Life in Group 5 – A Resto Shaman Blog
A resto shaman perspective on raiding


August 26, 2011

Resto Shaman BiS for Tier 12

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Written by: Vixsin
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You’ve been searching for it, you’ve been asking for it, and after a month and a half of hot Firelands action (/snicker), it’s finally time to start talking about it—that ever-coveted Resto Shaman Best in Slot. We’ve got one hell of a good looking tier set this time around—who doesn’t want to wear a crown of flames?!—and I know a number of you are already well on your way to having a very shiny gearset (or two). In which case, the following sets should give you the confirmation that you’re looking for. But, as you wander about Ragnaros’ domain, shopping list in hand (wtf aisle has those shiny new rep rings?!), there are a couple things you should know. Because with Tier 12 comes some good and some bad news, and the reappearance of a familiar face.

So first let’s talk good news. Possibly the best part about building your own Molten Volcanic Fiery Red Set of Awesome is that you don’t have very many pieces to choose from, so much like Tier 11, your rings, cloak, belt, bracer and neck options are quite limited. And when it comes to boots, an offhand, and a relic, your choices are even more narrow. So really, the slots you have to play with are a limited bunch, and with reforging available at the drop of a hat, the gear you do have can be very flexible.

Now, the bad news. Okay, it’s not so much “bad” as it is something that I think might make a number of players nervous. Now brace yourself here … wait for it … *ahem* … there’s really no clear front-runner when it comes to Resto Shaman stats. Yes, I know, it’s shocking, but let me explain. The stats that seem to dominate normal modes are not the stats that dominate hard modes, and depending on your spell distribution, your stats can even vary fight to fight. So, ultimately, there are a multitude of directions that you can go with your Best in Slot, and all of them are represented in the top parses on WoL.\


My Direction for Vixsin

As with every tier (and as I’ve said before), issuing Best In Slot lists is always something that I struggle with. To be quite honest, I don’t really start thinking about “Best in Slot” until we’re almost done with that tier of content, because in all reality, it was the previous tier’s BiS that needs to carry me through progression. Thus, at the start of the new tier, my sets become a hodgepodge of old items and whatever has dropped through the course of our new kills. In contrast, at the end of content, I generally have every possible piece of loot in my bags (one of the perks of having content on farm for so long), so that I can pick and choose at will, and make any stat adjustments necessary when I get into the subsequent tier.

But, just to elaborate on my mindset while I’m working my way through content, I generally stick to the following gearing tenants:

  1. Assume Mastery for new fights. The first time I face off against any boss, I’ll be in max Mastery gear on the presumption that we’re going to be struggling to hold out for as long as possible while we figure out strats, work through bugs, and generally get situated. Since Mastery is going to allow me to do more healing with the same amount of mana, it’s the only way to go if I think we’re going to be knee-deep in triage.
  2. Pick up what I can. If it’s a mail piece that I can use, regardless of whether it has Crit in place of my current piece’s Mastery or has no Spirit where I currently have some, I’ll find a way to make it work. Generally speaking, higher ilvl is better (with the exception of tier bonuses).
  3. Have alternate pieces with Crit and Haste. Again, this is a convenience for me personally and something I think most other players can simply accomplish through reforging. But, the principle here is to be prepared to switch around my stat distribution based on the TYPE of spells that I’m using in the encounter.
  4. Later fights will require more Spirit. As is typical for most instances, the later fights are the more trying in terms of individual performance but also in terms of longevity, and Firelands upholds this standard in its entirety. So while PC crushed HM Shannox with me at 2200 Spirit, I knew that going into Rag with the same amount wouldn’t be possible. Knowing this ahead of time though, made it possible for me to be prepared when the time came.


Set Options

After spending just under two months in Firelands, the conclusion that I’ve come to is a fairly simple one (and one that I had back in the days of Ulduar)—it’s all about multiple sets. Your healing distribution in some fights won’t be the same as it is in others, especially when you get into hard modes. (If it is, then we need to have a talk). And this means that the stats you should shoot for will be different, from fight to fight, because the value of a secondary stat is based on the spell that you’re casting. And it’s important to remember that Resto Shaman are unique in this respect, because of the way that our Mastery is designed. (Good lord, you’re going to get tired of me saying that).

