Everyone knows that certain classes are needed more than other classes. This was recently discussed in my Best Tanks editorial, and my class discrimination editorial.  This brought up several questions from readers, asking what exactly the best and most required classes are.  What would make up my perfect 10 and 25 man raiding teams and why?  That is exactly what I look at in this week’s editorial:  The most needed classes in a raid, and why.

Let’s start by talking just a bit about the vast array of classes that are available. Each class has something to offer, exactly what depends on the class but just a few things to consider are: Buffs, Replenishment Abilities, Damage or Healing Output, Synergy with other characters, and self sufficiency. There of course are many more, but these form a good starting point. 

There is also the fact that there are four main types of classes and sub-specs: Tank, Healer, Ranged DPS and Melee DPS.  Several classes can fulfil multiple roles, while others can only fill a single role. This makes certain classes more desirable simply because they can fill multiple roles and potentially change as required.

How many of each type you need is based on raid size.  In general you need the following:


10 Player Raids

25 Player Raids







Ranged DPS



Melee DPS



Which classes do you specifically need?

There are certain classes that I really like having at least one of regardless of sub-spec or raid size.  For example I want at least one each of the following:

Paladin – At least Blessing of Kings and a Paladin Aura active. 

Druid – Provide the Mark of the Wild buff and a Battle Rez and Innervate for emergencies.

Priest – You always need Fortitude active to supply more health for your tanks.

Shaman – Heroism / Bloodlust, need I say more?

There are a few others that I usually want one of, but can go without.

Hunter / Rogue – You generally want at least one to provide a misdirect and tranquilizing ability. However if your group doesn’t need the MD or you are not in a raid that requires a tranq, then you don’t really need one.

Warlock – You want at least one for summons, health stones, and soul stones.

Mage – You want free mage food right, oh, and taxi service home.


There are some classes that I can bring whose effectiveness really depends on the raid’s makeup.  For example if the raid is mainly a melee based raid, then adding a Boomkin is of little benefit.  However, if you have several caster based DPS players then a Boomkin is almost mandatory.

Boomkin Buff

Balance Druid (Boomkin) - 5% crit boost to spells makes taking one in caster heavy groups almost mandatory.

Warriors / Rogues / Warlocks – The reduced armour effects that can be applied really boost melee dps.

Unholy Death Knight / Boomkin / Shadow Priest / Warlock – Extra spell damage or hit through debuffs make these work well with other ranged spell casters.

Overall Class Listing

The classes listed above are the ones that you really should get and the reasons why.  Here is an overview of all the classes that provides complete listings of what they bring to the table.

Feral Druid: Provides DPS, increases melee critical strike rating by 5%, no interrupts (except for one on a cooldown), low AOE damage, and applies bleeds to the target.

Restoration Druid: Healer that provides Mark of the Wild, Tree Form that buffs the raid with a plus healing aura, and provides a substantial amount of HoT heals.

Balance Druid: Caster DPS, no interrupts, Cyclone and Roots for CC, stacking spell damage debuff, decent AoE, and provides a raid wide aura that increases spell critical strike by 5%.

Mage: High DPS, few interrupts, can remove curses, can dispel magic, provides food and portals, provides polymorph for cc, and can provide on single critical strike buff.

Holy Paladin: Provides huge single target heals, pally buffs, bubbles, and a single interrupt.

Retribution Paladin: Gives a melee crit boost to the party, mana replenishment, pally buffs, an interrupt and a long term cc, as well as bubbles and self heals.

Protection Paladin: Solid tank, AOE damage and threat, single interrupt on cooldown, no CC, pally buffs and auras.

Warlock: High DPS, can cause fear, can banish and seduce as forms of cc, stacking spell damage debuff, provides health stones, soul stones, and summons.

Hunters: High DPS, few interrupts, can provide a nature resistance buff, misdirect, has several traps for CC, very self reliant, can reduce healing done to the enemy

Melee Warriors: Lots of interupts, attack power or health boost for group, armor debuff to the enemy, can reduce healing done to the enemy

Protection Warriors: Solid Tanks, tons on interrupts

Death Knight Tanks: Good Tanks, lots of interrupts, the anti-magic tanks, death grips, pets, high DPS even though they are tanks.

