Caperfin’s Elemental Shaman DPS Guide

Elemental Shaman

About Author

Hi, my name is Caperfin and welcome to my guide! I’m known around the community for pushing World of Warcraft to its limit for five years, redefining what classes can do and transcribing it into comprehensible guides for the community. If a subject is not addressed or poorly, please let me know. Also, If you have any questions after having read the guide, feel free to drop by the stream and ask questions.

Let’s begin!

WoW Classic Shaman Icon

In the past, when the subject of shamans are brought up in PvE the default immediate thought is to only talk about a healing shaman. And the legitimacy of a shaman dealing a significant amount of damage in PvE as a caster was rejected. However, with a game that has been theorycrafted for over a decade this outdated notion has now been buried with the advent of tools.


WoW Classic Elemental Icon

Before continuing, its important to remember you are not only going a certain route but also playing a class that demands a great deal of effort for players to recognize. An elemental shaman in a raid has the ability to not only provide a decent amount of personal damage but also the capability of supporting other teammates.


Races play a big part as we are grasping for any amount of extra efficiency possible. Shamans are exclusive to the Horde and are available to three races: Orc, Tauren and Troll. This section will talk about the most popular and efficient race for our goals. Next, lets see the most beneficial race within the Horde. As previously mentioned, we are gifted with three possible races: Orc, Troll and Tauren but sadly our bovine and green brutish friends don’t yield any racial benefits. Therefore, our eyes are mostly set on Troll. Lets breakdown Troll just to see how they are the ideal race to pick.


Wow Classic Troll Icon 2

Throwing Specialization / Bow Specialization: Increases chance to hit with bow and thrown while increasing damage.
Beast Slaying: Whether it be physical or magical, all damage against creatures categorized as Beasts is bolstered by 5%.
Regeneration: Health regeneration rate increased by 10%. 10% of total Health regeneration may continue during combat.
Berserking: Increases your spell casting and attack speed by 10% to 25%. At full health the speed increase is 10% with…

What does this mean? Going Troll is the optimal race for dealing as much damage as possible on a target, they especially excel on bosses categorized as beasts.

Other Races

If you are dead set on going Tauren or Orc, go ahead. This isn’t to say you should be forced to play a certain race, rather that you should be aware of the differences and make the according decision that aligns with your preferences.

Nature Damage in WoW

Anything resembling an elemental (noticeable in MC) will have a high resistance to nature damage. All the Dragons of Nightmare are also immune to nature damage or tend to have the same high resistance to nature as to fire. The same applies for some creatures in: AQ, ZG and Naxx. Basically, if an environment has a disease or poison theme, expect nature damage to be hampered. Here’s a chart to better explain the notion. Don’t fret, items exist to counter this damage dampening downside, ex: Eye of Moam & the debuff from Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker helps with damage by reducing the target’s nature resistance. Additionally, there are items that flat out bolster nature damage such as the 3 piece bonus from Stormcaller’s Garb. As previously stated we must go above and beyond as an elemental shaman to compensate for this downside.


Wow Classic Herbalism Icon
Wow Classic Alchemy Icon


While leveling, select Herbalism & Alchemy. Herbalism provides reagents for Alchemy and a source of gold for our eventual endgame professions. The goal is to gather a large supply of gold and a bank full of potions the raid might need, for ex: Flask of Supreme Power. A valid case can be made for having a lvl 5 character in a major city to disenchant unwanted items through mail and store items at a bank for later use.

Wow Classic Engineering Icon
Wow Classic Alchemy Icon 1


Afterwards abandon Herbalism and go for the late game profession, Engineering. In order to scoop up a few useful tools, such as: Gnomish Battle ChickenGoblin Sapper Charge among many other gadgets.

Finally, for secondary professions, I urge grabbing all of them as they all provide valuable assets. In terms of fishing, you can farm those elusive Stonescale Eels that are highly contested after for Flask of the Titans. First aid grants bandages for healing that don’t require any mana to use. Lastly, cooking has Runn Tum Tuber Surprise.


