Intro: Can Shamans tank? The short and to the point answer is, yes. You might be rubbing your eyes in disbelief of this answer. Maybe conjuring a ten page manifesto about how only warriors can and should tank. Although, I can go on a long rant about how there are many other classes that can tank, today, I’ll be focusing on our totemic friend, the shaman.
The topic of viable and optimal is contentious as some don’t see the difference or mix them up and levy a misguided philosophy onto it. Optimal is the most efficient and foolproof solution that eliminates as many negative variables as possible and favors an easier path. Viable or often referred to as: possible, seen as the more challenging path but to many is a greater personal triumph. Shaman Tank is labelled as viable.
Many Shaman tanks agree their motivation is from the glory of seizing a feat the rest of the realm dares not try. If this resonates with you, please continue reading. You shaman tank if you want a challenge and a refreshing perspective from a 15 year old game. If it wasn’t obvious before, shield bearing is a sizable undertaking.
When experienced players Shaman tank and put in the effort, it shines tenfold. Shamans can fully tank 5mans, 10mans, off-tank & main-tank raids. But, this is reliant on personal and guild experience. Our overall defensive statistics won't reach a warrior’s. However, it isn’t necessary to do so, to tank.
You’ll be staring at your character for a long time. So, consider your character’s appearance as a key factor as it may entice you to play more. All races have benefits but they’re minor compared to other aspects. There is no wrong race. See Video to learn more about race options.
Engineering for: Goblin Sapper Charge, Masterwork Target Dummy, Force Reactive Disk, etc... As a second profession, go a high gold generating profession on your realm. Gold helps buy potions, ex: Flask of the Titans among other consumables.
We can increase threat in many ways, notably: Earth Shock, Stormstrike, Rockbiter Weapon & Lightning Shield. Install a threat tracking addon, ex: ThreatClassic2. Consumable items deal threat, ex: Major Rejuvenation Potion based on half of the Health & Mana gained. (see Threat List). Damage items, ex: Goblin Sapper Charge deals threat equal to the damage so do reflective Buffs, ex: Thorns. Lastly, certain items ex: Gift of Arthas deal threat each time their Debuff is triggered.
Video: Ally Threat - Youtube
Allies can reduce their threat, through items, ex: Fetish of the Sand Reaver. Mage have: Burning Soul. Shaman: Tranquil Air Totem. Rogue and Hunter wipe threat with Vanish & Feign Death and so can Flask of Petrification. (See More). Items prevent aggro: Limited Invulnerability Potion & redirect aggro Masterwork Target Dummy (taunts the mob). Classes in the 30-40 yard range won’t get aggro t'ill they surpass the threat level of the mob’s current target by 30%, as opposed to 10% for melee classes.
Totems can't deal threat for you. Common totems: Grace of Air Totem, Stoneskin Totem & Healing Stream Totem. AoE Tanking: Stoneclaw Totem followed by Fire Nova Totem. To learn more about totems, see the Video.
The main and optimal talent setup: (16/35/0), has steady threat per second for raids & excels on short fights.
1. PrePull: Cast Lightning Shield. Get all Buffs the group can supply. Cast Rockbiter Weapon. Place: Stoneskin Totem, Grace of Air Totem & Healing Stream Totem. Mark the mobs in front of you by right-clicking their portrait, pick Raid Target Icon, choose from either a Skull = kill first, a red X = kill second, a blue square = Hunter trap and a moon = Polymorph.
2. Pulling: Cast Lightning Bolt, followed by as many Lightning Bolt possible to trigger, Elemental Focus. Lastly, Earth Shock.
3. Combat: For raids, use Nat Pagle's Broken Reel to assure the first few Earth Shocks hit. In a fight, use relevant ranks of Earth Shock that suits your mana & threat. Stormstrike can’t be downranked but is also used in similar cases. If Lightning Shield, cast it. If you suddenly might die, equip a defensive weapon, ex: Spineshatter w/ Enchant Weapon - Agility & Rockbiter Weapon, use Masterwork Target Dummy (taunts boss), use Juju Escape, possibly Major Healthstone & Major Rejuvenation Potion. To learn more, see the Video.
1. PrePull: Use Unconscious Dig Rat. Unequip all gear & cast Rank1 Lightning Bolt on the rat to get Elemental Focus. Equip a gear set with the most spell damage possible & have another Shaman with the (8/8) The Ten Storms gear set, cast Lesser Healing Wave on you until you get Lightning Shield. (see Video) Once the Buff appears, equip normal tank gear and a spell damage weapon, ex: Staff of the Shadow Flame w/Brilliant Wizard Oil & Enchant Weapon - Spell Power.
- PrePull Situational: Can also equip Malown's Slam & hit the rat to possibly trigger the weapon’s strength Buff. If the Buff appears, swap to your usual weapon & the Buff stays. Also, possible to get Flurry.
- PrePull Situational: Someone in the party can: Gnomish Shrink Ray the rat to give the party +250 attack power.
- Pulling Situational: If the first Earth Shock misses, equip a two-handed weapon w/Rockbiter Weapon & Stormstrike after swap to a normal weapon+shield.
There's a max of 32 Buffs, avoid nearing the max as it may result in Buffs getting mistakenly removed, the addon: Buff Cap Tracker helps. Prioritize getting defensive Buffs, ex: Elixir of Fortitude before Threat Buffs, ex: Juju Might. (Here's a detailed List of Buffs).
A max of 16 Debuffs can be on a mob. Reaching the max is major in raids. There's defensive Debuffs: Insect Swarm & threat Debuffs: Faerie Fire among others. To learn more, see the Video. With the raid leader’s consent, suggest ideal Debuffs without overstepping. We can apply Gift of Arthas & Stormstrike.
Solidify defensive stats when gearing, threat is secondary. It’s advised to have 4k HP & 5k Armor unbuffed for Molten Core. Blackwing Lair, ~4800 to 5k HP and 6500-7k Armor. For reliable threat, 2% melee Hit is advised for dungeons. For Raid tanking, 4% Melee Hit. See the Gear List. You can't equip gear in combat, except for a weapon & shield, enabling the equipping of a defensive weapon, ex: Spineshatter, if survival seems grim.
There are two types of enchants, defensive, ex: Enchant Gloves Superior Agility. And offensive, ex: Enchant Gloves Threat. To learn more, see the the List of Enchants.
Many actions can further solidify AoE cases, ex: Oil of Immolation, Force Reactive Disk, etc... (see a detailed List) It’s crucial to switch and attack another target ever so often. In combat, items & spells giving health or mana deal 50% threat divided by each mob. Items also help until a decent amount of threat is gained on all mobs, ex: Masterwork Target Dummy.
With the raid leader’s consent, offer an ideal raid comp without overstepping. In our group, Warlock: Blood Pact, Warrior: Battle Shout, Shadow Priest: Vampiric Embrace, Resto Shaman: Mana Tide Totem. To learn more, see the Group/Raid Comp List. For damage dealing classes, we prefer ranged classes over melee. If melee are needed, rogues are best.
Warden Discord: discord.gg/CJ6c893y5h
Shaman Tank Youtube: youtube.com/caperfin
Shaman Tank Gameplay: twitch.tv/caperfin
Burning Crusade Shaman Tank
Melee Hunter DPS only: