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Restoration Shaman PvP Guide (Legion 7.3.5)

Last updated on May 23, 2018 at 14:12 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, artifacts, 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. Talent Choices 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, Honor talents are inactive outside of a PvP environment.

2.1. Regular Talents for Restoration Shaman

2.1.1. Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents

Undulation Icon Undulation is the best choice in this tier. Because Healing Wave Icon Healing Wave is your primary heal, this talent will increase your overall healing output. However, if you are playing against a team with multiple interrupts, Torrent Icon Torrent is the better choice in this tier. This gives you the ability to have strong single target healing without having to cast.

2.1.2. Tier 2 (Level 30) Talents

Gust of Wind Icon Gust of Wind is the best choice in this tier. Because Restoration Shamans have very little mobility, this talent gives you a way to create distance between you and an enemy.

2.1.3. 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 with a teammate that already has root effects, Lightning Surge Totem Icon Lightning Surge Totem is the better choice.

2.1.4. Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents

Crashing Waves Icon Crashing Waves is the best choice in this tier. This will increase your consistent healing.

2.1.5. Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents

Earthen Shield Totem Icon Earthen Shield 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.

2.1.6. Tier 6 (Level 90) Talents

Echo of the Elements Icon Echo of the Elements is the best choice in this tier. This talent is an increase to your overall healing output.

2.1.7. 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.

2.2. Honor Talents for Restoration Shaman

2.2.1. Tier 1 Talents

Against teams with a lot of crowd control, Relentless Icon Relentless is the best choice in this tier. Reducing the duration of every crowd control ability is crucial in Arena. Against any other team, Gladiator's Medallion Icon Gladiator's Medallion is the best choice in this tier. It is the standard PvP trinket effect with a 2-minute cooldown.

2.2.2. Tier 2 Talents

Defender of the Weak Icon Defender of the Weak is the best choice in this tier. This talent works great when multiple party members are taking spread pressure. This talent also pairs well with your Mastery. However, if you are playing against a team with multiple short interrupts, Calming Waters Icon Calming Waters is the better choice.

2.2.3. Tier 3 Talents

Skyfury Totem Icon Skyfury Totem is the best choice in this. This will primarily be used when your team is bursting or if you are using healing cooldowns.

2.2.4. Tier 4 Talents

Swelling Waves Icon Swelling Waves is the best choice in this tier. Restoration Shaman are the primary focus for many teams this talent increases your survivability and saves you Mana.

If you are playing against a team where you will be using Purge Icon Purge or Purify Spirit Icon Purify Spirit often, Purifying Waters Icon Purifying Waters is the best choice in this tier.

2.2.5. Tier 5 Talents

Grounding Totem Icon Grounding Totem is the best choice in this tier. With practice, you will be able to use Grounding Totem Icon Grounding Totem on important abilities such as Hammer of Justice Icon Hammer of Justice, Polymorph Icon Polymorph, or Cyclone Icon Cyclone.

It is important to note that in 7.3 Grounding Totem Icon Grounding Totem was slightly altered. Enemies now have to damage it to make the totem go away. This makes Grounding Totem Icon Grounding Totem more reliable when trying to prevent incoming crowd control or damage.

2.2.6. Tier 6 Talents

Earth Shield Icon Earth Shield is the best choice in this tier. This gives your target both a 15% damage reduction and a small heal. It is important to maintain or switch depending on which one of your partners is being attacked.

3. Racial Bonuses for Restoration Shaman

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

3.1. 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.

3.2. 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.

4. 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.

4.1. 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.

4.2. 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 Gust of Wind Icon Gust of Wind and 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.

4.3. Healing Techniques

4.3.1. 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 Riptide Icon Riptide to generate Tidal Waves Icon Tidal Waves.
    5. Cast Healing Surge Icon Healing Surge on yourself if you are using Swelling Waves Icon Swelling Waves.
    6. 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 Riptide Icon Riptide to generate Tidal Waves Icon Tidal Waves.
    6. Use  Icon Gift of the Queen if your team is stacked.
    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.

