This page lists the standard Shaman builds from pre Patch 4.0.1 - moved here for historical and reference purposes. For up to date builds and information please see Shaman builds
This article is a guide on shaman builds. As a hybrid class, shamans can adapt to a wide variety of tasks. The three talent trees each result in a rather different game experience.
- 1 Talent trees By purpose
- 2 Talent builds
- 2.1 Elemental
- 2.2 Enhancement
- 2.3 Enhancement leveling build samples
- 2.4 Enhancement PvE Raid build samples
- 2.5 Enhancement PvP builds
- 2.6 Enhacement PvP build samples
- 2.7 Restoration
- 2.8 Raiding (PVE)
- 3 Hybrid builds
- 4 Pre-WotLK (3.0.2) patch
- 5 External links
Talent trees By purpose
It's the designers stated intent that the Enhancement tree is the leveling spec for Shamans. It combines little to no down time and high damage output. The important spells and abilities are , dual-wielding, , and . The drawback of this spec is that it's melee and thus takes a solid amount of damage from most mob types. At higher levels, allows regular instant heals, which helps to remedy this problem greatly.
As the ranged DPS tree, Elemental can also be used for leveling. It's much safer since mobs are usually seriously hurt (or even dead), before they are in melee range. However, it uses a lot of mana and thus leads to higher downtime. Another rare, but serious problem is that, due to most of Elemental damage being nature damage some creatures immune to nature damage force the player to fall back on their fire, ice and melee damage. There are few spells that deal this kind of damage, so these creatures are best avoided.
For the purpose of solo play, Restoration is a rather poor choice. The tree offers next to no enhancements to damage output and therefore killing mobs takes a very long time. It grants high survivability though, meaning a Resto Shaman will almost never fall in combat against normal mobs, especially if is taken later in the game. Restoration is a nice spec when leveling in a group environment with many instances. This method has become viable with the introduction of the Dungeon Finder.
Healing was the traditional role for Shamans in all groups or raids. Over the years, the other specs have become viable too, but Restoration is still a very well liked specialization for raiding Shamans. Since 3.0.1, healing Shamans even got an interesting spell rotation (since 2.0 it had been mostly spam). At least one is still wanted by every raid leader. Shamans are good point (tank) healers and decent AoE (raid) healers.
An elemental shaman is a ranged damage dealer who contributes a strong raid-wide buff of 3% crit for all other damage dealers (including melee). This buff alone may be worth bringing an elemental shaman. If no Moonkin druid is in the raid, elemental provides a similar buff (, exclusive with ) for another 5% crit. The drawback is that an elemental shaman has only some limited AoE abilities which cannot compete with Mages, Warlocks or Druids in that department.
Enhancement Shamans are melee damage dealers with high burst capabilities and very good point damage output, but again (simliar to elemental) only mediocre AoE capabilities. Additionally they provide AP to the whole raid () and their totems are a little more effective than those of other shamans due to .
This tree has great potential to throw off both melee and caster opponents. fends off up to 6% damage from all sources. further reduces damage if placed under one of the conditions. is an amazing way to fend off melee attackers for enough time to throw in a quick heal. Finally helps when trying to get a cast in when there are multiple attackers. These damage-reducing talents along with the high damage output allow for a well-rounded PvP Shaman.
This tree can be very fun to mess with people, especially when they are caught off guard. The key talents are Toughness which reduces both movement-impairing effects and a good amount of damage, for 9 charges of , and which makes one spell instant after a certain number of melee hits. Jumping an enemy by surprise with both Feral Spirits, ( for Alliance players), and both instant-strike attacks can make enemies feel helpless and intimidated.
Restoration shamans are not the easiest build to play in PvP. Players need to put some effort into understanding and familiarizing themselves with the various abilities. The low damage output makes restoration shamans rather easy prey for enemy damage dealers. is a highly useful spell when a fast, big and uninterruptable heal is needed. Also, is more useful than it seems at the first glance.
