Home > Stat Priorities > Elemental Shaman – Stat Priorities

Elemental Shaman – Stat Priorities

February 2, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Gear itemisation for elemental shaman has been a bone of contention for a long time. Anyone who chose to level as elemental will have witnessed this from the earliest of levels. While the situation is improving gradually, it has taken a long time (and a lot of shaman wearing cloth or leather DPS items) for the developers to start taking more care over the itemisation of gear. Even now it’s not ideal.

The following is a guide to the stat priorities for an elemental shaman. It deals quite simply with our hit cap, the most influential stats for our personal DPS and what we should be avoiding.

Finally, it will offer advice on how to gem your elemental shaman and what enchants you should be using on your gear.

(As a side note, if you’re looking for advice on best in slot gear for your elemental shaman, check out this article.)

Spell Hit

Like any other offensive caster, spell hit should always be our priority. For obvious reasons it isn’t a stat you want to stack like spell power; once over cap it is completely wasted. When under cap however, it can have a catastrophic effect on our DPS.

In Wrath of the Lich King, we have a 17% chance to miss. This equates to needing 17% hit on your character sheet (excluding talents, raid buffs and so on).

Fortunately, we can ease this slightly by dipping into the Elemental Precision talent. At rank three, this talent gives us an additional 3% chance to hit with all our schools of spells (that is to say, frost, fire and nature damage). There is no real reason for not taking this talent. Even assuming you don’t need the hit, the same talent provides a 30% threat reduction on our offensive spells also. Instantly, with a standard elemental spec we’re down to needing 14% spell hit.

Alliance shaman have an advantage in that their Draenei Aura (also known as Heroic Presence) provides an additional 1% innate hit chance, leaving 13% to be sought elsewhere.

The next aspect to consider is your raid setup and undoubtedly, twenty five man guilds have the advantage here since they are more likely to run with all or most available buffs. Having a shadow priest or a moonkin present in your raid will give you an additional 3% chance to hit. This leaves just 10% hit required for Alliance shaman or 11% for our Horde friends. (Sadly, for the ten man raiders, there is a smaller chance that you will raid with neither of these classes and thus not benefit from the reduced hit required).

Taking all of this into account, the hit ratings required are as follows (please note, I’m assuming that everyone raids with elemental precision since, as I said, aside from the hit rating it also offers threat reduction):-

Draenei with a shadow priest / moonkin buff = 10% Required = 263 Hit Rating (on character sheet)

Draenei without shadow priest / moonkin buff = 13% Required = 342 Hit Rating (on character sheet)

Non-Draenei with shadow priest / moonkin buff = 11% Required = 289 Hit Rating (on character sheet)

Non-Draenei without shadow priest / moonkin buff = 14% Required = 368 Hit Rating (on character sheet

Juggling your hit can be difficult. As a general rule, don’t worry about being slightly under or over cap. Being a few points under will result in so few resists that the impact on your actual DPS will be negligible. A few points over is naturally a waste but hitting the exact hit cap is difficult. If you’re vastly under hit cap, gem for it. Spell resists can drastically effect your DPS and while gemming for hit feels wasteful you will gain more DPS from a point of hit than you will a point of spell power when you’re well under cap. (Zap and Rawr will both confirm this naturally). Equally being considerably over cap is just wasteful too since you gain nothing at all from any points in hit once capped.

Spell Power

Spell power is our primary offensive stat and the one which we stack as high as possible. Simply put, this effects how hard our spells hit. Don’t ignore the hit cap in favour of this, there is zero point in having hard hitting nukes if they miss a large percentage of the time.

More often than not when it comes to gear, spell power is an indirect choice. That is to say, you’ll find it on all of your gear unlike haste and critical strike chance where you may find yourself choosing between the two.

Most of the time, you will be gemming and enchanting to improve this stat.


This is, for the most part, our second strongest offensive stat. When it comes to gemming, if an item has a strong socket bonus requiring yellow gems, choose the reckless ametrines (haste and spell power) to fulfil them.

The question of “how much is too much” frequently arises with regards to haste; particularly towards the end of the expansion. It takes relatively small amounts of haste to bring your Chain Lightning cast time down to the GCD point (that is to say, one second cast time.) However, haste continues to benefit us after this because it takes very high amounts of haste to effect our Lightning Bolt in the same way.

I’d urge you to read this article on the effects of haste on Chain Lightning.

Critical Strike Rating

This is our weakest offensive stat until we reach very high levels of haste, when some argue that critical strike rating starts to pull ahead. One of the main reasons for this stats relative weakness for elemental shaman is the guarenteed crit on one of our main nukes, regardless of our critical strike chance (Lava Burst will always crit assuming Flame Shock is present on the target).

