a guest Oct 15th, 2019 247 Never
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- Months ago I wrote a guide on elemental gearing, but it was before we knew that there would be loot from later patches at the start. Since it still gets replies (it got stickied in the class discord or something), I figured I'd rewrite it a bit. This guide mostly just covers the MC and BWL phases--the itemization changes a lot in later tiers, and it becomes much more obvious what's elemental gear and what isn't.
- Notes on mail: You'll want to wear mail in as many slots as possible. Wrists and belt are low-armor slots, though, so you can wear whatever there. If you start wearing cloth legs and leather chest or something, you should keep mail pieces in your bags so you can swap when fighting warriors, rogues and hunters. With no mobility, no CC and no invulnerability effects, you really cannot afford to skimp on armor. You'll be facetanking shit all the time in PvP and you need to gear for that. I've seen shamans trying to PvP with 3k armor and it ain't pretty. Don't be that guy. You're the first target in every fight. Aim for 5k+ armor.
- Notes on stats: You'll often have to choose between sp/crit and int/stam, and you can't choose the same thing every time. You need a good balance between them. Shaman spells are expensive and you're a must-kill target, plus you have to spam totems and LHW a lot. You should aim to have at least 4k health and 5k mana by the time you begin doing serious PvP; any less and you'll have constant problems. Sometimes it's correct to wear an item with raw stats and no offense, like Band of Sulfuras or something. Use the slots for which no great offensive item exists to catch up on int/stam. Never wear Nature's Wrath stuff under any circumstances, even if it's the only way to get spell power in that slot.
- Notes on crit: Crit is better than spell power. You want both, but if you have to choose, pick crit (unless that item is just way worse). There's a possible exception if you're going Elemental Mastery, but that's mainly for premades. Most shamans should go Nature's Swiftness, and critting is what wins fights. Doing 50 more damage per cast almost never turns a loss into a win, but critting routinely does. In my opinion, 1 crit is worth at least 20 spell power. That's pretty radical compared to what most BiS lists would have you believe, but remember this is only for PvP and crits are the whole reason to play this spec. I've seen guides that value crit at like 8 spell power, which is absurd. You don't have shatter combos or broken fear+dot cheese.
- Notes on spirit: This is obviously not an important stat, but unlike PvE where it's basically useless, spirit is *okay* in PvP. There'll be plenty of times where you aren't casting but don't have time to drink, like riding between bases in AB and such. Shamans use a lot of mana and have no Evocation or Lifetap or Innervate, no way to reset a fight and drink, and you really don't want to be using mana pots in PvP. You stop existing when OOM. It's nice to have some spirit, you'll really feel the difference.
- Notes on attack speed: One of the best strategies against casters is to sit on them with melee, Searing Totem and Earth Shock to shut down any non-instant cast. For this reason, weapons with fast attack speed are ideal. It's not insanely important, but it does make a difference. This gearing decision probably doesn't come up very often, but hey.
- Notes on competition: There's gonna be items that you'd love to have but shouldn't try to get. If you're that guy who tries to compete with mages and warlocks for their BiS, you'll really piss off your guild. You're already raiding as a healer while gearing for elemental, and while that's doable on its own, it's not gonna work if the loot council thinks you're a greedy asshole. Accept the fact that you'll be wearing 2nd or 3rd BiS in some of your slots. There's a certain amount of strategy behind gearing up, and it's much better to get several good items that few people compete for than one great item that all the casters are after.
- Notes on T2: There's a few different "builds" you can go for, and one of them is 5pc T2. Many shamans don't go for this, but I think it's the optimal route. You'll have to wear a couple of sub-optimal pieces, but when you look at the alternatives, the 3% crit set bonus honestly makes up for it, and it'll be way easier to get these items than what would otherwise be BiS. You already want to use the legs, head and boots, and since there's no good chest until ZG, the T2 one is fine as well. Add the belt and you're set.