Elemental PvE DPS (33/3/0)
Elemental is arguably the best of the three shaman classes for group PvE.
Focus on haste, then spellpower, then crit (up to 20%+). Glyphs: Lightning Bolt, Flame Shock, and Totem of Wrath. The Lava glyph is probably not worth it. Totem of Wrath is around 80 SP, which benefits all spells, while the Lava glyph only benefits the eight-second cooldown; that's about 300 dps per lava burst and 80sp benefits your lava burst + all the lightning bolts between the cooldown ( which is > 300dps total ( atleast 500dps depending on gear )).
Rotation is simple on bosses: -> -> -> / (Never cast chain lightning if the cast time gets below 1 second or you will hit the GCD!) Then repeat from Lava Burst onward, reapplying Flame Shock as necessary, preferably just after it ticks or just after it has left the target. Addons such as Shock and Awe or TellMeWhen, which notify you of spell availability, can be very helpful with keeping track.
On single trash the rotation is - > - > (That's because CL is a faster cast than lightning bolt and doesn't cost much mana after a crit.) If the target isn't dead after that, spam when it's available, else . Remember to reapply Flame Shock when its effect wears off, although not simply when it's available. No point overlapping, as LvB does more damage.
Totems: Earth: Any. Fire: (even if another shaman can do it) Water: Any. Air: Spell Haste.
Elemental MaxDPS/MaxAoE (57/14/0)
Elemental Solo PVE (57/14/0)
Elemental Raiding (54/17/0)
This build focuses on high damage output and more group utility. Shamans are becoming more of a group/raid tool for the Elemental-only buffs they give to casters. This spec also grabs to reduce damage being done to you by raid mobs. On raid bosses, 17% (446 Hit Rating) total hit percentage is needed to never miss with a spell. With , that drops it to 14% (368 Hit Rating, 289 with Misery or debuff) needed from gear.
Points can be shifted around depending on your play style.
is highly recommended over some of the other talents that were not chosen due to its priority to survivability in raid boss fights that require resist gear and do a good amount of damage with spells. If you wanted to sacrifice these points for something more viable before raid fights, can be taken along with a few other talents in Enhancement
Here are some specs to further expand upon the versatility in Elemental Shaman speccing expressed by the above author. I should also note here that Draenei Shamans will only need 13% (342 Hit Rating) from gear due to with maxed out.
Elemental Raiding (57/14/0)
57/14/0(Updated for 3.2)
This build is all about crit and spell power(and obviously hit or you would never hit anything). (It's slightly similar to the one above.) There isn't much in there for MP5 because your Water Shield should handle most of that. I use this spec on my Shaman (Junn of Rexxar) but he has 500+ MP5. Get your crit up to at least 20%, and you should keep on critting for about 5 or 10 seconds. The Glyphs that should be used are , , and Glyph of Flame Shock. It really doesn't matter what you use for the minor ones though. Good luck shamans!
This spec is designed to maximize a , , and rotation while still remaining mana efficient and being mindful of survivability. It has the stock Lightning Bolt enhancements we all know and love, plus , , and to enhance Flame Shock and Lava Burst. In addition, was included for more spell power overall, and and for added mana efficiency. These talents with , Glyph of Flame Shock, and make for an effective DPS build, while remaining survivable through the increased range of the spec and the minimal 4% off some incoming damage from .
An added note for any Elemental Shaman, adding into any spell rotation will increase your DPS, but at the cost of mana efficiency. Before adding this spell to a rotation you should make sure your mana pool and regen can handle the strain it causes. Being OOM 2 minutes into a boss fight is not a good thing, no matter how high your DPS was for those 2 minutes.
