BEGINNER SERIES: spell reference guide


In this article, we mention every spell you acquire as you level your resto shaman. Each spell is explained and given context in how it can be used.

When you create your shaman you start out with basic spells. These cover all the three specs (restoration, elemental and enhancement). At level 10 you’ll choose the best one: restoration. Choosing the spec will remove some of the learned abilities, and modify / teach others. The spells mentioned below are based on the spell selection starting at level 10. As you level, spells develop. A Riptide at level 10 works differently from a Riptide at level 38. Your level and intellect will also affect the strength of your spells, so keep that in mind when looking at numbers.

 

Overview:

 

 

Lightning Bolt – level 1

Hurls a bolt of lightning at the target, dealing 17,118 Nature damage. 40 yd range 2.5 sec cast.

Lightning Bolt is a single target damage cast with a 40-yard range.

 

Flame Shock – Level 3

Sears the target with fire, causing 10,512 Fire damage and then an additional 36,792 Fire damage over 21 sec. 15% of base mana – 40 yd range – Instant – 6 sec cooldown

Flame Shock is a so-called single target DoT (Damage-over-Time). It ticks on the target for 21 seconds. At level 40 you will learn Lava Surge. This will enhance the effects of Flame Shock. Since Flame Shock is cast instantly, it is great for tagging a mob on the go.

 

Healing Surge – level 5

A quick surge of healing energy that restores 28,529 of a friendly target’s health. 20% of base mana – 40 yd range – 1.5 sec cast.

Healing Surge and Healing Wave are siblings. Both are single target healing casts. They heal for the exact same amount. Healing Surge is quicker to cast than Healing Wave, but it also costs more mana to cast. Therefore, on max-level Healing Surge is ideal for emergency single target healing situations. While levelling, keeping an eye on your mana is not as important as on max-level. You simply won’t run out of mana as fast as you do later on. You will also be able to restore mana in between fights regularly (always carry mana drinks).

 

Earthbind Totem – level 8

Summons an Earth Totem with (2 * Total health / 100) health at the feet of the caster for 20 sec that slows the movement speed of enemies within 10 yards. Instant – 30 sec cooldown.

Sneaking its way back into our toolkit in patch 7.1, Earthbind Totem will slow all the enemies that pass through it, handy when soloing in the open world or to slow enemy adds in dungeons and raids.

 

Riptide – level 10 – rank 1

Restorative waters wash over a friendly target, healing them for 15,016 and an additional 15,020 over 15 sec. 8% of base mana – 40 yd range – Instant – 6 sec cooldown.

Riptide is a so-called single target HoT (Healing-over-Time). It ticks on a target for 15 seconds and performs an initial heal. At level 38 you will learn an improved version of Riptide. Which will extend the duration of riptide from 15 up to 18 seconds. Riptide is an instant cast, which makes it great to throw on people while moving. Since it ticks over time, try to cast it on people that you expect to take damage. For example a tank – which always gets hit by the boss. Or perhaps someone is stuck or standing in something, or about to get hit by an ability.

 

Lava Burst – level 12 – rank 1

Hurls molten lava at the target, dealing 13,214 Fire damage. 6% of base mana – 40 yd range – 2 sec cast.

A heavy-hitting single target damage cast which recharges (becomes available again) in 8 seconds. This spell will improve at level 20.

 

Far Sight – level 13

Changes your viewpoint to the targeted location for 1 minute. Unlimited range – 2 sec cast.

Far Sight will allow you to view areas at a safe distance before venturing to them. Great for finding hidden treasures in difficult to view locations or spotting enemies before they approach you in battlegrounds.

 

Ancestral Spirit – level 14

Returns the spirit to the body, restoring a dead target to life with 35% of maximum health and mana. Cannot be cast when in combat. 4% of base mana – 40 yd range – 10 sec cast.

Ancestral Spirit is our single-target resurrection spell, it allows you to resurrect a friendly after they’ve died. A person doesn’t have to be in your group for you to cast it on them, and can as such be used to help any friendly dead player you may see across your travels in the open world.

 

Healing Stream Totem – level 14

Summons a totem at your feet for 15 sec that heals an injured party or raid member within 40 yards for 4,204 every 2 sec. 11% of base mana – Instant – 30 second cooldown.