- Examples of solid gear sets (not necessarily 100% BiS, but realistic):
- Pre-raid: https://sixtyupgrades.com/set/sR6SpFYwQ1BrLTc5ydW6Q5
- Phase 1-2 BiS: https://sixtyupgrades.com/set/vTpgy96qB4K1hefNMdFhk6
- Phase 3 BiS: https://sixtyupgrades.com/set/erTttxxpLkZwsA1SNjxRRH
- [T2 head](http://classicdb.ch/?item=16947) is your go-to helm. This is BiS until AQ40 if you want to stick with mail, which I recommend. In BWL you could one day get [Mish'undare](https://classicdb.ch/?item=19375) which has some serious stats, but it'll be a long time before any sensible guild would let a shaman take that, and it's cloth which is icky. Ideally you'd want both and swap depending on opponents, but Mish is pretty much BiS forever for mages and warlocks so you might have a chance to get it in phase 5 or something.
- Pre-raid there's not a lot of good options. Phase 2 should bring the quest that gives [Skyfury Helm](https://classicdb.ch/?item=20134) which is interesting for its 2% spell crit, but without intellect or spell power, it's not an ideal item. You could also just wear the hat from strat, but I wouldn't recommend wearing cloth in a high-armor slot. Personally, I wear Coif of Elements for the 4-piece bonus until I start getting some real gear in these slots.
- MC has [Choker of Enlightenment](http://classicdb.ch/?item=17109) and [Choker of the Fire Lord.](http://classicdb.ch/?item=18814) You shouldn't expect to get the latter, but the former is sometimes considered healer gear and a shaman should be able to compete for it.
- Until then, there's [this decent neck](https://classicdb.ch/?item=18289) from DM, and in phase 3 you can get [Orb of the Darkmoon](http://classicdb.ch/?item=19426) which is what most shamans settle for. It's easy to get and good enough.
- [Deep Earth Spaulders](http://classicdb.ch/?item=18829) are your go-to shoulders for most of vanilla. It's the highest spell damage that exists in this slot, and you can use it forever. There's a sidegrade in Naxx, that's it. Make this item a priority, it'll be one of your best pieces for a very long time. 40 nature damage is crazy good, especially in the early phases.
- The [R10 shoulders](https://classicdb.ch/?item=23260) are pretty good as well. I wouldn't personally rank up just for these since the MC shoulders are available already in phase 1 and can drop from several bosses, but if you just can't get them, the PvP shoulders aren't that much worse. The casual alternative is [these](https://classicdb.ch/?item=18494) from DM.
- [Sapphiron Drape](http://classicdb.ch/?item=17078) from Onyxia is probably the best you can expect to get. It varies from guild to guild whether shamans will be allowed to compete with mages/locks for it, but it's a common drop and many guilds do split Ony so it shouldn't take long before you can get it. You may end up wearing this forever and it's good enough.
- Lesser alternatives are [this quested cloak](https://classicdb.ch/?item=19121) or [the crit cloak](https://classicdb.ch/?item=18496) from DM. They're okay, it's a slot with a low stat budget so you don't have to worry too much about it.
- There isn't a great elemental chest until ZG when you can get [this beauty,](http://classicdb.ch/?item=19828) and that's a long way off. [T2 chest](http://classicdb.ch/?item=16950) is also fine whether or not you go for the 5-piece bonus, but until then, you basically choose between these three:
- [Wildthorn Mail,](http://classicdb.ch/?item=12624) the only real option for meaningful spell power. It's not a great item but the competition in this slot is weak.
- [Chestplate of Tranquility](https://classicdb.ch/?item=18373) from DM. Not terrible, not great. It's *probably* a bit better than the Wildthorn Mail, but meh.
- [Earthfury Vestments](http://classicdb.ch/?item=16841) for the spell crit and raw stats. Probably the best of the three, but it's not a high-impact item.
