Enhancement Shaman Best Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits — Shadowlands 9.0.5
Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits are the most important character customization options in Shadowlands. They have a substantial impact on your toolkit and performance as Enhancement Shaman. This page's purpose is to help you pick the right options according to the content you intend to do in Shadowlands.
This page assumes that you are already familiar with Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits. If that is not the case, we have a number of pages that can help you get up to speed:
- Covenants Guide, which explains what Covenants are, what perks they bring, and how you can join one;
- Shaman Covenant Abilities, which lists all the abilities that Shamans gain by joining each Covenant;
- How To Change Covenant?, which tells you how you can switch Covenant (rejoining a former Covenant will require you to perform a number of tasks to regain their trusts);
- General Soulbind Guide, which explains what Soulbinds are and how you can pledge yourself to them to open up their Soulbind tree;
- Shaman Conduits, which lists all of the Conduits available to Shamans.
Summary of the Best Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits
Right now, Venthyr and Nadjia the Mistblade is the overall best pairing. It is worth noting that all of the Covenants for Enhancement are quite close together, so there is not a "wrong" choice here. For more details please look at our specific section about the best covenant.
Patch 9.0.5 did see buffs to the output of all 3 other Covenants, bringing them much closer in line. The main selling point now is the unique damage profile of each ability. As it stands, Chain Harvest is simply too good as a burst AoE tool and slots into our rotation smoothly. With that said, Fae Transfusion is the dominant pick in pure single-target scenarios, but these are too rare currently to invest so heavily in.
Best Conduits for Enhancement Shaman
Below is a list of the ideal Conduits organized by their type (those being Potency, Endurance and Finesse). Note that Conduits are not hugely impactful for Enhancement. For more specifics on each one refer to the Conduits section of this page.
- Best Potency Conduits: Unruly Winds, Magma Fist (single-target), Elysian Dirge (Kyrian Only, single-target), Tumbling Waves (Necrolord Only, single-target), Essential Extraction (Night Fae Only, single-target), Focused Lightning (at higher ranks).
- Best Finesse Conduits: All very low impact, so is a personal choice for given content types.
- Best Endurance Conduits: Vital Accretion and Refreshing Waters are both quite powerful, if you can only pick one preference depends on content type.
Unruly Winds is the only universally-worthwhile Potency Conduit available to Enhancement. If your tree includes a second Potency slot, Magma Fist wins out on single-target especially if playing builds that include Hot Hand. Focused Lightning starts out extremely weak at Rank 1, but scales very well with item level so it becomes a worthy second pick at around Ranks 6-7.
Due to Enhancement's survival concerns, both of the Endurance Conduits listed can be useful depending on situation. Vital Accretion opens up a powerful extra defensive tool that has a lot of uses in raid encounters. The self healing Refreshing Waters provides via self-cast Healing Surge is a great all-round improvement especially in solo content and dungeons, so warrants a pick too.
Why Venthyr is the Best Covenant for Enhancement Shaman
Currently Venthyr is the best overall Covenant for Enhancement Shaman. While Chain Harvest is more AoE-focused, it has the most flexibility in different content types as an extra burst tool. Pairing this with a very versatile Soulbind in Nadjia the Mistblade allows you to specialize further with different Trait options.
Given that we are not big fans of Potency Conduits, some of the benefits of other trees are muted and we are more interested in the strength of the individual traits. That means the strength of some of Nadjia's options push it firmly ahead and being able to switch between Exacting Preparation or Dauntless Duelist depending on encounter is great.
We cover our thoughts on the other Covenants and their Soulbinds in this section further below.
Venthyr Abilities: Chain Harvest and Door of Shadows
Chain Harvest is extremely simple to play with, treating it as a combination of Chain Lightning and Chain Heal on a long cooldown for a high burst of damage. This just slots in as a Maelstrom Weapon spender on cooldown, trying to hit as many targets as possible, and scales with all aspects of Maelstrom Weapon itself making it instant and deal increased damage/healing. Critical Strikes also provide a small amount of cooldown reduction, but early on not enough to make a significant difference to the frequency of use. Lavish Harvest is the Covenant specific Conduit and improves the Critical Strike chance, but with the long cooldown, it is far too low impact to get much out of.
