Elemental Shaman Best Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits — Shadowlands 9.0.2

Last updated on Nov 22, 2020 at 09:37 by Stormy 35 comments
General Information

Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits are the most important character customization options in Shadowlands. They have a substantial impact on your toolkit and performance as Elemental Shaman. This page's purpose is to help you pick the right options according to the content you intend to do in Shadowlands.

1.

Introduction: Prerequisites

This page assumes that you are already familiar with Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits. If that is not the case, we have a number of pages that can help you get up to speed:

  • Covenants Guide, which explains what Covenants are, what perks they bring, and how you can join one;
  • Shaman Covenant Abilities, which lists all the abilities that Shamans gain by joining each Covenant;
  • How To Change Covenant?, which tells you how you can switch Covenant (rejoining a former Covenant will require you to perform a number of tasks to regain their trusts);
  • General Soulbind Guide, which explains what Soulbinds are and how you can pledge yourself to them to open up their Soulbind tree;
  • Shaman Conduits, which lists all of the Conduits available to Shamans.
2.

Best Covenant / Soulbind for Elemental Shamans

Focus Covenant Soulbind Recommended Tree
Raiding Necrolord Emeni Emeni Tree
Mythic+ Necrolord Emeni Emeni Tree
Night Fae Niya Niya Tree

Note that Mikanikos or Korayn are probably better for soloing but will not be available for the first few weeks of the expansion, which is why we recommend using Niya or Pelagos instead.

Keep in mind that while Emeni should be giving you the most damage if you can reliably use Primordial Wave Icon Primordial Wave next to multiple people, Night Fae's Dreamweaver gives you a second Potency Conduit (or damage trait with Social Butterfly Icon Social Butterfly) and a Cheat Death which can be invaluable, and is a very strong alternative for raiding especially.

For more information about Elemental Shaman Covenants, please read our Covenants and Soulbinds analysis section at the end of this page.

3.

Best Conduits for Elemental Shamans

We are giving more detailed information on Conduits below. For a complete overview, you can visit our Shaman Conduits list.

4.

Understanding Renown

In order to optimize your power on a week-by-week basis, it is important you understand that the value of different Soulbinds will change significantly depending on how much Renown you have. Indeed, different Soulbinds unlock different Conduits and abilities.

Here is what I recommend using on a week by week basis for serious raiding (first is best).

  1. Week 1-2 (4-7 Renown): Niya or Pelagos
  2. Week 3 (Heroic raid release) (10 Renown): Dreamweaver or Emeni if you do not care about the Cheat Death
  3. Week 4-8 (Mythic raid release) (14-25 Renown): Dreamweaver or Emeni if you do not care about the Cheat Death
  4. Week 9-12 (26-33 Renown): Emeni unless you really want a Cheat Death
  5. Week 13 (34+ Renown): Dreamweaver or Emeni if you do not care about the Cheat Death

Recommendations for Mythic+ are hard because most Covenants and Conduits are close and have different advantages...Pending further balance, we recommend using Emeni or Pelagos as safe basic choices, but depending on dungeon/strats other Covenants/Soulbinds may be stronger. Night Fae is generally weakest unless you value Dreamweaver's Cheat Death highly, and for the couple weeks where Dreamweaver gives you one more damage abilities than the other Soulbinds (weeks 4 and 5).

  1. Week 1-2 (6-9 Renown): Niya or Pelagos
  2. Week 3+ (Mythic+ release) (12 Renown): Pelagos or Emeni

Important note: Switching Covenants is not free. Moving to a Covenant for the first time with each character sets your progress on anything Covenant-related to zero. Moving back to a Covenant you previously left puts you back where you were however. However, to return to a Covenant you previously left takes two quests, with at least a full week in between the two quests, so choose carefully.

5.

Elemental Shaman Conduits

No matter which Covenant you pick, you will be able to gather and use every Conduit, except for the Potency Conduit which enhances your Covenant class ability.

Generally, when given the choice, you should pick Potency Conduits, because they are the ones increasing your damage.

5.1.

