MoP 5.0 Elemental Guide: Lightning All Around

This guide is originally from, and for the best answers please comment over on

Table of Contents

1) Introduction & Basics Information
    A) Introduction
    B) Stats and Gearing
    C) Buffs and Debuffs

2) Spells
    A) Primary Spells
    B) Secondary Spells
    C) Utility Spells
    D) Buffs and Passives

3) Talents and Glyphs
    A) Talents
    B) Glyphs

4) Spell Priority (rotation)
    A) Priority List
    B) Movement
    C) Area of Effect
    D) Cooldown use
    E) Advanced Shock Management

5) Stats
    A) Haste Caps & Breakpoints
    B) Hit Cap
    C) Stat Priority

6) Gearing
    A) Gems
    B) Enchants
    C) Sets and Set bonuses
    D) BiS lists
      1) Heroic Dungeon
      2) Pre-raid
      3) Tier 14 Normal
      4) Tier 14 Heroic

7) Leveling Information - Coming Soon
    A) Level ranges & primary spell availability
    B) Glyph and Talent acquisition
    C) Gearing notes

8) User Interface - Coming Soon
    A) Addons
    B) Configs
    C) Macros

9) FAQ

10) Credits, Special Thanks, and Copyright Information

1) Introduction & Basics Information

A) Introduction
This is a PvE guide for Elemental Shaman written collaboratively by Binkenstein, Endus & Gistwiki. Contained within you will find everything you need to know to play Elemental at a competitive level in PvE content.

B) Playstyle
Elemental is the ranged caster damage specialisation of Shaman. It relies on a number of cooldown based spells for damage, along with a single dot and a charge/expend ability. It also has a number of damage & utility spells in the form of totems, the signature ability for Shaman. As well, it is the most armoured of caster specs thanks to mail & shields, and can assist with some off-spec heals if necessary (especially with talents). Elemental also has the potential for very high mobility with minimal loss in DPS with certain glyph choices.

C) Stats & Gearing
Elemental focuses on Intellect gear, with any of Crit, Haste, Hit, Mastery or Spirit as secondary stats. A rough stat priority is:
Intellect > Hit/Spirit to 15% cap > Haste > Mastery > Crit

Note: Crit/Haste/Mastery weights & priorities vary depending on glyphs & talents, so it's important to generate your own weights on a regular basis. Any basic suggestion such as this one can very easily be off for your particular circumstances. Some more detail on what circumstances can and will effect this and how will be in the Stats & Gearing sections of the guides.

D) Buffs & Debuffs
Elemental provides three passive raid buffs:
-Mastery (Grace of Air),
-5% Spell Haste (Elemental Oath), and
-10% Spell Power (Burning Wrath).

In addition, Earth Shock applies the Weakened Blows debuff for 30 seconds, reducing the damage the target deals by 10%. The duration is sufficient to essentially guarantee uptime, despite the somewhat random nature of Earth Shock use.

As well, each Shaman brings Stormlash Totem, a 10s duration Air Totem with a 5 minute cooldown, which adds nature damage to all spells and attacks by party and raid members within 30 yards. This is a strong raid DPS cooldown, though it should be used one after the other if there are multiple Shaman as the effect does not stack.

2) Spells

A) Primary Spells

- Chain Lightning
Acquired at level 28. Is the base spell for area of effect damage. Jumps three times (five when glyphed) dealing less damage on each jump.
- Earth Shock
Acquired at level 5. Shock spell that deals nature damage and applies the Weakened Blows effect. Shares a 5 second cooldown with other shock spells. Also procs the Fulmination effect, which discharges excess Lightning Shield charges (ie: above one) at the target.
- Earthquake
Acquired at level 60 with Elemental Specialization. A placed AoE, with a small chance of knockdown. The damage it provides is only effective compared to Chain Lightning on 5+ targets. 10 second cooldown and duration.
- Flame Shock
Acquired at level 14. Shock spell that deals fire damage and applies a damage over time effect to the target for 24 seconds. Shares a 5 second cooldown with other shock spells. Required for the 100% crit chance effect of Lava Burst. The DoT duration can be extended by 25% (up to 30 seconds) at the expense of 25% of the direct damage portion of the spell via a glyph.
- Lava Burst
Acquired at level 34. Lava Burst is our primary nuke, and is a guaranteed crit with Flame Shock on the target, meaning that it will always proc Elemental Focus as well.
- Lightning Bolt
Acquired at level 1. Deals nature damage with a base cast time of 2 seconds. The basic filler spell for Elemental. Causes Rolling Thunder & Elemental Overload procs.
B) Secondary Spells

- Ascendance
Acquired at level 87, Ascendance is a 15 second duration, 3 minute cooldown ability which (for Elemental) removes the cooldown on Lava Burst & turns Chain Lightning into Lava Beam. Also changes you into a Flame Ascendant for the duration of the spell.
- Bloodlust/Heroism
Acquired at level 70. Gives a raid wide 30% haste buff to everyone in the raid, and applies a debuff to players preventing them from benefiting from another raid haste effect for 10 minutes. 5 minute cooldown.
- Earth Elemental Totem
Acquired at level 56. Summons an Earth Elemental to fight by your side for one minute, with a five minute cooldown. Can taunt non-boss enemies.
- Fire Elemental Totem
Acquired at level 66. Summons a Fire Elemental to fight by your side for one minute (or 36 seconds when glyphed), with a five minute cooldown (three minutes when glyphed). While it has a Fire Nova ability it is best used as a single target DPS cooldown, or rather, it shouldn't be saved for AoE burn phases.
- Magma Totem
Acquired at level 36. Summons a totem that deals fire damage every 2 seconds to targets within 8 yards. Lasts for 1 minute. An AoE totem, but is best cast before any AoE phase to increase damage output. Can be cast mid-burn, but requires 7 or more targets to be effective.
- Searing Totem
Acquired at level 16. Summons a totem that shoots fire damage at a single target every 2 seconds for 1 minute. Our default single-target damage totem, to be used when we aren't using another Fire totem.
- Stormlash Totem
Acquired at level 78. Summons a totem that buffs all allies within 30 yards, causing their attacks and spells to deal additional Nature damage for 10 seconds. This is a strong raid DPS cooldown, but the buff does not stack, so it should be cast one after the other if you have multiple Shaman in the raid. 5 minute cooldown.
- Thunderstorm
Acquired at level 10 with Elemental Specialization. Knocks back and deals damage to enemies within 10 yards, and restores 15% of your mana. Typically used for the mana restoration or the knockback in PvE, rather than damage.
- Unleash Elements
Acquired at level 81. Unleashes the existing weapon imbue spell, dealing direct damage as well as providing an additional benefit. For Elemental, this typically is the Unleash Flametongue effect, increasing the next Fire spell's damage by 30%. This spell is typically not used in a standard rotation, but has some niche uses and is a good mobility spell for cases where the Shaman is not glyphing Unleashed Lightning, as it ranks just under Lightning Bolt in value per cast. 15 second cooldown.

