Thanks to the recent bugfixes, reworks of covenant abilities, and legendary armor tuning of patch 9.0.5, the meta for PvP in Shadowlands has changed a bit. Some will rejoice that the covenant they chose is finally competitively viable. Others will taste the salt of their own tears as their favorite class is bonked with the ol’ reliable nerf bat.
Patch 9.1, Chains of Domination, is looming in the distance but probably won’t drop until late April or mid-May. Until then, it’s imperative to stay up to date on all forms of PvP.
With that in mind, we’ve put together an updated list of the WoW best PvP class options in patch 9.0.5 to keep you in competitive shape. Let’s get to it!
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WoW Best PvP Class Overview
As a quick disclaimer, while one WoW best PvP class might shine in isolated battles like arena, they might struggle with the wide-scale combat of battlegrounds (and vice versa). Blizzard might also tweak the numbers on some of their changes with a hotfix, rendering some recommendations moot — keep an eye out for patch updates!
As for right now, here are a few helpful things to keep in mind when reviewing our list:
DPS: The best DPS classes for PvP right now are either burst classes with strong crowd-control or incredibly aggressive ones with high-sticking potential. Since gear doesn’t scale exponentially yet, the low stamina pools of most players encourage fights to be over within 30 seconds.
Healers: Frankly put, every healer is currently viable. With that said, the best healers for PvP are the ones who can handle extreme burst damage either through healing huge chunks of damage or negating that damage before it even hits.
Tanks: We won’t be going over tanks in detail, as they only really see play in battlegrounds for holding objectives and buying time for reinforcements. That said, we do recommend Vengeance Demon Hunter and Guardian Druid for their mobility and just playing them like you usually do in PvE for the most part.
Finally, even if something isn’t considered meta, you can make any spec work with an in-depth understanding of the class and good gear. Make sure to actively communicate with your team and use voice comms if you’re trying to increase your rating (Discord is the go-to app for the bulk of gaming communities).
WoW Shadowlands Best PvP Classes
With our disclaimers out of the way, let’s dive into our guide on the best PvP class in WoW: Shadowlands.
1. Arms Warrior
Covenant: Venthyr or Kyrian | Legendary: Exploiter or Battlelord
The poster child of high-tier PvP, and the best WoW class for PvP overall, the arms warrior is a furious death machine that pursues his target relentlessly until it dies from a combination of bleeds, crippled healing, and shattered defenses. With the advent of Shadowlands, arms warriors have had their offense, defense, and utility greatly buffed.
An absolute terror and top pick in arenas, the arms warrior has the perfect kit to reliably remove a priority target while negating enemies’ burst windows on fairly short cooldowns. He’s not as effective in battlegrounds (as the arms warrior has suffered from kiting since Classic and often requires focus healing), but he’s good for taking down sturdy threats with pocket healers of their own.
Every covenant is now viable for arms warriors’ competitive play. In particular, the rework to Necrolord has turned the ability from “meh” to incredibly powerful for allowing your team to chase down any enemies unimpeded. However, most arms warriors are still looking at Venthyr for its single-target execution boost or Kyrian for its amazing lockdown potential on slippery enemies and extra survivability from the steward phial.
As for legendary pieces, if you go Venthyr, you will absolutely want Exploiter to just further strengthen the follow-up window on your Execute/Condemn. It’s just flat out the best one for Venthyr specifically. For any of the other covenants, we strongly recommend Battlelord, as you will be using Overpower constantly off cooldown, and any chance to get additional Mortal Strikes in is highly appreciated no matter the situation.
2. Fire Mage
Covenant: Night Fae or Kyrian | Legendary: Fevered Incantation or Triune Ward
Arguably the strongest single-target burst class (and perhaps even the WoW best PvP class for burst) the fire mage is the type of class that pops all of her cooldowns at once to evaporate the enemy. Should her offensive abilities be on cooldown, she can kite the enemy eternally with various snares, disorients, and gap closers until she can pull out all the stops again (which only takes about a minute).
