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Shaman PvP - Oprawinfury - 01-08-2016

Ignore my plain design, not one for emojis, colored text, and the like.

A lot of people say shamans are a 3 button class. Prepare to learn otherwise!

Today we will be covering the basics of shaman pvp. I have elected to leave out enhancement because, well, I don't think you should play enhancement until you know EVERYTHING that this class can do. I will still include my enhancement spec, though. I'm sure you can all manage to apply the lessons to enhance as well!

First off, we're going to cover the basic skills you need to know:

Lesser Healing Wave- This will undoubtedly be the biggest life saver of you and your teammates. Even in bad gear, it heals very quickly with a cast time of 1.5 secs and huge base healing stats. I use this over Healing Wave unless it's my instant cast from Nature's Swiftness.

Chain Heal- Only useful if your group is close together, you're not under attack, and the enemy teams damage is spread out. Great spell, but rarely used. 2.5 second cast time, very cheap mana cost. Gets a lot of enemy attention, heals 3 nearby targets at a time. (reducing the heal at each jump)

Lightning Bolt- The bread of butter of elemental shaman and can be useful if you're left alone for 3 seconds as restoration. It has high base damage and gets 10% extra crit chance from talenting elemental. (as well as a 2 second cast time, WOW). Great damage dealing spell.

Chain Lightning- 2.5 sec cast time for restoration, and only 1.5 for elemental. It will strike your target and 2 additional nearby enemies (it can and WILL break crowd control effects such as polymorph and trap). This is great for taking out groups. With only a 6 second cooldown this is easily the shaman's strongest and most notable spell aside from totems. Be wary though, chain lightning is very costly to your mana pool and will run your mana out very quickly. I do not use this in long battles unless I know it's leading to a kill.

Earth Shock- Huge anti-caster spell. This spell, if casted during an ENEMY cast, will prevent them from casting another spell for 2 seconds. It does a decent bit of damage, and when you begin to get gear appropriate to your spec it doesn't cost all that much mana for the effects it brings. Coupled with grounding totem, this can bring the downfall of an enemy caster very fast. Shares cooldown with all other shocks.

Frost Shock- Enemy getting away? No problem, cast this for a troublesome debuff that can have an uptime of 100% unless it is dispelled. This is great against warriors, rogues, and hunters, and will still find use against an escaping mage or warlock. It does great damage, and isn't too mana expensive. Shares cooldown with all other shocks.

Flame Shock- Very cheap spell to cast. Low initial damage followed by a weak damage over time effect that can be dispelled. The primary use for this is rogues. If a rogue has the debuff on them (which can be kept up 100% of the time) they will not be able to restealth and begin another stunlock rotation. This can also be used for a pesky mage as it provides a slight knockback on casting time and can force them use fire ward provoking a 30 second CD on the frost ward as well. Bear in mind, this damage ignores armor as it is from a spell so it can be great against enemy shamans, warriors, and even hunters. I often use flame shock on an enemy then break their line of sight of me, to do damage while taking none.

Lightning Shield- If the situation permits, you want this on 100% of the time. It does a great amount of damage, and damages everyone who does damage that is NOT in damage over time form. It costs virtually no mana (only 300 for that damage is insane), is instant, and when coupled with a shield in the offhand it is GREAT for killing rogues. Again, keep it up. It WILL help you win. 1 cast in good elemental gear is 1050 damage to enemy attackers.

Purge- So purge is probably the best ability out of all of these. Why do I say this, you ask? It is useful in all 3 specs, and makes priests/mages wimpy cloth wearers again! It removes 2 magic buffs from an enemy, is an instant cast, and costs just over 200 mana. This quickly takes HoF and seals from paladins, ice armor/ice barrier from mages, heal over time effects off druids, and bubbles/all the GREAT buffs priests have. This is a staple of shaman heritage logging back to Warcraft 3. Would highly recommend you spam this on enemies to hinder their abilities.

Cure Poison- Instant spell, virtually no mana cost, and can remove viper sting from hunters before it drains ANY mana at all. Also great for removing crippling poison to begin kiting a rogue.

Ghost Wolf- 3 second cast time, 40% movement speed increase. Can be increased to 55% with R12 boots and cast time reduced to 1.5 secs with enhancement talents. Does not break snares/binds. Pvp trinket CAN be used in ghost wolf. This is great to escape a sticky situation or move a flag across the field.


Alright... now to the TRUE power of the shaman... THE TOTEMS
Totems, for the most part, have a range of 20 yards. This can be increased to 30 with the talent in restoration, and increased to FORTY YARDS with 3 set of Tier 1. Of course, some are different, and that will be covered.

