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Hi, I'm Alaron of World of Monkcraft and WoW Insider, and this is my Brewmaster PvE guide!
For the full version with links and pictures, go here: (http://worldofmonkcraft.com/brewmaster-mists-of-pandaria-guide/)
This guide is intended for max-level group play (or close to it); some parts may not be applicable while leveling.
Last updated 14 Oct 2012.
There is currently a bug with the Black Ox Statue where the Guard it casts on your party/raid removes your personal Guard if it's up. More testing is needed to confirm; some reports indicate it only happens if Guard is glyphed, some say it happens all the time. Until this is fixed, I recommend not using the Black Ox Statue.
Brewmaster monks are a tank specialization that was newly added to the game for the Mists of Pandaria expansion. Any race, except Worgen and Goblin, can be a monk. Like all monks, they have two resources that must be managed; energy and chi.
Energy regenerates at a constant rate (10/sec, or 11/sec in the tanking stance), and is used to power several abilities. Brewmasters have a 100-point energy pool. Energy regeneration does scale with haste, but not significantly so. As such, your energy regeneration is your primary limiting factor when it comes to how many abilities you can use.
In contrast, chi is a static 4-point pool, similar to a paladin’s holy power, that decays when out of combat. To build chi, a brewmaster will use a “chi builder,” such as Keg Smash or Jab. This chi is then used to power other abilities that increase the brewmaster’s survivability. The key difference between chi and other secondary resource systems (such as holy power or combo points) is that all chi consuming abilities have a fixed cost and effect, compared to the others where the effect scales based on the amount of secondary resource currently banked.
Every fight against non-trivial enemies will require careful management of both resources. The two primary mistakes you want to avoid are chi wastage and energy capping. Chi wastage is using a chi builder when you are already at full chi (thereby wasting energy), whereas energy capping is allowing your energy meter to fill to 100, which causes your energy regeneration to stop. As you get used to the spec, you’ll learn how to weave chi builders and chi consumers together to keep a constant flow going.
Stagger and Shuffle
Monks have a new mitigation ability called Stagger. A Staggered attack will take 80% damage instantly, and the remaining 20% is added to a DoT that ticks for 10% of its damage value every second. A second Staggered attack resets the DoT timer and increases the DoT’s damage, and so on until you die, stop taking attacks (which allows the DoT to run its course) or you remove the DoT via Purifying Brew.
For example, if you take a 100k hit, you'll take 80k damage and receive a 20k DoT that will tick at 2k/sec for the next ten seconds. If you take another 100k hit five seconds later, you'll take another 80k damage, and your DoT will become 30k (10k remaining from first DoT + 20k new) now ticking at 3k/sec.
Unfortunately, you can't just purify all the time; you alno need chi for Blackout Kick, which procs Shuffle for 6 seconds when it connects. The shuffle buff gives you 20% parry and 20% more Stagger (the damage split becomes 60/40, instead of 80/20), which is a very good thing. (Mastery also increass the amount of damage staggered.) Unfortunately, the primary way to get Shuffle is via Blackout Kick, which is hard on the chi. You have to strike a balance between shufflin’ and purifyin’. Too much dancing means you keel over from the DoT effect; too much purifying will make you hard to heal, because you’re low on avoidance.
Still a work in progress, obviously. Many thanks to Venyasure, Disargeria, and others on EJ and the forums for their theorycrafting work.
1. Place your Black Ox Statue. Seriously, just drop it, it’s one click, you never have to worry about it again, and it can save your group. Or skip it, if you hate your healer for some reason.
2. When Keg Smash comes off CD, use it than immediately use the 2 chi on Blackout Kick. If it gets dodged/parried, Jab as needed for 2 chi and then use BOK.
3. When your Stagger debuff gets to yellow/red, hit Jab then Purifying Brew. Every 10-15 seconds is probably a good guideline.
4. If you’re full on energy and don’t need to purify, throw in an extra Jab. If you’re full on chi, use Guard to spend it.
5. If you’re getting low on HP, pop Elusive Brew and/or grab your healing spheres. Use Fortifying Brew if things get really bad.
While you’re still learning, that’s really all you need to know. This rotation has plenty of downtime that you can use to see what’s going on around you and just get familiar with buttons, fight flow, etc.
