Enhancement Shaman DPS Spec, Builds, and Talents — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1.5

Last updated on Apr 16, 2019 at 06:40 by Wordup 51 comments

On this page, you will find out the best talents for each tier for your Enhancement Shaman in World of Warcraft — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1.5. We also have default talent lists for various types of content, such as raiding or Mythic+. If you play with Warmode on, we have your PvP talents covered as well.

Currently, there are a number of varying builds that will alter when some talents are considered strong or not. This is defined by what Azerite traits you currently have available, and as such this page has separate sections for the following alterations: Primal Primer and Strength of Earth.

1. Talent Choices for Enhancement Shaman

Level Choices
15 Boulderfist ? Boulderfist Hot Hand Hot Hand Lightning Shield Lightning Shield
30 Landslide ? Landslide Forceful Winds Forceful Winds Totem Mastery Totem Mastery
45 Spirit Wolf ? Spirit Wolf Earth Shield ? Earth Shield Static Charge ? Static Charge
60 Searing Assault Searing Assault Hailstorm Hailstorm Overcharge Overcharge
75 Nature's Guardian ? Nature's Guardian Feral Lunge ? Feral Lunge Wind Rush Totem ? Wind Rush Totem
90 Crashing Storm ? Crashing Storm Fury of Air ? Fury of Air Sundering Sundering
100 Elemental Spirits ? Elemental Spirits Earthen Spike ? Earthen Spike Ascendance Ascendance

Talents can be freely changed when out of combat and in a rested XP area (such as an inn or a capital city). Moreover, Tome of the Tranquil Mind Icon Tome of the Tranquil Mind and Codex of the Tranquil Mind Icon Codex of the Tranquil Mind can be used to temporarily allow players to change talents anywhere, as long as they are out of combat.

2. Enhancement Shaman Talent Cheat Sheet

This first section will aim to optimize the most basic talent builds for different content types, without focusing on differentiation caused by Azerite. These talents will work in most situations, and should be a good setup to take into different types of content. There is a quick "cheat sheet" below, but each Azerite section at the bottom of the page will also have its own recommendations in a similar vein.

2.1. Raid Encounter: Single Target Oriented

This build is an excellent starting point as a standard raid setup, focusing on single target which is Enhancement's strongest niche currently. Player choice tiers are reserved for Utility options, which have no strict answer.

2.2. Mythic+: AoE Oriented

This build focuses more on versatility and flexibility, allowing you to pick and choose things that will complement your tools in a Mythic+ or Dungeon environment.

3. Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents for Enhancement Shaman

Boulderfist ? Boulderfist Hot Hand Hot Hand Lightning Shield Lightning Shield

Tier 1 talents offer additional ways of dealing additional damage alongside increased Maelstrom generation.

  • Boulderfist Icon Boulderfist reduces Rockbiter Icon Rockbiters recharge time by 15%, and causing it to deal 35% increased damage.
  • Hot Hand Icon Hot Hand provides a chance for all melee attacks while imbued with Flametongue Icon Flametongue to proc an empowered Lava Lash Icon Lava Lash that costs no Maelstrom and deals 100% increased damage.
  • Lightning Shield Icon Lightning Shield applies a 1 hour buff to you that
    • reflects a small amount of Nature damage to melee attackers;
    • generates 2 charges per Stormstrike Icon Stormstrike cast;
    • at 20 charges, consumes them and resets to 1, and causing your melee attacks to deal additional Nature damage for 10 seconds.

Currently, Lightning Shield Icon Lightning Shield remains the most flexible option, performing well in all situations while having the lowest impact on your rotation. This is recommended and currently, both other options are too limited by their playstyle constraints.

Hot Hand Icon Hot Hand is mostly single-target, and while it does provide additional Maelstrom by allowing for a free Lava Lash Icon Lava Lash cast, the procs are very sporadic and can sometimes lead to waste. The damage increase is solid.

