Burning Crusade Classic DPS Rankings: PvE Tier List for Phase 1 of TBCC
Welcome to Wowhead's Burning Crusade Classic DPS Tier List for Phase 1. Our TBCC Class Writers have come together and compiled a tier list for DPS Classes in Karazhan, Magtheridon's Lair, and Gruul's Lair, all Phase 1 Raid content in Burning Crusade Classic. If you are the type of person who likes to choose your class based on its power in the current raid, this goes over the best DPS specs in the current raid tier and an explanation on why from our Class Writers.
If you are a new or returning player unsure what class to choose with your level 58 boost, this list may help you decide what class to play in Burning Crusade Classic as well.
DPS Tier List for Phase 1 of Burning Crusade Classic
Disclaimers About This Tier List
This Guide was made to give you an overview of how each DPS Class and Specialization can perform in Phase 1 of Burning Crusade Classic. This Tier List was made for players who prefer to choose their class based on its usefulness as a DPS role, based on mechanics and boss encounters in Karazhan, Magtheridon's Lair, and Gruul's Lair.
This Guide will rank DPS Class and specializations by a tier list format, ranking them on a scale from best (S Tier) to unviable (F Tier) based on the criteria of throughput, utility and defensive value in Phase 1 raid content in Burning Crusade Classic.
These rankings were made by our Class Guide Writers, who are experts at their particular spec, but the rankings are ultimately still their opinion. You may disagree with some of their conclusions, as each person values things slightly differently.
DPS Tier List for Phase 1 of Burning Crusade Classic
For this Tier List, here is how we're ranking each DPS spec in Phase 1 of Burning Crusade Classic:
: Valuable on every encounter, bringing strong throughput, exceptional survivability and universal utility.
: Excels in most situations, but have some weaknesses on one or two encounters with your throughput, survivability or utility.
: Solid choices, which may have a niche on some encounters but lack the throughput, survivability, and/or utility of stronger classes.
: Viable, but without strong throughput, survivability or utility.
: Suffers from several weaknesses and are only prioritized when there aren't better options available.
: Generally considered unviable.
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DPS Rankings and Explanations for Phase 1 of Burning Crusade Classic
S Tier Specs
Overall Rating: S
Overall Warlocks in Burning Crusade Classic bring some of the top damage in the game for single target as well as multi target or AoE, as well as great utility. Warlocks bring curses,
, wipe prevention in the form of
, crowd control in the form of
In the Burning Crusade, Warlocks get
which has a high AoE cap, can crit (which forgoes the cap) has a 15 yard explosion range, and can be cast from a safe distance, making it one of, if not the best, AoE spell in the game.
Warlocks have a plethora of viable raiding specializations each shining in a unique way.
Shadow Destruction is the ol’ reliable specialization closest to what we currently know from WoW Classic, providing solid single target DPS as well as amazing AoE.
Got a mage friend? Or a mage that decides to go fire?
is your new best friend. You can go Fire Destruction, and thanks to the
debuff you will outshine
casting fellow warlocks. On top of that you don’t even need a
to get your
Another option would be to go the path of a demonologist--
goes SMASH! Ever wanted to deal solid damage during movement or cc encounters? Whilst you are running around or incapacitated your new best friend will be running after the boss whooping butt.
takes 50% less damage from Boss Area of Effect damage spells and positions himself behind targets which results in increased survivability and greater DPS due to bosses not being able to parry or block with their butts. On top of this, pets now scale with our stats. Demo will shine on plenty of fights like Magtheridon and Gruul in phase 1 where you personally cannot deal any damage, but your pet can just happily keep smashing. You however need to keep your pet alive and If it does die you will see a severe cut in your damage output until you have him back up.
Finally, Affliction is the utility bot. MOAR DOTS! All the dots--in Burning Crusade the debuff cap moves up from 16 to 40, so Affliction Warlocks are allowed to use more of their damage-dealing debuffs. Affliction has the benefit of being able to “preload” their damage with dots, allowing for minimal DPS loss when incapacitated or moving.
are another reason an Affliction Warlock will be brought. These increase raid-wide DPS as well as give the tank more breathing room to gear offensively. Also,
can be brought for the tank.
Affliction also has a lot of fun on multi-targets as well, as you can load up all targets with your dots. Keeping track of which to refresh can be a fun challenge.
