This post compares Mystic Ally to other skills, including Blazing Wrath, all Sweeping Wind runes other than Cyclone, and Faith in the Light. I'll be updating it in pieces, and I'll concentrate on the best damage-dealer (Fire Ally). Keep in mind that many of these comparisons are gear-dependent and that I'm examining these skills, more or less, in a single-target vacuum.

*Note: This post is currently incomplete, although it presents a complete picture of calculating real Thunderclap/Cyclone DPS in the most basic case. I will resume later today or tomorrow.*To keep the comparisons relatively simple, I'm going to assume that the monk is using many standard skills:

Thunderclap

Serenity (any rune)

Sweeping Wind (typically Cyclone; when I compare Fire Ally to non-Cyclone, I'll omit this)

Hard Target or Overawe

Seize the Initiative

One with Everything

That leaves space on the toolbar for two skills, plus another passive slot. In order to keep this post from sprawling in even

*more* directions than it will anyway, I'm going to assume that one of the toolbar slots is filled by some sort of escape skill (typically Dashing Strike or Tempest Rush) and that the passive is something like Transcendence, Resolve, or something else aside from Combination Strike. This allows me to focus on one-to-one comparisons of Fire Ally against various skills.

For each comparison, I'll outline the relevant factors, explain the breakdown, and then post the real DPS changes for Hard Target, Overawe at 50% up-time, and Overawe at 100% up-time. I'm only going to explain the real DPS calculations and the Fire Ally damage calculation for the first comparison, so pay special attention to that part.

Anyway! Let's begin.

**Mystic Ally vs. Blazing Wrath**Blazing Wrath provides two benefits:

1. It provides an additive buff of 15% to all damage.

2. It heals the player for 6202–7442 life every 15 seconds.

Because this bonus can be captured in the Sweeping Wind snapshot, and because it's almost always active (45-second duration, plus a convenient timer icon), it's essentially a straight 15% damage buff. By contrast, Fire Ally provides 600% paper DPS over 13 seconds, modified by Mystic Ally's static 50% CHD.

Let's examine a sample monk. I'll borrow one I used for some calculations for Fitz, but dressed up a little bit:

**Average weapon damage (incl. damage gear):** 650**DEX:** 1900**Base attack speed:** 1.40 (fist weapons)**IAS:** 30% (15% from dual-wielding, 15% from gear)**CHD:** 30%**CHD:** 250%

This monk's paper DPS is calculated as follows:

650 AWD

x 20 (1900/100 + 1)

x 1.4 (base attack speed)

x 1.30 (IAS)

x 1.75 (1 + 0.3 CHC x 2.5 CHD)

= 41,405.00

So that's his paper DPS. But we need to calculate his real DPS, which includes Thunderclap's damage modifiers and haste modifier, his Sweeping Wind vortex, and the tornadoes from the Cyclone rune. Fortunately, it's not hard to do.

Thunderclap DPSThunderclap's damage is 145% of your actual damage. We're considering single-target damage, so we can ignore the AOE and primary attack components and just consider it a straight 1.45 multiplier.

Thunderclap's three-attack sequence also has its own haste modifier. Now, because no two people have agreed on the specifics, I'm going to make things simply and just use 1.5 as the multiplier.

This means that Thunderclap's damage is this:

41,405 (paper DPS)

x 1.45 (rune damage modifier)

x 1.5 (haste modifier)

= 90,055.875

(It's technically 45,545.50 in primary-attack damage on the first two punches and 44,510.375 on the 35%-35%-145% AOE sequence, but who's counting, right?)

Vortex DamageExcept for Blade Storm, Sweeping Wind's vortex damage is 15% of your paper DPS, not your real DPS, per stack. We'll assume three stacks, which means:

41,405 (paper DPS)

x 0.15 (damage per stack)

x 3 (stacks)

= 18,632.25 vortex DPS

Cyclone DPSEach tornado spawned by Cyclone does 20% weapon damage per strike, modified by (DEX/100 + 1), and delivers that shock every 0.5 seconds for 3 seconds. That's really Cyclone in a nutshell: each strike has a chance to crit for your standard CHD buff, and IAS affects the tornado rate. Most of the factors that go into it, however, are included in your paper DPS:

1. Average weapon damage

2. DEX

3. APS

4. IAS

5. CHC/CHD

As a result, when you group those factors together as "paper DPS," you're left with this for damage:

