Cataclysm Classic Elemental Shaman PvE Guide

37 min read 0 1

Welcome to our Cataclysm Classic Elemental Shaman PvE guide. The basics of Elemental spellcasting, necessary talents, spells, totems, stats, gearing, and other topics will be covered in this article.

Cataclysm Classic Elemental Shaman PvE Guide

Table of Contents

  1. Cataclysm Classic Elemental Shaman PvE Guide: Buffs and Debuffs
  2. Cataclysm Classic Elemental Shaman PvE Guide: Spells
    1. Primary Spells
    2. Secondary Spells
    3. Totems
      1. Air Totems
      2. Earth Totems
      3. Water Totems
      4. Fire Totems
  3. Cataclysm Classic Elemental Shaman PvE Guide: Talents
    1. Specialization Bonuses
    2. Talent Builds
      1. Elemental Combat
      2. Enhancement
      3. Restoration
  4. Cataclysm Classic Elemental Shaman PvE Guide: Glyphs
    1. Prime Glyphs
    2. Major Glyphs
    3. Minor Glyphs
  5. Cataclysm Classic Elemental Shaman PvE Guide: Spell Priority and Rotation
    1. Priority List
    2. Fulmination, Lightning Shield Charges and the Shock Cooldown
    3. Movement
    4. “Clipping” Flame Shock
    5. Multiple Targets and AoE
  6. Cataclysm Classic Elemental Shaman PvE Guide: Stats and Gearing
    1. Stats
      1. Priority
      2. Spirit and Hit
      3. Intellect
      4. Haste
      5. Mastery
      6. Crit
      7. Other Stats
    2. Gems
    3. Sets and Set Bonuses
  7. Frequently Asked Questions
    1. What Are Elemental’s Most Important Stats?
    2. What’s the Hit Cap at Level 85?
    3. How Should I Gem?
    4. What Stats Do I Reforge on My Gear?
    5. What Self-Buffs Should I Use?
    6. What’s the Standard Elemental Rotation?
    7. What Should I Use for AoE?
    8. What Totems Should I Use for Most Raid Situations?
    9. What’s the Best Way to Wring the Most Dps Out of the Fire Elemental?
    10. Do You Have Any Other General Tips for Being Competitive on the Meters?
    11. Spiritwalker’s Grace Is Weird. Where Is It Best Used?
    12. When Should I Cast Unleash Elements, and What Does It Affect?
    13. Earth Shock and Flame Shock Won’t Play Nice in My Rotation Anymore!
    14. Is There a Single Macro I Can Mash Instead of Having to Watch My Cooldowns, Procs, and DoTs?
  8. Conclusion

Elemental is a ranged caster spec. Like most other ranged casters, our spec relies on DoTs, procs, and cooldowns for effective DPS. As of the launch of Cataclysm, we do not follow a specific cast order or rotation but instead use a spell priority to determine what to cast next. Like other Shamans, Elemental relies on Totems to buff the group and do additional damage, although the exact totems used may vary depending on the situation.

Cataclysm Classic Boosts

Hand-farmed gold, Powerleveling, PvP and PvE gear boosts, Archaeology 1-525, and more! No bots, no cheats, no exploits. Money-back guarantee.

Explore More

4.8 Rated on

Banner image

Cataclysm Classic Elemental Shaman PvE Guide: Buffs and Debuffs

The Elemental spec provides a few specific bonuses to a raid beyond the basic totems given by any shaman: a 5% spell crit aura from Elemental Oath, a 10% spellpower increase from Fire totems via the Totemic Wrath talent, and a 20% attack speed debuff from Earth Shock. Like most class buffs and debuffs, ours are not exclusive, and coverage can be found elsewhere with similar or identical buffs.

