[Top 10] WoW Shadowlands Best DPS Classes That Wreck the Hardest (PvP)

WoW Shadowlands Best DPS pvp
PvP TOP DPS Classes

As a person who has played MMOs for over 10 years, I have yet to find a game that has such a structured and fun PvP system like World of Warcraft. Having instanced arenas and rated battlegrounds (RBGs) provides players with a variety of ways to demolish their foes, while climbing PvP ladders is something that never really gets boring

Although the last few expansions have somewhat diminished the game’s status, considering how little damage anyone did and how spongy each class was, Shadowlands has brought back that instant-kill factor we have grown so accustomed to in previous expansions like Mists of Pandaria. Tanks, of course, are still an exception. Ability pruning has also somewhat vanished with Shadowlands, seeing as a plethora of fan-favorite spells have made a return.

Don’t know what class to choose if you’re a newcomer or returning veteran in 9.1.0? Fear not fellow Azerothian, we have got you covered. Specifically, we will be describing the classes that currently wreck the hardest, backed by reliable statistics from websites like wowmeta.com, as well as analyzing other factors including utility, and survivability. Let’s begin!

10. Shadow Priest

Spec Intro and Overview:

Just like in our PvE list, Shadow Priests are good enough to be included in the Top PvP specs, , albeit at number 10. These mind-bending apparitions tap into the Void, channeling shadow magic to plague their enemies. Whilst not too amazing in 2s, Shadow Priests do particularly well in 3s and in RBGs, situations where they may not get trained as much.

In PvP situations, a Shadow Priest should prioritize multi-target DoTing, with spells like [Shadow Word: Pain], [Vampiric Touch], and [Devouring Plague] applying constant pressure and dis-incentivizing healer cleanses due to the incredible dispel and silence effect of [Vampiric Touch]. Once you build up enough insanity using DoTs and single-target spells like [Mind Blast] and [Mind Flay], you should enter [Voidform] and cast [Power Infusion] to maximize your damage output.

Another Shadow Priest strength is their ability to CC multiple targets with spells like [Psychic Scream], [Psychic Horror] and [Mind Control], giving them control of certain battles if used correctly. [Mass Dispel] is also a great way to dispel harmful magic effects from your allies, whilst simultaneously removing beneficial magic effects from enemies. This includes Pally bubbles, or a Mage’s [Ice Block].

Shadow Priests are nevertheless hindered by terrible mobility and susceptibility to CC effects. They currently have no movement enhancing spells barring [Dispersion] which is also their main defensive ability. Choosing when to use [Dispersion] becomes extremely important as their inability to kite often ensures tunnel-visioning by melee DPS like Warriors, Monks, Paladins, Death Knights, etc. When combined, these factors render Shadow Priests as one of the squishiest targets in Shadowlands PvP.

Why Shadow Priests?

I have to say, Shadow Priests have one of the coolest fantasies in WoW, way outshiningtheir Holy and Discipline counterparts. Hurling shadow spells at your enemy is not only awesome, but also heavily effective. This is particularly true in RBGs, where you will not often be targeted. Cast DoTs on all your targets to gain enough Insanity, and then blast them with a cascade of shadowy maledictions. Under burst, abilities like [Shadow Crash], [Void Torrent], [Voidbolt], and the passive [Shadowy Apparitions], will cause practically unmatched damage, often propelling you to those top DPS spots.

Perhaps the coolest thing about Shadow Priests this expansion has been the addition of the Venthyr covenant ability [Mindgames]. Oddly enough, it does exactly what it sounds like. After blasting your enemy with 300% of your spell-power, for the next 5 seconds, the damage they deal will heal their targets, whilst the healing they do will damage their target. Under pressure, a healer may accidentally kill themselves with a high healing crit, or a DPS could fully heal you if cast during their burst, making this spell extremely variable and also very fun.

You need to remember though that in Arenas, you will not have too much freedom as you are extremely limited by your lack of defensives and poor mobility. Getting trained will disable you from dealing tormenting damage, and while in 3s you may not be targeted as much, you can still find yourself unable to burst appropriately if facing melee cleave comps. Choosing Venthyr will help a little given the teleport of [Door of Shadows], but at a 1.5 min cooldown, you cannot rely on this spell too often.

