Art of War

A brewmaster monk blog.

Brewmaster Guide

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"Level 100 Talents Preliminary Review"

Getting Started

Advanced Gearing

Advanced Mechanics

Why Play a Brewmaster?

The Monk Style

Brewmasters are inspired by the “Drunken Fist” style of Kung Fu. As self defense specialists, they utilize healthful brews and balanced footwork to stay alive.

Monks attack primarily with their fists, though they’ll also draw weapons (staves, polearms, swords, axes, and fists) when the time is right. They are fast-paced and always have something to do. Brewmasters deal damage in bursts, and have no damage over time spells and very few buffs and debuffs to manage. They are a melee class, and have very limited ranged abilities. They wear leather armor.

Brewmasters have a unique mechanic called “Stagger”. Instead of completely reducing damage, like dodge or parry, or partially reducing damage, like armor, it temporarily reduces damage. Stagger shaves off some percentage of all melee attacks against the brewmaster, and deals the remaining damage back to you over 10 seconds. You can read more about stagger in the Advanced Mechanics section.

Brewmaster Perks

  • Brewmasters are the newest tank and were designed with active mitigation in mind. “Active Mitigation” is the term used to describe short-term defensive skills that you must manage to stay alive.
  • Brewmasters have the most versatile active mitigation skill set: self healing, shields, damage smoothing, avoidance.
  • Brewmasters benefit from traditionally offensive stats like critical strike and haste. They can use these stats both offensively and defensively, and deal good damage themselves.
  • Brewmasters are excellent kiters and have some of the best movement abilities around.
  • As a new class, Brewmasters have custom animations that make us the best looking melee class in the game.
  • Fun! The designers applied their years of experience in creating one of the most engaging specializations.

Brewmaster Weaknesses

  • Brewmasters’ big, defensive cooldowns are not as powerful as other tanks and are often much more situational. Their excellent active mitigation skills help to compensate.
  • Brewmasters are a naturally low-health tank. Their self heals do a great job of alleviating their low health periods, but it’s something to keep in mind. You can also compensate by equipping stamina gear.
  • Brewmasters have the lowest armor of all tanks, and if left unmitigated we take significant damage. Stagger compensates for low armor, and intelligent use of their active mitigation will be the key to reducing damage intake.
  • Brewmasters can be complicated for beginners. It’s worth it to learn, but Brewmasters can be overwhelming when you first start out.


Brewmasters follow a priority system that heavily depends on how much damage you need to mitigate or how much threat you need to generate. Avoid letting energy reach 100 and avoid generating chi when you’re near your maximum.

The rotation can be a bit complicated and difficult to learn in the beginning, so here is a tiered approach to figuring it out.


This rotation will work for normal and heroic 5 mans. You won’t need to worry about Stagger at this point, just focus on the below priorities.

Spend energy on:

  1. Keg Smash, whenever it’s available.
  2. Expel Harm when you need a heal.
  3. Jab.

Spend Chi on:

  1. Blackout Kick. The buff it provides should be active almost all the time.
  2. Guard whenever it’s available.

Other things to look out for:

  1. Start AoE pulls with Dizzying Haze and Leg Sweep / Charging Ox Wave / Ring of Peace to reduce incoming damage.
  2. Elusive Brew when you have many stacks.
  3. Use your level 30 healing talents, Chi Wave, Zen Sphere, or Chi Burst whenever they are available.
  4. Pick up Gift of the Ox orbs for healing.


Once you understand the beginner rotation, it’s time to learn how to use your defensive skills intelligently, instead of whenever they are available. Once you understand the jist of the intermediate rotation, you’re ready for LFR.

Guard. Think of this as a cooldown, but with a short recharge time and a resource cost. Use it if the boss is about to use a high-damage ability, if your health dips low, or if your healers are unable to heal you. The beauty of Guard’s absorb is that you can use it to prevent damage as well as react to low health.

