Caperfin's Elemental Shaman PVE Guide

  • About:


    Hi, my name is Caperfin and welcome to my guide! For a long time there's been some negative stigma surrounding shaman dps World of Warcraft, many players don't consider them optimal sources of damage and not worth a second look. However, this stigma is typically fueled by misinformation or players refusing to go the extra mile to make it work and much rather give up halfway and play something else.


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    A link to the Google Slides for this video can be found here!


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    In the past, when the topic of shamans are brought up in PvE the default immediate thought is to talked about a healing shaman. And the legitimacy of a shaman dealing a significant amount of damage in PvE as a caster was disregarded. However, with a game that has been theorycrafted for over a decade this dated notion has now been buried with the advent of modern tools.

    Before continuing, its important to remember you are not only going a certain route but also playing a class that demands a great deal of effort for players to recognize. A elemental shaman in a raid has the ability to not only provide a decent amount of personal damage but also the capability of supporting other teammates.
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    Races play a big part as we are grasping for any amount of extra efficiency possible. Shamans are exclusive to the Horde and are available to three races: Orc, Tauren and Troll. This section will talk about the most popular and efficient race for our goals. Next, lets see the most beneficial race within the Horde. As previously mentioned, we are gifted with three possible races: Orc, Troll and Tauren but sadly our bovine and green brutish friends don't yield any racial benefits. Therefore, our eyes are mostly set on Troll. Lets breakdown Troll just to see how they are the ideal race to pick.

    • Troll
      Throwing/Bow Specialization: Skill with Throwing/Bow Weapons increased by 5.
      Regeneration: Health regeneration rate increased by 10%. 10% of total Health regeneration may continue...
      Beast Slaying: Damage dealt versus Beasts increased by 5%.
      Berserking: Increases your casting and attack speed by 10% to 25%. At full health the speed increase is 10% with...

    What does this mean?: Going Troll is the optimal race for dealing as much damage as possible on a target, they especially excel on bosses categorized as beasts.

    Other Races

    If you are dead set on going Tauren or Orc, go ahead. This isn't to say you should be forced to play a certain race, rather that you should be aware of the differences and make the according decision that aligns with your preferences.
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    Nature Damage

    As a point of reference, anything that resembles an elemental (noticeable in MC) will have a rather high resistance to nature damage. All the Dragons of Nightmare found in the outside world are also immune to nature damage or tend to have the same kind of lofty resistance to nature that they do to fire (server dependent). The same applies for some creatures in: AQ, ZG and Naxx. Basically, if an environment has a disease or poison theme, expect nature damage to be hampered. Here is a chart to better explain the notion. Do not fret, there are items to counter this unfortunate downside, ex: Eye of Moam and Staff of the Qiraji Prophets and the debuff that originates from Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker among pieces of gear which decrease the magical resistance of the boss. Additionally, there are items that flat out bolster nature damage such as the 3 piece bonus from Stormcaller's Garb. As previously stated we must go above and beyond as an elemental shaman to compensate for this downside.
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    During the harsh and lengthy process of leveling, select Herbalism and Alchemy. A valid case can be made for also having a lvl 5 alt stationed permanently in a major city to disenchant unwanted items through mail and store items at a bank for later use. Back to the subject at hand, herbalism contributes convenient reagents for alchemy and a strong source of revenue for our eventual endgame professions. It also prevents players from spending an exorbitant portion of time pestering strangers in Orgrimmar to craft potions. The objective is straightforward, gather a substantial supply of gold and a bank chock-full of fruitful potions the raid might need.

    Next, I advise dropping Herbalism once the quantity of gold in one’s bags is overflowing and adopt the late game profession: Engineering to scoop up a few useful tools, such as: Goblin Sapper Charge.

    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 and make a great profit. First aid grants bandages for healing that don't require any mana to use and Cooking provides you with Runn Tum Tuber Surprise.
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    As you probably know a character can have a theoretical cap of
    beneficial buffs. The limit may differ from server to server or what is acknowledged as a buff. Also, some buffs are unobtainable due to certain patch restrictions or unable to stack with others. On a side note, I suggest installing NirkBuffRemover/NBR and Buffalo to help with overall buff management and ease of mind. Down below is a table of relevant buffs, separated into sub groups to better highlight their usefulness. Although, there is no strict order, you should still prioritize getting world buffs before obtaining other buffs.

