The first season of the new expansion has already started. This makes players ask familiar and essential questions. What Damage-Dealers are the best to pick for successful Dragonflight raid farming? Whose class mechanics are especially useful? Which classes are at the top of the Vault of the Incarnates tier list? This short text will cover these and other questions.
Let’s start with the tier list. It’d be better to come up with two rankings from different sources for the sake of objectivity. Comparing them will show the true top DPS specs of the Vault of the Incarnates meta. And what specs have some problems that are truly worth mentioning.
Professional gamer Impakt, who leads the mighty North American guild “Big Dumb Golden Guardians”, suggests the following tier list.
At the same time, bloggers Dratnos and Tettles came up with slightly different and more complex rankings:
The rankings of the second list are shifted down. Because the Havoc Demon Hunter is so powerful that Dratnos and Tettles tend to place it in a separate tier. But you can easily imagine that rank “A” in the second case equals rank to “S” in the first, and so on. With this in mind, you can see only a few notable differences between these Vault of the Incarnates DPS rankings. For instance, Impakt evaluates the Arms and Fury Warriors and Demonology Warlocks much higher. And the Unholy and Frost DK are placed not so close to each other.
Dragonflight has a few features that complicate an accurate counting of the VotI top DPS tier list. One of them is the new talent system. With it, a player can quickly shift the focus of the build. Changing a few octagon talents can turn it from AoE to the single-target one.
However, this is not why Havoc DH is at the top of most rankings. Even though this spec has been slightly nerfed since Beta, it remains extremely powerful. It almost doesn’t need to change its build depending on the current encounter. Havoc DH is always effective against both single targets and packs of mobs. Besides, it’s important to remember two more criteria for defining the top Damage-Dealers of the current meta. They’re the spec’s mobility and ability to stand up for itself in a critical moment. DH is still perfect in both qualities. The Netherwalk talent remains to be one of the best spells to avoid damage and increase mobility at the same time.
Another reason for Havoc DH to be evaluated that high is the Chaos Brand passive. It’s not new, but the raid would be happy with the old one too. This debuff makes the target of DH take 5% more magic damage from all the party members. And that leads us to one more crucial reason why some specs appear in the higher tiers of the Vault Raid rankings. That reason is the buffs they grant to the team.
For example, the Arms and Fury Warriors, who increase the party’s damage with the Battle Shout and burst its HP with the Rallying Cry. Or Windwalker Monk, who can increase the avoidance of allies and the healing they receive by taking the Generous Pour and Close to Heart talents, and also make the party target receive more physical damage with the Mystic Touch.
However, we have seen that buffs given by Warriors are not a strong argument for Dratnos and Tettles. Despite the undeniable benefit of these familiar and significant buffs, they still shift these specs down. One reason is that Protection Warrior also has those spells. And you’ll likely have one in the raid. A more important reason is that in some encounters, Protection spec can even compete with Arms now.
The Shadowboxing Threads talent made Windwalker Monk even more deadly in AoE. Striking two additional targets with the Blackout Kick led to this spell becoming the main AoE in many encounters. Before there are too many targets, it can really displace the Spinning Crane Kick. But in turn, Enhancement Shaman easily displaces Monk. It stands firmly at the top of many Dragonflight DPS tier lists for Vault of the Incarnates just because of the Windfury Totem. Every party respects a buff that makes its members deal an extra auto-attack. And also this Shaman spec is effective against masses of enemies and bosses. The new Static Accumulation and Thorim’s Invocation talents significantly improve the combinations of its lightning abilities with the Maelstrom Weapon mechanic and the Ascendance spell.
As for the ranged Damage-Dealers, some of the best Vault of the Incarnates DPS predictions are alluded to Balance Druid. Boomkins are expected to be less effective against lone targets, but they still are out of competition in multi-target encounters. Not only because of the Starfall but also due to the buff of the Incarnation. And the possibility to greatly buff the Shooting Stars passive matters too.
Arcane Mage is something quite the opposite of Balance Druid. This spec has also become more powerful in AoE due to the Arcane Surge. But it will most likely deal its maximum damage to single enemies.
During the Beta there were many fears that Evoker would immediately become one of the best DPS classes in VotI. Now it’s doubted, primarily because of the short range of its spells. Unfortunately, this disadvantage is not compensated with all the Evoker’s mobility and the Blessing of the Bronze buff.
But why are Retribution Paladins and two Hunter specs at the bottom of both suggested rankings? Retro Pals don’t have enough damage or mobility in the current patch. And most of the buffs they give to the team can be provided by other Paladin specs.
The Beast Mastery Hunter is expected to show the best DPS among other specs of this class in the Vault of the Incarnates. It may seem surprising that Marksmanship Hunter has weaker single-target damage than BM. But it’s worse than that, as now this spec has the lowest single-target damage in the game.
Nevertheless, remember: there are no best specs or classes. There are the best players. And the best players are always ready to Vault of the Incarnates Boost raid for you on any class.