Grounding totem- Grounding totem has a variety of uses. It redirects ONE negative spell to the totem from yourself or a party member (not in a different group of raid). It has a 15 second cooldown without the talents from enhancement and is great against all caster classes. It can absorb silence, counter spell, fear, and even roots. On this server it is currently bugged and will serve very useful against spriests and warlocks, as it can eat multiple dots without dying. This is a lifesaver. Between this and earth shock, if used right, a shaman can be a caster's worst nightmare. It is best to use this right as an enemy's silence or counterspell is off cooldown, right before you start healing, or to absorb a frostbolt while you run away in ghost wolf with their flag.

Poison Cleansing Totem- This removes 1 poison effect from EACH party member in the totem's radius every 3 seconds. So... you place this when fighting rogues and hunters, and make sure it stays up. If a rogue kills your poison cleanse totem, that means he is PROBABLY going to blind you. So re-place it immediately. I like to keep this down near me when I'm not in combat or near any enemies I can see just in case a rogue opens on me.

Tremor Totem- Tremor totem shakes the ground and breaks all friendly sleep, charm, and fear debuffs every 3 seconds, within totem range of course. This is useful against warlocks and priests in particular. Keep it down for both of them, and stay VERY close to it. Replace immediately if they kill it, because that means a fear is coming, and 1 fear full duration can be the end of you. Warlocks will be a HUGE problem with their Curse of Tongues, as shaman's only instant cast is the shocks. Don't make it even harder to kill them, keep tremor down and in range at all times against these classes.

Searing Totem I love this little guy. It costs almost no mana, can do a decent amount of damage, and it puts warriors in combat to prevent charge, thus wasting intercept to reach you. Also, it can provide knockback on enemy casters making their cast just a LITTLE harder and a LITTLE easier to interrupt. It prevents those polymorph bandage combos, and can even alert you to enemy presence if placed around the corner from you. It will usually hit for around 100 damage a cast, which I believe to be about 1.5 sec each shot. This is a great totem to use a majority of the time, as it also will do damage as you kite melee.

Magma Totem- This totem is useful for ONE reason and ONE reason only. It pulls rogues and druids from stealth. My favorite spots for this are in narrow doorways, the middle of the ramps in WSG, or the WSG tunnels. Try to place it in the middle, to guarantee a stealth pull and make kiting VERY easy. It usually drops to the left, and since max rank doesn't do great damage I use rank 1 (200 mana instead of 700 mana) strictly to remove stealth. This has a small range, so this is why I use it in narrow areas whenever I can. Only lasts 20 seconds.

Healing/Mana Spring Totems- Self explanatory, keep these up when nobody is attacking you and you don't need poison cleanse down. Healing spring is great for when your group is gathered and attacking the enemy. Can counteract dots from warlocks with no gear. Healing spring scales with +healing on gear.

Earthbind Totem- This totem costs almost nothing to cast, has a small range, and continually debuffs nearby enemies with 50% loss to movement speed. This is great for making escapes, keeping groups or melee slowed, and is especially effective inside narrow areas just like magma totem above. I use this right in front of R1 magma in WSG tunnels to slow the rogue before he reaches magma totem, to ensure he is removed from stealth.

Fire Nova Totem- This totem explodes after a 4 second delay (can be reduced to 2 seconds with talents from elemental tree) doing a decent amount of damage to nearby enemies. It is VERY expensive to cast and should only be used if it is needed to burst down an enemy that must die (healer, enemy flag carrier, warrior on your ass). But beware, this will run your mana low very quickly.

Stoneclaw Totem- This totem doesn't sound useful. It taunts nearby enemies, which of course does nothing in pvp. Nothing but break stealth on rogues and druids. Couple with magma totem it will be VERY hard for a rogue to open on you. Lasts 15 seconds, costs almost no mana, 30 second cooldown.

THE ALMIGHTY WINDFURY TOTEM- If you have a warrior or ret paladin in your group, lay this down as close to them as possible and watch what happens. This is hands down the BEST totem you can lay down for your melee. Keep it in range of good warriors at all times, and they will love you.

Str. of Earth and Grace of Air can be used to boost friendly dps slightly, but I find they're not really worth the mana or the global cooldown.

All of these have a 5 minute buff timer and cannot stack. Keep them up at all times.

Windfury Weapon- Great for enhance, not so great for anything else. End of story.

Rockbiter Weapon- Not very useful, raises melee damage, not worth losing others for at all. Won't be used.

Flametongue Weapon- In high damage and crit elemental gear, this weapon spell shines. It scales with spell power and spell crit, and procs EVERY hit letting elemental shamans do a little extra damage between casts on melees. Powerful when coupled with searing totem and lightning shield. I use this on my +dmg weapon for elemental spec.

