Hiya Folks! This is a guide on how the brewmaster should play. It covers everything about the class from what abilities you want to use (and how to use them!) to what kind of potions you would want to imbibe for a boss encounter.
- 1: Introduction
- 2: Stats
- 3: Stat Priorities
- 3.1: Reforging
- 3.2: Enchanting
- 3.3: Gemming
- 4: Talents
- 5: Glyphs
- 6.1: List of Active Abilities
- 6.2: List of Passive Abilities
- 7: Passives
- 8: Cooldowns
- 9: Raid Buffs / Utility Abilities
- 10: Combat
- 10.1: Single Target
- 10.2: Multiple Targets
- 10.3: Opening Combat
- 11: Professions
- 12: Race
- 12.1: Alliance
- 12.2: Horde
- 13: Consumables
- 14: Gear
- 15: Addons
- 16: Frequently Discussed Issues
- 17: Author's Notes
- 18: Guide Updates
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The Brewmaster is an avoidance tank, relying primarily on high miss and dodge / parry chances as well as the new mechanic Stagger to minimize incoming physical damage. Using his mastery of delicious alcoholic beverages, the brewmaster can avoid enemy attacks as well as make his foes clumsy and liable to hit themselves (in confusion). One of three specialization of the Monk class, the Brewmaster is an excellent choice for a seasoned tanking veteran, someone looking for a very active tanking style, or even just a guy who likes beer. And tanking.
This COULD have been the section where I discuss reforging, but I don't like force-feeding information. I feel that if you can understand WHY you do certain things, you'll be a better player because of it. While I will be writing down the whole reforge priority and all that, I also want to discuss the stats you will be using as a brewmaster, and WHY you're using them.
Stamina: Stamina is a big benefactor to EH, or effective health. By raising your stamina, you raise your health pool, thus allowing you to take more raw damage before dying. This will automatically go up with higher ilevel gear, and it can also be gained via enchantments, food buffs, flasks, etc, but you cannot allocate stats to it via reforging. It is particularly effective to go for extra stamina for magic-centric fights, or, that is to say, encounters where the primary damage you will be taking is magic damage. Since avoidance and physical mitigation stats such as dodge or mastery do not help mitigate magic, your best bet for these fights is to have a high health pool and high self healing so that you can take the damage and heal through it.
Agility: Agility confers threat by giving you attack power, but also confers avoidance by giving you dodge and crit (which will also convert to dodge). It is a solid stat, and like Stamina, it will naturally go up the higher ilevel your gear is. It is not changeable via reforge, however, so extra Agility will have to come from enchantments, food buffs, and the like.
Armor: Armor is another aspect of EH, in of the fact that it will automatically reduce physical damage taken by a percentage. Though we do not have a lot, it is a precious stat for brewmasters. The less damage we take from those initial hits, the less damage we will have to suffer from stagger's DoT. Extra armor can be obtained via enchants and potions, and like Stamina and Agility, cannot be reforged.
Hit: Hit increases our chance to... well... hit targets with our abilities and since our mitigation is attained from using our abilities, being able to hit is pretty important to us. The cap is 7.5%, or at level 90, 2550 hit rating.
Expertise: Expertise reduces the chance that our attacks will be dodged or parried. The dodge cap is 7.5% (2550 rating at 90), and the parry cap is at 15% (5100 rating at 90). Like hit, expertise is important for our active mitigation, since if we don't land the hit, we don't get the defensive bonuses that accompany the ability. The trouble with this stat comes in from a couple sources. More expertise means more Gift of the Ox healing orb procs as well as higher damage per second due to abilities landing. However, you will actually have less resource output. The pros and cons of the different expertise caps as well as hit and expertise versus other stats will be discussed in greater detail in the Frequently Discussed Issues section.
Dodge/Parry: Dodge and parry are both pretty much the same stat. They increase our chance to completely avoid melee attacks. As such, they are both pretty strong stats. We cannot get either of these stats on our gear naturally (if we ignore the dodge granted from agility), so we must reforge to them. If such actually becomes a good idea, we will want to reforge into parry, as it has half the DR rate of dodge right now, and we will get dodge from agility.
Mastery: Mastery increases the percentage of melee damage we take that is staggered over 10 seconds as a DoT, thus reducing the amount of damage we instantly take. This is an okay stat most of the time. Where it really shines is fights where we will be taking a large amount of physical damage. Coupled with haste, it will allow us to reduce more damage into a DoT, then be quickly removed via Purifying Brew.
Crit: Critical strike rating will, naturally, increase the chance our attacks will be a critical hit. In terms of crit's defensive capabilities, we turn to Elusive Brew. The more we crit with our autoattack strikes, the more stacks of Elusive Brew we get, and therefore, we will be able to keep Elusive Brew up for a longer percentage of time, thus giving us more dodge over time.
Haste: Haste increases the rate at which our energy regenerates. The faster it regenerates, the more chi we will be able to produce within a given amount of time, therefore the more we can use our chi-consuming abilities, such as Purifying Brew, Blackout Kick, and Guard. Haste pairs with mastery, as with more damage being shunted over to the stagger DoT, the more we will need to use Purifying Brew, therefore we will require more energy to produce the extra chi necessary for such without slacking on using other chi-consuming abilities. As well, since haste decreases the time it takes for our weapons to hit, it will allow us to make more Elusive Brew stacks, thus having a higher uptime. According to theorycrafting, once you hit 13.33 energy regeneration per second with Power Strikes, haste begins to lose value in comparison with other stats.
#3: Stat Priorities
Because brewmasters have several different ways to avoid damage, there are a couple ways you can tweak the stat priority, but this will be the one you will want to use for the most part.
Firstly, we want to get to our hit and expertise caps. The amount of expertise you want is a very personal number but most brewmasters have between 7.5% expertise and 15% expertise, the "soft" and hard caps.
Secondly, brewmasters want to get haste to the point where they feel comfortable with their energy regeneration. At higher tiers of gear this becomes easier and easier so there's little point in getting extra unless you desperately need it. Ultimately though, try and get as little as you can, since other stats are more valuable.
After that, we go for EH, or effective health. This means if you're dying or you're too squishy, getting a bit of extra stamina and mastery would be worthwhile. In 10 mans this shouldn't be needed. In 25's you should put some focus into EH stats. In the end though this is a very personal thing. If you don't need that much EH, that's perfectly fine. If you need more of it to act as a crutch so you can get more used to the brewmaster's active mitigation, that's fine too.
