Our fire totems can basically be divided into two distinct categories. Those that buff and those that hurt! Patch 3.2 brought a number of changes for the elemental shamans. One of these being the introduction of Fire Nova.
The tooltip of this spell states:-
“Causes the shaman’s active fire totem to emit a wave of flames…”
And that is precisely what it does. This causes your fire totem to pulse a 10 yard range, fire based AoE.
When To Use It:-
Those most effective use for this skill is in combination with magma totem. When used on large packs of mobs, the combined damage between your magma totem’s AoE and Fire Nova is devastating.
Things to Note:-
- On single targets, the DPS is just not worth it. It will do less damage than any of our other spells.
This was our much coveted raid buff totem until more recently when demonology warlocks became more common place (partly due to buffs to their own spec making it more viable personal DPS and partly due to the scaling of their Demonic Pact talent which offers much more spell power to the raid as higher levels of gear are obtained)
This totem increase raid wide spell damage by 280.
It increases the critical strike chance of all attacks by 3% and against all enemies.
Things to note
This will NOT stack with Flametongue totem (our restoration friends’ most commonly use fire buffing totem)
This will NOT stack with a warlock’s Demonic Pact.
This totem has a 40 yard radius. If you’re the shaman providing this to the raid, it’s vital to ensure people are within range of it.
This totem is raid wide
When To Use It
This totem will probably be your most commonly used fire totem. While it can be tempting to use a DPS totem to increase your personal DPS, the loss of the spell power increase provided by totem of wrath along with the critical strike debuff will reduce your raid DPS far more that it will increase your singular output. Never the less, there are times when the buffs are covered by other classes and you will find yourself free to use your DPS totems. These are as as follows
If the spell power buff is provided by a Demonology Warlock. Due to the scaling of their talent, the warlock would need 2800 spell power or higher to equal or surpass the bonus offered by totem of wrath.
- If the critical strike debuff is covered by a Retribution Paladin or an Assassination Rogue.
- If you have another Elemental Shaman in the raid using totem of wrath
It is more likely that both of these aspects are covered by other classes in a twenty five man raid. For those of us focussing on ten man raiding, the chances are high that you will be dropping totem of wrath the majority of your raiding time.
This totem falls into the second category; totems that hurt, otherwise known as our DPS totems. Shamans receive this totem at level ten as their first fire totem.
Things to Note
- This totem has a relatively short range in comparison with our other totems
This totem can not be controlled. A number of factors influence what this totem will attack. The shaman’s own choice is not one such factor
This totem benefits from the shaman’s own stats at the time it is placed. Our spell power, critical strike rating, hit rating and any damage buffs upon us at the time of casting. This includes additional spell power or critical strike rating gained from trinkets. Haste does not effect this totem in any way
As mentioned above, you have no control over what this totem hits. This can be problematic on some encounters.
This totem is immune to almost all AoE. Do be aware that there are occasions where mobs will one shot your totem.
It has a relatively small range compared to many of our totems and requires that it is placed within twenty yards of the mobs.
This totem has a sixty second duration
When To Use This Totem
If the spell power buff from totem of wrath is already supplied by:-
- A Demonology Warlock with a minimum of 2800 spell power
- An Elemental Shaman using totem of wrath
If the critical strike rating buff from totem of wrath is being supplied by:-
- A Retribution Paladin
- An Assassination Rogue
In addition to this you should consider the following:-
That you can safely get close enough to your target to place this totem. This won’t always be the case and never risk your own survivability for the sake of dropping a totem
When you are up against single target mobs or a boss (with many targets, magma totem will provide higher DPS but with a much shorter duration)
Why To Use This Totem
This totem benefits from your own stats (excluding your haste rating), so on a well geared shaman, it can add around 500 DPS. When other classes are providing all the buffs supplied by totem of wrath, there is no need to forgo the extra DPS that searing totem can bring. It isn’t always safe to stroll into melee range of AoE pulls. In these instances, use a searing totem instead of a magma totem.
How To Use This Totem
You’re going to need to refresh this totem every minute so always plan ahead in a fight and predict the optimal time for refreshing your totem. If you’re using the major Glyph of Totem of Wrath then you also need to maintain the buff from this on yourself. On fights where there is a movement portion, consider dropping your totem of wrath when you move away from the boss to refresh your buff. When you move back in, replace your searing totem.
An excellent example of this would be on the Lord Marrowgar fight. When the entire raid move to the outskirts of the room during his Bone Storm phase, place your totem of wrath and refresh the buff from the glyph. When you move back in to continue DPS, replace your searing totem.
Another such example of smart totem management is on the Sindragosa encounter. During her ground phases, Sindragosa casts Icy Grip, drawing the entire range directly to her. Dropping your searing totem at this point ensures the totem is well within range without the need for you to lose DPS time by moving to position it.
Finally, as mentioned, he gains all the stats of the caster at the time of dropping. In the Blood Queen Lanathel encounter, be sure to drop this totem just after you gain the Essence of the Blood Queen buff. The totem benefits from this just as the caster does and the DPS increase is sizeable.
Again, this is a damage totem and is, simply put, the AoE version of our searing totem.
Things to Note
- Magma totem has just a eight yard range. This obviously dictates you need to be in the melee range of mobs for this totem to be effective
It will hit all targets within it’s range. As such, this totem can provide some very high AoE damage, particularly when used in combination with our fire nova ability.
Unlike our searing totem or fire elemental totem, this totem has a fixed position and simply hits all targets within it’s eight yard radius. This makes the targets of this totem very predictable unlike our other fire DPS totems.
