Warning It appears that you may be blocking the ads, and we are fine with it (read more here). That said, it would really be awesome if you decided to whitelist our website or make a donation :) You can also send us Bitcoins (1DEkropiHPWBmfJxogFaXQscfzhmdpTti4)!

Elemental Shaman DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (Legion 7.3.5)

Last updated Today at 06:44 by Furty 181 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

On this page, we list your Elemental Shaman core abilities and how they should be used together (rotation) in World of Warcraft Legion 7.3.5. We also explain when to use your various cooldowns. Then, we go deeper and present all the subtleties that you will need to know if you want to excel at playing an Elemental Shaman.

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

About Our Author and Reviewers

This guide has been written by Furty, who has an illustrious history in the World of Warcraft raiding scene and race for World First. He has been a member of guilds such as Serenity, Midwinter, and many more, and is currently raiding in Future. He plays most classes at the highest level. You can follow him on Twitter and watch him play on Twitch.

This guide has been written in collaboration with the team at Storm Earth and Lava, a group of Elemental theorycrafters that includes top players and prominent theorycrafters such as Stormy, Sadozai from Wizards IRL, and Gistwiki from Indestructible.

1. Rotation

The rotation of an Elemental Shaman revolves around the following priority list.

1.1. Single Target Rotation — Ascendance Build

  1. Apply Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock if any of the following are true:
    • It is absent.
    • It will expire in 9 seconds or less, your Maelstrom is 20 or higher, and you have a stack of Elemental Focus Icon Elemental Focus.
  2. Cast Totem Mastery Icon Totem Mastery if any of the following are true.
    • It is absent.
    • You are out of or moving out of range of a previous set of totems.
    • Your totems will expire within 3 seconds or less.
  3. Cast Elemental Blast Icon Elemental Blast whenever available, regardless of whether Ascendance Icon Ascendance is active or not.
  4. Cast Fire Elemental Icon Fire Elemental if it is off cooldown. Always pair your elemental with Haste buffs (e.g. Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust) if possible, but do not sacrifice an extra usage by delaying your elemental.
  5. Cast Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock if Maelstrom is 117 or greater, regardless of whether Ascendance Icon Ascendance is active or not.
  6. Cast Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst when Lava Surge Icon Lava Surge is active, or if you have 2 charges of Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst.
  7. Cast Ascendance Icon Ascendance when available, providing you will not have to move during its duration or lose any active  Icon Stormkeeper stacks.
  8. Cast  Icon Stormkeeper if you will be able to use all 3 charges of  Icon Power of the Maelstrom.
  9. Cast Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt if  Icon Power of the Maelstrom is active and Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst has fewer than 2 charges available.
  10. Cast Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst when available.
  11. Cast Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock if Maelstrom is 111 or greater and Lava Surge Icon Lava Surge is not available.
  12. Cast Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt as a filler on a single target.

For more information on your opening sequence, please refer to our dedicated section.

1.2. Single Target Rotation — Lightning Rod Build

  1. Apply Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock if any of the following are true:
    • It is absent.
    • It will expire in 9 seconds or less, your Maelstrom is 20 or higher, and you have a stack of Elemental Focus Icon Elemental Focus.
  2. Cast Totem Mastery Icon Totem Mastery if any of the following are true.
    • It is absent.
    • You are out of or moving out of range of a previous set of totems.
    • Your totems will expire within 3 seconds or less.
  3. Cast Elemental Blast Icon Elemental Blast whenever available, regardless of whether Ascendance Icon Ascendance is active or not.
  4. Cast Fire Elemental Icon Fire Elemental if it is off cooldown. Always pair your elemental with Haste buffs (e.g. Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust) if possible, but do not sacrifice an extra usage by delaying your elemental.
  5. Cast Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock if Maelstrom is 117 or greater.
  6. Cast  Icon Stormkeeper whenever available.
  7. Cast Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt if  Icon Power of the Maelstrom is active and Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst has fewer than 2 charges available.
  8. Cast Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst whenever available.
  9. Cast Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock if Maelstrom is 111 or greater and Lava Surge Icon Lava Surge is not available.
  10. Cast Liquid Magma Totem Icon Liquid Magma Totem whenever available. Delay the usage if multiple targets will be present within the span of its cooldown.
  11. Cast Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt as a filler on a single target.

For more information on your opening sequence, please refer to our dedicated section.

