Enhancement Shaman Patch 9.2 Changes Analysis and Tier Set Thoughts
On this page, we tell you how the Patch 9.2 changes for Enhancement Shaman affect the spec and what the current state of theorycrafting is.
Enhancement Shaman in Patch 9.2: Eternity's End
This page will go over how the changes in Patch 9.2, Eternity's End, will affect Enhancement Shaman, specifically how the changes might impact its playstyle, best Legendary choices, and Covenants. If you are simply interested in what the current changes are for Shaman in Patch 9.2 in general, you can instead read our full list of changes to the entire Shaman class on our dedicated page below. For an additional list of content coming with Patch 9.2, you can also check out our Patch 9.2 Overview page.
Base Spec Changes for Patch 9.2
9.2 currently is as close to a mid-expansion rework as a spec can get for Enhancement, providing some significant changes that interact with a large portion of both the baseline toolkit and talents, alongside having some strong implications for Covenants and Legendary choices. The most important changes are as follows:
- Flame Shock now has a target cap of 6.
- Frost Shock base damage increased by 40%.
- Flame Shock and Frost Shock no longer share a cooldown.
- Lava Lash causes each cast to spread Flame Shock to up to 3 nearby enemy targets within 8 yards. If no extra targets are in range, it will refresh Flame Shock on your target.
- Feral Spirit guardians no longer occupy a totem slot so they cannot prematurely despawn.
- Fire Nova, Crash Lightning, Lava Lash and Windfury Totem have all had significant Mana cost reductions.
Covenant and Conduit Changes
- Elemental Conduit now also reduces the cooldown of Chain Harvest by 1 second each time Flame Shock deals a Critical Strike.
- Raging Vesper Vortex's second pulse from Healing charges can now be triggered via Earth Shield hard casts.
- Splintered Elements duration has been increased to 12 seconds (up from 10), and Haste gain to 10% per target hit (up from 8%).
- Focused Lightning damage increase has been roughly tripled, and the gain per rank has been smoothed out.
- Magma Fist Critical Strike chance bonus has been increased by 50%, and gains per rank have been smoothed out.
- Unruly Winds has been improved by roughly 40%, and the gains per rank have been smoothed out.
- Chilled to the Core's chance to trigger has been doubled, and the gains per rank have been smoothed out.
Before we even start discussing major Patch 9.2 features then, this is a very big deal. The biggest effect this has is significantly improving our AoE options, and these changes have a lot of implications for different Covenants and Talents, so it is important to start here.
Enhancement Shaman Talent Changes in Patch 9.2
The biggest row affected by these changes is the Level 35 row, which has previously been largely dominated by Elemental Assault. These changes finally allow for Fire Nova to be a viable choice due to the Flame Shock spread, and can be paired with Lashing Flames for a multi-DoT Cleave/AoE build. Lava Lash is also currently refreshing Flame Shock in single-target — though it is uncertain if this is intended — freeing up more GCDs within our rotation.
Frost Shock receiving a flat damage buff also directly improves Hailstorm for cleave situations, and can slot in as a high-burst option returning back to the strength of the AoE cycle we had in the Shadowlands pre-patch and early 9.0. This also pairs well with the Chilled to the Core buff that increases access to Maelstrom Weapon, allowing it to work well even in single-target or low-target cleave builds using Witch Doctor's Wolf Bones.
Focused Lightning's flat buff means that there is now more punch to our Maelstrom Weapon spenders and is a locked-in Conduit for all situations, alongside bringing up the value of Elemental Blast for single-target and working great with Chain Harvest for AoE Venthyr builds. Unruly Winds seeing a bump also means that we will still likely use Doom Winds for uncapped burst AoE situations as an option (in particular for Mythic+).
Enhancement Shaman Tier Set in Patch 9.2
Within the new Sepulcher of the First Ones raid that will be coming in Patch 9.2, every class will once again earn pieces of a gear set that is uniquely class-themed with its own two-piece and four-piece bonuses for every specialization. For Enhancement Shaman, these set bonuses are:
- Enhancement Shaman 2-Piece — Spending Maelstrom Weapon has a 3% per charge to summon a single Feral Spirit for 9 seconds.
- Enhancement Shaman 4-Piece — Your Feral Spirit's attacks have a 20% chance to trigger the Stormbringer effect.
Enhancement Shaman Tier Set Thoughts
Considering everything else happening to the specialization, this set bonus is an extra wrinkle that has a lot of moving parts to consider — the biggest part being that it locks in Elemental Spirits as a talent. First though, the current mechanics need to be made clear:
- 2-piece: This does benefit from Elemental Spirits on each wolf spawned, and has a scaling chance of up to 15% from an instant-cast Maelstrom Weapon spender.
- It also does trigger the ticking Maelstrom Weapon buff from Feral Spirit when it activates for 9 seconds, but refreshes the buff rather than being separate.
- 4-piece: Each individual wolf has its own chance to trigger the effect, meaning that the more wolves active the higher rate you will gain Stormbringer.
While Elemental Spirits is a very RNG-heavy talent, what this bonus does do at least is capitalize on some of that to let it interact with different portions of the toolkit. It is, however, very single-target-oriented in most situations (and links up with a number of other effects we currently use) making it something that emphasizes a strength we already have.