The fire mage excels in arena for nuking down targets and forcing them to pop defensive cooldowns before executing them with a second round of abilities, even more so if her team can set up the win condition for her. She serves the same role in battlegrounds, but has to hope the enemy doesn’t relentlessly target her — all mages are inherently squishy even with their defensive abilities. Additionally, her Polymorph can easily keep a major threat like healers out of the equation long enough to secure victory.
For covenants, go with Night Fae. The cooldown reduction from your covenant ability can set you up to execute the enemy faster than they anticipated, putting you well ahead of their defensive cooldowns. The third soulbind of Night Fae also synergizes particularly well with the windows of opportunity for fire mage with doing more damage when the enemy is above 70% and below 30% health. As for Kyrian, the recent buffs to the covenant ability further enhance the kill window it provides by augmenting your next four direct damage spells, and it lines up quite nicely with your cooldowns.
In regards to your legendary, if you’re looking to further augment your ability to blow people up, Fevered Incantation is without a doubt your go-to piece. It turns your Combustion window into a guaranteed death sentence for most enemies. However, if you’re severely struggling with staying alive, Triune Ward offers you a triple barrier pulling from all three mage specs into one. Between your Ice Block and Blink, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to fully re-shield yourself.
3. Subtlety Rogue
Covenant: Venthyr, Night Fae, or Kyrian | Legendary: Mark of the Master Assassin
Despite suffering a slew of nerfs targeted specifically at PvP, the subtlety rogue still excels at locking down an enemy and eviscerating them before they can respond. Keeping an enemy stun-locked while his allies watch on helplessly, blinded or sapped, is one of the most satisfying feelings.
With constant access to his powerful stealth abilities, the subtlety rogue is a highly popular pick for arenas and isolated skirmishes in battlegrounds, making it the best solo PvP class in WoW. While your damage is tremendous when your abilities are up, the rather long cooldowns force you to pick your fights and wait for the right opportunity. During that time, you’ll want to focus on keeping the enemy locked down so your team can finish them off or sneaking off and putting pressure on another objective.
While Night Fae and Kyrian have long since held the top spot for their modifiers to your burst and enhanced survivability, the rework on the Venthyr covenant ability has propelled it to the top. No longer a clunky, awkward-to-use ability, the new Flagellation allows you immediate access to a large haste buff and encourages you to spend as many combo points as possible to absolutely flay the life out of your enemy. Combined with your burst windows, it becomes a massive amount of stacking damage if you move fast.
As for your legendary, Mark of the Master Assassin is the standard piece that makes all subtlety rogues absolutely terrifying. By granting you a guaranteed window of critical hits, you can focus your build solely on boosting burst damage without regard to your critical strike chance. With your multitude of crowd-control abilities and Vanish, you can get off multiple procs of this legendary and annihilate any unfortunate fools who wander off on their own.
4. Balance Druid
Covenant: Night Fae or Kyrian | Legendary: Timeworn Dreambinder or Balance of All Things
Next on our list of WoW best PvP class options is the balance druid. A relentless barrage of solar and lunar beams while DoTs tick away on your enemies defines the balance druid. With the ability to keep her enemies rooted in place, silenced, and forced to eat the damage she deals, it becomes pretty apparent why this class is so powerful. The balance druid also has some of the highest survivability in the game as a DPS class thanks to her Guardian Affinity, granting you access to the regeneration and survival cooldowns associated with tanks.
In arenas, her burst window is one of the most feared ones in the game, forcing enemies to tunnel on you. However, due to the combination of Mass Entanglement and Solar Beam, it’s tough for them to reach you without burning their own critical defensive cooldowns. Should they actually reach you, as mentioned above, your defensive capabilities in bear form will more than suffice in keeping you alive as your team wails freely on the enemy. Your presence is compounded even more in battlegrounds, with plenty of targets to choose from and devastating AoE pressure that enemies can’t ignore.