Elemental PvP (53/18/0)
53/18/0 Grabbing all the damage-reducing talents in this tree will make you a lot more durable in both big and small battlegrounds. PvP situations can differ depending on what other classes you could face. Some situational talents are deferred like and because, to get the most out of them, you need to be constantly casting. This usually is not possible, especially when there is a melee class preventing most of your spell casts. Your best bet is to and to kite away from them in order to pull out a few extra spells. Ranged and casters are more likely to be played closer as you can interrupt them better and also prevent them from kiting you.
- With the changes to shaman in patch 3.2, placing points in Improved Fire Nova Totem are viable, as 4 totems can be placed at the same time. This works well combined with an , rooting then stunning an enemy. is highly recommended for the (53/18/0) build, as are Glyph of Fire Nova Totem and Glyph of Hex, but they can be substituted with Glyph of Thunder, Glyph of Frost Shock, or depending on style of play.
Points can be shifted around depending on your play style.
Basic PvE Leveling (0/51/0)
|Purpose||PvE / Solo|
This is a build for maximizing DPS and minimizing downtime. It allows for flexibility based on play style, since an enhance shaman is very flexible. The instant cast , along with and an or a drop, allow for an extra "panic-button" combination to limit your deaths when things do go wrong. 5 points into get you either an instant cast or to burst down the mobs quicker, or an instant cast , or when things go wrong. The will proc every fight at least once, with the high critical strike rating on shaman gear, the increased crit from , and the Dual Wield talent (since you attack more and each attack has a chance to crit). The extra attack power, along with , allows for larger heals and larger damage from shocks and instant casts from the . You'll experience minimum downtime and fast mob kills.
The talent can be traded for . All of the totem talents are useful for leveling except . , while it does allow for the extra DPS and root, is often not worth the points invested in it as does not scale well enough with spell power to be superior to on the main-hand and on the off-hand, making the root not worth it just for leveling.
Enhancement leveling build samples
Soloing and Leveling (10/31/0)
This build focuses on being a solid leveling spec. With this build you rarely stop for mana or healing and it focuses on a rotation of stormstrike, lava lash and your choice of shock spells. Glyph of Lightning Shield is a must for this build as soon as possible, making soloing much simpler and nicer (infinite charges of shield along with your ). Crits are key to this build with Flurry (shaman talent) and . The points put into or can be transfered to for extra lightning shield damage (or if you prefer to ) points can also be moved into if you want to be able to plop down your totems and fight all the mobs around you more easily. Totems to use for this build while leveling would be , until .
THE FOLLOWING BUILDS ARE NO LONGER VIABLE IN RETAIL
PvE Leveling and Raid (16/55/0)
|Purpose||PvE / Solo|
This is the result of many talent changes, and some personal testing. With this build you will never need to stop and drink, and your spells will deal comparable damage to your melee abilities. The totems are a good investment despite what some might think, since in a leveling situation you can plant them and pull several sets of mobs to within their large range. This is also a very good raiding build. Any build that doesn't take is not worth looking at. The healing will give you alone makes it a great ability, especially with the limited survivability that shamans face in raids.
Solo PvE Leveling and Raid (17/51/0)
|Purpose||PvE / Solo|
This build tweaks the above build a bit more geared towards those who like to quest solo even for the group quests. It gives you a bit burstier damage with spell crits being double damage rather than the normal 150% damage, and gives some more mitigation for those hard-hitting elites for those group quests you can never find a group for, only really sacrificing the 10% AP party boost that is really more viable in groups and raids. The 2 points in is for kiting those hard-hitting elites that you can't heal through such as the giants in Howling Fjord/Grizzly Hills. In a standard solo fight, these 2 points are a waste, since you'll more than likely be using either Flametongue Weapon or Windfury Weapon, and you'll more than likely be in melee range for normal fights. But, for those that you need to kite, the 100% chance to root the mob if you cast from further than 15 yards makes kiting that much easier when you have to worry about pulling other elites in the area. Keep in mind though that enhance shamans are melee fighters. Don't get stuck in the caster mindset.
All in all not the best spec for those who party up a lot, but fairly good for those who like to play without others' help.
