Elemental combat is the ranged magic damage tree for the Shaman class. The basics of Elemental spellcasting, important talents, spells and totems, stats and gearing, and other topics will be covered in this article.
Elemental is a ranged caster spec. Like most other ranged casters, our spec relies on DoTs, procs, and cooldowns to do effective DPS. As of the launch of Cataclysm, we do not follow a specific cast order or rotation, but rather use a spell priority to determine what to cast next. As with other Shamans, Elemental relies on Totems to buff the group and do additional damage, although the exact totems to use may vary with the situation.
Elemental shaman share gear with Restoration shaman for all mail armor slots outside of tier pieces. Also, with the addition of Mail Specialization, we do not use cloth or leather armor. A basic stat hierarchy in order of most important to least is as follows:Spirit/Hit (until capped) >> Intellect > Haste >= Mastery >> Crit
More information about stats and their relative importance may be found later in the article.
The Elemental spec provides a few specific bonuses to a raid beyond the basic totems given by any shaman: a 5% spell crit aura from Elemental Oath, a 10% spellpower increase from Fire totems via the Totemic Wrath talent, and a 20% attack speed debuff from Earth Shock. Like most class buffs and debuffs, ours are not exclusive and coverage can be found with similar or identical buffs elsewhere.
|Leader of the Pack
, Honor Among Thieves
|Feral Druid, Subtlety Rogue, Fury Warrior|All versions of this buff are identical and do not stack.Totemic Wrath
|Demonology Warlock|These buffs are identical and do not stack. The spellpower bonus applied is 10% of the recipients' spellpower and is not based on the spellpower of the shaman or warlock providing the buff.Earth Shock
, Frost Fever
, Judgments of the Just
|Feral Druid, Death Knight (all), Protection Paladin, Protection Warrior|These debuffs are identical and do not stack, but there isn't much cause to worry about being the sole applier of this debuff, especially considering that every tank spec will have it up by default most of the time.
For totem buffs that are nonspecific to the Elemental spec, see the Totems section.
There are three primary spells in the Elemental rotation.
|LB|71.43%|LB is the "filler spell" for Elemental rotations, and is a key part of our mana regeneration through the Rolling Thunder
talent. LB is typically a sizable percentage of an Elemental shaman's damage, and so talents and glyphs that benefit it have a larger impact on our overall DPS.Flame Shock
|FS|21.40% DD 10.00% DoT tick|FS is our standard shock ability. Primarily used to guarantee a LvB crit and to enable Lava Surges, it is also one of a few spells that are useful to cast whenever you are moving (or just unable to cast non-instant spells while still able to perform actions). The DoT portion of this spell is affected by haste, and it is therefore one of our best-scaling spells. For more about the interaction of haste and Flame Shock, see the Stats section.Lava Burst
|LvB|62.80%|The core spell of the Elemental rotation, LvB is a high damage spell on an 8 second cooldown. This spell will always crit as long as a Flame Shock DoT is present on the target, and as such it should never be cast if FS is not present or will fall off before LvB finishes casting. The automatic crit is useful in that it will guarantee two clearcasting charges, further increasing damage and reducing mana consumption. The Lava Surge talent gives Flame Shock DoT ticks a 20% chance to reset the cooldown on this spell; quick reaction to Surge procs is key to maintaining high DPS. Earth Shock
|ES|38.57%|Earth Shock is an instant cast nature-damage spell with a 20% melee attack speed reduction. In the Elemental rotation, its main use is actually to "discharge" up to 6 stacks of Lightning Shield (accumulated through Rolling Thunder) on a target via the Fulmination talent. This ability in combination with Lava Burst makes for phenomenal one-two burst damage.Lightning Shield
|LS|Unknown|Not a direct damage spell per se, but core to our rotation nonetheless. This ability must be active for Rolling Thunder to generate additional stacks for use with Fulmination/Earth Shock.
