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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. Nontheless, with proper gear and the right talent build, shamans are probably the best tank replacement class. They can successfully tank about all 5-mans (including heroics), and, with cooperation from the raid, even raid instances. All party members must be aware that the Shamatank requires more healing, needs more time to build aggro, is more fragile, and can only taunt through Unleash Elements-Rockbiter (no AoE).
Talent Tree and Gear Options
Gear Options are typically limited:
- Mail armor, socketed with +stamina gems
- Jewelry such as rings, necklaces, and trinkets, which may or may not have sockets. Trinkets can have many stats that shamatanks need, such as +block rating and defense.
Shamatanks can not achieve the required 6% critical chance reduction required to tank end-game creatures.
- Main article: Tank
Overall, a Shaman will need to utilize a handful of abilities to maximize his tanking ability. These include:
- An Elemental Weapon enchantment (Rockbiter Weapon).
- Lightning Bolt or Chain Lightning for pulling
- Frost Shock for high threat generation
- Water Shield for mana regeneration or Lightning Shield for threat generation if mana is fine.
- Protective Totems
- Stoneskin Totem for damage reduction OR Strength of Earth Totem for increased attack power and shield block
- Windfury Totem for melee haste
- Mana Spring Totem for mana regeneration - As of patch 4.0.1, Enhancement Shamans do not need this anymore, as they have an special talent ability to regenerate mana.
- Flametongue Totem for the extra spell power boost
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.
The shaman tank should use a rotation of , , , repeat chain lightning and frost shock, then . The tank should try and keep all targets to the front in order to take advantage of parry and block percentages. 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.
If your mana regeneration rate and/or mana pool is low, utilize water shield as often as possible. If your mana is fine, use lightning shield for extra threat generation, unless a restoration shaman is your healer, as this will overwrite the Earth Shield healing spell.
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. Tremor totem and/or the PvP trinket is a must for any target that can cause fear effects.
Generally, a shaman looking to fill the tank role in a raid 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 raid you're with understands the risks! As of 2.3.3 don't take the risk. It will cost you gold.