DPS Rankings / Tier List for Cataclysm Classic (2024)


DPS Rankings Summary

You can find below a quick summary of the current PvE DPSrankings:

  1. Unholy Death Knight (S-Tier)
  2. Survival Hunter (S-Tier)
  3. Fire Mage (S-Tier)
  4. Demonology Warlock (S-Tier)
  5. Arms Warrior (S-Tier)
  6. Elemental Shaman (A-Tier)
  7. Shadow Priest (A-Tier)
  8. Frost Death Knight (A-Tier)
  9. Affliction Warlock (A-Tier)
  10. Arcane Mage (A-Tier)
  11. Assassination Rogue (A-Tier)
  12. Retribution Paladin (B-Tier)
  13. Enhancement Shaman (B-Tier)
  14. Balance Druid (B-Tier)
  15. Destruction Warlock (B-Tier)
  16. Combat Rogue (B-Tier)
  17. Feral Druid (B-Tier)
  18. Marksmanship Hunter (B-Tier)
  19. Beast Mastery Hunter (C-Tier)
  20. Fury Warrior (C-Tier)
  21. Frost Mage (D-Tier)
  22. Subtlety Rogue (D-Tier)

In order to further understand the reasoning behind these ranks, we wouldrecommend you read the rest of the page, as that is explained in more detailin the next few sections.


Healer and Tank Class Rankings

If you are interested in other PvE role rankings for Cataclysm Classic, check thefollowing links:

Healer RankingsTank Rankings


DPS Rankings Explained

When sorting out the rankings for DPS in PvE, we are primarily concernedwith two things:

  1. Damage Throughput — first and foremost, DPS are there to dealdamage. The value brought by each class and spec to the raid is primarily determined byhow much damage they provide. This is calculated both by each spec'spersonal DPS combined with the value of the buffs and debuffs that they maybring.
  2. Desirability — expanding on the last sentence above, there arestark differences in how "desirable" certain DPS classes are depending on thenumber that you bring to raid. A significant factor in tier list placement isdetermined by the number of each spec that you might want in a raid group. Forinstance, Balance Druids are incredibly important for raiding because theybring extremely important buffs that benefits the whole raid, but theirpersonal damage is mediocre. The value of the first Balance Druid in theraid is huge, but the second Balance Druid has significantly less value. At theend of the day, the question we are trying to answer is how desirable yourclass and spec is to a raid.

One important change to emphasize is that in Cataclysm Classic, almost every singlespec in the game brings some sort of important raid buff or debuff. However, all raid buffscome from multiple sources, so a single buff could be brought by 3 or 4 different specs.These buffs do not stack from different sources if it is the same buff. This means that forour purposes, outside of a couple of niche cases, we will be ignoring raid buffs for the mostpart. You should always ensure that your raid has all of the possible buffs, but thereare numerous places to get each one, meaning with a moderately diverse raid compyou should be fine.

For 10 man raiding specifically, this also means that you are extremelyunlikely to ever use more than one of a spec, because you'll inevitably be missing out on valuablebuffs. Cataclysm is well-balanced enough that bringing a worse DPS spec along with a missingraid buff will almost always be better than bringing a second S-tier DPS spec that you alreadyhave one of.

We recommend consulting our guide to recommended raid compositions to seemore of this principle in action.

Wrath of the Lich King Raid Composition Guide


S-Tier Classes and Specializations

These are the best DPS specializations for the first tier of Cataclysm classic.Specifically, these are the DPS specializations that you will commonly seestacked in 25-man heroic Raids for how strong they are. You should expect to see multiple ofthese in most raid groups.


Unholy Death Knight

Thanks to their powerful spec cooldowns, Unholy has some of the highest burstdamage in the game, specifically due to the power of DPS Rankings / Tier List for Cataclysm Classic (1) Summon Gargoyle.Death Knights in generalare incredibly strong all expansion, and fully live up to the title of hero class.Perhaps one of the biggest weaknesses of Unholy is that while it may be one of the strongestDPS at the start, Blood DK is so absurdly strong as a tank that every raid is almost guaranteedto already have a DK in a tank spot already.Unholy DK offers incredibly defense, burst damage, and the powerful combination of sustainedsingle target and large scale AoE that allows them to excel in any encounter.DPS Rankings / Tier List for Cataclysm Classic (2) Death Grip is also unique utility that is impossible to replicatewith other specs.