Regular Single-Target Rotation:
1. Place your Black Ox Statue.
2. Energy management: Use Keg Smash on CD. Use Expel Harm on CD if hurt. Use Jab if energy is about to cap. If you’re full on Chi, though, use it on something like Blackout Kick then use one of these. Swap Spinning Crane Kick for Jab in AoE situations.
3. Purifying Brew when Stagger debuff is yellow or red. Exact time to use PB is debatable, less is almost certainly better than more.
4. Elusive Brew if it’s close to capping out (10+ stacks), unless you need to save it for something in the next 15-20 seconds.
5. Guard on CD unless you need to save it for something in the next 15-20 seconds.
Blackout Kick for Shuffle. Desired uptime on Shuffle is debatable but 80-90% is probably optimal. Going for 100% makes it difficult to use Guard.
6. Let two Healing Spheres pop up, then grab the third when it pops.
7. Fill free time with Tiger Palm. If you’re tanking content you/your group overgears, feel free to sub in a Breath of Fire for a Blackout Kick here or there for extra damage.
8. Cooldowns: Grab saved Healing Spheres (from Gift of the Ox), Dampen Harm/Diffuse Magic, Fortifying Brew, Zen Meditation (in that order).
Same as the single-target, but you’ll be swapping in Spinning Crane Kick for Jab. If you’re tanking something relatively easy or threat is a concern, you’ll use Breath of Fire instead of Blackout Kick for more AoE damage (at the expense of Shuffle uptime).
Talents and Glyphs
Level 15: Celerity or Momentum. Either is pretty useful, though Momentum probably edges out Celerity. Tiger's Lust is a PvP talent primarily.
Level 30: Chi Wave. Okay, I was wrong. Zen Sphere is decent, but Chi Wave is better burst healing.
Level 45: Chi Brew or Power Strikes. With the nerf to Power Strikes, it's effectively equal in chi generation potential to Chi Brew. If you're just starting out, take Power Strikes so you don't have to worry about pressing an extra button. For more advanced tanks, you'll want Chi Brew for more controllable mitigation. Ascension…eh. Not a fan.
Level 60: Leg Sweep. You’re going to be in their face anyway, so why bother with Ox Wave or Deadly Reach? Leg Sweep is GREAT for 5-mans.
Level 75: Dampen Harm or Diffuse Magic. Both situational talents, you'll flip between these depending on the fight. Healing Elixirs doesn’t compare to either, but it’s decent for soloing.
Level 90: Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger or Rushing Jade Wind. Rushing Jade Wind is essentially a Spinning Crane Kick that gives Shuffle. It's good for AoE, but Xuen can pull an add off of you temporarily, which is probably more valuable.
Mostly situational glyphs, nothing I would call mandatory. For general-purpose use, I’d say Clash/Expel Harm/Spinning Crane Kick, swapping in the others as opportunities present themselves.
Gear, Stat Weights and Reforging
Stat weights are…complicated. Agility is clearly the best stat, but the importance of secondary stats varies dramatically depending on your view of Gift of the Ox and the level of content you're doing. Mastery is generally mediocre, but shines on hard hitting bosses, similarly to armor/stamina. Haste is great for AoE encounters since it decreases the channeling time of Spinning Crane Kick (which directly translates into more GotOx orbs) and more energy overall. Crit directly boosts Elusive Brew which is great for "must-dodge" encounters (think Halfus/Baleroc), and makes GotOX/EH healing more effective. Parry/dodge is kinda meh but workable, and doesn't really shine in any specific scenario. Lastly, hit/exp stacking increases chi generation and GotO procs. Overall, if you can successfully use GotO orbs to heal yourself, hit/expertise becomes the best stat (since you have to hit to proc them). If not, it’s close to the worst. My advice:
5-mans or sharing gear with a windwalker set: Hit/Exp to 7.5% cap/haste/crit/parry/dodge/mastery. You'll want stats than can boost your DPS to power through trash. Nothing should be hitting you overly hard, so mastery isn't a big deal. This is a good general setup.
High-Avoidance fights (aka some mechanic that means you want to parry/dodge as much as possible): Parry/Dodge/Hit&Exp to 7.5%/crit/haste/mastery. Self-explanatory.
Progression Raiding/spike damage: mastery/hit&exp to 7.5%/parry/dodge/haste/crit. You won't want to use this setup frequently; this is purely designed to blunt big hits as much as possible, so your overall damage taken will go up but the overall spikes will be smoother. You will likely also want to gem stamina to some degree.
