Restoration Shaman Healing Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities — Dragonflight 10.2
On this page, you will learn how to optimize the rotation of your Restoration Shaman, depending on the type of damage your group is receiving. We also have advanced sections about cooldowns, procs, etc. in order to minmax your healing output and your mana efficiency. All our content is updated for World of Warcraft — Dragonflight 10.2.
If you were looking for WotLK Classic content, please refer to our WotLK Classic Restoration Shaman rotation.
Restoration Shaman Pre-Pull Checklist
- Water Shield on yourself;
- Earth Shield on tank and yourself ( Elemental Orbit).
Situationally: If the fight starts with high damage, cast Healing Rain, Riptide, and maybe even Cloudburst Totem just before pulling.
Restoration Shaman Rotation
- Refresh Earth Shield if it expired (low Mana cost, high potential healing);
- Cloudburst Totem (healing multiplier, use it before the group takes high damage);
- Riptide on cooldown (low Mana cost, high healing with a heal-over-time component);
- Primordial Wave on cooldown (free Riptide, boosts next Healing Wave);
- Unleash Life (low Mana cost, low healing, boosts next heal).
If you do not have Cloudburst Totem, Healing Stream Totem is a good spell to use at any time there are damaged allies around.
Unleash Life is good with: Healing Rain > Healing Wave (with Primordial Wave's replication effect active) > Chain Heal > Riptide.
Restoration Shaman Area Heals
- Earthen Wall Totem (double use it with Totemic Recall when possible);
- Healing Rain (moderate Mana cost, high healing-over-time, requires 6 injured people to stand in it for the duration);
- Downpour (moderate Mana cost, moderate healing, requires 6 injured people to stand in it for the duration);
- Chain Heal (high Mana cost, moderate healing, no cooldown, use with Tidebringer when available, Nature's Swiftness if no Tidebringer).
Restoration Shaman Situational Spells
- Healing Surge (high Mana cost, quick single-target healing, for emergencies);
- Healing Wave (moderate Mana cost, moderate healing, use to activate Primordial Wave);
- Lightning Bolt (low Mana cost, moderate single-target damage);
- Chain Lightning (low Mana cost, moderate area damage);
- Flame Shock (low Mana cost, good single-target damage over time);
- Lava Burst (moderate Mana cost, moderate single-target damage, requires additional talents to be good).
In order to reduce the amount of buttons you have to use, we recommend learning about macros that perform different actions when you are mousing over a friendly target in the linked section of our dedicated guide below.
Restoration Shaman Cooldowns
- Spirit Link Totem (instant group health stabilizer, combos well with Darkness, personals, and immunities);
- Healing Tide Totem (high healing-over-time to many targets);
- Ancestral Guidance (multiplier on your healing, combos with Spiritwalker's Tidal Totem, smart heal);
- Mana Tide Totem with Spiritwalker's Tidal Totem (additional multiplier on your healing);
- Ascendance (almost duplicates your healing for duration, split among nearby allies);
- Nature's Swiftness (emergency healing and Mana saving with Chain Heal).
Restoration Shaman Weak Auras
While most abilities are easy enough to track with generic weak aura packages, we list four weak auras in our add-ons guide below, which are especially helpful for Restoration Shamans, to track the multiple Chain Heal buffs and Cloudburst Totem stored healing:
Restoration Shaman Combos
The following image, made by Sky Rokit from the Restoration Shaman Discord, visually showcases some of the combos and interactions in our kit which can help you perform better. Make sure to click it to see the full list.
Restoration Shaman Tier Set for Dragonflight Season 3
Restoration Shamans gain a new set from the Amirdrassil raid with the following bonuses:
- Shaman Restoration 10.2 Class Set 2pc causes your Chain Heal, Healing Surge, and Healing Wave casts to mark their initial targets as a Tidal Reservoir, which causes them to receive 15% of your total Riptide healing for 15 seconds;
- Shaman Restoration 10.2 Class Set 4pc increases the healing of Riptide by 25% and causes its ticks to have a 6% chance to create a new Riptide on a nearby ally if its ticking on a person marked by Tidal Reservoir.
These tier bonuses are good in raid but relatively weak in Mythic+, where the Riptide replicating effect is harder to get rolling, and a DPS-affecting bonus would be more useful. Regardless, in order to make the most out of the bonuses, it is recommended to prioritize using Riptide on cooldown, and to try hitting injured people with Tidal Reservoir with it, as well as using Healing Wave, Healing Surge, and Chain Heal on targets with Riptide, if they are injured.