Elemental Buff/DebuffAlternatesClass/SpecNotes
Totemic WrathDemonic PactDemonology WarlockThese buffs are identical and do not stack. The spellpower bonus applied is 10% of the recipients’ spellpower and is not based on the spellpower of the shaman or warlock providing the buff.
Earth ShockInfected Wounds, Frost Fever, Judgements of the Just, Thunder ClapFeral Druid, Death Knight (all), Protection Paladin, Protection WarriorThese debuffs are identical and do not stack, but there is little cause to worry about being the sole applier of this debuff, especially considering that every tank spec will have it up by default most of the time.
Elemental OathLeader of the Pack, Honor Among Thieves, RampageFeral Druid, Subtlety Rogue, Fury WarriorAll versions of this buff are identical and do not stack.

See the Totems section for totem buffs that are nonspecific to the Elemental spec.

Cataclysm Classic Elemental Shaman PvE Guide: Spells

Primary Spells

There are three primary spells in the Elemental rotation.

SpellBase CoefficientNotes
Lightning Bolt71.43%LB is the “filler spell” for Elemental rotations and is vital to our mana regeneration through the Rolling Thunder talent. LB is typically a sizable percentage of an Elemental shaman’s damage, so skills and glyphs that benefit it significantly impact our overall DPS.
Flame Shock21.40% DD 10.00% DoT tickFS is our standard shock ability. Primarily used to guarantee a LvB crit and to enable Lava Surges, it is also one of a few spells that are useful to cast whenever you are moving (or just unable to cast non-instant spells while still able to perform actions). The DoT portion of this spell is affected by haste and, therefore, one of our best-scaling spells. See the Stats section for more about the interaction of haste and Flame Shock.
Lava Burst62.80%The core spell of the Elemental rotation, LvB, is a high-damage spell on an 8-second cooldown. This spell will always crit as long as a Flame Shock DoT is present on the target, and as such, it should never be cast if FS is not present or will fall off before LvB finishes casting. The automatic crit helps guarantee two Clearcasting charges, further increasing damage and reducing mana consumption. The Lava Surge talent gives Flame Shock DoT ticks a 20% chance to reset the cooldown on this spell; quick reaction to Lava Surge procs is vital to maintaining high DPS.
Lightning ShieldUnknownIt’s not a direct damage spell per se, but it’s core to our rotation nonetheless. This ability must be active for Rolling Thunder to generate additional stacks for use with Fulmination/Earth Shock.
Earth Shock38.57%Earth Shock is an instant cast nature-damage spell with a 20% melee attack speed reduction. In the Elemental rotation, its primary use is to “discharge” up to 6 stacks of Lightning Shield (accumulated through Rolling Thunder) on a target via the Fulmination talent. In combination with Lava Burst, this ability makes for phenomenal one-two burst damage.

Secondary Spells

These spells are core to the class but are situational or not part of the rotation.

SpellBase CoefficientNotes
Flametongue WeaponN/AFT is the Elemental weapon buff. Provides bonus spellpower. This is the only weapon imbue you should ever use as Elemental.
Chain Lightning57.14%CL is a ranged “smart cleave” and our primary AoE spell. This spell should be used whenever there is more than one target within the range of its cleave; otherwise, stick to LB and the rest of the Elemental rotation. For AoE situations with 4+ targets, the Glyph for this spell is highly recommended.
Elemental MasteryN/AThe primary Elemental cooldown boosts damage done as well as haste. The 3-minute cooldown on this spell is reduced by casting LB and CL when talented.
Frost Shock38.57%Frost Shock is a close-range, high-threat spell with a slowing component that is useful in two primary situations: fights that involve kiting and PvP.
HexN/AThis is the Shaman crowd control spell. It will not break immediately upon damage and does not heal its target.
Thunderstorm17.14%Thunderstorm is a spell unique to the Elemental tree, learned when choosing the Elemental specialization at level 10. It is an instant AoE damaging spell with a 20-yard knockback and a mana restore function, which can be glyphed to remove the knockback function, increase the mana restoration by a small amount, and reduce the cooldown.
Wind ShearN/AA close-range, instant spell interrupt that is not on the GCD. This spell has a 25-yard maximum range (and no talents to increase it), so it requires careful positioning to use it effectively.
EarthquakeUnknownAn Elemental-only AoE spell. This spell was changed and is no longer channeled; instead, it is a targeted AoE ability that should be used with our primary source of AoE DPS, Chain Lightning, whenever possible. Remember that when using this spell, once cast, it is put on cooldown and, therefore, cannot be recast if mobs move out from underneath it.
Fire NovaUnknownThis ability is no longer part of the AoE toolkit for Elemental and can be ignored.
Unleash ElementsVariesUE is an instant cast spell on a 15-second cooldown that has a different effect depending on which weapon buff is active; for Elemental, that will almost always be Flametongue, which results in Unleash Flame. This spell causes a small amount of fire damage and (when talented) increases the damage of the following fire spell cast by 30%. Since the direct damage portion of this spell deals so small, it is not typically worth casting over an LB. However, there is one circumstance where this is not the case; see the notes on this spell in the FAQ for more information. Other uses of Unleash Elements, like Frostbrand and Rockbiter, have a few applications in PvE and will be covered in more detail in the future.
Bind ElementalN/AA CC that affects Elemental enemies. It functions similarly to priests’ Shackle Undead; any damage to the target breaks the effect.
Cleanse SpiritN/ACleanses one Curse from a friendly target. 
PurgeN/ARemoves a single magic buff from an enemy target. It is crucial for many boss encounters, such as Maloriak, and a primary PvP ability.
Spiritwalker’s GraceN/AAllows 15 seconds of movement while casting, with a 2-minute cooldown. This ability will likely only be used once or twice in a fight, so it is best to use it as much as possible to reduce the impact movement has on your spell priority over the length of a battle.
Ghost WolfN/AThis ability may be used anywhere, including indoors. If talented, this ability is instant cast. A Major Glyph for this ability increases the movement speed bonus by 5%.


This list ranks totems from top to bottom based on their recommended or everyday use as Elemental in raids.

Air Totems

Wrath of AirRecommendedThis is the primary air totem for Elemental raiding. Increases all spellcasting haste by 5% for all raid members in range.
Windfury TotemNot RecommendedDrop this totem only if you are the only shaman in the group. There are no Frost DKs or Survival Hunters; the group is melee-heavy.
Grounding TotemSituationalThere are few PvE-raiding applications for this totem, as most boss abilities ignore it. It is unnecessary for most trash but may be used in specific boss encounters.

Earth Totems

Stoneskin TotemRecommendedThe general-use earth totem for Elemental. The armor bonus from this totem is exclusive to Devotion Aura and is raid-wide.
Strength of Earth TotemNot RecommendedLike Windfury, drop this only if there are no Enhancement shamans, DKs, or Warriors in the raid.
Tremor TotemSituationalThis totem has been redesigned to be raid-wide, breaking charm, fear, and sleep effects with a much faster pulse rate (1 second, down from 3). Due to this increase in power, the cooldown has also been increased to 1 minute.
Earthbind TotemSituationalUseful in certain fights, this totem slows all nearby targets and, when talented, can temporarily root them as well. Also very useful for PvP.
Stoneclaw TotemSituationalThis totem by itself has little PvE or PvP applications at the endgame, but with the glyph, it can be a useful survivability tool in both environments.
Earth Elemental TotemIgnoreThis totem has little to no use in a PvE-raiding environment due to its pulsing taunt (which most bosses are immune to anyway) and very low survivability. 

Water Totems

Healing Stream TotemRecommendedThe water totem is generally used in raid situations because few other choices provide tangible benefits. It can be glyphed to add the functionality of an Elemental Resistance Totem as well.
Mana Spring TotemNot RecommendedThis totem is primarily used for solo play or 5-man dungeons unless there are no Paladins in your raid.
Elemental Resistance TotemSituationalAn all-purpose resistance totem. This ability is exclusive to the Paladin aura and has a similar effect (the Paladin aura provides Shadow resistance instead of Nature).
Totem of Tranquil MindSituationalIt is identical to the Paladin buff Concentration Aura. This is useful if your raid does not have paladins using the aura or for soloing.

