Some Words to Start

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So I have finally decided to write a shaman guide.

The reason I didn’t put up a shaman guide for so long is that I know how much bash I will get from some people. However after much convincing from many people, shaman seems to be the guide that this community wants the most from me. Also I’m doing this for the preset contest together with my three other guides so that I don’t have to mend my souls during the next couple weeks’ CoA progression.

So here you are. I’m doing this again, for the community and myself.

Intro

Shaman is the cleric melee DPS spec. Due to the fact that clerics have a low number of DPS specs, shaman is an all-around solid spec. Diversify is shaman’s biggest strength. It does good ST DPS, it does decent cleave DPS, and it is super mobile. However being good/decent at everything means not top at anything, which is also shaman’s biggest weakness.

Pros of Shaman:
Great ST DPS, on par with other melee specs like paragon and 61 harb
Good double target DPS due to its semi-dot nature
Decent cleave DPS
Unlike other dot based or semi-dot based spec, shaman has GREAT target swap
The definition of mobile DPS spec
Shaman is one of the most, if not the most consistent DPS spec in the game
Shaman’s DPS gets boosted during the execution phase of the fight (sub 30%)

Cons of Shaman:
Inferior ST DPS compare to some currently highest tier DPS spec such as shadeborn, runeshaper and maelstrom
Loses to 61 harb on double target DPS
Loses to other cleave specs such as riftblade, bladedancer, and dervish
Lack of utilities, shaman has really bad utilities, definition of glass canon in PVP
Terrible ways of dealing with disconnect when comparing against 61 harb and paragon

In this guide I will be teaching you how to make a proper shaman build and how to DPS as shaman properly.

The Build

There is one and only one spec for shaman:

61 shaman/8 inquisitor/7 druid

You can have some fun on Jinoscoth with this spec:

61 shaman/11 inquisitor/4 druid

Stats and Itemization

CP until 2980 (can be slightly under, but don’t go over)
SP from there

SC after the 100% crit rate change on MB should not be seen on any of your gear anymore.

Crystal: Eldritch Crystal.

Buffs

Furious Assault (will also apply all your courages)
Glory of the Chosen
Armor of Devotion

Based on how many targets you are on, you will also want to put on:
Vengeance of the Winter Storm on 4 or less targets
Vengeance of the Primal North on 5+ targets ONLY IF THEY ARE STACKED UP

The two Vengeance buffs should be on your bar so that you can swap them dynamically based on how the fight goes.

Macros and Abilities

I personally use 5 macros for shaman.

Standard non-phys:

#show jolt
suppressmacrofailures
cast frozen wrath
cast glacial strike
cast jolt
cast icy blow
cast ekkehard’s grasp

Non-phys reserver:

#show jolt
suppressmacrofailures
cast frozen wrath
cast icy blow
cast ekkehard’s grasp

The non-phys reserver is used when:
1) Jolt proc didn’t happen.
2) Jolt/GS needs to be saved for an upcoming Deep Freeze block.

Standard phys:

#show massive blow
suppressmacrofailures
cast massive blow
cast punishing strike
cast combined effort
cast crushing blow
cast fervent strike
cast ekkehard’s grasp

Phys reserver:

#show massive blow
suppressmacrofailures
cast punishing strike
cast combined effort
cast crushing blow
cast fervent strike
cast ekkehard’s grasp

Similar to the non-phys reserver, the phys reserver is used when:
1) You are doing opener (will cover later)
2) MB needs to be saved for an upcoming Deep Freeze block.

Dots:

#show sanction heretic
suppressmacrofailures
cast frozen wrath
cast sanction heretic
cast lightning hammer

To maximize your ST DPS, the following abilities need to be put on your bar:

Deep Freeze, Rage of the North, and Rush of Strength.

The Basics

The mechanism shaman abuses is called Frostbite. Every time you use a non-phys WEAPON ATTACK (notice ekkehard’s grasp is included due to level 61 mastery), your next phys weapon attack will have a 30% damage bonus.

