Elemental Shaman PvP Talents and Builds (Shadowlands / 9.0.2)
Choosing the right PvP and PvE talents is a prerequisite to proper performance in PvP. This guide goes through the various talent choices available to you as a Elemental Shaman and gives you the best combinations you can take.
This page is part of our Elemental Shaman PvP Guide.
Talent Choices for Elemental Shamans
Elemental Shamans are mainly a burst caster, with above average sustained pressure. Their main source of damage is using Primordial Wave, Echoing Shock and Lava Burst, combined with Stormkeeper and Lightning Lasso. This combination puts out some of the highest burst damage in the game right now.
The talent and PvP talent combination focuses on maximizing the number of Lava Bursts, and maximizing defensives.
Regular Talents for Elemental Shaman
|15||✘ Earthen Rage||✔ Echo of the Elements||✘ Static Discharge|
|25||✘ Aftershock||✔ Echoing Shock||✘ Elemental Blast|
|30||? Spirit Wolf||✔ Earth Shield||✘ Static Charge|
|35||✔ Master of the Elements||✘ Storm Elemental||✘ Liquid Magma Totem|
|40||✔ Nature's Guardian||✘ Ancestral Guidance||✘ Wind Rush Totem|
|45||✔ Surge of Power||✔ Primal Elementalist||✘ Icefury|
|50||✘ Unlimited Power||✔ Stormkeeper||✘ 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.
Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents
- Earthen Rage causes your most recently attacked target to take damage over 6 seconds.
- Echo of the Elements grants Lava Burst 2 charges.
- Static Discharge deals decent damage over a period of time while still letting you cast other abilities.
Tier 2 (Level 25) Talents
- Aftershock grants your spells a 25% chance to refund their Maelstrom cost.
- Echoing Shock deals moderate damage, then repeats the next damage or healing spell one second later, with a chance to overload for those abilities, which can potentially overload from our Mastery.
- 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.
Aftershock provides the chance of refunding Maelstrom which could allow for multiple Earth Shocks, if you are lucky, but this does not provide the highest burst damage for the Elemental Shaman. This is not the preferred talent on this tier.
Elemental Blast is not viable for PvP currently, due to not having significant enough damage and putting the caster at risk of being interrupted on all schools of magic.
Tier 3 (Level 30) Talents
- Spirit Wolf grants you 5% increased movement speed and damage reduction every 1 second, stacking up to 4 times, while you are transformed into a Ghost Wolf.
- Earth Shield places a shield that heals its target for a small amount whenever they take damage. This heal can only occur once every few seconds, and has 9 charges.
- Static Charge is a new talent that reduces the cooldown of Capacitor Totem by 5 seconds for each enemy it stuns, up to a maximum of 20 seconds.
Spirit Wolf the main value coming from this talent is the 20% defensive it provides. Only use this talent against team compositions with Rogue or Hunter, where they will be doing significant damage from stealth, as you can sit in Ghost Wolf at the beginning of the match to decrease the incoming damage.
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 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.
Tier 4 (Level 35) Talents
- Master of the Elements increases the damage of your next Nature or Frost spell by 20% after casting Lava Burst.
- Storm Elemental replaces 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 and Chain Lightning by 3% each time you cast either spell, up to 20 times. This has a 2.5-minute cooldown.
- Liquid Magma Totem summons a totem at the target location for 15 seconds that hurls liquid magma at a random nearby target every 1 sec, dealing Fire damage to all enemies within 8 yards. It has a 60-second cooldown.
Master of the Elements, this is always selected for PvP. With 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 and stacking Critical Strike stat, significantly multiplies our damage, with Earth Shock and Stormkeeper.
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. This allows for more Earth Shock which is currently the main damaging ability for Elemental Shaman. Fire Elemental also has Meteor, which is an on use ability which does between 10,000-15,000 damage, further enhancing Elemental's burst damage.
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.
Tier 5 (Level 40) Talents
- Nature's Guardian heals you for 20% of your maximum health when your health is brought below 35%. It can only proc every 45 seconds. It does not proc if you take fatal damage.