Healing Stream Totem will drop next to you. It has a 40-yard-range, meaning: anyone within 40 yards of the totem is eligible to receive healing from it. It is a so-called ‘smart heal’. Meaning it prioritize low hp targets over full hp ones.

Ghost Wolf – level 16

Turn into a Ghost Wolf, increasing movement speed by 30% and preventing movement speed from being reduced below 100%. Instant.

Ghost Wolf is our only mobility tool outside of talents, it will allow you to move quickly from one place to another. Can be used in or out of combat and indoors or outdoors. Remember you can’t heal when in Ghost Wolf so try to limit its use in raids to absolute necessity.

 

Wind Shear – level 18

Disrupts the target’s concentration with a burst of wind, interrupting spellcasting and preventing any spell in that school from being cast for 3 sec. 30 yd range – Instant – 12 sec cooldown.

Preventing damage is part of healing. Wind Shear is an interrupt and it allows you to stop a cast of the enemy. Not all casts are interruptable by every class and spec. Not all specs even have an interrupt, let alone on such a low cooldown (12 seconds). Therefore, it is a good habit to actively use your interrupt. Your group will benefit a lot from it. You can even interrupt certain abilities from raid bosses! In general, if a cast is surrounded by a grey frame, you will not be able to interrupt.

 

Chain Heal – level 20 – rank 1

Heals the friendly target for 24,025, then jumps to heal the most injured nearby party or raid members. Healing is reduced by 30% after each jump. Heals 3 total targets. 25% of base mana – 40 yd range – 2.5 sec cast.

Chain Heal is arguably the most iconic heal in our toolkit. it is a powerful, smart, AoE (Area of Effect) heal. You want to use Chain Heal when several targets have taken (or are about to take) moderate to heavy damage. The high mana cost requires you to be careful when using it, so you don’t run out of mana ahead of time. It grants us one stack of Tidal Waves (which you learn at level 34). It is generally weaved with Healing Wave to help preserve mana in periods of moderate to low damage. Chain Heal is a smart heal, it prefers low hp targets over full hp targets. However, it is restricted by having to bounce from one target to the next (15 yards in between each bounce).  Be mindful of where other players are situated so you can ensure you get the maximum number of bounces (jumps from one target to another). At level 20 Chain Heal bounces up to a total of 3 targets. At level 54 this increases to 4. The talent High Tide at level 100, increases this to 5 targets.

 

Lava Burst – level 20 – rank 2

Lava Burst (level 12) will always critically strike if the target is affected by Flame Shock. Passive

From this level onwards, make sure that you always Flame Shock active before you cast Lava Burst, to benefit from this passive.

 

Purify Spirit – level 22

Removes all Curse and Magic effects from a friendly target. 13% of base mana – 40 yd range – Instant – 8 sec cooldown.

All healers have the ability to remove magic effects. Resto shamans also have the ability to remove curse effects in addition to magic effects. On most unit frames, magic effects will appear light blue and curse effects will appear purple. Dispelling is a core part of a healers job and as such it is important to get into the habit of dispelling early. Purify Spirit is on an 8-second cooldown. As a result, you will not always be able to dispel everything. Learning what debuffs need to be dispelled and which ones can be healed through comes with practice. Be mindful that dispelling is mana intensive. A watchful eye on your mana ensures you can still dispel when you need to.

 

Healing Wave – level 24

An efficient wave of healing energy that restores 28,529 of a friendly target’s health. 9% of base mana – 40 yd range – 2.5 sec cast.

Healing Surge and Healing Wave are siblings. Both are single target healing casts. They heal for the exact same amount. Healing Wave is our mana efficient single-target healing spell and with Tidal Waves Healing Wave isn’t much slower than a Healing Surge cast and as such it is used whenever you need to single target heal and it isn’t an emergency and to weave between other spells in periods of low to moderate damage. For more information about Tidal Waves, check the spell description at level 34.

 

Reincarnation – level 26

Allows you to resurrect yourself upon death with 20% health and mana. This effect can occur only once every 30 minutes. 30 min cooldown – Passive.