Next, we've got crit. This is the secondary stat that you'll strive to get the most of, provided that you aren't dying and your energy regen / chi generation is comfortable. Like mastery and stam, how much you focus on crit will depend on what difficulty and size raid you participate in. 25 man brewmasters will want less, in favor of mastery and stamina. In 10 man, you're going to go more for crit.
Dodge and parry are the last on this list simply because they are the least effective stats we can get on our gear. No real need to go out of your way for it.
Reforging for whatever encounter you are dealing with should basically follow the priority, which I shall list again, not including the stats which cannot be reforged.
Expertise (to whatever amount you're comfortable with) = Hit (to 7.5%) > Haste (to where you're comfortable) > Mastery (if you're in need of the EH) > Crit > Parry > Dodge
So lists are bit tedious. Tables, on the other hand, are awesome tools of awesome.
Here's all of the enchants that we will want to use. Keep in mind that this list does NOT link enchants that are more useful as placeholder enchants, or that is to say, enchants that are useful to us, but are not the most viable choice and are better used to make sure that a piece is simply enchanted, so for example, you would use one of these placeholder enchants on a leveling piece for use in a set that you will be doing heroics in. However, you should always strive to use the enchants here.
In terms of which to pick, use your melon. If you are capped on hit, you won't want to use Enchant Cloak - Accuracy, and instead go for Greater Protection. If you are still gunning for your expertise hard cap, you will want Enchant Gloves - Superior Expertise instead of Greater Haste. If you cannot afford Dancing Steel (as it IS really expensive) or you don't think a weapon is worth the cost, Windsong is a perfectly viable substitute.
As well, if you are dual wielding, it is best to put Dancing Steel onto both weapons, but if you cannot afford two, put Dancing Steel on your main hand weapon, and Windsong onto your offhand.
Due to the fact that secondary stat gems provide more of their stat than primary stat gems (at a 2:1 ratio), we will want to mainly be using those gems, unless a socket bonus is good enough (60+ agi, mainly). If you are at a level of haste that provides a comfortable amount of energy regen (for more information see the Frequently Discussed Issues section), go for crit. If you absolutely need hit or expertise, go for those stats instead of agi or stam.
Just to let you know, if you REGULARLY go windwalker for DPS, gemming primarily for agility for the sake of maxing out your WW DPS is acceptable. Just understand that in terms of brewmaster min-maxing it isn't the way to go.
So basically in terms of the different sockets, these are all the viable gem choices. Use your own judgement and the basic guide in the paragraph above to decide how to gem.
Red Socket Deft Vermilion Onyx Deadly Vermilion Onyx Wicked Vermilion Onyx Crafty Vermilion Onyx Yellow Socket Quick Sun's Radiance Smooth Sun's Radiance Blue Socket Forceful Wild Jade Jagged Wild Jade Lightning Wild Jade Piercing Wild Jade
We will want to be using the Agile Primal Diamond for our meta for the most part, unless you have the DPS legendary meta. Having the tank legendary meta on hand is also nice, but I would recommend getting a second helm for it and just swapping helms. For the most part though the tank gem won't be too much of a lifesaver, as far as the number one killer of tanks is concerned (spike damage)
- Level 15: The movement tier, Momentum is my personal favorite of the three. The bonus movement speed allows for faster extended travel while leveling, and provides the best movement for fights where you need to move longer distances less often. For fights where you need to move shorter distances more often,Celerity is your best friend. However, if you are more inclined to be useful for your group, Tiger's Lust can help if one of your allies is lagging behind or needs to get a burst of speed.
- Level 30: The healing tier, the three talents available are Chi Wave, Zen Sphere, and Chi Burst. Chi Wave is an ability that bounces between enemies and allies, healing friendly targets and damaging unfriendly targets. This will provide a lot of heals, but it won't be on you. Despite that, it's still a very powerful choice. Zen Sphere guarantees that your healing will hit whatever person you cast it on (usually you), but it is a heal over time and currently not as powerful as Chi Wave, despite its auto-detonate. Chi Burst is excellent for AoE healing. You cast it in the direction you are facing and any friendly targets in its path up to 40 yards away from the casting point will be healed and all enemies in said path will be damaged. I mainly go with Chi Wave, for my raiding.
- Level 45: This is the chi tier. In terms of raw math, Power Strikes will provide you with more chi than Chi Brew will within its cooldown. Essentially, if you go with the Brew, you sacrifice more chi over time for chi when you want it, with the benefit of getting some Elusive Brew stacks. The other real question here is the difference between Power Strikes and Ascension. This is discussed in more detail in the Frequently Discussed Issues section, but the short version is going with Power Strikes provides more chi, but going with Ascension gives you more space to pool chi and allows you to move more haste into crit to retain the same energy regeneration, thus boosting your elusive brew uptime as well as your total damage done.
- Level 60: The CC tier, you can choose from Ring of Peace, which allows you to effectively silence and disarm enemies within a radius of a friendly target, Charging Ox Wave, a linear-path stun, and leg sweep, an AoE stun. Ring of Peace is more niche than the other two choices, but they're all useful in one way or another.
- Level 75: The damage mitigation tier, you have a choice between the active physical damage reducer Dampen Harm, the active magical damage reducer Diffuse Magic, and the passive heal Healing Elixers. The heal is quite powerful, considering that it can be activated by Elusive Brew and Purifying Brew, both of which have short cooldowns and will be used quite often, so its good if you're taking a lot of damage that would be impractical to use an "oh shit" cooldown to mitigate. As well, it auto-activates when you drop below 35% of your max health and will not activate if you are at full health, thus mitigating some of the overhealing. On the other hand, Dampen Harm is a powerful ability on a 1.5 minute cooldown which decreases any attacks that would normally deal damage equal to or greater than 10% of your health by 50%, which means a good amount of boss or powerful trash hits will be able to be mitigated by this ability. On top of that, it can be used while stunned, which is especially nice for us since stuns are essentially our kryptonite. You also have Diffuse Magic, which decreases magic damage taken by 90% for 6 seconds and removes all magic debuffs from you and places them on the original caster if they are in range, which depending on what it affects, can be very powerful. This is also on a 1.5 minute cooldown. The big downsides to these active abilities as I see them are that they both have a 1.5 minute cooldown, while the heal only a 15 second cooldown, but at the same time you can actively use them while the heal might be less effective due to overhealing.