With this being said, the very basic way of playing shaman is quite obvious, which is alternating your non-phys weapon attacks and your phys weapon attacks to maximize Frostbite’s potential while keep your dots up.

There are two rules that’s worth mentioning:
1) Unless it’s a disconnect situation, otherwise shaman should NEVER EVER use 2 phys abilities in a roll.
2) In certain situations, it is actually fine or better to use 2 non-phys abilities in a roll. One of such is when your MB is 3s away from coming offCD, instead of doing non-phys -> phys -> non-phys -> MB, you will want to do non-phys -> non-phys -> MB.

Cooldown Manipulation

This is what shaman is built around, also the thing that differs most shamans’ skill level.

There are a total number of 3 cooldown manipulators for shaman. They are Rage of the North, Deep Freeze, and Rush of Strength.

After the change of 100% crit chance on MB, the best way of utilizing RotN is to force crit Sanction Heretic and Lightning Hammer.

RoS resets MB’s CD, however you do not want to do 2 MB in a roll. So the best way of utilizing RoS is MB -> non-phys -> RoS -> MB

Deep Freeze last 3s, so one is able to insert 3 GCDs into DF’s duration, and the most optimal 3 GCD should always be: MB -> Jolt/GS -> RoS (offGCD) -> MB

So to put them all together, shaman’s 1 min CD block looks like this:

RotN -> SH -> LH -> DF -> MB -> jolt/GS -> RoS -> MB

This should be synced up with Lava Field.

Since RoS is a 30s CD, you will want to use the next RoS as soon as it comes offCD so that it lines up with your next 1 min CD block.

Alternative Deep Freeze Block (Added Section)

Since a lot of people have questions and concerns about this, I think I might as well open a dedicated section to discuss this.

Like I said above, the most optimal 3 GCDs to fit into DF are MB -> Jolt/GS -> RoS -> MB, I will refer this one as the double MB rotation.

However this is not the only way of manipulating DF, there is a fairly popular alternative rotation which is: MB -> Jolt/GS -> PS

The damage of this rotation is just slightly behind the standard double MB rotation. However it has the following pros:

1) With PS being the second non-phys ability, you will not clip the Brutalize applied by the first MB.
2) The FW refreshed by PS will also inherits DF’s 50% bonus damage on its initial tick, making up some DPS losses due to not have a second “Deep Freezed” Brutalize.
3) This is the biggest reason I think people would use this rotation instead. This rotation has no problem with the animation/register bug for DF (missing 50% damage bonus on 3rd GCD) even in the most lag raid I have ever had, while it has been a long existed problem for the double MB rotation.

The reasons why this is not the most optimal way are:

1) Pushing RoS back by 6s. As the fight goes on, this rotation will push RoS further and further behind and eventually out of Lava Field interval.
2) Even with clipping Brutalize, double MB rotation still does higher damage than this rotation simply because 1) MB does higher raw damage than PS 2) 5 ticks of Brutalize do more damage than 3 ticks of Brutalize + 1 tick of FW.
3) PS has an internal bug. It refreshes FW but will not inherits the previous FW’s bonus, meaning the damage of Vengeance of the Winter Storm proced by PS will not be doubled. So if you insert PS into DF you will lose 50% damage from WotWS proced by PS.
4) Since PS will need to be reserved for DF, your opener will also need to be changed. One way of doing so is FW -> RotN -> CE -> SH -> LH then DF block. This is also a 4 GCD opener but will require you to be in melee. Another way would be FW -> RotN -> SH -> LH -> CE -> IB then DF block. This one doesn’t require you to be in melee but will take 5 GCDs and will also waste 1 stack of RotN on IB.
5) PS is not a 100% crit rate ability. Since we are forcing criting our dots with RotN there is a risk of PS not criting during DF (kinda like how old shaman works before they changed MB to 100%), which will be a huge loss. The solution to this combined with the second opener in 4) (wasting 1 stack of RotN on IB) is to not forcing criting SH and LH at all, instead save RotN together with DF so that PS gets force critted to maximize its output during DF. Notice that if u force crit a PS the FW refreshed by it will also be force critted with all its ticks.

