EDIT (31/3-09):
For some reason, this post is the most popular one at the page, which will most likely lead me to do an updated revision of it, with 3.1.0 Glyphs included. The primary reason this has taken so long, is because my work with Thunderstruck has drawn out, but I’ll probably end up doing the post showing calculations. I’ll make it easy though:

You’ll want these 3 major glyphs:
Lightning Bolt, Flame Shock and Totem of Wrath/Lava, depending on how well-geared you are (Lava being best with high-end gear, as it scales, but spell power needed is beyond reach at this time of the progression).

EDIT (20/10-08):
Glyph of Totem of Wrath is removed at the next patch (3.0.3), and thus the part about that one should be ignored. Instead, there’s the hefty Glyph of Lava, which increases the spellpower contribution to Lava Burst by 10% – which is indeed rather awesome. Also, there’s a new and upgraded Glyph of Flame Shock that, besides increasing the duration of the DoT-effect adds the awesome effect of Lava Burst not consuming it upon impact. That means that once these 2 go live, I’ll pick those along with Glyph of Flametongue Weapon. I’ll probably do a re-post at the time they actually go live.

In short. This post is outdated, but could still be worth the read. The Chain Lightning-loving shamans would probably love the new Glyph of Elemental Mastery too, which increases the cooldown of the skill by 30 sec, making it a 2:30 cooldown. Not too bad.

Original Post:
It’s been a while since I’ve written about the looks of the shaman in Wrath of the Lich King. Things keep changing, but it seems like it’s settling down. However, the subject I’ll put my focus on today is the additions of the new profession Inscription, in regards of customization of my shaman. Namely; Glyphs, as there was recently a more updated list available on Wowhead. The rules with these are pretty simple: you can have 3 major (affecting primary skills) and 3 minor (affecting supportive spells and gimmick abilities). I’ll focus on the major ones in this post, as the minor ones are of lesser importance and generally more situational.

There’s one thing though, before I begin; the list seems incomplete. Naturally, that’s to be expected, since the game is still in beta. Would be awesome if there was a Glyph for every spell in the game, maybe several for key abilities. Might be in later phases of the game, but I’ll ignore that for now. This post is about now.

When choosing these glyphs, you’d want to pick the spells and abilities you use the most, and improve them. Naturally, as an elemental shaman, I’ll be using my lightning-spells, and – with the addition of [Lava Burst][Flame Shock] as well, as part of my rotation.

The obvious choices for major glyphs from the above lists are the following:
[Glyph of Flame Shock], [Glyph of Flametongue Weapon], [Glyph of Chain Lightning], [Glyph of Lightning Bolt], [Glyph of Totem of Wrath] and [Glyph of Water Mastery].

So, what to pick? My point in a raid setting is obviously to do damage, but there’s 2 sides to that. Frontload damage, and being able retain mana enough to keep casting the entire fight. At this point of the game, I havn’t got any mana-problems, but from what I’ve read at various places, it’s going to get a bit more rough later, so better to keep the options open. Thus, as a result, I split the glyphs into 2 sub-categories.

Frontload Damage:
so that makes the 2 first choices rather trivial: Flametongue Weapon and Totem of Wrath, which pretty a stable permanent buff. The use of Chain Lightning is rather situational, as it looses it’s charm against bosses and single-target situations. With the way [Lightning Overload] works, it’s going to be extremely good against bigger groups of monsters, which should be taken into consideration. Flame Shock sounds pretty good on the paper, but since I’m expecting to use [Lava Burst] every time I can (as close to every 8th second as possible), it would be a waste to lengthen the duration unnecessarily.

Thus, should I go all-out damage, it would be the following:
[Glyph of Flametongue Weapon], [Glyph of Totem of Wrath] and [Glyph of Chain Lightning].

Mana Retaining:
The big choice here will – should I end up having mana problems – is whether [Glyph of Water Mastery] is supreme to the 10% reduction of [Glyph of Lightning Bolt]. It’s going to end up in a messy amount of math, which I don’t have the real data for. I’ll try it out however, with some estimated values.