Elusive Brew. Because dodge isn’t a reliable way to reduce damage, you have to use it preemtively or in an attempt to smooth out damage intake. It won’t work against most big boss attacks, but it will hopefully smooth out the dangerous melee strikes before and after those attacks. Use it before a big boss ability to smooth out damage, if you’re taking a flurry of melee hits or if the boss buffs his melee attacks in any way, when your vengeance is low (because Elusive Brew is one of your few abilities that doesn’t require high attack power), and when you’re near the maximum of 15 stacks.

Spend energy on:

  1. Keg Smash, whenever it’s available.
  2. Expel Harm when you need a heal.
  3. Jab.
  4. Spinning Crane Kick for AoE situations, as long as other defensive abilities are active.

Spend Chi on:

  1. Blackout Kick. The buff it provides should be active almost all the time.
  2. Guard when you need a cooldown, such as if your health is low or you’re about to get hit hard.
  3. Breath of Fire for AoE situations, as long as Shuffle is active and has a duration greater than 6 seconds.

Other things to look out for:

  1. Start AoE pulls with Dizzying Haze and Leg Sweep / Charging Ox Wave / Ring of Peace to reduce incoming damage.
  2. Elusive Brew when an avoidable flurry of special attacks is coming up, or when you need to smooth out your damage intake, or if you have many stacks.
  3. Use your level 30 healing talents, Chi Wave, Zen Sphere, or Chi Burst whenever they are available.
  4. Pick up Gift of the Ox orbs for healing.
  5. Tiger Palm when you don’t have anything else to do.


Finally time to start thinking about Purifying Brew. I left it for this late because when you’re first starting in 5 mans and normal raids, you will rarely even reach moderate stagger. It’s just not that useful for beginner content, and makes learning how to brewmaster more complicated than it needs to be.

To get used to the feel, start using Purifying Brew when you reach moderate (yellow) or heavy (red) stagger. The faster you can purify a yellow or red stagger, the better, so practice saving one or two Chi in situations where you are taking significant physical damage so that you can use Purifying Brew quickly.

Once you master the above, you can try to use Purifying Brew more intelligently. You don’t need to Purify all yellow staggers because yellow stagger represents a very broad range of damage and your stagger will be moderate almost all the time once you start the more difficult normal raids. Eventually, you will reach content where you just don’t generate enough Chi to purify every yellow stagger and keep up Shuffle, so you’ll have to make decisions. In most cases, it’s more important to keep Shuffle active than to purify Stagger.

If you want to learn more about how Stagger works, you can read more under advanced mechanics: stagger.

When choosing how to spend your chi, remember that Shuffle is proactive and should be used before big attacks, and Purifying Brew is reactive and should be used after big attacks. Guard is your wild card and acts as both proactive and reactive. If you’re prone to spikey damage (as many of us are), save Guard for those times.

Spend energy on:

  1. Keg Smash, whenever it’s available.
  2. Expel Harm when you need a heal.
  3. Jab.
  4. Spinning Crane Kick for AoE situations, as long as other defensive abilities are active.

Spend Chi on:

  1. Blackout Kick. The buff it provides should be active almost all the time.
  2. Guard when you need a cooldown, such as if your health is low or you’re about to get hit hard.
  3. Purifying Brew when you are taking a lot of stagger damage.
  4. Breath of Fire for AoE situations, as long as Shuffle is active and has a duration greater than 6 seconds.

Other things to look out for:

  1. Start AoE pulls with Dizzying Haze and Leg Sweep / Charging Ox Wave / Ring of Peace to reduce incoming damage.
  2. Elusive Brew when an avoidable flurry of special attacks is coming up, or when you need to smooth out your damage intake, or if you have many stacks.
  3. Use your level 30 healing talents, Chi Wave, Zen Sphere, or Chi Burst when you or your raid needs the heal.
  4. Pick up Gift of the Ox orbs for healing.
  5. Tiger Palm when you don’t have anything else to do.
  6. Fortifying Brew, Zen Meditation, Dampen Harm, or Diffuse Magic when you need a big cooldown.

