WoW Season of Discovery new roles guide: Mage Healer, Shaman Tank & more

James Lynch
The four new roles for Season of Discovery on the Azeroth world map background

World of Warcraft is entering an exciting new era with the release of Season of Discovery, as the Classic+ mode looks set to alter the original Vanilla formula massively.

As well as providing complete versions of previously unfinished areas for players to explore, there is new gear to loot and a 10-player raid version of the beloved dungeon Blackfathom Deeps.

The big change to the game’s mechanics comes in the form of Rune Engravings. Players will be able to discover Runes across Azeroth via challenges, puzzles and encounters that unlock new abilities. This will then allow certain classes to operate in new roles.

Bearing all of that in mind, here’s our guide to the new roles on offer and the appropriate Runes to make them a reality.

Spoiler Alert: A big part of the intended Season of Discovery experience is organically uncovering the effects of Runes during leveling and endgame at level 25. While this guide will not reveal any Rune locations, it will explain the impact of the Runes necessary to operate in the new roles.

The new roles in Season of Discovery explained

At launch, there will be four new roles on offer to players. These are viable after engraving Runes into Chest, Glove and Leg armor (the three available slots during the first phase of the game). The complete list is as follows:

  • Mage Healer
  • Rogue Tank
  • Warlock Tank
  • Shaman Tank

Though much of the pre-release attention has been directed toward the new Shaman role, all four look like they could be exciting constituent parts of the initial meta. With more information sure to emerge after release, here is everything we currently know about how the new roles will operate in Season of Discovery.

Mage Healer guide

Jaina Proudmoore Mage (Hero Talents)

Building a Mage Healer chiefly revolves around three Runes, one in each gear slot. The Runes and their effects are as follows:

  • Regeneration – Heals the target for 485 health over 3 seconds and applies Temporal Beacon for 30 seconds.
  • Rewind Time – Your current target with your Temporal Beacon instantly heals all damage taken over the last 5 seconds. Ineffective on targets that did not have a Temporal Beacon 5 seconds ago.
  • Mass Regeneration – Heals all of the target player’s party members within 15 yards of the target player for 262 health over 3 seconds and applies Temporal Beacon to each target for 15 seconds. After casting this spell, you will suffer from Tangled Causality for 5 min, reducing your Fire and Frost spell damage done by 50% and preventing the use of Ice Block.

These new abilities undoubtedly have their strengths, but there will be some practicality issues in this first phase. The first is that Rewind Time shares a gear slot with Arcane Blast. The latter is an exceptionally powerful DPS Rune, dealing direct Arcane damage based on level and increasing damage/healing done by other Arcane spells by 15%. This effect stacks up to four times.

Though outputting damage is not the priority, Arcane Blast will be difficult for Mage players to turn down. Its additional buff to healing output further muddies the waters, but if chosen over Rewind Time, there will likely be some rotation issues.

It’s also important to note how Temporal Beacon works in context with the new Runes. Regeneration and Mass Regeneration are solid single-target and mass heals, respectively, with both applying Temporal Beacon (though for different durations). 100% of Arcane damage will be additionally applied as healing to every party member with Temporal Beacon.

The problem with the above could rear its head in larger groups. Though the passive effect is likely potent when only two or three party members have Temporal Beacon, the more people in the group, the less effective it becomes. In raid scenarios, this could severely hurt Mage Healers’ viability over traditional classes in the role.

Rogue Tank guide

Valeera Sanguinar Rogue in Season of Discovery

Rogue Tanks are not as counter-intuitive as they initially seem, with Rogues historically able to take the lead with dodge abilities like Evasion. As such, the additional toolkit provided by the new Runes is seemingly designed to complement that, though it looks like there could be a significant threat issue for those Rogues looking to main as a Tank. The relevant Runes for Tanking are as follows:

  • Just a Flesh Wound – You take 20% reduced Physical damage while Blade Dance is active. Additionally, you have a 6% reduced chance of being critically hit by melee attacks, the threat generated by all your actions is massively increased, and your Feint ability is replaced with Tease, which Taunts the target to attack you.
  • Main Gauche – Instantly strike with your off-hand weapon for normal off-hand weapon damage and increase your chance to parry by 10% for 10 seconds. Awards 1 combo point. Main Gauche benefits from all talents and effects that trigger or modify Sinister Strike.

Though Main Gauche does add tanking capabilities via the increased parry chance, it’s the additional combo point generation that makes it critical for Rogues to operate in this new role. The rotation will largely revolve around maintaining Blade Dance as much as possible to proc Just a Flesh Wound’s Physical damage reduction.

Beyond that, outputting damage via normal Rogue abilities like Sinister Strike (which works well in conjunction with Main Gauche) and Eviscerate. Evasion should be kept in reserve for when the damage starts to show, and it will be enough to rectify many potentially dangerous situations. Will all of the above be enough to place Rogues alongside the best Tanks in the game? Arguably, no. But there should be plenty here for players to take a stab at it nonetheless.

