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Shadowlands Healer Rankings - Best Healers for Mythic+ Season 1
15.12.2020 um 02:34
Automaticjak analyzes the types of dungeons in Shadowlands and the Prideful Affix from a Healer point of view, discussing the strengths and weaknesses of each spec, going over what the Best Healers will be for Mythic+! If you're on the fence about what Healer to play for Mythic+, this may help you decide on a spec!
Need help picking a class? Check out the articles in our Shadowlands Season 1 series!
Mythic Castle Nathria
DPS in Mythic Castle NathriaTanks in Mythic Castle NathriaHealers in Mythic Castle Nathria
Mythic+ Season 1
DPS in Mythic+ Season 1Tanks in Mythic+ Season 1Healers in Mythic+ Season 1
Tier Lists are a constant throughout gaming and especially World of Warcraft. With the incredible interest in the more competitive sides of the game and the proliferation of stream and youtube content in WoW, its only natural that players want to know how to improve to get the greatest edge. In this article, we'll attempt to look at the relative value of healers strictly in the context of Season 1 Mythic of Shadowlands. Specifically, we'll look dungeon by dungeon at where certain healers can shine when it comes to handling certain enemy forces, bosses and the more niche benefits that each brings to a group.
Before we begin, it's important to mention that Shadowlands Season 1 will be the
closest healer balance
in quite a long time. This is due to Shadowlands dungeons having a far greater amount of party-wide pressure, more diversified dispel mechanics, more flexible skips through engineering,
and of course
. Inevitably some healers will always be more likely to rise to the top of the Mythic+ hierarchy and be featured more prominently by streamers and representation leaderboard. While not every healer will be at the same level, all healers are more than capable of pushing higher level keystones with the gap between them far closer than Battle for Azeroth's Seasons.
The class groupings you see do not infer that a healer is incapable of healing a moderate to high level mythic+ key but instead highlight why some specializations perform so well and assess the potential next healing meta. Additionally, returning players can use this information to determine which healer they might be most interested in playing. Do note that typically a skilled non-meta healer will outperform a unskilled meta healer and I always recommend playing the healer you're most comfortable with to see the best results. From experience, I've pushed high mythic+ for years as Discipline Priest, dating back to
and the biggest thing about improving at Mythic+ is so much more on pushing yourself to improve as a player and worrying about your class 2nd.
About the Author
This guide is written and maintained by
, Healer for
on US-Illidan, author of the
He is also the Host of the official World of Warcraft
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The Dungeons of the Shadowlands
Shadowlands Season 1 begins with 8 unique dungeons spread across the 4 primary continents beyond the Veil. With the vast differences between each covenant will also feature vast differences in the types of enemies that you will face in each of these dungeons, providing multiple opportunities for different healers to shine. For the purposes of this article, we'll analyze each dungeon in turn, discussing important parts of the dungeons and where certain specs will shine relative to the others. For complete guides of each dungeon, be sure to check out the
Shadowlands Mythic+ Guide
and individual dungeon guides.
Die Blutigen Tiefen
The Sanguine Depths features a mixture of humanoid and abberation-type enemies scattered throughout the narrow halls of the prison. Close-quarters, multiple ground effects like
or cleave effects like
make for some serious annoyances for healers focused in melee that will constantly be on their toes to avoid death. The end of the dungeon features a lengthy gauntlet, forcing healers to stay in combat for a lengthy amount of time, testing their mana-efficiency heavily.
Dispels will be a mixture of curses like
Fluch der Unterdrückung
or magical debuffs applied en-masse to your party through high quantities of enemies casting
. Shamans and Druids will have an easy time of making up for missed interrupts through their curse dispels while Priests will enjoy the ease at removing the high quantity of debuffs through
On boss encounters, you'll have immediate throughput tests with pulsing AoE from the first encounter for every
Essenz des Lebens
you collect before it impacts the boss, ticking damage from
on the second encounter and a mass burst of damage from
Ritus der Vorherrschaft
with follow up ticks on the third encounter. The final encounter can have low damage or very high depending on the skill of your group to dodge the boss' strikes which leave behind
. In all, high-mobility healers will be very beneficial in these areas, as will healers with powerful cooldowns to sustain throughput required on the boss fights at higher level keystones.
Sanguine Depths Guide
Hallen der Sühne
The Halls of Atonement quickly became one of the most popular dungeons on Beta due to how open the instance is, giving many opportunities to create huge pulls but also create great flexibility in the type of routes that are featured. As part of the Revendreth storyline, this dungeon is filled almost entirely by Venthyr humanoids with a few beasts and mechanical type enemies in the mix as well.