For covenants, many druids pick Night Fae for the absolute insanity that is Convoke the Spirits, allowing you to instantly delete any enemy who can’t interrupt you with a barrage of fifteen spells over four seconds. However, balance druids looking for more reliable and team-oriented power go for Kyrian, allowing you to synergize with an ally of your choice and bolster both of your performances every minute.
Looking at your legendary, Timeworn Dreambinder serves as an augment to your already powerful one-minute burst windows, especially as a Kyrian, giving you five incredibly boosted Starsurge casts. Meanwhile, Balance of All Things allows you to maximize your damage output whenever you’re allowed to free cast and enter your Eclipse state. If the enemy doesn’t do anything to hinder you, they’ll quickly realize the mistake they’ve made as you devastate the battlefield with quadrupled Starsurge casts.
5. Windwalker Monk
Covenant: Kyrian | Legendary: Invoker’s Delight
The windwalker monk is a master of the martial arts, a fan of drinking, and one of the WoW best PvP class characters in the game. Despite having its efficacy reduced due to some bug fixes in the latest patch, it’s still one of the strongest burst classes in the game and a real pain for any opposing melee to deal with. A class that’s all about setting up its passive Hit Combo to generate additional damage before executing the enemy with your burst combo, the windwalker monk has relatively strong sustain and the mobility to keep up with the enemy or escape and heal up.
In arenas, it’s all about keeping the enemy healer incapacitated with Paralysis after you build up your Hit Combo on your target and unleashing all your big cooldowns to nuke them out of existence. Between Invoke Xuen, your clones, Fists of Fury, and Whirling Dragon Punch, it should come as no surprise that few can withstand the burst — especially as you finish off weakened enemies with Touch of Death. However, if the enemy can survive, you’ll have to buy time to reset your cooldowns as your sustained damage falls off. As for battlegrounds, you’re fantastic for removing major threats and holding off other melee units with your parrying abilities, but you’ll be spending most of your time moving between objectives to slow and stun enemies.
As for covenants, Kyrian stands above and beyond the rest. Besides having a strong focus on mastery and a steward phial in your pocket, the timing and synergy with your legendary allow you to get far more strikes off during your burst window and further augment your strong points.
Your legendary of choice should be Invoker’s Delight, as it gives you a massive haste buff for when you Invoke Xuen. Timing the proc with your Kyrian covenant ability gives you the haste needed to pull off your entire combo and push your opponent within the kill range.
6. Retribution Paladin
Covenant: Kyrian or Venthyr | Legendary: Final Verdict
It’s been a while since retribution paladin has been this good. Despite being constantly nerfed for PvP, the burst and execution windows of this class remain incredibly potent. The all-powerful bubble continues to be the bane of players everywhere (minus priests who Mass Dispel it and warriors who remember to use Shattering Throw). Additionally, the choice to spend your holy power on self-sustain while steadily whittling away at your enemies makes you a nightmare for burst classes.
Your role in arenas and battlegrounds is the same for the most part — pick an enemy who does a lot of burst damage and stick to them until they’re dead. Between your self-heals and blessings, it’ll be hard for them to deal with a retribution paladin hell-bent on killing them. Blessing of Sanctuary in particular can be timed to negate most major crowd-controls and can be used to save your allies from being locked out of the fight. When the time comes to execute someone, pop your Avenging Wrath, stun the enemy with Hammer of Justice, and obliterate them with Wake of Ashes. It’s a simple but incredibly effective strategy. Of course, be careful of being kited into oblivion and be extra careful if your defensives are down as they’re incredibly telegraphed.
Most retribution paladins will go Kyrian and play around with a conduit that has a chance of proccing your covenant ability an additional two times on the target. It’s recently been nerfed, but it does open up the option to go with more consistent damage conduits and is still incredibly powerful (just not enough to try your luck with one-shots). As for Venthyr, your covenant ability is handy for locking down an area and turning it into a refuge for allies and a death zone for enemies. It makes your Hammer of Wrath ability useable on any target and increases its damage two-fold, and grants the mobility of Door of Shadows to one of the least mobile classes in the game.