Survival Hunters require very little gear to be effectivein Raids, but still scale extremely well with Agility as you get moregear. Hunters in general have someamazing utility tools like DPS Rankings / Tier List for Cataclysm Classic (3) Misdirectionthat make having at least 1-2 critically important in most raids, but even without the utility,Survival is quite strong. Survival Hunters have the best on-demand AoE in the game, both forburst and sustained AoE damage with the power of DPS Rankings / Tier List for Cataclysm Classic (4) Explosive Trap andDPS Rankings / Tier List for Cataclysm Classic (5) Serpent Spread. Survival is one of the most versatile, powerful ranged damagedealers in the first tier.


Fire Mage

With the addition of DPS Rankings / Tier List for Cataclysm Classic (6) Combustion, Fire Mage inCataclysm has possibly the highest DPS ceiling out of any class in the game, for the entireexpansion. While the spec is a bit RNG-heavy and does require some luck for good setup,Fire has the potential to set up some absolutely monstrous burst damage through properignite stacking that can then be spread to all targets in range for AoE that no other speccould ever even hope to come close to. It's not a reach to say that Fire Mages have the singlemost powerful cooldown ever introduced in WoW this expansion, making them an exceptionalDPS in the hands of a skilled player who knows how to abuse it.


Demonology Warlock

Demonology Warlock has been reworked significantly since Wrath,now playing with their new and improved DPS Rankings / Tier List for Cataclysm Classic (7) Metamorphosis form. Warlocksare a staple of the S-tier meta, just like in most expansions, where at least one spec is alwaysquite powerful. Demonology brings incredible raid buffs, unique utility, and stellar burst damagefor both AoE and single target. The trademark of S-tier specializations in Cataclysm is the abilityto deal incredible damage in all situations with a single talent/spec setup, and Demonologyfits this perfectly.


Arms Warrior

While Arms Warrior was relatively weak towards the end of Wrath,Cataclysm is one of the greatest expansions ever for Arms Warriors in raiding. Thanks to theintroduction of DPS Rankings / Tier List for Cataclysm Classic (8) Colossus Smash, Arms Warriors have incredible sustainedsingle-target damage along with low cooldown burst windows inside their smash. Armsstill has some of the best 2-target cleave in the game thanks to DPS Rankings / Tier List for Cataclysm Classic (9) Sweeping Strikes,providing them a niche where they're ahead of even all the other S-tier classes. Arms will remainS-tier throughout the expansion, even possibly hitting the overall top spot in the final tier.


A-Tier Classes and Specializations

These are the strong DPS specializations that you will always see at least one of, maybetwo. They are still relatively powerful, have their own unique niche, but outside of raid buffsare still going to be worse than S-tier options.


Elemental Shaman

Elemental Shamans previously had some severe scaling issues inWrath, but in Cataclysm Classic, this is gone completely. Shamans bring a high number ofimportant raid buffs, making them a great choice to round out your caster groups in any raid.While Elemental lacks the burst damage of the S-tier classes, their AoE with DPS Rankings / Tier List for Cataclysm Classic (10) Chain Lightningand DPS Rankings / Tier List for Cataclysm Classic (11) Fire Nova is exceptional. The combination of sustained single-target damagethrough their new and improved rotation along with on-demand AoE that also cleaves for singletarget damage is quite powerful, and worthy of the top A-tier spot.


Shadow Priest

Shadow Priests offersome strong utility options when brought to the raid, and Priests specifically are evenrequired on a couple of encounters for their utility. Shadow as a damage specializationis strong, offering decent damage in most situations, but getting far outmatchedby specs like Fire Mage and Demonology in AoE and burst damage. Multi-dotting is still certainlya strong niche, and is actually quite useful in several tier 11 encounters. Overall,their single-target damage and utility is strong enough to make them a A-tier specialization though,mostly due to their exceptional utility and buffs.


Frost Death Knight

Frost Death Knightshave many of the same strengths as Unholy, but are different in a couple of key ways.While Unholy is based around pets and DoTs, Frost focuses instead on hard hitting strikesalong with powerful short burst cooldowns and procs. They have similar relative strengthsas both do exceptional damage, top-tier single target, and amazing on-demand AoE. Unholydoes more damage overall however, and has a more powerful burst window. Additionally, Frostloses out on more single-target damage during its AoE. This is all to say, that while Frost is stillexceptionally strong, Unholy is the more played specialization due to just being stronger.Frost is still required on some fights however, specifically due to the kiting potential they offerwith their massive built-in slows.


