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Which Melee Specialization Should You Play in Arena PvP for Patch 8.3?
14.02.2020 um 09:33
As we head further into 8.3, choosing a class to play will be important as you begin farming all the new content in order to PvP more successfully. There are a large number of specializations that are phenomenal in arenas - some being weaker yet viable, then very few that aren’t really worth playing. With that in mind, it’s important to choose the right class that works well for you in order to have a better gaming experience!
When it comes to choosing a class you want to pick the one that’s right for you, and there are some factors to consider that could influence your decision. Some people want to play what’s OP whereas some want to play for different reasons, so we will explore the things you should think about before choosing your class.
Before Choosing Your Class…
If you want to play a melee specialization but you aren’t sure which one to pick, you’ll want to address the 4 following things to help you decide what to play:
Do you enjoy playing the class?
Does the class have other specs that you could enjoy?
Do you have partners to play with already?
Do you enjoy playing the class?
This will be the most important thing to consider, as playing a class you enjoy will make every aspect of WoW much more enjoyable. Even if you play an overpowered class, if you don’t enjoy it then you’ll lose motivation for playing it. Playing a class you have fun on will also make it easier to have the want for PvPing as well as wanting to push yourself for PvP goals you want to achieve!
Does the class have other specs you could enjoy?
It could come down to playing a class that has multiple specs you enjoy instead of only 1 spec you enjoy. If you want a class that has more of a hybrid role, being able to heal, tank, or be a ranged DPS may make you consider choosing a different class, or maybe you want a pure melee class. Think about which class you want to play, because this is just as important as choosing your specialization.
Do you have partners to play with already?
Having partners is a necessity in playing arena. People come and go, so you may have to use the LFG tool to find partners or create friends through the game that you play with, who you enjoy playing with. Your spec could be chosen in order to play a stronger composition with your friend/partner. For instance, say your friend plays a Discipline Priest and you want to play a class that suits playing with them. You could opt for playing a Survival Hunter, which can play decently well with Disc in 2s but can also play Jungle Cleave (Feral Druid/Hunter/Discipline Priest) in 3s! Be careful when basing your decision on this, however. If you don’t enjoy it or your partner stops playing, then it can be rough to keep pursuing your goals, which is why this is the last thing to consider when playing a class!
For the following tier list rankings, bear in mind that this is for an overall ranking of 2s and 3s performances from each melee specialization. RBGs will not be taken into consideration, so if you’re mainly focused on that, this may not be the most accurate tier list for you. It also won’t consider PvE attributions that the specs are involved with.
Another thing to consider is that this tier list will be more applicable at the higher ratings of the ladder rather than lower ratings. Playing at lower rating will more likely come down to gameplay rather than the compositions themselves. Anything at Gladiator rating or below can basically work if you play the spec well. Keep in mind that the best compositions listed for each specialization are what's the best in the meta, however there are other compositions that could work for those specs as well! This tier list could also be subject to change once people have farmed full gear later on in 8.3.
S-Tier: Windwalker Monk, Havoc Demon Hunter, Unholy Death Knight, Assassination Rogues
Windwalker was already tier 1 prior to 8.3, and
since then it actually received buffs
, making it incredibly powerful in both 2s and 3s.
is an extremely powerful talent, giving a ton of healing to yourself or injured partners and converting it into a huge amount of damage. This is being buffed due to players having increased health pools, which in turn gives more healing, leading to more damage. Windwalkers have one of the highest single-target burst pressures with their
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Sturm, Erde und Feuer
being difficult to deal with if used well. They can cleave well with their
, and also have a huge arsenal of utility tools, including
Ring des Friedens
’s root, which is excellent for peeling enemy players. They are extremely mobile, having
. This mobility makes them one of the hardest specs to kill, and they can chase down most classes as well.
Best compositions to play as a Windwalker Monk:
Windwalker Monk/Holy Paladin or Windwalker Monk/Mistweaver Monk
Windwalker Monk/Death Knight (Frost or Unholy)/Healer (preferably Monk, Druid, or Shaman)
Havoc Demon Hunter
Havoc has been popular since the launch of BfA, being one of the best melee in 2s as well as a couple of powerful compositions working well in 3s - one being Demon Hunter/Death Knight/Restoration Shaman. It has a massive amount of mobility, having
to easily stick to any target. They are slippery targets for melee during their
, making it difficult to kill them for most melee-based compositions.
is a widely used PvP talent which can put any team on a time limit to win, as the Demon Hunter team can easily win on mana due to this talent. Havoc also deals a ton of damage to all targets as they mostly have Chaos damage, which bypasses armor. They also have a ton of self-healing inside their Demon Form windows due to
, making them increasingly difficult target to kill and making their healer's life easier. In terms of team utility, they have
which can negate offensive setups from the opposing team.
