WoW Dragonflight: Best Builds For Every Pre-Patch Class

World of Warcraft's Dragonflight expansion is almost here, which means that it's time to find the best builds for your favorite class.

World of Warcraft Dragonflight
Photo: Activision Blizzard

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Now that WoW Dragonflight‘s pre-patch update has finally been released, players can get their first taste of the expansion that some hope will “save World of Warcraft.” It remains to be seen if the expansion will live up to the hype, but the early changes the update offers already have players scrambling for the best class builds.

Since Dragonflight utilizes a dynamic talent tree rather than a (mostly) set path of available talents, building classes in WoW is as complicated as it’s been since the game’s earliest days. That new talent tree system does its job by introducing a wide variety of build options, but it may leave some players (especially new and returning players) suffering from too many options. That’s why it’s not a bad idea to look for help when you’re at least trying to grow the roots of your talent tree.

Before we dive into that, though, here are a few things to keep in mind:

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  • Dragonflight‘s talent tree system means that you’re able to more easily customizes your characters to fit a variety of situations. The builds below are considered to be ideal overall starting builds. You’ll want to tweak them based on what certain situations call for.
  • These builds are for Level 60 Dragonflight characters. This article will be updated once the expansion launches and the level cap is raised.
  • These builds are considered ideal for PvE content, though you can certainly use them as a jumping-off point for PvP content as well if you’re looking to dive into those waters.

Finally, you’ll find a link under each build for the Wowhead or Icy Veins sources for these builds. Those are two of the absolute best World of Warcraft resources available today, and I highly recommend checking them out if you’re looking for a detailed breakdown of any class or build. For now, here’s what you need to know to get started.

WoW Dragonflight: Best Death Knight Builds

Death Knights are looking pretty strong at the start of the Dragonflight expansion. While Unholy is arguably the odd man out of the DK bunch at the moment (they just lag slightly behind more obviously powerful options), Frost DKs are an overall excellent melee DPS option while Blood DKs offer top-tier tanking abilities. Anyone already familiar with the class should be able to jump right into them in Dragonflight, though all DKs benefit from some fascinating talent tree options that really enhance so many of the things they already did so well. 

WoW Dragonflight: Best Blood Death Knight Build

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WoW Dragonflight: Best Blood Death Knight Build
Source: Wowhead

WoW Dragonflight: Best Frost Death Knight Build

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WoW Dragonflight: Best Frost Death Knight Build
Source: Wowhead

WoW Dragonflight: Best Unholy Death Knight Build

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WoW Dragonflight: Best Unholy Death Knight Build
Source: Icy Veins

WoW Dragonflight: Best Demon Hunter Builds

Demon Hunters are in an interesting place at the start of Dragonflight. Havoc DHs are still a very good melee DPS option, but Dragonflight does slightly nerf some of their key abilities. Other abilities got a slight buff, but DH fans may want to consider a few other options if Havoc just doesn’t feel quite the same. Vengeance DHs also got hit with the nerf hammer in Dragonflight, though they are still a fantastic AOE tank option that sometimes suffers from their general lack of durability. Still, Vengeance fans will love some of the new build options this expansion offers. 

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WoW Dragonflight: Best Havoc Demon Hunter Build

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WoW Dragonflight: Best Havoc Demon Hunter Build
Source: Wowhead

WoW Dragonflight: Best Vengeance Demon Hunter Build

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WoW Dragonflight: Best Vengeance Demon Hunter Build
Source: Wowhead

WoW Dragonflight: Best Druid Builds

Druids’ nearly unrivaled versatility has long made them one of WoW’s most desirable classes. That dynamic doesn’t change in Dragonflight. If anything, Druid’s new skill tree paths give them even more options than they’ve had in the past. 

Balance Druid and Guardian Druid are probably the best overall options for prospective Druid players. Balance Druids look to be a potentially very powerful DPS choice, while Guardian druids offer some incredible tank damage and best-in-class defensive cooldowns. 

Restoration and Feral are slightly less viable options in their particular classes, but both are still certainly capable of holding their own. Restoration Druids offer an appealing array of support skills (which include quite a few familiar options), while Feral Druids’ new utility skills and AoE options make them as versatile as they’ve been in a long time. 

WoW Dragonflight: Best Balance Druid Build

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WoW Dragonflight: Best Balance Druid Build
Source: Icy Veins

WoW Dragonflight: Best Feral Druid Build

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WoW Dragonflight: Best Feral Druid Build
Source: Wowhead

WoW Dragonflight: Best Guardian Druid Build

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WoW Dragonflight: Best Guardian Druid Build
Source: Icy Veins

WoW Dragonflight: Best Restoration Druid Build

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WoW Dragonflight: Best Restoration Druid Build
Source: Wowhead

WoW Dragonflight: Best Hunter Builds

Hunters haven’t really changed a lot since Shadowlands, which is both good and bad. The upshot is that they’re still pure damage nightmares that will be instantly familiar to anyone who has spent time with them in recent expansions. The bad news is that they’re basically DPS booty calls that don’t bring much more to the party than big damage numbers. 

