6.2 Mini-Analysis: RIPtide (Resto Shaman t18 Set Bonuses & Archimonde Trinket)

Thought I’d get back into the swing of things here, while I have a bit of a break from live raiding this week, to post a quick vignette about the way the t18 set bonuses and the class-specific Archimonde trinket work. This is part of an experiment to try to update the blog more frequently with less overwrought posts – let me know what you think πŸ™‚

First of all, for those of you not in the loop right now:

  • T18 2pc: Increases Riptide’s Critical Strike chance by 25% (was 50% in previous PTR versions, but was just reduced today)
  • T18 4pc: When you Chain Heal, you have a 65% chance to also apply Riptide to the primary target (was 100% chance in previous PTR versions, but was just reduced today)
  • Core of the Primal Elements: Casting Chain Heal, Healing Surge or Healing Wave on a target with your Riptide on it has a 55% chance to spread that Riptide to another nearby ally

My initial reaction to these set bonus and trinket effects was one of skepticism. I didn’t think they sounded that strong, particularly the trinket effect. I mean yes, getting additional Riptide effects on the raid without having to cast it means stronger High Tide Chain Heals and a wider flexibility of Chain Heal target options. But if you’ll recall my Mini-Analysis on Chain Heal/High Tide, you’ll see that additional Riptides don’t make that big of a difference to your throughput. I thought the flexibility benefits would be very difficult to quantify, and that the T18 4pc was counterproductive since, heh, who was going to be casting Chain Heal on a target without Riptide on them anyway?

But I think the developers may have asked themselves that exact same question, because well before we could test these set bonuses on the PTR, they made an additional change: Resto Shamans no longer have a Riptide/Chain Heal interaction! This was a long-standing feature of the Resto Shaman class, one that, yes, added complexity and depth to our playstyle, but also kept us chained to a set of 3 players that would function as our Chain Heal turrets. I found the interaction questionable and problematic enough that I actually advocated for the RT bonus removal in that very same post. You’ll note in that post that, when the RT bonus is removed, we get more mileage out of High Tide by casting CH on non-Riptided targets.

(So this doesn’t constitute a nerf to the class, Chain Heal also received a passive 25% boost in its healing. Which is actually a miniscule buff, given that very occasionally you might have been casting Chain Heal on a target whose Riptide falls off before your cast ends. But I digress.)

In light of all these changes and a lot of confusion that seems to have arisen from these set bonuses, I thought I’d explore a little how each bonus works alone, and how they interact if you happen to equip both. So, here we go.

Tier 18 2-piece

This is a pretty straightforward bonus. It will increase the average healing of our Riptides by the formula of 1+(0.25/(1+CritChance)). So for example, if I already had 16% Crit, raising my Riptide’s Crit chance by an extra 25% constitutes a 1+(0.25/1.16)=1.216 boost to my Riptide healing, or 21.6%.

To work out how much of a throughput increase the set bonus will create, we simply have to look at how much of our current healing is contributed by Riptide, and multiply. Just glancing through my logs, over one whole night of raiding (excluding trash), Riptide was 16.3% of my healing, so increasing it by 21.6% would be about a 3.5% increase to my overall healing.

Not great. But that’s just one night, so let’s not go excoriating this set bonus just quite yet.

This set bonus also increases our Resurgence returns from Riptide. If I’m super conscientious and cast Riptide every 5 seconds, with my 16% Crit chance I am getting back on average 0.16*811 = 130 mana from each Riptide cast, or approximately 26mp5/13 Spirit-equivalent. With the set bonus I’ll be getting back an average of 332 mana from each Riptide cast, or approximately 67mp5/32 Spirit-equivalent. It’s not a lot, but it’s … something?

Tier 18 4-piece

This set bonus gives us a chance to apply Riptide to a player when we cast Chain Heal on them. Some facts about the way it works:

  1. The set-bonus-generated Riptide does include the up-front heal portion, not just the HoT
  2. However, this up-front healing portion does not provide us with Resurgence when it crits
  3. The Riptide has a separate spell ID from player-casted Riptides, and therefore stacks, meaning that you do not overwrite an existing, hard-casted Riptide
  4. For Mastery calculations, the Riptide is applied first, then the Chain Heal. By doing it this way, it preserves the maximum amount of total Mastery benefit, but it does buff the weaker heal by the larger amount – I think this was a damned-if-we-do, damned-if-we-don’t style of compromise πŸ˜›
  5. If you are using Glyph of Riptide, the up-front portion of the 4pc Riptide is also reduced by 75%
  6. These Riptides do interact with High Tide
All Riptides were applied with the 4pc t18 set bonus

All Riptides were applied with the 4pc t18 set bonus

So then, to evaluate this set bonus we can pretty much add 65% of a Riptide to each Chain Heal that we cast, as a first-order approximation. But of course, if we have a 4-piece set bonus, we also have the 2-piece, so it’s a 21.6% buffed Riptide that we’re factoring in. This increases my Chain Heal by about 35%.

