Updated #2: Outdated expansion.
Update: This post is pretty outdated, now that we have honor talents. I’ll be writing up another post about an updated Frost Shock build soon. Meanwhile, you can check out an Earthquake build for Elemental Shamans in PvP at level 110 here!
What’s this build about?
It’s been a good two weeks since the World of Warcraft: Legion pre-expansion patch launched and I’ve experimented with different Elemental Shaman setups, and after countless battles, I’ve found a great build to be PvP with. Just note that this only applies to level 100 currently on the live servers and I’m in no way, shape or form claiming that this is the best build to go for. Nor will it make you a god against the headache of melee classes. With that out of the way, let’s dive straight into it!
This build I’m going to call Frosty, because I felt it needed a pointless name. But moving on, it’s a build that give you frequent and hard hitting burst windows with the potential to be even more lethal through Elemental Overload. This does mean that it has a little bit of a setup and just a drop of RNG for Elemental Overload, but even without a perfect line-up, it shouldn’t disappoint.
Ultimately, what it’s for is to minimize the reliance of lengthy cooldowns (CDs) such as Ascendance and Fire Elemental by putting all the focus onto shorter CDs, giving you many more windows of burst opportunities. There’s also the benefit of some added mobility during your buffed Frost Shock phases.
Here’s a couple of screenshots from a Battleground I did, showing how good it can be. The logs below aren’t even showing the other three Frost Shocks, which were doing between 30-45k each!
You may be thinking why I’ve chosen Earthen Rage. At face value, the damage doesn’t seem all that high and sure, it doesn’t. This talent is actually quite good as it deals passive damage to the last target you’ve actively dealt damage to. It’s great when you’re not able to cast anything because a simple Flame Shock will cause it to proc and it’s added damage during your burst phases.
Totem Mastery is a decent alternate, especially if you want a bit more spread damage with Flame Shock or slightly more emphasis on Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning. But since this build is more single target focused, Earthen Rage takes the pick!
Path of Flame is too weak in its current form as the 5% damage increase to Lava Burst is negligible, and trying to get Flame Shock to spread on Lava Burst impact is a pain (it’s not good in PvE scenarios either). It’s just easier to manually apply Flame Shock to each target, since it has no CD and costs 0 Maelstrom.
This row is entirely up to you, but there’s only two real options. Ancestral Guidance isn’t worth taking because the healing output is low and considering Elemental Shamans only have Thunderstorm and Ghost Wolf as “gap openers”, Gust of Wind and Wind Rush Totem are far superior.
Gust of Wind is a personal 15 second CD that launches you ahead, similar to Blink except it doesn’t free you from stuns and roots. Wind Rush Totem gives your allies within 10 yards, a 60% increase in movement speed for 5 seconds.
This is another row where you can pick whatever you like. I’ve picked Lightning Surge Totem because I personally prefer the stun and it can shut down multiple targets quite well in just 2 seconds, which is great to set up your burst. If you’re finding that the stun is suffering from diminishing returns (DR), then you can try the other two, which are perfectly fine.
Keep in mind how fairly easy it is to avoid or destroy Lightning Surge Totem if it’s spotted before getting out of its way and Earthgrab Totem does conflict with the slow effect from Frost Shock.
For the purpose of this build, Elemental Blast is the one to take as it’s the spell that gives this build a lot of its single target burst potential. It hits much harder than Lava Burst, which means you’ll be seeing up to 90k critical hits and it benefits from Elemental Overload. The spell comes with a risk of getting locked out of all spell types, but you can say that’s the trade-off! Ancestral Swiftness grants you 10% haste, which is pretty good, but the damage from Elemental Blast is what we’re going for to chain with Frost Shock. Echo of the Elements doesn’t really fit with this build.
This row is pretty straightforward. Elemental Fusion is the weakest talent I’ve ever seen an Elemental Shaman have, considering the strength of the other two talents in the row. Primal Elementalist enhances your Fire Elemental to make it a huge dps CD, but I think until we get our artifact weapon, it won’t see much use in PvP because of the lengthy CD. Icefury is the go-to talent in this row because well, without it, this build wouldn’t exist. It beefs up your next 4 Frost Shocks to deal 400% increased damage That’s good uninterruptible damage there.
Aftershock syngerizes much better with Icefury than Elemental Mastery because you don’t need to pool as much Maelstrom, which also means you spend less time casting Lightning Bolts or Chain Lightning to generate Maelstrom. But Elemental Mastery is fine to use (and better in shorter fights) because it speeds up your casts and global cooldowns, and resulting in faster Maelstrom generation and offloading buffed Frost Shocks. It depends on the length of the fight.
Storm Elemental isn’t worth the lengthy CD.
This one is also up to personal preference. Keep in mind, Ascendance is very slow without Elemental Mastery or some kind of haste increase, but with it, it’s a strong combination. Since this build focuses on shorter cooldowns, Liquid Magma Totem (LMT) is the talent to go for because it’s instant and doesn’t rely on casting like both Ascendance and Lightning Rod.
LMT can also deal damage when you may not be able to, i.e. being tunneled. This also may seem a bit “out there”, but you can mask Lightning Surge Totem with LMT to reduce the likelihood of it being spotted. It works pretty well!
- Make sure Flame Shock is on your burst target and you have at least 40-50 Maelstrom. (depends on if you’ve taken Aftershock or not)
- Cast Icefury.
- Cast Lava Burst. (Skip this step if you already have 2 stacks of Elemental Focus)
- Cast Elemental Blast.
- Cast Lava Burst ONLY if you have a Lava Surge proc. If not, proceed to 6.
- Cast Frost Shock x 4 to use up all your Icefury charges, with Lava Burst (Surge procs) in between if you have them, to get Elemental Focus and beef up Frost Shock. If you don’t have time then, quickly get off all Frost Shocks.
You should use Lighting Surge Totem or Hex if necessary and fake cast when possible, to make it easier on yourself.
With every spec, there are pros and cons. Check them out below.
Pros & Cons
- Frequent burst windows with high burst potential
- Decent mobility and harder to shut down with instant cast Frost Shocks
- Far less reliance on lengthy CDs
- Easier to use successfully than Ascendance/Elemental Mastery and harder to shut down
- Replaces Earth Shock, which doesn’t hit that hard for its cost anyway
- Being interrupted during Elemental Blast will lock you out of all spell types
- Getting locked out or interrupted while casting Icefury can ruin your burst, since a lot of your damage comes from buffed Frost Shocks
- Weak AoE and spread pressure
- Can be fairly obvious when you’re offloading buffed Frost Shocks, as it appears alongside your buffs
Major glyphs have been removed since the release of the pre-expansion patch. Glyphs are now purely cosmetic and have no affect of performance.
That’s all folks!
That’s all there is to it! If you have any questions, tweaks that you think could make it better or if you’ve had a go at this build, then by all means, let me know! But I recommend trying this build out because it offers something different compared to how Elemental Shamans have played recently. 🙂
Invasions are here next week. Suit up, gear up and have some fun slaughtering some demons in Azeroth!