4.3.2. 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 Riptide Icon Riptide to generate stacks of Tidal Waves Icon Tidal Waves.
  3. Cast Healing Wave Icon Healing Wave when you have 1-2 stacks of Tidal Waves Icon Tidal Waves.
  4. Use Healing Stream Totem Icon Healing Stream Totem when the enemy team is not using burst cooldowns.
  5. Cast Healing Surge Icon Healing Surge on yourself if you are using Swelling Waves Icon Swelling Waves.
  6. If your team is stacked and taking heavy spread or single target pressure, Earthen Shield Totem Icon Earthen Shield 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.
  7. Use Ancestral Guidance Icon Ancestral Guidance when the enemy team is not doing much damage. You can deal damage with Flame Shock Icon Flame Shock and Lava Burst Icon Lava Burst.
  8. Use  Icon Gift of the Queen if your team is stacked and taking spread pressure.

4.4. 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 Shield Totem Icon Earthen Shield 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.
  • Lightning Surge Totem Icon Lightning Surge 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. Lightning Surge Totem Icon Lightning Surge Totem is great against teams that will be far away. It gives the enemy team another ability to deal with.
  • 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.

4.5. 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 with the  Icon Ghost in the Mist artifact trait. On top of the damage reduction from it, 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.

5. 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.

5.1. 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

5.2. 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

6. 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.

6.1. 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.

6.2. 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.

6.3. 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.

6.4. 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.

6.5. 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.

6.6. 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.

6.7. Lightning Surge Cursor Macro

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

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

6.8. Earthen Shield Totem Cursor Macro

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

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

6.9. 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.

7. Gear for Restoration Shaman

With regards to gear, the biggest change in Legion is that there is no more PvP gear. Your strength in PvP will be determined based on the average item level of your gear (as displayed on your character sheet). For example, the base item level at level 110 is 800, so your stats in PvP will be adjusted accordingly. For every 10 item levels you gain, your stats are increased by 1%.

The implication is that it does not matter where your gear comes from, and all that matters is its item level. Gear from quests or PvE content is just as good as gear you get as a reward from PvP (which, in fact, will be very similar to PvE gear; there are no more PvP stats on gear).

Practically, you will simply look to collect gear with the highest item levels possible, and the stat distribution on the gear will not matter.

8. Artifact Traits for Restoration Shaman

Below, we will explain what the recommended order for artifact traits is, if you wish to maximise your PvP potential. It is quite possible that your artifact path (at the time of reading this guide) differs from our suggestions. If this is the case, do not worry, and use the information below to help you understand your traits and guide your future choices.

If you recently decided to make a Restoration Shaman and are behind on your Artifact weapon, or you have decided to venture into PvP with your Restoration Shaman, try to first get the closest Golden trait. Picking up some of the more crucial traits ( Icon Ghost in the Mist and  Icon Caress of the Tidemother) is highly recommended to begin PvP.

8.1. First Golden Trait

The first Golden trait you want to reach is  Icon Queen's Decree.

  1. Take  Icon Grace of the Sea.
  2. Take  Icon Buffeting Waves.
  3. Take  Icon Wavecrash.
  4. Take  Icon Queen Ascendant.
  5. Take  Icon Queen's Decree.

8.2. Second Golden Trait

The second Golden trait to go for is  Icon Tidal Pools.

  1. Take  Icon Tidal Chains.
  2. Take  Icon Pull of the Sea.
  3. Take  Icon Ghost in the Mist.
  4. Take  Icon Empowered Droplets.
  5. Take  Icon Tidal Pools.

8.3. Remaining Traits

After this, you should try to pick up the last Golden trait,  Icon Cumulative Upkeep, picking up the remaining traits after that. There is no specific order for the rest, but a recommended trait to get last is  Icon Servant of the Queen.

9. Relics for Restoration Shaman

Relics are disabled in PvP, so they are not a concern to you.

10. ChangeLog

  • 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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