These spells are core to the class but are situational or not part of the rotation.
|FT|N/A|FT is the Elemental weapon buff. Provides bonus spellpower. This is the only weapon imbue you should ever use as Elemental.Chain Lightning
|CL|57.14%|CL is a ranged "smart cleave" and our primary AoE spell. This spell should be used any time there is more than one target within range of its cleave; otherwise stick to LB and the rest of the Elemental rotation. For AoE situations with 4+ targets, the Glyph for this spell is highly recommended.Elemental Mastery
|EM|N/A|The primary Elemental cooldown; boosts damage done as well as haste. The 3-minute cooldown on this spell is reduced by casting LB and CL when talented.Frost Shock
|FrS|38.57%|Frost Shock is a close-range, high threat spell with a slowing component that is useful in two major situations: fights that involve kiting, and PvP.Hex
||N/A|This is the Shaman crowd control spell. Will not break immediately upon damage, and does not heal its target.Thunderstorm
|TS|17.14%|Thunderstorm is a spell unique to the Elemental tree, learned when choosing the Elemental specialization at level 10. It is an instant AoE damaging spell with a 20 yard knockback and a mana restore function, which can be glyphed to remove the knockback function and increase the mana restoration by a small amount, and also to reduce the cooldown.Wind Shear
|WS|N/A|A close-range, instant spell interrupt that is not on the GCD. This spell has a 25-yard maximum range (and no talents to increase it), so it requires careful positioning to make effective use of.Earthquake
|EQ|Unknown|An Elemental-only AoE spell. This spell was changed in 4.1 and is no longer channeled; instead it is a targeted AoE ability that should be used in conjunction with our primary source of AoE DPS, Chain Lightning, whenever possible. Remember when using this spell that once cast it is put on cooldown, and therefore cannot be recast if mobs move out from underneath it.Fire Nova
|FN|Unknown|This ability is no longer part of the AoE toolkit for Elemental, and can be ignored.Unleash Elements
|UE|Varies|UE is an instant cast spell on a 15-second cooldown that has a different effect depending on which weapon buff is currently active. For Elemental that will almost always be Flametongue, which results in Unleash Flame
. This spell causes a small amount of fire damage and (when talented) increases the damage of the next fire spell cast by 30%. Since the direct damage portion of this spell deals such a small amount of damage, it is not typically worth casting over a LB. However, there is one circumstance where this is not the case, see the notes on this spell in the FAQ for more information. Other uses of Unleash Elements, like Frostbrand and Rockbiter, have a few applications in PvE, and will be covered in more detail at a future date.Bind Elemental
||N/A|A CC that affects on Elemental enemies. Functions similarly to priests' Shackle Undead; any damage to the target breaks the effect.Cleanse Spirit
||N/A|Cleanses one Curse from a friendly target. As of 4.0.1 this is the only debuff removal ability Elemental has.Purge
||N/A|Removes a single magic buff from an enemy target. Crucial for many boss encounters, such as Maloriak, and a primary PvP ability.Spiritwalker's Grace
|SWG|N/A|Allows 15 seconds movement while casting, with a 2 minute cooldown. This ability will likely only be used once or twice in a given fight, so it is best to use it as much as possible to reduce the impact movement has on your spell priority over the length of a fight.Ghost Wolf
||N/A|This ability may be used anywhere, including indoors. If talented, this ability is instant cast. A Major Glyph for this ability increases the movement speed bonus by 5%.
