Enhancement Shaman Best Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits — Shadowlands 9.1
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.
Covenant Recommendation Change in Patch 9.1
As of Patch 9.1 the recommended Covenant for Enhancement Shaman HAS CHANGED. However, remember that your Covenant choice can impact your entire class instead of just one specialization and that what was previously recommended should still be good enough for whatever content you encounter.
Summary of the Best Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits
With the introduction of new Soulbind options in Patch 9.1, the choices have been blown open for Enhancement and there really is not a wrong pick between the above 3 listed. Unfortunately, Necrolord has fallen further behind and does not bring anything to really sell it, so is the one of the four that should be avoided.
All 3 choices have strong options for both a pure single-target Soulbind and a Cleave/AoE option, and have abilities that accentuate the side they tend to be weaker at making them all very well rounded. The only caveat is that out of the gate in 9.1, Night Fae will likely be strongest and flanked by Venthyr, as both it and Kyrian rely more on completing the tree to become strong, so bear that in mind if you intend to swap.
Best Conduits for Enhancement Shaman
Below is a list of the ideal Conduits organized by their type (those being Potency, Endurance and Finesse). For more detailed information on all of the Shaman Conduits, check our Shaman Soulbinds and Conduits Page.
Best Potency Conduits for Enhancement Shaman
Unruly Winds is your go-to first pick if playing Doom Winds, while if you are using Witch Doctor's Wolf Bones, you should slot Magma Fist instead. After that, second slots should be used on either the Kyrian Elysian Dirge or Night Fae Essential Extraction if playing them, and lastly Focused Lightning if you are Venthyr or have a third slot.
Best Endurance Conduits for Enhancement Shaman
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.
Why pick Kyrian as an Enhancement Shaman?
Patch 9.1 fixed one of the major issues that Kyrian had for Enhancement, which was a lack of good Soulbind options. Now Forgelite Prime Mikanikos provides stand-out picks that excel in both single-target and AoE situations and makes this an extremely solid pick in any content type. Between the extra cooldown reduction on the Vesper Totem burst AoE tool, and raw single-target damage procs, you can tailor the tree to most circumstances. The only downside is that it is time-gated behind renown at patch launch.
Kyrian Abilities: Vesper Totem and Summon Steward
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.
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.
- Forgelite Prime Mikanikos - Ideal Enhancement Tree: is now by far one of the best Soulbinds available and easily the best for Kyrian. Between the buffed Bron's Call to Action and Hammer of Genesis on the base tree, and the two excellent new traits in Patch 9.1 of Soulglow Spectrometer and Effusive Anima Accelerator, this is a big winner in both single-target and AoE situations.
- Pelagos - Ideal Enhancement Tree: Due to the large amount of Mastery related traits on the tree this serves best as a single-target build around Witch Doctor's Wolf Bones, and can do that well. The new traits Better Together and Newfound Resolve drastically improve what was one of the weakest options previously.
- Kleia - Ideal Enhancement Tree: is the weakest of the 3 choices, but not by much, with the buff to Pointed Courage and the new end trait Light the Path. This still remains a more supportive tree though, and does not compete with the other two.
Why pick Night Fae as an Enhancement Shaman?
Night Fae provides some very well-focused Soulbind options allowing you to focus in on different damage types, be it single-target or AoE. The ability however is very focused on single-target, so it relies particularly on the strength of First Strike to keep even. This is likely the strongest out of the gate option at patch launch, until things even out with completed Renown trees.
Night Fae: Fae Transfusion and Soulshape
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 occasionally cause issues if you do not plan ahead. With that said, the power it has when used correctly is undeniable and the Essential Extraction makes it available more frequently, also allowing you to trigger Soulbinds that proc from the cast more often.
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.
Night Fae Soulbinds
- Niya - Ideal Enhancement Tree: serves as your go to single-target option, usually paired with a Witch Doctor's Wolf Bones build to make use of the high Mastery gain from Grove Invigoration. This did not gain much from Patch 9.1 other than a small bump with Bonded Hearts, but due to the strength of Niya's Tools: Burrs, this still performs extremely well.
- Korayn - Ideal Enhancement Tree: is a premier pick for Mythic+ or any AoE situation where there are frequently spawning enemies. The new Patch 9.1 traits are fairly weak, but Wild Hunt Tactics and First Strike are as strong as ever and so is still a very relevant pick.
- Dreamweaver - Ideal Enhancement Tree: gained the most of any Night Fae Soulbind in Patch 9.1 with a solid end trait in Dream Delver and a buff to the already good Field of Blossoms. This is a strong contender as an all-round choice that comes with some good defensive options for free.
Why pick Venthyr as an Enhancement Shaman?
Venthyr provides the most flexible option that will work in basically any situation, but not necessarily excel. It has some solid Soulbinds, and an ability that is extremely easy to make use of in both single-target and especially burst AoE situations. The reliability means that it is hard to go wrong playing this, and it remains a good pick all the way up to max Renown with the new Patch 9.1 trait unlocks.
Venthyr Abilities: Chain Harvest and Door of Shadows
Chain Harvest is extremely simple to play with, just treat 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 making it instant and deal increased damage/healing. Critical Strikes also provide a small amount of cooldown reduction, but 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 due to the long cooldown is not really worth using.
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 big issue with mobility so it does not really change much about your gameplay.
- Nadjia the Mistblade - Ideal Enhancement Tree: is by far the ideal tree due to the combination of Thrill Seeker and the newly added 9.1 boost to it Fatal Flaw. Paired with the flexible row of Dauntless Duelist for single-target or Exacting Preparation for AoE, this is your go to always.
- General Draven - Ideal Enhancement Tree: is firmly improved in Patch 9.1 due to the buff to Built for War and the new 9.1 trait Battlefield Presence. It also comes with good defensive options, it just does not compete with Nadjia sadly.
- Theotar the Mad Duke - Ideal Enhancement Tree: is the weakest of the three options and not generally recommended. The traits are too unreliable and low value, and the Patch 9.1 trait Party Favors fades if you ever switch Soulbinds meaning you have to wait for the cooldown to make use of again.
Necrolord for Enhancement Shaman
This is the only Covenant that I would recommend avoiding right now, as it simply does not bring anything to compete with how much the others bring from an output standpoint.
The ideal setup for Necrolord as Enhancement will only be slightly behind in single-target compared to other options, but in AoE will fall drastically behind (up to 10%) making it simply not worth the investment. The saving grace previously was some good Soulbinds, but Patch 9.1 was not generous to this Covenant meaning it is even less appealing.
Necrolord Abilities: Primordial Wave and Fleshcraft
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.
- Bonesmith Heirmir - Ideal Enhancement Tree: is still consistently the best option for Necrolords due to the power of Forgeborne Reveries and Heirmir's Arsenal: Marrowed Gemstone. However, Patch 9.1 gave very little relevant additions to the tree and, as such, it serves more as the best of a bad bunch rather than something enticing.
- Emeni - Ideal Enhancement Tree: still provides a reasonable boost alongside the extra party utility via Lead by Example and the option for a Mythic+ oriented trait in Gnashing Chompers. The new end trait Pustule Eruption also does good damage assuming you can channel Fleshcraft fully and on cooldown.
- Plague Deviser Marileth - Ideal Enhancement Tree: what was already one of the weakest Soulbinds across any Covenant gained very little in the ways of strong new traits in Patch 9.1 either. While Kevin's Oozeling is not terrible, it is nowhere near enough to make this worth using.
- 29 Jun. 2021: Updated for Patch 9.1.
- 09 Mar. 2021: Updated for Patch 9.0.5 — Venthyr still ideal.
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