- Level 90: This is the damage tier. Out of the three in this current talent setup, I like Chi Torpedo the least. It makes your roll do damage and healing, but since you have to roll to do it, you can potentially mess up positioning, which on certain fights can be vital. However if you want to maximize your ability to help healers with their job, this might be the talent for you. However, I personally prefer the talents that focus on damage. Rushing Jade Wind is a powerful talent for AoE. It replaces Spinning Crane Kick and basically functions the same way (same energy cost, same chi generation) but it is no longer channeled, so you can fight with other spells on top of it. Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger is more useful for smaller groups of mobs who stay in a particular area for a long period of time, as well as useful for extra damage on a single target. I'll be using both Xuen and Jade Wind depending on the encounter and my job within it, though of the two I love Xuen. I mean come on, who wouldn't like tiger lightning? Xuen even has his own pet bar for optimal control! He has a taunt like a hunter pet's which can be very useful when you want to pick up a target or give yourself a couple seconds of breathing room.
With Blizzard's new philosophy in regards to glyphs, we will not have a "one size fits all" way to glyph. In fact, we will have several ways. What this section will cover are the glyphs that are useful to us and HOW they're useful. If you would like, you can listen to my podcast episode that discusses glyphs instead of reading, or use it to supplement this section.
I will only be showing major glyphs, as minor glyphs for brewmasters, as of right now, are completely personal preference. They do not provide any noticeable benefit within combat. However, here is a list of all of the monk minor glyphs, so that you can see what they are for yourself and pick which are the nicest in your opinion. WARNING: Though it doesn't technically say it's for a specific spec, Glyph of Blackout Kick is NOT useful for us. Do not get it.
- Glyph of Breath of Fire - When you use Breath of Fire on targets affected by Dizzying Haze, they will be disoriented for 3 seconds. What this means is that if you hit them during that disorient, they will break from CC. Otherwise, they're effectively stunned for that duration. This glyph is useful for whenever you are tanking groups of mobs that are affected by disorient (adds and trash, for the most part).
- Glyph of Clash - Glyph of Clash will increase the range of your Clash ability to 50 yards. This is a nice utility glyph, allowing you to more easily get to a target, which is nice, especially if it's on a healer or DPS. However, 10 yards isn't that much, so it's up to you whether or not to take this glyph or, say, not take the glyph and merely use a Roll and then Clash.
- Glyph of Detox - Will make your Detox heal a target for 5% when you successfully clear a debuff from it. Nice extra bit of healing if you're going to be Detoxing yourself.
- Glyph of Enduring Healing Sphere - This glyph extends the duration of your healing spheres (including those generated by Gift of the Ox) to three minutes. This gives you far more breathing room and really far more potent self healing, by allowing yourself to pool those healing orbs much more than before. An excellent glyph for basically any fight, provided you use your orbs.
- Glyph of Fortifying Brew - Will change Fortifying Brew so that instead of decreasing damage taken by 20%, increasing health by 20%, and increasing the amount of damage staggered by 20%, it will decrease damage taken by 25%, increase health by 10%, and increase the amount of damage staggered by 25%. Essentially, unless you are going to be one-shot by a boss ability, this will be a good glyph to use.
- Glyph of Fortuitous Spheres - If you reach 25% health, once every thirty seconds you will spawn a healing orb gratis. This could be useful but we already have a mechanic like this already. There's little reason for getting it unless you're really good at picking those up and you're progressing.
- Glyph of Guard - Will increase the amount of damage absorbed by 10%, but it will only absorb magical damage. This is pretty simple; this glyph is useful on fights with lots of magic damage, where any melee damage taken can easily be mitigated by other aspects of your active mitigation.
- Glyph of Leer of the Ox - Will teach you a new ability of the same name that will make your statue taunt a target to attack it for 8 seconds, as well as reducing its movement speed by 50%. You can use this to help taunt off someone if your own taunt is on cooldown, thus allowing you to get the mob off them, and then reel it in, as well as potentially ping-pong mobs via a combination of taunting and kiting, allowing DPS to whittle it down without you taking damage.
- Glyph of Nimble Brew - This glyph will cause your Nimble Brew to heal you for 10% of your maximum health when you successfully clear an effect. You've probably taken damage while stunned so this can potentially be a very useful tool on fights where Nimble Brew shines.
- Glyph of Paralysis - Will cause your Paralysis to remove all damage over time effects on a target. A cool glyph if you're needed to CC anything mid-fight, but not overly amazing for raiding content.
- Glyph of Transcendence - Will reduce the cooldown of Transcendence: Transfer by 5 seconds. This can be useful on fights that require you to regularly move a large distance (or instantly move) a lot in a predictable fashion.
- Glyph of Zen Meditation - Will allow you to use Zen Meditation while moving. This is an extremely useful glyph when a fight will have high-damage spells cast at allies and you need to be moving around.
#6.1: List of Active Abilities
- Blackout Kick
- Breath of Fire
- Dizzying Haze
- Expel Harm
- Keg Smash
- Spinning Crane Kick
- Tiger Palm
- Touch of Death
- Healing Sphere
- Legacy of the Emperor
- Spear Hand Strike
- Summon Black Ox Statue
- Transcendence: Transfer
- Avert harm
- Elusive Brew
- Fortifying Brew
- Grapple Weapon
- Nimble Brew
- Purifying Brew
- Zen Meditation
#6.2: List of Passive Abilities
- Brewmaster Training
- Brewing: Elusive Brew
- Desperate Measures
- Gift of the Ox
- Mastery: Elusive Brawler
- Stance of the Sturdy Ox
- Swift Reflexes
- Stance of the Sturdy Ox - This is the monk's tanking stance. It reduces all damage taken by 25%, increases energy generation by 10%, renders us immune to crits from bosses (by reducing the chance to be critally hit by 6%), increases our total stamina by 20%, and makes all attacks that are not dodged or parried staggered. When an attack is staggered, the damage it deals is split. 80% will hit instantly, and the other 20% will be taken over a 10 second period. This smooths out damage, making the Brewmaster easier to heal. Stagger damage will be able to be seen via a colored debuff, green for low, yellow for medium, and red for high.