Door of Shadows provides a short-cast displacement that teleports you to your target location. While this has some extremely niche uses, Enhancement does not have a significant issue with mobility so it does not really change much about your gameplay.
- Nadjia the Mistblade - Ideal Enhancement Tree: starts off strong with Thrill Seeker and only gets better with a complete tree, allowing you to swap between both Dauntless Duelist and Exacting Preparation depending on content.
- Theotar the Mad Duke - Ideal Enhancement Tree: has a fairly weak opening trait, but all 3 final row paths have their place, with Refined Palate improving already-strong Potions, and Wasteland Propriety having hidden value as a group buff.
- General Draven - Ideal Enhancement Tree: provides some good defensive options, but with only one strong offensive trait in Built for War — that comes with downsides — is generally the weakest option of the three.
Best Conduits for Enhancement Shaman
Here we only discuss Conduits which are currently worth picking. For more detailed information on all of the Shaman Conduits, check our Shaman Soulbinds and Conduits Page.
Most of the Enhancement Conduits are fairly low impact, so you have a fairly small pool of things worth picking, especially for AoE situations.
Best Potency Conduits for Enhancement Shaman
Ideally you should take Unruly Winds. This has good synergy with the Forceful Winds talent and even our legendary Doom Winds, and is the only choice that has meaningful gains in both single-target and AoE.
Three of the Covenant specific Conduits are options, but all of them are very focused on single-target. Those choices are Elysian Dirge for Kyrian, Tumbling Waves for Necrolord and Essential Extraction for Night Fae.
Focused Lightning starts off extremely weak at Rank 1, but at roughly Rank 8 it starts to perform well and only gets better due to its high scaling. That makes it a bad pick early, but will eventually be worth taking.
Due to how low impact all of these Conduits are then we often avoid taking a second Potency slot. With that said though, this is a guideline and we advise using Raidbots to sim your setup with your Conduits available for your own character.
Best Endurance Conduits for Enhancement Shaman
Endurance represents the defensive Conduit options, and that is something Enhancement tends to want more of.
Vital Accretion provides a strong extra defensive tool when Earth Elemental is active, but this fades if it dies. This means it is ia great choice for raids, but lower impact in Mythic+ where it will often taunt something and die before you get much out of it. Refreshing Waters amplifies our self-healing which is already quite good now in Shadowlands, and is more flexible without being tied to a long cooldown. Both of these are great picks.
Best Finesse Conduits for Enhancement Shaman
Finesse Conduits are linked to more utility oriented effects that are attached to spells we do not cast too frequently. These are very low impact and your choice here is mostly personal.
Ones of note are Thunderous Paws and Crippling Hex. The former gives a small burst of extra speed when we enter Ghost Wolf which can reduce our time spent there, but not by much. The latter creates options for extra survival in Mythic+ and solo situations when we can actually make use of Hex.
Other Covenants for Enhancement Shaman
Kyrian: Vesper Totem and Summon Steward
This is very close with an ideal Kyrian setup. Vesper Totem has good flexibility in different encounter types and has some extra off-healing benefits due to the charges being separate. However, due to the weaker Soulbinds it falls slightly behind Venthyr in most situations.
Vesper Totem as an ability is deceptively simple, it summons a totem that has 3 damage charges and 3 separate healing charges, with one charge being expended each time you use an equivalent ability to trigger a pulse around it. These charges are independent of each other and the cooldown of the ability begins when it is placed. It can also be re-cast to move it off the global cooldown to a new location. Treat this as an extra burst tool both in single-target and AoE, trying to make sure you hit as many targets as possible. Elysian Dirge when taken just improves the weakest part of the ability which is single-target, but not a massive boost.
Summon Steward provides you with 3 charges of Phial of Serenity when summoned, which heals you for 20% of your max health and removes all Curse, Poison, Bleed and Disease effects on you when used. This is one use per instance of combat, but does not share a cooldown with other effects like Healthstone. A simple extra boost to survival that can save you in a pinch, with bonuses in situations where you have debuffs to cleanse.
