Guide to Shaman Tanking

  • Guide to Shaman Tanking

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    Can shamans tank in Vanilla? The short and to the point answer is, yes. You might be rubbing your eyes right now in disbelief of this answer. Perhaps concocting up an entire four page manifesto around how only warriors can and should tank. Although, I could go on a long rant about how there are many other classes that can tank, today, I will be focusing on our totemic friend, the shaman.

    Table of Contents

     - Intro       - Basics      - Race                 - Profession      - Threat
     - Totems   - Talents     - Rotation           - Buffs              - Debuffs
     - Gear       - Enchant   - Comparaison   - AoE Tanking   - Raid Comp.
     - Raid Tank Tips


    My intent and statement with this guide is not to upset anyone or downplay different classes but to bring to light a rarely talked about topic of the game. Nothing about what will be detailed in this guide is orthodox, many distinctive elements can be tied to other hybrid classes looking to stray away from the path of normality.

    Every possible subject that comes to mind will be dissected to answer any lingering questions you might have. In the likely situation a subject is not addressed or poorly please bring it to my attention. I expect the same amount of scrutiny from readers as I have put into writing this guide, so don't hold back. Before continuing, an important aspect needs to be brought to everyone's attention. For some players this will be old news, but for many others players this will be a much needed revelation.

    The topic of Viable and Optimal is a highly controversial topic as some people simply don't see the difference or mixed these words up and commonly interject their own misguided philosophy onto it. To put it simply, Optimal is the most efficient and foolproof solution to solve a problem that eliminates as many negative variables as possible and favors a more easy going route. Next, is Viable or commonly referred to as possible, which is seen as the more challenging path to take but to many feels like a greater personal feat.

    With all of this in mind, where are shaman tanks placed? Shamans are classified under Viable and with each theorycrafter joining our ranks and contributing their work, perhaps shamans could “feasibly” one day dethrone those braggadocious paladin tanks/bear tanks and reach a theoretical semi-optimal spot. Many shaman tanks will agree their motivation or drive comes from the glory of accomplishing something the the rest of the server population dares not even try. If this sounds like you, I encourage you to continue reading on. To restate my point, you decide to go shaman tank if you want a challenge in an otherwise easy to clear raid. For example, Molten Core can be cleared without any contention. If it wasn't made obvious before, shield bearing is a sizable undertaking. When experienced players pick up a shaman tank and put in the effort, it shines tenfold. Nonetheless, your guild must also be experienced and prepared for a tempestuous task ahead.

    You will often see experienced raiders from top guilds play as a restoration shaman in raid and build a tanking set while healing. Eventually, they will transition into shaman tanking due to its extra challenge in an otherwise easy to clear content patch, they usually make the switch after the initial rush to get world first on a boss or raid is claimed and the subsequent following content drought approaches. As I previously stated it is not for the faint of heart, if you are brand spanking new to World Of Warcraft consider leveling up a ranged class to get an adequate grasp of PVE raids. All the while researching about tanking and talking to peers to get a feel for it and slowly transition to the world of shaman tanking. If you are a veteran of the game by all means start leveling that shaman.


    Let me put your fears to rest, shamans are fully capable of tanking 5mans, 10mans, off-tanking and even main-tanking a few raid bosses. Of course, as stated before, each form of tanking is heavily reliant on personal and guild experience. An important fact needs to be stated before moving on. A shaman's overall armor will never approach a warrior's armor mitigation. This results in a lower mitigation of physical damage. However, you compensate in other areas and provide some beneficial assets as well better threat output on single targets.

    On this notion, pending any major weird coding or other factors, shaman tanks can do about the same threat as a protection talented warrior. But there is a drawback, many spells are mana intensive, so be prepared to farm some mana regenerative items before a raid. We share the most similarity with feral druid tanks as we don’t have a major block activating ability and rely on a assortment of stats. The next downside is the nature immunity of certain mobs and its burden on threat but don't worry there are solutions which will be explained in the upcoming sections.


    Races play a big part as we are grasping for any amount of extra efficiency possible. Unfortunately, shamans don't exist on the Alliance side, therefore, we are being relegated to spend our fighting days with the Horde. As for race, choose wisely as once the decision is made there is no going back. Some players might want to choose a certain race to assure the clearing of a specific boss or raid.