That isn’t to say critical strike rating is useless to us. It accounts for a large percentage of our DPS. When it comes to gear choices, we’d prefer gear with spell power and haste than gear with spell power and critical strike rating. Equally, never gem for crit.


This is a core passive stat that affects both our natural mana regeneration and our critical strike rating. Again, this isn’t a stat you actively seek out, it is on our gear by default. Also, thanks to our Unrelenting Storm talent (regenerate mana equal to 12% of your intellect every 5 seconds, even while casting), it gives slightly more mana regeneration. Never gem for it. Admittedly we use it on shield enchants but that is more a case of something being better than nothing.


Due to the poor itemisation that I’ve mentioned before, you may find yourself with items boasting mp5 anyway. It’s not a stat elemental shaman should be needing. With the Unrelenting Storm talent mentioned above, the passive regeneration from Water Shield and the ability to use Thunderstorm if needed, you shouldn’t be running out of mana. (As a side note, always try and time Thunderstorm with a period when you have to move during a fight. Otherwise you’re using a global cooldown on a zero DPS spell; assuming you’re not AoEing of course)


Stamina is, again, a stat you will just collect passively on gear. This is in no way a bad thing as a dead shaman is not doing a great deal of DPS. Due to the requirements of our meta gem (Chaotic Skyflare Diamond), you will find yourself needing two blue gems in your gear. In this case, use Glowing Dreadstones (spell power and stamina).


A common mistake of new shaman players surrounds the confusion with spirit. Shaman do not benefit from spirit at all. Again, due to very poor itemisation (and the fact some shaman equip cloth items), some shaman may end up with a small amount of spirit.

In Cataclysm, this all changes and elemental shaman will find spirit on their armour. However we will also have a spirit to hit conversion talent to stop this being a wasted stat.

Gems and Enchants

This section assumes our stat priorities to be as follows:-

  • Spell Hit
  • Spell Power
  • Haste
  • Critical Strike Rating

Meta Gems and Gemming Choices

Without doubt, your meta choice should be Chaotic Skyflare Diamond (21% critical strike rating and 3% increased critical damage)

This meta requires two blue gems for it’s activation. The natural choice here are Glowing Dreadstones (+12 spell power, +15 stamina). Obviously if you have blue sockets in your items, place these there. If you don’t put them wherever you have the least valuable socket bonus (i.e. one you don’t mind losing so much). Again, when considering the value of a socket bonus, take into account your stat priorities above.

Red sockets should be gemed with Runed Cardinal Rubies (+23 spell power).

Yellow sockets are the ideal place to gem for hit if you’re under the cap. The gems you want here are Rigid King’s Amber (+20 hit rating). If you don’t need hit, I’d generally recommend using orange Reckless Ametrines (+12 spell power, +10 haste). If the socket bonus from gemming a yellow is worthless to you (such as +int or MP5), then consider using a Runed Cardinal Ruby instead, particularly as you creep to higher levels of haste.

Don’t use pure haste gems. While haste is undoubtedly attractive to us, it’s still a weaker stat than spell power. Leave the haste gemming to our restoration friends.


Again when considering your enchants, always keep your stat priorities at the forefront of your considerations. What follows is a walk through of my enchanting preferences.

Head – Arcanum of Burning Mysteries – +30 spell power, +20 critical strike rating

(Note:- You need Kirin Tor reputation at revered or higher to buy this)

Shoulders – Greater Inscription of the Storm – +24 spell power, +15 critical strike rating

(Note:- You need Sons of Hodir rep at exalted to buy this. However it is now account bound so having the reputation on any character is sufficient)

(Note:- For scribes, Master’s Inscription of the Storm is superior – +70 spell power, +15 critical strike rating)

Cloak – Greater Speed – +12 haste rating

(Note:- For tailors, Lightweave Embroidery is superior – chance to increase spell power by 295 for 15 seconds)

(Note:- For engineers, Springy Arachnoweave is superior – +27 spell power)

Chest – Powerful Stats – +10 to all stats

Bracers – Superior Spellpower – +30 spell power

(Note:- For leather workers, Fur Lining – Spell Power is superior – + 76 spell power)

Hands – Enchant Gloves – Exceptional Spellpower – +28 spell power

(Note:- For engineers, Hyperspeed Accelerators are superior – Increase your haste rating by 340 for 12 seconds)

Waist – Eternal Belt Buckle – +1 gem socket

(Note:- For engineers, you should also be using a Frag Belt)

Legs – Sapphire Spellthread – +50 spell power, +30 stamina

Feet – Tuskarr’s Vitality – +15 stamina, +8% run speed

(Note:- For engineers, Nitro Boosts are superior – Allow greatly increase run speed for 5 seconds)

Shield – Enchant Shield – Greater Intellect – +25 intellect

Finger – Enchant Ring Greater Spell Power – +23 spell power

(Note:- Enchanter only)

One Handed Weapons – Enchant Weapon – Mighty Spellpower – +63 spell power

Note:- Black Magic may seem appealing on paper but the unpredictability of when it procs makes it quite poor in comparison to the static spell power increase of Mighty Spellpower For a more in depth comparison between the two enchants, check out Charles’ amazing modelling of Black Magic’s performance.