Another major concern for Shadow Priests is their susceptibility to silences. All your damage dealing abilities come from the Shadow school of magic, leaving you pointless and extremely vulnerable to just about every class when silenced. If you don’t like being squishy, or if you cannot be patient with setting up your burst, then the Shadow Priest may not be the class for you.

How to Build:

Covenant: Venthyr

Legendary: [Sephuz’s Proclamation] or [Pallid Command]

Stat priority: Versatility > Haste > Mastery > Crit

Spec Intro and Overview

Similar to Shadow Priests, Affliction Warlocks are the primary DoT class in the game. These harbingers of doom slowly torment enemies through shadow magic with [Agony], [Corruption], [Unstable Affliction], and [Malefic Rapture]. While not the best at single target, Affliction Warlocks will always lead DPS spots in RBG, considering how rarely they are targeted, and how much damage output their DoTs can produce when spread on at least 5-6 targets. With the estimated 17% damage buff to [Agony] and [Corruption] in 9.1.0, Affliction Warlocks have seen much more joy in PvP. They also have very strong dispel protection with [Unstable Affliction], as enemy healers will be heavily punished should they decide to dispel their allies.

Although the playstyle is relatively simple, literally just DoTing everyone and ensuring that you burst appropriately through [Dark Soul: Misery], [Summon: Darkglare], and [Soul Rot], mastering an Affliction is no easy feat.  It can be challenging to upkeep your DoTs on so many targets, especially in Arenas where you are often debilitated by melee cleaves, but if done correctly, Affliction has the most extraordinary damage output in the entire game.

They are also somewhat durable, with passive stamina buffs and damage absorbing abilities such as [Dark Pact], and [Unending Resolve], keeping you up during enemy burst windows.  Be aware however, that when on cooldown, Warlocks are perhaps the squishiest spec in PvP, primarily because all of their spells come from the Shadow school of magic; if silenced, you will get hurt. A lot.

Why Affliction Warlocks?

Affliction Warlocks are sort of hit-or-miss class for many WoW players. Should you desire to slowly drain away the life of all enemies, at the expense of single target or heavy burst damage (like a Ret or Arms for example), then maybe Affliction is the class for you.I have an Affliction alt, and although at times it can be a chore to upkeep all your DoTs, more often than not it pays off. It takes time to bring yourself in a position of burst but my god when that happens, sheesh!

Perhaps one of the most fun additions in Shadowlands for Affliction has been the introduction of [Soul Rot] through the Night Fae covenant, and the [Inevitable Demise] talent, which increases the damage of your Drain Life by a whopping 750% should your [Agony] damage tick 50 times. With [Soul Rot] your Drain Life can affect 3 more targets, ensuring complete annihilation for anyone affected.

Add to that [Dark Soul: Misery], which increases your haste by 30%, and [Malefic Rapture] and your DoTs will be ticking like crazy! Not only are you a massive nuisance to deal with, you may also permanently slow enemies with the [Sacrolash] legendary, making Affliction Warlocks an absolute must for RBGs. You can also summon [Demonic Gateways] to allow yourself and your allies to teleport short distances.

The only reason why we have not ranked Affliction higher in this list is because of their performance fall-off in Arenas. They are still very annoying to deal with, but they simply do not produce the same end resultas perhaps a Windwalker or Arms Warrior.

How to Build:

Covenant: Night Fae

Legendary: [Sacrolash’s Dark Strike] or [Decaying Soul Satchel]

Stat Priority: Versatility > Haste > Mastery > Crit


Spec Intro and Overview:

Perhaps a strange inclusion, Beast Mastery Hunters are currently ranked as top DPS in 2v2 Arenas, according to wowmeta.com. In contrast to Survival or Marksmanship, BM Hunters rely heavily on their pets to deal damage, with iconic spells like [Kill Command] and [Barbed Shot], and filler spells like [Cobra Shot] in between burst windows. In fact, BM Hunters have some of the most consistent damage outputs in the game, albeit not as strong as some other classes. 

