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I’m Caperfin. Shaman tank, Rogue Raid Tank, warlock tank and others are my forte. This guide culminates many years of work. If a topic is not addressed or you have questions, see my Livestream.
Table of Contents
Introduction Race Profession Threat Threat Reducers Totems Talents Rotations Buffs Debuffs Gear Enchants AoE Tanking Raid Composition Burning Crusade Preparations Introduction
Can Shamans tank in WoW? The short and to the point answer is, yes. You might be rubbing your eyes in disbelief of this answer. Perhaps conjuring a ten page manifesto about how only warriors can and should tank. Although, I can go on a long rant about how there are many other classes that can tank, today, I’ll be focusing on our totemic friend, the shaman.
The topic of viable and optimal is contentious as some don’t see the difference or mix them up and levy a misguided philosophy onto it. Optimal is the most efficient and foolproof solution that eliminates as many negative variables as possible and favors an easier path. Viable or often referred to as: possible, seen as the more challenging path but to many is a greater personal triumph. Shaman Tank is labelled as viable.
Many Shaman tanks agree their motivation is from the glory of seizing a feat the rest of the realm dares not try. If this resonates with you, please continue reading. You shaman tank if you want a challenge and a refreshing perspective from a 15 year old game. If it wasn’t obvious before, shield bearing is a sizable undertaking.
When experienced players Shaman tank and put in the effort, it shines tenfold. Shamans can fully tank 5mans, 10mans, off-tank & main-tank raids. But, this is reliant on personal and guild experience. Our overall defensive statistics won’t reach a warrior’s. However, it isn’t necessary to do so, to tank.
You’ll be staring at your character for a long time. So, consider your character’s appearance as a key factor as it may entice you to play more. All races have assets but they’re minor compared to other aspects. There is no wrong race. See video to learn more about race options.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHDrGXq4qxY Engineering for: Goblin Sapper Charge, Masterwork Target Dummy, Force Reactive Disk, etc… The second useful profession, is whatever gives the most gold on the realm. Gold helps buy potions, ex: Flask of the Titans & consumable food, ex: Dirge's Kickin' Chimaerok Chops and other items.
Leading threat spells: Earth Shock, Stormstrike, Rockbiter Weapon & Lightning Shield. Consumable items deal threat, ex: Major Rejuvenation Potion based on half of the Health & Mana gained. Damage items, ex: Goblin Sapper Charge deals threat equal to the damage so do reflective Buffs, ex: Thorns. Lastly, certain items deal threat each time their Debuff is triggered, ex: Gift of Arthas. (see threat list)
Install a threat tracking addon, ex: ThreatClassic 2, which will show the threat of your group/raid. Classes can reduce threat with items ex: Fetish of the Sand Reaver, with talents, ex: Burning Soul. Reduce the threat of others thanks to spells, ex: Tranquil Air Totem. Wipe all threat with abilities, ex: Vanish & items, ex: Flask of Petrification. For a while, prevent Aggro, ex: Limited Invulnerability Potion. Lastly, redirect aggro, ex: Masterwork Target Dummy (taunts the target). Finally, classes within the 30-40 yard range won’t draw aggro until they outweigh the threat level of the mob’s current target by 30%, as opposed to 10% for melee classes.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGqY05WzUbA Totems can’t deal threat for you. Common totems: Grace of Air Totem, Stoneskin Totem & Healing Stream Totem. AoE Tanking: Stoneclaw Totem followed by Fire Nova Totem. To learn more, see the video.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DW7rOdYMNrs If tanking for the first time (16/35/0), which has: Stormstrike, it has steady threat per second for raids & excels on short fights. The other setup (21/30/0) focuses on magical damage, with: Elemental Fury, it has many conditions to unlock its potential but thrives on long fights.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNHiqdqbKUg Pre-Pull: Cast Lightning Shield. Get all Buffs the group can give. Cast Rockbiter Weapon. Place: Stoneskin Totem, Grace of Air Totem & Healing Stream Totem. Mark the mobs in front of you by right-clicking their portrait, pick Raid Target Icon, pick from either a Skull = kill first, a red X = kill second, a blue square = Hunter trap or a moon = Polymorph.
Pulling: Cast Lightning Bolt, followed by as many Lightning Bolt possible to trigger, Elemental Focus. Lastly, Earth Shock.
Combat: For raids, use Nat Pagle's Broken Reel to assure the first few Earth Shocks hit. In a fight, use relevant ranks of Earth Shock that suits your mana & threat. Stormstrike can’t be downranked but is also used in similar cases. If Lightning Shield expires, cast it. If you suddenly might die, equip a defensive weapon, ex: Spineshatter w/Enchant Weapon - Agility & Rockbiter Weapon, use Masterwork Target Dummy (taunts boss), use Juju Escape, possibly Major Rejuvenation Potion & Major Healthstone.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jqai5bITZyI There’s a max of 32 Buffs, avoid nearing the max as it may result in Buffs getting pushed off, the addon: Buff Cap Tracker helps. Use Buff Cap Calc to see what Buffs stack. Prioritize getting defensive Buffs, ex: Elixir of Fortitude before getting Threat Buffs, ex: Juju Might. (see Defensive Buffs). Consumables not only give Buffs but some have instant effects, ex: Goblin Sapper Charge, Major Healthstone, Dark Rune among others.
A max of 16 Debuffs can be on a mob. Reaching the max is major in raids. There’s defensive Debuffs: Insect Swarm & threat Debuffs: Faerie Fire among others. With the raid leader’s consent, suggest ideal Debuffs without overstepping. We can apply Gift of Arthas & Stormstrike.
Cement defensive stats when gearing, threat is second. It’s advised to get 4k HP & 5k Armor unbuffed for Molten Core. Blackwing Lair, ~4800 to 5k HP and 6500-7k Armor. For reliable threat, 3% melee Hit is advised for dungeons. For Raid tanking, 6% Melee Hit and 10%-12% Spell Hit, Nat Pagle’s Broken Reel helps. Improving threat can be complex, use a TPS Simulator. You can only equip a weapon & shield in combat, enabling the swap to a defensive weapon, ex: Spineshatter, if survival seems grim.
There are two types of enchants, defensive, ex: Enchant Gloves - Superior Agility. And offensive, ex: Enchant Gloves - Threat. Having Enchanting isn’t needed to gain the profession’s advantages. Simply, give the Enchanter the required enchanting materials and they will enchant your gear for a small gold tip.
Many actions can further solidify AoE cases, ex: Oil of Immolation, Thorns, Force Reactive Disk, etc… (see list) It’s crucial to switch and attack another target ever so often. In combat, items & spells giving health or mana deal 50% threat divided by each mob. Items also help until a decent amount of threat is gained on all mobs, ex: Masterwork Target Dummy.
With the raid leader’s consent, offer an ideal raid comp without overstepping. In our group, Warlock:Blood Pact, Warrior:Battle Shout, Druid: Leader of the Pack, Hunter: Trueshot Aura. For damage dealing classes, we prefer ranged classes over melee. If melee are needed, rogues are best. Groups with high threat dealers can have a Shaman: Tranquil Air Totem.
Burning Crusade Preparations
The Burning Crusade “TBC” is looming and being prepared is wise. A lot of gold is an asset, since there are many different gear sets needing: repair, enchants & gems. You’ll also need: potions, bind on equip gear, etc… Building a positive reputation on your realm helps open doors in the future as players recognise you. Next, find a guild welcoming of your future tanking ventures. For gear, Nat Pagle’s Broken Reel is advised going into TBC.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Have questions? Ask me live: https://www.twitch.tv/caperfin