And on that same mega-boss-fight-log that I used to evaluate the 2-piece set bonus, Chain Heal was 30.5% of my healing for the night. So a 35% boost to my Chain Heal’s throughput represents around an 11% increase to my overall healing. (Before overhealing, of course.)

But this is just a first-order effect. Because these Riptides also interact with High Tide, we should see an additional boost to our Chain Heal’s throughput from the effect of having extra Riptides on the raid. It’s going to be a small effect, but it’s real. Its maximum value is about 5% additional Chain Heal throughput. Let’s be generous and say that we manage to get that much benefit from it – we’re looking at a total of a 12.7% increase to our overall healing from the dual effects of this set bonus. In real value, it’ll likely be somewhere in between 11% and 12.7%, further modulated down by overhealing.

Core of the Primal Elements

This trinket drops from Archimonde, the final boss of Hellfire Citadel. It carries no stat increase, but offers a unique effect for every spec in the game. For Resto Shaman, it offers us the ability to “spread that Riptide to a nearby ally” whenever we directly heal a player with our Riptide active.

  1. The chance to transfer Riptide increases as the iLvl of the trinket increases, with the Normal, 705 iLvl trinket having a 55% chance, and the Mythic version having a 72.59% chance
  2. The effect transfers only the HoT portion of Riptide, so does not interact with Resurgence
  3. The transferred Riptide HoT will have the same duration as the target’s HoT had at the time the proccing heal landed
  4. The trinket spreading behaviour will not overwrite an existing player-cast Riptide or trinket-spread Riptide – it instead will seek out a player without an existing Riptide effect
  5. The range of the transfer appears to be at least 30 yards, but not quite 40 yards
  6. The transferred Riptide HoT does interact with High Tide

So, this trinket is trying to encourage us to cast our single-target heals and Chain Heal on players who already have Riptides. This is at conflict, slightly, with the removal of our Riptide/Chain Heal interaction; now, if we take High Tide, we would prefer to cast Chain Heal on a non-Riptided target, in order to increase the likelihood of getting all 6 bounces on Chain Heal. That’s kind of a downer. We can’t simply add 55% of half of a Riptide HoT to each Chain Heal in order to get an estimate of the throughput benefit – that would be an overestimation since we’re trying to avoid casting CH on Riptided targets to begin with.

But let’s just say that we got this trinket and did go back to casting CH on our RT targets. Adding 55% of half of a Riptide HoT gives us a 7% throughput increase to Chain Heal, but dropping from casting on a non-Riptided target to a Riptided target gives us a 4% reduction in High Tide’s throughput, so it’s really a 3% buff to Chain Heal all up. And since CH is 30% of my healing, that’s a 0.9% boost to my healing overall.

If we look at the Mythic version, it’s instead a 1.5% boost to my overall healing.

The Healing Wave/Healing Surge part of the trinket seems fine though, at least philosophically – we’re most likely to cast those on the tank, who is also likely to have an active Riptide rolling. So here let’s consider that we add 55% of half a Riptide HoT to every Healing Wave and Healing Surge cast I made in that aggregate log. We’re looking at 11% improved Healing Surge healing and 14% improved Healing Wave healing (the effects of Tidal Waves deflate the benefit to Healing Surge compared to Healing Wave).

We do have the additional effect, however, of providing more Riptides for High Tide to bounce from. In this case, since we’re encouraged to cast CH on a Riptided target, the maximum throughput benefit we gain from getting these extra Riptides out is smaller – more like a 1% throughput increase from High Tide.

These are not large effects, and in general I think the Archimonde trinket is, sadly, a poor choice for us to use. It’s unfortunate because the idea of a trinket that is effectively another tier bonus could be really cool – and the Archimonde trinket for a few specs has awesome, powerful-but-niche effects – but in this case, it’s missed the mark.

All Together Now

But what happens when we combine these effects by equipping 4 pieces of tier 18 and the trinket?

1. The Riptides spread by the Core of the Primal Elements effect are affected by the 2-piece set bonus.

This brings its throughput from Chain Heal spreading the Riptide HoT to around 1.5% of my total healing at Normal iLvl, and 2.1% at Mythic levels. The benefit to HS and HW also go up.

Note that by this point, we’ll no longer have the t17 4pc set bonus to allow us to spam unlimited Chain Heal ’til the cows come home. The Chain Heal benefit will probably reduce since we’ll be casting less of it; the HS and HW benefit will increase. But I don’t feel yet confident in predicting just how much overall throughput the trinket will be affording us when combined with the t18 2pc. HealerCalcs can probably answer this once Hamlet’s done tweaking the sheet for the 6.2 patch. πŸ™‚

2. The Riptide generated by the 4-piece set bonus can be instantly spread by the trinket on the same cast.

This is pretty handy. This means you no longer have to cast Chain Heal on a Riptided target in order to get the effects of your trinket. Of course, this only happens 36% of the time you cast Chain Heal on a non-Riptided target (55% x 65%), but I’ve found this to be sufficient in my testing to keep a good number of Riptides on the raid without sacrificing my desire to maximise High Tide bounces.

3. You can get a lot of High Tide bounces without ever having to cast Riptide.

Riptides on the three target dummies nearest me were provided by the t18 set piece; RT on myself and the end-point dummy were provided by the trinket

Riptides on the three target dummies nearest me were provided by the t18 set piece; RT on myself and the CH-end-point dummy were provided by the trinket

I don’t think we should necessarily forego casting Riptide entirely. It’s pretty mana-efficient, and leaving our High Tide decisions entirely up to the RNG of the set bonus/trinket procs seems unideal.

4. If a player has two of your Riptide HoT effects active, the trinket chooses the one with the longest duration to spread.

Simple and straightforward – preserving the most possible healing.

5. As the set bonus Riptide and a player-casted Riptide have separate spell IDs, it’s possible for the trinket to spread one, the other, or both, to the same player.

Spreading both at the exact same time is pretty rare – I’ve had it happen to me a few times on the PTR, but I haven’t nailed down exactly which of the planets and associated moons must align to make it happen. But Chain Healing someone ’til Riptide procs, then casting Riptide on them, then continually casting Healing Surge on them will often result in the regular-Riptide HoT spreading to me, and then the shorter-duration CH-generated HoT spreading to me.


The Tier 18 set bonuses are pretty solid, for a combined ~15% throughput in a Chain Heal-heavy rotation. Mind you, we won’t be able to have a Chain Heal-heavy rotation anymore because we’re by definition losing the t17 4pc set bonus that gives us the mana to do that. We’ll have to go back to spurts of Chain Heal spam during threatening parts of the fight, and filling the rest of our time with single-target healing and Healing Rain.

I don’t know about you, but the only thing I really care about from my set bonuses is “do they help me when the raid is in danger”, and this one will. When we can kick ourselves into a Chain Heal-heavy rotation, to counter the Hellfire Citadel equivalent of Tectonic Upheaval or Stone Breath or Massive Demolition, we’ll be getting a nice throughput boost from these bonuses. I don’t mind at all that they don’t really benefit the times where I’m just idly spamming Healing Waves on tanks because there isn’t any danger.

Although the Archimonde class trinket and the set bonuses do work nicely together, I’m still uncertain that the class trinket is worth it. We’ll see what pans out when more sophisticated modelers take a look at this. I think I’ve provided the information necessary here to get that going, at least.


In other Dayani-related news, let’s see. My guild killed Mythic Blackhand, yay; I recorded another podcast with Hamlet a couple days ago, about the healer meta-game in t17; and I’ve been working on a lot of PTR testing of raid encounters for my Wowhead encounter guides. The first three bosses of Hellfire Citadel (as defined by the first LFR wing) are live now – so you can go start gathering information on Hellfire Assault, Iron Reaver, and Kormrok, if you want to get an A+ in Raid Preparation next tier πŸ˜‰

Oops. Did I fail at succinct? I think I failed at succinct.Β Quelle surprise.


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23 Responses to 6.2 Mini-Analysis: RIPtide (Resto Shaman t18 Set Bonuses & Archimonde Trinket)

  1. justsobad says:

    Its great to see you post again. I don’t play shaman anymore (I wish I did) but I found this a very interesting read. Thanks for all the investigative journalism.

