Hi there! I’m Rhee the shaman, and while I’m pretty new to the PvP scene of WoW, I believe I have found success in the shaman perspective of arena combat, allowing me to have ethos for a guide!
My first ever arena season was Malevolent season, where I played a hunter to around 2200 rating. Watching popular shaman streams like Flubbah, Kollektiv, and Cdew inspired me to play one!
My first season as a shaman was Tyrannical, where I found some success – achieving 2400+ rating as shatterplay – but I had to AFK mid-season, which resulted in an absence of any titles. First full season was Grievous, where I achieved 2600 rating and R1 playing numerous comps, and I was very privileged to play with many talented players to get to this level.
Enough talking, lets get to business!
This is pretty much the “Cookie Cutter” talent build to be an effective shaman. With the exception of the level 30 and 45 talent choices.
I’ll provide a rule of thumb, where you SHOULD swap out the “Cookie Cutter” talent for the circled ones above, and explain why.
Use Earthgrab Totem VS Rogues, or Warriors, or Monks, or DKs (Who are NOT paired with a Mage)
Ex) Monk / Spriest / ShamanEx) Rogue / Warlock / Shaman
When used effectively, Earthgrab totem can save your life when the enemy players attempt to make a swap on you.
It disrupts the melee from making contact with you, buying you precious time to react appropriately. And it also disrupts the enemy team’s offensive cool down coordination. While the caster can still hurt you with his cool downs, the melee will have to suffer delay on his cool downs.
Against rogue / warlock or shadow priest teams, you can drop this totem when the rogue attempts to make a swap to you with a vanish or a step + shadow dance combo. It pulses, so dropping it when you know that the rogue is running at you with vanish up will root him in stealth when he gets near you, hopefully wasting his dance or shadow blades uptime.
Against warrior or monks + caster teams, it’s a lot easier to make use of this totem as you can visually see the swaps. Simply drop it when the monk or warrior gets near you and ghost wolf away!
I NEVER swap out Windwalk Totem verse any mage compositions because the freedom aura is simply too good for defensive and offensive reasons. Even against Rogue + Mage, I suggest you use Windwalk even though Earthgrab is extremely potent against Rogues.
This level 45 talent is really up to you. I personally never spec into it because my logic stands that double healing stream, grounding, tremor, freedom, and earthbind are just too good to give up.
However, when used effectively it can help your team out tremendously as you have absolute control of your totems.
If your team can use more CC, “throwing” Capacitor Totems can help your team out in that aspect.
Most shamans do not go this route, but Burbery, who is an extremely successful shaman always specs this, and is really known for this play style, so don’t be scared to try it out and adopt it.
These are set as my “Default” glyphs, and I’ll briefly go over the reasoning beyond them and when I switch glyphs out for specific comps.
Glyph of Totemic Vigor: This glyph basically protects your totems from being easily destroyed, but keep in mind some melee like warriors can destroy it fairly easily. It complements Healing Stream Totem well since its your largest source of healing, and protects it from being one shot.
Glyph of Ghost Wolf: Basically allows you to kite well when enemies target you. Shamans get targeted a lot, and this glyph is a must have when it comes to kiting and surviving.
I will rarely switch these two out, as I believe they are needed for my own survival.
Situational Glyphs (That I swap Healing Stream Glyph for)
I will only swap out Healing Stream when there isn’t a mage, ele shaman, or death knight on the opposing team.
Glyph of Capacitor Totem: Great glyph to use against cleaves that will hit you mainly. Extremely potent against double melee teams as the stun is easy to land.
Tip: This glyph with Earthgrab Totem is a secret weapon of mine when it comes to dealing with melee + caster comps that will try constantly to make a deadly swap to you.
Ex) Against Rogue / Warlock, drop Earthgrab Totem first for the root when the rogue connects with you, step forward a bit, then drop Capacitor Totem so the rogue is not in range to kill it. Watch him get helplessly stunned and then smile since you lived!
Glyph of Cleansing Waters: Okay glyph to use against DoT cleaves such as Boomkin / Warlock / Healer, or Ele Shaman / Warlock / Healer. The small heal scales with vigor so try to keep riptides up on your whole team and this glyph can go a long way when you need to dispel Unstable Affliction.
Glyph of Hex: Okay glyph to use when the other team does not have a de-curse for your hex, or if your team is lacking CC. I don’t use this glyph that much because usually I will be occupied enough to have Hex back off cooldown when I really need it. But it can be extremely effective if your partner’s CC is roughly on the same cool down as Hex with this glyph.
