Saturday, January 16, 2021

Rise of the Tank Shaman?

Shaman tanking in WoW is something I have been pondering many times over the years. I wrote about it in my post on "Top 5 Class Roles That Nearly Existed" 9,5 years ago and even wrote a guide on how to play one 11 years ago. For whatever reason though I never got around to, you know, actually play one myself. Was I too chicken? Did I not believe in the concept myself? I'm not sure, but I think the simple answer is that I didn't actually play any tank class back in Vanilla, let alone a half-viable one, and once I got around to loving tanking, shaman tanking wasn't actually a thing anymore. I just missed the window of opportunity the last time around.

If you need any convincing or proof that Blizzard actually thought about this as a possibility, just read any or both of the above posts. Too lazy? Well to quote myself (hey I can be lazy too);

"Shamans actually have a taunt. They have a totem that does nothing but tank. Enhancement shamans prefer two one handers, but can wield shields if they want to, and enhancement shamans used to have a talent that gave them parry and a talent called Shield Specialization which increased their block chance by up to 5%. They have a skill that reduces damage done to them by 30%. And they have a weapon buff that increases their threat by 30% and reduces their damage taken by 5%. Need more proof?"

I have been playing WoW Classic for 1,5 year now though and still no tanking shaman in my roster, what gives! I know, this time I can only blame good old faulty memory. I had completely forgotten these were a thing! Until I stumbled across one, which in fact I have never done in the wild before.

Maybe something like this?

I saw someone looking for a group to some low-level instance, calling themselves a tank. I noticed that their name alluded to being a shaman and a flickering light of an old memory shone up in my brain. It couldn't be? But it was, a real, in the flesh (well not really, but you know what I mean) tanking shaman. I immediately whispered them, asking for details on usefulness and especially how skeptical potential group members were about having a shaman tanking them. According to them, there wasn't really an issue.

This shaman was in their mid-20s, so hadn't really been at it long. Back in the day I mused that tanking as a shaman was only really viable up until level 40. But with how Classic WoW has turned out to be more lenient and easier than Vanilla WoW, and even "real" tanks can play as dps-specs and with dps gear up until 60 without any issues, I think shaman tanking could actually work all the way til end game. Maybe Blizzard wanted it to be an option to sort of bolster out the mid-level availability of tanks? Who knows, either way my fire was re-kindled.

I immediately started making plans for actually creating a tank shaman. Time is dire though, rumour has it that BC is on its way and while I am intensely hype for it, it would also kill my beloved tank shaman once again, just like it did all those years ago. EDIT: I was actually thinking of Wotlk so guess I still have some time.

The only thing keeping me from rolling a tank shaman this time around is having to do those pesky totem quests again. Some are not so bad, but some are horrendous. Thing is, I already have a shaman at level 35 who has done all the annoying totem quests, but she is resto specced. But I mean, all that is required is throwing some money at her and she would be set, right? I haven't decided just yet but I am very tempted... Maybe soon I can finally play my beloved tank shaman.


  1. Did BC actually kill Shami tanking? I didn't play a Shaman until BC, and there were still a lot of artifacts hanging about in equipment and the Enhancement spec. So I'm not too aware of what was changed between Vanilla and BC.

    1. Yes you are probably correct. I was mainly thinking of the introduction of the LFD-tool in which shamans couldn't queue up for tanks, but that was introduced in Wotlk right? Also of course Wotlk changed a lot of talent trees. But shammy tanking was probably still theoretically possible in BC.