Here’s all the recommended enchants: I’ll try to go back and add in others if options present themselves. Having two crafting professions remains the best choice. Not mentioned in the table is Alchemy (+320 agi or +450 stam from Mixology) and Jewelcrafting (2 gems that give +160 agi over their rare equivalents). Herbalism (2880 haste on-use ability) and Skinning (480 crit) bonuses are half as effective as those from the crafting professions; Mining (480 stamina) is of course useful but YMMV.
Head: Head enchants are gone!
Shoulders: Greater Tiger Claw Inscription (200 agi, 100 crit) or Greater Ox Horn Inscription (300 sta, 100 dodge) Inscription: Secret Tiger Claw Inscription (520 agi, 100 crit) or Secret Ox Horn Inscription (750 sta, 100 dodge)
Chest: Glorious Stats (80 all primary stats) or Superior Stamina (300 sta)
Waist: Living Steel Buckle (gem socket)
Legs: Shadowleather Leg Armor (285 agi, 165 crit) or Ironscale Leg Armor (430 stamina, 165 dodge) Leatherworking: Primal Leg Reinforcements or Heavy Leg Reinforcements (cheap version)
Feet: Blurred Speed (140 agi, +8% movespeed)
Wrists: Greater Agility (170 agi) Blacksmithing: Socket Bracer (gem socket, stacks with enchant) Leatherworking: Fur Lining – Agility (500 agi)
Hands: Superior Expertise (170 exp) or Greater Haste (170 haste) Blacksmithing: Socket Gloves (gem socket, stacks with enchant) Engineering: Synapse Springs (1920 agi proc, stacks with enchant)
Fingers: Enchanting: Greater Agility (160 agi) x2
Back: Accuracy (180 hit) or Superior Critical Strike (180 crit) or Greater Protection (200 sta) Tailoring: Swordguard Embroidery (4000 AP proc)
Main Hand: Colossus (damage shield proc) or Dancing Steel (1650 agi proc). River’s Song/Windsong are also good.
Gems and Consumables
In order to make non-primary stat gems more compelling, Mists doubled the amount of secondary stats provided by gems. This makes gemming anything pretty much viable for brewmasters; just make sure you're gemming in accordance with your reforging strategy. I've listed agi gems in the table below as a good default choice. The only thing I would not gem for is mastery; if you need to blunt big hits, you're better off gemming stamina.
Perfect gems are now equivalent to rares. Of course, if you’re a Jewelcrafter, use your supergems first.
Meta: Since there’s no metagem with hit or expertise, the Austere Primal Diamond or Agile Primal Diamond (for main spec windwalkers) are the choices.
Red: Delicate Primordial Ruby/Perfect Delicate Pandarian Garnet, 160 agi; Precise Primordial Ruby/Perfect Precise Pandarian Garnet, 320 exp.
Blue: Rigid River’s Heart/Perfect Rigid Lapis Lazuli, 320 hit; Solid River’s Heart, 240 sta.
Yellow: Accurate Imperial Amethyst/Perfect Accurate Roguestone, 160 hit/160 exp; Glinting Imperial Amethyst/Perfect Glinting Roguestone, 80 agi/160 hit; Shifting Imperial Amethyst/Perfect Shifting Roguestone, 80 agi/160 sta.
Consumables basically work the same as they did in Cataclysm, with one major difference: there are now three tiers of food, instead of two. The best tier (+300 agi) is individual foods; the bottom two tiers (275 and 250) have individual foods or feasts, now known as “banquets.” The Pandaren Banquets/Great Pandaren Banquets are for 10m/25m respectively, and offer 275 to all; the lesser banquets give 275 for a certain stat only, and 250 to the rest. Be prepared to level Cooking or spend heavily on the AH. Flasks and Potions work the same way they did in Cataclysm. (Stamina food added for those that prefer it.)
300 agi: Sea Mist Rice Noodles
450 sta: Chun Tian Spring Rolls
275 agi: Valley Stir Fry, Chao Cookies,
415 sta: Twin Fish Platter
275 agi/415 sta: Pandaren Banquet/Great Pandaren Banquet, Banquet of the Oven (sta), Banquet of the Wok (agi)
250 agi: Sauteed Carrots
375 sta: Wildfowl Roast
250 agi/375 sta: All lesser Banquets
Flasks: Flask of Spring Blossoms (1000 agi) or Flask of the Earth(1500 sta)
Elixir Option: Elixir of Perfection (750 hit)/Weaponry (750 exp)/other stat combined with Mantid Elixir (2250 armor) is slightly better than an agility flask for Brewmasters.
