Healing Cheat-Sheet: Restoration Shaman

As you head to your next dungeon, do it with a bit of swagger in your step!  As a restoration shaman, you have the tools and stats to heal any assignment with a bit of preparation, and a small cheat-sheet to get you through the spell combinations.  Unlike your fellow healers you do not have to change specs, not one little point, to be an effective group or tank healer.

So let’s take a look at what it takes… from 5-mans to 25-mans, what’s best for you?

Player’s Handbook

Earthliving Weapon

Cast it, love it, always.  On top of the flat spellpower increase, Earthliving Weapon has a chance to proc Earthliving, which heals the target for 652 over 12 seconds.  And let me tell you, ELW has a chance to proc off everything: Riptide, Healing Wave, Lesser Healing Wave and every bounce of Chain Heal.

Water Shield

Another staple, Water Shield should be floating around your character at all times.  Not only do you passively regen 100 mp5, when hit, a shield pops and grants you 400 mana on the spot.

Chain Heal

The shaman heal of goodness.  Chain Heal will heal up to 3 (4 if glyphed) targets.  Targets cannot be further than 12.5 ft apart.  The shaman chooses the first target, who is healed for 1055-1205 base, and the ‘smart’ heal does the rest, targeting another player in range for a 40% less effective heal.  First (targeted) jump can get a 25% healing boost if the target has a riptide.  However, if all targets in current range are at 100% health, you may end up with no bounces.  Situational awareness is an important part of getting the best bang for your buck here.

Healing Wave

The biggest single target heal in our arsenal. Healing Wave packs a punch with a base heal of 3034-3466, but it’s also as slow as molasses.

Lesser Healing Wave

Our quick and tiny single target heal.  Lesser Healing Wave hits for 1606-1834 at max level, but enough haste can get it down to a one-second cast.


Like throwing water balloons at your raid mates, Riptide is the only instant cast spell in our arsenal.  Initial amount healed is equivalent to a lesser healing wave (1604-1736)  Riptide also adds a 1670 hps HoT lasting for 15 seconds (22 if glyphed).


In this scenario I’m going to assume that you are running heroics for gear upgrades and are not raid ready (those raid type people just Earth Shield and buff their nails most days).

Your top priority in any 5-man setting is:

Heal yourself

Heal the tank

Heal the good dps

Heal the bad dps

Earth Shield should always remain on your tank in a heroic setting.  I would also suggest Lesser Healing Wave (LHW) as your staple spell in 5-mans.  Healing Wave (HW) does pack more punch, and in critical situations may be the better choice; however, on the whole, I’d plan on sticking with LHW.  Riptide should be used liberally.  In 5-mans, I use Riptide for unexpected damage–I toss in on the dps often, and when the tank takes a hit bigger than my LHW can quickly take care of.  I would not suggest keeping Riptide rolling if you don’t need it.

Suggested Glyphs

Earth Shield: Increases the amount healed by your Earth Shield by 20%

Lesser Healing Wave: Your Lesser Healing Wave heals for 20% more if the target is also affected by Earth Shield.

Water Mastery: Increases the passive mana regeneration of your Water Shield spell by 30%; If you are having zero mana issues, then you can replace this glyph with…

Riptide: Increases the duration of Riptide by 6 seconds.

I Only Have Eyes for You:Tank Duty

Most likely, your raid leader hasn’t discovered you can do anything other than lay glittering ropes of chain heal goodness throughout the raid, that is until it’s time for a 10-man run… and you’re with a druid… who’s not specced for tank heals.

Don’t Worry!  10-man strict raiders will run into tank healing much more often than 25-man healers; however, even with our heavy roster of paladins, druids, disc priests (I don’t know where the holy guys are) and shamans, I’ve tank healed an occasional 25-man boss as well.

There is no cookie-cutter tank-healing assignment; however, I’m going to outline three “main spell” strategies and when I use them.

Healing priority for Tanking assignments:

Heal yourself

Heal the tank

Tank Strat 1: Healing Wave

A good strong healing wave beat-down is great for slow but hard hitting bosses.  Bears and Death Knights do not soak up damage as well as their shielded brothers, so often you will seem them dodge, parry, spin, *splat*, dodge, parry, parry, dodge, *splat*.  Not only are they taking a massive hit, but they have enough time in between to give your slow slow spell to top them off.

This does not mean you aren’t using your other spells as well.  When using a Healing Wave strategy, I pop a Riptide on my tank every time it falls off.  This does mean that Riptide is not always available at a really big hit, but it does ensure that there are two passive heals on my tank–my Riptide HoT, and Earth Shield.

Lastly, if you’re using Healing Wave as your main spell on a tank assignment, be sure to pick up the Healing Wave glyph (see below).  While I’m sure many of you are cringing at the thought of all that overheal, remember, you only have two healing priorities when on tank assignment–yourself and your tank.  With a HW glyph you can keep your focus almost 100% on your assignment.

