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


December 14, 2011

4.3 Quick Tips and Tidbits for Resto Shaman

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Written by: Vixsin
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I went through about 13 or so awkward intros for this post and in the end all I could think to start this off was to say—it’s been one heck of a ride since 4.3 launched. For some, it’s been a trial in patience, as new dungeon heroics and LFR bosses have asked you to venture outside your comfort zone and interact with other people in the world (of warcraft). For others, this marked the start, and possibly end (for those 8/8 DS folks) of progression for the expansion. And for everyone, the bustle and population of the game rose as people logged in to experience all the new things to do and see in game, except transmogrification, because no one was excited about that (/sarcasm).

Arguably, it’s been a busy two weeks for me as well, not only because of 4.3 launch but because I’m starting the final tier of the expansion with Vigil on US Mal’Ganis. They were kind enough to offer my cranky arse a spot on their healing team, as the lone Ancestral Vigor buff, and on last Sunday, earned my undying adoration for letting me snag a coveted title for my resto druid, who double-druid healed her way to Firelord Mynkz (months behind, I know!) But, enough about me—there’s a ton that I want to mention when it comes to the new world of Dragon Soul. So sit down, strap in and get ready for a lightning round of 4.3 tips and tidbits!



  • Possibly the most depressing thing about 4.3 launch was the fact that I was finally forced to give up my precious Shard of Woe, which had its mana reduction nerfed from 405 to 205 mana per cast (which is upwards of a 50k mana impact to my total mana pool). The nerf dropped it out of the BiS running for the tier, which isn’t really that terrible of a thing, because it means that I’ll have the opportunity to try out some of the exciting new trinkets. (Yes, I’ll have a post coming out about trinkets in the next week or so, since for some reason, healers seem to obsess over trinkets more than anything else).
  • If you have a chance to get Heart of Unliving, take it. Because the +Spirit buff now stacks with Mana Tide, and it has a nice dose of static Intellect, I think it’s a viable contender for BiS for Resto Shaman (and especially for their healing teams). One of my guildmates was kind enough to pass it along to me, and I can confirm that I got an additional 6k per MT drop. And because that additional chunck of spirit was passed along to the rest of the healing team, it roughly translated to an extra 35k per drop for our healing team. With a total of 4 drops on Madness, this brought the approximate gain for the healing team up to 140k extra mana. Not too shabby.
  • I said it before, and it’s worth mentioning again that Maw of the Dragonlord will be Best in Slot for every healer out there. I don’t care if Scalpel of Unrelenting Agony has better stats or you like the look of Vagaries of Time more. The proc from Maw is life-altering. Period. End of Story. Get it. Take hostages. Kill (Deathwing) for it. Get this mace. Now. (But don’t roll against me for it LFR, kthx).
  • If you haven’t read this Meta Gem discussion from Derevka, please do. Long story short—if you’re not having mana issues and have a crit level that’s above 10% (so, just about everyone), then you should seriously consider swapping to the Burning Shadowspirit Diamond for the +3% boost to critical heals.
  • I won’t be breaking 4pc T12 until I have 4pc T13. The CH throughput loss simply isn’t worth the mana gain from the awkwardly-designed T13 2pc, not to mention that CH is turning out to be my #1 or #2 Healing Done on most DS encounters. It’s also worth mentioning that when you do get your 4pc, expect your mana consumption to jump a bit, since provided that you do maximize your Spiritwalker’s Grace uptime, your average haste value will be significantly higher, and thus your burn rate will be higher as well.


