Elemental Shaman PvP Guide (Battle for Azeroth 8.0.1)

Last updated Today at 14:15 by Tiqqle 9 comments

Table of Contents

Introduction

This guide will review everything you will need to know to play an Elemental Shaman in PvP. This will cover Azerite traits, stat priority, enchants, racial options, Elemental class and PvP talent builds, PvP rotation, arena compositions, tips and tricks, Macros and Addons, and frequently asked questions. This focuses mainly on Arena PvP, though includes references to Rated Battlegrounds.

About The Author

This guide has been written by Tiqqle, a PvP enthusiast who has repeatedly achieved 2400 rating. You can watch his stream on Twitch, and you can also check out his YouTube channel.

1. Spec Overview / Place in the Current Meta for Elemental Shaman

Elemental Shamans are one of the strongest casters right now. Elemental Shaman are currently one of the highest bursting classes, though have moderate to low damage outside of these burst windows. Elemental Shaman are receiving a rework in Patch 8.1, which has lead the community to think they are not a complete class. This perception has challenged the popularity of Elemental for arena teams and general PvP. Due to this, Elemental Shaman have a niche spot within certain arena compositions, specifically those with two casters. While they are still considered a decent caster for Rated Battlegrounds, the community perception may hurt players' odds of getting into a group.

1.1. Strengths of Elemental Shaman

1.2. Weaknesses of Elemental Shaman

  • Moderate to low damage outside of burst windows
  • Play-style is dependent on Azerite traits
  • Few defensive cooldowns

2. TL;DR / Easy Mode

This is your quick guide to what you need to know quickly to be able to play Elemental Shaman in PvP.

2.1. Azerite Traits

Stack 3x Lava Shock Icon Lava Shock Outer Ring traits.

2.2. Stat Priority

  1. Haste
  2. Critical Strike
  3. Versatility
  4. Mastery

2.3. Talent Builds

2.3.1. PvE Talents

Level Choices
15 Exposed Elements Exposed Elements Echo of the Elements Echo of the Elements Elemental Blast Elemental Blast
30 Aftershock Aftershock Master of the Elements Master of the Elements Totem Mastery Totem Mastery
45 Spirit Wolf ? Spirit Wolf Earth Shield Earth Shield Static Charge Static Charge
60 High Voltage High Voltage Storm Elemental Storm Elemental Liquid Magma Totem Liquid Magma Totem
75 Nature's Guardian Nature's Guardian Ancestral Guidance Ancestral Guidance Wind Rush Totem Wind Rush Totem
90 Earthen Rage Earthen Rage Primal Elementalist Primal Elementalist Icefury Icefury
100 Unlimited Power Unlimited Power Stormkeeper Stormkeeper Ascendance Ascendance

Elemental Shaman talent selection:

2.3.2. PvP Talents

2.4. Elemental Shaman PvP Rotation

Spending Maelstrom to deal massive damage requires you to have maximum 20-stacks of Lava Shock Icon Lava Shock, and a full bar of Maelstrom, 150 when you are using the Elemental Attunement Icon Elemental Attunement PvP talent. When this burst damage is combined with other casters you can potentially one shot opponents if they do not use a cooldown.

  1. Use Fire Elemental Icon Fire Elemental or Storm Elemental Icon Storm Elemental.
  2. Use Skyfury Totem Icon Skyfury Totem, if you have selected it.
  3. Use Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst, if you have Master of the Elements Icon Master of the Elements talent selected.
  4. Within the same Global Cooldown:
  5. Use Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst, only if you have Master of the Elements Icon Master of the Elements, or are at 90 Maelstrom.
  6. Use Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock without Lava Shock Icon Lava Shock stacks, until you are below 60 Maelstrom.
  7. If you talented Aftershock Icon Aftershock, and Maelstrom is refunded while you are at 90 Maelstrom you can use a Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst or Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt to get above 100 Maelstrom before casting Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock again.

2.5. Racial Options

Dark Iron Dwarf has a defensive cleanse, which also buffs the Elemental's Intellect significantly, which works perfectly with burst windows.

Orc has stun resistance and on-use damage.

Pandaren can get a Versatility food buff in Arena, and a 4-second racial crowd-control.

Goblin provides mobility through Rocket Jump Icon Rocket Jump, and 1% overall Haste is good.

2.6. Pet Macros

The Earth Elemental has a special defensive ability, Harden Skin Icon Harden Skin. You will need to press this macro twice to make the special effect work. The first press summons the elemental, the second press will use the ability on the Elemental Shaman.

  • /cast Earth Elemental
  • /cast [talent:6/2] Harden Skin

The Fire and Storm Elementals have special offensive abilities, Meteor Icon Meteor and Eye of the Storm Icon Eye of the Storm respectively.

  • /cast Fire Elemental
  • /cast Storm Elemental
  • /cast Call Lightning
  • /cast [talent:6/2] Eye of the Storm
  • /cast [talent:6/2] Meteor

3. Azerite Traits for Elemental Shamans

3.1. Outer Ring

Lava Shock Icon Lava Shock is the most important Azerite trait for Elemental Shaman to do well in PvP in the current Meta. This is a single target trait with significant burst potential with our main damage dealing ability Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock. Each Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock tick will increase the damage of your next Earth Shock stacking up to 20 times. The higher the item-level the higher the stacking damage. Having multiple Flame Shocks will help increase the rate of stacks.

