Elemental Shaman PvP Guide in Battle for Azeroth (BfA 8.1.5)

Last updated on Jan 21, 2019 at 12:15 by Tiqqle 1 comment

This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to play in a PvP environment. The guide will cover everything from talent choices, PvP talents, gameplay and rotation, and useful racial bonuses. It is most applicable to Arena content, but most talents and racial bonuses will work in Rated Battlegrounds and skirmishes.

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

Elemental Shamans are one of the strongest casters right now. They are currently one of the highest bursting classes with multiple burst windows, along with strong crowd-control abilities. Elemental Shaman have become very viable in a variety of compositions after the Patch 8.1 rework. This is mainly due to Lightning Lasso Icon Lightning Lasso's buff, the new Surge of Power Icon Surge of Power talent, and Stormkeeper Icon Stormkeeper changes. Elemental Shaman are now much more viable in Rated Battlegrounds; with their overall damage increased in Patch 8.1, they bring the utility and kill potential a team needs.

1.1. Strengths of Elemental Shaman

1.2. Weaknesses of Elemental Shaman

  • Moderate to low damage outside of burst windows
  • When focused it is challenging to generate Maelstrom
  • 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 2x Natural Harmony Icon Natural Harmony Outer Ring traits, with 1x Igneous Potential Icon Igneous Potential.

2.2. Stat Priority

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

2.3. Talent Builds

2.3.1. PvE Talents

Level Choices
15 Earthen Rage ? Earthen Rage Echo of the Elements Echo of the Elements Elemental Blast Elemental Blast
30 Aftershock Aftershock Call the Thunder Call the Thunder Totem Mastery Totem Mastery
45 Spirit Wolf ? Spirit Wolf Earth Shield Earth Shield Static Charge Static Charge
60 Master of the Elements Master of the Elements 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 Surge of Power Surge of Power 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 enough Maelstrom to include 2 Earth Shock Icon Earth Shocks within the rotation. 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.
  3. Cast Stormkeeper Icon Stormkeeper.
  4. Use Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst to empower you with Master of the Elements Icon Master of the Elements.
  5. Use Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock to activate the Surge of Power Icon Surge of Power talent.
  6. Use Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt, with Stormkeeper Icon Stormkeeper buff, and use Eye of the Storm Icon Eye of the Storm if you have selected Storm Elemental Icon Storm Elemental.
  7. Use Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock to re-activate the Surge of Power Icon Surge of Power talent.
  8. Use Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt, with Stormkeeper Icon Stormkeeper buff.
  9. Use Lightning Lasso Icon Lightning Lasso.

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

If you take the Primal Elementalist Icon Primal Elementalist talent you will need the below macros to effectively use the full potential of your elemental pets.

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

Natural Harmony Icon Natural Harmony will increase all secondary stats while playing an Elemental Shaman in PvP. Specifically, Haste and Critical Strike will increase the consistent pressure the Elemental will be able to apply throughout the match.

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. 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.

Lava Shock Icon Lava Shock due to reductions in effectiveness in PvP, this trait is no longer worth stacking. It can be considered as a secondary choice if you do not have the above three. 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.

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 helps you have the highest chance at getting a Critical Strike during your burst.

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

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.

Impassive Visage Icon Impassive Visage provides consistent but small healing when you take damage. Most classes have damage over time abilities which can consistently activate this heal. In the current state of PvP, Elemental Shaman will often be targeted due to the high damage output. This is not the optimal trait but is better than other traits with no healing.

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

The weapon enchant should use Enchant Weapon - Torrent of Elements Icon Enchant Weapon - Torrent of Elements, for consistent pressure. 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 and using Stormkeeper Icon Stormkeeper empowered Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolts along with Surge of Power Icon Surge of Power.

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 using Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock to activate Surge of Power Icon Surge of Power and then using Stormkeeper Icon Stormkeeper, and Lightning Lasso Icon Lightning Lasso. This combination puts out some of the highest burst damage in the game right now. There are two viable Arena PvP builds which have 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 utility.

