The Elemental Shaman in 7.1.5 is one which deals in extremes in World of Warcraft. That changes in patch 7.1.5, as the talent builds provide not only different strengths and weaknesses, they present very different play styles. Whereas in patch 7.1.0 the prevalent builds were fairly close, simply changing one talent to alter focus to either burst or sustain / multi-target power.
More than ever before, Elemental is a turn and burn class as opposed to relying on a Goldilocks situation of immense target count cleave sequestered to a compact area. As with patch 7.1.0, our AoE abilities really are tied to heavy RNG and due to talent restructuring Elemental has lost the reliable DPS increases of Lightning Rod with incidental cleave within a boss fight.
The Ice fury build, like Ascendance, does have its share of glaring problems; damage is spread over many medium to short cool down burst abilities, not allowing it to fully take advantage of situations such as a Gorefiend-esque burn phases. As well, mistakes in the rotation cascade into significant DPS losses very quickly. The ice fury build boasts a much more robust and fast paced rotation, requiring you to use 5-6 main rotational spells with a rigid priority system and differing cool down lengths. It also relies on DPS less hampered by movement and un-phased by target swaps.
The Ascendance build shows its strength in ST and focus target situations, allowing you to brutally punish a single target with Lava Bursts and Earth Shocks. In addition, Ascendance provides a staggering level of burst. Elemental Fusion brings the focus target situations a step above, providing near constant Lava Surges. It has its downfalls; if you have an unlucky period of no procs and movement causes your DPS to suffer greatly.
Competing with a buffed Elemental fusion (now +10% increased chance of lava surge to process instead of +5%) and Primal Elementalist. Primal element list will probably continue to reign supreme, and Elemental Fusion will probably be the way to go for PVP LB spamming. Aftershock from 90 to 60, now competing with nerfed ancestral swiftness (now 6% haste instead of 10%) and elemental mastery. Will probably never be picked now, maybe in PVP. Elemental blast from 60 to 75 and damage buffed slightly.
Echo of elements from 60 to 90. Competing with Liquid magma totem and Storm Elemental. Will probably be the best single target damage talent in the tier. There is an issue with the datamine for Echo, but the only thing it changed for resto's echo was that it is tier 90 now. Liquid Magma totem from 100 to 90 and damage buffed slightly. Competing with Storm elemental and Echo of the elements.
Ice fury from 75 to 100, and initial nuke damage increased considerably, frost shock buff the same. Now competing with Ascendance and Lightning rod. Will probably only see use in pvp if it stays there.
For Ele PvP
Path of Flame (10% more Lava Burst Damage)
Gust of Wind (20 second CD, 5 nerf increase)
Earth grab/Lightning Surge (Earth grab is 8 seconds)
Aftershock (Buffed to 30%)
Elemental Fusion (Buffed to 10%)
Echo of the Elements
T100 ice fury (Initial damage increased by 400%)
Fire and Ice
Lava Burst is receiving a 25% buff, expecting damage to be in the 175k+, giving yourself 3 charges through echo and increased reset from Elemental Fusion you will never not be able to cast Lava Burst, then you have Ice fury which received a massive damage buff for added burst and instant finisher potential.
What you lose compared to 7.1
The Totems, a small amount of passive regen, flame shock damage, haste, and increased lightning mastery process, overall not a huge loss.
Gust of wind has a longer CD.
Ancestral swiftness 10% haste, this one hurts, you can still choose it over Aftershock, but I think the more earth shock stuns and frost shocks from Ice fury is stronger than the nerfed 6% haste. Lightning Rod, I would still choose this for BGs as 40% chain lightning damage is still quite a lot, but I feel in arena due to the random process chance and the nerfed Stormkeeper damage this talent is not as good.
What you gain compared to 7.1
Just for starters you are looking at 37.5% more Lava Burst damage. 100% more Lava Surge process. 3 Charges of Lava Burst, basically never cast Lightning Bolt again. 400% more ice fury damage on cast, Frost Shocks will remain the same. Looking at ~250k damage, ~470k crit, which can mastery process, pretty good.
Better Sky fury Synergy, the gimmick of Counterstrike is dying quickly as players get used to it and more people are using Sky fury to increase their burst potential. This build focuses on Lava Burst which always crits whereas Lightning Bolt doesn't meaning you will always see the increase from Sky fury.
LB damage is nice, I don’t know if the ES and FS damage bonus are additional to the 15% hotfix, or if the tooltips are just being fixed, probably the latter. Elemental blast, storm elemental, and liquid magma totem are still very weak talents, if liquid magma and storm elemental are indeed stuck in a tier with Echo, we'll never see them again.
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