The arena made its debut in Burning Crusade Classic on June 1, 2021—introducing a new way for World of Warcraft players to test their PvP skills and climb the ranks in teams of two, three, and even five.
It includes a comprehensive MMR system, matching players up against players of similar skill. The arena is a refreshing change from the often one-sided battlegrounds in Classic, rewarding teamwork and coordination over chance and luck.
But which classes and specializations perform the best or worst in arena? We ranked every class in TBC Classic, from the best to the worst.
Restoration Druid, Subtlety Rogue, SL/SL Warlock
Restoration Druid is the best all-around healer in arena. It offers a little bit of everything including strong and effective healing over time, multiple forms of crowd control, survivability, and damage. It’s difficult to stick on a well-versed Druid and almost impossible to drain its mana. The spec has the ability to outheal, outrun, and outgun its opponents.
Subtlety Rogue has one of the most versatile toolkits in arena with an endless stream of crowd control and damage but also survivability. The spec is flexible in a number of top-tier comps, combined with classes like Mage, Warlock, Druid, Priest, Warrior, and Hunter. It’s one of the most sought-after specs in arena for its overwhelming strength.
SL/SL Warlock, a hybrid between Affliction and Demonology, is another high-caliber, high-skill spec. It has the damage output needed to perform at the highest level in form of damage over time abilities, but it also has a purge, a silence, a dispel, Healthstones, and more. Like Druid and Rogue, the class has everything it needs to thrive in arena.
Frost Mage, Arms Warrior, Discipline Priest
Frost Mage excels at surviving and maintaining mana in arena. The spec’s mobility with Blink, its crowd control with sheeps, snares, and novas, and its burst damage potential with shatter, is unparalleled. But it’s not the most flexible spec in terms of compositions and isn’t as dynamic as some of the others on this list.
Arms Warrior is another spec with multiple tools at its disposal. Mortal Strike is one of the strongest abilities in arena—it hits hard, but it also applies a 50 percent healing debuff. This will always be sought-after, despite some of the spec’s glaring flaws. Warriors have trouble sticking on a target, which can be frustrating at times.
Discipline Priest is one of the best healers in arena. It has strong defensive cooldowns and heals, but it also has offensive capabilities. It’s an aggressive healer that can easily inflict the killing blow. Alongside a Rogue or a Mage, Priest has tons of outplay potential.
BM/Marksmanship Hunter, Restoration Shaman
Beast Mastery and Marksmanship Hunter historically underperformed in arena in TBC, but that could be about to change.
Blizzard has done away with the dead zone in Classic. The class was previously restricted and unable to perform the majority of its abilities in a distance over five yards—and less than eight yards—from a target. With this mechanic gone for good, the class will be able to inflict damage at a much higher rate. Hunter is already one of the strongest classes in PvE and could easily make a name for itself in PvP. It may still have a hard time fitting in some compositions though, due to its overlap with diminishing returns.
Restoration Shaman is a slower and more arduous healing class than the two top dogs on this list. It has an endless amount of utility in the form of totems and burst damage in the form of Bloodlust, but its heals aren’t up to par. It lacks healing over time and instant-cast heals, and damage output could also be better.
Shadow Priest has a similar skill set to Warlock. The damage isn’t quite there though, nor is the utility. It has healing abilities, unlike most DPS specs, and strong crowd control, but it tends to run out of mana.
Retribution Paladin, Holy Paladin, Enhancement Shaman, Elemental Shaman, Balance Druid, Feral Druid
Retribution and Holy Paladin, Enhancement and Elemental Shaman, and Balance and Feral Druid don’t cut it in arena. They each lack some of the fundamentals you need to thrive in a PvP scenario. Retro, Enhancement, Elemental, and Balance all have strong damage potential, but reaching a target or getting off a cast isn’t always easy.
Maintaining mana is another issue, especially when it comes to Holy Paladin. The specs have their niche and most certainly have some sort of impact in arena but they’re just not quite as good as the other specs higher up on this list.
The specs that aren’t on this list are barely worth mentioning. They’re more catered to raiding and fall much too short to make a real impact in arena. If there was an F tier, that’s probably where they’d be.