Death Knight DPS: Big DPS, Spell damage debuff if unholy, slows melee attack speed of enemy, lots of interupts and can control casters, limited CC with death grip and frost.

Shadow Priests: High DPS, AOE fear, good AOE, Fort Buffs, health

replenishment for raid, mind control for cc, dispersion to escape damage

Healing Priests: Big heals as Holy or strong shields as Discipline, fort buffs,

Enhancement Shaman: Decent melee DPS, can interrupt, provides extra attack power and melee bonuses.

Elemental Shaman: Decent ranged DPS, totems, interrupts spell casters, totems, has hex for CC

Restoration Shaman: Big Heals, heals multiple targets, Mana restoration, totems, utility

Rogues: Offers a lot of interrupts and debuffs, no buffs for group, single pre-combat cc with sap, can reduce healing done to the enemy

History Lesson

One very important thing to remember here is things change. I know it’s a simple concept, but too many people get stuck in a rut and never adapt.  Remember way back to the launch of WoW.  There was only one really viable tank, Warriors.  At that time if you wanted to raid as a Paladin, you healed. Period.  Now Paladins can raid viably as pretty much whatever spec they want, and Warriors while they can tank, are generally not the #1 choice.

The same plays true with many other classes and specs.  At one time Beast Master Hunters were the DPS class to bring, now they rarely exist in raids.  At one point Shadow Priests were a cute sideline for levelling, now they can be near the top of DPS charts. 

Remember these lessons from the past, and keep them in mind.  Adapt, change, and advance through new content.

Messiah’s Raid Groups

As you can see raid class makeup has a lot of room to play around with, especially in 25 player raids.  There are usually 10 specific class and sub-builds that I really want in the raid.  Past that it becomes a balancing act of which classes work best together, which buff best, who has the most gear, who you know and have grouped with in the past, and more.  It is not an exact science. 

There are a few things that everyone should be able to see by this point in the editorial though.  Classes that can fulfil multiple roles have a far better chance of getting a raid invite.  This of course depends on the player being able to fulfil that role with the proper gear and talent build, but that is usually not an issue in today’s game where most raid players change spec’s weekly and have more money in-game than Blizzard has in real life, hmmm ok, maybe not that much, but close.

Everyone can use a Paladin

Therefore Paladins and Druids are the most in demand class for raids.  The both bring solid buffs, can fill any role required, and several class specific abilities.  There is nothing quite like a 10 man raid made entirely out of one of these two classes, sure they miss several other buffs and abilities, but these are the only two classes that are truly capable or raiding all by them selves.

Priests and Shaman follow closely behind in raid utility since they are in high demand as healers and can provide decent DPS as well. 

Next up in the list are Warriors and Death Knights due to tanking requirements and their DPS ability.  The only reason they are not at the same level as a Priest or Shaman in the demand list is that in a 25 player raid you only need 2-3 tanks, while you need 6-7 healers.

Next up in priority we have Warlocks and Mages. Both have some group utility, decent damage, and buffs.  They are single use classes though only being DPS no matter which spec you build them as.

Lastly we find Rogues and Hunters.  Their place here is really only due to the fact that they have lower overall utility than many other classes.  Don’t get me wrong, I still want a solid Hunter or Rogue in the raid, I am just harder on their requirements.  Where I might be happy with a 3-4k DPS Boomkin, I expect 5-6k from a Hunter or Rogue (unless the rogue in on interrupt duty of course).

So for everyone out there looking to get into raiding, the message is clear: play a Paladin or Druid if you are serious about raiding.  Failing that create a Priest, Shaman, Warrior, or DK.  Of course by the time you are at 80 the game will probably have changed and the best class to have will be Hunters.  Oh well, at least change is constant!


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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

Byron 1
Byron has been playing and writing about World of Warcraft for the past ten years. He also plays pretty much ever other Blizzard game, currently focusing on Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone, while still finding time to jump into Diablo III with his son.