Shaman Tier 9 set bonuses offer a lot of interesting options, including the ability to teleport in combat. The guide below will provide an overview and take you through how the bonus works.
As part of the Shadowlands 9.2 Eternity’s End content release, Tier Set benefits have arrived on the PTR. Our Shaman Guide Writers have shared their early views on these tier benefits, giving insight into the implementation, relative strength, and even some important input, despite the fact that they are presently untestable owing to PTR worlds being unavailable.
The Tier Set benefits for all 36 specialties in the 9.2 Eternity’s End PTR have been datamined. Below are all of the bonuses and armor models.
9.2 Bonuses for Tier Sets in All Specializations Models from the Mythic Tier Set (9.2)
Our Guide Writers have offered their early thoughts on the 9.2 Tier Set extras. Below you’ll find a list of all of our previously published opinion pieces.
The 9.2 Tier Set Bonuses: First Impressions
First Impressions of the Death Knight Tier Set First Impressions of the Demon Hunter Tier Set First Impressions of the Hunter Tier Set First Impressions of the Mage Tier Set First Impressions of the Monk Tier Set First Impressions of the Paladin Tier Set First Impressions of the Priest Tier Set First Impressions of the Rogue Tier Set First Impressions of the Shaman Tier Set First Impressions of the Warrior Tier Set
First Impressions of the Druid Tier Set First Impressions of the Warlock Tier Set
Initial Thoughts on the 9.2 Set Bonuses
Wordup (Enhancement) and Niseko (Restoration), as well as Naesam, our Guest Elemental Shaman Writer, have analysed the freshly datamined tier set bonuses to provide a more in-depth look at how these benefits will likely effect their specs in Shadowlands 9.2 Eternity’s End.
First Impressions of the Elemental Shaman Writer
Our basic cooldown Fire Elemental is given a lot of attention in the Elemental Shaman tier set. This works nicely with Seeds of Rampant Growth (the Night Fae legendary) since it reduces the elemental’s cooldown and increases its duration, possibly allowing for 100% uptime on Fire Elemental. Aside from the extra Lava Surge procs, this shouldn’t have much of an influence on the rotation. However, it’s probable that Lava Burst will be used during Storm Elemental as well. Ascendance and Deeply Rooted Elements, for example, are legendaries and abilities we haven’t utilized much in the recent past (no promises).
While we don’t have specific figures, this tier set seems to be fairly effective on a single target. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s between between a 10% and 20% boost in DPS. On AoE, things become a bit more tricky (and unpleasant), since we usually use Storm Elemental for AoE, and casting Lava Burst at that time may not be worth it. Granted, it’ll only take 3-4 Lava Bursts to obtain a second Eye of the Storm usage, which should be extremely effective if the AoE lasts long enough.
As it is, there are a few concerns with this set bonus. Storm Elemental, for example, focuses on Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning; throwing Lava Burst, particularly on AoE, will feel strange and may not be worth it. Personally, I’d want to see the Storm Elemental benefit adjusted to be related to Lightning abilities or Maelstrom spenders. Another big flaw with this set is that while employing Primal Elementalist, we can only have one elemental out at a time. This isn’t often a concern, but with Harden Skin and Vital Accretion, Earth Elemental gives non-trivial defensives. You’d have to dismiss your Fire Elemental or Storm Elemental in order to employ them. This has the potential to result in a significant loss of revenue. Elemental is also a relatively consistent spec that doesn’t have a lot of burst damage. If it’s going to be centered on that cooldown, I’d like to see this set bonus modified to improve Fire Elemental/Storm Elemental rather than lengthen it. This would give Elemental a more noticeable burst window while simultaneously lessening the effect of the Earth Elemental problem.
Guide for Elemental Shamans
Shaman Writer First Impression Enhancement
Without testing, there’s a lot to unpack here, therefore a lot of the analysis will be predicated on a few assumptions. Any of these might (and most likely will) change when we test it in real life, although simulations were developed with some in mind based on previous implementations of comparable mechanics:
First and foremost, the two-piece. This will summon one single wolf each proc, with a 15% probability per Maelstrom Weapon spender at the full 5 stacks, based on how it reads. However, since it isn’t technically firing the spell, it won’t activate the Feral Spirit passive generation benefit. This might change, and we won’t know until we test it. It should, however, continue to benefit from the Elemental Spirits advantages (similar to Vision of Perfection from BfA). Second, any active wolf, whether created by casting Feral Spirit or triggered by the 2-piece, is expected to operate with the 4-piece.