Detailed Analysis of Restoration Shamans Cooldowns and Abilities
Correctly utilizing cooldowns is one of the most important things when playing a healing specialization, and often, the organization of the healing cooldowns is the determining factor in the success (or devastation) of a raid group. Acclimatizing yourself to your cooldown kit and understand when each applies to your current situation is key to your success.
Spirit Link Totem
Spirit Link Totem represents one of the most unique and flexible cooldowns within the World of Warcraft. Every second, the health of the group inside the totem's area of effect is redistributed, so all targets have an equal percentage of maximum health. It also grants a 10% damage reduction to players inside its area of effect. You can use Spirit Link Totem to split overwhelming damage on a single target to everyone in the group, making it non-threatening. Or to instantly ensure everyone has high health just before a highly damaging ability hits the group. If you add in Darkness, you can also further reduce the damage your group takes by 20% with no randomness involved. Finally, because Spirit Link Totem ensures that everyone inside its effect is damaged as long as at least one person is damaged, it allows healers to rapidly heal the whole group efficiently with just area-of-effect healing spells.
Healing Tide Totem
Healing Tide Totem is the specialization's baseline throughput cooldown. As it is a totem, you can use it and immediately be free to move or cast other spells without needing to channel or stand still like other healer's raid cooldowns. Healing Tide Totem heals everyone within 40 yards for a relatively low, flat amount. This means that it scales linearly with the number of allies in its range. While its power in small groups is low for a 3-minute cooldown, when everyone in a large raid is hurt, it will do massive healing. Its supporting talents, Current Control and Tide Turner are not particularly powerful.
Ancestral Guidance should be used when incoming group damage is high and notably heals only 3 injured targets at a time for a high amount, allowing you to use it alongside other cooldowns, especially Spiritwalker's Tidal Totem, in order to convert their high raw throughput increase into smart healing. While you can also use it with Ascendance, this usually leads to a lot of wasted healing, and it is better to spread out those two cooldowns.
Spiritwalker's Tidal Totem
Spiritwalker's Tidal Totem makes you cast Chain Heal and Healing Wave twice as fast for 10 seconds while not being a drag on Mana due to also providing a 50% cost reduction during its effect. This is a strong effect on its own, which can be further multiplied when also using Ancestral Guidance or Ascendance, and Cloudburst Totem simultaneously.
Ascendance is a powerful throughput cooldown that works very differently from Healing Tide Totem. While it is active, it almost duplicates all of your non-totem healing and redistributes it among all group members. This allows you to do massive burst healing if there are only a handful of allies in range, but its impact on each quickly falls off as the number of targets, and the duplicated healing is split to increase. Due to this, while Healing Tide Totem works best in large groups because of scaling linearly with the amount of group members, Ascendance works best in small groups where its duplicated healing has a big impact.
Nature's Swiftness gives you an instant, Mana-free cast every minute. If used with Tidebringer, it will consume one Tidebringer stack to make your Chain Heal jump farther away, but you will not benefit from the cast time reduction, making it less efficient than using it for non-Tidebringer buffed Chain Heals. Besides the obvious Mana sustain benefits, this talent is great at allowing you to burst even harder during cooldowns, especially if you time along cast to land as damage is happening, and immediately follow up with Nature's Swiftness.
Totemic Recall instantly resets the cooldown of your most recently used totem with less than 3-minute base cooldown. This excludes Ancestral Protection Totem, Spirit Link Totem, and Healing Tide Totem, but works with Earthen Wall Totem and Cloudburst Totem, which are also very powerful!
When playing with Cloudburst Totem, you should nearly always cast it on cooldown unless you are delaying it for a specific timing or instance of damage. There are a few interesting interactions between Cloudburst Totem and your other abilities and talents which allow for significant extra healing:
- When you are under the effects of Ascendance or Ancestral Guidance, the extra healing provided will also be transferred to Cloudburst Totem;
- As the 45-second cooldown lines up perfectly with Primordial Wave, try to land a big combo during every Cloudburst Totem;
- You can pick the general Shaman tree Healing Stream Totem talent and the Restoration tree same-name talent to gain two charges of Cloudburst. You still cannot have two active simultaneously, however, as the second charge is only usable after the first totem expires or is recalled.
