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Hybrys

Challenge Mode: Elemental

14 posts in this topic

Introduction:

 

I've been running CMs for a while now, including realm best times (Now 9/9), as well as carrying groups, and I wanted to share what works best for me.  Of course, I welcome any feedback.

 

My groups are typically run as Brewmaster Monk, Discipline Priest, Elemental Shaman, Survival Hunter or Frost Mage, and the carry of any class.

 

The layout and idea is taken from the original guide found here:

http://www.icy-veins.com/forums/topic/2860-elemental-gold-challenge-mode-guide-by-ponypie/

 

Talents:

 

 

Tier 1: Stone Bulwark Totem is the superior choice here, with a low cooldown, comparable amount of damage reduced, and the fact that it prevents damage instead of reducing the amount you take.

 

Tier 2: I typically run Windwalk Totem because Earthgrab can be a real group killer, and the snap slow from Earthbind is often more useful.

 

Tier 3: I maintain Totemic Projection, since stuns DR too quickly making the second Capacitor totem worth less and less the more stuns you have.  The exceptions to this are Temple of the Jade Serpent and Scarlet Monastery, where I run Call of the Elements for double Tremor Totems (for the Crane sleep in Temple, and the Dominate Mind charm in Monastery.)

 

Tier 4: I swap between Elemental Mastery and Echo of the Elements depending on the pull.  If you're ever casting Chain Lightning with Heroism, you're better off going with Echo, as using EM as well will push you under the GCD cap.  This typically happens in the first pull of Gate of the Setting Sun, and the first pull of Mogu'shan Palace.  EM is the better boss killer, though.

 

Tier 5: Ancestral Guidance is lovely.  Fin.

 

Tier 6: I run Elemental Blast almost exclusively (unless the pull contains a majority of CL spam), as 3500 stats is a LOT at that gear level and should scale superiorly to Primal Elementalist in almost every instance.  I would swap to PE if I'm going to be using Chain Lightning for the majority of my casts, however.  Instances like this include double pulling Mogu'shan Palace's first hallway, and Gate of the Setting Sun.

 

Glyphs:

 

Glyph of Chain Lightning - Standard stuff.  Nearly always on.

 

Glyph of Lightning Shield - A good reduction if anything happens to clip you.  I prefer it to Flame Shock because I run with a Disc Priest, and often damage taken goes into a shield rather than sitting at negative HP.  In other comps, Flame Shock might be more worthwhile.

 

Glyph of Capacitor Totem - Faster stuns make everyone happy.  Stun on demand!

 

Glyph of Shamanistic Rage - This one gets swapped in for any time that I eat a magic stun/sleep, or a magic debuff that would reduce my damage.

 

Glyph of Grounding Totem - This one gets swapped in for a variety of instances in which it would be beneficial, such as Mogu'Shan Palace (reflecting Lightning Bolt or Fireball), Scarlet Monastery (reflecting Purifying Flames and Holy Smite), Scarlet Halls (reflecting Holy Fire, Fireball, or Pyroblast), Shado-Pan Monastery (reflecting Sha Blast, Consuming Bite, and Shadow Bolt), and Temple of the Jade Serpent (reflecting Songbird Serenade from the crane mob).  You have to remember that tanks have hefty defensives in most cases, and some of these hit for 250-600k+ when reflected back at them.  A great damage and defensive boost.

 

Gemming, Reforging and Gearing:

 

Mastery build is the superior way to build your character, especially if you're running Elemental Mastery.  With my Mastery build (which is not yet BiS), I'll hit GCD cap with a Haste EB proc, EM, and Bloodlust/Heroism.  Without the EB proc, my cast time is 1.03 w/ EM+Lust/Hero.

 

There is an arguement to be had for a Haste build, which is if your group's AoE damage is low but your boss damage is high.  In this case, running a Haste focus w/ Echo of the Elements is probably going to be better overall.

 

Gemming should take a priority on Int as it scales a little better at low ilvl and with Chain Lightning, which is probably going to be 40%+ of your damage regardless of your group comp.

 

Red: Brilliant Primordial Ruby

Yellow: Artful Vermilion Onyx

Blue: Purified Imperial Amethyst

 

Getting hit capped shouldn't be a problem, but manipulating that cap can be.  Spirit does not scale differently, and does not get reduced going into a CM.  You can test this by going into the Proving Grounds.  This also means that if you have a piece of gear with spirit on it, your other stats get scaled down further to compensate for the spirit not scaling.  Because of this, and the fact that spirit is abundant on Ele pieces, you want the lowest item level (above 463) you can get for each spirit piece.

