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Elemental Shaman DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities in Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.0.1

Last updated Yesterday at 14:42 by Stormy 13 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 Battle for Azeroth 8.0.1. 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

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. Single-Target Rotation for Elemental Shaman

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

  • Exposed Elements
  • Elemental Blast
  • Master of the Elements
  • Totem Mastery
  • Liquid Magma Totem
  • Icefury
  • Stormkeeper
  • Ascendance
  1. Apply Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock if any of the following are true.
    • It is absent.
    • It will expire in 6 seconds or less.
  2. Cast Fire Elemental Icon Fire Elemental if it is off cooldown. Always pair your elemental with Haste buffs (e.g. Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust/Heroism Icon Heroism) if possible, but do not sacrifice an extra usage by delaying your elemental.
  3. Cast Earth Elemental Icon Earth Elemental if it is off cooldown and you either are not using Primal Elementalist Icon Primal Elementalist or your Fire Elemental Icon Fire Elemental is not currently active. You cannot have 2 Primal Elementals active at the same time.
  4. Cast Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock if you have 90 or more Maelstrom.
  5. Cast Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst whenever available.
  6. Cast Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock if Maelstrom is 60 or greater and Lava Surge Icon Lava Surge is not available.
  7. Cast Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt as a filler on a single target.
  8. Cast Frost Shock Icon Frost Shock as a filler while moving.

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

2. Multiple Target Rotation for Elemental Shaman

2.1. 2-3 Targets

The 2-3 targets priority list is the same as the single-target with the following changes.

  1. Apply and maintain Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock on all targets.
  2. Cast Earthquake Icon Earthquake at 60+ Maelstrom (multiple instances of this spell overlap) if the targets will remain in the zone for its duration.
  3. Cast Chain Lightning Icon Chain Lightning instead of Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt as a filler.

2.2. 4+ Targets

  • Totem Mastery
  • Storm Elemental
  • Liquid Magma Totem
  • Stormkeeper
  1. Spend all Maelstrom on Earthquake Icon Earthquake.
  2. Cast Chain Lightning Icon Chain Lightning to generate Maelstrom.

3. Cooldown Usage for Elemental Shaman

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.

3.1. Ascendance

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

  • Ensure Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock will last for 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.
  • If using this talent, cast Elemental Blast Icon Elemental Blast immediately before activating 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 or before you reach 90 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.

3.2. Fire Elemental

Fire Elemental Icon Fire Elemental has a 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 3 minutes, you would use Fire Elemental immediately on the pull and once again as soon as it is off cooldown, regardless of when Bloodlust/Heroism/Time Warp is used.

3.3. Stormkeeper

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

On multiple-target fights, or fights with intermittent cleave and AoE, it is more efficient to delay your Stormkeeper Icon Stormkeeper (up to 30-40 seconds) until you are able to Chain Lightning Icon Chain Lightning the adds.

4. Managing Movement for Elemental Shaman

Elemental is notoriously hampered by encounters with very high movement, as much of our burst damage as well as multiple-target damage is only effective if we are able to stand still for the duration. While Icefury Icon Icefury can mitigate this weakness to a certain extent, correctly playing around movement remains forefront to success for Elemental Shamans. Always make an effort to pro-actively 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 for Elemental Shaman

5.1. Maelstrom Management

You should avoid casting Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst above 90 Maelstrom and Icefury Icon Icefury above 85 Maelstrom. These limits are the maximum Maelstrom you can have before casting those spells to not overcap Maelstrom without an Mastery: Elemental Overload Icon Mastery: Elemental Overload proc. It is likely these spells will overload at raid levels of gear, therefore, if you cast Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst at 90 Maelstrom or Icefury Icon Icefury at 85 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:

  • each tick has a chance to proc Lava Surge Icon Lava Surge, which resets the cooldown of Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst;
  • your Lava Burst will always critically hit if Flame Shock is on the target. This is very important due to your Elemental Fury Icon Elemental Fury passive.

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 proc from the next Flame Shock tick. By the same token, casting Lava Burst immediately as it comes off cooldown is also imperative so that Lava Surge is not wasted while Lava Burst is off cooldown.

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 you are be able to refresh Flame Shocks without wasting any duration when it has 6 seconds or less remaining, and it will be extended by 18 seconds. For example, if your Flame Shock has 6 seconds left and you refresh it your new Flame Shock would last 24 seconds.

6. Opening Sequence for Elemental Shaman

6.1. Generic Opener with Primal Elementalist

  1. Cast Totem Mastery Icon Totem Mastery 5 seconds before the pull.
  2. Cast Fire Elemental Icon Fire Elemental/Storm Elemental Icon Storm Elemental 3.5 seconds before the pull.
  3. Use Battle Potion of Intellect Icon Battle Potion of Intellect.
  4. Pre-cast Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt or Elemental Blast Icon Elemental Blast if talented 2 seconds from the pull.
  5. Apply Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock.
  6. Cast Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst (twice if using Echo of the Elements Icon Echo of the Elements.
  7. If using Ascendance Icon Ascendance, cast it then activate racial abilities and on-use trinkets, and spam Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst. Cast Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock before you cap.
  8. Proceed with normal priority.

7. ChangeLog

  • 13 Aug. 2018: Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 28 Jul. 2018: Added explanation for legendary boots/shoulders usage on 4-6 targets.
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