We are nearly one month into 9.0.5 and there has been a massive shake-up in the meta. If you thought melees would dominate all season, think again, because casters are here to stay. Those wizards are not the only thing ruining everyone’s life, there is another god tier spec gatekeeping the entire PVP ladder.
By far the biggest changes this patch happened to Venthir hunters with Flayed Shot receiving buffs to its duration, focus cost, and increase to kill shot damage. This covenant is borderline broken.
Another notable change happened with the desperately needed buff to the Demon Armor PVP talent by 160% from a 90% change. Destruction Warlocks are still suffering the karma from their dominance in BFA but as their representation plummeted at the start of Shadowlands due to the popularity of melee cleaves, the buff to this PVP talent was a small relief to their suffering.
With these changes in mind, let us go straight into the wizards who are ruling the mid-season shall we?
A spec gatekeeping the competition. Without any significant nerfs this season, Fire Mages continue to be one of the most overpowered caster DPS. They come equipped with everything needed to be dominant Shadowlands class. Also having a reliable offensive cooldown, they are able to survive on their own and being one of the best specs peeling for their partners. Fire Mages are the gods of dampening and with games lasting longer and longer, it should come as no surprise that they are excelling in this new meta.
Another spec who is gatekeeping the competition and are completely dominating the ladder in both 2v2 and 3v3. Coming off buffs from the patch and a hotfix that made the PVP trinket set bonus work on pets, BM hunters have reshaped both arena brackets. Their primary strength is giving some of the highest DPS in the game. With Shadowlands being so damage centric, simply being able to do more damage than your opponents is a massive advantage.
They seem to be performing well with Fire Mages with the Shatter Play comp so far. This comp has a really reliable win condition with psychic horror and silence that also performs really well with warrior teams. Even without a mage on their team, Shadow Priests can do really well with their stun silence setups allowing them to carry games by themselves if left unchecked.
Unlike Shadow Priests who have a bit of flexibility to play with both ranged and melee DPS, elemental shamans are stuck with caster cleaves for now. This is not a bad thing as elemental shaman fire mage is easily an S-Tier composition. Elemental Shamans are doing really well right now into warrior teams and into other mages that control from Fire Mages elevates shamans to a whole other level with setups.
Although they were not hit by the patch, the meta is starting to favor longer games and BDs are getting outclasses by mages in most matchups. For the most part, Balance Druids are just a budget Fire Mage with lots of control and utility but lacking in the late game longevity that mages bring.
Even though Demon Armor was buffed in 9.0.5, it was not substantial to be pushed on a higher tier. Despite this buff, they are still getting hard-countered by many classes especially Wind Walker Monks and Rogues who have enough mobility options to counter their portal and gateway.
If BDs are budget fire mages then frost mages are a deep discount. While it’s hard to avoid comparison between it’s big brother, the fact remains that frost just gets overshadowed by Fire in the current meta. Frost has a decent setup with Ice form also buffed in the patch by having its global cooldown removed but unlike Fire, they have to sacrifice a lot in order to get a big bursts setup by opting Lonely Winter for more damage.
Early on in the expansion they were super slept on, though they did benefit from the Demon Armor buff as well as a minor buff to one of their main legendaries, they still can’t carry games like the high tiers are. Holding them back is their inability to do damage while kiting. Destruction cannot do much on the run which they have to do 80% of the time against melee cleaves.
Took a huge fall from grace with the BM hunter buffs. MM Hunters are simply outclassed by BM in every way possible. Their biggest weakness is how reliant they are on cooldown stacking for kills. They would need three spells to do the job wherein BM hunters just need one.
I know what you are thinking. Where are the those titans of the arena? Demonology Warlocks and Arcane Mages. Well, there is not enough data to put them anywhere on this list. Both specs right now just seem too gimmicky. So unfortunately, no Arcane Dreams or Demonology Realzine is enough to elevate these to competitive status.