Orc Shaman, by SupremeDarkling


he Resto Shaman toolbox has expanded significantly since those days when we have 4 ranks of Chain Heal on our bars. In Mists of Pandaria, shaman will be juggling a much more varied arsenal which combines direct heals, hots, passives, cooldowns, and totems. The following section is only going to deal with the spells that Resto Shaman might use during the course of their experience in game. Do note that I’ve omitted discussion of some spells (namely: offensive spells) which don’t constitute core abilities and which would extend this guide by more than a couple pages!  

Discussion about Totems can be found in the subsequent Totem section of the guide. For abilities gained through talents, please see the “Talents” section.


Resto-Only Abilities

The following spells and abilities are those exclusive to the Resto Shaman spec:

  •  Earth Shield – A single-target spell that, once applied, provides a small heal when the target takes damage. Earth Shield is important to keep on a tank or other primary ally in order to benefit from 20% increased healing (by the shaman) to that target. Bear in mind that a target can only have one Earth Shield, so if you have another Resto Shaman in raid, it’s advisable to coordinate who will be Earth Shielding which target. Earth Shield holds a place as the most efficient heal in the Resto Shaman arsenal not only because it functions reactively, but also because it does a sizable amount of healing for very little mana. ES should be reapplied every time it expires on a target.

  •  Riptide – Two heals for the price of one, Riptide has a small initial hit followed by a powerful hot. Typically on a 6-second cooldown, Riptide can also be modified by Glyph of Riptide, which in exchange for a 90% reduction in healing to the initial hit, will eliminate the cooldown, allowing Riptide to function much like Druid’s Rejuvenation. Riptide is an important spell to Resto Shaman because it is one of two ways to trigger Tidal Waves, discussed further below, and will empower your Chain Heal to be 25% more effective if Chain Heal is cast on a target who has a Riptide hot on them already.
  •  Earthliving Weapon – Each Shaman spec has a unique weapon embue that provides additional benefit. Earthliving Weapon, for Resto Shaman, provides additional spellpower and the ability for any of our heals to trigger the Earthliving effect (which is a small, short-duration hot). Earthliving will always be applied when you directly heal (either with HW, GHW, HS, RT, or UE) a target who is below 35% HP. Earthliving Weapon should be maintained on your weapon at all times. For more information about the Earthliving heal, skip to Earthliving.


  •  Purify Spirit (Cleanse) – Purify Spirit is shamans’ cleansing ability, which allows us to remove all curse and magic effects from an afflicted target. In Mists of Pandaria, cleanses have been modified to be healer-only abilities on an 8-second CD.

  •  Greater Healing Wave – A heavy-hitting, long cast time heal, Greater Healing Wave became Resto-only in Mists of Pandaria. For more discussion on this spell, see the Heals (Active-Cast) section below.

  • Resto-only Totems – Of those totems available to shaman, Mana Tide and Spirit Link Totem are Resto-only abilities. Please see the Totems section of this guide for more information on these totems.
  • Resto-only Talents – Resurgence and Tidal Waves, two very important passive talents, and a handful of other passive talents associated with the Resto Shaman specialization, are discussed further in the Talents section of this guide.

Heals (Active-cast)

Resto Shamans’ active cast heals are based on a model of spell-weaving, where effects that are triggered by one heal then provide buffs to subsequent heals. So, when reviewing the active-cast heals listed in this section, it’s important to remember that they receive certain buffs based on the spells that precede them and/or the buffs present on the target. The following table provides a quick summary of the interactions possible:

Spell Throughput increased by Glyph
Earth Shield (none) (none)
Riptide Unleash Life (+30% healing)
Earth Shield (+20% healing)
Glyph of Riptide
Healing Wave Tidal Waves (-30% cast time)
Unleash Life (+30% healing)
Earth Shield (+20% healing)
Glyph of Healing Wave
Healing Surge Tidal Waves (+30% crit strike)
Unleash Life (+30% healing)
Earth Shield (+20% healing)
Greater Healing Wave Tidal Waves (-30% cast time)
Unleash Life (+30% healing)
Earth Shield (+20% healing)
Unleash Life Earth Shield (+20% healing) (none)
Chain Heal Riptide (+25% healing)
Earth Shield (+20% healing)
Unleash Life (+30% healing)
Glyph of Chaining
Healing Rain Unleash Life (+30% healing) (none)



At the core of Resto Shamans’ single target heals are a trinity of spells:

  • Healing Wave – a slow yet efficient heal that serves as the default heal in times of light to medium damage. Healing Wave can be glyphed to also heal you for 20% of the total healing done by Healing Wave to another target. Healing Wave gains 30% cast time reduction through the Tidal Waves effect.
  • Healing Surge – a high HPS heal that comes at a stiff price, Healing Surge is best used when time is of the essence. Because of its high cost, Healing Surge typically is not used as a core heal, but on an as-needed basis. Healing Surge gains 30% Crit through the Tidal Waves effect.
  • Greater Healing Wave – a resto-only spell, Greater Healing Wave is our long bomb heal, which makes up for its slow cast time with its powerful throughput. Greater Healing Wave is best utilized when single-target damage is incredibly high. Greater Healing Wave gains 30% cast time reduction through the Tidal Waves effect.