Boulderfist Icon Boulderfist requires additional Global Cooldowns to be spent predominantly on generation, which the rotation currently struggles to find room to support, and Rockbiter Icon Rockbiter still does not deal enough damage to alleviate this despite the damage increase. If you are looking for a purely single target gain, pairing this with Landslide Icon Landslide when executed perfectly can be a slight gain.

4. Tier 2 (Level 30) Talents for Enhancement Shaman

Landslide ? Landslide Forceful Winds Forceful Winds Totem Mastery Totem Mastery

Tier 2 talents provide a mixture of raw additional damage, and some Maelstrom generation options.

  • Landslide Icon Landslide grants your Rockbiter Icon Rockbiter casts a 40% chance to increase the damage of your next Stormstrike Icon Stormstrike cast by 100%.
  • Forceful Winds Icon Forceful Winds causes each successive Windfury Attack Icon Windfury Attack within 15 seconds to increase all Windfury damage by 80%, and Maelstrom generated by 1 (per swing), stacking up to 5 times. This effect does not refresh itself.
  • Totem Mastery Icon Totem Mastery summons 4 totems at your feet for 2 minutes with no cooldown, granting the following effects:
    • Resonance Totem — generates 1 Maelstrom every second.
    • Storm Totem — 10% increased Stormstrike Icon Stormstrike damage
    • Ember Totem — 10% increased Lava Lash Icon Lava Lash damage.
    • Tailwind Totem — 2% increased chance to trigger Windfury Icon Windfury.

Currently, you will be selecting Forceful Winds Icon Forceful Winds in all situations.

Landslide Icon Landslide is mostly single target-oriented, adding an additional proc to your rotation that can provide additional damage through buffed Stormstrike Icon Stormstrike hits. This talent can be inconsistent, applies extra strain on the rotation due to requiring additional Rockbiter Icon Rockbiter casts, and is very hard to incorporate into the AoE rotation. Its single target gain can be slightly superior in ideal scenarios however, making it a rare optional choice.

Forceful Winds Icon Forceful Winds, on the other hand, provides a solid single target increase and a large gain in AoE situations due to the additional speed it can be stacked up via Crash Lightning Icon Crash Lightning. Do note that the swing that triggers the effect gains the benefit (so for example, if 3 are triggered by a Crash Lightning cast, all 3 will gain 300% increased damage and generate a total of 6 extra Maelstrom).

Totem Mastery Icon Totem Mastery is very versatile, and serves as a solid buff maintenance option if taken. It still has limitations based on needing to use up a Global Cooldown to place them before each encounter or during movement. Due to that, it is hard to recommend when competing with Forceful Winds.

5. Tier 3 (Level 45) Talents for Enhancement Shaman

Spirit Wolf ? Spirit Wolf Earth Shield ? Earth Shield Static Charge ? Static Charge

Tier 3 talents provide various utility tools that are useful in different situations.

  • Spirit Wolf Icon Spirit Wolf causes Ghost Wolf Icon Ghost Wolf to grant an additional 5% Movement Speed and 5% damage reduction each second while active, stacking up to 4 times. These stacks are all lost when leaving Ghost Wolf.
  • Earth Shield Icon Earth Shield applies a shield to your target with 9 charges, increasing all healing you do to them by 10%. If the target takes damage, a charge will be consumed and heal them a small amount. This can only be active on one target at a time.
  • Static Charge Icon Static Charge reduces the cooldown of your Capacitor Totem Icon Capacitor Totem by 5 seconds per target hit, up to a maximum of 20 seconds.

All 3 of these options have their place depending on the current content you are doing, and a lot of your choice will be decided by that and personal preference, as none are significantly stronger than the alternatives.

Spirit Wolf Icon Spirit Wolf provides a more consistent way of reducing damage if it is needed frequently during an encounter alongside improving your Ghost Wolf Icon Ghost Wolf movement speed bonus, but has a significant opportunity cost as you cannot deal damage while taking advantage of it, and need the buff to ramp up.

