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Enhancement Shaman DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (Legion 7.3.5)

Last updated on Jan 18, 2018 at 07:28 by Wordup 395 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

On this page, we list your Enhancement Shaman core abilities and how they should be used together (rotation) in World of Warcraft Legion 7.3.5. We also explain when to use your various cooldowns. Then, we go deeper and present all the subtleties that you will need to know if you want to excel at playing an Enhancement Shaman.

The other pages of our Enhancement Shaman guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.

About Our Author

This guide has been written by Wordup, a frequent theorycrafter involved in a number of class communities. He is also an experienced player who has been in the world top 100 since the days of Sunwell, currently raiding in Echoes. You can also follow him on Twitter.

1. Enhancement Shaman Ability Priority List

Enhancement Shaman plays on a priority list much like many other resource based classes, but is very reactionary and context specific. Due to this, practice and learning the rules is very important, and following the chain in each given Global is crucial to optimising your output. This assumes the ideal talent build, which is optimised around having Concordance of the Legionfall Icon Concordance of the Legionfall at 52 weapon traits.

Due to the fluidity of the talent builds, I have added checks below in case you are using specific talents to define where they fit in. This extends to the AoE rotation which is very similar, and as such I have just added in lines to indicate Crash Lightning Icon Crash Lightning use (just enable the Crash Lightning box below to enable it).

  • Hot Hand
  • Windsong
  • Hailstorm
  • Overcharge
  • Fury of Air
  • Earthen Spike
  • Ascendance
  • AoE with Crash Lightning
  1. Cast Rockbiter Icon Rockbiter to generate Maelstrom and maintain Landslide Icon Landslide.
  2. Cast Flametongue Icon Flametongue if the buff is not active.
  3. Cast Feral Spirit Icon Feral Spirit on cooldown. Follow this immediately with a Crash Lightning Icon Crash Lightning cast to activate  Icon Alpha Wolf.
  4. Cast Windstrike Icon Windstrike with or without Stormbringer Icon Stormbringer active.
  5. Activate  Icon Doom Winds whenever available, try to have Stormstrike Icon Stormstrike available, your on-hit buffs & the Earthen Spike Icon Earthen Spike debuff active with this.
  6. Cast Stormstrike Icon Stormstrike with Stormbringer Icon Stormbringer active.
  7. Cast Crash Lightning Icon Crash Lightning if the Tier 20 bonus Lightning Crash Icon Lightning Crash is not active.
  8. Cast Rockbiter Icon Rockbiter with the Tier 21 bonus Force of the Mountain Icon Force of the Mountain active.
  9. Cast Stormstrike Icon Stormstrike.
  10. Cast Rockbiter Icon Rockbiter.
  11. Cast Flametongue Icon Flametongue if the buff has less than 4.5 seconds remaining.
  12. Cast Lava Lash Icon Lava Lash if you have more than 40 Maelstrom.

The majority of your damage is sourced from Stormstrike Icon Stormstrike via your Stormbringer Icon Stormbringer procs. This has a have high Maelstrom requirements, so needs a solid buffer of Maelstrom to make use of on cooldown. Make sure you do not drain yourself by over-committing to Lava Lash Icon Lava Lash and casting Rockbiter Icon Rockbiter too infrequently. The more that you play with Enhancement, the more you will adjust to the ebb and flow of Maelstrom as you are generating a lot more passively than actively. Being able to react to your Stormbringer Icon Stormbringer procs whilst keeping yourself Global Cooldown locked will make or break your ability to make use of the toolkit.

Note that the dump point for your Maelstrom expenditure differs if you are using Fury of Air Icon Fury of Air, due to the additional strain on your generation, meaning that you may find extra gaps in the rotation when using it; this is normal.

Finally, note that without the Tier 20 2-piece bonus, Crash Lightning Icon Crash Lightning is not used in single target, and should be avoided outside of the Feral Spirit condition listed above.

