Enhancement Shaman DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities — Shadowlands 9.1
On this page, you will learn how to optimize the rotation of your Enhancement Shaman in both single-target and multiple-target situations. We also have advanced sections about cooldowns, procs, etc. in order to minmax your DPS. All our content is updated for World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.1.
If you were looking for TBC Classic content, please refer to our TBC Classic Enhancement Shaman rotation.
Covenant Recommendation Change in Patch 9.1
Enhancement Shaman Rotation
Welcome to our Rotation page for Enhancement Shamans. Here we go through the specifics of executing the spec in combat to get the most out of it in PvE scenarios.
If you are just looking for a basic primer to get started and find the full breakdowns overwhelming, you can always start with our Easy Mode page to get yourself started with a close-to-optimal build and a simpler breakdown.
The content on this page is purely PvE-related. If you are looking for PvP Rotation Tips, please visit our PvP page below.
Enhancement Shaman Single Target Rotation
Enhancement Shaman plays with a priority list that focuses on making sure to cycle your ability cooldowns as often as possible, while reacting to procs as they happen. Your goal is to reduce downtime as much as you can, which sometimes means using a lower damage (but lower cooldown) ability in moment-to-moment gameplay. Having a sense of the cooldowns so that you can predict this in advance will come with practice, and is a good skill to have.
We have provided rotation switches below that allow you to populate the priority list based on talents we recommend in the Talents section. Check each box based on the talents you are currently using. If you are using a talent not recommended on the talent page it is not included; passive options with no impact on the rotation are also not included.
- Lashing Flames
- Elemental Blast
- Hot Hand
- Earthen Spike
- Cast Windfury Totem if not currently active.
- Cast Flame Shock if it is not currently active.
- Cast Feral Spirit.
- Cast Lightning Bolt if at 8 or more stacks of Maelstrom Weapon.
- Cast Stormstrike.
- Cast Lava Lash.
- Cast Crash Lightning.
- Cast Flame Shock if it has less than 5 seconds remaining on your target.
- Cast Frost Shock.
- Cast Lightning Bolt if at 5 stacks of Maelstrom Weapon and nothing else is ready.
- Refresh Windfury Totem if nothing else is available.
Your time will be spent juggling your different strike cooldowns in Stormstrike, Lava Lash and Crash Lightning while keeping your Frost Shock/ Flame Shocks on cooldown as much as you can. Treat it as a low cooldown filler to desync your longer cooldown strikes. In between this you will be managing your stacks of Maelstrom Weapon that is spent on Lightning Bolt as a mix-up tool to fill any downtime, but is more flexible due to it not having a cooldown.
The more that you play with Enhancement, the more you will adjust to the ebb and flow of each ability cooldown and know when you need to fill with Maelstrom spenders. Making sure that you also react to quick bursts of this, alongside Stormbringer procs while keeping yourself as close to Global Cooldown locked as possible by managing each of your strike cooldowns defines your performance on the spec.
How to Use Covenant Abilities as Enhancement Shaman
The majority of Enhancement abilities are extra damage sources that are just used on cooldown as often as possible, with some small differences:
- Vesper Totem is used on cooldown as much as possible, ideally lining up with burst windows or with additional waves of enemies.
- With Primordial Wave should be used on cooldown to apply Flame Shock to your target, and you should make sure to consume the buff before it expires, with Lightning Bolt. In multi-target situations use this to apply the DoT to a different target, and replace one Chain Lightning cast to make use of the Lightning Bolt echo effect.
- Fae Transfusion should be used on cooldown, ideally when your main abilities are not available. Make sure if you take Earthen Spike to line these up, and that you are safe before you begin the channel.
- Chain Harvest simply replaces your Maelstrom Weapon spender of choice when it is available, and slots in that place regardless of target count. Try to hit as many enemies as possible, even if that means holding onto it for a bit.