    • Dedralie says:

      Aww thanks πŸ™‚ I think the raid guides and the additional pressures of Mythic raiding – plus getting some content out easily in podcast form – have resulted in posting here feeling a little too hard lately. But I hope to do better πŸ™‚

  2. Shayoon says:

    Really nice to see a new post from you, especially one that focuses on R. Shaman.

    I was not feeling good about the new Tier bonuses. I still don’t. The 2 piece I’ll take, but I think our 4 piece bonus is a bit weak, for a 4 piece bonus anyways.

    This focus on Riptide this tier I think further cements a couple things that we already knew:
    1. There’s no reason to pick any other L100 talent other than High Tide. It’s a great talent, but with these bonuses + trinket it’s TOO great. This isn’t a new thing, but something like this really breaks the intended point of a new talent system where you choose from talents that provide equal benefit, but one might be better suited to the way you play or the situation you are in. Bummer.

    2. I feel like Glyph of Riptide needs a re-work. Love it or hate it, the glyph’s purpose at this point is to have Riptide on more targets for more CH bounces from High Tide. I didn’t use it this tier personally, and I hate it to be honest. With less of a need to have more riptides this tier, something like “Riptide heals for 10% more on the initial cast, but the cooldown is now 7 seconds / but the residual heal over time now only ticks for 12 seconds instead of 15.” sounds more appealing to me.

    Anyways, thanks again for another great article πŸ™‚ It’s been awhile since I’ve thought about R. Shaman mechanics this much in one sitting.

    • Rich says:

      I think Glyph of Riptide is fine as it is now. It doesn’t have a place in this tier, but that’s just the way things go.

  3. Nesla says:

    I dont think the Archimonde trinket will be very viable for resto shamans too. The other options are just too good. I tested all trinkets on the PTR raid tests and I think the leech trinket and the trinket that reduces mana costs are too good to be left out. Maybe the Archimonde trinket will be ok when you focus on tank healing, but I dont see this happening, at least when you have a pally and/or a disc priest in the group.

    The T18 set bonus is pretty awesome though, but the stats on the items are not really as good as in T17. Before the nerf to 65% chance to procc the extra riptide my healing went through the roof. The day we tested Archimonde hc the healing from riptide + riptide set proccs equaled my total healing through chain heal. So I think the nerf was ok.

    A little thing to add is, that when you use unleash life, both heals are buffed by 30% the initial chain heal hit and the resulting 4pc riptide + hot. If you have specced unleashed fury, the T18 riptide and the hot gets the 50% bonus healing, but the unleashed fury buff gets used. If you use the Archimonde trinket you can spread a potenially strong hot by using efficient single target heals (reminds me of the dot/hot snapshot-mechanic).

    Great read, hope for moar. πŸ™‚

    • Dedralie says:

      Hey Nesla, thanks for the info about Unleash Life/Unleashed Fury. I didn’t think to check that.

      I agree the nerf to the t18 set bonuses was warranted. Honestly, the Shaman, Monk, and Druid ones all seemed a bit insane and in need of nerfing, so glad to see things going that way (well, I haven’t tested the Monk recently, I probably should…)

      My thought exactly about the Archimonde trinket “niche” – when on earth would you ever assign a Resto Shaman to tank healing? I guess if you threw a raid and only Resto Shamans showed up? πŸ˜›

      • Nesla says:

        Well a lot will come down to the strategy you are useing especially in mythic. There might be tactics that require intense raidspread an a low amount of melee dps where chain heal just isn’t viable. As far as I have seen from the PTR mythic tests, there are a lot of boss abilitys that do a lot of damage on a small number of people that have to move out of the raid or stand seperate or something like that. Maybe you could utilize the riptide trinket and the deep healing mastery by assigning the shaman to “snipe” these spiky damage incomes. But… meh thats kinda unlikely as well…

        Where I can see the trinket really useful is in a ~10man HFC heroic group together with the glyph of chaining.

  4. Totemsofdoom says:

    I unfortunately havnt had a chance to test out the new tier on the PTR, so this was very helpful in getting a glimpse into how all this is going to function, thanks!!

    I feel like I already know the answer to this, given the potential for some pretty insane healing given the synergy it offers with riptide fueled high tide jumps, but is it only the initial heal of Chain Heal that interacts with the class trinket, or does each jump that hits a riptided target have a chance to replicate the riptide HoT?

