The Brewmaster Tanking Guide [6.2]

Brewmaster discussion, gearing guides, and tips.
Contents
  • 1: Introduction
  • 2: Stats
  • 3: Stat Priorities
  • 3.1: Tier 17 Priority and Set Bonuses
  • 3.2: Challenge Mode Priority
  • 3.3: Tier 18 Priority and Set Bonuses
  • 4: Gemming
  • 5: Enchanting
  • 6: Professions
  • 7: Consumables
  • 8: Race
  • 8.1: Alliance
  • 8.2: Horde
  • 9: Gear
  • 10: Abilities
  • 10.1 Passives
  • 10.2 Cooldowns
  • 10.3 Buffs / Utility
  • 10.4 Single Target
  • 10.5 Multiple Target
  • 11: Talents
  • 12: Glyphs
  • 13: Rotation
  • 13.1: Single Target Rotation
  • 13.2: AoE Rotation
  • 13.3: Chi Explosion
  • 14: Advanced Play
  • 15: Addons
  • 16: FAQ
  • 17: Formulas
  • 18: Author's Notes
  • 19: Changelog / Archive

Searching the guide: ctrl-f "#__" where __ is the number of the section you wish to go to.

#1: Introduction

The Brewmaster is an avoidance tank, relying primarily on stagger and a high avoidance chance to minimize incoming damage. Using his mastery of delicious alcoholic beverages, the Brewmaster can avoid enemy attacks as well as dish out a very healthy amount of damage. To be a good Brewmaster is to be precise. You have a fairly varied number of tools at your disposal. Learning how to use each of them to their maximum effect will allow you to be one of the most potent tanks in the game. 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. But mostly beer.

Before I go into the nit and grit of the Brewmaster spec, I do want to point out that if you have any questions or comments, feel free to post in this thread or head onto our IRC channel, where you can talk with me and other members of the community not just about brewmasters, but basically anything! You're welcome to join us there and we're always happy to see the community grow!

#2: Stats

While I will be writing down the whole stat priority and all that, I also want to discuss the stats you will be using as a Brewmaster, and WHY you're using them. 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.

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. 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 (Mastery does, provided you talent into Soul Dance), 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. Keep in mind that in Warlords, damage intake is going to be smoother, so stamina's value has diminished.

Agility: Agility confers threat by giving you attack power, but also confers avoidance by giving you (a very small amount of) dodge. It is a solid stat, and like Stamina, it will naturally go up the higher ilevel your gear is.

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.

Bonus Armor: Essentially armor, but bonus! One of the new stats that's been added in Warlords of Draenor, you can find this on jewelry and cloaks. It's essentially our most desired stat, so make sure that you go for items with bonus armor on them when you can. If you don't have this stuff, it's basically like wearing leather as a warrior.

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. It will also increase our attack power by a percentage, which makes mastery a lucrative offensive stat to go into as well.

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 as well as more chances for a multistrike proc. Unfortunately, it scales pretty horribly this expansion.

Multistrike:

One of the new secondary attributes added in Warlords of Draenor, multistrike is essentially a percent chance for an attack to strike up to two additional times, for 30% extra damage each strike. Gift of the Ox has been modified to function off of multistrike, so the stat helps our self-healing as well as damage output.

Versatility:

Another of the new secondary attributes added in Warlords, versatility is basically just a throughput stat. It increases damage dealt, healing done, and reduces damage taken. Another very strong stat.

#3: Stat Priorities

Because Brewmasters have several different ways to avoid damage, there are a couple ways you can tweak the stat priority. Of course, depending on your gear level and what content you're doing, it may change a bit.

First off, you need to ensure that you've got your essentials covered: grab as much bonus armor as you can.

After that, there's two central paths you can take: you can focus on getting mastery or versatility for minimizing damage taken and maximizing effective health, or focus on getting more crit or multistrike, which bumps up your ability to avoid and heal through damage, as well as dishing out a fair amount in return.

Haste is just awful, so try and avoid that if at all possible. Point for point it provides far less 'oomph' for us than other stats.

If you don't want to see the specifics of the next sections, just know that the old mantra "stack mastery till comfortable with survivability, then go into crit" is still going to work just fine in Warlords.