Igneous Potential Icon Igneous Potential enhances our Lava Surge Icon Lava Surge proc which makes our Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst proc rate from 15% to 18%, and increases the damage of this ability. Elemental Shaman mainly use lava burst as our main Maelstrom generating ability. Since this spell is always a critical strike, as long as the target has a Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock, the tool-tip miss-represents the increase of damage. The increased damage is double the tool-tip number in PvP.

Laser Matrix Icon Laser Matrix does cleave damage and healing, which can be very useful in PvP. Specifically for Rated Battlegrounds. Though this is a trade off for massive single target damage it can be considered for a more utility and longer play-style composition in arena. This does not break crowd control.

Natural Harmony Icon Natural Harmony will increase all secondary stats while playing an Elemental Shaman in PvP. This is a fall back option if the priority traits are not available.

3.2. Middle Ring Traits

Overwhelming Power Icon Overwhelming Power has the highest DPS potential of the traits for this ring, since this will increase cast time, the tick rate of Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock and decreasing of global cooldowns. Increasing cast speed leads to faster Maelstrom generation and more Earth Shock Icon Earth Shocks.

Blessed Portents Icon Blessed Portents is a strong utility for an Elemental Shaman in the current meta. This applies a buff on healing which is consumed at 50% health to heal the target. I am usually taking this for one of my middle ring traits to support my team when my healer is crowd controlled.

Unstable Flames Icon Unstable Flames this trait provides substantial Critical Strike which can help your highest damaging ability Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock critically strike with full Lava Shock Icon Lava Shock stacks, which results in the maximum burst. Due to this mainly affecting only Earth Shock it is not considered the best overall.

Gutripper Icon Gutripper is a decent single target selection, especially against defensives reducing the damage of magic effects, since this is physical damage.

3.3. Inner Ring Traits

Azerite Fortification Icon Azerite Fortification is a great trait for Elemental Shaman in the current meta since the burst damage is very high when arena or rated battleground teams are focusing damage for a kill. This will provide burst healing when you need it the most.

Resounding Protection Icon Resounding Protection is a great trait as it provides consistent shielding and damage reduction stacking pretty significantly every 30 seconds. With Shaman's ability to kite and reduce how often we are hit this is a great option.

Pack Spirit Icon Pack Spirit this option is decent for Elemental Shaman but due to how often we are casting and doing damage the benefit may depend on the amount of kiting expected. Combining this with Spectral Recovery Icon Spectral Recovery and Spirit Wolf Icon Spirit Wolf can make for significant healing, though sacrificing pressure.

4. Stat Priority for Elemental Shamans

The basic stat priority is as follows.

  1. Intellect;
  2. Haste;
  3. Critical Strike;
  4. Versatility;
  5. Mastery.

For PvP the stat priority ratios are not explicit, due to the various situations you could find yourself in.

4.1. Statistics Explanations for Elemental Shaman

Mastery, through Mastery: Elemental Overload Icon Mastery: Elemental Overload, causes your spells to have an additional chance to deal additional damage and generate extra Maelstrom.

Haste increases the speed of your casts as well as the tick rate of your damage over time effects Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock.

Critical Strike increases the chance to hit for 200% of the normal spell damage in PvP. Elemental Shaman is unique in the fact that it has an additional 50% critical strike damage than all other classes. This is due to Elemental Fury Icon Elemental Fury which is 250% of the base spell damage in PvE and 200% of the base spell damage in PvP.

Versatility is a flat-out damage done increase and damage taken reduction.

5. Enchants and Gems

Haste and Critical Strike enchants will be the preference for PvP. Haste provides overall smoothness of play, casting speed, and proc rate for Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock. Critical Strike is important for bursting for as high as possible with Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock.

5.1. Haste

You should use Kraken's Eye of Intellect Icon Kraken's Eye of Intellect in one socket, and Quick Owlseye Icon Quick Owlseye (or the cheaper Quick Golden Beryl Icon Quick Golden Beryl) in all other sockets.

Slot Enchantment
Rings
Weapon

5.2. Critical Strike

You should use Kraken's Eye of Intellect Icon Kraken's Eye of Intellect in one socket, and Deadly Amberblaze Icon Deadly Amberblaze (or the cheaper Deadly Solstone Icon Deadly Solstone) in all other sockets.

Slot Enchantment
Rings
Weapon

6. Regular and PvP Talent Builds

Elemental Shaman are mainly a burst caster, with average general pressure. Their main source of damage is Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock, and with stacking Lava Shock Icon Lava Shock Azerite traits this can be very high burst in a small window of time. There is one viable Arena PvP build which has small variations depending on your arena team's composition, as well as the opposing team's composition.

The talent and PvP talent combination focuses on maximizing Maelstrom generation through Lava Burst Icon Lava Bursts and Pets, and maximizing Earth Shock's damage and stuns.

6.1. Regular Talents for Elemental Shaman

Level Choices
15 Exposed Elements Exposed Elements Echo of the Elements Echo of the Elements Elemental Blast Elemental Blast
30 Aftershock Aftershock Master of the Elements Master of the Elements Totem Mastery Totem Mastery
45 Spirit Wolf ? Spirit Wolf Earth Shield Earth Shield Static Charge Static Charge
60 High Voltage High Voltage Storm Elemental Storm Elemental Liquid Magma Totem Liquid Magma Totem
75 Nature's Guardian Nature's Guardian Ancestral Guidance Ancestral Guidance Wind Rush Totem Wind Rush Totem
90 Earthen Rage Earthen Rage Primal Elementalist Primal Elementalist Icefury Icefury
100 Unlimited Power Unlimited Power Stormkeeper Stormkeeper Ascendance Ascendance

While the above table provides a generally accurate overview of the viability of talents, some finer points are discussed in the sections that follow, and we recommend you read those for a deeper understanding.

