Lightning Rod Build Guide


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Overview

Introduction

Welcome to the Lightning Rod build guide for patch 7.1.5. This build is primarily for use in sustained cleave scenarios such as raid encounters with multiple long-lived adds and in mythic+ dungeons.

Video Guide by Naesam

Talents

Your basic talent build for raiding with Lightning Rod is as follows:

Tier 15

Totem Mastery should be used in almost every situation. Note that Totem Mastery has a lower mastery softcap due to the increased overload chance on Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning.

Tier 30

Gust of Wind gives you some much-needed mobility. Ancestral Guidance is currently very underwhelming compared to what other specs provide, and Wind Rush Totem could see some use in groups without other shamans or druids.

Tier 45

Lightning Surge Totem is the best PVE utility. Earthgrab Totem is very unlikely to be useful and Voodoo Totem has no use in any situation.

Tier 60

Ancestral Swiftness is the highest DPS option over the span of a fight, but Elemental Mastery could be used as a powerful burst cooldown to kill a priority add or make use of a burn phase. Aftershock is not competitive.

Tier 75

Elemental Blast is an incredibly powerful ability, but must be used on cooldown. Primal Elementalist is not far behind Elemental Blast. Elemental Fusion should only ever be considered in Council-style multi-target fights

Tier 90

Echo of the Elements is the best DPS option and makes the occurrence of Lava Surge procs more easily manageable, provided you do not let Lava Burst sit at two stacks. Liquid Magma Totem can be taken in some AoE situations, but Storm Elemental should never be taken.

Tier 100

As this is the lightning rod build, you should use Lightning Rod.


Stats and Gear

Due to the advent of the Titanforging system, BiS lists are a defunct practice and as such for most accurate gearing, we suggest you simulate each piece of gear you obtain against your other gear to find the most effective gear set.  Aside from that, following a general stat priority is the most practical way to move forward with gearing.

Stat priority

Critical strike = Mastery >> Haste = Versatility

Stat ratio

For every x Mastery, you want: 0.73 Critical strike, 0.17 Versatility, 0.15 Haste

Critical strike and mastery are the go-to stats for all three builds in 7.1.5, so we recommend gearing with that in mind. However, haste vastly outperforms the other three stats in AoE scenarios, meaning it is more valuable for mythic+ dungeons. If it is feasible for you, we suggest carrying one set of gear for raids and another for dungeons.

Nighthold Tier Set

The Nighthold tier bonus is incredibly powerful. We recommend using the following pieces:

Should I replace my legendary with this tier piece?

There are three legendaries that can block you from completing the tier set; Echoes, Uncertain Reminder, and Roots of Shaladrassil. Due to the randomness of loot, some may find themselves in a situation where they have to choose between gaining a two-piece/four-piece set bonus and keeping a legendary item equipped. Our recommendations for these three items is as follows:

  • Echoes
    • Do not replace this legendary with the LFR/Normal/Heroic difficulty shoulders to gain or maintain the two-piece bonus
    • Do replace this legendary with the Mythic difficulty shoulders to gain or maintain the two-piece bonus
    • Do replace this legendary to gain or maintain the four-piece bonus regardless of the replacement item level
  • Uncertain Reminder
    • Do not replace this legendary with the LFR/Normal/Heroic difficulty helmet to gain or maintain the two-piece bonus
    • Do replace this legendary with the Mythic difficulty helmet to gain or maintain the two-piece bonus
    • Do replace this legendary to gain or maintain the four-piece bonus regardless of the replacement item level
  • Roots of Shaladrassil
    • Do not replace this legendary with the LFR/Normal/Heroic pants to gain or maintain the two-piece bonus
    • Do replace this legendary with the Mythic difficulty pants to gain or maintain the two-piece bonus
    • Do replace this legendary to gain or maintain the four-piece bonus regardless of the replacement item level

Rotation

This is a variation on the build you are used to pre-7.1.5.  The same caveats apply except this build is mainly viable for M+ as it provides the most cleave and AOE damage out of any of the specs. The key to this build is maintaining as much Lightning Rod uptime as possible on as many targets as possible.  This means keeping track of the Lightning Rod de-buff and switching to the next target once Lightning Rod procs.