Earth Shield Icon Earth Shield grants a small amount of additional self sustain when doing solo content, or in encounters where there is constant but low ticking damage. It is otherwise relatively underwhelming and will not keep you alive in emergencies.

Static Charge Icon Static Charge provides additional AoE crowd control in particular in Mythic+ where it shines, and in encounters were more frequent stuns are needed. This has no impact on survival or movement, however, so make sure the situation calls for it before selecting.

6. Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents for Enhancement Shaman

Searing Assault Searing Assault Hailstorm Hailstorm Overcharge Overcharge

Tier 4 talents offer single target damage increase options.

  • Searing Assault Icon Searing Assault causes your direct Flametongue Icon Flametongue casts to deal additional Fire damage over 6 seconds to the target.
  • Hailstorm Icon Hailstorm makes Frostbrand Icon Frostbrand cause your melee attacks to also deal additional Frost damage while the buff is active.
  • Overcharge Icon Overcharge causes Lightning Bolt Icon Lightning Bolt to consume up to 40 Maelstrom for significantly increased damage, but at the cost of a 9-second cooldown.

Currently, Searing Assault Icon Searing Assault is the superior choice due to it having little to no direct impact on the rotation while still providing more damage than the alternatives. Note that this DoT only applies from the initial cast of Flametongue, and not the on hit effects.

Hailstorm Icon Hailstorm is mostly oriented to sustained single target. The additional maintenance, resource and uptime requirements relegate it to a poor choice when compared to less intrusive options on the tier. It can provide a gain in AoE situations with the support of Natural Harmony Icon Natural Harmony traits, and can be used in those circumstances.

Overcharge Icon Overcharge requires significantly more management and resource allocation to make use of, and the damage gain over a simple Lava Lash Icon Lava Lash does not warrant the pick.

7. Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents for Enhancement Shaman

Nature's Guardian ? Nature's Guardian Feral Lunge ? Feral Lunge Wind Rush Totem ? Wind Rush Totem

Tier 5 talents provide additional movement and healing options.

  • Nature's Guardian Icon Nature's Guardian causes you to heal for 20% of your maximum health when you drop below 35% health. This effect has a 45-second cooldown.
  • Feral Lunge Icon Feral Lunge is an 8-25 yard range charge that also does minor Physical damage. This is on a 30-second cooldown and a 0.5-second Global Cooldown.
  • Wind Rush Totem Icon Wind Rush Totem summons a totem for 15 seconds that increases the speed of allies within 10 yards by 60% for 5 seconds. As long as allies remain in the area this will be refreshed. This has a 2-minute cooldown and can be placed up to 40 yards away.

In any situation where your group can capitalize upon Wind Rush Totem Icon Wind Rush Totem, it is the best choice by far. The refresh effect in the area is extremely powerful as it allows for unique benefits to the group to deal with mechanics. If this is not necessary, however, Feral Lunge Icon Feral Lunge provides a good amount of additional personal mobility and sticking power, so is a great choice in those circumstances.

Nature's Guardian Icon Nature's Guardian, on the other hand, gives you a modest amount of additional self-sustain that will also automatically activate, keeping you healthy in situations where you are brought low. This is a solid choice for Raids and Dungeons, especially in the event that you are not in need of extra mobility.

8. Tier 6 (Level 90) Talents for Enhancement Shaman

Crashing Storm ? Crashing Storm Fury of Air ? Fury of Air Sundering Sundering

Tier 6 talents focus on providing additional cleave and AoE damage.

  • Crashing Storm Icon Crashing Storm causes Crash Lightning Icon Crash Lightning to also leave an electrified zone on the ground for 6 seconds, dealing low Nature damage each second.
  • Fury of Air Icon Fury of Air creates a vortex 8 yards around you, damaging and slowing enemies in the area. This costs 3 Maelstrom per second to maintain and will remain active as long as you have enough resources to sustain it.
  • Sundering Icon Sundering deals massive FlameStrike (Fire/Physical) damage in a line and incapacitates targets hit for 2 seconds. This has a 40-second cooldown and costs 20 Maelstrom.