    Atiesh, Greatstaff of the Guardian: +2% spell crit to all party members within 30 yards. (Does not stack with Moonkin Aura)
    Slip'kik's Savvy: +3% Spell Crit.
    Moonkin Form: +3% Spell Crit.

    Blessing of Blackfathom: +5 Intellect, + 5 spirit and increases frost damage done by 15.
    Wisdom of Agamaggan: +10 Intellect for 30 min.
    Runn Tum Tuber Surprise: +10 Intellect.
    Headmaster's Charge: +20 Intellect.
    Arcane Intellect: +31 Intellect.

    Warchief's Blessing: +15% Melee Haste, +300 Hp, 10 mana regen every 5 seconds.
    Mana Spring Totem: +10 mana every 2 sec.
    Innervate: Increases Mana regen by 400% for 20 sec.

    Flask of Supreme Power: +150 damage done by magical spells & effects for 2 hr. Only 1 flask effect...
    Greater Arcane Elixir: +20 dmg dealt from spells & abilities.
    Traces of Silithyst: +5% dmg to melee, range and spell damage dealt.
    Brilliant Wizard Oil: +36 spell damage and 1% spell crit. (Appears in the temporary weapon buff slot & not a part of the 32 max buffs)
    Power Infusion: The target receives +20% spell damage & healing for 15 sec.

    Songflower Serenade: Increases a melee, ranged, or spell to crit by 5%, +15 all stats.
    Mark of the Chosen: 2% chance when struck in combat of increasing all stats by 25 for 1 min.
    Spirit of Zandalar: +10% move speed, +15% all stats.
    Mark of the Wild: +285 armor, +12 all attributes, +20 all resistance.

    Flask of Distilled Wisdom: +2000 mana for 2 hr. You can only have the effect of one flask at a time.

    Limited Invulnerability Potion: Immune to physical attacks for 6 sec. (Also, prevent any threat generation for its duration)

    Mind Control Buffs:

    I wouldn't be thorough if I didn't mention the wonderful world of Mind Control buffing. Refer to my video to learn more about Mind Control Buffing.
    Youtube Video


    Special Event Buffs:

    On an ending note for buffs, we can also get buffs from special events/holidays.
    Youtube Video

    In conclusion, let's compile all of the buffs we have seen.
    Here is a screenshot of the best buffs, we can get for our means:
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    Here is a screenshot of realistic buffs, we can get for our means:
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    Having as many debuffs on the boss as possible is of paramount importance to dealing damage. Therefore, our interests are heavily tied to the release of patch 1.7, due to its extra 8 debuff slots introduction totaling to 16 debuffs. All debuffs on the list below benefit us in damage and are assumed to be at their maximum rank/talent improvement.

    Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker: The primary target is consumed by a cyclone, slowing attack speed...

    Improved Scorch: Scorch has a 100% chance to cause your target to be vulnerable to Fire damage. This vulnerability...
    Flame Buffet (Arcanite Dragonling): Inflicts Fire damage to an enemy and increases the Fire damage it takes by 40 for...

    Gift of Arthas: If an enemy strikes the imbiber, the attacker has a 30% chance of being inflicted with disease that...
    Nightfall: Spell damage taken by target increased by 15% for 5 sec.

    Winter's Chill: Gives your Frost damage spells a 100% chance to apply the Winter's Chill effect, which increases...

    Stormstrike: Gives you an extra attack. In addition, the next 2 sources of Nature damage dealt to the target are increased...


    When Elemental Shamans are talked about, they are often associated with going out of mana quickly. However, this is an outdated notion involving a lack of information or commitment from players to rectify. This isn't to say they never run out of mana, but rather that it is greatly exaggerated. Of course, the shorter a boss fight the better. Below is a list of mana regenerative items, you should look to acquire.

    In order of granted mana:

    As you familiarize yourself with a fight and the limits of your raiding partners, it will come intuitively what is the best to use. Its worth mentioning some items don't share a cooldown, thus can follow each other in quick succession.

    Here are the two different cooldown categories:
    My personal recommendation is to have a diverse pool of the items featured in this section to cater to any situation that might arise. Not only are there items that can help with mana but also Buffs that we previously looked at. Later on in this guide we will explore Totems and downranking spells in Rotation to further aid with mana management.


    Unfortunately, the gear we desire is also desired by other casters. Therefore, I suggest acquiring the gear listed in the Spreadsheet while assuming the role of a healing restoration shaman in the raid. Also, we desperately need Spell Hit we grab it whenever possible. Down below, is a breakdown of stat priorities.

