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Totemtank’s 5/10 Man Shaman Tanking Guide!

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WoW 1.12.1

Totemtank’s 5/10 Man Shaman Tanking Guide for Elysium PVE server.



1. Introduction to Guide

2. Strengths / Weaknesses

3. Talent Spec

4. Rotation

5. Gearing

6. Tips


1.       Introduction to Guide


Hello, my name is Totemtank from the guild <Famalam>. This Guide is for shamans who want to tank and players who intend on grouping with them. I’m writing this guide having tanked all 5 and 10 man dungeons pre-raid. The most significant variable working against your success as a Shaman Tank is the other player’s attitudes toward your spec/role.


Your mitigation will never be as good as a warrior. Your threat can be better. Your utility can be better.


Why do I play a Shaman Tank? For me it’s because there are never enough tanks for 5/10 man dungeons. I’m providing a service to my guild and other players by solving the need for tanks. It’s that simple, anyone who gives you shit about tanking 5 and 10 man dungeons is bad, ignore them. I fully intend on respecing Restoration once my guild is ready to raid. However, before that happens my guild must gear up 40 players in blue dungeon gear. So should I spec resto and wait with my group 30+ minutes for a tank? No.


No, I’m not trying to prove the Shaman is a ‘viable’ raid tank (subjective). If you’re of the mindset that Shamans can’t tank raids then great, you’re right, move on. This guide is not for raid tanking, even then it would be off-tanking trash for lulz.


Still here? Ok good, because shamans can tank everything pre-raid with ease.



2.       Strength / Weaknesses


a.       Strengths:

1. High avoidance; about 26% dodge, 8% parry, 15% block in blue-BIS dungeon/ BOE defense gear.

2. High threat on the pull, on multiple mobs. Chain Lightning / Earth shock / Lightning shield.

3. Short cool-down interrupt, control over enemy spell casters with totems.

4. Much higher damage than Protection Warriors, on par or above Feral Druids. With AOE Fire totem, your damage is absurd.


b.       Weaknesses:

1. Lack of raid tank gear. This alone prevents shamans from being raid tanks.

2. Lack of taunt. This hurts, but since you’re not tanking raids doesn’t matter.

3. High mana cost spells. This limits only your damage output, threat is fine.

4. Shamans are not META tanks, players will complain. Let them complain alone.



3.       Talent Specs:


a. The defensive tank spec, overall best spec for tanking dungeons and nothing else:



b. The 2H off-tank spec, brings nightfall and improved WF/Strength totem to the raid:



DPS / Tank hybrid "Chain Reaction Spec" :


*Note* On the hybrid spec you would gear: Stam > Intellect > Defense > Avoidance (includes agility) > Spell Crit

The idea of the hybrid dungeon spec is for farming dungeons with a strong healer. Try this spec when you overgear / overlevel the dungeon's you're running. Your damage will be awesome spamming fire nova, chain lightning and magma totem. *TIP* you can /sit to get crit while tanking trash, you take one crit for 6 seconds of casting. You can make a macro for "/sit" and press it when you want to drop a chain lightning. Those chain lightning crits will boost melee crit, which gives you flurry, which increase your rockbiter threat. NICE!

You sacrifice some avoidance and health for a LOT more damage. Your fire totems are very powerful and should be used often, to support that you need a large mana pool. Elemental devastation will not proc from totem spell crits, only shocks/lightning. However, eye of the storm will allow you to chain lightning while tanking (you get crit when tanking multiple mobs and lower defense gear). You can also drop a couple heals, as shaman healing threat is 100% not 50% works really well with a high mana pool. Note you do not care that much about your auto-attack white damage, you only care about increasing the NUMBER OF SWINGS for rockbiter. Your rockbiter threat scales from crits into flurry and nothing else. Thus by gearing as a caster you're not really missing out on threat from increased auto attack damage; Strenght and AP are bad stats.

tl;dr this spec 'double-dips' on spell crit by giving high threat from spell crits (from the higher damage) and high threat from the increased attack speed on rockbiter.

Get a comfortable amount of stamina and defense and go hard on spell crit for fast 5 man dungeon runs. Your healer must be ready for some big damage though!



4.       Rotation: I’m going to break this down into 3 different phases.


a.       Phase 1: The pull

Before pulling drop your totems (I use Stoneskin, Agility, Mana and sometimes Frost or Fire Resistance).

Make sure Rockbiter Weapon is applied to your weapon and has 2+ minutes left.

Have at least half of your mana for shocks. The more the better.