DS Encounters

  • Although NM damage was moderate, you should be prepared to be a little more OOM as you work your way towards your Destroyer’s End title and then into HM’s. Because almost every Dragon Soul fight incorporates a stack mechanic (even in 10s) you will likely be working more Healing Rain into your rotation than in Firelands. Even in normal modes, I could feel the crunch, so be prepared and don’t skimp on Spirit unless you know you can spare it.
  • TC-friendly fights are back! Warlord Zon’ozz, Haggara and Madness both incorporate +damage dealt mechanics, which will really boost how much mana you have available to spend on both encounters (and will definitely help in hard modes). And, it’s worth mentioning that Morchok, Yor’shaj, and Spine and all have periods of time where there is significantly reduced incoming damage, so working in an LB or two is a viable alternative to standing around regenning.
  • If you are going to be a primary dispeller on Zon’ozz and Haggara (NM and especially in HM), it will be worth your time to go for 2/2 Cleansing Waters. The mana savings will be a boon and the small heal can be a life saver in heavy-damage environments. (Somewhat ironically, I swapped to this spec this week in anticipation of HM Zon’ozz and then we wound up healing through the debuff—d’oh!)
  • Do make sure that you have pets displaying on your raid frames before you go about dealing with Yor’shaj’s Shadow Globule (especially on HM). Because pets do not suffer from Deep Corruption, you can use them as targets for RT and UE without stacking the debuff. Thankfully, only the initial hit of RT counts for the buff, but if you’re in a bind and need the buff, turn to pets. Having Tidal Waves up while Deep Corruption healing will not only increase your throughput, but give you faster GHW’s and thus more chance to proc an AA on a low HP raid member. (Also, remember to keep your HST totem down–the hot won’t proc stacks either).
  • Let Ultraxion padding begin! I’m delighted to see a healer-centric fight that actually lets healers have a little bit of fun seeing some big numbers, but oh the G5 battles that this boss is going to cause. At present, we’ve been utilizing Shamans and Druids on Red, Priests on Green, and Pallies on Blue. Although we could easily swap the Druids and Shamans off red, we found that it offered much quicker raid stabilization, and helped offset the mana issues that Priests and Pallies can have when spamming AOE healing for 5 minutes straight.
  • Spine of Deathwing debuffs are a pain in the ass, but the key to the encounter is knowing they’re there in the first place. On normal difficulty, Searing Plasma will absorb 200k healing done (obviously, this does not include absorbs—they need to be direct heals). And, it will remain on the target until it is removed, so it behooves you and your healing team to keep a close eye on who has the debuff. Do note that excessive Healing Rain usage is only the “right” answer when Amalgamations get close to exploding; the rest of the time you will want to stick addressing the debuff through the cheapest (yet still timely) way possible. This means your best solution for removing the debuff is to toss an RT on affected targets, and then start using them as primary bounces for CH. Work in some GHW’s to speed things up, and you should see a marked improvement in the amount of mana you have available.



  • DO get yourself into Looking for Raid (LFR). Even if you walked out of Firelands in full BiS 391/397 gear, it’s still worth picking up some LFR tokens to supplement your tier and have a shot at an upgraded belt (Belt of Shattered Elementium), a good ring (Signet of Suturing), trinkets (Windward Heart and Heart of Unliving), and the amazing and tasty Maw of the Dragonlord. So grab a couple of guildies (the more you have, the smoother it will go) and get your PuG on. If you’re nervous about herding all the LFR cats, arm yourself with MMO Melting Pot’s Quick LFR Guide and look like a hero when your group sails through 8/8.
  • Although I always struggle to author posts during progression, it’s much easier to find time to Tweet. So, for tips and tidbits like these, in bite-sized 140-character snippets, do feel free to follow me on Twitter: Vixsin_LiG5.
  • Lastly, brace yourself when you look at meters … Resto Shaman will be doing better in this final tier of the expansion. Although I wholeheartedly dislike the fact that we’re being “propped up” by fights that favor our Mastery (HM: Yorshaj, Maddness, Ultraxion) and allow us to showcase our healing strengths (stacked raids), I’m optimistic that Maddness HM kills will benefit from having a Resto Shaman in raid. And I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough!


  1. Now don’t knock free and easy recognition for shaman kind ^^ I’m personally having terrible luck with *anything* from LFR, but I think it’s because I’m spoiled from being the only casting leatherworker!

    I was wondering if pets would work for targets, thanks for the tip, I’ll be sure to pass it on.
    Windsoar´s last post ..Fall of the Firelord

  2. Thanks very much for the mention! I’m *really* glad that people are finding the LFR tactics useful.

    Anything we could do to make them even better?

  3. Seeing you are still running with ~916 haste my question is, what are your thoughts on 2005 now?
    I would like to reforge to 2005 haste after i got Heart of Unliving which will allow me to reforge out of spirit (which i don`t dare just yet).

    I have seen a lot of discussion recently about this and i seemed well worth it for the extra tick of HR and ~15 % more haste.

  4. hey,
    awsome, congratulation for being recruited by Vigil (World 14; Tier 12 (25)).

    nice post, i was missing some words from you about this new tier, cause a lot of shaman-blog’s authors retire little by little.
    And i’m looking forward to your post about trinkets, whereas it isn’t that difficult this time, finding the a suitable trinket for yourself.