Following the Venthyr-theme there are two primary curses to deal with in the dungeon. At high levels the
Fluch der Auslöschung
could come close to one-shotting a player when it expires if there is no dispel present but a defensive or some absorption could make do. Outside of a couple simple magical dispel affects there are also a great many bleeds featured from beast-type enemies that will afflict the tank, dealing very heavy damage.
Clearing trash to activate the first boss will require defeating three mini versions of the first boss. Each casting
dealing extremely heavy pulsing damage. While it can be outranged, your tank will still need very heavy focused healing along with any other melee that are in there as well. This is the first healing challenge that goes on in the instance and is favorable to healers who can rapidly scale up their healing to meet the challenge.
The instance features a couple easy boss fights with the second and final bosses providing a much greater healing challenge.
for example curses the entire party with
Fluch des Steins
all but requiring at least one curse dispel to allow the targeted player to move out of his stomp. Failure to do so can all but kill the player as you go higher. The final fight features very focused healing required for the tank and one other player as soaking the statue beams can be done by two players at a time.
Halls of Atonement Guide
Die Nebel von Tirna Scithe
Is a generally fast and focused dungeon. With some options for enemy forces skips early on but not as much freedom as the previous dungeon. Following the Ardenweald theme, humanoids and beasts are ever-present. This dungeon only has three bosses and as a result can go by quickly, especially with a large amount of enemy forces present at the end of the dungeon allowing you to easily pull a large quantity of enemies together at once.
Enemy buffs are also very prominent throughout the dungeon, seeking to slow down some of these larger pulls.
for example applies magical shields to all nearby allies, destroying pulls for unprepared players.
are simple buffs that should be removed or interrupted rapidly. There is a required maze after the first boss favoring healer that can move rapidly between the stones to discover the true path while still providing some extra damage at the same time.
The second boss will feature ever-increasing ticking damage throughout the intermission phases, favoring teams with rapid responses to discover the imposter and quickly end them. Much of the area is decently wide, giving melee healers an easy time maneuvering around enemies to avoid void zones.
Mists of Tirna Scithe Guide
Die Andre Seite
De Other Side has very high diversity in enemies that you encounter, mechs, undead, beasts, and humanoids all present with minimal choice in enemy forces skips until you reach the Ardenweald wing. Similar to Mists of Tirna Scithe in that there is one area with extremely high enemy forces and the rest of the instance has minimal wiggle room to skip. Curses and Enrages are present throughout the Ardenweald wing, Diseases and Enrages are out in the inner circle and magical debuffs are in
Hakkar der Seelenschinder
's wing. Disease dispels are likely the most important as they clobber your tank on some of the pulls and their removal will make the tank's life much easier.
's are particularly important in this dungeon as the enraged enemies are often elites that cannot be slowed, unlike in Halls of Atonement where enraged enemies can be more simply kited.
From boss design,
Hakkar der Seelenschinder
favor mobile healers who can rapidly respond to the mass AoE from
Hakkar der Seelenschinder
or the focused single target healing required by
. The Manastorms will feature a mixture of both but are more forgiving of static healers in many cases.
gives the team some good exercise, having them run around and do a bit of healing before they blast all of his images and nuke him down.
De Other Side Guide
Theater der Schmerzen
The Theater of Pain in Maldraxxus has a whopping five boss fights and is rich in design. With three separate wings underground featuring the different houses of the Necrolords there is an absolute mess of undead enemies here. Following the undead/plague theme, that also means there are a number of diseases, with a couple of curses mixed in for good measure.
features good value as does Purge effects from Priest and Shaman.
The most deadly and trying of boss encounters will test your single target healing in a great many ways. The most notable is
, who pumps out massive single target damage with the dispellable (but placed on two allies at a time)
. When these abilities combine due to the boss' spell queue they can be absolutely deadly for players without an immediate answer. The fighter's wing features undead with many bleed affects, the Lich wing features multiple dispellable magic effects at once on small platforms with deadly void zones, frontals and mass aoe events like
. The final wing is disease city, with tons of damage split amongst your party in uneven ways.
The final boss tests your mobility in dodging void zones, charges, frontals and draw in effects like
making mobility, strong passive healing, or a powerhouse cooldown a requirement at higher level keys. If they edited
to not double-tap players who receive both debuffs this would be the most "fair" dungeon and most fun when it comes to healing on boss encounters.