- Ancestral Guidance converts 20% of your damage and healing done into healing on up to 3 nearby party and/or raid members. Lasts 10 seconds, with a 2-minute cooldown.
- Wind Rush Totem summons a totem for 15 seconds that increases the speed of allies within 10 yards by 60% for 5 seconds. The speed buff is continually refreshed as long as they are within range.
Nature's Guardian is the default pick, as it provides significant healing even when in a stun, acting as another defensive.
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 is not viable for Elemental Shaman in PvP, mainly due to the short duration and 2-minute cooldown.
Tier 6 (Level 45) Talents
- Surge of Power causes Earth Shock to enhance your next spell
cast within 15 seconds.
- Flame Shock: Your next cast also applies Flame Shock to 1 additional target within 8 yards.
- Lightning Bolt: Your next cast will cause an additional 1-3 Mastery: Elemental Overload: Elemental Overloads.
- Lava Burst: Your next cast reduces the cooldown of Storm Elemental or Fire Elemental by 6 seconds.
- Frost Shock: Your next cast freezes the target in place for 6 seconds.
- Primal Elementalist grants your elementals 80% increased damage, new abilities, and the ability to control them directly. Notably, this talent grants your Earth Elemental the ability to cast Harden Skin, reducing your and the Elemental Shaman's damage taken by 40% for 10 seconds. It also grants new damage abilities to your other elemental pets.
- Icefuryhurls frigid ice at the target, dealing high damage and causing your next 4 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 is the highest burst pick on this tier. This does mean you will only have one defensive cooldown since you will not have Harden Skin from the Primal Elementalist talent choice. Using this talent means you will have huge burst potential when combined with Stormkeeper's 150% increased damage Lightning Bolts and Echoing Shock. Using this talent with the correct burst rotation will deal incredible single-target damage.
Primal Elementalist is the defensive option on this teir, this is 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's Harden Skin as another defensive ability to prolong your life and the match.
Icefury is an okay pick for this tier. This allows for mobility, as the empowered Frost Shocks now provide 8 Maelstrom each, which allows for Maelstrom generation while moving. Thought will leave you with only one defensive instead of two with Primal Elementalist.
Tier 7 (Level 50) Talents
- Unlimited Power grants 2% Haste for 10 seconds when one of your spells causes an Elemental Overload. This stacks, but gaining a stack does not refresh the duration of the previous stacks.
- Stormkeeper has a 1.5-second cast time and causes your next 2 Lightning Bolt to deal 150% more damage, and also causes your next 2 Lightning Bolts or Chain Lightnings to be instant cast and trigger an additional Elemental Overload on every target hit. It also affects Lava Beam.
- Ascendance transforms you for 15 seconds, removing the cooldown from Lava Burst and transforming Chain Lightning into Lava Beam. The damage of lava burst is further increased by your Critical Strike chance while Ascendance is active. Ascendance has a 3-minute cooldown.
Unlimited Power 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 is the preferred talent; this deals significant single target damage with the empowered Lightning Bolts, and should no longer be used to generate Maelstrom. Combining this burst with Primordial Wave, Echoing Shock, and Lava Burst deals incredible burst damage.
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.
PvP Talents for Elemental Shaman
- Lightning Lasso is the most important PvP talent. This currently does significant damage, as well as a 5-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 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, and the combination of Surge of Power and Stormkeeper. This also affects Lightning Lasso now.
- Grounding Totem is a default 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.
- Purifying Waters is very strong against Restoration Druids and the heal provided from the Purge is useful to outlive the other team.
- Spectral Recovery can be useful. This can be a strong talent as provides healing while in 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 for mobility and defensives.
- 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 or 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 is not a necessary talent, as pooling Maelstrom does not provide for significant burst compared to Stormkeeper with Surge of Power.
- 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.
- 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 is a viable selection if the enemy does not focus you and if there are 4 targets to maintain 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.
- 02 Dec. 2020: Updated in preparation for first PvP season of Shadowlands.
- 14 Oct. 2020: Updated for Shadowlands pre-patch.
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