Shaman Tank Classic SoM Guide - Tank Shaman Caperfin

I’m Caperfin. Questions?

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.

Video Explanation: Tank Races
You’ll be staring at your character for a long time. So, consider your character’s appearance as a key factor as it may entice you to play more. All races have assets but they’re minor compared to other aspects. There is no wrong shaman tank race. See video to learn more about race options.

Video: Professions - Youtube
Engineering for Goblin Sapper Charge, Masterwork Target Dummy, Force Reactive Disk, Gnomish Battle Chicken, etc… It also helps if party engineers use Gnomish Battle Chicken since Battle Squawk stacks to 25%. As a second profession, pick an easy or high gold generating one, this helps you buy powerful potions.

Threat Management
Video: Threat
Threat is increasable in many ways, notably: Earth Shock, Stormstrike, Rockbiter Weapon & Lightning Shield. I advise installing a threat tracking addon, ex: TinyThreat. Consumable items deal threat, ex: Major Rejuvenation Potion based on half of the Health & Mana gained. Damage items, ex: Goblin Sapper Charge deals threat equal to the damage so do reflective Buffs, ex: Thorns. Lastly, certain items deal threat each time their Debuff is triggered, ex: Gift of Arthas. Here’s a list of threat dealing actions to learn how to capitalize on this aspect.

Video: Ally Threat

  • Allies can reduce their threat, for example, items: Fetish of the Sand Reaver. Mage have: Burning Soul. Shaman: Tranquil Air Totem. Rogue and Hunter wipe threat w/Vanish & Feign Death and so can Flask of Petrification. Items prevent aggro: Limited Invulnerability Potion & redirect aggro: Masterwork Target Dummy. Classes in the 30-40 yard range won’t get aggro t’ill they surpass the threat level of the mob’s target by 30%, as opposed to 10% for melee. See here: the many ways allies can reduce their threat.

Video: Totems - Video
Totems can’t deal threat for you. Common totems: Grace of Air Totem, Stoneskin Totem & Healing Stream Totem. AoE Tanking: Stoneclaw Totem followed by Fire Nova Totem.

The optimal talent setup for a Shaman Tank: (16/35/0). Here’s a rundown of the talents: This setup has steady threat per second for raids & excels on short fights.

Video: Rotations

  1. Pre-Pull: Cast Lightning Shield. Get all Buffs the group can give. Cast Rockbiter Weapon. Place: 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, pick from either a Skull = kill first, a red X = kill second, a blue square = Hunter trap or a moon = Polymorph.
  2. Pulling: Cast Lightning Bolt, followed by as many Lightning Bolt possible to trigger, Elemental Focus. Lastly, Earth Shock.
  3. Combat: For raids, use Nat Pagle’s Broken Reel to assure the first few Earth Shocks hit. In a fight, use relevant ranks of Earth Shock that suits your mana & threat. Stormstrike can’t be downranked but is also used in similar cases. If Lightning Shield expires, cast it. If you suddenly might die, equip a defensive weapon, ex: Spineshatter w/Enchant Weapon - Agility & Rockbiter Weapon, use Masterwork Target Dummy (taunts boss), use Juju Escape, possibly Major Rejuvenation Potion & Major Healthstone. (see Video ).

Buffs + Debuffs
Prioritize defensive Buffs, ex: Elixir of Fortitude before Threat Buffs, ex: Juju Might. (see a detailed List of Buffs:

There’s defensive Debuffs, ex: Insect Swarm & threat Debuffs, ex: Faerie Fire among many others, see List: ( With the raid leader’s consent, suggest ideal Debuffs without overstepping. We can apply Wail of the Banshee, Gift of Arthas & Stormstrike.

Gear + Enchants
Video: Gear
Cement defensive stats when gearing, threat is second. It’s advised to get 5k HP & 5.8k Armor unbuffed for Molten Core. Blackwing Lair, ~5k to 5.2k HP and 6800-7.2k Armor. For reliable threat, 2% melee Hit is advised for dungeons. For Raid tanking, 4% Melee Hit. See the Gear List: You can’t equip gear in combat, except for a weapon & shield, enabling the equipping of a defensive weapon, ex: Spineshatter, if survival seems grim. To learn more, see the Video.

Video: Enchants
There are two types of enchants, defensive, ex: Enchant Gloves - Superior Agility. And offensive, ex: Enchant Gloves - Threat. To learn more, see the List of Enchants:

AoE Tanking
Video: AoE Tank
Many actions can further solidify AoE cases, ex: Oil of Immolation, Thorns, Force Reactive Disk, etc… It’s crucial to switch and attack another target ever so often. In combat, items & spells giving health or mana deal 50% threat divided by each mob. Items also help until a decent amount of threat is gained on all mobs, ex: Masterwork Target Dummy.

Group Composition
With the raid leader’s consent, offer an ideal raid comp without overstepping. In our group, Warlock: Blood Pact, Warrior: Battle Shout, Shadow Priest: Vampiric Embrace, Shaman: Mana Tide Totem/Improved Totems. To learn more: For damage dealing classes, we prefer ranged classes over melee. If melee are needed, rogues are best.

Warden Discord:
Shaman Tank Youtube:
Shaman Tank Gameplay:

Guide author here:

The guide has been updated!
Let me know if you have questions. I’ve also recently released a guide to

Melee Hunter.

Finally got around to reading it. Good stuff within the context of classic and/or BC.

Since I’m moving on to Lich forever, I’m going to wait for the modifications of the expac to take place.

I’m also excited for Wotlk! So many interesting additions to shaman.

If you want to know more about Wotlk Shaman Tanking, suggest checking out the Wotlk guide: Shaman Tank Wotlk guide - Play WoW as a Shaman Tank feedback on the site page is welcomed!