Analysis of Shadowlands DPS After Week 1 of Castle Nathria
14.12.2020 um 10:03
Today we will take a look at the DPS balance in Castle Nathria at the end of the first week of Shadowlands Season 1. Historically, this week is the most turbulent week, as tuning and adjustments tend to close the gap between specs as weeks go by. For this analysis we will use data provided by
Warcraft Logs Heroic Castle Nathria statistics
Warcraft Logs' Castle Nathria Statistics Page
Disclaimers and Source
The data for this article was taken from the
Castle Nathria Statistics Page on Warcraft Logs
under the Shadowlands Season 1partition at the 95th percentile.
The idea of this article is to give a perspective of the state of class balance for Castle Nathria in Shadowlands Season 1 before any tuning changes happen in preparation for Mythic opening next reset. For that, we will look more in-depth to the top performers and the bottom performers, digging more into why are them in their current positions, and analyzing possible changes to come when entering Mythic Castle Nathria in comparsion to Heroic.
We say perspective, as there are inherent biases in looking at the data this way.
Specs that are considered underpowered are generally played less and tend to appear weaker than they actually.
This happens as many performance-oriented players will tend to play the strongest spec or class, increasing even further the gap between top and bottom specs.
The balance between specs is very delicate and will likely change throughout Season 1, as player acquire more gear, different classes and specs tend to perform better with more secondaries.
For more information on specs in the Shadowlands Season 1, check out our Class Guides!
Blood DKFrost DKUnholy DK
Havoc DHVengeance DH
Guardian DruidFeral DruidBalance DruidRestoration Druid
Devastation EvokerPreservation Evoker
BM HunterMM HunterSurvival Hunter
Arcane MageFire MageFrost Mage
Brewmaster MonkMistweaver MonkWindwalker Monk
Holy PaladinProtection PaladinRetribution Paladin
Discipline PriestHoly PriestShadow Priest
Assassination RogueOutlaw RogueSubtlety Rogue
Elemental ShamanEnhancement ShamanRestoration Shaman
Affliction WarlockDemonology WarlockDestruction Warlock
Arms WarriorFury WarriorProtection Warrior
DPS Rankings in the Shadowlands Season 1
Spec and Class
Unholy Death Knight
Beast Mastery Hunter
Frost Death Knight
Havoc Demon Hunter
Analysis of the Outlier DPS in Castle Nathria
To better understand the situation with the outlier specs for Castle Nathria, we reached out to our writers to better contextualize the situation for their specializations. Why are these specs in their current position and should we expect changes as we dive into Mythic Castle Nathria?
Out of these outliers, so far the only specs subject to tuning changes are Unholy, which is receiving a nerf on their Mastery scaling, Destruction Warlock, which is receiving a Chaos Bolt buff, and Assassination, Fury Warriors, and Havoc, which are all receiving flat damage increases. You can read more about the announced changes
in Blizzard's official announcement
Upcoming December 15th Tuning Changes
Top Performing DPS in Castle Nathria
Unholy Death Knight
Unholy has come out very strong in Castle Nathria. This is mainly due to the large buff we received as our mastery was changed to also affect pet damage. This buffed us significantly, mostly in single target, which we can now see in the raid. We are simply tuned very high for pure single target output. Unholy also does well with sporadic adds. Applying our DoT and spamming our quadratically scaling
ability gives us great on-demand AoE burst.
As we move into Mythic, I think Unholy will stand strong as a good melee to bring. We have
, something that becomes even more useful in highly coordinated mythic groups. Furthermore, we suffer little from downtime since a large part of our damage comes from passive sources. Finally, I'd say that we are generally tanky with multiple options to both cheese mechanics, but also to stay alive.