6.1.1. Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents

Exposed Elements Icon Exposed Elements is currently very weak, along with the low damage from Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt, does not make this viable.

Echo of the Elements Icon Echo of the Elements is the best overall talent in this tier.

Elemental Blast is not viable for PvP currently due to the ability being affected by critical strike chance, and if interrupted the player is locked out of all schools of magic and cannot cast any ability. Overall, Echo of the Elements Icon Echo of the Elements is significantly better.

6.1.2. Tier 2 (Level 30) Talents

Aftershock Icon Aftershock if you are lucky with the procs, you can land multiple Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock stuns through Earthfury Icon Earthfury, and significant burst damage. Since Earth Shock is our highest damaging ability, even without Lava Shock Icon Lava Shock stacks, having another Earth Shock to cast for free can lead to scoring a kill.

Master of the Elements Icon Master of the Elements, this talent can be selected, particularly in battlegrounds if you are trying to achieve the highest possible single Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock possible. Weaving Lava Burst Icon Lava Bursts to give the +20% damage on up to 2 Earth Shocks in a burst window. Though this talent is often not taken, as Maelstrom generation is challenging for Elemental Shaman, and both Aftershock Icon Aftershock and Totem Mastery Icon Totem Mastery provide Maelstrom generation or refunding, which is needed for additional Earth Shocks. This talent is generally not taken in arena games.

Totem Mastery Icon Totem Mastery is the safest option of this tier to increase the Elemental Shaman's damage throughout the PvP arena or battleground. The Maelstrom generation and haste are particularly useful. Taking Totem Mastery does lack the kill potential from Aftershock Icon Aftershock and additional disruption caused from additional Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock stuns through Earthfury Icon Earthfury.

6.1.3. Tier 3 (Level 45) Talents

  • Spirit Wolf Icon 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 Icon Ghost Wolf.
  • Earth Shield Icon 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 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.

Spirit Wolf Icon Spirit Wolf the main value coming from this talent is the mobility. Against arena teams which you know will consistently pressure you, take this talent to help with mobility and kiting. This along with the Pack Spirit Icon Pack Spirit Azerite trait and Spectral Recovery Icon Spectral Recovery can leave you confidently running away from the enemy taking little damage. This is a defensive choice, and while in ghost wolf you are not putting pressure up which will quickly put your team behind if you kite for too long.

Earth Shield Icon Earth Shield is the best option on this tier as this spell can be purged or dispelled off of you, but cannot be spell stolen by mages. This talent provides significant passive healing when hit as well as providing additional healing to the earth shielded target from the Elemental Shaman.

Static Charge Icon Static Charge can be useful in rated battlegrounds, though the defensive alternatives on this tier are usually preferred given the focus of Elemental Shamans in battlegrounds. For arena this talent is not useful due to the lack of number of targets and the 3-second stun duration which is underwhelming.

6.1.4. Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents

High Voltage Icon High Voltage is the choice talent for this tier. This provides potential additional Maelstrom, and leaves the Elemental Shaman with Fire Elemental Icon Fire Elemental still available.

Storm Elemental Icon Storm Elemental is not the preferred option of this tier mainly since Storm Elemental does not provide additional Maelstrom, this comes from the Fire Elemental Icon Fire Elemental. This allows for more Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock which is currently the main damaging ability for Elemental Shaman. Fire Elemental also has Meteor Icon Meteor, which is an on use ability which does between 8-12000 damage, further enhancing Elemental's burst damage.

Liquid Magma Totem Icon Liquid Magma Totem is not a viable option for arena game-play due to the uncontrollable area-of-effect damage which could break crowd control. Though this talent could be viable for heavy team fight battlegrounds like Battle for Gilneas, Warsong Gulch, or Twin Peaks.

6.1.5. Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents

  • Nature's Guardian Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon Nature's Guardian is the default pick, as it provides significant healing even when in a stun, acting as another defensive.

Ancestral Guidance Icon Ancestral Guidance can potentially be useful if the Elemental Shaman is not being focused in arena and needs to have another tool to heal his teammates. Using this talent and bursting will provide healing to your teammates which could save them, even when you are out of mana. This is also viable for Battleground to support the healing of your team when you are not being focused.

Wind Rush Totem Icon Wind Rush Totem is not viable for Elemental Shaman in PvP, mainly due to the short duration and 2-minute cooldown.

6.1.6. Tier 6 (Level 90) Talents

  • Earthen Rage Icon Earthen Rage causes your most recently attacked target to take damage over 6 seconds.
  • Primal Elementalist Icon Primal Elementalist grants your elementals 80% increased damage, new abilities, and the ability to control them directly. Notably, this talent grants your Earth Elemental Icon Earth Elemental the ability to cast Harden Skin Icon Harden Skin, reducing your and the Elemental Shaman's damage taken by 40% for 10 seconds. It also grants new damage abilities to your other elemental pets.
  • Icefury Icon Icefuryhurls frigid ice at the target, dealing high damage and causing your next 4 Frost Shock Icon Frost Shock to deal 100% increased damage. It generates 15 Maelstrom, has a 2-second cast time and a 30-second cooldown.