A Few Additional Tips and Tricks:

  1. Shuffle is your highest priority. Keep it active at all times, if possible. Once it has a decent duration, you can start thinking about using more chi for Purifying Brew.
  2. If your health suddenly drops low, use one or more of: Guard, Expel Harm, your healing talents, Fortifying Brew, Zen Meditation, or Gift of the Ox.
  3. Avoid spending energy or chi until you absolutely have to. It’s always good to have a buffer of some energy (for a quick Expel Harm, or to save up for Keg Smash if it’s coming off cooldown soon) or some chi (for a quick Purifying Brew, Guard, etc).

Stat Priority

Brewmasters have remarkably flexible gearing choices. As long as you can reach hit and expertise caps, your choice in secondaries is mostly up to you and your personal preferences. With these stat priorities in mind, you’ll want to equip agility accessories and armor.

Each brewmaster secondary stat encourages a unique play style. High haste makes it easier to keep to Purify more often, gives you more Gift of the Ox healing orbs, and the ability to spam Expel Harm at low health due to Desperate Measures. High crit gives you more opportunities to use Elusive Brew and the highest dps. High mastery is excellent at reducing physical burst and smoothing your damage intake.

Smoothing Stat Priority

This is the priority I recommend for new players and for particularly hard-hitting bosses. The reason I recommend it for beginners is because it minimizes the effect of personal mistakes by guaranteeing at least some damage smoothing with your mastery. It’s also useful for those attempting difficult content because mastery and stamina are the best stats for surviving strings of physical burst. If you want to learn more please check out my post on the mastery/stamina gearing paradigm.

  1. Expertise (15%) and Hit (7.5%)
  2. Mastery
  3. Stamina
  4. Crit
  5. Haste (many brewmasters with this build prefer to reach a minimum level of haste, around 3-4k, but the number you go with is up to you)

Avoidance/DPS Stat Priority

This priority emphasizes crit, which increases your Elusive Brew uptime. It is also our best dps stat. Avoidance gearing will reduce your total damage taken, but it’s not reliable and you’re vulnerable to unpredictable spike events. However, it’s a very good option if you’re raid is lacking dps and you want to help with that while also prioritizing tank stats. I recommend this build to experienced players and 10 man raiders. If you want to learn more, please check out my post on the crit gearing paradigm.

  1. Expertise (15%) and Hit (7.5%)
  2. Crit
  3. Haste (between 4k and 11k)
  4. Mastery

Hybrid Survival and DPS

This priority combines both mastery and crit, and is a popular compromise between the above builds. It is increasing in popularity because of the approaching crit caps and the increasing potency of high mastery.

  1. Expertise (15%) and Hit (7.5%)
  2. Crit & Mastery to near equal amounts
  3. Haste (between 4k and 11k)

The following is a description of what each of a brewmaster’s stats does:


Provides dodge, attack power, and crit. Good for avoidance and dps.


Provides health. Best for smoothing (i.e. keeping you easily healable).


Provides faster auto attacks and faster energy regen, which leads to faster chi generation and more uptime on defenses. Also provides more chances for Gift of the Ox to proc and faster Expel Harm spam at low health due to Desperate Measures. I generally recommend that everyone experiment to find the haste levels they work best with, which is usually somewhere between 4k to 11k. Beyond 11k (without T15 4pc), you will likely generate energy faster than you can spend it, leading to waste.

Critical Strike

Increases your chance to proc Elusive Brew stacks, which in return increases your dodge when you use it. As a minor bonus, also increases the crit chance of your heals. Good for pure avoidance and dps. For dual-wield, crit loses its value when you have more than 57%. For two-handed, that cap is at 79%.


Decreases the chance for your attacks to get dodged or parried. If Keg Smash is parried, it goes on cooldown and you don’t get the 2 Chi, so it throws a wrench in your Chi generation. The soft expertise cap (no more dodges) is at 7.5% and requires 2550 rating for most races, while the hard cap (no more parries) requires an additional 2550 rating for a total of 5100, or 15%. As a tank, it is important that you reach the hard expertise cap (15%).