C) Utility Spells

- Bind Elemental
Acquired at level 72. Allows crowd control of one Elemental type unit for 50 seconds with no cooldown.
- Capacitor Totem
Acquired at level 63. Summons an Air totem which causes a 5 second 8 yard AoE stun after a 5 second delay (to allow players a chance to kill or relocate it)
- Chain Heal
Acquired at level 40. A heal that jumps 4 times from target to target, healing for a lower amount each time.
- Earthbind Totem
Acquired at level 26. Slows foes within 10 yards by 50%. Can be upgraded to Earthgrab Totem, which roots foes in place for 5 seconds in addition to the slow effect (each target can only be rooted once)
- Frost Shock
Acquired at level 22. Shock spell that deals frost damage and applies a 8 second debuff that reduces movement speed for 8 seconds. Also causes a high amount of threat. Primarily used for single target kiting and nothing else. Can be talented to freeze the target in place for 5 seconds.
- Ghost Wolf
Acquired at level 15. Transforms the player into a Ghost Wolf, increasing run speed by 30% and reducing the effect of slows. Usable indoors & is helpful for covering distance during combat, but prevents casting so is usually limited to non-damage time or getting out of areas faster.
- Grounding Totem
Acquired at level 38. Redirects a single harmful spell to itself, which destroys the totem. Effectively negates the spell cast.
- Healing Rain
Acquired at level 60. An area of effect heal over time ability with an 8 second duration/cooldown.
- Healing Stream Totem
Acquired at level 30. Heals the most injured party/raid member every 2 seconds for 15 seconds. 30 second cooldown. A smart but low value heal.
- Healing Surge
Acquired at level 7. A 1.5 second single target heal. The high mana cost allows for spot or emergency healing only.
- Hex
Acquired at level 80. Transforms a target into a frog for 1 minute. 45 second cooldown.
- Purge
Acquired at level 12. Removes one buff from the enemy target per cast. Spells that can be dispelled by this spell should be highlighted so that they stand out among other buffs on the enemy target.
- Spiritwalker’s Grace
Acquired at level 85. When used, allows you to move while casting non-instant spells, granting you some mobility for 15 seconds. Mostly useful if you are not glyphing Unleashed Lightning. 2 minute cooldown.
- Totemic Recall
Acquired at level 30. Destroys any active totems, returning 25% of their mana cost to you. Useful if repositioning and in need of mana, and can be combined with the Totemic Restoration talent to destroy totems early and maximize the potential cooldown reduction.
- Tremor Totem
Acquired at level 52. Breaks Fear, Charm, and Sleep effects when dropped, and for 6 seconds thereafter, on all party and raid members within 30 yards. Can be used while afflicted by those effects as well. 1 minute cooldown.
- Wind Shear
Acquired at level 16. Our ranged interrupt, locking out spells of that school for 3 seconds. Also has a small threat reduction effect. Note that the range on Wind Shear is only 25 yards, not 40, unlike most of our other spells. 12 second cooldown.
D) Buffs and Passives

- Burning Wrath
Acquired at level 40. Gives a 10% spellpower bonus to the player and any group/raid members (range: 100 yards)
- Elemental Focus
Acquired at level 40. Focus is a damage increase/mana decrease proc from spell critical hits, which generate two charges. It will affect procs from Echo of the Elements and Overload, but only if a charge is still up when they hit (ie: if the last charge is consumed on a cast that procs either, they will not be affected). It is also not generated by Echo or Overload spells.
- Elemental Fury
Acquired at level 10. The 50% increase gives us 250% critical strikes, or 259% with 3% critical bonus meta gems. For more information on how this is calculated, refer to the Totemspot Wiki -
- Elemental Oath
Acquired at level 55. Elemental Oath is our 5% Spell Haste raid buff. 100 yard radius.
- Elemental Precision
Acquired at level 10. This allows Spirit to be effectively the same as Hit Rating for us (converting at a 100% rate,) improving and adding gear choices.
- Elemental Reach
Acquired at level 10. The range increase ensures that all of our spells are usable up to 40 yards from the target.
- Flametongue Weapon
Acquired at level 10. While it causes fire damage on each weapon hit, the primary function for Elemental is the 7% magic damage increase. Lasts for 60 minutes.
- Fulmination
Acquired at level 30. The extra Lightning Shield charges are generated through Rolling Thunder. These allow your Earth Shock to inflict up to 6 Lightning Shield charges of damage when used. In general, you want to maximize the number of charges you use with each Earth Shock while minimizing the number of charges "lost" from sitting at 7 stacks, while also ensuring Flame Shock uptime.
- Grace of Air
Acquired at level 80. Provides a mastery bonus to the player and nearby group/raid members (range: 100 yards). Gives 3000 mastery at level 90.
- Lava Surge
Acquired at level 50. Lava Surge provides each Flame Shock tick a 20% chance to reset Lava Burst's CD, and makes it an instant cast.
- Lightning Shield
Acquired at level 8. A nature based damage shield, which can stack up to 7 charges via Rolling Thunder procs. Charges will be expelled when hit or casting Earth Shock, down to a minimum of 1. Lasts 60 minutes.
- Mail Specialization
Acquired at level 50. Provides 5% bonus intellect to the player while you have mail items equipped in every armor slot as Elemental.
- Mastery: Elemental Overload
Our Mastery allows for additional "free" casts at reduced damage on Lightning Bolt, Lava Burst, and Chain Lightning. These additional casts can typically proc additional effects just as the initial spell does, including Rolling Thunder procs.
- Reincarnation
Acquired at level 30. Allows you to resurrect yourself at 20% health & mana. The 30 minute cooldown means that one should think before using it to make sure that it'll matter as it won't be up for a several attempts after the Reincarnation if you waste it.
- Rockbiter Weapon
Acquired at level 75. Increases threat generation by 30% and reduces damage by 5%. The main use as Elemental is for the damage reduction, particularly with the Unleash Fury talent improvement. Lasts for 60 minutes.
- Rolling Thunder
Acquired at level 20. The mana regeneration is Elemental's main tool for keeping mana high, while the Lightning Shield charges are used to fuel Fulmination.
- Shamanism
Acquired at level 10. This passive is where our Shaman class spells are adjusted for Elemental, reducing the cast time while increasing the damage of Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning, and also removing the cooldown from Chain Lightning.
- Spiritual Insight
Acquired at level 10. The mana pool increase of 400% provides us with enough mana to maintain our rotation, and the shock cooldown reduction of 1 second improves our ability to juggle Earth and Flame Shocks more effectively.
- Water Shield
Acquired at level 20. Provides mana regeneration both passively and when struck. Generally, it is not worth giving up Lightning Shield, and between Rolling Thunder and Thunderstorm, should not be needed for mana generation in the first place. Lasts 60 minutes
3) Talents and Glyphs