Beast Mastery Hunter seems to be leading the Hunter DPS groups at the moment, though it’s honestly a little too close to call. If you’re interested in doing some pretty crazy DPS numbers, pick Hunters with confidence and figure out your favorite subclass from there as the expansion goes on. 

WoW Dragonflight: Best Beast Mastery Hunter Build

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WoW Dragonflight: Best Beast Mastery Hunter Build
Source: Icy Veins

WoW Dragonflight: Best Marksmanship Hunter Build

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WoW Dragonflight: Best Marksmanship Hunter Build
Source: Wowhead

WoW Dragonflight: Best Survival Hunter Build

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WoW Dragonflight: Best Survival Hunter Build
Source: Icy Veins

WoW Dragonflight: Best Mage Builds

Mages are arguably one of the biggest beneficiaries of Dragonflight‘s new skill tree system. Fire and Frost mages, in particular, now have access to a wider array of survival skills and DPS procs than they had in recent expansions. They both feel much better than before and are no longer quite as reliant on the same few skills. 

Arcane Mages are a bit of a wildcard at the moment. Their strengths are undeniable, but they still struggle in situations where they can’t just pick on large groups of bunched-up targets. They certainly excel in situations where you have to melt through larger packs of enemies, though. 

WoW Dragonflight: Best Arcane Mage Build

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WoW Dragonflight: Best Arcane Mage Build
Source: Wowhead

WoW Dragonflight: Best Fire Mage Build

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WoW Dragonflight: Best Fire Mage Build
Source: Icy Veins

WoW Dragonflight: Best Frost Mage Build

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WoW Dragonflight: Best Frost Mage Build
Source: Wowhead

WoW Dragonflight: Best Monk Builds

It’s obviously still early, but Monks are shaping up to be one of Dragonflight’s best overall classes. They clearly benefit from the additional options that the talent tree system affords them. 

Brewmasters, in particular, now have access to an incredible amount of new defensive and single-target damage options that make them an incredible tanking option for a variety of scenarios. Windwalkers, meanwhile, benefit from their amazing mobility and AOE damage options that will make them a welcome addition to a lot of groups. Finally, Mistweavers continue to be a great all-around healing option that now offer enhanced damage and defensive capabilities. 

WoW Dragonflight: Best Brewmaster Monk Build

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WoW Dragonflight: Best Brewmaster Monk Build
Source: Wowhead

WoW Dragonflight: Best Mistweaver Monk Build

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WoW Dragonflight: Best Mistweaver Monk Build
Source: Wowhead

WoW Dragonflight: Best Windwalker Monk Build

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WoW Dragonflight: Best Windwalker Monk Build
Source: Wowhead

WoW Dragonflight: Best Paladin Builds

While Paladins are currently dominating the WOTLK classic scene, they’re a bit more of a wildcard in the early days of the Dragonflight experience. 

Retribution Paladins are the biggest beneficiary of the Dragonflight/Paladin changes. A lot of their key damage abilities directly benefit from some of the additional skills they now have access to, which makes them an appealing option for those times when you need good bits of burst damage to go along with the class’ excellent utility options.

Holy and Protection Paladins currently lag a touch behind some of their closest competition. Both are promising, and both certainly excel in specific scenarios, but there are some truly incredible tank and healing options in Dragonflight that currently have those Paladin subclasses playing catch-up. 

WoW Dragonflight: Best Holy Paladin Build

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WoW Dragonflight: Best Holy Paladin Build
Source: Wowhead

WoW Dragonflight: Best Protection Paladin Build

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WoW Dragonflight: Best Protection Paladin Build
Source: Icy Veins

WoW Dragonflight: Best Retribution Paladin Build

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WoW Dragonflight: Best Retribution Paladin Build
Source: Wowhead

WoW Dragonflight: Best Priest Builds

Priests are in about the same place they were at the end of Shadowlands, which is either good news or no news at all depending on your preferences, skill, and needs.

For instance, Shadow Priest remains a potentially powerful DPS option that still has to be piloted perfectly in order to keep up with some of the other incredible DPS options in Dragonflight. If you feel confident in your ability to keep up with their old and new DoT abilities, though, they can do a lot of damage in some key fights.

Holy Priest appears to be the better overall healing option at the moment, though there is something to be said for the ways that Discipline Priests can protect against big bursts of incoming damage and generally take a more proactive approach to group content. I suspect Holy Priests will be the more desirable, pure healing option for early group content, though that may change as that content is “solved” a bit more and Discipline Priests are able to perfect their encounter timing. 

WoW Dragonflight: Best Discipline Priest Build

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WoW Dragonflight: Best Discipline Priest Build
Source: Wowhead

WoW Dragonflight: Best Holy Priest Build

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WoW Dragonflight: Best Holy Priest Build
Source: Wowhead

WoW Dragonflight: Best Shadow Priest Build

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WoW Dragonflight: Best Shadow Priest Build
Source: Wowhead

WoW Dragonflight: Best Rogue Builds

Historically, the WoW team has sometimes struggled to balance every Rogue subclass and make them feel equally viable. Dragonflight doesn’t completely solve that problem, though Rogues do feature some of the most versatile and complex skill tree options. 