Suggested Glyphs

Earth Shield

Healing Wave: Your Healing Wave also heals you for 20% of the healing effect when you heal someone else.


Tank Strat 2: Lesser Healing Wave

If you cringe every time you see your healing assignment dip below 100% this healing style is probably for you.  LHW is meant to cover your tank in so much healing spam that they never dip lower than 99%… or maybe 98% if they get hit really hard.

Riptide will play a different role in your arsenal with LHW as your primary spell.  Since you are happily spamming healing love, the dot on riptide loses its allure; however, it is like an instant LHW, and can be great for shoring up when your tank takes a larger than manageable hit.  As always Earth Shield is a priority on your tank… don’t let it fall off.

Suggested Glyphs

Earth Shield

Lesser Healing Wave


Tank Strat 3: Chain Heal

Wait, wha!?!  Yes, that’s right, Chain Heal can make a very effective tank assignment heal…. if you manage it correctly.  Perfect example: Gluth.  He decimates.  You have a riptide already sitting on the tank.  You toss a chain heal towards the tank–he gets the base healing off the first chain heal +25% increase for eating the riptide, AND melee in range get some heals as well.  Awesome, right?

Just remember, when you are assigned a tank, Chain Heal only really shines in melee heavy groups.  Chain Heal + Riptide should not replace Healing Wave unless chain will bounce to another character.  Also, unless the melee group is taking damage periodically throughout the fight, then Chain Heal can be very costly in terms of mana.  I would suggest using Chain Heal as the melee group needs it and HW or LHW otherwise.

Suggested Glyphs

Earth Shield


Chain Heal: Your Chain Heal heals 1 additional target.

If you do not have enough players in the melee group for Chain Heal to be beneficial, then I suggest

Lesser Healing Wave or Healing Wave (personal healing style preference)

I Like to Get Around: Group Healing

Chain Heal.

Enough said, right?

Not really, but close!  See, Chain Heal has these… limitations.  One, the bouncing.. you can’t control it, you can only make a logical guess that its going to hit some of those people in that general direction.  Sometimes, raiders like to express their individuality by standing as far away from the group cluster as possible.  Sometimes the mechanics of the flight require everyone to be 15 yards apart.  In these cases, Chain Heal is just wasted.  And let’s not forget, Chain Heal can be sluggishly slow.  Nature’s Swiftness can remedy that problem, but only once every two minutes.

So, other things to do.  When you’re not on tank duty, Earth Shield can be used much more creatively.  Have a melee who has to run through slime every 30 seconds to re-position himself? Shield him and forget him!  Riptide finds some new friends as well.  As an instant cast, it’s light and easy to get it off between Chain Heal casts.  It can be used to shore up someone until a heavier heal can come their way, or used as a pre-emptive dot.  When raid healing, keeping Riptide rolling on multiple players in the raid is highly suggested.  The more people with a buffer, the less likely that they’re going to die!  I suggest using Riptide every cooldown, unless you are tank healing or using it to shore up a particular mechanic of a fight.

Now let’s not leave HW and LHW out in the cold.  Along with Riptide, when one of these three spells critically hits, it procs Ancestral Awakening.  Automatic healing for my raid member with the lowest health?  And it doesn’t take a global cool-down?  Sign me up please!

So, when should you switch from Chain Heal to another spell?  Just wait for the Tidal Waves!  Tidal Waves opens up a 14 second window to use HW or LHW twice for significant bonuses.  HW becomes faster to cast and hits for more.  LHW has a higher chance to crit, and also heals for more.  If they can wait, this is a great time to heal your loners who refuse to hang with the rest of the group.

So, what happens if you’re in a fight where the raid is spread out so far that Chain Heal is ineffective?  Back to the HW/LHW debate.  I prefer LHW and Riptide, but I know there’s probably a contingent of HW fans.  This decision will likely rest on your group composition and playstyle; however, you can still be an effective group healer without Chain Heal thanks to Ancestral Awakening.  Just make sure to keep your Riptide rolling, because without Chain Heal, it’s even more important to keep Tidal Waves proccing as much as possible.

Suggested Glyphs

Earth Shield


Chain Heal

To replace Chain Heal on gimmick fights, or to replace Riptide:

Lesser Healing Wave or Healing Wave (personal healing style preference)

P.S. Totems are extremely important in all shaman discussions, and I am aware that I have neglected to address them in any way; however, all specs deal with totem decisions in a similar way, so I will be addressing totems as their own topic sometime in the future.

6 thoughts on “Healing Cheat-Sheet: Restoration Shaman

  1. Very nice guide – in fact probably the clearest and easiest to understand of any resto shaman starter guide I have read. You broke out your information in a very helpful way and covered all scenarios. I wish I had a guide like this to refer to when I started healing!

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