Shadowlands Healer Tier List – Sanctum of Domination Patch 9.1 – Updated for Mythic Week 2

Shadowlands Healer Tier List - Sanctum of Domination Patch 9.1 - Updated for Mythic Week 2

Welcome to Wowhead’s Patch 9.1 Shadowlands Healer Tier List for the Sanctum of Domination Raid. With the help of our class writers, we’ve made a Tier List for raiding in Patch 9.1, commenting on the strengths and weaknesses of each Healer spec for the raid and how each spec performs.

This page will continue to be updated as players are able to test the raid on live servers and as tuning passes are made, so stay tuned to Wowhead for updates!

Sanctum of Domination Strategy Guides

If you are the type of person who likes to choose your class based on its power in the current raid, this guide goes over the best Healer specs in the current raid tier and an explanation on why from our Class Writers.

Sanctum of Domination Class Guides

The Sanctum of Domination page in our Class Guides has recommended talent builds, gear and raid tips for each boss in the raid!

Blood DKFrost DKUnholy DK

Havoc DHVengeance DH

Balance DruidFeral DruidGuardian DruidRestoration Druid

Beast Mastery HunterMarksmanship HunterSurvival Hunter

Arcane MageFire MageFrost Mage

Brewmaster MonkMistweaver MonkWindwalker Monk

Holy PaladinProtection PaladinRetribution Paladin

Discipline PriestHoly PriestShadow Priest

Assassination RogueOutlaw RogueSubtlety Rogue

Elemental ShamanEnhancement ShamanRestoration Shaman

Affliction WarlockDemonology WarlockDestruction Warlock

Arms WarriorFury WarriorProtection Warrior

Disclaimers About This Tier List

This Guide was made to give you an overview of how each Healer is performing in Mythic Sanctum of Domination for Patch 9.1 with comments from our Class Writers. We will update this tier list if any tuning changes do occur. This Tier List was made for players who prefer to choose their class based on its usefulness in the current Mythic raid tier. If you don’t want to play this way, you don’t have to and can pick your class based on whatever factors you wish.

The rankings use a standard Tier List format, ranking each spec on the scale of the best (S Tier) to unviable (F Tier) based on the criteria of throughput, utility and defensive value in Sanctum of Domination. These rankings were made by our Class Guide Writers, who are experts at their particular spec, but the rankings are ultimately still their opinion. You may disagree with some of their conclusions, as each person values things slightly differently

Healer Ranking Changes from Shadowlands Patch 9.1 Launch to Mythic Sanctum of Domination Week 2 (July 22nd)

Promoted in Rank:

  • Holy Paladin promoted from A+ to S tier.
  • Discipline Priest promoted from A+ to S tier.

Patch 9.1 Shadowlands Healer Tier List for Sanctum of Domination

For this Tier List, here is how each Class Writer ranked each Healer spec in Sanctum of Domination for Patch 9.1.

  • S: You are valuable on every encounter in Sanctum of Domination, bringing strong throughput, exceptional survivability and universal utility.
  • A: You excel in most situations in Sanctum of Domination but have some weaknesses on one or two encounters with your throughput, survivability or utility.
  • B: You are a solid choice in Sanctum of Domination. You may have a niche on some encounters but lack throughput, survivability and/or utility.
  • C: You are viable in Sanctum of Domination but suffer from many weaknesses in your throughput, survivability and utility.
  • D: You are viable, but the spec suffers from many weaknesses and should only be brought if there isn’t another option.

No spec has been placed below a C tier, as all specs are viable.

Patch 9.1 Shadowlands Healer Ranking and Explanations

S Tier Specs

Holy Paladin

Overall Rating: S

Paladins saw some recent nerfs in Patch 9.1.0 mostly focused around reducing their damage output. Unfortunately however, the buffs to the caster playstyle that Blizzard seems to be trying to incentivize weren’t enough, and as such Paladin gameplay hasn’t changed much since its 9.0.5 iteration. This is for a combination of reasons such as, tank durability, encounter damage patterns, overall power level of other healers, and importance of passive damage. As such, very little for Paladin has changed, they simply will do a bit less damage (roughly 15% overall), and care about mana a bit more.