This list ranks totems from top to bottom in terms of their recommended or common use as Elemental in raids.Air
|NotesWrath of Air
|Recommended|This is the primary air totem for Elemental raiding. Increases all spellcasting haste by 5% for all raid members in range.Windfury Totem
|Not Recommended|Drop this totem only if you are the only shaman in the group, there are no Frost DKs or Survival Hunters, and the group is melee-heavy.Grounding Totem
|Situational|There are not very many PvE raiding applications for this totem, as most boss abilities ignore it and it is unnecessary for most trash, but it may see some use in certain boss encounters.Earth
|Recommended|The general-use earth totem for Elemental. The armor bonus from this totem is exclusive with Devotion Aura and is raid-wide.Strength of Earth Totem
|Not Recommended|Similar to Windfury, drop this only if there are no Enhancement shamans, DKs, or Warriors in the raid.Tremor Totem
|Situational|This totem has been redesigned in patch 4.0.6 to be raidwide and break charm, fear and sleep effects with a much faster pulse rate (1 second, down from 3). Due to this increase in power the cooldown has also been increased to 1 minute.Earthbind Totem
|Situational|Useful in certain fights, this totem slows all nearby targets and, when talented, can temporarily root them as well. Also very useful for PvP.Stoneclaw Totem
|Situational|This totem by itself has little PvE or PvP applications at endgame, but with the glyph can be a useful survivability tool in both environments.Earth Elemental Totem
|Ignore|This totem has little to no use in a PvE raiding environment, due to its pulsing taunt (which most bosses are immune to anyways) and very low survivability. As of patch 4.0.6 this totem no longer puts Fire Elemental totem on cooldown.Water
|NotesHealing Stream Totem
|Recommended|The general-use water totem in raid situations, usually because there are very few other choices that provide tangible benefits. Can be glyphed to add the functionality of Elemental Resistance Totem as well.Mana Spring Totem
|Not Recommended|This totem is primarily used for solo play or 5-man dungeons, unless there are no Paladins in your raid.Elemental Resistance Totem
|Situational|An all-purpose resistance totem. This ability is exclusive with the Paladin aura and has a similar effect (the Paladin aura provides Shadow resistance instead of Nature).Totem of Tranquil Mind
|Situational|Identical to the Paladin buff Concentration Aura. This is useful if your raid does not have paladins using the aura or for soloing.Fire
|Recommended|The standard single-target fire damage totem. This spell has a longer duration and attack range than Magma, which puts it over that spell in single-target damage due to decreased GCD usage and placement time. This totem, like all fire totems, provides the raid-wide 10% spellpower buff from Totemic Wrath, so keeping close to 100% uptime is important. NOTE: Fire Nova cannot be used in conjunction with this totem as of patch 4.0.1.Fire Elemental Totem
|Recommended|The Fire Elemental is a free-moving AI-controlled mob (not a pet), but is anchored to its totem. This totem is an extremely effective form of both single-target and AoE DPS. Because it is anchored to the original placement spot, you should make sure that the target it will be attacking is not moved significantly while it is out. This totem lasts for two minutes, has a ten minute cooldown, and therefore should be used at least once per fight. Glyphing this totem cuts the cooldown in half, and so for some fights lasting longer than seven minutes (enough for two full durations of the totem) the glyph is competitive with other choices.Magma Totem
|Situational|A point-blank AoE damage totem. This is intended to be one of Enhancement's AoE tools, but due to its long duration as of patch 4.1 (60 seconds), players wishing to increase their AoE dps on safe, stationary targets can drop this in melee range before starting their typical AoE rotation.Flametongue Totem
|Ignore|The buff provided by Totemic Wrath is better in all respects, and does not stack with this totem.Notes on Fire Elemental and 2PC T12:
The Fire Elemental, in addition to its unpredictable behavior, requires some effort in order to maximize its potential DPS. At the moment it scales from a shaman's spellpower only, and also performs a "snapshot" of the caster's stats when dropped, which means trinkets and procs with +Int or spellpower have a disproportionate impact on its DPS output. Generally the best strategy (if possible) is to drop it when every Int proc from trinkets, Power Torrent, engineering gloves, tailoring cloak, Volcanic Potion, etc. are all up simultaneously at the beginning of the fight when their ICDs are all guaranteed to be up. If used in this way you can temporarily more than double the amount of Int buffing your totem for its entire 2-minute duration, and thus greatly increase your DPS. Note that with the nerf to 2PC T12 in patch 4.3, the Elemental can't be dropped more than once or twice in a fight, and may not be up at the beginning of the next attempt.
Like all specs Elemental has several passive bonuses and one ability granted by choosing the specialization at level 10.
Elemental's "signature spell" is Thunderstorm
, more information about this spell can be found in the Spells section above.
The two passive bonuses granted by the Elemental spec are Elemental Fury
, which brings our critical strikes up to the standard 200% damage bonus of all ranged casters, and Shamanism
, which reduces the base cast time of our primary damage spells as well as increasing the damage they gain from spellpower.
