How To Improve As Elemental Shaman — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1

Last updated on Dec 10, 2018 at 15:35 by Stormy 41 comments

On this page, you will find out how you can improve at playing Elemental Shaman in World of Warcraft — Battle for Azeroth (BfA) 8.1. We list the common mistakes that you should try to avoid and the small details that can greatly improve your performance.

1. Having High Downtime

One of the biggest difficulties casters have is respecting the golden rule of Always Be Casting. It sounds simple enough, but in practice it can be tricky to pull off, and in some circumstances you even have to break this rule. There is no magical advice that can help players both respect the rule or show clearly when it is right to break it. It simply comes with experience and most importantly knowing the encounters. Analyzing your own logs can be quite helpful, ideally recording your own gameplay and reflecting on all the time you are spending doing anything that is not casting spells. Did you really need to move there this early, did you have to interrupt this cast, did you need to ghost wolf to get there in time?

Ideally, whenever you need to move, you should take advantage of your instant spells. Unfortunately, this requires foresight, good timing and sometimes luck in order not to lose DPS while trying to gain some. You nearly always want to use your Lava Surge Icon Lava Surges as soon as they show up. However, you have fairly generous windows where you can choose when to refresh your Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock and use your Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock and you should always try to use those windows to adjust your positioning. I can not emphasize enough how important this is. Additionally, you can also move as you are summoning one of your elementals, or casting Totem Mastery Icon Totem Mastery or Liquid Magma Totem Icon Liquid Magma Totem.

Frost Shock Icon Frost Shock is more powerful in Battle for Azeroth and does not consume Maelstrom anymore, making it a very handy spell to use for movement. You should not hesitate to use it whenever you have to move. While you should not always default to casting Frost Shock in every circumstance involving movement, it is definitely a useful failsafe spell, minimizing your DPS loss during movement.

2. Not Using All Your Abilities

Depending on your talent choices, Elemental can have relatively few or quite a lot of abilities. Especially if you are using a talent setup you are not used to, it can be very easy to forget to use your entire arsenal of spells. Of the base abilities, it is common for people to forget using Fire Elemental Icon Fire Elemental, Storm Elemental Icon Storm Elemental and Earth Elemental Icon Earth Elemental after the initial cast. A lot of people die with Astral Shift Icon Astral Shift off cooldown. If there is any possibility of you dying from what is going to hit you next, you should always use whatever defensives you have available.

As for talents, it can get more complicated. Totem Mastery Icon Totem Mastery is a "maintenance" ability that is very easy to forget to re-use, and having proper Weak Auras showing their duration and range is nearly mandatory. Elemental Blast Icon Elemental Blast is one spell that needs to be cast on cooldown nearly always. A lot of people fail to do so, when they do not forget about it entirely. Liquid Magma Totem Icon Liquid Magma Totem and Stormkeeper Icon Stormkeeper are also in the category of spells with fairly long cooldown that are easily forgotten, although you should usually wait for the proper time to use them.

Finally, a lot of people have trouble with one of the big fundamentals of playing elemental shaman properly: always maintaining Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock on your main target. Your uptime should be above 99% in nearly all circumstances. It was for a brief time less important during Beta because Blizzard changed Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst to not require Flame Shock's presence for the automatic critical strike, but they reverted that change.

3. Overcapping Maelstrom

In Legion, you usually wanted to get near the Maelstrom cap constantly in order to cast Earth Shock Icon Earth Shock at maximum power. In Battle for Azeroth, this will not be something you want to do, because Earth Shock has a fixed cost of 60 Maelstrom. Unless you are trying to bank Maelstrom for a priority target or burst phase, there should not be any reason to risk overcapping Maelstrom in Battle for Azeroth. You have room enough to hold onto your Earth Shocks a while in order to optimize your movement with it, but it should never be at the cost of wasting more than a couple Maelstrom. Earthquake Icon Earthquake now costs 75 Maelstrom, but in AoE situations you should nearly always drop your Earthquake as soon as it is available, so it should not lead to any overcapping issue.

4. Not Knowing How To Sim Yourself

It is impossible to correctly play and optimize an Elemental Shaman without using Raidbots to sim your own character, there are simply too many variables involved to intuitively figure out what gear to wear and so on without simming it first. Generally speaking, a simulation should be the first and final say in the gear you end up wearing for any given situation.

Simming is now very easy with no need to understand SimulationCraft syntax or installation yourself. All you will need is the in-game SimulationCraft AddOn, and the Raidbots website. Below you can find a video on how to sim your own character using the website.

5. Analyzing Your Mistakes as an Elemental Shaman

When it comes to identifying and improving your mistakes, we strongly recommend the website WoWAnalyzer — it will analyze your logs and give you a report detailing how you did on the problems above and more.

6. Changelog

  • 10 Dec. 2018: This page has been reviewed for Patch 8.1 and no changes are necessary.
  • 13 Aug. 2018: Updated for Battle for Azeroth launch.
  • 16 Jul. 2018: Updated for the Battle for Azeroth pre-patch.
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