WoW: Is the popularity of the Vengeful Demon Hunter based on a bug?

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We addressed this back in January: The Vengeful Demon Hunter is one of the winners of WoW: Shadowlands so far. and is one of the most popular specializations ever, especially in Mythic-Plus. According to Warcraftlogs, across all keystones, only Fire Mages and Lawless Rogues are currently more successful in the dungeons. The higher the keystone level, the less likely you are to encounter other tank specializations.

Vengeful Demon Hunters are very mobile (and can easily kite enemies when the going gets tough), deal a lot of party damage, bring useful tools, and have a huge amount of survivability. Apparently, this last survivability is not just a result of class design, but also a bug. That very bug is currently the subject of an article on Wowhead that went online over the weekend. Here are the key findings:

  • Vengeful Demon Hunters can increase their damage taken thanks to Devil Flame Enhancement, Demonic Protection, Viscous Ink and Letting go of the past (as well as their versatility).
  • However, the logs show that the reduction in magic damage taken is much higher than it should be (for example, the calculation example talks about 36.2 percent less magic damage instead of 23.5 percent less magic damage).As far as physical damage reduction is concerned, however, everything seems to be correct.
  • This bug can be traced back to logs from the Shadowlands beta.
  • It is unclear what specifically is causing this bug. From Battle for Azeroth to Shadowlands, there were adjustments to Demonic Protection. This may be where the bug crept in.
  • It's probably thanks to the bug and the resulting increased survivability of the Vengeful Demon Hunter that Blizzard implemented noticeable gameplay mitigations elsewhere during the beta - such as for the Soul Fragment and Soul Splitter.
  • A fix for the bug would Viscous Ink and Devil Flame Enhancement make it more useful, but at the same time the adjustment would feel like a whopping nerf to specialization. On high keystones, certain pulls would become significantly harder and cause players to fail situations that they currently get mastered.
  • The author of the Wowhead article points out that he would still like to see a hotfix. Vengeful Demon Hunter has a few building blocks, but they don't seem to be an issue at Blizzard due to the current strength of the specialization.

What's the story: Have you also wondered about the high survivability of the Demon Hunter tanks? Should Blizzard retract the nerfs from the beta if they fix the bug? Let us know what you think in the comments!