A) Talents

Tier 1 - Level 15

- Astral Shift
Seek haven by shifting partially into the elemental planes, reducing damage taken by 40% for 6 sec.
- Nature’s Guardian
Whenever a damaging attack brings you below 30% health, your maximum health is increased by 25% for 10 sec, and your threat level towards the attacker is reduced. This effect cannot occur more often than once every 30 sec.
- Stone Bulwark Totem
Summons an Earth Totem with 5 health at the feet of the caster for 30 sec that grants the caster a shield absorbing (AP * 0.625 * 0.7 or SP * 0.7) * 3) damage for 10 sec, and up to an additional (AP * 0.625 * 0.7 or SP * 0.7) every 5 sec thereafter. It is not affected by haste.

Of these three talents, your choices are going to be between Astral Shift & Stone Bulwark Totem. It essentially comes down to whether you're facing a single or short duration of high damage, or a longer phase of lower damage.

Tier 2 - Level 30

- Earthgrab Totem
Summons an Earth Totem with 100 health at the feet of the caster for 20 sec. The totem pulses every 2 sec, causing roots to ensnare the legs of all enemies within 10 yards for 5 sec, preventing movement. Enemies that have already been rooted once by the totem will instead have their movement speed reduced by 50%. Replaces Earthbind Totem
- Frozen Power
Your Frost Shock now also roots the target in ice for 5 sec.
- Windwalk Totem
Summons an Air Totem with 5 health at the feet of the caster for 6 sec, granting raid members within 40 yards immunity to movement-impairing effects.

As with Tier 1, there are two possible choices here between Earthgrab and Windwalk Totems. Frozen Power is not recommended as Frost Shock is on the shared shock cooldown with Earth Shock and Flame Shock. Earthbind should be taken for snaring, while Windwalk will be useful in anti-snaring situations (mostly PvP, but there may be some PvE applications).

Tier 3 - Level 45

- Call of the Elements
When activated, immediately finishes the cooldown on all totems with a base cooldown shorter than 3 minutes.
- Totemic Projection
Relocates your active totems to the specified location.
- Totemic Restoration
When a totem is replaced or destroyed before its duration expires naturally, its cooldown is reduced in proportion to the lost duration, up to a maximum of 50% of the full cooldown.

This tier is an "it depends" tier. At first glance Totemic Restoration sounds like the best talent, but as it reduces the cooldown by half of the remaining duration (ie: pick up Earth Elemental Totem 30 seconds into its 60 second duration, you knock 75 seconds off the cooldown which is 25% of the original 5 minute cooldown) it's actually only useful if you expect totems to die or have specific short phases where the totems duration exceeds it's usefulness.

Totemic Projection is useful for totem relocation for AoE (Magma Totem), snares (Earthbind Totem) and stuns (Capacitor Totem), while Call of the Elements is handy for resetting totem cooldowns when they are needed, like Grounding Totem or Tremor Totem.

For these reasons there is no "recommended" talent here. It comes down to personal preference and/or encounter requirements.

Tier 4 - Level 60

- Ancestral Swiftness
Your next Nature spell with a base casting time less than 10 sec. becomes an instant cast spell. 1 minute cooldown.
Passive: Increases spell and melee haste by 5%.
- Echo of the Elements
When one of your spells causes direct damage or healing, you have a chance to gain Echo of the Elements, duplicating that spell's effect.
- Elemental Mastery
Call upon elemental forces, empowering you with 30% haste for 20 sec. 2 minute cooldown.

Like Tier 3, the Tier 4 talents come down to a combination of personal choice and encounter conditions. Over the long run Echo of the Elements wins out by a small margin (approx 0.3% of total DPS), while Elemental Mastery suits an encounter with burn phases. Ancestral Swiftness doesn't have either of these advantages so it may not be worth taking.

Note: As gear levels increase, the gain from adding additional haste (via either Ancestral Swiftness or Elemental Mastery) will decrease. This will make Echo of the Elements the superior talent in raiding Tier 15 and onwards.

Tier 5 - Level 75

- Ancestral Guidance
When you deal direct damage or healing for the next 10 sec, 40% of that amount is copied as healing to up to 3 nearby injured party or raid members. 2 minute cooldown
- Conductivity
When you cast Healing Wave, Greater Healing Wave, or Healing Surge on a target located within your Healing Rain, allies within the Healing Rain share healing equal to 20% of the initial healing done. If your Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning, Earth Shock, or Stormstrike damages an enemy standing in your Healing Rain, allies within the Healing Rain share healing equal to 50% of the initial damage done.
- Healing Tide Totem
Summons a Water Totem with 10% of the caster's health at the feet of the caster for 10 sec. The Healing Tide Totem pulses every 2 sec, healing the 5 most injured party or raid members within 40 yards for 4932 (+ 48.4% of SpellPower).