    • Tauren
      Nature Resistance     War Stomp     Endurance      Cultivation
      What does this mean?: Considered the most suited race for surviving long fights and ideally clearing ZG/AQ, which will be the first raids where difficulties will arise. The 5% hp is great and is inherently based on absolute hp, so it will scale with the amount of hp obtained from gear and world buffs. In regards to War Stomp, be cautious you cannot dodge, block, or parry while casting the spell. However, its overall usefulness outweigh this slight inconvenience. The 15 skill increase to Herbalism is also helpful and nothing to scoff at while leveling.

    • Troll
      Throwing Specialization / Bow Specialization       Beast Slaying       Regeneration       Berserking
      What does this mean?: The race focusing on dealing threat instead of anything else. Generally, threat is not an issue, if you glaringly foresee having threat issues, than I unquestionably advocate for troll above all other races. Their "Regeneration" racial is insignificant even with a lot of spirit. Troll will especially deal a lot of threat on "Beast" bosses, ex: Magmadar in MC, Whirlaxis and Gahz'ranka in ZG, etc...

    • Orc
      Axe Specialization       Blood Fury       Hardiness       Command
      What does this mean?: Orc sadly fall short in survival & threat aspects. Akin to the troll, orc's focal point is threat. However, they're seen as a more riskier race option considering the -50% to healing from Blood Fury, which is a negative to non-attentive healers. In all honesty, in our strict testing, they surpass other races for dealing threat on short fights but it made the majority of healers very nervous. On the bright side, they proved more effective in the off-tank position. In conclusion, they plunge too deep into the situational category to be justified.


    While leveling, select Herbalism & Alchemy. Herbalism provides reagents for Alchemy and a source of gold for our eventual endgame professions. The goal is to gather a large supply of gold and a bank full of potions the raid might need, for example the potion, Flask of the titans. A valid case can be made for having a lvl 5 character in a major city to disenchant unwanted items through mail and store items at a bank for later use.

    After drop Herbalism and go for the late game profession, Engineering. In order to scoop up a few useful tools, such as the trinket: Gnomish battle chicken, Goblin sapper charge among many other beneficial gadgets.

    Finally, for secondary professions, I urge grabbing all of them as they all provide valuable assets. In terms of fishing, you can farm those elusive Stonescale Eels that are highly contested after for Flask of the Titans. First aid grants bandages for healing that don't require any mana to use. Lastly, cooking has Dragonbreath Chili a sheer delight as it not only scales with spell damage but also alongside the trinket: Arcanite Dragonling and its fire increasing debuff: Flame Buffet. This debuff scales with Goblin Sapper charge as well. All these items nicely combine into a decent boost in threat. Contrary to popular belief, Dragonbreath Chili does stack with another food buff.


    Because a plethora of questions surrounding aggro/threat are bound to come out of confusion. I'd like to first reference Kenco's words about how gaining aggro on a mob and overall threat functions in World of Warcraft.

    Now, let's examine the threat of a shaman. They're on another tier when it comes to outputting threat, but demand a lot of dedication comparably to the more laxed protection warrior. With proper optimization, their threat is nearly equal to a pure protection warrior and in some situations just shy of a druid tank. Of course, the shorter a fight, the better, since a shaman can freely throw mana around without going out of mana as fast. Resulting in more dependable damage being dished out and correlates into predictable threat. Let's see how to get creatures more mad at you than unusual.

    • Earth Shock is first as it deal a high amount of threat because of its 2x damage threat modifier. Sadly, nature damage is burdened: no warlock curses bolster it and some mobs are partially resilient to nature. If an area has a disease or poison theme, expect nature damage to be reduced. Here's a chart to better explain the notion. Don't fret, items exist to counter this damage dampening downside, ex: Eye of Moam & the debuff from the weapon: Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker helps with Earth Shock's damage by reducing the target's nature resistance. Anything resembling an elemental (noticeable in MC) has a high resistance to nature damage. All the Dragons of Nightmare are also immune to nature damage or tend to have the same high resistance to nature as to fire. The same applies for some mobs in: AQ, ZG & Naxx. Lastly, downranking Earth Shock is crucial to be cost-effective.

