After two in-depth posts on talent spec options for Enhancement Shamans in Patch 3.3, it’s time to take a look at rotations.
Six days into Patch 3.3, I’ve had the chance to run a wide-ranging number of encounters, giving me an opportunity to test Fire Nova — the most significant change for Enhancement — in circumstances you simply can’t replicate with a target dummy. Forays into the Frozen Halls, Icecrown Citadel, Trial of the Crusader, Ulduar and OS 3D have given better insight into the situational value of Fire Nova and its priority in an Enhancement rotation.
With talents and current high-end gear, Fire Nova can crit for 5k or more on each target it hits. The spell really shines because we can stack it with any fire totem we want — including Magma Totem — while simultaneously using our melee attacks. The result is a dramatic improvement in DPS on fights involving lots of adds, as well as a solid boost to single-target DPS.
Of course, calling an Enhancement Shaman’s ability range a “rotation” is a bit misleading, because ever since Patch 3.0, we’ve had a priority system. Patch 3.3 doesn’t change that — the first priority in any situation is using a Maelstrom Weapon five-stack.
This rotation's kinda trippy.
An Enhancement Shaman’s second priority also remains the same with Stormstrike. With its built-in debuff and Glyph of Stormstrike, not only does the attack do decent damage on its own, it also makes our Earth Shocks, Lightning Bolts and Lightning Shield hit harder.
From there, things get a bit tricky. On a single-target fight, Earth Shock is usually a better bet than Fire Nova. Against one target, it simply hits harder.
But on boss fights with adds, or AoE pulls, Fire Nova surpasses Earth Shock and should be used first.
On boss fights, I like to use Lava Lash early as well — the 400 AP proc from Totem of Quaking Earth almost always activates on the First Lava lash. The high proc rate makes it possible to achieve near-100% uptime, which is well worth at least one global cooldown every 18 seconds, the duration of the buff.
Of course, Fire Nova doesn’t work without an active fire totem in play, so re-dropping Magma, Searing or Flametongue should always be a priority after Maelstrom Weapon five-stacks and Stormstrike.
Unsurprisingly, the TL;DR version is this: We don’t have a rotation. If you’re an Enhancement Shaman and you’re using a rotation, you’re doing it wrong and gimping your own DPS in the process. I’ve seen posts from some players who claim they use sequence macros, and I just don’t see how that’s possible given the range of options available to us and the varying effectiveness of those options.
In Patch 3.3 more than ever, the best Enhancement Shaman “rotation” involves paying attention and selecting the most effective ability for each encounter and each moment. Some people see that as too much “work.” If you’re one of those people, perhaps you might be interested in a Hunter or Warlock alt?
Related posts from Stormstrike: