Discovering Lava Burst

I discovered I loved playing a shaman as elemental.  Flinging the elements at my enemies from a safe distance appealed to me remarkably well, but I was troubled by a seeming lack in my repertoire.  Sure, greats balls o’ lightning are amazing, but when you’re running, say, Scarlet Monsatary, they begin to lose their appeal.

I had tantalizing glimpses of greater things to come at level 10 when I invested my first talent points into Concussion but it wasn’t until I hit level 52 that I truly got curious what this spell would be.  Lava Flows is touted as a must have for shamans, and it is, but having never seen the spell it affected, I went on a quest for elemental knowledge.

Everything I read broke elemental rotation into something like the following with changes based on haste rating:

Flame Shock > Lava Burst > Lightning Bolt (or Chain Lightning) > LB > LB > LvB > LB > LB > FS

The tooltip read as a really, really nice spell, but I didn’t see it changing the entire dynamic of my character.

You hurl molten lava at the target, dealing 1012 to 1290 Fire damage. If your Flame Shock is on the target, Lava Burst will consume the Flame Shock, causing Lava Burst to critically hit.

10% Base Mana — 30 yd. range –2 second cast –8 second cooldown

However, since if figured so predominantly in my talent tree, I assumed that I’d get at 60… or perhaps between 60 and 70 in the Burning Crusade levels.  Alas, this was not to be, as I did not get this landmark spell until level 75!  I immediately ran to a training dummy to try out this mythical spell that was finally within my grasp.

I must say the results were — impressive.

Elemental Oath became a proc on demand ability, no longer a matter of chance.  Where before my highest crit was in the 3k range, I easily began to see 5k crits once a battle.  I thought mana might be a concern, but discovered while the 10% mana cost on the tag seemed a bit pricey, in actuality I was expending less mana per fight because 1) The spell itself did so much damage, 2) All my following spells had a higher chance to crit as well.

Not often can you point at one spell in your repertoire and say, “That changed the way this character played the game.” But Lava Burst, for elemental spec shamans, does just that.