Enhancement Shaman DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (MoP 5.4)

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Enhancement Shaman Art Image
General Information

On this page, we list your Enhancement Shaman core abilities and how they should be used together (rotation) in World of Warcraft MoP 5.4. 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 Enhancement Shaman.

The other pages of our Enhancement 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, one of the best Enhancement Shamans in the world, who often contributes to the Enhancement Shaman section of Totem Spot.

1. Single Target Rotation↑top

The rotation of an Enhancement Shaman revolves around the following priority list.

  1. Summon and refresh Searing Totem Icon Searing Totem:
    • try to refresh with less than 3 seconds remaining on Searing Flames Icon Searing Flames (the stacking buff that the totem gives you).
  2. Cast Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt if you have 5 stacks of Maelstrom Weapon Icon Maelstrom Weapon (4 with the Tier 15 2-piece bonus).
  3. Cast Stormstrike Icon Stormstrike (called Stormblast Icon Stormblast during Ascendance Icon Ascendance).
  4. Apply/refresh Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock if:
  5. Cast Lava Lash Icon Lava Lash.
  6. Cast Unleash Elements Icon Unleash Elements.
  7. Cast Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock.
  8. Cast Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt with 1 or more stacks of Maelstrom Weapon Icon Maelstrom Weapon, as a filler (or when you are moving and cannot reach the boss)

If you chose Unleashed Fury Icon Unleashed Fury as your Tier 6 talent, then using Unleash Elements Icon Unleash Elements on cooldown becomes your highest priority.

If you chose Elemental Blast Icon Elemental Blast as your Tier 6 talent, then using it on cooldown becomes your highest priority.

If Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock drops and there are a few seconds left on the cooldown of Unleash Elements Icon Unleash Elements, refresh Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock without the Unleash Flame Icon Unleash Flame buff.

2. Multiple Target Rotation↑top

Against 2 enemies, simply keep doing your single-target rotation on one enemy, and start using Fire Nova Icon Fire Nova on cooldown. Lava Lash Icon Lava Lash will spread your Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock to the other enemy.

Against 3 or more enemies, replace Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt with Chain Lightning Icon Chain Lightning in your rotation. When fighting at least 6 enemies, replace Searing Totem Icon Searing Totem with Magma Totem Icon Magma Totem.

3. Shield and Weapon Imbues↑top

Use Lightning Shield Icon Lightning Shield, Windfury Weapon Icon Windfury Weapon on your Main-hand weapon, and Flametongue Weapon Icon Flametongue Weapon on your Off-hand weapon.

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

4. Cooldown Usage↑top

As an Enhancement Shaman, you have 6 main cooldowns:

  • Ascendance Icon Ascendance is your Mists of Pandaria ability. This cooldown causes your melee attacks and Stormstrike Icon Stormstrike ability to deal pure Nature damage for 15 seconds, meaning that they will benefit from your mastery: Mastery: Enhanced Elements Icon Mastery: Enhanced Elements. 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. Finally, try to use Ascendance together with other cooldowns, such as Elemental Mastery Icon Elemental Mastery if you chose it as your Tier 4 talent.
  • Feral Spirit Icon Feral Spirit should be used on cooldown.
  • Fire Elemental Totem Icon Fire Elemental Totem and Earth Elemental Totem Icon Earth Elemental Totem are important DPS cooldowns (especially the former, which is by far the most powerful), they should be used whenever your Elementals will be able to attack the boss for 1 minute without being interrupted (unless you are using Glyph of Fire Elemental Totem Icon Glyph of Fire Elemental Totem). These two totems are mutually exclusive, as using one causes a 1-minute cooldown on the other. So, use Fire Elemental Totem Icon Fire Elemental Totem with higher priority and use Earth Elemental Totem Icon Earth Elemental Totem when your Fire Elemental Totem is on cooldown.
  • Spiritwalker's Grace Icon Spiritwalker's Grace should be used when you need to move, so that you can keep casting Elemental Blast Icon Elemental Blast when moving (provided you chose it as your Tier 6 talent).
  • Stormlash Totem Icon Stormlash Totem is a raid-wide DPS cooldown that causes every players within 40 yards of the totem to deal additional Nature damage for 10 seconds. Use it when the raid will deal increased damage (while Heroism Icon Heroism / Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust / Time Warp Icon Time Warp is active, for example). You can also use it to push past an important encounter phase.

Your elementals and your wolves benefit from your Attack Power, so it is beneficial to summon them during times when your Attack power is increased (Enchant Weapon - Dancing Steel Icon Enchant Weapon - Dancing Steel proc, for example).

