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Build Shop: Shaman 0/45/16

Chris Jahosky

Every Tuesday, Chris Jahosky contributes Build Shop, which takes a look into one of the many talent specs available to players.

It's been a long while since there was a Shaman build featured on Build Shop, and I think it's time that changed. I'm looking at an Enhancement build this week that's built for raid damage yet provides a good amount of utility and group buffs. As expected, the majority of the points go into the Enhancement tree, but instead of putting the remaining points into Elemental to buff personal DPS, this build places them in Restoration in order to provide stronger utility for the raid and additional hit chance for you.

Enhancement (45 points)

  • Ancestral Knowledge (5/5) - Increases your maximum mana by 5%. This is a stronger choice for the first tier than Shield Specialization for a few reasons: one, you won't be using a shield with this build; two, you're not a tank; and three, any increase to your mana pool is welcome.
  • Guardian Totems (2/2) - Increases the amount of damage reduced by your Stoneskin and Windwall totem by 20%, and reduces the cooldown of your Grounding Totem by 2 seconds. Stoneskin and Windwall are both situational, but when you do use them it's nice to have them as effective as possible. I just feel that for the focus of this build (raiding / providing utility), talents like Improved Ghost Wolf and Improved Lightning Shield aren't worth taking. However, if you're looking for an alternative, consider dropping these 2 points into Anticipation for some additional dodge.
  • Thundering Strikes (5/5) - Increases your chance to crit with weapon attacks by 5%. This is a prerequisite for Flurry, and crit chance is important to this build. Your crits proc Flurry (which increases your melee attack speed) and Shamanistic Focus (which helps with mana efficiency), both of which are important talents for dealing damage efficiently. Don't pass this up.
  • Enhancing Totems (2/2) - Increases the effect of your Strength of Earth and Grace of Air totems by 15%. Another solid talent that increases the power of your totems (there are lots of these in this build). Again, if you don't want to put points in here, throw them in Anticipation (I'd still rather put 2 points in here, though).
  • Shamanistic Focus (1/1) - After landing a melee critical, you enter a Focused state which reduces the mana cost of your next Shock spell by 60%. A great talent which helps conserve mana and only improves as your crit chance goes up.
  • Flurry (5/5) - Increases your attack speed for 30% for your next 3 swings after dealing a critical strike. Any type of buff / gear / effect that increases your attack speed is huge, as it can dramatically increase your white damage. More attacks in less time also means more crits, which means keeping Flurry refreshed and proccing Shamanistic Focus.
  • Improved Weapon Totems (2/2) - Increases the melee attack power of your Windfury Totem by 30% and increases the damage caused by your Flametongue Totem by 12%. Yet another talent that buffs your totems -- the bonus to the Windfury Totem is substantial, and your melee raid members will love you.
  • Spirit Weapons (1/1) - Gives you a chance to parry, and reduces the threat generated by your melee attacks by 30%. Essential for raiding, this talent helps you manage your threat, which can be a serious concern in some fights. In addition, it's also a prereq for Dual Wielding.
  • Elemental Weapons (3/3) - Increases the melee attack power bonus of Rockbiter by 20%, Windfury by 40%, and increases the damage caused by Flametongue and Frostbrand by 15%. A great talent which improves your personal weapon buffs (especially Windfury). If that wasn't a good enough reason to take it, it's also a prerequisite for Stormstrike.
  • Mental Quickness (3/3) - Reduces the mana cost of your instant cast spells by 6%, and increases your spell damage and healing by an amount equal to 30% of your attack power. Additional mana efficiency and some free spelldamage make this a solid talent, especially since you're not likely to be wearing much spelldamage gear -- this helps your shocks pack a bit more punch.
  • Weapon Mastery (5/5) - Increases the damage you deal with all weapons by 10%. An additional 10% damage to all your melee attacks is nothing to sneeze at. Doesn't effect your shocks or other spells, but will increase the damage of Stormstrike, as well as all your other physical attacks.
  • Dual Wield (1/1) - Allows you to equip one handed and off-handed weapons in your off-hand. Don't skip this one.
  • Dual Wield Specialization (3/3) - Increases your chance to hit while dual wielding by 6%. As dual wielding requires a lot more hit rating than a one or two handed weapon, this is an extra 6% hit that you don't have to make up for with gear. If you're dual wielding, pick this up.
  • Stormstrike (1/1) - Instantly attacks with both weapons. In addition, the next 2 sources of Nature damage to the target are increased by 20%. This is the first (and only) instant physical attack available to shaman currently. Aside from a straight increase to your DPS, the debuff it places on the target increases the damage of Earth Shock (which is the source of nature damage you're most likely to use if you're Enhancement).
  • Unleashed Rage (5/5) - Your melee crits increase all party members' attack power by 10% (if they're within 20 yards of the Shaman). Yet another talent that synergizes well with your crit chance, this provides both a nice buff to your own attack power as well as the group's. So, in review, your melee crits will now proc Shamanistic Focus (reduces mana cost of your next Shock), Unleashed Rage (+10% AP to you and the party), and Flurry (increases your attack speed by 30%). Fantastic!
  • Shamanistic Rage (1/1) - Reduces all damage taken by 30% and gives your successful melee attacks a chance to regenerate mana equal to 15% of your attack power for 30 seconds (changes to 30% of your attack power for 15 seconds in Patch 2.4). This has a 2 minute cooldown, but is quite capable of regenerating most, if not all of your mana. In Patch 2.4, the mana regen effect doubles but the duration is halved -- I haven't tested this personally yet, but I can't see it negatively effecting the talent as it applies to PvE.

Restoration (16 points)

  • Improved Healing Wave (5/5) - Reduces the casting time of your Healing Wave by 0.5 seconds. You won't be spamming your Healing Spells if you're raiding as an Enhancement Shaman, so I see this as a better choice than Tidal Focus for the first talent tier.
  • Improved Reincarnation (2/2) - Reduces the cooldown of Reincarnation by 20 minutes (down to 40 minutes, from 1 hour), and increases the amount of health / mana you reincarnate with by 20%. I'd file this one under "Raid Utility." A lower cooldown on Reincarnation means that you can prevent a wipe (or rez mid-fight) that much more often.
  • Totemic Focus (5/5) - Reduces the mana cost of your totems by 25%. Since you will be using totems often, this will help greatly with mana efficiency. I wouldn't pass this up.
  • Nature's Guidance (3/3) - Increases your chance to hit with melee attacks and spells by 3%. This talent brings your chance to hit with melee attacks up to 9% from talents alone. As mentioned before, more hit from talents means less hit needed on your gear (though I wouldn't ignore it on gear, this just means you don't have to worry about it as much as other melee classes).
  • Totemic Mastery (1/1) - Increases the radius of your friendly totems to 30 yards. This helps quite a bit in fights where you constantly shifting positions -- since your totems are not mobile (and cannot provide their buff to those out of range), this talent makes it easier for everyone to gain the benefit of your wonderful totems.
That wraps up this edition of Build Shop, but I'll be back again next week. What do you want to see on Build Shop? Send me an email with your questions, comments, or builds and we'll talk shop.

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