Elemental Shaman PvP Rotation and Playstyle (Shadowlands / 9.1)
PvP requires you to perform various actions in the course of a duel, match, or battleground: interrupting/silencing enemies, damaging them, bursting them down, defending yourself, keeping yourself alive, etc.. It is a game mode that fully utilises your kit, especially spells that are rarely used in PvE. On this page, we go through all the spells you need to use in PvP as a Elemental Shaman, how you should use them, and we explain what your playstyle should be.
This page is part of our Elemental Shaman PvP Guide.
Playstyle for Elemental Shaman
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:
- Sustaining damage and generating Maelstrom.
- Dealing large amounts of damage by using Echoing Shock, Earth Shock, and using Stormkeeper-empowered Lightning Bolts.
- Playing defensively.
This is done through spreading damage and disrupting the enemey team.
- Maintain Flame Shock on up to 4 enemies on cooldown (including pets), using Primordial Wave to help spread Flame Shocks.
- Use Lava Burst if you have a Lava Surge proc, on a target with Flame Shock active to guarantee a critical strike.
- Cast Lava Burst.
- Cast Lightning Lasso on kill target, while avoiding being interrupted by being max range or move behind a pillar while channeling.
- Cast Lightning Bolt if single target or Chain Lightning if 2 or more targets are close to each other (including pets), to generate Maelstrom.
Burst Damage with Surge of Power or Primal Elementalist
The burst is some of the highest in the game at this point.
- Ensure Flame Shock is on your kill target and as many other enemy team members as possible.
- Ensure you have 60 Maelstrom to be able to use Earth Shock.
- Use Fire Elemental.
- Cast Stormkeeper.
- Use Skyfury Totem.
- Use Primordial Wave to spread another Flame Shock and activate the buff from the Covenant ability.
- Use Lava Burst to empower you with Master of the Elements.
- Use Echoing Shock on any target to activate the buff (and the Elemental Equilibrium legendary effect if equipped).
- Use Earth Shock and Meteor; since Meteor is off of the global cooldown it can be pressed while pressing Earth Shock if you have Primal Elementalist selected.
- Use Lightning Bolt, with Stormkeeper buff.
- Use Lightning Bolt, with Stormkeeper buff.
- Use Lava Burst if you have a Lava Surge proc.
- Use Earth Shock, if you have sufficient Maelstrom.
Healing or Crowd-Controlling the Opposing Team
Healing Stream Totem should be used to provide low amounts of passive healing, or for the increased healing from Swirling Currents. Getting this buff along with the 20% benefit if Earth Shield is on the target will provide significant side healing.
Healing Surge is a spammable heal, which provides significant side-healing. This should be used if your healer is stunned or crowd-controlled.
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 is a placed totem which slows any enemies within the radius. This totem is incredibly useful and should be used on cooldown. This helps your team's positioning. This totem can also help you land Capacitor Totem.
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 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 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 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.
Astral Shift 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 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 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 talent is not as good as it could be.
Harden Skin is a 40% reduced damage with a 10 second duration, activated if taking the Primal Elementalist talent, from the Earth Elemental. This is a stronger defensive cooldown than even 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.
It is advised to use Macros to use abilities on enemies or allies without having to target them. For this reason, we have a page dedicated to them.
- 17 Jul. 2021: Removed optional rotation references.
- 04 Jul. 2021: Updated for Patch 9.1 of Shadowlands.
- 19 Mar. 2021: Updated based on Patch 9.0.5 for Shadowlands.
- 02 Dec. 2020: Updated in preparation for first PvP season of Shadowlands.
- 29 Nov. 2020: Removed Azerite mentions. There is a trait mention left to remove.
- 14 Oct. 2020: Updated for Shadowlands pre-patch.
- A New Tradition: Celebrate a Change of Seasons With a Tree Gathering
- Patch 9.1.5 Build 40290 Class Changes
- Burning Crusade Classic Hotfixes: September 23rd
- In Celebration Of Diablo 2: Resurrected, We're Discounting Our Premium Subscription
- Patch 9.1.5 PTR Notes: September 23rd
- Shadowlands 9.1 Season 2 Mythic+ DPS Log Rankings, Week 11
- Rogue Class Changes (Patch 9.1.5 Build 40290)
- Priest Class Changes (Patch 9.1.5 Build 40290)