Shaman Tank Wotlk guide - Play WoW as a Shaman Tank

I’m Caperfin. Questions?

Intro: Can Shamans tank? The short and to the point answer is, yes. You might be rubbing your eyes in disbelief of this answer. Maybe conjuring a ten page manifesto about how only warriors can and should tank. Although, I can go on a long rant about how there are 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 or often referred to as: possible, 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 if you want a challenge and a refreshing perspective from a 15 year old game. If it wasn’t obvious before, shield bearing is a sizable undertaking.

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 is reliant 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.

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 benefits but they’re minor compared to other aspects. In skilled hands, a Troll’s Berserking can save your life and improve threat. Tauren excel at dungeons followed just behind by Orc.

Engineering for: Global Thermal Sapper Charge, Masterwork Target Dummy, Mind Amplification Dish, etc… It also helps if party engineers use Gnomish Battle Chicken since Battle Squawk stacks to 25%. Jewelcrafting for: Solid Dragon’s Eye, Figurine Monarch Crab & Ruby Hare.

We can increase threat in many ways, notably: Frost Shock, Stormstrike & Lightning Shield. Install a threat tracking addon, ex: ThreatClassic2. Consumable items deal threat, ex: Powerful Rejuvenation Potion based on half of the Health & Mana gained, similarly does Totemic Recall. (see Threat List: Damage items, ex: The Decapitator’s effect (usable t’ill 40yards), will deal threat equal to the damage so do reflective Buffs, ex: Thorns.

Allies can reduce their threat, through items, ex: Fetish of the Sand Reaver. Mage have: Invisibility & Burning Soul. Warlock: Soulshatter. Paladin: Hand of Salvation & Hand of Protection (prevents aggro). Hunter & Rogue redirect threat: Misdirection and Tricks of the Trade. (see More: They can wipe threat: Vanish & Feign Death. Masterwork Target Dummy can “pseudo- 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.

Totems can’t deal threat for you. Common totems: Strength of Earth Totem, Stoneskin Totem & Healing Stream Totem. AoE Tanking: Stoneclaw Totem followed by Fire Nova Totem & Earth Elemental Totem. In optimal raid situations, another shaman should put Healing Stream Totem, so we can cast high mana cost totems, ex: Fire Resistance Totem for Totemic Recall which deals threat.


  1. Defensive Talent Setup: (20/51/0):
  2. Defensive Talent Setup #2: (0/50/21): Fast reflexes needed to make good use of Maelstrom Weapon + Healing Wave & Nature Swiftness. Only advised for skilled tanks.


  1. PrePull: Cast Lightning Shield. Get all Buffs the group can supply. Cast Windfury Weapon. Place: Stoneskin Totem, Strength of Earth Totem, Healing Stream Totem & Flametongue Totem. Mark the mobs in front of you by right-clicking their portrait, pick Raid Target Icon, choose from either a Skull = kill first, a red X = kill second, a blue square = Hunter trap and a moon = Polymorph.
  2. Pulling: Cast Lightning Bolt Rank14, followed by as many Lightning Bolt Rank1 possible to trigger, Elemental Focus. At 25yards, 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, use 5 stacks of Maelstrom Weapon to Healing Wave yourself, equip a defensive weapon, ex: Cloudstrider’s Waraxe, use: Runic Healing Potion, Shamanistic Rage, Feral Spirit & Fel Healthstone.


Prioritize defensive Buffs, ex: Prayer of Fortitude before Threat Buffs, ex: Battle Shout. (see a detailed List of Buffs:

There’s defensive Debuffs: Insect Swarm & threat Debuffs: Faerie Fire among others. See List of Debuffs: With the raid leader’s consent, suggest ideal Debuffs without overstepping.

Gear + Enchants
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: Savage Gladiator’s Linked Helm. General Stat Priority: Resil/Defense (t’ill Cap) > Stamina > Armor > Parry > Dodge. See the Gear List:

There’s two types of enchants, defensive, ex: Enchant Boots - Tuskarr’s Vitality. And offensive, ex: Enchant Gloves - Threat]. Here’s a complete list of relevant Enchants:

Raid Composition
For dungeons: Destruction Warlock, Shadow Priest, Warrior DPS (if willing to Commanding Shout) otherwise Hunter, and lastly Restoration Druid. With the raid leader’s consent, offer an ideal raid comp without overstepping. In our group, Paladin Tank: Divine Guardian + Devotion Aura, Warrior Tank: Intervene, Shadow Priest: Vampiric Embrace and Feral Druid: Imp. Leader of the Pack. To learn more, see the Group/Raid Comp List: Outside of group, for damage dealing classes, we prefer ranged classes, ex: Hunters, especially those w/Tenacity Pets who have Pet Intervene & Roar of Sacrifice. If melee are required, rogues are best.

Warden Discord:
Shaman Tank Youtube:
Shaman Tank Gameplay:

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This really should be in the WoW Classic forum, not the New Player forum. This does not apply to retail and could be confusing to new players.


While I agree with Chirona, to be fair, it’s easy to interpret the title of the forum as the location for all game guides rather than just those applicable to new players.

Did Blizz say they are gonna open a Wotlk section? that would be useful.

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If I remember right, the BC section wasn’t opened until launch.

Prior to launch, people use the WoW Classic General forum.

ahh, I do hope it gets opened soon, will you be playing BC?

Have you decided what you’ll play in Wotlk?

Man, i just really want them to gIve Rockbiter it’s threat back, no idea why they’d remove it to start with…

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Rockbiter Weapon will be back in Cataclysm, which is one of the many reason Cata is the strongest expac for Shaman Tank. You can learn more on the Shaman Tank Discord:

If you have any questions, let me know.