Earthen Rage Icon Earthen Rage is not viable for Arena due to the lack of control of the damage. The damage provided is significantly lower than the damage from the pet abilities, even in battlegrounds.

Primal Elementalist Icon Primal Elementalist is currently the best option on this tier. Mainly due to the additional abilities of the elemental pets. Fire Elemental Icon Fire Elemental having a burst damage ability,Storm Elemental Icon Storm Elemental having a burst ability, and Earth Elemental Icon Earth Elemental having a 4-second stun and significant defensive cooldown for the Elemental Shaman.

Icefury Icon Icefury is currently too weak to be considered.

6.1.7. Tier 7 (Level 100) Talents

  • Unlimited Power Icon 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 Icon Stormkeeper has a 1.5-second cast time and causes your next 2 Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt or Chain Lightning Icon Chain Lightning to be instant cast and trigger an additional Elemental Overload on every target hit. It also affects Lava Beam Icon Lava Beam.
  • Ascendance Icon Ascendance transforms you for 15 seconds, removing the cooldown from Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst and transforming Chain Lightning Icon Chain Lightning into Lava Beam Icon 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 Icon Unlimited Power requires significant casting and uptime to build stacks, since the buff only lasts for 10 seconds. Due to this, and the fact our main damage is coming from Earth Shock makes this talent not viable for PvP.

Stormkeeper Icon Stormkeeper is the preferred talent, being a significantly good Maelstrom generator for the Elemental Shaman. The damage is not very significant, but the Maelstrom generation is. This should ideally be used when you can hit between 3 and 5 targets with Chain Lightning Icon Chain Lightning to maximize Maelstorm generation.

Ascendance Icon Ascendance is not viable in the current state of Elemental Shaman in PvP. There may be certain circumstances you could take this into battlegrounds if you are not being targeted. The short duration and clear animation make it generally easy to counter with a single interrupt or stun.

6.2. PvP Talents for Elemental Shaman

Generally you want to play Gladiator's Medallion Icon Gladiator's Medallion especially if the other team has a stun.

  • Elemental Attunement Icon Elemental Attunement should almost always be taken. This talent allows the Elemental Shaman to store up to 150 Maelstrom. This is extremely valuable since our main damage is Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock which costs 60 Maelstrom.
  • Control of Lava Icon Control of Lava is not viable. This is due to the 6-second cooldown on Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock, and the lack of mobility while taking this talent.
  • Earthfury Icon Earthfury. This is taken in almost all circumstances, due to the disruption caused by this talent. This 2-second stun does not have any diminishing returns. This works well with Aftershock Icon Aftershock and Elemental Attunement Icon Elemental Attunement for back to back 2-second stuns.
  • Traveling Storms Icon Traveling Storms. This is not taken in any circumstance in arena as there are better selections to increase pressure on the other team. This can be taken in Eye of the Storm battleground if you will be sitting in the middle defending the flag and want to knock off opponents.
  • Lightning Lasso Icon Lightning Lasso. This can be used against certain compositions where you need to peel for your team very hard, or keep a target in line of sight for your caster teammate. The talent's damage is insignificant, but the 6-second stun can be useful to kite or stop incoming damage. This can be used while in Ghost Wolf Icon Ghost Wolf, and while moving. This can be dispelled by the other team's healers, or the channel can be interrupted. This ability does contribute to the stun diminishing return.
  • Skyfury Totem Icon Skyfury Totem is a good offensive talent. This talent increases the critical damage by 20% of only spell casts or heals. This is highly dependent on how often your spells critically hit. This option can be used to help amplify your large Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock critical hits, but can be unreliable.
  • Purifying Waters Icon Purifying Waters is not viable. This heal is not significant enough to take over other more offensive talents.
  • Grounding Totem Icon Grounding Totem is very good selection against caster or hunter teams. This can stop crowd-control from the enemy team, as well as stop large damaging spell casts from casters.
  • Swelling Waves Icon Swelling Waves is a great defensive pick if you expect to be targeted. Since this talent only effects the heals you use on yourself this talent is very situational. If you are against a class you know you will not be able to kite using Frost Shock Icon Frost Shock or Ghost Wolf Icon Ghost Wolf, like Demon Hunters or Windwalker Monks, then this is a good option to be able to self-heal to help during stuns on your healers or stay self-sufficient.
  • Spectral Recovery Icon Spectral Recovery can be useful. This can be a strong talent as provides healing while in Ghost Wolf Icon Ghost Wolf, but also raises the ghost wolf speed to 110% of movement speed even when slows are applied. This can be taken if you know you are against heavy melee teams and know you will need to kite for a considerable portion of the match. This can also be useful in battlegrounds for more mobility works well with Spirit Wolf Icon Spirit Wolf for mobility and defensives.
  • Counterstrike Totem Icon Counterstrike Totem is a situational talent. This can be useful as a small peel for your teammates or as a surprise against enemies in arena. In battlegrounds this can be used as considerable damage option, but will not lead to kills. Generally teams are aware of this Shaman ability to use this totem and will stop attacking once it is on the ground.

7. Elemental Shaman PvP Rotation

Elemental Shaman are dependent on Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock damage to kill their opponents, which requires Maelstrom. Elemental Shaman will either be one of three states during PvP:

  1. Building up Maelstrom and Lava Shock Icon Lava Shock stacks by using moderate to low damaging abilities.
  2. Dealing large amounts of damage by spending Maelstrom and Lava Shock Icon Lava Shock stacks.
  3. Playing defensively.

