The Raid is upon us and it's been coming at us hot for some time now. At the time of this recording, we only have Echo and Limit winning, while Method is still ranked three. This is what we're going to be looking at in terms of melee raid and it's a little bit weird this time around.
There's a lot of disclaimer stuff to be talked about. We're going to describe what all the tiers mean and there's definitely a very different version of what you can see on Warcraft Vlogs versus what the guys from Wristfirst use, versus what heroic locks are looking at. We're trying to make something out of all of this data and have a proper image, but let's talk about the tiers. We'll go into the tiers as we approach them.
The main thing to know is that this data is not all available in the same amount, so it's hard to judge, especially with the clock. There are very few mythical clocks for some specs and it's very hard to determine what and when. However, we do have a lot of heroic logs for most specs, so we'll see when we get to each and every pick.
Let's start with Arms Warrior, which is consistent in terms of data, no matter where you look. S-tier does not mean it's not playable or that it does little damage. It's more of a niche spec, like your average Joe. Anyone can play C-tier and they'll be able to clear the bosses. N-tier has killed Razigath and heroic and has probably already started clearing some Mythic bosses, depending on the tier set and guild strategy. It's obviously going to be a little bit below the top performers at least right now, as people are getting their tier sets going.
Next up is Assassination Rogue, and, as expected, our prediction was correct. We've seen it happen in all the Racing World Wars on the logs, no matter where you look. Assassination is a beast - highly competitive in single target. It has almost no match and is able to do its damage due to its bleeds, poisons, and other mechanics. Jumping to a different platform is not as punishing as it is for Outlaw or Subtlety Rogue, and Assassination dominates in pure damage, earning first place. Despite Ester's impressive numbers, this is likely to change in a few weeks, as the specs for Mythic tend to dominate in pure damage.
Enhancement Shaman is a respectable second place and is likely to stay there for a while. It's a solid spec with good single target and decent AoE. It's not as good as Assassination in single target, but it's still a solid choice.
Restoration Druid is in third place and is likely to stay there for a while as well. It's a good spec with good single target and decent AoE. It's not as good as Enhancement in single target, but it's still a solid choice.
Brochures have used some of the Fields to clear the entire raid. Some of them use it for a couple of bosses. Announcement is considered the benchmark for a really good spec and it's going all the way up to Eights. It does a lot of damage and is the shaman DPS spec of choice. It's also a melee spec, which means that in the first season of a new expansion, melees tend to wreak havoc. Enhancement Shaman is very competitive and is up there in terms of performance.
Next up is Feral Druid, the kitty cat. This may be a little controversial in terms of placement because you'll see Feral Druids being very high on the damage list in a lot of guilds. However, when we look at Mythic logs, there aren't many, and when we look at heroic logs, there are a lot.
The top guilds haven't used Ferals, they've all been using Boomkins, which may skew the performance of Ferals. Right now, Feral is C tier along with Arms. It's not clear which is better, but numbers-wise, Arms is slightly ahead of Feral. We can't really tell and in the Mythic logs, not all the Ferals have done the same amount of bosses as everyone else, so it's hard to tell how far ahead Feral can push. It's likely that top guilds striving for the Hall of Fame will give their tier pieces to Boomies, so Ferals may suffer a bit, but that doesn't mean they're bad; it just means they're not being prioritized.
It's also worth noting that, at the time of this recording, this is the data we have. By the time you see this video, it's probably going to be a day or two ahead, so it may change. The meta does actually change and we've seen a lot of Buffs and Nerfs during this raid, so it's likely that this won't be final. It's also worth noting that in a lot of these logs, most of the players don't have their four pieces yet, so this will also improve some of these specs moving forward.
Frost Death Knight
Let's talk about Frost Death Knight, which is in the safe zone as a very good spec. Your average Joe can play it and be on top of the charts. It's surprising that its numbers are doing slightly better than Unholy, which we consider a B tier spec. We'll talk about what B tier means.
Frost DK has won long breaths of Sindragosa and that usually happens at a higher gear level. Right now, Frost has been used to race the world first and this is where the B tier starts to break apart.
B tier specs are essentially specs that are really good and that anyone can use, but they're the only specs that have been used by race world first guilds. The reason they're not higher is because they haven't won the race world first, but they're still very good specs. Frost DK is a safe choice and is likely to stay in the top three.
In terms of numbers and analytics, it looks like they're around the middle of the pack in terms of overall performance. That's true, and it's the same story for a lot of the specs in the B tier.