- Brewmaster Training - Brewmaster Training affects several different abilities that the brewmaster reguarly. Firstly, it changes Tiger Palm to generate a buff on you that increases the shield of Guard by 15%. You are going to want to have that buff before you use Guard after it falls off its cooldown for maximum effect. Since the buff lasts 30 seconds, as long as you use Guard as soon as it comes off cooldown, which you should, you won't have to worry about this falling off before you can put it to use.
The second ability Brewmaster Training affects is Blackout Kick, which upon use will give you the Shuffle buff, increasing your parry chance by 20% and increases the amount of damage you stagger by 20% (IE: will make the ratio of instant hit to staggered damage become 60:40 instead of 80:20) for 6 seconds. This buff will compound on itself, allowing for continued upkeep without wasting chi. According to this blue post, Blizzard devs want you to have a choice to either get rid of your stagger stacks via Purifying Brew or to continue to push stagger damage via Blackout Kick. You will probably find that waiting for damage to hit at least medium or high will be the best bet for a good sweet spot to use Purifying Brew, save for before known damage spikes, where you should always drop stagger damage.
Brewmaster Training will also affect Fortifying Brew, giving it the ability to bump up the amount of damage staggered by 20% during its duration, making it a bit more efficient in terms of melee damage mitigation.
- Mastery: Elusive Brawler - Brewmaster mastery will provide us with increased damage staggered. Pretty simple. Check out the Stats and Stat Priorities section for more information.
- Desperate Measures - This is a nice addition to the Brewmaster's list of passive abilities. Whenever you get below 35% health, your Expel Harm ability no longer has a cooldown, allowing you to quickly heal yourself and get back to safer levels of health.
- Brewing: Elusive Brew - This passive will generate stacks of Elusive Brew when you perform an autoattack crit. Depending on your weapon speed (IE whether it's a two handed or one handed weapon), these crits will give up to three stacks. These stacks dictate the length of the ability Elusive Brew, capping at 15 seconds (and therefore, 15 stacks).
- Gift of the Ox - A nice passive utility ability, Gift of the Ox gives the Brewmaster a chance to summon a Healing Sphere near you. Being able to use these Healing Spheres wisely is an important aspect of the spec.
- Swift Reflexes - Basically, we deal damage, and therefore get threat, whenever we parry an attack. Simple, but very nice.t
The Brewmaster has quite a few cooldowns for quite a few different purposes, which is something I like about the class. There's stuff to manage, which keeps you on your toes.
- Guard - Guard is a very solid cooldown that will absorb a certain amount of damage as well as increase the effects of your self heals by a certain percentage for 30 seconds, or until damage taken exceeds the absorb amount. The effectiveness of Guard can be modified in two ways. Firstly, via mastery, which will increase both the amount of damage absorbed and the effectiveness of your self heals, and secondly via Brewmaster Training, which causes Tiger Palm to generate a buff which increases the amount of damage absorbed by Guard by 15%. Since Guard has a duration of 30 seconds and a cooldown of 30 seconds, you have plenty of time to use Tiger Palm at least once so as to maximize the effectiveness of your shield. This ability should be used on cooldown unless you know that a big hit is coming, in which case, you should save it for that hit.
- Expel Harm - This one is a bit tricky to categorize. It is a self heal, and therefore as a tank you can consider it a cooldown, but at the same time it deals damage and generates chi, which makes it a part of your combat ability repertoire. This should be used nearly on cooldown. I say nearly because it is a heal and therefore it shouldn't be used at full health or before an expected damage spike, assuming that you don't need it prior to the spike, due to being lower on health than you should be. You have Jab to generate chi for those times you are at full health. With Desperate Measures, you will be able to use Expel Harm whenever you drop below 35% health, which makes it a nice, readily avaliable emergency ability.
- Purifying Brew - Purifying Brew is a nice one. It removes your stagger debuff. This shouldn't really be spammed, as if you do, you lose out on the Brewmaster Training enhanced Blackout Kick, which gives you a hefty 20% parry. So yeah, if you spam this, you won't take as much stagger damage, but you're going to take a good amount of initial damage due to it not being avoided. This means that you are going to have to wait till stagger damage starts to become a problem for you and your healers to remove it. With no cooldown, this is going to be very easily avaliable for you, so there's not much to worry about in terms of "oh crap, I'm taking too much damage from stagger, WHENS MY BLOODY COOLDOWN GOING TO END??" Remember though that if you are expecting a big damage spike, you would be smart to wait until it's right about to happen to drop your staggers, so you aren't taking a DoT as well as the spike.
- Elusive Brew - This will increase your dodge chance by 30% for any time between one second and 15, depending on how many stacks of Elusive Brew you have (generated via autoattack crits by the grace of Brewing: Elusive Brew). Basically, you want to be using this quite often to maximize its uptime. You will want to use it on cooldown or whenever the buff drops off. You can also save it for big melee hits, but do not hold off TOO long.
- Fortifying Brew - Your tried and true shield wall, Fortifying Brew used to be awful. But now it's a fairly solid cooldown, increasing your health by 20%, increasing damage staggered by 20% (via Brewmaster Training), and reducing damage taken by 20%. With a 3 minute cooldown, this is pretty much your bread and butter as far as cooldowns are concerned. It's a great ability for both predictable and unpredicted spikes.
- Avert harm - This is an interesting one. Avert Harm works very similarly to hand of sacrifice, a paladin spell. It reduces all damage taken by 20% for allies within a short range and transfers it to you for 6 seconds. It automatically cancels if you reach 10% or lower health. This has a three minute cooldown. It is a fairly good cooldown for fights with lots of AoE damage. Pop this, make sure melee are nearby you, and then kablam, so much less healing for your healers to deal with. This is best used in combination with Zen Meditation. You can also use it as a personal cooldown against magic damage. If you pop it before the damage hits, 20% of it will be shunted to your stagger DoT.
- Zen Meditation - Meditation is a godsend for fights with large damage going to your group. It reduces your damage taken by 90% and redirects 5 spells cast at your raid members within 30 yards to you. It lasts 8 seconds, provided you don't die, move, or get hit by a melee attack. Use in combination with Avert harm for the best effect.
- Nimble Brew - Our savior from the dreaded plight of stuns, Nimble brew removes all roots, stuns, fears, and horror effects and will reduce the duration of any further effects by 60% for 6 seconds. All things considered, this is an awesome cooldown. This tackles our worst flaw as a tank: lack of control. If we lose control, our active mitigation threatens to drop. If it drops, we drop.