1.3. Single Target Rotation — Icefury Build

  1. Apply Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock if any of the following are true:
    • It is absent.
    • It will expire in 9 seconds or less, your Maelstrom is 20 or higher, and you have a stack of Elemental Focus Icon Elemental Focus.
  2. Cast Totem Mastery Icon Totem Mastery if any of the following are true.
    • It is absent.
    • You are out of or moving out of range of a previous set of totems.
    • Your totems will expire within 3 seconds or less.
  3. Cast Elemental Blast Icon Elemental Blast whenever available, regardless of whether Ascendance Icon Ascendance is active or not.
  4. Cast Fire Elemental Icon Fire Elemental if it is off cooldown. Always pair your elemental with Haste buffs (e.g. Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust) if possible, but do not sacrifice an extra usage by delaying your elemental.
  5. Cast Icefury Icon Icefury when available if both of the following are true:
    • You are below 101 Maelstrom
    • You will be able to use all 4 Frost Shock Icon Frost Shocks before they expire.
  6. Cast Frost Shock Icon Frost Shock if your Maelstrom is 20 or higher and you have a stack of Icefury Icon Icefury.
  7. Cast Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock if Maelstrom is 117 or greater.
  8. Cast  Icon Stormkeeper whenever available.
  9. Cast Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst when Lava Surge Icon Lava Surge is active, or if you have 2 charges of Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst.
  10. Cast Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt if  Icon Power of the Maelstrom is active and Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst has fewer than 2 charges available.
  11. Cast Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst.
  12. Cast Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock if Maelstrom is 111 or greater and Lava Surge Icon Lava Surge is not available.
  13. Cast Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt as a filler on a single target.

For more information on your opening sequence, please refer to our dedicated section.

1.3.1. Icefury Optimization

Icefury Icon Icefury is best put to use on encounters where increasing our pressure on high priority adds is a necessity, or when movement is very high. We do not want to delay our usage by too long, however we can optimize our Icefury by ensuring the charges are available during periods of predictable movement.

It is best to use Icefury Icon Icefury in combination with either or both of the Elemental Focus Icon Elemental Focus and Earthen Strength Icon Earthen Strength (Tier 21 2-piece bonus). Earthen Strength activates when Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst connects with the target, rather than on a successful cast completion. This means to successfully consume the buff using a Frost Shock Icon Frost Shock, it is best to be at mid-range so that your Lava Burst will connect as soon as possible.

Do not worry about optimizing around Elemental Focus Icon Elemental Focus and Earthen Strength Icon Earthen Strength too much unless you are already very comfortable with the rest of the rotation. As we are stacking Critical Strike, many of our Frost Shock Icon Frost Shocks will be naturally empowered with these buffs without having to play around them. Seasoned players may be able to generate a slight amount of extra damage by optimizing their Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst timings before each Frost Shock Icon Frost Shock, however this can result in a DPS loss if done incorrectly.

1.4. Multiple Target Rotation

If Lightning Rod Icon Lightning Rod is being used, every cast of Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt or Chain Lightning Icon Chain Lightning should be used on a target not yet affected by the Lightning Rod debuff, or the target with the lowest duration on their debuff. This will allow you to fully realize the effectiveness of this talent and maximize your damage output.

Once  Icon Static Overload has been unlocked, Maelstrom generation can be very spiky depending on your RNG, so beware Maelstrom capping by accident.

1.4.1. 2 Targets

  1. Cast Liquid Magma Totem Icon Liquid Magma Totem (if talented).
  2. Apply and maintain Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock on both targets.
  3. Cast Earthquake Icon Earthquake at 50+ Maelstrom if the targets will remain in the zone for its duration. If you have BOTH The Deceiver's Blood Pact Icon The Deceiver's Blood Pact and Echoes of the Great Sundering Icon Echoes of the Great Sundering, you should instead spend Maelstrom on Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock.
  4. Follow the single target priority, however, replace any filler casts of Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt with Chain Lightning Icon Chain Lightning if it will hit both targets.

1.4.2. 3 Targets

  1. Cast Liquid Magma Totem Icon Liquid Magma Totem (if talented).
  2. Cast Elemental Blast Icon Elemental Blast (if talented) on cooldown.
  3. Apply and maintain Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock on all targets.
  4. Only cast Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst when Lava Surge Icon Lava Surge is available.
  5. Cast Earthquake Icon Earthquake at 50+ Maelstrom (multiple instances of this spell overlap) if the targets will remain in the zone for its duration. If you have BOTH The Deceiver's Blood Pact Icon The Deceiver's Blood Pact and Echoes of the Great Sundering Icon Echoes of the Great Sundering, you should instead spend Maelstrom on Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock.