#3.1: Tier 17 Priority and Set Bonuses

Tier 17 poses some very interesting set bonuses. Our two piece bonus confers 2 energy whenever we dodge an attack and our four piece bonus grants us a charge of Elusive Brew.

Our four-piece is pretty worthless (in terms of progression in that tier), so just going for the two-piece is a good idea. Because this is fairly early in the expansion, expect damage to be pretty high if you're first coming in and therefore stack mastery.

That being said, if you're feeling comfortable with your damage taken and your ability to not die from boss hits, putting more points into crit or multistrike isn't a bad idea if you want to start dealing more damage. Especially as you move higher into the tier and you get more and more stats. The latter is actually not too bad a choice because mastery alone is likely to provide enough defensive power for you to go with a more DPSey stat. Crit is nice because it's well-rounded and provides more survivability than MS does but isn't too far off in terms of damage dealt, but again if you don't need more survivability, why not just go for max damage?

#3.2: Challenge Mode Priority

Challenge Modes automatically scale you down to a fairly low ilevel. Thus, you take a lot of damage. However, they're also very hard DPS timers and typically, high damage intake comes from magic damage. Generally speaking, provided that you have a good team who can chain stun / interrupt, having a mostly crit-oriented build will suit you well. Like everything though this isn't absolute, as you can pour in a bit of mastery if you're still too squishy. The specific ratio between the two will differ from group to group.

#3.3: Tier 18 Priority and Set Bonuses

Tier 18 has some very significant changes to our priority, both in terms of stats as well as talent choice and our actual combat priority / rotation. The two-piece bonus enables Expel Harm to be used without cooldown at 50% life, as opposed to 35% normally. Do note that this does not take advantage of the Expel Harm glyph, and thus will cost 40 energy until you are at 35% life. Regardless of such, it is still a powerful advantage. With the two-piece bonus, Ascension actually becomes quite useful and it is recommended to grab it. While you do not generate as much chi, because of the 6.2 nerfs to stagger and the two-piece bonus, the value of chi (for purifying and maintaining shuffle) has gone down and the value of energy has increased.

With the four-piece bonus, every time you cast Expel Harm, the cooldown of your Guard is reduced by 5 seconds. The recommended talent now is Serenity, as opposed to the other choices mainly due to the fact that it is far easier to manage and hold onto chi for when Guard comes off cooldown.

So for the priority, mastery is again your go-to stat for damage mitigation, followed by crit. However with the four-piece, haste actually becomes fairly useful, and is generally more favorable to grab than crit, if you have the opportunity. Do note that haste isn't worth stacking significantly. It's just not a bad thing if you find yourself wearing gear with it. It has been upgraded to "fairly useful" from its previous status of "oh god why does this piece have this stat??"

#4: Gemming

Gemming in Warlords of Draenor has been significantly revamped. There are no more socket bonuses, or socket colors. There are also no more meta gems and gem sockets themselves are far rarer. However, each individual gem is worth far more power, so be sure to get your gems.

So basically in terms of the different sockets, these are all the relevant gem choices. In regards to what you want, following the current tier's stat priority will suit you just fine. For the sake of min-maxing (both in-game and in regards to the length of this guide), I am only linking the best gems available.


#5: Enchanting

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 your build requires mastery and versatility, prioritize those. If you still need more haste to feel comfortable, go for more haste. If you want more self healing, getting multistrike or crit would be useful. If you're going into Challenge Modes, haste is your friend.

This expansion brings about a pretty significant change to how enchanting used to work. Basically every secondary stat (not counting spirit or bonus armor) can be enchanted onto any of the enchantable items. For your convenience, I've retained the tables, just so you don't have to look up the crafting recipe.

Cloak
Neck
Ring
Weapon

#6: Professions

As I say a lot, you should be able to pick whatever professions you deem you need. With Warlords, this is far easier, as there are no more combat bonuses for professions. Ultimately, pick whatever profession you deem the most useful to you.