7.1. Sustained Damage

Building up Maelstorm and Lava Shock stacks is done using moderate to low damage abilities. The objective of this is to maximize your Maelstrom bar, which goes to 150 with the Elemental Attunement Icon Elemental Attunement PvP talent.

  1. Maintain Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock on 3 enemies on cooldown (including pets).
    • This generates the maximum amount of Lava Surge Icon Lava Surge procs, providing maximum Maelstrom generation.
  2. Use Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst if you have a Lava Surge Icon Lava Surge proc.
  3. Cast Stormkeeper Icon Stormkeeper to generate maximum Maelstrom.
    • If there are 3 to 5 enemies (including pets) grouped close together use Chain Lightning Icon Chain Lightning.
    • If there are 1 to 2 enemies close together use Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt.
  4. Cast Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst.
  5. Use Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt if single target or Chain Lightning Icon Chain Lightning if 2 or more targets are close to each other (including pets).

7.2. Burst Damage

Spending Maelstrom to deal massive damage requires you to have maximum 20-stacks of Lava Shock Icon Lava Shock, and a full bar of Maelstrom. When this burst damage is combined with other casters you can potentially one shot opponents if they do not use a cooldown.

  1. Use Fire Elemental Icon Fire Elemental or Storm Elemental Icon Storm Elemental.
  2. Use Skyfury Totem Icon Skyfury Totem if you have selected it.
  3. Use Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst, if you have Master of the Elements Icon Master of the Elements talented.
  4. Within the same Global Cooldown:
  5. Use Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst, only if you have Master of the Elements Icon Master of the Elements talented, or are at 90 Maelstrom.
  6. Use Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock without Lava Shock Icon Lava Shock stacks, until you are below 60 Maelstrom.

If you talented Aftershock Icon Aftershock, and Maelstrom is refunded while you are at 90 Maelstrom you can use a Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst or Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt to get above 100 Maelstrom before casting Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock again.

7.3. Playing Defensively

7.3.1. Healing or Crowd-Controlling the Opposing Team

Healing Surge Icon Healing Surge is a spammable heal, which provides significant side-healing. This should be used if your healer is stunned or crowd-controlled.

Hex Icon Hex is a curse 7-second crowd-control which can be broken by damage. In general you do not want to damage a target that has been hexed. That player does still have control of their character to move out of line of sight. This is best used on the enemy team when their have used an offensive or defensive cooldown, or the healer as part of a crowd-control chain.

Earthbind Totem Icon Earthbind Totem this is a placed totem which slows any enemies within the radius. This totem is incredibly useful and should be used on cooldown. This helps you team's positioning. This totem can also help you land Capacitor Totem Icon Capacitor Totem.

Thunderstorm Icon Thunderstorm knocks back all enemies around the Elemental Shaman as long as they are not rooted or have an immunity to knock-backs or magic effects active like Anti-Magic Shell Icon Anti-Magic Shell from Death Knights. This is incredibly useful and can be used to save your teammates on arena maps with ledges, Dalaran Sewers and Blades Edge Arena. This is also a great ability for battlegrounds in Eye of the Storm or certain areas of Twin Peaks and Arathi Basin, which can kill the enemies from fall damage in these cases.

Purge Icon Purge can be used defensively to purge off your opponents offensive cooldowns or Mana back cooldowns which are purgeable. One very important use is during a Priest's Mind Control Icon Mind Control of your teammate. When a Priest does this it is better to use purge on your Mind Controlled teammate, and not use your Wind Shear interrupt. This is because Purge has no cooldown, while Wind Shear is on a 12-second cooldown.

7.3.2. Defensives Abilities

Astral Shift Icon Astral Shift this is the main defensive for Elemental Shaman which is on a 1.5 minute cooldown. This ability decreases damage taken by 40% for 8 seconds and is not usable while stunned. It is best to communicate with your healer and use this cooldown at high health when your opponents are using their offensive cooldowns and your healer needs help keeping you alive.

Harden Skin Icon Harden Skin is a 40% reduced damage with a 10 second duration.This is a stronger defensive cooldown than even Astral Shift Icon Astral Shift due to the longer duration, though the 5-minute cooldown means this will likely only be available once per arena. This ability can only be cast on the Elemental Shaman, though it can be cast on the Elemental Shaman while stunned, as long as the earth elemental is not stunned. The main way to use this ability is through a macro "/cast Harden Skin".

Ghost Wolf Icon Ghost Wolf is an underrated ability; it allows the Shaman to stay at 100% movement speed with any slowing debuff active. This can further be enhanced to 110% base speed using the Spectral Recovery Icon Spectral Recovery PvP talent. This is the way Elemental Shaman can kite melee opponents and stay very mobile. If you are moving beyond a very short distance, ghost wolf is worth the global cooldown it incurs. Ghost wolf can be purged, which is one of the reasons why the Spirit Wolf Icon Spirit Wolf talent is not as good as it could be.

8. Racial Bonuses for Elemental Shaman

Racial bonuses can provide interesting PvP benefits. Here are the best races to choose for each faction.

8.1. Horde

In this section, we list the Horde races in rough order of strength.

8.1.1. Orc

Orc is the best race for Elemental Shaman, thanks to the passive Orcs have (Hardiness Icon Hardiness), which reduces all stuns and greatly improves survivability.