Some buffs are unobtainable due to certain patch restrictions or unable to stack with others. Let’s highlight a few important facts about buffs. There is a max of 32 buffs: Talents, Set bonuses & Equip effects don’t count. But Gear enchants count with exceptions: (Crusader enchant and enchants from the profession enchanting don’t count.) Resistance enchants however need to be reconfirmed as they make it seem now like those should count. Let’s move on and explore relevant buffs. The following buffs are classified into sub-groups to better highlight their usefulness and showcase different options.

Damage Increasing Buffs

Atiesh, Greatstaff of the Guardian: +2% Spell Crit to all party members within 30 yards. (Does not stack with Moonkin Aura)
Rallying Cry of the Dragonslayer: +10% Spell Crit, +140 Attack power and +5% melee crit.
Songflower Serenade: +5% Spell Crit & Melee Crit, +15 all stats.
Slip’kik’s Savvy: +3% Spell Crit.
Moonkin Form: +3% Spell Crit.

Runn Tum Tuber Surprise: +10 Intellect.
Wisdom of Agamaggan: +10 Intellect.
Headmaster’s Charge: +20 Intellect.
Arcane Intellect: +31 Intellect.

Flask of Distilled Wisdom: +2000 mana for 2 hr. You can only have the effect of one flask at a time.
Warchief’s Blessing: +10 mana every 5 seconds, +15% Melee Haste, +300 Hp.
Mana Spring Totem: +10 mana every 2 seconds.
Mageblood Potion: +12 mana every 5 seconds.
Brilliant Mana Oil: +12 mana every 5 seconds. (A weapon buff & not a part of the 32 max buffs)
Innervate: +400% mana regen for 20 sec.

Sayge’s Dark Fortune of Damage: 10% damage. (A Intellect version of this buff also exists)
Flask of Supreme Power: +150 damage done by magical spells & effects for 2 hr. Only 1 flask effect can be active at a time.
Greater Arcane Elixir: +20 damage dealt from spells & abilities.
Traces of Silithyst: +5% damage to melee, range and spell damage dealt.
Power Infusion: +20% spell damage & healing for 15 sec.
Brilliant Wizard Oil: +36 spell damage and increases Spell Critical chance by 1% .

Mark of the Chosen: 2% chance when struck in combat of increasing all stats by 25 for 1 min.
Spirit of Zandalar: +15 all stats, +10% move speed.
Mark of the Wild: +16 all stats, +384 armor, +27 all resistances.

Elixir of Greater Firepower: Increases spell fire damage by up to 40 for 30 min.
Blessing of Blackfathom: +15 frost damage, +5 Intellect and +5 spirit.

Limited Invulnerability Potion: Immune to physical attacks for 6 sec. (Also, prevents any threat generation for its duration)Resistance Specific Increasing BuffsHide
Greater Fire Protection Potion: Absorbs 1950 to 3250 fire damage.
Fire Resistance Totem: +60 fire resistance.
Frozen Rune: Absorbs 1500 to 2500 fire damage.
Juju Ember: +15 fire resistance for 10 min.

Greater Frost Protection Potion: Absorbs 1950 to 3250 frost damage.
Frost Resistance Totem: +60 frost resistance.
Juju Chill: +15 frost resistance for 10 min.

Greater Nature Protection Potion: Absorbs 1950 to 3250 nature damage.
Nature Resistance Totem: +60 nature resistance.

Greater Shadow Protection Potion: Absorbs 1950 to 3250 shadow damage.
Crystal Basilisk Spine: Increases Frost and Shadow resistance by 10 for 1 min.
Gift of Arthas: +10 Shadow resistance for 30 min.
Shadow Protection: +30 Shadow resistance for 10 min.

Mind Control Buffs

I wouldn’t be thorough if I didn’t mention the wonderful world of Mind Control buffing. It is possible for an alliance priest to use their basic shadow spell: Mind Control or someone with the engineering to create and use the head slot item Gnomish Mind Control Cap against players of the opposing faction. For that duration the mind controlled Horde character is now considered an Alliance player. This allows the character to receive buffs from paladins. In the many guild raids I’ve taken part, we’d have 2-3 players log onto to their lvl 60 pallies and level 60 priests and stationed themselves near the raid entrance or zone for mind control buffing. It is also possible for a priest of any faction to Mind Control certain mobs which can be controlled to dish out beneficial buffs to all raid members. In order, to fully utilize the duration of these buffs, its advised to have warlock be ready for immediate summoning. I talk about it here, but feel free to also read below.