Of these three talents, Ancestral Guidance is the best one to use. It scales directly with damage and the 40% value is applied to each target for a total of 120% healing, so when you are dealing 100k personal DPS (a round example figure only) you will heal other players for 1.2 million health in 10 seconds. Healing Tide Totem will heal for approximately 500k with the same gear and has a longer cooldown, meaning that without Restoration's Purification passive it won't be worth taking.

Conductivity may be preferable for more consistent healing over longer periods of time, although the healing output will be lower than the other talents it doesn't have a cooldown limitation to it. This will allow for approx 400k extra healing spread over those in your Healing Rain each cast, but you also sacrifice ~15% of your DPS time to maintain it. Can be used in discussion with your Healing team to add in some extra healing, just watch your mana use and try to cast Healing Rain with Elemental Focus procs.

Tier 6 - Level 90

- Elemental Blast
Harness and direct the raw power of the elements towards an enemy target, dealing 3734 to 4339 (+ 181.1% of SpellPower) Elemental damage and increasing the caster's Critical Strike, Haste, or Mastery by 3000 for 8 sec. 2 second cast, 12 second cooldown
- Primal Elementalist
Your Earth and Fire Elemental Totems draw forth powerful primal elementals directly from the elemental planes. These servitors are 50% more powerful than regular elementals, act as pets directly under your control, and gain additional abilities.
- Unleashed Fury
Your elemental weapon imbues are empowered, granting additional effects when triggered with Unleash Weapon.
Flametongue Weapon: Increases the enemy target's damage taken from your Lightning Bolt by 30% for 10 sec.

For Elemental Unleashed Fury is right out. It's damage contribution is lower than the other two talents, and it complicates the stationary rotation while removing options for the mobile rotation. Of the remaining two, Elemental Blast is ahead of Primal Elementalist by 2-3% in an ideal test, however it does complicate the rotation a bit whereas Primal Elementalist is easier to use and works better on encounters with burn phases.

In short, it will come down to personal preference between Elemental Blast & Primal Elementalist.
B) Glyphs

Glyph of Chain Lightning
Advantage: Increases AoE damage from Chain Lightning by adding two additional jumps
Disadvantage: Reduces initial damage by 10%
This glyph is best used when you expect to face 4+ targets, as it's a damage loss when dealing with three targets or fewer.
Advice: Required for AoE

Glyph of Fire Elemental Totem
Advantage: Decreases the cooldown of Fire Elemental Totem from 5 minutes to 3 minutes
Disadvantage: Decreases the duration of Fire Elemental Totem from 60 seconds to 36 seconds The duration:cooldown ratio remains the same, so what this glyph allows is a more frequent but shorter use of your Fire Elemental. While this results in an average uptime decrease of 9 seconds, it allows for better syncing & sharing of cooldowns with Ascendance which is also on a 3 minute cooldown.
Advice: Recommended

Glyph of Flame Shock
Advantage: Increases the duration of the DoT by 25% or 6 seconds.
Disadvantage: Decreases the direct damage portion by 25%
Since the primary function of Flame Shock is to set up Lava Bursts 100% crit chance, having a longer duration makes keeping that DoT up while managing the shared shock cooldown easier. It also the only glyph which is a clear DPS increase for Elemental.
Advice: Required

Glyph of Telluric Currents
Advantage: Lightning Bolt hits restore 2% of your mana
Disadvantage: None.
Elemental doesn't have any mana problems even before considering Thunderstorm. This makes Telluric Currents largely redundant, even with AoE burn phases as every Chain Lightning strike has an independent chance to cause Rolling Thunder procs.
Advice: Not Recommended

Glyph of Thunder
Advantage: Reduces the cooldown on Thunderstorm by 10 seconds
Disadvantage: None
As with Telluric Currents, there's no need for this glyph from a mana restore point of view. However, if you are using the knockback function frequently, then the glyph may be of some use. Note: stacks with the 4pc bonus from next seasons PvP gear.
Advice: Optional, but only when using the knockback

Glyph of Unleashed Lightning
Advantage: Allows Lightning Bolt to be cast while moving
Disadvantage: Lightning Bolt takes 5% longer to cast
Whether you continually swap this one in & out for stationary & movement fights is a personal preference. The DPS loss is in the 1.5% range for completely stationary fights, and gives a gain of ~10% with heavy movement. Some will prefer to keep it as often as possible, and drop Unleash Elements completely.
Advice: Recommended. (Required for movement fights)

Glyph of Unstable Earth
Advantage: Earthquake reduces the movement speed of affected targets by 40% for 3 seconds
Disadvantage: None
Effectively adds Earthbind Totem's slow to Earthquake. Primarily only useful for AoE where the targets must be kited.
Advice: Optional for AoE

Glyph of Wind Shear
Advantage: Increases the school lockout by 1 second
Disadvantage: Increases the cooldown by 3 seconds
This glyph brings Wind Shear into line with the interrupts of most melee classes (4 second lockout, 15 second cooldown).
Advice: Optional, depending on encounter & interrupt management.

Glyph of Thunderstorm
Advantage: Removes the knockback effect of Thunderstorm
Disadvantage: None
Used to remove the knockback effect on Thunderstorm.
Advice: Optional. Note that you generally won't be using Thunderstorm for AoE damage, so this is only useful to prevent knockbacks when using it to restore mana.
4) Spell Priority (Rotation)

A) Single Target, Stationary

    1) Cast Flame Shock IF the DoT has expired or has 1 tick remaining.
    2) IF you have the L90 talent Unleashed Fury, cast Unleash Elements
    3) Cast Lava Burst IF it is off cooldown AND Flame Shock is on the target
    4) Cast Earth Shock IF Lightning Shield is at 6-7 charges. Note: It is possible to pre-cast this with 3 or more charges if you need to recast Flame Shock shortly (ie: the dot has more than 5 seconds remaining). For more information on Earth Shock use, see the advanced section.
    5) IF you have the L90 talent Elemental Blast, cast Elemental Blast
    6) Use Fire Elemental Totem IF the cooldown has expired
    7) Drop Searing Totem IF you have no active fire totem AND Fire Elemental Totem cooldown has more than 15 seconds remaining
    8) Cast Lightning Bolt

Extra Notes
- Do not use Unleash Elements in a single target rotation without Unleashed Fury
- Chain Lightning is not a DPS gain over Lightning Bolt. This is because Chain Lightning has a 1/3 modifier on Elemental Overload procs, which reduces both the damage dealt and lowers the number of Rolling Thunder procs. Chain Lightning also has a much higher mana cost, which will consume all of your mana very quickly or cause you to waste time by using Thunderstorm to regenerate mana.

