The most broken tier sets in PvP come from Shadowlands and are on the PTR. Find out what the top 5 tiers are, why they’re so strong and how you can counter them!
Patch 9.2 for Shadowlands introduces a slew of new mechanisms that will have a huge influence on player power and upend the game’s balance in all areas. Among these features is the long-awaited return of tier set benefits, which will be extensively employed in competitive PvP settings for the first time in a long time.
Piecez, our Fire Mage PvP writer, will be demonstrating his predictions for the greatest tier set bonuses in the context of PvP, as well as a sample of bonuses that have previously been available and the possible positives and downsides that might result from them.
Bonuses come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Before we hop into the Top 5 list, I want to highlight and categorize some of the common Bonuses come in a variety of shapes and sizes. that have been available in recent memory and the impact they have had on PvP. While none of these are inherently unhealthy for the game, I believe the saying is “everything in moderation”. Three of the main types of power bonuses that come to mind are:
If you’re interested in some examples of the impact these Bonuses come in a variety of shapes and sizes. have had on WoW arena, feel free to check out the table below. If not, skip to the Top 5 List.
Pros: Provides players with a feeling of control over their damage output while also allowing for some skill expression while doing harm. Cons: Stacking an excessive number of modifiers might result in “one-shot” situations, in which players die very quickly and have little chance for counterplay.
Fire Mage has long reigned supreme when it comes to stacking damage modifiers, and Shadowlands may be the finest example of this. Fire Mage has been able to sync these abilities with strong hitting skills like Meteor and Pyroblast (with the help of the off-GCD Fire Blast) to immediately destroy players with little time to respond thanks to Infernal Cascade, Combustion, Rune of Power, and Disciplinary Command.
Many of these modifiers have had their strength nerfed numerous times in an effort to bring Fire Mage burst down to a more manageable level.
Pros: Allows for less static and programmed cooldown use, as well as allowing classes who are highly dependent on cooldowns to use them. Cons: On classes with significant cooldowns, high levels of cooldown reduction frequently neutralize their main vulnerability, making it harder to find flaws in their game plan.
The Sacred Paladins in Battle for Azeroth and the corruption of the Ineffable Truth are the most visible examples of CDR spinning out of hand. For a long time, Avenging Wrath has been one of the most powerful healer cooldowns in the game, frequently being able to fight the most powerful offensive cooldowns. Sacred Paladins were able to get very high uptime on Avenging Wrath as well as produce some amusing interactions with Fist of Justice with sufficiently strong RNG, enabling them to compound on these CDR mechanisms to reset the cooldown of Hammer of Justice before the stun even expired.
Some efforts to change these interactions were attempted, but these had to be restored owing to unanticipated implications for other classes that used similar concepts.
Pros: Improves the viability of classes with competitive damage output and utility but low durability. Cons: High degrees of passive mitigation may lead to protracted, monotonous confrontations where your decisions seem insignificant until Dampening comes in.
While none of the tier sets I’ll be mentioning today have direct defensive bonuses, some of them do indirectly trigger defensive effects so I wanted to bring this up as these are often the Bonuses come in a variety of shapes and sizes. that have historically been viewed negatively. The most recent example of powerful defensive bonuses in arena that comes to mind is the middle-to-late Battle of Azeroth. Players were given access to powerful defensive Azerite traits like Azerite Fortification, weapons such as Trident of Deep Ocean, trinkets like Void Stone and Bloodthirsty Urchin, and eventually a stacking Versatility amplifier from corruptions.
While these boosts increased the viability of squishier classes, they also slowed down the game’s tempo and decreased participation. Many of these effects have to be tweaked in the end to speed up the PvP flow.
PvP’s Top 5 Most Powerful Tier Sets
Disclaimer: These benefits are not listed in any particular sequence, and their strengths may change by the time the Shadowlands 9.2 patch is released. This list considers the relative power of the specialty and class in the current meta, as well as the tier bonus’s design.
Fire Mages have long been regarded as a top-tier caster in PvP, and these set enhancements only serve to emphasize the specialization’s major attraction. The 2-set isn’t very noteworthy; combustion seldom lasts the whole length before being extinguished. Having said that, it’s a good advantage against compositions that lack offensive dispels or scenarios where you can lock down opponents who can counter Combustion, especially when combined with the 4-set and the several modifications Fire Mage has access to during Combustion.
The actual kicker comes from the 4-set bonus, which is based on a highly potent Azerite Essence called Lucid Dreams that was available during Battle for Azeroth. One of the problems you could have as a Fire Mage in PvP is bursting your resources/cooldowns and having your opponent counter with a powerful defense to stop your offensive push, and this Lucid Dreams-like effect might help you lengthen your burst phase so you can change to a new target. This will be particularly useful for Rogue/Mage/Holy Priests, since the typical setup includes using Holy Word: Chastise and Dragon’s Breath on off-targets, allowing them to be stunned for the entire duration on a switch.
One thing to keep in mind is that this CDR mechanism is linked to your Combustion, which makes it likely more effective than Lucid Dreams in terms of damage output, especially because Lucid Dreams had a 2 minute cooldown and Combustion’s cooldown may be lowered with Kindling and Pyrokinesis. Even yet, Lucid Dreams has some strong defensive features (Leech and a Versatility boost), so it’s not completely better.
