Twisting Totems


As we fumbled around with Al’ar for a day or so, we got our act together for another lead up to Kael’thas Sunstrider. We’re working on him now, and boy-o-boy is that phase 3 a tough one. Here’s a review of my battle with Al’ar.

  • Warrior (protection)
  • Druid (feral)
  • Rogue
  • Rogue
  • Shaman


  • Windfury & Grace of Air Totems
  • Mana Spring Totem
  • Strength of Earth Totem

I also dropped Wrath of Air for the beginning of the fight so I could hurl better bolts of lightning at Al’ar. Before the Embers of Al’ar adds start coming, I just try to range damage the boss for a few moments before the melee hilarity begins. When the adds get to about 30% health, I run away from them and do more range lightning bolts so I don’t get punted from the death of the Embers by standing close to the adds.

This Al’ar battle I decided to use both Windfury & Grace of Air totems to show what happens when you twist totems. It’s easy and as long as you have plenty of mana regeneration (through Shamanistic Rage or Water Shield or both), it can be done during a long 10 minute fight. I do twist totems from time to time, but I wanted to record this fight and show you how it worked.

How to twist totems?

  • Step 1: macro this and click it once at the beginning of the fight.

/castsequence reset=8 [combat] Windfury Totem, Grace of Air Totem

  • Step 2: wait for a pulse so all the weapons of your party members get the weapon imbue (Windfury 5).
  • Step 3: macro again to drop Grace of Air
  • Step 4: count to 8 (repeat w/Step 1)

If you have Deadly Boss Mods addon, there is a nice timer to remind you to re-apply the Twist.

/castsequence reset=8 Windfury Totem, Grace of Air Totem
/dbm timer 00:08 Twist 

I managed to get 700 dps and ranked 8th in damage output. I need to find out what I can improve for next time.  So I read the stats report.


My summary of the fight stats below:


Post combat analysis key indicators:

  • White damage: 39%
  • White damage crit: 38%
  • Windfury: 29%
  • Windfury crit: 37%
  • White Damage Miss rate: 22.7%

Overall, my output was mediocre and now I see that my miss rate was well above what I would normally like: 22.7% is a lot of misses. My +hit was a little over 100, so I can bump that up to +190 for the next round with Al’ar. Also, it seems my crit% is good, but I need more Attack Power. I hover around 2000 attack power, but I’ll need to gain more AP and less crit as we move into Mount Hyjal and Black Temple.


And thanks to Ashuna for this clarification on my Miss %. There were some parried attacks from Al’ar, mostly because the Flame Patches were just behind the big bird, so I could only melee from the front area near his beak.  I was forced to fight this way until either the Flame Patches subsided or the tank re-positioned Al’ar to move so melee could attack from behind the tail-feathers.

See this pic below for the Overall miss % | Block % | Parry % | Dodge % rates.

Overall miss: 22.7%
Miss: 12%
Block: 0 %
Parry: 4%
Dodge: 5%


Judgement of Wisdom helped me get mana back so I could keep twisting totems for Windfury and Grace of Air.   Ok.  Fair enough, JoW 814 mana ain’t all that much, but it’s better than nothing.  Shamanistic Rage gave back the most w/ 9,920 mana, Mana Spring Totem next with 4,380 mana.


Totem Twisting & Buffs Summary


Unfortunately, one rogue in my group died a bit early on (49% presence during fight). Warriors just love Windfury. See the warrior here got heaps of extra Windfury attacks: 29! The feral druid only gained additional Agility and Unleashed Rage, but nothing from Windfury Totem.

All group members details in pic below:


Next up: more Kael’thas attempts. We are working on perfecting each phase, so it may take another week or two to get it right.


