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Shaman Tank Guide - Playing WoW as a Shaman Tank

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About                                                         46131.jpg?1636578693

I'm Caperfin. Have questions? see my Livestream: www.twitch.tv/caperfin

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.

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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.

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Video: Shaman Tank Race Options - Video Explanation
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 benefits but they’re minor compared to other aspects. There is no wrong race. See Video to learn more about race options.

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Video: Shaman Tank - Professions - Youtube
Engineering for: spell_fire_selfdestruct.gif Goblin Sapper Chargeinv_crate_02.gif Masterwork Target Dummyspell_arcane_portaldarnassus.gif Force Reactive Disk, etc... Blacksmithing for inv_hammer_unique_sulfuras.gif Sulfuras, Hand of Ragnaros, disregard if Phase 5 (see weapon path), and go a high gold generating profession on your realm. Gold helps buy potions, ex:inv_potion_62.gif Flask of the Titans among other consumables.

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Video: Shaman Tank - How to deal threat - World of Warcraft - YouTube
We can increase threat in many ways, notably: spell_nature_earthshock.gif Earth Shockspell_holy_sealofmight.gif Stormstrikespell_nature_rockbiter.gif Rockbiter Weapon & spell_nature_lightningshield.gif Lightning Shield. Install a threat tracking addon, ex: ThreatClassic2. Consumable items deal threat, ex: inv_potion_47.gif 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: spell_nature_thorns.gif Thorns. Lastly, certain items ex: Gift of Arthas deal threat each time their Debuff is triggered  (see Threat List).

Video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiUPOAtrqXY
Allies can reduce their threat, through items, ex: inv_misc_ahnqirajtrinket_03.gif Fetish of the Sand Reaver. Mage have: spell_fire_fire.gif Burning Soul. Shaman: spell_nature_brilliance.gif Tranquil Air Totem. Rogue and Hunter wipe threat with ability_vanish.gif Vanish & ability_rogue_feigndeath.gif Feign Death and so can inv_potion_26.gif Flask of Petrification. Items prevent aggro: inv_potion_62.gif Limited Invulnerability Potion & redirect aggro Masterwork Target Dummy (taunts the mob). Classes in the 30-40 yard range won’t get aggro t'ill they surpass the threat level of the mob’s current target by 30%, as opposed to 10% for melee classes. (see More)

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Video: Shaman Tank - Totems - Youtube
Totems can't deal threat for you. Common totems: spell_nature_invisibilitytotem.gif Grace of Air Totemspell_nature_stoneskintotem.gif Stoneskin Totem & inv_spear_04.gif Healing Stream Totem. AoE Tanking: spell_nature_stoneclawtotem.gif Stoneclaw Totem followed by spell_fire_sealoffire.gif Fire Nova Totem. To learn more about totems, watch the Video.

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Video: Shaman Tank - Talents - Video Explanation
The talent setup: (16/35/0) has steady threat per second for raids & excels on short fights.

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Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNHiqdqbKUg

  1. PrePull: Cast Lightning Shield. Get all Buffs the group can supply. 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, choose from either a Skull = kill first, a red X = kill second, a blue square = Hunter trap and a moon = Polymorph.
  2. Pulling: Cast spell_nature_lightning.gif Lightning Bolt, followed by as many spell_nature_lightning.gif Lightning Bolt possible to trigger, spell_shadow_manaburn.gif Elemental Focus. Lastly, spell_nature_earthshock.gif Earth Shock.
  3. Combat: For raids, use inv_gizmo_09.gif 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 spell_nature_lightningshield.gif Lightning Shield expires, cast it. If you suddenly might die, equip a defensive weapon, ex: inv_mace_06.gif Spineshatter w/spell_holy_greaterheal.gif Enchant Weapon - Agility & spell_nature_rockbiter.gif Rockbiter Weapon, use Masterwork Target Dummy (taunts boss), use inv_misc_monsterscales_17.gif Juju Escape, possibly  inv_stone_04.gif Major Healthstone & Major Rejuvenation Potion. To learn more, see the Video.

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Video: Shaman Tank - Tank Buffs - Youtube
There's a max of 32 Buffs, avoid nearing the max as it may result in Buffs getting mistakenly removed, the addon: Buff Cap Tracker helps. Use Buff Cap Calc to see what Buffs stack. Prioritize getting defensive Buffs, ex: inv_potion_43.gif Elixir of Fortitude before Threat Buffs, ex: inv_misc_monsterscales_07.gif Juju Might. (here's a detailed List of Buffs).

Video: Shaman Tank - Best Debuffs
A max of 16 Debuffs can be on a mob. Reaching the max is major in raids. There's defensive Debuffs: spell_nature_insectswarm.gif Insect Swarm & threat Debuffs: spell_nature_faeriefire.gif Faerie Fire among others. With the raid leader’s consent, suggest ideal Debuffs without overstepping. We can apply Gift of Arthas & Stormstrike. To learn more, see the Video.

