Totem Talk: Maximize your fire elemental DPS on Ultraxion

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Ultraxion flying in Dragon Soul
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. Once just the expert on enhancement shaman, Josh Myers has spent most of Dragon Soul as elemental, and he's not quite sure how he got there. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Of all the fights in Dragon Soul, Ultraxion on heroic mode is the ultimate DPS check. Heroic Spine of Deathwing definitely tests your raid group's ability to do a large amount of damage in a miniscule amount of time, but Ultraxion forces your group to maximize its sustained DPS. As a result, it's very commonly the first real wall most heroic progression guilds hit, at least until they can get the gear to make it a cakewalk. If you're working on heroic-mode Ultraxion or are having trouble killing him on normal, there are a few things you can do to maximize your elemental shaman's DPS on this specific fight.

Gear, glyphs, and talents

First off, the easiest way to help your DPS on Ultraxion is to check your glyphs. Most elemental shaman nowadays run with Glyph of Unleashed Lightning as one of their prime glyphs. This makes sense for nearly every other fight in Dragon Soul, as they all require some amount of movement. Ultraxion, however, is a straight up stand-there-and-shoot-lightning-and-lava-until-your-fingers-fall-off-or-he-dies fight, and Glyph of Unleashed Lightning gives absolutely zero DPS if you're not moving. Switching this out for Glyph of Lightning Bolt will give you a slight boost in numbers. Your three glyph choices should be Lightning Bolt, Flame Shock, and Glyph of Fire Elemental Totem; more on the FET glyph choice in a second.

For gear, you generally want to go with a two-piece tier 12 setup. This is particularly true if you have access to the ilevel 391 heroic pieces, as they're only six ilevels below normal DS gear. The same goes for if you have four-piece T13 from Raid Finder and normal tier 12. In both cases, you'd substitute two of your higher ilevel tier gear for the lower pieces in order to get the ridiculously amazing two-piece bonus from tier 12, despite its recent nerfing.

If you don't have access to heroic tier 12 pieces and you're in full 397 tier 13, this might not be the best choice for you. You might want to consider trying to convince your guild to do a heroic Firelands run for you, though. Shannox and Majordomo Staghelm are both very easy heroic bosses that drop tokens for well-itemized tier pieces.

Finally, you're going to look to change your spec. The normal elemental spec looks something like this, taking all the requisite talents in elemental for single-target damage --and Earthquake for AoE situations-- and then subspeccing enhancement to get Ancestral Swiftness' movement increases. However, with no movement in Ultraxion, there's no need for instant Ghost Wolf or 15% movement speed. As a result, we subspec restoration, going far enough to pick up Totemic Focus, which gives a 48-second increased duration for your Fire Elemental totem.

Reaching your Fire Elemental's potential

The point of all these changes is to try and guarantee maximum uptime on your Fire Elemental Totem. Glyph of Fire Elemental Totem brings your FET's normal cooldown down to 5 minutes, and then the two-piece tier 12 bonus gives your Lightning Bolt a 30% chance to reduce that CD further. In my tests, it often comes up between 3 minutes and 10 seconds and 3 minutes and 30 seconds. Combined with Totemic Focus increasing Fire Elemental Totem's duration to 2 minutes and 48 seconds, your uptime is drastically increased.

Spirit wolves attacking a fire elemental
Of course, none of this matters if you can't use FET correctly. Fire Elemental Totem scales incredibly well with your spellpower. Using him (or her!) when you have the most amount of spellpower you can is one of the things that separates the good elemental shaman from the bad. If you're just dropping Fire Elemental whenever you see the button light up, your DPS will suffer.

When you start off the pull, you're going to want to pre-pot with a Volcanic Potion. Pre-potting, or drinking a potion immediately before a fight begins so as to be able to use another mid-fight, is a concept that most progression raiders should be used to. After that, you have anywhere from 20 to 25 seconds (depending on how good you are at saving your pot for the last second) to activate your other spellpower buffs. Generally, this will only mean waiting for a Power Torrent proc, as most 378 and higher trinkets don't have spellpower procs. If you're using a Fiery Quintessence or other on-use intellect trinket (or Synapse Springs), you want to use that when your Power Torrent procs. With all three of these spellpower buffs up, you'll drop your Fire Elemental Totem, and watch yourself rock the DPS meter.

Watching your int buffs

Your second FET should follow that same formula. While generally it's advised to save your second potion for Bloodlust, Fire Elemental Totem is such a powerful ability that using your second potion to make sure he's buffed to his fullest is a better use of the consumable.

As for actually tracking your intellect procs, this is the Power Aura I've been using to do it for a while. I wish I could remember where I got it so I could credit the creator, but I've since lost the bookmark.
  • Version:4.23; g:0.9882; icon:Ability_Paladin_SacredCleansing; buffname:Power Torrent; r:0.9725; x:-64; texture:160; owntex:true; size:0.15; y:-125; texmode:2; ismounted:0; finish:3; timer.h:0.65; timer.Texture:Monofonto; timer.enabled:true; timer.cents:false; timer.Relative:CENTER
I find Power Auras works really well for this, but other players might prefer different addons. As long as you know when Power Torrent is up, it doesn't matter which you choose.

Elemental shaman power auras
Will of Unbinding, the intellect stacking trinket off Spine of Deathwing, throws the above method out of whack. Because of its stacking nature, it's almost certain that you won't get to 10 stacks before your Volcanic Potion runs out. If you pre-pot, this forces you to choose between casting FET when you have Power Torrent and VP up (1,700 intellect) or PT and Will of Unbinding up (1,380, assuming normal mode version). As a result, this is one of the few times where not pre-potting is a benefit. This allows you to wait for your Will of Unbinding to stack to 10 and Power Torrent to proc before using your potion, giving you an awesome 2,580 intellect. Throw in a Synapse Springs use and you're at 3,060, and your Fire Elemental Totem just went Super Saiyan.

Unfortunately, I don't have a Will of Unbinding yet. However, I do have a Heart of Unliving, the healing version. This is the Power Aura I use to track HoU stacks and duration; it should be easy to tweak it for WoU. Just switch in Combat Mind for Expansive Mind.
  • Version:4.23; g:0.9882; icon:Spell_Holy_SpiritualGuidence; buffname:Expansive Mind; r:0.9725; x:99; stacks:1; texture:160; owntex:true; off:true; size:0.15; y:-125; texmode:2; ismounted:0; finish:3; timer.h:0.74; timer.Texture:Monofonto; timer.enabled:true; timer.cents:false; timer.Relative:CENTER; stacks.enabled:true; stacks.y:-134; stacks.x:137
There's more to maximizing your DPS than using your FET correctly, but it is one of the huge factors that make good elemental players shine. If you work on perfecting maximizing it, you should be golden for any DPS check this game has to throw at you.

Show your totemic mastery by reading Totem Talk: Elemental. Let's get down to business with a heart-to-heart on 4 steps to increase your DPS, choosing a weapon in Dragon Soul, and hot topics for elemental shaman -- or start from scratch by leveling an elemental shaman in the Cataclysm era.

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