WoW Wrath of the Lich King Classic DPS rankings: PvE tier list

Death Knights make their mark on the Wrath Classic meta.

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

The full launch of World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Classic is just a few weeks out, but players are already getting a taste of the expansion’s changes through its recently released pre-patch. 

Although the game will not launch in full until Sept. 26, the pre-patch for the expansion is currently live, meaning balance changes associated with Wrath Classic are already in effect. Players won’t have to wait until they get to Northrend to see their classes updated since all of the talent revamps and general tuning changes are currently live. 

Wrath Classic’s meta should look a bit different from that of The Burning Crusade Classic. Classes like Hunter should have less of a stranglehold on the meta this expansion, while Rogues should be expected to slide up the ladder. Additionally, Wrath of the Lich King Classic introduces a new class to the game: Death Knight. With these changes and additions in mind, here is our tier list of PvE classes for WoW Wrath of the Lich King Classic

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

S tier

  • Unholy Death Knight
  • Assassination Rogue
  • Frost Death Knight
  • Affliction Warlock

The Death Knight class makes its debut with the launch of Wrath Classic, and almost instantly, the class ranks as one of the best in the game. Both of its DPS specs, Unholy and Frost, are among the best melee options in the game and will be particularly strong throughout the entirety of the expansion. The class’ usage of runes as a secondary resource allows them to rotate through their abilities faster than almost any other class in the game, allowing for countless opportunities to deal sustained bursts of damage one after another. Beyond Death Knights, Assassination Rogue and Affliciton Warlock stand out as the other strongest specs in the game at Wrath’s launch. 

A tier 

  • Demonology Warlock
  • Fire Mage
  • Combat Rogue
  • Enhancement Shaman
  • Arcane Mage
  • Marksmanship Hunter

You can’t fill your raid team entirely with Death Knights, so you’ll need stronger options across the board to diversify your efforts. Six of the 10 classes in the game have at least one relatively strong DPS class that sits in our A tier at the very least, so if you’re looking to go for the best available option for your class, there’s a good chance one of its specs is already among the best. Mage and Warlock should remain particularly strong options for ranged DPS players since each of those classes have two very strong specs to choose from. 

B tier

  • Feral Druid
  • Survival Hunter
  • Retribution Paladin
  • Shadow Priest
  • Destruction Warlock
  • Arms Warrior
  • Elemental Shaman
  • Balance Druid

Although they sit outside our top 10, these specs are still relatively competitive. In WoW, it’s possible for dedicated and skilled players to deal just as much damage as players of conventionally stronger specs through practice, comfort, and a little help from endgame gear. Plus, specs in this tier like Retribution Paladin and Shadow Priest are the only DPS options for their respective classes, which gives them a unique leg-up over other classes when it comes to comp-building. 

C tier

  • Fury Warrior
  • Beast Mastery Hunter
  • Frost Mage
  • Subtlety Rogue

These four specs are not necessarily “unplayable,” they’re just very hard to find success with considering just how far behind the curve they are in comparison to specs at the top of the ladder. To hold your own in a raiding environment with one of these classes, you’ll likely need a lot of gear and a few tier-set bonuses as well.