Elemental Shaman Patch 9.2 Changes Analysis and Tier Set Thoughts
On this page, we tell you how the Patch 9.2 changes for Elemental Shaman affect the spec and what the current state of theorycrafting is.
Elemental Shaman in Patch 9.2: Eternity's End
This page will go over how the changes in Patch 9.2, Eternity's End, will affect Elemental Shamans, specifically how the changes might impact its playstyle, best Legendary choices, Covenants, and the like. If you are simply interested in what the current changes are for Shamans in Patch 9.2 in general, you can instead read our full list of changes to the entire Shaman class on our dedicated page below. For an additional list of content coming with Patch 9.2, you can also check out our Patch 9.2 Overview page.
Base Spec Changes for Patch 9.2
Flame Shock now has a target cap of 6. This only matters for Enhancement Shamans because of a new mechanic they get.
Frost Shock damage increased by 40%. This seems huge but as you will see below, Icefury has been nerfed significantly. This still results in an overall ~12% buff for Icefury on paper, however for several reasons we will explain below, once you obtain set bonuses, Icefury becomes much less desirable. However, having Frost Shock do 40% more damage baseline is still quite helpful in itself, giving Elemental Shamans more leeway to move whenever needed without losing much DPS if they do not have a Lava Surge or Earth Shock ready.
Fire Elemental has had the Mana cost of its abilities reduced by roughly 90% and should no longer run out of Mana. This is a fix caused by the new tier set bonus which extends the duration of Fire Elemental. On PTR, the Elemental would run out of Mana during its extended duration and stop doing anything!
Elemental Shaman Talent Changes in Patch 9.2
Icefury now causes your next 4 Frost Shocks to deal 225% increased damage (was 300%). This combined with the changes to baseline Frost Shock results in an overall buff to the talent which most Elemental Shamans will likely take advantage of early in the patch. However, Elemental's tier set bonuses in patch 9.2 synergize way too much with Primal Elementalist for Icefury to remain a likely contender in most PvE encounters.
Covenant Changes in Patch 9.2 for Elemental Shaman
Although there have been no changes to Covenant abilities or Soulbinds for Elemental Shamans at this time, it should be pointed out that as of Patch 9.1.5 players may freely switch between Covenants provided they have obtained the Renowned achievement on any character of their account. The only requirement for this achievement is that you must reach Renown level 80 with any Covenant.
In addition, Conduits will be unlocking their final few ranks, though this will not alter gameplay in any substantial way.
Elemental Shaman Tier Set in Patch 9.2
Within the new Sepulcher of the First Ones raid that will be coming in Patch 9.2, every class will once again earn pieces of a gear set that is uniquely class-themed with its own two- and four-piece bonuses for every specialization. For Elemental Shamans, these set bonuses are:
- Elemental Shaman 2-Piece — While your Fire Elemental or Storm Elemental is active, your Lava Burst deals 20% additional damage and you gain Lava Surge every 8 seconds.
- Elemental Shaman 4-Piece — Casting Lava Burst extends the duration of your Fire Elemental or Storm Elemental by 1.5 seconds. If your Fire Elemental is not active, Lava Burst has a 20% chance to reduce its remaining cooldown by 10 seconds instead.
Elemental Shaman Tier Set Thoughts
This is a fairly strong set bonus for single-target purposes. It adds even more consistency to Elemental Shamans' DPS, doubling down on one of their strengths. Currently, this set bonus would be fairly middle of the pack or slightly above average compared to other DPS specs. Not great, not terrible. The 2-piece in particular has both synergy and anti-synergy with some of Elemental's mechanics and Legendaries, which on the one hand will allow for skilled players to gain an additional edge, but the potentially wasted Lava Surge procs will be very frustrating. This set bonus also completely sets in stone Echo of the Elements as a mandatory talent.