People ask this all the time when I tune into fellow resto shaman streams. But the point is that it really does not matter, and you should test different stats out as I did to find your niche. I’ll go over some popular stat choices.
Pure Crit: Crit rating scales extremely well with shamans because our heals tend to be only potent when they crit. Also, a riptide provides us with a crit bonus for our next two healing surges, so crit rating scales well in that sense as well. We also get mana back when we crit heals!
Pure Intellect: The theory behind this stat choice is so that when you don’t crit, that your heals actually move your partner’s health bar. I rarely see shamans go this route anymore because the amount of crit rating you lose is not really worth it.
Mastery: Some shamans will pick up mastery as their main stat, not really common, but there are successful shamans who go this route. Our mastery basically makes us heal more when our partners are lower, which scales well in my opinion with your passive healing through totems.
My stats revolve around intellect, crit, and spirit. I found that as full crit I sometimes go OOM due to RNG. If I crit, I will top someone off, but if I don’t my healing surges won’t do anything, forcing me to spam surges that quickly burn my mana. So my theory in this build is to have some intellect and spirit to compensate when I don’t crit at all. I’m extremely comfortable with the amount of healing I do when I don’t crit, and I’m never OOM during my arena games, even when it goes to dampening. Also, I like intellect for passive healing via totems since they do not have a passive crit modifier like healing surge.
But… do what you want! Test everything out and see what you like. I think I’ve tested every possible stat combination out there, and this is what I found to be most effective to my play style.
-How to be an effective Resto Shaman-
Shamans are great when it comes to keeping their team-mates up with potent healing and support. Our toolkit, mainly Wind Shear, Grounding Totem, Windwalk Totem, and Tremor Totem allow our partners to stay out of CC and sustain offensive pressure by disrupting the enemy team.
However, Shamans are weak when it comes to survival and you will always be the weakest link of your comp. Shamans are pretty much susceptible to death in any given moment to any given comp. Therefore, you will need to build the skillset of surviving on top of having effective grounding totems, shears, and the like.
Rule #1: Always pretend you are in trouble.
- As I’ve stated before, we are susceptible to death at literally any given moment because we have no defensives while stunned or silenced.
- Learning to be defensively aware should be your top priority.
- Get in the habit of keeping a mental timer on enemy stuns and silences.
- Get in the habit of constantly checking enemy positioning vs yours. As you get more experience you will able to tell easily when the enemy wants to push up for a swap if you position yourself adequately.
Rule #2: Learn to be preemptive
- Our major defensive cool downs require us having to trinket, so learning not to trinket by being preemptive will substantially increase your chances of survival.
- Practice swapping Earth Shield + Riptide before you get swapped to. It can be hard at first, but trust me even the smallest things like this can go a long way for your survival.
- Practice dropping totems preemptively before the enemy team swaps on you. A fresh healing stream will do wonders before a swap lands, and a healing tide will be even better too.
Rule #3: Don’t panic
- Once you get the hang of managing your defensives and get used to the overall damage of arena, the panic will go away when scary swaps come, but I feel like this is often so easily overlooked when I watch other aspiring shamans.
- If you don’t panic, and look at exactly the offensive cool downs of the other team, you won’t waste unnecessary defensives, and therefore increase your time of survival.
- Using your trinket inefficiently and in panic will most likely lead to a loss.
Our Defensives (Listed with priority)
Spirit Link Totem
Healing Tide Totem
Healing Stream Totem
Ascendance / Aura Mastery
NS or Ancestral Swiftness
The idea here is to generally use certain defensives first before using the others as each provides higher percentage of survival. With the exception of healing stream of course as you should be using it almost off-cooldown. Its up there due to its potency as a passive healing source.
So, you should look to use NS frequently when the enemy team has ways to interrupt your cast or when your teammate is hovering around 30~50% for a quick heal. Always look to Unleash Elements into a NS Greater Healing Wave, as NS without Unleash won't heal for anything.
Tip: Against teams that are not spread pressure, but rather single target killers, you can use Ascendance before you NS for the extra heal to guarantee that they will most likely be topped off.
Tip: Against teams with obvious patterned CC like Hunter / Melee / X, you can Ascendance before you get put into a scatter shot, and the healing bonus will be applied to HoTs you have active on your partners. Sometimes against hunters I'll just pop ascendance before I know I will get Scatter Shot and throw an unleash riptide on my partner, and they will have a huge HoT when I'm CCd.
Tip: It is FINE to Unleash Elements + Riptide! Its extremely effective when you need a quick heal before you know you will be CCd because it can crit for around 50k, and provide that big HoT. Its super effective verse spread pressure teams, and I believe its one of the most underrated spell combos shamans can do.