  • Blacksmithing - You can make your own weapons!
  • Alchemy - You can make your own potions and high end flasks, as well as a philosopher's stone trinket.
  • Enchanting - Allows you to create your own enchants, including the weapon enchants.
  • Leatherworking - Allows you to make your own high end gear.
  • Engineering - Comes with the benefit of having a bunch of toys to mess around with when you're not raiding! Also a craftable helm.
  • Jewelcrafting - Allows you to craft your own high end gems as well as jewelry.
  • Inscription - You can make your own glyphs as well as a staff.
  • Mining - You can gather materials that are mainly used for engineering, blacksmithing, and jewelcrafting.
  • Skinning - You can gather leather and the like primarily for leatherworking.
  • Herbalism - You can gather herbs that are mainly used for alchemy and inscription.

Keep in mind that all crafting professions are going to be using a more varied assortment of materials. Your garrison will provide a bit of them, however.

#7: Consumables

For the sake of convenience, I'm linking all useful consumables. For your alchemical consumables, keep in mind what you need personally and what your raid group needs in choosing whichever you will be getting. If you need survivability, get more defensive-oriented consumables. If you need damage, go for the more offensive-oriented ones. Typically it's best to keep with the defensive consumables, but it doesn't hurt to have damage ones on hand if required of you.

For your food, get what your build requires. Are you stacking mastery? Get the mastery food. Are you going into a heavy magic fight and need stamina? get that. Etcetera.

Alchemy

Potion:

Flask:

Cooking

#8: Race

Each faction is listed from best to worst race for min-maxing Brewmasters. Pandaren are mentioned twice, since they can join both factions. Keep in mind that while these are ordered from best to worst, the difference in effectiveness is generally less than 1% difference. If you don't want to min-max, feel free to pick whatever.

#8.1: Alliance
  • Night elves - With 2% movement speed and dodge, 1% haste (by night. It's 1% crit by day), and 1% reduced nature damage, the night elves reign supreme as the strongest tanking race on the Alliance.
  • Pandaren - Not to be discounted, the classical Pandaren offer double food buff efficiency and reduced falling damage, the former of which makes them very strong in regards to custom-fitting your stats to your build.
  • Dwarves - Dwarves have a cleanse / small physical damage cooldown, 1% reduced frost damage taken, as well as 2% increased crit damage / healing and thus are another strong Alliance race.
  • Draenei - With a bit of bonus agility and a self heal, along with 1% reduced shadow damage taken, draenei are also a strong Alliance race.
  • Humans - Humans get a little chunk of Versatility, which makes them fairly strong. Their PvP trinket racial is just icing on the cake.
  • Gnomes - Gnomes reduce arcane damage taken by 1%, increase haste by 1%, and have 5 extra energy to pool... along with a snare escape. They're fairly lackluster, compared to the other races.

#8.2: Horde
  • Blood elves - With an AoE silence that gives one chi, 1% additional crit, and 1% arcane damage reduction, the blood elf is a very strong race for Brewmasters. Especially if you are planning on doing Challenge Modes.
  • Tauren - Tauren come with a (casted) AoE stun, 1% reduced nature damage taken, an extra chunk of stamina, and 2% bonus critical damage / healing and are thus another strong race for Brewmasters.
  • Pandaren - See the Alliance section for the pandaren races. All in all, another strong race for Horde Brewmasters.
  • Undead - With 1% reduced shadow damage taken, a PvP trinket, and extra damage/healing on attacks, undead are an okay race for Brewmasters, though not as good as the three above.
  • Orc - With a bit of attack power on a long cooldown and slightly reduced stun durations, orcs are rather subpar Brewmasters.
  • Troll - Trolls have a little extra health regeneration and have a haste cooldown. They are definitely the worst of the Horde races when it comes to Brewmasters. A shame, since they've got an amazing accent.

#9: Gear

While I don't think a BiS list is particularly viable for brewmasters because of the varying viable builds we can have, there are a couple particular items that are worth addressing. This section only really pertains to the trinkets found within the Hellfire Citadel.

The only two trinkets seriously worth going after are the Warlord's Unseeing Eye and Anzu's Cursed Plume. Warlord's is just insanely powerful damage mitigation and Anzu provides a very solid amount of stats that are critical to survival. The other trinkets that drop in the raid are fairly lackluster (with the class trinket off Archimonde actually being counter-intuitive with our 4set bonus) and while you might want them if you need a significant upgrade, they are not worth getting over these two.

