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Restoration Shaman PvP Guide in Battle for Azeroth (BfA 8.0.1)

Last updated on Aug 27, 2018 at 21:39 by Mysticall 7 comments

Table of Contents

Introduction

This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to play a Restoration Shaman 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.

About The Author

This guide has been written by Mysticall, a seasoned PvP player who has repeatedly achieved Arena Master and 2500 rating. You can watch his stream on Twitch, and you can also check out his YouTube channel.

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 Icon 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. Regular Talents for Restoration Shaman

Regular talents work in both PvP and PvE content (although they may sometimes work differently in the two environments, which is indicated by their tooltips). In other words, they are always active.

On the other hand, PvP talents (which we talk about later on in the guide) are inactive outside of a PvP environment, unless you have enabled War Mode.

2.1. Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents

Unleash Life Icon Unleash Life is the best choice in this tier. This makes your instant healing much more powerful, allowing you to heal someone quickly without having to cast a spell.

2.2. Tier 2 (Level 30) Talents

Earth Shield Icon 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.

2.3. Tier 3 (Level 45) Talents

Earthgrab Totem Icon 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 Icon Spirit Wolf. This will allow you to kite away from melee damage much easier.

2.4. Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents

Earthen Wall Totem Icon 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.

2.5. Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents

Nature's Guardian Icon Nature's Guardian is the best choice in this tier. This talent is crucial for Restoration Shaman survivability.

2.6. Tier 6 (Level 90) Talents

If you are playing against a team without ranged kicks and you can cast often, Cloudburst Totem Icon Cloudburst Totem is the best choice in this tier. This is a great totem to help deal with spread damage.

Against any other teams, Flash Flood Icon Flash Flood is the best choice in this tier. This will make your cast times much quicker, allowing you to avoid being interrupted.

2.7. Tier 7 (Level 100) Talents

Ascendance Icon Ascendance is the best choice in this tier. This will be your major healing cooldown if your team is taking strong spread pressure.

3. PvP Talents for Restoration Shaman

PvP talents are typically only available in PvP content, but War Mode (explained below) allows you to also benefit from them in the open world.

As you will see below, the PvP talents are very flexible. Depending on what classes you are playing with and against, you can adjust your talents to better suit your team's goal. You must choose:

  • 1 trinket talent out of 3 possible choices;
  • 3 PvP talents out of a pool of about a dozen possible choices.

3.1. War Mode

War Mode is a new PvP system added in Battle for Azeroth. War Mode can be toggled on and off in any major city. When it is enabled, you are able to use your PvP talents in the open world, and because you will be fighting enemies of the other faction, you also get an experience bonus while leveling. Do note that this makes you vulnerable to being killed by players of the other faction.

3.1.1. Bonuses of War Mode

Enabling War Mode provides the following perks.

  • The ability to use all PvP talents in the outdoor world. You do not need to be in PvP combat to use them.
  • You can earn Conquest Points.
  • You gain +10% experience while leveling.
  • There are PvP achievements you can earn.
  • At maximum level, you get a +10% World Quest reward bonus.

3.1.2. War Mode Bounties

If you kill too many players in a single zone, there will be a bounty put on you. Everyone in that zone will know your exact location. You can see the location of players with a bounty by checking your map. Killing players with a bounty on them rewards Conquest Points and is part of an achievement called Bounty Hunting Icon Bounty Hunting. Bounty Hunting is part of a meta achievement called Conqueror of Azeroth Icon Conqueror of Azeroth / Conqueror of Azeorth Icon Conqueror of Azeroth that rewards the title Conqueror of Azeroth.

3.1.3. Air Drops

From time to time, a flying machine will make its way across the sky. The rumble of its engine is a clear indicator that something is afoot. You'll want to keep an eagle eye on the sky and watch for a War Supply Crate to drop somewhere in the zone. Similar to the chest in Gurubashi Arena, players can fight over the crate and claim it for their faction. Once a faction has gained control of the crate, anyone of that faction who is within the area will have a short period to open it and collect a piece of personal loot.

As long as you have War Mode on, an air supply drop will be dropped every 20 minutes. Once it has landed, it will stay on the ground until it is looted. The crate will contain Azerite Power, Gold, and Conquest Points.

3.2. Trinket Talent

The first PvP talent tier is will give you a choice between Gladiator's Medallion Icon Gladiator's Medallion, Relentless Icon Relentless, and Adaptation Icon Adaptation. Gladiator's Medallion Icon 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.

3.3. PvP Talents

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 Icon Rippling Waters gives Riptide Icon Riptide 1 additional charge. Riptide Icon 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 Icon 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.

