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Restoration Shaman Healing Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (Legion 7.0.3)

Last updated on Jul 18, 2016 at 21:41 by Furty 5 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

On this page, we list your Restoration Shaman core abilities and how they should be used together (rotation) in World of Warcraft Legion 7.0.3. 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 a Restoration Shaman.

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

About Our Author

This guide has been written by Furty who raids in Serenity, the number #1 World of Warcraft guild. He plays most classes at the highest level. You can follow him on Twitter and watch him play on Twitch.

1. Rotation

Healing is in great part based on your ability to react to the damage that the raid takes, and as such there is no set rotation. Rather, you must understand what spells are best suited to the different situations that can occur during a raid encounter.

2. Important Notes

2.1. Mana Management

As with all healing classes, Mana management is at the core of this specialization. It is important to choose your spells and timings wisely, or risk quickly bankrupting your Mana and leaving you to stand there foolishly. Healing Wave Icon Healing Wave is one of your most efficient tools for keeping your Mana healthy, as it has a low cost and respectable output. During periods of low or middling damage, you should lean on it as long as you have stacks of Tidal Waves Icon Tidal Waves. Chain Heal Icon Chain Heal and Healing Rain Icon Healing Rain are both very powerful and efficient tools to deal with widespread raid damage, but careful not to use them too often during periods where they might be unnecessary. You especially want to avoid overhealing as much as possible, as you are simply wasting your Mana for no benefit. Riptide Icon Riptide, Healing Stream Totem Icon Healing Stream Totem, and Cloudburst Totem Icon Cloudburst Totem are also all very potent for their Mana cost and should be used as much as possible.

Mana management cannot be explained fully without context, rather, try and take everything in the guide and consider it with your Mana bar in mind. During a long progression fight, your Mana is just as important as keeping the raid healthy, as your Mana bar is the thing keeping the raid healthy. If you are having a rough time and do not quite have enough resources to spam your Chain Heal Icon Chain Heal and maintain Healing Rain Icon Healing Rain, consider using Healing Tide Totem Icon Healing Tide Totem to span the danger period while you recoup your resources. It is imperative to your success that you correlate each individual encounter with how it affects your Mana in the long term, as it will allow you to maximize output during periods of highest danger while comfortably resting and rejuvenating your blue bar during periods of lucid calm.

2.2. Dealing Damage

Very often it can be beneficial to deal damage rather than heal, especially during periods where the incoming damage is low and you want to recoup your Mana. Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt is cost free, allowing you to help push some important timings or assist with high priority targets while your Mana bar fills up. Shaman is a well equipped class to assist in dealing damage, especially to short lived targets. Do not be afraid to fit in damage casts in between healing, particularly when there is little raid healing to do. Raid and stacked healing is your strong suit; do not be afraid to capitalize on opportunities to regenerate resources by putting out a little extra hurt.

  1. Apply Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock if it is absent.
  2. Cast Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst.
  3. Cast Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt.

Both Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock and Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst cost Mana, so if your Mana is exceptionally low refrain from casting them. The beginning of an encounter is a good time to throw some extra damage out, as there is typically little to heal other than tank damage for the opening seconds of a boss.

2.3. Mastery: Deep Healing

Mastery: Deep Healing Icon Mastery: Deep Healing is your Mastery as a Restoration Shaman. It causes your heals to be more powerful on low health targets. When you heal a target with full health, you get no additional healing. When you heal a target with 1% health, you get the full benefit of your Mastery.

Your mastery heavily influences the way you play a Restoration Shaman.

  • When raid healing, you should focus on low health targets more so than any other type of healer, as you have the most efficient tools to heal them.
  • When single-target healing, your mastery has less influence because you should give priority to your assignment and cannot freely choose low health targets. By being aware of how much damage your assignment will take, you can optimise your heals to benefit from your mastery.

2.4. Wind Shear & Purge

Restoration Shamans make ideal candidates for doing interrupt and dispel assignments, as they are less important than DPS in raid hierarchy and have a short cooldown kick. Take advantage of Wind Shear Icon Wind Shear whenever possible, though you should avoid compromising raid healing if this is during a period of heavy incoming damage. Purge Icon Purge is also great on fights where a dispel is necessary, but bear in mind that this costs Mana, so if resources are tight consider asking a DPS to fulfill this job.