    • Frost Shock is used against nature immune targets. Frost Shock or referred as "FS" doesn't consume a debuff slot on a boss impervious to movement impairing effects (most bosses). There are additional ways to circumvent the lack of threat done against nature immune targets, which will be peppered throughout the upcoming topics.

    • Rockbiter at rank7, is 72 threat per second on hit. With 2.6 speed weapon, each hit is: 2.6 * 72 = ~172 threat. Weapon speed won't matter, but haste does. Haste effects are wanted to counter nature defiant mobs & low percent chance to hit. Once at an auto attack DPS of ~140, Rockbiter isn't optimal, instead use Winfury weapon. Players use fast daggers because of its higher chance to trigger the effect.

    • Lightning Shield or known as "LS" imposes conditions to be cost effective. Firstly, LS is on the GCD and shouldn't be casted over other spells, such as: Earth Shock so weigh your mana and threat. Secondly, downranking LS is vital to conserve our resources and maintain productivity. Each charge of LS scales with 33% of total spell damage but can't crit. Rank2 Lightning Shield can be indiscriminately casted in single and multiple target fights as part of a normal rotation. Rank4 Lightning Shield with adequate gear and conventional raid buffs is cost efficient enough to periodically activate in a fight. Rank7 Lightning Shield is a luxury used in the pulling phase or during short comprehensible fights.

    • Oil of immolation might not seem like much but floats around fourth on the list. It will interrupt your swing timer but not trigger a GCD. It is undeniably good to use before a boss pull or against multiple mobs. Luckily, they can be bought on the Auction House or simply created through Alchemy with a profession skill of 220.

    • Lightning Bolt or Chain Lightning (depending on number of mobs) will be the first spells dealing threat on the target. Downranking isn't as harsh or compulsory since these spells are only casted upon engaging a boss.

    • Goling Sapper Charge and similar bombs are great to generate additional threat and a definite must have against multiple mobs. The majority of bombs are made with engineering with the exception of the last two in the following list.
      Goling Sapper Charge (It shares a 1 minute GCD w/other bombs)
      Dark Iron Bomb requires standing still and a 1 second cast.
      Crystal Charge this can be stacked up to 20 and used while moving.
      Note: Not a bomb but Cluth of foresight (shares CD w/bombs) is an arcane spell good for fire resistant mobs.

    • Major Rejuvenation Potion & similar potions are global and .5x of the amount given. Health or mana effects cause no threat if at maximum capacity. Players on coherent fights will use a heal pot after Goblin Sapper Charge to deal a lot of threat. Below are Food/Consumables, in order of threat:
      Major Rejuvenation Potion is the highest threat output but it is costly.
      Major Healthstone is given to us by a warlock through a trade window.
      Major Mana Potion does share a cooldown with the two above items.
      Demonic Rune / Dark Rune (Shares a cooldown with the below items)
      Night Dragon's Breath Easily acquirable, so place a few in your bank.

    • Thorns and similar reflective effects deal damage to attackers when hit. Typically, these type of buffs are great against multiple mobs but still have relevancy in single target scenarios. You can only have one reflective buff on you at a time. The second highest dealing damage reflective effect is: Fire Shield.

    Threat Diminishers

    Aggro and threat from teammates is a daunting obstacle to tackle. Conveniently, there are ways for heavy hitting classes to reduce their threat. To begin with, ranged classes are highly adored because if they were to mistakenly get aggro, they are likely at that sweet 30-40yrd range, so it's easier to supervise. Also characters standing out of the 30-40yrd range will not draw aggro until they exceed the threat level of the mob's current target by 30% as opposed to 10% for melee classes. Here are a few examples of threat diminishers or dumps in no particular order:

    ─ Rogue deal with threat thanks to their spell Feint & wipe threat with Vanish.
    ─ Mage as a frost talent can get Frost Channelling & fire talent Burning Soul.
    ─ Druid spending time in cat form can Cower. Healing druids have: Subtlety.
    ─ Priest within the discipline talent can get Silent Resolve and the spell: Fade.
    ─ Shaman can get the healing talent Healing Grace & use: Tranquil Air Totem.

    Formula: Enchant Cloak - Subtlety: Used by high threat dealers within raids.
    Limited Invulnerability Potion: It will prevent aggro gain during its effect.
    Fetish of the Sand Reaver & Eye of Diminution: Obtainable within AQ/Naxx.


