- Author: Passion
- Date: November 7, 2023
- Updated: December 2, 2023
- Expansion: WoW Classic
After almost 20 years it is finally here. An actual Shaman tank build, complete with a Taunt and heavy damage mitigation. We may only be capped at level 25 so far, but that doesn’t stop us from doing some great things.
Tanking as a Shaman relies entirely on the new Runes added in Season of Discovery. Through the Molten Blast Rune we gain a way to generate AoE threat, and Way of Earth brings us up to the level of other tanks, including built in Crit Immunity and a Taunt.
Your game plan relies on keeping Molten Blast on cooldown, and Flame Shock running at all times, on as many targets as possible. Every tick has a 10% chance to reset Molten Blasts cooldown, giving you great AoE potential. You will also want to keep Lightning Shield running as much as possible. This may not end up being the easiest task of course, as enemies will always be hitting you, knocking your stacks off immediately.
Along with this, you want to utilize your Totems effectively. If you can’t Taunt, you can drop Stoneclaw Totem or Earthbind Totem to buy yourself time. During most fights you will want to keep Stoneskin Totem and Healing Stream Totem down, as well as shifting between either Fire Nova Totem or Searing Totem depending on the fight. If the enemies Fear, throw down a Tremor Totem. If they Poison, throw down a Poison Cleansing Totem. If the damage doesn’t warrant Stoneskin Totem, swap to Strength of Earth Totem for a bit of bonus damage.
This Rune regenerates 4% of our maximum mana each time we block. Additionally, it grants us additional Armor, Block Chance, and Block Value. This is a vital part of the build, and without it we will absolutely struggle to maintain enough Mana to last through a fight.
If you find yourself as an off-tank, not being actively hit by enemies, or against an enemy that is purely a caster, you may want to swap to the Dual Wield Specialization Rune, and forego a Shield entirely.
This Rune grants us a vital addition to our kit, AoE damage. This hits a cone in front of the user, dealing a chunk of Fire damage and generating bonus threat. This is the Shamans answer to Cleave, Swipe, and Thunder Clap.
During a purely single target fight, you may want to opt for another Rune, but this is likely to still be your best choice even on single target. If you are an off-tank, Lava Lash can be combined with Dual Wield Specialization for a decent damage combination.
This Rune is the glue that holds our entire build together. While Rockbiter Weapon is active, we generate double threat, have 30% more health, take 10% less damage, are Crit Immune, and our Earth Shock becomes a melee range Taunt. This Rune is mandatory any time you are tanking.
If you find yourself relegated entirely to DPS during a fight, you can swap this to Shamanistic Rage to make sure you can maintain your Mana during the fight, as you will not be blocking.
There are numerous ways to build for a Tank Shaman. More defensive oriented builds will want to grab Shield Specialization, and Anticipation. AoE DPS focused builds will likely prefer Reverberation, allowing them to keep Flame Shock running on even more targets.
As our max level is 25, we are very limited on what we can take. If we want 5 points in Reverberation, we cannot get more than 1 point in Shield Specialization, giving us a blow to our Mana in single-target fights.
If we go full Enhancement, we can get one point in Flurry. This point won’t make a world of difference, especially as we will be using a single one-handed weapon, but it can definitely help. Alternatively, you may want to spend points on Enhancing Totems if your group will benefit from Strength of Earth heavily.
If we instead opt for full Elemental, we can get one point in Elemental Devastation. This is very easy to proc on AoE fights, as Molten Blast hits multiple targets. Alternatively, we could grab one point in Improved Fire Totems, giving us a bit more reliable AoE DPS from Fire Nova Totem. I don’t personally believe this will be worth it. You’re the tank, it is up to you if the mobs will stay in your Fire Nova Totems radius!
Key Spells and Abilities
We want to have this running on our weapon at all times. This is effectively our Defensive Stance or Bear Form. Unfortunately for us, our stance has a 5-minute duration, so we will need to be refreshing it often. Cast it every time you run between packs, drill it in as a habit early and often.
As long as Rockbiter Weapon is active, this is a melee range taunt, and does not share a cooldown with our other Shock spells. Treat it as you would any Taunt ability.
We want to keep this running on as many targets as possible. Every tick has a 10% chance to reset the cooldown on Molten Blast, which will be one of our biggest threat generators and damage dealers. Make sure to refresh it every time it falls off, even in single target!
This is our filler. Whenever we have nothing else to cast, we cast this. We don’t have that many spells in our rotation, so you will end up refreshing Lightning Shield fairly often.
If available in Phase 1, this will be an absolute terror to get your hands on. At level 25, this is one of very few Trinkets available. Unfortunately, you will have to find your way to the middle of Stranglethorn Vale, as well as beat everyone else there and get your hands on 12 Arena Master Trinkets.
At level 25 we are very limited in our choice of Helmet. This may not be the very best option, but it should be readily available to most players. Other options such as Ringed Helm or Humbert’s Helm are better if you can manage to get your hands on them.
While this isn’t a fantastic item, it is again one of the few options available in the slot. Grab it if you want, no one will notice if you don’t.
Dynamite is an iconic tool for Classic WoW, and Season of Discovery is no different. Make sure you stock up, at this level the damage is higher than any of your spells.
This shield is the reward from the quest The Corrupter in Desolace. This requires you to kill two level 40 enemies, including one elite. This will absolutely be a struggle and may even require 10+ players to pull off. If you can get it done, this shield has some of the highest Armor and Block available at level 25.
This is a significantly easier Shield to get your hands on. This is available from the fourth boss in Shadowfang Keep, and can be reliably farmed.
This will be a solid main-hand alternative available from the quest Final Passage in Thousand Needles. Unfortunately, Final Passage will require some effort and probably some help, as it is a long chain.
A very niche option, Iron Knuckles gives you a Chance on Hit to interrupt casting. We could already do that with Earth Shock, but as that is now our taunt we want to avoid wasting it. Additionally, interrupting casting forces the enemy to attack us in melee, allowing us to trigger Shield Mastery. As Horde you will need to make your way into the Stormwind Stockades for this one, so be warned!
As a Bind-on-Equip Rare, this will cost a pretty penny. If you can get your hands on it, the Strength combined with one of the slowest available swing speeds makes this a beast of a weapon, especially if you have a Wild Strikes Druid in your party.
Blood Fury is mostly a no-no for tanking, as reducing your healing received by 50% can very easily be a death sentence. On the other hand, Axe Specialization is fantastic, and Axes are one of few weapon types we can use. There is also a very distinct lack of Hit or Weapon Skill increasing items by level 25, meaning Axe Specialization is even more valuable.
My personal favorite, Trolls deal 5% increased damage to Beasts. They also have access to the very powerful Berserking racial, scaling with your current health. As a tank, you may be able to activate this after a heavy hit to take advantage of the full 30% boost.