Wigan climbed up to third place in the First Utility Super League after exacting sweet revenge on arch-rivals St Helens for October's Grand-Final defeat.
The Warriors came out on top 12-4 in a brutal, no-holds-barred contest in front of a spellbound capacity 24,054 crowd at the DW Stadium which contained just three tries but countless examples of rugby league at its finest.
Defences reigned supreme and both sets of players were out on their feet long before the end of an absorbing Good Friday duel as the ferocious exchanges, on a glue-pot pitch, began to takes its toll.
It took a try from Sydney-bound winger Joe Burgess 10 minutes from the end to finally break the champions' resistance.
It was a second successive defeat for Saints, who began the season under Keiron Cunningham with six wins in a row, but there was no shame in this loss.
Cunningham was forced to turn to a new half-back pairing in Jordan Turner and Lance Hohaia after skipper Jon Wilkin joined Travis Burns on the injury list by pulling a hamstring in training while Paul Wellens, restored to the captaincy, limped off four minutes into the second half to prompt another re-shuffle,
Wigan could hardly have made a better start, with winger Dom Manfredi charging over for a try after just 52 seconds, reclaiming possession after Turner's attempted clearance kick was charged down by prop Lee Mossop.
Matty Smith kicked the goal to make it 6-0 and Saints had to scramble to prevent Manfredi and his centre Anthony Gelling adding to the Warriors' lead.
Wigan were indebted to a terrific last-ditch by George Williams that brought down centre Josh Jones in full flight and, as the momentum shifted towards the visitors, it was no surprise when impressive forward Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook charged over for a try on 15 minutes.
Tom Makinson, third choice marskman in the absence of Mark Percival and Burns, was unable to add the goal and Saints suffered a blow when boom second rower Joe Greenwood, just back from an elbow injury, limped off with an ankle problem.
As the conditions deteriorated and fatigue set in, the game developed into a war of attrition in the second half with chances few and far between.
The impressive Manfredi was hauled down just short of the line while Saints loose forward Luke Thompson went close for the visitors.
The key moment came 10 minutes from the end when Saints turned the ball over 20 metres out from their own line after being penned back by Wigan's tigerish tackling.
Wigan substitute prop Ryan Sutton was held up on the line in the next set but the breakthrough came moments later when Burgess won the race to George Williams' grubber kick, touching the ball down with inches to spare.
Ryan Hampshire kicked the conversion to put his side two scores in front and that completed the scoring in a pulsating encounter.