Elemental's Mastery is Elemental Overload
, which gives us a chance to proc a free second spell when casting Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning or Lava Burst at 75% of normal damage. More information on mastery can be found in the Stats section.
The new 31-point talent trees are very straightforward, and for PvE builds there are not many choices to make. A few standard level 85 builds are listed here:Elemental - 32/9/0 - Convection & Totemic ReachElemental - 32/9/0 - Reverberation & Totemic ReachElemental - 34/7/0 - Convection & Reverberation
There are a few "optional" points that can be reshuffled or ignored based on your preference; these talents are Convection, Reverberation, Totemic Reach, and Ancestral Resolve. More on them below.
|Recommended|A straightforward critical strike chance increase.
|Optional|Reduces the mana cost of all offensive spells. If you don't encounter mana issues during regular casting, you can safely ignore this if you wish to take other talents.
|Mandatory|A flat damage increase on our most-used damaging abilities.
2|Call of Flame
|Mandatory|Increases the damage of Searing, Magma, and Fire Elemental totems as well as Lava Burst.
|Optional|Reduces magical damage taken. A good PvP talent and situationally useful in PvE.
|Optional|Optional, depending on how you are able to manage the shock cooldown. You may find this talent helpful in decreasing the chances of wasted Lightning Shield charges, but if you are able to manage this ability without it, it can be safely ignored.
|Mandatory|A flat damage increase; also allows for the conversion of Spirit to Hit rating from gear, and therefor absolutely essential since most caster mail will have Spirit on it (without this talent Spirit is 100% useless).
|Mandatory|Our main source of mana regeneration, and therefore mandatory. Also enables the stacking of Lightning Shield charges for use with the tier 5 talent, Fulmination.
|Mandatory|Another source of mana, but through conservation rather than regeneration. This talent enables clearcasting following a crit, which reduces the mana cost of the next two spells cast. The tier 4 talent Elemental Oath also causes clearcasting charges to increase damage done by 10%.
|Recommended|Increases the range of our shocks and damage spells to the caster default, and also increases the range of Searing Totem.
|Mandatory|As mentioned, causes Clearcasting charges to increase damage done by 10%. This talent also provides 5% spell critical strike chance in a raidwide 100-yard aura.
|Mandatory|A multifunction talent that greatly increases the damage of both Lava Burst and Flame Shock, in addition to providing a PvP-oriented "dispel protection" to Flame Shock in the form of a massive haste buff.
|Mandatory|Enables Earth Shock to proc a secondary damaging effect when cast. The damage done is based on the number of Lightning Shield charges over three on the shaman, up to a maximum of six extra charges. These extra charges are generated by the tier 3 talent, Rolling Thunder.
|Mandatory|Elemental's primary cooldown. This spell increases damage done as well as haste for a short period.
|Situational|A PvP talent that enables Earthbind totem to root nearby enemies for a brief period. Situationally useful in PvE.
|Recommended|Grants any active fire totem the Totemic Wrath ability, which increases the spellpower of all raid members within 100 yards of the totem by 10%. This is exclusive with the Demonology Warlock ability Demonic Pact, and makes casting Flametongue totem redundant.
|Mandatory|A significant DPS increase.
|Recommended|Causes Flame Shock DoT ticks to occasionally reset the cooldown of Lava Burst. Using this talent effectively requires some attention, see more in the Spell Priority section of this guide.
|Recommended|Elemental's primary AoE ability. This spell has a very high mana cost and thus cannot easily be "spammed" or chain-cast. Best use of this spell takes advantage of Clearcasting procs from critical strikes to reduce the mana cost by 40% and increase damage done.
|Recommended|Increases the spellpower bonus of Flametongue Weapon and the fire damage bonus of Unleash Flame.
|Ignore|An Enhancement talent only.
|Recommended|Increases the damage of Lightning Shield orbs, and thus the total damage of Fulmination.
|Ignore|An Enhancement talent only.
|Ignore|An Enhancement talent only.
