Elemental Shaman DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (WoD 6.2)

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Elemental Shaman Art Image
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 6.2. 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 Arold, an Elemental Shaman who raids in Limit.

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 17 charges of Lightning Shield Icon Lightning Shield or more, in order to deal Fulmination Icon Fulmination damage.
  4. Cast Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst on cooldown
  5. Keep Searing Totem Icon Searing Totem up.
  6. 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 4, just after casting Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock.

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 comes just above casting Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt as a filler.

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

1.1. Tier 7 Talents

If you have chosen Liquid Magma Icon Liquid Magma as your Tier 7 talent, then using it when you have 10 or more seconds remaining on your Fire Totem becomes your top priority. If your priority allows it, refresh your Fire Totem before using Liquid Magma.

If you have chosen Elemental Fusion Icon Elemental Fusion as your Tier 7 talent, then there is no change to apply to your rotation. Unlike Enhancement, Elemental does not need to pool for Elemental Fusion charges for Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock.

2. Multiple Target Rotation↑top

If the enemies are spread out, simply perform your single-target rotation on one of them, while maintaining Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock on as many of them (usually only 2, because otherwise you sacrifice DPS by preventing yourself from casting Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock when needed).

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, if there are 3+ targets.
  3. Cast Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock on the highest priority target when you reach 20 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 a 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). Also, you can delay it to line it up with your second set of cooldowns/potion, if doing so does not cause you to lose uptime on it (if, for example, the fight were to finish in the middle of your subsequent Fire Elemental Totem cast).
  • 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.

If you have chosen Storm Elemental Totem Icon Storm Elemental Totem as your Tier 7 talent, then you gain a new cooldown. It should be prioritised over Fire Elemental Totem Icon Fire Elemental Totem, as it does more (or comparable, with Primal Elementalist Icon Primal Elementalist) damage and it does not lock you out of your other Fire Totem (Searing Totem Icon Searing Totem). Because they have the same cooldown and because using an Elemental Totem prevents you from using another Elemental Totem for 1-minute, you will usually cast Storm Elemental Totem followed by Fire Elemental Totem 1-minute later.

Because your talents grant you a number of cooldowns and because cooldown usage is more complex than presented here, we advise you to read our advanced cooldown usage section.

Finally, you have a number of healing/defensive cooldowns, which we present in a separate 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 20 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 18 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 17-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.

5.1.1. Lava Burst Changes

In the past, you had to always prioritise casting Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst over consuming your charges of Lightning Shield Icon Lightning Shield with Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock, because Lava Burst could not generate new charges.

Now, things are different, thanks to Improved Lightning Shield Icon Improved Lightning Shield, which causes Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst and its multistrikes to generate charges of Lightning Shield Icon Lightning Shield. The rotation was amended to reflect this.

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. 6 seconds before the pull, cast Unleash Flame Icon Unleash Flame.
  2. 4 seconds before the pull
  3. 3 seconds before the pull
  4. 1 second before the pull
  5. Cast Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock.
  6. Spend your Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst charges.
  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. Advanced Cooldown Usage

First of all, when planning out cooldowns prior to engaging a boss, you need to take a number of things into account.

  • Fight length — You need to maximise the uptime of each cooldown, based on the fight duration. For example, if a fight is 7 minutes long, then there is no time to delay Fire Elemental Totem Icon Fire Elemental Totem after Storm Elemental Totem Icon Storm Elemental Totem. You must drop Fire Elemental Totem at the 1-minute mark, in order to be able to drop it again at the 6-minute mark, both times right after Storm Elemental Totem expires. If, however, the fight is 4 minutes long and you are using Storm Elemental Totem as the fight begins, it is beneficial to delay your Fire Elemental Totem until the 3-minute mark, to line it up with your cooldowns and your second potion.
  • Burst damage vs. overall damage — While overall damage is sometimes the requirement for a boss encounter (for example Gruul in T17), the majority of fights have phases/mechanics that are significantly more difficult and that require burst damage. In these situations, the focus is not on maximising cooldown uptime, but on maximising damage output at the right moment. Elemental Mastery Icon Elemental Mastery, Primal Elementalist Icon Primal Elementalist, and Storm Elemental Totem Icon Storm Elemental Totem are all excellent talents for controlling your burst damage and all deserve consideration when burst damage is needed to progress. Glyph of Fire Elemental Totem Icon Glyph of Fire Elemental Totem is also useful when you need burst damage more often than the 5-minute cooldown of your unglyphed Fire Elemental Totem Icon Fire Elemental Totem and it becomes necessary if these periods of burst damage last 30 seconds or less.

Also, the Tier 4 (Level 60) and Tier 6 (Level 90) talents are so close to each other in single-target situations that the decision of which talent to take should often be based on the length of the fight and how comfortable you are with incorporating these talents into your rotation.

Finally, when going for overall damage, you want to cast your abilities as soon as they come off cooldown, as opposed to delaying them and sacrificing buff uptime to line them up.

5.5. Healing/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.

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.

Ancestral Guidance Icon Ancestral Guidance, one of your Tier 5 talents, 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.

5.5.1. More on 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 or not you should let your Elemental channel.

5.6. Core of the Primal Elements

Core of the Primal Elements Icon Core of the Primal Elements, the new Shaman class trinket from Archimonde increases the duration of Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock by 150% for the Normal version (all the way to 210% for the Warforged Mythic version).

This has two implications on your gameplay.

6. Changelog↑top

  • 22 Jun. 2015: Patch 6.2 update.
    • Added a new section about advanced cooldown usage.
    • Added a section about Core of the Primal Elements, the new class trinket from Archimonde.
    • Changed cast priority for Unleashed Fury.
    • Slight adjustment to the multiple-target priority (Lava Beam starting from 3 enemies, not 2).
  • 05 Jan. 2015: Removed Earthquake from the single-target rotation. It sometimes is a DPS gain to use it, but the conditions for it to happen are so complex that it is better and less confusing to simply leave Earthquake out of the single-target rotation. Curious readers can take a look at the conditions for casting Earthquake in the Elemental Shaman profile of Simulation Craft.
  • 20 Nov. 2014: Removed old Lava Burst explanations.
  • 19 Nov. 2014: Updated for Level 100.
  • 28 Oct. 2014: Added Earthquake to the opening sequence.