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Shaman Tank TBC Guide - Tanking Shaman

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

Intro: Can Shamans tank? The short and to the point answer is, yes. You might be rubbing your eyes in disbelief. Maybe conjuring a ten page manifesto about how only warriors can and should tank. Although, I can go on a long rant about the many other classes that can tank, today, I’ll be focusing on our totemic friend, the shaman.

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Caperfin's Shaman Tank

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 is 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 for a challenge and a refreshing perspective from a 15 year old game.

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 relies 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.


Video:  Tank Races - Video Explanation
Dreanei Shaman, thus the Alliance, can have all classes use [IMG] Bag of Marbles on a raid boss. Tauren Shaman get [IMG] Endurance. Conclusion: Dreanei excels, if Bag of Marbles is involved, otherwise Horde Tauren wins. To learn more, see the Video.



Video: Professions - YouTube
Enchanting for Enchant Ring Stats and Blacksmithing for [IMG]  Embrace of the Twisting Nether (its "use" effect).prfbc.png (338×20)



We can increase threat in many ways, notably: [IMG] Frost Shock[IMG] Stormstrike & [IMG] Lightning Shield. Install a threat tracking addon, ex: ThreatClassic2. Consumable items deal threat, ex: [IMG] Super Rejuvenation Potion based on half of the Health & Mana gained, similarly does Totemic Recall. Damage items, ex: The Decapitator's effect (usable t'ill 40yards), will deal threat equal to the damage so do reflective Buffs, ex: Thorns. (see a complete Threat List)


Allies can reduce their threat, through items, ex: [IMG] Fetish of the Sand Reaver. Mage have: [IMG] Invisibility & [IMG] Burning Soul. Warlock: [IMG] Soulshatter. Paladin: [IMG] Blessing of Salvation & [IMG] Blessing of Protection (prevents aggro). Shaman: [IMG] Tranquil Air Totem (stacks w/Salvation). Hunter redirect threat: [IMG] Misdirection. Rogue & Hunter wipe threat: [IMG] Vanish & [IMG] Feign Death. Items can "pseudo-[IMG] Taunt" a lvl72 elite boss: [IMG] Masterwork Target Dummy. 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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We don't get threat from totems. Common totems: [IMG] Grace of Air Totem[IMG] Stoneskin Totem & [IMG] Healing Stream Totem. For AoE Tanking: [IMG] Stoneclaw Totem followed by [IMG] Fire Nova Totem & [IMG] Earth Elemental Totem. Other Shamans can Earth Elemental Totem to help with a pack of mobs.


The main setup 16/45/0.


  1. Pre Pull: Cast Lightning Shield & [IMG] Windfury Weapon. Get all Buffs the group can supply. Put, 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 a Skull = kill 1st, red X = kill 2nd, blue square = [IMG] Freezing Trap and a moon = [IMG] Polymorph.
  2. Pulling: Rank12 [IMG] Lightning Bolt, recast, followed by as many Rank1 Lightning Bolts to possibly get: [IMG] Elemental Focus. At 20yards, Frost Shock.
  3. Melee Range: In a fight, use Frost Shock ranks that suits mana & threat, lastly Stormstrike if need be. If Lightning Shield expires, recast. If death is imminent, equip a defensive weapon, ex: [IMG] Grom'tor's Charge, use: [IMG] Heroic Potion[IMG] Shamanistic Rage & [IMG] Nightmare Seed.

This hardcore raid rotation has great results but requires good gear, Buffs, etc… If all actions below can't be done, don’t be sad, it’s mostly to show the max potential possible to achieve grand raid feats. For some, only certain actions are feasible, proceed accordingly.