All of the reasons to bring a Paladin in 9.0 are still there, such as utility through Devotion Aura, Beacon of Light, Healer Damage, Divine Shield, Blessing of Protection and just high overall HPS throughput. Combine that with the ability to use either Ashen Hallow or Divine Toll to suit encounters and Paladins are just as good as they were before despite the nerfs. The only healer that comes close to a paladin in terms of “free” damage is Discipline Priest, and they don’t have the same opportunities (and thus flexibility) to invest even more into damage. They also saw several throughput-related nerfs, bringing their overall power level down a bit.

Sanctum of Domination as a raid also lends itself to lots of “burst” damage windows where a large amount of healing is required in a small amount of time making Ashen Hallow and Aura Mastery with Devotion Aura invaluable.

Domination sockets also contribute to this, for most healers the new “Domination Sockets”, and their bonuses aren’t that great. Healers in general got the short-end of the stick with these powers. However paladins do damage, and heal which means that many of these “dps” focused sockets, have an extra benefit for Holy Paladins.

Paladins do have some weaknesses however, most notably our weakness outside of cooldowns such as Avenging Wrath. Meaning that any fight that has consistent raid damage, our throughput will suffer. Additionally being in melee can be a real problem on some encounters, but there aren’t any that stand out as problematic in Sanctum of Domination. Paladin mobility is also fairly low, it’s not unbearably bad as Divine Steed is not bad as a mobility ability. However if an encounter requires constant movement, or nothing is attackable such as Painsmith Raznal‘s Spiked phase, Paladins don’t shine as much.

With the tier being out, it is safe to say Paladin has earned its rank (again) as S tier. Due predominantly to its free passive damage, and the strength of Ashen Hallow as a cooldown. Realistically, encounter design for healers has been stagnate for some time, and its no surprise that Disc Priest and Paladin continue to dominate when most encounters boil down to bursts of damage, instead of raid rot or priority healing scenarios.

Discipline Priest

Overall Rating: S

With some hefty nerfs to Spirit Shell, both in its transfer rate from Atonement in 9.0.5 and now a 30 second additional cooldown applied in 9.1, Discipline is moving primarily over to Evangelism and also making a Kyrian covenant swap, the mass absorbs ofSpirit Shell have had some application in a world first environment in Sanctum of Domination but generally the higher output of Evangelism has won out. This is due to Spirit Shell‘s higher cooldown, relatively low cap at 11x your spell power which is capped out too easily and the lower rate of Atonement healing into Spirit Shell shielding.

In particular, some guilds have utilized two Discipline Priests, one with Spirit Shell and one with Evangelism for bosses like Soulrender Dormazain whos Warmonger Shackles happen so infrequently (around 2 minutes except for one bad overlap) that multiple Disciplines over fantastic coverage. On the other hand, bosses like Guardian of the First Ones have such high passive damage and burst damage that Evangelism is the undisputed king as you can more easily reverse the main damage mechanic Purging Protocol with 1.5min intervals featuring “strong” and “weak” Evangelism timers whereby you alternate Boon of the Ascended and Shadowfiend respectively to maintain high output. Even if that “weak” situation you’re still producing high burst and you can also bring Power Word: Barrier along for those smaller shields to increase team’s survivability.

Furthermore, Discipline brings good passive damage by dealing damage to produce healing and their survivability, while low, especially on heavy physical damage bosses are made slightly better with frequent uses of the conduit for Fade, Translucent Image and they will continue to improve in Sanctum with updates to soulbinds like Mikanikos’ new Reactive Retrofitting.