Affliction Warlock

Affliction Warlock offers the strongest multi-target spread damagein the game thanks to their powerful DoTs, which allows them to both funnel moredamage into a main target and do strong add damage at the same time.However, even with exceptional multi-dotting and spread cleave potential, their single targetis still a bit lacking compared to that of Demonology. Also, spread cleave is just not as importantfor the difficult encounters in tier 11. Finally, Affliction does not have the same burst AoE potentialthat Demonology brings, which is what keeps it in A-tier.


Arcane Mage

Arcane Mage have exceptional burst and strong single target,but ultimately get out-scaled by Fire Mages thanks to the power of Combustion. Arcanehas some strong power early on, especially when combined with other external buffs suchas DPS Rankings / Tier List for Cataclysm Classic (12) Power Infusion. Arcane also lacks the same AoE power that Fire brings, whichis really what keeps it below. Arcane is still exceptionally strong especially when being funneled,but is not quite as strong as Fire, and is thus in A-tier.


Assassination Rogue

Assassination Roguesare one of the higher sustained single-target damage dealers in the game, and are extremelyconsistent. Rogues are rather weak early on compared to some other classes above in the list,but eventually will be S-tier once they get legendary daggers in the final tier of Cataclysm, but untilthen, there are simply better options. Rogues also lack the same burst AoE capabilities thatother classes above offer. Overall, Assassination is still quite strong and consistent,and definitely worth having the raid spot.


B-Tier Classes and Specializations

These are the middle of the pack DPS specializations. You would expect to see exactlyone of these in a raid, usually for the explicit purpose of a raid buff, or possibly for somerequired utility on a specific fight.


Retribution Paladin

Retribution Paladinshave every benefit of being a Paladin, but unfortunately do not bring quite the same powerlevel that Holy and Protection bring. Retribution offers some strong damage cooldownsgiving them decent burst damage for single target, but lacks the AOE and cleave that ArmsWarriors and Unholy DKs bring. Retribution has lost some of its power from Wrath, and doesn'thave quite the same ceiling that other melee specs offer.


Enhancement Shaman

Enhancement Shamansare possibly one of the most difficult specs to play well, but have a highceiling when played properly. Enhancement has a huge arsenal of competing cooldownswhich can make their rotation hard to perform well, especially in a tier where swapping betweenAoE and single target is critical. Enhancement has great damage potential, but is still a bit lackingcompared to the S-tier melee, and there are generally better options for the raid buffs that theybring.


Balance Druid

Balance Druids have someincredible utility, specifically with DPS Rankings / Tier List for Cataclysm Classic (13) Typhoon and DPS Rankings / Tier List for Cataclysm Classic (14) Innervate.These are both highly sought after, and invaluable to certain other classes. Boomkins dodecent single-target damage, but have some of the better AoE in the game thanks toDPS Rankings / Tier List for Cataclysm Classic (15) Starfall and DPS Rankings / Tier List for Cataclysm Classic (16) Hurricane. That being said, their damage overallis still a bit weaker than the classes in the tiers above. Most raids will have a single Boomkin,usually because they bring so many important buffs as just a single spec.


Destruction Warlock

Like all Warlock specs, Destruction Warlocks scale quite welland do exceptional damage, both single target and AoE.Overall Warlock just scales quite well as a class, and Destructionis no exception. The burst single-target + AoE possible with Destruction can be quite strong,but is still unfortunately overshadowed by Demonology in most situations. Destruction'sbiggest weakness is that Demonology is just so much more powerful in almost everysituation while Affliction is also better for spread cleave. While strong on its own, there is noniche where Destruction is not overshadowed by another spec.


Combat Rogue

Combat Rogues requirea bit of gear and scaling unlike Assassination, but once they have some solid raid gear,they can output some incredible numbers.Combat's strength is still its cleave, but overall it just does less damage on single targetthan Assassination, and then less damage in AoE/cleave than other classes above in thelist. It still is a strong spec, but their primary benefit in Wrath was being the bestsource for their raid buff, which is no longer the case.