  • Blood Fury Icon Blood Fury provides on-use damage, is off the global cooldown, and allows for increased burst.
  • Hardiness Icon Hardiness' reduction of stuns is one of the best racials for Elemental Shaman, because stuns lock us in place and do not allow us to kite or stay mobile. Against Rogues, Retribution Paladins, Warriors, Monks, this is a huge benefit to keep us alive.
  • Command Icon Command increases damage of pets by 1%, and is a good damage increase for our burst which currently includes the pet damage.

8.1.2. Pandaren

  • Quaking Palm Icon Quaking Palm is a great 4-second incapacitate crowd-control on a 2-minute cooldown which can be extremely useful against melee that may be focusing you, or even used as another interrupt for casters or healers. This does share diminishing returns with your Hex Icon Hex ability.
  • Pandaren are the only race to be able to use consumables in Arena PvP, or Rated Battlegrounds. They are allowed to eat a specific food providing 144 Versatility, since Pandaren receive two times the benefit from Epicurean Icon Epicurean. This food, Pre-Mixed Pot of Noodles Icon Pre-Mixed Pot of Noodles, can be found in Ashran, Warspear, or Stormshield (Warlords of Draenor areas).

8.1.3. Goblin

  • Rocket Jump Icon Rocket Jump provides significant mobility that can help further enhance Elemental Shaman's mobility. This ability can be used while in Ghost Wolf Icon Ghost Wolf form as well, not pulling us out. This can allow for getting out of trouble, and also to chase and score a kill.
  • Rocket Barrage Icon Rocket Barrage deals damage, though it puts Rocket Jump Icon Rocket Jump on cooldown. We strongly recommend holding the 90-second cooldown for Rocket Jump instead.
  • The Haste buff from Time is Money Icon Time is Money is good for overall damage as well.

8.1.4. Highmountain Tauren

  • Bull Rush Icon Bull Rush can be useful for mobility and a stun on a 2-minute cooldown. This will contribute to the stun diminishing return but could be helpful when kiting or playing against teams where you want one more interrupt. Only downside of this ability is that it is on the global cooldown and is a fixed animation, meaning once you start you will have to finish the 1-second charge.
  • Highmountain Tauren have defensive racials for Elemental Shaman, though they are slight with the 1% Versatility for damage reduction, and Rugged Tenacity Icon Rugged Tenacity which reduces a flat amount of damage taken.

8.1.5. Tauren

  • Brawn Icon Brawn increases Critical Strike damage by 2% and is useful mainly with Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst, since this always critically strikes when Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock is on the target.
  • War Stomp Icon War Stomp is an area-of-effect 2-second stun which is off the global cooldown. This is a shorter cooldown than the Highmountain charge, and is also off the global cooldown making it the superior choice.

8.1.6. Troll

  • Berserking Icon Berserking provides significant Haste, but overall Haste is more significant for Elemental Shaman than burst Haste. Since we are mainly looking for Critical Strike in our burst windows, this is not very significant in PvP.
  • Health regeneration from Regeneration Icon Regeneration and reduced movement impairing effects by 20% from Da Voodoo Shuffle Icon Da Voodoo Shuffle could be useful but are not significant currently.

8.1.7. Mag'har Orc

  • Their racial, Ancestral Call Icon Ancestral Call is a random secondary stat which is not reliable or as significant as damage racials. The decreased duration of poisons, diseases, and curses by 10% is not significant enough to take.

8.2. Alliance

8.2.1. Dark Iron Dwarf

  • Fireblood Icon Fireblood is a great defensive ability for clearing all poison, disease, curse, magic, and bleed effects especially given Elemental Shaman's weakness to Rogues. This racial also provides a significant amount of primary stat which can be used within Elemental Shaman's short yet significant burst windows.
  • Forged in Flames Icon Forged in Flames is not very significant since even most melee have abilities which are not physical.

8.2.2. Dwarf

  • Stoneform Icon Stoneform provides a cleanse of all poison, disease, curse, magic, and bleed effects and a good defensive against physical damage. Though even most physical-focused classes have abilities which do not deal physical damage. This is less useful than the Dark Iron Dwarf variety.
  • The increased critical strike damage by 2% is useful mainly with Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst since this always critically strikes when Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock is on the target.

8.2.3. Draenei

  • Gift of the Naaru Icon Gift of the Naaru can further contribute to the great hybrid healing ability of an Elemental Shaman, though on a 3-minute cooldown.

9. Best Team Compositions for Elemental Shamans

Now that you have the correct talents and understand your damage rotation, it is time to step into the arena with your team. Elemental Shamans have multiple burst cooldowns with unrelenting sustained damage. In addition to great damage, they are also very difficult to kill.

9.1. 2v2 Arena

Elemental Shaman are currently very challenging to play in the current meta due to the reliance on the large Earth Shock Icon Earth Shocks, the slow pace of 2v2 Arena. Elemental Shaman is one of the most challenging classes to play in 2v2 Arena right now.

The general strategy is to kite the enemy team taking minimal damage, while storing up 20 Lava Shock Icon Lava Shock stacks and full Maelstrom, and then going through the burst rotation. Repeating this will eventually lead to a win.