Your primary burst comes from [Bestial Wrath], an ability that enrages you and your pet, increasing overall damage done by 25% for 15 seconds. Combined with [Flayed Shot], [Scent of Blood] and [Thrill of the Hunt], BM Hunters will always be a pesky opponent to play against.The re-introduction of [Kill Shot] to the BM spec is also a very nice addition, allowing you to spam ‘execute on’ enemies under 20% health.

Beware though, you need to be meticulous with what pets you choose. As of now, top performing pets include the Undead raptor, Lizard or Direhorn, as well as a Scorpid or a Ravager. These pets have varying abilities and passives, which greatly increase your versatility in Arenas.

BM Hunters also have decent CC. Spells like [Freezing Trap], [Concussive Shot], or [Binding Shot] can practically tether enemies to a spot, allowing you and your pet to deal significant damage. Meanwhile, [Disengage], [Exhilaration], and [Aspect of the Turtle] give you enough survivability to escape enemy burst sequences. Because BM Hunters are so good at consistent damage, they will naturally have some sort of trade-off; in this case, it is their burst damage.

Why Beast Mastery Hunters?

Whether you like the class fantasy, or if you like micromanaging pets to deal damage and disorient foes, the BM Hunter may be a good choice for you. The class is also rather underplayed at the moment, so if you would like to avoid a cookie-cutter build, then hey, make a BM!

BM Hunters are quite mobile as well, and seeing how your pet will do most of your damage, you can often hide and kite behind corners leaving your beast to do its thing. Having [Flare] which reveals Stealth enemies in its AoE, can also be extremely useful against Rogue comps.

In terms of survivability, [Feign Death] and [Aspect of the Turtle] will ensure that you are not as squishy as your Leather armor might suggest. If paired with the [Craven Strategem] legendary, [Feign Death] can also be used as a way to remove negative status effects from yourself, like DoTs, snares, debuffs, etc. It is also quite nice to feign your death when you’re very low, encouraging enemies to attack your partners whilst your healer gets you back on your feet.

Because of their poor utility in RBGs, we cannot rank BM Hunters higher than #8. Even though they have one of the most consistent damage outputs in the game, their burst potential simply doesn’t provide that OOMPH! factor that some other specs do.

How to build:

Covenant: Venthyr

Legendary: [Craven Strategem]

Stat Priority: Versatility > Haste > Crit > Mastery


7. Fire Mage

Spec Intro and Overview:

Perhaps a surprise inclusion for some, and not so much for others, the Fire Mage ranks 7th in today’s list. Whatever side you may be on, few can argue against the Fire Mage’s insane CC utility in RBGs and Arenas, as well as their unparalleled ability to eradicate enemies in a moment’s notice.

As a Fire Mage, your role is simple: Kite, CC, unleash havoc when the time is right. You’ll primarily be casting [Fireball], or [Scorch] if you’re getting mauled by melee DPS, hope for a crit to proc [Heating Up], then cast [Fire Blast] for that guaranteed crit, straight into a free and instant cast [Pyroblast]. Rinse and repeat.

It is heavily important for you to read the game and time your burst accordingly. Fire Mages are renowned for their insane burst potential, with [Combustion] guaranteeing 100% crit against an enemy target. CC your target using [Polymorph] and [Ring of Frost], prior to casting [Ring of Fire] and [Meteor], spells that will do insane damage even if you do not have [Combustion] up. Should you time these spells in conjunction with [Combustion], enemy targets will cease to exist.

Aside from their multiple and extremely powerful burst windows, Fire Mages are also quite durable. [Dragon’s Breath] will disorient your enemy, whilst [Frost Nova] allows you to entrap those tunnel-visioning melees in an icy embrace. The [Triune Ward] legendary will give you every barrier from each spec, forming a mighty shield that absorbs a seemingly interminable amount of damage. Last but not least, we have [Ice Block] [Cauterize], and [Alter Time], spells that can save your life under intense pressure.

Why Fire Mages?

Although Fire Mages are relatively down the pecking order in RBGs, they excel in 2s and 3s Arenas. This is particularly the case if you’re partnered with a decent Sub Rogue. Your ability to CC multiple targets will contribute greatly to your fights, whilst that burst damage we mentioned is practically incomparable, should you be left to free cast. Did we forget to mention how much fun the class is?

