Cataclysm Classic Enhancement Shaman PvE Guide

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Welcome to our Cataclysm Classic Enhancement Shaman PvE guide. This article serves as a comprehensive resource that contains various tips and tricks to help you become a skilled and efficient Enhancement Shaman player.

Cataclysm Classic Enhancement Shaman PvE Guide

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Cataclysm Classic Enhancement Shaman PvE Guide: Abbreviations

Abbreviation Meaning 
AEArea Effect
APAttack Power
BiSBest in Slot
CLChain Lightning
DoTDamage over Time
DPSDamage Per Second
EDElemental Devastation
ESEarth Shock
FEFire Elemental
FNFire Nova
FrSFrost Shock
FS_UEFFlame Shock when Unleash Flame buff is active
FSFlame Shock
GCDGlobal Cooldown
GWGhost Wolf
ICDInternal Cooldown
LBLightning Bolt
LLLava Lash
LSLightning Shield
LvBLava Burst
MHMain Hand
MQMental Quickness
MSWMaelstrom Weapon
MTMagma Totem
MW5_CLMaelstrom Weapon x 5 stacks – Chain Lightning
MW5_LBMaelstrom Weapon x 5 stacks – Lightning Bolt
OHOff Hand
SPSpell Power
SRShamanistic Rage
SWSpirit Wolves
UEUnleash Elements
UFUnleash Flame
UWUnleash Wind

Cataclysm Classic Enhancement Shaman PvE Guide: Basics

Primary Skills

At level 10, when a shaman chooses to specialize in the Enhancement tree, these skills become available.

Skill Notes 
Dual WieldIt allows you to equip 1H and OH weapons in your OH, giving you a 6% melee hit and the ability to parry. Awesome, huh?
Mental QuicknessAllows Enhancement to scale correctly with AP and Agi while dealing with significant damage through spells.
Lava LashIn Cataclysm, Enhancement’s hardest-hitting attack. Melee strike dealing fire damage. It does more damage when FT is on the OH.
Primal WisdomIt allows Enhancement to not worry about mana from gear because it provides steady, passive regen.


Enhanced Elements: Mastery is learned by all classes at level 80. Each spec has a unique mastery, which is supposed to bring something “fun” to each class. While our mastery is simply a passive damage modifier, it remains a compelling stat for Enhancement Shamans.

Unleash Elements

Unleash Elements is new to Cataclysm. It will do something different depending on the weapon imbue(s) on the shaman’s weapon(s). See imbues for their respective unleash.

Windfury Weapon

The Windfury Weapon imbue is the Enhancement Shaman’s primary MH weapon imbue. The class design intends to be used on the MH in most cases (except FB in PvP; sometimes, it’s better to have it on your MH instead of your OH). WF now procs 3 hits instead of two; this secures its place as the imbue of choice for Enhancement Shamans.

The instant cast nature of the Windfury proc greatly benefits from slower weapons and their higher damage range. Since there is no way to speed up the cooldown of the Windfury proc or to proc more often by using a fast weapon, the only way to increase damage done by Windfury Weapon is to use a slow, high DPS weapon.

Unleash Wind

Unleash Wind is pretty straightforward. It’s a great buff and usable at range while running to a mob. 

Windfury Proc Rate

Analysis of the combat log shows that if you sum all hits, the proc rate while DWing is 20%, but that includes hits you make while inside the 3-second cooldown, which cannot proc WF. When you remove the ineligible hits, the observed proc rate from the eligible hits becomes 36%.

Flametongue Weapon

The Flametongue Weapon is the Enhancement Shaman’s primary OH weapon imbue. It increases the damage of LL, and causes us to proc fire damage on every OH hit. Flametongue performs better than Windfury on the OH in all cases. Flametongue scales appropriately with weapon speed. Slower weapons cause more FT damage, and faster weapons cause less damage. FT scales from AP instead of SP and increases “non-physical damage done by the wielder instead of growing spell damage. This means that FT now affects LL damage along with the damage of the FT proc.

Unleash Flame

Unleash Flame: Only LvB, FS, and FN will benefit from the UF buff, and as Enhancement doesn’t (usually) use LvB in a regular rotation, you will want to make sure that you are consuming this buff with FS every time it is up (if possible). Even if you are casting LvB, consuming UF with FS will still result in more damage.

