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WoW Shadowlands DPS Rankings for Raiding (January 2021)

How is your favorite DPS class faring now that Castle Nathria is out?

by Brandon Adams

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It’s been well over a month since we posted our first WoW DPS Rankings article, and the in the weeks that followed the Castle Nathria raid was routinely beaten into submission. We no longer have to rely on pure simulation at this point now that we have genuine real world results, and suffice to say there were quite a few surprises when the dust settled. Using a combination of Warcraft Logs, Noxxic simulations, and data collected from evaluating the top guilds and DPS players listed in Raider.io, I’ve put together an updated DPS Rankings for WoW Shadowlands here at the end of January. Let’s do some quick and dirty housekeeping before jumping in, shall we?

A few brief notes for the discerning WoW player.

Alrighty, let’s get the PSA’s out of the way. Before we start, allow me to remind everyone that these DPS Rankings indicate which are currently crushing the charts in WoW Shadowlands, which are coasting along comfortably, and which need some love from Blizzard. In no way do these DPS Rankings indicate which classes you should completely sideline: the “bring the player, not the class” mantra continues to hold true. Every class in WoW can clear Castle Nathria on Mythic difficulty, and unless you are pushing to be in the top 1% of raiding guilds you don’t need to mercilessly min-max your guild. A person who enjoys their class and excels at it will always be a better pick than the person who simply swapped to one of the current flavors of the month.

Second, Blizzard has made some minor class adjustments in WoW Shadowlands since our first DPS Rankings article. These have largely brought weaker performing classes up a bit, so the general DPS floor is higher. More comprehensive and sweeping class adjustments won’t happen until Patch 9.1, which should arrive sometime in the Spring (according to an article by PC Gamer featuring a brief interview with game director Ion Hazzikostas). In other words, baring any further minor tweaking via hotfixes, the DPS rankings in WoW today are unlikely to shift too dramatically over the coming months. Covenant abilities and Soulbinds also play a large role in how classes are performing overall, and these will also receive adjustments in Patch 9.1.

Finally, these WoW DPS rankings are based around the top-tier Mythic difficulty for Castle Nathria in Shadowlands, so it’s important to remember these DPS Rankings don’t always translate 1:1 in lower difficulties. Some classes just scale better and faster with improved gear than others, and it’s important to remember that under-represented classes and specs tend to trend lower in overall metrics due to the simple virtue of not being popular. That’s not to say a Survival Hunter is a hidden gem – the class and spec is the weakest of the Hunter’s three – but it may not be as bad as some let on. Besides, as you work down from Mythic to Heroic and lesser difficulties in Castle Nathria these gaps between classes in the WoW DPS Rankings begin to narrow, at least between the middle-tier and lower-tier DPS specs.

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WoW DPS rankings for raiding as of January 2021.

To keep things simple, I’ve broken down the DPS rankings for WoW into three categories: Over-Performing, On Par, and Needs Love. Over-Performing is for classes that are absolutely demolishing the charts right now, and are more likely to receive nerfs than other classes in Patch 9.1. On Par is where the majority of classes will fall – these classes are in a mostly healthy spot at the moment, and will likely receive only minor adjustments moving forward. Needs Love is exactly what it says on the tin: these classes can still clear content, but they need some substantial buffs and adjustments from Blizzard to reach their full potential.

The classes within these categories are listed from strongest to weakest (since that’s kind of the whole point of DPS Rankings). These categories are here to quickly convey where classes currently sit within Shadowlands. Again, these rankings are based around Mythic Castle Nathria to better demonstrate how classes are performing at their theoretical peak. I used data derived from actual results and standings, then cross-checked it with simulated results alongside the rosters of the top 10 Mythic raiding guilds in WoW to better illustrate where the various classes and specs sit with the WoW DPS Rankings for January.

Of interesting note when comparing these DPS Rankings against the WoW DPS Rankings from last month: Feral Druids were initially in the Needs Love category, but they’ve since proven us all fools and have ascended into the Over-Performing bracket. On the other end of the spectrum, Frost Mages were predicted to be overkill, yet they’ve ended up safely slotted within the On Par category. Okay, on to the DPS Rankings for WoW Shadowlands, namely the Castle Nathria raid. (UPDATE: upon some further consideration, I shifted the order of the classes in the Over-Performing category, and moved the Warriors around in On Par).

Over-Performing

  • Balance Druid
  • Fire Mage
  • Marksmanship Hunter
  • Windwalker Monk
  • Feral Druid
  • Affliction Warlock

On Par

  • Unholy Death Knight
  • Shadow Priest
  • Outlaw Rogue
  • Arcane Mage
  • Retribution Paladin
  • Elemental Shaman
  • Fury Warrior
  • Frost Mage
  • Frost Death Knight
  • Arms Warrior
  • Demonology Warlock
  • Subtlety Rogue
  • Havoc Demon Hunter
  • Enhancement Shaman

Needs Love

  • Assassination Rogue
  • Destruction Warlock
  • Beast Mastery Hunter
  • Survival Hunter

- This article was updated on:January 26th, 2021

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