I like to refer to Fire Mages as adrenaline junkies. If played correctly, you can completely wipe out enemy teams during a single [Combustion] window. Don’t waste your time casting Fireballs, instead focus on chaining instant cast [Fire Blast] and [Phoenix Flames] to proc those [Pyroblasts]. Do all of this in quick succession and your brain should be binging on dopamine. Such is the power of Fire Mages that I have had them terminate my Monk during a single three-second stun.

Do not panic if you seem to be getting targeted. You have enough CC and durability to survive a lifetime unless you are being tunnel-visioned by melee DPS like Warriors, Monks or Paladins. Because of the constant pressure, it will be virtually impossible to cast your primary filler spell [Fireball], forcing you to cast the inefficient [Scorch] while trying to establish some ground between you and those irritating melees. This issue becomes more entrenched during non-burst windows, where Fire Mage damage falls significantly in contrast to other classes. For these reasons, we cannot rank Fire Mages higher than 7.

How to build:

Covenant: Night Fae

Legendary: [Triune Ward]

Stat Priority: Versatility > Haste > Crit > Mastery


6. Feral Druid

Spec Intro and Overview:

Feral Druids reside within the shadows, waiting for the most opportune moment to pounce on prey with their teeth and claws. These vicious tigers are particularly strong in dealing single and multi-target DoT or BoT (Bleed over Time) damage. 

Spells like [Rip] and [Rake] will constantly pressurize foes while you spend time racking up Combo points to synergize with your short burst windows. [Berserk], [Tiger’s Fury] and [Savage Roar], will significantly increase the damage of your bleeds and finishers like [Ferocious Bite]. Just remember to appropriately manage your Energy and Combo Points.

Last but not least, [Convoke the Spirits] is an insanely fun ability that channels 10 random Druid spells (most of which should be Feral spells) at random targets in your vicinity. Given the stealthy playstyle of Ferals, this usually translates into devastation for enemies who are too far away from their partners in Arenas, or those sole base sitters in RBGs.

It must be noted that in 9.1.0, a majority of top Feral players have shifted to Necrolord, given the increased efficiency of your damage through [Adaptive Swarm] and further increases in survivability through [Fleshcraft].

Why Feral Druids?

As is the case with other Druid specs, Ferals are a jack of all trades in PvP. Remember, you’re a tiger, so it should come as no surprise that you are playing one of the most mobile specs in the game. The ability to shapeshift allows you to remove snares and roots in a swift fashion, whilst [Wild Charge], [Dash], and [Stampeding Roar] will ensure that you are almost uncatchable in case you need to kite around corners.

Enemy players will despise you because of your intense crowd control. Ferals can chain CC for decades and decades, starting off with stuns like [Mighty Bash] or [Maim], into a double or triple [Cyclone], followed by a [Disorienting Roar], [Entangling Roots], the list goes on and on. If you appropriately synergize these CCs with your 2s partner, know that you will easily climb that leaderboard.

Should worries materialize over survivability, you may rest assured. Feral mobility in conjunction with abilities like [Rejuvenate] and [Regrowth], is a good way to reliably self-heal in case your healer is under pressure, whilst [Bear Form] is your biggest defensive ability in general, given the massive increase in Armor and overall health. If speccing into [Guardian Affinity] you will also have a charge of [Frenzied Regeneration] which heals you for 25% of your health over 3 seconds.

Combine all these elements and you’ve practically got an unkillable cat, one that constantly annoys with CC and multi-target DoTing. Perhaps the only downside to Ferals is their utility in RBGs and 3s Arenas. While yoursingle-target damage is great and the pressure from multi-target DoTing will constantly irritate enemies, you are simply not that magnificent in your damage output when compared to other DPS specs.