2.5. Cloudburst Totem

Playing with Cloudburst Totem Icon Cloudburst Totem does not change your priority much, and you should nearly always cast it on cooldown, unless you are delaying it for a specific timing or instance of damage. There are a few interesting interactions with Cloudburst Totem Icon Cloudburst Totem and your other abilities and talents, however, and capitalizing on them will allow some significant extra punch from this totem.

  • Casting a heal right before dropping Cloudburst Totem Icon Cloudburst Totem, then immediately dropping Cloudburst Totem Icon Cloudburst Totem will cause the heal to be stored. This is technically a bug, and is latency dependent, but can result in a large extra burst of healing.
  • All of your healing during Ancestral Guidance Icon Ancestral Guidance is stored in the totem, allowing for a large "super burst" when you release the healing.

2.6. Ancestral Guidance vs. Deluge

A hotly debated topic is the merit of Deluge Icon Deluge versus Ancestral Guidance Icon Ancestral Guidance. Both talents have their strengths and weaknesses, and often are dependent on raid's healing composition, the present encounter, and the style of the healer him or herself.

Deluge Icon Deluge is extraordinarily strong on fights where you have a high uptime on Healing Rain Icon Healing Rain, as it allows you to constantly leverage the 20% additional power of Chain Heal Icon Chain Heal. It is also great on fights where the melee are constantly taking damage, as it is particularly easy to keep a Healing Rain Icon Healing Rain blanketing the melee stack.

Ancestral Guidance Icon Ancestral Guidance, on the other hand, is a great tool for powering through phases that threaten the raid. Encounters that have a high influx of damage every 2 or 3 minutes are well suited to the strengths of Ancestral Guidance Icon Ancestral Guidance. Do not be afraid to freely switch these abilities out, as they are very interchangeable. Generally speaking, more well rounded healing comps should trend towards Deluge Icon Deluge for most encounters, as it complements High Tide Icon High Tide and plays the strengths of Restoration best.

Both talents have excellent synergy with Cloudburst Totem Icon Cloudburst Totem. Deluge Icon Deluge offers a stronger average Cloudburst Totem Icon Cloudburst Totem, whereas Ancestral Guidance Icon Ancestral Guidance allows for a super powered Cloudburst Totem Icon Cloudburst Totem every 2 minutes. If you are finding Chain Heal Icon Chain Heal to be less than 25% of your healing contribution on an encounter, Ancestral Guidance Icon Ancestral Guidance could be a better choice for you.

2.7. Tier 5 Talent Comparison

This is a very interesting tier, and it once again comes down largely to preference. Ancestral Vigor Icon Ancestral Vigor amounts to a ton of extra bonus health on fights where you are casting Chain Heal Icon Chain Heal frequently, which greatly reduces a player's chance of instant lethal. Earthen Shield Totem Icon Earthen Shield Totem, however, does an extremely respectable amount of guaranteed mitigation, but with a moderate cooldown. Earthen Shield Totem Icon Earthen Shield Totem scales with your personal maximum health, so if each member of a 20-man raid were to take equal damage while the totem were down, they would each mitigate 1/20th of your maximum health in damage. This is actually quite efficient in terms of healing per Mana and execute time. The damage mitigated by the totem is equal to your Spell Power, which when compared with your health pool, is a paltry number. Ultimately, while Earthen Shield Totem Icon Earthen Shield Totem is very efficient for its personal cost, it rarely pays out in the way that Ancestral Vigor Icon Ancestral Vigor can. Finally, Ancestral Protection Totem Icon Ancestral Protection Totem can potentially mitigate a death entirely (and it does not count as a combat resurrection either!), but timing this is can be very difficult. Certain mechanics that guarantee death, like Surrender to Madness Icon Surrender to Madness, also prevent the user from being resurrected by this ability, rendering its predictable use pretty flat. You also increase the chance of someone dying by foregoing the previous two talents, which makes use of this talent both risky and infrequent.

