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Raid & Mythic+ Meta Recap Specs DPS, HPS & Popularity

On to our update on the state of the meta for the beginning of season 4. That’s when things are more volatile and change the most. Although it has been just over three days since we first looked at this at the beginning of the season, we can already see some different developments from our initial check. Let’s dive into our first comparison, which involves the DPS results in Mythic Plus just after a few days, and see what has changed.

Surprising Developments

Initially, we were somewhat surprised to see that the Red Paladin was not dominating the charts as they did for most of the second part of season 3. We were even more surprised that both Hunters, but particularly Marksmanship, were also performing so well in Mythic Plus. Deathro Warlock alongside Demo were also performing quite well. These results suggested some potential surprises in store for the season if some of these trends continued.

Restored Balance

However, it has just been a few days, and we seem to have restored the balance in Mythic Plus, at least for a few specs. First in line is the Retribution Paladin, who seems to have come back from their break and taken their number one DPS spot in Mythic Plus again. Some of the other results, especially the surprising ones, have not changed. Marksmanship is indeed still there, performing quite well. Beast Mastery is also performing better than at the end of season 3.

Emerging Performers

We have Destruction Warlock actually improving their performance, and then there are the ones we might actually call a surprise, such as both Elemental Shaman and Devastation Evoker. They are basically the gatekeepers of the middle of the pack, pushing all of the Mage specs below them right now in terms of damage. Some of the results are, of course, still quite niche. For example, just by looking at the number of runs of a Marksmanship Hunter, they are like 12 times less played than Beast Mastery Hunter despite their popularity.

Comparative Insights

Destruction is not really that unpopular compared to Demonology, but it is definitely less played. It is still a pretty popular pick in Mythic Plus once more. It is always worth reminding, as we talk about these results, that some specs are changing their tier set compared to others. For example, Retribution is not actually changing their tier set.

Spec Stability and Changes

So, it’s not that we are waiting for a surprise change in the specs when they get their hands on their new, old tier set for season 4. Other specs are changing their tier sets; for example, Shadow Priest is changing theirs. However, for the top results, this is not the norm. Demonology, Outlaw, Beast Mastery, Marksmanship, and Destruction are actually keeping their tier sets. Thus, we do not expect many surprise changes as we go deeper into the season when these specs acquire their tier sets.

Impact of New Trinkets

What could change more is at the beginning of next week when the second bullion will be acquired, and many players will get their hands on their first best-in-slot choice, which for many could be a game-changing or rotation-changing trinket. This could actually have a significant impact on the performance of some of these specs. Now, talking about the meta compared to what we saw a few days ago, let’s address the tanks.

Tank and Healer Dynamics

The dominance of Vengeance when it comes to tanks continues to grow; they started season 3 in the 45th percentile range and peaked at 96% this season. Now, they start even higher at 60% and are currently at 70%. Interestingly, we continue to see the opposite trend with healers, which are the most diverse we have ever had in terms of options for healing. It is still worth mentioning, though, that Restoration Druid is actually practically the only spec that grew from a few days ago.

Healer Popularity Shifts

Most of the other healers lost about 1% or so of popularity. Discipline went from 12% to 11%, Holy Priest from 10% to 9%, Holy Paladin from 9% to 8%, Mistweaver from 22% to 21%, and then you have Restoration Druid going from 25% to 32%. Essentially, they have leeched a few percentages away from the rest of the healers.

DPS Trends

What we could also call surprising actually is what we see with the DPS. When we looked at it the first time, we noted that Red Paladin was already at 177%, making them the most popular spec in Mythic Plus just after a couple of days. This was expected to continue to rise, but actually, we have seen a reversal. Red Paladin has been going backwards in these past few days to the point where, at least for the moment, they are less dominant than expected.