  5. john says:

    can you sum up your typical healing patterns in the ptr? whats been your bread and butter? ive only been playing since january and was able to get H BH down and fill my role but I’m the weakest in my raid. any tips would be awesome – love your page!

  6. Doroppu says:

    I was considering switching from stacking mastery to stacking crit with the new set bonuses, has anyone done the maths comparing a crit stacked mythic rsham to a mastery stacked rsham (both using set bonuses, of course) for 6.2?

  7. Eb says:

    This might not be the place to ask, but how would the talent unleashed fury interact with the t18 4p, would both the chain heal and the riptide proc get the bonus?

  8. Eb says:

    actually read the replies

  9. Rafael says:

    Always wonderful to read your blog. Keep up with this awesome work.

  10. Mephisto says:

    After testing in 6.2, Core of Primal Elements effect does activate from bounces of chain heal, not only direct casts (which will always happen because of High Tide), so you can spread riptides automatically without even casting on people who previously had riptide (I’ve easily spread riptide to a dozen people at once). However, it will only spread riptide once, even if it bounces off 6 people with riptide. Also, if spreading from a target that has 2 riptides (the normal one plus the tier 18 one), both riptides will spread together.

    • Dedralie says:

      Thanks for this! I haven’t been watching it too carefully, still getting used to it and probably using it improperly. This is good to know πŸ™‚

      • Fabuloso says:

        After much testing, I notice that a single Chain Heal does in fact spread multiple riptides! And this is not the riptides generated from 4T18, I tested it with the 4T18 taken off and 2 riptides are spread from a single chain heal. You can easily verify this.

        So how does this make the trinket

  11. Argu says:

    i feel kinda dumb asking this, but i still prefer to use a player with earth shield either on a tank or someone who isn’t a shamy within 35~39m as primary CH-Turret and RT to controll the bounces of HighTides iE during gorefiend encounter. Our Tank heal tents to stand centered which makes her the ideal turret + ES is the only throughput increase we have left with the changes to RT …

    anyways to the question: is there any need to change my ways to benefit from 4t18+trinket or not?

    • Dedralie says:

      Earth Shield doesn’t carry over to the full Chain Heal, just buffs the initial hit, so I don’t think it’s super important to always be CHing off a person with Earth Shield up. Especially if it means keeping Earth Shield on a non-tank (while ES doesn’t do a whole lot for the tank themselves, the +20% healing effect is the difference between a clutch tank-save and a tank death sometimes).

      Other than that technicality, I don’t think there’s any real reason to change your behaviour. Your Chain Heals are 25% stronger now than they used to be to compensate for the loss of the Riptide interaction anyway.

      That said, I really need to redo the math here soon, because the trinket is a little better than I’d realised. I just need to find some log support first, and that bit is hard 😦

  12. I’m progressing through Heroic HFC (at Velhari) and have been using the normal core along with the emulsion. Here are some corrections to the above article on how the core works:
    1. The core will NOT transfer the 4pc riptide
    2. The core WILL spread the riptide if you cast it immediately after your heal
    3. CH bounces DO spread riptide if they hit a target already riptided.

    Modeling the amount of healing caused by the core riptide itself is fairly easy because the healing on riptide is supposed to be 40/60 between the hit/ticks, any healing on the ticks above 60% is caused by the Core. From my own logs. the Core riptide does about 5.5-5.8% of my healing. The actual healing from the Core is going to be higher because the core riptides a. are probably better than raw healing for activating the emulsion leech and b. increase chain heal bounces. I haven’t thought of a good way to model this. I estimate the Core to be a 6.5%-7% increase in healing, but it could potentially be worth a lot more.

    According to AMR the Emulsion is routinely 10-12% of my healing, so this trinket is a mandatory selection, the question is what to choose for the other one. The Core’s 6.5% is better than the Phylactery (or the spark and intuition, which I think we can agree is inferior to the phylactery) which I calculate to be a net increase of ~5.25%, but probably not enough to justify going oom. I think the rule of thumb is to go with the phylactery for fights where you have trouble with mana and use the core for everything else.

    • Dedralie says:

      Hey, you must have posted this while I was travelling and I missed it! Thanks for the info update. I was pretty sure the Core did transfer 4pc, but I was basing that off PTR, so it’s quite possible they changed it. I’ll look into it a bit more.

      I agree with you that Phylactery and Emulsion are the best choices (but bloody Socrethar will not drop one for me. He’s a jerk.).

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