With that in mind, let’s have a look at the benefits at face value in a few stages, and since they both have a strong synergy, I’ll largely be discussing them as a pair rather than separately.
What Impact Will This Have on Feral Spirit Uptime?
The obvious issue is if this means we’re constantly bombarded by hundreds of Wolves. The answer, based on the aforementioned assumptions, is that it increases, as does the number of wolves in a particular area, but it does not make them permanent pets. When all wolves of a certain kind spawn as one element (in this example, Lightning’s Crackling Surge), you can observe the relative time spent with each number of wolves active across 1 million sim iterations (note that this does not necessarily imply any GCDs were consumed efficiently during these overlaps):
This indicates that the majority of time is spent with two wolves active, with a little amount of time on each side up to four, with a few extremely unusual examples of getting to five, and anything beyond that is a one in a thousand (or more) chance to even observe, much alone utilize. With at least one wolf up, the total uptime is roughly 75-79 percent, give or take. However, in AoE scenarios, this increases owing to Crash Lightning casts and triggers creating Maelstrom Weapon, further flooding resources.
A word on the Guardian Limit:
However, possessing more than 6 “totems” (which each Feral Spirit wolf counts as) has been found to cause it to either fizzle on spawn or despawn your oldest active choice. Given that we already have Windfury Totem active at all times, and in certain circumstances, Earth Elemental active for survival, this is a minor problem to be aware of, but one that is still significant given the constraint, and is a much greater concern in AoE scenarios. Hopefully, this will be fixed before we get our hands on 9.2.
New Double Legendary System Synergy
Looking at the present state of Shaman legendaries, it’s evident that Night Fae is the only true feasible choice for us, unless anything changes during the PTR. This not only provides by far the most powerful active legendary bonus and combination, but it also has the added benefit of having direct synergy with both this bonus and our current strongest option, Witch Doctor’s Wolf Bones, whereas the other three options are all secondary effects with little to no synergy with our toolkit or the bonus. All of these things add up to a commitment to a single covenant.
Other potential synergies (for example, Legacy of the Frost Witch and Deeply Rooted Elements) have effects that can take advantage of this, but the core system gains so much by doubling (or even tripling) down on Wolf uptime that losing access to Witch Doctor’s Wolf Bones is too much of a loss to consider. We may still be able to employ Doom Winds with a possible switch to Elemental Spirits and just hoping for Lightning Wolf spawns during AoE situations/Mythic+.
Impacts of Gameplay and Talent
The most immediate effect of this advantage is that it will draw our attention more more to the long-term single-target demographic harm profile. While Seeds of Rampant Growth will give us a cooldown, the whole package will still provide modest burst damage but potentially extremely high sustained damage with a strong desire for uptime on a target, since lost attacks create a cyclical cycle of procs and resources.
The bonus floods us with an excessive number of resources after being modelled in Simcraft, which is another significant remark. Overflow from Stormbringer and Maelstrom Weapons has grown dramatically, and the quantity of GCDs available to employ these effects isn’t enough to keep up. That is, we transition from a more strategic spec juggling cooldowns with a little downtime here and there to a harsh GCD locked playstyle with inevitable waste while employing these benefits. Frost Shock will almost fully leave the rotation, and Flame Shock uptime will no longer be a main priority, and more of a fill-as-needed approach will be used.
When it comes to talents, the consequences of being heavily GCD locked lead us to believe that a shift away from Hot Hand and toward Stormflurry is likely to occur solely due to the fact that it deals off-GCD damage, and there’s no room to use Hot Hand procs during Feral Spirit’s Stormbringer proc flood. However, this does not apply to Forceful Winds, since Elemental Blast is just displacing a Maelstrom Weapon spender (Lightning Bolt) that we’d be prioritizing anyway to trigger the 2-piece. Elemental Spirits is also locked in (if it works with the 2-piece), and any other alternative is virtually dead, and the optimal wolf to spawn changes from Fire to Lightning (as each wolf spawn effectively sustains the button you want to be pressing itself via the Stormbringer procs it generates). Finally, Elemental Assault’s feedback loop has become even stronger, and I don’t see any way to turn it off in the current generation of the spec, so don’t expect to be switching away from it anytime soon.