Mind Control Buffs

Mind Control Buffs from Mobs

  • Fury of Ragnaros: Comes from Twilight Emissary in BRD, he increases the magical damage dealt by an ally by 25 for 30 min.
  • Resist Arcane: From Scarlet Medic in Plaguelands, increases Arcane resistance by 78 for 1 hr. (tooltip assumes a lvl1 character)
  • Resist Fire: Scarshield Spellbinder in BWL, he increases an ally’s Fire resistance by 81 for 1 hr. (tooltip assumes a lvl1 character)

Special Event Buffs

On an ending note for buffs, we can also get buffs from special events/holidays. An example, is The Midsummer Fire Festival a seasonal event that celebrates the hottest season of the year. It starts on the (earthly) northern summer solstice, and lasts about two weeks (mid-late June to early July, usually). The next ones are Love is in the Air, Lunar Festival, Wickerman Festival and Scourge Invasion that all feature some useful buffs for us.

Special Event Buffs

Love is in the Air (February 11 – February 16):
Stormwind Gift Collection: Increases Intellect by 30 for 1 hour.
Undercity Gift Collection: Increases Intellect by 30 for 1 hour.

Midsummer Fire Festival (June 21 – July 5):
Midsummer Sausage: Increases damage done from spells by up to 23 for 1 hr.
Fire Festival Fury: Increases critical strike percent and spell critical strike percent by 3% for 1 hr.
Very Berry Cream: Increases damage done from spells by up to 23 for 1 hr.

New Year’s Eve (December 31st):
Celebrate Good Times!: +10% to all stats for 30min.

Lunar Festival (Jan 24 – Feb 7):
Elune’s Blessing: All stats increased by 10% for 1hr.

Wickerman Festival (October 18th – November 1st)
Wickerman Festival (October 18th – November 1st)
Invocation of the Wickerman: Increase health & mana regeneration by 25% and Stamina by 25%.

Scourge Invasion (During the opening of Naxxramas)
Soul Revival: Increases all damage caused by 10% for 30 minutes.

In conclusion, let’s compile all of the buffs we have seen.
Here is a screenshot of the best buffs, we can get for our means:
Here is a screenshot of realistic buffs, we can get for our means:


There can be a total of 16 debuffs applicable on a boss. Having as many debuffs on the boss as possible is of paramount importance to dealing as much damage as possible. All debuffs on the list below benefit us and are assumed to be at their maximum rank or talent improvement. The following debuffs are classified into sub-groups to better highlight their usefulness and showcase different options.


Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker: Reducing the target’s nature resistance bolsters the damage of our nature spells.
Stormstrike: Bolsters the damage of our nature spells.

Nightfall: Increases the damage of our spells and totems.
Gift of Arthas: Usually, consumed by tanks.

Winter’s Chill: Used to bolster the damage of Frost Shock.

Improved Scorch: For bolstering the damage of fire totems.
Flame Buffet
from: (Arcanite Dragonling): To increase the damage of fire totems.


When elemental shamans are talked about, they are often associated with going out of mana quickly. However, this is an outdated notion involving a lack of information or commitment from players to rectify. This isn’t to say they never run out of mana, but rather that it is greatly exaggerated. Of course, the shorter a boss fight the better. Below is a list of mana regenerative items, you should look to acquire.

In order of granted mana:
Major Mana Potion grants a good chunk of mana and drops throughout the world quite often. (shares a CD with the below item)
Major Rejuvenation Potion quite expansive but also grants health.
Demonic Rune converts health into mana.(shares a CD w/below items)
Lily Root is created from a neck item and saves on time, money, etc… (the single root will disappear after 1hr.)
Night Dragon’s Breath takes care of mana & health. Very easy to acquire so get a large amount and place them in the bank.

Another solution is to equip Blade of Eternal Darkness & cast Rank1 Lightning Bolt to trigger Elemental Focus and re-equip your normal weapon to cast Chain Lightning. Later on in this guide we will explore Totems and downranking spells in Rotation to further aid with mana management.


Unfortunately, the gear we desire is also desired by other casters. Therefore, I suggest acquiring the gear listed in the Spreadsheet while assuming the role of a healing restoration shaman in the raid. Also, try your best to come the closest to 16% spell hit, we grab spell hit whenever possible. Down below, is a breakdown of stat priorities.