Here is a list of the best team compositions for 2v2:

  • Elemental Shaman + Mistweaver Monk
  • Elemental Shaman + Restoration Druid
  • Elemental Shaman + Discipline Priest
  • Elemental Shaman + Outlaw or Assassin Rogue

9.2. 3v3 Arena

Elemental Shaman's role in 3v3 Arena is to build up your Maelstrom through Lava Surge Icon Lava Surge procs from Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock, and get to 20 stacks of Lava Shock Icon Lava Shock. While doing this, provide utility to your team of interrupting the enemy with Wind Shear Icon Wind Shear, and using your totems to stop the enemy team from crowd-control, through using Grounding Totem Icon Grounding Totem and Tremor Totem Icon Tremor Totem. Then lining up burst damage with your team with your high damage Earth Shock Icon Earth Shocks.

Here is a list of the best team compositions for 3v3:

  • Elemental Shaman + Fire Mage + Restoration Shaman / Holy Paladin
  • Elemental Shaman + Demon Hunter + Discipline Priest
  • Elemental Shaman + Balance Druid + Discipline Priest / Restoration Shaman / Holy Paladin
  • Elemental Shaman + Arms Warrior + Restoration Druid
  • Elemental Shaman + Assassination / Outlaw Rogue + Discipline Priest

10. Useful Elemental Shaman Macros

10.1. Arena Targeting

This macro allows you to target each of the enemy team players without clicking with your mouse. This is a more efficient method of changing targets. You should replace "arena1" with "arena2" and "arena3" for subsequent macros.

  • /target arena1

10.2. Arena Target Interrupts

This macro will use your Wind Shear Icon Wind Shear interrupt on the specific enemy team player without changing targets. Again, replace "arena1" with the desired enemy.

  • /cast [target=arena1] Wind Shear

10.3. Targeting Teammates and Self

As following macro works like the enemy targeting macros above. To target yourself, replace "party1" with "player".

  • /target party1

10.4. Cursor Macros

Cursor macros reduce the number of times you have to press a key or mouse click by casting the specific spell or placing the totem where your cursor is pointed with a single press of the macro. This applies to only 3 abilities for an Elemental Shaman: Earthbind Totem Icon Earthbind Totem, Earthquake Icon Earthquake, and Capacitor Totem Icon Capacitor Totem.

  • /cast [@cursor] Earthbind Totem

10.5. Focus Cast Macros

Setting and monitoring your focus target is critical to being aware of when crowd control is coming and when cooldowns are being used. In response, the following macro uses your abilities on the set focus target instead of on the active target of the player. Replace Wind Shear Icon Wind Shear with Hex Icon Hex, Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock, or Purge Icon Purge.

  • /cast [target=focus] Wind Shear

10.6. Cleanse

This is one of the most important macros, as this will instantly dispel your friends from Curses, without having to switch targets.

  • /cast [target=PLAYERNAME] Cleanse Spirit

Alternatively, you can make the macro target the generic party members, as used in earlier friendly team targeting macros.

  • /cast [target=party1] Cleanse Spirit

10.7. Earth Shield Friend Macro

If you select the Earth Shield Icon Earth Shield talent, you want a way to easily apply this ability to your teammates without having to switch targets or click their nameplates. The below options for this macro should allow you to maintain a high uptime on Earth Shield and maximize one of the best Elemental Shaman utilities for their team.

  • /cast [target=PLAYERNAME] Earth Shield

Alternatively, you can make the macro target the generic party members, as used in earlier friendly team targeting macros.

  • /cast [target=party1] Earth Shield

10.8. Purge Friendly Target Macro

This is one of the most important macros, as this will help free your teammates from Mind Control Icon Mind Control instantly without switching targets and is a must.

  • /cast [target=PLAYERNAME] Purge

Alternatively, you can make the macro target the generic party members, as used in earlier friendly team targeting macros.

  • /cast [target=party1] Purge

10.9. Healing Teammates

This is for healing teammates without having to switch targets. We use macros for targets specifically by their name to make sure we heal the correct target without a doubt. This approach is more precise but takes time to maintain the macro if you play with various players.

  • /cast [target=PLAYERNAME] Healing Surge

Alternatively, you can make the macro target the generic party members, as used in earlier friendly team targeting macros.

  • /cast [target=party1] Healing Surge

10.10. Earth Elemental Special Defensive Ability

This is a significant defensive cooldown which provides the Elemental Shaman with 40% reduced damage taken. You will need to press this macro twice to make the special effect work. The first press summons the elemental, the second press will use the ability on the Elemental Shaman.

  • /cast Earth Elemental
  • /cast [talent:6/2] Harden Skin

10.11. Fire or Storm Elemental Special Offensive Ability

This is a significant offensive cooldown which should be integrated into the optimal burst for the Elemental Shaman. You will need to press this macro twice to make the special effect work. First press summons the elemental, the second press will use the ability on the Elemental Shaman.

  • /cast Fire Elemental
  • /cast Storm Elemental
  • /cast Call Lightning
  • /cast [talent:6/2] Eye of the Storm
  • /cast [talent:6/2] Meteor

11. Elemental Shaman Addons

11.1. Arena Addons

Gladius / Sarena provide most of the necessary information needed to track health, use of trinkets, dispels, and tracking diminishing returns of the different schools of crowd-control.

Omnibar is critical for arenas, as it will tell you when interrupts and major offensive and defensive cooldowns are coming available for the opposing team to use. This addon requires you to set each of the abilities you would like to track, which means you can define if you want to track more or fewer. We would recommend tracking the least amount of abilities as you can. We would also recommend to disable this when going into battlegrounds as it tracks the cooldowns from the entire other team, meaning 10 to 40 people which lists too many abilities.