- Grapple Weapon - This one is a bit of a niche ability. It's only viable on enemies that have a weapon of higher quality than yours and that can be disarmed, but if it's possible, this is a 5% damage reduction with a 10 second duration on a 1 minute cooldown. Doesn't seem like much at first glance, but when you take into account that enemies without weapons do less damage, it starts to look a bit better. Besides, every bit helps. Enemies with a level higher than the level of the Brewmaster are viable for Grapple Weapon to give the Brewmaster a buff.
#9: Raid Buffs / Utility Abilities
The Brewmaster also has a very nice set of utility abilities, ranging from movement to healing / debuff support. While it is a lot to look at and keep track of, a Brewmaster who will be able to use all of his utility abilities as well as his personal and group cooldowns effectively will be an extremely valued member of a raiding group.
- Summon Black Ox Statue - This is probably your most powerful utility ability. When active, it will place a Guard on an injured party or raid member within 40 yards whenever the Brewmaster does 1600% of his attack power (including vengeance) in damage, so the more efficient you are with your damage abilities, the more this effect will proc. As well, when hit by Provoke, it becomes the Brewmaster's AoE taunt. This should be placed strategically, whether it be where the adds spawn or in a place where all of your allies will be able to gain access to the statue's buff, or both, so as to maximize its effectiveness.
- Provoke - This is your taunt. There are many like it, but this one is yours. Well actually, it is pretty unique, since it's a single target taunt, but if you use it on your Black Ox Statue, it becomes an AoE taunt as well. In addition it will cause the target to move a bit faster (50% increased movement speed, even). Nice if the target's far away and you want it to get a bit closer. You could also use this in combination with Spear Hand Strike to move a spellcaster a bit farther than you normally could while its unable to cast. Keep in mind that this also does have some negatives to it as well, most notably the fact that it makes kiting a bit more difficult for the duration of the taunt.
- Roll - You will have used this hundreds of times before you even step foot into a raid, so by the time you hit endgame, you should be extremely proficient with this ability. Roll is like Blink, except you don't necessarily have to move forward. You can roll to the side, you can strafe-roll (forward but also to the side), and you can even roll backwards. Three talents can modify Roll to better suit your playstyle, but two are mutually exclusive. They would be Momentum, Celerity. and Chi Torpedo. See their respective tooltips / the talents section for more information.
- Clash - If Death Grip, Charge, and War Stomp had super special fun time and had a beautiful abomababy, Clash would be it. Clash draws a line between you and the target, and when used it will have you meet at the midway point. When you clash, you stun all targets within 6 yards for 4 seconds. What's interesting is that it will not work on enemies that cannot be Death Gripped. This ability is extremely useful for pulling groups as well as pulling mobs away from your squshier allies if they somehow got agro.
- Transcendence & Transcendence: Transfer - I like to think of this as an upgrade to the warlock's Demonic Circle. Instead of having a fixed teleport to position, you switch positions with your teleport location (your spirit), and thus is much more malleable in terms of moving around the entirety of a boss room. Of course, you can use it in the same way a warlock does, but like I said, it does provide with more malleability, so its your call. This is going to make offtanking and kiting very interesting.
- Spear Hand Strike - This is a fun one for PvP, but it's still pretty useful for PvE as well. In terms of dungeons and raids, since you're the tank and therefore the mob is always going to be facing you, this is a 2 second silence on a 15 second cooldown, provided that you can interrupt the ability. In PvP, it's a little tougher to get the enemy to face you, but I doubt it would be that hard.
- Paralysis - A nice little long-term CC ability. If you use this from behind a target the duration is increased by 50%. With a 20 yard range, it's a nice CC ability for both before a pull and during a skirmish.
- Healing Sphere - Up to 3 of these buggers can be put down onto the ground to be used as a quick heal for you or any of your allies. The big downside is that they have a cost of 40 energy, which basically means you either get to put one of these down or get one chi, and the chi's probably going to be better for you. One of the ways you could mitigate that cost would be, just right before you pull, placing these near where you want to tank a boss, so if you or anyone else needs them throughout the fight, they can just step over them and voila, instant heals. You could also put these down when you're not actively in melee for whatever reason and have enough banked chi for when you return to melee and are able to spend that chi more efficiently. A side benefit is that if your sphere expires and an ally is within 6 yards of it, they will be healed for half of its original effect automatically. Not really something to plan for, but it is an interesting thing to note.
- Detox - I remember back when I played a protection paladin, I used to be the guy to cleanse myself to help out the healers. You can do pretty similar with the monk, though with only diseases and poisons. As well, if you use VuhDo, Healbot, Grid and Clique, or mouse-over macros, you can set it up so that you can help with cleansing the raid if your healers are having trouble.
- Legacy of the Emperor - The Brewmaster's only real group buff, Legacy of the Emperor is a stats buff, increasing the raid's strength agility and intellect by 5%. This buff type is shared with paladins and druids. If your raid groups are anything like my guild's, you will either never be using this with them, or they will make you be the only one to buff. Ever. For all time.
Combat for the monk Brewmaster is really about efficient use of chi and energy. While threat is necessary, we need to use a lot of chi for defensive abilities, or abilities that both help with threat but at the same time provide a good deal of damage reduction. A good Brewmaster will be able to keep threat while being as effective as possible with his offensive and defensive chi abilities.
#10.1 Single Target
- Jab - Your most basic chi generator. Costs 40 energy and generates 1 chi (or 2 once every 20 seconds if you talent into Power Strikes). This in a way acts as your secondary chi generator. If Keg Smash and Expel Harm are on cooldown or if it isn't a good idea to use them (wasted chi / wasted heal), then you use Jab.
- Keg Smash - Essentially, Keg Smash is a cleaving Jab that hits all enemies within range and provides the debuff of Dizzying Haze as well as Weakened Blows, which reduces the physical damage dealt by the enemy by 10%. Keep both debuffs up if possible. Currently the Dizzying Haze debuff does not apply to bosses. Be careful when you use this, so as to not waste the 2 chi it generates. If you are 1 chi away from maximum, hold off on using this until you burn off that excess chi.