Unleash Life allows you to amplify your next direct heal by 35% every 15 seconds and has different effects for other spells. While it looks good at first glance, its interaction with Wellspring is not very good, as Wellspring was nerfed by 30% in patch 10.0.7, and you are required to overheal in order to gain any benefit, which wastes mastery value, and even then, only 40% of the healing is converted into an absorb shield.
Instead, try to use this on cooldown for Healing Rain or the Primordial Wave-buffed Healing Wave If group healing is needed, or on Riptide, otherwise.
Utility Usage for Restoration Shamans
Restoration Shamans are well known for the high amount of utility — non-healing benefits to yourself or your group — they bring. It is not always obvious how to best use these tools to the benefit of your group , and often, they are used as part of your guild's overall encounter strategy.
Thunderstorm is now usable by Restoration Shamans and is a very powerful tool, knocking enemies away from Sanguine pools in Mythic+ or helping stack them up for AoE abilities. It can be combined with Thundershock if the knockback is not desired for added crowd control, which shares no diminishing returns with other common forms of crowd control.
Stormkeeper is also new and allows for high burst damage on demand from a healer specialization, which can be surprising in PvP, and a good contribution at the right time in PvE.
Bloodlust / Heroism
Bloodlust and Heroism allow your group to dish out increased damage / healing for a long duration, which is of critical importance to beating soft and hard enrages on raid bosses and successfully dealing with Mythic keystone dungeons / PvP situations. Usually, this spell is cast at the start of an encounter / dungeon boss when allies have their DPS cooldowns, but this can change depending on the encounter's specifics.
Mana Tide Totem
Baseline Mana Tide Totem should be used when you and your co-healers have 90% or less Mana remaining and can be stacked up for its duration. It provides a short-duration Mana regeneration boost to everyone within a small radius around the totem. If used with Spiritwalker's Tidal Totem, you should use it like a healing cooldown during periods of high incoming damage, preferably alongside Ancestral Guidance.
Ancestral Protection Totem
Ancestral Protection Totem grants 10% extra Health Points to everyone inside its area of effect for a long period, which helps the group survive through the hardest mechanics this game has to offer. Even if someone dies while this effect is active, Ancestral Protection Totem will consume itself to allow them to self-resurrect. As it does not count towards the battle resurrection limit, this is one of the most powerful abilities in the game whenever your group's strategy implies the sacrifice of an ally at some point in the encounter.
Wind Rush Totem
If your group needs a movement speed increase to facilitate doing encounter mechanics, Wind Rush Totem is a great help, granting a significant group-wide speed boost every 2 minutes. As the totem's speed buff only lasts 5 seconds, but the totem itself lasts for 15 seconds; it is possible to get multiple speed boosts from a single totem as long as you return to it once your speed boost is gone.
Earth Elemental calls an elemental with very high health to taunt and tank non-boss enemies for you for a long duration. This is best used to increase your DPS during an encounter or as an emergency tool to relieve some pressure off your group's tank. You will also gain 15% extra health while the Elemental is active, making it a personal defensive.
Astral Shift allows you to survive / ignore mechanics you usually would not be able to, and should be used whenever you feel like you might die in the next few seconds of an encounter, preferably while you still have plenty of health remaining.
Tremor Totem enables you to quickly remove Fear / Sleep / Charm effects from yourself or your group members, as long as you cast it before you are crowd-controlled. Its PvE usefulness depends on the encounter mechanics, and it does not work on all types of Fear / Sleep / Charm you will find, but it is nearly always useful in PvP.
Capacitor Totem allows you to stun a group of enemies at will, allowing your group to dispatch them before they can deal further damage / heal.
Earthgrab / Earthbind Totem
Earthgrab Totem and Earthbind Totem allow you to root / slow enemies in an area. This is very useful whenever your group has to crowd-control powerful enemies (and in PvP), but ultimately, its specific use depends on the encounter mechanics you are dealing with.
Hex allows you to crowd-control a humanoid or beast target for a long while. Handy in PvP and in dungeons but of limited use in raids.
Purify Spirit allows you to dispel Magic (and Curse when talented) effects, something that is often essential to completing dungeons and raids successfully. It also has great PvP uses, depending on the enemy compositions. Keep in mind that if you dispel a target that has just been completely dispelled by another healer, you waste Mana.