Warlock Tank guide

The Diabolist/Hellcaller Warlock Hero Talents guide

Arguably, they are the strongest-looking overall spellcaster class heading into Season of Discovery. It almost seems unfair that they will be able to tank as well. Some historic precedent suggests this may have been a longtime idea for Blizzard. Many of the existing spells in the base Warlock toolkit, particularly at this point in the cycle of Retail WoW, generate threat and increase Armor.

There are four standout Runes for building a Warlock Tank from the ground up, though players will have to choose between two of them. They are:

  • Master Channeler – Your Drain Life is no longer channeled, lasts 15 seconds with a 15-second cooldown, costs 100% more mana, and heals you for 50% more each time it deals damage.
  • Incinerate – Burn your enemy for 96 to 111 damage and increase all Fire damage you deal by 25% for the next 15 seconds.
  • Demonic Grace – Surge with fel energy, increasing your pet’s and your own dodge chance by 30%, and your chance to critically strike with all attacks by 30%. Lasts 6 seconds. 20-second cooldown. 
  • Metamorphosis – Transform into a Demon, increasing Armor by 500%, reducing the chance you will be critically hit by 6%, increasing your threat by 100%, increasing mana gained from Life Tap by 100%, transforming the functionality of some of your abilities, and granting some new abilities:
    • Searing Pain: Now instant.
    • Shadow Bolt: Becomes Shadow Cleave, a Shadow melee attack that hits up to 3 nearby enemies, but has a 6 second cooldown.
    • Demon Charge: Charge an enemy and stun it for 1 sec. Cannot be used in combat.
    • Demonic Howl: Forces all nearby enemies to focus attacks on you for 6 sec.
    • Curse of Recklessness: Now also taunts your target to attack you for 3 sec, but gains a 10-second cooldown and range is reduced to melee.

Potential Warlock Tanks will have to make a decision in the Legs slot between Incinerate and Demonic Grace. Incinerate is arguably the stronger choice in raids and situations with multiple Tanks, as the damage boost is significant, and Searing Pain increases threat generation significantly. As a solo Tank, the increased dodge chance, in conjunction with the short cooldown, should make Demonic Grace reasonably potent.

Metamorphosis will always be the strongest Rune for the class and spec, with the vastly increased armor and threat generation making it necessary for any problematic content. The addition of other taunt, threat and stun abilities while in demonic form only serves to cement this as a must-have rune. Having Master Channeler to remove the stationary cast requirement of Drain Life is also a huge boon, alongside the additional healing it provides.

There are potential arguments around using the Soul Siphon Rune, thanks to its stacking healing/damage up to 18% extra. Warlock Tanks could be a solid choice in a group setting, and building around Metamorphosis should be viable throughout the first phase and beyond.

Shaman Tank guide

Vol'Jin Shaman in Season of Discovery

None of the new roles announced for Season of Discovery at the time of writing have generated as much excitement as the Shaman Tank. Though a lot more controversy surrounds the class in a more general sense (sorry, 2-handed Shaman enjoyers), most agree that building as a Tank will be a strong choice.

Unlike the Warlock, the Rune option for each gear slot is pretty set in stone for players looking to Tank. The best options are as follows:

  • Shield Mastery – Each time you Block, you regenerate mana equal to 4% of your maximum mana, and you gain Armor equal to 30% of your shield’s armor value, stacking up to 5 times. You also gain a 10% increased chance to Block and a 15% increased Block value.
  • Molten Blast – Blast enemies in a cone in front of you for 46 to 61 Fire damage. This ability generates a high amount of threat. Flame Shock periodic damage has a 10% chance of resetting the Molten Blast cooldown.
  • Way of Earth – While Rockbiter Weapon is active on your main hand weapon, you deal 100% increased threat, gain 30% increased health, take 10% reduced damage, gain 6% reduced chance to be critically hit by melee attacks, and Earth Shock taunts targets to attack you and has a separate cooldown from the other Shock spells but has its range reduced to melee range.

The best Runes are arguably the easiest to learn and use among the four new class roles. Shield Mastery provides straight survivability, while Molten Blast generates threat. Way of Earth is the key choice, massively increasing threat and health while lowering damaging crit chance against the player.

The big rotational idea to remember is to use Flame Shock extremely regularly, keeping its effects active on as many enemies as possible. This should enable Molten Blast to be used with greater regularity, increasing damage and increasing threat when cast.

Dexerto will have complete guides published for each class, no matter how you would like to play, by the time the game launches on November 30. Make sure to check back in before then!

About The Author

James is a Gaming Writer who specializes in Destiny 2, WoW, Assassin's Creed, Strategies, RPGs and Yu-Gi-Oh! When he isn't writing, he can usually be found supporting Brentford F.C.