Theater of Pain Guide
Throughout many years of being a Priest writer and player, I always thought some dungeons that over-featured poisons like Darkheart Thicket were really unfair to those who didn't have poison dispels. Plaguefall is now the reverse effect, creating an
punishing environment for Shamans and Druids who lack that critical disease removal. While these diseases won't feature the one-shots that were seen at high levels of Darkheart, many of these debuffs lack an appropriate "counter play" for these healers beyond just doing more healing.
On the other hand, both have access to root effects which can be very important for dealing with the first boss which sends messes of slimes towards himself that will heal on impact. While the instance itself is massive, the room to fight enemies is often on narrow corridors, small islands or thin peninsulas making it difficult to position while avoiding void zones, frontals, and cleaves.
Plaguefall is really the poster-child for the new dungeons that Shadowlands brings in many respects. Melee-unfriendly mechanics, consistent party wide damage, sometimes in even quantities through the ticking damage of
, or uneven from
's spawned minions. While it fits thematically with the instance to have many diseases, I would also argue that it goes too far in disadvantaging druids and shamans and should have some of these trash-based debuffs turned into magical effects.
Die Nekrotische Schneise
affix and seasonal affixes in general really heavily shape how you interact with the content. In Necrotic Wake, you also have to look at how the various items scattered across the dungeon also change the enemies in this dungeon.
all deal heavy damage and provide some strong utility to the dungeon runs. Like other necrolord-themed dungeons, theres a heavy emphasis on undead, diseases and some humanoids.
Skips are a lot more likely with some early runs in Beta featuring stealth classes going ahead and allowing players to get onto their 2 or 3 seater mounts to skip around enemies. While that is unlikely to be the determining strategy, there certainly are benefits to stealth and their equivalents in this dungeon. The first boss' room has far too many enemies in it at the start, reducing your space to move around with many kicks required and elites with heavy pulsing aoe damage. While there are a few diseases in this dungeon they're really at the sweet spot where they are helpful to be able to dispel but not debilitating for the healers that cannot remove them.
Soothes are once again featured in a few areas with
from the enemy forces and
, the 2nd boss. Their removal with
is helpful but not as extreme as soothes were in King's Rest for example. While many of the above dungeons generally feature more split damage onto the party, Necrotic Wake breaks from this dungeon and has more traditional extreme single-target tank damage as a focus like Battle for Azeroth featured. Enemy melee strikes on the tank seem to hit a bit harder here and group wide damage seems to be more easily able to be shut down through interrupts or simply to be avoided entirely by skipping the right enemies.
The largest threat is from
who will again decimate your tank with his constructs. Be prepared for constant single target support throughout this instance, favoring those Monks and Paladins who have are absolute monsters at this role.
Necrotic Wake Guide
Spitzen des Aufstiegs
Humanoids, magic damage, bleeds galore! Spires of Ascension is filled with RP/Lore breaks in the dungeon as angels take you from platform to platform allowing healers to regain a significant amount of mana between pulls. Many pulls in the dungeon challenge your group's interrupts and their single target. Healers with purge abilities will love giving their allies
s throughout the dungeon offering a solid damage boost for challenging pulls.
Boss fights are heavily single-target in focus with heavy tank pressure on the first boss, followed by lengthy DoTs on dps or healers from the mechanical bosses on 2 and 3. Finally
will challenge the mobility of your healers and their sustained healing, making Grievous in here a particular challenge. There is a decent mix of narrow corridors and wide open balconies allowing for some skip potential and choice in routing.
Spires of Ascension Guide
Overall Thoughts on Shadowlands Season 1 Dungeons
Season 1 is defined by
Shadowlands Mythic+ Season 1 Guide
is, in many ways, reminiscent of
. Much like the affix of yore, this one causes a
to spawn the moment the forces cleared in the dungeon goes past 20%, 40%, 60%, 80% and 100%. This mob does some pulsing AoE damage to the entire group when it spawns; it then engages you in combat. It has two abilities:
is a pulsing AoE emitted from the
Manifestation des Stolzes
, with a 65yd range. Each time it is cast, the
Manifestation des Stolzes
gains a stack of
, increasing the damage this does by 40%, stacking. There is nothing you can do to prevent this other than killing it before it kills you.
causes a player to grow in size and be surrounded by four red orbs. These orbs follower the player's hitbox, and turn as they do. After a short period of time, each orb emits a beam in the direction it was pointing in.
Prideful is extremely dangerous to all healers and heavily test the healer's capability to pump steady, ever increasing healing on demand. When you defeat it, your entire group gains
, granting everybody damage, movement speed, and mana regen. This is the
ideal time to pull big
! As a result, many DPS will try to HOLD their cooldowns during Prideful meaning the best healers for handling this affix will be those who have enough cooldowns or natural high throughput to heal through the maximum 20 stacks for an extended period of time.