Knight's is alright with the additional item levels granted by the 6.2 profession upgrade items, but it doesn't really compare to Warlord's or Anzu. If you have the gold and/or lack the luck, it's fairly acceptable, but definitely sub-optimal. Upgrade at your earliest convenience.

#10: Abilities

The Brewmaster uses a plethora of useful and powerful abilities to ensure that they can do their job. This section details ALL of our notable abilities in regards to what they do and when they should be used. Do note that I am not detailing the rotation. If you want to check what that is, please see section 13.

#10.1: Passives

  • Stance of the Sturdy Ox - This is the monk's tanking stance. It increases armor by 125%, stamina by 25%, reduces magic damage taken by 15%, 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.

    It also improves the functionality of Jab, Fortifying Brew, Tiger Palm, Blackout Kick, and Expel Harm. This guide will cover those individually in their own subsections to avoid unnecessary reiteration.

  • Mastery: Elusive Brawler - Brewmaster mastery will provide us with increased damage staggered and increased attack power. Pretty simple. Check out the Stats and Stat Priorities section for more information.

  • 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 the ability to summon a small gold healing sphere near you when you trigger multistrike. Being able to use these Healing Spheres wisely is an important aspect of the spec. When they despawn, if you are relatively close by, they will instantly heal you regardless of whether or not you pick them up.

  • Tiger Strikes - With Tiger Strikes, your successful autoattacks have a 10% chance to provide you with a buff that increases your multistrike chance by 35% for 8 seconds. Simple, but quite nice.

#10.2: CooldownsCooldowns

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. By level 100, Guard will have a second charge, which functions basically the same as your Roll's cooldown. This ability should be kept at one charge at all times, so as to not waste the spell and still have it available for when there is a big hit incoming. If there are multiple hits that are incoming that would exhaust both Guards, you should save both charges, though this is highly dependent on the encounter.

  • 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. You can use Expel Harm whenever you drop below 35% health without it going on cooldown, which makes it a nice, readily available 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 Blackout Kick's buff, which gives you a notable 10% 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 a separate global cooldown, this is going to be very easily available 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. With 6.2 this relationship is less stressful, as Blackout Kick only provides parry. It's okay for it to drop sometimes, compared to previously. Generally speaking you should purify only when your health is spiking and you need to reduce the pressure, though that is highly relative.

  • Elusive Brew - This will increase your dodge chance by 45% 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). Try to save this for big hits or when you're actively tanking during a tank swap encounter, but also keep in mind that you shouldn't be sitting on a full stack of 15 (provided you are actively tanking).

  • 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%, 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.

  • Zen Meditation - Meditation is a godsend for fights with large damage going to your group. It reduces your damage taken by 90%. It lasts 8 seconds, provided you don't die, move (when unglyphed), or get hit by a melee attack.

  • 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.

#10.3: 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 and is your best friend on fights with adds. When active, it will pulse AoE threat. 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. This is very strong for grabbing initial threat on adds that spawn far away from you but you NEED to grab. A good example (though a bit dated) would be the add spawns in the Empress Shek'zeer encounter in the Heart of Fear.

    We like to call him Dave.

  • 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. By level 100, your rolls will travel the same distance, but 25% faster!

  • 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. By level 100, Transcendence will be instant cast and Transcendence: Transfer will have its cooldown reduced by 35 seconds, making Brewmasters even more mobile than they are now.

  • Spear Hand Strike - This is basically your standard interrupt. Nothing fancy. You strike a guy in the throat and they can't cast whatever school they were attempting to for four seconds.

  • Paralysis - A nice little long-term CC ability. With a 20 yard range, it's a nice CC ability for both before a pull and during a skirmish.

  • 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 White Tiger - The Brewmaster's only real group buff, Legacy of the White Tiger increases the raid's strength, agility, intellect, and crit by 5%. 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.

#10.4 Single Target

  • Jab - Your most basic chi generator. Costs 40 energy and generates 1 chi (or 2 once every 15 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. 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. This hits like a monster truck on crack, so make sure that you're maximizing its efficiency, especially on fights where you get to AoE targets.

