Restoration Shaman PvP Guide in Battle for Azeroth (BfA 8.0.1)
This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to play in a PvP environment. The guide will cover everything from talent choices, PvP talents, gameplay and rotation, and useful racial bonuses. It is most applicable to Arena content, but most talents and racial bonuses will work in Rated Battlegrounds and skirmishes.
1. Spec Overview / Place in the Current Meta for Restoration Shaman
Restoration Shamans are the most versatile healers in the game. With roots, slows, strong healing output, some mobility, and even a ranged interrupt they always have a place on an Arena team.
1.1. Strengths of Restoration Shaman
- Several spells that heal when you are in crowd control or interrupted
- Multiple utility spells
- Purge is crucial in matchups
1.2. Weaknesses of Restoration Shaman
- Have to cast most of your spells
- Primary focus for teams with two melee on it
- Long cooldown on important abilities
2. Stat Priority for Restoration Shaman in PvP
The stat priority for Restoration Shaman in PvP is as follows:
- Critical Strike;
Intellect is the best stat in all situations. Critical Strike is the strongest secondary stat at all times due to it increasing the chance your healing spells do additional heal. You also want to focus on getting Mastery. The increases effectiveness of your Mastery: Deep Healing.
3. Azerite Traits for Restoration Shamans
Azerite traits are unlocked in you helm, shoulders and chest. With each Azerite level in your neck, you get closer to unlocking the center trait in your gear. These traits vary from increasing damage or healing of certain abilities to helping increase your survivability. Depending on what traits you use, it can completely alter your playstyle and what talents you should be using.
3.1. Outer Ring
Below are the best Outer Ring traits.
The most important trait you are going to want to get in all pieces of your gear is Surging Tides. This not only gives you additional healing, but it will also save you Mana and time. It is also crucial for when you leave crowd control and you need to get your teammates to high health. The other traits also work great if you do not have Surging Tides.
3.2. Middle Ring
Below are the best Middle Ring traits.
The middle and inner rings are important for additional healing output. Earthlink, Blood Siphon, and On My Way all provide small boosts to your overall stats. Savior is useful when playing versus a team with spread damage or a lot of crowd control.
3.3. Inner Ring
Below are the best Inner Ring traits.
All of these traits give you additional ways of surviving. These are all passive, but are crucial to have.
4. Gear Recommendations
4.1. General Guidelines
In general, Restoration Shaman want to get trinkets that line up well with Ascendance or Healing Tide Totem. These trinkets can have a passive or on-use effect. The stats you want to be increasing are Intellect or Versatility. The reason you want to increase Versatility is because it increases both your damage and healing.
Below, we list the items that have these traits.
- Dread Gladiator's Chain Helm;
- Dread Gladiator's Chain Helm;
- Honorbound Vanguard's Skullguard;
- 7th Legionnaire's Helm.
4.2. Recommended Items
Dread Gladiator's Medallion is good because of the Intellect and the on-use Versatility effect. This increases your overall healing and lines up well with multiple of your healing cooldowns.
Dread Gladiator's Badge is strong for the versatility and the on-use Intellect effect. If you are using both @ Dread Gladiator's Medallion and this trinket, you will be able to rotate these trinkets to increase to effect your your Ascendance or Healing Tide Totem.
Dread Gladiator's Insignia provides a passive boost to your Versatility. This will increase your survivability versus teams that focus you. It also has a passive proc effect that will increase your Intellect. This is a solid choice if you just want to increase your sustained healing and want to survive while in a stun.
4.3. Weapon Enchant
Enchant Weapon - Coastal Surge is the best weapon enchant. This enchant has a chance to make your spells put a short HoT on your party members. This works great with spells like Healing Stream Totem or Riptide. This also gives you an additional way to heal your partners without having to cast.
5. Regular Talents for Restoration Shaman
|15||✔ Torrent||✘ Undulation||✘ Unleash Life|
|30||✔ Echo of the Elements||✘ Deluge||✔ Earth Shield|
|45||? Spirit Wolf||✔ Earthgrab Totem||✘ Static Charge|
|60||✘ Ancestral Vigor||✔ Earthen Wall Totem||✘ Ancestral Protection Totem|
|75||✔ Nature's Guardian||✘ Graceful Spirit||✘ Wind Rush Totem|
|90||✔ Flash Flood||✘ Downpour||✘ Cloudburst Totem|
|100||✘ High Tide||✘ Wellspring||✔ Ascendance|
While the above table provides a generally accurate overview of the viability of talents, some finer points are discussed in the sections that follow, and we recommend you read those for a deeper understanding.