Warlock DPS TBCC Guide
Overall Rating: S
Hunters in TBCC have two specializations, both of which are top tier in their own ways. The first is Beast Mastery, a chart-topping single target DPS choice due to new abilities such as
. The second specialization, Survival, brings arguably some of the best raid utility in the form of
. Our only minor weakness would be consistent AoE damage since we still only have
, which fall short to classes such as Warlocks and Mages.
Damage output of Beast Mastery hunters will be at the top of the damage meters throughout all of Phase 1 thanks to a few new abilities and talents.
fills the downtime gap hunters previously suffered through in Classic. New talents such as
give us great boosts. Our pets now scale with a percentage of some of our stats, making utilizing our pets and keeping them alive a high priority since they now account for roughly 30% of our overall damage output. The next major contributor to the Beast Mastery damage is the
. This set's 4 piece bonus provides a 100% uptime of 600 Armor Penetration , giving a big DPS boost. The final factor in why Beast Mastery damage output is S tier is Melee Weaving. With TBCC, the dead zone is removed and the melee swing timer is separate from our ranged swing timer. Therefore, we can easily move in and out for a quick
While the Survival specialization suffers from slightly lower damage output due to not having the talents
, Survival Hunters make up for it in top tier raid utility by providing a boost to all physical damage dealers in the raid with
. This talent should have an uptime of nearly 95%, making a Survival Hunter a valuable asset to all raid teams.
Hunters' damage output increases significantly in Burning Crusade Classic, and our utility and defensive properties remain important. We gain the new ability
, which is a great asset to pulling targets to designated tanks and helping with initial threat.
remain solid abilities for crowd control. Our signature aggro dump with
is still great to keep threat under control; however, you can no longer
to drop out of combat in boss fights to swap trinkets.
Hunter DPS TBCC Guide
A Tier Specs
Overall Rating: A
start off extremely strong in Burning Crusade Classic, as they obtain a massive amount of Spell Hit and Spell Crit from their talents. The extra hit allows them to reach the Spell Hit cap very early, without needing to go out of their way to acquire Spell Hit gear. They also bring the new
effect, which does not cause a debuff in Burning Crusade Classic and is the prime ability to stack in a min-maxing raid.
They are the best support for casters groups, bringing the caster equivalent of
, which both increase the damage done and lower the Spell Hit required by their group. They also have a powerful DPS cooldown in
, which can be combined with
to create massive burst damage on demand.
They also bring a lot of other situationally useful tools, including
, as well as poison and disease removing totems that can automate the process in fights where these debuffs are consistently applied to your party.
The main weakness of Elemental is its low scaling with gear compared to the top DPS classes of Burning Crusade Classic. The cast time requirements on the main damage spells also hampers mobility and makes Elemental vulnerable to interrupts and spell pushback.
However, interrupts and spell pushback are of little concern in PvE. In Phase 1, the gear available is weak. Much if not all of the raiding progression will be done mostly in blues, making Elemental a powerhouse with few downsides.
Elemental Shaman DPS TBCC Guide
Overall Rating: A
In Burning Crusade Classic, Mages are among the most useful damage dealers to any group or raid, providing some of the highest DPS in the game along with unique and powerful utility. When it comes to pure damage, Mages fall behind only the two strongest classes, Warlocks and Hunters. However, they are still able to hold their own and compete even with them. This is true for all Phases.
In Phase 1, the best spec for Mages is Fire, which provides the highest damage with the available gear. Later on, Arcane also becomes a viable option. Regardless, a standard raid group will always want at least one Mage thanks to the high damage and utility.
Mages provide some of the most useful utility in the game: controlling mobs with
, buffing Intelligence with
, and supplying the raid with conjured food and water. Food and water becomes an all-in-one package in TBC with
! The expansion also gives Mages a fancy new trick in
, which is even essential to the
A Mage’s damage is incredibly high in both single target and AoE fights. The damage output is strong all throughout a fight, although Mages really shine in the ‘execute’ phase, when a target is below 20% health. This is due to the
which increases damage by a whole 20%. When combined with other tools like
the burst can get quite ridiculous.
Mages also excel in AoE fights thanks to a large AoE toolbox. Multiple strong spells like
already exist, with another very strong AoE spell
being added in The Burning Crusade. If there’s a group of mobs, Mage is one of the best classes to take them down.
Additionally, Mages also have strong survival tools. The class is quite squishy by itself, but it does have some strong spells to help with staying alive, most notably
which makes a Mage completely immune to damage (and is no longer limited to just Frost!). The new spell
can be used to get out of sticky situations. Of course, there are also options like
, which is expensive but can still aid survivability.