  • 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. 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 and provides a stacking 6 second buff called Shuffle which provides you 10% parry. Blackout Kick should be used pretty regularly so as to maintain the buff, though it is not as high priority as Guard or Purifying Brew (at high levels of stagger damage) for chi spending. It's okay for it to drop every now and then.

  • 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. If you can, try and use this while Fortifying Brew is active 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.

#10.5: MultipleMultiple Targets

  • Dizzying Haze - 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%. This ability works in combination with Breath of Fire to provide for more AoE damage and therefore threat (before you get its perk). 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.

    Also, since it's now free, it's fun to spam during downtime.

  • Breath of Fire - Costing 2 chi, Breath of Fire is probably my favorite AoE move of the Brewmaster. If you do not yet have its perk (though you will have it by level 100), 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. 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, though with the perk, it may be a bit more useful than in the previous expansion.

  • 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.

#11: Talents

[*]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 (i.e. kiting). 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. Also useful if you need a second quick burst of speed for yourself if Roll somehow fails you in that regard.


[*]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, as it will bounce to a random nearby friendly target, rather than the person with the lowest health (classically, the tank) If you are soloing or are the only person in melee range of the thing you are tanking, Chi Wave is more useful. Zen Sphere guarantees that your healing will hit whatever person you cast it on (usually you), but it is a heal over time and is fairly strong, if you consider it's auto-detonate upon reaching 35% health, but its healing over time is pretty low. With 6.1 the buffs to its detonation (and nerfs to its heal over time) really only make it useful for high-damage encounters where you go below 35% fairly often. Chi Burst is excellent for burst 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.


[*]Level 45: This is the chi tier. In terms of raw math, Power Strikes will provide you with roughly double the chi that Chi Brew will. However, getting it does somewhat sacrifice the flexibility of picking when you get that chi as well as the benefit of getting some Elusive Brew stacks. That being said, it's rather worth the cost. Ascension is more reliant on your haste rating to provide chi and thus its real benefit is the extra slot for more chi, which allows you to have a greater stockpile of the stuff, as well as the extra energy regeneration itself, which allows for an easier time with getting energy for Expel Harm emergency heals. However, that benefit is somewhat eclipsed right now due to the fact that our energy regen is severely limited and because chi is far more valued this expansion. Unfortunately, Ascension does not provide nearly as much chi as the other two talents. Realistically, Power Strikes is the way to go here unless you absolutely need the elusive brew stacks from Chi Brew. Ascension is rather lackluster at this point.

However! With the tier 18 two-piece, Ascension becomes more powerful, due to 6.2's changes to how much stagger we have and the two-piece bonus, our focus has become a lot like it was during the Siege of Orgrimmar; we want a bit more energy and while at only two-piece haste isn't so hot just yet, Ascension does provide a bit more usefulness than prior.


[*]Level 60: The CC tier, you can choose from Ring of Peace, which allows you to incapacitate 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 pretty niche. You can realistically only use it on a ranged ally who isn't doing any damage to anything immediately around them. Charging Ox Wave and Leg Sweep are far superior in terms of maximizing their use. Of the two, I mainly prefer Leg Sweep.


[*]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 Elixirs. 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 15% of your health by 50%, which means extra-powerful boss 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. That having been said, since damage intake is less spiky than before, Healing Elixirs is doing quite well and Diffuse Magic is always strong. Dampen Harm is a bit more niche than before.


[*]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.


[*]Level 100: This is sort of a weird tier to explain in a single word. You have Soul Dance, which makes you able to stagger magic damage at 30% effectiveness, Chi Explosion which replaces Blackout Kick and basically gives you a stronger Blackout Kick with a 40 yard range (really nice for supplementing picking up adds) and the ability to add a purify and make it AoE for additional chi spent, and Serenity which when activated immediately refunds any chi spent during its uptime. To get right down to it, Chi Explosion is best used if you want to do more damage and Serenity is extremely strong because of its ability to allow you to essentially use a keg smash and then spam Blackout Kick and Purifying Brew, which means you don't need to worry as much about your shuffle uptime. Soul Dance is somewhat of a niche talent here, since it is only really effective on fights where the majority of damage taken is magical. Chi Explosion, because of its high AoE damage for the chi consumed, makes it quite powerful for challenge mode dungeons and Brewmasters would do well to focus their builds around this talent. For a more in-depth comparison of Chi Explosion and Serenity, check the FAQ. For how to use Chi Explosion in your priority, check section 13.3.