7. Holy Paladin
Covenant: Kyrian or Necrolord | Legendary: Shock Barrier or Shadowbreaker, Dawn of the Sun
Quite possibly the best healer for PvP in Shadowlands is the holy paladin. With incredibly strong single-target heals, it’s no exaggeration to say that he can bring an ally on the brink of death back to full health in a single cast. However, gone are the days of no cooldowns in BFA. Now is the time to gauge whether to fall back and heal defensively or dive into the fray and ensure your team is unimpeded.
Your role in arenas and battlegrounds are mostly the same — maintain focus on keeping yourself and the enemy’s priority target alive. With Blessing of Sacrifice, you’re able to redirect a portion of the damage your allies would take to yourself and combined with Beacon of Light to ensure your entire team is topped off whenever the enemy tries to burn down a target. Using Holy Shock to pressure the enemy simultaneously generates holy power — combined with your other holy power generators, you’ll be able to constantly push out Word of Glory to negate any massive damage. But above all else, your utility spells will ensure victory. Blinding Light can disorient an entire enemy team, Repentance and Hammer of Justice keep a single foe out of the fight, and everyone loves receiving a Cleanse to remove crowd-control effects.
The standard recommendation of Kyrian for paladins holds true. With the ability to instantly generate up to five holy power, it’s no surprise it’s considered good. However, with the recent Necrolord buffs, the Fleshcraft shield is considerably stronger and better at keeping the holy paladin alive and in the fight longer. Additionally, the covenant class ability has a solid single-target hit on an enemy and allows you to get off a massive AoE heal instantly. Both are of very comparable value, so it’ll come down to your preference.
For your legendary, we recommend Shock Barrier if you’ve gone Kyrian, as your covenant ability will proc the shield that comes from the legendary on all friendly targets, creating massive synergy. Alternatively, run Shadowbreaker, Dawn of the Sun to massively empower your single-target healing spender and increase the effective radius of your AoE heal by a massive margin.
8. Discipline Priest
Covenant: Venthyr | Legendary: Memory of Sephuz or Memory of my Crystalline Reflection
The discipline priest is the master of bubble-blowing baptism, keeping all of her allies alive by preventing damage from even reaching them. The discipline priest is a popular choice for aggressive players due to her healing being linked to her damage output, combatting a meta dominated by burst damage and anti-healing DPS. She also has a strong series of crowd control abilities and dispels like Mass Dispel, making her a top pick for WoW best low level PvP class.
In arenas, you’re basically another DPS. You bubble your team and go to town wailing on the enemy. Atonement will handle the bulk of the healing on your team, so as long as you keep your damage up, your allies will stay up. Should a bubble break and your team starts dropping, that’s the time to pop your Psychic Scream and patch them up. Above all else, use your dispels to rid the enemies of their most powerful buffs and defensives to turn the tide of the fight. A similar principle applies to battlegrounds, but you’ll focus more on maintaining the bubble on your teammates and buying time for your team as you become a priority target for the enemy to kill.
Covenant-wise, it’s hard for us to recommend anything but Venthyr for Mindgames. This single ability can wreak havoc on the enemy by effectively reversing healing and damage done by them. If they don’t notice they’ve been afflicted, they’ll end up healing you as they attack. If they do notice, they’re effectively locked out of doing anything for the duration of it. You can also use Door of Shadows to reposition yourself on a teammate and knock back all enemies with Shining Force to save them.
As for legendary, we can safely recommend Memory of Sephuz. Being crowd-controlled means you’re not doing damage; if you’re not doing damage, your team is at risk of dying. With that in mind, this legendary effectively removes the risk of you being stun-locked long enough to be killed. Alternatively, Memory of my Crystalline Reflection makes your bubble even more potent with its instant heal and added bonus of 20% damage reflection.
High Ground View
That wraps it up for our list on the WoW best PvP class options. We’ll be sure to keep updating it down the road, especially once patch 9.1 hits. Until then, stay up to date on the latest at High Ground Gaming by subscribing to our email list or following us on social.