Doom Winds Gameplay
If you are playing with Doom Winds, while the buff is active you should aim to fit as many main-hand abilities within the window as possible as the highest priority. These are Stormstrike, Crash Lightning, and Sundering and take precedent, as they will each trigger their own individual Windfury Weapon proc.
Try to keep an eye on the cooldown of the buff so you can prepare to switch up to main-hand strikes quickly, even if they are not necessarily top of your priority. Also, make sure not to drop it just before downtime and waste the effect, as making use of these windows is crucial. If paired with Ascendance, make sure to drop it after shifting form to overlap the buffs as much as possible.
Enhancement Shaman AoE rotation
For Enhancement, when you enter into AoE situations the rotation changes to a much more binary cycle unlike in single-target, rotating between 4 different abilities. This means when you have an extra target you should switch to this priority instead, assuming you have Hailstorm talented. Also of note, Chain Lightning becomes your default Maelstrom Weapon spender as soon as you have a second target present.
- Cast Windfury Totem if not currently active.
- Cast Frost Shock if you have Hailstorm stacks.
- Cast Sundering.
- Cast Feral Spirit to generate Maelstrom Weapon.
- Cast Chain Lightning if you have 5 stacks of Maelstrom Weapon.
- Cast Crash Lightning.
- Cast Stormstrike.
- Cast Lava Lash if nothing else is available.
This relies on the cycle of buffs between each spell that improves their damage. Chain Lightning triggers the Hailstorm effect causing it to deal AoE damage, and also increases the damage of your next Crash Lightning cast by up to 60%. This cast triggers the Gathering Storms effect that improves the damage of your next Stormstrike. This in turn will trigger a Crash Lightning splash, and ideally will all generate enough Maelstrom Weapon to repeat the cycle. This is usually very tight and will feed into itself, but on occasion you will fill with Lava Lash to trigger a Crash Lightning splash, or Sundering for a big burst of AoE.
Enhancement Shaman Opening Rotation
The opening sequence has some small quirks with some talents, but the spec is quick to get started as soon as you enter combat:
- Pre-cast Stormkeeper if taken.
- Without Doom Winds only: Pre-cast Windfury Totem just before a pull.
- Kyrian Covenant only: Pre-cast Vesper Totem and instantly move it to your target at the pull.
- Cast Flame Shock (or Primordial Wave if Necrolord Covenant) when running into melee.
- Cast Earthen Spike if taken.
- Cast Stormstrike.
- Cast Feral Spirit to generate Maelstrom Weapon early.
- Night Fae Covenant only: Cast Fae Transfusion.
- Cast Ascendance, if taken, and then immediately Windstrike.
- With Doom Winds: cast Windfury Totem to trigger the buff.
- Continue with the single-target rotation.
Where you go from here depends entirely on your resource state with Maelstrom Weapon, and if Stormbringer has activated. You will often go down the priority list getting your cooldowns cycling, and the flow will begin from there.
The rotation page covers all of the details on playing the spec in combat, but if you are looking for specific details related to Mythic+ you can refer to our dedicated page below.
Enhancement Shaman Cooldowns
Enhancement only has access to two cooldowns, one of which is a talent, and is mostly reliant instead on its sustained damage profile.
Feral Spirit summons two wolves that deal low damage to your target, and generates one stack of Maelstrom Weapon instantly when cast on a 2-minute cooldown. It will also generate an additional 5 stacks over its 15-second duration. These deal reasonable single-target damage, and also help to give an instant burst of Maelstrom Weapon to get you started in an encounter, so we try to use it on cooldown. Elemental Spirits can be taken to reduce the cooldown by 30 seconds and grant additional effects, but the RNG buffs and lack of ability to play around them means it really does not change anything about our gameplay.
Ascendance is a big cooldown that deals a huge AoE burst when cast, and also gives 15 seconds of sustained single-target via the reduced cooldown on Windstrike. While this does require a talent to use, it provides a very strong option as a 3-minute cooldown that is also quite versatile because of the newly added burst AoE effect when cast paired with a reliable window of strong ability usage.