Reincarnation is our personal resurrection. It can be used both in and out of combat. It doesn’t count towards other combat resses in a raid setting. Make sure you can safely resurrect before doing so. Did you die in a boss fight and is there a pile of poisonous goo underneath you? Chances are you will die again. Reincarnation is commonly referred to as Ank. This is a result of the spell requiring reagents to be used a long time ago. This reagent was called Ankh and could be bought from reagent vendors.

 

Chain Lightning – level 28

Hurls a lightning bolt at the enemy, dealing 13,214 Nature damage and then jumping to additional nearby enemies. Affects 3 total targets. 1% of base mana – 40 yd range – 2 sec cast.

Chain Lightning is our AoE (Area of Effect) damage filler. Use it when Flame Shock is on the target and Lava Burst is on cooldown instead of Lightning Bolt at 2 or more targets.

 

Water Walking – level 32

Allows the friendly target to walk across water for 10 min. Damage will cancel the effect. 30 yd range – Instant.

This spell can be cast on yourself or any other friendly target allowing you to walk on water. Cast it before you mount up or use Ghost Wolf to quickly move across the water. This buff is removed when you take damage. You can be in combat with a mob (pull them as you walk by), but as long as you don’t get hit you will keep the buff.

 

Tidal Waves – level 34 – rank 1

Casting Chain Heal or Riptide reduces the cast time of your next Healing Wave by 20% or increases the critical effect chance of your next Healing Surge by 30%. Stacks up to 2 times. Passive.

Tidal Waves is the key mechanic behind resto shamans. Basically, it stimulates you to alternate your healing spells and never get stuck casting just one spell (Chain Heal for example). Whenever you cast a Chain Heal or a Riptide, you will be rewarded when you cast a Healing Wave or Healing Surge next. The Healing Wave becomes a quicker cast and the Healing Surge will (most likely) be less expensive on your mana. Healing Surge is more likely to crit when it consumes a Tidal Wave. When Healing Surge crits our Resurgence trait is triggered, refunding part of the mana spent. You will learn an improved version of Tidal Waves at level 70.

 

Spiritwalker’s Grace – level 36

Calls upon the guidance of the spirits for 15 sec, permitting movement while casting Shaman spells. Castable while casting. 14.1% of base mana – Instant – 2 min cooldown.

This is our tool to help us keep healing when moving. One of our super powerful utility spells. It is ‘castable while casting’. Meaning you can cast this while you are already casting another spell. A direct increase to our throughput, as it allows us to cast whilst moving. It is great for encounters that require heavy movement, can be brought down to a 1-minute cooldown using the talent Graceful Spirit, with a longer uptime. Cast Chain Heals as you move with your group, to turn this bit of utility into a powerful cooldown. Combine it with Ancestral Guidance to make it even stronger. Or damage mobs while running during questing.

 

Riptide – level 38 – rank 2

Riptide’s (level 10) duration is increased by 3 sec. Passive.

Increases the duration of Riptide from 15 seconds to 18 seconds. This is an improved version of the spell. For more information, check the level 10 description of Riptide.

 

Healing Rain – level 40

Blanket the target area in healing rains, restoring 18,018 health to up to 6 allies over 10 sec. 21.6% of base mana – 40 yd range – 2 sec cast – 10 sec cooldown.

Healing Rain is our ground targeted AoE (Area of Effect) healing spell. Place this on a group of targets that are stationary and have taken damage or about to take damage, a great default place to cast this is usually on the tank/s and the melee cluster since they are often grouped together. You can also use it on a stationary group of ranged players.

 

Lava Surge – level 40

Your Flame Shock damage over time has a 10% chance to reset the remaining cooldown on Lava Burst and cause your next Lava Burst to be instant. Passive.

A passive that can help you add extra damage to enemy targets by making the next Lava Burst an instant cast. Be mindful that the instant Lava Burst still costs mana so keep an eye out on your available mana. Always try to keep Flame Shock up on as many targets around you (when DPS’ing – during questing for example). This will cause many instant Lava Bursts to proc – just lovely!

 

Hex – level 42

Transforms the enemy into a frog for 1 min. While hexed, the victim is incapacitated, and cannot attack or cast spells. Damage may cancel the effect. Limit 1. Only works on Humanoids and Beasts. 30 yd range – 1.7 sec cast – 30 sec cooldown.