Potion: Potion of the Mountains (12000 armor) or Virmen’s Bite (4000 agi)
Boss-Specific Strategies (TBA)
Extra discussion/tidbits here that didn’t make sense anywhere else in the guide. I’ll add things here periodically.
2H or DW?
In theory, they’re equal. In practice, I find that overall avoidance and Gift of the Ox generation from a 2h is better than that from DW, but Elusive Brew generation and DPS is better for DW. Use the best ilvl stuff you can get your hands on, really. DW is also slightly better for windwalker DPS, but you'll have more competition for DW drops (and you need two of them, obviously).
Heirloom Gear Recommendations
2 Venerable Mass of McGowan
1 Burnished Warden Staff
1 Venerable Dal’Rend’s Sacred Charge (main hand only) + 1 Mass of McGowan
1 Battleworn Thrash Blade (suboptimal, unique so can only use 1) + 1 Mass of McGowan
Shadowcraft gear: Cap, Tunic, Spaulders
Inherited Cape of the Black Baron
Dread Pirate Ring (yeah, right, good luck)
2x Swift Hand of Justice (no xp% gain)
Other Useful Sites
My site, World of Monkcraft, has everything you could ever need, though I may be biased. (http://worldofmonkcraft.com) I also write monk articles for WoW Insider here: (http://wow.joystiq.com/category/Monk/)
There’s a good discussion thread at Elitist Jerks. (http://elitistjerks.com/f99/t129790-brewmaster_tank_basic_discussion) Later in the thread, there’s a link to a spreadsheet made by Venyasure which has been absolutely invaluable in calculating weights. (http://www.filedropper.com/brewmasterspreadsheetcopy_1)
Disargeria has great info over at Monk and Monk, and knows much more about monks then I. (http://www.disargeria.net/)
I think Sunnier got sucked into Guild Wars 2, but she wrote a really good brewmaster guide before she disappeared! (http://sunniersartofwar.com/brewmaster-guide/)
The Madgod has a decent Brewmaster guide at MMO-Champion, though I disagree with some of his recommendations.
Well, that wraps up the guide. This is a living document, so add your suggestions and comments and I'll try to incorporate them where I can!
Edited by Alamonk on 10/14/2012 8:06 PM PDT
Thanks alot! This helps tremendously. Bravo! Now for some sleep. 81 Keg-breaking levels later.
I've had a few issues while leveling holding threat,(mainly in the 70 - 80 dungeons with 3k loom dps) and i also use breath of fire with dizzying haze to help build some initial aoe aggro on a pack. Thoughts on this? is this a waste of resources? I always switch to crane kick afterwards.
Edited by Aldaroth on 9/25/2012 9:31 PM PDT
I probably was a little too down on Breath of Fire in the guide itself. It's perfectly fine for 5-man leveling (and your strategy is fine), it's just in raids that it won't get used since it doesn't add anything other than DPS.
Your aggro issues are because BoF is 40% direct damage and 60% DoT, and because Vengeance isn't so powerful anymore for 5-mans. :)
Do we really want to reforge out of mastery? Just taking a quick glance at the tool tip it seems fairly useful. The higher our stagger the lower burst damage we take right? I'm sure there's some theorycraft or practice behind why... so what is that reasoning? I'm curious to know haha.
Also any tips for better Ox Statue use? It seems to me if we could get a macro to throw it down and set it as our focus we could have easy reference to provoke it for an AoE taunt.
Overall I love the guide, definitely clued me in to a few things I was overlooking while working my way through 5-mans to learn the class =) keep up the great work!
I'm going to go ahead and be super critical of this guide, I hope you don't mind. What you've done here is great but your definition of when a BrM Monk should Purifying Brew is incredibly incorrect:
If you follow these guidelines you're going to have a bad time. The rotation allows for enough Chi to keep up Shuffle as well as Stagger off Light Stagger as well. I personally use Expel Harm, Guard on CD, and have more than enough Chi to keep my Stagger minimized and keep an uptime on shuffle. If you are stacking Shuffle high unnecessarily than you'll probably run into an issue where you take far too much stagger damange.
I'm not sure why you totally discount mastery; as far as I'm concerned it is the most effective way at both mitigating damage and increasing your worst case time to death. I consider it the most potent stat for progression tanking.
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