Ascendance Build Guide


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Overview

Introduction

Welcome to the Ascendance build guide for patch 7.2. This build is all about hurling lava as fast and hard as you can, cutting short the lives of your enemies in fiery destruction. It is important to note that this build requires a good Ascendance period in order to perform up to it’s maximum potential, popping Ascendance just before movement or when you can not reliably turret one target for 15 sec will shatter all your dreams of doing DPS. Aside from that, enjoy the simplistic rotation and never-ending parade of Lava Surges if you can Flame Shock more than one target.

Video Guide by Naesam

(Note: This video is still valid for Patch 7.2)

Talents

Your basic talent build for raiding with Ascendance is as follows:

Tier 15

Path of Flame and Totem Mastery are both excellent options, with Path of Flame the simpler option. Take Path of Flame if you have very high mastery (over 85%) and if a fight is entirely single target. Take Totem Mastery for multi-target encounters. Note that Totem Mastery has a lower mastery softcap, at 76.5%, 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 ascendance build, you should use Ascendance.


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.  Additionally, we are focused on ST output for raid environments as it is vastly more important than building for AoE or cleave specifically, don’t be afraid to experiment with talents to tailor yourself to a raid encounter.

Stat priority

Mastery (don’t go above 86.5% with Path of Flame, 76.5% with Totem Mastery) = Critical Strike >> Versatility >> Haste

Stat ratio

For every x Mastery, you want: x Critical Strike, 0.26x Versatility, 0x Haste

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 build is fairly straight forward and is more or less the same meatball chucking pleasure that many elemental shamans are/were used to. It’s more about planning ahead where you’ll be located in a fight and how long you can be there to make proper use of Ascendance as well as be able to cast Elemental Blast on cooldown.

Stormkeeper should always be used on cooldown, except when Elemental Blast is available or there is a moment of AOE coming up in the encounter.  Delaying Elemental Blast for almost any reason will result in a sizable DPS loss. This build requires proper planning for movement in all situations, if you are caught having to move mid Ascendance you are going to lose a significant portion of your damage output. The rest of the rotation also struggles on movement.

Weaving Elemental Focus for Stormkeeper augmented Lightning Bolt casts may be worth doing for a minor DPS increase once 4 set is obtained but don’t lose hair over trying to do it.

Normal rotation

  1. Cast Flame Shock if:
    • It is not on the target
    • It will expire 9 seconds or less, your Maelstrom is 20 or higher, and you have a stack of Elemental Focus
  2. Cast Elemental Blast when available
  3. Cast Earth Shock when your Maelstrom is 92 or higher (117 or higher with Swelling Maelstrom)
  4. Cast Lightning Bolt if Power of the Maelstrom is active and Lava Burst has fewer than 2 charges available
  5. Cast Earth Shock when your Maelstrom is 86 or higher (111 or higher with Swelling Maelstrom) and Lava Surge is not up
  6. Cast Stormkeeper if you will be able to use all 3 charges
  7. Cast Lava Burst if you have Lava Surge and the Stormkeeper buff will be up for more than 1.5 seconds per stack remaining
  8. Cast Lava Burst
  9. 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

Cooldown Usage

With the Ascendance build, we have three major cooldowns; Stormkeeper Ascendance 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.

Ascendance – plan ahead for movement, delay it even, if you need to (as long as you won’t lose a usage in the fight overall), in order to use it when you can turret for those 15 sec.

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. Potion of Deadly Grace OR Potion of Prolonged Power and Elemental Blast
0sec. Cast Flame Shock

In Combat

  1. Cast Lava Burst twice
  2. Re-apply Flame Shock to get its full duration and empower it with Elemental Focus
  3. Cast Ascendance and Racials / Trinkets
  4. Continuously cast Lava Burst during Ascendance, do NOT use Earth Shock during Ascendance UNLESS you have Swelling Maelstrom learned. You will need to use Elemental Blast one time within Asc.
  5. After Ascendance go in to normal rotation priorities (using Stormkeeper, etc.)


Simulations

Races

Racial sims were done in a Patchwerk scenario using The Hungry Magister as food. The difference between races is relatively small, but Troll, Dwarf and Tauren are far enough ahead to warrant picking them over the others.

  1. Troll
  2. Dwarf = Tauren
  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 52 traits.

Single target

  1. Elemental Destabilization – 1.30% DPS increase (worth ~4 ilvl)
  2. Lava Imbued – 0.93% DPS increase (worth ~3 ilvl)
  3. Molten Blast – 0.67% DPS increase (worth ~2 ilvl)
  4. Call the Thunder – 0.53% DPS increase (worth ~2 ilvl)
  5. Earthen Attunement – 0.46% DPS increase (worth ~1 ilvl)
  6. Firestorm – 0.41% DPS increase (worth ~1 ilvl)
  7. +1 weapon item level – 0.31% DPS increase

Beastlord (intermittent add spawns)

  1. The Ground Trembles – 1.20% DPS increase (worth ~4 ilvl)
  2. Electric Discharge – 1.18% DPS increase (worth ~4 ilvl)
  3. Elemental Destabilization – 0.84% DPS increase (worth ~3 ilvl)
  4. Call the Thunder – 0.51% DPS increase (worth ~2 ilvl)
  5. Lava Imbued – 0.40% DPS increase (worth ~1 ilvl)
  6. +1 weapon item level – 0.30% DPS increase
  7. Molten Blast – 0.22% DPS increase (worth ~1 ilvl)
  8. Firestorm – 0.16% DPS increase (worth ~1 ilvl)
  9. Earthen Attunement – 0.05% DPS increase (worth 0 ilvl)

Tier 19 set bonus

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

Changelog

  • Mar 26 – Updated the guide for 7.2
  • Feb 18 – Updated format, expanded talent information, updated simulations to use numbers from T19M_NH gear.