Target the first mob to be killed and cast Chain Lightning. Follow that up with a Rank 5 (-2 levels) Earth Shock on first kill target.


b.       Phase 2: Sustaining Agro

You already pulled with Chain Lightning (or Lightning Bolt if one mob) and Earth Shock, good.

Always, always, ALWAYS be auto-attacking. Do not be that guy who doesn’t attack the mob right in front of him because he can’t it.

Lastly, spam down ranked Earth Shock (rank 5 at level 60) until your run out of mana. You can always R1 Earth Shock to interrupt if necessary.


c.       Phase 3: Someone pulled agro off you!

The boss is chasing after a DPS who pulled agro, what do I do? Find better DPS, short of that use max rank Earth Shock. If the DPS dies he probably messed up. Laugh it off, flatter his ego, or simply call him a cuck. Do what you want. It’s not your fault; warrior tanks lose agro all the time.

Some bosses will drop agro, when they do use max rank Earth Shock. Under 90% of the cases not involving a warlock the DPS can shed agro somehow (Vanish, Feign Death, Ice block, etc). Let them play their class to its full potential.

Your job as a tank is not to tank 100% of the targets 100% of the time. It’s to ensure the success of the party be managing the damage output of the mobs. On most pulls, I will mark a kill target (skull) and simply IGNORE THAT MOB. The DPS will destroy it before anyone is seriously injured, meanwhile I have tons of threat on the rest of the mobs. DPS love to go all out right at the start of the pull, this is how they can do that.


d.       How your threat works:

Rockbiter Weapon adds threat to your weapon at 74 x Base weapon speed per attack. This means weapon speed doesn’t matter, but haste (flurry) does. Melee crit is the best weapon to improve your threat.

Earth Shock does 2 x Damage Dealt as threat. If your shock hits for 100, you do 200 points of threat. A rank 5 Earth Shock is about 500 threat. A rank 7 about 1,000.

*TIP* Rank 1 Earth Shock is an interrupt. Rank 5 Earth Shock is your ‘Sunder Armor’. Rank 7 Earth Shock is your ‘Taunt’. Treat them as such and everything will work out great. In fact, I even made macros to show the warrior ability icons on my action bars.


5.       Gearing up your Shaman Tank:


a.       My preferred stats are as follows (in order of importance):


1. Stamina: Eventually we all get hit, you need to survive it while heals are casting.

2. Defense: Helps avoid and mitigate damage. A great stat but hard to find!

3. Dodge, Parry, or Agility: Less healer mana used, less Mortal Strikes etc. About 20 Agility is one percent dodge and one percent crit and 2 armor. Crit is amazing for our threat, agility is a very good stat and much better than strength.

4. Spell hit or Melee hit. Mainly for increasing threat and interrupting spells.

My current stats are (with agility totem): 4231 Health, 5539 Armor, 24.85% dodge, 5.40% parry, 12.40% Block and about 65 block value. I’m not in full pre-raid best in slot blue tanking gear, there are still many upgrades out there in 5/10 man dungeons. I expect my stats to increase quite a bit more.

My threat is about 250-300 per second sustained. It can be much higher for a short fight (higher rank Earth Shocks). Just auto attacking is about 175 threat per second. You can get away with auto attack tanking in a lot of pugs. More gear = more threat. DPS in full raid gear sometimes pull agro.


b.       Best in slot Shaman Tank gear from Dungeons / BOE:


*Note* Some of these are up for debate, some people will prefer higher stamina, others higher avoidance. It depends on your healer IMO. As a rule of thumb, if my healer uses heal-over-times (HOTS) I prefer AVOIDANCE. If my healer is spamming down-ranked heals all the time, I prefer STAMINA (to avoid overhealing).


Helm: http://db.vanillagaming.org/?item=2245

Neck: http://db.vanillagaming.org/?item=13091

Shoulder: http://db.vanillagaming.org/?item=16679

Cloak: http://db.vanillagaming.org/?item=18495

Chest: http://db.vanillagaming.org/?item=11726 or http://db.vanillagaming.org/?item=14611

Wrist: http://db.vanillagaming.org/?item=18394

Gloves: http://db.vanillagaming.org/?item=11730 

Belt: http://db.vanillagaming.org/?item=19088  

Pants: http://db.vanillagaming.org/?item=12964

Boots: http://db.vanillagaming.org/?item=18694

Ring 1: http://db.vanillagaming.org/?item=13373

Ring 2: http://db.vanillagaming.org/?item=17045 

Trinket 1: http://db.vanillagaming.org/?item=11810 

Trinket 2: http://db.vanillagaming.org/?item=18370  


6.       Tips on Shaman Tanking:


a.       Bring a frost mage, they will help you a lot. Water, polymorph, and nova on adds.

b.       Use Stoneskin and Agility totems, they are amazing. Unless group is 2+ melee, then WF.

c.       Always have a bunch of healing / mana potions available, as well as your Ankhs.

d.       People are going to hate on Shaman tanks, show them this guide.

e.       Don’t tank in raids unless you have no other tanks available.

f.        Don’t tank dungeons higher level than you. Level makes all the difference!

g.       Let your healers know you dodge a lot, they can get lazy when you don’t get hit!

h.       Have fun and stop waiting around for a damn tank!