It’s also important to note that if you spam FS at the end of your LvB cast, both spells will receive the UF benefit. If you find yourself in an AoE situation, UF’s use with FN will be significantly boosted. With the changes to AoE, UE’s usage will change with multiple targets. UE will affect the spread FS dots when you LL. It will likely be best to use FS>UE>LL and then UE for FN when not spreading FS.

Frostbrand Weapon

Frostbrand Weapon: Generally speaking, this is one of the imbues you’ll use in PvP. Can proc a 50% snare on hits. Certain situations call for it on the MH, which is better for the OH. This guide is primarily PvE-focused, and I don’t consider myself an authority on Enhancement PvP, but the rule of thumb is: if it’s heavily armored, FB goes on the MH, and if it’s not the OH.

PvE boss mobs are immune to the Frostbrand Weapon debuff; Windfury is a superior PvE main-hand weapon imbue.

Unleash Frost

Unleash Frost: Great in PvP, especially when playing with someone using frost-based snare effects.

Rockbiter Weapon

Rockbiter Weapon: No, you’re not seeing things. This imbue provides the shaman with both damage reduction and increased threat generation. This does not imply that shamans are to tank in Cataclysm. However, it is excellent in a pinch. If you’re in a five-man and have an extra weapon in your bag, it doesn’t hurt to have it pre-imbued and a macro to swap it into your OH if you need to save a healer.

Unleash Earth

Unleash Earth: Yes, that’s a taunt. As stated above, when prepared, it can be utilized successfully in a pinch. Also, possible implications for gimmick fights. These gimmicks likely involve a ranged Elemental Shaman instead of an Enhancement Shaman, but we can dream. Please note that this unleash is a Mocking Blow effect, not a true taunt.

Cataclysm Classic Enhancement Shaman PvE Guide: Talents

All talents available to an Enhancement Shaman are covered here.

Tier Talent Notes 
1Elemental WeaponsIncreases damage from both imbues and from corresponding UE buffs.
1Focused StrikesBoosts SS damage.
1Improved ShieldsIncreases the damage and regen on your shields. Unfortunately, it isn’t a huge DPS boost. Generally, it is a filler talent.
2Elemental DevastationCaster/Melee hybrid synergy talent. Increases the value of crit and int. Me likey.
2FlurryStraightforward – faster swings after crits. Again, it increases the value of crit.
2Ancestral SwiftnessWhile technically not a DPS boost, since Ghost Wolf is usable indoors now, this talent is one of the strongest in the tree. A must-have. It also allows us to enchant something other than run speed on boots.
2Totemic ReachIncreases the range on totems, including the bolt range on Searing Totem. It can be used as filler.
3ToughnessPvP talent, but lackluster even as that. With Earthen Power, SR, SW, and GW to get out of snares, the utility of this talent is often useless.
3StormstrikeOne of the main strikes in the Enhancement rotation. It also applies a debuff, which further helps with Caster/Melee hybrid synergy.
3Static ShockIt causes passive damage procs on LL and SS, and uses LS.
4Frozen PowerPvP Talent. It gives a ranged root, which is super awesome. Skip this for a PvE talent build. The damage buff portion of the talent doesn’t apply, as PvE bosses are immune to the Frostbrand Weapon debuff.
4Seasoned WindsIt is intended as a PvP talent but is lackluster in both PvP and PvE. Therefore, it can be used as filler.
4Searing FlamesApplies a stacking DoT.
5Earthen PowerPvP talent. It gets rid of any snares on allies in range when it pulses. Awesome.
5Shamanistic RageThanks to Primal Wisdom, we can now use this more freely. Although there was no actual DPS increase, it was situationally incredible.
5Unleashed RageIt supplies the raid with 10% AP and gives a massive expertise boost. Must have.
6Maelstrom WeaponAllows spells that generally have a cast time — thumbs up. It can also proc off absorbs! Happy day!
6Improved Lava LashThis makes Enhancement AoE fun and exciting, unlike horrible and vomit-inducing.
7Feral SpiritOur main DPS cooldown. Wolves also have great utility. They can stun, taunt, clear snares, and give the shaman a sprint. Unfortunately, they don’t hit very hard.
1AcuityStraight up crit.
1ConvectionAvailable but worthless to your everyday enhancer.
1ConcussionIncreased damage on some spells. Solid.
2Call of FlameIt will increase Searing Flames tick damage and Fire Nova damage.
2Elemental WardingThere is no DPS increase at all, but depending on the fight, it reduces damage.
2ReverberationA 1-sec reduction on shocks is worth more with Unleash Elements in the mix. It also decreases the cooldown of Wind Shear. It makes us Lean, Mean, Interrupting Machines.
2Elemental PrecisionIt provides you with a little bit of mastery without calling it mastery.