  1. Pre Pull: Hunter cast [IMG] Misdirection & Logout for 2min. You use [IMG] Ironshield Potion, Logout for 2min. Use [IMG] Nightmare Seed, Logout for 3min. Use [IMG] Heroic Potion.
  2. Pulling: Equip normal tank gear + [IMG] The Decapitator. A Resto Shaman equips a set with lots of +Healing and will [IMG] Earth Shield you, they reequip normal gear after. Ced Hunter pulls boss and consumes Misdirection. At 40 yards, activate Decapitator's "use" effect. Put Earth Elemental Totem, [IMG] Wrath of Air Totem & Fire Nova Totem. Equip a +Spell Damage weapon, ex: [IMG] Staff of Infinite Mysteries. At 30 yards, [IMG] Lightning Bolt + rank1 Lightning Bolt or [IMG] Chain Lightning (depends on mob move speed). The Hunter should have Misdirection available at this point to use again. At 20yards, Frost Shock & equip two 1handed weapons if you have [IMG] Dual Wield.  
  3. Pulling Situational: When the Hunter initially pulls the boss, use [IMG] Unconscious Dig Rat, equip [IMG] Malown's Slam & hit the rat to possibly trigger the weapon’s effect and/or [IMG] Flurry, afterwards swap to your usual weapon & the Buffs will stay.
  4. Melee Range: As the boss is about to hit you: Shamanistic Rage, Stormstrike, equip one handed weapon + shield. Totemic Call and put usual totems: Stoneskin, Grace, etc... During the fight, replace Grace with Wrath of Air before each Frost Shock, put back Grace after. [IMG] Totemic Call each time Stoneskin will expire. 
  5. Melee Range Situational: If Aggro is lost and a small walking distance is made, equip a 2hand weapon or dual wield weapons, reequip normal weapon if Aggro is regained. On a potentially fatal boss hit, use [IMG] Twisting Nether Chain Shirt and a Paladin can later [IMG] Blessing of Protection, remove these Buffs instantly after.



There's a cap of 32 Buffs, avoid nearing the cap as it may lead to unwanted Buff removal, the Addon: Buff Cap Tracker helps. Get defensive Buffs, ex: Ironshield Potion before Threat Buffs, ex: Onslaught Elixir. See this detailed Buffs List, to learn more about Buffs,


Only 40 Debuffs can be on a mob. Having the most Debuffs is major in raids. There's defensive Debuffs: [IMG] Insect Swarm & threat Debuffs: [IMG] Winter's Chill among others (see List of Debuffs). With the raid leader’s consent, suggest ideal Debuffs without overstepping.


Solidify defensive stats when gearing, threat is second. The Resilience & Defense stat helps us reach the 5.6% Crit Immunity Cap, PvP gear helps, ex: [IMG] Gladiator's Mail Helm. General Stat priority: Resilience/Defense (t'ill Cap) > Stamina > Armor > Parry > Dodge. For Heroic Dungeons: 12k Health & 11k Armor unbuffed. For Karazhan: 10.5k & 10.5k Armor. For Magtheridon's Lair and Gruul: 13k Health & 12k Armor. See Gear List, to learn more.

There's two situational types of enchants, defensive, ex: [IMG] Heavy Knothide Armor Kit. And offensive, ex: [IMG] Enchant Gloves - Threat. Here's a complete list of relevant Enchants.

Many actions can further solidify AoE cases, ex: [IMG] Oil of Immolation[IMG] Stormchops[IMG] Force Reactive Disk, etc... It’s crucial to switch and attack another target every few seconds. (see the complete Threat List). In combat, items & spells giving Health or Mana deal 50% threat divided by each mob. At the start of a fight, items like [IMG] Thornling Seed/Masterwork Target Dummy & spells, ex: Fire Elemental Totem/Fire Elemental Totem can distract mobs by tanking them while you deal threat on them.
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For Dungeons: Shadow Priest, Retribution Paladin, Beast Mastery Hunter & Healer Priest. In raids, offer an ideal comp without overstepping. In our group, Warlock: Blood Pact, Paladin: Devotion Aura, Druid: Tree of Life, Warrior: Commanding Shout. See Group Comp List. A member (pref healer) can use: Thick Felsteel Necklace. Outside the group, ranged classes are favored over melee. If melee are needed, Rogues are best.
Warden Discord: discord.gg/CJ6c893y5h
Shaman Tank Youtube: youtube.com/caperfin
Shaman Tank Gameplay: twitch.tv/caperfin
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Edited by CaperfinWoW

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