Elemental Shaman DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (WoD 6.0.3)

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General Information

On this page, we list your Elemental Shaman core abilities and how they should be used together (rotation) in World of Warcraft WoD 6.0.3. We also explain when to use your various cooldowns. Then, we go deeper and present all the subtleties that you will need to know if you want to excel at playing an Elemental Shaman.

The other pages of our Elemental Shaman guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.

About Our Reviewer

This guide has been reviewed and approved by Purge, a prominent Shaman theorycrafter, who often contributes to the Elemental Shaman section of Totem Spot.

6.0.2 Transition Guide

If you want to read all about the Patch 6.0.2 changes and learn how they affect your character, make sure to read our Shaman Transition Guide!

1. Single Target Rotation↑top

In the case of a single target, the rotation of an Elemental Shaman is a priority checklist.

  1. Cast Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst, if it can land on the target before Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock expires.
    • Watch out for its cooldown being reset by procs of Lava Surge Icon Lava Surge.
  2. Keep Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock up on the target. Refresh when there are 9 seconds or less left.
  3. Cast Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock, if you have 12 charges of Lightning Shield Icon Lightning Shield or more, in order to deal Fulmination Icon Fulmination damage.
  4. Cast Earthquake Icon Earthquake (only if you are in full Tier 16 Heroic gear).
  5. Cast Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst on cooldown
  6. Keep Searing Totem Icon Searing Totem up.
  7. Cast Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt as a filler.

If you chose Elemental Blast Icon Elemental Blast as your Tier 6 talent, then using it on cooldown becomes your priority number 5, just after casting Earthquake Icon Earthquake.

If you chose Unleashed Fury Icon Unleashed Fury as your Tier 6 talent, then Unleash Flame Icon Unleash Flame becomes part of your rotation and using it on cooldown is your number 1 priority.

See our Opening Sequence for instructions on what to cast when the fight starts.

2. Multiple Target Rotation↑top

If the enemies are spread out, simply maintain your Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock on as many of them as possible while performing your single-target rotation on one of them.

If the enemies are in the same area, proceed as follows.

  1. Cast Earthquake Icon Earthquake.
  2. Cast Lava Beam Icon Lava Beam, during Ascendance Icon Ascendance.
  3. Cast Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock on the highest priority target when you reach 15 charges of Lightning Shield Icon Lightning Shield.
  4. Cast Thunderstorm Icon Thunderstorm, if there are more than 10 enemies.
  5. Keep Searing Totem Icon Searing Totem up.
  6. Cast Chain Lightning Icon Chain Lightning as a filler.

3. Shield↑top

Use Lightning Shield Icon Lightning Shield.

Lightning Shield Icon Lightning Shield lasts for 1 hour and damage does not cause it to drop. Thanks to your Fulmination Icon Fulmination passive ability, Lightning Shield is an integral part of your Elemental Shaman play style.

4. Cooldown Usage↑top

As an Elemental Shaman, you have 5 main cooldowns:

  • Ascendance Icon Ascendance is your main DPS cooldown. This ability causes your Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst to no longer have a cooldown and your Chain Lightning Icon Chain Lightning to become Lava Beam Icon Lava Beam, a more powerful AoE ability. Ascendance has a 3-minute cooldown and should be used whenever it is available. You can also save it to line it up with periods during which you deal increased damage.
  • Fire Elemental Totem Icon Fire Elemental Totem is an DPS cooldown. It should be used whenever your Fire Elemental will be able to attack the boss for 1 minute without being interrupted (30 seconds if you are using Glyph of Fire Elemental Totem Icon Glyph of Fire Elemental Totem).
  • Spiritwalker's Grace Icon Spiritwalker's Grace can be used to cast Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst when you are on the move.
  • Thunderstorm Icon Thunderstorm is an AoE DPS cooldown, which you should always use when you have 10 or more enemies to attack and.

In addition, your talents grant you a number of other DPS and healing cooldowns, as we explain in our additional cooldowns section.

5. Optional Read: Mastering Your Elemental Shaman↑top

The advice provided above will enable you to play your Elemental Shaman very efficiently. The main optimisations are regarding the management of your charges of Lightning Shield Icon Lightning Shield. We detail them below. Other than that, you might be interested in the various mechanics your class have.

5.1. Fulmination and Charges of Lightning Shield

Every damage event with Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning Icon Chain Lightning and their multistrikes is guaranteed to generate one charge of Lightning Shield Icon Lightning Shield, thanks to Fulmination Icon Fulmination. So, if you cast Lightning Bolt on a target and are lucky enough to get 2 multistrikes, then you will generate 3 charges of Lightning Shield. If you cast Chain Lightning and it hits 3 enemies, each time with 2 multistrikes (you need to be very lucky), it will generate you 9 charges of Lightning Shield. So, you really need to keep a close eye on your charges, because they can increase very rapidly, especially in AoE situations, and they never drop, unless you use Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock. Damage done by Mastery: Molten Earth Icon Mastery: Molten Earth (your mastery) does not grant additional charges of Lightning Shield.

Using Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock when you have 1 or more charges of Lightning Shield Icon Lightning Shield consumes the extra charges and deals Fulmination Icon Fulmination damage proportional to the number of charges consumed.