Best compositions to play as a Demon Hunter:
Demon Hunter/Restoration Druid, Demon Hunter/Restoration Shaman, or Demon Hunter/Mistweaver Monk
Demon Hunter/Death Knight/Healer or Windwalker Monk/Demon Hunter/Healer (preferably Shaman, Druid, or Monk)
Unholy Death Knight
Unholy is very powerful in both brackets too, dishing out an absurd amount of self-healing in the form of
s. They also have plenty of defensive cooldowns, such as
, which increases their durability in arena. Their pet abilities include
giving them plenty of interrupts which can be incredibly disruptive against any caster. They deal great overall rot damage and offer
which can prove troublesome to heal through, especially in dampening stages.
is the best spammable snare in the game, which allows partners paired with an Unholy Death Knight to not only kite with more ease but also reach their targets. With those disruption tools, as well as
, there’s no doubt that playing with an Unholy DK can increase your teams survivability.
Best compositions to play as an Unholy Death Knight:
Death Knight/Mistweaver Monk or Death Knight/Restoration Druid
Death Knight/Demon Hunter/Healer or Death Knight/Windwalker Monk/Healer (preferably Druid, Shaman, or Monk)
Even though Assassination Rogues have limited compositions compared to the other 3 melee in this tier, it remains in the S-tier as the comps it can play in both 2s and 3s are top tier and can perform excellently. In 2s, playing with a Discipline Priest or a Holy Paladin can be a formidable force in this bracket as they can overwhelm teams with high pressure from both players, as well as the Assassination Rogue locking them down with
. In 3s, Rogue/Mage/Healer is notoriously known as one of the strongest compositions in the game that is usually strong no matter what the rest of the meta looks like, with the only changeable factor being the healer. Right now, Rogue/Mage works best with Druid and Paladin, although other healers can still make it decent too. Its damage and rot pressure are hard to avoid as it’s in the form of DoT pressure from
, so they can afford to play aggressively. With good usage of
, you can easily force trinkets and big defensive cooldowns which is why Assassination Rogue is a top tier specialization.
Best compositions to play as an Assassination Rogue:
Assassination Rogue/Discipline Priest or Assassination Rogue/Holy Paladin
Assassination Rogue/Frost Mage/Restoration Druid or Assassination Rogue/Fire Mage/Holy Paladin
A-Tier: Frost Death Knight, Arms Warrior, Survival Hunter, Feral Druid
Frost Death Knight
If it were on 3s rankings alone, Frost Death Knight would be S-tier due to having the highest 2-target damage pressure out of all melee - crushing 2 players easily with
. Similar to Unholy, having
increases their self-healing by a ton, making it difficult for opponents to kill Frost Death Knights. They too have
, being able to keep up with targets better as well as kite them.
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is a lethal combination that can reduce pressure, but more importantly reduce mobility cooldowns by an absurd amount, making it difficult for even elusive classes to kite them (such as Frost Mages). However, it falls short of the S-tier due to not being strong at all in 2s as it’s difficult to get the cleave pressure off, and it lacks the single-target pressure needed for 2s. For 2s, playing Unholy Death Knight will nearly always be better.
Best compositions to play as a Frost Death Knight:
Death Knight/Mistweaver Monk or Death Knight/Holy Paladin
Windwalker Monk/Death Knight/Healer or Demon Hunter/Death Knight/Healer (preferably Druid, Shaman, or Monk)
Arms can deal a ton of pressure in both 2s and 3s as it deals damage with
Meisterschaft: Tiefe Wunden
- which are great for single or multi-target pressure. It has a unique set of utility tools that can help your team live, such as
. It can perform decently in both brackets but usually will require a top tier healer as it lacks the self-healing other melee have, making it difficult to survive in certain situations. It lacks mobility against certain classes such as Druids and Monks, making it hard to deal significant damage when being kited. Although, when it can dish out the damage, it does a ton of pressure and with
windows, you can easily force defensive cooldowns and look for kills!