6.1. Regular Talents for Elemental Shaman

Level Choices
15 Earthen Rage ? Earthen Rage Echo of the Elements Echo of the Elements Elemental Blast Elemental Blast
30 Aftershock Aftershock Call the Thunder Call the Thunder Totem Mastery Totem Mastery
45 Spirit Wolf ? Spirit Wolf Earth Shield Earth Shield Static Charge Static Charge
60 Master of the Elements Master of the Elements 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 Surge of Power Surge of Power 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

  • Earthen Rage Icon Earthen Rage causes your most recently attacked target to take damage over 6 seconds.
  • Echo of the Elements Icon Echo of the Elements grants Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst 2 charges.
  • Elemental Blast Icon Elemental Blast deals good damage and increases either your Critical Strike, Haste, or Mastery by 366 for 10 seconds. It has a 2-second base cast time and a 12-second cooldown.

Earthen Rage Icon Earthen Rage provides consistent pressure and damage even when you are crowd-controlled or casting other abilities. This general pressure is the preference in this patch. With Icefury Icon Icefury now a viable choice, these talents can work together well to provide overall damage output.

Echo of the Elements Icon Echo of the Elements is not preferred due to the heavy casting meta of this season of PvP. This option should only be taken if Control of Lava Icon Control of Lava is selected.

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 provides the chance of refunding Maelstrom which could allow for multiple Earth Shock Icon Earth Shocks, if you are lucky, but this does not provide the highest burst damage for the Elemental Shaman. This talent should be taken when looking to maximize the utility of Surge of Power Icon Surge of Power for rooting enemy team members or spreading Flame Shock Icon Flame Shocks. This is currently not the preferred talent of this tier.

Call the Thunder Icon Call the Thunder is our preferred choice as it decreases the cost of Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock to 50 Maelstrom, and allows for pooling of Maelstrom even without the Elemental Attunement Icon Elemental Attunement PvP talent. This reduces the cost of our burst window by 20 Maelstrom which is significant. Since our burst window also provides Maelstrom, this likely will provide another Earth Shock as well.

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, increased Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock damage, and Haste are particularly useful. Taking Totem Mastery does mean to burst you need 20 more Maelstrom than if you had picked the Call the Thunder Icon Call the Thunder talent. The challenge with this talent is making sure you maintain the uptime of the totem buffs, and reset them when you move out of range. Totem Mastery should be selected if Control of Lava Icon Control of Lava is selected for more Haste.

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

  • Master of the Elements Icon Master of the Elements increases the damage of your next Nature or Frost spell by 20% after casting Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst.
  • Storm Elemental Icon Storm Elemental replaces Fire Elemental Icon Fire Elemental. It summons an elemental for 30 seconds that deals significant damage and reduces the cast time of and the global cooldown incurred by your Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning Icon Chain Lightning by 3% each time you cast either spell, up to 20 times. This has a 2.5-minute cooldown.
  • Liquid Magma Totem Icon 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.

Master of the Elements Icon Master of the Elements, this is always selected for PvP. With Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock now lasting 24-seconds, we can maintain 4 up at one time allowing for frequent procs. Using this talent along with Skyfury Totem Icon Skyfury Totem and stacking Critical Strike stat, significantly multiplies our damage, with Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock and Stormkeeper Icon Stormkeeper.

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 10,000-15,000 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

  • Surge of Power Icon Surge of Power causes Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock to enhance your next spell cast within 15 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 200% increased damage, and generate 8 Maelstrom. It generates 25 Maelstrom, has a 2-second cast time and a 30-second cooldown.

Surge of Power Icon Surge of Power is the default pick for Arena due to its huge burst potential when combined with Stormkeeper Icon Stormkeeper's 150% increased damage Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolts. Using this talent with the correct burst rotation will deal incredible single target damage.

Primal Elementalist Icon Primal Elementalist is not the default option, but can be selected against team compositions which have significant setup and burst, where you will be able to see the damage coming and use the Earth Elemental Icon Earth Elemental's Harden Skin Icon Harden Skin as another defensive ability to prolong your life and the match.

