WoW Cataclysm Classic Tank tier list (Phase 1)

WoW Cataclysm Classic tank tier list
Which tanks are the best on this WoW Cataclysm Classic tier list? (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)

While all tanks are viable in WoW Cataclysm Classic, this tier list divides them into overall usefulness and the amount of work you have to do as particular specs. Though there are only four tank specs at this point in the game, it’s important to point out that there’s no shame in playing a “low-tier” tank.

Like our DPS list, it’s based on a few things: personal preference, the amount of useful cooldowns they have, how easy it is for them to keep threat/deal damage, and things of that nature. Which of the WoW Cataclysm Tanks top our tier list? Let’s dive in.


Which tank is top of the tier list in WoW Cataclysm Classic?

S-Tier

Blood Death Knights are the undisputed king of tanking in WoW Cataclysm Classic (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
Blood Death Knights are the undisputed king of tanking in WoW Cataclysm Classic (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
  • Blood Death Knight

13 years ago as well as right now in 2024, Blood Death Knight stands on top of the WoW Cataclysm Classic tank tier list. It was the go-to for many guilds in the original Cata, and it will likely stay that way for the foreseeable future. They were far more powerful than all other tank builds, in every facet of being a tank.

They have overwhelmingly great self-healing (Death Strike), and they easily hold threat on single-targets and large groups alike. If you need an off-tank, you can just bring a second Blood DK. They hit hard, have solid cooldowns, and there’s nothing they can’t do.

Blood Death Knights don’t have as many useful raid utility buffs, but the ones they have are worth it. Even if they don’t have a raid-wide buff, everything else they do keeps them on top. Great damage, self-healing, threat generation - what’s not to like?


A-Tier

Feral Druids are the kings of off-tanking, that's for sure (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
Feral Druids are the kings of off-tanking, that's for sure (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
  • Feral Druid

If there’s any tank that can out-dps a Blood DK, it’s probably a Feral Druid. At least, as long as they have extra targets to cleave through, that is. Their damage comes from being able to shift between bear and cat forms, to increase damage or tankiness as needed. They probably have the highest health pool and have pretty great cooldowns.

However, I think Feral Druids probably belong more in the off-tank role. That’s not to say that they can’t hang with Blood Death Knights in most things. They can easily generate threat against groups and single targets, putting them firmly at A in this WoW Cataclysm Tank tier list.

They also have quite a few solid utility abilities, such as Faerie Fire, Rebirth (in-combat res spell), Innervate, Stampeding Roar, and Feral Aggression. It wouldn’t take too much for them to hit S-Tier, but sadly, nothing can compete with the Blood Death Knight.


B-Tier

Protection Paladins are average - not terrible, but not amazing (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
Protection Paladins are average - not terrible, but not amazing (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
  • Protection Paladin

I’ve always felt that since Wrath of the Lich King, Paladin as a class came into its own. They started getting useful abilities that they simply lacked before. Even with these changes, they lack compared to other tanks in WoW Cataclysm Classic. Other than Hand of Sacrifice and Divine Guardian, they don’t bring much utility.

They are still amazing tanks, though, let’s be honest with ourselves. Few tanks can grab aggro and hold it quite like a Paladin - even on huge groups. They have one of the better ranged pulls as well (Avenger’s Shield). There were times in Dragonflight when they were the absolute top tank, it would take some time to get there, in WoW Cataclysm Classic.


C-Tier

Protection Warriors are fine. They'll feel better later in the expansion, but they aren't as potent right now (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
Protection Warriors are fine. They'll feel better later in the expansion, but they aren't as potent right now (Image via Blizzard Entertainment)
  • Protection Warrior

Protection Warriors might be the first tank people think about, and despite being one of the most common tanks in the early days of World of Warcraft, they lack so much in WoW Cataclysm Classic. The forced reliance on the Block stat is one of the things that really hurt them as a class. I adore Warriors in dungeon runs, but raids? That’s a whole different story.

They lack useful cooldowns compared to the other classes, and they struggle to hold threat compared to the aforementioned tanks. They can maintain aggro, but it takes far more work compared to others.

Their mitigation and self-recovery are also the weakest of the bunch. As far as the WoW Cataclysm tanks go, you can play Protection Warrior - it’s even a lot of fun - but it’s just far more work than any other class that plays in this role right now.


WoW Cataclysm Classic is now available on the Classic-era servers. You can also play the limited-time WoW Remix: Mists of Pandaria mode if you prefer something more modern.

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Edited by Adarsh J Kumar
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