Optional Read: Notes on Enhancement Shaman
Weapon Imbues and Buffs
You should always make sure you have both Windfury Weapon and Flametongue Weapon imbued on your weapons. These contribute a lot to both your damage and your ability proc rates, and missing them will hurt you a lot. You should also keep Lightning Shield active if you are facing enemies that will strike you in melee, as the extra Maelstrom Weapon charges can be converted into more damage or healing.
Maelstrom Weapon Details
The newly added mechanic of Maelstrom Weapon is important to grasp if you intend to play Enhancement. This has a 20% chance to trigger from any melee hit, and stacks up to 10 times. Each stack reduces the cast time of your next Lightning Bolt/ Chain Lightning cast by 20%, and increases its damage by the same amount. Only 5 stacks can be consumed at once, making the spells instant.
While it is tempting to cast these spells as soon as you hit 5 stacks, you should instead be pooling to make use of the 10 stack cap. It serves instead as a high damage filler to mix up the rotation based on the state of your other ability cooldowns. If you rush to cast this as soon as you hit 5, you will often find yourself starved and having wasted other ability uses.
Windfury Totem currently provides a solid boost to anyone in your party, meaning up to 4 other melee players can gain an advantage from this effect in a raid. This has a 20% chance to proc per auto-attack with a 0.5-second internal cooldown per player, but will only trigger from main-hand swings. These extra attacks count as regular auto-attacks, meaning they proc all on-hit effects, but they do not affect Hunter auto-shots, pets or guardians.
Crash Lightning Explained
Crash Lightning looks simple on the surface, but has a lot of moving parts and is an important aspect of Enhancement gameplay. The Nature damage proc while the buff is active will trigger in single target as well, so finding opportunities to activate the buff will improve your single-target damage as well, so look for chances to hit a stray add and get it active. Second, any hits from the initial strike have a chance to trigger Stormbringer due to them all being counted as a weapon strike, so try to hit as many targets as possible with the initial cast. Finally, these hits all have a chance to trigger Windfury Weapon on targets struck, emphasizing the importance of hitting multiple enemies. This is even more important when using Forceful Winds, which can gain multiple stacks per Crash Lightning cast.
Alongside this, Crash Lightning casts are augmented by your Chain Lightning casts increasing the damage by up to 60%, making it a good follow-up. It will also trigger the Gathering Storms effect, boosting the damage of your next Stormstrike cast by 5% per target hit, allowing you to funnel more damage into one target.
Shocks and Pandemic
In single-target situations, you want to make sure that you keep Flame Shock active at as close to 100% uptime as possible. You can refresh it based on the Pandemic window at any time under 5.4 seconds. If it has longer than this remaining, you should instead default to Frost Shock due to its higher base damage as a filler.
In AoE scenarios, you will almost always be using Hailstorm, which means Frost Shock dictates your AoE cycle and should be kept on cooldown as much as possible, with Flame Shock leaving the rotation in most cases.
Tier 1 Talents
Lashing Flames provides the highest single-target damage boost by doubling the output of your Flame Shock when maintained, which should be doable at all times on 1 to 2 enemies. There is not a lot to play around here, aside from slightly increasing the priority of Lava Lash to keep the debuff active, but maintaining this on a large number of enemies past two is not realistic.
Forceful Winds is the simplest option on the tier, and has very little to play around. It slots into the rotation and will naturally cycle based on your casts, with slightly higher value when there are extra targets to proc it with via Crash Lightning.
Elemental Blast requires you to bank Maelstrom Weapon more aggressively, making sure you always have 5 available when it is about to come off cooldown. In single-target this is exceptionally strong when played around correctly, but is much harder to execute. This is used as the highest priority rotationally, but has very little AoE use due to it displacing a cast of Chain Lightning, which breaks the cycle.