Elemental Shaman Potency Conduits

Two of these can (and generally should) be chosen once you unlock their slots at your chosen Soulbind. By order of preference:

  1. Call of Flame Icon Call of Flame is our strongest DPS Conduit and should always be picked.
  2. Covenant Conduits: Tumbling Waves Icon Tumbling Waves, Elysian Dirge Icon Elysian Dirge, Essential Extraction Icon Essential Extraction should be your second Potency Conduit. The notable exception here is Venthyr's Lavish Harvest Icon Lavish Harvest which is much weaker for single target but is worth using for cleave/AoE.
  3. High Voltage Icon High Voltage is a decent DPS increase and also helps a little with mobility, because you cast more Earth Shock Icon Earth Shocks.
  4. Shake the Foundations Icon Shake the Foundations could be good for heavy AoE, especially at higher ranks, but gives no benefit for single-target damage.
  5. Pyroclastic Shock Icon Pyroclastic Shock is just underwhelming and is unlikely to see use until it gets buffed.
5.2.

Elemental Shaman Endurance Conduits

  1. Vital Accretion Icon Vital Accretion provides an extra defensive cooldown which synergizes well with Astral Shift Icon Astral Shift.
  2. Refreshing Waters Icon Refreshing Waters is great for solo content and PvP, decent in dungeons and mediocre in raids. Still helpful.
  3. Astral Protection Icon Astral Protection is quite niche and should generally not be picked unless you have a specific reason to use it.
5.3.

Elemental Shaman Finesse Conduits

  1. Thunderous Paws Icon Thunderous Paws provides extra movement speed in the first seconds after using Ghost Wolf Icon Ghost Wolf. This is great when moving around in any type of content.
  2. Spiritual Resonance Icon Spiritual Resonance grants a few seconds of Spiritwalker's Grace Icon Spiritwalker's Grace while affected by Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust. How useful this is entirely depends on the fight, going from useless to excellent. Handy for solo play and great in PvP.
  3. Totemic Surge Icon Totemic Surge reduces the cooldown of you utility totems. Just like the previous Conduit, this can be amazing or useless, depending on the situation at hand.
  4. Crippling Hex Icon Crippling Hex requires your targets to be able to be hexed, and is only useful if they deal significant damage immediately after the Hex Icon Hex wears off. This is mainly a PvP Conduit although it could be handy for Mythic+ and solo play, but your other options are likely better.
6.

In-depth Covenant Analysis

Firstly, all Covenants are viable. The difference between best and worst Covenant is less than 100 DPS, and the difference between best and worst Soulbind overall is less than 200 DPS, from a strict single-target DPS point of view.

6.1.

Covenant Class and Signature Abilities

  • Kyrian has Vesper Totem Icon Vesper Totem, which is the most flexible and overall strongest Covenant class ability. Its single-target damage when combined with Elysian Dirge Icon Elysian Dirge is especially valuable. The Kyrian signature ability Summon Steward Icon Summon Steward calls a friendly NPC to your side, from which you can get a Phial of Serenity Icon Phial of Serenity, which functions as an additional Healthstone which also removes most harmful debuffs. This is good in any situation, and on encounters with problematic debuffs can be quite fantastic.
  • Necrolord's Primordial Wave Icon Primordial Wave is the only Covenant ability which directly interacts with Elemental's kit, making it the most interesting, especially because even though its strength is by nature in multidotting situations, it is also the strongest Covenant ability for single-target. Fleshcraft Icon Fleshcraft is quite unique and has the potential to be extremely strong in a few situations, especially as it synergizes well with Astral Shift Icon Astral Shift and Vital Accretion Icon Vital Accretion but its requirements unfortunately make it awkward and undesirable to use outside of those.
  • Venthyr's Chain Harvest Icon Chain Harvest is quite bursty with a long cooldown; easy to use but lackluster in single-target. By nature, it is most suited to dungeons and group PvP. Door of Shadows Icon Door of Shadows brings much needed burst mobility, which is very useful in every situation.
  • Night Fae's Fae Transfusion Icon Fae Transfusion feels like a worse Chain Harvest, which it unfortunately is. Its design is interesting but in practice it is awkward and unrewarding, especially because of how limited the range on its healing component is. Soulshape Icon Soulshape takes a bit of practice to use well but it is very fun and powerful. In some situations, it may well be incredibly strong.

To summarize, Kyrian has the most flexible and all-around strong Covenant abilities. Necrolord's class ability is strong in most situations that are not 5+ targets AoE, and Fleshcraft's usefulness is quite variable, although on some encounters it could single-handedly make Elemental viable. Venthyr's class ability rarely delivers its full potential, but its burst mobility could be invaluable on some encounters. Similarly, Night Fae's strength lies in its signature ability, which in some situations will be straight up formidable.