Decreases the chance for your attacks to miss. The special attack hit cap is at 7.5% and requires 2550 rating for most races. If using a two-handed weapon, 7.5% hit will also cap your “white” melee swings. If dual-wielding, your off-hand will still have a chance to miss, but it is still not worthwhile to go above 7.5% hit. As a tank, it is important that you reach the special attack hit cap at 7.5%.


Increases your initial stagger amount. Think of it like Stamina, in that it makes you easier to heal but does not necessarily reduce your damage taken. Mastery works better in greater amounts, and is excellent for reducing physical burst damage.


Only the obvious benefit of increasing your chance to dodge incoming attacks.


Increases your chance to parry and increases your damage a small amount through Swift Reflexes.


With the Mists of Pandaria talent design, most talents are extremely subjective and there’s usually no right answer. It’s best to reevaluate talents for each boss encounter, since it’s so cheap to swap.

Tier 1 - Level 15

Celerity | Tiger’s Lust | Momentum

All three of these talents are fair game. Tiger’s Lust is a sprint that can be used on others. Celerity allows you to roll more often, and Momentum gives you a small speed bonus after each roll. If an encounter has a snare or benefits from controlled bursts of movement, Tiger’s Lust will be best. Otherwise, pick the talent you like best.

Top Choices: All three are good. Your choice depends on your personal preference and minor fight mechanics, though Tiger’s Lust is useful in the most situations.

Tier 2 - Level 30

Chi Wave | Zen Sphere | Chi Burst

Three healing plus damage talents. All three of these could be useful for tanks, depending on the fight. Zen Sphere (10 second cooldown) places a small HoT on your target and detonates for a burst of healing and damage if your target’s health drops low or the duration runs out. It can be on two targets at once, which gives it a boost in tank swap fights. Chi Wave (15 second cooldown) is good for healing a spread out raid and dealing ranged damage, and it’s the best for regular self-healing. Chi Burst (30 second cooldown) is a cast, though you are still able to dodge and parry during the cast, and deals a strong amount of AoE damage and healing to everything directly in front of you. It is best for ranged pulling and stacked raid healing.

Top Choice: Chi Wave heals for the most on a short cooldown, so it’s the best in most situations (there is a handy [macro](#macros) to cast it on yourself first, guaranteeing the heal). Chi Burst is best for ranged pulling, AoE damage, and stacked raid healing. Zen Sphere is the least popular, but I still useful for very hectic fights where you frequently drop below 35% health.

Tier 3 - Level 45

Power Strikes | Ascension | Chi Brew

Three chi modifying talents. Power Strikes and Ascension provide the best chi output, and whichever tops out depends on the fight duration and your haste. However, it’s close enough that you’re safe picking whichever you like best. Power Strikes sometimes gives you chi at inopportune times, but it’s useful for heavy movement and tank swapping fights. Ascension is useful for saving up resources for burst, since it allows you to sit on 3 chi while still using Keg Smash or if completely full allows you to use Guard, Blackout Kick, and Purifying Brew all in quick succession. It also provides extra chi indirectly by increasing energy generation. Chi Brew is even more useful for preparing for burst and tank swaps, as you can quickly generate some chi and even some Elusive Brew stacks.

Top Choice: Ascension is my personal favorite and the easiest to use, though Power Strikes is great for frequent movement and Chi Brew for frequent tank swaps.

Tier 4 - Level 60

Ring of Peace | Charging Ox Wave | Leg Sweep

Three crowd control abilities. Ring of Peace (45 second cooldown, 8 second duration) will disarm and silence PvE enemies if they attack near the friendly target it is cast upon, though you have to be aware that many mobs cannot be affected by either debuff. Charging Ox Wave (30 second cooldown, 3 second duration) is an awesome way to start a pull, especially given that monks tend to be squishy at the beginning. It’s also useful for ranged kiting, though the skill has to be aimed properly to be effective. Leg Sweep (45 second cooldown, 5 second duration) is better when you don’t need to stun as often or can’t afford to spend time aiming.