1.4.3. 4 Targets

  1. Cast Liquid Magma Totem Icon Liquid Magma Totem (if talented).
  2. Spend all Maelstrom on Earthquake Icon Earthquake.
  3. Cast Chain Lightning Icon Chain Lightning to generate Maelstrom.

2. Cooldown Usage

Before using each of your cooldowns, you should take special care to consider several factors. Our offensive cooldowns have lengthy recharge times, but when correctly utilized, can be responsible for a large percentage of our damage output. You should always take into account:

  • Your raid's Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust/Heroism Icon Heroism/Time Warp Icon Time Warp usage.
  • The mechanics of the current boss, including intermissions and abilities that necessitate movement.
  • The spawn timers of any adds that might be present, as we may want to use or delay certain cooldowns with respect to cleave and AoE.

2.1. Ascendance

There are a few things to consider before each Ascendance Icon Ascendance usage.

  • ensure Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock will last the duration of Ascendance;
  • ensure no boss mechanics will interfere, such as intermissions, boss movement, or mechanics that will force you to move;
  • try to begin with as little Maelstrom as possible;
  • clear Lava Surge Icon Lava Surge if active, and any remaining Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst charges;
  • cast Elemental Blast Icon Elemental Blast immediately before activating Ascendance Icon Ascendance.

It is always worth it to recast Elemental Blast Icon Elemental Blast during your Ascendance Icon Ascendance. Do not let yourself Maelstrom cap either; be sure to cast Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock when you rise above 117 Maelstrom.

It is more efficient to spend your time in Ascendance Icon Ascendance casting Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst instead of Lava Beam Icon Lava Beam. Even if there is intermittent cleave on an encounter, try to use Ascendance during single target portions of the fight.

2.2. Fire Elemental

Fire Elemental Icon Fire Elemental has a very long cooldown, and its usage should be considered carefully. The best time to use this cooldown is always during periods of increased Haste or damage, and therefore we typically will pair it with the Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust/Heroism Icon Heroism/Time Warp Icon Time Warp usage. That said, we never want to lose a potential usage of Fire Elemental by delaying it for maximum efficacy. For example, on an encounter that lasts 6 minutes, you would use Fire Elemental immediately on the pull and once again as soon as it is off cooldown, regardless of when Bloodlust is used.

2.3. Stormkeeper

 Icon Stormkeeper is used more or less on cooldown on single target encounters, provided it does not interfere with more important rotational abilities, such as Elemental Blast Icon Elemental Blast.

On multitarget fights, or fights with intermittent cleave and AoE, it is more efficient to delay your  Icon Stormkeeper (up to 30-40 seconds) until you are able to Chain Lightning Icon Chain Lightning the adds. A great example in Antorus is Portal Keeper Hasabel; you should always be delaying Stormkeeper for Transport Portal Icon Transport Portals rather than using it immediately on cooldown.

3. Playing with Smoldering Heart

Smoldering Heart Icon Smoldering Heart is an extremely dominant legendary item that is used on most encounters. Spending Maelstrom grants a 0.10% chance per Maelstrom consumed to grant Ascendance Icon Ascendance for 10 seconds. This means, assuming you correctly follow the above rotation, that your abilities have the following chance to proc Ascendance:

Regardless of what talent setup you are using, you should play as if you had Ascendance Icon Ascendance talented whenever this legendary procs. If you are playing with Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt and there are multiple targets in Chain Lightning Icon Chain Lightning range, you should use Lava Beam Icon Lava Beam, as it can apply and trigger Lightning Rod.

4. Managing Movement

Elemental is notoriously hampered by encounters with very high movement, as much of our burst damage as well as multitarget is only effective if we are able to stand still for the duration. While Icefury Icon Icefury has mitigated this weakness to a certain extent, correctly playing around movement remains forefront to success for Elemental Shamans. Always make an effort to proactively position yourself to reduce potential movement from mechanics. Keep careful track of boss timers and mechanics, as they can spell disaster for your damage if you are targeted during a damage dump.

5. Academic Information

5.1. Maelstrom Management

You should avoid casting Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst above 113 Maelstrom and Icefury Icon Icefury above 101 Maelstrom. These limits are the maximum Maelstrom you can have before casting those spells to not overcap Maelstrom without an overload proc (Mastery). It is likely these spells will overload at raid levels of gear, therefore, if you cast Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst at 113 Maelstrom or Icefury Icon Icefury at 101 Maelstrom it is likely you will overcap Maelstrom and waste valuable resources. In practice, it is safer to cast these spells at lower Maelstrom than their limits to avoid wasting your overload procs. The key to success is managing all of your separate procs without overcapping Maelstrom.