In an ideal world, you would always use Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock when you have 15 charges of Lightning Shield Icon Lightning Shield, for maximum Fulmination Icon Fulmination. Unfortunately, things are not so easy. When you score a multistrike with Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt, there is a slight delay before you are granted your additional charge of Lightning Shield. So, if you are at 13 charges, there is a chance that your next Lightning Bolt will multistrike twice and generate a total of 3 charges and one of them will be wasted. This is why we have this 12-charge safe limit, at which it is advised to always cast Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock.

Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock and Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock share a cooldown, but this is usually not an issue. If you refresh Flame Shock when it has 9 seconds or less remaining, then you do not lose any tick, so this gives you a large time window during which you can decide if you are going to spend your charges of Lightning Shield first and then refresh Flame Shock, or if you are going to do it the other way around.

Note that you should always prioritise casting Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst over consuming your charges of Lightning Shield Icon Lightning Shield with Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock, even if you have 12 charges. Indeed, Lava Burst does not generate extra charges of Lightning Shield, so you will never run the risk of wasting a charge of Lightning Shield when you cast Lava Burst.

5.2. Lava Burst and Flame Shock

The reason why Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock should always be up on your target is because:

  • each tick has a chance to proc Lava Surge Icon Lava Surge, which resets the cooldown of Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst;
  • your Lava Burst deals 50% more damage, if Flame Shock is on the target.

Conversely, you should only cast Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst when Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock is up on your target.

Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock ticks every 3 seconds, which means that you have 3 seconds (or less, depending on your haste) to make use of a proc of Lava Surge Icon Lava Surge before running the risk to see it wasted by a new proc of Lava Surge Icon Lava Surge. To prevent wasting procs of Lava Surge Icon Lava Surge, you should always cast Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst as soon as its cooldown is reset.

You can refresh Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock when it has 9 seconds or less remaining. In this case, whatever duration was left when you refresh it is added to the duration of the new Flame Shock DoT. So, if you refresh Flame Shock with 5 seconds remaining, the new DoT will have a duration of 35 seconds.

5.3. Opening Sequence

  1. 3-4 seconds before the pull, prepot and drop Fire Elemental Totem Icon Fire Elemental Totem.
  2. 2 seconds before the pull, start casting Earthquake Icon Earthquake.
  3. Cast Elemental Blast Icon Elemental Blast (if talented).
  4. Cast Unleash Flame Icon Unleash Flame. This will proc your meta-gem and buff Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock.
  5. Cast Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock.
  6. Cast Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst.
  7. Cast Ascendance Icon Ascendance.

Heroism Icon Heroism/Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust can also be part of this opening sequence, depending on how your raid wants to use them. In this case, you want to cast Heroism/Bloodlust before casting Ascendance Icon Ascendance.

5.4. Additional Cooldowns

5.4.1. Defensive Cooldowns

Shamanistic Rage Icon Shamanistic Rage reduces all damage taken by 30% for 15 seconds. With Glyph of Shamanistic Rage Icon Glyph of Shamanistic Rage, it also removes all dispellable debuffs from you. It has a 1-minute cooldown.

Healing Stream Totem Icon Healing Stream Totem can help when the raid really needs the extra healing it can provide.

5.4.2. Tier 1 Talents

Your Tier 1 of talents gives you access to 2 additional defensive cooldowns that are mutually exclusive: Stone Bulwark Totem Icon Stone Bulwark Totem and Astral Shift Icon Astral Shift. Simply use them whenever needed, following the guidelines we gave in the talents page.

5.4.3. Tier 4 Talents

Ancestral Swiftness Icon Ancestral Swiftness gives you an instant-cast Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt or Chain Lightning Icon Chain Lightning every minute. The best way to use it is to make a macro (see our Ancestral Swiftness macro).

Elemental Mastery Icon Elemental Mastery greatly increases your damage throughput for 20 seconds, so you should use it on cooldown or keep it for times when you deal increased damage.

5.4.4. Tier 5 Talents

Ancestral Guidance Icon Ancestral Guidance is a powerful healing cooldown that you should use in times of high raid-wide damage during which you also deal a large amount of damage.

5.4.5. Tier 6 Talent: Primal Elementalist

If you chose Primal Elementalist Icon Primal Elementalist as your Tier 6 talent, you can get your Earth Elemental Totem Icon Earth Elemental Totem and your Fire Elemental Totem Icon Fire Elemental Totem to respectively channel Reinforce Icon Reinforce and Empower Icon Empower on you. While they are channeling, your Elementals are not doing any damage.

Reinforce Icon Reinforce reduces the damage you take by 20%. As your Earth Elemental does not do much damage, you should never hesitate to let it channel Reinforce if you are taking damage.

Empower Icon Empower increases the damage you do by 5%. Your Fire Elemental does a significant amount of damage and, in the general case, increasing your damage by 5% does not make up for the damage your Fire Elemental is not doing while channeling. If you are in a situation where 5% of your damage represents a larger amount than the damage your Fire Elemental deals, then it is beneficial to let your Elemental channel Empower.

Both channels also increase the healing you do by 10%, but this will rarely affect your decision as to whether you should let your Elemental channel.

6. Changelog↑top

  • 28 Oct. 2014: Added Earthquake to the opening sequence.