Mage DPS TBCC Guide
Overall Rating: A
In Burning Crusade Classic, the Enhancement Shaman gets a revamp. These changes, along with the utility that shamans bring in general, make the class desirable for all raid comps. Enhancement gets some notable improvements:
allows shamans to use two One-Handed weapons, and
has been adjusted to accommodate Dual Wield by striking with both weapons.
comes in as our 41-point talent to provide much-needed mana regeneration.
Shaman is one of the most desirable classes (if not THE most desirable class) in Burning Crusade Classic, regardless of spec. Every Shaman brings totems (
, etc.) that can buff their party, and at level 70 every shaman will now get
, a game-changing ability. Every party in every raid will want a Shaman to provide totems and Heroism/Bloodlust to unlock their group's full potential. In addition to this, Enhancement Shamans also provide
to their party (which will most likely be other physical DPS).
Shamans in Burning Crusade Clsasic just have an overall amazing spell book:
is an interrupt on a 6 second cooldown,
to prevent an enemy spellcast,
to dispel fear effects from your party members, and
as a DPS cooldown and a Defensive cooldown respectively. The sheer amount of utility that Shaman can bring to the raid makes all Shaman specs viable and puts Enhancement Shaman in a high tier.
Enhancement Shaman DPS TBCC Guide
B Tier Specs
Overall Rating: B
All three talent specializations of Rogue are focused on dealing damage, so that is all there is for Rogue players. Rogues are very gear dependent, needing powerful armor and weapons to deal a lot of damage. In Phase 1 of Burning Crusade Classic, equally-skilled Rogues generally fall behind other damage-dealing classes such as Hunters or Warlocks. In later phases with more powerful equipment, Rogue damage output improves significantly and the class becomes a more desirable raid inclusion. There is still good reason to bring a Rogue to a raid in Phase 1 though -
with the talent
is a very powerful armor reduction debuff that most raids will want to have. This gives a good boost to the physical damage output of
While the damage output is mediocre and
is all there is to offer for raid-wide buffs, Rogues have other meaningful advantages. Rogues have a plethora of defensive and utility abilities, including
, and the all new (and totally amazing)
. Smart use of these abilities can help Rogues get more active time attacking enemies, avoid damaging raid mechanics, and controlling their own threat when a situation gets out of hand. These utility abilities can make a skilled Rogue less of a burden to the raid in terms of healing or dispelling compared to other damage-dealing classes.
The Rogue's AoE damaging capabilities are almost nonexistent, only being able to hit two targets with the
ability for 15 seconds every two minutes. However, Rogues are very capable at dealing burst damage; using powerful abilities like
and replenishing themselves with
, they can deal a huge amount of damage in a short amount of time.
All Combat Rogues will be able to get the new and immensely powerful
. This talent easily puts Combat far ahead of Assassination or Subtlety; the talents in those trees simply cannot compete with
. Unfortunately for fans of the dagger style, sword Rogues are the champs in Burning Crusade Classic -- it isn't close like it was in Classic. The old
gets an important mechanical update which makes it significantly stronger. In Classic, whenever
triggered it would interrupt your current auto attack and restart the swing timer. In Burning Crusade Classic,
acts independently of your auto attack swing timer and does not interfere at all. This power boost really sets Combat Sword Rogues a good deal ahead of Combat Daggers.
Rogue DPS TBCC Guide
Overall Rating: B
Imagine the Shadow Priest as a leaky vessel. If in Classic the precious mana-liquid just dripped into oblivion, in Burning Crusade Classic, not only does it cascade into vessels of an entire party, but also partially flows back to its source!
offers insane amount of mana regeneration for your entire party, including yourself. It scales based on your damage output, meaning that the further you get into Burning Crusade Classic content, the more effective it becomes. It never gets quite enough to counterbalance chain-casting mana expenditure, but with other sustenance tools (including brand new
), mana issues are nowhere as crippling as they were in Classic.
Talent tree revamp sees
slightly nerfed from 15% to 10%, but with
the debuff is back at 15% while also providing 5% boost for all other magic schools.
still generates a lot of threat, but with no debuff cap may be now be useful in heroics and further on in later phases.
With superior scaling, Shadow Priests are among the meta spec in phase 1 PvP. Pairing up with a Warlock makes for a formidable 2v2 comp! If you prefer, you may play Shadow in PvE and freely respec for arena; Discipline is just as good a PvP spec and remains meta for entire expansion.
