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Totem Talk: Level 90 talents for enhancement shaman in MoP

Screenshot of MoP's new Ascendance ability
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. Once a lonely tauren shaman in a bad Scarlet Crusade-themed transmog set, Josh Myers is now a female dwarf shaman with pigtails who raids as all three specs on a regular basis. He kept the same transmog set, though.

It's here!

As I'm writing this, it's past midnight Thursday night on the east coast, which means I could be referring to two things. If you're a preteen or, like me, you have a very odd and indescribable man crush on Josh Hutcherson, I'm probably referring to the Hunger Games movie. More likely, though, I'm referring to the Mists of Pandaria beta, which was released in the middle of the night on Wednesday. Probably.

MoP beta brings with it a lot of things, and chief among them is our long-awaited level 90 tier of talents. If you remember correctly, the first incarnation of this tier was awful, and everyone hated them. Fortunately, Blizzard listened to feedback and scrapped those, but new talents weren't included in the updated talent calculator a month ago, and we've been living in a state of suspense since then.

These new talents are all game-changers. The cool thing about them is that every one of them is going to impact your rotation in a new and interesting way, and I can see uses for all three of them. Those are the sort of talent choices that have me jumping for joy, and I'm very excited to see how this all plays out.

Fire Elemental Totem, Part 3: This time, it's personal

Our first choice for a talent is Primal Elementalist, a talent that does three things. First, it increases the damage of your elemental totems by 50%.

Second, it gives your elementals extra abilities. For Primal Fire Elemental, these include a hard-hitting Immolate DoT and and a channeled ability that increases your damage. Primal Earth Elemental gets suitably tankish abilities, including the ability to channel and reduce the damage you take, not to mention the 4-second stun.

Third, your elementals now have a pet bar to control them. On the flipside, your spirit wolves lose their control bar, but that's because Spirit Walk has become an enhancement ability that can be used at any time.

A tier-2 wearing shaman with his fire elemental
Now, I know what you're probably thinking: "But Josh, we haven't used Fire Elemental Totem for all of Cataclysm, and you hated it with a burning passion in Wrath because of its stupidly long cooldown. Why would we be happy for this talent?" While these are both true, Blizzard answered my two fundamental problems with Fire Elemental Totem in Mists of Pandaria.

First, its cooldown and duration have both been cut in half, making it last 1 minute and have a 5-minute cooldown, allowing it to be used every attempt at a boss. Second, Fire Elemental Totem will be able to stack Searing Flames, meaning it will work as an enhancement DPS cooldown again. My one concern is that it won't be able to cast its Empower ability and stack Searing Flames at the same time, but that just ties into the idea of every talent needing to be an important choice.

So with these fundamental faults fixed, Fire Elemental Totem is going to be worth dropping whenever we need a burst of DPS. In fact, coupled with Ascendance and Feral Spirit, we're going to have some very nice burst in Mists of Pandaria. Throw in this talent and the fact that FET will be able to channel to increase your damage done, and we'll have even stronger burst that we're actually able to control. That's some very exciting news.

Unleashing the fury of the elements

Next on the table is my personal favorite choice, Unleashed Fury, which basically supercharges your Unleash Elements. I happen to be a huge fan of Unleash Elements. Weapon imbues are such an important part of our DPS and our class identity that Unleash Elements was a huge selling point for me in Cataclysm. One of the things I was actually most let down by in Cata was that the only spec where UE was consistently worth using was enhancement, as it was lackluster for both ele and resto.

Unleashed Fury makes your Unleash Elements better at what it already does. Flametongue Weapon's effect increases the damage of your Lightning Bolts and Lava Bursts on the target you hit with Unleash by 25% for 10 seconds. With a 15-second CD, this effect will be up two-thirds of the time, which is awesome. I can't say anything for sure at the moment, but we might even consider holding off on Unleashing until we're near five stacks of Maelstrom Weapon, to guarantee the most amount of Lightning Bolts we can get during the debuff.

A close up of a weapon being thrown by Unleash Wind
Windfury Weapon's Unleashed Fury effect is slightly more underwhelming in that it allows your melee attacks to proc Static Shock for the next 8 seconds. My assumption is that it will use the same proc rate as the Static Shock talent, at 45% chance per auto-attack swing. Given our dual-wielding nature and the haste buffs we receive from Windfury, Unleash Wind, and Flurry, chances are that we'll be seeing a significant increase in Lightning Shield damage from this talent. I don't dislike this one because I think it's bad; on the contrary, I think it'll be fine for damage. I just don't find it particularly cool or compelling, but that's fine!

In contrast, the last Unleash is one I find really interesting. Frostbrand Weapon's buffed Unleash Elements saps the target's movement speed, increasing your movement speed by 50%. I was really worried this would be another slow, which I wasn't sure we needed due to Frostbrand, its current Unleash effect, and Frost Shock. Instead, it's a personal sprint, and since the Frostbrand Unleash will slow your opponent when you use it, it will definitely help PvP enhance shaman stay on target. Very cool, in my opinion.

Having a blast with the elements

The last and most ambiguous talent choice for enhancement in MoP is Elemental Blast. With a 2-second cast and a 12-second cooldown, Elemental Blast looks like it will deal a hefty amount of damage and increase your crit, haste, or mastery by 5% for 8 seconds. My assumption is that this will work like Matrix Restabilizer and choose your highest stat from that list.

Dwarf totems in blue ambient light
Even with that nice 5% mastery proc and good damage that definitely scales with enhancement's mastery, I'd be hard pressed to choose this talent over others, mainly due to the 2-second cast time. If it's added to Maelstrom Weapon and we can reduce it to an instant-cast, I think this could become a permanent fixture in our priority rotation. This might be particularly useful for AoE fights, as Unleashed Fury doesn't help with Chain Lightning and the mastery buff of Elemental Blast would help both CL and Fire Nova. As it stands, though, the other two choices are simply more compelling to me. Elemental Blast definitely has potential, though, and beta just hit Thursday, so it definitely has time to change.

Show your totemic mastery by reading Totem Talk: Enhancement every week. We've got enhancement-specific advice on 4 ways to increase your DPS, the ups and downs of enhancement in Dragon Soul, and gearing up for Raid Finder raids.

Filed under: Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Mists of Pandaria

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