Normal rotation

  1. Cast Flame Shock if:
    • It is not currently on the target
    • Your Maelstrom is 20 or higher
    • Elemental Focus is up and Flame Shock has less than 9 sec remaining on its duration
  2. Cast Elemental Blast
  3. Cast Earth Shock when your Maelstrom is 92 or higher
  4. Cast Lava Burst with Lava Surge active.
  5. Cast Earth Shock if your Maelstrom is 86 or higher
  6. Cast Lava Burst
  7. Cast Lightning Bolt

Multi-target rotation

2 targets

  1. Replace Lightning Bolt with Chain Lightning
  2. Cast Flame Shock both targets with the same considerations as ST
  3. Make these changes and do the single target rotation above.

3 targets

  1. Cast Liquid Magma Totem if selected
  2. Cast and maintain Flame Shock on all targets
  3. Cast Chain Lightning
  4. Cast Lava Burst only with Lava Surge procs
  5. Cast Earthquake if your Maelstrom is 50 or higher, in place of Earth Shock

4+ targets

  1. Cast Liquid Magma Totem if selected
  2. Cast Chain Lightning
  3. Cast Earthquake when available

In these multi-target situation, Tab Targeting after every cast produces the chance at the most possible DPS with LR by applying it to as many targets as possible.

Cooldown usage

With the Lightning Rod build, we have two major cooldowns; Stormkeeper and Fire Elemental. While the usage of these cooldowns depends heavily on encounter-specific mechanics, below are a few guidelines to follow to maximize your DPS.

Stormkeeper – in encounters with multiple add spawns, it is often a gain to save Stormkeeper for when they are up for both increased DPS and priority add burst. An example of this is Elerethe Renferal’s Venomous Spiderlings. Saving Stormkeeper to kill these quickly helps your DPS and your raid’s overall progress in the encounter.

Fire Elemental – it is important to use Fire Elemental when you will gain the maximum benefit from it. It is recommended to use this in conjunction with your potions and heroism — even if it means holding the spell for a while.

Opener

Pre-Pull
-3sec. Cast Fire Elemental
-2sec. Use Potion of Deadly Grace OR Potion of Prolonged Power and cast Elemental Blast
0sec. Cast Flame Shock

In Combat

  1. Cast Lava Burst
  2. Cast Stormkeeper if you do not need to save it for add spawns
  3. Cast Lightning Bolt to consume Stormkeeper charges
  4. Continue your normal priority

Simulations

Races

Racial sims were done in a Patchwerk scenario using The Hungry Magister as food.

  1. Dwarf = Tauren
  2. Troll
  3. Orc
  4. Draenei
  5. Goblin
  6. Pandaren

Relics

Relic priorities differ from build to build and depending on the fight style. “+1 weapon item level” is the DPS gained from a 927 item level weapon being upgraded to 928. All simulations were done with 54 traits.

Single target

  1. Lava Imbued – 0.71% DPS increase (worth ~4 ilvl)
  2. Molten Blast – 0.50% DPS increase (worth ~3 ilvl)
  3. Call the Thunder – 0.61% DPS increase (worth ~3 ilvl)
  4. Earthen Attunement – 0.52% DPS increase (worth ~2 ilvl)
  5. +1 weapon item level – 0.44% DPS increase
  6. Firestorm – 0.41% DPS increase (worth ~2 ilvl)

Beastlord (intermittent add spawns)

  1. Electric Discharge – 1.27% DPS increase (worth ~5 ilvl)
  2. The Ground Trembles – 1.24% DPS increase (worth ~5 ilvl)
  3. Call the Thunder – 0.49% DPS increase (worth ~2 ilvl)
  4. +1 weapon item level – 0.24% DPS increase
  5. Lava Imbued – 0.15% DPS increase (worth ~1 ilvl)
  6. Molten Blast – 0.10% DPS increase (worth ~1 ilvl)
  7. Firestorm – 0.08% DPS increase (worth 0 ilvl)
  8. Earthen Attunement – 0.07% DPS increase (worth 0 ilvl)

Tier 19 set bonus

  • 2P – 2.6% DPS increase
  • 4P – 9.3% DPS increase (includes 2 piece bonus)

Changelog

  • Feb 18 – Updated format, expanded talent information, updated simulations to use numbers from T19M_NH gear.