    We’ll be asking our shamanistic brothers from the restoration side to land a hand in optimizing totem utility, so be considerate and compliment each others strengths within the group. Each individual totem listed below is in order of importance per category. Remember, there can only be one type of totem per shaman so having another shaman in the group is welcomed.

    Strength of Earth Totem: Put by a 2nd shaman with Enhancing Totems.
    Stoneskin Totem: Dropped by us or 2nd shaman with Guardian Totems.
    Stoneclaw Totem: For AoE tanking a mob in a pack you don't have aggro.
    Earthbind Totem: A tool for kiting possible unbound trash in an instance.
    Tremor Totem: This totem will see some relevancy on a few boss battles.

    Frost Resistance Totem: Ideal for fights with high doses of frost damage.
    Fire Nova Totem: Pragmatic for bursting down low HP additional mobs.
    Searing Totem: Damage totems are costly since they don't grant threat.
    Magma Totem: Superb for AoE damage on high HP adds in encounters.
    Flametongue Totem: A weak enchant incomparable to other enchants.

    Grace of Air Totem: Optimally, put by a shaman w/Enhancing Totems.
    Nature Resistance Totem: To counteract nature damage, mainly ZG/AQ.
    Tranquil Air Totem: All raid party groups should have this, except yours.
    Grounding Totem: Sadly, this totem will rarely if ever used when tanking.
    Windwall Totem: Never used. I don't recommend purchasing this totem.
    Windfury Weapon: Our Rockbiter enchant is better. But it may help others.

    Mana Spring Totem: Usually, put by a shaman w/ Restorative Totems.
    Healing Stream Totem: Place if the before totem is put by a 2nd shaman.
    Poison Cleansing Totem: Good against a high poison output, ex: AQ/ZG.
    Fire Resistance Totem: Ideal versus high amounts of fire damage, ex MC.
    Disease Cleansing Totem: Unfortunately, it will rarely see the light of day.


    Naturally, if you are only doing dungeons the road ahead is much easier and there's more freedom to move talent points around. However, raid tanking is rigid and follows strict guidelines in order to be effective. The last two talent setups assume you're in a serious guild who are confidently clearing raids.


    First, on the list is a simple dungeon tank rotation and we’ll be presuming the boss fight is simple.

    • Pre-pull: Cast Lightning Shield and assure all possible buffs are present and max duration. Next, place the appropriate totems. Lastly, if it hasn't been done get the addon: KTM Threat, it displays the threat of members. A scenario can turn ugly quick, so watch KTM often. At any moment, you need to be sure of the fitting Earth Shock rank to use.

    • Pulling: Cast Lightning Bolt/Chain Lightning and Earth Shock. If all goes smoothly, Earth Shock again and turn the boss away from the group. If the boss suddenly targets someone or drops aggro, use rank7 Earth shock to aggro them. For future threat problems, see the Threat section.

    Second is a complex rotation mainly for raid tanking, it has great results but requires good gear, buff, etc... Naturally, if you aren't able to perform every single action below don't get discouraged, its mostly to showcase the maximum potential possible.

    • Pre-pull: Cast Rank7 Lightning Shield. Place Stoneclaw Totem in front of you & back up 25-30yrds. (It will later halt the boss for 0.5 seconds or the boss attack's it)

    • Pulling: Equip a spell damage weapon, ex: Staff of Dominance. Cast Lightning Bolt, while it travels, equip a healing weapon (ex: Jin'do's Hexxer)
      As the bolt hits, cast Lesser Healing Wave on a warlock who recently Life Tap.
      Equip a spell damage weapon (preferably staff). Cast R4 Chain Lightning.
      Equip all normal tanking gear. Immediately after cast R7 Earth Shock
      Activate Juju Flurry and Juju Escape, if the situation is ideal.
      Repeat the appropriate rank Earth Shock until boss is dead.

    • Situational: If mana allows it, cast a suitable rank of Lightning Shield.
      If mana is foreseeably a problem, use Oil of immolation often.
      If mana is foreseeably an issue but threat isn't also cast R1 Frost Shock.

