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Shamans as tanks

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A shaman tank (or Shamatank) is a player who uses the shaman class to fill the role of Main tank or Off-tank in a party or raid. Of course, shamans are inferior to the proper tank classes and can substitute for them only in content which they outlevel or outgear[1]. Nontheless, with proper gear and the right talent build, shamans are a good tank replacement class. All party members must be aware that the Shamatank requires more healing, needs more time to build aggro, is more fragile, and has no AoE taunt.

Generally, a shaman looking to fill the tank role will have to accept duties in an off-tank capacity. With enough stamina, however, anything is theoretically possible, so don't be afraid to make the effort -- just be sure the group you're with understands the risks!

Contents

Build options

Talents

Main article: Shaman talents

The primary choice for shaman tanks is enhancement due to the great number of abilities that aid survivability while not reducing threat. Here are some notable tank-friendly talents:

Enhancement
Dual Wield (shaman talent) - Passive ability gained by chosing the Enhancement tree which gives a chance to parry.
[Ancestral Swiftness] - Useful for kiting.
[Toughness] - Survivability increase.
[Shamanistic Rage] - Allows to you take 30% reduced damage, high up-time.
[Unleashed Rage] - Expertise is needed when hitting mobs from the front.
[Feral Spirit] - Heals you when they deal damage, meaning increased survivability. Also have a taunt ability Twin Howl.
Elemental
[Elemental Warding] - Reduces incoming damage.
[Reverberation] - Allows the shaman to use Frost Shock more often for threat.
Restoration
[Spark of Life] - Increase in survivability. Must choose between this and the important Elemental talents.

Glyphs

Main article: Shaman glyphs

Standard enhancement shaman DPS glyphs may be used. However, some should not be missed:

 [Glyph of Feral Spirit] - Provides more healing from the Feral Spirit's attacks.
 [Glyph of Chain Lightning] - Allows you to get aggro faster on large packs.
 [Glyph of Stoneclaw Totem] - A small shield for extra survivibility.
 [Glyph of Healing Stream Totem] - Extra resistance for use against various caster mobs.

Gear

It is not possible for Shamatanks to achieve the required 6% critical chance reduction required to tank end-game creatures, so they will be crit. Shamatanks have few options when it comes to gear, and will normally be using standard PvE armor for high damage and high threat.

Accessories such as rings, necklaces, cloaks and trinkets designed for tanks may be used. These items may have many stats that shamatanks need, such as dodge, parry and bonus armor. Shields designed for tanks may also be used.

Enchantments and Stat priority

Main article: Enchantments by slot

Enchantments should be Agility, Stamina, Armor, Dodge or Parry. Reforging can and should be used to increase these stats.

Dodge and Parry both give a chance to avoid 100% of the damage from one attack. Due to the fact that they both have diminishing returns at higher amounts, the values should be kept roughly equal if possible.

Strategy

Main article: Tank (role)
Also see: Shaman abilities

Overall, a Shaman will need to utilize a handful of abilities to maximize his tanking ability. These include:

Remember, totems do not add to the Shamatank's aggro generation!

The Initial Pull

Begin the pull by using chain lightning, and follow up with a frost shock on the target you intend to have the group defeat first. Make sure the group gives the Shaman tank time to gain aggro over the targets, just as they would with any other tank type.

Be sure to make good use of raid target icons and crowd control.

Combat

The tank should try and keep all targets to the front in order to take advantage of parry. When the tank believes the party will down the target very soon, a switch should be made to the next target to be attacked. This allows a head start in aggro generation, which is useful in the event of unexpected critical strikes by the party or when frost shock is resisted by the target.

Utilize totems that counter strengths of the particular target. This includes the totems that add resistence to a specific elemental damage type, [Grounding Totem], and [Tremor Totem].

References