Hex is the shamans CC (crowd control) ability. This ability turns the target into a frog, it can be changed to a cockroach (Hex), snake (Hex), compy (Hex) or spider (Hex) if frogs don’t appeal to you. It can to can be used on humanoid and beast enemy targets excluding bosses. Targets can take some damage before Hex brakes but be mindful not damage the target too much or else the Hex will break. Since it doesn’t break instantly on low DoT damage or melee weapon throws, this CC is quite powerful. It does, however, have a sizable cooldown (30 seconds). Unlike a mage (with polymorph), it takes a while before you can recast it. Hex will always aggro the mob after the hex runs out. Meaning it will come after you if you are still in aggro range. If you are in an instance this is likely to always occur, regardless of your distance to the mob. As pulled mobs don’t drop their aggro instances. Bosses aside, they can be pulled outside of their room to reset (most of the time).

 

Astral Recall – level 44

Yanks you through the twisting nether back to your Hearthstone Location. Speak to an Innkeeper in a different place to change your home location. 10 sec cast – 10 min cooldown.

This is effectively a second Hearthstone allowing you to return to your Hearthstone location once every 10 minutes. This means you can return to your home 9 times an hour. It’s a great tool while to have whilst leveling to be able to quickly get back to your main quest hub that has an Innkeeper available to minimize downtime.

 

Resurgence – level 48

Your direct heal criticals refund a percentage of your maximum mana: 1.00% from Healing Wave, 0.60% from Healing Surge or Riptide, and 0.25% from Chain Heal. Passive.

Since the removal of spirit on our gear, this is our only way to regain mana outside of standard regeneration (which is the same for all healers both in and out of combat) and mana potions. It refunds a percentage of your mana every time a direct healing spell critically strikes. This passive is one reason why critical strike is an important stat for the resto shaman. Resurgence is connected to the Healing Surge mechanic of Tidal Waves.

 

Heroism (alliance) / Bloodlust (horde) – level 50

Increases Haste by 30% for all party and raid members for 40 sec. Allies receiving this effect will become Sated and unable to benefit from Bloodlust or Time Warp again for 10 min. Instant – 5 min cooldown.

Heroism (alliance) and Bloodlust (Horde) serves as one of the most powerful cooldowns in the game. Shares effect with the mage spell Time Warp and beast mastery hunters ability Ancient Hysteria. This ability is used at either the beginning of a boss fight or at a position in the encounter that requires extra damage or healing to be able to get through. In a dungeon try using it at the first boss, this will usually allow you to get two uses out of it since most dungeons last over 10 minutes. The reason why you can’t use it more often is due to the sated debuff preventing you from being affected by Heroism and similar effects for 10 minutes (despite it only having a 5-minute cooldown). It can also be recast during an encounter if someone has died and been battle-ressed to allow them to benefit twice. In a raid setting, Heroism/Bloodlust is often cast at the pull of a boss fight. This allows all the DPS to pop their cooldown with heroism, cutting a chunk out of the health of the boss. Unless a specific mechanic is particularly tricky to deal with. A raid group can choose to counter such a mechanic with Heroism/Bloodlust. The damage output will be increased, shorthening the time you need to deal with a specific set of mobs, or a specific ability/phase. But the healing output will also be increased, allowing your healer team to counter raid wide damage if need be.

 

Astral Shift – level 52

Shift partially into the elemental planes, taking 40% less damage for 8 sec. Instant – 1.5 min cooldown.

Astral Shift is our only damage reduction cooldown allowing us to take 40% less damage once every 90 seconds. As we didn’t use to have any (baseline) skill to mitigate damage, so having this one still feels like a luxury. You can use this to either help mitigate the damage you know is incoming or if you have a harmful DoT (Damage over Time) on you to help ease the amount of healing you need.

 

Chain Heal – level 54 – rank 2

Chain Heal (level 20) jumps to 1 additional target (now 4 instead of 3). This is the improved spell. For more information about Chain Heal, check the level 20 spell description.

 

Spirit Link Totem – level 56

Summons a totem at the target location for 6 sec, which reduces damage taken by all party and raid members within 10 yards by 10%. Every 1 sec the health of all affected players is redistributed, such that all players are at the same percentage of maximum health. 11% of base mana – 40 yd range – Instant – 3 min cooldown.