How to Build:

Covenant: Necrolord (preferred) or Night Fae

Legendary: [Draught of Deep Focus] or [Celestial Spirits] (if Night Fae)

Stat Priority: Versatility > Mastery > Haste > Crit


5. Balance Druid

Spec Intro and Overview:

Another Druid spec, what a surprise. As a Boomy in PvP, you’ll be wanting to multi-dot a few targets with [Moonfire] and [Sunfire], while alternating between Solar and Lunar eclipses using [Wrath] and [Starfall]. When at 100% Astral Power, you’ll wanna hang on tight cause things are about to get crazy.

 Pop [Incarnation], [Celestial Alignment] and unleash havoc on your foes with a bombastic array of spells, courtesy of [Convoke the Spirits]. Should you have the [Balance of All Things] legendary equipped, which increases your Arcane and Nature spell crit chance by 24%, decreasing by 3% every second, and if left to free cast, you will most likely make your enemies want to delete their characters.

Just like Feral Druids, Boomkins have excellent utility and survivability in both Arenas and RBGs. The damage reduction of [Bear Form], in conjunction with self-healing tools like [Frenzied Regeneration], [Celestial Guardian], [Well-Honed Instincts], and [Renewal], transform you into an indestructible, shape-shifting machine of doom. This combines very well with the mobility of [Cat Form], [Dash], and [Stampeding Roar]

In terms of CC, Boomkins are considered to be the best class in the entire game. The combo of ‘Root-Beam’ is very difficult to deal with, whilst chaining [Cyclone] on different targets is highly effective in both Arenas and RBG. Let’s not forget about [Mighty Bash] and [Disorienting Roar]. With this arsenal at your disposal, you are all set to conquer the PvP leaderboard.

Why Balance Druids?

There are so many reasons why you should play a Balance Druid in PvP. Being a pesky shapeshifter has its benefits, whilst the ability to annihilate multiple targets through [Convoke the Spirits] is an extremely fun way to kick-back and have fun.

Boomies are currently ranked as the top performing DPS in RBGs, which really comes as no surprise. My Boomkin alt, currently 218 ilvl with mostly Rival gear from Season 1, still manages to invoke carnage in Season 2. Such is the sheer damage output of the Boomkin burst.

Even though their performance falls off in Arenas, especially when facing melee cleaves that won’t let you leave [Bear Form], they are still vital to any team comp given the CC at their disposal. You can literally chain CC targets for 20+ seconds if you coordinate well with your partners, making it impossible for enemy healers to keep up their DPS. On top of that, your ability to self and off-heal can sometimes be the defining factor against a tough match-up.

If you’re not convinced yet, let me reiterate just how mobile Boomkins are. Not only can you escape roots and snares by shapeshifting into different forms, you can also jump decent distances using [Wild Charge], whilst always having the advantage in LoS/kiting situations through the movement-enhancing benefits of [Cat Form] and [Travel Form]. 

All these benefits come at a cost however; the skill level required to master a Boomy is MUCH higher than if you would play something like an Arms Warrior or Retribution Paladin. There are so many things that you need to consider and calculate for in various PvP situations, that playing a Boomy may seem a little intimidating, especially if you’re a newcomer.

Difficult to catch up with, troublesome to kill, and extremely lethal in multi-target settings, the Boomkin ranks #5 in today’s list.

How to build:

Covenant: Night Fae (preferred), or Necrolord, or Kyrian

Legendary: [Kindred Affinity] or [Balance of All Things]

Stat priority: Versatility > Haste > Mastery > Crit


4. Subtlety Rogue

Spec Intro and Overview:

The cloak and dagger playstyle of Subtlety Rogues makes them an extremely unique pick in this list. While not known for their AoE or multi-target damage output, Sub Rogues have the ability to completely delete individual targets during their opener. The [Mark of the Master Assassin] legendary increases their crit by 100% during stealth, and for 4 seconds after breaking, whilst [Shadow Dance], [Shadow Blades], and [Symbols of Death] increase their overall damage output, allowing them to also cast Stealth-specific like [Cheap Shot], and [Shadowstrike]. Once stunlocked, this translates into probable, and in certain cases, lethal damage to your enemy.