Sundering Icon Sundering is the most flexible choice on the tier. It shores up the biggest problem Enhancement suffers from which is burst AoE, alongside being the only solid increase in single target. The incapacitate can also be extremely useful for niche situations that require extra disruption of targets.

Crashing Storm Icon Crashing Storm provides a solid damage increase for low impact on your rotation, adding bonus damage to your Crash Lightning Icon Crash Lightning casts. This is a good choice in fight scenarios that have switches between single target and AoE, and Sundering is not able to be made use of. This also brings Crash Lightning into the single target rotation as a filler with a higher priority than Lava Lash Icon Lava Lash.

Fury of Air Icon Fury of Air is the most rotationally disruptive option, but following the 8.1 buffs is now serviceable as a sustained AoE choice. This mostly has benefits in situations that demand high movement, hindering the Crashing Storm effect. The extra slow effect added on top can also have some use in niche cases.

9. Tier 7 (Level 100) Talents for Enhancement Shaman

Elemental Spirits ? Elemental Spirits Earthen Spike ? Earthen Spike Ascendance Ascendance

Tier 7 talents enhance existing or grant additional burst windows.

  • Elemental Spirits Icon Elemental Spirits reduces the cooldown of Feral Spirit Icon Feral Spirit by 30 seconds, and and causes you to spawn two wolves in any combination from a pool of 3 Elements that provide the following buffs to you for the 15-second duration:
    • FireMolten Weapon Icon Molten Weapon increases your Fire damage by 20% and causes Lava Lash Icon Lava Lash to burn the target for an additional 35% of the damage dealt over 4 seconds. This effect accumulates much like Ignite Icon Ignite for Fire Mages.
    • FrostIcy Edge Icon Icy Edge causes all of your attacks to deal a fixed amount of additional Frost damage and slow the target by 30% for 3 seconds.
    • LightningCrackling Surge Icon Crackling Surge increases the damage of Stormstrike Icon Stormstrike and Windfury Attack Icon Windfury Attack by 35%.
  • Earthen Spike Icon Earthen Spike deals heavy Physical damage and increases the Physical and Nature damage you do to the affected target by 20% for 10 seconds. Has a 20-second cooldown and costs 20 Maelstrom.
  • Ascendance Icon Ascendance provides a 15 second buff that for the duration converts Stormstrike Icon Stormstrike to Windstrike Icon Windstrike with a 66% reduced cooldown, and your auto attacks into Windlash Icon Windlash. These both ignore armour and have an additional 30-yard range.

All three of these options fit into the kit and the choice you pick largely depends on the content or encounter type you are doing.

Ascendance Icon Ascendance provides the highest reliable burst window, but comes alongside the longest cooldown. It effectively limits RNG when active and has the greatest benefit in situations where additional single target burst is needed that match up with 3-minute cooldown window.

Elemental Spirits Icon Elemental Spirits, on the other hand, increases the frequency of your Feral Spirit Icon Feral Spirits, and the buffs are versatile, both increasing your single target and AoE damage significantly (in particular pairing Fire with Sundering Icon Sundering, or Lightning with Forceful Winds Icon Forceful Winds), but has RNG included.

Earthen Spike Icon Earthen Spike is ideal for frequent priority damage requirements, and making use of AoE damage funneling into a single target. It has the lowest burst of the 3 options, but it also relies the least on having fights line up with the cooldown timer, so is one of the least punishing as long as it can be used on cooldown.

10. Primal Primer Builds

This is a build that specifically requires you to have an adequate number of Primal Primer Icon Primal Primer traits available on your gear (usually 2, but 3 is recommended). This enables it as a very strong single-target build, and also has extremely strong synergy with Natural Harmony Icon Natural Harmony. Currently, it is expected to perform the best out of any Enhancement build, but is less flexible in AoE situations.