    General Stat Priority:

    • Phase 1 & 2: Offers very little Spell Hit gear so get Star of Mystaria & Ban'thok Sash.
      Nature Damage>Spell Damage>Spell Crit>Intellect. Note: on long fights (+2.30min) prioritise Intellect over Spell Crit.
    • Phase 3: More Spell Hit gear is available for us. Spell Damage>Spell Hit>Intellect>Spell Crit.
    • Phase 4: Get Bloodvine Vest, Neltharion's Tear & Rune of Perfection (good items like these are featured in the Spreadsheet)
    • Phase 5 & 6: Tons of magical reducing items are made available to us. Spell Damage>Spell Hit>Intellect>Spell Crit.

    Down below is a url to a spreadsheet with a plethora of options for proper gearing.
    Gearing Spreadsheet

    Enchants similar to gear need to be tailored for our purposes.

    Enchant Spreadsheet
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    For the sake of generality and simplicity these talents setups assume a server between patch 1.9 - 1.12 and taking part in a serious guild who are confidently clearing raids. There is only 1 talent setup for elemental. (Technically, there is another but it involves being in melee and swinging a weapon and borders on too much of an enhancement playstyle thus deserving its own guide.)

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    The default talent-build that is commonly used by most elemental shamans. Once you regularly, acquire a high amount of spell crit from buffs, a point is withdrawn from Elemental Fury and placed in Nature Swiftness. However, most people prefer the point in Nature Swiftness from the get go as an emergency healing button to alleviate stress from healers.

    Against nature immune targets, a whole entire different playstyle, talents setup, buff, etc... comes into fruition. A link will be provided to an entirely different guide shortly.
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    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. Keep in mind, there can only be one type of totem per shaman so having another totem slave in the group is largely welcomed. Also the handful totems in our stockpile have different durations.


    • Stoneskin Totem: Generally is used if you happen to be in the tank raid group, which should not be the case.
    • Strength of Earth Totem: Usually, placed by a healing shaman with the talent: Enhancing Totems
    • Stoneclaw Totem: Diverts loose mobs off your tail and quickly allows readjusting of a target's positioning.
    • Tremor Totem: Mainly a situational totem to use when a boss encounter has fear, charm and sleep mechanics.
    • Earthbind Totem: A tool for kiting/running possible unbound trash in an instance.



    • Grace of Air Totem: A priority totem within the air types that should be taken seriously.
    • Windfury Totem: We are rarely in melee range, if not ever.
    • Nature Resistance Totem: Advantageous for fights involving high doses of nature damage, such as: Ahn’Qiraj.
    • Tranquil Air Totem: Each raid group should have this, avoid dropping it in the tank group within a raid.
    • Grounding Totem: Useful for redirecting ranged spells from susceptible mobs and bosses.
    • Windwall Totem: Unfortunately, doesn't see much utility in most fights.


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    Common Spells

    World of Warcraft as a default only offers a few action bars to players, so consider installing an addon to increase the numbers of action bars available. Also, I suggest installing an addon that displays the bosses resistances. Totems are not included in this section.

    Lightning Bolt: The most commonly casted spell within our toolkit. Downranking it will be needed (situational, see Rotation.)

    Chain Lightning: The second most commonly casted spell within our toolkit with a costly mana tax to it.

    Flame Shock: Used, if Flame Buffet among other fire related buff/debuffs are active. (situational, see Rotation.)

    Frost Shock: Used, if the target is dying in less than 2.5 seconds. (situational, see Rotation.)
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    The following rotation will assume a simple tank-spank boss with very minimal or no nature resistance allowing our totemic friend to freely cause havoc unhindered. The following rotation is split into several sections to better highlight the course of action. Naturally, if you are unable to accomplish certain aspects of the rotation, simply weed out what you can.

    • Pre-Pull: Before the raid starts, make sure you are fully buffed and the appropriate totems are place on the ground. Equip 3 pieces of Stormcaller's Garb and attack a Unconscious Dig Rat by casting Rank1 Lightning Bolt on the rat to proc the tier set nature effect. Its also possible to cast Rank1 Lightning Bolt on the rat to trigger Elemental Focus (a mage can Polymorph the rat, until either effects trigger.) If you are unaware of the rat item, refer to the Dig rat video and Doomguard video on how to take advantage of these weird items.

    The moment the tank initiate combat with the boss, proceed with the following.