The improvement to mana shield is easy: 30% bonus to 100 Mp5, is 30 more Mp5. Quite a bit.
The nutcracker comes with [Lightning Bolt] however. As you can see, the cost has changed to 10% base mana. I’ll avoid going too deep into this, and go with the theory that – with [Convection] being taken into consideration as well – that it costs 8% base mana. At 80, I’ll have 4396 mana (source), making that a 352 cost. Without the glyph, that would be 396 (9% base). Now, if I kept spamming Lightning Bolt, and just that, it would “give” me ((396-352)/2*5) 110 Mp5 – that’s with a 2 second cast, not taking haste into the consideration.

Before we go further, we’d have to look at the spell rotation. My aim is to base it around the 8 second cooldown of Lava Burst; so:
0.0: Flame Shock hits (GCD is triggered),
3.0: Flame Shock ticks,
3.5: Lightning Bolt hits (2.0 sec cast),
5.5: Lightning Bolt hits (2.0 sec cast),
6.0: Flame Shock ticks,
7.0: Chain Lightning hits (1.5 sec cast),
8.5: Lava Burst hits (1.5 sec cast),
start over

An experiment might be to exchange the Chain Lightning with a Lightning Bolt, so that Flame Shock can have it’s third tick, but that’s another story. Long story short, there’s 2 possibilities:
1) 2 casts over 8.5 seconds: I “gain” ((396-352)/8,5*2) 10,4 Mp5.
2) 3 casts over 9.0 seconds: I “gain” ((396-352)/9*3) 14,7 Mp5.

In the end, Water Shield’s Glyph wins by far, by being over double as effective – unless it’s all-out Lightning Bolt.

Wrapping it up:
For front-load damage:
[Glyph of Flametongue Weapon], [Glyph of Totem of Wrath] and [Glyph of Chain Lightning].
For mana retaining and/or fights without many mobs:
[Glyph of Flametongue Weapon], [Glyph of Totem of Wrath] and [Glyph of Water Mastery].

And, since I’m just a human, I might’ve made some errors. Feel free to correct me, so I can get my facts straight.


  1. Have you seen any threat reducing glyph's? That is my biggest issue as an elemental shaman right now.


  2. None on the list so far, but shouldn't be that much of a problem; for 2 reasons:

    1) Elemental Precision is being upped from 10% to 30% threat reduction.
    2) We get Wind Shock, which reduces threat (like Rogues' Feint).

    With that in mind, I don't see any problems really.


  3. Rather major rewrite needed if this has to be “updated” to 3.0.3; for 2 reasons:

    1) Glyph of Totem of Wrath is removed.
    2) Glyph of Lava is added, which increases the spellpower contribution to Lava Burst by 10%

    Easy to figure out that I'll take the new one instead then :)


  4. Glyph of totem of wrath is necessary? is 1% haste really that big of a deal?


  5. Since it's going to get removed at the next patch, it doesn't really matter. Better write it at the post itself, instead of only here in the comments.


  6. What elemental shaman like myself must keep in mind always are two things 1)our damage can be pretty good to high to very high depending on the situation and 2) Every single elemental shaman has a different combo of stats( so its really tough to give or receive advice about ” a proper rotation or gear/gems /stats” ). I often play with boomkins and my unbuffed crit is at 25% , and with the +5 crit from boomkin aura giving me 30% crit i tend to pull threat from time to time which is fine but is ultimately frowned apon in raids.. so my original thinking was to of course grab glyphs of lava , flameshock, flametongue, after getting my crit to 25% i decided to replace flameshock glyph with lighting bolt glyph. i was surprised to see how much more damage bolts were doing. so now that I grabbed a couple decent pieces from Nax 25 i am really curious to see what kind of damage Flameshock/ Lava / lighting bolt glyphs can produce. I am thinking tossing 7-8 K bolts, 2-3 K flameshocks and 2 – 9-12 K Lava bursts might add up to some pretty decent DPS. Our biggest nuke lava burst has such a huge range for me, I crit 6 or 7 K at times and 11- 12 K other times ( with same buffs, procs, etc etc) anyways just wanted to know what other shaman thought of that glyph setup ( flameshock/ Lava and Lightning) btw Hex FTW :D


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