Feral Druid

Feral Druids have oneof the most complex rotations in the game, but when played properly offersolid single-target damage.Ferals lack single-target burst and sustained AoE,but their burst AoE when combining DPS Rankings / Tier List for Cataclysm Classic (17) Berserk and DPS Rankings / Tier List for Cataclysm Classic (18) Swipeis strong, just a poor use of their main damage cooldown. Outside of sustainedsingle-target and burst AoE, Ferals do suffer since they require a significant time investmentto get their damage and DoTs rolling on new targets. Ferals also have the option to either tankor DPS, and their strength in the current meta as an OT severely diminishes the value of Feralas a DPS spec.


Marksmanship Hunter

Marksmanship Huntersuffers from the same issues as several other specializations above, in that they requiresome gear to really scale. However, even with proper scaling, they will only ever barely approachthe potential of Survival.Marksmanship eventually has better burst damage for single target than Survival thanksto having an additional cooldown, but Marksmanship lacks all of the AOE potential that Survivalbrings. Marksmanship is severely lacking when it comes to AoE, which makes them a far worse optionfor most content.


C-Tier Classes and Specializations

These are the below average specs specs in Cataclysm Classic. These are strictly worsethan the tiers above and, while viable, are going to be extremely uncommon and generally willnot see play in competitive groups. The notable exception would be in a situation wherethe spec was your group's only way to get an otherwise missing raid buff.


Beast Mastery Hunter

Beast Mastery Hunters are a very weak option just like in Wrath. Survival and Marksmanshipheavily outclass Beast Mastery, as your pet is significantly less important to your overalldamage. This is mainly true because the other two Hunter specs offer meaningfulDPS talents to increase their damage done, specifically giving powerful build-definingshots that their rotations are based around. Ultimately there isn't much to say besides just thatBeast Mastery does not do adequate damage. The only saving grace is that Beast Mastery's raidbuff is one of the hardest to fit into a raid composition as it has to be brought by eitherRetribution Paladins, Arcane Mages, or Beast Mastery Hunters. It is possible that a hunterplaying Beast Mastery is the best option, but this would be the primary reason to play BM in a raidsetting.


Fury Warrior

Fury Warriors haven fallen off a cliff after their dominance at theend of Wrath. Just like in Wrath, Fury is set up to fail early on as it requires a significant amountof haste and crit to really scale well. However, the big difference now is that Arms is significantlystronger. Arms Warriors will be one of the best DPS specs in the game all throughout the expansion,while Fury will remain mediocre throughout. Fury lacks the single target, cleave, and AOE potentialthat Arms brings making it just a strictly worse choice. Again, unless there is a missing raid buff,Arms is the better choice in all PvE content.


D-Tier Classes and Specializations

These are the weakest DPS specializations for Cataclysm classic. These specs are almostentirely designed around PvP and should not be played in raids. While I won't outright saythey are not viable, you will be facing a significant disadvantage playing these specs.


Frost Mage

Frost Mage is a specializationthat is designed around PvP. It is easily one of the strongest specializationsin Arena, but unfortunately is not well-designed for PvE. Arcane and Fire bothdo more damage while Frost brings nothing unique to the table. Without any sortof niche to excel in, it is hard to justify a raid spot as a Frost Mage.


Subtlety Rogue

Subtlety Rogues arequite similar to Frost Mages, in that the spec is mostly designed with PvP in mind.Especially with how strong the other two Rogue specializations are, Subtlety offersno meaningful strengths in PvE, and is just the worst choice.

DPS Rankings / Tier List for Cataclysm Classic (2024)


DPS Rankings / Tier List for Cataclysm Classic? ›

Fire Mage. Possibly the best DPS class spec in Cataclysm, Fire Mages have it all. With a wide array of damage tools, utility, and even a buff, you are guaranteed a spot if you run this spec in raids.

What was the top DPS in cataclysm? ›

Fire Mage. Possibly the best DPS class spec in Cataclysm, Fire Mages have it all. With a wide array of damage tools, utility, and even a buff, you are guaranteed a spot if you run this spec in raids.

What is the most OP class in cataclysm? ›

What class is the best DPS in WoW Cataclysm Classic? In Cataclysm Classic Phase 1, S-tier DPS classes include Fire Mage, Survival Hunter, Marksmen Hunter, Shadow Priest, Affliction Warlock, and Unholy Death Knight.