Best compositions to play as an Arms Warrior:
Arms Warrior/Mistweaver Monk or Arms Warrior/Restoration Druid
Arms Warrior/Fire Mage/Mistweaver Monk or Arms Warrior/Demon Hunter/Healer (Shaman, Druid, or Monk)
Survival has a large amount of crowd control available, mostly root effects (
Netz des Fährtenlesers
) which can be extremely powerful, especially against most melee specializations. It has a high skill-cap ceiling, as you’ll have to constantly land your
s on healers as well as kiting with your limited mobility to survive. You’ll also only have 1 big defensive cooldown being
Aspekt der Schildkröte
so after this is used, you will be vulnerable to dying. Although, playing it well you can achieve the highest ratings in both brackets despite being limited with compositions; mainly having to play with a Restoration Druid in 2s, and in 3s as Jungle Cleave (Feral Druid/Survival Hunter/Discipline Priest). Due to this, it will be a spec based around offensive setups, typically landing crowd control chains on enemy healers whilst bursting down a DPS target!
Best compositions to play as a Survival Hunter:
Survival Hunter/Restoration Druid or Survival Hunter/Holy Paladin
Jungle Cleave (Feral Druid/Survival Hunter/Discipline Priest)
If you want to play a very mobile class with great burst and rot pressure, then Feral could be a good choice for you! You can
out of snares and roots, making you highly mobile and able stick to any class you want if you’re not being peeled. It can have surprising burst with your
s, which can take the enemy team by surprise and force defensive cooldowns. Ferals also have
which give quite a decent amount of off-healing, help your team survive. Having
can help a lot with peeling pressure or even looking for kills yourself! It also has a couple of decent compositions in both 2s and 3s, being able to perform well at high ratings. In 2s, you can play with a Discipline Priest or Holy Paladin as you need their extra offensive pressure in order to take down enemy teams. As for 3s, Jungle Cleave (Feral Druid/Survival Hunter/Discipline Priest) is your best comp that can slaughter teams rapidly with heavy aggression! Ferals can be incredibly squishy though, being extremely vulnerable in stuns so you may have to kite well and often in order to live.
Best compositions to play as a Feral Druid:
Feral Druid/Holy Paladin or Feral Druid/Discipline Priest
Jungle Cleave (Feral Druid/Survival Hunter/Discipline Priest)
B-Tier: Subtlety Rogue, Retribution Paladin, Fury Warrior
This spec is unique as it is all about burst setups revolving around your
windows, being able to deal big burst pressure as well as crowd control a ton with your
s on all targets! This allows for followup crowd control to land with ease and you can utilize its burst damage during heavy crowd control chains on the healer. You can further the crowd control chains yourself using
for guaranteed kill windows, or to force big defensive cooldowns! It does lack passive pressure though, especially when facing high-armored targets as most of their damage is physical, so it can be difficult to land kills against Plate wearers. Also, Orcs can be troublesome as
’s duration, meaning they have less globals of burst windows, giving you a harder time globalling down the enemy target. However, Subtlety Rogues can also play a few double DPS compositions in 2s that can work at a high rating, with the likes of a Retribution Paladin, Survival Hunter, or of course a Fire Mage, making it a fun alternative for those that want fast paced 2s games!
Best compositions to play as a Subtlety Rogue:
Subtlety Rogue/Fire Mage or Subtlety Rogue/Holy Paladin
Subtlety Rogue/Fire Mage/Healer (Holy Paladin or Discipline Priest) or Subtlety Rogue/Retribution Paladin/Holy Paladin
Retribution Paladin is a nice hybrid choice for those that want excellent burst damage paired with good defensive tools, making it easier for healers to live and maintain their mana bar.
is a powerful force to be reckoned with, being able to crush anyone in their sight as long as they can maintain uptime on them, though unfortunately this can be tricky against quite a few classes. They do have a decent toolkit, such as having
Segen des Refugiums
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Segen der Freiheit
to help their partners get out of hairy situations! They can also help with off-healing quite a lot with their
which will also help out their healer's mana bar. However, they are the most immobile melee, which can be frustrating to deal with against certain classes such as Mages whom can kite them with ease, making it difficult for the Retribution Paladin to create any pressure. They also lack good passive pressure outside of their
, making it difficult to land kills without help. It can work well in both 2s and 3s if you play it at a high level, playing Ret/Discipline Priest, Restoration Druid, or Restoration Shaman in 2s; or Warrior/Retribution Paladin/Restoration Shaman and Subtlety Rogue/Retribution Paladin/Holy Paladin in 3s.
