Totem Talk: Cataclysm consumables for choosy elemental shaman

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Totem Talk: Cataclysm consumables for choosy elemental shaman
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement and restoration shaman. Get some Fulmination with your Lightning Bolts! Sort the shocks from the flames with Totem Talk: Elemental, brought to you by Sarah Nichol, otherwise known as Pewter from The 'mental Shaman and the Obscurecast podcast and founding member of TotemSpot.

Please pardon me if I am a little food-obsessed this week. I've been watching The Great British Bakeoff, and they recently did a bread-making episode, so I'm getting a little fixated on the idea of some proper bread and butter. Ah, the simple things in life. Then Joe decided to cover alchemy consumables for restoration shaman this week, and my thoughts immediately turned to buff food, because quality bread and butter would considerably buff my happiness stat right now.

Consumables aren't likely to be the first thing on the minds of many adventurers, as they traverse the depths of Vashj'ir, but I think it is well worth have a look at the choices we'll have along the way and the materials that are worth holding on to. Stocking up a raid bag on the way to level 85 is an good way to ease the occasional pains of levelling and can save time and effort later on. In Wrath, my bags were well stocked with raid consumables by the time I reached 80, allowing me to get on with gearing, gemming, enchanting, and getting mixed up in that Sons of Hodir business.

Consumables make up a larger proportion of our total stats at the start of an expansion and thus have a bigger impact on the success of early raids in any expansion. If you're new to raiding and Cataclysm has drawn you in, consumables will be a big help to your initial raiding experience. Ensuring you have the right consumables can seem a bit stressful the first couple of times, but don't worry -- learn to love those snacks and light refreshments for the DPS candy they are.

Is that your stomach rumbling?

I don't know about you, but it feels like Wrath raiding has definitely made many raiders rather lazy when it comes to maintaining and using secondary skills. What's the point, if your alt already has fishing and someone else brings all the Fish Feast to the raids?

The new raid munchies, Seafood Magnifique Feast, are not going to be immediately available, as the recipe is obtained via guild achievements. Even the cheaper version is currently obtained via a guild achievement! It won't take organized guilds long to snag the recipes, but in the meantime many of us will be expected to supply our own food, even if eager cooks are willing to slap down an old-fashioned Fish Feast to keep us fed. The elemental shaman top choices are as follows:
Intellect is our foundation stat, feeding into spellpower, mana pool size, crit and even mana regen via Rolling Thunder, so Pickled Guppy or Severed Sagefish Head are very obvious choices for a quick snack between wipes. Spirit is a very strong stat when facing a boss, but for raid trash and heroics, it isn't much help. I advise keeping a stack of both intellect and spirit food in your bags, for those awkward moments when you're the only person who died. Ahem.

In terms of sheer fun factor, I also intend to keep some Basilisk Liverdog in my raid bag. If you're anything like me, by the time you've started gearing up in heroics, you'll be feeling starved of haste; it only gets harder the better your gear gets and the closer you get to the hit cap. It may be a bit expensive or laborious, and I wouldn't advise using it for progression raiding, but haste is the only stat that really changes the way we play. Even if we're supposed to balance it with mastery and spell hit rating, it is still my favorite stat because it changes the way I push my spell buttons.

Off topic, is it just me, or are we spellcasters getting less refined in our dietary tastes? Those tanks are chowing down on Blackbelly Sushi, and we're munching on Severed Sagefish Heads? Is this some attempt by the caster community to appear more earthy and vital? Either way, I'm reminded of Gollum's "raw and wriggling" speech in The Two Towers. The Deepsea Sagefish is a drop from many a wild aquatic creature in Vashj'ir, and it can also be fished up in the same zone; it's worth holding on to these raw little wrigglers until you can cook them yourself or find someone else to cook them for you. May or may not be good with taters.

