into revamping
, it seems to be a fundamentally lackluster ability because it relies on the individual players themselves to
the cooldown being reduced, understand
it is being reduced and decide when to activate it. Some like a Holy Paladin's
or a Druid's
will guarantee a free cast, while a Warlock's
will simply cut down a significant chunk of the cooldown. The increased value of mana return is nice, but a bit of additional mana is generally not make or break with Blizzard's current healer/mana balancing.
Holy Priest in 9.1 has boundless potential, but relying on other players to play properly to see full value from their raid-utility (Lightwell anyone?) is generally a cause for concern.
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