Tier 2 Talents
Stormflurry is the best passive option both in single-target and AoE situations. The additional hits do trigger the Crash Lightning splash, are affected by the damage boost from Elemental Assault, but do not trigger the guaranteed extra stack of Maelstrom Weapon. They also trigger all on-hit effects (such as Windfury Weapon and Stormbringer).
Hot Hand has a very low proc chance, but can chain into itself with some luck. It creates a brief window of a one-two playstyle, having you cycle Lava Lash casts between the next highest damage ability available as it floods you with ability uses. It is extremely single-target focused, but will win out in those situations so long as you react quickly and adjust your rotation to keep it on cooldown.
Ice Strike requires you to be using your Shock spells aggressively, while also managing the cooldown of itself, and the other abilities you do in the regular rotation. This clash makes it hard to execute ideally, and even when it is the pay-off is so low that it is unlikely to see any use.
Tier 4 Talents
Elemental Assault is the single-target powerhouse on the row, increasing consistency via the extra reliable Maelstrom Weapon charges and increasing the damage of Stormstrike which is still the main weapon attack we aim to keep on cooldown. This lacks flexibility though, and should only be picked if you are focusing on single-target situations.
Hailstorm increases the value of your Maelstrom Weapon spending abilities by triggering a buff that turns Frost Shock into a huge AoE burst tool. This rounds out the AoE rotation nicely as a finisher in between the other buttons we use regularly, dictating the pace via the coolown of Frost Shock.
Fire Nova requires you to maintain multiple Flame Shocks across different targets to get any strong use out of it. This can be cumbersome due to the cooldown Flame Shock has, and that targets can die before you get to cast Nova itself. The many shortcomings and difficulties of playing this ability do not pay off enough to make up for that.
Tier 6 Talents
Crashing Storm is the easiest to play here, but is the weakest option. While it slots in rotationally without any requirements, that enemies are prone to moving out of the pool before it gets full value can often really hurt it.
Stormkeeper received a change in Patch 9.0.5 that orients it around the 3-target cleave window by removing the Lightning Bolt interaction. Unfortunately, at the same time some scaling was removed with Maelstrom Weapon stacks present for Chain Lightning when consuming the buff. It still can be made instant, but the scaling change comes out at a net loss and the talent is simply not effective in its current state.
Sundering is the most flexible option and should generally be your pick. This provides an additional rotational tool for intermittent downtime, or a heavy burst AoE cooldown if needed. You should make sure to save if it you expect enemies to spawn within its cooldown instead of burning it on a single target, but otherwise is a simple active to make use of.
Tier 7 Talents
- Fire — Molten Weapon. This increases the value of Fire damage you deal, but due to Lava Lash's high cooldown, is hard to capitalize upon unless you get lucky Hot Hand procs.
- Frost — Icy Edge provides a flat damage buff and impacts none of your abilities, just providing a flat damage boost to your hits when active.
- Lightning — Crackling Surge has large swing potential by boosting the impact of Stormbringer chains.
You can also roll two of the same wolf, and their boosts multiply. While all of these effects may sound important when reading them, there is little to nothing you can do to alter your playstyle around them due to everything being cooldown locked in Shadowlands. That means most of the gameplay comes around judging when to use it with the reduced cooldown.
Ascendance provides a 15-second window of consistent damage via Windstrike with the reduced cooldown, and a big burst on cast. When you pair this boost with the additional range it provides, it makes for a versatile and high powered option for any encounter type if planned around correctly, and adds a powerful burst AoE cast into your arsenal.
Earthen Spike is the most consistent option, but is less punchy than the alternatives. Picking this means you are opting into sustained single-target damage, which is something Enhancement can tailor talent choices around. This serves as the ideal if you have no room to make use of the extra cooldown windows on the row and are focusing on a single enemy.
- 29 Jun. 2021: Updated for Patch 9.1.
- 09 Mar. 2021: Page updated for Patch 9.0.5 with some small adjustments.
- 24 Nov. 2020: Page updated for Shadowlands launch.
- 13 Oct. 2020: Page updated for the Shadowlands pre-patch.
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