Totem Talk: Enhancement 201, spell selection

Rich Maloy
R. Maloy|02.12.10

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Totem Talk: Enhancement 201, spell selection
Rich Maloy is currently working on a distributed processing application called SimIt!@HOME which will calculate all possible enhancement shaman spell rotations for any possible situation given any gear combination. The application will also have an option to calculate all potential scenarios in which "sim it" is a half-a** answer but you should say it anyway.

If I told you the enhancement shaman basic spell rotation was: SR, FE, SW, MW5_LB, MT(0), LS(1), ES_SS, SS, FS, ES, LL, FN would you run away screaming?

What if I told you that was just for single target boss encounters and there's a different priority for boss fights that require changing targets, another priority for boss fights with heavy adds, and yet another priority for trash mobs. Scared yet?

It's OK. Please come back. This is what we Enhancers have bouncing around in our head. I'll make everything alright by breaking it down into a few easy-to-remember chunks. Because we all like chunks.
My 101 article could have been more appropriately named "How to play enhancement in raids or dungeons if you are recently level 80 or would like to make it your off spec," but that was a bit long so I cut it down to Enhancement 101. In said article, commenter Angus noted "...enhance shaman need a simulator, a supercomputer, and a math genius to figure out what they should be gearing for at any particular moment.." I had to laugh because it's true.

Thankfully we enhancers have math geniuses calculating the theorycrafting and supercomputer geniuses writing the code to the simulator to help us tweak our output at any level for any given situation. However, this article is not for theorycrafting and not about running simulations.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-EnhSim. Just this week I went through a detailed iterative sim on Stoney's gear to recalculate optimal gemming and then maximize my output with a new rotation. EnhSim is a seriously awesome tool -- and we'll get to it in a later post -- but using it is a process. In fact at progression/end-game levels of play it's practically required for optimization. But for the Totem Talk enhancement columnist to say "sim it" is just a huge cop-out, and doesn't exactly make for good reading.

Today's article isn't about the utmost optimal and ideal rotation, nor is it about how to get that for yourself. It's about simplifying a complex rotation. This is to help the new-to-80 (or thereabouts) enhancement shaman wrap their head around a basic core spell rotation.

My goal in this article is to (1) break down the complex rotation into easy-to-remember chunks, then (2) put it together into a usable rotation that will work in most boss scenarios, and (3) explain why we do the things we do.

A shocking macro

There is one macro above all others that will simplify your life as an enhancement shaman. Even for the most anti-macro enhancer out there this little one will save headaches and action bar space. It is:
/castsequence reset=18/combat Flame Shock, Earth Shock, Earth Shock
There are a few variations on this macro but for the purpose of this article I'm sticking with the one above. Some players prefer to separate the shocks on to different buttons, others (including me) prefer a more complex but flexible macro, but of all the shocking macros. But this macro is the best place to start. Learn it and hug it and love it and squeeze it with all your heart and call it George. George the Shock Macro.

The reason this macro is so important is because Flame Shock lasts for 18 seconds. If FS is reapplied before the end then it's wasted DPS. This is like a pro-tip and a beginner tip rolled into one. Add George the Shock Macro to your macro book because we'll be using it right away.

Break it down

The best way to think about the enhancement spell selection is to break it down into two parts: rotation and situation. Once it's broken down into these two section you'll see the rotation actually isn't all that complex. But you should still [Feign Complexity](Rank 10) when talking to the filthy rogues in your guild. Don't let them think you've got it easy. I fully expect you to go on and on about how you can successfully track at 15 spell rotation and still beat him in DPS.


There are 5 spells in the rotation section. Commit these to memory. They are not cycled through in a straight sequence; instead, they're used in a priority order. Go down the list until you find one that's available and hit it. Then start again at the top.

This is the simplified rotation:
  1. Lightning Bolt with 5 stacks of Maelstrom Weapon (MW5_LB)
  2. Stormstrike (SS)
  3. George the shock macro (FS, ES, ES)
  4. Lava Lash (LL)
  5. Fire Nova (FN)
After every cast start back at the top of the list and go down until you hit something off cooldown. It takes some getting used to so it's worth it to hit up a target dummy and work through the sequence a few times. After some practice you'll find a rhythm and spend less time staring at the action bar because you have a feel for what's coming up next.


Everything else in the enhancement arsenal is situational. The general rule of thumb is use them as soon as they become available or to be need refreshed.

First up are the situations where spells need to be refreshed. When either of these spells run out they become highest priority on the next GCD. (PRO TIP: whenever I have a free GCD I refresh whichever one is closest to running out, that way I don't have to interrupt my rotation as often.)
  • Magma Totem (MT) – Keep this down at all times because when your rotation comes around to Fire Nova, if you don't have MT down you'll miss out on the FN blast. Plus the passive damage is FTW.
  • Lightning Shield (LS) – Gotta love the Static Shock! Nine charges goes by pretty fast, especially if you have 2pc T9. The passive damage isn't huge, but it's important enough to keep this up at all times.
Next we move on to the special situation spells.
  • Shamanistic Rage (SR) – Under normal circumstances this should be used at or below 30-40% mana. 45 seconds goes by fast (60 second CD less 15 second duration) so you'll notice it being up often. If you have 2pc T10 then SR should be the very first thing cast after auto attack and then hit as the highest priority every time it comes available. (PRO TIP: with 2pc T10 create a macro to sync trinkets with SR)
  • Feral Spirit (SW) – Wolves actively scale with your stats, meaning if you get trinket procs while they are active, their stats will increase with yours. However they should be out before Heroism/Bloodlust is cast to get the full benefit from the buff.
  • Fire Elemental (FE) – On a 10 minute CD this spell should be available for most boss attempts even after wipes. As a general rule it's not worth glyphing for FE. One important thing to note is that your FE does not scale once the totem is planted; this is the opposite of SW. If you are dropping FE in a fight then plan on getting some procs up first and then put the totem down.

Bonus point

If you want bonus points there's a special situation in the rotation called ES_SS. This means if Earth Shock and Stormstrike are both off cooldown at the same time AND if the Stormstrike debuff is still up on the boss then cast Earth Shock first. It's not essential to the basics, but it is a step in the right direction to maximizing output.

All together now

Putting it all together yields the crazy thing we saw at the beginning: SR, FE, SW, MW5_LB, MT, LS, ES_SS, SS, FS, ES, LL, FN. The spells in bold are the "rotation" spells, the others are all situation spells. I hope this helped you wrap your head around enhancement shaman spell selection. Until next time ...

May all your hits be crits!
StormstrikeFollow the footsteps of's shamanistic ways each week with Totem Talk. Did you miss the 101 guide to enhancement shamanism? What are you waiting for? Go read it now!

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