Cataclysm Classic Enhancement Shaman PvE Guide: Priority Queue

Like many classes, Enhancement Shamans don’t have a set rotation and instead use a priority queue. This concept is straightforward – the higher the ability in the queue, the higher its priority. If it’s off cooldown and available, use it; if not, go to the next ability; if it’s unavailable, go to the next, etc.

Here is what a level 85 priority queue might look like. Sim your setup to find an optimal list. Don’t be afraid to mess with MW5/4/3_LB! Please note that when using the sim, if you use sub 5 Maelstrom LB casts, it will automatically check for all stack numbers above that which you entered. So, for example, if you want to include MW4_LB, MW3_LB, and MW2_LB, it’s only necessary to include MW2_LB unless you want them to occur at different places in the list.

Priority Abbreviation Meaning 
1ST_0Searing Totem with 0 ticks remaining
3LLLava Lash
4MW5_LBMaelstrom Weapon x5 stacks + Lightning Bolt
5FS_UEFFlame Shock if the Unleash Flame buff is present
6UEUnleash Elements
7ESEarth Shock
8SWSpirit Wolves
9STSearing Totem (with x ticks remaining, set in sim)

Cataclysm Classic Enhancement Shaman PvE Guide: AoE

Enhancement AoE gets a massive overhaul. Rejoice! Now that Improved Lava Lash spreads FS from the current target, Enhancement can effectively cleave with massive ramp-up and pitiful results.

At the very basic level, you will want to FS>LL>FN. However, using UE and dotting extra mobs in between cooldowns will significantly help your output. Note that UE will affect the FS damage of the initial application, but it will also affect the dot damage if you spread flameshocks. In addition, it will damage FN. 

The best way to AoE will likely be to UE before spreading FS with LL. In between LL cooldowns, you should also be able to effectively multi-dot FS onto un-debuffed mobs. Here are some helpful mouseover macros for multidotting. This will simply apply Flame Shock to your mouseover, provided it is alive and an enemy.

#showtooltip Flame Shock
/cast [@mouseover,harm,nodead] Flame Shock

In addition to the functionality of the previous macro, this will start your swing timer and Flame Shock, which are your primary targets if you do not have a valid mouseover target.

#showtooltip Flame Shock
/cast [@mouseover,harm,nodead][] Flame Shock

Grabbing Reverb and the Glyph of Flame Shock will help your AoE significantly. You should CL when possible and drop MT with 6+ mobs. This threshold is significantly dependent on Searing Totem‘s AI functioning correctly.

Cataclysm Classic Enhancement Shaman PvE Guide: Stats and Gearing

Hit and Expertise Caps

Before focusing on anything else, an Enhancement Shaman should work on being spell-hit-capped and expertise-capped.

Hit Cap

All raid bosses are treated as +3 mobs (or 88, in the case of Cataclysm). While dual-wielding against a mob that is +3 levels, players have a 27% chance to miss with white attacks. In addition, players have a 17% chance to miss with spells against +3 mobs. Finally, special attacks (StormtrikeLava Lash, etc) have an 8% chance to miss against +3 mobs. Generally speaking, Enhancement Shamans only need to worry about the spell-hit cap. The exception is when approaching the crit cap, which is discussed later.

Cap Type Rating Needed (Draenei) 
Spells (17%)1742 (1639)
White hits (27%)2523 (2404)

Expertise Cap

Expertise mitigates both Dodges and Parries; however, since parries can only happen when attacking from the front, and melee should always be behind their target, mitigating Dodge is our only concern. +3 mobs have a 6.5% chance to dodge, translating into 26 expertise. However, Unleashed Rage grants the shaman 8 expertise, meaning that to cap, we only need 18. Dwarves wielding Maces and Orcs wielding Axes or Fist weapons only need 15. It is also important to note that, for Orcs and Dwarves, sometimes it might be only worth it to Expertise cap one of your weapons (if, for example, you’re an Axe/Mace combo). As always, sim it!

Cap Type Rating Needed (Orc/Dwarf) 
Dodge (26 expertise/6.5% to cap)541 (451)
Parry (56 expertise/14% to cap)1442 (1352)

In case you want to know the parry values.