    • Note: Versus nature immune bosses, to pull: use Magic Candle (equip spell damage weapon). After, follow the healing-threat tactic above & cast Lesser Healing Wave as much as possible until the boss is at melee range than Frost Shock. If more threat is needed: Flame Shock instead. MUST need Flame Buffet (don't bother otherwise) & similar debuffs.


    Prioritize obtaining Defensive buffs before acquiring Threat related buffs. Agility for example has the added byproduct of helping with defensive and threat measures. Generally, off-tanks or known as "OT", take less damage, therefore, it's not fully needed to aim for Defensive buffs. Also, some buffs are unobtainable due to certain patch restrictions or unable to stack with others. There is a max of 32 buffs: Talents, Set bonuses & Equip effects don't count. But Gear enchants count with exceptions: (Crusader enchant and enchants from the profession enchanting don't count.) Resistance enchants however need to be reconfirmed as they make it seem now like those should count. Let's move on and explore relevant buffs to our tanking duties. The following buffs are classified into sub-groups to better highlight their usefulness and showcase different options.

    Threat Increasing Buffs

    Rallying Cry of the Dragonslayer:
    Gnomish Shrink Ray: (can backfire giving the party attack power)
    Fengus' Ferocity: (obtained from Dire Maul)
    Trueshot Aura: +50 Attack Power.
    Battle Shout: (Improved by Battlegear of Wrath (3/3) tier set bonus)
    Juju Might: +40 Attack power.

    Sayge's Dark Fortune of Agility: From the Darkmoon Faire.
    Ground Scorpok Assay: +25 Agility.
    Elixir of the Mongoose: +25 Agility, +2% Melee Crit.
    Call of the Raptor: +12 Agility. (non-repeatable quest reward item)
    Grace of Air Totem: +77 Agility and is equal to 4% dodge.
    Grilled Squid: +10 Agility for 10min. (can't stack with other food buffs)

    Strength of Earth Totem: +77 Strength.
    Agamaggan's Strength: +10 Strength for 30 min.

    Atiesh, Greatstaff of the Guardian: (can't stack w/Moonkin Form)
    Slip'kik's Savvy: +3% Spell Crit.
    Moonkin Form: +3% Spell Crit.

    Wisdom of Agamaggan: +10 Intellect for 30 min.
    Headmaster's Charge: +20 Intellect.
    Arcane Intellect: +31 Intellect.

    Gnomish Battle Chicken: +5% Attack Speed for 4 min.
    Warchief's Blessing:
    Fist of Shahram from Blackblade of Shahram: +25% haste to party for 8sec.
    Juju Flurry: Others (healers) can keep this consistently active on you)
    Swift Wind: (Only receivable upon finishing the Call of Air totem quest)

    Mana Spring Totem: +10 mana every 2 sec. (Only causes threat if you cast)
    Mageblood Potion: +12 mana per 5 sec.
    Innervate: Increases Mana regen by 400% for 20 sec.

    Oil of Immolation: 50 Fire dmg to target within 5yds every 3 sec for 15 sec.
    Lightning Shield: (Scales with spell damage)
    Static Barrier: From Electromagnetic Gigaflux Reactivator.
    Crystal Spire: (From a repeatable quest & anyone can cast it on you)
    Fire Shield: Deals 13 Fire dmg to melee attackers.
    Thorns: (Improved by Cenarion Raiment (3/3) tier set bonus)

    Brilliant Wizard Oil: On a swappable weapon only for the pulling of a mob.
    Blessed Wizard Oil: Ideal for Scholomance, Stratholme & Naxx.

    Flask of Supreme Power: (Can't stack w/Flask of the Titans, choose wisely.)
    Greater Arcane Elixir: +20 dmg dealt from spells & abilities.
    Traces of Silithyst: +5% dmg to melee, range and spell damage dealt.
    Power Infusion: Target gets +20% spell damage & healing for 15 sec.

    Songflower Serenade: Boost melee, ranged, or spell to crit 5%, +15 all stats.
    Mark of the Chosen: 2% chance when hit of increasing all stats by 25.
    Spirit of Zandalar: +10 move speed, +15 all stats.
    Mark of the Wild: +384 armor, +16 all attributes,+27 all resistance.

    Elixir of Greater FIrepower: Bolster fire damage by up to 40 for 30 min.
    Blessing of Blackfathom: +5 intellect & spirit. +15 frost damage.
    Elixir of Frost Power: Increases spell frost damage by up to 15 for 30 min.