`Cyclone = Paper DPS x 0.2 x 6 x haste mod. x CHC x TC proc rate`

For our sample monk, this means:

41,405 (paper DPS)

x 0.2 (20% AWD per strike)

x 6 (strikes per tornado)

x 1.5 (haste modifier)

x 0.3 (CHC)

x 1.25 (proc rate for three-strike Thunderclap sequence against single target)

= 27,948.375 tornado DPS

So, in a vacuum, our monk's real DPS with that sixth toolbar slot unfilled is the sum of these factors:

` 90,055.875 (Thunderclap DPS)`

+ 18,632.25 (vortex DPS)

+ 27,948.375 (tornado DPS)

= 136,636.50 (real DPS)

Blazing WrathBlazing Wrath provides a straight 15% damage buff to these numbers. It also heals an average of 6,822 life every 15 seconds, or 454.8 LPS. Therefore, this monk's real TC/Cyclone DPS with Blazing Wrath, assuming 3 stacks of Sweeping Wind and maximum face time, is this:

`136,636.50 x 1.15 = 157,132 (rounded)`

Fire AllyLeft to its own devices, Fire Ally will generate 600% of your paper DPS over 13 seconds, modified by the ally's static +50% CHD.

To determine its value, we have to account for that CHD number. Our sample monk's CHF (critical hit factor) is 1.75:

`1 + 0.3 x 2.5 = 1 + 0.75 = 1.75`

The ally's CHF is 1.15:

`1 + 0.3 x 0.5 = 1 + 0.15 = 1.15`

Therefore, the ally's DPS contribution is this:

`41,405 (paper DPS)`

x 1.15/1.75 (ally's CHF divided by monk's CHF)

x 6/13 (600% DPS over 13 seconds)

= 12,558

We can add this to the monk's unbuffed real DPS to determine his real DPS with Fire Ally:

` 136,636.5`

+ 12,558.0

= 149,194.5

At first glance, then, Blazing Wrath appears superior to Fire Ally:

**Blazing Wrath:** 157,132**Fire Ally:** 149,195

But, as it turns out, that's not the entire story.

Maximizing Fire AllyThe Fire Ally DPS I just calculated assumes that you activate the skill and let the Fire Ally do his thing until he dies, at which point you respawn him. Technically, this is a worst-case scenario: if the Fire Ally dies after 5 normal attacks, and you respawn him 2 seconds later, you'll immediately get his special attack, so his production will be better than 600% over 13 seconds, although we can't say how much better.

What we

*can* do, however, is say how much better Fire Ally can be if we activate the skill every second, which is roughly how fast I'd say you can do it. If you activate him and wait about a second after he appears before reactivating him, he'll wind up and deliver the flame kick just before you dismiss him and bring him back Although Fire Ally's special attack takes 2 seconds during his normal attack sequence—i.e., he uses his special attack, and he takes his next attack 2 seconds after he begins it—he actually delivers the damage after he makes the kick, which then sets the target on fire for 2 seconds of fire damage at 40% paper DPS per second. So you can essentially get a 160% contribution every second. (Note: I haven't yet fully confirmed that the target burns and continues to burn, but I'm working on it.)

What does this mean? It means that we can activate the skill every second and get the following benefits:

- 80% paper DPS via the flame kick
- 80% paper DPS from fire damage

That's 160% weapon damage. This means that the maximum value of Fire Ally, once the combat is down to you against a single mob, is this:

`41,405 (paper DPS)`

x 1.15/1.75 (ally's CHF divided by monk's CHF)

**x 1.6 (160% DPS over 1 second)**

**= 43,534.4**

We can now add this to the monk's unbuffed real DPS to determine his maximum single-target real DPS with Fire Ally:

` 136,636.5`

**+ 43,534.4**

= 180,171

This means that Fire Ally has the potential to give us a very, very big advantage over Blazing Wrath:

**Blazing Wrath:** 157,132**Fire Ally:** 180,171

That's almost a 15% buff! It means that, in certain situations that you will routinely encounter,

**Fire Ally is like a multiplicative Blazing Wrath buff of Blazing Wrath.** Blazing Wrath is roughly 8,000 DPS better than Fire Ally without spamming, but Fire Ally's ceiling is roughly 24,000 DPS higher than its floor. This means, roughly speaking, that if we spawn the skill 4 or 5 times for every time we let the ally run through his cycle, we'll equalize the output of Blazing Wrath:

`(149,195 x 13 + 180,171 x 4.5) ÷ 17.5 = 157,160`

You can also look at it another way by asking, "How often must I activate Fire Ally so that its average damage per second equals Blazing Wrath's contribution?" To answer that, we simply need to solve for Y in the following equation:

` 1.6 x 41,405 x 1.15/1.75`

+ 0.4 x 41,405 x 1.15/1.75 x Y

÷ 2 + Y

= 157,132 - 136,636.5

The first term (1.6 x 41,405 x 1.15/1.75) is the amount of damage Fire Ally does during the 2-second flame kick and subsequent burn damage, accounting for the ally's CHF; the second (0.4 x 41,405 x x 1.15/1.75 x Y) is the amount of damage done over the course of Y seconds, given that Fire Ally's basic attack does 40% of your paper DPS, accounting for the ally's CHF. The third term is simply the number of seconds total (2 for the initial attack plus Y seconds of standard attacks), and the fourth is what we're solving for (Blazing Wrath's total real DPS minus the monk's unbuffed real DPS.)

Okay—now that I've finished explaining all the boring stuff for the few people who are interested, here's the solution: Y equals roughly 0.25. This means that if you spam Fire Ally every 2.25 seconds—roughly as often as you spam a mantra—you'll equal the single-target DPS of Blazing Wrath.

Speaking from experience, I can tell you that this isn't terribly difficult across the course of a normal fight against an elite pack and several whites. In a single-target fight, it's easy to maximize Fire Ally and thus guarantee that 180,171 real DPS.

But What about Multiple Targets?So far, we've only considered single-target DPS. As you add targets for Thunderclap, the sample monk's real DPS, aided by Blazing Wrath, grows. Assuming that you can catch each target in both your Sweeping Wind vortex

*and* Thunderclap's AOE, here's how it scales:

**One target:** 157,132**Two targets:** 249,030**Three targets:** 340,929**Four targets:** 432,827

(In case you're wondering, I change the number-of-opponents field in my spreadsheet, and POOF, instant scaling.)

Personally, I'd consider the maximum range as roughly two or three targets for Sweeping Wind's vortex in this scenario, and probably three or four targets for Thunderclap's AOE and the resulting tornado procs, but I'm posting the numbers here for a more complete picture. For the most part, players typically wade through whites and focus on champs and bosses, so the big numbers are one, two, and three targets, with the occasional four.

Fire Ally doesn't scale nearly as well. Even if we assumed that the ally could light the first two targets on fire reliably (and it can't, as it occasionally aims in unintended directions), spamming it every second will produce the following real DPS figures:

**One target:** 180,171**Two targets:** 223,705

So it's typicaly at least as good as Blazing Wrath for up to two targets, but less so after that because it doesn't create any extra value if it doesn't hit a third target reliably.

Of course, Fire Ally has extra value against multiple mobs: it gives them another target, which reduces the amount of heat on your monk. Less heat means more face-time with your preferred target, which can help make up some of this DPS difference. As I mentioned earlier, the point of these comparisons isn't to say that one skill is demonstrably better than another (except when it clearly is)—it's to give you an idea of how they compare and the ways in which one might be better than another.

This creates a small paradox. When you have more mobs, you'll do more damage with Blazing Wrath, but you'll have a lesser amount of effective life because you'll be taking more damage; when you have more mobs, Fire Ally's DPS role is reduced, but its tanking role is enlarged. When you consider the sustain factor, I think Fire Ally is usually a clear-cut winner in situations where you need healing/sustain: Blazing Wrath adds a 6,800-point shot in the arm every 15 seconds, but a Fire Ally that draws even one-third of the mobs toward it extends your effective life by 50%. Life steal favors Blazing Wrath, however, so you should consider that if you're using LS weapons. But Blazing Wrath's LPS figure (454.8) is better on paper than it is in practice because you will not be using it every 15 seconds. On the other hand, it's rare to go more than a few seconds with a dead Fire Ally, which means that his tanking role is more or less always maximized. On the flip side, spamming Fire Ally means that you're standing right next to it, which minimizes its tanking role. So the whole thing has a big "rock, paper, scissors" component to it.

Tomorrow, I'll add another comparison or two, starting with the 50% and 100% Overawe figures for Mystic Ally and Blazing Wrath.