Wind Shear / Purge
Restoration Shamans make ideal candidates for doing interrupt and dispel assignments, as they have a ranged short cooldown kick. Take advantage of Wind Shear whenever possible, though you should avoid compromising raid healing if this is during a period of heavy incoming damage. Purge is also great on fights where a dispel is necessary, but bear in mind that this costs Mana, so if resources are tight, consider asking a DPS to fulfill this job.
Optional Read: Mastering Your Restoration Shaman
As with all healing classes, Mana management is at the core of this specialization. It is important to choose your spells and timings wisely so that Mana can last until the end of the encounter, especially in a progression raid setting. Ideally, you should aim to keep your Mana pool roughly at the same percentage as the enemy's Health Points over the course of an encounter. This ensures that you both keep enough Mana around for the later parts of the fight and also that you end the fight around 0% Mana, thus not wasting any of its potential healing.
Using a logging tool to analyze how your Mana was spent (or wasted) during an encounter can be a great way to improve your Mana management. No one is perfect in this regard, and practice is the key to success. Even seasoned veterans of the specialization will take some time to learn each individual encounter and how aggressively they can afford to play with their Mana pool while still having enough reserves to last the entire fight.
Very often, it can be beneficial to deal damage rather than heal, especially during periods where the incoming damage is low, and you want to recoup your Mana. Lightning Bolt is cost-free, allowing you to help push some important timings or assist with high-priority targets while your Mana bar fills up. Shaman is also a well-equipped class to assist in dealing damage at minimal cost to healing time with instant cast Flame Shock and Lava Surge procs if you took this talent.
Mastery: Deep Healing
Mastery: Deep Healing is your Mastery as a Restoration Shaman. It causes your heals to be more powerful on low-health targets. When you heal a target with full health, you get no additional healing. When you heal a target with 0% health (1 health point), you get the full benefit of your Mastery.
Your Mastery heavily influences the way you play a Restoration Shaman.
- When raid healing, you should focus on low-health targets more so than any other type of healer, as you have the most efficient tools to heal them;
- When single-target healing, your Mastery has less influence because you should give priority to your assignment and cannot freely choose low health targets. By being aware of how much damage your assignment will take, you can optimize your heals to benefit from your Mastery.
Proper movement / usage of movement abilities is paramount to maximizing the time you have available to heal / DPS while dodging encounter mechanics. Unfortunately, it is quite difficult to explain how to move and reposition within a fight, but as a healer, there are some basic principles you should follow as much as possible.
- Position yourself central to your raid for best access to all targets;
- Ghost Wolf can allow you to avoid mechanics easily, even while slowed, as it stops you from being slowed below 100% movement speed;
- Take advantage of your instant-cast spells and totems when you have to move. If none are available, use Ghost Wolf to get to your destination faster;
- Gust of Wind can help you against knockback mechanics to cross wide gaps, and when emergency movement is needed;
- Track mechanic timers and position yourself in advance to avoid moving later;
- If you have time, take stutter steps over an extended period to reach your intended destination. Every time you use an instant cast, take a few steps while you are locked by the Global Cooldown.
Many players will unconsciously move during fights, despite it being unnecessary. For example, sometimes the boss or adds will be moved by the tank a couple of yards, and though you are still in range to cast, you subconsciously mirror that movement, costing you global cooldowns. Consciously work to "quiet" your movement, and reduce unnecessary movement to a minimum. The best way to see this in action is to take a video of your raid, then watch yourself play. Most players will be surprised by the amount of wasted movement they commit. When you are forced to move, make use of the tips above and make your path as direct and decisive as possible.
Spiritwalker's Grace should be used during periods of heavy movement where healing throughput is a concern. It can also be used to allow you to reposition while continuing to heal your group.
- 06 Nov. 2023: Updated for Patch 10.2
- 06 Oct. 2023: Updated for Patch 10.2 and the new tier set bonus.
- 04 Sep. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.1.7
- 10 Jul. 2023: Updated for Patch 10.1.5.
- 13 Jun. 2023: Clarified that Ascendance and Guidance should not be used together.
- 01 May 2023: Added information on the new Tier Set and how it changes the rotation.
- 20 Mar. 2023: Updated rotation for Patch 10.0.7 and added Weak Auras link to addons guide page.
- 10 Mar. 2023: Added spell combo infographic.
- 24 Jan. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.0.5.
- 11 Dec. 2022: Reviewed for Dragonflight Season 1.
- 28 Nov. 2022: Updated for Dragonflight launch.
- 25 Oct. 2022: Updated for Dragonflight pre-patch.
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