|Recommended|The movement speed increase from this talent is passive and does not stack with run speed enchants, so taking this talent frees up a boot enchant for haste or mastery. Instant-cast Ghost Wolf is also very, very useful for situations that require quick repositioning without the ability to cast. Keep in mind that while it is hard to determine a quantitative DPS gain from talents that increase movement speed, reducing the amount of time spent moving will always be a DPS increase, although with the Unleashed Lightning glyph you will not need to use Ghost wolf for this purpose nearly as often.
|Optional|Increases the effect radius of all beneficial totems as well as the range of offensive totems like Searing, although Elemental Reach makes this talent less useful than it would otherwise be. Does not seem to affect the attack radius of the Fire Elemental.
|Optional|A decent survivability talent. Very useful for PvP, and potentially useful for PvE fights with heavy raid damage.
|Ignore|A Restoration talent only.
1|Spark of Life
|Situational|A survivability talent. Should only be considered if you are going deeper into Restoration for Totemic Focus.
2|Improved Water Shield
|Ignore|A Restoration talent only.
|Situational|This talent is currently the subject of some debate, as it was discovered that the duration bonus also applies to offensive totems such as Searing and Fire Elemental. Given Fire Elemental's high damage potential, it is possible that taking this talent is a DPS increase, especially when combined with the Fire Elemental glyph and 2PC T12 on longer fights. Others argue that this benefit does not outweigh the loss of Ancestral Swiftness or two points in Improved shields that going this deep into Restoration requires.
|Ignore|A Restoration talent only.
|Ignore|An all-around useless talent.
Glyphs that are completely unrelated to the Elemental spec will not be listed here. When applicable, glyphs will be listed in order of the DPS gain they provide.
|NotesGlyph of Lightning Bolt
|Recommended|As LB makes up a sizable portion of our damage, this glyph is competitive with other choices.Glyph of Unleashed Lightning
|Recommended|Allows LB to be cast while moving. For the vast majority of fights in the current and previous tier this is of immense use.Glyph of Flame Shock
|Recommended|This glyph is competitive for DPS and also provides the benefit of making the shock cooldown easier to manage. Read more on this in the Spell Priority section below.Glyph of Lava Burst
|Recommended|A competitive third glyph choice if you do not need Unleashed Lightning for a fight or if you have 4PC T12.Glyph of Fire Elemental
|Recommended|With 2PC T12 this glyph is competitive with other choices, but should be dropped once the setbonus is replaced.Glyph of Flametongue Weapon
|Not Recommended|No longer a competitive choice for the top 3.Glyph of Shocking
|Ignore|Not useful in the slightest.
|NotesGlyph of Lightning Shield
|Required|The only truly "required" major glyph. This glyph prevents your Lightning Shield from ever going below 3 charges. Many AoE or directed boss abilities will proc the shield, and this glyph will effectively keep you from ever having to refresh it during a fight.Glyph of Chain Lightning
|Recommended|Increases the usefulness of CL for AoE situations, but reduces its effectiveness against 3 or fewer targets. Note that CL gains an increased chance to proc Rolling Thunder, LS charges and Overloads while glyphed, and will increase the value of Mastery for any fight with AoE.Glyph of Thunder
|Recommended|Useful especially for fights where Thunderstorm's knockback might be used more frequently than once every 40 seconds, such as Cho'gall. Also increases mana regeneration, although only slightly.Glyph of Healing Stream Totem
|Recommended|Bundles the effect of Elemental Resistance Totem into Healing Stream, making it a very useful raid tool.Glyph of Ghost Wolf
|Situational|Increases Ghost Wolf run speed by a small amount.Glyph of Hex
|Situational|Mostly useful for trash or heroic dungeons.Glyph of Elemental Mastery
|Situational|Gives EM an additional defensive cooldown capability, and is therefore mostly a PvP/survivability glyph.Glyph of Stoneclaw Totem
|Situational|Gives Stoneclaw totem a ~16k absorb when cast. Useful in PvP, and PvE where survivability is a concern.Glyph of Grounding Totem
|Situational|Gives Grounding a spell reflect component. Not typically useful in PvE.Glyph of Totemic Recall
|Ignore|The tiny amount of mana restored by this glyph does not justify a glyph spot.Glyph of Frost Shock
|Ignore|A very slight duration increase for Frost Shock's effect, and hardly worth a glyph spot.
