Shaman Tanking Guide
Shaman Tanking Guide
Can Shamans tank? The short and to the point answer is, yes. You might be rubbing your eyes in disbelief of this answer. Maybe conjuring a ten page manifesto about how only warriors can and should tank. Although, I can go on a long rant about how there are many other classes that can tank, today, I’ll be focusing on our totemic friend, the shaman.
The topic of viable and optimal is contentious as some don’t see the difference or mix them up and levy a misguided philosophy onto it. Optimal is the most efficient and foolproof solution that eliminates as many negative variables as possible and favors an easier path. Viable or often referred to as: possible, seen as the more challenging path but to many is a greater personal triumph. Shaman Tank is labelled as viable.
Many Shaman tanks agree their motivation is from the glory of seizing a feat the rest of the realm dares not try. If this resonates with you, please continue reading. You shaman tank if you want a challenge and a refreshing perspective from a 15 year old game. If it wasn’t obvious before, shield bearing is a sizable undertaking.
When experienced players Shaman tank and put in the effort, it shines tenfold. Shamans can fully tank 5mans, 10mans, off-tank & main-tank raids. But, this is reliant on personal and guild experience. Our overall defensive statistics won't reach a warrior’s. However, it isn’t necessary to do so, to tank.
You’ll be staring at your character for a long time. So, consider your character’s appearance as a key factor as it may entice you to play more. All races have benefits but they’re minor compared to other aspects. There is no wrong race. See video to learn more about race options.
Engineering for: Goblin Sapper Charge, Masterwork Target Dummy, Force Reactive Disk, etc... The second useful profession, is whatever gives the most gold on the realm. Gold helps buy potions, ex: Flask of the Titans & consumable food, ex: Dirge's Kickin' Chimaerok Chops and other items.
Leading threat spells: Earth Shock, Stormstrike, Rockbiter Weapon & Lightning Shield. Consumable items also deal threat, ex: Major Rejuvenation Potion Leading threat spells: Thorns. Lastly, certain items deal threat each time their Debuff is triggered, ex: Gift of Arthas. (see threat list)
Install a threat tracking addon, ex: ThreatClassic 2. Items reduce threat, ex: Fetish of the Sand Reaver. Mage have: Burning Soul. Shaman: Tranquil Air Totem. Rogue and Hunter wipe threat with: Vanish & Feign Death and so can
Flask of Petrification. Items prevent aggro: Limited Invulnerability Potion & redirect aggro Masterwork Target Dummy (taunts the mob). Classes in the 30-40 yard range won’t get aggro t'ill they surpass the threat level of the mob’s current target by 30%, as opposed to 10% for melee classes. (see more)
Totems can't deal threat for you. Common totems: Grace of Air Totem, Stoneskin Totem & Healing Spring Totem. AoE Tanking: Stoneclaw Totem followed by Fire Nova Totem. To learn more, see the video.
If tanking for the first time (16/35/0), which has: Stormstrike, it has steady threat per second for raids & excels on short fights. The other setup (21/30/0) focuses on magical damage, with: Elemental Fury, it has many conditions to unlock its potential but thrives on long fights.
Pre-Pull: Cast Lightning Shield. Get all Buffs the group can supply. Cast Rockbiter Weapon. Place: Stoneskin Totem, Grace of Air Totem & Healing Stream Totem. Mark the mobs in front of you by right-clicking their portrait, pick Raid Target Icon, choose from either a Skull = kill first, a red X = kill second, a blue square = Hunter trap and a moon = Polymorph.
Combat: For raids, use Nat Pagle's Broken Reel to assure the first few Earth Shocks hit. In a fight, use relevant ranks of Earth Shock that suits your mana & threat. Stormstrike can’t be downranked but is also used in similar cases. If Lightning Shield expires, cast it. If you suddenly might die, equip a defensive weapon, ex: Spineshatter w/Enchant Weapon - Agility & Rockbiter Weapon, use Masterwork Target Dummy (taunts boss), use Juju Escape, possibly Major Rejuvenation Potion & Major Healthstone.
There's a max of 32 Buffs, avoid nearing the max as it may result in Buffs getting mistakenly removed, the addon: Buff Cap Tracker helps. Use Buff Cap Calc to see what Buffs stack. Prioritize getting defensive Buffs, ex: Elixir of Fortitude before getting Threat Buffs, ex: Juju Might. (see Defensive Buffs). Consumables can give passive Buffs and have instant active effects, ex: Goblin Sapper Charge, Major Healthstone, Dark Rune among others.
A max of 16 Debuffs can be on a mob. Reaching the max is major in raids. There's defensive Debuffs, ex: Insect Swarm & threat Debuffs: Faerie Fire among others. With the raid leader’s consent, suggest ideal Debuffs without overstepping. We can apply Gift of Arthas & Stormstrike.
Solidify defensive stats when gearing, threat is secondary. It’s advised to have 4k HP & 5k Armor unbuffed for Molten Core. Blackwing Lair, ~4800 to 5k HP and 6500-7k Armor. For reliable threat, 3% melee Hit is advised for dungeons. For Raid tanking, 6% Melee Hit. 10%-12% Spell Hit for raid tanking is advised, Nat Pagle's Broken Reel helps. Improving threat can be complex, use a TPS Simulator. You can't equip gear in combat, except for a weapon & shield, enabling the equipping of a defensive weapon, ex: Spineshatter, if survival seems grim.
There are two types of enchants, defensive, ex: Enchant Gloves - Superior Agility. And offensive, ex: Enchant Gloves - Threat. Having Enchanting isn't neded to gain the profession’s advantages. Simply, give the Enchanter the required enchanting materials and they will enchant your gear for a small gold tip.
Many actions can further solidify AoE cases, ex: Oil of Immolation, Thorns, Force Reactive Disk, etc... (see list) It’s crucial to switch and attack another target ever so often. In combat, items & spells giving health or mana deal 50% threat divided by each mob. Items also help until a decent amount of threat is gained on all mobs, ex: Masterwork Target Dummy.
With the raid leader’s consent, offer an ideal raid comp without overstepping. In our group, Warlock: Blood Pact, Warrior: Battle Shout, Druid: Leader of the Pack, Hunter: Trueshot Aura. For damage dealing classes, we prefer ranged classes over melee. If melee are needed, rogues are best. Groups with high threat dealers can have a Shaman: Tranquil Air Totem.
The Burning Crusade “TBC” is looming and being prepared is wise. Having a lot of gold is an asset, since there are many different gear sets needing: repair, enchants & gems. As well as buying potions, bind on equip gear, etc… Building a positive reputation on your realm helps open doors in the future as players recognise you. Next, find a guild welcoming of your future tanking ventures. For gear, Nat Pagle's Broken Reel is advised going into TBC.
Have questions? feedback?
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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
@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
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!
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.
Caperfin last edited by
@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,