If you're playing one of these specs and see that it's ranked in the B tier, it doesn't mean you won't do well if you play your spec correctly. You can still be on top of the charts if you know how to play your spec well, as opposed to someone who picks up a spec like assassination but doesn't know how to play it and therefore doesn't do well in the raid. So just play whatever you like. I think all of the specs, except for one, can do well in the raid.
Let's talk about Fury Warrior. It's a similar story to Frost. We've seen Revis, who is a very big arms Warrior fan, play Fury in the raid. This should tell you how good he is. In terms of performance, Fury is slightly better than arms in the raid, and it's doing better in Mythic progression as well. Even though it's in the B tier, it's still performing well.
Havoc Demon Hunter
Now, let's talk about Demon Hunter Havoc. It's another B tier spec, and we can talk about its damage profile and how much it can do on different bosses. Havoc is a Swiss army knife right now, as it can do well in almost any scenario in the raid. In terms of competing in raw damage numbers, there's really no competition between the S tiers and the B tiers.
This doesn't mean that if you're playing Havoc, you'll be overshadowed by all of the other specs. You'll do just fine. Plus, playing Havoc brings nice utility to the raid, and you won't see many protection Warriors in progression, so Havoc will likely be the Demon Hunter of choice.
Outlaw Rogue is a strong spec and no surprise as its damage profile and tools are impressive. It's useful for both single target and AOE, making it one of the best DPS specs in the game. Its consistency is also great and it can be seen in almost all content. There are lots of logs to refer to as well as Vlogs on Outlaw's performance in heroic and Mythic content. It has even been seen in world firsts!
Above almost everything else, Assassination is the biggest competitor to Aldor and is in the S tier. Balance is in the B tier and doing well, though there may be a big competitor to Aldor that is neither Assassination nor Balance.
Ret Paladin has a lot of criticism, mostly due to its design, but it is still producing significant numbers and outperforming Frost and Decay. The damage profile of Ret Paladin is still quite competitive. I remember when Max was making a tier list early on, Bolas mentioned that even if a spec has a bad design, it can still do good damage. However, it wouldn't be taken to a world first race unless the damage was incredibly high, which it wasn't. I haven't seen a Ret Paladin in any world first race, but they were taken for their utility and good damage in the BT raid.
Fury depends on the situation, as it has an extra Inspiring Shout which gives it some utility. I'm not sure what they would use a Ret Paladin for in a world first race. However, you do see good logs on Heroic and Mythic for Ret Paladins, and they are performing well in the game. The B tier just means that they are very good, but there is a large difference in the final damage profile between an Outlaw Rogue and a Ret Paladin. If you play a Ret Paladin in the raid, you'll be doing just fine.
Now, let's talk about another Rogue spec. Sometimes Rogue specs just need to stick together. I didn't expect subtlety to be as strong as it is, as it got a lot of flack at the beginning of the expansion. We didn't have any raid data for it outside of beta testing, and the testing wasn't reassuring for subtlety Rogues. However, they have gone through some changes, and the numbers for subtlety are now hitting the mark. It is now the main competition for outlaw Rogue. All Rogue specs are doing great, but assassination and subtlety are specifically performing well in fights like turtles. We will make a special footnote for subtlety at the end of the video, as there is something else we want to add to this tier list.
First, let's talk about Survival Hunter. It seems like we're back to pre-Tier Set in Sepulcher, where Survival Hunter is all the way at the bottom. In our Tier List, there are usually five tiers, but if there were an F Tier, there would be no specs in it, as the D Tier is similar to M+. Survival would be in the F Tier. However, Survival is actually doing very well in both M+ and the Raid. It's just that the other specs are doing even better. Survival has a lot of viability in both single-target and AOE and it has a lot of utility. It is also very good in fights with adds, as it can kite them very well. It's in the D Tier, but that doesn't mean it's not good. It just means that the other specs are even better.
It's really hard to know how good Survival is as a spec, because the numbers don't necessarily indicate it. Survival is also the least played spec in the Raid, which is difficult to take seriously like Mythic locks. At the time of recording this, there were only about 15 parses for Survival on the first boss, Aeronaut, which is an easy boss and doesn't say much. However, further down the raid, fewer Survivals have actually killed other bosses. Right now, since we're still in the Hall of Fame season of the Raid, people are very particular about what specs they bring. In the Heroic logs, there are only a couple hundred Survival parses, which is still a bit low. It's hard to ignore this, even though we want to point out that you can probably play anything and do just fine.
