Updated for 8.1.5, the battlefields call, 39s! Everything we love (and hate) about twinking returns in Battle for Azeroth: stats, gear, abilities, consumables, everything matters again. Thanks to some of the most radical gear and stat changes since Cata, 39 resto shamans will find a lot of surprises. The first two sections start with a short summary, then enter in-depth discussion afterward if you want to get into the details (and in some cases, the arithmetic) of why certain choices stand above others. Shout out to @Sun for gear info, as well as @Swoops (especially for BiS green gear) that helped in the crafting of this guide. Props to @Happypanda for the cloak find, to @Haaveilija for the bracers find and the discovery that 2-pc bonuses don't stack, and to @youbeezy for reminding me the power of the Green Whelp. I'm always interested in suggestions for changes/additions/etc. Contents: I. Stat Priority II. Gear and Enchantment Options III. Talent Options IV. Playstyle Approaches I. Stat Priority Resto shamans see two primary stats (stamina and intellect), plus three secondary stats (crit, haste, and versatility). Our stat priority is as follows: int >> vers = haste >> crit In other words, a point of int (or spellpower, since 1 int = 1 spellpower) is about twice as good as a point of vers, which is about the same as haste depending on your playstyle, which in turn is 2X better than crit. Stamina needs will vary. A point of each stat provides the following boost to healing spells (and damage reduction, as noted): int = 0.31% (varies slightly, depending on spell coefficients) vers = 0.15%, and 0.07% damage reduction haste = 0.19% crit = 0.09% (crit is 150% in PvP, not 200%) armor = 0.16% physical damage reduction (varies slightly on total armor, and assumes a shield) Because primary stats are additive i.e. they contribute by number rather than by percentage, each extra point of INT makes slightly less of an impact than the point before it. This makes sense, as going from 100 int to 101 int is a bigger deal than going from 300 int to 301 int. However, this gradually decreasing benefit is inconsequential compared to the 2X value from int over secondary stats. In other words, if we go crazy to stack int, the value toward our healing spells might drop to 0.27% per point rather than 0.31%, still more valuable than the other stats, point-per-point. Healing throughput matters the most for healers, but shaman healers impact battles as much through their utility as through their heals. Shamans work best as secondary healers, prioritizing battlefield tactics such as cleanses, slows, and even helping to burst down targets. Shamans leverage healing surge (15% bonus in instanced PvP only, as of patch 8.1) for their main spell, and will spend at least as much time on instant cast spells (riptide, cleanse, various totems, etc.). Versatility allows a shaman to capitalize on both healing throughput and damage reduction, a great benefit for a class that already carries a shield. If you plan to play a shaman as a primary healer, you'll want to choose haste over versatility. Crit lands at the bottom of the pile for its unpredictable nature and specific talents or abilities that capitalize on critical heals. Even if you decide to play "spellresto" (focusing on flame shock and lava burst damage), guaranteed crits on flame shock targets means extra crit rating won't make a significant impact. II. Gear and Enchantment options Scaled zones and instances drop loot that scales to character level, and because int is the best stat for caster shamans, the five-piece Slither-Scale set achieves BiS (even after the patch 8.1 set bonus nerf) with one glaring exception: the infamous Green Whelp Armor. We're back to the days when wearing all mail doesn't grant the 5% stat bonus until level 50, so some non-mail pieces end up BiS for resto shamans at 39. For purely a stats advantage, nothing beats the Slither-Scale set. However, individual slots do offer superior gear (often hard-to-get BoEs) such that the int advantage from the set bonuses reach about 2% increased healing/damage overall...which in turn equals a third of a consumable. That opens the door for justifying Green Whelp Armor. It has no internal cooldown, and no diminishing returns. BfA sees strong melee classes at 39, and Green Whelp armor stands ready to confound and frustrate opponents, at a slight cost to spell power. If you want to use Green Whelp Armor, @Haaveilija discovered that the 2-pc bonus from the Wailing Caverns leather Fang set does not stack with the 2-pc bonus from the Slither-Scale set, so your best bet is to use the best two Slither-Scale pieces (the legs and either the feet or belt) and BoEs or dungeon drops for the remaining slots. The following list omits grandfathered gear and enchantments, and provides some secondary options until you can get your BiS pieces. Some tooltips may not show the correctly scaled stats. "Of the Aurora" gear will not show secondary stats in the tooltips. Head: Feathermoon Headdress. Or, Green Lens (of the Aurora), Eye of Flame, or Corrupted Keeper's Band. The best non-clothie caster headpiece by far for all 39s is also one of the rarest leather