Top Choice: Leg Sweep will be the most effective when you need a longer stun, but Charging Ox Wave is best for kiting or ranged add control. Ring of Peace is best when the adds are silence or stunnable.

Tier 5 - Level 75

Healing Elixirs | Dampen Harm | Diffuse Magic

Three defensive abilities. Healing Elixirs is not as strong as the other two options, but it will provide some benefit in every fight, and it will even save you from death. Diffuse Magic will be very useful for fights with big magic burst or dots (note: DoT reversal rarely works against PvE bosses), while Dampen Harm will be more generally useful for big physical burst.

Top Choice: Dampen Harm in hard-hitting physical fights, Diffuse Magic if there’s any significant, predictable magic damage. If neither of those are worth it or if you drop below 35% health often, Healing Elixirs because it is useful in every fight. Be prepared to swap this talent often.

Tier 6 - Level 90

Rushing Jade Wind | Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger | Chi Torpedo

Three AoE damage abilities. Rushing Jade Wind is a strong AoE tool that replaces the channeled Spinning Crane Kick with an instant-cast AoE damage, which lets you perform other actions during the effect. After you summon Xuen, a pet bar appears, which gives you the option to taunt targets off of you and tank it for as long as he stays alive, obviously preventing that target from directly damaging you. In most cases he cannot taunt bosses, though there are plenty of non-boss creatures in raids and he still does good single target / cleave damage. Chi Torpedo deals decent AoE damage and healing with moderate vengeance, and it’s great in situations where your raid needs as much healing as it can get.

Top Choice: Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger for single target or cleave, Rushing Jade Wind for AoE. Chi Torpedo if the other two aren’t useful or your raid needs AoE healing more than dps.


Glyphs are highly situational and up to personal preferences. As a Brewmaster, the glyphs you’ll find most useful (ranked in roughly that order) are:


Glyph of Enduring Healing (Healing Sphere, Gift of the Ox)
It’s not immediatley obvious by simply reading the tooltip, but this glyph increases the duration of your Gift of the Ox healing orbs, which makes it incredibly useful if you need to save up a huge number of these orbs for later. This is the one glyph I recommend having equipped at all times.

Glyph of Guard (Guard)
Useful for fights with high magic damage. Best against predictable magic damage or DoTs. Even though it may be tempting, don’t use this glyph for physical fights just for the extended healing buff. Default Guard is incredibly powerful as a cooldown, either as a reaction to damage spikes or prevention of damage, and the small boost to heals is not enough to compensate for that loss.

Glyph of Spinning Crane Kick (Spinning Crane Kick)
A good glyph when you have to move while casting Spinning Crane Kick, though it doesn’t make or break your AoE abilities either way. Useless if you’ve talented into Rushing Jade Wind.

Glyph of Fortuitous Spheres
Summons a healing orb nearby whenever you drop below 25% health. For fights where our health drops low (which are surprisingly common), this glyph is pretty good. It’s also an excellent filler glyph, for those times you don’t know what else to use.

Glyph of Zen Meditation (Zen Meditation)
Brewmasters typically only have Zen Meditation up for a few seconds, but if it’s critical you use it during a movement-heavy fight then this glyph is definitely the way to go. It’s also useful to prevent accidental premature cancelation by moving.

Glyph of Fortifying Brew (Fortifying Brew)
Increases the damage reduction to 25% (up from 20%) and decreases the health gained to 10% (down from 20%). In general, increased health is better for surviving burst and increased damage reduction is better for reducing your healer’s load, so keep that in mind when deciding whether or not to use this glyph.

Glyph of Breath of Fire (Breath of Fire)
Even though the Disorient breaks on damage, it lasts surprisingly long and gives you a second or two of little to no damage while tanking adds. It also interrupts casting. Great for 5 mans.

Glyph of Transcendence (Transcendence)
Reduces the cooldown of Transcendence by 5 seconds. It’s very rare that you will need to use Transcendence that often, but it could happen.

