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Totem Talk: Cooldown management in the Lower Spire


Axes, maces, lightning, fire, frost, wolves, and best of all, Windfury. It can mean only one thing: enhancement. Rich Maloy lives it and loves it. His main spec is enhance. His off-spec is enhance. He blogs about the life and times of enhance at Big Hit Box, pens the enhance side of Totem Talk, and leads the guild/reality-show Big Crits as the enhancement shaman Stoneybaby. (pic: grats Saltycracker on Big Crits' first Shadowmourne!)

This article originally started as an enhancement shaman's guide to cooldown usage in ICC but given that cooldown management is universal to all damage dealers I've expanded the scope of the article. Actually, "expanded the scope" is a bit grandiose; it's more accurate to say I just changed the wording from enhance-specific spells to using the generic 3-min, 2-min and 1-min cooldowns.

In some cases I kept the enhancement abilities because they bring other abilities in addition to just straight damage. Here's a quick rundown of our major cooldowns for the unenhanced:
  • 10 min – Bloodlust/Heroism – you know it and love it
  • 10 min – Fire Ele (5 min with glyph) – yeah he's dumb but what do you expect, his brains are on fire
  • 3 min – Berserk & Bloodfury – Troll & Orc racials, respectively
  • 3 min – Feral Spirit – two wolves who do damage and heal you simultaneously. Rad.
  • 2 min – on-use Trinkets – Currently my trinkets are not on-use but I take them into account in case yours are
  • 1 min – Shamanistic Rage with t10 2pc – normally this is a mana-regeneration and damage-reduction spell but with 2pc t10 it increases damage.
I still talk about using Bloodlust/Heroism, Fire Ele, and Shammy Rage because they have their own unique aspects to deal with in raid. Namely, BL/Hero helps everyone, the Fire Ele is dumb as hell, and Shammy Rage mitigates damage.

Lord Marrowgar

Regular and Heroic – It's a relatively short fight so you'll get to use 3 minute cooldowns only once. We usually BL after the first Bone storm, though it could be equally effective at the pull after tanks are in position and have threat. If you BL midway then 1-min cooldowns can be used at the start of the fight and will be up again in time for BL/Hero but 2mins should be saved. Be sure to get the Fire Ele out before popping BL.

Lady Deathwhisper

Regular – On regular mode this fight is a snoozer. Save all cooldowns 3mins or longer for the end after the shied is down, then get out pets and blow Hero. If your guild takes longer than 4 mins to complete this fight then you can use your 3min cds to maximum benefit. 2 min trinkets can be used early so they'll be ready for BL at the end, and Shammy Rage can be used on every cooldown.

Heroic – We've found the best use of BL is in phase 1. It helps mop up adds and shorten that phase, just be sure to use it after a mind control and shortly before a new wave comes out. We usually shoot for the 2nd or 3rd wave and I do hold my 3-min cooldowns until then. There are 60 seconds between each wave of adds so conceivably you could use your 3min abilities at the start and have them ready again for BL in the 3rd wave. Use all other cooldowns as they are available and as often as possible.

I've vacillated between ele on phase 1 and phase 2. The downside with phase 1 is that used too late you may have to destroy the totem if the shield is low, you don't want to break it yet, but ol' fire-for-brains is beating on it. The downside of phase 2 is with the high amount of movement your independent minded ele may behave like a spoiled teenager and run off to sulk in the corner all by himself, temperamental beasts that they are -- the ele's not the teenagers.

Gunship Battle

Initiate combat. Socialize. Surf for lolcats. Collect loot.

Deathbringer Saurfang

Regular – I highly recommend using BL/Hero a few seconds before the 30% mark when he does his Berserk. If your guild is burning that last 30% down faster than the 45 second BL duration then you may want to move the pop-off to 40%. It should go without saying that getting the full duration out of BL is the best use of it. It should also go without saying it's often necessary to say the things that go without saying.

Having said that, in regular mode you may not get to use 3min cooldowns more than once so I save them for the 30% BL. We're killing him right around 3 minutes total.

Heroic – On heroic I always get two uses out of wolves so I pop them early and then again late. On nights when the DPS is feeling really good my wolves may not be back up for the 30% mark. If that's the case don't hold Hero, get that out first for the healers and then kindly ask another shammy in your raid to pop a 2nd hero for your dogs. As for 1min cooldowns they should be used early and often. As for trinkets and 2-min cooldowns you may not get 3 uses out of 2-min cooldowns on heroic and definitely not on regular mode, so they should be used early and then held for the last 30% and BL.

This is a good fight to get in the habit of "pre-potting" which means taking a Potion of Speed before combat starts. If you do it right you can get 10-12 seconds of haste without locking yourself out of the one-potion-per-combat rule; plus the 2-min cooldown will be up by the time you Hero.

Next week we'll tackle the Plague and Blood Wings including the epic melee strategy for heroic Blood Prince Council I like call: "/afk getting more beer."

What do you differently than the cooldowns usage I outlined above?

May all your hits be crits!

StormstrikeShow your totemic mastery by reading Totem Talk, whether reading Mike Sacco's Elemental edition, Joe Perez's coverage of Restoration or Rich Maloy's Enhancement edition, we have you covered.

Filed under: Shaman, (Shaman) Totem Talk

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