Enhancement PvE Raid build samples
Group/Raid Build (PvE) (16/55/0)
|Purpose||PvE / Solo|
Points can be shifted around depending on your play style and raid makeup.
Again, depending on your raid progression, could help a ton in bigger advanced raids. If you are still in parties and raids where resist gear isn't an issue yet, you could toss them around for or something as relevant.
AOE/Raid Build (PvE) (18/51/0)
|Purpose||PvE / Solo|
This is a build for patch 3.3.0 which sees the addition of to Enhancement's arsenal of attacks. Two points are placed into so as to lower it's cycle rate to 6 seconds in order to maximize it's damage potential against large mob packs while keeping mana consumption manageable. Additional use of is not recommended. There are two loose points in the build that can be used to cap out Improved Stormstrike, split between Improved Stormstrike and (which will proc off of and lower mana cost substantially), to help sustain your mana pool or placed into for additional DPS if you're finding mana manageable within your raid.
Enhancement PvP builds
This is a standard PvP build that covers most of the PvP highlights in this tree. will enable quick getaways in order to heal up or when threatened with danger. is an amazing utility that will enable any quick getaway with combined and makes it easier to kill those pesky plate wearers. Finally, will not only heal you as your wolves do damage, but they can really annoy any caster trying to mess with you and are superb for stopping ganks.
Enhacement PvP build samples
This build is not set in stone. There are a few controversial talents that were both taken up, and also abandoned. and could be considered, but Anticipation just isn't worth the points; and Toughness doesn't do enough damage reduction; and, with the help of , it isn't really needed. There is also the idea of going into the Resto tree to pick up Improved Healing Wave when you need to get away and make a quick, efficient heal. Again, it all depends on your play style.
You should get the point now of what works in PvP with this type of build.
This PvP build does away with the PvE totem talents and includes talents that improve PvP totems and shocking. will allow for more frequent spell interrupts and snares. is a solid damage reducing talent and Improved Fire Nova Totem can be quite effective, especially in large scale PvP. Although stacking crit will negate your opponents resilience, Unleashed Rage still loses much of its potency due to it being a proc on critical hit, which tends to benefit only the player in many cases. seems lackluster, since reapplying is a minor grievance and the added damage is insignificant.
- Current top end-game raiding specs
The Chain Healer (0/16/55)
|Purpose||optimized for raid healing with chain heal|
Shamans are usually assigned to heal the raid; that happens because that is what Shamans do best. This spec is optimized for raid healing with Chain Heal. You should have haste-based gear to be an excellent raid healer. For ICC, you should have at least 900 haste and be aiming for the 4 piece tier 10 bonus for chain heal (at least for 25 mans). To use this build, you should have 3 Riptides always ticking in your raid mates and, as soon as an AoE damage situation occurs, bounce chain heal off of them for the buff to top them off. In the meanwhile, you can help healing everyone with Lesser Healing Wave, but remember to keep your Water Shield and Earth Shield up. To make this a more versatile spec, you can replace the riptide glyph with a lesser healing wave glyph for better tank heals.
The PvP healer (0/20/51)
The Jack of All Trades (0/13/58)
|Purpose||Heal everyone all the time|
This build is designed to raid heal and tank heal very efficiently with the new changes in patch 3.3 that make shaman heal multi-tasking a viable way to heal. The only thing this build is missing is the 45 spell power from the enhancement tree which won't be missed much given that it doesn't scale with how much spell power we have on our gear nowadays. In exchange, your healing wave hits 25% harder, making it useful on fights like Valithria or in dire tanking situations. It's also a very safe build because of the spell pushback talent which comes in handy for several fights.
As stated before, Restoration is the road less traveled when it comes to leveling. If you were interested in instance leveling, then just follow the PvE- or PvP-talent build. You might want to go with the talent build that matches your server type.
Points can be shifted around depending on your play style.
This could be the only place you might see a viable hybrid class. When you level, you could put close to even points in Resto and Elemental so you get some damage increasing talents along with making you a viable healer if ever needed.