B) Movement

There are two ways of managing movement requirements, and these are based around whether you have Glyph of Unleashed Lightningor not.

With Glyph of Unleashed Lightning
Use the stationary rotation as the only spell you can't cast on the move is Lava Burst except when Lava Surge procs. For that you can either stop to cast it since it has such a short cast time (1.5 seconds with no haste) or pop Spiritwalker’s Grace if you absolutely have to keep moving.

Without Glyph of Unleashed Lightning
If you do not use Glyph of Unleashed Lightning, you'll have a different rotation to use.

    1) Cast Spiritwalker’s Grace and use the stationary rotation while it is active
    2) Cast Unleash Elements. Since the Unleash Flame lasts for 8 seconds, you should be able to use it.
    3) Cast Lava Burst if Lava Surge procs or stop to cast it normally if it's safe and off cooldown
    4) Cast Flame Shock if:
    1) If Unleash Flame is up, Lava Burst is on cooldown and your current DoT has 4 or fewer ticks remaining (approx 7.5 seconds)
    2) If Flame Shock has 1 tick remaining
    5) Cast Earth Shock
    6) Cast Thunderstorm if you're running low on mana (this is unlikely to occur)
    7) Do nothing until a spell becomes available

As the above is more complicated rotation, it is generally advisable to use Glyph of Unleashed Lightning for encounters where you'll reach point #7

C) Area of Effect

This assumes you have three or more targets.

    1) Cast Magma Totem before the AoE phase begins. If you have Totemic Projection, use it to reposition the totem for maximum effect
    2) Cast Earthquake IF there are 5 or more targets
    3) Cast Chain Lightning

Extra notes

- Thunderstorm is only a DPS gain if there are more than 7 targets, and requires you stand in the middle of the target group. Also requires a minor glyph to remove the knockback effect. Not recommended.
- If the target group is also being kited, Totemic Projection can be used to relocate Magma Totem and glyphing for Unstable Earth can be useful to increase the effectiveness of Earthquake.

D) Cooldown Use

Depending on your talent choices, you will have between three and four cooldowns.

- Ascendance
For Elemental, Ascendance turns you into a Flame Ascendant for 15 seconds, removing the cooldown on Lava Burst and turning Chain Lightning into Lava Beam. This ability should primarily be used for single target damage, and should be combined with other cooldowns like Elemental Mastery or on-use trinkets. For maximum effect, it should be used when Lava Burst is on cooldown, as it resets the current cooldown when activated.
- Earth Elemental Totem
Earth Elemental Totem isn't that powerful when compared to other cooldowns, only adding roughly 0.8% to your total damage, but it contributes about as much damage as a single Lava Burst cast over a minute duration (with a five minute cooldown). The only catch is that you can't use any other Earth Totems while it is up, which includes Earthbind Totem and Tremor Totem. Only cast it in place of a Lightning Bolt while Fire Elemental Totem is on cooldown.
- Elemental Mastery
If you take Elemental Mastery as your Level 60 talent then you use it in conjunction with Ascendance and Fire Elemental Totem whenever possible, but not when you have another percentage based haste buff up (ie: Berserking, Bloodlust, or Heroism)
- Fire Elemental Totem
Fire Elemental Totem is your second high damage cooldown, dealing approximately 5% of your totaldamage (or ~26% of your DPS while it is up), and lasts for either 1 minute with a 5 minute cooldown, or for 36 seconds with a 3 minute cooldown if you use Glyph of Fire Elemental Totem. It should be used with any cooldowns you can use with it, except for Mastery as Fire Elementals are not affected by Elemental Overload. If you take the Primal Elementalist talent the damage output is roughly doubled.
- Glyph of Fire Elemental Totem
This glyph is a damage gain or loss depending on the fight duration, but given that most fights will have an unpredictable end it may be better to use it so you can sync it with Ascendance. Even though there's no direct interaction between the two abilities, you can combine them both with other cooldowns (potions, Bloodlust/Heroism, Elemental Mastery, trinkets etc) for higher burst damage.

E) Advanced Shock Management

Early Earth Shocks
The first method of shock management is to cast Earth Shock early to discharge Lightning Shield charges so that you don't hit the maximum of 7 while the shock cooldown is up after Flame Shock is refreshed. It uses the following conditions (note: normal rotation spell priorities don't change, just how you use them)
    1) Earth Shock at 7 charges OR Earth Shock at more than 3 charges when the Flame Shock dot has more than 5 but less than 8 seconds remaining.
    2) Flame Shock when the dot has expired or has 1 tick remaining

Ignoring Early Casts
The second method is to ignore the future recast of Flame Shock and only cast your shocks when the shock cooldown is up and the base conditions for each are met:
    1) Earth Shock at 7 charges
    2) Flame Shock dot has expired or has 1 tick remaining

The Difference
The difference between the two methods is less than 0.5% (For L85 in T13H gear it is 0.3% while at L90 in T14H gear it is 0.1%) with Early Earth Shocks slightly ahead. The reason for this is that the early cast method is adding in lower damage Fulmination hits with more frequent Earth Shocks, while if you ignore early casts your Flame Shock uptime is reduced by ~1-2% and one or two Lava Burst cast may be delayed a few seconds.
It's a fine trade off, and depends on whether you want to focus on min/maxing your rotation as to which one you will choose.

Flame Shock Clipping
Flame Shock, like all periodic effects, will add the duration of a recast on to the existing effect after the next tick. This means if you have one tick remaining before the DoT expires, that tick will occur and then the next DoT will start. In other words, the number of ticks lost on a recast will always be the number of ticks remaining, less one.

This makes it easier to recast dots, and improve your uptime which is important for maintaining your 100% crit rate for Lava Burst.

It's also worthwhile to recast Flame Shock at 2 ticks remaining when you have a large temporary haste buff like Bloodlust or Elemental Mastery as you gain an extra tick for every ~10% haste (starting at 5%, so 5/15/25/35 etc)
5) Stats

First, the stats themselves:
    Intellect: Our main source of Spellpower and also increases crit chance slightly. In general, it's usually close to twice the value of secondary stats.
    Spirit: With the specialization passive Elemental Precision this is identical to Hit Rating.
    Critical Strike Rating: This stat increases our chance to deal additional (250% because of our passive Elemental Fury, and bumped up to 259% with the Chaotic meta gem) damage on every spell that we cast. 600 rating per 1%.
    Haste Rating: Increases cast speed and dot tick rates. Actually works on increasing the number of spells cast in a given period of time, so that 100% haste doubles the number of casts. 425 rating per 1%.
    Hit Rating: 15% spell hit is required to hit raid bosses & level 93 targets. Any excess hit has no effect on your output, but it is important to be at or over that 15% cap. 340 rating per 1%, 5100 rating required for 15%, 4760 rating for 14%.
    Mastery Rating: Mastery increases the chance for Elemental Overload procs, duplicating Lightning Bolt/Lava Burst/Chain Lightning at 75% strength. 300 rating per 1% (note: it's actually 600 rating per 2%, but it's better to show it as 1% as with the other stats)

A) Haste Caps and Breakpoints

If you read up on most other spell casters, be they damage or healing, you'll see talk of "Haste Breakpoints". These are values of haste where additional ticks are added to particular DoTs & HoTs (Damage/Heal over Time). This does not apply to Elemental as our single DoT, Flame Shock, contributes approximately 5% of our damage. There will be some variation in haste around the breakpoints, but these variations are minor and should be not geared for, whereas the break points for healers are to do with mana efficiency and DoT centric casters like Affliction Warlocks are concerned with time efficiency.

There are two haste caps, one "soft cap" at 50% where additional haste ceases to have any affect on Chain Lightning, Lava Burst and Shocks. The second is a "hard cap" at 100% where haste caps out on Lightning Bolt and Elemental Blast. Even though temporary haste buffs like Bloodlust and Elemental Mastery will push you over the 50% haste cap if you have more than 15.38% haste self buffed, it won't affect stat weights generated by SimulationCraft as it already takes this into account.

However, the more haste you gain the less effective a talent like Elemental Mastery will be, thanks to that soft cap, which is why Echo of the Elements will be more valuable as gear levels increase.

In short, the only cap you have to worry about is the hit cap.

B) Hit Caps

The Hit cap is 15% against targets 3 levels higher than you, or "Boss" targets. If you are a Draenei, a Dwarf with a mace, or an Orc with an Axe/Fist Weapon, you only need 14% hit from gear as racial bonuses will make up that last 1%.

Draenei have a straight 1% hit passive, while Dwarves (Maces) and Orcs (Axes/Fists) have expertise bonuses based on the weapon they equip (although the likelihood of a caster Axe or Fist is fairly unlikely). In Mists, expertise also provides an equal amount of spell hit, which is why that 1% expertise is counted as part of the hit cap. For more details, refer to this blog post by Binkenstein

The hit caps are:
    A) 14% Hit -> 4760 rating
    B) 15% Hit -> 5100 rating

C) Stat Priorities

There is one important thing to remember about stat weights for secondary stats (Crit, Haste, and Mastery): With the values being a lot closer, you can no longer completely ignore a secondary stat. This means gearing becomes a game of balancing stats rather than just stacking one.

The upside is that the difference in EP values for items which have the same ilvl will be greatly reduced. This will make gearing easier, especially with the highly contested neck/finger/weapon items. For a rough outline of stat priorities, it goes:

Int > Spirit/Hit (to cap) > Haste > Mastery > Crit.

The actual stat values will depend on your current gear and talent choices. For example, Primal Elementalist will decrease the value of Mastery slightly, as it doesn't affect Fire Elemental in any way. It's also important to note that the difference between Crit, Haste, and Mastery may be by very small margins.

The end result is that you'll need to familiarize yourself with SimulationCraft and generate plots and/or reforge plots for Crit/Haste/Mastery to observe how they behave. For extra help, refer to our guide here. Stat Plots show the change in DPS with the change in one particular stat, graphed to show how each stat you're plotting compares with the others. For Elemental these plot lines will be fairly close. Reforge plots take longer to run, but show the change in DPS when you reforge from one stat to another, which can be useful for fine tuning your reforges.
6) Gearing

A) Gems

Meta: Burning Primal Diamond
Blue: Purified Imperial Amethyst / Veiled Imperial Amethyst
Red: Brilliant Primordial Ruby
Yellow: Reckless Vermilion Onyx / Artful Vermilion Onyx

Perfect versions of uncommon gems (Pandarian Garnet, Roguestone & Tiger Opal) can also be used as they have the same stats as rare gems.

B) Enchants

Shoulder: Greater Crane Wing Inscription or Crane Wing Inscription
Chest: Enchant Chest - Glorious Stats
Legs: Greater Cerulean Spellthread or Greater Pearlescent Spellthread
Feet: Enchant Boots - Pandaren's Step
Wrist: Enchant Bracer - Super Intellect
Back: Enchant Cloak - Superior Intellect
MH: Enchant Weapon - Jade Spirit or Enchant Weapon - Windsong
OH: Enchant Off-Hand - Major Intellect

C) Sets and Set Bonuses

Tier 14 -
LFR coloring (Green) -
Normal coloring (Blue) -
Heroic coloring (Red) -

2PC - Increases Lightning Bolt damage by 5%. Multiplies with all other effects, including Shamanism.
4PC - Your Rolling Thunder ability now grants 2 Lightning Shield charges each time it triggers.