Survival is probably the only spec we would have a question mark about. I'm sure there are people playing Survival in Normal and Heroic who are doing fine, but the thing is that when we take data from Heroic and Mythic, there aren't any Survival Hunters in the World First or anything like that. Marksman is also dominating, which may be one of the reasons you don't see as many logs for Survival. The Feral discussion is also relevant, because Boom is outshining Survival. Feral is doing really well and its parses are way above Survival on the Tier List.
Unholy Death Knight
Now let's talk about Unholy. It's a very respectable seat here, but I was kind of expecting more. Congregate here for all of the data. Same here. I know that Unholy is kind of in a weird spot on the tier list because different people are using it differently. The Mythic boys and girls are pumping hard with Unholy, while the heroic people are seeing a bit less, and the overall data is a bit more rounded out with a flatter bell curve and more people in the middle range.
Holy is currently where it is. It's likely that Frost got more coverage in the race because first people are just playing Frost.
There isn't a big difference between C and B tier, definitely not like the difference between C and D tier. In terms of pure performance, there is a huge difference between A and B. However, when it comes to B tier in terms of rating, I think we can say that if you play any of these specs within your guild or whatever, you'll do just fine. There shouldn't be any problems with these specs in heroic or Mythic, as long as you've mastered them. Of course, you'll want to have some variety in your group, but having a spec in B tier doesn't mean it's bad and can't compete or contribute impactfully to your progression. That's what we're saying. We'll get to Windwalker and see how these specs are rearranged at the end.
Speaking of Windwalker, this has been a nice surprise. Seeing it all the way into eighth place next to enhancement in terms of overall performance is impressive. Windwalker is obviously doing really well and is one of the top eight here. Even if we look at overall progression logs in a couple of seconds, Windwalker is still doing a lot better, at least it feels like it's doing better than in previous years where people haven't really been using it.
We know that survival had the single target issue, but it looks like it's improved now. At least it has a decent AOE now, which is kind of actually neat. I would say that when a spec pulls ahead in terms of AOE and cleave, it will show up in the data. This is the thing when you congregate data and look at all the logs for all these specs and different tiers of raiding, like heroic, normal, Mythic Plus, and you also look at how things have evolved with world first. It boils down to a picture where we can place a spec like Windwalker around eighth place. When you pull out the data for Windwalker and compare it to, let's say, holy DK, or maybe not the best example, let's compare it to survival. The difference is huge.
This is kind of how the tier list looks right now at the time of recording, and it will probably change a bit in a day or two with buffs and nerfs coming in. Normally, when we look at the tier list, we focus on Mythic performance, because that's when the specs are taken to their maximum potential. This time it was a little difficult because it was very early in the progression and not everyone has proper locks, so making an assumption based on 15 logs isn't reliable. When we look at Mythic progression to the extent that guilds post their logs publicly, because not everyone does that, we're looking at the logs that are public at the time of recording. This is how it looks right now, and you can see that Unholy is still doing well, even though it's in B tier.
Windwalker and assassination are actually swapping places, which is a bit weird because we know that Windwalker is doing really well, but at the same time, assassination is all the way down in B tier. We know that assassination has been used in Mythic by world first guilds like Riswold, but this is just to point out that every tier list can depict data differently and just because a spec is placed in a certain way doesn't mean that's the be-all and end-all. This is just to showcase how different they can be from one difficulty to another, not only that, but from our perspective as players, casual players compared to world first race guilds. They can use specs like Fury, which for whatever reason, in our Mythic analysis, is all the way down with feral, but it's actually being used to clear super high bosses. It's always a different version of the composition and usefulness of specs when we talk about world first race. You can't make your decision or impression based solely on how world first race guilds use them. That's not how it works.
We're still early on in the season. What we love about making these tier lists and pulling all the data is actually observing how these meta monsters evolve to the point where we'll have everybody with full four-piece sets and the best crafted items. That will be interesting to see how all these specs are arranged, not to mention the consistent and constant diversity, tuning, and buffs to all these specs. But this is the first raid.
I hope you guys enjoyed it. Please leave a comment and let us know what you think. What has been your experience playing within the raid? What spec are you playing and how do you feel in terms of damage and how you're ranking up with your guildmates? Thank you to our patrons for supporting the content. We love you guys. Happy holidays! We'll catch you with the ranged tier list on Friday.