For AoE purposes, this is a problematic set. It does a couple things. First, it can allow for a second casting of the Meteor, which is quite nice if you need to do AoE damage every minute or so. If you are using Storm Elemental, it can allow for a second Eye of the Storm. In either cases however, you will need to cast a few Lava Bursts in what is potentially a burst AoE situation, which can be problematic; in practice I expect the AoE potential of this bonus will only have niche applications for raiding, although it may well be extremely strong for Mythic+
In general, there is a strong anti-synergy between these set bonuses and Storm Elemental which could lead to either ignoring one or the other completely, or to complex calculations to determine when it is worth using Lava Burst during Storm Elemental. Moreover, while using Primal Elementalist will almost certainly be mandatory with this set bonus, having an almost permanent Fire or Storm Elemental means it becomes inconvenient to use Earth Elemental and its extremely powerful defensive abilities. I expect an overall decrease to Elemental Shamans' survivability because of that, although this will really depend on the encounter, and obviously staying alive is more important than doing more damage. Finally, the Elemental Shaman 4-Piece bonus encourages casting Lava Burst in AoE situations which is yet another uncomfortable decision you have to make.
There is a possibility that the tier set bonus allows for Ascendance to come back into the spotlight on some fights as the additional Lava Surges and Lava Burst damage make Deeply Rooted Elements significantly more attractive.
Legendary Changes in Patch 9.2 for Elemental Shaman
Splintered Elements's Haste bonus now lasts for 12 seconds instead of 10. This is a welcome buff to a marginal Legendary which remains unfortunately lackluster for single-target.
Elemental Conduit, the Venthyr Legendary, now also causes Flame Shock critical strikes to reduce Chain Harvest's cooldown by 1 second. This is a significant buff to this currently largely-unused Legendary when multidotting is appropriate. Combined with the newfound ability to equip 2 Legendaries, one of them being a Covenant Legendary, this buff may well be enough for Venthyr to catch up to other Covenants in many situations, as well as put it in a fantastic place in the content where it was already strong.
Recall that in Patch 9.1, every class received a Legendary Power that was unique to each Covenant. For Shamans, these Powers were:
- Seeds of Rampant Growth is the Night Fae Covenant Legendary. It gives a sizable cooldown reduction for Fire Elemental and grants a short, but significant, Critical Strike chance buff.
- Raging Vesper Vortex is the Kyrian Covenant Legendary. It does a large amount of damage and healing in a 15-yard AoE once all 3 charges of Vesper Totem are consumed.
- Splintered Elements is the Necrolord Covenant Legendary. It gives a decent amount of Haste for each additional Lava Burst generated by Primordial Wave.
- Elemental Conduit is the Venthyr Covenant Legendary. It applies Flame Shock to every target struck by Chain Harvest and causes Flame Shock critical strikes to reduce Chain Harvest's cooldown by 1 second.
However, new in Patch 9.2 is the ability to eventually use a second Legendary Power, provided it is your Covenant-specific effect.
Potential Double Legendary Combinations
Seeds of Rampant Growth was already a strong Legendary in Patch 9.1.5 and Night Fae one of the best Covenants. It enables the new best single-target build, the "machine gun" build which we talk about in our rotation page. while this Legendary benefits slightly from the buff to Frost Shock, since are we most likely not to use Icefury once we have our tier set this is probably moot. Echoes of Great Sundering however benefits nicely from the Critical Strike buff, allowing for a massive AoE burst, which also deals significant single-target damage.
Elemental Conduit with its new buff synergizes exceptionally well with Skybreaker's Fiery Demise and both work well with Primal Elementalist and our 2-piece set bonus. For multitarget encounters, especially ones where you can multidot targets with Chain Harvest, this is a pretty great synergy and I expect to see this combination.
- 07 Mar. 2022: Removed mentions of the now defunct "machine gun" build.
- 19 Feb. 2022: Updated for the latest PTR changes.
- 15 Jan. 2022: Page added with initial thoughts and information.
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