2. Enhancement Shaman Opening Rotation

Whilst the opener is very rarely a high impact point for Enhancement as most of your damage is tied to the sustained output over the course of the fight, a general sequence will look like the following:

  1. Use Potion of Prolonged Power Icon Potion of Prolonged Power before the pull.
  2. Cast Rockbiter Icon Rockbiter to generate burst Maelstrom and activate Landslide Icon Landslide.
  3. Activate Fury of Air Icon Fury of Air if taken.
  4. Cast Flametongue Icon Flametongue.
  5. Cast Frostbrand Icon Frostbrand with Hailstorm Icon Hailstorm taken.
  6. Cast Feral Spirit Icon Feral Spirit.
  7. Cast Crash Lightning Icon Crash Lightning to activate  Icon Alpha Wolf.
  8. Cast Earthen Spike Icon Earthen Spike if taken.
  9. Activate  Icon Doom Winds and immediately cast Stormstrike Icon Stormstrike.
  10. Cast Ascendance Icon Ascendance to reset the cooldown on Stormstrike Icon Stormstrike, or if Stormbringer Icon Stormbringer is active if taken.
  11. Cast Windstrike Icon Windstrike.
  12. Continue with single target rotation.

Where you go from here depends largely on whether or not Stormbringer Icon Stormbringer activated, but this will grant the largest window to allow for a proc to occur in the opener whilst setting up damage along the way, and giving enough Maelstrom to sustain it whilst you set your cooldowns rolling.

3. Important Notes for Enhancement Shaman

3.1. Doom Winds

 Icon Doom Winds is a very powerful 1-minute cooldown that comes with the Doomhammer, increasing the damage of all Windfury Icon Windfury effects by 200% and guaranteeing procs from all auto attacks (though off-hand triggers will suffer from the 50% penalty). This provides a massive surge of Maelstrom and allows you to aggressively spend during it, so make sure you have all your buffs present before activating it.

Note that main hand active abilities that can trigger Windfury will also gain from this damage boost, so filling as many globals during the 6-second window with Stormstrike Icon Stormstrike casts will play into this burst window perfectly, so try to have it ready before activation by anticipating its cooldown and not casting Stormstrike just before it cools down. Do not be afraid to cap Maelstrom during this period either.

3.2. Crash Lightning Explained

Crash Lightning Icon Crash Lightning is simple on the surface, but has a relatively complex set of mechanics behind it. Whilst this is no longer used in the single target rotation due to previous Lava Lash Icon Lava Lash buffs, knowing how to play around it in cleave and AoE situations can increase your performance significantly.

First of all, the Nature damage proc whilst the buff is active will trigger in single target as well, so finding opportunities to trigger it in a fight will augment your already powerful toolkit further, so always look for chances to hit two targets. Second, any hits from the initial strike have a chance to trigger Stormbringer Icon Stormbringer due to them all being counted as a weapon strike, so you should always be trying to hit multiple targets to game this. Finally, these hits all have a chance to cause Windfury Icon Windfury on targets struck, so you should again be trying to force this for additional damage on a priority target.

Other than this, in regular AoE, Crash Lightning Icon Crash Lightning operates in a simple way, it converts your single target tools into splash AoE which should be used often and aggressively.

3.3. Tier 2 Talents

The Tier 2 talents offer a lot of flexibility in both raid utility and personal mobility. Your decision should not be made based on the opener as Enhancement already have a number of ways to start damage early as the fight begins and get onto a target.

Feral Lunge Icon Feral Lunge will allow you to move around the battlefield in hectic add fights much more efficiently and switch to targets across the map on demand. Wind Rush Totem Icon Wind Rush Totem however is a profoundly important tool on any movement based fights (as Helya proved), and any situation where this can be capitalized on should be taken advantage of fully, so look for opportunities to use this to enhance your impact on the raid.

Due to this, Wind Rush Totem Icon Wind Rush Totem should be your go-to in group content as it allows for a large speed increasing zone that can be refreshed as needed. While Wind Rush Totem Icon Wind Rush Totem reads as "within 10 yards", it is actually a 10-yard radius, allowing you to create a large 20-yard diameter zone that can span the breadth of the gap between melee and ranged.

Rainfall Icon Rainfall can be considered as a tool to make use of if there is no personal or raid-wide movement cooldowns required. This can be a great option to still provide some use from the tier as it has a very low impact on your output whilst still providing a solid bump to help the healers along during an encounter. Note though that due to its stationary nature, it is only really useful on fights that are quite static, an example being Krosus.