    PS:sorry for my bad english, I’m not used writing in this language

  5. Oooh I love the pet idea for heoric Yor’shaj’s. Anyone know a good Grid resourse ? I am having trouble getting stacks of Deep Corruption to show on my grid

  6. From what I’ve heard, chain heal is only affected off the initial cast? Could we use the pets for this? (Never really had to think of this before.)
    Welfareheals´s last post ..Dragon Soul Normal Modes

  7. Pábst

    Continue to love the blog as well as agree with most everything you have up so far! I just completed my second full clear of the DS with my guild Akama, and it is by far the most fun i’ve had in a raid yet. We are competing for best 25m guild on our server with one other guild but have yet to down a HM. Our healing team is a bit weak to say the least..We have another shaman who I have had to teach, 2 pretty good resto druids and a priest. Im the only healer who has parsed on multiple fights this tier as well as 4.2. We havent had luck picking up a decent 6th healer yet although we have some trials for after xmas, so fingers crossed. My point is, although we’re struggling as a healing core, I enjoy the challenge of having to carry. It’s frustruating to have the healers take the blame sometimes but I personally tend to get the support and praise from other guildees for holding the team down. I look forward to reading more, best of luck with .

  8. Rezarific

    Awesome post as usual!!!!

    cant wait to see your trinket post and spot on with the MAW as MH. just a few piece of info….

    your other trinket should be the Heroic : Jaws of Defeat. they fixed it so the proc on the CD is now caused by Hots. also the t 13 4 pc is amazing. i just got it ( with all 397 pieces i might add) and with that, hero, and my haste cap at 2005. i gain roughly 112% haste for 25s. my question is. does that affect my HR and RT tics?

    i personally have tried 2005 haste reforged out of spirit to gain mastery and i love it. it makes TC alot more fun to use and you feel like your doing more than just casting healing rain and waiting on a long CH cast. plus. with holy pallys being as OP as they are as raid healers the high mastery low haste of 916 is wasted. with mass damage comes you need to be faster with less healing in order to accually not be slower than the pally and just over heal. but that just my opinion.

    lastly not sure any noticed but the heal shield OH has had its stats up graded. so now the shield and the regular held on off hand that drop in DS have the same int. so enjoy that.

    again love the post and blogs and its nice to see 1 last shaman site bringing us all the helpful hints we need. happy raiding and enjoy being back on top of the meters guys and gals :)

    ~Rezarific 7/8 DS steamwheedle cartel

  9. Muzei

    I was going to send you an email asking about trinkets today, haven’t seen a good old Vixsin number crunching trinket spread sheet in awhile 😀 (i kid, i kid, I know you’ve been super busy)…so yay for that coming up and for healers obsessing over them o_O?

    I’m still using my Tsunami Card and Core of Ripeness, and cant seem to pry myself away from them. I don’t have access to HM drops and I’m not even sure if that would help. I’m hoping to have some luck in the LFR with the trinkets you mentioned, but not as of yet!

  10. Vixsin,

    As usual you are so much more eloquently able to relate what I struggle to do so! Thanks for the heads up on everything, and I couldn’t agree more on LFR. It can be a huge pain in the arse, but for the upgrades and awareness of the encounters, it’s worth it. Please don’t ever leave our resto community, we’d be lost without you!
    Somnar´s last post ..New Site!

  11. Dragahn

    Just one thing about Mana Tide and Heart of Unliving: if i’m not mistaken MT is only a simple 200% buff on everyone’s spirit. The Shaman’s own spirit doesn’t matter. The mana granted by MT on the raid is only the mana granted by *their* spirit over the time when the totem is up.

  12. Myts

    Hi Vix and other fellow shamans and thanks for the very usefull thougths on 4.3 (as always).

    One question related to an ongoing debate among the healing team in my guild, what do you think about shamans (in 25 heroic mode that is) as main tank healers now that Hpals are so strong at raid healing? I have the feeling that a tank healing role still enables shamans to greatly contribute to raid healing through healing rain (active for 10 seconds) when Hpals have a bit of a harder time throwing in a holy radiance or two.

    Everyone’s thought on this would be appreciated. We do not have a discpriest in our healing team but we do have plenty of shams, pals and druides and really wonder what the best tank healing combo would be :-) Thanks!

  13. Halidax

    I’m still going strong with my FL HC set as I have been very unfortunate in both LFR, guild normals and our first steps into heroic.

    Still, I’m out healing other healers while keeping my over healing below them, which I can attest to bringing a smile back to my face after what has been a hellish term this expansion. I feel very gimmicky though with the fights all benefiting my abilities and I still don’t like it how Ancestral Vigor can’t be tracked.

    Since I’ve been unfortunate in drops I haven’t set aside the time to look at loot tables too heavily, although I am aware of the trinkets etc. I wonder if you will be doing a quick run through of what you feel is BiS for your healing style – which I find is a fair representation of my own – if you have time Vixin.