Fire Totems

Searing TotemRecommendedThe standard single-target fire damage totem. This spell has a longer duration and attack range than Magma, which puts it over that spell in single-target damage due to decreased GCD usage and placement time. Like all fire totems, this totem provides the raid-wide 10% spellpower buff from Totemic Wrath, so keeping close to 100% uptime is essential. 
Fire Elemental TotemRecommendedThe Fire Elemental is a free-moving AI-controlled mob (not a pet) anchored to its totem. This totem is a highly effective form of both single-target and AoE DPS. Because it is anchored to the original placement spot, you should ensure that the target it will be attacking is not moved significantly while it is out. This totem lasts for two minutes, has a ten-minute cooldown, and should be used at least once per fight. Glyphing: this totem cuts the cooldown in half, so for some fights lasting longer than seven minutes (enough for two total durations of the totem), the glyph is competitive with other choices.
Magma TotemSituationalA point-blank AoE damage totem. This is intended to be one of Enhancement’s AoE tools. Still, due to its long duration, players wishing to increase their AoE DPS on safe, stationary targets can drop this in melee range before starting their typical AoE rotation.
Flametongue TotemIgnoreThe buff provided by Totemic Wrath is better in all respects and does not stack with this totem.

Notes on Fire Elemental and 2PC T12: The Fire Elemental, in addition to its unpredictable behavior, requires some effort in order to maximize its potential DPS. At the moment it scales from a shaman’s spellpower only, and also performs a “snapshot” of the caster’s stats when dropped, which means trinkets and procs with +Int or spellpower have a disproportionate impact on its DPS output. Generally the best strategy (if possible) is to drop it when every Int proc from trinkets, Power Torrent, engineering gloves, tailoring cloak, Volcanic Potion, etc. are all up simultaneously at the beginning of the fight when their ICDs are all guaranteed to be up. If used in this way you can temporarily more than double the amount of Int buffing your totem for its entire 2-minute duration, and thus greatly increase your DPS.

Cataclysm Classic Elemental Shaman PvE Guide: Talents

Specialization Bonuses

Like all specs, Elemental has several passive bonuses and one ability granted by choosing the specialization at level 10.

Elemental’s “signature spell” is Thunderstorm; more information about this spell can be found in the Spells section.

The two passive bonuses granted by the Elemental spec are Elemental Fury, which brings our critical strikes up to the standard 200% damage bonus of all ranged casters, and Shamanism, which reduces the base cast time of our primary damage spells as well as increases the damage they gain from spellpower.

Elemental’s Mastery is Elemental Overload, which gives us a chance to proc a free second spell when casting Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning or Lava Burst at 75% of normal damage. More information on mastery can be found in the Stats section.

Cataclysm Classic Leveling Boost

1-85 in 7 days. 80-85 in 12 hours. Rewards yours, chores ours. Gold, loot, and other resources are all yours. 100% account safety!

Explore More

4.8 Rated on

Banner image

Talent Builds

A few “optional” points can be reshuffled or ignored based on your preference; these talents are Convection, Reverberation, Totemic Reach, and Ancestral Resolve. More on them below.

Elemental Combat













Cataclysm Classic Elemental Shaman PvE Guide: Glyphs

Glyphs entirely unrelated to the Elemental spec will not be listed here. When applicable, glyphs will be listed according to the DPS gain they provide.

Prime Glyphs


Not Recommended:


Major Glyphs





Minor Glyphs

Of all the minor glyphs, only Glyph of Thunderstorm impacts any of our abilities. This glyph can be taken if you feel you do not need the knockback component of Thunderstorm, although some raid leaders may have requirements either to have or not have this glyph.

The rest of the minor glyphs are cosmetic or quality-of-life, and therefore up to your preference.

Cataclysm Classic Elemental Shaman PvE Guide: Spell Priority and Rotation

The Elemental playstyle has undergone some significant changes. Instead of a relatively static and predictable rotation, we now have many active abilities and procs to watch for constantly. The key to strong DPS as Elemental is to react to these abilities quickly, manage your cooldowns successfully, and keep DPS time as high as possible.

Priority List

Elemental uses a priority list to determine what spell to cast at a given moment. Fight conditions can very often affect this list, so use the following as a guideline rather than a gospel.