Currently, Balance Druid is above average on Single Target, but ultimately that is not why they are one of the top performing specs in Castle Nathria. Moonkin's spread AOE is unmatched, which really pushes them to the top on fights such as Sun King's Salvation, Council of Blood, and Stone Legion Generals. On top of that Balance's burst damage on 1 to 2 minute increments depending on what covenant you have selected is quite strong and you can see that reflected on a fight like Sludgefist which has a damage vulnerability phase every minute.
Balance players can expect more of the same in week 2. Whenever players are undergeared and adds on fights live for a significant amount of time this is Balance Druid's time to shine. Once adds start to get insta killed on fights like Sun King's Salvation then Balance is going to start to taper off a bit, but it will absolutely be one of the strongest progression specializations.
The primary reason Marksmanship is in such a good spot right now is due to its high burst damage. It has very good single target damage and it’s one of the best if not the best burst AoE class in the game currently. Outside of our primarily burst windows (
) we have shorter burst abilities such as
that allow us to have damage for most crucial parts of the fights. In the past, Marksmanships weakness has been spread cleave, or two targets in general. With talents such
along with our Legendary
Täuschung des Schlangenpirschers
, that weakness no longer exists. As of now, Markmanship really only falls behind in sustained AoE or large scale AoE (6+ targets) but neither of these situations really exist in Castle Nathria.
As I mentioned above, most of the fights in Nathria are well suited for Marksmanships strengths and diverse toolkit. Assuming nothing changes (currently no tuning announced for us yet) heading into Mythic, you can expect to see most guilds using multiple Marksmanship Hunters. Marksmanship has above average single target damage for fights such as Shriekwing or Hungering Destroyer. We have amazing AoE to take care of fights such as Sun King and Generals. We have some solid cleave for fights such as Huntsman and Lady Inrva. And finally we bring the burst damage for Sludgefist and Sire Denathrius. Not to mention almost every fight has timings that line up with our Cooldowns fairly well. Aside from being tuned fairly well, Marksmanship’s toolkit just has a solution to almost every fight inside of Castle Nathria, and the spec is looking really good as we approach Mythic.
Feral's punching above it's perceived weight in the first week, coming out strongly especially on fights with heavy single target. The last minute change to
Konvokation der Geister
which inflated the value of the covenant heavily, combined with this the Berserk changes in Shadowlands gave feral incredibly high burst, competing with some of the best burst in the game which is a nice bonus on several of the fights where damage amplification effects come into play.
In addition Feral's getting a small bump in damage due to "owlweaving" ("boomboxing" if you're an intellectual) whereby you rotationally cast
Herz der Wildnis
making the Affinity and Utility rows into additional DPS rows. Which i pray gets nerfed (into oblivion)
Feral is typically at the mercy of tuning for raid spots and in this instance they're in an incredibly good place.
Going into mythic week of Castle Nathria I think it's likely feral continues to show up in a good place. While fights will change slightly with the mythic additions most of them do not change in a way that harms Feral so Feral is likely to continue to be a top tier option when it comes to melee damage
Shadow excels in multiple different environments. Unlike in previous raids, Shadow has great single target, and a talent pool that can be tailored to tackle almost anything your group needs. Shadow can easily deal damage to fresh priority targets with minimal ramp time, something it's struggled with since Vanilla. Shadow also has a good baseline of damage that isn't gear dependent, but it will only get stronger as better gear is obtained, as it also has good scaling. Shadow is also very reliable in it's DPS and is consistent from pull to pull.
Nothing will really change come Mythic week, Shadow will still perform strong. Something that Shadow does lack is raid utility. While
is good in smaller groups, in larger groups it feels a little lackluster and isn't a reliable source of off healing. Since a raid will likely have a Discipline Priest, general priest utility, such as
and Purge will be covered. That said, from a pure damage standpoint, Shadow will continue to be strong, especially on fights where the boss and it's adds share a health pool.