Of all the minor glyphs, only Glyph of Thunderstorm
has a real impact on any of our abilities. This glyph can be taken if you feel you do not need the knockback component of Thunderstorm, although some raid leaders may have requirements either to have or not have this glyph.
The rest of the minor glyphs are cosmetic or quality-of-life, and therefore up to your preference.
The Elemental playstyle has undergone some significant changes. Instead of a fairly static and predictable rotation, we now have many active abilities and procs to watch for on a constant basis. The key to strong DPS as Elemental is to react to these abilities quickly, manage your cooldowns successfully and keep DPS time as high as possible.
Elemental uses a priority list to determine what spell to cast at a given moment. This list can very often be affected by fight conditions, so use the following as a guideline
rather than a gospel.
The spell priority list, in order of importance from most to least:
- Fire DPS totem down (Searing, Fire Elemental)
- Flame Shock DoT on the target
- Lava Burst (whenever it's up)
- Earth Shock (7-9 charges of Lightning Shield)
- Lightning Bolt filler
The most important things to watch for while following this spell priority are Lava Surge procs and Lightning Shield charges. Ideally you will want to cast Lava Burst any time it is up, but do not interrupt a queued cast to start casting Lava Burst, as the loss of time from an interrupted spell will usually outweigh any extra damage from LvB.
Lightning Shield charges via Rolling Thunder stack up to 9, and any additional charges generated are wasted. The ideal time to cast Earth Shock to use these charges is between 7 and 9 stacks; for the reasons behind this, read the next section.
Fulmination, which uses Lightning Shield charges when Earth Shock is cast, throws a wrench in our previously easy DoT management by occasionally causing Flame Shock and Earth Shock to bump up against each other via the shock cooldown. The easiest way to deal with this problem is to give yourself some flexibility on when one of these abilities is cast, and since Flame Shock has a fixed duration the best approach is to use Earth Shock with Flame Shock's duration in mind, ideally at any point between 7 and 9 Lightning Shield charges as previously mentioned.
This serves several functions. Casting LvB without FS present or delaying an LvB cast is always a DPS loss, as is wasting Lightning Shield charges by proccing more stacks of LS while already at the maximum (9). Therefore it is best to cast Earth Shock when it is convenient to do so, i.e. between 7 and 9 stacks of LS when FS does not need to be refreshed in the next 5 seconds.
Other strategies to minimize the impact of the shock cooldown:Glyph Flame Shock.
This extends FS's duration and gives you more room to work with. You will still run into moments where ES and FS could interact, but there will be less of them over a given period of time.Spec into Reverberation.
By reducing the shock cooldown itself, you give yourself more space between Earth Shock and Flame Shock casts to work with.
With the advent of the Unleashed Lightning glyph in patch 4.2, the impact of movement on our spec has done a complete 180. With this change, dealing with movement has a completely different set of rules:Predict movement phases as much as possible.
If you know a small movement phase is coming up, try to plan casts of LvB to go off right before if possible. Casting LB while moving is much better than casting nothing, but delaying LvB's cast is still a DPS loss.Use Spiritwalker's Grace for extended movement.
As a corollary to the above, if it's a longer period of movement, use SWG so that you can continue to cast your complete spell priority for that period.Stop to cast LvB.
If you're sure you won't die or the boss won't get out of range, stop briefly when LvB comes off cooldown to recast it, then keep moving.
Cataclysm changed DoT mechanics so that "clipping" a DoT, or recasting it before the existing DoT expires, resets the duration of the spell after the next tick
rather than immediately. This means that recasting a DoT on a target with a single tick left causes no loss in DPS, so if possible you should aim to recast Flame Shock as close to this point as you can. This also makes it possible to have near-100% uptime of Flame Shock if you are good about recasting it at the right time, since there will be no gap between DoTs.
AoE for Elemental has been redesigned yet again in patch 4.3. This time, things are simple and there is no ramp-up time. The priority is as follows:
- If targets are stationary, cast Earthquake.