Mythic Plus Spec Dynamics

A few percentages of retribution paladins rank amongst the top level keys—9 to 10 to 11 keys—right now. Interestingly, it’s actually slightly lower down than the Shadow Priest, which is the spec that gained the most from last week. Other growths went to Fire Mage, going from 7% to 11%, and then to Demonology, Destruction, as well as Beast Mastery Hunter for the most popular DPS specs in Mythic Plus. It is an interesting situation as it is the most diverse practically that we have ever had in this expansion.

Healer and DPS Variability

You can see here that essentially, the smaller the number, the better for variety among the options. The number of healers has practically been the lowest we have had the entire expansion so far. The number of DPS has also been the lowest we have ever had, except for the gap between the last week of season 1 and the first week of season 2. Besides these two, the current situation in Mythic Plus in terms of variety of options is the most open.

Restoration Druid’s Role

What was perhaps the more interesting of all these changes in Mythic Plus was the growth of Restoration Druid. We talked at length about the importance of your group being able to slot both bloodlust and combat rest. However, it seemed like with Red Paladin, and now even the Warlock specs becoming popular choices, the combat rest was being quite covered, and yet, Restoration Druid continued to grow. These are right now the most popular compositions as seen here by the number of runs plus the average top-level keys completed by these groups.

Healer and DPS Spec Interactions

I’m not going to take full credit for this, but I was pointing out what’s going to happen if a healer is popular when their DPS counterpart in the same class isn’t, and then suddenly the DPS becomes popular and then the healer version becomes less and less popular. At the beginning of the next season, if the DPS is already popular, it is likely that the healers will not have nearly as much room to be played in the top meta comps. Right now, when it comes to the healer version of Priest, it seems like that is what is happening; they are being pushed out from the compositions in favor of Shadow.

Changing Group Dynamics

Our other prediction didn’t go nearly as well. We were talking about what if the growth of the bloodlust healers is going to allow compositions to start ditching mages because now you can get your bloodlust from here.

Composition Dynamics in Mythic Plus

You can make your composition with Shadow, Retribution, and Demonology, or Shadow, Retribution, and Beast Mastery. Perhaps, Demonology, Augmentation, and Havoc could be included, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Actually, Fire Mage has continued to be the popular choice.

Yes, we have a handful of compositions with Restoration Shaman getting rid of Mage; the same goes here, but the most used replacement for a mage right now seems to still be a DPS. Either Beast Mastery is taking the place of a mage in multiple compositions towards the lower end, or Augmentation Evoker is also often taking the place of a mage spec, but not nearly as much.

Your healers taking the bloodlust spot away from a mage have, of course, not even bothered to mention the tank, because it’s pretty much just purple city over there. That is what we have right now when it comes to Mythic Plus.

Raid Changes in Heroic Incarnates

Now moving over to the raid, which might also be prone to some significant changes, this was the situation just a couple of days into the heroic of both of the incarnates. It’s pretty funny to look at the changes now because of how wildly numbers can change in heroic. Marksmanship was at the top, and now suddenly we have Arcane, Enhancement, and Red Paladin in the top five. If you compare them to just a few days ago, Arcane was not even in the top 10, Enhancement was in the bottom half, and Red Paladin was also in the bottom half. Just a few days, and they are now suddenly in the top five.

Consistent Results and Spec Dynamics

There have been some consistent results, not nearly as swingy as these ones. For example, Shadow Priest, Balance Druid, Survival, Elemental, Destruction, and Affliction, as well as Assassination, Feral, and Frost Death Knight continue to be in the bottom of the results of the raid as far as heroic goes. However, it’s still heroic.

As we keep getting more and more gear and beef ourselves up with item level, more and more, the fights get shorter. You can start ignoring more and more mechanics. The specs with bigger cooldowns gain more value. The specs that benefit from bloodlust more gain more value because, of course, the shorter the fight is, the more value your cooldowns will have.