5.2. Lava Burst and Flame Shock

The reason why Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock should always be up on your target is because:

You should only cast Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst when Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock is active on the target, or the target will live for less than 6 seconds. Flame Shock ticks every 2 seconds without accounting for Haste, meaning that you have to take advantage of Lava Surge Icon Lava Surge within one global cooldown to avoid potentially wasting a new Lava Surge Icon Lava Surge proc from the next Flame Shock tick. By the same token, casting Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst immediately as it comes off cooldown is also imperative so that Lava Surge Icon Lava Surge is not wasted while Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst is off cooldown.

Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock's duration is based off of Maelstrom. While it technically costs no Maelstrom to cast, you will spend up to 20 Maelstrom applying it if it is available. Flame Shock lasts 15 seconds when you have 0 Maelstrom, and 30 seconds when you have 20 Maelstrom. For every additional point of Maelstrom you have above 0 your Flame Shock will be extended by 5%, up to a maximum of 100% extension at 20 Maelstrom.

Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock benefits from Pandemic, meaning that you can refresh it any time that it has less than 30% of its original maximum duration remaining and the remaining duration will be added to the new debuff. Therefore, if you apply a Flame Shock with the maximum value of 20 Maelstrom (30-second duration), you will be able to refresh it without wasting any duration when it has 9 seconds or less remaining, and it will be extended by 30 seconds. For example, if your Flame Shock had 6 seconds left, and you refreshed it with a 20 Maelstrom Flame Shock, your new Flame Shock would last 36 seconds.

Always try to re-apply Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock with an Elemental Focus Icon Elemental Focus buff if possible.

6. Opening Sequence

6.1. Ascendance Opener

  1. Cast Totem Mastery Icon Totem Mastery 4.5 seconds before the pull.
  2. Cast Fire Elemental Icon Fire Elemental 3 seconds from the pull.
  3. Use Potion of Prolonged Power Icon Potion of Prolonged Power.
  4. Pre-cast Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt at 2s from the pull.
  5. Apply Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock.
  6. Cast Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst.
  7. Cast Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst.
  8. Cast Elemental Blast Icon Elemental Blast.
  9. Apply Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock again.
  10. Activate and racial abilities or on use trinkets.
  11. Activate Ascendance Icon Ascendance and spam Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst. Re-cast Elemental Blast Icon Elemental Blast when it comes off of cooldown. Cast Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock when you Maelstrom cap.
  12. Use Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock when Ascendance Icon Ascendance ends.
  13. Proceed with normal priority.

6.2. Icefury Opener

  1. Cast Totem Mastery Icon Totem Mastery 4.5 seconds before the pull.
  2. Cast Fire Elemental Icon Fire Elemental 3 seconds from the pull.
  3. Use Potion of Prolonged Power Icon Potion of Prolonged Power.
  4. Pre-cast Elemental Blast Icon Elemental Blast at 2s from the pull.
  5. Cast Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst.
  6. Apply Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock.
  7. Activate and racial abilities or on use trinkets.
  8. Proceed with normal priority.

7. ChangeLog

+ show all entries - show only 10 entries
  • 19 Feb. 2018: Complete renovation of page layout and content.
  • 29 Aug. 2017: Small change for Patch 7.3: Added Earthquake to 2-target rotation.
  • 24 Jun. 2017: Updated Maelstrom Management section slightly.
  • 21 Jun. 2017: Updated openers, action priority lists, and cooldown usage.
  • 14 Jun. 2017: Removed mention of Earthquake on single-target as it no longer gains ticks based on Haste.
  • 19 Apr. 2017: Added Earthquake on single-target section based on new theorycraft. Modified rotations based on the new builds we present in the talents page.
  • 27 Mar. 2017: No changes needed for Patch 7.2.
  • 09 Jan. 2017: Fully updated rotation page for Patch 7.1.5.
  • 01 Dec. 2016: Split guide into single & multi target sections for clarity. Added two separate opening sequences for different Tier 7 talents.
  • 25 Oct. 2016: Updated Stormkeeper section to note that it now has a 1.5-second cast and affected spells are now instant in Patch 7.1.
  • 29 Aug. 2016: Updated for Legion's launch.
  • 18 Jul. 2016: Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
Force desktop version
Force mobile version