In addition, your talents grant you a number of other DPS and healing cooldowns, and you have a few defensive cooldowns as well. We detail them all in our additional cooldowns section.

5. Optional Read: Mastering Your Enhancement Shaman↑top

While the rotations we gave in the previous sections will yield very good results, the single-target and multiple-target rotations of an Enhancement Shamans have many subtleties. Understanding them will help you play your character to its full potential.

5.1. Procs

As an Enhancement Shaman, you have the following procs: Flurry Icon Flurry, Flametongue Weapon Icon Flametongue Weapon, Windfury Weapon Icon Windfury Weapon, Static Shock Icon Static Shock (especially with Unleashed Fury Icon Unleashed Fury talented), and Maelstrom Weapon Icon Maelstrom Weapon. Flurry, Flametongue Weapon, Windfury Weapon, and Static Shock are largely out of your control and they happen so often that you should not try to time your abilities to benefit from them.

Maelstrom Weapon Icon Maelstrom Weapon, however, needs to be watched out for, as it enables you to perform an instant, mana-free cast of one of your spells. Usually, you will use it with Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt or Chain Lightning Icon Chain Lightning, but you can sometimes need to use it with Healing Surge Icon Healing Surge, Healing Rain Icon Healing Rain, or Hex Icon Hex.

5.2. Searing Flames and Lava Lash

Searing Totem Icon Searing Totem is your offensive totem. It applies a stacking buff on you (Searing Flames Icon Searing Flames), up to 5 stacks. The buff lasts for 15 seconds and is refreshed every 2 seconds by your totem. This is important because it means that you do not need to refresh Searing Totem as soon as it expires. You can indeed wait for the buff to have 3 seconds remaining before putting down Searing Totem once again.

The damage of Lava Lash Icon Lava Lash is greatly increased by Searing Flames Icon Searing Flames. When you summon your Fire Elemental Totem Icon Fire Elemental Totem, the damage that the elemental deals also grants you stacks of Searing Flames Icon Searing Flames, which means that summoning this totem is not detrimental to your DPS. On the contrary, summoning your Fire Elemental is your most potent ability (i.e., the ability that brings you the most damage for the time you spend casting it).

5.3. Stormstrike and Nature spells

Stormstrike Icon Stormstrike is a special melee attack that applies a debuff on your target, increasing your chance to critically hit with Nature spells (Chain Lightning Icon Chain Lightning, Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock, Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt, and Lightning Shield Icon Lightning Shield) on that target by 25%.

5.4. Unleash Elements and Flame Shock

Unleash Elements Icon Unleash Elements gives you an 8-second buff called Unleash Flame Icon Unleash Flame when you use it. Increases the potency of your next Fire spell. Since Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock is the only Fire spell in your arsenal (Lava Lash Icon Lava Lash deals Fire damage, but it is a melee attack, not a Fire spell), you will always want to consume Unleash Flame Icon Unleash Flame with Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock.

If you choose Elemental Blast Icon Elemental Blast as your Tier 6 talent, it can benefit from Unleash Flame Icon Unleash Flame, but not enough that it replaces Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock as your spell of choice to consume Unleash Flame with.

5.5. Maelstrom Weapon and Lightning Bolt

Maelstrom Weapon Icon Maelstrom Weapon is a stacking self-buff that each of your melee attacks has a chance to apply. Each stack of Maelstrom Weapon decreases the cast time and mana cost of some of your spells, most notably Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt.

At 5 stacks, your Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt costs no mana and has an instant cast. This is why you should, in most cases, wait until you have 5 stacks of Maelstrom Weapon Icon Maelstrom Weapon before using Lightning Bolt.

The only time when you want to use Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt with fewer than 5 stacks of Maelstrom Weapon Icon Maelstrom Weapon is when all your other spells are on cooldowns and you have nothing to do, or when you are on the move and you cannot reach the boss.

5.6. Multiple Target Rotation Subtleties

If you perform your normal single-target rotation on a boss or a priority target (an add from the pack you are trying to kill, for example), any nearby enemy will already take a decent amount of collateral damage from Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock being spread by Lava Lash Icon Lava Lash.

When fighting a boss surrounded by adds, you can control how much single-target DPS you deal to your main target and how much AoE damage you deal to nearby enemies. To do so, you can keep casting Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt instead of switching to Chain Lightning Icon Chain Lightning. Or, you can use Chain Lightning Icon Chain Lightning but not Fire Nova Icon Fire Nova.