Crit Cap

For all melee classes, being over the Critical Cap is where a portion of the player’s critical strike chance does not benefit a part or the whole of their DPS.

Two kinds of melee DPS exist: white auto-attacks and yellow special attacks. When talking about the Crit Cap, only white auto-attacks are relevant.

White auto-attacks are affected by the following factors:

These factors can be unified into a single formula like this:

Maximum Critical Chance (MCC) = 100% – (Glancing blows chance) – (Chance to be Dodged) – (Chance to be Parried) – (Chance to Miss)

This MCC number is where all white melee hits have been removed from the table. All melee attacks will be glancing blows, dodges, parries, misses, or critical strikes. At that point, one can only increase their ratio of critical strikes by adding more Expertise or more Hit rating, and only if those are not capped already.

However, there is still Crit Depression to consider when attacking a Boss. So, to reach the true MCC level on a Boss, one would need 4.8% more Crit than is shown on their character sheet. For example, if your current MCC value is 70%, you could only remove all white hits from the table by having 74.8% on your character sheet. That point is also called Crit Capped, as any additional Crit Rating past that point will not affect the ratio of critical strikes.

Crit Cap= MCC + 4.8%

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Stat Weights

While introductory stat weights can be dangerous, it does help to have general guidelines for prioritizing one stat over another. If you’re looking for a quick rule of thumb for Cataclysm, it’s safe to go with:

Agility > Hit (under spell cap) > Expertise (under cap) > Mastery >> Crit = Strength > Hit >> Haste

Don’t let this priority fool you. Str should only ever come from weapons (and only in odd cases).

As always, this comes with the disclaimer that you should Sim your current gear setup to get actual numbers. The graphing function in Rawr is excellent for seeing trends.

Agility is the primary stat for Enhancement. It provides 2 AP and .00307805% crit per point of agility. Also, thanks to Mental Quickness, it gives a whole lot of pseudo-spell power. Gem for it as much as possible.

Hit, as usual, is the most crucial stat for Enhancement until the spell hit cap (17%, 1742 rating, 1639 for Draenei). Even after the cap, though, the hit still has some value. Even though interrupts can no longer miss (making hit unimportant for utility), you should be getting hit caps from reforging and not gemming, and you can only stack Agi with gems. So, there’s no reason that you shouldn’t be hit-capped.

Expertise, like hit, is precious until the cap (541 rating). Unlike hit, though, it has zero value after the cap, which means any point over is completely wasted, so try to hit it right on the money. It is likely better to be slightly under the expertise cap than over. Check the Sim for optimal results.

Mastery is excellent for Enhancement. After Hit/Expertise caps, mastery is THE stat to refer to.

Crit edges out haste in value, but not by much. It’s still important though.

Haste is no longer remarkable for Enhancement. Long gone are the days of sub 1.0 speed 2.6 weapons. Since the 30% haste buff to DK/Pal/Druid/Shamans was reverted with 4.0, it lost much of its luster. Also, other classes have a much more exciting interaction with haste (increased energy regen, etc). Since there’s nothing like that in Enhancement, haste remains pretty “meh.”

Strength gives Enhancement 1 AP per point. It’s not worth gearing for.

Set Bonuses

Tier 11

These are the Enhancement Tier 11 pieces:

For most, it’s a close margin between running two piece and 4 piece. The only way to tell for yourself is to sim it. The 2 piece bonus is fantastic, and the 4 piece is mediocre at best. Shoulders and Helm are the best-itemized pieces, so that would be a good place to start.

Tier 12

These are the Enhancement Tier 12 pieces:

The 2 and 4-piece bonuses are both incredible. Get them asap!

Tier 13

These are the Enhancement Tier 13 Pieces:

The two-piece bonus is excellent. It should be your number one priority. The four-piece is mediocre at best, but it will be worth running only because there is only one offset option in Heroic. Running a double two-piece on the t12>t13 transition is viable.

Cataclysm Classic Enhancement Shaman PvE Guide: Glyphs

Enhancement Shamans are lucky enough to have many useful Prime and Major glyphs. Figuring out which is best for you will require some individual simulation.

Prime Glyphs

You’ll want LL and two of the three others listed. Sim to know which ones:

While it’s a zero DPS increase, dropping WF or Feral Spirits for Glyph of Unleashed Lightning can benefit some fights with much movement.