    • Pulling: Cast max rank Lightning Bolt and just before the bolt hits the boss, activate Limited Invulnerability Potion, all the while moving forward until 20 yards from the boss. Immediately, follow it up with Chain Lightning. At this point, all damage increasing debuffs should be on the boss.

    • Combat: If Garb's effect is not active, cast Rank1 Lightning Bolt until it procs, once it does then activate The Restrained Essence of Sapphiron and cast Chain Lightning every time its off cooldown, otherwise cast Lightning Bolt until the end of the trinket's duration.

    • Throughout a fight:
      Do you have good gear, buffs and mana regenerative items? (refer to Gearing Spreadsheet to value your gear)

      • Yes: Cast Chain Lightning when Garb procs. Otherwise, continuously cast Rank10 Lightning Bolt. If Garb procs but Chain Lightning just went on cooldown, cast Lightning Bolt. If Garb procs but Chain Lightning is coming off cooldown in 0.5 sec, wait the 0.5 sec to cast Chain Lightning. If below 18% mana and Elemental Focus procs then cast Chain Lightning, otherwise cast Rank10 Lightning Bolt, if Elemental Focus fails to proc after 3-4 casts, Rank8 Lightning Bolt is used until Elemental Focus is procced which is used to either cast Chain Lightning if active, if not Rank10 Lightning Bolt.

      • No: Cast Chain Lightning when Garb and Elemental Focus both proc at the same time. Otherwise, cast Rank9 Lightning Bolt. If 4 casts of Rank9 Lightning Bolt fails to trigger Elemental Focus, cast Rank8 twice & repeat.


    • If Power Infusion is cast on you for a certain portion of a fight, prioritize casting Chain Lightning above all. (Preferably, get this buff within 3-4 seconds into a fight)
    • In the same fashion, synergize your trinket activation with Garb proc, cast Chain Lightning followed by a Nature Swiftness, triggered by Lightning Bolt.
    • If at any point in the boss fight a constant application of Flame Buffet alongside other similar fire effects are applied, Flame Shock will be casted when Chain Lightning is on cooldown. (Preferably, Flame Buffet should be applied in the pulling phase alongside trinket activation and a Searing Totem should be placed)
    • If you need to move from one point to another, cast Frost Shock and Goblin Sapper Charge while moving and Crystal Charge once again if moving is needed later on.
    • I also suggest to keep on you Faintly Glowing Skull which scales with spell damage, shadow related buff, debuffs, potions, etc... if you are aiming to make other people in your raid jealous.

    If you enjoyed this guide and want to see more like it or are interested in other non-meta builds check out the Youtube:
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    Also, ask questions on the Discord:
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  • Shaman

    Very interesting. I'd be interested in doing some Elemental PvE but I doubt I will raid that way. Thinking of having 3 Shamans at max level eventually so I dont have to respec so much. But even within each spec there's variation depending on what you're doing. Elemental versus a raid boss with no nature resistance, elemental versus a nature resistance target, and elemental PvP, etc,.

    I cant wait to play though. Gonna be fun just experiencing the game again.

  • @Jhaman Hey Jhaman, I see your a shaman as well! We should definitely share war stories some time.

  • Initiate

    Very nice guide, but I have question will be ELE/ENHA spec soon? i mean that MEME spec :]
    I am kind of considering to give it a try, but would be nice to see guide for that, befire trying it.

  • @Varaz The highest dps build for a Melee shaman is 21/30/0 and yes eventually I will make a guide for it.

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

  • Hi, I just saw the video! Great work, both of you.

    Call me superficial, but what intrigues me the most is the rotation, namely which ranks of LB you choose to use. It seems like we have two givens:

    1. We can't spam max rank lightning bolt the entire fight because it's inefficient, especially when we have procs and item effects at our disposal
    2. We can't spam rank 1 LB to fish for procs or kill time between item effects because that's not efficient either.
      Therefore the sweet spot is somewhere in between these two extremes.

    For the "bad gear" situation, you go with "R9 LB until your fourth cast without a EF proc, then cast R8s until EF procs. (Then CL when EF procs)" What was your rationale for settling on the magic number of 4? Did you calculate some kind of probability curve, which could extrapolate into, for example "3 casts of R8, then 2 casts of R7, one cast of R6", etc., if an EF proc never occurs?

    I'm not a statistician, so I only have a feeling that there must be some divine mathematic behind this. I don't know -- did you go that far, or did you settle on when (and how far) to downrank based on gut feeling? I would love to know.