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Top 5 Most Broken Tier Sets in PvP on Shadowlands Patch 9.2 PTR
31/01/2022 à 19:24
Shadowlands Patch 9.2 is bringing an influx of systems that are going to significantly impact player power and shake up the balance across all facets of the game. Among these systems is the long-awaited reintroduction of tier set bonuses, which for the first time in a long time, will be widely used in competitive PvP formats.
Our Fire Mage PvP writer,
, will be showcasing his predictions on the strongest tier set bonuses in the context of PvP, the potential impact they'll have on the meta, as well as a snippet of bonuses that have been previously available and the potential pros and cons that can arise from them.
Types of Bonuses
Before we hop into the Top 5 list, I want to highlight and categorize some of the common types of bonuses 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 types of bonuses have had on WoW arena, feel free to check out the table below. If not, skip to the Top 5 List.
: Gives players a sense of control over their damage output and allows from a certain level of skill expression when dealing damage.
: Stacking an excess of multiple modifiers can lead to "one-shot" scenarios where players die incredibly fast and leave them feeling as if there is little room for counterplay.
When it comes to stacking damage modifiers, Fire Mage has been the king and it just so happens that Shadowlands might highlight this the best. Between
, Fire Mage has been able to sync these up with hard hitting abilities such as
(with the aid of the off-GCD
) to instantly delete players with little time to react.
Many of these modifiers have had multiple and significant nerfs to their power in an attempt to bring Fire Mage burst down to reasonable levels.
: Allows for less static and scripted options for cooldown usage as well as enabling classes that are heavily reliant on their cooldowns.
: High levels of cooldown reduction on classes with powerful cooldowns often mitigates their only weakness and it can be difficult to poke holes in their game plan.
The most prominent example of CDR spiraling out of control is with Holy Paladins in Battle for Azeroth and the
has been one of the strongest healer cooldowns in the game for a long time and has often been able to contest the most powerful offensive cooldowns. With enough solid RNG, Holy Paladins were able to attain incredibly high uptime on
as well as create some silly interactions with
, allowing them to compound on these CDR mechanics to reset the cooldown of
before the stun had even ended.
Some attempts were made to alter these interactions, however, they had to be reverted due to having unintended consequences for other classes using similar mechanics.
: Increases the viability of classes that may have competitive damage throughput and utility but lack in durability.
: High levels of passive mitigation can lead to long and stale battles where it can feel like your decision making is unimpactful until Dampening kicks 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 types of bonuses 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
, weapons such as
, trinkets like
, and eventually a stacking Versatility amplifier from corruptions.
While these bonuses did increase the viability of squishier classes, they also dragged the pace of the game down to a snail's pace and reduced participation levels. In the end, many of these effects had to be adjusted to speed up the flow of PvP.
Top 5 Strongest Tier Sets in PvP
: These bonuses are not ranked in any particular order and tuning may alter their strengths by the time the Shadowlands 9.2 patch launches. This list takes into account the relative strength of the specialization and class in the current meta as well as the design of the tier bonus itself.
- Increases the duration of
by 2 sec.
is active your
recharge 50% faster.
Fire Mages have reigned as a top tier caster in PvP for quite a long period of time and these set bonuses further highlight the main draw of the specialization. The 2-set is nothing special;
rarely gets to stick for full duration before being dispelled. Having said that, in conjunction with the 4-set and the many modifiers Fire Mage has access to during
, it's a nice boon against compositions that lack offensive dispels or in situations where you can lock down opponents that can counter
The real juice comes from the 4-set bonus which is a spin on an extremely powerful Azerite Essence that was available during Battle for Azeroth,
One of the issues you can run into as a Fire Mage in PvP is popping your resources/cooldowns and having your opponent respond with a strong defensive to shut down your offensive push, and this
-esque effect can extend your burst phase so that you get enough resources to swap to a different target. This will be especially potent for Rogue/Mage/Holy Priest as the common setup involves using
on off-targets which means they are able to be stunned for full duration on a swap during the same setup.