So, how does this impact Resto Shamans’ Best in Slot list for Tier 12? Well, it means that instead of one “best” list, you’re going to have several to choose from:

As I said before, flexibility is king—you need and should want to tailor your stats depending on your raid team and the encounter in front of you. And unlike other healers whose stats are independent of everyone else (a GHeal , for example will never vary outside of a certain range), Resto Shaman are entirely dependent on the conditions of the raid. But, before you start to despair over the number of items that you think might be included in those “multiple sets” I’m talking about, I’ll let you in on a little secret … you ready? … they all use the same items. So whether you’re trying to max out Crit, dig deep into Mastery, or power your Chain Heals, you’re going to be using the same pieces. And those pieces are:

Back Wings of Flame
Back Flowing Flamewrath Cape
Chest Erupting Volcanic Tunic
Feet Treads of Implicit Obedience
Hands Erupting Volcanic Handwraps
Head Crown of Flame
Legs Erupting Volcanic Legwraps
Main Hand Ko’gun, Hammer of the Firelord
Neck Flowform Choker
Off Hand Ward of the Red Widow
Off Hand Goblet of Anger
Ranged Soulflame Vial
Ranged Singed Plume of Aviana
Ring 1 Quicksilver Signet of the Avengers
Ring 2 Crystal Prison Band
Ring 2 Soothing Brimstone Circle
Shoulder Erupting Volcanic Mantle
Trinket 1 Shard of Woe
Trinket 2 Jaws of Defeat
Waist Firemend Cinch
Wrist Lava Line Wristbands

Now, in the instances in the above list where I’ve included two items, that means that you have some non-Spirit options, if you find yourself swimming in mana, or visa versa. So, if you happen to nab Wings of Flame you can always make up the lost Spirit by grabbing Soothing Brimstone Circle instead of Crystal Prison Band. The same thing goes for Singed Plume of Aviana and Soulflame Vial—you can pick either one and simply supplement them with a different reforging plan.


So What About This “Familiar Face”?

In the recent Resto Shaman mailbag post, I talked about the reasons why for a couple weeks I was sporting massive amounts of haste for HM Ragnaros. And although I ultimately decided the stat investment just wasn’t worth the cost and ultimately made my rotation hard to sustain without copious amounts of Spirit, there’s no debating that Resto Shaman are inching back towards a stronger relationship with our old buddy from WotLK. With 2005 haste obtainable in the above BiS Haste set, the end of Firelands means we’ll all be facing the temptation of speedy chain heals and an extra tick of RT. And while some of us will continue to resist, I know others will cave into their need for speed.

But interestingly enough, as PC settles into farm mode, what I’m finding about the stat cycle I illustrated in the Tier 11 Best in Slot post, is that with its boost to 200%, Crit has pushed its way a little closer to the front. So instead of seeing a swing between Mastery and Haste, what I think we’re seeing is a swing between Mastery and Haste/Crit, especially when it comes to single-target healing. (As usual top WoL parses are a tough gauge of “top” performance since a number of other influences factor into a top parse aside from gear). Regardless, I think it will be interesting to see if this shift in stat preference holds through the final tier of the expansion. Or if, given the effects of stat inflation and the fact that even Blizzard sees an inefficiency rise on the horizon, Resto Shaman will once again find themselves crawling back to haste, full mana bars in hand, looking once again for that edge that only haste can give us.


  1. I’ve found it frustrating being a resto shaman lately. Mainly, like you said, our stats depend so much on our environment. For the last few weeks I’ve been running a haste build of 2005+ (link to my armory as the website) and have been able to support it just fine. I like to keep at least 956 Mastery and crit at least 20% raid buffed the rest I’ll dump into spirit (or crit depending). This has worked well for me and gotten me a few top 200 ranks. I still feel like I lack in areas though. I still play around with my builds, but I’ve found that my current one works best for my situation the majority of the time.

    What trinket would you suggest if Shard of Woe wasn’t an option?

  2. The numbers! Give us the numbers!

    • Check the links to AMR for Haste, Mastery and Balanced BiS. You’ll be able to see the stat weights and thresholds I used for each of the set determinations.

  3. Firestyle

    Wish I still played resto : (

  4. For farm bosses (4 heroic Firelands 25 atm) I am in gear that drops Spirit for Haste!
    I have found my healing style suits this greatly!

