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Raiding as an Elemental Shaman 101

Tuesday, November 10, 2009 | posted in | 12 comments

If you have read this blog for any amount of time I try to keep things simple as far as the math and theory crafting.  I leave it up to the guys I consider the experts over at Elitist Jerks.  I try to break down game mechanics into real world applications.  I know we wold all love to be running around in BiS and snapping off the perfect rotations leaving zero time between our next Lava Burst.  In reality progression raiding can make things a little difficult sometimes as many shamans know.  Wether it's tossing in an extra heal to save a raider that has strayed out of the healers range or stood in the fire too long (LOL) or  moving every 2 seconds in a encounter that even starting your rotation seems like a futile effort.  Yes raiding as a Elemental shamam can be difficult.

This post is going to cover Elemental Shaman Raiding 101.  I am going to cover the basics for masters of the lightning and lava.  I will assume you are specced correctly before we begin.  The first thing you must understand is how your rotation of spells effects the dps you put out.  There are four spells you will use in your rotation Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning, Lava Burst and Flame Shock.  On any boss encounter you should open up with Flame Shock followed by a Lava Burst.  The reason is the Flame Shock debuff will make your Lava Burst automatically critical strike.  This is trigger your Elemental Focus talent causing Clearcasting your next 2 spells will have their mana cost reduced by 40%.  Which is great since the next spell is Chain Lightning.  The critical strike will also trigger the Elemental Oath talent causing you to gain 5% for crit and 10% more spell damage.

Ok so you open with FS followed by LvB the next spell should be Chain Lightning due to it scaling with Shamanism now and the reduced mana cost from Elemental Focus.  This should be followed by as many Lightning Bolts as you can fit in before LvB comes off cooldown.(Tip: Do not clip your LvB cooldown by adding in an extra Lightning Bolt)  Rinse and repeat as this is your rotation playing an Elemental Shaman.  Remember to refresh Flame Shock when needed.

Now we know how we should pew pew but what about our cooldown abilities.  Heroism/Bloodlust, Elemental Mastery, and trinkets.  To keep it simple wait for your Raid Leader to call out for Heroism or Bloodlust.  You don't want to get the raid the sated debuff at the wrong time.  One of the most important things to know when raiding is when to use Elemental Mastery.  This is kinda of a trick question since there are really to different way to use this talent depending on the type of encounter you are facing.  If it is a straight stand there and blow up the boss like say Patchwerk in Naxx you should open with EM and pop it everytime it comes off cooldown.  But since pretty much every fight in Ulduar and Trial of the Grand Crusader requires a ton of movement it is best to save it to fire off a LvB while moving from place to place before starting your rotation again.  Trinkets that are usable should be used during burn phases of boss fights to get the maximum effect.

One mistake a lot of new raiders make is on movement fights.  Nothing hurts you raid more that not moving when you are supposed to.  Never ever try to land one more spell before moving.  If you are trying to finish that last Lightning Bolt cast right as a black or white orb is about to crash into you during Twin Val'kyrs you will only make it harder on your raid since you are taking away the healers focus to keep you alive.(Tip: Smart dps is always better than dead dps)

You have this awesome Fire Elemental at your disposal as well, but when should you use him when raiding.  Simple wait until your raid is in a burn phase and then pop your Fire Elemental Totem to push out as much dps as possible to get through the dps check encounters.

Another thing to remember when you start raiding is many boss encounters require you to focus on adds that join fights periodically.  It is a good idea to take advantage of your Focus Frame.  Set the boss as your focus frame at the beginning of the encounter so you can easily switch back to the boss when your raid takes down the adds.

A few last tips, come to raids prepared.  Show up early with your flasks, potions, and food.  Check out some of the awesome blogs and websites available to read up and watch videos on boss encounters so you know what is coming in the next phase.  One last thing Stay out of the fire.

12 Responses So far
on November 12, 2009 at 6:38 PM  

Just a thought, but opening with FS,LVB,CL can generate a fair amount of threat. If I am with anybody warrior tank I will open with a regular LB, giving them time to build threat, then start to crank it up.