3. Core Concepts

Like many healing specializations, Restoration Shaman is more than meets the eye. While on the surface the priority and usage seem fairly simple to ascertain, correctly executing and continually adapting your abilities to fit each unique attempt is a challenge unto itself. Playing and mastering a Restoration Shaman is largely about being able to predict incoming damage and plan proactively to address it, while reactively adjusting your targets and spell chains to comply with the evolving present situation. Learning to focus on what is important and master the core concepts of a specialization is what leads to strong overall performance as guardian angel over your raid. Restoration Shaman has 4 major tenets that form the essential formula of optimizing for success:

  1. cooldown usage;
  2. Mana management;
  3. spell & target selection;
  4. Movement management.

3.1. Cooldown Usage

Correctly utilizing cooldowns is without a doubt the most important aspect of playing a healing specialization, and oftentimes the organization of the healing cooldowns is the determining factor in the success of a raid group or its utter devastation. Acclimatizing yourself to your cooldown kit and understand when each applies to your current situation is key to your success.

3.1.1. Healing Tide Totem

Healing Tide Totem Icon Healing Tide Totem is a super flexible cooldown with a variety of applications, many of which we have already discussed within other parts of the guide. This is your most malleable cooldown, and can really be used in any situation you feel you are behind in. Great example usages are as follows:

  • during periods of heavy raid damage;
  • to stabilize the raid after a large burst of damage;
  • when you are low on Mana and you need to quickly stabilize the raid;
  • during periods of high damage and movement.

As previously noted, you can really use this button in any situation, though it is best used for applications where your other cooldowns are weakest. Healing Tide Totem Icon Healing Tide Totem heals everyone within 40 yards, which eliminates the need for a stacked party. This makes it especially strong when strong raid healing is necessary, but the raid is unable to stack.

3.1.2. Spirit Link Totem

Spirit Link Totem Icon Spirit Link Totem represents one of the most unique and interesting cooldowns within the World of Warcraft. Every second, the health of the group inside the totem's circumference is redistributed so all targets have an equal percentage of maximum health. This cooldown is nearly unbeatable at dealing with large incoming bursts of damage, and can be especially potent when overlapped with other throughput cooldowns such as Tranquility Icon Tranquility. Spirit Link Totem Icon Spirit Link Totem is best used preemptively, as it allows the totem to immediately redistribute health as soon as the instance of damage happens and it also allows you to begin precasting your Chain Heal Icon Chain Heal. You should aim to place down Healing Rain Icon Healing Rain before using Spirit Link Totem if the usage is premeditated. Great example usages are as follows:

  • when the raid is stacked and a predictable large burst of incoming damage is imminent;
  • when the raid has been stacked and taken an unexpected burst of damage;
  • when the tanks are getting hammered and you can link them with the melee;
  • when the raid is stacked and taking sustained heavy damage.

The practical applications and playmaking potential of Spirit Link Totem Icon Spirit Link Totem is limitless. It is very important to remember, however, that this totem works by redistributing health. For example, if an ally is at 1%, and you are at 99%, Spirit Link Totem Icon Spirit Link Totem will redistribute your health pools so you are both at 49% of your maximum health. This means that Spirit Link Totem Icon Spirit Link Totem generally works by taking health from your beefier targets and patching up the frail ones. In certain situations this can be detrimental. For example, if you link a group of 5 melee players who are all below 20% health to a tank that is at 70%, this will caused the tank to be chunked down quite a bit to help save the melee, resulting in the next melee swing one shotting the tank. While negative usages of Spirit Link Totem Icon Spirit Link Totem are uncommon, it is worth noting that it is possible and you need to be careful when placing it.

3.1.3. Spiritwalker's Grace

Spiritwalker's Grace Icon Spiritwalker's Grace should be used during periods of heavy movement where raid throughput is a concern. It can also be used to allow you to reposition while dealing with a mechanic.