    Dragonbreath Chili: (scales with spell damage)

    Survival Increasing Buffs

    Sayge's Dark Fortune Stamina: +10% Stamina.
    Sayge's Dark Fortune Armor: +10% armor (can't stack w/similar Fortunes)
    Dirge's Kickin' Chimaerok Chops: (can't stack w/other food buffs)
    Rumsey Rum Black Label: Purchase from Booty Bay.
    Power Word: Fortitude: +54 Stamina.
    Mol'dar's Moxie: From Dire Maul
    Spirit of Zanza: +50 Stamina, +50 spirit.
    Blood Pact: +42 Stamina.

    Flask of the Titans: +1200 Hp.
    Elixir of Fortitude: +120 Hp.
    Regrowth: From the (6/6) Dreamwalker Raiment T3 raid set bonus.

    The Lion Horn of Stormwind: (a friendly tank can activate it for you.)
    Greater Stoneshield Potion: +2000 Armor for 2min.
    Elixir of Superior Defense: +450 Armor.
    Crystal Ward: (allies can also cast this on you)
    Inspiration: Increases armor by 25% for 15 sec.

    Greater Heal Renew: From the (4/4) Vestments of Faith T3 raid set bonus.
    Power Word: Shield: Absorb 1105 dmg for 30 sec.
    Scarab Brooch: (Healers can trigger its effect on you before a fight)

    Bloodkelp Elixir of Dodging: +3% dodge for 30 min.
    Juju Escape: +5% Dodge for 10 sec.

    Healing Stream Totem: Doesn't cause threat for you.
    Greater Heal Renew: From (8/8) Vestments of Transcendence T2 raid set.
    Rejuvenation: Heal for 888 over 12 sec.
    Regrowth: Heal for 1064 over 21 sec.
    Renew: Heal for 970 damage over 15 sec.

    Stoneskin Totem: Reduce melee damage taken by 30.
    Dampen Magic: Useful for magical heavy fights.
    Amplify Magic: Useful for physically heavy fights.

    Resistance Buffs

    Greater Fire Protection Potion: Absorbs fire damage.
    Fire Resistance Totem: +60 fire resistance.
    Frozen Rune: Absorbs 1500 to 2500 fire damage.
    Juju Ember: +15 fire resistance for 10 min.

    Greater Frost Protection Potion: Absorbs frost damage.
    Frost Resistance Totem: +60 frost resistance.
    Juju Chill: +15 frost resistance for 10 min.

    Greater Nature Protection Potion: Absorbs nature damage.
    Nature Resistance Totem: +60 nature resistance.

    Greater Shadow Protection Potion: Absorbs shadow damage.
    Crystal Basilisk Spine: +10 Shadow resistance & Frost for 1 min.
    Gift of Arthas: +10 Shadow resistance for 30 min.

    Mind Control Buffs

    It is possible for an Alliance priest to use  Mind Control or someone with engineering to use the head slot item  Gnomish Mind Control Cap versus players on the Horde. For that duration the mind controlled Horde character is now considered an Alliance player. This allows the character to receive buffs from paladins. In the many guild raids I’ve taken part, we'd have 2-3 players on their paladins and priests stationed near the raid entrance for mind control buffing. It's also possible for a priest of any faction to Mind Control certain mobs, which can dish out buffs to all raid members.

    Greater Blessing of Sanctuary: (Will stack w/Stoneskin Totem).
    Greater Blessing of Wisdom: (can't stack w/Mana Spring Totem)
    Greater Blessing of Salvation: (can't stack w/Tranquil Air Totem)
    Greater Blessing of Might: (can't stack w/Strength of Earth Totem)
    Greater Blessing of Kings: +10% to all stats for 15 min.
    Improved Lay on Hands: Possible once it expires to go outside to get re-buffed then re-enter the instance & summoned back to allies.
    ─ BONUS: You can get Fear Ward from dwarf priests and if survivability is secured Curse of Recklessness from horde warlocks.

    Mind Control Buffs from mobs

    Fury of Ragnaros: From Twilight Emissary in BRD.
    Resist Arcane: From Scarlet Medic in Plaguelands.
    Resist Fire: From Scarshield Spellbinder in BWL.
    Bloodlust: From Gordok Mage-Lord in DM.
    Bloodlust: From Hamhock in Stockades.