- Cast (glyphed) Chain Lightning, as it no longer has a cooldown.
- Weave in Fulminations at 9 stacks on important targets or those with higher HP. Note that there will almost always be wasted charges due to CL's high rate of Rolling Thunder procs.
The following is a basic summary of the stats that Elemental finds important and why.
Our most important stats, in order of DPS increase per point, is the following:Spirit/Hit (until capped) >> Intellect > Haste >= Mastery >> Crit
Note that this list is based on BiS Heroic T12 gear, and may be different for your own gear, especially if you are just starting out. Run SimCraft to get a better idea of your own stat weights, these are just guidelines
Hit is the single largest DPS increase of any stat, until it is capped. Once capped it provides zero extra benefit, so you should aim for as close to the cap as possible. With the Elemental Precision talent, Spirit provides point-for-point hit rating.
Reforging is an excellent way to reach the exact hitcap, or very close to it, with almost any gear setup. Reforging crit to Spirit is in many cases the best way to accomplish this. Because you cannot reforge primary stats, it is best to reforge rather than gem for hit/spirit, since you can gem for primary stats like Int instead. See the Rules for Reforging in the FAQ for further guidelines.
Elemental Shamans need 17% total hit to be capped against raid bosses; Draenei shamans gain 1% from the Heroic Aura racial and thus need only 16% from gear. There are no longer any raid buffs that provide additional hit chance.
The hit cap (17% hit chance) for a level 85 shaman is 1742 hit rating
, for a Draenei it is 1640 hit rating
Intellect is our core stat, as it is for every other DPS caster. Past the hit cap, we gain more DPS point per point from this stat than any other. Int provides spellpower as well as additional mana, and a small amount of crit.
Extra spellpower on caster weapons is valued only slightly less than Int itself, and can make one weapon disproportionately better than another of a lower ilvl, even if the secondary stats are worse.
Haste benefits essentially all of our damaging spells (except fire totems, non-DoT Shocks and Unleash Elements) by reducing the casting time of the spell, or in Flame Shock's case by increasing the number of DoT ticks over the spell's duration.
There are a number of abilities that affect your current haste %. Wrath of Air increases all spellcasting haste by 5%, as do group buffs from other classes like Shadow Priests (multiple sources do not stack, so you will only get 5% from your raid or self-buff). Elemental Mastery increases haste by 20%, and Bloodlust/Heroism/Time Warp by 30%.
Haste has several caps that affect its overall benefit. The first is the GCD cap (50% haste), which occurs when you gain enough haste to reduce the global cooldown of your spells to 1 second (from 1.5). Past this point haste will no longer affect the GCD. This is important because although regular spells appear to have no minimum cast duration
, once past 50% haste the GCD will never change, so the effective minimum time between each spellcast
will always be the GCD, or 1 second.
This means that every spell has a haste cap that is equal to the amount of haste it would take to reduce that spell to a 1-second cast time, as past that point, haste will provide no additional benefit. Note that for instant cast (non-DoT) spells, the effective "haste cap" is the GCD cap, or 50% haste. The DoT portion of Flame Shock has no haste cap whatsoever, and will continue to provide DPS from extra haste well past 100%, although due to changes in DoT mechanics there are several haste "plateaus" as new ticks are added to the DoT by additional haste.
So what does this all mean? Haste loses some of its benefit for us once Chain Lightning and Lava Burst are haste capped, but generally not enough to change its relative importance with other stats. In any case, at current gear levels haste caps are quite distant, and so even under stacked haste effects we do not have to worry about hitting LB's haste cap any time soon.There are no haste targets, none, zero.
You should never gear around a specific rating number for any of our stats (except hit). This is an extremely common misconception and it will not help you be an effective damage-dealer.
Back in the first half of WotLK, some players noted that at certain haste levels it became possible to add additonal casts of Lightning Bolt to a fixed rotation at specific haste values. At this point these haste values started popping up everywhere as "fixed" values that every Elemental shaman should get to and then stop. With the changes to our spells in Cataclysm this approach does not work in the slightest, as it is impossible to account for Surge procs and the shock cooldown in a fixed rotation, so you should never gear around a fixed amount of haste.