The spell priority list, in order of importance from most to least:

The most important things to watch for while following this spell priority are Lava Surge procs and Lightning Shield charges. Ideally, you will want to cast Lava Burst any time it is up, but do not interrupt a queued cast to start casting Lava Burst, as the loss of time from an interrupted spell will usually outweigh any extra damage from LvB.

Lightning Shield charges via Rolling Thunder stack up to 9, and any additional charges generated are wasted. The ideal time to cast Earth Shock to use these charges is between 7 and 9 stacks; for the reasons behind this, read the next section.

Fulmination, Lightning Shield Charges and the Shock Cooldown

Fulmination, which uses Lightning Shield charges when Earth Shock is cast, throws a wrench in our previously easy DoT management by occasionally causing Flame Shock and Earth Shock to bump up against each other via the shock cooldown. The easiest way to deal with this problem is to give yourself some flexibility when one of these abilities is cast. Since Earth Shock has a fixed duration, the best approach is to use Earth Shock with Earth Shock‘s duration in mind, ideally at any point between 7 and 9 Lightning Shield charges, as previously mentioned.

This serves several functions. Casting LvB without FS present or delaying an LvB cast is always a DPS loss, as is wasting Lightning Shield charges by proccing more stacks of LS while already at the maximum (9). Therefore it is best to cast Earth Shock when it is convenient to do so, i.e. between 7 and 9 stacks of LS when FS does not need to be refreshed in the next 5 seconds.

Other strategies to minimize the impact of the shock cooldown:

Glyph Flame Shock. This extends FS’s duration and gives you more room to work with. You will still run into moments where ES and FS could interact, but there will be fewer of them over a given period.

Spec into Reverberation. By reducing the shock cooldown, you give yourself more space between Earth Shock and Flame Shock casts.


With the advent of the Glyph of Unleashed Lightning, the impact of movement on our spec has done a complete 180. With this change, dealing with movement has an entirely different set of rules:

If you know a small movement phase is coming up, plan casts of LvB to go off right before. Casting LB while moving is much better than casting nothing, but delaying LvB’s cast is still a DPS loss.

As a result of the above, if it’s a more extended period of movement, use SWG to continue to cast your complete spell priority for that period.

If you’re sure you won’t die or the boss won’t get out of range, stop briefly when LvB comes off cooldown to recast it, then keep moving.

“Clipping” Flame Shock

Cataclysm changed DoT mechanics so that “clipping” a DoT, or recasting it before the existing DoT expires, resets the spell’s duration after the next tick rather than immediately. This means that recasting a DoT on a target with a single tick left causes no loss in DPS, so if possible, you should aim to recast Flame Shock as close to this point as possible. This also makes it possible to have near-100% uptime of Flame Shock if you are good about recasting it at the right time since there will be no gap between DoTs.

Multiple Targets and AoE

AoE for Elemental has been redesigned yet again. This time, things are simple, and there is no ramp-up time. The priority is as follows:

  1. If targets are stationary, cast Earthquake.
  2. Cast (glyphed) Chain Lightning, as it no longer has a cooldown.
  3. Weave in Fulminations at 9 stacks on important targets or those with higher HP. Note that there will almost always be wasted charges due to CL’s high rate of Rolling Thunder procs.

Cataclysm Classic Elemental Shaman PvE Guide: Stats and Gearing


The following is a basic summary of the stats that Elemental finds essential and why.

Elemental Shaman shares gear with Restoration Shaman for all mail armor slots outside tier pieces. Also, with the addition of Mail Specialization, we do not use cloth or leather armor. A basic stat hierarchy in order of most important to least is as follows:

Spirit/Hit (until capped) >> Intellect > Haste >= Mastery >> Crit

More information about stats and their relative importance may be found later in the article.


Our most important stats, in order of DPS increase per point, are the following:

Spirit/Hit (until capped) >> Intellect > Haste >= Mastery >> Crit

Note that this list is based on BiS Heroic T12 gear and may be different for your gear, especially if you are just starting out. Run SimCraft to get a better idea of your stat weights; these are just guidelines.

