Shaman tanking viability

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Shamans had quite a few threat generation abilities and survivability talents, however nothing even close to making them a viable raid tank.

My question is, what about easy, dungeon content? Anybody ever tried it back in the day or on p servers? What was their biggest problem, survivability? Threat could be ok with stormstrike and earthshock spam along side rockbiter.

I would imagine low level dungeons were doable, but what about the max level dungeons?

It would be a cool little experiment I'd like to try. Obviously I'm not even thinking about raids.
Saw a pre-raid geared shaman tanking BRD once, he was good.
Shaman tanking viability
Is at the same level as Mage healing viability.
30/09/2018 11:14Posted by Mirtle
Shaman tanking viability
Is at the same level as Mage healing viability.

No need for your pessimism!

Mage healing is at a 1/10 (bandages), while shaman tanking would have to be at least a 4.

Im just looking of any stories where perhaps shamans could be a 6/10
30/09/2018 10:56Posted by Ezahe
Shamans had quite a few threat generation abilities and survivability talents, however nothing even close to making them a viable raid tank.

My question is, what about easy, dungeon content? Anybody ever tried it back in the day or on p servers? What was their biggest problem, survivability? Threat could be ok with stormstrike and earthshock spam along side rockbiter.

I would imagine low level dungeons were doable, but what about the max level dungeons?

It would be a cool little experiment I'd like to try. Obviously I'm not even thinking about raids.

Up to about level 40'ish, it is do-able. They do have some tanking talents and threat generating abilities. Above level 40 I'd say you have to out-level / over-gear the dungeon. I've seen shamans tanking within my former guild, but it'll be hard trying to convince a pug that you are the tank :)
Pre-plate, some Shaman can be quite decent tanks.
The build is called "totem shaman" and can tank in general 5-mans, but it will be challenging. Early on in levels with shield only a shaman can tank low level dungeons with a bit of level advantage (like SFK).

Without dedicated gear while leveling a shaman will be heal/dps with the option to off-tank or keep a mob on him during bigger pulls (usually).
I once tanked UBRS with enhancement shaman off-tank. He outgeared the dungeon slightly (mostly T1 or equivalent). His single target threat generation was fine but his survivability was very lacking. Once we got near the end of the dungeon with harder hitting mobs he was constantly getting stomped into the ground. It was impossible for the healer to keep him up.
I'd say that shaman can tank about as well as hunter/warlock with their pets. Leveling dungeons may be possible, but people will most likely be reluctant to let you have a go. Raid tanking is definitely out of question.
(Edit: enhancement, not elemental. Got the specs mixed up.)
It's definitely doable with enhancement especially in 40-mans, but you'd be an off-tank.
It can be done in 5man (I think UBRS is where the need to severly outgear stops). However the requirement in talents/gear are much higher than for a warrior you don't need T1 equivalent to do it but you can go in in greens.
The same can be said for your group. You will need an optimal setup for that dungeon and you cant afford mistakes since shaman has no real "ooh shiiittt" buttons.
Single target threat is no problem. Multiple targets will become a problem. So your group will need to CC and focus very well.
30/09/2018 15:12Posted by Shayene
It's definitely doable with enhancement especially in 40-mans, but you'd be an off-tank.
Raids would be out of the question for a Shaman, even as off-tank. They would take way too much damage.
I remember one instance of a shaman tanking. I think it was SM. He and his group assured me he was a great tank and overgeared the dungeon. It was a miserable fail, much like that "totally OP" offtank feral who died in two hits to some random MC boss.
Due to crushing blow, only prot warrior were viable tanks i remember.
Other classes weren't able to push CB off the table
With enough CC and a good group shamans can tank low level dungeons at least until Sunken Temple. Some bosses can be challenging though, putting it mildly.
30/09/2018 18:24Posted by Noctus
Due to crushing blow, only prot warrior were viable tanks i remember.
Other classes weren't able to push CB off the table

That's only when talking raids. Bears could reach def cap in 5 man and come very close in raids, dunno about paladins, but I would suspect so regarding 5 man's. Shaman couldn't though, which is why they begin to struggle after the level 40'ish level.
I once tanked LBRS just to try it out. I was in blues and some ZG level gear. It was a long time ago in legit vanilla so I don't remember details but I'm pretty sure we completed it.
You can tank ragefire chasm or wailing caverns for friends with a lvl 30+ shaman that's about as deep as shaman tanking gets, everything other than that would be a forced and unecessarily time and nerve consuming experiment just for the sake of having a shaman tanking itself.

Private servers also are not an accurate reflection of vanilla WoW at all. When I played WoW in 2005 all dungeons starting with RFC/DM were a LOT harder than what I saw on private servers. (Blizzard vanilla dungeons were comparable to mythic difficulty, for example van cleef in DM as a level appropriate group was almost impossible without exploits)
30/09/2018 19:46Posted by Amarîel
You can tank ragefire chasm or wailing caverns for friends with a lvl 30+ shaman that's about as deep as shaman tanking gets, everything other than that would be a forced and unecessarily time and nerve consuming experiment just for the sake of having a shaman tanking itself.

Private servers also are not an accurate reflection of vanilla WoW at all. When I played WoW in 2005 all dungeons starting with RFC/DM were a LOT harder than what I saw on private servers. (Blizzard vanilla dungeons were comparable to mythic difficulty, for example van cleef in DM as a level appropriate group was almost impossible without exploits)


I'm pretty sure i tanked RFK and ST (excluding Eranikus) as a shaman in retail vanilla back in 2005-2006 on a relevant level. As long as only one mob is hitting you it's possible. You can also kite mobs with frost shock and earthbind totem.

That being said, i would never volunteer to tank any dungeon as a shaman. All those occasions happened when our tank had left or DCed and we didn't manage to find replacement.

And i agree with your comment regarding private servers. They are not even close to how vanilla was back then.
You definitely can tank 5-mans as a shaman. Wouldn't recommend a leveling strategy around it really(you won't get many groups), it really only works well when you have some gear. It is slower than with warrior though. Your mana pool is tiny in tank gear and all your main threat abilities are mana intensive. What I remember from the LBRS I did in retail vanilla is drinking after every pull, even if healer doesn't have to, you will. Threat wasn't a huge issue as long as your dps stays on the right targets.

So if you are really so inclined and dedicated you can tank 5-mans at max level but you need some gear to not die to everything. I even heard some rumors back in the day of some shaman off-tanking MC, never confirmed it though.
I think tanking as a shammy is hard because pretty much all your threat abilities have some cooldown so you can't tab-cycle and spam you aggro move, combine this with shammy low avoidance that calls for aggressive healing and you might be dealing with a lot of healer's aggro.

Doable but not really easy or smooth.

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