Necrolord: Primordial Wave and Fleshcraft
The ideal setup for Necrolord as Enhancement will generally be equal to Venthyr in pure single-target situations, but in AoE will fall up to 10% behind depending on target count. While there are some good Soulbind options here, the difficulty of execution for a low payoff makes this the least flexible of our choices.
Primordial Wave is the most complicated ability available to Enhancement, but also the most limited. It applies Flame Shock to your target on a 45-second cooldown, and grants a 15-second buff that causes your next Lightning Bolt cast to hit all Shocked targets an extra time for 150% of its normal damage. While this works in single-target, in AoE we want to avoid casting both of these spells whenever possible. The supporting alternative in Fire Nova is simply too weak as well to really save it, so it falls behind when extra targets show up.
The Fleshcraft rework in 9.0.5 turns it into a very powerful defensive option that is a selling point to playing Necrolord. It provides a significant absorb shield over a 3-second channel, and reduces damage taken by 20% while channeling making it an extra emergency defensive we lack. It also has a small cooldown reduction aspect, reducing it by 1 second whenever moving near an enemy corpse.
Night Fae: Fae Transfusion and Soulshape
With a complete tree Night Fae will be firmly ahead in pure single-target situations, but conversely behind in AoE. This tree relies on some Soulbind choices to double down on the single-target focus without many great alternatives to improve AoE, and the ability can be quite dangerous to use as a channel in melee. While this has advantages in some scenarios, the lack of flexibility is the cost you pay for that.
Fae Transfusion as an ability is a meteor, which pushes it really hard into being a single-target focus. While the burst damage this does is powerful, the downside of having to channel in melee can sometimes be a big problem when paired with such a long cooldown. That it also has weaker AoE potential makes this a very focused pick, but for short bursts of damage on a target it is a very powerful tool.
Soulshape has a lot of overlaps with Ghost Wolf, which makes it a lot less interesting for us. The blink effect, Flicker, is useful and can add some extra instant mobility in some raid encounters, so it is nice to have access to.
Other Soulbinds for Enhancement Shaman
Important Note: When evaluating Soulbinds, bear in mind that many options rely on having a complete tree to reach their full potential with lots of strong effects locked behind final Renown levels. This means that in some cases it may be worth using other options until you have everything complete.
- Pelagos - Ideal Enhancement Tree: starts out okay and is the best early pick, but falls off quite badly at max Renown due to the tree structure and the weakness of Mastery as a stat for us.
- Forgelite Prime Mikanikos - Ideal Enhancement Tree: has some awkward timings due to the long cooldown on Bron's Call to Action, but Hammer of Genesis makes this an incredibly good pick for AoE and Mythic+ encounters.
- Kleia - Ideal Enhancement Tree: has many more defensive options throughout the tree with only one real standout trait in Pointed Courage that also costs Potency slots. She is generally the weakest.
- Bonesmith Heirmir - Ideal Enhancement Tree: comes with the strongest tree in almost every scenario, especially with a completed tree due to the power of both the flat Agility from Forgeborne Reveries and the big burst potential of Heirmir's Arsenal: Marrowed Gemstone.
- Emeni - Ideal Enhancement Tree: is consistently a weaker option relative to Bonesmith, but Gnashing Chompers can bring it up in Mythic+ situations if you can keep the buff rolling. Alternatively you can take a second Potency Conduit slot if you really want to use Lead by Example for group buff purposes.
- Plague Deviser Marileth - Ideal Enhancement Tree: has no real value compared to both other options and is much more PvP-oriented with some of the effects on offer. He has some defensive benefits, but should otherwise be avoided.
Night Fae Soulbinds
- Niya - Ideal Enhancement Tree: one of the strongest Soulbind trees across any Covenant, especially in single-target. Grove Invigoration provides extra survival and some burst despite us avoiding Mastery, and Niya's Tools: Burrs, while random, is one of the best picks available.
- Korayn - Ideal Enhancement Tree: is a much more focused option that works well in Mythic+ situations, predominantly due to the strength of First Strike combined with Doom Winds' opening burst.
- Dreamweaver - Ideal Enhancement Tree: is a solid catch-all alternative, especially when combining the Fae Transfusion after-effect from Field of Blossoms with Doom Winds.
- 09 Mar. 2021: Updated for Patch 9.0.5 — Venthyr still ideal.
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