Electrocute Icon Electrocute causes your enemy to suffer damage over 3 seconds when you successfully Purge Icon Purge a beneficial effect. If your team's strategy is to play aggressively, this is an important talent to have.

Swelling Waves Icon Swelling Waves causes Healing Surge Icon 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 Icon Electrocute with this talent.

Skyfury Totem Icon 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 Icon Electrocute with this talent.

3.4. PvP Gear

Gear is what determines how strong a player is in PvP. The better gear you have, the stronger your abilities are. There are several ways to receive gear from PvP. One important way to get gear is by completing the weekly conquest point cap. You will receive gear at the end of the week based on your rating. For example, if you played and won at Rival in 3v3, you will receive a reward with an item level based on your ranking at the end of the week. It is important to note that if you are rated at a Rival level in 3v3, but only do 2v2 that week, you will not receive a piece of gear unless you won a game in the 3v3 bracket. The following are the names and ratings of all of the brackets:

  • Combatant: 1400-1599;
  • Challenger: 1600-1799;
  • Rival: 1800-2099;
  • Duelist: 2100-2399;
  • Gladiator: 2400+.

3.4.1. Conquest Points

Every week there will be an empty bar in your PvP queue tab. If you earn enough Conquest Points to fill it, you will receive a piece of gear. When you complete a set, you can receive higher tiers of gear. Conquest points can be earned by doing the following:

  • Rated Arenas;
  • Rated Battlegrounds;
  • Normal Battlegrounds;
  • Epic Battlegrounds;
  • World PvP.

3.4.2. Obtaining Gear

You will obtain gear by earning Conquest Points. The following are the three ways to receive loot in PvP.

  • At the end of an Arena match there is a chance to receive a piece of gear. This gear is based on your Arena Rating.
  • After you win a Rated Battleground or win your first Battleground of the day you will get a piece of gear and earn Conquest Points.
  • Once you earned enough Conquest Points for the week, you will unlock a new weekly reward. This gear is based on your rating.

It is important to note that the gear you get from capping your conquest points is predetermined in a specific order. There are mechanics for players to get gear quicker if they have no played a character for awhile.

4. Racial Bonuses for Restoration Shaman

Racial bonuses can provide interesting PvP benefits. Here are the best races to choose for each faction.

4.1. Horde

Orc is the best race for Restoration Shaman, thanks to the passive Orcs have (Hardiness Icon Hardiness) reducing all stuns, which greatly improves survivability.

4.2. Alliance

The Dwarf Bonus (Stoneform Icon 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.

5. 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 Icon Grounding Totem is important to utilize. This can absorb any spell that is about to completed. You will want to use Wind Shear Icon Wind Shear on any meaningful spell that you can. This includes crowd control or big damaging abilities.

5.1. Before Gates Open

Before the gates open, you should use Earth Shield Icon 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 Icon 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.

5.2. 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 Icon Grounding Totem to try to avoid incoming crowd control on you, and hold on to your trinket for as long as you can.

5.3. Healing Techniques

5.3.1. Burst Healing

Use this if the enemy team uses their cooldowns to try to kill a teammate.

  1. If one of your teammates is taking strong single-target damage or you cannot cast:
    1. Make sure Earth Shield Icon Earth Shield is on the party member taking the most damage.
    2. Use Spirit Link Totem Icon Spirit Link Totem.
    3. Use Healing Tide Totem Icon Healing Tide Totem.
    4. Use Unleash Life Icon Unleash Life.
    5. Use Riptide Icon Riptide to generate Tidal Waves Icon Tidal Waves.
    6. Cast Healing Surge Icon Healing Surge on yourself if you are using Swelling Waves Icon Swelling Waves.
    7. Cast Healing Wave Icon Healing Wave.
  2. If your team is taking strong spread pressure or you are able to cast:
    1. Make sure Earth Shield Icon Earth Shield is on the party member taking the most damage.
    2. Use Skyfury Totem Icon Skyfury Totem.
    3. Use Ascendance Icon Ascendance.
    4. Use Healing Surge Icon Healing Surge on yourself if you are using Swelling Waves Icon Swelling Waves.
    5. Use Unleash Life Icon Unleash Life.
    6. Use Riptide Icon Riptide to generate Tidal Waves Icon Tidal Waves.
    7. Use Riptide Icon Riptide.
    8. Cast Healing Surge Icon Healing Surge on yourself.
    9. Cast Healing Wave Icon Healing Wave.
    10. Use Riptide Icon Riptide.

5.3.2. 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.

