PvE Elemental Shaman DPS Guide

pve elemental shaman dps guide thunderstorm
  • Author: Strong
  • Date: April 30, 2024
  • Updated: May 31, 2024
  • Expansion: Cataclysm

Welcome to the Elemental Shaman PvE guide for World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.

The Shaman lives at the nexus of the worlds of fire, air, water and earth. By harnessing these fundamental powers of Azeroth, the Elemental Shaman can change the face of the battlefield with devastatingly powerful elemental magics.

Elemental Shaman in Cataclysm

Cha-ching! Shaman: the slot-machine as a class specialization. Shamans as a whole work on more of a dice-rolling system than other specs/classes, and the Elemental spec exemplifies this. 

The new Elemental talent tree gives a lot of flexibility with both patching holes in your build and polishing your primary weapon. Feel like you’re always running out of mana? Elemental Focus puts you in a Clearcasting state, reducing the mana cost of your next two damaging/healing spells by 40%. Need a little more help than that? Running Rolling Thunder can help with up to a 60% chance to recover 2% of your mana on hits from Lightning Bolt or Chain Lightning while your Lightning Shield is active. Elemental Precision, earlier on in the tree, finally makes use of all of that Spirit stat you incidentally gain on DPS items by converting it into hit and increasing your Fire, Frost and Nature damage by up to 3%.

And if you really need to see more damage, the new Mastery, Elemental Overload, provides another proc in the form of a percentage chance for Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning or Lava Burst to fire off a second copy of the spell at 75% of its normal damage and causing no threat. This is totally on brand for Elemental Shamans, who love to gamble with random chance, and, of course, it’s another important stat that you’ll have to figure into your stat distribution when building your character.

Elemental Shaman Strengths & Weaknesses


  • High Potential Single-Target Output
    Shamans rely on critical hits and proccing certain skills, which allows them to have huge bursts of damage. If you roll the dice and win, you win big; if you roll and lose, you might go bust. The focus here is Lightning Bolt, as Chain Lightning has been drastically altered for less single target damage and no cooldown, and Lava Burst has an 8 second cooldown without activating the Lava Surge talent. So Lightning Bolt will be our big filler spell, which we cast in between maintaining totems, re-applying Flame Shock and casting Lava Burst on cooldown. Of course there’s the two, new default talents added to the talent tree when you first select it: Elemental Fury, which increases critical strike damage of Searing Totem and Magma Totem and all your Fire, Frost, and Nature spells by 100% and removes the cooldown from your Chain Lightning; and Shamanism, which gives Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning and Lava Burst 36% added benefit from spell power and a reduction of .5 seconds of casting time. Prepare to pew-pew!
  • AOE Damage & CC
    Be a master of your trash parse by maximizing your Fire Nova usage along with Chain Lightning, Magma Totem and Fire Elemental Totem. Of course, there’s Earthquake, which is a big new addition to your AOE skill set and our first place-able, ranged AOE ability; it also has a 10% chance to knock down affected targets. While there’s no new totems, Earthbind Totem is an incredible source of soft CC for large packs of slow-able mobs.
  • Excellent Utility
    The utility of totems is age-old and obvious — Windfury Totem comes to mind — but two new talents add more raid-wide utility to Elemental Shaman specifically. Elemental Oath, which increases critical strike chance for party and raid members when the Shaman’s Clearcasting is active, and Totemic Wrath, which causes all your Fire totems to increase the spell power of party and raid members by 10%, give reason to bring Elemental Shamans again. Think of a chase, raid-wide buff like Heart of the Lion from Season of Discovery or Moonkin Aura in Wrath.


  • Mana Hungry
    Your filler spell, Lightning Bolt, costs 6% base mana; Lava Burst costs 10%, and Flame Shock is 17%. There’s also the cost of your various totems, ranging from 3% up to 11%. Needless to say, Shaman’s have a great need for mana. You have Thunderstorm at your disposal every 45 seconds unless you use Glyph of Thunder, which is nice and necessary but not entirely sufficient. There’s some talents in the Elemental tree to offset your ravenous consumption of mana, but you’ll still feel the squeeze of an empty mana bar when you can’t find those Clearcasting procs.
  • Immobile
    Your bread and butter spells have relatively long cast times, so you’ll be standing still most of the time. You won’t take Glyph of Unleashed Lightning in most raid scenarios, so you’re relying on Spiritwalker’s Grace, a 2 minute cooldown, to get out of the fire while maintaining DPS. You’ll frequently have to sacrifice DPS to make sure you can mitigate damage by simply running out of the way.
  • Feast or Famine
    Because Elemental Shaman relies on critical hits and procs like Clearcasting, Lava Surge and Elemental Overload, parsing well can seem like an emotional roller coaster. Because of how much lucky RNG can play into your success, getting a bad string of non-crits and no Clearcasting procs can make it a nightmare to parse on a short fight.

Best Races

Wow Horde Crest Horde

Up until Cataclysm, the dominant PvE Race for Elemental Shaman was Troll because of Berserking; after all, Shamans love Haste. However, with the advent of Goblins and their Time is Money racial, everything’s changed. Consider Goblin as your meta choice for race as an Elemental Shaman in PvE, with Troll as a close second. Orc benefits from Blood Fury, but it isn’t as impactful as Time is Money or Berserking; and Tauren is best geared toward PvP with War Stomp.

Wow Alliance Crest Alliance

There are choices now! No longer do you have to be shackled to the cloven-footed Draenei! Because now we have Dwarf Shamans! Unfortunately, you’ll still want to choose Draenei, as Dwarf racials add nothing to the Elemental Shaman toolkit, whereas Draenei have Heroic Presence. There is Dwarven Stoneform, but that has limited use in PvE scenarios.


About the Author


Thrall is the best Warcraft character; tell me I'm wrong. Long-time Blizzard fan who thinks that gnomes are the worst type of people and rogues don't tip (except into your spine). Flying mounts should never have been added to the game, and playing 12 hours of WoW a day just makes you "dedicated."
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2 months ago

HA HA HA. This guide is way off on several things but most notably best horde race, is Orc hands down for ele shaman in the game. Blood fury to snapshot into your fire elemental and when you get the Tier set that reduces the CD on Fire ele will be huge, and the 5% pet damage from the command racial is huge. A 3m, 10s haste cd doesnt come close to beating the other two from orc.

Last edited 2 months ago by HA HA HA
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