3.4. Tier 5 Talents

Overcharge Icon Overcharge is a powerful talent, effectively granting a second high power Maelstrom spender on a low cooldown. This requires extra Maelstrom management to make use of due to its high 40 Maelstrom cost so some foresight is needed to make sure it always remains on cooldown. This talent is a great option due to its consistency within the rotation converting excess Maelstrom into damage.

Tempest Icon Tempest however is far less high maintenance, and fits in very well with more legendary options, and talent builds. Patch 7.2.5 has hit a happy medium in which your choice can come down to what you enjoy, and what fights allow you to capitalise on the most.

Empowered Stormlash Icon Empowered Stormlash takes this to the extreme as the most passive option that has no interaction with your rotation. This is very poor in solo content, but in large group content, can be competitive with more targets to spread Stormlash Icon Stormlash to.

3.5. 7.2.5 Ascendance vs. Earthen Spike

7.2.5 has come with a significant rework to Ascendance Icon Ascendance that has made it significantly more competitive than in the past. Alongside some underlying issues being remedied, the core design now plays much better into being a strong burst cooldown without domineering alternative choices on the same tier.

Whilst playing this, it converts Stormstrike Icon Stormstrike to Windstrike Icon Windstrike for the 15-second duration, and reduces its cooldown, allowing it to always sit at a 2 Global Cooldown recharge. This means you can alternate Windstrike with any other important rotational ability or buff, whilst still firing off powerful Windstrikes. When Stormbringer Icon Stormbringer procs however, you replace the filler space with an additional Windstrike, and continue on. Ascendance also comes with the added benefit of frontloading a significant amount of damage into a short cooldown window, which makes it very powerful for specific fights. This is coupled with additional range that allows us to hit targets otherwise unavailable and provides great utility to a cooldown that has been neglected before this Patch.

Earthen Spike Icon Earthen Spike provides a more consistent option and can have some room with specific legendaries such as Soul of the Farseer Icon Soul of the Farseer/Smoldering Heart Icon Smoldering Heart. This remains competitive with Ascendance Icon Ascendance in virtually all talent builds, and your choice largely comes down to how much maintenance you want to subject yourself to, and if encounter types lean on one or the other. Compared to Ascendance, the increased frequency of Earthen Spike also lends very well to encounters that have priority targets spawning more frequently than Ascendance can capitalise upon. Given that it can synchronise easily with  Icon Doom Winds, this gives it a solid place if frequent burst damage is required rather than overwhelming burst every 3 minutes.

Currently, with optimal circumstances, Earthen Spike Icon Earthen Spike is slightly better, but any situations that allow for you to optimise the range increase component of Ascendance Icon Ascendance can swing this very quickly. This tier still largely remains a flex choice, but could change in the future.

3.6. Pandemic

Some of Enhancement's personal buffs (Flametongue Icon Flametongue and Frostbrand Icon Frostbrand) now benefit from the "Pandemic" effect, meaning that they can be refreshed when they have less than 30% of their duration remaining without penalty. The remaining duration will be added to the newly applied buff when under this threshold, allowing for much more flexibility for when you refresh. Ideally, you want to refresh during periods where Stormbringer Icon Stormbringer and Stormstrike Icon Stormstrike are unavailable. You should also consider your current Maelstrom status so you can avoid overcapping resources. Remember that all of these "enhancement" spells have a 10-yard range, so if you are dealing with mechanics that force you just out of melee range, that can be an ideal time to refresh and capitalise on that downtime by making use of the increased range. Pandemic values are currently the following:

3.7. Healing Surge

Healing Surge Icon Healing Surge will consume 20 Maelstrom, if available, to become instant. This can allow for a lot of personal sustain during high damage moments of an encounter to keep yourself ticking over if the healers cannot reach you or are under high stress, and is important to make use of due to the relatively weak Enhancement defensive toolkit. Mechanics will occasionally force you out of range of the boss and put you in dangerous positions, so using this can be very beneficial. Always be aware of this if you have excess Maelstrom and are in danger, as it can save your life.

3.8. Lightning Bolt

Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt costs and generates no Maelstrom, and deals weak damage, but is instant cast with a 40-yard range. If you are ever forced entirely out of melee range, you can lean on Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt to offer you a little bit of damage until you can return to the boss. You should avoid the use of Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt otherwise, as it resets the melee swing timer causing a significant dip in damage by reducing Maelstrom generation for very little damage in return.