Although these bandits can die quite easily if stunlocked themselves, they are relatively durable given the enormity of defensive cooldowns at their disposal. [Cloak of Shadows] removes all harmful spell effects, giving them magic immunity for a few seconds, whilst [Evasion] increases their dodge chance by 100% for 10 seconds. 10 freaking seconds! [Crimson Vial] regenerates 20% of their health over 4 seconds, whilst the cherry on top [Vanish] does exactly what it sounds like. They vanish into thin air, allowing them to slowly re-enter Stealth, and escape danger enough for them to subsequently devise their next assault.

Subtlety Rogues are also gods of crowd control. Abilities like [Sap], [Blind], [Cheap Shot], and [Kidney Shot] can give them the upper hand by practically forcing enemies into 2v1 or 3v2 situations, whereas [Smoke Bomb] creates a thick cloud of smoke which renders enemies unable to target into or out of the smoke for a period of 5 seconds.

Why Subtlety Rogues?

The key to being a top Sub Rogue is to manage your burst accordingly. Should you master the dark arts of the Sub Rogue playstyle, you may develop into an invulnerable force that cannot be reckoned with. It is also quite cool being able to roam around your environment, preying on your enemy’s anxieties and insecurities.

I cannot exaggerate how well Sub Rogues work with Fire Mages. If you are going to play 2s, try to find a good Fire Mage. This comp entails irresistible damage and incessant CC. Try to open fights with [Marked for Death], giving you maximum combo points which you can then use to stunlock your target for 6 whole seconds with [Kidney Shot]. [Shadow Dance], [Shadow Blades], and [Symbols of Death] should be utilized in quick succession of one another (preferably macrod together), whilst your legendary will ensure maximum crit on any individual unfortunate enough to be targeted by your shadowy guise.

Try to keep up [Slice & Dice] as well during burst sequences, increasing your attack speed by 50% and your energy regeneration by 15%. As a result, damaging abilities like [Shadowstrike], [Eviscerate], [Backstab] will most likely do traumatic damage. Sub Rogues are also extremely mobile, with spells like [Shadowstep] and [Sprint], allowing you to both hunt and escape your enemies.

In RBGs, you will likely be bored considering that you are rarely going to be in the thick of team fights. Most often, you will find yourself base sitting, or lone-wolfing enemy bases through Stealth, in hopes of a quick base cap or enemy flag carrier elimination. You should definitely not play this class if you don’t like solo play, or if you despise being a sneaky bastard. If you do however, you will not regret choosing a Sub Rogue.

How to build:

Covenant: Kyrian (preferred) or Venthyr

Legendary: [Mark of the Master Assassin] or [ Resounding Clarity]

Stat Priority: Versatility > Mastery > Crit > Haste.


3. Windwalker Monk

Spec Intro and Overview:

As is the case in the PvE department, Windwalker Monks are an extremely mobile and strong melee DPS, capable of tormenting more than three enemies at a time. This is primarily because of [Earth, Storm, and Fire], allowing the Windwalker to split into three different spirits, all of which mimic your abilities cast at 45% damage efficiency. On top of that, their burst damage is practically unmatched if left to free-cast, with [Invoke, Xuen the White Tiger] [Whirling Dragon Punch], and [Spinning Crane Kick] all hitting multiple enemies. [Fists of Fury] is a good way to both parry and deal damage simultaneously, whilst the CC potential of [Ring of Peace], [Paralyze], and [Leg Sweep] will help you just about in any situation. Make sure to align your burst with [Leg Sweep] for maximum carnage.

Windwalkers are also very efficient at self-healing or off-healing partners in Arenas. If played correctly in RBGs, their multi-target, insanely overpowered damage output, can easily propel them to those number one DPS spots. Despite their hand-to-hand combat prowess, Windwalkers are ill-equipped in the survivability department.

Why Windwalker Monks?

If you read our previous article, [Top 10 Shadowlands Best DPS Classes PvE], you will have seen that I am a personal favorite of Windwalker Monks. In PvP, we masters of kung-fu usually come up with insurmountable damage, especially in RBGs and 3v3 Arenas.