Bottom Performing DPS in Castle Nathria
Assassination Rogues are in the position of Subtlety Rogues at the end of Battle for Azeroth: the bottom of many charts with only very few players left playing it. The reason is pretty much the same too: the spec is undertuned. There was no cross-spec tuning done during the entirety of Shadowlands Alpha and Beta and where the other specs got some interesting changes to nudge them up, Assassination was left mostly the same.
It's not a design issue, simply one of balance. With Subtlety as a stronger single target and priority damage spec as well as Outlaw as another amazing performer in the current raid when any AoE comes in, many players opt for those. With three DPS specializations, there is little reason to pick Assassination from a purely numerical perspective.
Going into the Mythic week, Assassination receives a 5% buff that will not accomplish much. We can already see only few parses for the spec in Normal and Heroic content and I expect it to be even less for Mythic. My personal Kudos to the remaining diehards that will probably have a harder time keeping up with the raid but still play the spec because they enjoy it.
There's no secret to Fury's lack of competitive performance; it isn't affected by any major bugs, it doesn't have any broken interactions or missing scaling, and it doesn't lack access to anything other classes have - it's just tuned poorly and underperforms as a result.
At best, you could assign some blame on its legendary power options, as they are weaker than what many other classes get. The top legendary,
, only contributes a ~5% increase, while many other specializations see a range of 7-10%, but that too is a byproduct of poor tuning - increase the baseline spec performance and the legendary gains value as a result. Even if this were not the case though, and its legendaries were doubled in value, Fury would still be a fairly underwhelming spec in terms of single target performance.
In multitarget, the spec does keep up fairly well - it still isn't the strongest option, and lacks the burst potential of many other classes, but regular cooldowns and easy passive cleave keep it functioning fairly well. The issue lies primarily with the single target capabilities, and could be addressed in a variety of ways, although the best and easiest would likely be to simply increase the spec aura by another 5-10%.
There are very few fights in the Castle Nathria raid that suit destruction well. There is a lot of very single-target oriented encounters, and this is bad news for Destruction. Destructions niche is and has always been high cleave damage and there’s not a lot of situations in Castle Nathria where we get to experience that.
With Mythic opening now, you shouldn’t expect to see very many warlocks in the higher ranked guilds playing Destruction. In general, Destruction gets punished heavily on very high movement encounters, and this is especially relevant on Mythic difficulty.
Havoc Demon Hunter
Havoc is quite weak on Single Target department at the moment, tuning hit
severely and leave our single target damage lacking. Obviously having single target damage as a major weakness will make it very hard to shine in a raid instance mostly aimed at single target. Castle Nathria does have some cleave but most of the boss encounters revolve heavily on single target damage.
If you follow the world first race and tune in to the streams of top guild I would expect to see Vengeance Demon Hunter in the raid and havoc players playing alts or sitting on the side lines unfortunately. The 5% buff we will receive on the reset does help but it won't be enough to compensate for our weak single target damage. This is really world first optimization where every DPS counts, Unless you are in a very high end guild your raid spot as long as you are playing well shouldn't be too affected so don't worry too much.
Aside from basic tuning/sheer numbers, the design of Castle Nathria simply doesn't favour Frost. A huge number of fights (six out of 10) are largely single/priority target, and two have burst AoE (Lady Inerva, Sire Denathrius). Only two (Hunstman and Stone Legion Generals) really play into Frost's stacked cleave strength, and then only in particular phases. Even Denathrius, which should be amazing for Frost due to the cleave in phase two, requires ranged players to frequently switch to lone adds.
Covenant choice plays into this as well. The majority of Mages have gone Night Fae to support multi-speccing. This works amazingly for Fire and Arcane in all situations, but is way behind the Venthyr for Frost in single target and cleave - again, the majority of the raid.
This is largely unlikely to change for Mythic, which mostly changes/adds mechanics rather than turning a single-target fight into cleave. I would expect more Mages to go Fire come Mythic, which not only has better overall damage than Frost, but higher burst, a cheat death (
) and outstanding execute phase damage and mobility (
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