For a more technical explanation: this simple graph illustrates the very linear way in which increasing haste increases our DPS, even in a Wrath-style spell priority where it was possible to use a fixed rotation.
Mastery provides a DPS increase by proccing free, threatless extra spellcasts called Overloads that deal 75% of the damage of the initial spell.
Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning and Lava Burst can all proc overloads, and overload procs from LB and CL can generate Rolling Thunder charges. Chain Lightning's chance to proc an overload is split between each jump of the spell, and all jumps can independantly proc their own overload. Glyphing CL does not reduce the chance to proc an Overload from an individual jump, which means the glyph actually increases the benefit of Mastery for CL significantly. For this reason Mastery may be worth more on fights with heavy AoE.
Critical strikes increase both overall damage done as well as mana efficiency. With the relevant talents, crits proc two charges of Clearcasting
, which is modified by Elemental Oath
to increase all spelldamage by 10%. This effect is subject to diminishing returns, as shown by this graph:
DPS gained from Clearcasting decreases with each subsequent point of critical strike rating.
Agility, Strength, Attack Power, and other melee-oriented stats serve only one function for us: they boost the damage of our Fire Elemental spell by a small amount. If you like to squeeze out every ounce of DPS from your abilities, being buffed with these stats increases the damage of that spell, but you should never
gear for them specifically.
For most cases with current gear levels, the gems you should use in various slots are as follows:
if a socket bonus is attractive (+int) or you are below the hit cap even after reforging, otherwise
if a socket bonus is attractive (int, haste or mastery)
It is important to note that
is the only meta you should use
See the ongoing discussion thread here for more information about best-in-slot gear: BiS gear and set-up discussion
T11|2pc|Increases the crit chance of Flame Shock (and its DoT) by 10%. A decent DPS increase.
|4pc|Reduces the base cast time of LB by 10%, also worth gearing for.
T12|2pc|Your Lightning Bolt has a 30% chance to reduce the remaining cooldown on your Fire Elemental Totem by 4 sec. In its nerfed form, this is still a sizable DPS increase, and may increase the value of the Fire Elemental glyph or a Totemic Focus spec. However, it is not worth keeping over 4PC T13.
|4pc|Causes Lava Surge procs to make LvB instantcast in addition to resetting the cooldown. This further increases our mobility, although it is also a minor DPS increase in the form of less wasted Surge procs.
T13|2pc|Elemental Mastery also grants you 2000 mastery rating for 15 seconds. A very solid DPS increase.
|4pc|Each time Elemental Overload triggers, you gain 250 haste rating for 4 sec, stacking up to 3 times. Note that the increased Mastery from 2pc t13 scales well with this setbonus.
The UI of an Elemental Shaman should be primarily concerned with three major things: the Flame Shock DoT and its duration, the Lava Burst cooldown, and Lightning Shield charges. There are a few mods that can help with this.ForteXorcist
: A very useful addon for many classes that can track both cooldowns and DoTs in an attractive package. Best known for its visual cooldown bar, ForteXorcist is a great choice if you want your information right in front of you in an obvious manner (plus it looks pretty cool).DoTimer
: If you want a more straightforward bar-oriented mod, DoTimer is a solid choice. This mod displays both DoTs and cooldowns in a configurable bar format, although the configuration can be somewhat complex.PowerAuras
: A classic from TBC days, PowerAuras is a simple way to track different abilities by making visual cues display on the screen when certain conditions are met, such as your Flame Shock DoT being present on the target or Lightning Shield being at different stack numbers.
For a more general Shaman utility addon, one can hardly go wrong with TotemTimers
. This is easily the most feature rich totem, shield and weapon buff tracking mod out there, and it works flawlessly with Blizzard's new totem UI.
Thanks always to Binkenstein, Pewter and Zamir, my comrades at TotemSpot. Be sure to check out their work at TotemSpot
, The 'Mental Shaman
, and Planet of the Hats
, because without them we wouldn't have half the shaman community we do now.
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