 

Trinkets

 

While it looks nice, Light of the Cosmos is actually not a great trinket for Ele.  Consider this.  It's not RPPM, so it's proc chance won't scale up over time.  It has a chance to proc every 2.5-3 seconds at 15%.  Even using the gamblers fallacy and awful math, in 9 seconds, you're under 50% proc chance.  (In real math, each event has a static 15% probability, meaning that in the real world, it could just never proc.)

 

I'd recommend a Wushoolay's Final Choice (lowest ilvl you can, to reduce the amount of Hit remaining on the trinket) or a Black Blood of Y'Shaarj (ilvl doesn't matter for this one) to go along side your Relic of Yu'lon.  The Zen Alchemy Stone is even better than all three if you are an alch.

 

So in order of ranking re: trinkets

1. Zen Alchemist Stone - Upgraded w/ JP to 464

2. Relic of Yu'lon

3. Black Blood of Y'Shaarj

4. Wushoolay's Final Choice - LFR quality recommended

5. Light of the Cosmos

6. Essence of Terror

7. Breath of the Hydra

Edited by Hybrys
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Would you be able to provide a breakdown of when to use exclusively chain lightning and when to throw other spells into the mix to maximize your dps based on the number of targets you're fighting?

 

I previously assumed that the normal aoe vs. single target priority listed in most class guides held up in CMs, though I've recently heard that it's not ideal.

 

Any insight would be great!

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4 or more, use CL only. unless its a point where your group is having trouble. knockdown from earthquake can help slightly, especially if it is a particularly large pack.

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Yeah 4+ is the easy part. I'm more curious about 2-3 targets with and without CL glyph.

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dont not have the glyph, under that its normal rotation with CL in place of LB. the dps dont really affect challenge modes that much. its pretty much all on the tank once the dps is adequate.  

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Would you be able to provide a breakdown of when to use exclusively chain lightning and when to throw other spells into the mix to maximize your dps based on the number of targets you're fighting?

 

I previously assumed that the normal aoe vs. single target priority listed in most class guides held up in CMs, though I've recently heard that it's not ideal.

 

Any insight would be great!

The way I minmax my CL/Fulm damage is like this:

 

1 target: ST rotation

2 targets: ST rotation, with CL replacing LB

3 targets: CL throwing Fulms as you cap

4+ targets: CL non-stop.

 

Typically, this will also hold up in PvE, but you'll often want to focus damage on a single target.  IE: Spoils, pulling a Large w/ Smalls, I'll do ST w/ CL replacing LB.  I'm glyphed 90% of the time.

 

 

4 or more, use CL only. unless its a point where your group is having trouble. knockdown from earthquake can help slightly, especially if it is a particularly large pack.

It's important for others to note that the Earthquake stun does NOT DR with other stuns.  It's great to use if you're having difficulty with certain high damage packs.

 

That said, I only use it on the first pull in Shado-Pan and the 9 small Alementals in Stormstout. 

 

dont not have the glyph, under that its normal rotation with CL in place of LB. the dps dont really affect challenge modes that much. its pretty much all on the tank once the dps is adequate.  

 

I disagree quite a bit.  CMs are all about controlled chaos.  A DPS can extert control on a variety of enemies by doing things such as stunning (Cap Totem), interrupting (Wind Shear), rooting (Earthbind), and absorbing/reflecting damage (Grounding Totem.)

 

I think good DPS and healing are more important.

Edited by Hybrys

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if everyone in the group is okay and one dps is stellar, your chances of success are very low. if everyone in the group is okay and the tank is stellar, your chances of success are much higher.

 

on just about all my realm best runs, most of which are beaten by now, the tank was over 50% of the damage. its difficult for me to believe that an extra 20k from one person is going to make that much of a difference. i consider stuns, ag, and interrupts adequate. all they need is /stopcasting macro'd into them and they are very simple and easy to hit on cue.

 

in challenge modes especially the tank needs to plan and coordinate cooldowns at an elite level while pulling and positioning mobs as quickly as possible. vengeance stacking and fighting on the edge of death at all times has far more potential than anything a dps can do. the tank needs to know and understand the plan the best while the dps just need to follow them and do small jobs. and the poor healer has to have the nerves to come along and watch everyone get hit that hard. i'd imagine that can be pretty traumatic.

