PvE Elemental Shaman Guide - with Theorycrafting
Tomaka last edited by Melderon
PvE ELEMENTAL SHAMAN GUIDE (CLASSIC)
1. Who are we?
2. Why bring an Ele to raid?
3. Race and Professions
6. Gear and Stat Weights
7. Getting ready before raid
8. Boss specifics
1. Who are we ?
This guide was made using the collaborative inputs from many world top 20 Elemental Shamans, including Tomaka,
Haruka, Jahvahn and Fukwon. You can join us on the Elemental Shaman Classic Discord at https://discord.gg/c99hDzA
2. Why bring an Ele to raid?
a) Your dps
Elemental Shamans are, on paper, able to dps more than any other casters. Due to the fact that Lightning Bolt scales at 86% of Spell Power while also being able to be talented down to a 2 second cast, Elemental Shamans can do extremely competitive DPS provided that mana can be sustained. Since most guilds are reluctant to give caster gear to Ele, it’ll likely make you fall behind, thus creating a self-fulfilling prophecy, where it looks like Ele are doing less than others, while they are actually not given the same tools.
A trap that many people fall into with Elemental Shaman is comparing them to the top mages and coming to the conclusion that "Elemental Shamans are memes compared to mages." And, a look at currently available data would seem to back that up. Currently, the 99th percentile mages average 566.85 dps while the top 99th percentile of elemental shamans average 460.53 dps. However, when you drop down to the 95th percentile, the mage dps drops to 437.46 dps, below the 99th percentile of elemental shaman. In fact, the 90th percentile of mages (383.10) is fairly comparable to the 95th percentile of elemental shaman (356.32), especially considering the fact that mages are significantly boosted by the Chromaggus fight.
What does this mean? The gap is not nearly as insurmountable as the prevailing wisdom in the WoW Classic community. An intrepid elemental shaman can out damage a similarly geared warlock or mage, and bring significantly more utility to a raid.
However, be aware that the faster your guild is, the better your parses will be as it allows you to burn your mana with CL, which is a huge boost to your dps, as well as making gear choices furthering your lead, like using Natural Alignment Crystal.
b) Your support
Never forget how valuable your totems are. If you are required to be in a melee group to provide WF and other melee totems, your value is already through the roof and way higher than any other casters. If you are in a caster group, you will
provide them with important support totems like :
Tranquil Air, for -20% threat. Pulling aggro in BWL will often lead to a raid wipe. This will allow casters to push more damage, when threat-capped, and to reduce threat risks very early in the fight.
Fire Resist for Firemaw, which is critical in order to never have to hide to drop debuffs
Poison+Disease Cleansing, mostly in ZG, AQ, Naxx, but also for Chromaggus. This is one of the things that set Horde ahead of Alliance.
Tremor Totem, remove fear from your party members.
Grounding Totem, to absorb incoming spells. For instance, prevent MC on Lucifron. Very nice on Nefarian too.
Make sure to have an addon or a weak aura showing you the timers on your totems. Something like https://www.curseforge.com/wow/addons/totemstatus can be a start.
Also on the support side, you are able to switch to healing at any time. If a trash pull goes wrong, time to heal. A few healers died on a boss, time to heal. And of course, you are able to save a raid night if a healer didn’t show up. Make sure that it stays rare, you are not a healer. But be ready to do it, you’ll earn big points when you do it. Flexibility. However, avoid dpsing a lot, then throwing a heal left and right. Have faith in your healers, let them do their job. Swap when it’s critical, and stick to it.
Finally, you have ankh, meaning you are able to revive, unlike any other classes. You can also use this to get some mana back. Best example would be suiciding on the Bone Constructs on Nefarian with heavy aoe, die, ankh, and keep going with extra mana.
Remember that the most valuable members to a guild are the ones always showing up, prepared, world buffs, consums, etc. A nice Ele will do a lot more than an unwilling mage/lock, and parses prove it.
Gameplay tip : How to use pulsing totems
Pulsing totems, such as tremor or poison/disease cleansing will first apply their effect when you drop the totem. Which means, even if poison cleansing is already down, you can use it again to instantly dispel your group. Same with fear. Time it properly and your melees won’t even move on Nef/Ony.
3. Race and Professions
The optimal race for elemental shaman in PvE is Troll, thanks to his Berserking ability giving increased casting speed for 10 seconds. For PvP, both Orcs and Taurens have their use with Stun Resistance for the former, and opening the War Stomp + EM combo for the latter.
Engineering is a mandatory profession for everyone in Classic. Goblin Sapper Charge, Grenade, Dynamite, etc, are critical for aoe fights, and required by all top guilds.
Your second profession is only locked up when you have the Bloodvine set, as you need 300 tailoring to get the 2% crit set bonus. That means from P4 to the time you acquire your 3P T2.5 bonus. Outside of Bloodvine, you are free to use anything as your 2nd profession.