Considering the Necrolord changes in 9.1.0, Windwalkers have excelled even more than in the previous patch. [Bonedust Brew] will cause your abilities to do extra Shadow damage, with extra being an understatement (sometimes 75% more damage). At a 1-minute cooldown, you will find yourself bursting almost incessantly, whilst more calculated approaches need to be taken in order to synergize your [Bonedust Brew] with [Spinning Crane Kick] procs, [Storm, Earth, and Fire], as well as [Whirling Dragon Punch]. Should this happen, get ready to see scores of corpses on the ground, because you are invariably going to kick ass.

Need to run around and heal? You got it. Need to CC? Stun and paralyze. Need to survive? Ehh.. that’s a bit of a different story. Even though [Touch of Karma], [Diffuse Magic], and [Fleshcraft] will do a good job at keeping you up, playing a Windwalker entails wearing leather armor, and as such, squishiness. This is why Windwalker Monks cannot sustainably compete with other melee counterparts like the Retribution Paladin or Arms Warrior.

How to build:

Covenant: Necrolord (preferred) or Kyrian

Legendary: [Keefer’s Skyreach] (preferred) or [Invoker’s Delight]

Stat Priority:  Versatility > Crit > Mastery > Haste


2. Retribution Paladin

Spec Intro and Overview:

Retribution Paladins are zealous warriors who strike their foes with justice and holy power. While not so recognized in the PvE department, Ret Pallies have the ability to literally one-shot targets through their wings burst [Avenging Wrath]. 

The rotation is quite simple, charge your Holy Power resource using filler spells like [Judgment], [Crusader Strike], and [Blade of Justice], then spend it on powerful abilities like [Templar’s Verdict or Final Verdict], and [Seraphim]. The latter should always be used in conjunction with [Avenging Wrath] so as to maximize your damage output. Once you pop burst (ensuring that you’re at maximum Holy Power) strike your enemy with [Final Reckoning], an ability that deals a whopping 250% of your weapon’s damage to all targets in the vicinity, causing them to take an additional 50% increase damage from your Holy Power abilities for 8 seconds.

On top of that, you have [Divine Toll], a Kyrian ability which casts [Holy Shock], [Avenger’s Shield], and [Judgment] on 5 targets within 30 yards; bear in mind, [Judgment] casts from [Divine Toll] will deal 100% extra damage. Combine these elements and your foes will surely go extinct.

Ret Pallies also have outrageous utility in both Arenas and RBGs. You can render your allies immune to physical attacks with [Blessing of Protection], share and reduce ally damage with [Blessing of Sacrifice], as well as granting them immunity to movement impairing effects with [Blessing of Freedom]. You are also capable of doing healer-like healing through [Word of Glory], [Selfless Healer], and [Flash of Light]. About to be hit by a massive enemy burst? Just bubble with [Divine Shield] and become immune to everything for 8 seconds. Almost dead? [Lay on Hands] to gain all of your health back. The Ret Paladin has it all. Almost.

Rets are at a disadvantage when it comes to mobility and CC. Barring the stun of [Hammer of Justice] and the movement enhancing [Divine Steed], Rets simply cannot do much in these departments. Their single-target damage is nevertheless unparalleled, which is why we have decided to rank Rets as #2 in this list.

Why Retribution Paladins?

If you’re a person who doesn’t have too much time to play MMORPGs, or you just want to play a class that can win almost any 1v1 situation, then play a Ret. These righteous plate wearers are extremely devastating and do not require too much skill to play. You can literally keybind your entire burst to one macro, click it when the time is right, and hit a 20k crit with [Final Reckoning] like it means nothing. Well… at least to you, cause your target will definitely feel it. 

Unfortunately for me, I have been on the receiving end of this burst multiple times on my Monk. I have gotten to the point where I pop every single one of my defensives as soon as I see a Ret with wings charging towards me. Trust me, these bastards may be infused by holy power, but they are also very unforgiving.

Considering all the passive buffs and different utility toolkits of the Ret, they are a fantastic choice for anyone to partner with in Arenas. In RBG’s their burst potential can wipe out a healer instantly, whilst their AoE damage does not go unrecognized either. In 3s Arenas, try to partner with a WW Monk or an Arms Warrior, and you will indubitably get to at least 1700 rating (even if you are a moderately poor PvP’er). Just remember, use your Blessings and support your healer should the need arise.