Spirit and Hit

Hit is any stat’s single largest DPS increase until it is capped. Once capped, it provides zero extra benefits, so you should aim to be as close to the cap as possible. With the Elemental Precision talent, Spirit provides a point-for-point hit rating.

Reforging is an excellent way to reach the exact hitcap, or very close to it, with almost any gear setup. Reforging crit to Spirit is in many cases the best way to accomplish this. Because you cannot reforge primary stats, it is best to reforge rather than gem for hit/spirit since you can gem for primary stats like Int instead.

Elemental Shamans need 17% total hit to be capped against raid bosses; Draenei shamans gain 1% from the Heroic Aura racial and thus need only 16% from gear. There are no longer any raid buffs that provide additional hit chance.

The hit cap (17% hit chance) for a level 85 shaman is a 1742 hit rating; for a Draenei, it is a 1640 hit rating.


Intellect is our core stat, as it is for every other DPS caster. We gain more DPS points per point from this stat past the hit cap than any other. Int provides spellpower, additional mana, and a small amount of crit.

Extra spellpower on caster weapons is valued only slightly less than Int itself, and can make one weapon disproportionately better than another of a lower ilvl, even if the secondary stats are worse.


Haste essentially benefits all of our damaging spells (except fire totems, non-DoT Shocks, and Unleash Elements) by reducing the spell’s casting time or, in Flame Shock‘s case, by increasing the number of DoT ticks over the spell’s duration.

Several abilities affect your current haste %. Wrath of Air increases all spellcasting haste by 5%, as do group buffs from other classes like Shadow Priests (multiple sources do not stack, so you will only get 5% from your raid or self-buff). Elemental Mastery increases haste by 20% and Bloodlust/Heroism/Time Warp by 30%.

Haste Caps

Haste has several caps that affect its overall benefit. The first is the GCD cap (50% haste), which occurs when you gain enough haste to reduce the global cooldown of your spells to 1 second (from 1.5). Past this point, haste will no longer affect the GCD. This is important because although regular spells appear to have no minimum cast duration, once past 50% haste, the GCD will never change, so the adequate minimum time between each spellcast will always be the GCD or 1 second.

This means that every spell has a haste cap equal to the amount of haste it would take to reduce that spell to a 1-second cast time, as past that point, haste will provide no additional benefit. Note that for instant cast (non-DoT) spells, the effective “haste cap” is the GCD cap or 50% haste. The DoT portion of Flame Shock has no haste cap whatsoever and will continue to provide DPS with extra haste well past 100%. However, due to changes in DoT mechanics, there are several haste “plateaus” as new ticks are added to the DoT by additional haste.

So what does this all mean? Haste loses some of its benefits for us once Chain Lightning and Lava Burst are haste-capped, but generally, it is not enough to change its relative importance with other stats. In any case, at current gear levels, haste caps are pretty distant, so even under stacked haste effects, we do not have to worry about hitting LB’s haste cap any time soon.

Haste “Targets”

There are no haste targets, none, zero. You should never gear around a specific rating number for any of our stats (except hit). This widespread misconception will not help you be an influential damage dealer.

Back in the first half of WotLK, some players noted that at certain haste levels, it became possible to add additional casts of Lightning Bolt to a fixed rotation at specific haste values. These haste values started popping up everywhere as “fixed” values that every Elemental Shaman should get to and then stop. With the changes to our spells in Cataclysm, this approach does not work in the slightest, as it is impossible to account for Surge procs and the Shock cooldown in a fixed rotation, so you should never gear around a fixed amount of haste.

Cataclysm Classic Elemental Shaman PvE Guide

For a more technical explanation, this simple graph illustrates the linear way in which increasing haste increases our DPS, even in a Wrath-style spell priority where it was possible to use a fixed rotation.


Mastery provides a DPS increase by proccing free, threatless extra spellcasts called Overloads that deal 75% of the damage of the initial spell.

Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning, and Lava Burst can all proc overloads, and overload procs from LB and CL can generate Rolling Thunder charges. Chain Lightning‘s chance to proc an overload is split between each jump of the spell, and all jumps can independently proc their overload. Glyphing CL does not reduce the opportunity to procure an Overload from an individual jump, which means the glyph significantly increases Mastery’s benefit for CL. For this reason, Mastery may be worth more in fights with heavy AoE.