You have a lot of room when choosing your talents, depending if you want to focus on PvE and PvP. There are some mandatory talents, as described below.
Row 1 :
- 5/5 Convection and 5/5 Concussion. +5% dmg and -10% mana cost, yes please!
Row 3 :
1/1 Elemental Focus. Free mana. Obvious. Also allows you to interrupt your LB and cast a CL. Only a dps gain if downranking (rotation further down in the guide). If you are spamming LB r10 it’s not worth it unless your time reaction is really fast (and still, you might want to focus on other aspects of the raid instead of tunnel vision on CC procs).
5/5 Call of Thunder : 6% crit. What else?
Row 5 :
1/1 Elemental Fury. Makes your crit do 200% dmg instead of 150%.
2/2 Storm Reach. 36y range instead of 30y. Useful to outrange some bosses abilities (for instance, Nefarian’s fear) and to be able to cast sooner on incoming targets (i.e, Hatcher in Suppression Room). Only talent at the limit between mandatory and optional.
Row 6 :
- 5/5 Lightning Mastery : -1s cast on LB and CL
Row 7 :
- 1/1 EM. Use it with both CL+ES. Activate EM+any on use trinket, cast CL, and spam your ES keybind during your CL cast. Both will crit and cost no mana, thanks to spell batching. Way superior to NS in PvE, and most people would argue for it in PvP too. EM alone can massively boost your dps by ensuring two crits, plus saving you a good chunk of mana.
Row 3 :
3/3 Nature’s Guidance. 3% hit.
1/1 Totemic Mastery. Extra range for your totems.
Row 4 :
- 5/5 Tidal Mastery. 5% crit.
That’ll use a total of 34 points. Your remaining 17 points can be spent freely. Red talents are mandatory. Green can be moved depending on your playstyle, and PvE or PvP focus. Elemental Shaman is great at allowing you to PvP and PvE with the same talents.
There are 3 different rotations you can use. They will thus create 2 breakpoints. This is VERY important for stat weights, and understanding which items to use. Always use rune+mana pot on CD. The goal is to end the fight with 0 mana left.
Rotation A : CL+3xLB. Use CL on CD, fit 3 LB waiting for it
Rotation B : Spam LB r10
Rotation C : Alternate using LB r10 and r4. Start by using R10, then use rune and mana pot as soon as you can. After that, keep your mana % and boss % pretty close, balancing R10 and R4. Use CC procs to cast CL.
The rotation you choose depends on boss length and your gear. You can use the spreadsheet available on the Elemental discord - linked at the beginning of the guide - to figure out which rotation you should use.
Rotation A is a major dps boost over B and C, and is why you want to be in a fast guild if you care about your dps/parse. One that requires all world buffs, flasks and consumes. You get exponentially better with your guild speed.
6. Gear and Stat Weights
Tomaka made a complete spreadsheet, available on the Elemental Discord, that will allow you to figure out your Stat Weights based on your current or future gear, or using custom stats. That spreadsheet should be your elemental bible, and be used to know what gear to put on which boss. You should not wear the same items on Lucifron and Nefarian, for instance.
The basic is that depending on if you can use Rotation A, B and C, the mana stats (int, mp5, mana) will have widely different values. And since that’s based on boss duration, the same gear isn't optimal on a short or a long fight. The aim is to end the fight at 0 mana, so intellect isn't worth that much if you have leftover mana. However, if you need more mana to cast LB r10 over r4, then intellect has a lot of value for you. If that part isn’t clear, start using the spreadsheet and you should get a better understanding of it.
This means that sometimes, a green item “of nature’s wrath”, providing nature damage, will be better than blue or epic items from dungeons and raids. You can check on warcraft logs classic the gear each player used for their parse.
Many people think that +Hit gear is a sacred cow. But in reality, +Hit can be converted to a Spell Power value like any other stat. Over 100 casts, +1 hit will get 1 additional spell to land, which will contribute the entire value of that hit to your dps. However, over those 100 spells, an additional amount of Spell Power will contribute the same amount of damage, and, at higher levels of SP, even more than +1 hit can provide. Achieving hit cap is often not worth it, and sticking to the stat weights on the spreadsheet will result in a higher outcome. The exact same argument can be made about crit. Stacking crit will lead you nowhere interesting in PvE, unlike PvP.
Regarding Spell Penetration, it is currently unknown if it will be needed for AQ. There are currently some analysis going on with MC and BWL logs with and without Thunderfury (-25 NR). It’s very possible that Spell Pen is only useful in PvP and won't impact your boss damage. More to come on that matter as we discover it.
Finally, joining a faster guild or helping your guild kill bosses more efficiently will improve your dps. Low kill times are important for us, more than any other classes.