Where Discipline falters somewhat is relative to their competition. Paladins have stronger passive damage and utility, most other healers are more mana efficient, have a higher potential “maximum” output and are less hungry for external mana. Multiple Disc Priests on an encounter is very strong this tier as there are a high number of stacked fights, good for Power Word: Barrier, and Evangelism does not feature the same restrictions or punishments for overlapping ramps that Spirit Shell does. For mobility, Discipline will feel the loss of the Venthyr’s Door of Shadows for mobility and encounters like Painsmith Raznal where you could use door to jump to the other side of his Spiked Balls with ease. With Raznal and with encounters like Remnant of Ner’zhul‘s Malevolence threatening to knock you off to your death, Venthyr or not, the already popular Goblin racial Rocket Jump for Discipline Priest’s will become even more valuable in this raid.

Despite some of these issues, Discipline’s mass burst healing of Legion and BfA rises again and is difficult to replace, no matter how much damage reduction or side utility from Tank/DPSers like Anti-Magic Zone or Rallying Cry that you might have. A 1.5 minute cooldown that produces massive healing for the entire raid, consistently results in a substantial boost to the raid’s odds of survival and your team’s chances of killing the boss.

A+ Tier Specs

Restoration Shaman

Overall Rating: A+
Sanctum of Domination is on a similar path as Castle Nathria was, with Restoration Shaman being very popular and wanted. The very top end of guilds buy a lot into the Discipline Priest and Holy Paladin meta with their strong damage contribution and especially damage reduction against the bursty patterns of this raid, but Restoration Shamans are still very much in demand and is always the first healer you’d fill in. While not as strong as other raid damage reductions, Spirit Link Totem offers 10% on top of the health redistribution which can defuse a lot of very dangerous situations. Restoration Shamans provide very consistent healing and even though we can deal with burst damage patterns decently, its not quite as great as Discipline Priest and Holy Paladin.

We continue to bring a diverse healing toolkit which can be used to fit any encounter combined with strong cooldowns such as Spirit Link Totem, Ancestral Protection Totem and Healing Tide Totem and great mana sustainability. Healing effectiveness differs depending on the encounter, but on particularly difficult ones Mastery: Deep Healing kicks in and provides us with great throughput potential.

The utility side is proving to be very useful — Sanctum of Domination offers multiple encounters where Wind Rush Totem excels, for example the Painsmith Raznal intermission has you dodge a series of spikes; or dodging the Torment slices during the Soulrender Dormazain encounter. Interrupting with Wind Shear has a few uses: Kel’Thuzad spawns multiple Soul Shard casting Piercing Wail which need to be interrupted with similar circumstances throughout the Soulrender Dormazain and Sylvanas Windrunner encounters. Good usage of Mana Tide Totem will keep your other healers happy. Regarding mobility, we do still struggle to quickly move to another location at times unless you’re Night Fae with its Soulshape, but its also not too bad due to Thunderous Paws giving us a small boost and Spiritwalker’s Grace allowing us to cast during movement. Painsmith Raznal Mythic intermission phase for example features a wall of spikes without a way through, for which you either have to be Venthyr, Night Fae or a Goblin Rocket Jump to safely cross on your own – but at the same time we have the least issues in this phase healing due to Healing Tide Totem not making us channel and Spiritwalker’s Grace enabling us to heal effectively while dodging everything.

For survivability we’re looking at Astral Shift, Spirit Wolf, Vital Accretion and if you’re Necrolord you have access to what is probably the most useful defensive cooldown: Fleshcraft. Combined this is quite a decent stack of defensives and should get you out of most of the tricky situations, especially when the health from Vital Accretion is combined with a defensive – for example when you are breaking a Warmonger Shackle during the Soulrender Dormazain encounter, during which you’re likely outside of all raid cooldowns.

From a weakness point of view I’m again seeing the lack of damage contribution, whether passive or active and regardless of covenant, which doesn’t come close to something like a Paladin or a Discipline Priest. This is more relevant in guilds closer to world first, but still something to consider. While the raid spreading out continues to harm the effectiveness of some of our abilities, its rare with the current design of encounters that this is an actual problem and I don’t see many issues in Sanctum of Domination either.