Other minor points to notice are that, although still being on the GCD, Sundering remains the greatest choice (Crashing Storm can’t contribute nearly enough), and that our numbers are heavily skewed toward Haste in most cases. Unless you completely ignore Mastery, it lowers a big amount back to 9.0, owing to the considerably increased contribution from Stormstrike spells.
Gains that aren’t quite there
These are rough estimations based on the original SimC implementation, so proceed with caution; nonetheless, they were tested with dominion shards removed and double legendaries active:
2-piece Regardless of skill build, we’re looking at approximately 4-4.5 percent, with a big increase in Wolf uptime. This one, on the other hand, is more binary, consisting only of free damage amps from Elemental Spirits and a little amount of raw damage from wolves that activate.
4-piece Due to the enabler of Stormbringer proc creation and GCD filling, this may range from 6 to 9%, depending on skills, and heavily favors specific alternatives.
Shaman Enhancement Guide
First Impressions of a Restoration Shaman Writer
On the surface, Heal the Soul (2-Set) seems to be straightforward: performing Chain Heal on a person with Riptide buffs the whole spell by 30% due to the enhanced crit probability. That means you should always cast Chain Heal on a Riptide person, since if you don’t, you’re wasting potential throughput, which severely limits your target selections. Chain Heal, as well as (possibly) the skill High Tide, should benefit from this set boost, since it is presently one of the least utilized spells.
There are a lot of synergies since it’s practically whatever Chain Heal interacts with. Examples:
Overall, this set seems to be OK; although it is only a bonus to a spell, it does force you to alter your strategy by pushing Chain Heal use. The fact that you can only cast it on particular targets is inconvenient, but it’s manageable, and it can lead you to strategically position Riptide so that you can use Chain Heal on various groups of people.
Unless synergies, the Chain Heal button, and external mana are exploited, there isn’t a significant increase in throughput, but it’s also not insignificant. However, since Chain Heal is required, the set is prone to being weaker in wide-spread engagements.
Heal the Soul (4-Set) has an intrinsic synergy with the 2-Set, therefore they must be considered together. Depending on how many hits are critical strikes, each cast of Chain Heal decreases the cooldown of Spirit Link Totem by 0 to 8 seconds. Simply decreasing the cooldown period of a mitigating CD doesn’t have much of an effect on gameplay or anything particularly fascinating. You’ll notice it the most if your raid leader begins assigning your Spirit Link Totem to events that are less than 3 minutes apart, since you’ll be forced to seek for chances to cast Chain Heal enough times. If Spirit Link Totem isn’t allocated (new boss, less organized raid, or m+) and casts freely, you could have a chance to use it early every now and then, but it’ll most likely have no effect.
Given the high amount of crit we’ll have next season, and the 2-Set crit bonus (assuming Chain Heal is consistently cast on Riptide targets), each cast of Chain Heal will reduce Spirit Link Totem by 5 to 6 seconds on average – or, in other words, it will take around 12 2-Set buffed casts of Chain Heal to reduce Spirit Link Totem by a full minute. That amount may be altered by chance (fewer/more crits), targeting problems (all Riptide targets are oddly positioned), mana concerns (Chain Heal is pricey), and simply not having anything to heal.
The 4-Set bonus has synergy with anything that offers crit, thus depending on covenant or legendaries, you may notice some differences in reductions, but there are just too many little details to mention, and the most of them aren’t really significant.
It’s difficult to say how much of a reduction you’ll see because we don’t use Chain Heal very often right now and haven’t seen a preview of the new raid yet, but based on old logs (which had a different tuned and cheaper Chain Heal), you should see 5 to 6 casts of Chain Heal per minute, which means the Spirit Link Totem cooldown with 4-Set should be around 2 minutes instead of 3 minutes.
Overall, I dislike the 4-Set bonus and would have rather to see something different. While it may sometimes save a pull in m+ while also allowing you to utilize Spirit Link Totem more often in raids, it won’t provide much value most of the time – and a situational tier set boost doesn’t feel fantastic. In reality, this advantage may only be used on a few encounters each tier in actual gameplay, since raid damage is often spaced apart.
Shaman’s Guide to Restoration