  1. Maintain Earth Shield Icon Earth Shield on the teammate taking the most damage.
  2. Use Unleash Life Icon Unleash Life to make your next direct heal more powerful.
  3. Use Riptide Icon Riptide to generate stacks of Tidal Waves Icon Tidal Waves.
  4. Cast Healing Wave Icon Healing Wave when you have 1-2 stacks of Tidal Waves Icon Tidal Waves.
  5. Use Healing Stream Totem Icon Healing Stream Totem when the enemy team is not using burst cooldowns.
  6. Cast Healing Surge Icon Healing Surge on yourself if you are using Swelling Waves Icon Swelling Waves.
  7. If your team is stacked and taking heavy spread or single target pressure, Earthen Wall Totem Icon 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.

5.4. Totems

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 Icon 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 Icon Ghost Wolf to quickly get to the other side.
  • Earthen Wall Totem Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon Capacitor Totem/Earthgrab Totem Icon Earthgrab Totem: you can use either of these when the enemy team is stacked. The Earthgrab Totem Icon Earthgrab Totem is best used when enemy teams will likely be focusing you. Capacitor Totem Icon Capacitor Totem is great against teams that will be far away. It gives the enemy team another ability to deal with. Earthgrab Totem Icon Earthgrab Totem is baseline, so something you can do is root an enemy and place a Capacitor Totem Icon Capacitor Totem to get a full stun.
  • Healing Stream Totem Icon 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 Icon Healing Tide Totem: this is a decent spread healing ability. It is best used in combination with your Spirit Link Totem Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon Healing Tide Totem.

5.5. Defensive Techniques

Astral Shift Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon 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 Icon Nature's Guardian again.

6. 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 Icon Earth Shield and Spirit Link Totem Icon Spirit Link Totem Restoration Shaman have the ability to heal long games or play extremely aggressive with their Purge Icon Purges.

6.1. 2v2 Arena

In 2v2 Arena, you do not have many options. As a Shaman, you have Purge Icon 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 Icon Earth Shield on whoever is being focused. If you are playing against a team with multiple crowd control spells or interrupts, use Grounding Totem Icon 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

6.2. 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 Icon Purge as often as you can. Make sure to maintain Earth Shield Icon Earth Shield on the teammate taking the most damage. Rotate your Healing Stream Totem Icon Healing Stream Totem with Riptide Icon Riptide for a lot of instant healing. Use Grounding Totem Icon Grounding Totem to ground interrupts or big incoming damage. If you are being focused, use Astral Shift Icon 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

7. 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.

7.1. Wind Shear 123 Macro

  • #showtooltip Wind Shear
  • /cast [target=arena1] Wind Shear

Using this macro will use Wind Shear Icon 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.

7.2. Hex 123 Macro

  • #showtooltip Hex
  • /cast [target=arena1] Hex

Using this macro will cast Hex Icon 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.

7.3. 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 Icon Polymorph on that player while you are still focused on your target.

7.4. Purify Spirit Party Macro

  • #showtooltip Purify Spirit
  • /cast [target=party1] Purify Spirit

Using this macro will cast Purify Spirit Icon 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.

7.5. Purge Focus Macro

  • #showtooltip Purge
  • /cast [target=focus] Purge

This macro uses Purge Icon 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.

7.6. Earthgrab Cursor Macro

  • #showtooltip
  • /cast [@cursor] Earthgrab Totem

This macro is great for quickly placing Earthgrab Totem Icon Earthgrab Totem. Instead of clicking it and placing you, the totem will be placed wherever your cursor is.

7.7. Capacitor Totem Cursor Macro

  • #showtooltip
  • /cast [@cursor] Lightning Surge Totem

This macro is great for quickly placing Capacitor Totem Icon Capacitor Totem. Instead of clicking it and placing you, the totem will be placed wherever your cursor is.

7.8. Earthen Wall Totem Cursor Macro

  • #showtooltip
  • /cast [@cursor] Earthen Wall Totem

This macro is great for quickly placing Earthen Wall Totem Icon Earthen Wall Totem. Instead of clicking it and placing you, the totem will be placed wherever your cursor is.

7.9. Spirit Link Totem Cursor Macro

  • #showtooltip
  • /cast [@cursor] Spirit Link Totem

This macro is great for quickly placing Spirit Link Totem Icon Spirit Link Totem. Instead of clicking it and placing you, the totem will be placed wherever your cursor is.

8. Artifact Traits for Restoration Shaman

With the arrival of Patch 8.0, Artifact weapons have had their power drained in order to combat the spreading corruption from the sword of Sargeras and are now nothing more than a stat stick. This means that all traits are gone, so artifact paths and trait priority list are no longer required.

9. Relics for Restoration Shaman

Relics are now simply a boost to your Artifact weapon's item level.

10. ChangeLog

  • 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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