- Expel Harm - As said in the cooldown section, this one's interesting. It is both a self heal, and therefore a cooldown, but it also deals damage and generates (1) chi, so it's a combat ability. Again, this should be used nearly on cooldown, since you want to use it often to heal, but you don't want to waste it's heal. Use Jab to generate chi for those times you are at full health, as both share the same energy cost and the benefits of efficient self healing outweigh the benefits of the extra threat that Expel Harm has in comparison with jab.
- Tiger Palm - When you hit a target with Tiger Palm, you get a buff causing your attacks to ignore 30% of your enemy's armor, which should be kept up for threat reasons. Due to Brewmaster Training, Tiger palm will place a buff on youthat increases Guard's effectiveness by 15%, so while Guard is on cooldown, you should get, at minimum, one Tiger palm off before casting Guard again to maximize its effectiveness, which is not hard to do since it doesn't have a cost. This is something that you can spam if you're finding that you don't have any other abilities to use.
- Blackout Kick - This ability costs 2 chi. Because of Brewmaster Training, Blackout Kick should be used pretty regularly to guarantee as many staggered hits as possible. You are going to want to use Purifying Brew relatively often as well to minimize the damage you take from stagger. The buff from Blackout Kick will actually compound on itself, allowing you to extend the duration of the stagger buff, which is awesome.
- Touch of Death - Touch of Death is a bit of a niche ability, and is not really necessary for the Brewmaster. However, if you want to use it as an execute, that's your prerogative. Use in combination with Fortifying Brew for the largest possible damage, though don't do such at the expense of not having that cooldown when you need it. Costs 3 chi.
#10.2: Multiple Targets -
- Dizzying Haze - Costing 20 energy, Dizzying Haze fires a keg of ale on a arc towards a designated target area, drenching any enemies within that radius with delicious booze. This ale will reduce their movement speed by 50% as well as give them a 3% chance to misfire, dealing damage to themselves instead of you. Currently the misfire effect does not work on bosses. This ability works in combination with Breath of Fire to provide for more AoE damage and therefore threat. It's also very useful as a pulling tool, for keeping threat on your targets if several start to peel off, and as a kiting tool. Keep in mind that the keg doesn't instantly travel to the target area, so if you are on the move, you will have to aim it in the area the mobs you are kiting will be in, instead of where they are now.
- Breath of Fire - Costing 2 chi, Breath of Fire is probably my favorite AoE move of the Brewmaster. This should be used in combination with Dizzying Haze for extra damage in the form of an 8 second fire DoT on all targets affected by Dizzying Haze and hit by Breath of Fire. Try and use this in a way that keeps the DoT up at all times, for maximum threat. The biggest problem with Breath of Fire right now is that for the vast majority of situations, using Blackout Kick is far superior simply due to the fact that Breath of Fire does not have any benefits for your defense, while Blackout Kick provides our bread and butter mitigation. This should only be used when you have a good amount of banked shuffle or you're not going to be taking damage anyway. Unfortunately, you won't be using this that often in a raiding environment.
- Spinning Crane Kick - Costing 40 energy, this acts as a whirlwind ability, hitting all enemies that are fairly close to you. Due to such, it should be used when there's quite a few AoEable targets. What's nice about Spinning Crane Kick is that it generates 1 chi if you hit at least 3 targets and that even though you cannot use other abilities while it is in use, you can still dodge and parry, making it an effective AoE ability for the Brewmasters while allowing us to retain our avoidance. While it is in use, your movement speed is reduced by 30%. If you talent into Rushing Jade Wind, Spinning Crane Kick will deal reduced damage and will no longer be channeled, allowing you to use other abilities on top of it.
#10.3: Opening Combat
For the most part, I will open by pulling with Dizzying Haze, then generating chi, starting with Keg Smash to throw up the Weakened Blows debuff, then Jab. After I have enough chi, I will use Blackout Kick Immediately after, I will try and generate more chi and get a Tiger Palm off and use Guard. After that, I'll begin to cycle between active mitgation abilities and chi generating abilities, keeping up all of my active mitigation.
As I say a lot, you should be able to pick whatever professions you deem you need. That having been said, if what you need is min-maxing, then there are some professions that are better than others.
- Blacksmithing - Provides any stat via two additional sockets for bracers and gloves. Ultimately, because of this freedom, Blacksmithing is the second best profession, behind Alchemy.
- Alchemy - Provides several stats Mixology, which makes flasks and elixirs give us extra stats. Because Mixology will provide more armor (via Mantid Elixir), a very precious stat, and will also provide more expertise for those of us who want to get to hard cap, as well as many other useful stats, this is our best profession.
- Enchanting - Provides Agility (via Enchant Ring - Greater Agility) or stamina (via Enchant Ring - Greater Stamina).
- Leatherworking - Provides Agility and Stamina via fur linings (Agility & Stamina). Will also allow you to easily enchant your legs (Agility & Stamina variants) and make your own gear. This is another very good profession for monks.
- Engineering - Provides agility via Synapse Springs as well as a craftable epic helm that you can put specialized cogwheel "gems" into. Once again, a very useful profession, AND it comes with the benefit of having a bunch of toys to mess around with when you're not raiding!
- Jewelcrafting - Provides any stat via Serpent's Eye gems. Another strong contender, Jewelcrafting loses a bit of its luster if you consider that secondary stat Serpent's Eyes don't provide the same level of benefit as the primary stat versions, so you can't get as much crit as if you were, say, a blacksmith. Still, it's important to get gems, and if you don't have a jewelcrafter already, it's a fine choice.
- Inscription - Provides agility or stamina via Secret Tiger Claw Inscription or Secret Ox horn Inscription I would recommend getting the Tiger Claw one, mainly because agility provides us with so much more than stamina does. I'd prefer better self healing, avoidance, and energy regeneration than a higher health pool to soak damage. As well, Scribes can make their own staves (epic & rare), so it can help with early-expansion gearing. Mind, the epic staff is bind on battle.net account and the rare is bind on equip (though it is needed for the crafting of the epic one), so you can still get both of these from an alt. However, in terms of quickly gearing your brewmaster, that's less of an option, considering that you will need to level another toon to 90 and level their inscription to max. Arguably, the staff wouldn't be worth it at that point, since you could have been getting a solid amount of gear, not just a weapon, if you didn't level another toon.
- Mining - Works well with Blacksmithing and Jewelcrafting. Provides stamina via Toughness. If you don't want to spend the time / coin on getting two crafting professions, this would be a solid contender.
