Elemental Shaman DPS Spec, Builds, and Talents — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1
On this page, you will find out the best talents for each tier for your Elemental Shaman in World of Warcraft — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1. We also have default talent lists for various types of content, such as raiding or Mythic+. If you play with Warmode on, we have your PvP talents covered as well.
1. Talent Choices for Elemental Shaman
|15||✓ Earthen Rage||✓ Echo of the Elements||✗ Elemental Blast|
|30||✓ Aftershock||✗ Call the Thunder||✓ Totem Mastery|
|45||✓ Spirit Wolf||✗ Earth Shield||? Static Charge|
|60||✓ Master of the Elements||✓ Storm Elemental||? Liquid Magma Totem|
|75||✓ Nature's Guardian||? Ancestral Guidance||? Wind Rush Totem|
|90||✗ Surge of Power||✓ Primal Elementalist||✓ Icefury|
|100||✗ Unlimited Power||✓ Stormkeeper||✗ Ascendance|
Talents can be freely changed when out of combat and in a rested XP area (such as an inn or a capital city). Moreover, Tome of the Tranquil Mind and Codex of the Tranquil Mind can be used to temporarily allow players to change talents anywhere, as long as they are out of combat.
2. Talent Cheat Sheets for Elemental Shaman
Optimizing talents on a contextual basis is the highly recommended method of setting up your build. That being said, the builds listed below are very well rounded and should give you good results. For Mythic+, your choices will heavily depend on whether the key is Fortified or Tyrannical, although other affixes are also important. Either way, you should generally use the AoE/Cleave build as a baseline for dungeons.
2.1. Single Target
This is the best generic single target build for BfA.
- Level 15: Echo of the Elements
- Level 30: Totem Mastery
- Level 45: Spirit Wolf
- Level 60: Master of the Elements
- Level 75: Nature's Guardian
- Level 90: Icefury
- Level 100: Stormkeeper
This is our recommended build for encounters with cleave and intermittent AoE.
- Level 15: Earthen Rage
- Level 30: Totem Mastery
- Level 45: Static Charge or Spirit Wolf
- Level 60: Liquid Magma Totem or Storm Elemental
- Level 75: Nature's Guardian
- Level 90: Primal Elementalist
- Level 100: Stormkeeper
3. Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents for Elemental Shaman
|✔ Earthen Rage||✔ Echo of the Elements||✘ Elemental Blast|
- Earthen Rage causes your most recently attacked target to take damage over 6 seconds.
- Echo of the Elements grants Lava Burst 2 charges.
- Elemental Blast deals good damage and increases either your Crit, Haste, or Mastery by 91 for 10 seconds. It has a 2-second cast time and a 12-second cooldown.
Earthen Rage is strong in every situation.
Elemental Blast is currently too weak to consider.
4. Tier 2 (Level 30) Talents for Elemental Shaman
|✔ Aftershock||✘ Call the Thunder||✔ Totem Mastery|
- Aftershock grants your spells a 25% chance to refund their Maelstrom cost.
- Call the Thunder increases your maximum Maelstrom by 30 and reduces the Maelstrom cost of Earth Shock and Earthquake by 10.
- Totem Mastery is an active ability that summons 4 totems for 2 minutes. The benefits of these 4 totems are 2% increased haste, 10% increased Flame Shock damage, 5% increased chance to trigger Mastery: Elemental Overload on Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning, and 1 Maelstrom generated every second.
Aftershock is a very unreliable talent, but with the potential of significant damage if you are lucky with its procs. Strong for 5+ targets AoE.
Call the Thunder is good quality of life but currently weak in nearly every situation.
Totem Mastery is the best option in most scenarios, especially if you can drop one before the encounter begins. On encounters with very high movement, you will need to replace your totems if you move too far from them. It can be slow and annoying in dungeons, however.
5. Tier 3 (Level 45) Talents for Elemental Shaman
|✔ Spirit Wolf||✘ Earth Shield||? Static Charge|
- Spirit Wolf 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.
- Earth Shield places a shield that heals its target for a small amount whenever they take damage. This heal can only occur once every few seconds, and has 9 charges.
- Static Charge is a new talent that reduces the cooldown of Capacitor Totem by 5 seconds for each enemy it stuns, up to a maximum of 20 seconds.
Spirit Wolf is mediocre, the gain starting only after 1 second spent in Ghost Wolf form. It should still be the default talent for raiding if you do not need to use Static Charge. It is potentially a 20% damage reduction available whenever you really need it.
Static Charge is useful if you need to stun adds more often than once per minute.
6. Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents for Elemental Shaman
|✔ Master of the Elements||✔ Storm Elemental||? Liquid Magma Totem|
- Master of the Elements causes your Lava Bursts to increase the damage of your next Nature, Physical or Frost spell by 20%.
- Storm Elemental replaces Fire Elemental. It summons an elemental for 30 seconds that deals significant damage and reduces the cast time of and the GCD incurred by your Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning by 3% each time you cast either spell, up to 20 times. This has a 2.5-minute cooldown.
- Liquid Magma Totem summons a totem at the target location for 15 seconds that hurls liquid magma at a random nearby target every 1 sec, dealing Fire damage to all enemies within 8 yards. It has a 60 second cooldown.
Liquid Magma Totem is solid and generally a good choice.
7. Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents for Elemental Shaman
|✔ Nature's Guardian||? Ancestral Guidance||? Wind Rush Totem|
- Nature's Guardian heals you for 20% of your maximum health when your health is brought below 35%. It can only proc every 45 seconds. It does not proc if you take fatal damage.