Frostbrand Weapon- This has a chance to slow an enemy and do a decent amount of damage. This is GREAT for flag carrying and restoration, as the slow has saved my ass many times and isn't a magic, so it can't be dispelled except by Free Action Potions or Hand of Freedom. This is my main weapon enhancement, as I usually carry flags and heal.

This is my standard elemental spec. It has all the needed elemental talents, and some help to healing to live longer and assist your team. Nature's Swiftness is good for an instant max rank healing wave, or for an instant lightning bolt right after a chain lightning to kill enemy flag carrier/healer. This is EASILY the BEST elemental pvp spec.

The order of stats for this are as follows: 5% spell hit>spell critical> stamina> +spell damage> intellect> armor >+healing

Opra's Restoration Spec-
I use this because it is VERY defensive, great for relaying totems over and over, and has reduced grounding totem CD, reduced mage/shaman/druid damage, and it also has reduced ghost wolf cast time. Also mana tide is great assuming you put it out of LoS of enemy players. This is my spec of choice for carrying flags and pvp healing.

Shaman Tank Spec-
I have seen this used quite a bit too, it is interesting, but I would not say that it is better than what I use because a shaman has enough armor when properly geared and is fairly mobile so all the extra armor isn't needed. It is hard as hell to kill as a non-caster though. Many like this spec.

Some like to modify resto specs and put reduced healing wave in them. You rarely will have time to cast a 2.5 second spell, and more than likely, by the end of it your target will be dead. Just use LHW and the occasional chain heal as time permits. (See above for chain heal explanation).

These are the only two healing specs I'd recommend for pvp, and even then, I only use my special weird spec. Trust me, it's the best!

The stat priority of restoration pvp is as follows: Stamina>+healing>intellect>mp5>spell critical>armor. Very simple. You need stamina because the second you drop a WF totem and start healing they will be ALL over your ass.

Enhancement- I am against this because I think to be useful as enhancement you need near BiS gear and to know so much about shaman that this guide teaches you nothing, but here:

My favorite enhancement spec-
I would say this is my favorite. You will oom fast, but between WF, stormstrike, shocks, and fire nova totem, this spec can unleash some SERIOUS burst. Not very defensive, but is a fun spec nonetheless.

Enhancement spec that some use. It sucks in my opinion:

This has utility, reduces damage, but makes you last longer due to totem cost reduction and heal cost reduction. This spec adds hit, which is nice if you have no gear on your fresh, terrible, blue enhancement shaman. You can change the Nature's Swiftness out for Stormstrike and an extra attack if you wish, but I'd like to illustrate that it is an option as well. Windfury with a NS chain lightning and a shock is too much damage for a healer to handle.

The stat priority for enhancement is as follows: melee hit 5%>Stamina>crit>attack power/strength> agility> intellect> armor>+dmg>spell hit 5%>mp5

Don't focus too much on the spell damage or spell hit enhance, but it certainly is useful for making sure your shocks hit when you need them to. Enhance is like druid, true hybrid spec. The stats can get a little wonky.

Due to the nature of shaman, being as most of the spells are totems, you will not need many macros. I suggest keybinding EACH totem individually, and making macros to switch weapon on each cast. You will need Supermacro to do this easily.

For instance my macro to cast Lesser Healing Wave is as follows:
/equip False Prophet's Scepter
/equip Shield of Condemnation
/cast Lesser Healing Wave (Rank 6)

This will switch weapons in combat and allow you to get the most from your +healing and +damage items.

For Lightning Bolt I do this:

/equip End of Dreams
/equip Shield of Condemnation
/cast Lightning Bolt (Rank 10)

This actually is a huge benefit.
Another macro I use is this gem. (I did not write this macro, replace polymorph with whatever spell you want. I use Earth shock and use this against healers) I will leave the explanation alone since it is well explained by the author.

The following macro memorizes players and mobs by name. Remembering mobs by name can be a problem if there are several with the exact same name in the area (you will often target the wrong mob). Because of this, this macro should only be used in PvP and when you are fighting a unique boss mob with unique sidekicks.

Hold down control to memorize a target.

To recall a memorized target, use the key without modifiers.

Hold down shift to cast a Polymorph spell on the memorized target.

Alt is ignored, so you can bind this to an alt key combination.

To have multiple memorized targets, edit the Tg1 variable name in the three places where it is mentioned. Note that the short version below uses “ChatFrame1″ instead of “DEFAULT_CHAT_FRAME” to save a few characters to allow for longer spell and skill names than Polymorph. The human-readable version is given below the compact/obfuscated version.