10.1. Primal Primer Cheat Sheet

10.2. Primal Primer Tier 1 (15) Talents

Boulderfist Boulderfist Hot Hand Hot Hand Lightning Shield Lightning Shield

When using Primal Primer Icon Primal Primer, Hot Hand Icon Hot Hand has a hugely inflated value due to the increased focus on Lava Lash Icon Lava Lash, and the reliance on Maelstrom generation. This is the best Maelstrom positive, damage increasing option on the tier, and is a lock in at all times.

10.3. Primal Primer Tier 2 (30) Talents

Landslide Landslide Forceful Winds ? Forceful Winds Totem Mastery Totem Mastery

Due to the increased impact of Lava Lash Icon Lava Lash and higher value of Maelstrom, alongside more casts that cannot trigger Windfury Icon Windfury, Totem Mastery Icon Totem Mastery gains significantly in single-target situations. Forceful Winds Icon Forceful Winds on the other hand has a strong showing in AoE due to the additional Maelstrom gain in multi target situations via Crash Lightning Icon Crash Lightning.

10.4. Primal Primer Tier 4 (60) Talents

Searing Assault Searing Assault Hailstorm Hailstorm Overcharge Overcharge

Hailstorm Icon Hailstorm provides additional triggers of the Primal Primer Icon Primal Primer effect, and is a core factor of the build. This is a lock in and should always be used, alongside having significant gains in AoE when combined with Natural Harmony Icon Natural Harmony.

10.5. Primal Primer Tier 7 (100) Talents

Elemental Spirits Elemental Spirits Earthen Spike Earthen Spike Ascendance Ascendance

Elemental Spirits Icon Elemental Spirits significantly outscales both other options when using this build, both due to the Molten Weapon Icon Molten Weapon amplification on Lava Lash Icon Lava Lash, and the extra Primal Primer Icon Primal Primer stacks generated by Icy Edge Icon Icy Edge. This also is the best Maelstrom positive option, which fuels the majority of the builds damage, so is always the ideal choice.

11. Strength of Earth Builds

When using Strength of Earth Icon Strength of Earth you are attempting to make the most use out of each Rockbiter Icon Rockbiter cast. Piling on as many effects that focus on this cast can result in very powerful single-target bursts, but can still suffer some consistency issues. This remains a good alternate option for single target however due to being less dependent than Primal Primer choices.

11.1. Strength of Earth Cheat Sheet

11.2. Strength of Earth Tier 1 (15) Talents

Boulderfist Boulderfist Hot Hand Hot Hand Lightning Shield Lightning Shield

With Strength of Earth Icon Strength of Earth, you are attempting to cast Rockbiter Icon Rockbiter as frequently as possible to activate the effect. Boulderfist Icon Boulderfist works very well to accentuate this, and increases the pace of the spec to cycle quickly, in particular during your Earthen Spike Icon Earthen Spike windows.

11.3. Strength of Earth Tier 2 (30) Talents

Landslide Landslide Forceful Winds ? Forceful Winds Totem Mastery Totem Mastery

Due to the additional casts of Rockbiter Icon Rockbiter, this improves the value of Landslide Icon Landslide significantly and works well with the frequent burst windows provided by Earthen Spike Icon Earthen Spike. Due to the very single-target focus of the build, this also encourages pairing these two together. For a little more flexibility however, Forceful Winds Icon Forceful Winds can be used as a replacement to improve cleave.

11.4. Strength of Earth Tier 4 (60) Talents

Searing Assault Searing Assault Hailstorm Hailstorm Overcharge ? Overcharge

Generally due to the increased Global Cooldown lock caused by Boulderfist Icon Boulderfist, Searing Assault Icon Searing Assault ends up being the easiest option to slot in here. Overcharge Icon Overcharge has limited uses to combine with the Earthen Spike Icon Earthen Spike window, but can be misplayed and does not trigger the Strength of Earth Icon Strength of Earth buff, making it a high skill cap choice for low rewards.