D) BiS Lists

Note that these lists are subject to change with your own personal stat weights, especially the neck/ring pieces at the heroic dungeon gear level.

1) Heroic Dungeon - Note that this list excludes the rare drop epics (the MH/Ring 1 in section 2)

Helm: Waterburst Helm
Neck: Mindcapture Pendant
Shoulder: Neverdare Shoulders
Chest: Uncasked Chestguard
Belt: Belt of Totemic Binding
Legs: Bradbury's Entropic Legguards
Feet: Airbender Sandals
Wrists: Shadow Puppet Bracers
Hands: Gloves of Explosive Pain
Ring: Viscous Ring
Ring: Eye of the Tornado
Trinket: Vision of the Predator
Trinket: Flashfrozen Resin Globule
Back: Scorched Earth Cloak
Main Hand: Carapace Breaker
Off Hand: Masterwork Lightsteel Shield

2) Pre-raid + Valor Gear

Helm: Nightwatcher's Helm
Neck: Links of the Lucid
Shoulder: Mindbender Shoulders
Chest: Robes of the Setting Sun
Belt: Klaxxi Lash of the Precursor
Legs: Swarmkeeper's Leggings
Feet: Sandals of the Elder Sage
Wrists: Brewmaster Chani's Bracers
Hands: Lifekeeper's Gloves
Ring: Vithrak, Gaze of the Deadman
Ring: Seal of the Lucid
Trinket: Blossom of Pure Snow
Trinket: Relic of Yu'lon
Back: Cloak of Snow Blossoms
Main Hand: Je'lyu, Spirit of the Serpent
Off Hand: Inscribed Red Fan

3) Tier 14 Normal

Helm: Firebird's Headpiece
Neck: Korven's Amber-Sealed Beetle
Shoulder: Firebird's Shoulderwraps
Chest: Mail of Screaming Secrets
Belt: Binder's Chain of Unending Summer
Legs: Firebird's Kilt
Feet: Lightning Prisoner's Boots
Wrists: Luminescent Firefly Wristguards
Hands: Firebird's Gloves
Ring: Seal of the Profane
Ring: Watersoul Signet
Trinket: Relic of Yu'lon
Trinket: Essence of Terror
Back: Cloak of Overwhelming Corruption
Main Hand: Kri'tak, Imperial Scepter of the Swarm
Off Hand: Tornado-Summoning Censer or Eye of the Ancient Spirit

4) Tier 14 Heroic

Helm: Firebird's Headpiece
Neck: Korven's Amber-Sealed Beetle
Shoulder: Firebird's Shoulderwraps
Chest: Mail of Screaming Secrets
Belt: Binder's Chain of Unending Summer
Legs: Firebird's Kilt
Feet: Lightning Prisoner's Boots
Wrists: Luminescent Firefly Wristguards
Hands: Firebird's Gloves
Ring: Seal of the Profane
Ring: Watersoul Signet
Trinket: Relic of Yu'lon
Trinket: Essence of Terror
Back: Cloak of Overwhelming Corruption
Main Hand: Kri'tak, Imperial Scepter of the Swarm
Off Hand: Tornado-Summoning Censer or Eye of the Ancient Spirit

Notes on T14 Normal/Heroic

- Using the chest as an offset item is more of a DPS gain than using the legs (unless you don't want the T14 4pc bonus)
- Both offhands are listed as while the Tornado-Summoning Censer is slightly better, you may find it preferable to take the shield so that the off-hand goes to Druids, Mages, Priests & Warlocks first in order to help out the raid.

The following link is a ranking of the proc only for trinkets, using T14H as a gear base. You will need to factor in the static stat weights for each to get an accurate comparison between trinkets.
8) Extra

To be added later

Addon Configs - Endus' Shaman Auras - A full Shaman WeakAuras package - The Ultimate Shaman UI - A complete UI overhaul package oriented to Shaman in particular


Focus Target macros automatically use the ability on the target you've selected as your focus, rather than your current target. These macros allow you to maintain DPS while also maintaining CC or interrupts/dispels on a secondary target.

Bind Elemental Focus Target
/clearfocus [modifier:alt][@focus,dead][@focus,noexists]
/focus [@focus,noexists]
/cast [@focus] Bind Elemental

Hex Focus Target
/clearfocus [modifier:alt][@focus,dead][@focus,noexists]
/focus [@focus,noexists]
/cast [@focus] Hex

Purge Focus Target
/clearfocus [modifier:alt][@focus,dead][@focus,noexists]
/focus [@focus,noexists]
/cast [@focus] Purge

Wind Shear Focus Target
/focus [@focus,noexists]
/cast [@focus] Wind Shear

Elemental Mastery - pops Elemental Mastery and both trinkets (trinkets being slots 13 and 14 in the equipment panel), and then immediately casts Lightning Bolt in the same keypress; trinkets and Elemental Mastery are off the GCD so this triggers all this with a single keypress.

/cast Elemental Mastery
/run UIErrorsFrame:Clear()
/use 13
/use 14
/cast Lightning Bolt

Heroism - prevents you popping hero outside of combat, and uses a /yell to advertise that it's been activated. Replace Heroism with Bloodlust if you're Horde.

/stopmacro [nocombat]
/cast Heroism
/yell <Insert witty one liner here>

Elemental Buffing - puts your Flametongue Weapon/Lightning Shield self buffs into a single keybind you press twice, rather than two separate keybinds, useful for making space on your bars. Flametongue Weapon is listed first as both buffs have 60 minute durations, but Rolling Thunder procs will refresh Lightning Shield during combat, meaning it's unlikely to expire while playing actively.

#showtooltip Lightning Shield Macro
/castsequence reset=6 Flametongue Weapon, Lightning Shield

Totemic Projection - for double clicking to reposition totems and save one button on your action bars. Will work with any totem in addition to the following examples.

