Picking the strongest Shadowlands build or spec for a beginner will be a daunting, yet crucial task. Picking the right build will let you play through the Shadowlands content without worrying if you’ll be strong enough. Even though there’s a lot of spec diversity and builds going around in Shadowlands, in this Shadowlands New Player Class Guide we’ll be showcasing the 7 best beginner builds for melee, ranged dps and healing specs.
Shadow Priest is one of the top ranged builds out there because it has great CC, utility, damage and strong defenses. The pressure from strong DoTs and an ability to steal opponents spells in pvp are two of the many things a Shadow Priest has in their tool kit.
Shadow Priests have incredibly high spread damage in Shadowlands as you can DoT multiple targets to degen them all. Devouring Plague, Power Infusion and Void Torrent can work wonders when it comes to single target damage output as well, so a Shadow Priest really doesn’t lack in any area in the latest patch of the game. Even though a SP build is a light armor caster, it is usually very hard to take down due to Dispersion, Greater Fade and Desperate Prayer which increases max health by 25% for 10 seconds, negating any moves to try and one-shot you.
The main problem of a new player playing a Shadow Priest will be having to keep track of DoT timers on enemies and what they are doing, as well as assisting your teammates to keep them alive with Shadow Mend and shields. But overall this is an excellent build unless you’re really keen on pushing the ladder fast, as these things can only be learnt over time.
One of the highly recommended melee builds is the windwalker dps monk because he has among the highest mobility in the game due to Transcendance, Roll and Flying Serpent. Windwalker monk offers great melee damage which combined with his mobility spells can be brutal, especially for PvP Arena. High tier legendaries such as Escape from Reality and Keefer’s Skyreach work wonders for a windwalker monk. Escape from Reality allows you to cast Transcendance twice in a 10 second period whilst Keefer’s Skyreach turns Tiger Palm (your main generator) into a 10 yard range dash along with increasing the critical strike chance to a target for 6 seconds.
Windwalker Monks are one of the highest single target and aoe outputs in Shadowlands due to the damage from Fists of Fury which offers a natural AoE for free.
As if the high damage output and mobility weren’t enough, a Windwalker monk can also support the team by boosting movement speed with Tiger’s Lust and Ride the Wind.
Arms Warriors are usually what people would consider as the standard melee dps build that is tanky and able to dish out a lot of damage whilst providing the team with a lot of useful utility. If you’re looking to pvp, this build is excellent as it allows you to support the team by using Intervene to intercept all melee and ranged attacks being cast on an ally. Intervene is a great spell because it can be combo’d with Ignore Pain to redirect abilities such as Kidney Shot and Blind. War Banner is another great support skill that Arms Warriors have to offer, as it throws a banner on the floor which boosts your allies’ movement speed by 30% and reduces the duration of all CC by 50%.
Arm Warrior damage comes from Mortal Strike, Overpower and Slam. Mortal Strike is the highest damage source which also adds deep wounds to the target.
Overall, Arm Warriors are extremely great at shutting down casters due to Intervene, while also performing really well versus melee cleaves because Bladestorm and Sweeping Strike have great AoE dps output which gets an additional increase from the new Covenant Spear of Bastion ability. These things make the a great all-rounder spec that will be great for PvP and majority of PvE content.
Mages are very popular ranged dps choices for PvE and PvP. A Frost Mage offers great damage and control along with high mobility. Frost Nova, Cone of Cold and Ice Nova offer great CC to deny any potential melee attackers and if they ever do connect, you’ll have Ice Barrier. With a lot of burst damage, Frost Mages are great for pvp because of the combination with Shatter, Ice Lance and Frozen Orb. These are all instant high damage spells that will prove to be an insane amount of dps if you can rotate them well enough.
Frost Mages are one of the best PvP setups right now as they excel in most team compositions.
Restoration Shamans are one of the strongest healers in the Shadowlands expansion thanks to a great amount of buffs to Riptide and Earth Shield. A Shaman will be strong for both PvE and PvP as it has a great all-round spell kit of utilities and support abilities for a lot of things. Even though Restoration Shaman aren’t really about the damage, Shadowlands now allows you to use Lava Burst and Flame Shock to deal a good amount of damage, which makes a deadly combo when paired with instant healing from skills.
Overall, a Restoration Shaman will be great for a lot of the content and a support powerhouse in Arena settings.
A much easier alternative to a Shadow Warlock, Affliction Warlocks are excellent at doing high damage while not having to worry with uptime of utility skills. These builds excel at high pressure as all their damage comes from DoT which works wonders in PvP. If done right, a single Affliction Warlock can have the highest damage output out of all other classes and if you cast your skills well you can pressure a whole group with ease.
Agony and Corruption are the instant Damage over Time effects that will do insane amounts of damage while also slowing enemies by 50% (provided you’re using the legendary Sacrolash). Dark Soul: Misery, Darkglare and Rapid Contagion are also must-haves as they boost the power of DoT effects allowing you to drain enemies even quicker.
As like most caster builds, an Affliction Warlock will suffer from mobility. In particular, on an AW you’ll only have Demonic Circle and Demonic Gateway so knowing when to use these will be crucial in avoiding certain opponent skills.
A discipline priest is the best and most unique healing spec you’ll want to play if you want to focus on a support role that can utilize damage in order to heal. This makes an incredible pvp healer that can also do PvE content in a solid group. Discipline Priests convert a portion of their damage done into heals via Atonement– a buff that you cast on a teammate. In case you find yourself needing strong basic heal spells, you’re covered with Shadow Mend, Penance and Power Word: Radiance as these are incredible heals that offer great burst heals in a short period of time.
Pain Suppression (reduces all dmg done to an ally by 40% for 6 sec), Power Word: Barrier and Rupture are excellent skills for both Pve and PvP as they negate huge amounts of damage done to your allies providing them with a lot of survivability.
The only main weakness of a Discipline Priest for most content is going to be consistent melee damage output because it doesn’t allow you to utilize the heal from atonement as it forces you to rotate the main healing skills instead. This forces you to practice good positioning and communication with the team.