    For Beth’ i make a couple of gear changes for more spirit.

    For Alyrazor I even drop Shard of woe for a the reforged rep trinket and have 2050 haste. Was rank 1 on wol last week but the raid leader forgot to record and this week I took rank 25 officialy.

    As bosses come onto farm mode I think Haste will be king.

  5. Aegle

    Very nice list, love how you explained it. But you said, “distribution in some fights won’t be the same as it is in others, especially when you get into hard modes. (If it is, then we need to have a talk).” I’d love to see what you mean, just to confirm I’m not doing something stupid on fights. 😀

    • Well, think about Alysrazor versus Rhyolith or Baleroc versus Beth’ilac.

      On Alys and Bale, you should be using single-target heals the large majority of the time. So RT, HS, GHW, HW. For Alys, yes, you should be mixing in AOE healing during her burnout, but that isn’t the majority of the fight. For Bale, I don’t see cause to ever use HR or CH, because there simply is no AOE damage to address.

      In contrast, on Ryolith and Beth, because of the AOE damage that goes out during the encounter, I would absolutely expect to see a significant amount of CH and HR on any shamans’ parse. Even in 10s, you’re going to use a lot of AOE healing to keep up.

      By way of example, here’s my Alys parse from last week: (with 19% HS, 16% GHW, and 13% HR). Contrast this with my Rhyo parse from last week: (with 37% HR, 32% CH, and 11% EL).

      • Aegle

        Perfect – that’s exactly what I was looking for, thanks! Turns out I’m not doing anything ridiculously stupid. :)

      • Tolimar

        Although I haven’t tried Aly on heroic yet, I’m curious as to why you cast so many HS? With the nerf to it, I thought for the most part we moved away from it for GHW due to it being better HPS and HPM. Is there just that many omg someone is going to die moments on aly?

        • There are a couple reasons my HS usage picks up on Alys HM:

          1. Because of Gushing Wound, I generally turn to HS as a quick pick-up after the debuff falls off.
          2. Because it’s fast, so I can move around tossing out small heals while following my tank around boulders, worms, fires, etc.
          3. Because 5 healers is a bit much on HM these days, so I was out to snipe me some heals. ^_+
          4. Because there’s often that awkward point after I cast 2 TW-buffed GHW’s, where I’m waiting for RT to come off of CD and I want to fill the gap.

          When we first beat the fight over a month ago, my HS usage was about half of what it is today, and GHW usage much higher, because there was simply more to heal. You’re absolutely correct in that it’s a much weaker spell (it generally does about 50% of the healing of GHW), but you have to remember that as gear inflates over the course of an expansion and players start sitting at higher levels of health, it becomes more about speed and less about raw power.

  6. Neil

    what about BIS for people not yet to heroics ….love your ideas/thoughts then you go and do that , not sure if our group will get to heroics so i think you should have made a non heroic list as well

  7. Vistol

    While I know most people who comment here are 25 raiders, I’m curious if anyone has any experience getting to the 2005 haste mark in 10’s? And what kind of results it yields.

    • Sekul

      I tried a 2005 haste build in our 10 and found that my healing took a nose dive. The caveat is that we’re not into heroics yet, so getting there meant some pretty big mastery/crit sacrifices. But it was the fact that with fewer people in the same space, most of my healing distribution was single target.

      The improved cast times were nice but with the stats I had to give up to get it, the heals themselves were noticeably weak. I plan on getting back to the 2005 break after I get some heroic gear and I’m able to do it comfortably without too much of a hit to Mastery and Crit.

  8. Sekul

    I’m a little surprised that you list the Shard of Woe over the Heroic Eye. Could you go into a little detail as to why?

    • While I do think that Eye is a little undervalued in AMR (AskMrRobot), because the HM version with 433 Int is nothing to scoff at, the reason it’s not ranked that highly is twofold. First, with a 45 sec ICD and a heal that does not scale with spellpower, you’re looking at a pretty piddly amount of throughput when compared with something like Jaws. Secondly, and this is a function of the stat weights that I went with, the lack of regen means that its benefits will be significantly devalued because all it offers is straight Int.

      In comparison, SoW offers you a burst haste CD every minute (which, if you’re at 1115 haste, will push you above the haste threshold for HR, granting you another tick). In addition, assuming that you get 2 casts off every 5 seconds, you’re talking 810 mp5, which over the course of a 6-minute encounter, would amount to ~58,000 mana, or 5 casts of HR.