5.1. Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents
5.2. Tier 2 (Level 30) Talents
Versus teams with spread damage, Echo of the Elements is the best choice in this tier. This gives you additional charges of important healing spells that can help you keep multiple teammates alive.
Versus teams with single target damage, Earth Shield is the best choice in this tier. This increases your healing to the target and gives them a small heal when attacked. It is important to maintain or switch depending on which one of your partners is being attacked.
5.3. Tier 3 (Level 45) Talents
Earthgrab Totem is the best choice in this tier. This gives you the ability to root to either get away from enemies or to land crowd control. However, if you are playing against a team with two melee on it, you can take Spirit Wolf. This will allow you to kite away from melee damage much easier.
5.4. Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents
Earthen Wall Totem is the best choice in this tier. This spell is amazing for keeping your team alive. Whether your team is stacked or if you only use it on one player it will help you heal through damage that otherwise could not be healed through.
5.5. Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents
Nature's Guardian is the best choice in this tier. This talent is crucial for Restoration Shaman survivability.
5.6. Tier 6 (Level 90) Talents
Flash Flood is the best choice in this tier. This will make your cast times much quicker, allowing you to avoid being interrupted.
5.7. Tier 7 (Level 100) Talents
Ascendance is the best choice in this tier. This will be your major healing cooldown if your team is taking strong spread pressure.
6. PvP Talents for Restoration Shaman
The first PvP talent tier is will give you a choice between Gladiator's Medallion, Relentless, and Adaptation. Gladiator's Medallion is the best choice in this tier. It is great for removing crowd control on you so you can use important healing cooldowns.
You can choose 3 of the following PvP talents. Each of them has their uses, but some are better for certain strategies than others. The top three choices are the most useful, but can be replaced with other PvP talents depending on your team's goal.
Rippling Waters gives Riptide 1 additional charge. Riptide heals the target when the spell runs its course, is refreshed on the target, or is dispelled. This is a crucial talent for your healing toolkit and keeping your teammates alive.
Grounding Totem summon an Air Totem with 5 Health at the feet of the caster that will redirect all harmful spells cast on a nearby party or raid member to itself. It will not redirect area of effect spells and lasts 3 seconds. This talent is important to help you avoid incoming crowd control. You can also use this to stop some incoming spell damage.
Swelling Waves causes Healing Surge, when cast on yourself, to heal you again for 50% of the amount 3 seconds later. This is important if you are playing against a team that will primarily be focusing you. In this case, You can replace Electrocute with this talent.
Skyfury Totem summons a Fire Totem with 5 Health at the feet of the caster that lasts for 15 seconds and increases the critical effect of damage and healing spells of all nearby allies within 40 yards for 15 seconds. This is helpful if you are playing with two caster DPS. In this case, You can replace Electrocute with this talent.
7. Racial Bonuses for Restoration Shaman
Racial bonuses can provide interesting PvP benefits. Here are the best races to choose for each faction.
Orc is the best race for Restoration Shaman, thanks to the passive Orcs have ( Hardiness) reducing all stuns, which greatly improves survivability.
The Dwarf Bonus ( Stoneform) is a good defensive to use when you are being focused by melee classes or classes with poison, disease, curse, magic, or bleed effects.
8. Playstyle for Restoration Shaman
The main role for a Restoration Shaman, besides keeping your team alive, is to use your utility to disrupt and stop incoming spells or damage. Restoration Shaman have the Mana and the Mastery to sustain a team for a very long time. It is rare to lose a game because you are out of Mana.
To disrupt the enemy team you will want to take advantage of a few spells. Grounding Totem is important to utilize. This can absorb any spell that is about to completed. You will want to use Wind Shear on any meaningful spell that you can. This includes crowd control or big damaging abilities.
8.1. Before Gates Open
Before the gates open, you should use Earth Shield on a teammate that might be the kill target for the enemy team. It has a short cooldown, so it is acceptable if the enemy team swaps their target, but it is important to keep it active on the teammate that the enemy team is focusing.
Make sure your team has a strategy for crowd control; Hex is a strong crowd control that can be used on a healer without a trinket. However, do not make it your primary focus to Hex a healer. Your job is to keep your team alive.
8.2. The Opener
The other team is going to try to force your trinket in the opener so they have an advantage later in the game. Use Grounding Totem to try to avoid incoming crowd control on you, and hold on to your trinket for as long as you can.
8.3. Healing Techniques
8.3.1. Burst Healing
Use this if the enemy team uses their cooldowns to try to kill a teammate.