- Skinning - Works well with Leatherworking. Provides crit via Mastery of Anatomy. Since crit is a fairly solid stat for us, if you would prefer to be a leatherworker, then this is a pretty viable choice to pair with it.
- Herbalism - Works well with Inscription and Alchemy. Provides haste and about 13,000 to 16,000 healing on a two minute cooldown via Lifeblood. I am not a big fan of haste cooldowns, and while arguably useful, the heal isn't really worth the two minute cooldown. I would only recommend getting this if you do not already have an herbalist and are planning on making your brewmaster a scribe or alchemist.
Each faction is listed from best to worst race for min-maxing Brewmasters. Pandaren are mentioned twice, since they can join both factions. Note that these rankings are not assuming you are dual wielding the weapons necessary to take advantage of the expertise.
- Pandaren - Epicurean is just so powerful, it knocks everything else away in terms of raw stats. In addition, Bouncy could save a tank's life if he or she is thrown into the air due to a boss ability.
- Night elves - Due to the +2% dodge from Quickness as well as some Nature Resistance, night elves are one of the stronger Brewmaster races for the Alliance.
- Dwarves - Stoneform is a very solid damage reduction / personal dispel cooldown on a reasonable timer. Mace Specialization will provide extra expertise if you have a mace equipped. Also has Frost Resistance.
- Draenei - Gift of the Naaru is a nice self heal or heal for when others are in danger. Also, since we're going to be fighting Sha, I have no doubt that Shadow Resistance will come in handy as well. The 1% bonus to hit from Heroic Presence isn't something to sneeze at either.
- Humans - Fear-breakers have been useful for tanks in the past. Every Man for Himself has the potential to be a solid cooldown for some encounters. Diplomacy will help speed up rep grinds for faster access to gear. With both Sword Specialization and mace specialization, humans have the best variety on bonus expertise.
- Gnomes - Arcane Resistance and Shortlade Specialization. Not much else.
- Pandaren - See Alliance explanation. Same deal; Epicurean and Bouncy are boss.
- Undead - Will of the Forsaken for a fear-breaker. Touch of the Grave provides self healing at a rate of approximately 2736 heals per second, not counting any potential overhealing. Every little bit counts, though, and this makes Undead another solid choice. Also has Shadow Resistance.
- Orc - Blood Fury for a nice cooldown for some somewhat more powerful self healing or to squeeze out as much threat as possible. If you are dual wielding, orcs become much more powerful due to Axe Specialization can be useful for you, provided you have an axe or fist weapon. If not, other races will be better.
- Blood elves - With Arcane Torrent providing 1 chi and a silence on a 2 minute cooldown, and along with Arcane Resistance, blood elves aren't a bad choice.
- Tauren - Endurance for a slightly larger health pool. Also has Nature Resistance. Due to its cast time, I find War Stomp to be a bit iffy, but it's not going to kill you. Rather underpowered, though.
- Troll - EH/mitigation > threat, but with Berserking and Beast Slaying. trolls are one of the better threat races for Brewmasters. They also have Regeneration for some minor in-combat healing.
Potion: Potion of the Mountains or Virmen's Bite. If you are pre-potting, use Virmen's Bite for that, as I have found that the extra damage will help more than the damage mitigated (since there's no life-threatening mechanics at the direct start of a fight and either potion's going to be on cooldown if there are any such mechanics within the first two minutes of the encounter).
Flask: Flask of Spring Blossoms
Elixirs: Elixir of the Rapids, Mad Hozen Elixir, Elixir of Weaponry, or Elixir of Perfection and Mantid Elixir, Monk's Elixir, or Elixir of Mirrors
Great Pandaren Banquet, Pandaren Banquet, Chun Tian Spring Rolls, Spicy Vegetable Chips, Spicy Salmon or Sea Mist Rice Noodles.
Here's my current BiS list. I may come back to it in the future.
Helm: Crown of Seven Sacred Seals
Neck: Immerseus' Crystalline Eye
Shoulders: Ricocheting Shoulderguards
Chest: Chestguard of Seven Sacred Seals
Cloak: Qian-Le, Courage of Niuzao where survival > DPS / Fen-Yu, Fury of Xuen
Bracers: Laser Burn Bracers
Gloves: Gauntlets of Seven Sacred Seals
Belt: Cord of Black Dreams
Legs: Legguards of Seven Sacred Seals
Boots: Unrepentant Heels
Ring1: Ring of Restless Energy
Ring2: Swift Serpent Signet
Trinket1: <See Below>
Trinket2: <See Below>
One-handed weapons: Korven's Crimson Crescent x2
Two-handed weapon: Kor'kron Spire of Supremacy
Let's face it. The gear we get really doesn't matter too much (aside from tier. Tier tends to be more important). What really captures our attention are trinkets. So let's get right down to discussing what trinkets we should wear for the next tier.
Haromm's Talisman - Effectively a windfury proc for all attacks. VERY solid damage increase.
Sigil of Rampage - Cleaves. All the cleaves. Nice damage trinket for an AoE encounter.
Vial of Living Corruption - Okay for the average fight but gets far more powerful when you are looking at a magic-based fight.
Rook's Unlucky Talisman - Powerful on AoE fights, possible potential for solo-tanking encounters.
Juggernaut's Focusing Crystal - Okay on a fight where you're doing a lot of AoE damage. Might just be better to go with pure DPS trinkets for that though, rather than trying to "outlast" them.
Curse of Hubris - Kinda lame. The other trinkets are more specialized, so they'll benefit more when it counts.
Ticking Ebon Detonator - Rather lame but it does have solid stats and an okay DPS proc.
Aside from the raiding necessities (omen & Deadly Boss Mods, or any equivalents thereof), the types of addons brewmasters need are ones that allow them to keep track of their cooldowns and the amount of damage they've stored up in the stagger debuff. Some addons that I have found to be pretty nice can be found in a neat little list below! Feel free to use a combination of them, or look for other addons if these don't suit your fancy.
- WeakAuras - A powerful tool for creating and customizing buttons that warn and notify you about a plethora of different things (for example, you can set something up to check if Elusive Brew is off cooldown and has more than one stack). For a list of several different, pre-made, importable settings, check out the Brewmaster Weak Auras Thread.
- Brewmaster Tao - Very small, it's purpose is to notify you of exactly how much damage your stagger DoT will be doing to you before it drops as well as tell you the internal cooldown of Power Strikes, if you chose to go into that talent.