The 2-piece drastically increases the uptime of Feral Spirit, putting us closer to 80% uptime of at least one wolf active. It also causes overlaps (in particular as Night Fae thanks to Seeds of Rampant Growth) of multiple wolves, sometimes up to 5. Just the raw damage each wolf deals alone is good, and the bonus Maelstrom Weapon generation cycles us even faster to each hardcast via Witch Doctor's Wolf Bones. That is without even mentioning the extra benefits of higher access to both Crackling Surge with a Stormstrike-heavy build, or Molten Weapon leaning toward Lava Lash.
The 4-piece means that our Feral Spirit windows have significantly higher access to Stormstrike, and opens up an alternative single-target build that focuses on this (meaning Hot Hand is no longer a mandatory talent). This is more consistent as it sets up its own bursts rather than the RNG procs from Hot Hand, but both options are looking very close to each other. Sadly, it has little to no AoE impact for us.
Pairing these bonuses together means our playstyle is now much more oriented around finding the best GCD to press each moment rather than worrying about gaps in the rotation. The sheer amount of resources these bonuses grant means we are a much more fast-paced, GCD-locked specialization.
Covenant Choices in Patch 9.2 for Enhancement Shaman
The only change to Covenants for Enhancement going into Patch 9.2 is the aforementioned Elemental Conduit, Splintered Elements and Raging Vesper Vortex changes, but remember that Patch 9.1.5 opened up the option to freely switch Covenants. This means that we can now decide which we use depending on the situation, and it looks like each has a quite defined niche:
- Necrolord — funnel and multi-target
- Night Fae — pure single-target
- Venthyr — burst and sustained AoE
Unfortunately, the only loser right now seems to be Kyrian, due to its weaker Covenant legendary and build package when put next to the 3 alternatives.
Legendary Changes in Patch 9.2 for Enhancement Shaman
Patch 9.2 introduces the ability to equip both one of your class Legendary options and the Legendary granted to your chosen Covenant at the same time. For Shaman these powers are as follows:
- Kyrian — Raging Vesper Vortex — Causes your Vesper Totem to deal an extra high damage pulse when you consume 3 charges (for a maximum of 2 pulses if you consume both the damage and healing charges).
- Necrolord — Splintered Elements — grants 8% Haste for 10 seconds for each additional Lightning Bolt fired from the Primordial Wave effect.
- Night Fae — Seeds of Rampant Growth — the initial hit and each pulse tick (not hit) reduces the cooldown of Feral Spirit by 9 seconds and grants 4% Critical Strike for 15 seconds. This is a total of 63 seconds of CDR and 28% Crit.
- Venthyr — Elemental Conduit — Chain Harvest applies Flame Shock to all targets hit, and Riptide to all allies hit. Critical Strikes from Flame Shock also reduce Chain Harvest's cooldown by 1 second.
The way this is accessed is via the new campaign in Zereth Mortis and the new Enlightened reputation, granting you the Unity Legendary Power. When equipped, it will always switch to the Covenant-appropriate effect each time you swap, enhancing your selected Covenant choice.
Double Legendary Implications for Each Covenant
With it explained that any combination of Covenant Legendary Power and regular Legendary Power can be used in Patch 9.2, it now opens up some combinations and potential synergy. For Enhancement, when paired with the changes above it allows for some very strong new builds, and hones in on what makes each Covenant strong currently.
Kyrian is the only Covenant currently with no real synergies, so it unfortunately gains the least from this patch. While having access to both Doom Winds and Raging Vesper Vortex at the same time can lead to nice burst, things can become desynced when trying to get the most out of both. It is however a nice quality of life change to allow for Earth Shield to trigger the same pulse without spending Maelstrom Weapon, the GCD requirement is high enough that it has a high opportunity cost now that we do not have the free space in the rotation.
Despite Necrolord spending the expansion as the weakest option, Patch 9.2 raises this up to be a real contender and in some cases the ideal pick. Thanks to Flame Shock spread we can set up for big Splintered Elements windows and pair it with the Tumbling Waves Conduit, all of the different changes coming together also puts it in a strong position for funnel damage. While the Haste buff is quite weak on one target, multiple targets create a stronger Bloodlust effect and can be converted into high-burst windows with Primal Lava Actuators and Hot Hand.
The biggest factor for Night Fae is the set bonus when paired with the Seeds of Rampant Growth effect. This allows for what is already the best single-target Covenant to focus even further on this and produce a massive burst window with multiple Feral Spirit casts to supercharge the Elemental Spirits effects. The biggest problem we had previously is no access to burst and a very flat damage delivery method, which this remedies, and while it is focused on one style, it excels at it.
The Covenant that gains the most from these changes is Venthyr, allowing it to solidly slot in as a powerful AoE Covenant option. Elemental Conduit provides massive cooldown reduction in situations where you can consistently apply Flame Shock to multiple targets, and Lava Lash spreads also grant a chance with each hit from the spread.
A full AoE-focused build with the Elemental Legendary Skybreaker's Fiery Demise can be used as well to do as much sustained AoE as possible focusing on additional Flame Shock damage, paired with Lashing Flames debuffs and Fire Nova. Alternatively, Hailstorm and Doom Winds can be played to maintain the burst AoE while relying on the Legendary to maintain the Flame Shock DoTs and freeing up room to use Frost Shock more aggressively.
- 21 Feb. 2022: Cleaned up for Patch 9.2 release.
- 15 Jan. 2022: Page added with initial thoughts and information.
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