Note that since the some builds makes use of Overcharge Icon Overcharge, this will not be as easily accessible at all times and as such will not be available to fill up all globals when out of range due to both the cooldown and Maelstrom cost, so be aware of that. Overcharge Icon Overcharge does however remove the melee swing timer reset, so you should not worry about that when using the talent.

4. Enhancement Shaman Core Concepts

On the surface, Enhancement can appear quite simplistic due to the fire and forget nature of the toolkit. Once you look past this however, you can see that there is a lot of nuance to managing your resource alongside juggling your Global Cooldown in between procs, making it a very reactionary, high pace space. Being able to master the flow of all of these at once will form the core of mastering Enhancement, and any mistakes you make in these situations will impact you greatly as a mis-step can cause waste you cannot recover from easily. There are generally two core aspects to Enhancement that should be grasped first and foremost when trying to optimise your gameplay:

  1. Maelstrom management;
  2. buff uptime & proc management.

4.1. Maelstrom Management

The first and most important thing to grasp is mastering your Maelstrom. Due to how sporadic gains can be, and how only half of your generation is really in your hands, having a general grasp of how it will flow will help you significantly when predicting what you need, should you need it during a proc string. Due to how easy it can sometimes be to generate, it is very easy to underestimate just how vital managing this can be. The most important thing to do is never over-commit Maelstrom to dumps such as Lava Lash Icon Lava Lash, instead opting to generate with Rockbiter Icon Rockbiter to build up a surplus without going too far in the other direction and wasting it.

Do not be afraid to hover above 90-100 Maelstrom, as this will always be a good amount to have in a situation where you will need to repeatedly spend with back to back Stormstrike Icon Stormstrike casts and Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt / Overcharge Icon Overcharge dumps when they come up. Always avoid siphoning Maelstrom via Lava Lash Icon Lava Lash if you feel you are going to be at risk of this if a chain does happen, because due to its unpredictable nature it can and probably will happen at the worst time for you when taking these risks.

During both  Icon Doom Winds and Feral Spirit Icon Feral Spirits, Maelstrom will be generated at a significantly increased rate, allowing Lava Lash Icon Lava Lash to be used more often with less punishment. Having at least 50 Maelstrom in reserve is important, allowing you to immediately react to Stormbringer Icon Stormbringer procs without fear of draining yourself too far. If you are sitting on minimum levels of Maelstrom and Stormstrike Icon Stormstrike is on cooldown, it is best to build up a surplus via Rockbiter Icon Rockbiter for when it does happen, or take the opportunity to refresh Flametongue Icon Flametongue if it is falling off soon.

4.2. Buff Uptimes & Proc Management

Landslide Icon Landslide coming from Rockbiter Icon Rockbiter and your Flametongue Icon Flametongue effect both provide a relatively solid increase to overall damage, and provide a very valuable damage per cast so should be maintained at all times during periods in which Stormstrike Icon Stormstrike is not available, ideally. Making sure these are kept in check is very important, as is maintaining your Crash Lightning Icon Crash Lightning effect in AoE to amp up both your single-target and AoE damage if there are targets to activate it upon. Having to refresh these because they were neglected during a long Stormbringer Icon Stormbringer chain is very detrimental, so learning to track these timers either mentally or with a tracking addon will be a huge increase to your ability to react to procs.

Making use of Stormbringer Icon Stormbringer plays into this very well too, as it can happen at any time. Given how much of a factor Stormstrike Icon Stormstrike plays on your output, being able to cast it on cooldown as soon as a reset happens is crucial, meaning that you generally want to have your buffs as primed as possible unless you are forced out of doing so. This is largely, again tied to Maelstrom management, by not over-committing resources and globals to Lava Lash Icon Lava Lash, you are creating the best environment to accommodate these procs when they do happen to actively make use of them.

5. Enhancement Shaman Tier 19 Set Bonuses

Tier 19 has been overhauled with Patch 7.2.5 due to it being reworked into the base toolkit. Due to this, the 4-piece bonus is relatively weak, and whilst the 2-piece bonus has a place in single target, it requires high Titanforging to remain relevant with Tomb of Sargeras item levels and so should not be actively pursued.

The 2-piece is a simple, flat bonus to Stormstrike Icon Stormstrike casts. Due to the dilution of the rotation this is not as strong as it seems, and with the multitude of other abilities now contributing, it is solid in single target, but nothing special.