This totem is vulnerable to being one shot by newly agro’d mobs dragged within range of it. As it requires melee range to be effective, there is always the chance of something killing it.
It has an eight yard range around the totem.
This totem has a twenty second duration.
When To Use This Totem
Obviously, this totem is of use when we don’t need to drop totem of wrath. This means we have:-
- A Demonology Warlock with a minimum of 2800 spell power in the raid
- Another Elemental Shaman using totem of wrath
- An Assassination Rogue or a Retribution Paladin providing the critical strike increase
This totem has a higher DPS output, even on a single target, than our searing totem does. However, due to it’s considerably shorter duration, this DPS increase is soon lost when you consider the number of times you have to replace the totem versus searing. (Consider also the amount of time you lose by running around placing this totem within range of your target).
On large AoE pulls however, this totem is godly. When used with fire nova, chain lightning and even thunderstorm, our AoE capabilities are strong.
Why To Use This Totem
Quite simply, it will maximise our damage output on large AoE pulls. In terms of actual numbers, it does around 650-700 DPS per target.
How To Use This Totem
With it’s small range, this totem requires you wade into the thick of the action. Initially try and wait for the tank to have control over the AoE pull and to have positioned them. Run in and place down the totem on the edge of the AoE pull. If you have your thunderstorm skill off cool down, this is an excellent time to use it also (as you’re already in melee range). If you do intend to use thunderstorm in this way however, please remember to glyph it. Your tanks will not be impressed with their nicely gathered AoE mobs suddenly being rocketed in all directions. Once the totem is placed, move back to range and remember to use your fire nova skill every time it is off cool down for maximum AoE damage.
If you find that the mobs are moving around a lot and constantly leaving the range of your magma totem, then replace it with a searing totem. You will lose more DPS trying to replace your magma totem in the pack of mobs continuously than you will from reverting to a single target totem. (Remember also, fire nova will still work from your searing totem anyway, ensuring you still have a decent portion of AoE damage).
This totem summons forth a large fire elemental to DPS with you. In patch 3.2, our elementals had their cooldown reduced to 10 minutes. (You can glyph this to reduce it to 5 minutes. The value of this will be discussed in the glyphs section rather than here).
Things to Note
This totem will last for two minutes, after this time he will simply vanish and you must remember to place down another fire totem.
- He does approximately 1.5k DPS to a single target in that two minutes.
If there are multiple targets, the DPS will be higher. He has a fire shield pulsing approximately every three seconds and a fire nova cast around every seven seconds hitting all targets within his range.
- His standard melee attack is fire based and thus unaffected by any melee damage reducing debuffs
- Recalling your totems will, obviously, kill your fire elemental totem so be aware of this on movement fights
You can not control what he chooses to hit. Unlike other summoned pets, we do not gain a pet control bar for our totems. This can result in additional pulls when the elemental wanders off to attacks other packs of mobs. In other words, ensure it is safe to use him before doing so.
Naturally, he is immune to all fire based damage in addition to boasting a 75% passive reduction to AoE damage. He does not benefit from any group based healing effects.
The fire elemental totem still summons an actual totem. The elemental’s range is fourty yards from this point.
He lasts for two minutes
When to Use Him
Again before using our DPS totems, we must ensure that the buffs gained from totem of wrath are being provided by other members of the raid. (Always remember while your personal DPS gain may seem high, the loss of raid wide buffs usually out weighs this.
- If there is a Demonology Warlock with a minimum of 2800 spell power in the raid
- If there is another Elemental Shaman using totem of wrath
- If there is an Assassination Rogue or Retribution Paladin providing the increased critical strike
He is our best single target DPS totem by far. Due to his duration, try and use him on portions of a fight where the boss is reasonably static. Alternatively, if there is a phase requiring high DPS (that cool downs are specifically saved for), then consider using him then.
An example of this could be phase three of Anub’arak in Trial of the (Grand) Crusader. At this phase, the boss has stopped submerging and it becomes a DPS race to kill him. Equally, Sindragosa phase three is also an effective time to use the fire elemental. She is permanently grounded and many of your DPS will be preoccupied with damaging ice tombs.
Why To Use This Totem
He will normally produce between 1.5k and 2k DPS for his duration. Due to his two minute duration, we lose less personal DPS in time spent replacing our other fire totems.
How to Use This Totem
If you’re using the major Glyph of Totem of Wrath then you will still want to maintain this buff on yourself. As such, ensure you have at least two minutes remaining on this buff before dropping your fire elemental totem. Due to his length cool down, it’s generally better to pop this totem as soon as possible unless you are specifically saving him for a burst phase in the fight. If you’re raiding with multiple Elemental Shamans, consider rotating when you use these to ensure you always have the totem of wrath buff as well as having both shamans personal DPS increased via the use of their fire elemental totem.
Restoration Fire Totems
Finally, for those of you who (like me) have a restoration offspec, here is a brief look at the fire totems for this spec.
This totem gives you, your party or raid a 144 spell damage increase
When to Use This Totem
This is pretty much your default fire totem as restoration, primarily because your other choices are quite limited. In a group situation (where you have an Elemental Shaman or a Demonology Warlock), you could arguably use a Searing Totem. However, much of this depends whether or not you are comfortable moving into range for this and whether or not your are stressed for healing.
Things To Note
- This totem does NOT stack with an Elemental Shaman’s Totem of Wrath
- This totem does NOT stack with a Warlock’s Demonic Pact
- This totem has a 30 yard range (this is smaller than Totem of Wrath which boasts a 40 yard range)
- This totem has a raid wide affect (assuming they are in range of course. See above)