Best compositions to play as a Retribution Paladin:
Retribution Paladin/Restoration Druid or Retribution Paladin/Discipline Priest
Retribution Paladin/Subtlety Rogue/Holy Paladin or Arms Warrior/Retribution Paladin/Healer (Shaman, Druid, or Monk)
Fury has a ton of self-healing with
, allowing you to live more easily than an Arms Warrior. Having
is every melee player's dream, allowing you to basically immune yourself from snare effects such as
, giving you an incredible amount of mobility. It can deal great passive and burst pressure to low-armored targets but lacks damage against high-armored classes. It also lacks a lot of utility in comparison to other melee, only having access to
which can make it a struggle to peel for their teammates unless they are using certain PvP talents. This can make it difficult on your teammates to survive against troublesome compositions. In 2v2 arenas, since the self-healing is nerfed due to dampening starting early, you may not be tanky enough to live until you can land a kill. As for 3s you only have 1 composition that can work, Windwalker Monk/Fury Warrior/Restoration Druid or Mistweaver Monk, which can be difficult to find a team for as they could simply use a Death Knight or a Demon Hunter instead.
Best compositions to play as a Fury Warrior:
Fury Warrior/Mistweaver Monk or Fury Warrior/Restoration Druid
Fury Warrior/Windwalker Monk/Healer (Druid or Monk)
C-Tier: Enhancement Shaman
Even though Enhancement is a hybrid class, it still lacks the off-healing and utility to help your partners live more easily compared to other hybrid classes. It can deal a lot of damage passively and it can deal a huge amount of burst pressure with its
'goes'. It really lacks a lot of self-survivability, making it incredibly difficult to live against a lot of top tier compositions such as Rogue/Mage/Paladin or Windwalker Monk/Death Knight/Healer. It’s also incredibly dire in 2s, seeing as it’s a melee-heavy bracket and most other melee are simply more powerful than an Enhancement Shaman. If you really want to play Enhancement, you can do decently in 2s but probably will not succeed at the highest ratings. It can perform better in 3s however, when paired with another good class with peeling tools and a mortal strike effect such as an Arms Warrior or a Windwalker Monk.
Best compositions to play as an Enhancement Shaman:
Enhancement Shaman/Restoration Druid or Enhancement Shaman/Mistweaver Monk
Turbo Cleave (Arms Warrior/Enhancement Shaman/Healer) or Windwalker Monk/Enhancement Shaman/Healer (preferably Druid or Monk)
D-Tier: Outlaw Rogue
Many PvE players will know Outlaw Rogue can shine in the Mythic+ setting, however it seems extremely lackluster in both arena brackets, rarely being seen at all. It had its incredible toolkit from Legion removed with
no longer affected by cooldown reduction effects, limiting their crowd control heavily. It also lacks meaningful damage against Plate wearers, being purely physical damage and lacking any bleeds or Magic pressure. As such, it’s the lowest rated melee spec for now, not being seen in either bracket at any decent rating let alone high rating. For now, Subtlety is the better version of Outlaw, as it has better burst damage and crowd control. Not to mention, Assassination is such a dominant specialization and is the simplest Rogue spec to play, meaning it is it far better and easier to avoid playing Outlaw in rated PvP. This may be subject to change with high item level, end game gear; but for now there’s not a great use for it.
Best compositions to play as an Outlaw Rogue:
Outlaw Rogue/Discipline Priest or Outlaw Rogue/Fire Mage
Outlaw Rogue/Fire Mage/Discipline Priest or Holy Paladin
Overall Strengths and Weaknesses
Below is a visual representation of the strengths and weaknesses of the melee specializations. Each aspect is rated from one star to five stars, with one star being the lowest rating and five stars being the highest.
Whilst we rank these melee from best to worst for both 2v2 and 3v3 arenas, it’s important to remember that this is for a high rating assessment, based on Rank 1 level gameplay. At lower ratings than this, other melee at lower tiers can perform just as well due to most players not achieving the skill-cap of their classes and compositions. This is why you see such different class representations, for instance, at 1800+ rating compared to 2700+ rating. It’s also based on the current meta where players are recently gearing up their characters, so compositions and class strengths could be affected later when players are closing in on their BiS (Best in Slot) pieces, which can help a ton! Also note that there are compositions not listed here that can still work very well, for instance Rogue/Mage/Priest can work very well on the ladder, but we’ve recommended some of the best compositions you can play as of now, the beginning of Season 4. Bear in mind that you can play other compositions which could achieve higher ratings but the main compositions we listed will be the most popular compositions you meet at high rated arena gameplay. Again, pick the classes you have fun on and enjoy playing so that your PvP experience will be much better!
About the Author
Joe ‘Joefernandes’ Fernandes was a European and BlizzCon Champion in 2015, is a multi Rank 1 Warrior, and is currently a commentator for WoW PvP Esports. Find him here:
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