A Tier Specs

Restoration Druid

Overall Rating: A

After the buffs of 9.0.5, Restoration Druids haven’t really seen any real changes coming into 9.1 beyond the normal system extensions that everyone else has received. Restoration Druids had some of the highest healing throughput in Castle Nathria and this is also the case in Sanctum of Domination; It’s probably the strongest we’ve felt since Nighthold. How we deliver that throughput has also evolved in recent expansions; where previously we were typically more sustain-oriented healers, the sheer number of burst cooldown abilities (Flourish, Incarnation: Tree of Life, Tranquility, and now Night Fae’s ) have catapulted us to one of the premier burst healers in Shadowlands.

The positives don’t stop at just strong throughput. Our survivability, especially for a healer, is nearly unmatched with Barkskin, our passive healing Ysera’s Gift, an on-demand defensive via Bear Form that can be further juiced up with Heart of the Wild, and even a passive Nature’s Guardian-like effect via our conduit Well-Honed Instincts. The only thing missing would be a complete immunity, but to say it’s difficult to kill a Restoration Druid would be a understatement. Combine this with exceptional mobility, both personally and raid-wide via the cooldown Stampeding Roar, and you’ll see there’s a lot to love with Restoration Druids. There’s definitely renewed emphasis on mobility in Sanctum of Domination.

Where we tend to fall short is our less than stellar unique raid utility toolkit, specifically our ability to passively contribute damage and lack of a raid-wide damage reduction cooldown. We do still bring the highly valued Ironbark for tanks in addition to Innervate, Stampeding Roar, and a host of other more niche utility. Unfortunately, most of that utility can be replicated by the other Druid specs. To deal meaningful damage, which is invaluable in undergeared progression raiding, we need to commit significant time and potentially even additional cooldowns like Convoke the Spirits and Heart of the Wild which can erode our healing throughput. Finally, reducing the dangerous onslaught of burst damage via absorbs or raid-wide damage reduction, especially when undergeared, can prove invaluable to raid survival, yet Restoration Druids still lack a significant way to contribute in this area. This limitation really sticks out on Mythic Guardian of the First Ones where you’re trying to soak a large number of Purging Protocols to extend the length of the encounter.

Mistweaver Monk

Overall Rating: A

In the patch we received buffs to our main damage abilities Tiger Palm, Blackout Kick, and Rising Sun Kick. We also received a buff to Revival in terms of our Mastery, Mastery: Gust of Mists, now triggering when we use it. There was also a small mana cost reduction to Enveloping Mist. Finally, there were changes to both Jade Bond and Resplendent Mist to now work with the healing triggered by Invoke Chi-Ji, the Red Crane. However, please note, at this time, the healing increase from Resplendent Mist does not work when it is used with Jade Bond. All of this pointed to a HPS increase for Mistweavers.

The above are solid updates to Mistweaver Monk. The damage changes will equate to a direct buff to Ancient Teachings of the Monastery and increase the healing we can do with that legendary. Our Revival is even more powerful, allowing it to be come a true instant raid throughput cooldown. This is especially true when paired with Essence Font HoTs or some of our covenant abilities such as Weapons of Order and Bonedust Brew. Also with Invoke Chi-Ji, the Red Crane healing now being increased by our conduits, we have another efficient healing cooldown. In general, these changes do two things to support Mistweaver Monks; We increase our throughput and also gain this throughput through efficient healing with Invoke Chi-Ji, the Red Crane and Ancient Teachings of the Monastery. There are no fights this tier that would move your away from a mob for an extended period of time, so you should always be able to keep Rising Sun Kick on cooldown and make use of Rising Mist and our other melee triggered healing. With Transcendence we negate a lot of the movement needed such as blinking over Annihilating Glare on Eye of the Jailer or utilizing Roll to quickly breaking Warmonger’s Shackles on Soulrender Dormazain. You will also be able to negate the knockback during Remnant of Ner’zhul.