/script t=Tg1 or”"c=IsControlKeyDown()if©then t=UnitName(“target”)or”"else TargetByName(t)if(IsShiftKeyDown())then CastSpellByName(‘Polymorph’)end end ChatFrame1:AddMessage(“######## “..(c and(“Tg1 set to: “..t)or(“Targeting: “..t)))Tg1=t

—- Target Memory Utility (Version 1.0.1 by Tiga) —-
t=Tg1 or”"

if© then

if(IsShiftKeyDown()) then

DEFAULT_CHAT_FRAME:AddMessage(“######## “..
(c and
(“Tg1 set to: “..t)
(“Targeting: “..t)))


What a long wall of text that is, huh?
Hopefully you've seen how strong totems are, and know that in a shaman vs shaman fight, killing and managing totems means you win. This is the macro I use for that. Again, will leave it in the author's words, just replace moonfire or shoot with "attack".

This can be used to destroy any totem, and is obviously designed for druids. Naturally you can change the last line to /shoot which is especially good for someone with a wand. Whether it will fit in the same macro or not, I’m not certain, but you might also want to add lines to target Dark Iron Dwarf mines as well. I can’t think of anything else like it. The following is from Talashandy, cited by Alex .

/target Totem
/cast Moonfire(Rank 1)

Here is a bit more programmy way of doing the same thing. Remember to remove the lines breaks.

/script u=UnitName;
for i = 1,10,1 do TargetNearestEnemy()
if (not UnitCanAttack(“player”,t))then
if ((s(u(t),”Totem”) or s(u(t),”Ward”)) and not s(UnitCreatureType(t),”Human”)) then

So we've covered some basic macros, the use for every skill you'll use, the specs, and the stat priorities for each respective spec. For enchants, honestly, I totally recommend stamina on everything, resistance on cloak, healing spells on gloves even for elemental, and speed on boots of course. The ZG chants are not as good as 100 hp for pvp in my book, so I don't use them. Obviously, use the weapon enchant that makes sense, spell power on ele, healing on resto, and of course follow suit with the shoulder enchant available for 100 pve tokens in the mall.

There is no rotation for shamans, and totems only furthers us from one. You will have to rely on your gut, and your memory for your skills. Know this though, keeping your totems one step ahead of your enemies is the key to victory. Poison cleanse down before blind from rogue, grounding down before counterspell from mage, tremor down before fear from lock/priest, magma and earthbind in tunnels to pull rogues and slow pursuers.

Now, I won't give away all my secrets. Some of those trinket combos to FC well can't be taught. You need to get the items and LEARN to use them. If you have any questions feel free to post them below, and I will answer!

Will you be the next Retro-WoW Shaman extraordinaire? Stay classy, Retro-WoW!

RE: Shaman PvP - Gnawbone - 01-08-2016

Great guide, brb making a rshaman Smile +1000 to Opra

RE: Shaman PvP - Dotproduct - 01-08-2016

Shamans pay attention.

RE: Shaman PvP - It! - 01-08-2016

I play enh/resto myself, but imo NS isnt worth giving up stormstrike. Ill link my built later.

RE: Shaman PvP - Oprawinfury - 01-08-2016

I recommend using SS with 13 in resto just for totem cost reduction and hit before you gear, of course. But when geared and with 5% hit, the only way to go is with ele. Elemental devastation and imp fire nova/reduced shock times is great. Oom fast, but huge damage.

RE: Shaman PvP - Groce - 01-10-2016

Opra, I said this to you in game and I'll say it again! Those macros are amazing. I never even knew I could equipment swap before spells, makes my life sooo much easier.

Thanks for all the valuable information and amazing work on this guide.

RE: Shaman PvP - It! - 01-10-2016

Tbh I think is stupid to play enh as a damage dealer, or any spec other then resto. A shaman will always play a support role, cause its damage will always be subpar to others

RE: Shaman PvP - Oprawinfury - 01-10-2016

Enhance isn't very good at all. Resto is by far the most useful, followed by elemental of course.

RE: Shaman PvP - It! - 01-10-2016

Aye idd the damage isn't the best an: hitting plate feels like hitting yourself. But enh is a way different playstyle then ele also in its support role.. you are up closer you can throw totems much closer to supp your teammates. while just randomly hitting stuff every now and then waiting for a wf proc to derp over a heroic mage that gets to close :L
And id say you are in a better position to interrupt enemy healers. Healing isnt that bad either aslong as you sorta manage your mana

Btw ss is idd a minor addition compared to ns but its simply more fun as a semi melee to have an instant strike

Can someone make a good resto build for pve on retro?