PvE Enhancement Shaman DPS Guide

PvE Enhancement Shaman DPS Guide
  • Author: Strong
  • Date: May 31, 2024
  • Updated: May 31, 2024
  • Expansion: Cataclysm

The Shaman lives at the nexus of the worlds of fire, air, water and earth. The Enhancement Shaman crushes his foes by infusing his attacks with the elements, dealing blows with the explosive force of a volcano, moving as swiftly as the winds of a howling gale.

Enhancement Shaman in Cataclysm

Enhancement shaman DPS is reworked again! Yay! Perhaps the most obvious change: Mental Quickness has made any spell power on gear useless, as the only spell power that an Enhancement Shaman can now gain comes from Mental Quickness itself, which increases your spell power by 55% of your attack power. This makes any spell power you may have on items a wasted stat and forces you to build into attack power to build spell power; keep this in mind moving forward.

The actual damage coming from Shamans’ attack cooldowns has been substantially increased. Stormstrike now deals significantly more damage, adds a secondary affect which increases your chance to critically hit with your offensive spells, but also has an 8 second cooldown attached.

Lava Lash is your new best friend and will be cast on a regular basis instead of being relegated to the bottom of the rotation list; it’s now the most important offensive ability in your rotation. Accordingly, Flametongue Weapon is now the preeminent choice for your Offhand, as the 40% bonus damage to Lava Lash and gaining a second effect from Unleash Elements are too desirable to forgo. The reason why Lava Lash is top dog now is because its bonus weapon damage has gone to 260%, up from 100% in Wrath — along with the increase from 20% to 40% bonus damage when Flametongue Weapon is enchanted to your Offhand — and how it synergizes with Searing Totem through the Improved Lava Lash talent.

Speaking of Searing Totem, it really shows up in Cataclysm. Who would have thought that Searing Totem would beat out Fire Elemental Totem for damage? A new talent, Searing Flames, gives your Searing Totem a chance to apply a DoT on hit equal to the Searing Bolt‘s impact damage over 15 seconds, stacking up to 5 times. It also benefits from the hugely important Improved Lava Lash talent, which increases your Lava Lash damage proportionate to the number of Searing Flames stacks on the target; these stacks are consumed with Lava Lash for big spikes in damage. You’ll still place a snapshotted Fire Elemental Totem at the beginning of each fight if you can, but now switching to Searing Totem afterward will provide consistent single-target damage.

Enhancement Shaman Strengths & Weaknesses


  • Big AoE Damage
    The key to big damage with Enhancement Shaman is spreading your Flame Shock everywhere with Improved Lava Lash, which spreads Flame Shock from your target to up to four nearby enemies. In turn, Fire Nova ignites any Flame Shock on nearby enemies, causing each of them to explode with AoE damage. Getting just eight nearby enemies to explode with Fire Nova is huge damage. It may sound strange, but you’re liable to not use your Magma Totem in lieu of Searing Totem. It deals less damage compared to its iteration in Wrath, and now that it prioritizes targets affected by your Stormstrike or Flame Shock, you should have no problem building Searing Flames stacks to spread your Flame Shock in preparation for the big Fire Nova nuke.
  • Mana? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Mana!
    It becomes apparent in Cataclysm that Blizzard doesn’t want an Enhancement Shaman to worry too much about their mana expenditure, as there are now more ways than ever to stay mana solvent until the boss is down. One of the new innate talents, Primal Wisdom, gives your attacks a 40% chance to immediately restore 5% of your base mana, and Mental Quickness reduces the mana cost of all your instant spells and totems by 55%. Shamanistic Rage now causes all of your skills, totems and offensive spells to consume no mana for 15 seconds. Look forward to no longer going OOM in fights!
  • Survivability
    You’re a lot more mobile than your spellcasting Elemental and Restoration counterparts, and you have more protection too. Shamanistic Rage reduces all damage taken by 30% every 1 minute, and two points in Ancestral Swiftness gets you an instant cast Ghost Wolf; it also increases movement speed by 15% and can now be cast indoors! This means that the Enhancement Shaman is light on his or her feet and tough in a pinch.


  • Middling Single Target Damage
    Based on old sims of original Cataclysm, it’s looking like Enhancement will be a pretty average Melee DPS to bring to a raid. It relies on stacking Searing Flames on the boss and getting a highly-damaging Lava Lash on every 5th stack; moreover, there’s going to be generally more reliance on your abilities than on auto-attacking for Enhancement Shaman. This means that missing a cooldown will be much more of an impediment to parsing well on a fight. You’ll likely have a big damage phase in the beginning of each encounter with Fire Elemental Totem and Feral Spirit, but you’ll lag toward the end of the fight when those are on cooldown.
  • Gear Dependent
    Now that Lava Lash and Stormstrike give a ton more bonus weapon damage modifier, it’s imperative to use slow weapon speed weapons with big weapon damage. Needless to say, if you’re running fast weapons with low weapon damage, you’re probably not going to be maximizing your DPS. Also, because your spell power is based upon your attack power, you’ll never be able to get enough Agility on your gear.

Best Races for Enhancement Shaman in Cataclysm

Wow Horde Crest Horde

The two meta choices remain Orc and Troll, though an argument can be made for the newcomer, Goblin. Tauren is largely a PvP choice with War Stomp and Endurance, but it gets bonus points for being the largest character model; that matters, right?

Orcs benefits from Blood Fury, a 2 minute cooldown increasing melee attack power by 1170 and spell power by 585, and Axe Specialization, which increases expertise by 3 when using Fist Weapons, Axes and Two-Handed Axes. They also have Command, increasing pet damage by 5%, which increases Fire Elemental Totem‘s damage.

Trolls have Berserking, increasing your haste by 20% for 10 seconds on a 3 minute cooldown, and Beast Slaying, which increases damage dealt to Beasts by 5%. It has other racial traits like Regeneration that are useful in some combat situations, but no other traits directly increasing their DPS. In this regard, Orcs edge out Trolls as a racial choice because of the shorter cooldown of Blood Fury and the stat weight of attack power over haste.

Wow Alliance Crest Alliance

With only two choices for Alliance, Draenei is still the obvious choice for Enhancement Shaman in PvE scenarios. Obviously, you need hit rating, so Heroic Presence is beneficial to your DPS; the other racial traits, not so much. On the other hand, Dwarf has Mace Specialization, which increases expertise by 3. That’s not 3 expertise rating; that’s 3 expertise, which is roughly equal to 90 expertise rating. At first glance Heroic Presence and Mace Specialization look equally beneficial, but 1% of hit is roughly equal to 120 hit rating, so the stat value of Heroic Presence is slightly higher than that of Mace Specialization. This may be overly-granular in scope, but we know how important these details are for frothing-at-the-mouth meta worshippers like some of our readers.


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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