- In phase 1 you can also use Vest of Elements for 4pc (head, shoulders, chest, wrists). You'll want to have replaced these by phase 2, but early on it's fine.
- Many shamans salivate over the [MC robe,](https://classicdb.ch/?item=19145) and while it does have awesome stats for elemental, you shouldn't expect to get your hands on it. I wouldn't even try. When it comes to items that mages/locks also want, there are better things you can ask for, such as the ZG trinket. Don't spend your loot council goodwill on a cloth chest that you might not even want to wear against warriors, rogues and hunters. You'd replace it with T2 or the ZG chest anyway, so just don't do it to yourself and your guildies.
- Early on there's [T1 wrists](http://classicdb.ch/?item=16840) which are clearly nothing special, but there's not much else at this stage. They have nice raw stats, they're mail, and they'll be easy to get. Wrists are one of the slots where you can safely wear cloth, however, so you might go for [Sublime Wristguards](https://classicdb.ch/?item=18497) in DM. Kind of a toss-up. I like purples, personally.
- When BGs are added, there's [Dryad's Wrist Bindings](http://classicdb.ch/?item=19595) at exalted. They're your best bet, but it takes a while to get there. Odds are that this will be your final upgrade, you have very little chance of getting something better.
- It's pretty much a toss-up between [R7 PvP gloves](http://classicdb.ch/?item=22867) and [T1 gloves.](http://classicdb.ch/?item=16839) They're basically the same, and your choice depends on whether you're trying for one of the set bonuses. Both are easy to get and actually last until AQ40. Until you get them, [these](https://classicdb.ch/?item=13344) are good enough. Don't go for Hands of Power.
- The dream belt is [Mana Igniting Cord,](https://classicdb.ch/?item=19136) but the same is true for all casters, so it's the kind of thing you might get a year down the line if your guild got a lot of them. Don't even try to ask your loot council for this in the early phases, it'll just piss them off. Odds are that you'll just never get a chance to grab this.
- If you're going for 5pc T2, which I'm in favor of, you'll probably be wearing [T2 belt.](https://classicdb.ch/?item=16944) It's good enough. You can afford to use items without spell power if they have crit, and it has a nice amount of raw stats as well.
- You could also get [Belt of the Archmage](https://classicdb.ch/?item=18405) if you have money to spare. It's not bad at all. Alternately, BWL has [this belt](https://classicdb.ch/?item=19393) which is a pretty shrugworthy item, but it's mail and has relevant stats.
- Early on there's [Barrage Girdle](https://classicdb.ch/?item=18721) and [Ban'thok Sash.](https://classicdb.ch/?item=11662) I prefer the girdle, but the sash is fine if you want to tune your spec a little more towards healing. Like if you raid as 30/0/21 instead of respeccing to full resto, you could go 2/3 Nature's Guidance and put an extra point in something healy.
- [T2 legs](http://classicdb.ch/?item=16946) from Ragnaros are your go-to legs before AQ40, and there's actually no major upgrade until Naxx. Easy to get and extremely good. Make this a priority, it'll be one of your best items for ages. It's perfect for PvP and not particularly wanted by pure resto shamans. You should have these after a month or two of raiding.
- [R8 PvP legs](http://classicdb.ch/?item=22887) are also very good, though. They're really not much worse than T2, so if Ragnaros is being a dickhead to the shamans, you should get these. It doesn't take that much work to get R8 and you might be going for 7 anyway for the gloves.
- [T2 boots](http://classicdb.ch/?item=16949) will be your goal here. The selection in spell power mail boots is very slim throughout vanilla. Before BWL, you probably have to wear some non-mail boots. [Omnicast](https://classicdb.ch/?item=11822) or [Dragonrider](https://classicdb.ch/?item=18102) are fine. There's some in DM as well, I cba to look them up. Boots will generally be your least interesting slot.
- If you want a huge pile of stamina at the expense of offense, there's also [these from MC](https://classicdb.ch/?item=19144) which I've considered going for. They're honestly not bad. Since your boots will be crap until T2, it's a smart place to catch up on raw stats.