Many people find leveling a Restoration Shaman tedious and slow because they sacrifice a lot of DPS for an increase in healing. A costly solution to this is to use an Elemental build for solo questing, and a Restoration build when grouping up for 5-man instances. Another solution might be to choose one of the Elemental/Restoration hybrids to draw synergies from the spell power you already possess as a Restoration Shaman (this applies only to players going from 70 to 80). For a starting Shaman, leveling with an exclusive Resto build from level 10 on up is no easy feat. If you decide to do so, you should consider the following build. The build will aim for good healing capabilities in 5-man instances but also get some talents that will help your leveling. One solution is to use a hybrid build (26/8/37) like this suggestion for leveling/instancing or lvl-80 questing and instancing. There is a fair bit of freedom in the Resto tree; and this is a good build for MP5, so it could probably be used as an off healer/DPS for raids.
Shaman elder (level 70 - 79)
Back in the old world, yet on a new continent, we continue in the Enhancement tree with 3/3. Returning now to the Restoration to flesh out the last details with another 2 points in 4/5, and filling in the missing points in Improved Water Shield 3/3 and 3/3. We are rounding it all off with 3/3.
The Patriach/Matriarch (level 80)
Your end result should look something like this. Depending on if you put your points in Healing Focus (Shaman talent) or you might have to respec. Take into consideration how often you gain aggro in groups before you decide how many points you want to spend on . If you don't know the group or tank you are healing, some aggro reduction might be in order. Regardless of how often are you getting pounded while healing out in the wild, you shouldn't pick Healing Focus (Shaman talent) with 5-man runs in mind; it's primarily a solo talent, leaning towards PvP.
This build maximizes healing, crit, and mana regen at the cost of aggro reduction. 0/16/55. If you have problems with aggro, this build isn't ideal.
Elemental (0 points)
Enhancement (13 points)
2/3 Enhancing Totems 5/5 Ancestral Knowledge 3/3 Improved Shields 3/3 Elemental Weapons
Restoration (58 points)
5/5 Improved Healing Wave 4/5 Totemic Focus or 4/5 Tidal Focus (or a combination) 3/3 Ancestral Healing 3/3 Improved Water Shield 1/1 Tidal Force 3/3 Healing Grace 5/5 Restorative Totems 5/5 Tidal Mastery 3/3 Healing Way 1/1 Nature's Swiftness 5/5 Purification 1/1 Mana Tide Totem 2/2 Blessing of the Eternals 2/2 Improved Chain Heal 3/3 Nature's Blessing 3/3 Ancestral Awakening 1/1 Earth Shield 2/2 Improved Earth Shield 5/5 Tidal Waves 1/1 Riptide
I don't know how people feel about Resto Shamans in PvP, but they certainly do their job as a healing class. Rather than most healers that try and get the killing blow, I know my place in a battleground, which is to keep people alive. (Funny enough, I get more honor from healing than I do from DPS.)
So here is my build for a PvP Resto Shaman (0/20/51) 
Standard Raid healing
This build (patch 3.1.2) offers a 14% increase in crit with all spells (Thundering Strikes, Tidal Mastery, and Blessing of the Eternals) which allows Ancestral Healing, Improved Water Shield, and Ancestral Awakening to proc fairly often. Keeping Earth Shield on the tank and Water Shield on you are always important, but with this build there is no benefit from Improved Shields so they have to be up at all times. I have had mana issues with this build before, but now I have over 150 more MP5. is added for either when you manage to pull aggro or your getting put on interrupting it will save a large chunk of mana. This does not include full ; its points are spent in favor of Shamanistic Focus.