What is the highest DPS class in classic WoW? ›

Zul'Gurub DPS Rankings
7 more rows

What class to play in cataclysm classic? ›

Cataclysm C-tier Classes

Survival Hunters excel with impressive AoE and single-target damage, while Beast Mastery Hunters provide valuable buffs. Marksmanship Hunters, however, struggle with below-average raid damage output and excessive reliance on critical strike chance.

What is the best AoE class in Cataclysm? ›

In Cataclysm, Balance Druids solidify their position as top-tier damage dealers, excelling in both single-target and AoE encounters. Few specializations can rival their power in AoE situations, with only a handful, like Fire Mages, Demonology Warlocks, Survival Hunters, and Unholy Death Knights, able to keep up.

What was max level in Cataclysm? ›

With the release of Cataclysm, the maximum player level was raised from 80 to 85.

What is the best tank class in Cataclysm? ›

Blood Death Knights are the only S-Tier tank in Cataclysm Classic, and with good reason. They are, in almost every aspect of tanking, the strongest of all 4 specializations, and perform absolutely exceptionally at launch, as well as throughout the entire expansion.

Is Elemental Shaman good in Cataclysm? ›

Class Overview for Elemental Shaman DPS

Then there is the factor of Fire Elemental Totem snapshotting, nerfs to other specs relative to what their Wrath standards were, and the mobility granted by Glyph of Unleashed Lightning, all of which promote Elemental to one of the top ranged DPS options in Cataclysm.

Are hunters good in Cataclysm? ›

Marksmanship Hunters can also provide a very useful raid buff increasing melee attack power by 20% and ranged attack power by 10% with Trueshot Aura, which will be useful in both 10man and 25man raid compositions.

What is the most op class in WoW? ›

Warrior Class

Warriors stand out as an consistently overpowered class in World of Warcraft. They are the most popular class for good reason, capable of functioning as tanks, dealing impressive damage, and posing a significant threat to enemies.

Which WoW class does the most damage? ›

  • Augmentation Evoker. The Evoker DPS specialization is considered by most to be the best class available when it comes to dealing damage. ...
  • Frost Mage. The first ranged DPS on the list, the Mage class will always have at least one powerful specialization in World of Warcraft. ...
  • Outlaw Rogue.
Nov 16, 2023

What is the best overall class in Classic WoW? ›

The classes of Hunter and Mage are considered to be the most powerful in Classic Hardcore leveling, as they have the ability to efficiently kill mobs while also maintaining a high level of safety with minimal risk involved. Hunter: Hunters are considered one of the strongest leveling classes in Classic Hardcore.

What is the easiest class in Cataclysm Classic? ›

Assassination Rogue. Easy rotation with very little abilities and good damage.

Is there going to be a Cataclysm Classic WoW? ›

Blizzard has announced that a coming update to World of Warcraft: Classic re-introducing the fiery Cataclysm expansion will land on May 20.

What level should I start Cataclysm? ›

WoW Cataclysm zone levels

You'll have a choice to make before you start venturing into the Cataclysm zones at level 80. You can choose one of two leveling paths.

What is the hit cap in Cataclysm? ›

Agility is your most important stat in Cataclysm. This stat should always be your main deciding factor in gear upgrades as it provides both Ranged Attack Power and increases your Critical Strike Rating. Hit Rating until you reach hit cap of 8% (961 hit rating) is the first important secondary stat.

What was gold cap in Cataclysm? ›

One undocumented change that has been noticed, however, is that Blizzard has increased the Character Gold Cap from the previous ~214,000, to 999,999. This is most likely to prepare for the launch of Cataclysm Classic, as the Gold Cap was increased to that amount when Cataclysm was originally released in 2010.

What is the best tank in Cataclysm? ›

Main Tank Survivability: Blood Death Knights are the chosen main tank for almost every single situation in Cataclysm, with exceptional self-healing via Death Strike, strong damage mitigation with their Mastery ( Blood Shield), even going as far as allowing well-geared raid groups the privilege of dropping healers due ...

Was Warrior good in Cataclysm? ›

Warrior is very viable in Cataclysm. Arms is one of the strongest DPS classes in the game throughout all phases.

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