From a weaknesses perspective, Mistweaver Monks do not bring anything in the extreme. We do not have the damage of a Paladin, the various totems of a Shaman, or the large absorbs of a Discipline Priest. Those classes, particularly when played at the highest level, provide something that allows you to live through an otherwise unlivable amount of damage. Beyond this, however, Mistweaver Monks are a very good choice in terms of raw healing output. The other weakness, which is tied to that output, is that Mistweaver Monks must be in melee range of a mob. Particularly tough bosses to keep connected with during damage is Remnant of Ner’zhul or during the intermission phase of Painsmith Raznal. If you can stay in melee and use your spells efficiently, Mistweaver Monks do have a solid amount of healing throughput.

Holy Priest

Overall Rating: A

While frequently in the shadow of its sister spec Discipline, Holy has been steadily improving throughout Shadowlands, this time in 9.1 with buffs to Symbol of Hope. While immobile and with fair survivability, Holy brings some of the best single-target heal support, multiple raid cooldowns and NOW in Patch 9.1 Holy Priest finally brings raid utility to the team in the form of damage reduction…….sort of. This makes Holy Priest one of the most flexible additions to a heal team that a raid can pick up.

Symbol of Hope‘s change is extremely unique in that, unlike a Discipline Priest’s Power Word: Barrier where the user is activating a defensive for the raid, Symbol of Hope instead puts the onus on the raid members to recognize that their defensive is being reduced in cooldown (full list below) and to subsequently take advantage of the additional, potential use. While unfortunately this does not reduce the cooldowns of immunities, for many classes in the game they are significant defensives that can warrant additional casts at critical moments to improve their survivability.

For all abilities, user Dracolich created a handy list.
Symbol of Hope decreases cooldowns of:

From a gameplay perspective, Holy historically is the “Jak of all trades, master of none” but this mold has been broken in Shadowlands. Flash Concentration has resulted in the spec shifting tremendously towards single-target healing, while also bringing a plethora of raid healing and supporting cooldowns to assist in handling key mechanics. Spot-healing is always a challenge in a raid environment and too often healers progressing mythic will struggle more heavily with properly supporting their tanks and priority targets, having a healer on hand who is primarily focusing on this is a strong benefit to improve the diversity of your healing squad.

While Holy is rarely polarizing in its performance on encounters, there are some particular fights where it can really shine. A strong example of this is the very beginning of the raid with the The Tarragrue encounter where its Remnant of Forgotten Torments mechanic requires hefty soaks and leaves behind lingering DoTs. Fatescribe Roh-Kalo later on in the raid also has some hefty single-target healing requirements through his Twist Fate that afflict players while other raid-wide AoE is going out reminiscent of Artificer Xy’mox‘s Withering Touch.

Mobility for the raid can look similar to Discipline depending on covenant choice. For pure Holy players who go Fae then they’ll have Soulshape at their disposal, though as Castle Nathria demonstrated, many Holy players have opted for the middle ground with their covenant to allow more flexibility if they wanted to play Discipline. In either case, challenging encounters like Remnant of Ner’zhul‘s Malevolence can blast players off his platform and punish the immobile healers leading many towards the Goblin racial Rocket Jump.

Holy’s largest challenges for the Sanctum of Domination are two-fold. To no surprise, #1 is Holy’s low damage contributions that weigh on the spec in the World First Raiding Scene (which naturally trickles down into the everyday “meta”), especially in this strange timeline that we live in where Paladins still deal miles more damage than any other healer.

The 2nd is that for all the work the developers put into revamping Symbol of Hope, it seems to be a fundamentally lackluster ability because it relies on the individual players themselves to identify the cooldown being reduced, understand how much it is being reduced and decide when to activate it. Some like a Holy Paladin’s Divine Protection or a Druid’s Barkskin will guarantee a free cast, while a Warlock’s Unending Resolve will simply cut down a significant chunk of the cooldown. The increased value of mana return is nice, but a bit of additional mana is generally not make or break with Blizzard’s current healer/mana balancing.

Holy Priest in 9.1 has boundless potential, but relying on other players to play properly to see full value from their raid-utility (Lightwell anyone?) is generally a cause for concern.

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