The 4-piece bonus has had a large amount of its value baked into the spec baseline, which hurts its value. It is still useful to increase your Stormbringer Icon Stormbringer trigger rate, but is no longer generates the extreme value it did in Patch 7.2.

6. Enhancement Shaman Tier 20 Set Bonuses

Both of the bonuses from the Tier 20 set are focused on augmenting your Crash Lightning Icon Crash Lightning ability, providing an additional maintenance buff and increasing its AoE potential.

  • 2-piece: Crash Lightning Icon Crash Lightning increases your Critical Strike chance by 5% for 16 seconds when cast.
  • 4-piece: Stormstrike Icon Stormstrike casts (note: not individual hits) increases the initial damage of your next Crash Lightning Icon Crash Lightning cast by 35%, stacking up to 15 times.

The 2-piece re-introduces Crash Lightning Icon Crash Lightning into the single target rotation allowing an additional buff to keep up for the rest of your toolkit, but is otherwise very simple and unremarkable.

The 4-piece on the other hand increases the value of those filler casts and synergising well with additional Stormstrike Icon Stormstrike casts in that window. Whilst this is a pretty poor single target bonus, in AoE this increases in strength linearly and becomes much better. Due to this, the surface value of the bonus may seem quite week, but due to the benefit it has on our burst AoE, it is stillA a desirable goal, especially due to the reduction in Tier 19 strength this Patch.

7. Enhancement Shaman Tier 21 Set Bonuses

Both bonuses in Tier 21 focus on Rockbiter Icon Rockbiter, allowing for additional synergy with Stormstrike Icon Stormstrike through the Force of the Mountain Icon Force of the Mountain effect, and also increasing elemental damage dealt to a target for a short window.

  • 2-piece: Stormstrike Icon Stormstrike has a 30% chance to increase the damage of the next Rockbiter Icon Rockbiter cast within 10 seconds by 100%.
  • 4-piece: Rockbiter Icon Rockbiter increases the Fire, Frost and Nature damage taken by the target by 15% for 4.5 seconds.

The 2-piece bonus provides additional value to your Rockbiter Icon Rockbiter casts that follow a Stormstrike Icon Stormstrike cast triggering the Force of the Mountain Icon Force of the Mountain effect. This works well in single target, and you should ideally prioritise using this above regular, non-Stormbringer Icon Stormbringer buffed Stormstrike casts.

The 4-piece provides additional damage to your elemental damage effects for 4.5 seconds following a Rockbiter Icon Rockbiter on the target, and is again very single target oriented. Generally, you will have this active in your downtime between Stormstrike chains (which are not increased by the effect), so uptime isn't something you should worry about too much.

8. ChangeLog

  • 18 Jan. 2018: Small update to rotation regarding Rockbiter & Flametongue priorities.
  • 12 Dec. 2017: Updated note for Maelstrom dump point for clarity with Fury of Air.
  • 27 Nov. 2017: Updated for Antorus T21 set bonuses.
  • 28 Aug. 2017: No changes needed for Patch 7.3.
  • 14 Aug. 2017: Updated rotation for new Earthen Spike information & re-arranged certain parts of the rotation regarding buff management.
  • 19 Jun. 2017: Small changes in opener to prioritise buffs.
  • 16 Jun. 2017: Moved Crash Lightning buff maintanence up over casting Ascendance to be active for burst.
  • 15 Jun. 2017: Clarified Earthen Spike in the opener & moved above Doom Winds for syncing purposes.
  • 12 Jun. 2017: Updated Patch 7.2.5 rotational changes, added details regarding Tier 20 set bonuses and Ascendance overview.
  • 27 Mar. 2017: Slight changes to account for Hailstorm's return in patch 7.2.
  • 21 Jan. 2017: Added Tier 19 4-piece set bonus sections: rotation/opener.
  • 09 Jan. 2017: Large update with changes to rotation to factor in 7.1.5 updates.
  • 28 Oct. 2016: Updated priotity system to include Alpha Wolf mention and cleaned up the opening sequence for additional clarity.
  • 29 Aug. 2016: Updated for Legion's launch.
  • 24 Jul. 2016: Improved clarity in some sections.
  • 18 Jul. 2016: Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
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