Many players start maining their resto shaman after they experience a so-called ‘god mode’ moment. It is the state of the resto shaman, at which the entire raid is low on health points – while they experience continuous raid damage – and it is because of the raw mastery power of the shaman, that you (and you alone) carry the entire raid. This feels glorious, epic, god-like. Even though these moments are scarce, they are long remembered. Not just by you, but by your entire raid team.
Cloudburst Totem enables us to experience moments like this a little bit more often. It won’t be to the full extent of a ‘god mode’ moment, but it sure will get under your fellow healers’ skin. That is if you’re able to burst to its fullest potential. Monks will glare angrily, and Druids will cry at the healing numbers of their Tranquility. Professional cloudburst enthusiast Keehn, wrote down his pointers for you to become a master of the Cloudburst Totem.
Mastering Cloudburst Totem
Mastering Cloudburst Totem (or CBT in WoW jargon) is a delicate matter. I can be handled mindlessly and still perform great. Although, if you learn how to utilize its finesse, it will transcend into an exceptional healing contribution.
The story behind the totem
Cloudburst totem was introduced with Warlords of Draenor. At the time, it was on the same talent row as High Tide. Although with less prominent scaling than its current form. This made the talent as a whole completely neglected because High Tide performed superior in any scenario. This changed in Legion, where it has been placed in a different talent row. It competes with Bottomless Depths and Echo of the Elements. It has been tuned competitively, if not strongest. Partly due to the increase in the absorbed healing, and the inclusion of overhealing.
What feeds and what does not
As stated by the tooltip, Cloudburst will absorb 25% of every single bit of healing you do. This is taken very literal. The totem will make a distinguish you from your totems, most of the time that is. Anything that you cast outside of a totems direct healing, will feed into Cloudburst Totem. Healing Stream Totem, Healing Tide Totem, and Earthen Shield Totem will not feed into Cloudburst. However, Queen’s Decree (proccing from Healing Stream Totem) and Tidal Totem do. Additionally, healing that procs or is granted from cooldowns like Ancestral Guidance and Ascendance, feeds into Cloudburst. Ancestral Guidance has an extra benefit. The burst of healing (when a Cloudburst Totem expires or is triggered), will benefit from the effect of Ancestral Guidance as well. Ultimately allowing Cloudburst to double dip from Ancestral Guidance. Therefore, if you aim to maximize this totem, you would be silly to not pick up Ancestral Guidance.
How do we efficiently feed?
We can create a priority list of spells by looking at the core strength of each of spells and the efficiency of they perform during fights. Healing Rain, Healing Wave and Riptide are ranking high when looking at parses.(Going from my own ‘single-target raid healing build’ – Chain Heal build mentioned later in this article) These spells passively add a lot of healing, without burning through your mana.
When you know you are about to drop CBT, you need to place it on the same global as the end of a cast. Imagine that you’re currently casually casting a Healing Rain on the group. Right as the cast is about to finish, you spam CBT to ensure that you place it as Healing Rain is spawned and its initial tick hits (Yes Healing Rain has an initial heal when placed). As you can see, the cast bar is divided into three different sections: the completed cast (blue), the pending cast (black), and the placement (red). The initial tick takes place during the red part of the cast. You want to place CBT during this red part.
This is true for basically any heal you cast. Place it on the global it hits and it will absorb the healing performed (this principle applies to other mechanics as well). Casting CBT as a follow up to Healing Rain, is the best way/time to summon it in my opinion.
Single target CBT feeding rotation
- Healing Rain – use on cooldown
- Riptide – use on cooldown
- Gift of the Queen – avoid using this outside of CBT
- Healing Stream Totem – use on cooldown
- Your direct heal of choice:
- Healing Wave – for efficient healing
- Healing Surge – for emergency healing
This should consistently put at least a million raw healing into CBT every time you put it down. Here is a spell breakdown of my casting pattern.