Chain Healing / Improved Shields / Crit
This Build gives you all the good talents for Shields and Chain Healing. Also adds a lot of crit, enough not to need the Tidal Force talent. Also I skipped Healing Grace as most tanks generate huge amounts of aggro. Healing Way and Improved Healing Wave are useless talents because if you're allocated to healing the main tank something is wrong with your raid setup. The best way to heal with this build is to keep Chain Healing when necessary, and keep the Riptide for instant heals before a Chain Heal on a target getting too much damage. You can use Lesser Heal to heal fast also; and, with the Ancestral Awakening and the amounts of crit, you should heal one extra target, too. Best practice is to heal the Earth Shield target and have the glyph  for the extra 20% increased Lesser Healing Wave on target affected by Earth Shield.
Healing Wave / Crit
Another good build is this one. This is mostly oriented towards heroics. The Healing Way talent plus Improved Healing Wave allows the caster to use Healing Wave on the tank; and, with the Glyph of Healing Wave, heal himself while healing tank (or other member of party). You will use Riptide (to shorten Healing Wave time), then Healing Wave on the tank or member in hard times. Also the Tidal Forces makes it even better because with crits you can heal yourself with big heals and trigger Ancestral Awakening. This will make all heals from Shaman viable: Healing Wave for big trouble on single target, Riptide for shortening that heal and added as an instant in between, Lesser to heal an off-party up while still doing Healing Wave, and Chain Healing if more members are in same spot and more AoE (not so much single-target damage).
Elemental Raid DPS
This build is centered around talents to maximize personal single-target damage output while keeping up necessary raid buffs. is taken over , as a Death knight will generally overwrite it with ; and should be used instead of . and are taken to increase your and boost the DoT portion of your .
Points have been taken out of as mana is rarely an issue with and . Instead, is taken, which is often useful in many boss situations. However, if you find yourself having mana issues while keeping Water Shield and Mana Spring Totem active and using Thunderstorm proactively, then feel free to drop Elemental Reach for the former talents.
Glyphs are , , and Glyph of Flame Shock to maximize damage and efficiency of Lava Burst and boosting Lightning bolt.
Here is another build that may be considered useful. This is more of a build for solid damage and a sufficient leveling build. This also spreads out to other trees to get a few very beneficial talents, including which is probably the talent that best reduce down time a Shaman can use. You go down a solid, maximum-ranked 51 points into Elemental, of which the points are well spent for good DPS and a useful proc.
The term "hybrid build" means spending the same amount of points in two or all three trees. The problem with this is that you lose the punch of all three of the builds if you do not fully invest 51 or more points into one tree. To distribute 20 or more points in all three trees will make you a viable jump-around class for DPS or healing, however you will not be as viable as a Shaman that has at least 51 points in the tree.
A three-tree build for Shaman is never a viable choice.
A real hybrid spec, this one is used for spell DPS, gains from dual welding Flametongue, Mental Quickness, Mental Dexterity, and Shamanistic Focus from Enhance, and can result in very large amounts of spell damage when stacking intellect gear. (Note: as of patch 3.0.8, Blizzard is reworking Mental Quickness to only gain from agi rather than all AP so this spec loses most of its raid usefulness.)
One of the main reasons hybrid builds will never be viable DPS or healers is due to gear. Mail gear is split into spell-damage and melee-damage stats. To get an equal type of stats (for example, half of your gear is spell power and the other is attack power) for two trees will make you a weaker version of both of the two trees. You are basically not putting forth the power that you could if you just specced into one tree and pulled a few points from the other tree.
A build made for leveling and not much else, though I can imagine it would be usable for other purposes due to the focus on mana regeneration. Caster DPS talents along with some healing ones from the Resto tree to make both questing and instance healing pretty easy on your way to 80. This should not be considered a fast leveling spec; it's for those of us who want to heal dungeons and still want to solo a lot. The gear you will need for this is of course pure spell power mail and a lot of intellect.
Pre-WotLK (3.0.2) patch
For older builds, see Shaman builds: Pre-WotLK
- Shaman Leveling Builds at WoW Leveling Builds
- TalentChic - Builds taken from armory and sorted by popularity