At the moment, Outlaw Rogue appears to lead the pack in terms of PvE options. They took a slight hit to their single-target damage capabilities, but they compensate for that weakness thanks to their expanded, small-pack AoE options. Assassination Rogues are still single-target masters, though their lack of obvious AoE options is a bit of a problem at the moment. Finally, Subtlety Rogues tend to rely on a complex series of skills that you really need to master if you’re going to keep up with the other Rogue options. 

WoW Dragonflight: Best Assassination Rogue Build

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WoW Dragonflight: Best Assassination Rogue Build
Source: Wowhead

WoW Dragonflight: Best Outlaw Rogue Build

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WoW Dragonflight: Best Outlaw Rogue Build
Source: Icy Veins

WoW Dragonflight: Best Subtlety Rogue Build

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WoW Dragonflight: Best Subtlety Rogue Build
Source: Icy Veins

WoW Dragonflight: Best Shaman Builds

While Shamans may not be one of the biggest overall beneficiaries of the Dragonflight class updates, they are arguably the class that showcases why the new talent tree system is such a fascinating tool. There are just times when you’ll want different things from your Shamans, and the new skill trees allow Shamans to tune themselves slightly to meet those needs. 

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Restoration Shamans are the best example of those new customization options. While Restoration Shamans still excel in situations where their chain heal abilities are called for, they can also now spec into some single-target healing boosts when needed. That makes them a solid healing option with some tremendous upside.

Enhancement Shamans seem to be the better DPS option at the moment, though that is obviously subject to change once future updates hit. Enhancement Shamans just excel at bouncing between single-target and AoE opportunities, whereas Elemental Shamans are more straightforward range damage dealers whose viability can often depend on perfectly timed critical strikes and proper cooldown management. 

WoW Dragonflight: Best Elemental Shaman Build

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WoW Dragonflight: Best Elemental Shaman Build
Source: Wowhead

WoW Dragonflight: Best Enhancement Shaman Build

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WoW Dragonflight: Best Enhancement Shaman Build
Source: Icy Veins

WoW Dragonflight: Best Restoration Shaman Build

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WoW Dragonflight: Best Restoration Shaman Build
Source: Wowhead

WoW Dragonflight: Best Warlock Builds

Historically, Warlocks have been at their best when they’ve been straight-up broken. In other words, Warlocks really shine in situations where someone messes up the numbers and accidentally gives them access to some absurd single-target and AoE abilities. 

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At the moment, Warlocks don’t appear to be broken in Dragonflight, which means you’ve really got to weigh your options when it comes to getting the most out of the class. Destruction Warlocks, for instance, seem to offer the most DPS potential, but the straightforward nature of their kit means that they’re best thought of as pure damage dealers (even with the new skill tree options)

Affliction Warlocks, meanwhile, really shine in single-target situations, though the jury is still very much out on how well they’ll be able to compete with other single-target classes as well as other classes that offer a more versatile set of damage skills. Finally, Demonology Warlocks offer the most diverse Warlock kit in the game, which makes them a desirable option for a lot of group content even if they won’t top the charts as often as the other two Warlock options.  

WoW Dragonflight: Best Affliction Warlock Build

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WoW Dragonflight: Best Affliction Warlock Build
Source: Wowhead

WoW Dragonflight: Best Demonology Warlock Build

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WoW Dragonflight: Best Demonology Warlock Build
Source: Icy Veins

WoW Dragonflight: Best Destruction Warlock Build

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WoW Dragonflight: Best Destruction Warlock Build
Source: Wowhead

WoW Dragonflight: Best Warrior Builds

Warriors have historically been a pretty straightforward WoW class, so it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that there isn’t a ton of debate about the best Warrior talents at the moment. However, that doesn’t mean that the Dragonflight expansion hasn’t been good for the class. 

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Actually, Protection Warriors may be the biggest subclass beneficiary of the entire expansion. Widely considered to be the best tank in Dragonflight by some distance. They’re just absurdly tough tanks that sacrifice little to no mobility as they laugh off the majority of incoming damage. They’re also capable of dealing a surprising amount of damage compared to other Dragonflight tanks. 

Arms Warriors and Fury Warriors both suffer from needing to give up one kind of form of damage in order to excel in other areas. Arms Warriors seem to be better off sticking to single-target and small-pack target damage, though that does mean that they have to ignore some of the group damage talents they would otherwise have access to. Fury Warriors, meanwhile, are burst damage artists who shine in longer fights that extend those burst windows. However, they can struggle in other areas (most notably, bigger fights with lots of lesser targets) compared to other classes. I’d say play to each subclasses’ strengths when building them, but be aware that you can swap to cover for those class weaknesses if the situation calls for it. 

WoW Dragonflight: Best Arms Warrior Build

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WoW Dragonflight: Best Arms Warrior Build
Source: Wowhead

WoW Dragonflight: Best Fury Warrior Build

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WoW Dragonflight: Best Fury Warrior Build
Source: Icy Veins

WoW Dragonflight: Best Protection Warrior Build

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WoW Dragonflight: Best Protection Warrior Build
Source: Wowhead

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