Enhancement Shaman Patch 9.2 Changes Analysis and Tier Set Thoughts

Last updated on Feb 21, 2022 at 23:59 by Wordup 23 comments
General Information

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.

1.

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.

2.

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:

2.1.

Ability Changes

2.2.

Covenant and Conduit Changes

  • Elemental Conduit Icon Elemental Conduit now also reduces the cooldown of Chain Harvest Icon Chain Harvest by 1 second each time Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock deals a Critical Strike.
  • Raging Vesper Vortex Icon Raging Vesper Vortex's second pulse from Healing charges can now be triggered via Earth Shield Icon Earth Shield hard casts.
  • Splintered Elements Icon 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 Icon Focused Lightning damage increase has been roughly tripled, and the gain per rank has been smoothed out.
  • Magma Fist Icon Magma Fist Critical Strike chance bonus has been increased by 50%, and gains per rank have been smoothed out.
  • Unruly Winds Icon Unruly Winds has been improved by roughly 40%, and the gains per rank have been smoothed out.
  • Chilled to the Core Icon 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.

2.3.

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 Icon Elemental Assault. These changes finally allow for Fire Nova Icon Fire Nova to be a viable choice due to the Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock spread, and can be paired with Lashing Flames Icon Lashing Flames for a multi-DoT Cleave/AoE build. Lava Lash Icon 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 Icon Frost Shock receiving a flat damage buff also directly improves Hailstorm Icon 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 Icon Chilled to the Core buff that increases access to Maelstrom Weapon Icon Maelstrom Weapon, allowing it to work well even in single-target or low-target cleave builds using Witch Doctor's Wolf Bones Icon Witch Doctor's Wolf Bones.

Focused Lightning Icon Focused Lightning's flat buff means that there is now more punch to our Maelstrom Weapon Icon Maelstrom Weapon spenders and is a locked-in Conduit for all situations, alongside bringing up the value of Elemental Blast Icon Elemental Blast for single-target and working great with Chain Harvest Icon Chain Harvest for AoE Venthyr builds. Unruly Winds Icon Unruly Winds seeing a bump also means that we will still likely use Doom Winds Icon Doom Winds for uncapped burst AoE situations as an option (in particular for Mythic+).

3.

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:

3.1.

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 Icon Elemental Spirits as a talent. First though, the current mechanics need to be made clear:

  • 2-piece: This does benefit from Elemental Spirits Icon Elemental Spirits on each wolf spawned, and has a scaling chance of up to 15% from an instant-cast Maelstrom Weapon Icon Maelstrom Weapon spender.
  • It also does trigger the ticking Maelstrom Weapon Icon Maelstrom Weapon buff from Feral Spirit Icon 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 Icon Stormbringer.

While Elemental Spirits Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon Maelstrom Weapon generation cycles us even faster to each hardcast via Witch Doctor's Wolf Bones Icon Witch Doctor's Wolf Bones. That is without even mentioning the extra benefits of higher access to both Crackling Surge Icon Crackling Surge with a Stormstrike Icon Stormstrike-heavy build, or Molten Weapon Icon Molten Weapon leaning toward Lava Lash Icon Lava Lash.

The 4-piece means that our Feral Spirit Icon Feral Spirit windows have significantly higher access to Stormstrike Icon Stormstrike, and opens up an alternative single-target build that focuses on this (meaning Hot Hand Icon 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.

4.

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 Icon Elemental Conduit, Splintered Elements Icon Splintered Elements and Raging Vesper Vortex Icon 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:

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.

5.

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:

The way this is accessed is via the new campaign in Zereth Mortis and the new Enlightened reputation, granting you the Unity Icon Unity Legendary Power. When equipped, it will always switch to the Covenant-appropriate effect each time you swap, enhancing your selected Covenant choice.

5.1.

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.

5.1.1.

Kyrian

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 Icon Doom Winds and Raging Vesper Vortex Icon 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 Icon Earth Shield to trigger the same pulse without spending Maelstrom Weapon Icon 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.

5.1.2.

Necrolord

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 Icon Flame Shock spread we can set up for big Splintered Elements Icon Splintered Elements windows and pair it with the Tumbling Waves Icon 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 Icon Bloodlust effect and can be converted into high-burst windows with Primal Lava Actuators Icon Primal Lava Actuators and Hot Hand Icon Hot Hand.

5.1.3.

Night Fae

The biggest factor for Night Fae is the set bonus when paired with the Seeds of Rampant Growth Icon 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 Icon Feral Spirit casts to supercharge the Elemental Spirits Icon 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.

5.1.4.

Venthyr

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 Icon Elemental Conduit provides massive cooldown reduction in situations where you can consistently apply Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock to multiple targets, and Lava Lash Icon 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 Icon Skybreaker's Fiery Demise can be used as well to do as much sustained AoE as possible focusing on additional Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock damage, paired with Lashing Flames Icon Lashing Flames debuffs and Fire Nova Icon Fire Nova. Alternatively, Hailstorm Icon Hailstorm and Doom Winds Icon 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 Icon Frost Shock more aggressively.

All of these can also capitalize on the increased value of Focused Lightning Icon Focused Lightning due to the increased Chain Harvest Icon Chain Harvest casts, and even pair it with Lavish Harvest Icon Lavish Harvest for higher cast frequency and damage.

6.

Changelog

  • 21 Feb. 2022: Cleaned up for Patch 9.2 release.
  • 15 Jan. 2022: Page added with initial thoughts and information.
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