BoEs. One of the secondary options may act as your primary for all of BfA. Neck: Armsmaster's Sealed Locket + Mark of the Ancient Priestess or Mark of the Claw. Or, Lady Maye's Pendant, Jeweled Amulet of Cainwyn, Anarchist's Pendant, Gemshard Heart, Hook Charm Necklace, other dungeon neck 10 stam/22-23 secondary stat combinations, or Eternal Amulet of the Redeemed. Shoulder: Aged Pauldrons of the Five Thunders + Greater Crane Wing Inscription. Back: Soulrender Greatcloak + Gift of Versatility. Or, Silky Spider Cape, or Gossamer Cape (of the Aurora), or other dungeon back 10 stam/7 primary stat/9-10 secondary stat combinations. The movement speed increase from the enchant stacks with the Minor Speed enchant to feet. Chest: Slither-Scale Hauberk + Glorious Stats. Or, Green Whelp Armor. The 5-piece Slither-Scale set bonus, or the infamous chestpiece of 39s? The chest enchant yields 7 stam and 7 int i.e. primary stats only. Wrist: Gwenyth's Wristguards + Superior Spellpower. Or Tracker's Wristguards (of the Aurora) or Shadow Puppet Bracers. Hands: Slither-Scale Gauntlets + Major Spellpower. Or, Stonerender Gauntlets or Bonelink Gauntlets (of the Aurora), with the option (for BoEs) of Glove Reinforcements. Or, various dungeon drops with 13 stam/9 int/12 secondary stats. Waist: Slither-Scale Cord. Or, Sash of Mercy, Tracker's Belt (of the Aurora), or Belt of the Gladiator. Legs: Slither-Scale Britches + Thick Armor Kit. Or, Ancient Legguards (of the Aurora) or Windrunner Legguards + Ironscale Leg Armor. Feet: Slither-Scale Boots + Minor Speed. Run speed bonuses cap at +10% and don't benefit ghost wolf, except for this +10% speed enchant. Rings: Electrocutioner Lagnut and Tinkerer's Pinkie Cylinder + Binding of Versatility. Or Emerald Flame Ring, or Tumultuous Ring (of the X), Trinkets: Mindtap Talisman and Vigilance Charm. Or, Heart of Noxxion, Defending Champion, Inherited Mark of Tyranny. Main Hand: Blade of Eternal Darkness + Major Spellpower or Coastal Surge. The Blade can proc from flame shock ticks. Off Hand: Blackskull Shield + Major Intellect. Or, Commander's Crest, various dungeon drops with 9 stam/18 int/8 secondary stats, Mountainside Buckler, Ebonhold Buckler, Ravager's Shield, numerous uncommon/green shields of the Aurora. III. Talents In the first tier, Unleash Life attains top choice. It pairs well with Earth Shield from the second tier if you plan to act as the primary healer for a flag carrier (or act as a flag carrier yourself). However, most shamans should take Echo of the Elements from the second tier to help with both a second charge of riptide, and especially a second charge of Lava Burst. Resto Shaman lava burst damage is certifiably insane, often putting the shaman in a position where the best defense is a good offense. If you're not pocket healing a flag carrier, a second charge of Lava Burst will help your team much more than Earth Shield ever could. IV. Playstyle Approaches At 39, resto shamans bring several tools to shape the flow of battle. Beyond using interrupts, slows (via earthbind totem), and cleanses, playing a good resto shaman hinges on vigilant field positioning and knowing which "mode" to play, depending on the state of battle. A resto shaman's primary mode is healing, via healing surge and (while on the move) riptide and healing stream totem. Focus fire can yield some surprising burst, so pre-cast if necessary to land an initial heal right after the damage hits. Once an enemy reaches you (or you put yourself into range to bait them), shift into your secondary mode -- tanking/kiting. Your aim is to pull your attacker(s) out of position such that your team can collapse onto them and focus them down. With enemy damage focused on you, instant-cast spells and totems buy your team the time they need to peel and punish the out-of-position opponent. The third mode is straight offense. A flame shock and two lava bursts can do a surprising amount of damage, and help teammates finish off a target or open an opportunity on a fresh target. Moreover, you can use your offensive threat to bait an enemy into interrupting your lava burst, providing a better opportunity for you to cast your nature-based heals and totems while enemy interrupts cool down. Solid resto shaman play shifts between these modes very quickly, sometimes per global cooldown. Keep your eyes on the field, and don't get stuck into "healbot" mode, playing whack-a-mole with health bars. A resto shaman helps to "herd" teammates in a given direction, but also positions according to the needs of the group. If teammates need more heals, back out of the fray and do some casting, while looking for opportunities to slow opponents and create some breathing room for your teammates. If teammates need to push forward, close distance with the front line and let the shears, flame shocks, and lava bursts fly. 39 resto shamans don't shine on their own. In this bracket, resto shamans excel much more when teammates take advantage of everything a resto shaman offers. With that said, resto shamans can put up some surprising numbers. Resto shamans offer a conundrum for opponents: we're too annoying to waste time on, but we're too dangerous to leave alone.