Icefury Icon Icefury is a viable option, especially paired with Earthen Rage Icon Earthen Rage. This should be taken for overall pressure instead of the burst damage from Surge of Power Icon Surge of Power. This also allows for mobility, as the empowered Frost Shock Icon Frost Shocks now provide 8 Maelstrom each, which allows for Maelstrom generation while moving. Icefury itself provides 25 base Maelstrom, and 37 total if it overloads. This allows for more Earth Shock Icon Earth Shocks more often. This is our favorite for battlegrounds, but not Arenas.

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 to deal 150% more damage, and also causes your next 2 Lightning Bolts or Chain Lightning Icon Chain Lightnings 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; this deals significant single target damage with the empowered Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolts, and should no longer be used to generate Maelstrom. Combining this burst with Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock with Lava Shock Icon Lava Shock and Surge of Power Icon Surge of Power deals incredible burst damage.

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.

  • Lightning Lasso Icon Lightning Lasso is the most important PvP talent. This currently does 48% of maximum health, as well as a 6-second stun which is not dispellable. This currently provides significant pressure, while crowd-controlling, and providing time for the Elemental Shaman to move away, or reposition.
  • Skyfury Totem Icon Skyfury Totem is a default pick. This talent increases the critical damage by 20% of only spell casts or heals. Although this is highly dependent on how often your spells critically hit, if a critical strike happens the damage is significantly higher due to the multipliers of Master of the Elements Icon Master of the Elements, and the combination of Surge of Power Icon Surge of Power and Stormkeeper Icon Stormkeeper.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Elemental Attunement Icon Elemental Attunement is not a necessary talent, as pooling Maelstrom does not provide for significant burst compared to Stormkeeper Icon Stormkeeper with Surge of Power Icon Surge of Power.
  • Traveling Storms Icon Traveling Storms 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.
  • Purifying Waters Icon Purifying Waters is not viable. This heal is not significant enough to take over other more offensive talents.
  • 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.
  • Control of Lava Icon Control of Lava is a viable selection if the enemy does not focus you and if there are 4 targets to maintain Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock on. This is primarily a Battleground selection but can be useful in Arena against 2-caster 3v3 teams. This talent will reduce your mobility significantly.

7. Elemental Shaman PvP Rotation

Elemental Shaman are dependent on combining the benefits of multiple talents to kill their opponents, which requires Maelstrom and preparation. Elemental Shaman will either be one of three states during PvP:

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

7.1. Sustained Damage

Building up Maelstrom 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 at least 80 with the Call the Thunder Icon Call the Thunder talent, or 100 with Totem Mastery Icon Totem Mastery talent..

  1. Maintain Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock on up to 4 enemies on cooldown (including pets).
  2. Use Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst if you have a Lava Surge Icon Lava Surge proc, on a target with Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock active to guarantee a critical strike.
  3. Cast Icefury Icon Icefury.
  4. Use Frost Shock Icon Frost Shock, if empowered by Icefury Icon Icefury.
  5. Cast Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst.
  6. Cast 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. Use Fire Elemental Icon Fire Elemental, if casting is too challenging.

7.2. Burst Damage with Surge of Power

The burst is some of the highest in the game at this point. Spending Maelstrom to deal massive damage requires you to have maximum 20-stacks of Lava Shock Icon Lava Shock, and at least a 80% full bar of Maelstrom. When this This combination 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.
  3. Cast Stormkeeper Icon Stormkeeper.
  4. Use Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst to empower you with Master of the Elements Icon Master of the Elements.
  5. Use Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock to activate the Surge of Power Icon Surge of Power talent.
  6. Use Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt, with Stormkeeper Icon Stormkeeper buff, and use Eye of the Storm Icon Eye of the Storm if you have selected Storm Elemental Icon Storm Elemental.
  7. Use Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock to re-activate the Surge of Power Icon Surge of Power talent.
  8. Use Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt, with Stormkeeper Icon Stormkeeper buff.
  9. Use Lightning Lasso Icon Lightning Lasso.
  10. Use Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock, if you have sufficient Maelstrom.

7.3. Burst Damage With Icefury

Taking Icefury Icon Icefury changes and decreases the burst window to be dependent on Master of the Elements Icon Master of the Elements instead of Surge of Power Icon Surge of Power. The conditions to burst are the same but require including Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst between the Stormkeeper Icon Stormkeeper's empowered Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolts.

