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Shaman Tank Guide - Tank Shaman

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I'm Caperfin. Have questions? see my Livestream: www.twitch.tv/caperfin
Shaman Tank TBC Guide
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.
Dreanei Shaman, thus the Alliance, can have all classes use inv_misc_ammo_bullet_01.gif Bag of Marbles on a raid boss. Tauren Shaman get spell_nature_unyeildingstamina.gif Endurance & being Horde allows for spell_nature_thorns.gif Razorhide (+25% armor). Conclusion: Dreanei excels, if Bag of Marbles is involved, otherwise Horde Tauren wins. 
Best Professions for Heroic Dungeons: Jewelcrafting for inv_jewelcrafting_empyreansapphire_02.gif Falling Star & inv_jewelcrafting_rubyserpent.gif Figurine - Living Ruby Serpent. Engineering has inv_crate_02.gif Masterwork Target Dummyinv_gizmo_rocketlauncher.gif Goblin Rocket Launcher & inv_gizmo_supersappercharge.gif Super Sapper Charge. Best Professions for Raid Tanking: JC & Blacksmithing for inv_chest_chain_17.gif Embrace of the Twisting Nether. To learn more, see the Video.
We can increase threat in many ways, notably: spell_frost_frostshock.gif Frost Shock, ability_shaman_stormstrike.gif Stormstrike & spell_nature_lightningshield.gif Lightning Shield. Install threat tracking Addon, ex: ThreatClassic2. Consumable items deal threat, ex: inv_potion_134.gif Super Rejuvenation Potion based on half of the Health & Mana gained. Damage items, ex: Supper Sapper Charge deal threat equal to the damage, so do reflective Buffs, ex: spell_nature_thorns.gif Thorns. (see a complete detailed Threat List)
 Allies can reduce their threat, through items, ex: inv_misc_ahnqirajtrinket_03.gif Fetish of the Sand Reaver & inv_misc_gem_diamond_07.gif Prism of Inner Calm. Mage have: ability_mage_invisibility.gif Invisibility & spell_fire_fire.gif Burning Soul. Warlock: spell_arcane_arcane01.gif Soulshatter. Paladin: spell_holy_sealofsalvation.gif Blessing of Salvation & spell_holy_sealofprotection.gif Blessing of Protection (prevents aggro). Shaman: spell_nature_brilliance.gif Tranquil Air Totem (stacks w/Salvation). Hunter redirect threat: ability_hunter_misdirection.gif Misdirection. Rogue & Hunter wipe threat: ability_vanish.gif Vanish & ability_rogue_feigndeath.gif Feign Death.  inv_crate_02.gif Masterwork Target Dummy can "pseudo-spell_nature_reincarnation.gif Taunt" up t'ill a lvl72 elite mob. Classes in the 30-40 yard range won’t get aggro t'ill they surpass the threat level of the mob’s current target by 30%, as opposed to 10% for melee classes. (See More)
We don't get threat from totems. Common totems: spell_nature_invisibilitytotem.gif Grace of Air Totem, spell_nature_stoneskintotem.gif Stoneskin Totem & inv_spear_04.gif Healing Stream Totem. For AoE Tanking: spell_nature_stoneclawtotem.gif Stoneclaw Totem followed by spell_fire_sealoffire.gif Fire Nova Totem & spell_nature_earthelemental_totem.gif Earth Elemental Totem. Other Shamans can Earth Elemental Totem to help with a pack of mobs.
Dungeon Beginner: 12/49/0. Dungeon Veteran: 16/45/0. Raid Tank: 16/45/0.
  1. Pre Pull: Cast Lightning Shield & spell_nature_cyclone.gif Windfury Weapon. Get all Buffs the group can supply. Put, 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 a Skull = kill 1st, red X = kill 2nd, blue square = spell_frost_chainsofice.gif Freezing Trap and a moon = spell_nature_polymorph.gif Polymorph.
  2. Pulling: Rank12 spell_nature_lightning.gif Lightning Bolt, recast, followed by as many Rank1 Lightning Bolts to possibly get: spell_shadow_manaburn.gif Elemental Focus. At 20yards, Frost Shock.
  3. Melee Range: In a fight, use Frost Shock ranks that suits mana & threat, lastly Stormstrike if need be. If Lightning Shield expires, recast. If death is imminent, equip a defensive weapon, ex: inv_axe_14.gif Grom'tor's Charge, use: inv_potion_106.gif Heroic Potion, spell_nature_shamanrage.gif Shamanistic Rage & inv_misc_herb_nightmareseed.gif Nightmare Seed.
This hardcore raid rotation has great results but requires good gear, Buffs, etc… If all actions below can't be done, don’t be sad, it’s mostly to show the max potential possible to achieve grand raid feats. For some, only certain actions are feasible, proceed accordingly.
