WoW Cataclysm Classic DPS tier list (Phase 1)

WoW Cataclysm Classic tier list dps
This tier list discusses which DPS classes are the best in this current phase of WoW Cataclysm Classic (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)

WoW Cataclysm Classic has begun, but which DPS classes top our tier list? We had to look at a few facets of each class and see what they offer. We looked at raw numbers, but that’s not the only thing that makes a class good. It also depends on their overall raid utility, and how well they perform in a variety of situations. This tier list might not be everyone’s stance, but this is what I think of the current playing field.

All tier lists are ultimately opinionated, and this WoW Cataclysm DPS list is no different. In this case, we’re looking at who will dominate the hardest in Baradin Hold, Blackwing Descent, The Bastion of Twilight, and Throne of the Four Winds. Just because a class is lower on the list does not mean they cannot compete and should not be played. They simply take more work and more class knowledge to succeed.

Note: This article is subjective and solely based on the author's opinion.


Tier list of the best DPS in WoW Cataclysm Classic (Phase 1)

1) S Tier

S-Tier is the cream of the crop in WoW Cataclysm Classic (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
S-Tier is the cream of the crop in WoW Cataclysm Classic (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
  • Fire Mage
  • Affliction Warlock
  • Demonology Warlock
  • Survival Hunter
  • Shadow Priest
  • Arms Warrior
  • Unholy Death Knight

The S-Tier entries on the WoW Cataclysm Classic DPS tier list are the best of the best. These are the most powerful picks for virtually any situation. They hit the hardest, bring the most to the raid, and are viable to top DPS meters with perhaps less work than other classes. The new race/class combinations don’t really affect DPS, so you could pick whichever race you want in most cases.

Fire Mage, in particular, ended the Lich King Classic days as the best DPS, and it’s back again to do the same thing—top meters. Whether single-target or AOE, they’ve got you covered. On top of that, there are buffs, mage food, portals, and more. It’s very hard to talk about Warlocks at this time, too. In large groups, Affliction is king. Single-target? It’s Demonology all the way. However, both of them also bring buffs/Soulstones, etc.

Classes at the S-Tier point of the WoW Cataclysm Classic DPS tier list bring so much more to the table than just numbers. Whether it’s a Warrior shout or Priest buffs (Replenishment, Mind Quickening), they bring something important to your group that is undeniable.


2) A Tier

You can't keep Retribution Paladins down for very long (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
You can't keep Retribution Paladins down for very long (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
  • Frost Death Knight
  • Assassination Rogue
  • Elemental Shaman
  • Retribution Paladin
  • Arcane Mage

A-tier entrants on this WoW Cataclysm DPS tier list are all very strong competitors but don’t quite bring the same power to the table as their brethren. They have great DPS potential and useful utility spells/talents to bring to the raid group as well. Casters in this group, for example, might need to stay rooted to maximize output.

Classes like Elemental Shaman and Assassination Rogue are fantastic when it comes to numbers, but they just don’t beat out their compatriots. Shaman is generally a case of “really good, but...” right now. It’s worth having a few around, but other classes will likely dominate your group. When Rogues get access to their Legendary Daggers, that’s when they’re going to shine.

Unholy and Frost Death Knights are almost as close to one another as Affliction/Demonology Warlocks are. These two builds are both great owing to utility buffs and solid, reliable damage. I think Frost DKs are in a great position, but they just don’t hold a candle to Unholy right now.


3) B Tier

There's nothing wrong with B-Tier - they're Average, and that's okay (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
There's nothing wrong with B-Tier - they're Average, and that's okay (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
  • Balance Druid
  • Combat Rogue
  • Feral Druid
  • Enhancement Shaman
  • Marksman Hunter

The B-tier entries on the WoW Cataclysm Classic DPS Tier List are “Good.” They often have useful buffs to bring to the raid group, but the other classes simply outdo them in raw numbers. These classes can compete, but you really have to know what you’re doing.

While I like the changes Cataclysm brought to Combat Rogues, for example, it’s quite a hard build to get the most out of. It’s easier but also much harder to get the most out of your combo points. Druids are generally much better in terms of their talent trees. However, Balance and Feral bring more in terms of utility than they do DPS right now.

Enhancement Shaman can still be an incredible DPS machine, due to changes made during the Cataclysm expansion. Unfortunately, it’s a class that I very much think comes down to user skill; the players that really know the class will stand out, and make the other Enhancement Shaman look quite foolish.


4) C Tier

C-tier classes just have to work so much harder than everyone else. Well, almost everyone (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
C-tier classes just have to work so much harder than everyone else. Well, almost everyone (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
  • Destruction Warlock
  • Beast Mastery Hunter
  • Fury Warrior

No matter how much I love Destruction Warlock, it, and the rest of the C-tier DPS classes really don’t stack up on the WoW Cataclysm Classic tier list. While Fury is fun, why would you play Fury when Arms is such a dominant, successful class? It’s very much a case of “everything they do, someone else does better.”

The changes to Destruction Warlock didn’t really see them be successful at the start of WoW Cataclysm Classic. They’re okay at best, unfortunately. Beast Master’s in a similar boat. It’s the best way to level, but once you’re at level cap, you should really pick a different build, to deal more damage. At least they aren’t the worst, though.


5) D Tier

Sorry, Frost Mage fans—myself included—they just aren't so great in WoW Cataclysm Classic (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
Sorry, Frost Mage fans—myself included—they just aren't so great in WoW Cataclysm Classic (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
  • Subtlety Rogue
  • Frost Mage

If you pick one of the D-tier DPS classes in WoW Cataclysm Classic, you may have a hard time getting a raid group. Unless you’re a true master of your class, just about every single other build in the game outperforms you, and does what you do but better. Generally, that’s been the role of Subtlety Rogues for ages. They’re cool, but they just don’t bring anything to a raid.

While, as a Mage main for many years, I loved the Frost changes, it really doesn’t help them get into raids. It’s another case of everyone doing what you do better than you, and you have other specs that are much more powerful when it comes to DPS output.


WoW Cataclysm Classic is available now and comes with a wealth of new features and updates to the Classic-era realms. At the end of the day, you should play whatever class feels the most fun to you, regardless of what a tier list says.

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Edited by Angad Sharma
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