This is incredibly important if you choose to use Soul Dance: How it functions is it takes magic damage and translates it into physical damage. That is to say, glyphed Guard DOES NOT WORK with it. You have been warned.

Also note! With the tier 18 four-piece, Serenity becomes the go-to talent due to it's on-demand chi and easier chi management, which is necessary when you're more focused on getting as many Guards as possible.[/list]

#12: Glyphs

With Blizzard's new philosophy in regards to glyphs, we will generally 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.

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.

  • 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 Detox - Will make your Detox heal a target for 4% when you successfully clear a debuff from it. Nice extra bit of healing if you're going to be Detoxing yourself.

  • Glyph of Expel Harm - Reduces Expel Harm's energy cost by 5 while your health is below 35%. This is MANDATORY for all Brewmasters. This is by far the best glyph in the game for us.

  • 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 Freedom Roll - Your Roll or Chi Torpedo will dispel all snares that are active on you. Somewhat ehh, since that's more of a PvP glyph than PvE.

  • 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 Keg Smash - increase the range of Keg Smash by 5. Useful for a bit more versatility in maintaining aggro. I don't think it's too amazing, though, considering our mobility.

  • 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 7% 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 Touch of Death - Touch of Death has no chi cost, but CD is increased by 2 minutes. It's okay, if you feel like you're strapped for chi, but the usefulness of this glyph is arguable.

  • 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 Victory Roll - You get a free charge of Roll whenever you kill an enemy that grants experience or honor. This is fairly useful for leveling or solo farming. Or PvP if you really want to do such as a Brewmaster.

  • 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.

#13: Rotation

Technically, Brewmasters do not have a rotation. It's just a nifty catch-all term. Brewmasters have a priority. By and large this is just a comprehensive section that tells you how to initiate fights and what to do once you're actually in the fray.

In regards to opening fights, I would recommend spamming a bit of Dizzying Haze on the enemies, following up with a Keg Smash. At this point, if you have Serenity, you should activate that and spam Blackout Kick to get a healthy amount of shuffle. If you do not have Serenity, just use Blackout Kick. Throw down your statue where it needs to be (near you or near where adds will spawn) and then continue on to your single target or AoE priority.

Please do note that I am not reiterating how to use cooldowns properly in this section. This is purely the general priority. If you'd like to see how our cooldowns should be used, please go to section 10.2.

#13.1: Single[/anchor]Single Target Rotation

Essentially, your single target priority is maintaining your shuffle buff via Blackout Kick (or an equivalent), purifying unhealthy levels of stagger via Purifying Brew, and generating chi via this priority:

Keep in mind, these assume that you have the space to generate chi without wasting any.

1) If off cooldown, use Keg Smash.
2) If off cooldown and you are not at 100% health, use Expel Harm
3) If 1 and 2 are not avaiable and you have more than 80 energy, use Jab

Or in other words, Keg Smash as much as possible, use Expel Harm when you can benefit from the self healing, and if neither of these are applicable and you have a solid energy pool, use Jab. For more on why you want a large energy pool before using Jab, check the advanced section (#14).

Interestingly, with the tier 18 four-piece, because of the extremely high value of Guard, one should Expel Harm as much as possible, even if that means delaying Keg Smash for a second. Keep that in mind.

After that you have three primary choices for chi spending.

1) Guard. Again, this should be kept at 1 charge at all times, unless boss mechanics necessitate two guards within a 30 second period. With tier 18 four-piece, this spell can be cast much more often and should be your absolute top priority, aside from generating more cooldown reduction via Expel Harm.

2) Purifying Brew to get rid of your stagger DoT. How often you use this is again going to be dependent on your talent choice and it also depends on the difficulty of the content you are consuming. Ignoring talents, during 5 man content purifying at about 20% stagger is a good idea, but in raids you will likely have to wait for higher stagger levels because of how quick stagger will climb up. On average you will want to try and purify about 70% of your stagger damage (you can look at logs and they will help tell you how much you purified). If you are running with Serenity, that can potentially be up to 90%.