But, when it comes to single-target healing, Resto Shaman can also turn to two additional heals to respond to incoming damage:

  • Riptide – (which was discussed above)
  • Unleash Life – When a shaman’s weapon is imbued with Earthliving Weapon, Unleash Elements will become Unleash Life. When cast, Unleash Life will provide a small heal and will buff the Shamans’ next direct heal by 30%. Although Unleash Life itself has low HPS/HPM, because it empowers your subsequent cast, it is advisable to use this spell on cooldown. (Note: as of Mists of Pandaria, Unleash Life will be all active-cast heals, including Healing Rain).

The single-target heals in a shaman’s arsenal make it possible for us to serve as a tank-healer, a snipe-healer, or as a dedicated raid healer (when the single-target heals are combined with multi-target healing). But, it’s important to remember that shamans’ real power derives from the interweaving of these spells, not from a set rotation which follows a specific sequencing.



In terms of multi-target healing, Resto Shaman have two main tools at their disposal:

  • Chain Heal – a long-cast, smart heal, Chain Heal will provide a moderate healing amount to a maximum of 4 targets. Although Chain Heal will start its jumps at the target of your choosing, subsequent jumps will be to the most injured player within 12.5 yards of the previous target. If no targets are within a 12.5 yard radius or targets within that radius are already at 100% HP, Chain Heal will not jump. Each jump of Chain Heal will reduce the effectiveness of the heal by 30%, although its throughput can be increased by 25% by casting CH on a target who has a Riptide hot on them. Do note that aside from Riptide, Chain Heal is the only other way to trigger the Tidal Waves effect. Chain Heal can be glyphed (through Glyph of Chaining) to increase its jump distance to 25yards, in exchange for the addition of a 4 second CD.
  • Healing Rain – the definitive AOE heal, Healing Rain is a targeted ground effect which will heal all allies standing within it (although diminishing returns apply for over 6 targets). Our highest HPS AOE heal, aside from Healing Tide Totem, Healing Rain is also our most expensive heal, so its application needs to be both precise and well-timed. There’s no greater pain than placing a Healing Rain and then having the group move out of it, so choose your placement wisely!

The important thing to note about both these raid healing spells is that they benefit from proactive casting—the better you can predict when and where damage will be occurring, the more effective these heals will be. (This pretty much holds true for every multi-target heal out there). And secondarily, both of our core AOE heals are constrained by range, meaning that in situations where the raid needs to spread out, you’ll want to use these AOE heals in conjunction with single-target heals to provide the best coverage possible.

Heals (Passives)

Resto Shamans’ healing arsenal also contains two main passive healing procs which will contribute to your total throughput in an encounter. (An additional passive healing proc, Echo of the Elements, is available as a talent). How much healing these passive heals contribute is based on the spells that you use, as their proc chances are not uniformly applied.

  •  Earthliving – As mentioned above, Earthliving is a passive heal that becomes available to Resto Shaman when Earthliving Weapon in imbued on their primary weapon. Although it is a small, short-duration hot, Earthliving can comprise a significant portion of the shaman’s healing in AOE environments. The chart below details the proc chance for Earthliving, by spell:
Targets > 35% HP Targets < 35% HP
Spells Base Mult. Chance Base Mult. Chance
Chain Heal 20% 0.5 10% 100% 0.5 50%
Healing Rain 20% 0.3 6% 100% 0.3 30%
Riptide 20% 1 20% 100% 1 100%
Healing Wave 20% 1 20% 100% 1 100%
Greater Healing Wave 20% 1 20% 100% 1 100%
Healing Surge 20% 1 20% 100% 1 100%
Unleash Elements 20% 1 20% 100% 1 100%
  • Ancestral Awakening – In comparison to Earthliving, which can proc from both AOE and single-target heals, Ancestral Awakening can only proc from critical hits of single-target spells (ie: HW, HS, GHW, RT, and UL). After a critical hit from one of the aforementioned spells, Ancestral Awakening will heal a nearby target (within 40 yards) for 30% of the healing done. In environments where you’re using a majority of AOE spells, AA will not provide a significant healing contribution.
  •  Echo of the Elements – (see Talents)

Offensive Spells

While a Resto Shaman’s time is generally occupied with healing, there are a few offensive abilities that you might find beneficial during the course of your adventures:

  • Lightning Bolt – A core dps ability for Elemental Shaman, for Resto Shaman who’d like to contribute a little extra DPS and gain a nominal amount of mana in return, Lighting Bolt can be glyphed with Glyph of Telluric Currents, returning 2% of your total mana (6,000 at level 90) for a net mana return of 1,740 per cast.
  • Wind Shear – A 3-second lockout on a 12-second cooldown, Wind Shear is a great way to proactively prevent incoming damage at a fraction of the cost of a heal.
  • Purge – Another way that Resto Shaman can affect incoming damage, Purge removes 1 magic effect from a hostile target.
  • Elemental Blast (see Talents)


Although buffs have been consolidated in recent years, there are still a few unique things that Resto Shaman bring to the table, both in terms of self-buffs and raid buffs. Do note that Resto Shaman no longer provide passive damage reduction via Ancestral Fortitude–physical damage reduction is now provided by tanks of each class and DPS Warriors and Paladins. (For a full listing of raid buffs and debuffs, please visit: Raid Comp).

