Below you can find a tier-by-tier description of each talent and our recommendations. If you just want a quick reference for talents, our talent cheat sheet is at the bottom of this page.

Tier 20 versus Tier 21

With the release of Antorus, we gain access to the Tier 21 set bonuses. Given the advent of titanforges, it can be difficult to know what set to equip. We’re hoping to remedy that with this comparison section on every relevant page. For talents, the Tier 20 versus Tier 21 debate can be summarised as follows:

  • Tier 21:
    • Favours Aftershock, which is the recommended talent when using this tier set.
    • Has an excellent synergy with Icefury. Note this does not mean you should always use Icefury, as there are caveats when using Icefury and Ascendance is still a powerful choice.
    • Has zero value in pure AoE scenarios, since you won’t want to cast Lava Burst to use the boost to Earthquake in high-target AoE scenarios. You will want to equip your Tier 20 pieces if high enough item level, or more likely, high item level pieces with no tier set bonuses.
  • Tier 20:
    • Favours Primal Elementalist. The combination of Tier 20 and Primal Elementalist means an increased value for Haste and Critical Strike when compared to the other stats.
    • Excels at council-style fights with multiple (spread or stacked) long-lived targets.

Talent tiers

Level 15

  • Path of Flame – Powerful for single target encounters when paired with Ascendance. Note that taking this talent favours higher levels of mastery (the converse is true; higher levels of mastery can favour taking this talent over another).
  • Earthen Rage – Lacklustre, performing worse than the other two options.
  • Totem Mastery – Powerful for single target, cleave and AoE encounters. Excellent synergy with the T20 and T21 set bonuses.

Our recommendation: Totem Mastery should be taken at all times unless you can make good use of Path of Flame‘s Flame Shock spread mechanic.

Level 30

  • Gust of Wind – Great mobility on a short cooldown.
  • Ancestral Guidance – A powerful AoE heal that can help healers in a tight spot, but is generally not that useful.
  • Wind Rush Totem – Can see some limited used in specific encounters.

Our recommendation: Gust of Wind in every situation. Healing issues are very rarely solved by Ancestral Guidance, and Wind Rush Totem is better taken by shamans of other specs due to the loss of mobility without Gust of Wind.

Level 45

  • Lightning Surge Totem – Reliable, ranged AoE stun on a medium-length cooldown. Timing takes some practise.
  • Earthgrab Totem – Mostly used in PVP, but an encounter with adds that need to be snared could warrant use of this talent.
  • Voodoo Totem – Should not be taken in any situation.

Our recommendation: Lightning Surge Totem as the default. Very rarely, you can take Earthgrab Totem.

Level 60

  • Aftershock – a core component of the Gambling Build, Aftershock provides great Maelstrom generation. With the Tier 21 set bonuses, this is the talent of choice, regardless of whether or not you are using the Gambling Build.
  • Ancestral Swiftness – Despite its uninteresting effect, the 6% haste from Ancestral Swiftness is a big boost to your ST and AoE DPS. This talent falls behind Aftershock with the Tier 21 set bonuses, but serves as an adequate default without any set bonuses.
  • Elemental Mastery – When there are clearly defined burst windows in an encounter, Elemental Mastery can pull ahead of Ancestral Swiftness but should otherwise not be taken.

Our recommendation: Aftershock as the default with Tier 21 (Gambling or not). Ancestral Swiftness can be taken with no tier bonuses, or with Tier 20 (Non-gambling).

Level 75

  • Elemental Fusion – This could be good in council-style spread cleave encounters but is currently never used.
  • Primal Elementalist – A significant buff to your elementals, giving them increased damage and extra abilities. Favours critical strike and haste, as mastery has no effect on elementals.
  • Elemental Blast – A hard-hitting ability with a potent buff for 10 seconds — Mastery: Elemental Overload causes an additional buff roll but may simply refresh the current stat.

Our recommendation: Elemental Blast as the default. If you find it difficult to use Elemental Blast on cooldown, take Primal Elementalist. Don’t consider Elemental Fusion in any situation.

Level 90

  • Liquid Magma Totem – A good AoE cooldown when you can guarantee a number of targets will be in its radius for the full duration. Best used in Mythic+ dungeons or encounters with a large number of adds.
  • Storm Elemental – Replaces your Fire Elemental with a shorter-cooldown, Maelstrom-generating elemental. With patch 7.3’s change to the T20 2-piece bonus, this is a viable option in the Gambling build only for specific gear setups!. Sim it before using this talent, and consider the downfalls of losing Echo of the Elements.
  • Echo of the Elements – Puts Lava Burst onto a charge system with two charges, giving you a buffer for Lava Surge procs and giving you leeway in deciding when to cast Lava Burst over the baseline cooldown system.

Our recommendation: Echo of the Elements as the default. In encounters with a large number of adds, or in Mythic+, try Liquid Magma Totem. If you have Soul of the Farseer AND the Tier 21 set bonus (2 and 4 set), take Storm Elemental for single target and Liquid Magma Totem for AoE. If you have Soul of the Farseer but do not use Tier 21 set bonuses (for whatever reason), take Liquid Magma Totem.

Level 100

  • Ascendance – A powerful single target cooldown. Has strong synergy with Elemental Blast and Path of Flame. Taken in encounters with clearly defined burst windows that will allow you to stand still for its duration.
  • Lightning Rod – Unexceptional in single target, strong in cleave and strong in AoE. Lightning Rod should be your talent of choice if you can have two or more instances of its effect active. Beginners should choose this talent over Ascendance, as it does not depend on fight length or pre-planned, long periods of no movement.
  • Icefury – This talent only shines when used optimally. Proper usage of Icefury and Frost Shock requires a good deal of resource and cooldown management. The Tier 21 set bonuses have a great synergy with Icefury, making it a more attractive option for veteran players.

Our recommendation: Ascendance or Icefury. Lightning Rod for cleave and AoE.

Talent build cheat sheets

Gambling build/Ascendance build, or Icefury build (3111331 OR 3111333)

Note: the Gambling Build is dependent on some other criteria, read the Gambling build page for more information

Lightning Rod (3112332)

Mythic+ (3112312)