3) The third chi spender is Blackout Kick for damage and shuffle generation. Each Blackout Kick generates 6 seconds of shuffle uptime, so this ability should to be used fairly regularly (how regularly depends on talent choice), though it does not need to be maintained at 100% uptime.

Alternatively, with the talent pick, this becomes Chi Explosion. That being said this requires a bit more discussion. For Chi Explosion, see section 13.3. All I can say here is that if you pick Chi Explosion it's going to replace Blackout Kick.

If you are using Serenity, you will want to spam Blackout Kick and Purifying Brew during that time period. This will allow you to generate a large amount of shuffle uptime, and thus it means you can spend more chi on purifying your stagger damage. This relationship of generating shuffle uptime and purifing stagger damage is an interesting one, and Serenity allows you to throw a lot more chi into the latter while still maintaining the former.

If you cannot do any of the above, use Tiger Palm as a filler.

If your target is below 10% health and you can afford the chi (and/or cooldown) cost, use Touch of Death.

#13.2: AoE Rotation

There is no significant difference here, except that instead of using Jab, you should be using Spinning Crane Kick or Rushing Jade Wind. You can also spam Breath of Fire while Serenity is up if you do not need to bolster your shuffle (though this isn't recommended during progression). You can use it outside of Serenity, but again, I wouldn't recommend it during progression and I would NOT use it if you are using Chi Explosion. If you are using Chi Explosion, you can save up to four chi to use that for AoE as well, though this will strain your shuffle generation.

#13.3: Chi Explosion

So Chi Explosion is actually a fairly complex talent. One that in fact deserves its own little section here in section 13.

What it does is basically rolls all of your chi spenders into one neat little ability. Chi Explosion will take all the chi that you currently have and spend it and what it does is reliant on how much chi is spent. At one chi, it deals a bit of damage (and will deal more per chi you spend). At two chi, it's basically Blackout Kick but with more damage. For every chi spent after, you also get two seconds of shuffle uptime on top of the normal 6. At three chi, it also purifies your stagger damage. At four chi, it's now an AoE ability and will cleave to nearby targets.

So! How to use it? During single target encounters while actively tanking, you will want to try and use Chi Explosion at 3 chi. This will take a bit of time to get used to, especially if you're running Power Strikes, but it's well worth it. If you're not actively tanking, try to just use Chi Explosion at 2 chi, so you can build up that shuffle in as efficient a way as possible. If you're AoEing, naturally you will want to use it at 4 chi.

#14: Advanced Play

There are a lot of things concerning Brewmasters that take a fairly significant amount of time to perfect. This section is going to be actually fairly short, ironically, as the concepts within are actually fairly simple. The difficulty lies within implementing them into your play.

Energy Pooling

Because our emergency heal (Expel Harm) costs 40 energy (35 if glyphed), It's very important to maintain a pool of energy to use in case of an emergency. Ideally, your job should be to generate chi at a pretty high level of energy (80-90ish), but not hit 100 and thus waste energy. This also ties into optimal use of Keg Smash, as if you pool chi you'll more likely be able to get a keg smash off just as it comes off cooldown. Basically treat Jab as a tool to ensure you don't cap on energy and you'll get the hang of it pretty quick. And of course, use Tiger Palm for any empty GCD's.

Chi Pooling

Our personal shield, Guard costs 2 chi and is immensely useful for emergencies. As well, this expansion Purifying Brew is incredibly potent in reducing overall damage taken and is a more important part of our toolkit. Thus, you should try and keep at least 1-2 chi at all times, in case an emergency comes up. This is probably one of the harder things to manage since instinct will tell you to just spend everything you gain and because of the bursty chi generation of your level 45 talents. However with some practice (and a bit of help from WeakAuras), it's doable. You won't be able to do this all that much if you talent into Chi Explosion, but with energy pooling, that isn't such a big deal, particularly since Chi Explosion necessitates more foresight anyway.