Another important factor to consider is the
slower rate of mana return from water
that you likely will have noticed by now, greatly punishing mana inefficient healers. Prideful will regenerate your mana but you need to be able to stretch your resource until the next buff to ensure good momentum in the dungeon. Healers with a less efficient kit can be a downside if you have to stop the group to top off on mana.
Group damage in these dungeons is very high compared to BFA making it much more important for healers to be mindful of their healing cooldowns and for the preparation that may be required to rapidly scale up their healing when a new pack is pulled. Mana efficiency, split/spread/cleave healing are all going to be important tools and while healer damage is always valuable, will be less of a priority in Shadowlands when healers will spend more time healing compared to BfA where tanks could sustain themselves and healers could focus more on their damage.
As mentioned previously, these rankings do not indicate the capability of a class to heal M+ dungeons. Playing what you're most familiar and comfortable with will usually result in the most success for your team and ALL healers can certainly complete their +14/15 dungeon weeklies when properly geared. These rankings are meant to give you an idea how each of these classes will likely perform when players are fully geared and pushing into the high teens and 20s.
In a shock and surprise to everyone, Restoration Druid continues to be the most reliable Mythic+ healer for the third expansion running. This doesn't mean that a Resto Druid is always #1 on the Raider.IO scoreboards but they will consistently enjoy very high representation in high level mythic+ and minimal friction in getting into Mythic+ groups.
and many more resources at druids disposal all seem to find value here and there in a variety of situations when it comes to dungeon content. For dispels, as I mentioned in the dungeons there still remain a solid amount of poisons and curses but there will be a few areas like Plaguefall that will annoy the Druids with diseases.
When dealing with
continues to be a massive ally in accelerating their healing to match with that of the Prideful enemy, greatly enabling their team to hold valuable cooldowns for even more aggressive moves at the highest levels of Mythic+. From a Pick Up Group perspective, even without getting players stacked for
healing, Druid is still able to effectively heal through heavy incoming damage better than many other healers more than earning it first mention in this list.
Restoration Druid Guide
Shamans have received the most insane glow-up going into the Shadowlands out of any of the healers when it comes to Mythic+ gameplay. Frequently on the lower end of the Mythic+ spectrum over the last couple expansions, Resto Shamans are absolute beasts in dungeons now that
hits like a
with a low cooldown, covenant synergy, and a significant HoT attached to it. While it is nice that
is now baseline for the spec, its main purpose really boils down to just buffing
and any other heals that you need to toss onto your tank. While Shamans can not dispel poisons or diseases, their
can negate poisons/diseases from applying in some cases and
finds value in a great many dungeons.
When it comes to
, they're exceptional at that as well and not nearly as tied to stacked healing as some would believe. While they'd love to stack players in
Totem der Geistverbindung
if damage gets heavy they can also do extremely well in disorganized Pick Up Groups thanks to the popular
from the Necrolord covenant and the synergy it generates with the rest of their kit. Shamans have incredible muscle when it comes to healing dungeon content in Shadowlands thanks to further bolstered spread and single target throughput, combined with dungeon content that deal damage more consistently to all players this makes Shaman a much more powerful spec for everything that Shadowlands throws at it.
Restoration Shaman Guide
Often slept on, Mistweavers more than earn their place in the frontrunner category for Season 1 of Shadowlands Mythic+. They have top-flight single target output to support the tank, reliable utility and decent damage and damage-buffing resources. Despite their lack of damage reduction resources, they will continue to excel at tank healing and spread healing as well thanks to
to increasing the efficiency of their
to heal all allies with
. This will be very significant on Prideful, making the Mistweaver indifferent to whether players stack or spread when Prideful is growing in power.
Chi-Ji den Roten Kranich beschwören
can effectively neutralize higher levels of
on its own but does require some ramp up time to reach full strength on the party.
When it comes to dispels, Monk covers Poisons and Diseases with ease giving it very strong flexibility in most dungeons and has powerful utility in
Ring des Friedens
. Many will cite Mistweaver's perceived poor mana efficiency as a downside for the spec but the off-gcd
saves tremendous mana as well as effective use out of
to maintain healing on allies for longer periods of time to make your healing more effective. One major trap I'd advise Mistweaver players not to fall into is bringing
Uralte Lehren des Klosters
into higher level keystones. With
as the activator, this legendary will consume far too much mana to effectively stretch your resources until the next prideful enemy.
While Mistweaver is consistently the lowest-represented healer, it still has the tools to perform highly in a Mythic+ environment even if the quantity of Monk players is low.