Major Glyphs

The most exciting glyphs we have. CL, LS (and FN, a bit) potentially provide the only actual DPS increase. However, the utility brought by the other Majors is hard to beat.

Minor Glyphs

Choose your own adventure!

Cataclysm Classic Enhancement Shaman PvE Guide: Gemming, Enchanting, and Reforging

Gemming Guidelines


Agile Shadowspirit Diamond is the best meta to use by a long shot.

Matching Socket Color

Socket bonuses in Cataclysm are huge compared to those in WotLK. As such, you will want to match more socket bonuses than before. Since mastery is very good for Enhancement, matching a yellow socket with an orange gem (or even yellow) is almost always a good idea. For bonuses that are 20+ Agi or Mastery, match blue sockets (match them regardless if under hit cap). Other than that, go straight to Agi. So far, there isn’t a new version of Nightmare Tear, but if one crops up, we’ll probably want to use it.

Color Gem 
RedDelicate Inferno Ruby
YellowAdept Ember Topaz
BlueGlinting Demonseye and Rigid Ocean Sapphire

Enchanting Guidelines

Slot Enchant 
HeadArcanum of the Ramkahen
ShouldersGreater Inscription of Shattered Crystal
CloakEnchant Cloak – Major Agility (Enchant Cloak – Greater Critical Strike if you don’t have access to mnats)
ChestEnchant Chest – Peerless Stats
BracerEnchant Bracer – AgilityEnchant Bracer – Precision or Enchant Bracer – Greater Expertise if under cap.
GlovesEnchant Gloves – Greater Mastery
BeltEbonsteel Belt Buckle
LegsDragonscale Leg Armor
BootsEnchant Boots – Mastery or Enchant Boots – Major Agility
MHEnchant Weapon – Landslide
OHEnchant Weapon – Landslide

Note: The sim is now modeling all weapon enchants correctly. Generally speaking:

landslide > avalanche > berserker > mongoose > hurricane

Reforging Guidelines

Since Agility is not a stat that can be reforged, you want to free up as many sockets for Agi gems as possible. As such, reforging for Expertise and Hit caps is ideal, rather than gemming for them.

After achieving caps, reforge to as much mastery as you can. Depending on the values of Agi and Mastery, this is subject to change.

Cataclysm Classic Enhancement Shaman PvE Guide: Consumables

Consumables are pretty similar to WotLK, in Cata; you’ll need a Potion, Flask/elixirs and food for every fight.




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Cataclysm Classic Enhancement Shaman PvE Guide: Professions

Here is a quick run-down for players interested in the stat increases (and other bonuses) that the various professions provide:

Profession Source of Bonus Stat Bonus Additional Bonus 
AlchemyFlask of Enhancement or Mixology+80 AgilityExtra Benefit from Mysterious Potion and Quicksilver Alchemist Stone
Blacksmithing2 Extra Prismatic Gem Sockets+100 Stat Points (with Epic gems only). +80 Stat Points without Epic gems
Enchanting2 Ring Enchants+80 Agility
HerbalismLifeblood480 Haste Rating for 20 sec. Usable every 2 minutes. Stat equivalent to +80 Haste. Also heals the caster
InscriptionSwiftsteel Inscription+80 Agility
Jewelcrafting3 Jewelcrafting gems+81 Stat PointsFigurine – Demon Panther
LeatherworkingDraconic Embossment – Agility+80 AgilityCheap Leg Enchants: Dragonbone Leg Reinforcements
MiningToughness+120 Stamina
SkinningMaster of Anatomy+80 Crit Rating 
TailoringSwordguard EmbroideryA proc granting +1000 attack power for 15 seconds 
EngineeringGlove Tinkers:Deadly Bio-Optic Killshades provide a customizable iLvl 359 piece of gear. Customizable with Cogwheel sockets (Fractured CogwheelRigid CogwheelPrecise Cogwheel)
Synapse Springs480 Agility for 10 seconds every 1 minute, or 80 Agility equivalentBelt Tinkers: Cardboard AssassinGrounded Plasma ShieldInvisibility FieldMind Amplification DishNitro BoostsPersonal Electromagnetic Pulse GeneratorFrag Belt
Tazik ShockerIt deals 4320 to 5280 Nature damage every 2 minutes, scaling with masteryBombs/Consumables: High-Powered Bolt Gun (On GCD), Saronite BombGlobal Thermal Sapper Charge (Goblin Only).
Note: All three bomb types can be used
Cloak Tinker: Flexweave Underlay


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