Pre Pull: Hunter cast inv_potion_133.gif Ironshield Potion & Logout for 2min. You use inv_misc_herb_flamecap.gif Flame Cap, Logout for 3min, use inv_potion_133.gif Ironshield Potion, Logout for 2min. Login, equip a set with lots of +Healing, use inv_spear_04.gif Healing Stream Totem.
Pulling: Equip normal tank gear + inv_axe_66.gif The Decapitator. A Resto Shaman equips a set with lots of +Healing and will spell_nature_skinofearth.gif Earth Shield you, they reequip normal gear after. Ced Hunter pulls boss and consumes Misdirection. At 40 yards, activate Decapitator's "use" effect. Put Earth Elemental Totem, spell_nature_slowingtotem.gif Wrath of Air Totem & Fire Nova Totem. Equip a +Spell Damage weapon, ex: inv_weapon_halberd17.gif Staff of Infinite Mysteries. At 30 yards, spell_nature_lightning.gif Lightning Bolt + rank1 Lightning Bolt or spell_nature_chainlightning.gif Chain Lightning (depends on mob move speed). The Hunter should have Misdirection available at this point to use again. At 20yards, Frost Shock & equip a two-handed weapon, ex: inv_axe_64.gif Axe of the Gronn Lords.
Pulling Situational: When the Hunter initially pulls the boss, use inv_misc_pelt_boar_01.gif Unconscious Dig Rat, equip inv_mace_01.gif Malown's Slam & hit the rat to possibly trigger the weapon’s effect and/or ability_ghoulfrenzy.gif Flurry, afterwards swap to your usual weapon & the Buffs will stay.
Melee Range: As the boss is about to hit you, Shamanistic Rage, Stormstrike, equip one handed weapon + shield. Totemic Call and put usual totems: Stoneskin, Grace, etc... During the fight, replace Grace with Wrath of Air before each Frost Shock, put back Grace after. spell_unused.gif Totemic Call each time Stoneskin will expire.
Melee Range Situational: If Aggro is lost and a small walking distance is made, equip a 2hand weapon + Stormstrike, reequip normal weapon if Aggro is regained. On a potentially fatal boss hit, use inv_chest_chain_17.gif Twisting Nether Chain Shirt and a Paladin can later spell_holy_sealofprotection.gif Blessing of Protection, remove these Buffs instantly after.
There's a cap of 32 Buffs, avoid nearing the cap as it may lead to unwanted Buff removal, the Addon: Buff Cap Tracker helps. Get defensive Buffs, ex: IronShield Potion before Threat Buffs, ex: inv_potion_58.gif Onslaught Elixir. (To learn more about Buffs, see this detailed list of Buffs).
Only 40 Debuffs can be on a mob. Having the most Debuffs is major in raids. There's defensive Debuffs: spell_nature_insectswarm.gif Insect Swarm & threat Debuffs: spell_frost_chillingblast.gif Winter's Chill among others (see list#1 & list#2). With the raid leader’s consent, suggest ideal Debuffs without overstepping.
Solidify defensive stats when gearing, threat is second. The Resilience & Defense stat helps us reach the 5.6% Crit Immunity Cap, PvP gear helps, ex: inv_helmet_09.gif Gladiator's Mail Helm. General Stat priority: Resilience/Defense (t'ill Cap) > Stamina > Armor > Parry > Dodge.
Phase2 BiS Defensive Set: HasArenaGear.
There's two situational types of enchants, defensive, ex: spell_holy_greaterheal.gif Enchant Gloves - Superior Agility. And offensive, ex: spell_holy_greaterheal.gif Enchant Gloves - Threat. Here's a complete list of relevant tanking Enchants.
AoE Tanking
Many actions can further solidify AoE cases, ex: inv_potion_11.gif Oil of Immolation, inv_misc_food_91.gif Stormchops, spell_arcane_portaldarnassus.gif Force Reactive Disk, etc... (see the complete Threat List) It’s crucial to switch and attack another target every few seconds. In combat, items & spells giving Health or Mana deal 50% threat divided by each mob. At the start of a fight, items like inv_enchant_shardglimmeringsmall.gif Thornling Seed & spells, ex: Fire Elemental Totem can distract mobs by tanking them while you deal threat on them.
For Dungeons: Shadow Priest, Retribution Paladin, Beast Mastery Hunter & Restoration Druid. In 10man raids, offer an ideal comp without overstepping. In our group, Warlock: spell_shadow_bloodboil.gif Blood Pact, Paladin: spell_holy_devotionaura.gif Devotion Aura, Druid: ability_druid_treeoflife.gif Tree of Life, Warrior: ability_warrior_rallyingcry.gif Commanding Shout. A member (pref healer) can use: inv_jewelry_necklace_17.gif Thick Felsteel Necklace. Outside the group, ranged classes are favored over melee. If melee are needed, Rogues are best.
Have questions?
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Edited by Caperfin
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