Shaman, by Mike Sass for WoW TCG
(http://mike-sass.deviantart.com/)

 
M

uch to my surprise, Shaman talents have remained largely unaltered since the beginning of MoP, save for minor changes to Tier 45 and a reshuffling of talents in Tier 75. As noted during developer discussions of the Warlords talents, each tier aims at providing players with a spectrum of choices –from passive talents that require little management (and thus give comparatively less of a benefit in return), to active talents that require very precise management (and thus can provide comparatively more of the benefit to the player).

 

 

Tier 15: Survivability

ShamanTalents-Tier15

Nature’s Guardian

The Resto Shaman talent that it STILL seems that I am destined to grumble over for the rest of my days, Nature’s Guardian is an automatically-triggered Last Stand(ish) effect that will increase your health by 25% whenever you drop below 30% HP. It’s important to note that the increase in health is only temporary, and after the buff expires, your HP will remain the same while your maximum health will drop back down to its unbuffed level. As such, this effect will garner you “additional” healing while under the effects of Spirit Link Totem (since SLT will attempt to normalize the average HP % of the raid), but the gain would be minor at best.

  •   Suggested for encounters: without heavy-hitting mechanics, where you’d like a no-fuss, passive survival bonus.

 

Stone Bulwark Totem

A personal absorb on a 60-second cooldown, Stone Bulwark Totem offers Resto Shaman the opportunity to proactively mitigate incoming damage while they tend to healing other people in raid. Dropping SBT will result in a fairly substantial shield for the first 10 seconds, and then a quarter-strength shield that is refreshed ever 5 seconds for the remaining duration of the totem. Do note that absorbs are not cumulative in nature and last only for the specified interval.

  • Suggested for encounters: with continual damage or times when you know you won’t be able to focus healing on yourself.

 

Astral Shift

A personal damage reduction cooldown on a 90-second cooldown, this talent does exactly what the tooltip says, at zero mana cost. Historically, Astral Shift has not been sufficient to “soak” nearly-fatal attacks.

  • Suggested for encounters: with heavy-hitting attacks, where survival is crucial.

Tier 30: Movement, or Lack Thereof

 

ShamanTalents-Tier30

Frozen Power

This talent modifies Frost Shock to be a single-target root (think: Mages’ Frost Nova). Frost Shock was reduced to 1.2% of base mana, making this talent much more accessible to Resto Shaman, who were previously constrained by the shock’s comparatively high mana cost.

  • Suggested for encounters: that require single-target snares.

 

Earthgrab Totem

Another talent that modifies an existing Shaman ability, this replaces Earthbind totem with the former Elemental Shaman talent of Earthgrab. Note that Earthgrab is a root ability, which means that it will break after damaging attacks, at which point it will apply a slow to the previously rooted targets.

  • Suggested for encounters: that require AOE snares.

 

Windwalk Totem

Whereas the other two talents in this tier are focused on limiting the movement of your enemies, Windwalk Totem is a 1-minute cooldown that provides a raid-wide Hand of Freedom, on a 1-minute CD.

  • Suggested for encounters: with movement-impairing effects

Tier 45: Totems

ShamanTalents-Tier45

 

Call of the Elements

Limited in application to those totems that have cooldowns less than 3 minutes (which translates to: no major totems), Call of the Elements still provides on-demand functionality, whether its back-to-back Tremors or 30 full seconds of Healing Stream. Totems that can be reset by Call of the Elements include:

  • Earthbind
  • Stone Bulwark
  • Tremor
  • Grounding
  • Healing Stream
  • Windwalk
  • Cloudburst
  • Suggested for encounters: by default.

 

Totemic Persistence

The replacement for Totemic Restoration, this talent allows you to have two of the same type of totem down at a time (with the exception of fire totems). Although this talent is significantly less appealing with the removal of Mana Tide, it can come in quite handy if you elect to run with both Rushing Streams (tier 75) and Cloudburst (tier 100), since both are classified as water totems.

  • Suggested for encounters: where you need to maximize HST uptime but you elect to take Cloudburst Totem.

 

Totemic Projection

As easy and as simple as the tooltip, this talent allows you relocate a totem, once dropped, to another location (via targeting reticule). Unfortunately, this ability does not instantly relocate the totem, meaning that you will lose some duration while you are repositioning the effect.

  • Suggested for encounters: where you know you’ll be out of range of a particular effect (eg: you need to give the tank SLT totem while you’re running to a portal).

Tier 60: Throughput, Part 1

ShamanTalents-Tier60

 

Elemental Mastery

A personal bloodlust with a 20-sec duration, Elemental Mastery is a straight throughput increase. Its 2-minute cooldown make it a perfect complement for Ancestral Guidance but, unfortunately make it more difficult to align with Refechosto Shamans’ 3-minute throughput cooldowns (eg: Ascendance, Healing Tide Totem). In a mana-constrained, triage environment, EM is less useful to Resto Shaman because of the high mana consumption associated with its optimization. The counter-point is that, in cases where burst healing is required, it will enable you to supercharge your healing cooldowns to provide maximum throughput.

  •  Suggested for encounters: with extreme burst damage mechanics.

 

Ancestral Swiftness

Although Ancestral Swiftness provides for 1 instant-cast ability every minute, its real throughput potential comes from the passive 5% haste it provides.

  • Suggested for encounters: where HPM is more important than HPS.

 

Echo of the Elements

One of Shamans’ redesigned talents for Warlords, Echo of the Elements now constitutes a chance for your next Riptide, Unleash Life, or Purify Spirit to not incur its cooldown. Unfortunately, the key word on this ability’s tooltip is “next”, because if the talent procs while one of the applicable spells is on cooldown, it will not reset the CD. With UL being the biggest potential gain from the talent, but also the longest CD of the three spells, this oftentimes leads to consuming the Echo proc with Riptide before Unleash Life comes back off cooldown (or worse yet: holding off on keeping Riptides rolling, so that you do not consume the buff, but then, as a result, decreasing the effectiveness of High Tide).

Tier 75: Splash Healing, Part 1

ShamanTalents-Tier75

 

Rushing Streams

Although Healing Stream’s power was slightly reduced from MoP to WoD, Rushing Streams remains a very strong talent due to both its smart healing ability and because it affords Restos a potential way to handle a spread out raid.

  • Suggested for encounters: by default. The talent is useful when the raid is spread out and/or when damage occurs during times of movement.

 

Ancestral Guidance

A talent which saw a significant reduction heading into Warlords, AG no longer holds place as a cooldown on par with Healing Tide Totem. Further, because it requires a significant mana investment to generate its healing, it falls behind the HPM of both of the other options in this tier.

  • Suggested for encounters: when mana is not an issue and the raid remains clumped while burst damage is going out.

 

Conductivity

The last of the healing throughput options, Conductivity extends the duration of Healing Rain up to 30 seconds, by adding 4 seconds on to the remaining duration for every Healing Wave, Healing Surge, and Chain Heal that you cast. While this might have been an attractive proposition in Mists, given HR’s strength, in Warlords HR is a very mana-effcient spell, such that the benefit of recasting it every 30 seconds instead of every 10 seconds (essentially ~4 seconds of casting time) is not worth the loss of HPS through the other available options .

  • Suggested for encounters: where the raid will be stationary and where HPS is being prioritized over HPM (and is sustainable).

Tier 90: Throughput, Part 2

ShamanTalents-Tier90

 

Unleashed Fury

A strong single-target throughput boost, Unleashed Fury’s 50% buff can be used in combination with or independently of Unleash Life‘s +30% healing boost. Since the bonuses are multiplicative, casting UL + a single target heal will result in a 95% output boost. Used independently, Unleash Fury will net you +50% on your subsequent single-target cast. Unleashed Fury was changed in Mists to be a buff applied to the shaman, and not the Unleash Life target, so you no longer need to restrict your UL casts.

  • Suggested for encounters: where you will be tank healing or where a large single-target heal will be needed with regularity.

