Restoration Shaman DPS Guide — Shadowlands 9.0.5
On this page, you will learn how to DPS as a Restoration Shaman in World of Warcraft — Shadowlands 9.0.5. We cover rotation, talents, stat priority, gear advice, etc.
Introduction to DPS as Restoration Shaman
You should look to deal damage as a healer specialization character in order to optimize your gameplay, by filling in moments where your healing will not make a difference with extra damage, which always makes a difference, especially in timed Mythic+ runs and raid bosses.
The faster an enemy dies, the less overall healing will have to be done, and it also reduces the probability of mistakes and deaths happening, leading to the dreaded 0,1% wipes common during progression raiding.
Because you will only have 3 DPS players, the difference between a 0 damage healer in Mythic+ dungeons and a healer that actively uses his damage abilities can be up to 10% of the total group DPS. Also, although you are the only healer, you can often simply heal your group between pulls, instead of during them.
The seventh healer specialization: Battle Shaman
While all Shamans should contribute DPS between their healing requirements, Battle Shamans focus almost exclusively on damage dealing and healing cooldown usage in raids, while saving their healing kit and Mana to emergencies or hard healing phases.
This is a playstyle that has appeared in Battle For Azeroth after Igneous Potential was buffed, allowing dedicated Restoration "Battle" Shamans to deal DPS almost equal to that of DPS specializations. While this trait no longer works in Shadowlands, our damage spells were buffed to compensate, and, especially, had significant Mana reductions. This means that DPSing in between healing is more important than ever, even if the dedicated Battle Shaman is mostly dead.
Because of our Mastery healing for more when targets are deeply injured, and because of the nature of a Shaman's healing kit, which combines multiple high impact cooldowns such as Spirit Link Totem with the expensive, but no-cooldown Chain Heal and Healing Surge, it is very viable to focus on damage dealing (which barely uses any Mana by itself) and cooldown usage until hard healing is required, at which point you can quickly go through your entire Mana pool to do a crazy amount of burst healing over one minute or so.
Relevant Spells and Passives Summary
- Flame Shock is your main damage-over-time (DoT) effect.
- Lava Burst is your main single target spell.
- Lightning Bolt is your single target filler spell.
- Chain Lightning is your main AoE spell.
Lava Surge gives each of your Flame Shock ticks a chance to reset the remaining cooldown on Lava Burst and make it instant. Thus, the more Flame Shocks you have active, the higher your odds of getting extra Lava Bursts, drastically increasing your DPS potential.
Pandemic is a passive effect that makes it so that when refreshing your periodic damage or healing effects, the remaining duration is added to the new one, up to a total maximum of 130% of the base duration. Understanding this effect is very important to maximizing your damage. For example, if you attempt to refresh Flame Shock (21-second base duration) at 10 seconds left, the new duration will become 21 + (21 * 0.3) = 27.3 seconds. You will want to refresh your DoTs in a so-called Pandemic window, which is defined as any time before the DoT expiration and 30% of its maximum duration. For the Flame Shock example, it will be a time frame between 0 and 6.3 seconds. Casting Flame Shock at this point will add the full 21 seconds, ensuring you lose no damage and your DoT is always on the target dealing damage.
Because of the low amount of spells involved, the Shaman DPS rotation is very simple:
1 Target, against spread enemies or against a priority enemy with adds
- Use Flame Shock on each target and refresh it whenever it has 6.3 seconds or less duration left.
- Cast Lava Burst at the priority target whenever it is available.
- Cast Lightning Bolt at the priority target, otherwise.
2+ (close) Targets AoE
- Use Flame Shock on each target and refresh it whenever its debuff has 6.3 seconds or less remaining.
- Cast Lava Burst if you get a Lava Surge proc.
- Cast Chain Lightning, otherwise.
3+ (close) Targets AoE
- Cast Chain Lightning.
This rotation does not include your Covenant abilities, but you should be using those (as well as any damage trinkets you have) on cooldown, unless there will be more targets to hit if you wait a little bit. You can use this weak aura to track your Flame Shock duration and Lava Burst cooldown.
DPS Trinkets for Restoration Shaman
Some Shadowlands trinkets have powerful direct damage effects and can be used with great effect by us as well. Some of the best ones are:
- Dreadfire Vessel (Sire Denathrius in Castle Nathria)
- Glyph of Assimilation (Artificer Xy'Mox in Castle Nathria)
- Soul Igniter (Sun King's Salvation in Castle Nathria)
Which tend to be superior to Mythic+ trinkets, but make sure to test any direct damage proc trinkets you get!
Interweaving Heals into your Rotation
As mentioned before, even though this is a DPS guide for Restoration Shamans, you will still be expected to heal whenever needed. You have two options on how to proceed:
- Use your regular healing rotation but always making sure to keep Flame Shock active on targets and Lava Burst on cooldown. This leads to good sustained healing and damage, but low burst healing capabilities.
- Follow the damage rotation detailed above until healing is absolutely required, at which point you swap to Chain Heal and Healing Surge spam, depending on the type of healing required. This leads to low sustained healing, but good sustained damage and high burst healing capabilities.
Which style you should adopt depends on your raid's needs and the encounter's damage profile, and you should generally consult with your raid / healing leader in order to figure out what style suits your group the best.
Similar to DPS specializations, you will want to sim yourself to generate the best stat weights. In general, equipping the highest item level pieces without Mastery on them will give you the highest damage. If you have equal item level pieces, follow the stat priority list below.
- Haste = Versatility
- Critical Strike
Gear, Covenants, Soulbinds, Conduits and Legendaries
For more information about the best overall setup to DPS as a Restoration Shaman, please read our Restoration Shaman simulations page.
- 09 Mar. 2021: Changed the DPS rotation slightly to account for the 9.0.5 Lava Bust nerf and Chain Lightning buff.
- 22 Dec. 2020: Added a mention to Shadowlands DPS trinkets with examples.
- 05 Dec. 2020: Added weak auras to help with the DPS rotation.
- 24 Nov. 2020: Page updated for Shadowlands launch.
- 12 Oct. 2020: Updated for Shadowlands pre-patch.
- 21 Jan. 2020: Added DPS guide for Restoration Shaman.
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