Quartz (or alternative custom castbar addon) allows you to re-size or re-position your player, target, and focus casting bars and can help you more easily see when the enemy team is casting to be able to interrupt.

11.2. Battlegrounds Addons

BattleGroundEnemies provides the list of enemy team members, their trinket status, death timers, and other information easily available on your screen. This allows players to easily target enemies, as well as identify healers. This allows players to see where around the map enemies are by selecting them with enemy nameplates turned on (default keybind to turn this on is ALT + V).

H.H.T.D (Healers Have To Die puts a plus sign icon about the head of the healers of the opposing team. This can be particularly useful in battlegrounds, when there are many enemies and you want to be able to identify the healer from the group.

We review these and some of my other addons in a video we have put together, including how to configure and set these up, here.

12. Tips and Tricks

Like most things in PvP, these are general rules of thumb. If there are kill opportunities if you ignore these advice then definitely go for the kill to win the match.

  • Learn when to kite targets and when to stand still and cast. Elemental Shaman is very good at kiting with Ghost Wolf Icon Ghost Wolf and slows. This sometimes leads to players kiting too much, or too little. The following can be used as general guidance for kiting and slowing enemies in 3v3 arena:
    • Against a Melee team, if the Melee opponents are focusing you, then you can and should spam them with slows from Frost Shock Icon Frost Shock and Earthbind Totem Icon Earthbind Totem and kite them to reduce the damage you take from them. You want to come out of Ghost Wolf Icon Ghost Wolf to cast Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock, Earthbind Totem, Frost Shock, Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock, or use an instant cast Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst, otherwise keep kiting. You should stop and cast only when you are far enough to take minimal melee damage.
    • If the Melee opponents are focusing your teammates, then as a first priority keep them Frost Shocked or under the effects of Earthbind Totem Icon Earthbind Totem. This will considerably help your team kite and also decrease enemy damage. This also means you should not be moving much and casting your damaging rotation to maximize your pressure while your team is being focused. If your team communicates they need harder peels, you should crowd control with Capacitor Totem Icon Capacitor Totem or Hex Icon Hex to peel DPS off your team.
  • Maximize Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock on targets. Over the course of an arena or battleground, Flame Shock will most likely be your highest damaging ability. Flame Shock will also provide the instant cast Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst proc, which is one of our main Maelstrom generators. Flame Shock has a 6-second cooldown and 18-second duration meaning there can be maximum of 3 on enemies at a time. Due to these factors, it is critical to use Flame Shock on cooldown on any available target. This includes any enemy team member, which is not in a damage-breaking crowd-control (Sap Icon Sap, Polymorph Icon Polymorph, Blind Icon Blind, Gouge Icon Gouge, to name a few). This also includes putting Flame Shock on enemy pets, which can be an easy way to maintain up to 3 Flame Shocks for maximum damage and procs.
  • Side-healing with Healing Surge Icon Healing Surge to help healers. Elemental Shaman have some of the best hybrid healing in the game. In arena if your healer is stunned or crowd-controlled, side healing can often be the difference between life and death for your teammate. If you find yourself not knowing what to cast next, using a heal can never hurt. We recommend using specific targeting healing macros which are detailed in the macro section.
  • Using Earthbind Totem Icon Earthbind Totem on cooldown. This totem provides an area-of-effect slow, which can be extremely helpful to your team's ability to move away or slow enemies. Earthbind Totem should be used using a cursor macro, and places around the enemy team, or around a pillar where your healer may be kiting.
  • If using Primal Elementalist Icon Primal Elementalist use the Fire, Storm, Earth-empowered skills, These abilities have to be used within a macro to be able to be used appropriately. Each of your pets have significant offensive and defensive abilities, and you need to use each during each arena match or battleground.

13. Frequently Asked Questions

13.1. What is Happening to Elemental Shaman in 8.1?

Blizzard is revising the Elemental Shaman talents during the 8.1 patch which will be adding in significantly different talents. This is being viewed as a buff to Elemental Shaman damage, specifically with the planned Stormkeeper buff, giving Elemental Shaman another way to do large amounts of burst damage besides Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock. What is currently being developed is subject to change and the release date will be announced by Blizzard themselves.

13.2. What are the Stat Priorities for Elemental Shaman?

Check the Stat priority section of the guide.

14. Changelog

  • 20 Nov. 2018: Updated the guide to correctly reference the Lava Shock Azerite Trait and not the ability (when appropriate).
  • 14 Nov. 2018: Updated guide for Battle for Azeroth 8.0.1, changed Authors.
  • 23 May 2018: Added an Arena Compositions section.
  • 07 Apr. 2018: Made several updates to the guide and its structure.
    • Added sections for Macros, Strengths, and Weaknesses.
    • Moved Gear, Artifact Traits, and Relics sections to the end, since they are not that important.
  • 20 Feb. 2018: No major changes needed for patch 7.3.5.
  • 16 Dec. 2017: No major changes needed for patch 7.3.2. Changed recommended tier 4 honor talents.
  • 23 Sep. 2017: Few changes needed for Patch 7.3
    • Removed Artifact Trait descriptions.
    • Updated burst damage rotation.
  • 01 Jul. 2017: Updated recommended Tier 5 honor talent.
  • 01 Jun. 2017: Elemental Shaman PvP Guide was created.
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