6.2.

Necrolord Elemental Shaman Soulbinds

Emeni's Lead by Example Icon Lead by Example is very strong and the main reason to pick this Soulbind, the only Necrolord Soulbind that you can use on all types of content. Plague Deviser Marileth has a niche whenever you can get powerful buffs with his Volatile Solvent Icon Volatile Solvent ability, and an earlier extra Potency Conduit slot. Bonesmith Heirmir is not very interesting until you get to its last traits (and he's only unlocked week 7), but then he gets quite powerful, Heirmir's Arsenal: Ravenous Pendant Icon Heirmir's Arsenal: Ravenous Pendant could be extremely useful for solo content.

6.2.1.

Elemental Shaman Emeni Soulbind

We suggest following this path:

6.2.2.

Elemental Shaman Marileth Soulbind

We suggest following this path:

6.2.3.

Elemental Shaman Heirmir Soulbind

We suggest following this path:

6.3.

Kyrian Elemental Shaman Soulbinds

Pelagos is a great all-rounder Soulbind that you can use on all types of content. Kleia is a defensive Soulbind and several of its abilities can save lives, making it potentially better than Pelagos for high Mythic+. Forgelite Prime Mikanikos is a good soloing Soulbind and has a niche on situations where you will be taking fall damage periodically, as Resilient Plumage Icon Resilient Plumage is amazing whenever you are able to reliably activate it. Unfortunately, it will not be available until week 7.

6.3.1.

Elemental Shaman Pelagos Soulbind

We suggest following this path:

6.3.2.

Elemental Shaman Mikanikos Soulbind

We suggest following this path:

6.3.3.

Elemental Shaman Kleia Soulbind

We suggest following this path:

6.4.

Venthyr Elemental Shaman Soulbinds

Nadjia the Mistblade is good for soloing and Mythic+Torghast due to Thrill Seeker Icon Thrill Seeker. Agent of Chaos Icon Agent of Chaos can be very handy and the final abilities also give you room to customize the Soulbind to your needs.

Theotar the Mad Duke is an...odd Soulbind which does a variety of odd things. If you like what you read, feel free to use this Covenant. In the right situation, it can even be quite strong, and having 2 charges of Door of Shadows is fantastic.

General Draven has a lot to unpack. Service In Stone Icon Service In Stone can be a lifesaver in dungeons and massively powerful in PvP, and synergizes amusingly with Reincarnation Icon Reincarnation Move As One Icon Move As One and Enduring Gloom Icon Enduring Gloom are both quite handy in different situations. Built for War Icon Built for War is great in PvE while Superior Tactics Icon Superior Tactics is great in most situations where you can reliably interrupt enemies regularly.

6.4.1.

Elemental Shaman Nadjia Soulbind

We suggest following this path:

6.4.2.

Elemental Shaman Theotar Soulbind

We suggest following this path:

6.4.3.

Elemental Shaman Draven Soulbind

We suggest following this path:

6.5.

Night Fae Elemental Shaman Soulbinds

Dreamweaver is a great progression raiding Soulbind due to Podtender Icon Podtender, which allows you to cheat death while learning encounters. This is also excellent in Mythic+ especially when you are still in the discovery phase. You can pick Soothing Voice Icon Soothing Voice for a significant buff to your ability to Crowd Control. Otherwise Social Butterfly Icon Social Butterfly is worth picking over a second Potency Conduit. Once at high Renown, this utility-focused Covenant also holds its own damage-wise

Niya is a damage-focused alternative, especially good on non-raid content Niya's Poison & Burr final abilities do significant damage although they are situational. Until you reach high renown, Niya is still very good for solo and party content.

Korayn is only unlocked at week 7 and is mostly good for solo content and to kill adds quickly.

6.5.1.

Elemental Shaman Dreamweaver Soulbind

We suggest following this path:

6.5.2.

Elemental Shaman Niya Soulbind

We suggest following this path:

6.5.3.

Elemental Shaman Korayn Soulbind

We suggest following this path:

7.

Changelog

  • 22 Nov. 2020: Adjusted some descriptions and recommendations on soulbinds and some conduits.
  • 21 Nov. 2020: Page added.
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