As previously mentioned, you will face certain difficulties when playing against mobile teams. Your inability to close gaps (if [Divine Steed] is on cooldown, will definitely hinder you, whilst the lack of CC may inhibit your team’s ability to chain CC targets during burst sequences. Other than that, you should be set.

How to build:

Covenant: Kyrian

Legendary: [Final Verdict]

Stat Priority: Versatility > Mastery > Haste > Crit


1. Arms Warrior

Spec Intro and Overview:

Arms Warriors are hands down the hardest wrecking DPS class currently in both PvP and PvE (read our other article). Throughout the expansion, these brutal soldiers have consistently topped DPS charts and considering the level of skill required to play this class, it comes as no surprise that Arms Warriors have become oversaturated in both Arenas and RBGs.

Playing an Arms Warrior is so simple that anyone’s grandma could play one! You just need to tap a few basic abilities [Mortal Strike], [Warbreaker/Colossus Smash], [Overpower], and of course, [Execute] and you will leave behind a path tainted in the blood and guts of your enemies. Your burst damage through [Avatar] and [Bladestorm], combine extremely well with the [Spear of Bastion] ability, tethering your enemies to you for 4 seconds and you get the idea. Total apocalypse.

Besides their unmatched single-target and multi-target damages in both passive and burst windows, Arms Warriors are also extremely durable and capable of closing short-distances through [Charge], and [Heroic Leap] ensuring that you are not only an unkillable colossus of doom, but also a harrying attacker with relentless speed.

Why Arms Warriors?

Okay we’ve made it to the top. It's a bit weird that Arms Warriors are ranked top in both PvP and PvE huh? Well… leave it to Blizzard to improperly balance classes. Put simply, Arms Warriors are everyone’s nightmare in Arenas and BGs.

Talents like [Sudden Death] and [Massacre] allow your infinitely powerful [Execute] to be cast on targets above 35% health, whilst sometimes also proccing on any target regardless of their health. You would be surprised how often this procs. Combining that with your burst windows during [Avatar], [Spear of Bastion] (which increases your crit damage by 25% on latched enemies should you have the legendary equipped), as well as the tornado that is [Bladestorm] and you are guaranteed to witness carnage. Put simply, Arms Warriors have the strongest, most consistent damage output in the game.

You may also disarm enemies to reduce their damage and rallying cry your allies to increase their movement speed and health. The addition of [Sharpen Blade], which when activated increases the damage of your Mortal Strike by 15% and reduces the healing received of your target by 50%, is absolutely ridiculous in Arena. With good coordination, probably through voice communication platforms like Discord, you can chain CC the enemy healer while chowing down on squishy DPS. Even if the healer can somehow maneuver through these lines, it will be extremely difficult for them to heal through the debuff and the insane damage of your likely [Execute] procs.

In case you are worried about dying, you shouldn’t be. Spells like [Ignore Pain] which reduces damage received by 50% for a few seconds, [Defensive Stance] which provides a permanent 20% damage reduction, and your primary defensive [Die by the Sword] which parries all incoming attacks and reduces all spell damage by 30%, will ensure that you are a walking terminator, ready to quench your thirst with the blood of your enemies.

Kiting and Lack of CC are the only weaknesses facing Arms Warrior. Barring [Storm Bolt] and [Intimidating Shout] you don’t really have that much CC, whilst facing something like a Frost Mage or a Frost DK can make you very susceptible to permaslows. Regardless of these worries, the current Arms Warrior setup is sufficient enough to propel them to number one on this list.

How to build:

Covenant: Kyrian (preferred) or Necrolord

Legendary: [Elysian Might]

Stat Priority: Versatility > Crit > Haste > Mastery


We hope this list will help you specialize in becoming the most powerful killing machine in WoW. Kicking ass is an art, so you better be prepared for your battles to come.

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A bearded warrior who has spent his years concocting a perfect symbiosis between creative writing and competitive gaming.
Gamer Since: 2001
Favorite Genre: FPS
Currently Playing: World of Warcraft
Top 3 Favorite Games:Team Fortress 2, Call of Duty, Dead Space 2

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