With both single target and AoE damage falling behind as Mages and Warlocks get high crit gear Shadow Priests can't use to full extent as well as limited AoE capacity, this spec is unfortunately somewhat short of scoring S. Bear in mind that while Warlocks and Hunters are coveted for their DPS, Shadow Priests are
for raids due to their utility and are thus guaranteed a spot. 1200 mp5 (assuming 1200 DPS, thence 60 mana per second for each of 4 healers in party) virtually make for another healer while still delivering solid DPS. If that is not enough, terrific output boost especially for Warlocks but also all other casters warrant at least a single Shadow Priest in every 25-man group (and a much loved addition for Kara runs.)
Damage over Time's AoE output is capped by default. The limiting factor is cast time, blanketing only a certain number of targets, as well as long-ish ramp-up time. While AoE output is existent and significant in long run, it is not quite as strong as that of other caster classes.
Shadow Priest DPS TBCC Guide
Overall Rating: B
Retribution Paladins in Tier one are very strong, and are a nearly mandatory raid spot for both
due to both
and moderately high damage for a melee slot; however, they are sub-optimal for
. Retribution Paladins bring a plethora of buffs that help as you get more people, including another Blessing, and the ability to keep another Paladin's judgements active on the boss. This allows Holy Paladins to continue pumping heals into the main tank.
also allows extra damage during the
fight. They also boost the damage of their party members by 2 % from
which is small but handy.
Retribution Paladins also have very strong defensive capabilities. They can escape much of the AoE damage that Gruul dishes out during his Ground Slam;
immunes them to both damage intake as well as the Slow, and
avoids the damage component and
avoids the Slow. They are also able to assist with cleansing during the add phase of
, stunning adds, fearing Infernals, and even tanking the first add that gets blown up, freeing you from needing more tanks than actually necessary.
This is where the strengths of a Retribution Paladin stop, compounded by the fact that over half of your time spent in a raid in Phase 1 will be spent doing Karazhan. The Retribution Paladin really needs to be in the melee group, getting access to
as well as the attack power buffs from both
to be truly effective. It's incredibly unlikely for you to have all three of these benefits in your
group. They do not have the effectiveness in a 10 man when compared to a Protection Paladin. At minimum, you will be relegated to performing off-tank duties, and while you will perform them outstandingly, you're just not on the same level as a Feral Druid for efficient multitasking.
Finally, there are just some general headaches of a Retribution Paladin. The group comp requirements were already stated, but they are just a melee slot as is, and Melee in phase 1 of Burning Crusade Classic will be behind Ranged for a variety of reasons. Melee do not get access to Tier 5 equivalent gear from crafting/a dungeon set. Melee get abused by Cleave and other unfriendly mechanics, both of which really make ranged much more favorable than melee overall during tier 4. Their AoE damage is limited solely to
which costs an absurd amount of mana and does not scale with gear. Finally you will NEVER bring more than one Retribution Paladin to a raid. While they bring a lot of utility, more than one is a slot that could have gone to another melee that can bring more utility to your other classes, which means you have fewer other important raid or melee group buffs.
Retribution Paladin DPS TBCC Guide
Overall Rating: B
Balance ends up in a strange position in Burning Crusade Classic. What was once considered a meme spec in Classic becomes coveted by raid teams in Burning Crusade Classic as a key support class. While it doesn't realistically top the damage charts, it does bring a vast array of raid utility.
On top of the utility that any Druid brings to raid such as
receives a sizeable upgrade deep in the Balance talent tree.
increases the chance the target will be hit by melee or ranged attacks by 3% when completely talented. This is a considerable raid-wide buff.
also gets a beefy upgrade, going from 3% spell crit to 5%, making Balance a great addition to the Warlock group.
The increase to buff and debuff caps means that Boomkins will also get to play with their other debuffs,
. This greatly improves the rotation, playstyle, and damage. However, Boomkins still struggle with mana and maintaining these DoTs can get out of hand fast. The damage output of Balance is arguably better than as seen in Classic but is not without its struggles. A good Boomkin who puts in the effort will be noticeably higher on the meters than one who is just filling in as a buff bot.
Balance Druid DPS TBCC Guide
C Tier Specs
Overall Rating: C
DPS Warriors truly fall from grace from Classic, finding themselves in a much lower demand in Burning Crusade Classic. You'll no longer see raids stacked with DPS Warriors; instead your raid is likely only going to have room for one or two at most. Unlike Classic, you'll actually be able to use both DPS specs for raiding in Burning Crusade, but in phase 1, they still don't have the proper gear scaling that will allow them to conquer the damage meters.