- MonkTimers - This will provide easy to see cooldown times for your abilities as well as your stagger DoT's level of damage. Since you can configure WeakAuras to tell you when stuff is off cooldown and Brewmaster Tao already provides a very nice looking stagger debuff bar, this one's somewhat of a third wheel. However, if you can't be bothered to customize WeakAuras, it's certainly an okayish substitute.
- Gnosis - Allows you to track boss swing timers. Very useful for precision purifies. An invaluable tool for a seasoned brewmaster.
#16: Frequently Discussed Issues
This section pertains to certain subjects that are frequently discussed and therefore deserve their own little section providing information on both sides of these discussions. A nice video reference can be found here
The Haste "Cap"
Originally, the haste "cap" used to be considered the point where you hit 13.33 energy regenerated per second with power strikes, which would allow for a generous amount of chi to be spent on Purifying Brew as well as allow for maximum uptime on shuffle. Currently, most brewmasters suggest finding a point where energy regeneration feels good (as a personal reference, I'm quite comfortable at roughly 5,000 haste rating with Ascension. You could go higher or lower).
Ascension vs Power Strikes
In terms of Ascension vs Power Strikes, PS wins out on chi generation until a fairly obscene amount of haste rating, so if that's all you care about, Power Strikes will win out. Ascension will give you an increased ability to store chi, more burst energy regen, and a smoother, more stable chi generation than Power Strikes. You can't necessarily go wrong with either, but in my opinion Ascension's the better choice, if only because I find that a higher energy regeneration makes my play smoother, even if I don't necessarily have the raw chi output that Power Strikes would provide.
There's a lot of talk about how much expertise you should have. Some say that 7.5% is enough, others believe fully capping at 15% is where you should go, and others question why we should be at any fixed point at all. Expertise's usefulness does not degrade at a certain point, assuming we are tanking a boss 100% of the time. An increase from 6.9% to 9.9% will give the same benefit as an increase of 9.9% to 12.9%. However, once we are on a fight that has tank swaps, anything past 7.5% is useless during those times when you aren't actively tanking and are able to attack the boss from behind. Of course, since you're not tanking anyway, it's not too big a deal. Another thing that has been brought up is expertise's effective chi generation versus haste. The math clearly shows that haste does win out, but at the expense of consistent chi generation, as more attacks get dodged and/or parried.
Ultimately though, a relative few of your attacks get parried, and there's going to be little difference between overall chi generation. How much expertise you should get ultimately depends on how much you're comfortable with. For those of us who play windwalker as our offspecs, getting to 7.5% is nice because we're more likely than not going to be using the same set of gear, so being expertise capped for DPS is nice for convenience's sake. I would recommend experimenting, see how low you can go and still feel comfortable in your gameplay. The less expertise you have, the more you can use those points on other stats.
Dual Wielding or Two-Handers?
Either one works. No seriously, either one's perfectly viable. The only real difference you're going to feel is that while dual wielding you will have slightly higher DPS and your elusive brew will stack up at a smoother pace... however going with a 2hander that's a significant ilvl upgrade from your two 1handers will not be detrimental. If you aren't sure if it's worth it, don't hesitate to ask the community!
#17: Author's Notes
With patch 15657 I believe that the Brewmaster's energy deficiencies are over. We have a very nice amount of energy at our disposal, which means more chi for our abilities, which is always good. We've also gotten some nice upgrades in terms of our mastery and Brewmaster Training. With that very nice amount of parry on Blackout Kick, there's now a good reason to keep using it, instead of spamming Purifying Brew to get rid of your stagger stack. This leads to advanced play, as a good Brewmaster will be able to know his character and how much damage he or she can take, and use abilities accordingly. They will be able to maximize the effectiveness of Blackout Kick's parry, while still staying in the bounds of being easily healable by removing staggered damage. There's a lot to think about as a Brewmaster, which from my view, as a person who played the old 969 Protection Paladin and the 11111 Shadow Bolt specced Warlock of TBC, I like. Even if it's beta, the Brewmaster is a very well done spec in my opinon, and is very fun to play, even at lower levels. My only real worry is that Blackout Kick's buff only has a duration of 6 seconds, which is pretty short for a buff.
I felt that patch 15568 was a bit sad. It drastically nerfed Elusive Brew, bringing it down to 10% dodge for 8 seconds instead of 50% dodge for 10 seconds, and made Fortifying Brew increase health by 20% instead of 100%, though it softened that blow by allowing it to increase staggered damage by 20%. I guess the argument could have been made that these cooldowns were pretty overpowered, especially considering that Fortifying Brew was a base ability. Still, it stings a bit. I'm sure that we'll be fine, however.
Patch 15689 brings mostly good stuff. We take a hit in personal mitigation in favor of a new system on our statue which means less clicking on the statue for your allies, giving the Brewmaster a little more group utility. We also get a new passive, which makes Expel Harm a nice emergency ability. Spinning Crane Kick also provides us with Chi, which is nice.
Beta's almost over, and I haven't really had to do much in terms of messing with the Abilities section... I've mostly been filling in some of the other sections. I've updated the races section to account for dual wielding as well as the new racials, and I've started on the professions section. Yay, completion is almost upon us! Maybe!
Well, everything's in, at the very least. Stat information has been updated, though I am waiting till the weekend to tackle the abilities and glyphs sections, which, unless there are any big changes, should mean that this guide will be up to date and ready for the launch on September 25th!
#18: Guide Updates
- Created - March 21, 2012
- Updated - Day 1 beta information - March 22, 2012
- Updated - Beta patch 15640 - April 29, 2012
- Updated - Beta Patch 15657 - May 2, 2012
- Updated - Beta Patch 15677 - May 11, 2012
- Updated - Beta Patch 15689 - May 17, 2012
- Updated - Beta Patch 15851 - July 17, 2012
- Updated - Beta Patch 15972 - August 14, 2012
- Updated - Beta Patch 16016 - August 27, 2012
- Updated - Beta Patch 16048 - September 19, 2012
- Updated - Ready for 5.0.5 - September 20, 2012
- Updated - Ready for 5.0.5 - September 24, 2012
- Updated - 5.1.0 - December 2, 2012
- Updated - 5.1.0 - February 11, 2013
- Updated - 5.4.0 - July 4, 2013
- Updated - 5.4.0 - September 7, 2013