On long fights (+2.30min) prioritise Intellect over Spell Crit. Otherwise: Nature Damage>Spell Damage>Spell Crit>Intellect

Although, gearing seems simple, certain stat amounts on gear can have it trump the above stat priority order. Down below is a Gear Spreadsheet with a plethora of options for proper gearing.

Gear Spreadsheet

Down below are Best in Slot gear sets by Phase.


Down below is an Enchant Spreadsheet:

Enchant Spreadsheet


There is only 1 talent setup for elemental. (Technically, there is another but it involves being in melee and swinging a weapon and borders on too much of an enhancement playstyle thus deserving its own guide.)

“The Basic” 31/0/20

WoW Classic Elemental Shaman Talent
The default talent setup that is commonly used by most elemental shamans. Once you regularly, acquire a high amount of spell crit from buffs, a point is withdrawn from Elemental Mastery and placed in Nature’s Swiftness. However, most people prefer the point in Nature Swiftness from the get go as an emergency healing button to alleviate stress from healers.


We’ll be asking our shamanistic brothers from the restoration side to land a hand in optimizing totem utility, so be considerate and compliment each others strengths within the group. Each individual totem listed below is in order of importance per category. Keep in mind, there can only be one type of totem per shaman so having another totem slave in the group is largely welcomed. Also the handful totems in our stockpile have different durations


  • Stoneskin Totem: Generally is used if you happen to be in the tank raid group, which should not be the case.
  • Strength of Earth Totem: Usually, placed by a healing shaman with the talent: Enhancing Totems
  • Stoneclaw Totem: Diverts loose mobs off your tail and quickly allows readjusting of a target’s positioning.
  • Tremor Totem: Mainly a situational totem to use when a boss encounter has fear, charm and sleep mechanics.
  • Earthbind Totem: A tool for kiting/running possible unbound trash in an instance.



  • Grace of Air Totem: We are rarely in melee range, if not ever.
  • Windfury Totem: We are rarely in melee range, if not ever.
  • Nature Resistance Totem: Advantageous for fights involving high doses of nature damage, such as: Ahn’Qiraj.
  • Tranquil Air Totem: Every raid group has a fellow totem putting down this totem, avoid dropping in the tank group within a raid.
  • Grounding Totem: Useful for redirecting ranged spells from susceptible mobs and bosses.
  • Windwall Totem: Unfortunately, doesn’t see much utility in most fights.



World of Warcraft as a default only offers a few action bars to players, so consider installing an addon to increase the numbers of action bars available. Also, I suggest installing an addon that displays the bosses resistances. Totems are not included in this section.

Lightning Bolt Rank10: The most commonly casted spell within our toolkit. Lightning Bolt Rank9: is used if Elemental Focus fails to proc after 3-4 casts of the previous spell. (see: Rotation for more info)

Chain Lightning: The second most commonly casted spell within our toolkit with a costly mana tax to it.

Flame Shock: Used, if Flame Buffet among other fire related buff/debuffs are active. (situational, see Rotations.)

Frost Shock: Used, if the target is dying in less than 2.5 seconds or you must move around. (situational, see Rotations.)


The following rotation will assume a simple tank-spank boss with very minimal or no nature resistance allowing our totemic friend to freely cause havoc unhindered. The following rotation is split into several sections to better highlight the course of action. Naturally, if you are unable to accomplish certain aspects of the rotation, simply weed out what you can.

  • Pre-pull: Before the boss is pulled, make sure you’re fully buffed and the appropriate totems are placed. If you can, try and get Elemental Focus by attacking a nearby critter or from the previously attacked mob.

The moment the tank initiate combat with the boss, proceed with the following.

  • Pulling: Cast max rank Lightning Bolt and just before the bolt hits the boss, activate Limited Invulnerability Potion, all the while moving forward until 20 yards from the boss. Immediately, follow it up with Chain Lightning. At this point, all damage increasing debuffs should be on the boss.
  • Combat: If Stormcaller’s Garb effect isn’t active yet, cast Rank1 Lightning Bolt until it procs, once it does then activate Talisman of Ephemeral Power and cast Chain Lightning every time its off cooldown, otherwise cast Lightning Bolt until the end of the trinket’s duration.
  • Throughout the fight: Do you have good gear, buffs and mana regenerative items? (refer to GEAR to value your gear)
    • Yes: Cast Chain Lightning when Garb procs. Otherwise, continuously cast Rank10 Lightning Bolt.
      • If Garb procs but Chain Lightning just went on cooldown, cast Lightning Bolt.
      • If Garb procs but Chain Lightning is coming off cooldown in 0.5 sec, wait the 0.5 sec to cast Chain Lightning.
      • If below 18% mana and Elemental Focus procs then cast Chain Lightning, otherwise cast Rank10 Lightning Bolt.
      • If Elemental Focus fails to proc after 3-4 casts, Rank8 Lightning Bolt is used until Elemental Focus is procced which is used to either cast Chain Lightning if active, if not Rank10 Lightning Bolt.
  • No: Cast Chain Lightning when Garb & Elemental Focus proc at the same time. Otherwise, cast Rank9 Lightning Bolt.
    • If after 4 casts of Rank9 Lightning Bolt fails to trigger Elemental Focus, cast Rank8 twice and repeat.
  • Situational:
    • If Power Infusion is cast on you for a certain portion of a fight, prioritize casting Chain Lightning above all.
    • In the same fashion, synergize your trinket activation with Garb proc, cast Chain Lightning followed by a Nature Swiftness, triggered by Lightning Bolt. Technically, you can combo Nature Swiftness, Lightning Bolt and Garb as your trinket reaches 1sec (this is optimal) but it’s unpredictable, so I suggest activating Berserking when your trinket has 10 seconds left. Use an addon to see you health in percentages and activate Goblin Sapper Charge & remove stamina buffs ex: Power Word: Fortitude or Demonic Rune to reach that health amount.
    • If you need to move from one point to another, cast Frost Shock and Goblin Sapper Charge while moving and Crystal Charge once again if moving is needed later on.


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4 years ago

Insane guide, great job.
Even tho I dislike shamans, they bring up a lot of burst damage in PvP. Haven’t seen any PvE elemental yet, I hope this give more people the incentive of doing so.

4 years ago

Really good guide gj!
(you’re making me re-evaluate this class tbh LUL)

4 years ago

Will you make a guide about this melee elemental shaman, focusing on shocks? I want to try a max melee and spell hit build, focusing on int and spell power, with 2h weapon and as much procs as possible (maelstrom trinket, windfury, lifestealing etc)

4 years ago

All of your guides are amazing guys :DD
Splendid job

4 years ago

There’s also a missing belt:

The enchant list shows 1% haste, however to my knowledge that is melee haste only, not for casting speed.

Sorry for doublepost. I wasn’t registered and now I can’t edit my previous unregistered post, so I registered to prevent this mistake in the future.

4 years ago

What an amazing guide! I hope I get to raid as elemental shaman, since it’s the most appealing spec to me, but all I’ve heard that they suck and people don’t like to bring them to raids (or at least when the raids are current content in phases ie. MC in phase 1). I don’t mind raiding as resto but ele shaman has 100% captured my interest. I also have a question regarding specs, how much does 31/0/20 outperform 30/0/21 in PvE?

4 years ago

Thanks for the guide here.

I’m tempted to go ele shaman, but it just feels super weak. Nature damage is a huge problem, and mana management seems like a huge problem.

Are there any other perks that can sell me on the class? I’ve done well solo-ing elites on a private server while leveling an ele shaman, but is that reasonable at level 60 on like DM East trash?

Additionally, what sucks is that the gear that an ele shaman needs to succeed all comes in with Phase 4 and ZG, but all the other casters also benefit from most of these same items so it’s not like it really helps them out any more than the rest of the classes that an ele shaman is already behind.

4 years ago

Very nice guide Caperfin! I was just looking into possibly dpsing as an ele shaman so this will be helpful in making my decision 🙂

4 years ago

I was wondering why you have put two 2-handed maces with +heals so high in the weapon spreadsheet.
I’m talking about the Hammer of Divine Might and the Hammer of the Grand Crusader.
Is this a mistake? It’s not even probable that an elemental has the 2-handed mace/axe talent right..?

Nice guide though!

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