- If one of your teammates is taking strong single-target damage or you cannot cast:
- If your team is taking strong spread pressure or you are able to cast:
8.3.2. Sustained Damage Healing
Use this to heal sustained damage throughout the match (damage done when the other team does not have burst cooldowns available).
It is important to note that there are multiple ways to keep your team alive to heal through sustained damage.
- Maintain Earth Shield on the teammate taking the most damage.
- Use Riptide to generate stacks of Tidal Waves.
- Cast Healing Wave when you have 1-2 stacks of Tidal Waves.
- Use Healing Stream Totem when the enemy team is not using burst cooldowns.
- Cast Healing Surge on yourself if you are using Swelling Waves.
- If your team is stacked and taking heavy spread or single target pressure, Earthen Wall Totem should be the first cooldown you use. This will give you time to heal your teammates even if you get interrupted on a cast.
It is hard to find a place for every totem a Restoration Shaman has. Below are all of the totems you have and the best time to use them.
- Earthbind Totem: this is a Totem that slows an entire team. The best time to use this is when enemies are focusing you. You can easily place this on one side of a pillar and use Ghost Wolf to quickly get to the other side.
- Earthen Wall Totem: this is a major defensive ability with a short cooldown. It should be used when the enemy team is dealing strong sustained damage and you need time to cast healing spells.
- Tremor Totem: removes Fear, Charm and Sleep effects from party and raid members within 30 yards. You should use this totem before you get feared. This will make the enemy players waste their important crowd control.
- Capacitor Totem/ Earthgrab Totem: you can use either of these when the enemy team is stacked. The Earthgrab Totem is best used when enemy teams will likely be focusing you. Capacitor Totem is great against teams that will be far away. It gives the enemy team another ability to deal with. Earthgrab Totem is baseline, so something you can do is root an enemy and place a Capacitor Totem to get a full stun.
- Healing Stream Totem: this is a relatively weak heal, but should be used often during an Arena match. It is best used in the opener or when enemy teams are finished with their burst damage.
- Healing Tide Totem: this is a decent spread healing ability. It is best used in combination with your Spirit Link Totem. The healing from this Totem will help deal with the damage you are taking while Spirit Link Totem is active.
- Spirit Link Totem: this is your strongest totem. It will keep your entire team alive as long as it is active. It is best used when someone is about to die and you do not have the time to cast spells. You will want to pair it with Healing Tide Totem.
8.5. Defensive Techniques
Astral Shift is your only real defensive for yourself. This cannot be used while stunned so it is best used when the team is about to stun you or if they are using burst cooldowns.
Ghost Wolf becomes a very strong defensive ability when trying to get away from enemies. While it is active you cannot be snared and will help you create distance between you and the enemy team.
Spiritwalker's Grace is not a direct defensive, but it will help you avoid damage. Instead of standing still and trying to cast, this cooldown gives you the ability to run away from the enemy team and still have the ability to cast spells.
Nature's Guardian gives you a tool to survive stuns, something that Restoration Shamans are normally weak at. If a team is able to make this go off, play extra defensively until you are able to use Nature's Guardian again.
9. Best Team Compositions for Restoration Shamans
Now that you have the correct talents and understand your damage rotation, it is time to step into the arena with your team. With spells like Earth Shield and Spirit Link Totem Restoration Shaman have the ability to heal long games or play extremely aggressive with their Purges.
9.1. 2v2 Arena
In 2v2 Arena, you do not have many options. As a Shaman, you have Purge. This ability is useful against healers healers that do not have many HoTs or buffs (Mistweaver Monks, Holy Paladins, and Holy Priests). Make sure you are maintaining Earth Shield on whoever is being focused. If you are playing against a team with multiple crowd control spells or interrupts, use Grounding Totem to ground the spells. You can also use Grounding Totem if an enemy caster is casting powerful spells.
Here is a list of the best team compositions for 2v2:
- Restoration Shaman + Arms Warrior
- Restoration Shaman + Retribution Paladin
- Restoration Shaman + Windwalker Monk
- Restoration Shaman + Unholy/Frost Death Knight
9.2. 3v3 Arena
Your role in 3v3 is similar to 2v2 Arena. If you are playing against a team with a healer with multiple HoTs or buffs (Restoration Druid or Discipline Priest), make sure you are using Purge as often as you can. Make sure to maintain Earth Shield on the teammate taking the most damage. Rotate your Healing Stream Totem with Riptide for a lot of instant healing. Use Grounding Totem to ground interrupts or big incoming damage. If you are being focused, use Astral Shift and have your teammates help keep you alive.