For specific questions, please ask in this thread. I will try to read all of the comments and add them to this part of the guide below:



Edited by Totemtank

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I've run with you a lot recently and I haven't really run into many problems with you tanking. And so far I feel like you've proved a lot of nervous healers wrong haha

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Thank you for popularization of this rare spec.

В 11.02.2017 в 15:06, Totemtank сказал:

Your damage will be awesome spamming fire nova, chain lightning and magma totem.

As I know, fire totems do not share threat on shaman. Use them only when you need to damage, not to hold aggro.

By the way, I don't see Healing Focus in your talents, but the best way to grip the pack of mobs is self-healing (AOE-threat, with 0,5 coefficient, so you have 500 threat when you heal 1000 hp without overhealing), it also saves your healer's mana, so this avoid interrupting of healing is your best friend. So when you fight packs your teammates must focus your target only, also they should not burst in the begining of the combat and your healer should heal you only when you are in troubles (he can wanding the enemys a lot of time).

My tanking spec was like this: http://db.vanillagaming.org/?talent#hZVVc0txuZVcfx

Amulet of the Darkmoon http://db.vanillagaming.org/?item=19491 is good for tanking too (19 agi ~= 1% dodge) and it can be easy taken.

I tanked all 5-10 dungeons on Valkyrie, as I remember I had troubles only with Drakkisath (too much damage) and Ras Frostwisper (he has tricks with his aggro-list). Tell me your tactic on Frostwisper, pls, I very often lose my aggro on him (or my damagers just was very strong).

Edited by Yxo

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В 11.02.2017 в 15:06, Totemtank сказал:

Some bosses will drop agro, when they do use max rank Earth Shock.

Also you can swap to 2h (maybe staff, if you do not have 2h-axes and maces) and start to dps with WF and Earth shocks LIKE A DEVIL and your race ability (orc and trolls), also you can heal the new target of the boss. Show them who is the best DPS in the party! By the way, troll-tank should use their racial on low HP (>30%), because their lesser healing wave's time of cast become 1 sec instead 1,5.

But it will be better when you will not use heal on bosses, it is better on packs, just for better mana conserving. (And some bosses can silense all near targets.)

Edited by Yxo

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I didn't even know shamans could hold threat effectively. I might make a shaman alt and tank RFC for the lulz.

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Hey Totem,

how come you put 3 points into Elemental Weapons over any of the other choices?

Thanks in advance!


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Im using invulnerable mail on my shammy. For solo pve and some pvp situations its an awesome armor. But for straight up tanking Im not so sure since you seemingly lose aggro from mobs when the armor proccs.

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hey totem, do you mind if I use some of the stuff you mentioned in my own guide?

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On ‎2‎/‎8‎/‎2018 at 10:30 AM, lunchyb said:

A year later... Just wondering if Invulnerable Mail (https://classicdb.ch/?item=12641) is worth it at all. I know the proc is only potentially great twice a minute, but I thought maybe with +4 stats and all that defense the item might be a contender.

Invulnerable Mail will make you drop agro on all mobs. It functions as a paladin bubble. That is according to several hunters/shamans I have spoken with on a couple servers.


On ‎5‎/‎13‎/‎2018 at 11:49 AM, Dave said:

hey totem, do you mind if I use some of the stuff you mentioned in my own guide?

Please do! As I pointed out in the guide, the community acceptance is the largest hurdle to overcome.


On ‎12‎/‎15‎/‎2017 at 4:25 AM, Iro said:

Hey Totem,

how come you put 3 points into Elemental Weapons over any of the other choices?

Thanks in advance!


Hello Iro, I recommend them for the large amount of attack power bonus to rockbiter. While this isn't a direct increase to rockbiter's threat addition, the damage does increase threat the old fashioned way. Additionally, this damage is effectively mana-free, which helps in sustaining agro. Lastly, there aren't any other places to put those 3 points for a better effect. That is just my opinion, if you find a better use please let me know!

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