    Thanks for the blogs btw, as usual. I take great solace from reading them.

  14. Thank for your great post, helps a lot!

    I’m just wondering, is it worth giving up my full 391 T12 for the full dungeonfinder T13? Haven’t got one “real” tier piece yet, since I’ve been unluky with the rolls, but I have all 5 pieces from the dungeonfinder one.
    The stats are worse overall, so I guess no? That mini-heroism seems tasty, but so is the 25% bosst to CH from the T12…

  15. Yopax

    Sooooo … 3 resto shamans in the two final Dragon Soul Heroic encounters, done by KIN . That’s quite a turn from last Firelands (and 5 shamans in total on Madness).

  16. Kapzug

    Just found your site and I really enjoy all the resto-specific info in one place. After seeing KIN’s three restos were all spec’d focused insight, do you think this will be the setup for DS?

    I tried it last night in our normal 10m run, and while my hps was down slightly, my overall healing totals were higher (I suspect due to more time casting flame shock and LB). Just wondering if any other shaman are trying this…

  17. Goodstuffs

    Thanks for the tips and tidbits, Vixen. I’ve been looking forward to it.

    I raid 10 mans only, and I thought I’d share our tactic for healing debuffs on Spine in normal mode. (I usually run with a holy priest and resto druid.) My job is to keep the tanks alive and keep an eye on stunned targets.

    I generally throw out some healing waves on the debuffed targets while the main tank isn’t taking much damage. For the most part. the druid and priest heal up a large part of the debuff. When 2 or 3 people suddenly sit on 50% hp, I step in to put some mastery fuelled GHWs on them. The other healers instincively know that when this happens, they have to take over the tank healing.

    This works beautifully for my healing team and takes full advantage of shaman mastery.

  18. jay

    Hi there i raid 10 man ds and was wondering what kind of stats i should have to improve my healing. i currently have have just over the haste cap(940) and 3488 spirit (although i have not been lucky with the heart of unliving yet) 1100 crit and mastery, what should my mastery and crit be at before i can start reforging or gemming for more haste. and if i manage to win the heart of unliving should i be reforging some spirit to haste? thank you in advance to any 1 who takes the time to put some feed back down. i

    • I’d be happy to provide you with some gearing commentary and suggestions–just shoot me an email with your armory link along with what type of guild you’re in (10/25) and the content that you’re working on.

      In regards to your questions …
      the levels of crit, haste, and mastery that you should be using will vary based on the type of content you’re doing (normal modes versus hard modes), the encounter’s damage patterns, and the spells you’re using. For example, on a fight like Sprine, where you should be using a large amount of CH and HR regardless of your raid size, Mastery will be incredibly valuable. In contrast, on a fight like Hagara which oftentimes has very bursty single-target damage, Crit will take precedence for someone who uses a lot of single-target heals.

      To further complicate things, the amount of Spirit that you need will be entirely dependent on your playstyle. I use mana like it’s going out of style, so that means I typically have a much higher total Spirit value than other shaman who are doing the same fights. But, as a general rule of thumb, if you’re ending fights with >40% mana, then you should start dropping some Spirit for secondary stats.

  19. Hey Vixsin, hows spine going? Fights like Ultraxion and Unsleeping really made me a believer in mastery so far this tier, but after our first night of attempts on spine it really feels like I am not getting much from it and have reforged back to haste. This should also help with TC during Tendon burns, 1 or 2 more LBs and my mana would be totally buoyant so thats my plan, just wondering how you are dealing with the fight, mastery or not? And how you are managing your mana.


  20. Captplanet

    I’ve been healing end-game content for about 4 years now. I’ve been main healing as a resto shaman since Hyjal/BT/Sunwell days. I’m in a new guild on a new server now working on hm spine 25m. I feel my healing is doing pretty good, but I’m wondering if there’s anything else I can do to push more hps.

    I don’t use mouse over macros to heal, so I’m thinking maybe this is part of it. I’ve always healed via xperl raid frames and I have attempted to use others(pitbull, grid, vuhdo) but I can’t seem to get myself to adapt to them as well as I have adapted to xperl(been using xperl since I first started healing). Not sure if mouse overs can make that much of a difference, but if it does I would definitely force myself to make the switch.

    Feel free to look over some logs and provide any suggestions you may have for me. Again, I’m pretty well rounded as a resto shaman, but I feel there’s something I can do to improve my healing more but I’m not exactly sure what that is.

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