  • Earth Shield – A single-target buff and heal, Earth shield is further discussed under (Resto-only abilities)
  • Water Shield – A crucial self-buff, with a 60-minute duration, Water Shield is tied to Resto Shaman longevity in three ways:
    • Passive Mp5 – At level 90, Water Shield provides a passive 2,138 mp5.
    • Resurgence – The core benefit of Water Shield, Resurgence returns have been increased in Mists of Pandaria so that they will contribute a much larger portion of shamans’ mana gains. Resurgence returns are discussed further under the Talents section of this guide.
    • On-attack returns – Incoming attacks will trigger Water Shield and restore 2,928 mana to the Shaman. Do note that not all incoming boss attacks will trigger this effect–triggers will vary by encounter. Also note that Shaman can gain greater return per on-attack return through Glyph of Water Shield.
In addition to shields, Resto Shaman also bring the following raid buffs:
  • Ancestral Vigor – A passive, stacking buff provided only by Resto Shaman, Ancestral Vigor increases a target’s HP by up to 10%. Ancestral Vigor is triggered by a shaman’s heals on a target, whereby each hit will contribute 10% of its total value to the Ancestral Vigor buff (meaning: it will take multiple heals on a target to build Ancestral Vigor to its maximum value). AV lasts 15 seconds, and can be refreshed by any shaman heal (critical and not) on the target. Note that although multiple shamans can contribute to the AV effect on a target, Ancestral Vigor is not unique per shaman (so more shamans will stack the effect more quickly but will ultimately still only provide +10% HP to the target).
  • Burning Wrath – A passive group/raid-wide buff, Resto Shaman now provide +10% Spellpower to themselves and all allies. This spellpower buff is also provided by: Mages (all specs), Warlocks (all specs) and Beast Mastery Hunters.
  • Grace of Air – A passive group/raid-wide buff, Resto Shaman also provide +15% Mastery (3,000 Mastery rating) to themselves and all allies. Combined with Resto’s +24% base Deep Healing, this buff provides level 90 Resto Shaman with a base +39% Mastery. This buff can also be provided by: Hunters (all specs) and Paladins (all specs).

Cooldowns (non-totems)

In Mists of Pandaria, Resto Shaman will be delighted to have a host of cooldowns at their disposal, via Totems, Talents and class abilities. (For cooldowns provided by Totems and Talents, please see those respective sections). Although the cooldowns listed below are shared by all Shaman specs, Resto Shaman should make sure they’re familiar with each of them.

  • Bloodlust/Heroism – A raid-wide ability, this 5-minute cooldown will increase all haste by 30% (multiplicative with other haste modifiers). Do note that although this is a 5-minute cooldown, the Sated debuff which is applied to all affected players will prevent Bloodlust/Heroism from being cast for 10 minutes after the first cast. This cooldown can also be brought by: Beast Mastery Hunters and Mages (all specs).
  • Reincarnation – A shaman-only ability, Reincarnation will allow a shaman to Resurrect during combat with 20% health and mana. For most shaman, Reincarnation is one of those abilities that’s nice to have, but generally unreliable when you need it most.
  • Unleash Rockbiter – Something you don’t often see on cooldown lists, using Unleash Elements with Rockbiter weapon is Shamans’ version of a taunt, on a 15-second cooldown. Unleashing Rockbiter will cause a target to fixate you for 5 seconds with no aggro transfer, making it a useful ability in unique situations where you might want to redirect an add or mob away from a target. Applications in Cataclysm raiding included: Chimaeron, Shannox, and Madness of Deathwing, so I’d encourage Resto Shaman to not underestimate this ability in Mists.  (Thanks to the Premonition folks for grilling me on this one. ^_^)
  • Spiritwalker’s Grace – A 2-minute cooldown that enables Shaman to cast while moving, the 15-second duration of this ability makes it something that you want to save for periods where movement coincides with raid damage. The duration of the buff can be extended by 5 seconds (for a total glyphed duration of 20 seconds) through Glyph of Spiritwalker’s Grace.
  • Ascendance – Shaman’s new, shiny Mists of Pandaria cooldown, Ascendance is a 3-minute cooldown which for Resto Shaman will, for 15 seconds, copy and evenly distribute all healing done to nearby allies. Ascendance’s healing done, which will appear as Restorative Mists in the combat log, will be calculated on 1-second intervals during the 15-second duration, resulting in healing done from all Resto Shaman abilities (excluding totems) being totaled once every second and then reapplied to nearby allies. It’s worth noting that any pre-existing hots that are rolling when Ascendance is triggered will be included in the total healing calculation. Also, Restorative Mists will not be subject to any additional contribution from Mastery.