Glyph of Leer of the Ox (Black Ox Statue)
This glyphed skill often won’t taunt bosses and most raid adds, and and sometimes won’t work on dungeon adds, but it has its niche uses (like soloing). It has a long range (40 yards) and can taunt a single target. Once your Ox statue is killed by that target, it will return back to the next highest person on threat.


These glyphs are all cosmetic so the choice is completely up to you.

Crackling Tiger Lightning
Fighting Pose
Spirit Roll
Water Roll
Zen Flight


For most enchants, I recommend starting with agility if it’s available. If you struggle with staying alive or are just starting out, use stamina instead.

Best Options Cheap Options Profession Specific
Shoulders Greater Ox Horn Inscription
Greater Tiger Claw Inscription
Ox Horn Inscription
Tiger Claw Inscription
Sha Armor Kit
Inscription Only (replaces enchant):
Secret Ox Horn Inscription
Secret Tiger Claw Inscription
Back Greater Protection
Superior Critical Strike
Tailoring Only (replaces enchant):
Swordguard Embroidery
Chest Superior Stamina
Glorious Stats
Sha Armor Kit
Wrist Greater Agility Mastery
Major Dodge
Leatherworking Only (replaces enchant):
Fur Lining - Stamina
Fur Lining - Agility
Blacksmithing Only (in addition to enchant):
Socket Bracer
Hands Superior Expertise
Greater Haste
Sha Armor Kit Engineering Only (in addition to enchant):
Synapse Springs
Blacksmithing Only (in addition to enchant):
Socket Gloves
Waist Living Steel Buckle Engineering Only (in addition to enchant):
Nitro Boosts
Frag Belt
Legs Ironscale Leg Armor
Shadowleather Leg Armor
Sha-Touched Leg Armor
Toughened Leg Armor
Sha Armor Kit
Leatherworking Only (replaces enchant):
Primal Leg Reinforcements
Heavy Leg Reinforcements
Feet Blurred Speed Greater Precision
Greater Haste
Sha Armor Kit
Rings Enchanting Only:
Enchant Ring - Greater Stamina
Enchant Ring - Greater Agility
Weapon Dancing Steel Colossus



Secondary stats (hit, crit, mastery, etc) are allocated twice the item budget as primary stats on gems, so you will want to fill most of your sockets with secondary stats. If the socket bonuses are agility, mastery, critical strike, or haste, you will want to match the socket colors.

Because reforging is usually more flexible than regemming, you should gem first, reforge second.

I list a few of the best options for each socket color and hit cap situation. Brewmasters are very flexible when it comes to secondary stat choices, so stick to whatever stat priority fits your playstyle best. If you’re using a crit build, find gems that maximize your crit; if you’re using a mastery build, find gems that maximize your mastery. Haste gems are also one of the easiest ways to increase haste to your preferable level.

Meta Socket

If you have the legendary meta gem, Indomitable Primal Diamond, use that. Otherwise, you will want to use Austere Primal Diamond. Agile Primal Diamond, and the legendary equivalent, Capacitive Primal Diamond are useful if you want to increase your dps, though I don’t recommend them if you’re just starting out or if you’re dying a lot.

Before Hit / Exp Caps At Hit / Exp Caps
Red Precise Primordial Ruby
Accurate Imperial Amethyst
Wicked Vermilion Onyx
Keen Vermilion Onyx
Crafty Vermilion Onyx
Adept Vermilion Onyx
Deadly Vermilion Onyx
Deft Vermilion Onyx
Blue Rigid River’s Heart
Accurate Imperial Amethyst
Sensei’s Wild Jade
Lightning Wild Jade
Piercing Wild Jade
Puissant Wild Jade
Forceful Wild Jade
Jagged Wild Jade
Yellow Lightning Wild Jade
Sensei’s Wild Jade
Piercing Wild Jade
Wicked Vermilion Onyx
Keen Vermilion Onyx
Crafty Vermilion Onyx
Fractured Sun’s Radiance
Quick Sun’s Radiance
Smooth Sun’s Radiance
Prismatic Precise Primordial Ruby
Rigid River’s Heart
Accurate Imperial Amethyst
Fractured Sun’s Radiance
Quick Sun’s Radiance
Smooth Sun’s Radiance



Because we want to reach hit and expertise caps, reforging can be a little bit complicated. It is much easier to get an addon to help you with it. Please read my guide on reforging with ReforgeLite to learn more about simplifying this process.

