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Elemental Shaman in Battle for Azeroth (BfA)

Last updated on May 28, 2018 at 13:42 by Stormy 185 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

On this page, you will find information on how to play your Elemental Shaman in Battle for Azeroth. Because the new expansion is still in beta, this guide is simply here to help you perform better in the beta or to give you a sneak peek into what the new expansion has in store for your class.

The other pages of our Elemental Shaman guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.

About Our Author

This guide has been written by Stormy, Elemental main since Wrath of the Lich King and member of the Storm, Earth and Lava elemental theorycrafting team.

1. Foreword

This page is an introduction to Elemental Shaman in Battle for Azeroth. We will talk about the abilities and talents that differ from Legion and how the spec will play. Keep in mind that everything in this page is subject to change and things may be very different when the expansion releases. Moreover, because the tuning is far from done, we will not discuss the "viability" of talents. Because the elemental rotation is so dependent on talents, only an indicative baseline rotation will be given.

While Elemental Shaman core gameplay remains mostly the same in Battle for Azeroth, there have been significant changes to many abilities and mechanics. Therefore, we start this guide with a summary of these changes.

2. Basic Mechanics Changes for Elemental Shaman in BfA

  • Elemental Focus Icon Elemental Focus has been removed.
  • Maelstrom generation has been lowered across the board.
  • The Maelstrom costs of most abilities have been changed significantly.
  • Some abilities that were not on the global cooldown now are.

3. Baseline Abilities & Changes for Elemental Shaman in BfA

  • Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt now only generates 6 Maelstrom, down from 8.
  • Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock now lasts 18 seconds and does not use Maelstrom to increase its duration, and it also has a 6-second cooldown.
  • Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock now has a static cost of 60 Maelstrom.
  • Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst now only generates 8 Maelstrom, down from 12.
  • Lava Surge Icon Lava Surge now has a 15% chance to proc, up from 10%.
  • Chain Lightning Icon Chain Lightning now only generates 3 Maelstrom per target hit, down from 6.
  • Earthquake Icon Earthquake now costs 75 Maelstrom, up from 50.
  • Fire Elemental Icon Fire Elemental now lasts 30 seconds, down from 1 minute. While active, Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock generates 3 Maelstrom when it deals damage over time.
  • Frost Shock Icon Frost Shock now does not use Maelstrom. The damage this ability does has been significantly increased: it now does around 90% of a Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt's damage, but it does not generate Maelstrom and has fewer synergies.
  • Tremor Totem Icon Tremor Totem is back! This ability summons a totem that removes Fear, Charm and Sleep effects from party and raid members within 30 yards. It will see some use in Uldir.
  • Capacitor Totem Icon Capacitor Totem is now a baseline ability which is the same as the Legion talent Lightning Surge Totem Icon Lightning Surge Totem except it only has a 3-second duration, down from 5, and a 1-minute cooldown, up from 45 seconds.

4. The BfA Elemental Shaman Talent Tree

BFA Elemental Talent Tree

Many talents have been removed or moved around the tree, some talents have been changed and some new talents have been added to the game. The following list will not describe talents that have not changed from Legion.

Path of Flame Icon Path of Flame, Gust of Wind Icon Gust of Wind, Voodoo Totem Icon Voodoo Totem, Ancestral Swiftness Icon Ancestral Swiftness, Lightning Rod Icon Lightning Rod, and Elemental Fusion Icon Elemental Fusion have all been removed from the game.

4.1. Level 15

4.2. Level 30

  • Aftershock Icon Aftershock has moved here from level 60 and now grants your spells a 25% chance to refund their Maelstrom cost, instead of a 100% chance of refunding 30% of their Maelstrom cost in Legion. This makes the talent significantly less reliable, but with the potential of significant damage if you are lucky with its procs.
  • Master of the Elements Icon Master of the Elements is a new talent that increases the damage of your next Nature or Frost spell by 20% after casting Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst. There is interesting potential with the new Frost Shock Icon Frost Shock, especially if you also use Icefury Icon Icefury.
  • Totem Mastery Icon Totem Mastery has moved here from level 15.

4.3. Level 45

  • Spirit Wolf Icon Spirit Wolf is a new passive talent that grants you 5% increased movement speed and damage reduction every 1 second, stacking up to 4 times, while you are transformed into a Ghost Wolf. It is mediocre, the gain starting only after 1 second spent in Ghost Wolf form, but should still be the default talent for raiding if you do not need to use Static Charge Icon Static Charge. It is potentially a 20% damage reduction available whenever you need it.
  • Earth Shield Icon Earth Shield is a new Elemental talent and while technically the same as the Restoration Shaman spell, because you should not be spending time healing other people, is in practice at best a niche talent that is mostly useful for solo play.
  • Static Charge Icon Static Charge is a new talent that reduces the cooldown of Capacitor Totem Icon Capacitor Totem by 5 seconds for each enemy it stuns, up to a maximum of 20 seconds. It is situational in raids and good for dungeons.

