Can Shamans tank? The short and to the point answer is, yes. You might be rubbing your eyes in disbelief. Maybe conjuring a ten page manifesto about how only warriors can and should tank. Although, I can go on a long rant about the 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 is 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 for a challenge and a refreshing perspective from a 15 year old game.
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 relies 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. Otherwise, Tauren are the top tier race because of Endurance scaling with the large already needed accumulation of the key stat, stamina.
Engineering for Goblin Sapper Charge, Masterwork Target Dummy, Force Reactive Disk, etc… and Alchemy helps to save gold on potions being where the majority of our buffs come from.
Deal threat: Earth Shock, Stormstrike, Rockbiter Weapon, etc… (see List). Potions deal threat, ex: Major Rejuvenation Potion based on 50% Health & 50% Mana gained. Damage items, ex: Rough Dynamite & buffs, ex: Thorns deal 100% threat based on damage. Items, ex: Gift of Arthas deal threat on each trigger.
Items reduce threat, ex: Fetish of the Sand Reaver. Mage: Burning Soul. Shaman: Tranquil Air Totem. Rogue and Hunter wipe threat w/ Vanish & Feign Death and so can Flask of Petrification. Items prevent aggro: Limited Invulnerability Potion & redirect aggro Masterwork Target Dummy. Classes at 30-40 yards compared to melee must deal more damage to aggro. (See More)
Totems can’t deal threat for you. Common totems: Grace of Air Totem, Stoneskin Totem & Healing Stream Totem. AoE Tanking: Stoneclaw Totem afterwards Fire Nova Totem.
Defensively: Classic Talent Calculator - Classic World of Warcraft is advised if threat can be managed by a skilled shaman. Standard: Classic Talent Calculator - Classic World of Warcraft provides more threat and is advised for new players
- 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.
- Pulling: Cast Lightning Bolt, followed by as many Lightning Bolt possible to trigger, Elemental Focus. Lastly, Earth Shock.
- 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 expires, 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 (see Video).
Buffs + Debuffs
Avoid nearing the 32 buff cap, as it may result in buffs being mistakenly removed (see List of Buffs]. Prioritize defensive Buffs, ex: Elixir of Fortitude before Threat Buffs, ex: Juju Might.
A max of 8 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. With the raid leader’s consent, suggest ideal debuffs without overstepping. We can apply Gift of Arthas & Stormstrike.
Gear + Enchants
Cement defensive stats when gearing, threat is second. It’s advised to get 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. Here’s a [list] of the most suitable enchants.
Many actions can further solidify AoE cases, ex: Oil of Immolation, Thorns, Force Reactive Disk, etc… 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.