Mid-battle refreshments Maximizing DPS? You'll be downing Volcanic Potions in combat. End of story. There is currently no upgrade to Potion of Speed, and 500 haste simply doesn't compare to 1,200 spellpower! I've included Potion of Concentration, a modern Potion of Nightmares; however, the usage of this potion is extremely situational and dependent on knowing the fight. Using a potion that renders you defenseless, no matter how short the time period, is risky and requires forward planning. I see no harm in having such a thing in your raid bag, but use it wisely. A less risky but lower-yield option is Mighty Rejuvenation Potion -- or Mythical Mana Potion, if your mana pool just isn't cutting it -- although respeccing to grab Convection would be a better solution.

Of course, obtaining the materials for Volcanic Potion requires a healthy stash of gold or a healthy grasp of botany. Herbalists can grab Aszhara's Veil from areas near water in Mount Hyjal or anywhere in Vashj'ir, and Cinderbloom is widely available in the scorched areas of Uldum, Deepholm and Twilight Highlands.

Flasks and Elixirs Flask of Flowing Water is an attractive way to increase our spell hit, right up until we get our grubby hands on T11. At level 85, the spell hit cap is 1,640 for draenei and 1,742 for the rest of us. On the beta, my epic premade was still 3 to 4 percent shy of the cap, even after gemming and enchanting for hit, but the availability of spirit off-set pieces enabled me to construct a spell hit-capped set. Then the beta went down. However, early indications show that even without reaching the hit cap, intellect is still an extremely strong stat. So, when you initially start raiding, grab Flask of the Flowing Water, and drop it for Flask of the Draconic Mind as your gear improves.
Elixirs are a useful and relatively cheap boost for 5-mans and leveling, but due to the poor guardian elixir options, they simply don't pack the same punch as the flasks. I'll be carrying a few stacks of Ghost Elixir and Elixir of Mighty Speed for the odd moment when they'll be useful, such as the last 20 minutes of raiding and heroics or for a particularly annoying quest when a little bit of extra power helps to jig things along. As with the other categories, I haven't included anything based on crit rating because we simply don't benefit from it to the same extent as haste, mastery, or spirit.

Ghost Elixir uses Cinderbloom alone, so it is one of the cheapest Elixirs to have on hand. Elixir of Mighty Speed is made with Stormvine from Mount Hyjal and Twilight Jasmine from the Twilight Highlands; however, Twilight Jasmine is needed to make Flask of the Draconic Mind and so is likely to be much in demand for flask making. Herbalists can also grab Volatile Life, Cinderbloom, Stormvine, and Azshara's Veil by Wailing Weeds in Mount Hyjal and herbing them. Sadly, these quest mobs are phased and disappear once you hand in Seeds of Their Demise.

The right tool for the job at hand

Going back to my earlier remarks about spell hit, it's worth bearing in mind that while building a hit-capped set was possible, I achieved it with gear handed to me on a beta-shaped platter. Once Cataclysm goes live, the struggle to reach hit cap without the aid of consumables will be much more arduous and not something to be expected before setting foot inside a raid.

While intellect and spell power bonuses are very strong, there are a host of options out there to explore. Picking the right tool for the job is more important than trying to shoehorn "the best" selection of consumables into every conceivable circumstance. Our bread and butter stats are established now, and our consumable choices reflect that. The gear puzzle that Blizzard has presented us with the new meta-gem requirements, changes to raid boss spell hit, and the new mastery stat promises to keep us on our toes all the way through the expansion.

Hopefully, you'll have a better idea of what your raiding consumables kit will look like in Cataclysm now. In the near future, I plan to take a closer look at profession bonuses, gems and enchants for elemental shaman -- but to be quite honest, I'm most excited about exploring the new zones. If you've got any questions about levelling as an elemental shaman in Cataclysm, feel free to send me an email with your query; I'm quite happy to receive more general queries, as well.

Show your totemic mastery by reading Totem Talk. Whether it's Sarah Nichol's elemental edition, Joe Perez's coverage of restoration or Rich Maloy's enhancement edition, WoW Insider's shaman experts have you covered.
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