4.4. Level 60

4.5. Level 75

  • Nature's Guardian Icon Nature's Guardian is a new talent, a weaker version of the Legion Artifact trait  Icon Shamanistic Healing. This talent heals you for 20% of your maximum health when your health is brought below 35%. It can only proc every 45 seconds, up from 30 seconds in Legion.
  • Ancestral Guidance Icon Ancestral Guidance has moved here from level 30 and is now on the global cooldown. It now heals for 25% of your damage and healing done, up from 20%.
  • Wind Rush Totem Icon Wind Rush Totem has moved here from level 30.

4.6. Level 90

  • Earthen Rage Icon Earthen Rage has moved here from level 15.
  • Primal Elementalist Icon Primal Elementalist has moved here from level 75. Your Earth Elemental Icon Earth Elemental can now cast Harden Skin Icon Harden Skin, reducing your and your elemental's damage taken by 40% for 10 seconds.
  • Icefury Icon Icefury has moved here from level 100, only generates 15 Maelstrom, down from 24, and increases the damage of your next 3 Frost Shock Icon Frost Shock by 60%, down from 400%. Note that this is nowhere near as big of a decrease as it seems, the damage of baseline Frost Shock Icon Frost Shock having been significantly increased in Battle for Azeroth.

4.7. Level 100

  • Unlimited Power Icon Unlimited Power is a new talent that more or less replaces Ancestral Swiftness Icon Ancestral Swiftness. It grants 2% Haste for 10 seconds when one of your spells causes an Elemental Overload, which stacks, but gaining a stack does not refresh the duration of the previous stacks. This talent has significant scaling, which means it will gain significant value as you acquire more Mastery on your gear.
  • Stormkeeper Icon Stormkeeper is the remnant of the Elemental Artifact ability from Legion. It is a 1.5-second cast with a 1-minute cooldown causing your next 2 Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolts or Chain Lightning Icon Chain Lightnings to be instant cast and trigger an Elemental Overload on every target. This is significantly weaker than the Legion Artifact ability, because it only affects 2 casts instead of 3 and more importantly does not increase their damage. It is only useful for multiple targets burst situations at the moment.
  • Ascendance Icon Ascendance is now on the global cooldown.

5. Azerite Traits for Elemental Shaman

Azerite Traits are a new game mechanic in Battle for Azeroth. They replace Artifact traits and Tier Set Bonuses. They are a mix of defensive, utility, and damage boosts. They are currently a work in progress, but they are supposed to greatly influence gameplay. Only a couple traits do that right now, but most raid-level pieces are supposed to potentially influence gameplay. Some early traits, especially on leveling items, provide generic traits that are common to all specs of a class, or shared among several classes. One tier provides a choice of 3 bonuses, only one being relevant to each spec, making it not a choice at all.

6. The Base Rotation for Elemental Shaman in BfA

In Battle for Azeroth, as in Legion, the baseline Elemental rotation is quite simple. Your talent choice will heavily influence your rotation, and while some talent combinations provide very simple gameplay, others will add significant complexity. Because number tuning is not done there is not much point going in-depth about the best talent combinations, or the exact priorities of some spells over others. The following is just an indicative priority list.

  1. Apply Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock if it is absent or will expire in 6 seconds or less.
  2. Cast Fire Elemental Icon Fire Elemental if it is off cooldown, if possible paired with Heroism Icon Heroism/Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust, but do not sacrifice an extra use by delaying your elemental.
  3. Cast Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst whether Lava Surge Icon Lava Surge is active or not, unless your Maelstrom is higher than 92.
  4. Cast Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock after reaching 60 Maelstrom or higher. This can be delayed to help with movement.
  5. Cast Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt as filler.
  6. If you need to move, cast Frost Shock Icon Frost Shock.

While very basic, this rotation will still provide very good DPS if you are using the "all-left" talent build, meaning all the talents on the left of the tree, as shown below.

For more complex rotations, more testing is required because of the many possible combinations of talents. For the talents that existed in Legion, the priorities recommended here should be mostly correct.

7. Multi-Target Rotation for Elemental Shaman in BfA

The Elemental AoE rotation has slowed down significantly from Legion because of the increased Maelstrom cost of Earthquake Icon Earthquake. It is mostly unchanged, however, and for the most part against 4 targets or more you want to continually cast Chain Lightning Icon Chain Lightning and Earthquake Icon Earthquake.

It gets more complicated and dependent on talent choice for 2 or 3 targets. The goal would be to maintain Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock on all targets if they are going to live for most of the duration and essentially maintain a single target rotation a priority target, except that you will use Chain Lightning Icon Chain Lightning instead of Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt. You do not want to be using Earthquake Icon Earthquake unless you can hit at least 3 targets with it for the full duration of the spell.

8. ChangeLog

  • 28 May 2018: Page added.
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