  1. Use Fire Elemental Icon Fire Elemental or Storm Elemental Icon Storm Elemental.
  2. Use Skyfury Totem Icon Skyfury Totem.
  3. Cast Stormkeeper Icon Stormkeeper.
  4. Use Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock.
  5. Use Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst to empower you with Master of the Elements Icon Master of the Elements.
  6. Use Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt, with Stormkeeper Icon Stormkeeper buff, and use Eye of the Storm Icon Eye of the Storm if you have selected Storm Elemental Icon Storm Elemental.
  7. Use Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst to empower you with Master of the Elements Icon Master of the Elements.
  8. Use Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt, with Stormkeeper Icon Stormkeeper buff.
  9. Use Lightning Lasso Icon Lightning Lasso.
  10. Use Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock, if you have sufficient Maelstrom.

7.4. Playing Defensively

7.4.1. 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.

7.4.2. 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.

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.

Harden Skin Icon Harden Skin is a 40% reduced damage with a 10 second duration, activated if taking the Primal Elementalist Icon Primal Elementalist talent, from the Earth Elemental Icon Earth Elemental. 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 "/cast Harden Skin" macro.

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 one of the best casters for 2v2, due to its multiple burst windows, and Lightning Lasso Icon Lightning Lasso's crowd-control and damage.

The general strategy is to use crowd-control on the healer while using Lightning Lasso Icon Lightning Lasso on the DPS target to create significant pressure. Using the above burst rotation, into Lightning Lasso will force the enemy team to use cooldowns and eventually lead to a kill. Lightning Lasso Icon Lightning Lasso can also be used as a defensive cooldown, and help you kite and reposition.

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

  • Elemental Shaman + Mistweaver Monk
  • Elemental Shaman + Holy Paladin
  • Elemental Shaman + Restoration Druid
  • Elemental Shaman + Discipline Priest
  • Elemental Shaman + Outlaw or Assassin Rogue
  • Elemental Shaman + Fire Mage

9.2. 3v3 Arena

Elemental Shaman's role in 3v3 Arena is to line up crowd-control on the enemy team with the use of Lightning Lasso Icon Lightning Lasso. This provides pressure, and crowd-control on the kill target which cannot be dispelled. Elemental Shaman also have their burst through the use of Stormkeeper Icon Stormkeeper along with Surge of Power Icon Surge of Power to line up damage with their teammates. We also 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.

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

  • Elemental Shaman + Balance Druid + Any healer
  • Elemental Shaman + Any specialization Warlock + Holy Paladin
  • Elemental Shaman + Elemental Shaman + Any healer
  • Elemental Shaman + Windwalker Monk + Holy Paladin
  • Elemental Shaman + Fire Mage + Restoration Shaman / Holy Paladin
  • Elemental Shaman + Demon Hunter + Discipline Priest
  • Elemental Shaman + Shadow Priest + Resto Shaman
  • 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 your teammates insert "party1" or "party2", to target yourself, replace 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 can be integrated into your burst if using Primal Elementalist Icon Primal Elementalist. 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.

  • Elemental Shaman can crowd-control two targets on the enemy team at once by using Hex Icon Hex on one target, preferably one which has an interrupt, and casting Lightning Lasso Icon Lightning Lasso on the kill target. This single move repeated will score kills and setup your team to win Arena games.
  • 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 24-second duration meaning there can be maximum of 4 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 4 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 Happened to Elemental Shaman in 8.1?

Elemental Shaman received significant changes in 8.1. Specifically to the talents and PvP talents, which has helped increase Maelstrom generation and overall damage for the Elemental Shaman. It is recommended you review all the changes, though the guide here includes all changes related to PvP.

13.2. What are the Stat Priorities for Elemental Shaman?

Check the Stat priority section of the guide.

14. Changelog

  • 21 Jan. 2019: Updated the guide to align with Patch 8.1 PvP hotfixes, changes to Azerite traits, and stat priorities.
  • 17 Dec. 2018: Updated the guide for Patch 8.1, which included significant changes for Elemental Shaman.
  • 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.
Show more
Show less