 

Primal Elementalist

A dps option at first glance, this talent becomes powerful for Resto Shaman looking for burst capacity due to the fact that both Primal Fire Elemental and Primal Earth Elementalprovide bonus healing while active. (Do note: both Elementals have to maintain a channel on the Shaman to provide the buff, negating any potential damage contributions). Further, by utilizing Glyph of Fire Elemental Totem, Resto Shaman can gain a healing boost of 10% on a 3 minute cooldown (perfectly aligning with the cooldowns of both Ascendance and Healing Tide Totem). It is also worth noting that Primal Elementalist does provide a modified Primal Storm Elemental, which while recognized for its attractiveness, does not gain any additional healing buffs.

  • Suggested for encounters: where additional damage reduction (Earth Elemental’s Reinforce) or additional throughput (Fire Elemental’s Empower) would be beneficial.

 

Elemental Blast

The last of the level 90 talents, Elemental Blast is a random +500 stat boost to a secondary stat. Unfortunately, the stat selection can’t be controlled, it procs every stat evenly (on average), and the base cast time is 2 seconds, somewhat detracting from the usefulness of this talent. However, it’s worth noting that the 8-second buff granted by Elemental Blast equates to 4.5% crit, 14.3% Deep Healing (Mastery), 5% haste, or 7.6% multistrike, substantial buffs by any consideration and applicable to all spells cast while the Elemental Blast buff is active. Further, Elemental Blast provides an additional 1000 Spirit to Restos for 8 seconds (~3298 mana per cast).

  • Suggested for encounters: when additional mana regen is needed (which at the start of the tier, is basically every fight).

Tier 100: Splash Healing, Part 2

ShamanTalents-Tier100

Cloudburst Totem

Resto Shamans’ answer to burst damage, Cloudburst totem is a 15-second delayed  heal on all allies within 40 yards of the casting shaman. It is worth noting that the totem can be triggered before the 15-second expiration, releasing all healing stored up to the point where it is recalled, killed, or expires. Like our other “split between all allies” heal–Ascendance–Cloudburst has the potential to significantly overheal, both due to poor timing and/or poor positioning of the casting shaman. The heal is also easily snipable by a well-timed Revival or other raid AOE heal. However, in a triage environment, Cloudburst has the potential to provide a consistent and predictable layer of raid heals. However, also like Ascendance, the power of the heal is entirely dependent on the spells that you cast while it is active (totems are not included), which is positive in that it will scale with power, but unfortunate in the first tier where abilities like Ascendance suffer from the shamans’ lack of disposable mana.

  • Suggested for encounters: where burst damage is predictable and regular.

 

Storm Elemental Totem

Intended to be the “clumped heal” option for Restos, Storm Elemental’s damage acts much like Monks’ Eminence–healing players around the target for 100% of the damage dealt.  This talent is heavily, HEAVILY reliant on your entire raid being positioned directly on the boss’s ass, given that the splash range is quite small (15 yards). During beta testing, Storm Elemental’s healing was very underwhelming, so for the first Tier in Warlords, I would recommend avoiding this talent unless the elemental is buffed–as a 5-minute cooldown this just doesn’t perform up to snuff.

  • Suggested for encounters: where the raid is clumped for the minute duration (and then only if the totem receives substantial buffs).

 

High Tide

The last of our new Level 100 talents, High Tide modifies Chain Heal by making it more like Priests’ Circle of Healing (no decay on the healed players) and adds 2 additional Riptided targets in the bounce sequence (for a maximum of 6 players hit with every CH). The caveat is that the additional 2 players will need to have a RT rolling on them at the time of the initial cast, will need to not be targeted by CH’s initial series of hits (because CH will not bounce back to the target that it has previously hit), and the player will need to be within 12.5 yards (25 if CH is glyphed)of the primary target in order for High Tide to achieve its fullest potential. As  a passive talent, which requires significantly less micro-management than Cloudburst Totem, I’ve not doubt High Tide will be the default talent choice of the tier.

  • Suggested for encounters: by default, and especially if you are going to be using Glyph of Chaining.