3.1.4. Ancestral Guidance and Ascendance

As noted earlier in the guide, these cooldowns (if talented) are best used to punch through periods of the fight where high throughput is a necessity. Bear in mind that getting best use of these cooldowns, especially in synergy with Cloudburst Totem Icon Cloudburst Totem, involves placing Healing Rain Icon Healing Rain before activating, then spamming Chain Heal Icon Chain Heal. As such, they are quite Mana intensive cooldowns if you plan to use them efficiently and should only be used when absolutely necessary.

3.2. Mana Management

As this was discussed earlier in the guide, and within various sections throughout this page, we feel it is unnecessary to fully cover the concept again here. To reiterate, however, managing your Mana is of the highest importance, particularly during progression when incoming damage is at its highest. Remember to consider your spell choice and cooldown usage with your Mana bar in mind!

3.3. Spell & Target Selection

This ties in heavily with cooldown usage and Mana management. Newer and less experienced players have a habit of "overkilling" light damage early in the fight, rather than patiently dealing with the situation in the appropriate fashion. Do not overreact to light raid damage by dropping Healing Rain Icon Healing Rain and going absolutely ham with Chain Heal Icon Chain Heal, as you will likely end up overhealing and chewing through your Mana quickly. Bear in mind that there are likely several other healers partisan to keeping your raid alive, and you do not have to do 100% of the lifting for normal raid damage. Selecting your targets appropriately is also important, as certain abilities benefit from the combination of beneficial effects. For example, the Deluge Icon Deluge talent increases your Chain Heal Icon Chain Heal output, and you should therefore prioritize targets standing in Healing Rain Icon Healing Rain or benefiting from the effect of Riptide Icon Riptide. Ultimately most of this comes down to the combination of instinct and experience.

3.4. Movement Management

As a healer, and a Restoration Shaman at that, movement is not the greatest concern. It is still important, however, to learn to maximize your movement. Unfortunately it is quite difficult to explain how to move and reposition within a fight, but as a healer there are some basic tenets you should follow as much as possible.

  • Position central to your raid to give you best access to all targets;
  • Take advantage of your instant cast spells and totems on the move.
  • Place your passive spells, such as Healing Stream Totem Icon Healing Stream Totem and Healing Rain Icon Healing Rain, before moving.
  • Use Wind Rush Totem Icon Wind Rush Totem if the raid is forced to move with you.
  • Be cognisant of mechanic timers and position in advance to force less movement.
    • If you have time, take stutter steps over an extended period to reach your destination. Every time you use an instant cast, take a few steps, as you will be locked to the Global Cooldown.

3.4.1. Quiet Movement

Many players will unconsciously move during fights, despite it being unnecessary. For example, sometimes the boss or adds will be moved by the tank a couple yards, and though you are still in range to cast, you subconsciously mirror that movement, costing you global cooldowns. Consciously work to "quiet" your movement, and reduce unnecessary movement to a minimum. The best way to see this in action is to take a video of your raid, then watch yourself play. Most players will be surprised by the amount of wasted movement they commit. When you are forced to move, make use of the tips above, and make your path as direct and decisive as possible.

3.5. Tier 18 Bonuses

The T18 2-piece bonus increases Riptide Icon Riptide's critical strike chance by 25%. Given that Riptide represents, in average, 10% to 15% of the total healing of a Restoration Shaman, this set bonus yields a healing increase of 2% to 3.5% at current gear levels. This also increases the Mana refunds from Resurgence Icon Resurgence.

The T18 4-piece bonus causes Chain Heal Icon Chain Heal to have a 65% chance to apply Riptide Icon Riptide on its primary target. This Riptide Icon Riptide benefits from the 25% increased critical strike chance from the T18 2-piece bonus and heals the target a bit when applied. This is particularly strong with Torrent Icon Torrent talented. Also worth noting is the fact that this Riptide Icon Riptide has a different id than the Riptide Icon Riptide you can cast, so the two can coexist.

The value of the T18 4-piece bonus depends on the frequency of your Chain Heal Icon Chain Heal casts. In the case of a heavy Chain Heal Icon Chain Heal rotation, you can expect +13% to +15% healing from the combined effects of the T18 2-piece bonus and the T18 4-piece bonus.

4. ChangeLog

  • 18 Jul. 2016: Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
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