Classic Elemental Shaman DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities

Last updated on Aug 19, 2019 at 14:34 by Seksixeny 17 comments

On this page, you will learn how to optimize the rotation of your Elemental Shaman DPS in both single-target and multiple-target PvE situations in WoW Classic. We also have advanced sections about cooldowns, procs, etc. in order to minmax your DPS.

If you were looking for TBC Classic content, please refer to our TBC Classic Elemental Shaman rotation.



If you have not already, please read the spells summary page. Knowing how each spell and ability works in detail will greatly increase your understanding of the topics discussed on this page.


Rotation for Elemental Shamans

We will present the skill rotation of an Elemental Shaman as a priority list. This is not an exact sequence in which abilities should be cast. Instead, what it means is, whenever you must choose between using different skills, try to use the one at the top of the list first.

Our recommendations assume you are running one of the recommended talent builds from the talents page and are playing a max level character. If you are still leveling, please refer to the leveling page for a leveling-specific rotation.

While they are extraordinarily powerful, explosives such as Goblin Sapper Charge Icon Goblin Sapper Charge will not be detailed in the rotation. Usually, you will want to use them as soon as the tank has solid threat on the target. The main exception is when you are facing multiple or particularly dangerous (such as enraged) enemies at some point in the fight. Saving explosives to carry you and your group through these moments (and possibly do a ton of AoE damage in the process) is probably worth it.


Single-Target Rotation for Elemental Shamans

  1. Use Lesser Healing Wave Icon Lesser Healing Wave as an emergency heal for players about to die.
  2. Remove dangerous debuffs from group members as soon as possible. This includes preparing for Fear effects with Tremor Totem Icon Tremor Totem.
  3. Keep your group-buffing Totems and Searing Totem Icon Searing Totem active and in range of their respective targets at all times.
  4. Use Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock to instantly kill enemies that have very low health remaining.
  5. If you get Elemental Focus Icon Elemental Focus procs, use Chain Lightning Icon Chain Lightning instead as it does more damage and has a lower cast time, usually offset by its high Mana cost. Clearcasting IconClearcasting will make it cost no Mana, however.
  6. Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt for Mana efficient damage. The shorter the fight, the higher rank you will use, but never go under rank 4 to avoid the downranking spell coefficient penalty.

Multi-Target Rotation for Elemental Shamans

Completely replace Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt casts with Chain Lightning Icon Chain Lightning against three or more targets. Against two use the normal rotation.

If you can be close to the enemies, consider using Fire Nova Totem Icon Fire Nova Totem on cooldown for massive damage, especially if you took Call of Flame Icon Call of Flame. Magma Totem Icon Magma Totem is also an option while Fire Nova is on cooldown, although its damage is much lower.


Mastering Your Shaman

In this section, we will dive deeper into the core mechanics and various abilities of Elemental Shamans. Understanding these topics is an important step to truly mastering the specialization.


Advanced Totem Usage

Tremor Totem Icon Tremor Totem, Poison Cleansing Totem Icon Poison Cleansing Totem and Disease Cleansing Totem Icon Disease Cleansing Totem should all be dropped when slightly less than 5 seconds remains until the Fear, Poison, or Disease application event. As they remove effects every 5 seconds, this will ensure that these harmful effects are removed as soon they are applied, which is of particular importance for Fears, so that allies do not have time to run out of the Totem's radius.



In order to conserve Mana to deal damage throughout a long fight, you will likely need to downrank your spells. As an example, Rank 4 Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt gets the same benefit from Spell Damage as Rank 10, but is much cheaper.

Spells that can be learned before Level 20 gain a smaller benefit from Spell Damage and Healing, making them less efficient to downrank. This is why Rank 4 Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt is recommended for efficient single-target damage. Rank 3 is learned at Level 14, and is thus penalized, making Rank 4 the first rank that fully utilizes your gear's Spell Damage, while still having a relatively low Mana cost.

The best ranks to use for some of our core spells are:

In general, utility spells are good targets to downrank and you should always be looking to adjust the potency of your spells to your remaining Mana pool and enemy health.


Totem Twisting

Totem Twisting is an advanced Shaman technique that aims to keep both Windfury Totem Icon Windfury Totem and Grace of Air Totem Icon Grace of Air Totem effects active on your group at all times, even though using one of the Totems will automatically despawn the other.

When you use Windfury Totem Icon Windfury Totem, its weapon enchant is applied to your group's weapons for 10 seconds. During this period, you can use Grace of Air Totem Icon Grace of Air Totem / Tranquil Air Totem Icon Tranquil Air Totem and still keep Windfury's effect. However, in order to keep Windfury's enchant active, you need to cast Windfury Totem Icon Windfury Totem, followed by your second Air Totem of choice every 10 seconds, which has a huge Mana cost.

As your support totems do not benefit from Enhancing Totems Icon Enhancing Totems and Improved Weapon Totems Icon Improved Weapon Totems, you will typically not be expected to Totem Twist, for which other Shaman specs are much better suited.



  • 19 Aug. 2019: Page added.
Show more
Show less