11 Responses to “Twisting Totems”

  1. 1 Exanimo February 20, 2008 at 8:07 am

    Aren’t you gimping your own dps too much with totem twisting? My Enh. Shaman only does Karazhan (My Raiding main is my Hunter) so i don’t get a full melee group thus this would have limited benefit for me anyway…. but dropping totems will start the GCD, i can imagen this makes keeping up a shockrotation more tricky.
    Also doesn’t dropping a totem reset the melee swingtimer? Not sure about that but suppose you do. 😉

  2. 2 asirae February 20, 2008 at 9:09 am

    Yeah, I don’t usually twist, but I wanted to make a good try of it. Al’ar can only be hurt by Earth Shocks, so no Fire Shocks. So, only earth shocks when my gcd was ready.

    I haven’t noticed problems regarding the swing timers, so that just isn’t as important as giving my rogues and warriors more buffs.

    In fact, most of the twists during this particular fight were timed on a 10-second counter, not 8 seconds. So I was able to twist and keep shocking without too much penalty from the gcd. Yes, I wasn’t perfectly efficient using a 7 or 8 second switching between refreshing Windfury totems, but it gave me a few more seconds to throw out some shocks, so that’s why I used a 10-sec count.

    Yes, it really makes a difference when you have Agility based classes in your party (that can benefit from both Windfury and extra Agility), so a place like Karazhan won’t likely benefit much from twisting.

    I’ll try to get 3 rogues and a fury warrior results for you soon. That would be a great group for totem twists.

  3. 3 Ashuna February 20, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    One thing to remember is that your miss rate isn’t actually as high as it lists there.

    All attacks that are dodge and parried get lumped in to the “miss” column. In reality I think as long as your +hit stays above 100 you should be Ok.

    I don’t know if there is a way to seperate dodges/parries from regular misses but if you can take those out of the picture you can get a more accurate representation of what your missrate is.

    The only way to get rid of dodges/parries is expertise btw.

  4. 4 Ashuna February 20, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    One more thing. I’m not at home so I can’t look at your talent selection or anything but your missrate on Windfury and Stormstrike does seem a bit high. The only thing I could think of, and you probably already know this is whenever possible to always attack the mob from behind.

    Mobs cannot block or Parry from behind. However they can still dodge.

  5. 5 Witch Doctor February 20, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    Interesting read. I knew about totem twisting but I always figured it’s simply too mana intensive for long battles. I’m going to experiment with this.

    I wonder how much longer it’s going to stay in the game though, there’s already been a blue post indicating that Blizzard intends to address totem twisting in the future.

  6. 6 asirae February 21, 2008 at 2:01 am

    Thanks Ashuna:

    Yep, there were some parried attacks from Al’ar, mostly because the Flame Patches were just behind the big bird, so I could only melee from the front area near his beak.

    See this pic below for the Overall miss % | Block % | Parry % | Dodge % rates.

    Overall miss: 22.7%
    Miss: 12%
    Block: 0 %
    Parry: 4%
    Dodge: 5%

  7. 7 Funsize March 13, 2008 at 11:44 am

    Twisting barely gimps your dps if done right.

    I managed 1689 dps on rage winterchill while twisting. Came first too =)

  8. 8 sùfjan July 27, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    If done correctly can totem twisting actually improve a shamans own dps, considering we don’t get a buff from windfury totem but do benefit from agility?

  9. 9 skythra August 26, 2008 at 11:42 am

    “If done correctly can totem twisting actually improve a shamans own dps, considering we don’t get a buff from windfury totem but do benefit from agility?”

    Well no, because in a very selfish way you’d normally do agility. Your primary purpose is to buff the other DPS and TBH if you don’t do that job well, you should be replaced with another DPS. What you should bring to the raid is not only your own dps (lets say its low at 1000DPS) but also the buff to the other 4 Melee. So what you lack in DPS you are hopefully buffing the other DPS the other.. 500-600 DPS. If you aren’t able to do that, you should be replaced with someone else that can do 1500 or 1600DPS.

    Its not hard to play so that you are a benefit to the raid. Your reward should also never be top dps. If you are, your guild leader should /gdisband there and then.

  10. 10 Olke September 5, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    What is the addon you use to keep track of all the information?

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