With this much being said, you may wonder which rotation I use. Well my answer is situational.

In places like dummy parse, NTE, 10 man raid where things are smooth, I use the double MB rotation I taught you guys in this guide.

In 20 man raid, especially fights where things lag really badly, I use this rotation simply because the loss of not having the 3rd GCD inherits DF bonus outweighs the slight DPS loss by miles.

Preload

There are 2 really simple preloads you can do as shaman:
1) Using Avalanche Strike to proc Frostbite
2) Alternating Avalanche Strike and Strike of Maelstrom to gain 2 stacks of Diversify and Eldritch Crystal buff.

Opener

Shaman’s opener is very similar to its 1 min CD block, except 2 differences:
1) The initial apply of Frozen Wrath
2) The RotN on the first Punishing Strike

So it looks like this:

FW -> RotN -> PS -> SH -> LH -> DF -> MB -> jolt -> RoS -> MB

Notice FW -> PS -> SH -> LH is exactly 4 GCDs into the pull. By the time you finish them,
1) You should be in melee
2) Lava Field should be up

Put It Together

So here is a breakdown of what a shaman rotation would look like:

Pre-pull: do the 2 preloads

1) Opener: FW -> RotN -> PS -> SH -> LH -> DF -> MB -> jolt -> RoS -> MB

2) After opener go into standard non-phys -> phys alternation while keep the dots up, also use RoS offCD (30s after DF)

3) When it’s about 5s before DF comes offCD, switch from standard non-phys -> phys to non-phys -> phys reserver so that MB, Jolt/GS are saved for DF

4) 1 min CD block: RotN -> SH -> LH -> DF -> MB -> jolt/GS -> RoS -> MB

5) After this go back to 2) and rinse and repeat

Disconnects

There are two types of disconnect for shaman: within 20m or further than 20m.

If it’s within 20m, the only time you should use ekkehard’s grasp is before a PS, other than that Fervent Strike should be all you are spamming. The reason is that not only does ekkehard’s grasp do little damage, but also it’s not a weapon attack so it won’t proc your Vengeance of the Winter Storm. That’s why even with it procing Frostbite it’s still not worth using in a 20m or shorter disconnect.

If it’s futher than 20m, spam ekkehard’s grasp until PS is up, then use PS and go back to spam ekkehard’s grasp.

Double Targets/Cleaving (Added Section)

There are two ways shaman can cleave, passive and active.

Passive cleaving utilizes this 2 macros:

#show frozen wrath
suppressmacrofailures
cast frozen wrath
cast glacial strike
cast avalanche strike

#show massive blow
suppressmacrofailures
cast massive blow
cast punishing strike
cast combined effort
cast strike of the maelstrom

Situations where you want to passive cleave as shaman are:
1) Double targets fight.
2) Primary target still takes highest priority, but a little bit of splash damage is required to take down low HP adds (Pagura is a great example).

For active cleaving, there are two ways of doing it.

When everything is stacked up and you can face towards all of them at once, pick a primary target, apply FW on it and spread it via Strike of the Maelstrom, then alternating between Avalanche Strike and Strike of the Maelstrom (most situations).

When things are scattered around and you can’t face towards all of them at once, just simply spam Strike of the Maelstrom while keep FW on the primary target (dragons on phase 2 of Lord Arak is a great example).

Just keep in mind, no matter what kind of cleaving you are doing, always follow the rule of your Vengeance buffs and switch between the two dynamically.

Demo Parse

3:30 Demo Parse

Some Final Words

Again as always, feel free to leave a comment or send myself, chinapandaman@laethys an in game message if you have any question or concern.

Last but not the least, if you like this guide or my cabalist guide or my runeshaper guide or my inquisitor guide, please vote me for the preset contest. It would be greatly appreciated by myself.

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Additional Guide Tips Welcomed!