    Special Event Buffs

    On an ending note for buffs, we can also get buffs from special events. An example, is The Midsummer Fire Festival an event celebrating the hottest season of the year. It lasts about two weeks (mid-late June to early July). The next ones are Love is in the Air, Lunar Festival, Wickerman Festival and Scourge Invasion. The following buffs are separated by their event.

    Thunder Bluff Gift Collection: +30 Intellect for 1 hour.
    Ironforge Gift Collection: +30 Intellect for 1 hour.
    Stormwind Gift Collection: +30 Intellect for 1 hour.
    Undercity Gift Collection: +30 Intellect for 1 hour.
    Orgrimmar Gift Collection: +30 Agility for 1 hour.
    Darnassus Gift Collection: +30 Agility for 1 hour.

    Fire Festival Fortitude: (stacks w/stamina buffs above)
    Midsummer Sausage: Bolsters damage from spells by up to 23.

    Fire-toasted Bun: +2% hit chance for 1 hr.
    Fire Festival Fury: +3% spell and melee crit for 1 hr.
    Elderberry Pie: +13 defense for 1 hr.
    Buttermilk Delight: +13 defense for 1 hr.
    Very Berry Cream: Bolsters damage from spells by up to 23.
    Dark Desire: +2% hit chance for 1 hr.

    Celebrate Good Times!: +10% to all stats for 30min.

    Elune's Blessing: All stats increased by 10% for 1hr.

    Wickerman Festival (October 18th - November 1st)
    Invocation of the Wickerman: +25% health & mana regen. +25% stamina.

    Scourge Invasion
    Soul Revival: +10% to all damage caused for 30 minutes.


    There can be a total of 16 debuffs on a boss. Having as many debuffs on a raid boss is crucial. All debuffs on the list below benefit us in either Threat or Defensive aspects and assumed to be at their maximum rank and talent improvement. The following debuffs are placed into sub-groups to better highlight their utility and showcase different options.

    Curse of Recklessness: - 290 armor but bolsters melee attack power by 45.
    Sunder Armor: Reduces armor by 450. Can be applied up to 5 times.
    Expose Armor: (can't stack w/Sunder Armor but it reduce more armor).
    Annihilator: Reduces an enemy's armor by 200. Stacks up to 3 times.
    Faerie Fire: Reduces armor by 505 for 40 sec.

    Improved Shadow Bolt:
    Curse of Shadow: Reduces Shadow & Arcane resistances by 75...
    Shadow Weaving:

    Wail of the Banshee: (affected by spell hit, usually casted by healers.)
    Insect Swarm: Reduces target's chance to hit by 2%...

    Thunderfury, Blessed Blade: (can't stack w/Thunder Clap)
    Thunder Clap: (can't stack w/Thunderfury's slow effect)

    Improved Scorch: To increase Flame Shock's damage (niche scenario).
    Flame Buffet: To increase Flame Shock's damage (niche scenario).

    Curse of the Elements: -75 resistance to Fire & Frost and increase Fire...
    Winter's Chill: To increase Frost Shock's damage (niche scenario).
    Stormstrike: Next 2 sources of Nature damage dealt are increased by 20%.
    Gift of Arthas: If a target strikes you, they have a 30% chance...
    Nightfall: Spell damage taken by target increased by 15% for 5 sec.

    Demoralizing Shout: Reduce attack power of mobs by 140 for 30 sec.
    Curse of Weakness: (effect is increased through a warlock talent)

    Gear + Enchants

    If unsure of guild or group performance, carry several focused gear sets: Stamina set, Dodge set & Armor set to cater to any possible encounter. Certain pieces of gear from PvP through Honor Ranking remains the best forever but demands a large amount of Honor grinding.


    Similar to gear, enchants must be tailored against the specific boss you will be facing.