Here is a list of the best team compositions for 3v3:
- Shadowplay (Restoration Shaman + Shadow Priest + Destruction Warlock)
- Shadowcleave (Restoration Shaman + Destruction Warlock + Frost Death Knight)
- Walking Dead (Restoration Shaman + Windwalker Monk + Frost/Unholy Death Knight)
- Restoration Shaman + Arms Warrior + Havoc Demon Hunter
10. Useful Macros for Restoration Shaman
Macros are crucial to be successful in PvP. They allow players to use abilities on enemies without having to target them. This helps increase overall damage/healing and general awareness in the arena. Here are a few macros that all Restoration Shaman can benefit from.
10.1. Wind Shear 123 Macro
- #showtooltip Wind Shear
- /cast [target=arena1] Wind Shear
Using this macro will use Wind Shear on arena enemy 1. This makes it easier to interrupt an enemy while staying focused on your target. If you want macros for the second and third enemies, simply change the arena1 to arena2 or arena3.
10.2. Hex 123 Macro
- #showtooltip Hex
- /cast [target=arena1] Hex
Using this macro will cast Hex on arena enemy 1. This makes it easier to crowd control an enemy while staying focused on your target. If you want macros for the second and third enemies, simply change the arena1 to arena2 or arena3.
10.3. Hex Focus Macro
- #showtooltip Hex
- /cast [target=focus] Hex
If you find that you do not have much room on your action bars, you can use a focus macro. This is much simpler to use than the arena123 macro. Put an enemy on focus and this macro will cast Polymorph on that player while you are still focused on your target.
10.4. Purify Spirit Party Macro
- #showtooltip Purify Spirit
- /cast [target=party1] Purify Spirit
Using this macro will cast Purify Spirit on party player 1. This makes it easier to dispel a teammate while healing the rest of your team. If you want a macro to dispel the second party member, change the party1 to party2.
10.5. Purge Focus Macro
- #showtooltip Purge
- /cast [target=focus] Purge
This macro uses Purge on any enemy you have as your focus target. This is useful for Purging important buffs on one enemy while still targeting the other.
10.6. Earthgrab Cursor Macro
- /cast [@cursor] Earthgrab Totem
This macro is great for quickly placing Earthgrab Totem. Instead of clicking it and placing you, the totem will be placed wherever your cursor is.
10.7. Capacitor Totem Cursor Macro
- /cast [@cursor] Lightning Surge Totem
This macro is great for quickly placing Capacitor Totem. Instead of clicking it and placing you, the totem will be placed wherever your cursor is.
10.8. Earthen Wall Totem Cursor Macro
- /cast [@cursor] Earthen Wall Totem
This macro is great for quickly placing Earthen Wall Totem. Instead of clicking it and placing you, the totem will be placed wherever your cursor is.
10.9. Spirit Link Totem Cursor Macro
- /cast [@cursor] Spirit Link Totem
This macro is great for quickly placing Spirit Link Totem. Instead of clicking it and placing you, the totem will be placed wherever your cursor is.
- 05 Nov. 2018: Added Gear Recommendation section.
- 08 Oct. 2018: Added talent table and updated tier 1, 2, and 6 regular talents.
- 02 Oct. 2018: Removed PvP Gear and War Mode sections.
- 28 Sep. 2018: Removed Artifact Traits section.
- Removed Relics section.
- Added Stat Priority section.
- Added Azerite Trait section.
- 27 Aug. 2018: Updated Air Drops section.
- 12 Aug. 2018: Updated guide for Patch 8.0.1.
- Updated Introduction and spec overview.
- Updated tiers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 talent sections.
- Added PvP (War Mode) talents and gear sections for the new BfA system.
- Updated Burst Healing and Sustained Healing sections.
- Updated Macros section.
- Removed Gear section.
- Updated Artifact Traits and Relics sections.
- 23 May 2018: Added an Arena Compositions section.
- 07 Apr. 2018: Made several updates to the guide and its structure.
- Added sections for Macros, Strengths, and Weaknesses.
- Moved Gear, Artifact Traits, and Relics sections to the end, since they are not that important.
- Updated recommended Tier 1 regular talent.
- 20 Feb. 2018: No major changes needed for Patch 7.3.5.
- 09 Nov. 2017: Made several updates.
- Changed recommended tier 1 regular talents.
- Changed recommended tier 2 and 5 honor talents.
- Updated sustained and burst healing rotations.
- 13 Sep. 2017: Changed recommended tier 4 honor talents.
- 09 Sep. 2017: Added additional description for Tier 5 honor talents and updated sustained and burst healing rotations.
- 28 Jul. 2017: Guide added.
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