Arms Warriors are going to be the most prevalent spec you'll see in raid groups because they actually bring a raid debuff in the form of
, which increases the physical damage done by your entire raid. Even though this debuff is very good, you only need one Warrior to keep the debuff applied to enemies, so there won't be incentive to bring multiple Arms warriors to your raid. This means raid spots will be competitive. Arms Warriors are also somewhat forced to use two-handed swords because of their
talent, so if you end up playing Arms in raid, you are filling a pretty restricted role.
Fury Warriors are simply damage dealers who don't bring any raid debuffs or any sort of exceptional raid utility that would incentivize raids to bring them, which puts them in an undesirable position. Being the Fury Warrior is a pretty sweet gig if you manage to find a raid to bring you (which is entirely possible if your guild isn't min/maxed to the teeth), since you get to take full advantage of Blacksmithing for both PvE and PvP and will get to craft
in Phase 1.
Overall, DPS Warriors in phase 1 just simply aren't the same overly-desired class that we've seen in the past couple years of Classic. They deal solid damage and Arms brings a nice debuff, but they won't be the stars of the show.
Warrior DPS TBCC Guide
Overall Rating: C
Feral druids are in an excellent place for tanking in Burning Crusade Classic, but as a DPS spec, Feral is lackluster. On the plus side, Feral DPS is significantly buffed relative to other melee classes in Burning Crusade Classic, and the gap in performance between a Warrior or Rogue and a Feral Druid drops from more than 30% in Classic to less than 10% in Burning Crusade Classic. This is due in large part to the absence of world buffs, which disproportionately benefited Warriors and Rogues in Classic due to their superior scaling. Additionally, Burning Crusade Classic adds
to the Cat rotation, which provides a 30% buff to almost all yellow damage, including both
(the primary combo point generator) and
(the primary finishing move). On top of the raw DPS boost from Mangle, Burning Crusade Classic also solves the mana issues which Cats suffered from on longer fights in Classic. The greatly expanded debuff limit allows for regular use of
in raids. The new
talent enables mana regeneration while powershifting, and the introduction of
(the debuff is irrelevant for cats) adds a much stronger consumable which makes mana a non-issue even on longer fights. Finally, Feral itemization in Burning Crusade Classic is significantly improved compared to Classic, with real tier sets and much stronger offset pieces.
Improvements aside, Feral DPS remains mediocre relative to "pure" DPS specs such as Hunters, Warlocks, and Fury Warriors. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as several hybrid specs in TBC are expected to perform much worse than Ferals: Shadow Priests, Balance Druids, and Retribution Paladins, to name a few. However, these classes and specs all bring valuable raid and group utility which justifies their inclusion in competitive raid comps:
from Shadow Priests,
and Blessings from Ret Paladins, etc. By comparison,
from Feral Druids is a much weaker buff as it benefits only a single party, and the Mangle debuff primarily benefits the feral with only a minor impact on Rogue and Warrior DPS. As a result, the absence of strong raid utility makes it difficult to justify bringing a pure DPS Feral in a competitive raid comp given its middle-of-the-pack DPS output. In a speedrun setting, the difference between a Feral Druid and a DPS Warrior is further amplified since Cats lack any form of cleave whatsoever, crippling their multi-target output on trash (which constitutes the large majority of time in a speedrun).
Another issue with Ferals compared with other melee DPS classes is the lack of tools to deal with raid mechanics which are known to be particularly punishing for melee in TBC. Cats lack defensive cooldowns like
which can be used to negate certain mechanics, and also lack offensive cooldowns like
which can compensate for reduced fight uptime by concentrating damage output in periods of high uptime. Likewise, Rogues can pool energy when not attacking and expend it later to reduce the impact of moving out of melee range. In contrast, Cats expend energy at a constant rate while powershifting with
, so there is no benefit to pooling energy when unable to attack, and reduced uptime is an irrecoverable DPS loss. However, Ferals
to get in and out of melee range quickly.
It should be noted that the above ranking pertains to Feral Druids as a pure DPS role in a raid. When used primarily as a tank, Ferals have by far the highest DPS output of all tank specs when not actively tanking, as Cat DPS massively outclasses Protection Warriors/Paladins. The absence of Cleave for Cats is also irrelevant when the Feral is used as a tank rather than a DPS on trash.
Feral Druid DPS TBCC Guide
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