Mythic Vault of the Incarnates Observations

It is funny, definitely, to see the changes and the results when it comes to Mythic Vault of the Incarnates. Surprisingly, despite Marksmanship losing a lot when it came to heroic in just a few days, they haven’t actually lost anything at all in Mythic. They are still performing very well. Surprisingly, Windwalker, not necessarily known as a top raiding spec for damage, is actually in the top five. Shadow Priest, as we mentioned, being in the bottom in heroic, is actually towards the top when it comes to Mythic.

Spec Consistency Across Raid Tiers

In Mythic, we also mentioned Elemental being towards the bottom in Heroic but actually being towards the top in Mythic. Arcane, which was doing so well in Heroic, is now a bottom-tier spec when it comes to Mythic. Much like we mentioned in Heroic, there are other specs that have been more consistent without all these widely different results from Heroic to Mythic.

Again, we have Survival, Affliction, Demonology, both of the Druid specs, and Assassination Rogue. These have comfortably remained towards the bottom of the results.

It will definitely be much harder to gauge all of these results given that, in just a couple of days, we’re going to be moving away from Vault of the Incarnates and getting into Aberrus, so there won’t be much more room to see how these specs progress in this raid as we have to change quickly to a whole bunch of new different bosses to see how these specs are performing now.

Healer Performance in Mythic Raids

While we haven’t really looked at the results of the healers in Mythic class because it’s not really that relevant to check the HPS, for example, of the healers in Mythic class, it is definitely more relevant to check the HPS of the healers in the raid.

We were somewhat surprised in the first few days of season 4 to see that Preservation Evoker, Windwalker, and even Restoration Shaman and Holy Priest were the ones performing the best. So, what has happened in just a few more days of performances in the raid is actually nothing; it’s nothing because these are the specs that are continuing to perform quite well in the raid, with Preservation Evoker on top still followed by Restoration Shaman.

Healer HPS Rankings

Then you have four specs much closer to each other, even if they are ranked this way: Holy Priest, Restoration Druid, Mistweaver Monk, and Holy Paladin are all very close to each other in terms of results. You can see them even better here in terms of HPS: you have a 322k HPS of a Holy Priest and a 319k HPS of Resto Shaman, and the other two healers right in the middle. So, it is a 1% HPS difference for four different healers, which is a significant parity, a significant evenness for these healing specs. Discipline Priests and Restoration Druids are the ones who are slightly behind the curve when it comes to this measurement.

Raid Healing and Healer Balance in Season 4

In terms of the overall balance we had in season 4, Restoration Shaman was nerfed by 5%, Mistweaver Monk by 133%, and Discipline Priest by 10% in terms of raid healing. It seems to be quite a spot-on set of nerfs, with perhaps the exception of Discipline. It seemed somewhat odd to see Discipline nerfed almost as much as Mistweaver Monk, who was much further ahead than all the other healers. It is pretty good to have this level of change. I always enjoy when the meta healers in Mythic Plus are different from the meta healers of the raid. This divergence gives more room for all the healers to find a niche where they can excel.

Healer Spec Dynamics in Mythic and Raid

For example, right now in Mythic class, the options seem to be between Restoration Druid and Mistweaver Monk, but right now, Restoration Druid and Mistweaver Monk are not doing exceptionally well in the raid. So, a spec not played nearly as much in Mythic, like Preservation Evoker or even Holy Priest, can have their fun being meta and high value in the raid. Unfortunately, this season’s raids are not nearly as difficult or challenging, or won’t take you nearly as much time to progress on, but some diversity is still pretty good when it comes to keeping players engaged and interested in multiple different specs.

Healer and DPS Spec Performance Across Activities

That is definitely a good situation when it comes to the healers, much like it’s a good situation, as we mentioned, for the DPS specs. For example, right now, Demonology Warlock being one of the better performers in Mythic Plus, followed by Red Paladin, those specs are not doing nearly as well in the raid. In the raid, you have specs like Arms Warrior, Windwalker, Havoc, or Frost DK, even Elemental Shaman, that are also not doing too well in Mythic Plus. It’s nice to have this sharing of power across two different activities for multiple different specs.

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