Hunter of Demons
- 4-Set – Deadly Dance – Every fifth Blade Dance or Death Sweep’s cooldown and cost are automatically refunded. Casting this enhanced Blade Dance or Death Sweep has a 15% chance of resetting the cooldown and cost of the spell.
Hunter of Demonss are in a unique position from a PvP standpoint. The class has unparalleled levels of sustained damage but also access to hefty consistent burst in 30 second cycles with Fel Eruption and Eye Beam. Hunter of Demons is also a class that utilizes a multitude of modifiers to amp up its burst with Demonic, Isolated Prey, First Blood, Dancing with Fate, and Demon Soul. Looking at how many raw modifiers Hunter of Demonss use to beef up Blade Dance and Death Sweep makes these bonuses a clear contender for the strongest tier set. Death Sweep packs a punch and the cooldown refund is going to create some scary burst windows as well as allowing for some level of skill expression for players who are able to line up the cooldown reset during Demonic windows.
Aside from raw damage throughput, it’s worth mentioning that 9.2 is bringing the ability to equip two Legendary slots which will lead to some interesting interactions. For Hunter of Demons, one of the issues they have often struggled with as a class is survivability and many high-profile Hunter of Demonss have already swapped to Necrolord to shore up this weakness. The Necrolord legendary is another tool that aids in survivability as Demonic Oath will apply Fiery Brand to nearby enemies when you kill your demon from Fodder to the Flame. The level of durability and damage Hunter of Demons is gaining in 9.2 leads me to believe these bonuses are going to be quite strong.
- 4-Set – Primordial Potential – After you’ve used 10 offensive abilities, your following three offensive abilities deal an extra 22% damage.
If there was a melee version of Fire Mage, I think Monk Windwalkers would have to take the title. Monk Windwalkers have so many ways to stack modifiers (depending on Covenant/Talent/Legendary choice) with options like Keefer’s Skyreach, Serenity, Weapons of Order/Bonedust Brew alongside the corresponding conduits that they can often create kill scenarios that are virtually impossible to react to unless you’re hyper-aware of their cooldown usage.
While the 2-set is a significant modifier on Fists of Fury, I anticipate the 4-set to provide the most of the power. The 4-set allows you to manage and line up your burst around powerful hitting abilities like Rising Sun Kick and Whirling Dragon Punch, but Fists of Fury provides fair damage over a longer period of time.
There isn’t anything unique or innately flashy about this tier set bonus that leads me to believe it will be strong, Monk Windwalkers are just an extremely powerful class and I’m confident that skilled players utilizing the 4-set bonus during burst windows will shine that much brighter.
Hunter for Survival
Hunters are one of the few pure DPS classes that have three viable PvP specs and all of their tier set bonuses appear quite powerful. For today, I’m going to focus on the Hunter for Survival tier set bonus as its design stands out as the most impactful in a PvP environment.
Hunter for Survivals have a wide variety of damage sources but Wildfire Bomb is one of the burstiest abilities in their toolkit. Looking at the 2-set, you’ll be activating this quite often during Pheromone Bomb with Wildfire Infusion and potentially gaining a huge 80% modifier on subsequent bombs. This kind of bonus burst is important to note as one of the strongest hunter compositions is Junglecleave (Feral Druid/Hunter/Healer) which revolves around dishing out high pressure during crowd control chains.
This set benefit is substantially greater in multi-target scenarios than in single-target situations from a mathematical sense. Personally, I’m going to chalk it up to another advantage for Junglecleave, since the composition excels at tunneling healers, forcing the other team to dogpile for Wildfire Bomb.
This might be one of the more controversial picks for this list as Sacred Paladins have fallen from grace in favor of more throughput-based healers such as Restoration Druid. However, that is precisely the reason why I am including Sacred Paladin in this list as I think this tier bonus has the potential to cover the specializations major weakness.
Sacred Paladins have a history of being absolute gods during their cooldown periods and quite lackluster outside of them. In Battle for Azeroth, this weakness was almost completely eliminated via the Ineffable Truth corruption, which is what this 4-set bonus reminds me of the most. From what I have observed on the PTR, there are a variety of Kyrian and Necrolord builds that generate excess amounts of Holy Power that will enable extremely high Avenging Wrath uptime. As it stands, I expect the 9.2 meta to be fast-paced which is an environment that Sacred Paladin thrives in, especially if they are able to access Avenging Wrath often.
Given how strong Sacred Paladins were early on in Shadowlands, I truly think these set bonuses have the potential to propel them back to the top.
In overall, Shadowlands Patch 9.2 introduces a slew of intriguing new features, and I believe that the addition of double Legendary items, as well as these tier set benefits, will result in some high-octane gaming. As you can see from this list, high damage modifications on hard striking abilities, as well as cooldown reduction mechanisms, are two major themes in what I consider to be a solid set bonus. Some of the tuning may need to be revisited, particularly with so many variables to consider, such as item level and conduit scaling, but I’m looking forward to seeing how the meta develops!
Piecez has been a Rank 1 Mage since the Burning Crusade and has previously represented Complexity Limit. Most notably, he won the Armageddons 3v3 competition and has competed in many BlizzCon and MDI regionals. He also has 10 Rank 1 titles in all three specialities that he holds entirely on Mage. Here’s where you can find him:
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