MMO Haven: How to Elemental!Shaman in 5.2

Greetings again, readers!  I apologize for the delay, but Serendeth and I moved recently, so we couldn’t post at all last week- unlike some people I know (who shall remain nameless), we prioritized electricity and food over internet.  That and I puttered around too long to get it installed earlier than we did.  My bad.  -shrug-  Today, I’m going to be discussing something near and dear to my heart- my character in World of Warcraft.  Well, my main, at least- I am a well known altaholic.

What’s my main, you may ask?  I play an Alliance Pandaren Elemental Shaman.  No, I’m not going to tell you what server or what guild.  Not that I think anyone cares.  What I am going to tell you is how I play an ele!shaman- my tips, tricks, rotation/ spell priority list, talent spec, etc.  All shaman-y goodness.  Disclaimer: This is NOT a theorycrafting post.  I suck at math and there are plenty of other theorycrafting sites out there (Elitist Jerks, for example, and Icy Veins.)  However, this will give you some insight into an Elemental Shaman’s play style and the important things you need to know about playing Elemental (PvE style, anyways.)  So, without further adieu, let’s jump right in shall we?

MMO Haven: How to Elemental!Shaman

First thing we’re going to discuss are the talents I’ve chosen and why, keeping in mind that I play in a progression-minded casual raiding guild who just recently downed the Grand Empress Shek’zeer in Heart of Fear 10-man Normal (we also got down Protectors of the Endless- Elite style- in Terrace of Endless Spring on the same difficulty.  But that is neither here nor there.)

Tier 1: I chose Stone Bulwark Totem.  My reasoning is this- a lot of the progression raid fights involve significant amounts of damage being delivered both to the whole raid as well as individual characters, usually the ranged DPS- like me- and the healers.  Damn melee DPS don’t realize how lucky they have it, not having to avoid Dissonance Fields or being hit with DoT spells that nearly kill you.  Stone Bulwark Totem lasts 30 seconds and shields me for at least some damage the whole time.  This, plus a Warlock soulcookie is enough to keep me alive through Garalon’s Crush (though, in emergencies, you can stack it with the damage reduction afforded by Shamanistic Rage, as well.)  Plus… its a shaman shield.  Shammy bubble GO!


Tier 2:  Windwalk Totem.  Because Sticky Resin is a pain.  Being an Elemental shaman means you pretty much have to stand still to get decent DPS- a lot.  However, most of the fights nowadays don’t allow you to enter Siege Mode and just crank out some hurt.  Glyph of Lightning Bolt allows you to move and cast LB at the same time, and Spiritwalker’s Grace will allow you to cast and move for short periods of time, but… movement impairing effects are a surefire way to get yourself killed.  Drop this baby, and you- and most of your raid- the ability to ignore it.

Tier 3: Totemic Projection.  Why?  Well, because leaving a Searing Totem in a Dissonance Field is a guaranteed way to make it blow up in your face before you’re ready for it, and potentially cause a wipe.  And no one likes that.  This spell up and moves all of your totems to your new location with no muss, fuss, or annoying cooldowns.

Tier 4: Echo of the Elements.  Now, really?  Pretty much everything at this tier is good.  Ancestral Guidance provides a passive 5% spell haste (haste is GOOOOOOD for Ele!shaman), and Elemental Master is a great cooldown to bust on Heroism because of the temporary 30% haste it grants.  But there is just something so satisfying about watching Lava Burst being cast- and then copied twice- and all of them hitting for crits. Yum.

Tier 5: Healing Tide Totem.  I won’t lie- I haven’t quite gotten over that healer mentality.  I throw down Healing Rain.  I’ll Healing Surge myself if I take too much damage.  And I drop this during high damage fights- like Jin’rohk’s Lightning Storm.  It helps the healers a bit and keeps everyone alive, which means bosses die and we get phat purpz.  And doesn’t everyone want phat purpz?

Tier 6: Elemental Blast.  Now, I have this for 3 very simple reasons:

  1. it grants a 3500 haste/ crit/ mastery bonus upon cast that lasts 8 seconds.  You don’t get to choose the buff, but they’re all good,
  2. it is affected by Echo of the Elements and our mastery, Elemental Overload.  Which means you can get extra Blasts, and
  3. it does a crapload of damage.  We’re talking upwards of 300k+ on a crit (at my ilvl, anyways.)

