The best DPS classes in World of Warcraft: Shadowlands

Enter the Maw.

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

So you want to know what DPS class to play now that World of Warcraft: Shadowlands has officially launched. 

There are an abundance of options, as always. But with Blizzard Entertainment making significant changes to just about every class prior to the new expansion, it’s best to take everything you learned in Battle for Azeroth and throw it out. 

To figure out which classes are best in Shadowlands, we need to start with a fresh perspective on the class balance in the game. 

While Blizzard will assuredly rework the balance of classes over the course of the next two years through hotfixes and new patches, as it stands there are a few classes that stand out for people who want to play the most powerful damage dealers available. 

Whether you’re looking to top the meters in the upcoming Castle Nathria raid or just push Mythic dungeon keystones, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best options for players early on in Shadowlands.

Mage

Mage is one of the most iconic classes in WoW, and it continues to be one of the best to play in Shadowlands.

With massive amounts of flexibility across different specializations, you’ll be able to perform at a high level in raids like Castle Nathria playing Frost Mage, and then quickly re-spec to Fire Mage and smash some dungeons.

In raid, Frost’s solid single-target damage is supported by strong burst AOE if your raid has a nice clumped-up pile of adds around the boss. 

In dungeons, you’ll be able to AOE to your heart’s content and top meters as either Frost or Fire mage. It’s up to your personal preference.

Shadow Priest 

Shadow Priests had a bit of a tough time overall in Battle for Azeroth. While some raid fights allowed Priests to excel as damage dealers, most Shadow Priests were forced to spec into healing classes.

With Shadowlands, Shadow Priests have all of the damage-over-time (DOT) abilities that they always have, but they’ve been given a larger tool kit and more AOE ability to push their status as top-tier raid damage. 

While Affliction Warlocks have similar DOTs and strong raid DPS, they don’t have quite the same capabilities as Priests do in dungeons. 

If you’re a good enough player, it likely won’t matter too much what class you play in a dungeon. But if you’re looking to play the “best,” you might want to run your Shadow Priest instead of your Warlock for the time being.

Hunter

Hunter is a class that was consistently strong in Battle for Azeroth. But with the release of Shadowlands, Blizzard has made a slew balance of changes to the Marksmanship specialization in particular. 

Typically, in BFA, Beast Mastery was the specialization of choice for professional players like former Method raider and Mythic Dungeon International champion Gingi (who has moved to a new guild Echo). But Shadowlands reworks are giving Hunters a new way to play that class at its highest level.

Rogue

Similar to the way that Marksmanship Hunter is giving players a fresh specialization to optimize, some changes to Rogue will result in a lot of variety for the class. 

In Battle for Azeroth, it was almost assumed that if you were pushing mythic dungeons, you would play Outlaw. If you were raiding, you would play Assassination. There was very little room for anything different, and if you wanted to play Subtley Rogue, you were likely not going to be accepted by many guilds.

While Outlaw and Assassination will still be reasonable choices in Shadowlands, reworks to Subtley have made it stronger than the other two. Not only is the specialization stronger than Outlaws in dungeons, but it’s stronger than Assassination Rogues in raids.