If you’re looking to shrug off a massive amount of damage while dictating how you want dungeons to be run, the tank should be your pick in World of Warcraft: Dragonflight. There’s currently a noticeable lack of tanks on most servers in retail World of Warcraft, and that’s due partially to the difficulty of maintaining aggro in dungeons, herding players like feral cats through the dungeons, and good old-fashioned toxicity. If you’re looking to be the saving grace of World of Warcraft: Dragonflight with a tank build, here are the best tank classes available, ranked from worst to best.
It should be noted for players that are eying this list in preparation for Mythics and raids: a good player on a weaker tank is miles better than a weak player on the best tank. Don’t feel shoehorned into a class that doesn’t interest you based on statistical parsing of clear rates, as you’ll likely come to regret it in the long run. Regardless of what you choose for your tank, remember that damage is aggro — don’t neglect your damage rotations!
#6 — Brewmaster Monk
The Brewmaster Monk is not an inherently weak class, but it demands having an extremely competent healer as they are entirely reliant on external healing. This, in turn, tasks healers with holding a laser focus on the Brewmaster as they work through dungeons and raids. If you can find such a match, you’re in for a treat. Monks are the only class that can offer an increase to all physical damage output across the party thanks to Mystic Touch. In addition, they have a wealth of defensive cooldowns that can dispel and purge most debuffs, easily looping them into their rotations.
On top of that, the Brewmaster has fantastic mobility through the usage of Roll and Transcendence, which allows the player to literally ascend to the spirit plane and walk about, shedding their corporal form. It’s difficult to buck the fact that Brewmaster Monks have the lowest HP of all other tanks, however, and the loss of the set Keg of the Heavens means that these tanks can be found on the floor more often than not. Be wary of incoming magic damage, communicate well with your healer, and you could be pleasantly surprised by the way this unique tank plays.
#5 — Protection Paladin
If finding the thickest armor possible to wear, carrying the largest shield forged across Azeroth, and offering a quick prayer sounds ideal, then the Protection Paladin (or Prot Pally) is likely your cup of tea. They have a veritable laundry list of spells and abilities that offer damage mitigation, wear plate, and are an aesthetically pleasing class to play. The downside is, if you botch a rotation, you’ll find yourself far squishier than you’d like to be, and find yourself in the spirit realm. If you can manage to play them flawlessly, however, they can go toe-to-toe with a Prot Warrior in terms of survivability.
Keeping Shield of the Righteous up is the primary need for Protection Paladins — if the uptime drops in the middle of a pull or boss fight, you’re going to burn through the healer’s mana pool. Shield of the Righteous increases armor based on strength, making that your primary survivability attribute. Avenger’s Shield no longer builds the critical Holy power, further convoluting the previously solved rotations. Still, it offers impressive burst damage and the ability to off-heal if needed, making this character a unique choice for those inclined.
#4 — Guardian Druid
Druids are good to have in the pocket of players, as an alt if nothing else. With the ability to spec into multiple roles, Druids can be called upon by guilds to cover any absences during raid nights. Guardian Druids can survive obscene pull sizes with Guardian of Ursoc, which can make them among the fastest dungeon clears available across all tanks. Their single-target damage is disappointing, but when using cooldowns they’re simply immortal whether or not the healer is asleep at their keyboard.
Eventually, however, the number of cooldowns that Guardian Druids can use runs out, and that’s when they’ll feel far too vulnerable for most players’ liking. Stack agility for Ironfur armor, use Frenzied Regeneration when you need a burst of healing, and communicate your cooldowns to the party. Guardian Druids aren’t too common, so not many players will understand where you’re at within your rotation. The Druid raid buff Mark of the Wild offers an additional nudge with a 3% Versatility buff that lasts for 60 minutes — if you can think ahead of your rotations and communicate quickly, the Guardian Druid is a unique tank that makes its presence known in dungeons.
#3 — Blood Death Knight
Years ago when the Death Knight campaign released, everyone had a DK in their back pocket as they are a hero class, meaning that players didn’t have to replay the 0-60 leveling grind. These days they aren’t as common, but they still offer a fantastic level of survivability while being adequately resistant to both physical and magic damage. The singular downside of the Blood DK is that it can’t hold a candle to the damage offered by our number one and two picks, and damage is the responsibility of everyone in the party. It isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, but that lacking damage can make it a tug of war with aggro between the tank and aggro, even with the recent 15% threat patch for tanks.
The Blood DK has changed from Shadowlands to Dragonflight as we aren’t too focused on resetting Dancing Rune Weapon. Use Death Strike for an easy heal and make liberal use of your defensive abilities such as Vampiric Blood to mitigate the micro your healer will need for your health bar. Anti-Magic Zone is a rare party-sized utility that mitigates 20% of incoming arcane damage within the AoE. Their theme is unmatched — using various undead-based spells such as Sacrificial Pact and Soul Reaper and a fantastic class campaign make the Blood DK a worthwhile peek for any player.
#2 — Protection Warrior
The Prot Warrior has been a staple in World of Warcraft tanking line-ups since release, and it isn’t changing anytime soon. The Prot Warrior has a ridiculous amount of survivability, shrugging off damage that would cripple most other tanks while still offering welcomed party-wide buffs of Battle Shout. This pairs well with a consistent damage output that simultaneously debuffs most enemies, through abilities such as Thunder Clap and Revenge. Execute is an absurdly strong ability that can outright kill a foe under 20% health, and finally Challenging Shout is an easy threat-generator that pulls threat for every enemy in a 10-yard radius.
The downside of Protection Warrior is the most minor flaw possible, necessary to separate it from our number one pick — it can be boring to play. The class style, aesthetic, abilities, and storyline can be dry, lacking a level of panache that other classes bring in spades. This is likely due to it being one of the original classes of Warcraft, and should not be considered a deal-breaker. The self-sustain and damage output is fantastic, it just never really grips a player with a theme compared to any others on the list. Notably, a Prot Warrior has a higher survivability than a Vengeance Demon Hunter, so if dying first is your primary concern, this may be the perfect fit.
#1 — Vengeance Demon Hunter
Zoom across dungeons with a massive amount of self-sustain, damage potential, and utilities with this extremely unique class. If you have ever noticed your tank dusting the party to go pull the next mob, chances are they were playing this unique Illidari. This leather-wearing tank has been damned throughout the history of Azeroth until recently, and now their leaping and Soul-rending abilities are used to save the world. Demon Hunters generate Soul Fragments with abilities which can then be used to push massive sustainable damage towards foes.
The Vengeance Demon Hunter is, by far, the most mobile of all tanks while still offering absurd survivability with the leech on hit of Soul Cleave and temporary transformation of Metamorphosis. Vengeance Demon Hunters can quickly correct a spiraling party, from an OOM healer or errant pull from a DPS with AoE stuns and a leap ability that allows them to close the gap quickly. The new ability The Hunt gives massive single-target burst damage that can put DPS to shame, but it’s on a lengthy cooldown. A Vengeance Demon Hunter is a fast, fun, and extremely pleasing class to play which is steeped in lore — it simply doesn’t get better.