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 R1 playing numerous comps, and I was very privileged to play with many talented players to get to this level.
Some people have been saying Shamans are terrible in 6.02 but after playing some games I have to say shamans still feel fine!
You are susceptible to cleaves as always, and I have found the best comps to include a hybrid. Boomkins, Ferals, Ret Paladins are your best friends.
This is pretty much the “Cookie Cutter” talent build to be an effective shaman. With the exception of the level 30 45, and 60 talent choices.
I’ll provide a rule of thumb, where you can swap out the “Cookie Cutter” talent for the marked 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.
Echo of the Elements
I have been playing with this level 60 talent quite a bit, and I have to say it has its uses against certain warlock/boomkin comps. Whenever you use a spell, you have a chance to proc Echo, which grants you double dispell or riptide or unleash. This talent paired with Glyph of Cleansing Waters will do wonders against a UA Lock when you will be able to constantly keep your team clean of dots. I could see this being extremely potent something like LSD2, but I wouldn't use it against a team with capable burst since you do sacrifice NS. You should keep NS for most caster/melee comps, and only go to Echo against wizard cleaves you feel comfortable enough to heal without NS.
Storm Elemental Totem
I really dislike our 100 talent.. But what am I gonna do right? I've seen shamans spec this but I dont find much use for it because you are going to need to drop other important air totems like Grounding/Capacitor that are on short cooldowns, limiting this totem's potential uptime and efficiency. You should play around with it though.
Cloud Burst totem has some uses but it isn't that strong. You can use it before openers and any time your healing stream or healing tide is on cool down. Stacking this shit with Ascendance is actually decent healing.
They edited our 4-piece so that it doesn't give us aura mastery from Spiritwalker's Grace anymore, so you will need to pick up Glyph of SG all the time.
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 this glyph out. But you can against certain double caster teams if you feel comfortable enough to survive without it. Something like Warlock/Boomkin, or Shadow Priest Warlock, etc. Especially if you have a another source of freedom from your team you can swap this glyph out for something more useful.
Glyph of Healing Stream Totem: Even though they nerfed healing stream the 5% protection from certain schools of spells is still useful for fighting against frost mages or DKs. Healing Stream has decent up-time and is on a relatively short cool down so this glyph is still potent.
Glyph of Capacitor Totem: Great glyph to use to buy you time to recover since shamans are still really squishy in WOD. This glyph makes it so Capacitors are super easy to land.. I try to take advantage of teams stacking with this glyph as that triple stun will win you a game (seriously).
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: Great glyph to use against DoT cleaves such as Boomkin / Warlock / Healer, or Ele Shaman / Warlock / Healer. Even greater when used with the talent "Echo of the Elements" as you will have 2 dispells, increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of this glyph.
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.
I haven't really played around with stats since in WoD your stats are fixed in a sense that reforging doesn't exist. However you can still prioritize stats by buying certain off-pieces or dropping a 5th set-piece for a piece that gives better stats (since you only need 4 pieces of the set to get the bonus).
Crit: Crit rating scales extremely well with shamans because our heals tend to be only potent when they crit. Crit still seems to be the most potent stat in WoD.. I have no trouble keeping my team whatsoever, the problem still exists when we are trained though.
Versatility: Versatility seems to be our next best stat since it increases your healing done, and decreases your damage taken. Perfect for squishy blues!
For off-pieces I got pieces that will grant me crit rating. So for neck I have prowess, cruelty for back, prowess for bracers, prowess for belt, cruelty for boots.
You should get the 4-piece and buy the chest piece that isn't part of the 5-piece set. The chest piece that is part of the 5 set gives poor stats, meanwhile the off-set chest piece provides you with mastery & crit.
For enchants, go full versatility.
Battlemaster has been nerfed to the point where the HP increase is really minimal. Its probably not worth it to go this route, I personally just pick up the on use trinket that passively gives you intellect and gives you versatility when you use it. But then again, I'm also going to test double stam trinkets with Battlemaster since the stamina could help us to survive.
-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.
Rule #4: Have a strong presence
- Opposed to other healers like Resto druids, Hpals, or even Monks, Resto Shamans lack CC as our Hex is on a fairly long cooldown.
- Effective healers (druids, hpals, monks) abuse their ability to CC and definitely pronounce their presence in the arena.
- Mediocre shamans have a defensive mindset because they think our class lack the tools to have a strong presence. Top tier shamans use everything to their advantage (shocks, shear, hex) to disrupt the enemy team and declare their presence.
- Don't waste your hex. Try to look for certain situations so that your hex actually does something meaningful and affect the outcome of the game. An example is to look for hexes on the off-target when the enemy player able to decurse is stuck in a minor CC, even something like a DR stun. Its great to hex an enemy mage's partner especially if he is being heavly pressured because it uses the mage's global. You can also hex to stop important casts when your wind shear is on CD. Hexing a enemy healer when he is low is EXTREMELY potent and not used often. The damage threshold to break a Hex is actually pretty high.
- Look for situations to land a capacitor stun. I always look for a situation to land a triple capacitor if the enemy team is stacking up defensively.
Our Defensives (Listed with importance)
!There is something wrong with our Healing-Tide totem or Healing Stream, as both ticks for relatively the same amount in full pvp gear (around 6.17k per tick). As of right now Healing-Tide is your worst cool-down, so don't be afraid to just use it when you are behind on healing and your healing-stream is on cooldown. Hopefully we see a fix for this soon.
Spirit Link 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 decent healing, 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
!!WoD has reworked Tremor Totem (I actually kind of like this change). You can't tremor DURING a fear. So now you have to "pre-tremor" Warrior fears, Warlock fears, and Priest fears. These classes will try to mind-game you but you should be able to sense when the fear is needed depending on the situation of the game. Obviously just drop tremor if your team is behind and you see the Warlock running at you.
Always remember that its better to waste a tremor (being faked to drop it) than trying to not be faked and being full feared. Dont risk it!
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.
!!:With WoD changes, there are more spells that you can Ground since categorizations have been simplified. One example is that you can ground Binding Shot.
!!: 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. 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 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.
PURGE!!!! 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.
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 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
Flubbah – twitch.tv/flubbah
Takenotezz – twitch.tv/jakenotezz
Eeluminati – twitch.tv/eeluminati
Kaska – twitch.tv/kaskatv
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.