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Video: Shaman Tank - How to gear!? - Youtube
Solidify defensive stats when gearing, threat is secondary. It’s advised to have 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. See the BiS Gear Set. You can't equip gear in combat, except for a weapon & shield, enabling the equipping of a defensive weapon, ex: Spineshatter, if survival seems grim. To learn more, see the Video.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJqx0yCkyig
There are two types of enchants, defensive, ex: spell_holy_greaterheal.gif Enchant Gloves - Superior Agility. And offensive, ex: spell_holy_greaterheal.gif Enchant Gloves - Threat. See a list of relevant tank Enchants.

AoE Tanking

Video: Shaman Tank - How to deal AoE Threat? - Youtube
Many actions can further solidify AoE cases, ex: inv_potion_11.gif Oil of Immolationspell_arcane_portaldarnassus.gif Force Reactive Disk, Thorns, etc... (see a detailed Threat 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.

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Video: Shaman Tank - Raid Composition
With the raid leader’s consent, offer an ideal raid comp without overstepping. In our group, Warlock: spell_shadow_bloodboil.gif Blood Pact, Warrior: ability_warrior_battleshout.gif Battle Shout, Druid: spell_nature_unyeildingstamina.gif Leader of the Pack, Hunter: ability_trueshot.gif 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.

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Questions?
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Edited by CaperfinWoW
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Oh I didn't see this before, it's pretty amazing. I've done a few dungeons when we had a friends tank as Shaman and it went pretty smoothly. Remains to see how we'll do at higher levels ?

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Very well written guide!  I knew that shamans were able to tank 5mans but had no idea they could tank raid bosses (although I have seen 1 video of a sham off tanking an add in Naxx).  Very well detailed and I'll be using this for sure as I level up my alt shaman, thank you!

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On 9/10/2019 at 10:57 AM, Valhalen said:

If I recall correctly, Balance Druids could tank in TBC too, right?

Every class in TBC can tank, it's somewhat silly how easy it gets with how much is implemented in TBC.

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Guide is currently being updated. If you guys know anything about how the following functions/behaviours, please let me know:

if Invulnerable Mail effect can be clicked off.

The threat generated by Rockbiter at max rank (not as easy as it sounds).

if Oil of Immolation reset the swing timer.

Apparently Dragon Breath Chili will stacks with food buffs, if you eat Chili after?

Debuff priority of Wail of the Banshee.

The behaviour behind Flask of Petrification. Been told it's like BoP, but can it be clicked off?

The threat caused by the buff: Eye of the storm, Elemental Focus, Elemental devastation.

The threat caused by the buff Headmaster's Charge, Crusader enchant.

The threat caused by Crystal Spire and if it resets swing timer.

 

Edited by CaperfinWoW

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I've always loved the early level tanking shaman could do very easily and am always surprised they never pursued locking in some buffs to make enh and optimal tank in future expansions and just made it dps. The breakdowns in this guide are amazing thank you so much for all the info

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Hey all, OP here.

I am slowly updating everything in the guide. I am still testing out a few things, so if you have some insight on the following please let me know.


if Invulnerable Mail effect can be clicked off.
Apparently Dragon Breath Chili will stacks with food buffs, if you eat Chili after?
Debuff priority of Wail of the Banshee and how much threat the debuffs deals?
The behaviour behind Flask of Petrification. Is like BoP, but can it be clicked off?
The threat caused by the buff: Eye of the storm, Elemental Focus, Lightning Shield, Flurry and Berserking.
The threat caused by the buff Headmaster's Charge, Oil of Immolation and Mark of the Chosen.
The threat caused by Crystal Ward and Crystal Spire and if it resets swing timer and if spamming it continues to generate threat?
Behaviour of Gnomish Cloaking Device (can you drop combat in-between boss combat pulse, if timed properly?)
 

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OP here!

Guide has been updated and cross-referenced with Classic WoW.

- Spells, buffs, debuff, etc... are now linking to their own database page.

- Scaling, stacking properties and numbers are adjusted to reflect Classic.

 

P.S. If there's something I missed or anything else, please let me know ?

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Guide has been updated, thanks for the feedback 🙂 I'm currently working on the Burning Crusade Shaman Tank Guide, if you guys would like to see something in particular please let me know.

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On 3/22/2021 at 4:31 AM, SamuelRichards said:

Thank you very much for the information!

My pleasure, if you have any questions, let me know. I'm also working on a Burning Crusade Shaman Tank guide and would love your feedback on it, stay tuned to know when it's publicly available.

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Guide has been updated.

- Added Suffering to the Debuff list.

- Refined the stat priority on gear.

- Added a 2handed weapon progression (yes it's a thing).

and much more...

If you have any questions, let me know.

Edited by CaperfinWoW

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