An amazing cooldown, available every 3 minutes. This is not an output cooldown. Instead, like many shaman abilities, it is a tool to mitigate abilities. In this case, incoming damage. Spirit Link Totem gives a straight 10% damage reduction to everyone standing in the circle. This may not sound like a lot, but in raid environments it makes the difference between wiping or killing a boss. On top of that, every second (of the 6-second duration) the circle redistributes all health points. This means that people who are dipping low, will receive health from the people that are higher on hp. And the ones that were higher on hp, will loose hp to the lower ones. In raid settings this cooldown is most commonly used on large clusters of players (preferably your entire team). In dungeon settings, you can justify using this cooldown on just the tank alone. As resto shamans don’t have a single target damage reduction cooldown – like the other healer specializations – using Spirit Link to mitigate the damage on the tank makes sense.

 

Purge – level 63

Purges the enemy target, removing 1 beneficial Magic effect. 20% of base mana – 30 yd range – Instant.

Purge removes 1 beneficial magic effect from your enemy target. Sometimes, mobs cast buffs on themselves. When they are not interrupted (or if it is not interruptible), you can (quite regularly) remove such a buff by ‘purging’ it from the target. If you are rather new to the game, don’t get too focused on this ability. Purgeable abilities are often shields (which you can see on the target) that absorb, reflect or deflect damage. Another common purgeable ability is healing debuffs. A debuff that keeps healing the mob over time unless removed by your purge or a similar ability. If you are in an instance, and the mob you are fighting takes longer than average to kill (or for its health to go down), check whether you can purge something. You can definitely make a big difference in instances (especially in end-game) if you put this ability to good use. Be aware that this ability is mana intensive so use with caution.

Ancestral Vision – level 66

Returns all dead party members to life with 35% of maximum health and mana. Cannot be cast when in combat. 4% of base mana – 100 yd range – 10 sec cast.

Ancestral Vision is our mass resurrection ability (all healers have one). It will resurrect all dead players at once and has the added bonus of a long range: 100 yards. If someone died at an awkward spot, try Ancestral Vision, as they ress where you are standing and not where they died.

 

Tidal Waves – level 70 – rank 2

Both effects of Tidal Waves are increased by 10%. Passive.

This passive increases the critical strike bonus Healing Surge receives up to 40% (was 30%) and decreases the cast time of Healing Wave by 30% (was 20%). Check the description at the level 34 or more information about this mechanic.

Mastery: Deep Healing – level 78

Increases healing from your spells by up to 24% (base mastery) + mastery from gear, based on the current health of your target. Lower health targets are healed for more. Passive.

The resto shaman mastery is the cornerstone of shaman healing. It is both its strength and weakness. The more mastery you gather (especially at max level), the more potent your spells are. Meaning: the lower health your targets have, the more your spells will heal for. The first time you experience this in a group feels epic. You ‘carry’ your group. You heal them through the unexpected. It is God-mode. It is also what makes us invaluable on progress fights when people are still learning mechanics and aren’t as well geared. However, as content you start farming (reclearing) content and people acquire more gear (over geared), health pools don’t drop as low as during progress. When there are no low health pools, our mastery can’t shine. Highly organized raid groups sometimes lower the number of healers to clear content faster. This allows shamans to activate their mastery a bit more during farm.

 

Healing Tide Totem – level 80

Summons a totem at your feet for 10 sec, which pulses every 2 sec, healing all party or raid members within 40 yards for 5,767. 5.59% of base mana – Instant – 3 min cooldown.

The great almighty cooldown of the resto shaman. This totem will tick for 10 seconds, healing all party members each tick in a 40-yard-radius (40 yards from the location of the totem). Does your tank pull a lot of mobs at the same time? Or does everyone in the group take damage during a boss fight? Use this cooldown. It is available every 3 minutes. Healing Tide is considered to be totem healing and does not interact with Ascendance, Ancestral Guidance and Cloudburst Totem for that reason. In a raid setting, this cooldown will often be called by the raid leader to counter group damage of a certain ability.

 

Do you have a question? Do you see anything out of date? Please notify us in the comment section below.

This article was written by Dorelei & Nihilith.

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