PvE Restoration Shaman Rotation & Cooldowns

PvE Restoration Shaman Rotation & Cooldowns
  • Author: Luxrah
  • Date: May 23, 2024
  • Updated: May 24, 2024
  • Expansion: Cataclysm

Once your gear is accounted for and you’re all prepped and ready to go, it all comes down to how well you push your buttons! As a healer, you will have less of a “rotation” and more of a priority system designed to help you maximize your output while also sustaining your mana pool for the duration of the fight — and most important, keep your teammates alive! This guide will cover the best approach to healing as a Restoration Shaman in just about any encounter.

Spell Priority

Be sure to use your buffs before the fight, and cast them again if you lose them:

You should also be sure to keep your totems up throughout the encounter. The four totems below are a good standard set to use, but you may need to change out certain totems based on the fight or the needs of your group. You can save these to your Call of the Elements, Call of the Ancestors, or Call of the Spirits bar for quick placement.

With those covered, here is your spell priority for most situations:

  1. Cast Earth Shield on the tank to apply or maintain the buff.
    • There may be situations where you want to refresh it early to be sure it will stay up while you are busy raid healing, but generally you will want to use up all of the charges to maximize its efficiency.
  2. Cast Nature’s Swiftness + Healing Wave for a powerful instant heal in an emergency.
  3. Cast Riptide on cooldown to maintain the HoT on the tank(s) and as many other targets as you can.
  4. Cast Healing Surge on a target that needs immediate healing.
  5. Cast Unleash Elements on cooldown, ideally right before a Chain Heal.
  6. Cast Flame Shock on an enemy if you’re talented into Focused Insight and are about to cast Healing Rain.
  7. Cast Healing Rain on cooldown if there are multiple targets stacked who will benefit from its healing.
  8. Cast Chain Heal if it will heal more than one target.
    • Use a Riptide target for this spell when possible, preferably one that is about to expire.
  9. Cast Greater Healing Wave on a target that is taking heavy damage.
  10. Cast Healing Wave if you need to top off a target and there isn’t more urgent healing to be done.
  11. Cast Lightning Bolt if no healing needs to be done to contribute some damage and get mana back from your Telluric Currents talent. Aim for adds when possible since they will be easier to hit (if you aren’t Hit capped via Elemental Precision).


Nature’s Swiftness, as mentioned above, is best used alongside Healing Wave as an emergency heal or with Chain Heal for quick AoE healing.

Spirit Link Totem is your big raid healing cooldown. It not only reduces the damage taken by everyone within 10 yards of it, it also redistributes their health every second, keeping everyone’s health equal so that no one gets too low – and so that everyone inside will benefit from your AoE healing with minimal overheal. This is an extremely powerful cooldown that can save the lives of multiple raid members and you should use it any time a dangerous AoE goes out.

Spiritwalker’s Grace will allow you to use cast-time spells while moving for 15 seconds. It’s an awesome cooldown to use when you have to do a lot of running but don’t want to stop healing.

Bloodlust/Heroism will usually be called for by your raid leader. Be certain to use it when your teammates don’t still have the Sated/Exhaustion debuff. Note that this ability is no longer exclusive to Shamans in Cataclysm with the addition of Time Warp for Mages.

For the following totem cooldowns, remember to re-place your previous totem when they expire.

Mana Tide Totem is now a raid-wide mana cooldown and should be used when most of your mana users will get the greatest benefit from it. For long fights, try to use it a bit earlier so you can get a second use out of it – but not so early that your group doesn’t fully benefit from its effects.

Earth Elemental Totem can be useful in a pinch if your tank dies or you otherwise need to rescue teammates who have aggro.

Fire Elemental Totem can come in handy for dealing some extra damage during a burn phase.

Tremor Totem is a vital utility when an encounter has Fear, Charm, or Sleep effects.

Grounding Totem has a relatively short cooldown and has the potential to be a life saver if timed well. It’s not worth throwing it around willy-nilly, but remember that you have it in your back pocket.

Stoneclaw Totem becomes a personal defensive cooldown when you have Glyph of Stoneclaw Totem, which causes it to put a large shield on your character. Be careful using this, however, since the totem taunts.


About the Author


I've been playing World of Warcraft on and off since vanilla, usually as a healer or caster and often as a guild leader. I play both retail and classic. I also love RPGs, sandboxes, and sims.
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