    Tank Comparison

    To showcase our max potential a full BiS geared and buffed shaman will be the closest in stats to approach a Druid tank. Let's look at the stats to see the differences. As a guideline, the Example Druid Tank below is BiS/buffed and able to clear most bosses with no issue. A shaman like other tanks tailors his gear versus the boss they're facing. Obviously, the Example Druid Tank can reach higher numbers and has a plethora of defensive spells, but the goal is to showcase the class with the closest similarity to a shaman in stats across the board that gets the job done in high-end raids.

    alt text
    Druids have the luxury of having multiple categories covered and a broader safety net on top of having access to join Alliance for the added advantage of paladins spells, while shaman tanks are required to significantly maximize a specific category for a certain boss.done in high-end raids.
    Now, let's explores the threat generated by other classes to showcase where shaman tanks stand. Remember, threat depends on gear, boss, etc... But in general, the current standing of tanks that can do the most threat are:
     ─ Feral Druid/Warrior.
     ─ Paladin/Enh Shaman.
     ─ Dem warlock.
     ─ Priest tanks

    AoE Tanking

    Although I slightly talked about it in "Talents". Let me go into more detail here.

    • Against 3 targets and/or dungeons, AoE tanking revolves around Chain Lightning proccing with  Eye of the Storm as the main conduit to deal damage and preserving threat on 3 targets. Because it isn't possible to dodge, block, parry while casting, this method is suggested versus mobs dealing little to moderate damage. Against heavy hitting targets it's advisable to grab the weapon  Hand of Edward the Odd and use EOTS procs. If you don't foresee a random mob being aggroed by someone, cast R1 Frost Shock to save mana and increase the proc chance of  Elemental Devastation and  Elemental Focus. This is all done while auto attacking a different target after every 4-5 melee hit.

    • With a coordinated raid group, it's possible to heal designated players as they "stand in fire". Another way for players to intentionally receive damage is for designated warlocks to use  Life Tap alongside items, such as  Demonic Rune or Goblin Sapper Charge. Equipping a weapon with bolstering healing attributes such as:  Hammer of the Twisting Nether before healing a member wield yield more threat.

    Raid Composition

    Raid composition differs with each boss but is seen as a skill that evolves over time and reflects the playstyle of a guild or raid. The following composition is an example with minor exceptions differing from the norm. By no means is it perfect since compositions change along side: patches, gear, experience, etc... With the raid leader's permission offer your advice on an ideal comp catering to your needs without overstepping.
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    Thanks for Reading!

    If you have any questions regarding shaman tanking, feel free to drop by the Twitch stream to chat.

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  • Initiate

    Just one small thing I've noticed in the beta; you seem to enter combat as a ranged spell is released and not when it hits the target. So the pre-pull lightning bolt gear switching would be impossible.

    Otherwise fantastic guide made with a lot of passion and care 🙂

  • Founder Shaman Horde

    @Vol Yeah, that's a great point. When I get back to my Beta client, I will test this to make sure but I believe you are right. Pity

  • Initiate

    Hey Caperfin, thanks for this write up! I have done a ton of reading about Shaman tanking in the past few weeks it feels like and the big question I have had, and yet to see anyone address is how viable is Shaman tanking while leveling? I will be playing Classic with friends and plan on being the tank for us while leveling and at 60, however if I won't be able to tank while leveling I probably just need to default to Warrior. Thanks in advance for a reply!

  • Initiate

    Hey, thanks for the write up, the video is also good.
    As a Vanilla shaman and minmax diva i was wondering about how did you calculate the stat weights. I need some maths and formulas if you dont mind 😉

  • @Holy-Whiskers Shaman leveling through dungeon tanking is very challenging but possible, it would require priest with the talent: Inspiration (they also have Power Word Shield) and another hybrid class of some kind to offer emergency healing, for ex: a Balance druid who can also give you Thorns. Having both mana and health potions also help a lot. There are also notable items to get like Electromagnetic Gigaflux Reactivator and a top rated weapon for your level bracket, ex: Flurry Axe, Digmaster 5000, Vibroblade, The Hand of Antu'sul, Ardent Custodian.

    If you are not tanking dungeons and just tank leveling in the open world with a mate, you should not have any problems, just make sure Lightning Shield is always active, cast Earth Shock and have Rockbitter on your weapon. If you pass by a druid while leveing kindly ask for a Thorns buff.

    Thanks for your support, make sure to stay tuned to the youtube channel for more Shaman Tank content and share the video with others.

  • @nakedozzy In the Gear Spreadsheet link on the first page I provide a Stat Weight breakdown. Let me know, if you need any clarification of any kind.

    Thanks for the support,