Always try to preserve your PvP trinket by coordinating partner cool downs first as the absence of your trinket just makes you a juicy target for 2 whole minutes. I generally like to hold my PvP trinket until I have to Spirit Link, but of course it all depends on the situation.
The general rule of thumb is that when you use your PvP trinket, use a defensive following right after it.
Some examples are:
Trinket -> Spirit Link Totem
Trinket -> Healing Tide
Trinket -> Aura Mastery w/ Ascendance
Grounding Totem is your best friend when it comes to survival. Spam grounding totem when you are stuck in a stun like deep freeze in an attempt to ground the silence effect that is always followed up.
!!: Grounding Totem will only ground magical effects like Counterspell, Spell Lock, and Silence. Won't work for a rogue garrote. You can also spam Aura Mastery during your stun so that when the effect expires you can immune the silence effect.
!!: In certain situations, you can use grounding totem as a cover from magical interrupts to get a cast off. Do this when in a do-or-die situation (when you obviously don't have aura-mastery). Just drop grounding and cast, and hopefully you can ground windshear or a CS.
If your PvP trinket is on cooldown, and the enemy is obviously trying to kill you soon, and your teammates are out of utility, it doesn’t hurt to be “clutch” as it will most likely pay off. Try to preemptively spirit link, healing tide, healing stream, tremor to increase your chance at survival because once that stun lands you are most likely dead anyway.
Earthgrab Totem is your best friend verse melee caster comps (without a mage) that are constantly looking for a swap to you. Abuse this totem to disrupt enemy melee cool downs. Extremely potent vs. rogues, DKs, and monks.
Abuse your shocks and I mean it. Earth Shock decreases physical damage done by 10%, Frost Shock slows enemy players, and Flame Shock can be used for reflects, and dark sims. This is probably the most distinguishing characteristic between a successful shaman and a decent one.
Purge will get rid of enemy shaman’s grounding totem or any other similar effects.
Wind shear will “eat” the reflect effect of warriors, but its better to flame shock so that your shear can be used for a cast instead.
If you shear a mage on a polymorph cast, just hex his ass (mage can’t use Counsterspell if you lock them out on poly) if your hex isn’t that crucial to your team’s CC. Often times, mages will just cast a ring of frost after the lockout and you can’t do anything about it. So hexing to stop a cast is extremely good.
Try to fake Counterspell from casters with a casted hex instead of heals. I found that in my experience casters tend to respond with CS for hex rather than a heal.
You can use Call of the Elements (“Totem Prep”) when you are silenced or kicked. Something you can do to save time during a lockout if you see that all your totems have been used.
Memorize the totem placement pattern.
Fire totems don’t matter, but be wary that your Earth Totems drop on your front-right, your Air Totems drop on your bottom-left, and that your Water Totems drop on your bottom-right.
Learn to hide your healing streams behind pillars as decent players will always look to kill them. So just position yourself so that the pillar is behind you to the right and drop a healing stream, which will hide it from enemy LoS. Healing streams work through walls and z-axis too.
- On a map like Blade's Edge with z-axis, you can drop your healing stream or healing tide underneath the bridge to protect it from being killed and it will heal your partners up top.
Since you know that your Tremor Totem (an Earth Totem), will drop on your front-right, make sure to position yourself to get your partners out of fears or wyvern stings since the range on Tremor is only 30 yards. I’ve seen many shamans “miss” their tremors because its not in range, and weren’t aware of the totem’s position.
Same with your healing stream, you can hide your Grounding Totem against hunter teams to protect yourself for 20 seconds from getting trapped. Same logic, hide it behind a pillar so that you are the only one getting protected from the grounding aura, while your partners are pushed up.
Last but not least. Now you know that your Spirit Link Totem will drop on your bottom left, you can “aim” Spirit Link to make sure your partners will get the health distribution.
Ex) Your partner is a bit far from you, and requires spirit link to survive. You run towards him, and you can jump, and rotate your camera around, and strafe in the air so that your left backside is facing your partner to guarantee the Spirit Link to “hit” your partner. This will allow you to link faster since you won’t have to run to him as much. I essentially call this “throwing your link”.
If you are like me and play with around 200 ms never try to shear fast clone or an Unstable Affliction cast unless it’s preemptive.
Against resto druids, study their movement and try to save your grounding. They usually jump or strafe around when hotting because lolinstant, and will usually stop in place when attempting to go for a soul of the forest cyclone or heal. I usually ground quite a few SotF clones vs druids.