11.5. Strength of Earth Tier 7 (100) Talents

Elemental Spirits ? Elemental Spirits Earthen Spike Earthen Spike Ascendance Ascendance

Earthen Spike Icon Earthen Spike provides the best synergy with the different effects being used due to amplifying Physical and Nature, which the spec is heavily weighted toward. This can be replaced with other options if fights specifically discourage Earthen Spike, but in those circumstances the build should not be used.

12. PvP Talents (War Mode)

In Battle for Azeroth, there will be the option to go into "War Mode". Enabling War Mode provides the following benefits:

  • PvP talents that can be used in the outdoor world.
  • 10% increase in World Quest rewards at max level.
  • 10% more experience gained while leveling.
  • Ability to earn Conquest Points in the outdoor world, which can reward powerful gear every week.

With the benefits of enabling War Mode for leveling and PvE content, it is recommended to enable the feature to maximize your leveling and rewards at maximum level. However, you will make yourself available for open world PvP, and the possibility to be "ganked" while leveling or doing World Quests exists.

12.1. Enhancement Shaman War Mode Talents

In this section, we will rank the PvP talents best for leveling and doing open world PvE gameplay.

12.1.1. General PvP Talents

  • Adaptation Icon Adaptation is likely your most passive choice since it will automatically remove loss of control effects over 5 seconds. It is recommended for leveling to take this PvP talent.
  • Relentless Icon Relentless is also a passive ability but it does not automatically remove crowd control abilities, but instead reduces the duration.
  • Gladiator's Medallion Icon Gladiator's Medallion is an on-use ability that removes all movement impairing effects and all loss of control effects.

12.1.2. Enhancement Shaman PvP Talents

Generally the selections are made to optimize your ability to kill enemies faster, increasing your pace when moving through content.

  1. Ride the Lightning Icon Ride the Lightning provides the largest damage increase option, but is significantly weaker in open world choices in 8.1
  2. Shamanism Icon Shamanism allows for more liberal Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust / Heroism Icon Heroism usage without having to worry about the 10-minute lockout. Great for solo and duo content.
  3. Skyfury Totem Icon Skyfury Totem provides a moderate boost when staying in the same area, increasing your Critical Strike damage and Healing by 20% for 15-seconds, with a 40-second cooldown that is low enough to be used liberally, and boosting allies within its range on top of that.
  4. Counterstrike Totem Icon Counterstrike Totem replicates and reflects damage you take for 15 seconds, on a 45-second cooldown. This can be really strong when in a high damage area to deal some chip damage to targets around you, and convert your health pool into additional damage.

Other options that are useful include Swelling Waves Icon Swelling Waves and Spectral Recovery Icon Spectral Recovery as healing tools, increasing your sustain either while in combat or moving between encounters. Thundercharge Icon Thundercharge can have some limited uses, increasing the recovery rate of your cooldowns between areas, but Enhancement does not have a lot of impactful tools to make use of this effect.

Ethereal Form Icon Ethereal Form, Purifying Waters Icon Purifying Waters, and Grounding Totem Icon Grounding Totem, on the other hand, have very limited PvE uses, being more focused on in-combat control more suited to a PvP engagement, and as such are not really recommended for large groups of low health enemies.

13. Changelog

  • 16 Apr. 2019: This page has been reviewed for Crucible of Storms release and no changes are necessary.
  • 21 Jan. 2019: Updated for season 2 deviations depending on Azerite gear available.
  • 14 Dec. 2018: Small updates for Boulderfist/Landslide checkmarks, and explanations underneath.
  • 10 Dec. 2018: Updated for patch 8.1 talent changes.
  • 25 Aug. 2018: Updated to account for simulation changes revealing Landslide weakness.
  • 13 Aug. 2018: Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
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