Shuffle Uptime

Shuffle, generated by Blackout Kick, provides six seconds of 10% parry and stagger. So obviously you want to keep this up when you're actively tanking. However, getting a surplus of the buff is counter-intuitive, at least from the perspective of tanking. While you'll be doing more DPS, you're wasting chi that could otherwise be used to purify the damage you take from stagger. Getting a surplus is a good thing, but try and limit it to about 30 seconds or so. Getting over a minute's worth of stagger is unnecessary. One thing to keep in mind is that getting Keg Smash off on time is very important, so don't waste that time. You'll want to balance out maintaining quick Keg Smash usage with energy regeneration and chi

Puryfing Brew Usage

There is a very interesting fact about purifying stagger. If you purify immediately after a boss attack, you will not take any stagger damage and the attack will just become a purely mitigated hit. So in other words, Purifying Brew is best used immediately after you're hit by a boss. The timing of such is fairly easy to see if you use an addon like Gnosis or BossSwingTimer.

Zen Meditation Usage

Similar to optimized Purifying Brew usage, Zen Meditation is optimally used in such a way that it's only up for about one second or so. Or in other words, if you are about to receive a big hit from a boss and you want to use Zen Meditation to mitigate that hit, activate it half a second before the strike so that you aren't stuck in Zen Meditation for an unnecessary length of time.

#15: Addons

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.
  • 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 do all of that, 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. If you want something a bit leaner, go with BossSwingTimer.

#16: FAQ

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.

Dual Wielding or Two-Handers?

With the January 7th hotfix, two-handers are now quite superior to dual wielding. A two-handed weapon will provide about 11% more Elusive Brew stacks than a pair of one-handers. That's a very significant amount which can't really be matched by the bonus of having two weapon enchants.

Chi Explosion vs Serenity

There is an interesting relationship with these two talents and it primarily revolves around Purifying Brew:

Image


With Chi Explosion, you will be dealing a significantly higher amount of damage (even single target). However, because you cannot get free shuffle (via Serenity), you will have less chi to purify with and thus take more damage. With Serenity, there's basically zero excuse to not have 99.999% shuffle uptime, so you'll have a LOT of chi to spend on Purifying Brew and thus take a lot less damage... but you won't dish out as much in return. Here's the interesting twist, though, on what to pick: If you are using Chi Explosion and you're finding yourself in the need to purify more than you can afford to, you're probably better off with Serenity. If you're rolling with Serenity and you've got an excessive duration (2+ minutes) of shuffle, your best bet is going to switch to Chi Explosion.

#17: Formulas

Boss Armor Reduction

A raid boss (considered level 103) has 1938 armor; level 100 mob = 1536, 101 mob = 1670; 102 Dungeon boss = 1804

The armor reduction is calculated as such:

Armor / (armor + K)

K is based on the attackee's level.

So for a player, the value of K is 3160. On the reverse side, a Raid boss hitting a tank, the K value is 5234.

So if you plug the two numbers in, baseline DR is:

1938 / (1938 + 3160) = 38.014907806983130639466457434288%

meaning you are doing ~62% of the damage as shown on the tooltip.

Tiger Power reduces the 1938 by 30% so while Tiger Power is up, the formula looks as such:

(1938 * (1 - 0.30)) / ((1938 * (1 - 0.30)) + 3160) =
(1938 * 0.70) / ((1938 * 0.70) + 3160) =
1356.6 / (1356.6 + 3160) = 30.035867688083956958774299251649%

#18: Author's Notes

10/10/2014 - So I believe everything is done. If you guys see any issues or things you'd like clarified, please don't hesitate to post. I will be updating section 9 after the expansion hits but before raids are unlocked, so expect that in the opening week or two if things go according to plan.

#19: Changelog / Archive
  • 6.0 Prepatch - 10, October, 2014
  • Tier 17 Gear Recommendations - 3, February, 2015
  • Updated for 6.1 - 23, February, 2015
  • Links changed to wowhead - 1, March, 2015
  • Updated for 6.2 - 22, June, 2015
  • Added the base of a forumlas section, 11, October, 2015
Great guide dude. I'm an old player returning to wow ( hunter class ), I'm looking at getting into BM monk so this has been really helpful.

Are there any streams I could watch to help me out?
I don't know any streams off the top of my head but if you aren't in there already, jump onto our Discord (link here and at the top of the page). We're always happy to talk shop.

And keep a weather eye, this guide'll be updating for Legion fairly soon. Apologies for the late reply!

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