I’ll admit, Primal Elementalist looked pretty good, but overall, I like the buff more than I like the uber-cool Fire and Earth Elementals you get.

Now, onto the spells.  We can’t really call it a ‘spell rotation’ anymore.  Because it isn’t a rotation.  Its a matter of prioritizing your spells to maximize your DPS, and in order to do that effectively, you have to know your abilities.  Shaman spells chain together in a way that makes them effective.  And of course, you’ll have different spell priorities during different ________.  My single target, non-boss DPS looks like this:

  • cast Flame Shock
  • cast Lava Burst
  • cast Elemental Blast
  • drop Searing Totem
  • cast Lava Burst when Lava Surge procs
  • cast Lightning Bolt as a filler until either Elemental Blast or Lava Burst are off of cooldown OR Lava Surge procs (in that order)
  • cast Earth Shock between 5 and 7 charges of Fulmination on my Lightning Shield, but ONLY if Flame Shock isn’t going to fall of over the cooldown period all Shocks share.
  • refresh Flame Shock as necessary
  • rinse and repeat

Now, my reasoning behind this is thus.  You only get Lava Surge procs on ticks of Flame Shock.  Now, you may ask, ‘If Elemental Blast has a chance of giving you a haste buff, why not cast it first, then Flame Shock, etc?’  And that would be a good question.  But the fact is that you can’t control which of the 3 buffs Elemental Blast will give you, so its better to just get Flame Shock up as early as possible and hope RNG favors you.  The point is to ALWAYS have Flame Shock up on your target as most of your damage is coming from Lava Burst (which does 50% more damage with Flame Shock up) and Lava Surge (which is free Lava Bursts.)  This is also why haste is so important, but I will cover that in another post.  It is also important to mention that you want to cast Elemental Blast everytime it is off cooldown and that it has the priority over Lava Burst.  You want to maintain as much uptime on that random buff it gives you as possible.  Its not 100% (as Elemental Blast has a 12 second cooldown and the buff lasts 8 seconds), but you can get it close.

For single target Boss DPS, I change it up, but only a little bit:

  • pre-pot before the pull (Potion of the Jade Serpent), that way you have it off of cooldown for when you need to burn the boss down,
  • Flame Shock
  • drop Searing Totem
  • Lava Burst
  • Elemental Blast
  • Ascension
  • chain cast Lava Burst until Elemental Blast comes off of cooldown, then chain cast it some more
  • cast Lightning Bolt as a filler once Ascension wears off between Elemental Blast/ Lava Burst cooldowns and Lava Surge procs
  • Earth Shock following the same guidelines as above

Ah, Ascension.  Such a beautiful ability with a surprisingly short 2 minute cooldown.  You want to use Ascension as early and as often as possible- the only time you should save it is if there is a burn phase, and only if said burn phase is going to come up within 2 minutes.  Then you want to keep it in your back pocket for Heroism/ Time Warp.  That being said, blow Ascension and blow it often.

For a burn phase, here’s what I do:

  • burn Heroism
  • pop a Potion of the Jade Serpent
  • refresh Flame Shock, no matter how much time it has left on it
  • Elemental Blast (if off cooldown.  If not, cast it as soon as it comes off of cooldown after the next few steps)
  • drop my Fire Elemental Totem
  • drop Stormlash Totem
  • Lava Burst
  • Ascension
  • chain cast Lava Burst until Elemental Blast comes off of cooldown, then chain cast it some more
  • cast Lightning Bolt as a filler once Ascension wears off between Elemental Blast/ Lava Burst cooldowns and Lava Surge procs
  • Earth Shock following the same guidelines as above

Its slightly different from my normal spell prioritization.  During a burn, I’m trying to maximize my damage as much as possible, and that means dropping as many Int, haste, and damage buffs on myself- and my team, if possible- as I can.  Heroism lasts 40 seconds, which is plenty of time for spell setup and such.

For AoE fights… you’re not going to get a pretty point- by- point explanation for this.  Just chain cast Chain Lightning until everything is a crackling, smoking, sparkling murder pile in the middle of the room.  No need to blow Ascension (though you can if you want to).  Chain Lightning (plus Echo and Elemental Overload) will easily do 120+k DPS by itself.  No need to make mages and warlocks feel any worse.

Well folks, that’s it for now.  I will be revisiting this topic later where I will be talking about stat priorities, reforging, gems, and enchants.  But for now, have a lovely week!


~Inquisitor Aura

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