If you need to prep your totems for another tremor, make sure to just use and drop all your active totems like earthbind, freedom, grounding, healing stream, and even capacitor. Wasting any of the above is a big no-no. Sometimes I land random Capacitors with this strategy.
Against a rogue, never trinket the first stun unless you want to spirit link, or if you are at the stage of the game where your defensives are limited or you are likely to die. The idea is to trinket the DR stun and then use your aura-mastery to immune the garrote. Be wary though, rogues will triple DR stun you for a kill.
A rogue will always try to gouge your aura-mastery heals. Just pop it, and run the direction the rogue is facing, also spin your camera around like a maniac if you think he is going to sprint or step gouge.
Drop your fire-elemental totem early vs. a rogue to keep you in combat, and thus protect you from saps.
Don't waste healing-stream by just dropping it off-cooldown. Its best to try to drop it before the next CC lands on you so your partners have the stream to heal them while you are CCd. Same logic goes for Healing Tide. I always try to healing stream or tide (based on enemy offensives used) before I get stuck in a long CC chain, so against a hunter I will try to drop these before he even lands the scatter shot, which will be followed up by another stun or a freezing trap, into a silence.
Learn to have a habit of constantly purging. It will improve you tremendously as a resto shaman. Keeping a mage “clean” of buffs will allow you to sometimes instantly purge Presence of Mind, or Alter Time. But learn to be mana-efficient with it as well, purging is high mana-cost.
Use Mana Tide early, and not when you are at 10% mana. 50% to even 70% is a good threshold to pop it when your healing stream is on cool down.
Look for early drinks constantly if your team has the upper-hand in terms of pressure and defensives. Once you leave combat, drop a healing stream, a mana tide, or even a healing tide before spamming your water button. The totem will drop and you will be allowed to drink.
Some macros that I believe are essential as a resto shaman.
Replace the 1 with 2 and 3 for arena 1~3 macros that will aid you.
#showtooltip wind shear
/cast [nomod, target=arena1] wind shear
/cast [mod:ctrl,target=arena1] hex
/cast [mod:alt,target=arena1] frost shock
- Doesn’t have to be this format exactly, but just have your wind shear, hex, and shock for arena 1~3 bound.
#showtooltip Cobo Cola
/click TotemFrameTotem2 RightButton
/use Cobo Cola
- Destroys your fire elemental totem to go for drinks
/cast [@arena1] Flame Shock
/cast [@arena1] Earth Shock
/cast Grounding Totem
/cast [@arena1] Flame Shock
/cast [nomod] riptide
/cast [mod:ctrl, @player] riptide
- I have self riptide bound so that I don’t have to waste time swapping targets to pre-hot myself before a potential swap.
#showtooltip Water Shield
/cast [nomod] Earth Shield
/cast [mod:shift] Water Shield
/cast [mod:ctrl, @player] Earth Shield
- Same concept as above for earth shield.
#showtooltip Ancestral Swiftness
/cast ancestral swiftness
/cast blood fury
/cast greater healing wave
/script function CompactUnitFrame_UtilShouldDisplayBuff(a,b,c)local _,_,_,_,_,d,_,e,_,f,_,g=UnitBuff(a,b,c)if UnitAffectingCombat("player") then return (e=="player" or e=="pet") and not f and d > 0 and g; else return g end end
- The above script shows your water shield on default raid party frames.
I feel like many beginners tend to clutter their user interface with a lot of information because they are not comfortable with their level of awareness yet. However I strongly recommend keeping it as simple as possible. Using addons is fine to start off, but don't go overboard with it and start with one at a time to get used to them.
Try to keep your field of vision clear so that you can start to be aware of enemy positioning as well as yours and your teammates'.
This is my UI, inspired from Kollektiv's that grants me good field of vision, focus buffs / debuffs, targets buffs / debuffs, my totem frames, and arena 1~3 cast bars.
I hope you have enjoyed the guide, and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to message me in-game Rhee-Tichondrius, I’m always willing to help out or message me on twitch at username Rhee1.
Resto shamans are a great class once you get used to its weak points, and is definitely one of the most constantly effective and potent healers in 3v3 arena.
I don’t stream unfortunately, but you should check out these streams for high level shaman content that you could learn a lot from. Practice and watching streams is how I progressed pretty fast too.
Cdew – twitch.tv/cdewx
Takenotezz – twitch.tv/jakenotezz
Eeluminati – twitch.tv/eeluminati
Kaska – twitch.tv/kaskatv
Flubbah – twitch.tv/flubbah
These guys seriously rock, and studying their globals, and trying to adopt them into your play style or imitating them will seriously improve your level of play in no time.