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Totem Talk: Epicly gearing your enhancement shaman

Josh Myers

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. Do your likes include bladed weapons, the elements, and fights with little to no movement or target-switching? So does Josh Myers, new kid on the block and now host of Totem Talk: Enhancement!

I remember my first epic very well. It was Shard of the Virtuous, which dropped off Maiden of Virtue during the first raid of my life. We went on to set a bunch of world records, wiping to Shade of Aran four times because our restoration shaman couldn't run out of Arcane Explosion and hitting the 10-minute enrage timer on Terestian Illhoof. Finally, we called the raid for the week after wiping on the Chess Event. This was the week after patch 2.3 was released, and Karazhan had been farm content for over a year.

I didn't care about any of these slight defeats, however. I didn't care that the protection warrior tank called me the worst player ever. I barely noticed that our hunter went AFK on every trash pull and did the least DPS on every boss. After six months of grinding, 12 levels of gaining experience through only running Burning Crusade dungeons before the dungeon finder was released, and getting side tracked by PvPing for weeks at every single bracket, I finally had an epic item to show for it.

Purple gear is cool. The later patches of Wrath of the Lich King did some damage to the prestige that purps once had, but Cataclysm has done great things to remind us that epic gear is supposed to actually be epic. A month ago, I wrote a pre-raid gearing guide, as writing a guide to epic gearing made little sense when the majority of WoW's population wasn't seeing any raids. It has now been over a month and a half since Cataclysm hit store shelves, and some players are only starting to see their first epics now. As a result, I can now happily release a guide to enhancement shaman epic gear.

This guide will mainly deal with ilevel 359 gear, as the ilevel 372 gear off heroic raid bosses are all the same items with more stats. It will cover raid drops, profession items, world drops, reputation gear, and valor point purchases.













Main-hand weapon

Off-hand weapon


How should I gear?

The #1 thing you need to remember is that items with crit/haste on them are absolute garbage. If you were to think of stat combinations as television shows, mastery/hit items would be Mad Men, mastery/crit would be Caprica, and crit/hit would be something like the Food Network -- enjoyable, but not desirable. Crit/haste is the Jersey Shore of stat combinations.

If you're in a guild that uses any form of formal loot system like EPGP or DKP, do yourself a favor and let the Arion's Crown and Coil of Ten-Thousand Screams go to your hunter friends who love crit and don't hate haste. Your priority will be higher for when actually well-itemized gear drops. The one real exception to this is Crul'Korak, the Lightning's Arc. Despite the fact that it is itemized poorly, weapon upgrades are few and far between.

Where should I spend my valor points?

Valor points are tricky, as they add a lot of useful items to the enhancement shaman's repertoire. The item that will probably be the largest DPS increase for anyone just starting raiding is the Fluid Death, a hit-laden trinket with an agility buff that stacks up to 380. For fights with a lot of downtime, this trinket is less amazing, but it's still a solid first choice. Beyond that, tier gear is always a nice choice. I suggest not spending valor points on tier that can drop off Pit Lord Argaloth until after you get your Fluid Death, however. I personally got the tier chest first, as Argaloth dropped pants for me my first week of raiding, and our two-piece set bonus is really nice.

Despite their awesome name, save the Moccasins of the Verdurous Glooms until after your three tier pieces and trinket are purchased, as they're only slightly better than the exalted Guardians of Hyjal boots, Treads of Malorne. Relic of Golganneth is terrible. If you want the Cataclysmically Epic achievement, you can buy it, equip, and sell back, but don't actually purchase it until the rest of your valor point shopping list is done.

How do trinkets stack up?

Your BiS trinket is going to be Darkmoon Card: Hurricane. It scales with mastery and provides a massive boost to agility. Darkmoon Card: Volcano gives excellent mastery as a passive, but it is really only worth buying if you spec into elemental a lot. Fluid Death is second best in slot, and the DMC:H/Fluid Death combo is a really potent one. Essence of the Cyclone is a very nice third, while Unsolvable Riddle gives great passive mastery but has a lame on-use effect. Prestor's Talisman of Machination and Unheeded Warning are both pretty terrible and not really worth considering. The new alchemist stone we'll be seeing in 4.0.6 gives passive agility, passive crit, and a nice boost to healing if you need to pop a potion.

What do I do about buying tier?

Unfortunately, we're plagued by two pieces of tier gear we really don't want this tier of content. Our legs and our chest (both valor point purchases) come with an overwhelming amount of haste. Luckily, each set is slightly redeemed by having their other secondary stat being useful, as the chest has mastery and the legs have expertise. You'll eventually want to use the helm and the shoulders from Nefarian and Cho'gall, and spend the valor points on the cheap but mediocre gloves. After that, your tier choices should be based on which slot needs the upgrade more.

Show your totemic mastery by reading Totem Talk: Enhancement every week. Manage the trip through Cataclysm content with WoW Insider's tips for the best enhancement macros.

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