/castsequence reset=6 magma totem, totemic projection
/castsequence reset=6 capacitor totem, totemic projection
/castsequence reset=6 earthbind totem, totemic projection
/castsequence reset=6 earthgrab totem, totemic projection

An alternative macro can be used to activate both the totem and projection at the same time

/cast Magma Totem
/cast Totemic Projection

Ascendance - which triggers Trinkets, Spiritwalker's Grace and Lava Burst. You can remove Spiritwalker's Grace if you want to use it separately or don't have unleashed lightning glyphed.

/cast Ascendance
/run UIErrorsFrame:Clear()
/cast Spiritwalker's Grace
/use 14
/use 15
/cast Lava Burst
9) Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ

If I take Primal Elementalist when should I use Empower?
    Empower has two functions: give Restoration Shaman something to take Primal Elementalist for, and to give you a damage buff when your Fire Elemental can't hit anything. The only way you'll be able to use Empower all the time is if you can somehow do eight times your average DPS for the entire duration. eg: in T14H gear the Primal Fire Elemental deals about 40,000 dps. You'll need that to be 5% of your output (or 800,000 dps) for Empower to be useful all the time.

Why is Elemental Blast behind Lava Burst in the rotation?
    Elemental Blast deals less damage for it's cast time thank Lava Burst, and the buff isn't enough to make up the difference. Rotation priorities are almost always in order of Damage Per Cast Time (DPCT).
    Why is <item with crit rating> better than <item without crit rating>?
    There's a few reasons.
    Critical strike rating is not as bad as it was in Cataclysm, oftebeing within 5% of the value of Mastery.
    Gear with a higher item level will often be worth more, irrelevant of the stats on it (eg: comparing 509 items with 502 items)
    Once you have reached the Hit cap, additional Hit/Spirit isn't useful. This can swing things in favour of Crit items without Hit/Spirit, when considering the first point about stat weights.

Should I use a stopcasting macro to cancel Lightning Bolt & cast Lava Burst when I get a Surge proc?
    Short Answer: No, remember your ABC's of Casting (Always Be Casting)
    Long Answer: No, but it is possible if you can cancel your Lightning Bolt cast if you've only been casting it for 0.15 / (1+Haste) seconds (or 150 ms). Ignoring the Global Cooldown it's technically it's possible, but unless you have a very low latency and lightning reflexes this won't be possible (not to mention possible interactions with the Spell Queue), not to mention the fact that the GCD is 1-1.5 seconds (depending on haste)
    Advanced Reasoning: The logic behind this is that the time you loose by cancelling your Lightning Bolt cast effectively reduces the damage per execute time value of the next Lava Burst, meaning that you're comparing the damage per second of Lava Burst / ( cast time + time wasted ) vs (Lava Burst + Lightning Bolt) / cast time. Using some SimCraft results, I've worked this out to be 150 milliseconds in a completely un-hasted setup. As this is less than the Global Cooldown (GCD) it means you won't be able to get your next spell off until 1.5 / (1+Haste%) seconds have passed, giving the stopcasting macro a much lower overall DPS.
10) Credits

- Binkenstein from
- Endus from MMO-Champion Shaman forums
- Gistwiki on the WoW US-forums

Copyright Information
This article has been written by Binkenstein, Endus & Gistwiki. The article and all future versions of the article are licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License. Reproduction of the article in full or in part, or further derivative works based on the article, including translations, are permitted as long as:
The reproduction or derivative work includes a direct link to this article and prominently displays the name of both the original author and subsequent authors.
The reproduction or derivative work is not used for commercial purposes or for profit.
The reproduction or derivative work is also released under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License.
The full text of the license agreement may be viewed here or via written request to Creative Commons, 171 2nd Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.

24.10.2012 - Added some Macros and links to UI-packages.
15.10.2012 - Added a Frequently Asked Questions-section.
09.10.2012 - Added links for items and glyphs.
08.10.2012 - Guide imported based on US-forums version.

To-Do (as of 08.10.2012):
-Check formatting and typos.
Thanks for the guide mate! This is my first Shaman ever and already I fell in love with this class:) , not to mention that Elemental is my favorite spec to use:)
So is this an exact copy of the EJ thread? I know that that one is also copied from somewhere, but I'm just wondering if there's anything new here.
08/10/2012 11:21Posted by Hexbomb
So is this an exact copy of the EJ thread? I know that that one is also copied from somewhere, but I'm just wondering if there's anything new here.

Yes, this is an exact copy from the US-forums and should be identical to the EJ-thread. Nothing new here, but I will try to keep it updated as I notice changes. Binkenstein just wanted this on the EU-forums aswell.
08/10/2012 11:21Posted by Hexbomb
So is this an exact copy of the EJ thread? I know that that one is also copied from somewhere, but I'm just wondering if there's anything new here.

it's the same haha
Okay. I do have some opinions on it (it's scary to post on EJ).

For T1 talent, I think Nature's Guardian is underrated. While we were progressing through MSV, I ended up having that one for probably all fights. Why, because it can save me if I make some mistake from being unaccustomed to the encounter; the others are more suited for times when I know I will be taking the damage. Also SBT is a GCD.

A much more significant one is for the T3 talent, where I think Totemic Projection is a must-have. Certainly sending in the Magma Totem could be considered enough, but I think not everyone realizes that Stormlash Totem has a 30y radius. If you're nuking from max range and placing it, melee won't get it. Considering that totem contributes like 2 mill damage every time it's placed in a 25m raid, not taking TP could cost your raid 1 million damage. You could perhaps make sure to stand between, but that could be unfeasible, risky or at least a DPS loss. TP is even off the GCD. You would have to find some very contrived examples to motivate taking TR, and CotE is almost as bad off.
Is it worth it to cast Fulmination in AoE scenarios? Or should I just continue with spamming Chain Lightning & Earthquake, and forget about Fulmination? :P
I asked the same recently, got no conclusive answers but from my own math, which may be lacking because I haven't played elemental (or even shaman) enough to know every little quirk:
<=3 targets: worth it
4 targets: practically no difference, good to fulminate when you need to move.
5 targets: not worth it
Wooow! this is so awesome guide m8 :) This helps alot if u just have time to read all of this ;) but really great job!
Neck: Mindcapture Pendant
Would not Mindbreaker Pendant be better?

Join the Conversation

Return to Forum