7. Getting ready before raid
a) World Buffs
You need to collect every world buff, they will be huge for your dps. You want the Dire Maul buffs (spell crit + hp), the Onyxia or Nefarian head buff (spell crit), Songflower (stats+crit), Rend head buff (hp+mp5, that one is harder to get and can be skipped) and finally Darkmoon Faire (when available, 10% dmg). There’s no excuse except laziness, wives and kids for not at least collecting DM+Ony+SF buffs. Giving you 18% crit, 15 int, and a whole bunch of HP. Easily boosting your dps by 20%+.
Have your whole raid get the Fire Resist buff from UBRS before zoning into BWL. It's a game-changer for Firemaw.
With P4, ZG buff will be added and it’s massive for us. 15% extra int will be a huge help for many people.
That part depends on how much gold you’re willing to spend each week, and what is expected from you. The usuals are Flask of Supreme Power (150 sp), Greater Arcane Elixir (35 sp), Cerebral Cortex (25 int), Runn Tum Tuber Surprise (10 int), Gordok Green Grog (10 stam), and a lot of Demonic/Dark Runes+MAJOR mana potions. Once P4 is out, add Mageblood potion (12 mp5) and Brilliant Wizard Oil (36 sp + 1% crit). Plus all the other potions/items that everyone should be bringing.
You should also have a stack of Limited Invulnerability Potions if you pull aggro off a boss or need to get mobs off of you. One LiP could save your world buffs and consumes.
A standard list of what you should have every raid night:
1x Flask of Supreme Power
1x Cerebral Cortex
5x Greater Arcane Elixir
20x Demonic/Dark Rune
20x MAJOR Mana Potion
30x Runn Tum Tuber Surprise
30x Gordok Green Grog
5x Limited Invulnerability Potion
10x Goblin Sapper Charge (5x Stratholme Holy Water for Nef)
200x Lvl 55 mage water
You won’t use all of the consumes every week, but this allows you to be 100% prepared for anything that might happen. Never be that guy that runs out of consumes. Be prepared.
Being an underdog class, we strongly encourage you to use all world buffs+consumables EVERY WEEK and put to shame the other casters in your guild. We had many stories of Ele not getting much loot at first, but once they showed they were consistently out dpsing all the casters in their guild, they started to receive many highly contested items.
You should also try to get your whole guild to use world buffs+consumables, as the faster your guild is, the higher your dps will be.
Lucifron : use Grounding Totem to prevent your party members from being MC
Lucifron/Baron Geddon : Use a Restorative Potion to ensure that the mana drain debuff is removed faster on average than someone dispelling you would, so you have more mana to dps.
Vael : do NOT use Lightning Shield. Right-click it. You can pull aggro on pull and wipe the raid if the tank gets dodged/parried. Use GFPP. Try to get a priest to shield you. Ideal combo is pre-GFPP, pws 15s before start, then new shields and GFPP as the fight goes on to avoid pushback.
Suppression Room : do not use totems here, they will aggro respawns if you don't recast it fast enough. If you really want to use one, limit yourself to one, as you’ll have to babysit it.
Firemaw : use full fire resistance gear. Have priests shielding you. You can pre-GFPP, but don't use it midfight, you want to use a mana pot. If wearing full FR gear and your guild is decently fast, you won’t need to reset your debuff stacks. If average guild, reset them once, and don't cast anything so you regen so you get some non-casting spirit regen (make sure you had the priest buff before the fight).
Chromaggus : you must melee Chromaggus, using rockbiter, flametongue and frostbrand depending on vulnerabilities. Use Shocks accordingly. Have a fire totem down (magma if no mana issue). Stick with melees. And, of course, use poison and disease totems to cleanse your group. If nature vulnerability becomes available, be aware of your threat: if you pull, you potentially wipe the raid.
Nefarian : use grounding totem in P1, tremor in P2. Suicide+ankh can be worth it on the Bone Constructs for extra mana. Using Stratholme Holy water or a Goblin Sapper Charge on the Bone constructs will net you a large amount of increased DPS. Holy Water scales with SP.
Elemental shamans are not for lazy people who want to raid log to get loot once a week. This spec takes a lot of time and dedication to be played at a level that is at par with the other caster classes. If you don’t have the time OR gold to put into it, it’s probably best to look elsewhere. Otherwise you will just be contributing to the stigma of “ele shaman is a meme” and bringing your entire raid down with mediocre dps.
Remember: the #1 factor in improving your dps is making your guild kill bosses faster. Use world buffs, consumes and every trick in the book to make your dps as good as you can. If you out dps “real” dps specs with your “meme” spec, you will put a fire under their behinds to increase their dps. That will make encounters faster, which ultimately increases your dps further. Make your whole guild respect your dps, and show them how great ele can be.
To ask questions, get access to the spreadsheet or chat with fellow Elemental Shamans, make sure to join the discord at https://discord.gg/c99hDzA.
If you would like to watch a video/podcast version of the guide with Melderon and Jahvahn, the link is below!