One interesting thing to note is that this CDR mechanic is tied to your
which likely makes it more powerful than
was from a damage output perspective, considering that
was a 2 minute cooldown and the cooldown of
can be reduced via
had some powerful defensive benefits (Leech and a Versatility bonus) so it's not entirely superior.
- Increases Blade Dance and Death Sweep$?a162264 damage by 20%.
duration is increased by 6 sec. Every 60 Fury you consume reduces the cooldown of
by 1 sec.
Demon Hunters 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
. Demon Hunter is also a class that utilizes a multitude of modifiers to amp up its burst with
. Looking at how many raw modifiers Demon Hunters use to beef up
makes the 2-set a clear contender for one of the stronger bonuses.
The Demon Hunter 4-set has the potential to open up some interesting options;
is usually an extremely long cooldown but thanks to the honor talent
, it can be reduced by 2 minutes. The penalty for doing so is a reduction in the duration of
, which will be somewhat offset by the 4-set bonus, as well as denying opponents the option of lining up
which will grant Demon Hunters significantly more opportunities to create pressure 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 Demon Hunter, one of the issues they have often struggled with as a class is survivability and many high-profile Demon Hunters have already swapped to Necrolord to shore up this weakness. The Necrolord legendary is another tool that aids in survivability as
to nearby enemies when you kill your demon from
. The level of durability and damage Demon Hunter is gaining in 9.2 leads me to believe these bonuses are going to be quite strong.
damage by 40%.
- After 10 offensive abilities, your next 3 offensive abilities deal an additional 22% damage.
If there was a melee version of Fire Mage, I think Windwalker Monks would have to take the title. Windwalker Monks have so many ways to stack modifiers (depending on Covenant/Talent/Legendary choice) with options like
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 massive modifier on
, I would still expect most of the strength to come from the 4-set.
does respectable damage, however, its over a longer period of time whereas the 4-set enables you to control and line up your burst around hard hitting abilities like
There isn't anything unique or innately flashy about this tier set bonus that leads me to believe it will be strong, Windwalker Monks 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.
resets, it has a 40% chance to make your next
incur no cooldown.
deal 30% additional damage. This bonus is increased to 80% for bombs empowered by
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 Survival Hunter tier set bonus as its design stands out as the most impactful in a PvP environment.
Survival Hunters have a wide variety of damage sources but
is one of the burstiest abilities in their toolkit. Looking at the 2-set, you'll be activating this quite often during
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.
From a mathematical standpoint, this set bonus is much stronger in multi-target situations than in single target. Personally, I'm going to chalk that up as another strong point for Junglecleave as the composition is quite strong at tunneling healers which will naturally force the enemy team to dogpile for
causes your next
to heal for 50% more and cast twice. Cannot occur more often than once per 30 sec.
- Each target hit by
has a 100% chance to reduce the remaining cooldown of
by 2 sec.
This might be one of the more controversial picks for this list as Holy 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 Holy Paladin in this list as I think this tier bonus has the potential to cover the specializations major weakness.
Holy 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
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
uptime. As it stands, I expect the 9.2 meta to be fast-paced which is an environment that Holy Paladin thrives in, especially if they are able to access
Given how strong Holy Paladins were early on in Shadowlands, I truly think these set bonuses have the potential to propel them back to the top.
Shadowlands Patch 9.2 in general brings a plethora of exciting changes and I think double Legendary items alongside these tier set bonuses will provide for some high-octane gameplay. As you can see from this list, one of the prominent themes in what I think constitutes a strong set bonus are powerful damage modifiers on hard hitting abilities, as well as cooldown reduction mechanics. Some of the tuning may need another pass over, especially when there are so many factors to consider such as item level and conduit scaling, but overall I'm excited to see how the meta turns out!
About the Author
Piecez has been a Rank 1 Mage dating back to Burning Crusade and previously played for
. Most notably, he placed 1st in Armageddons 3v3 tournament, with multiple appearances in both BlizzCon and MDI regionals. He also has 10 Rank 1 titles exclusively on Mage across all three specializations. Find him here:
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