Mistweaver Monk Guide
On the Bubble
For the reasons listed below, these next three specializations are able to do higher level Mythic+ but will more rapidly hit breakpoints where they will struggle in higher level dungeons. Many of these are throughput-related as Shadowlands requires a much heavier amount of healing for the entire group than BFA prior.
The last time I wrote an article of this type for Season 4, I was discussing the damage nerfs that Discipline had received before the Nyalotha raid that pushed down its value for Awakened Mythic+. The exact same situation has happened again as the lack of
independent tuning nobs
for the spec has taken a "front-runner" spec and pushed it down to be on the bubble with two other healers. Whenever
is at a valuable and solid level for Mythic+ it is
too powerful for a raid and gets nerfed. For those players who love playing the spec in Mythic+, it is infuriating to move away from all of these wonderful damage abilities,
Läuterung des Bösen
and instead be forced to
spam in order to keep your allies alive.
Discipline’s utility is often fairly lopsided for a Mythic+ environment, bringing strong defensives with
, but lacking severely in crowd control with just
to serve that role.
certainly helps the spec in providing additional utility and value for the dungeon environment but at the end of the day healing is
big factor determining the success of healers at the highest levels in Shadowlands Mythic+ and there is a lot of doubt if Discipline can properly lean on
to do the heavy lifting that Prideful and Tyrannical bosses will require.
Discipline Priest Guide
Now I don't mean to throw Paladins under the bus on this one as they could be above Discipline but definitely look to be On the Bubble for this season. Paladins have powerful dispels with poisons and diseases and good utility with
Hammer der Gerechtigkeit
Segen des Schutzes
Segen der Freiheit
Segen der Aufopferung
. Notably they have
damage in part thanks to
Schild der Rechtschaffenen
being available for Holy Paladins which also opens up some
The issue at hand for Paladins however, is that they are so HEAVILY tied to healing with cooldowns that the gaps in between Wings, or
leave the party extremely vulnerable. While
do provide some more reliable sustain and that combo is very helpful in Prideful, you're often incredibly challenged by the momentum of your group, killing a difficult pack, going right into prideful and having just a short period of time to damage the prideful enemy before the damage ramps so heavily that you're spamming for your life. Part of this is due to the lack of a satisfying "mana dump" for the spec. Paladins are incredibly efficient healers so even spamming Flash alone will not dig you out of bad situation the way a Mistweaver could use
to do so.
I believe this throughput challenge to be better dealt with for full mythic 226+ geared Paladins and certainly for the spec to improve rapidly over time. With the increase in party-wide damage in Shadowlands dungeons this looks to be a more significant issue compared to the mostly single target focused BfA dungeons. Paladin will climb rapidly this expansion but Season 1 looks to be more famine than feast for the spec.
Holy Paladin Guide
While MUCH improved going into Shadowlands, Holy Priest is almost where it needs to be to hit that competitive stride when it comes to Mythic+. With a short list of utility to bring to the table, like Disc (
), it has a weak external and more heavily relies on
healing through the damage rather than mitigating it or better yet, leaning on powerful HoTs like Shamans and Druids to support. The defensive in
can have a much lower cooldown through
but isn’t much of a defensive when your tank does not actively heal themself.
The upside is that Holy is certainly in a better position than Season 4 of Battle for Azeroth as the dungeon content itself is more group focused, allowing for good value from
Kreis der Heilung
Gebet der Besserung
. But the downside is that there is still very solid tank pressure that Holy simply doesn't have enough answers for.
is an excellent bounceback tool, but the follow up Mastery healing never really seems to do enough to help stabilize after the fact. While Holy Priest relies on its mastery and gets better use out of
now, they are not quite as able to focus their healing in the manner that a Druid could with their mastery or a Shaman could thanks to earth shield's permanent 20% healing buff on the target. The net result is that Holy has to spam
when they get caught off-guard and for much higher cost than its other healers, pushing its mana efficiency into the floor and making it more challenging to have reliable momentum in the dungeon.
Holy has often been on the outside looking in at a variety of healer specializations that have dominated Mythic+ tiers for years now. The key crux of Holy's problems are being able to shape their healing kit for a 5 man situation and talents generally fill in the role of shaping how a spec players in X type of content. Legendaries could do this as well and
looks to be close, but with the low uptime, high ramp and immobility costs looks to be too many downsides to shore up the spec's problems when it comes to dungeons. Season 2 should better look to address Holy's talents and/or legendaries to get this spec fully into the mix.
Holy Priest Guide
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