- These slots are tricky. The competition for caster rings is just too steep to try to get a BiS one, so don't try. The [WSG honored ring](http://classicdb.ch/?item=19518) isn't available until Phase 3 but will probably be one of your rings for a long time.
- If you can convince your guild to give you an Onyxia head, there's [this ring](http://classicdb.ch/?item=18403) as one of the quest rewards. You'll be waiting until all the melees, tanks and hunters have their neck, but after that, there's not a lot of competition for it since mages/locks will be going for spell power rings. Join a guild that does split Ony raids as early as possible to increase your odds. It's one of those "next year" upgrades.
- Pre-raid there's [Eye of Orgrimmar](http://classicdb.ch/?item=12545) and the near-identical [Maiden's Circle.](http://classicdb.ch/?item=13001) They're fine but I really wouldn't get both. During early vanilla, you'll struggle to maintain high stamina and may in fact opt to wear [this quested ring.](http://classicdb.ch/?item=17045) in one of the slots. There's also [the crit ring,](https://classicdb.ch/?item=18103) but an item with no stam or int is hard to justify.
- [Lok'amir](http://classicdb.ch/?item=19360) from Nefarian is your goal. This is pretty much the best you'll get in vanilla. The mace is used only by shamans, druids and shadow priests, so the competition is surprisingly mild. Some would rather have [Claw of Chromaggus](http://classicdb.ch/?item=19347) for the attack speed, and I don't disagree--but since all casters compete for that, you shouldn't really expect to get a chance. 1h weapons are generally favored over 2h for PvP because you can more seamlessly use utility items like Skull of Impending Doom and Furbolg Medicine Pouch.
- Prior to that, the best PvP weapon is probably [Hand of Ed.](http://classicdb.ch/?item=2243) Awful stats, but that proc is just insane and the speed is good for sitting on casters. In AB there's the [exalted dagger](http://classicdb.ch/?item=20214) which is also excellent, but that's in Phase 4.
- [Aurastone Hammer](http://classicdb.ch/?item=17105) is decent as well, but it's very slow and not suitable for pressuring casters, so I tend to favor Hand of Ed in PvP for the utility. You might want to get both and swap them around depending on who you're fighting.
- [Malistar's Defender](http://classicdb.ch/?item=17106) from Ragnaros is the best until late vanilla. Not hard to get since we're the only class it's made for. There aren't any shields with spell power unless you're looking at green ones of nature's wrath, and you shouldn't use those. The armor on an epic shield is a really big deal.
- Until you get it, use [this quested shield.](http://classicdb.ch/?item=16998) Just nice raw stats for PvP. When AV opens, there's also [the exalted shield](http://classicdb.ch/?item=19321) if you want a bit more armor at the expense of intellect, but I've never bothered to get it. It's just not a caster shield. Buy it if you happen to be exalted, but don't grind exalted for this specifically.
- The first two you'll be looking at are [Briarwood Reed](http://classicdb.ch/?item=12930) and [Eye of the Beast.](http://classicdb.ch/?item=13968) Pretty easy to get both of them. You'll use the PvP trinket a lot of the time, but swap it out when it's on cooldown. The eye is the one I'd wear permanently, crit is what wins fights.
- Then there's the two burst trinkets from [MC](http://classicdb.ch/?item=18820) and [ZG.](http://classicdb.ch/?item=19950) Don't expect to get the former, at least not anytime soon. The latter shouldn't be impossible to get since Hakkar always drops a heart for the quest and healers have a valid claim to it, but you'll be competing with other casters.
- Finally, BWL has [Natural Alignment Crystal.](http://classicdb.ch/?item=19344) Very easy to get since, well, it's shaman only, and it's quite good. However, the mana toll is rough and the cooldown is prohibitively long, so I wouldn't obsess over it. Doesn't stack with most other activated trinkets.
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