As you said a dead shammy equals 0 DPS... brings back memories of the lightning capacitor... if that trigger on the opening volley in Kara, instant agro.

on November 17, 2009 at 6:43 AM  

Agreed. I always open up with LB first to give my warrior tank time to build aggro. On long fights, the DPS usually evens out anyways.

on November 17, 2009 at 9:24 AM  

I think that opening with LB is the preferred way to start an ele shammy rotation these days anyway, right?

on November 17, 2009 at 9:49 AM  

I agree that opening with LB is probably the best option but only because it has a good chance to trigger the proc on Totem of Electrifying Wind. Most tanks can generate enough threat if you give them 2 or 3 seconds before your amazing burst comes from LvB and CL.

on November 17, 2009 at 11:04 AM  

Great post! I also open with FS, LB is the bread and butter. I sometimes use a magma totem, only if it doesnt endanger me/raid. I do not have tier9 yet as my main is resto.

Question on using your fire elemental, I have been tempted to pop it during the crazy TOC PVP fight, but was dissuaded due to the possibility of breaking a CC. What are your thoughts on this? Would it be ok, granting maybe half of the faction champs are downed?

on November 17, 2009 at 1:30 PM  

For my guild the only real cc comes from the warlock on the druid healer. Other than than we just try to have our tanks control the melee dps while we burn down a healer before focusing on them. With the diminishing returns on that fight it really doesn't matter. Since the encounter is really a dps race I would pop it if your raid needs some extra dps.

Personally I like to save mine for Twin Valk's bubbles. Since the cooldown is pretty long right now. Post 3.3 the 10 minute cooldown should allow you to use fire elemental every fight.

on November 20, 2009 at 3:30 AM  

I simply don't get how you may think to use the fire elemental on bosses.

while raiding in 25 man, i am at totall effects a totem bot.
the warlocks and mages takes a lot of buff from the ToW in any encounter we made.
the elemental shaman is a buffer class, not dps pure. yes when weared in bis itmay come in handy as dps (doing around 5k dps), but when hunters, mages, rogues and locks make 6-7 k dps you find yourself pretty low in the meter.
the best thing for an ele shaman is always to stay alive, keep totems up and keep casting. this grants a lot of buffs incoming and better dps for casters classes.

I didn't mention the shadow priest on purpose, since until the new patch they are worst than us ^^

on November 20, 2009 at 7:43 PM  

We raid with a demonology lock so ToW is overwritten by Demonic pact and the only time I really use my fire elemental is during burn phases like Heroic Anub or Twins for example.

on November 20, 2009 at 10:48 PM  

Being the only Elemental in my guild and no Demo Lock I always have to drop ToW but I'd glady give my left hoof to be able to show my Fire Ele some love and unleash him. Problem is elementals just cant compete with Mages and Rogues putting out 8-10kdps so from the pov of my guild its a case of 'we have 1 Ele for buffs, why the hell would we want more when we can just get more op Arc Mages'.

Guess this is the way it will stay til Blizz make us a bit more competitive :(

on November 27, 2009 at 11:13 AM  

This is a great site btw (just found it today!). That rotation sounds like what I'm using atm (so at least I'm doing something right!) and its an interesting idea using the fire elemental more. Atm I use mine on champions only usually (we have all our shammys let loose either earth or fire then). But using it on the twins is a very interesting idea and I think I might try that on the next raid. Its soooo fustrating feeling like a "bad" player when you see yourself at the bottom of the meters but know that you have played your heart out AND stayed alive! Hopefully we will get some love soon. :)

on November 29, 2009 at 1:19 PM  

One thing that I would add to increase dps while raiding. If you can afford too, stand in melee ranged of boss, especially on burn phases. If you have a ret pally and a demo lock in ur raid, totem of wrath is noy needed, so u can drop totem of magma, which essentially adds another drop. If you must stay otu of melee range, use searing totem instead.

on January 9, 2010 at 8:00 AM  

ok i just found the site great to have a shamman dedicated site , i have a question , my main is a Ele shammie an though i have T9 4set i am really struggling to get my dps above 5.5k i have re-gemmed an still confussed any help would be appreciated :)


please help

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