Staves – Enchant Staff – Greater Spellpower – +81 spell power

Categories: Stat Priorities
  1. Jalal
    February 5, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    About the feet enchant, i definitely recommend Icewalker, for the known issues about collecting the right amount of hit. For the rest, thumbs up for your article and the blog in general! Cheers!

  2. February 5, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    Thanks a lot. I will make an edit to this section regarding Icewalker (and other enchant options that some people go for).

    Personally, I’ve always been of the school of thought that the speed increase allows additional survivability and, on movement fights, allows you to get back “into the action” faster.

    However, Icewalker vs Tuskarr’s IS still highly debated and I know plenty of (very good) players are split on the topic, so I’ll be sure to make an edit to this section also πŸ™‚

    Thanks for pointing it out and I hope you keep visiting πŸ™‚ Feedback is much appreciated πŸ™‚

  3. Eric
    February 19, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    I was just wondering if you felt using a Nightmare Tear in place of one of the two Glowing Dreadstones was a good idea. Thanks and great job here.

  4. Ditkal
    March 3, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    What do you think about using the Black Magic weapon enchant vice the SP one?

    • March 3, 2010 at 5:00 pm

      Hiya and welcome to the blog.

      Black Magic can look appealing on paper. Most of us love haste and lets face it, that’s why you see so many elemental shamans taking engineering.

      The great thing about the clicky haste effect on gloves from engineering is that we can choose when to apply the haste buff. Taken directly from Black Magic’s tool tip… “causes your harmful spells to sometimes increase haste rating by 250”. Taking that into account straight away, not all of your procs will be at a useful time. There will be a % that will be wasted. This is both due to using other haste increasing effects (trinkets, heroism, engineering glove effects, elemental mastery, haste pots, racial troll effect etc) and due to the chance of it procing right before or during the movement portion of a fight.

      Charles over at http://wowhats.wordpress.com was kind enough to model this after the last time the discussion arose on the Elitist Jerks forum and discovered that enchant reacted very, very poorly to any kind of movement during encounters (we’re not even talking movement heavy encounters either).

      As he is much better at the mathematical side of theory crafting than I can ever hope to be, I’d urge you to wander over to http://wowhats.wordpress.com/2009/12/21/black-magic-stay-away-from-da-voodoo/ and take a look at his very in depth comparison between Black Magic and Mighty Spell Power πŸ™‚

      Hope that helps!

  5. Ditkal
    March 3, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    Thanks for the feedback. I will definitely be dropping that enchant off my weapon as soon as I get home and can get it done.

  6. Patrick Olson
    March 4, 2010 at 7:15 pm


    One quick question that I can never seem to find the answer too. I always read about how important hitting the haste cap is, but also how SP is the most important stat (next being haste). Do you recommend using haste gems instead of SP gems until you hit the soft cap? or should you only use haste gems when the socket bonus makes it worthwhile to use a yellow.

    Thanks for the response. Where to fit haste in is always something that I struggle with.

  7. March 4, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    Hiya πŸ™‚

    Thanks for stopping by first of all.

    Spell power is indeed your most important stat followed by haste as you correctly stated.

    In regards to geming priorities, you should be geming for pure spell power unless a socket bonus makes a yellow gem valuable. In that case, opt for a Reckless Ametrine (the haste and spell power gem). If you’re struggling with spell hit, which some shammies are having issues with in the early stages of collecting their t10 set (or at least the ten man raiders are), then put hit gems into your yellow sockets.

    I hope this helps πŸ™‚

  8. Adamina of Vashj
    August 20, 2010 at 6:43 am


    Wow I have been looking everywhere for a good website on Elemental Shamans.
    A friend pointed me here and the info is great.
    I look forward to hitting 80 soon (hopefully this week) and getting the gear and chants sorted asap.
    You have helped alot in my looking for the apropriate gear.


    • August 20, 2010 at 10:02 am

      Always nice to hear from people who have found the blog useful πŸ™‚

      Congratulations in advance on hitting 80! I hope you enjoy playing elemental πŸ™‚


  9. Rookoo
    February 7, 2011 at 6:01 am

    coming from a fairly new wow player, i have just recently hit 80,, i so hate having to ask allll the time for info on this or that ,, or search endlessly for useless info.. Finding this info u have providing will make my elemental shammy days go much easier from here out,, thanks for taking the time to help others by posting this. Rookoo

  1. February 5, 2010 at 1:31 am
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