Note that putting down Magma Totem Icon Magma Totem will cause you to eventually lose your stacks of Searing Flames Icon Searing Flames. This is the reason why Magma Totem is less effective than Searing Totem Icon Searing Totem where you are fighting only a few enemies.

5.7. Kiting

As an Enhancement Shaman, you will make a great kiter, thanks to Ghost Wolf Icon Ghost Wolf (which you can improve with Glyph of Ghost Wolf Icon Glyph of Ghost Wolf), Spirit Walk Icon Spirit Walk, and Earthbind Totem Icon Earthbind Totem, which allow you to safely run away from the enemies you are assigned to kite. You can also use Frost Shock Icon Frost Shock to slow down specific enemies.

One advantage that you have over other kiter classes, such as Frost Mages, is your ability to taunt by using Unleash Elements Icon Unleash Elements when one of your weapons is imbued with Rockbiter Weapon Icon Rockbiter Weapon.

When kiting, you should try to move in a circular manner. To achieve that, you should always be moving sideways (left or right) and use the camera control (by default, the mouse right button) to try and rotate around a fixed point. The idea is that it enables you to target the enemies you are kiting and it makes it easier to group them together.

Your main problem will be to get initial aggro on a pack of enemies because of your lack of repeatable, instant cast time AoE damage ability. Your best choice is to use Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock followed by a Fire Nova Icon Fire Nova but you have very little room for error, due to the cooldowns on these abilities. Chain Lightning Icon Chain Lightning (with Glyph of Chain Lightning Icon Glyph of Chain Lightning preferably) can work for small groups of enemies. Later on, you can easily maintain your aggro with Unleash Elements and Rockbiter Weapon.

5.8. Additional Cooldowns

5.8.1. Defensive Cooldowns

We consider that you have 3 defensive cooldowns.

Feral Spirit Icon Feral Spirit is usually categorised as an offensive cooldown. This ability does damage, and this is what matters to a DPS class. That said, your wolves have a passive ability called Spirit Hunt Icon Spirit Hunt, which will heal you for 150% of the damage the wolves do (210% with Glyph of Feral Spirit Icon Glyph of Feral Spirit). It means that your wolves do more healing than damage. Therefore, you can perfectly use them as a healing cooldown in times of high damage, if you want to help your healers a bit.

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.

Spirit Walk Icon Spirit Walk removes all movement-impairing effects from you and increases your movement speed by 60% for 15 seconds. It has a 1-minute cooldown, which you can reduce to 45 seconds with Glyph of Spirit Walk Icon Glyph of Spirit Walk.

Healing Tide Totem Icon Healing Tide Totem is a powerful healing cooldown, especially in 25-man raids, where it will target the 12 most injured players.

5.8.2. 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.

5.8.3. 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.

5.8.4. 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.

5.8.5. 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. As an Enhancement Shaman, you need to take into account the fact that when channeling, your Fire Elemental will not apply Searing Flames Icon Searing Flames, which is very detrimental to your DPS as Lava Lash Icon Lava Lash will no longer get buffed.

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.

5.9. Tier 15 Bonuses

With the Tier 15 2-piece bonus, Stormstrike Icon Stormstrike grants 2 additional stacks of Maelstrom Weapon Icon Maelstrom Weapon. Therefore, you should cast Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt at 4 stacks, so that you do not run the risk of wasting a stack when casting Stormstrike Icon Stormstrike.

The Tier 15 4-piece bonus simply causes you to cast Feral Spirit Icon Feral Spirit more often.

5.10. Tier 16 Bonuses

With the T16 2-piece bonus, Unleash Elements Icon Unleash Elements becomes your top priority, regardless of the Tier 6 talent you chose.

With the T16 4-piece bonus, you will need to focus on spreading Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock to as many targets as possible in multiple-target situations. This way, your Lava Lash Icon Lava Lash cooldown will have a higher chance to reset.

6. Changelog↑top

  • 10 Sep. 2013: Patch 5.4 update.
    • Fire Nova Icon Fire Nova has been significantly buffed and can now be used as soon as there is a second target.
    • Added section on Tier 16 bonuses.
  • 19 May 2013: Patch 5.3 update: Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt can now be cast while moving.
  • 04 Apr. 2013: Big update following review from Purge.
  • 27 Mar. 2013: Fixed a very confusing typo in the AoE rotation section.
  • 09 Mar. 2013: Patch 5.2 update.
    • The cooldown of Spirit Walk Icon Spirit Walk is now 1 minute (was 2).
    • Improved explanations for using your Elemental Totems.
    • Added tips and explanations for the Tier 15 bonuses.
    • Improved explanations for the interaction of Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock and Unleash Elements Icon Unleash Elements.