      Using my parse from Beth’ilac last week as an example … rough performance places my HR at around 800 effective healing per tick. Assuming that it hits 15 people per tick (it would likely be hitting much more, but I’m trying to think worst cast here), and has 6 hits per cast, this equates to 72,000 healing done per HR. 72k x 5 = 360k healing done (and this is excluding the Earthliving that’s associated with those HR drops). Now, add in that extra tick that I gained through using SoW’s haste with Healing Rain: 15 people x 1 extra tick x 5 drops x 800 healing done per tick = 60,000. For a total of 420k healing done (give or take 100k).

      In comparison, Blaze of Life (which I wore for the encounter) did 160k healing in that same time frame. So it comes down to the idea that if mana’s an issue, SoW is going to be much more beneficial than Heroic Eye. But, if you have mana to burn, then by all means get the boost from Heroic Eye (which is what I do these days, as I wait for Jaws to drop!)

      • Sekul

        So would it be fair to say that in the Shard vs. the Eye, the determining factor would be if you were hurting for mana in a particular fight.

        I realize that the raw numbers of the extra tick outweigh the healing offered by the Eye’s proc healing but that’s assuming that the extra tick is entirely used in effective healing and not over healing (which is usually where my last tick or two go anyway, NERF DRUIDS!!). Additionally, the added Int from the Eye will affect all of our healing for the entire duration of a fight.

        For those of us raiding 10s it feels like on the surface the Eye would be better outside of fights that really tax our mana (again, the caveat that I’m not into heroics yet). Or am I way off on this?

        • Actually, the calculation that I did above was based on my *effective* healing per HR tick. So those numbers were already discounted to factor in overhealing.

          You are correct though in that the Eye’s +Int, especially the HM version, is significant enough to warrant that you use it in place of a second trinket (which is actually what I do). Because I’m already sacrificing pure throughput by using SoW, I found that my healing was noticeably weaker when I excluded a second Int trinket as well. Because, if you think about it, at that point if I was to use say Jar instead of Eye, I’d be missing out on 796 Int (=two twinkets’ worth) which would equate to 13% of my total spellpower. And that’s a crapton to lose out on.

  9. Zen

    As our guild is extremely casual (we only raid 4-5 hours per week) and are at 6/7 in 10-man normal mode (having just gotten Majordomo down this past week), I’d love to see a BiS non-heroic list and your overall thoughts on normal 10 man gear and stat balance. Trinkets seem to be an issue for me – I can’t really figure out what to use… Is the Revered spirit trinket from the rep vendor really better than either the moonwell chalice or even Tyrande’s Favorite Doll?

    BTW I thouroughly enjoy your site and your opinions on resto shaman healing. I’m healing on my shaman in this ex-pack as our guild already had a priest healer so they asked me to put aside my holy priest and bring my shaman. I’ve had fun, but shaman healing has been frustrating to some extent as well.

  10. Bluedevill

    Love the list, first and foremost. That being said, it’s not like the criteria is all that difficult this time around. Highest ILVL intellect mail gear wins, while keeping the 4 piece t12. I am sad, however, that there are such few options. There isn’t much wiggle room, and it’s hard to squeeze high numbers of any secondary stat in particular (besides spirit) with the options currently available.
    I agree that we will, as a community, mostly start switching over to a haste-donimated build. I wouldn’t be surprised in the least that when 4.3 hits, the go-to build will be something like 2005 haste, then balance spirit and mastery to whatever your mana needs are, leaving the crit residuals that are impossible to leave out (due to lack of options) to get you around 20% crit raid-buffed. Love your posts, and keep up the good work!

  11. Jan

    hey so i was looking at the bis list and was wondering why the axe (Eye of Purification) isnt part of anyone bis

  12. Bluedevill

    Of course, for anyone that DOESN’T have the opportunity to kill heroic Rag for a while, HM Eye will be your best best until that point. Even so, it would be pointless to add that to the list, because it is a best-in-slot list, not a most-accessible list :)

  13. Gunner

    Out of curiosity, on the BIS lists, why is the hard-cap for spirit so high? 5200 seems like an awful lot with procs and such. With my gear, it finds the old heroic Jar to be BIS by a long shot.

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