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Totem Talk: Elemental 101, Part 3


9. Your basic Elemental rotation

Elemental, as mentioned several times above, has a very simple rotation.
  1. Cast Flame Shock to apply the Flame Shock DoT.
  2. Cast Lava Burst, which is a guaranteed crit on a target afflicted by Flame Shock.
  3. Cast Lightning Bolt until Lava Burst's cooldown is up.
  4. Cast Lava Burst again.
  5. Cast Lightning Bolt until the Flame Shock DoT expires.
  6. Go to 1.
This flowchart, courtesy of Propaganda Hour at Something Awful's WoW subforum, represents the rotation visually.


As you acquire more haste, you'll be able to squeeze in more Lightning Bolts in between Lava Bursts. There's little variation in this rotation until you acquire certain set bonuses which affect the way that Flame Shock and Lava Burst work.

Chain Lightning technically does more damage than Lightning Bolt, but has a considerably higher mana cost. If you can get to the point where you can Chain Lightning regularly without offsetting the mana cost with Thunderstorms, you can replace Lightning Bolt with it, but for most beginners, you'll have a long way to go before that's possible.

For AoE: you'll be switching to Chain Lightning over the stock version and aiming for whatever has the most health. Drop your Magma totem in a convenient location and hit Fire Nova on every cooldown for maximum AoE damage. Unfortunately, shaman AoE is still clunky, and we're essentially the only ranged class that's required to get into the thick of it to maximize our AoE damage.


10. Gems

Basic Elemental gemming follows some pretty simple rules.
  • Gem only for SP and haste. Reckless Ametrines and their blue-quality brethren are a fine choice for any slot, but you can choose to stack either one or the other if you're trying to hit a certain landmark (enough haste for another Bolt between Bursts, for example).
  • Never gem for crit. We'll go into this at more detail at a later date, but the general idea is that you tend to have enough crit on your gear and with your talents that it's less effective to gem it than SP or haste.
  • Never gem for int, spirit or mp5. Int and mp5 are for Resto, not you, and spirit is objectively awful.
  • Use the Chaotic Skyflare Diamond as your meta and Glowing Dreadstones to meet the two blue sockets you'll inevitably find in your tier gear to get your meta bonus.
  • For jewelcrafters: Use Runed Dragon's Eyes in three available red sockets in place of whatever you'd normally use.
  • Don't worry too much about matching sockets unless the bonus is particularly good (read: it'll offset the loss of stats from the gem you would normally use in that slot) or it's to get a meta bonus.
11. Glyphs

There are a number of major Elemental glyphs, though some edge others out slightly in the late game. For now we'll talk about the top four.
  • Glyph of Lightning Bolt: A static 4% increase to your most-used spell. Should be on everyone's glyph page.
  • Glyph of Flame Shock: Remember, you should have close to 100% Flame Shock uptime, so this glyph adds a good chunk of DPS (usually around 4%).
  • Glyph of Totem of Wrath: Whenever you put Totem of Wrath down, you get an extra 30% (84) of its spell power for five minutes. Just you, though.
  • Glyph of Lava: This glyph is outclassed by the one above until very late in the Wrath game. You'll need above 3900 active spell power for this one to be better.
As for minor glyphs, there aren't any that really directly affect your DPS. They're all quality-of-life improvements. I take Astral Recall, Water Shield, and Renewed Life.

12. Enchants for the endgame
  • Mace/Dagger: Mighty Spellpower
  • Staff: Greater Spellpower
  • Shield: Greater Intellect
  • Helm: Arcanum of Burning Mysteries
  • Cloak: Greater Speed (or Lightweave Embroidery for tailors)
  • Shoulders: Greater Inscription of the Storm (or Master's Inscription of the Storm for scribes)
  • Chest: Powerful Stats
  • Bracers: Superior Spellpower (or Fur Lining - Spell Power for leatherworkers)
  • Gloves: Exceptional Spellpower (or Precision if under hit cap, or Hyperspeed Accelerators for engineers)
  • Belt: Eternal Belt Buckle (of course)
  • Pants: Sapphire Spellthread
  • Boots: Icewalker if not hit-capped, otherwise use Tuskarr's Vitality (or Nitro Boosters for engineers)
  • Rings: Greater Spellpower for enchanters
That should be enough to get you started. Next week we'll talk about gear for the max-level Elemental.






Show your totemic mastery by reading Totem Talk, whether reading Mike Sacco's Elemental edition or Matt Rossi's coverage of Resto and Enhancement.

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