Critical strikes increase both overall damage done and mana efficiency. With the relevant talents, crits proc two charges of Clearcasting, modified by Elemental Oath to increase all damage by 10%. This effect is subject to diminishing returns, as shown by this graph:

Cataclysm Classic Elemental Shaman PvE Guide

DPS gained from Clearcasting decreases with each subsequent point of critical strike rating.

Other Stats

Agility, Strength, Attack Power, and other melee-oriented stats serve only one function for us: they boost the damage of our Fire Elemental spell by a small amount. If you like to squeeze out every ounce of DPS from your abilities, being buffed with these stats increases the damage of that spell, but you should never gear for them specifically.


For most cases with current gear levels, the gems you should use in various slots are as follows:

It is important to note that Burning Shadowspirit Diamond is the only meta you should use.

Sets and Set Bonuses

T122pcYour Lightning Bolt has a 30% chance to reduce the remaining cooldown on your Fire Elemental Totem by 4 sec. In its nerfed form, this is still a sizable DPS increase and may increase the value of the Fire Elemental glyph or a Totemic Focus spec. However, it is not worth keeping over 4PC T13.
4pcReduces the base cast time of LB by 10%, which is also worth gearing for.
T112pcIt increases Flame Shock‘s crit chance (and its DoT) by 10% — a decent DPS increase.
T132pcElemental Mastery also grants you a 2000 mastery rating for 15 seconds — a substantial DPS increase.
4pcEach time Elemental Overload triggers, you gain a 250 haste rating for 4 sec, stacking up to 3 times. Note that the increased Mastery from 2pc t13 scales well with this set bonus.
4pcThis causes Lava Surge procs to make LvB instantcast and reset the cooldown. This further increases our mobility, although it is also a minor DPS increase in the form of less wasted Surge procs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Elemental’s Most Important Stats?

At 85, they are as follows:

Spirit/Hit (until capped) >> Intellect > Haste >= Mastery >> Crit

Important note on stat weights: they can and will change based on your gear. The above ranking is based on BiS T12 Heroic gear, and your gear may have different weights. Run SimCraft with your gear profile to determine your weights for a more accurate estimate.

What’s the Hit Cap at Level 85?

For non-Draenei, the hit cap is a 1742 hit rating, which you can get from either hit or spirit (via Elemental Precision). For a Draenei, the hit cap is a 1640 hit rating.

How Should I Gem?

As many Intellect gems as possible while getting good (+int) socket bonuses using int/haste orange and int/spirit purple gems. Like all ranged casters, your meta is Burning Shadowspirit Diamond.

Remember that since you cannot reforge additional primary stats like Int, it is best to reforge to the hit cap rather than gemming for it and squeeze as much Int as you can out of gemming (through gems themselves and/or socket bonuses).

What Stats Do I Reforge on My Gear?

If you’re not hit-capped, always reforge to the cap before worrying about secondary stats. Prioritize reforging crit to hit/spirit above everything else.

If you’re hit-capped, and/or you have excess hit or spirit, follow these simple Rules for Reforging™:

1. If an item has hit/spirit and crit, reforge hit/spirit to Haste or Mastery otherwise, reforge crit to Haste or Mastery.

2. If an item has hit/spirit and haste, reforge hit/spirit to Mastery, otherwise leave it alone.

3. If an item has hit/spirit and mastery, reforge hit/spirit to Haste, otherwise leave it alone.

4. If an item has crit and haste, reforge crit to Mastery.

5. If an item has crit and mastery, reforge crit to Haste.

6. If an item has haste and mastery, leave it alone!

In other words, reforge crit to either haste or mastery whenever possible, depending on the other secondary stat on the item.

What Self-Buffs Should I Use?

Always use Flametongue Weapon and Lightning Shield, and keep them up on yourself 100% of the time.

What’s the Standard Elemental Rotation?

In short, we don’t have one anymore. Instead, we cast with a spell priority list.

Fire totem down -> Flame Shock DoT present -> Lava Burst (whenever it’s up) -> Earth Shock (7-9 Lightning Shield charges) -> Lightning Bolt filler

What Should I Use for AoE?

We now have a very simple and generally competitive AoE rotation. If targets are stationary, drop Earthquake and spam Chain Lightning interspersed with Fulminations at 9 charges (there will be wasted charges due to how CL works). Glyph CL if there are more than 3 targets for increased damage. If targets are in motion, drop Earthquake from the priority.

What Totems Should I Use for Most Raid Situations?

Generally speaking, you should use Searing and Wrath of Air, with water and earth totems dependent on fight mechanics and buff coverage from other raid members. In addition, be sure to use Fire Elemental as often as possible, as it is a significant source of DPS and still provides the Totemic Wrath raid buff.

What’s the Best Way to Wring the Most Dps Out of the Fire Elemental?

Use it with as many Intellect buffs as humanly possible. The best time for this is correct at the beginning of the fight, with Volcanic Potion pre-potted and all your Int procs, trinkets, and on-use +Int abilities off cooldown. Since the Elemental takes a snapshot of your stats when it’s dropped, it will gain substantially from all your procs being up at once.

Do You Have Any Other General Tips for Being Competitive on the Meters?

Keep casting. DPS in WoW is about pushing limits, especially as a ranged caster. Do as much damage as possible while filling your role in the fight without dying, wiping your raid, or pulling aggro. If your DoT uptime isn’t close to 100%, try to recast it just as it’s about to fall off. Don’t delay Lava Burst casts for any reason; react to Surge procs quickly, and watch your shock cooldown like a hawk. You will be competitive if you aren’t distracted and keep your uptime on the boss as high as possible.

Spiritwalker’s Grace Is Weird. Where Is It Best Used?

Since it’s a 15-second duration and a 2-minute cooldown, SWG is not all that helpful for most periods of movement in raid situations, especially with the Unleashed Lightning glyph. Use it instead for those rare instances of more extended movement.

When Should I Cast Unleash Elements, and What Does It Affect?

Unleash Flame, the Flametongue-based attack from Unleash Elements, does nominal damage and boosts the next Fire spell you cast by 30%. UE’s single-target damage is pretty low right now, so it’s generally not worth casting under most circumstances.

There is a “trick” with UE that allows both LvB and FS to gain from a single cast of the spell, which makes it just slightly better than an LB cast, but this applies in only one circumstance: when LvB is off cooldown just before the FS DoT is about to expire. Using this trick under any other circumstance is not a DPS gain.

Earth Shock and Flame Shock Won’t Play Nice in My Rotation Anymore!

This is the trickiest part of our rotation now. Without 4pc t10, managing the shock cooldown becomes incredibly important. There are a few things you can do that will help.

1. Put two points into Reverberation. This talent has been largely ignored for all of Wrath, but it can become crucial in level 85 raids and dungeons. If you can work with the shock cooldown without this talent, you can put these points into Totemic Reach instead.

2. As previously mentioned, cast Earth Shock at 7 or 8 stacks of Lightning Shield. This allows you to use ES when you know FS will not be recast in the next 5-6 seconds. If you wait until 9 stacks, you risk having to cast LvB with no Flame Shock DoT or wasting LS charges.

3. Take the Flame Shock glyph. This gives you more breathing room than you might imagine.

Is There a Single Macro I Can Mash Instead of Having to Watch My Cooldowns, Procs, and DoTs?



Mastering the Elemental Shaman PvE spec requires a deep understanding of the necessary talents, spells, totems, stats, gearing, and other topics covered in this guide. You can become a valuable asset to any raid group with practice and dedication. If you found this article helpful during your endeavors in Azeroth, share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Cataclysm Classic Boosts

Hand-farmed gold, Powerleveling, PvP and PvE gear boosts, Archaeology 1-525, and more! No bots, no cheats, no exploits. Money-back guarantee.

Explore More

4.8 Rated on

Banner image
1 like 0 comments


Hald Twinpack
262 articles