Chain Heal CBT feeding rotation
If you are playing the Chain Heal build (crit), it is probably worth putting Chain Heal on a higher priority than HW/HS. It will net you a lot more absorbed healing, regardless whether that is overhealing or not. My casting priority to feed Cloudburst Totem would be:
- Pre-cast Healing Rain – don’t bother recasting while CBT is up
- Gift of the Queen (avoid using it outside CBT)
- Chain Heal – spam like there is no tomorrow
- Riptide – try to use it on cooldown
- Healing Stream Totem – maybe don’t even bother
- Healing Wave – probably don’t bother either
- Healing Surge – emergency heal
Using cooldowns to feed
If you pick up Ascendance or Ancestral Guidance (AG) it should be with the purpose of funneling healing into your Cloudburst Totem. These two will add an immense amount not only by the direct healing added but also by the repercussions occurring for Ancestral Guidance. Ancestral Guidance is best used after having Cloudburst up and running for at least 5-6 seconds in order to utilize the duration to the fullest. You need CBT to burst before AG runs out for it to properly double dip from each other. As the duration of AG is shorter than the full charging time of CBT, you will need to be smart about this. Ascendance only acts as a direct fuel for the fire burning inside Cloudburst. This means that you just need to do what you ordinarily do in order to reach ridiculous amounts of stored healing from this ability alone. This ability does a lot of transparent overhealing which becomes clear once you start feeding CBT. For very rare scenarios is it useful to use both at the same time. At that point, you should reach enough output so that the burst (with both Ascendance and Ancestral Guidance) tops off the raid. This strategy could be useful for countering whisp explosions on Cenarius.
When to place CBT
I usually place Cloudburst Totem on the pull, and then more or less on cooldown after. This means close to 100% uptime, and a lot of additional healing granted by pressing an ability once every 30 seconds. In a way, CBT is now what Healing Stream Totem used to be ‘back in the day’. You can play around mechanics and save it for certain mechanics. The downside of this is that you will eventually lose out on a lot of healing that would have ramped up passively every time you put it down. You need to assess your timing on a fight-by-fight basis. Is it fine to pop CBT on cooldown, or do you want to counter mechanics with some additional healing?
Do I ever force the burst?
It is usually enough to let the totem run its course since it will allow it to absorb more healing in total. Although doing this will make you resign the ability to forcefully pop it and benefit from the healing just before the group is topped back off completely. If you see the group getting stabilized, and you feel there won’t be long before the raid is at 100% hp, you might want to prematurely pop the totem. At least you will benefit from the healing stored until that point instead of wasting all of it.
Quick charge strategy
One way to quickly take advantage of CBT (in both dungeons and raids), is to place Healing Rain before anything else. Proceed by putting down CBT and start casting Gift of the Queen. Then following the same rules as defined previously. Try triggering Ancestral Guidance just as Gift of the Queen is distributing its healing to the target location. This will first of all cause massive healing from Gift of the Queen, add the modified healing from Ancestral Guidance and add all of that into CBT which you can then pop once the group enters a critical point again. This is extremely useful if you feel a bit behind on healing while significant burst damage is going out on the group.
Basically, what Keehn is suggesting is that you trigger CBT the split-second the Healing Rain cast finishes, followed by Queen’s Decree and Ancestral Guidance the split-second the Gift of the Queen cast ends.
The Mega Chain Heal Hypothesis
This is strictly a hypothetical playstyle I have been playing with in my mind. Since I don’t possess the legendary I haven’t been able to try it out. Should you be fortunate enough to have the legendary ring Focuser of Jonat, the Elder, you might want to try this out. Start by stacking up the ring (5 Healing Waves or Healing Surges). Once you reach 5 stacks you place Healing Rain and cast Unleash Life, then you proceed to cast Chain Heal and drop CBT right as your Chain Heal cast comes to an end (again in the red casting area). Make use of how the game records healing. While the CBT is up, you should be able to repeat this rotation once more (two big empowered chain heals). This should provide you with an insane amount of absorbed healing once the totem pops.
- Keehn made a very handy weak aura to track your Cloudburst Totem. You can download it from this Pastebin.
- It is good to know that the end burst from CBT explodes from you as a player (with a 40-yard range), not from the totem. Make sure you are positioned smartly when you trigger the burst, or when it expires.
- For those whom it may concern, the totem works like this:
- First, you can charge the totem for 15 seconds (both direct healing and direct overhealing)
- You can either wait for the totem to release after the 15 seconds are up, or trigger it yourself (before the 15 seconds are up) by pressing the ability again
- The totem will divide the total stored amount amongst all non-full-hp targets in its range (40 yards) from your characters position, and heal those targets for an equal amount. Meaning: it is not a smart totem (heals for the same amount regardless of % of hp), and a smart totem (it targets people that are missing hp) at the same time.
What are your strategies to pump up a Cloudburst Totem? Any tips and tricks you want to share? Perhaps you already tried the Jonat idea? Let us know below!