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if everyone in the group is okay and one dps is stellar, your chances of success are very low. if everyone in the group is okay and the tank is stellar, your chances of success are much higher.

 

on just about all my realm best runs, most of which are beaten by now, the tank was over 50% of the damage. its difficult for me to believe that an extra 20k from one person is going to make that much of a difference. i consider stuns, ag, and interrupts adequate. all they need is /stopcasting macro'd into them and they are very simple and easy to hit on cue.

 

in challenge modes especially the tank needs to plan and coordinate cooldowns at an elite level while pulling and positioning mobs as quickly as possible. vengeance stacking and fighting on the edge of death at all times has far more potential than anything a dps can do. the tank needs to know and understand the plan the best while the dps just need to follow them and do small jobs. and the poor healer has to have the nerves to come along and watch everyone get hit that hard. i'd imagine that can be pretty traumatic.

See, and I've done tank carries (where the tank is the buyer) as well as running as a BrM without a UI, and we carried them/I was carried with supreme healer and DPS play.  Stuns, Life Grip, healing CD usage, Vigilance, etc..

 

And if your tank is doing that much damage, your DPS need to step it up.  Our BrM does a good 20% ST (80kish), but no where near me or the other DPS (pushing 120-150k+)

 

Maybe we could agree that the group matters as a whole, but that tank and healers feel more pivotal because there's only one of them, and three DPS that can pick up the slack from each other?

Edited by Hybrys

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i mean overall damage done. Single target boss is probly the difference between your 7:55 on SH and my 8:03, but having a tank that has a good plan and can keep a good pace is what i consider most valuable to a group with little or no challenge mode experience.

 

and im sure you can do anything you put your mind to if a group has all good people but one. i'd still put more value into finding an experienced and capable tank for a group that doesnt have all golds yet. and i'd hold a tank more responsible than dps for gold times because keeping pace high and maximizing mit cds to pull bigger groups has more impact than whether or not you spend fulm charges at 3 mobs.

 

but i do consider adequate dps to be able to hit interrupts, stun on command and do at least 75% of the damage of an elite rotation.

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You need 3 exceptional players, 4 great players, or 5 decent players to get gold.  Anything else within those groups is perfectly fine for Challenge Modes.

 

As Elemental, most of Hy's stuff comes true.  Elemental might be the best spec in the game for Challenge Modes because of what they bring for only 1 roster spot. 

 

Spell Haste

Mastery

Bloodlust

Easy, powerful, repeatable AoE

12 second CD on interrupt (best ranged interrupt in the game)

Ancestral Guidance, which helps smooth high damage periods on a short CD.

Healing Tide Totem, which helps smooth high damage periods

Capacitor Totem, which is a powerful, AoE stun on a short CD (45 sec)

Thunderstorm, which is a powerful knockback/snare which can be used when the tank gets stunned

Ankh - just incase shit goes south, you can pop back up and res the group and possible save a run

 

That list is just insane.  I'm not even a great Shaman, but it's easy to crush Gold times and be a meaningful contributor in groups as Elemental. 

 

As for group comp, a tank isn't necessarily the driver of the pace of Challenge Modes.  His ability to pull correctly in tandem with the healer is affected by the healer as well.  The tank also isn't going to pull at the same pace regardless of mobs alive which puts the pace at the hands of the DPS in their ability to kill things faster.  When interrupts and stuns go out, less mana is used to heal which limits the amount of healing downtime required for mana.  You don't really need to pull 'big groups' in Challenge Modes to get gold times.  In fact, I don't remember ever pulling more than one pack at a time in any Challenge Mode with us easily breaking each gold time by at least 1:00 taking someone who had never been in there. 

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With this build do you completely forgo haste for mastery? I've gotten a few optimizes pieces of gear for my sham and even with a few spi/haste pieces my LB cast time is 1.8s. Feels like way too long to me

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With this build do you completely forgo haste for mastery? I've gotten a few optimizes pieces of gear for my sham and even with a few spi/haste pieces my LB cast time is 1.8s. Feels like way too long to me

Yes, in a Mastery focused build, you'll feel like you're casting through molasses.  But the damage makes up for it!

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Thanks for the input, looking forward to some sweet molasses overload procs.

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I should've mentioned, the build only makes sense if you're taking Elemental Mastery, since Haste has a higher value before then.  I call it my 'boss killer' build, because I was easily bursting to 300k+ w/ Ascend/Elemental Mastery/Bloodlust.

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