- Ancestral Guidance converts 20% of your damage and healing done into healing on up to 3 nearby party and/or raid members. Lasts 10 seconds, with a 2-minute cooldown.
- Wind Rush Totem summons a totem for 15 seconds that increases the speed of allies within 10 yards by 60% for 5 seconds. The speed buff is continually refreshed as long as they are within range.
Nature's Guardian should be the default pick, as it nearly always gives you value and you do not need to do anything.
Wind Rush Totem can have some use in organized fights where you place it at a prearranged location to help your raid move somewhere fast. If you do not specifically require it, it is not very good.
8. Tier 6 (Level 90) Talents for Elemental Shaman
|✘ Surge of Power||✔ Primal Elementalist||✔ Icefury|
- Surge of Power causes Earth Shock to enhance your next spell
cast within 15 seconds.
- Flame Shock: Your next cast also applies Flame Shock to 1 additional target within 8 yards.
- Lightning Bolt: Your next cast will cause an additional 1-3 Mastery: Elemental Overloads.
- Lava Burst: Your next cast reduces the cooldown of Storm Elemental or Fire Elemental by 6 seconds.
- Frost Shock: Your next cast freezes the target in place for 6 seconds.
- Primal Elementalist grants your elementals 80% increased damage, new abilities, and the ability to control them directly. Notably, this talent grants your Earth Elemental the ability to cast Harden Skin, reducing your and your elemental's damage taken by 40% for 10 seconds. It also grants new damage abilities to your other elementals
- Icefury hurls frigid ice at the target, dealing high damage and causing your next 4 Frost Shock to deal 100% increased damage. It generates 15 Maelstrom, has a 2-second cast time and a 30-second cooldown.
Surge of Power can be quite strong depending on how long a fight lasts, assuming you have the right azerite traits. Generally, it should not be used currently.
Primal Elementalist is an excellent all-around option on this tier.
Icefury is quite strong, especially in single-target high movement situations. This is the default choice for single-target encounters.
9. Tier 7 (Level 100) Talents for Elemental Shaman
|✘ Unlimited Power||✔ Stormkeeper||✘ Ascendance|
- Unlimited Power grants 2% Haste for 10 seconds when one of your spells causes an Elemental Overload. This stacks, but gaining a stack does not refresh the duration of the previous stacks.
- Stormkeeper has a 1.5-second cast time and causes your next 2 Lightning Bolt OR Chain Lightning to be instant cast and trigger an additional Elemental Overload on every target hit. If you use the buff on Lightning Bolts, they will also do 150% more damage.
- Ascendance transforms you for 15 seconds, removing the cooldown from Lava Burst and transforming Chain Lightning into Lava Beam. The damage of Lava Burst is further increased by your Critical Strike chance while Ascendance is active. Ascendance has a 3-minute cooldown.
Unlimited Power has significant scaling, which means it gains significant value the more mastery you have. However it is currently still too weak to use at current gear levels.
Stormkeeper is very strong and versatile. It should be the default choice in every situation.
Ascendance is now too weak to be considered.
10. PvP Talents (War Mode)
In Battle for Azeroth, there will be the option to go into "War Mode". Enabling War Mode provides the following benefits:
- PvP talents enabled in the outdoor world.
- 10% increase in World Quest rewards at maximum level.
- 10% more experience gained while leveling.
- Earn Conquest Points which can reward gear every week.
With the benefits of enabling War Mode for leveling and PvE content, it is recommended to enable the feature to maximize your leveling and rewards at maximum level. However, you will make yourself available for open world PvP, and the possibility to be "ganked" while leveling or doing World Quests exists.
10.1. Elemental Shaman War Mode Talents
In this section we will rank the PvP talents best for leveling and doing solo / small group PvE content. Below is a ranking of both General PvP Talents and Elemental Shaman-specific PvE talents.
10.1.1. General PvP Talents
- Relentless is a passive ability that reduces the duration of all crowd control effects on you by 20%.
- Gladiator's Medallion is an on-use ability that removes all movement impairing effects and all loss of control effects on a 2-minute cooldown.
- Adaptation removes a loss of control effect with a duration of more than 5 seconds once per minute.
10.1.2. Elemental Shaman PvP Talents
- Skyfury Totem increases the critical effect of spells of allies within 40 yards by 20% for 15 seconds, 40-second cooldown. Good for solo play, excellent if you are doing outdoors content with others.
- Swelling Waves makes your Healing Surges 50% stronger.
- Elemental Attunement increases your maximum Maelstrom by 50, allowing for a lot more banking and control.
- Earthfury makes your Earth Shocks stun the target for 2 seconds if you are at 100 Maelstrom or above when casting them. This has excellent synergy with the previous talent and should rarely be used without it.
- Counterstrike Totem replicates and reflects damage you take for 15 seconds, on a 45-second cooldown. This can be really strong when in a high damage area to deal some chip damage to targets around you, and convert your health pool into additional damage.
We recommend picking 3 of the above 4 talents, depending on what you what you value most.
Grounding Totem, Lightning Lasso, Purifying Waters, Spectral Recovery, Traveling Storms and Control of Lava have either niche uses or are simply not very useful compared to the other talents. Do not dismiss them entirely but for the most part you can safely ignore them.
- 31 Jan. 2019: Updated talent recommendations.
- 21 Jan. 2019: Updated some talent information/recommendations.
- 18 Dec. 2018: Fixed comments on Master of the Elements.
- 10 Dec. 2018: Added new 8.1 talents and updated other changed talents. Updated comments on talent strengths and recommendations.
- 13 Aug. 2018: Fixed checkmarks on talent tree.
- 13 Aug. 2018: Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
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