Because reforging is usually more flexible than regemming, you should gem first, reforge second.



Elixirs are technically a little better than flasks for total damage reduction, but flasks are a close second and don’t require as much maintenance. If you are an alchemist, your elixirs will give you 990 of a stat instead of 750.


  • Virmen’s Bite: 4000 Agility over 25 seconds. Very good dps boost, decent avoidance boost. The #1 choice because with high vengeance this baby lets you deal a whole lot of significant damage.
  • Potion of the Mountains: 12,000 Armor over 25 seconds. This is a huge armor gain for a monk and very useful for surviving sustained physical damage, like frenzied bosses. Gives you better damage reduction than the agility potion, but obviously does not increase your damage.
  • Master Healing Potion: 120,000 Instant Healing. I know sometimes health pots don’t seem worth it, but don’t rule them out. That much healing can save you when unexpected damage comes your way. If you don’t have specific plans for the other two potions, then be prepared to use this one if you’re in a tight spot.


If you’re not sure, start with stamina food, and then use agility if you don’t have trouble staying alive. Raid feasts will only give you stamina if you’re brewmaster specced, so you either have to respec to Windwalker between pulls or use your own food if you want agility.

For cooking specializations, you’ll specifically want to level Way of the Wok for agility and Way of the Oven for stamina.


Brewmasters can dual wield one handed weapons (fists, maces, axes, or swords) or use a two-handed weapon (staves, polearms). Both styles are nearly equivalent for mitigation and damage purposes.

Dual-wielding is slightly better for dps and yields smoother proc rates (not more, just more reliable) on skills like Elusive Brew.

Two-handers give more stamina, so are generally better suited for tanking hard-hitting bosses.

In most situations, you should simply use whichever set of weapons has the higher item level. If they’re all the same item level, pick the set with better stats for whichever build you’re using.

  1. Is the average item levels between weapon sets different? - Use the higher item level set.
  2. Same item level? - Use the set with better secondary stats. (Crit build, use the set with the most crit, etc.)
  3. Same item level and secondary stats? - Pick staff if you favor stamina, dual-wield if you favor dps. Or whatever you think looks coolest.


Trinkets need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, but brewmasters will enjoy access to both agility trinkets that are traditionally for dps and tanking trinkets. Anything with stamina, agility, dodge, mastery, parry, crit, haste, hit, or expertise is a viable option. In general, start a fight with avoidance or damage reduction trinkets (agility, mastery, parry, dodge, crit, haste, hit, expertise) and swap to stamina trinkets if it feels like you need the extra health. In general, your very best trinkets are going to have agility, mastery, and crit on them.

You can find my ranking of trinkets in each tier under the “trinkets” tag.

Tier Bonuses

Tier 16 - Armor of the Seven Sacred Seals - Siege of Orgrimmar

T16 Two Piece
When your Black Ox statue Guards another player, you also get a Guard for 8% of that amount.

This isn’t an incredibly powerful bonus, but shields are nice to have. It encourages maximizing your dps, which means it works best with crit gearing. Other than trying to deal the most damage you can, this tier shouldn’t change your gameplay.

T16 Four Piece
Purifying Brew also heals you for 15% of the amount of staggered damage cleared.

This bonus is surprisingly good, even for 10 man tanks. It encourages haste, by increasing frequency of the heal tied to Purifying Brew, and mastery, by increasing the magnitude of the heal. With this bonus, you should avoid using Purifying Brew when your health is full. In most cases, you won’t be at full health because of whatever attack just caused a large stagger, though there are exceptions (like absorbing said attack with Guard).

Tier 15 - Fire Charm Armor - Throne of Thunder

T15 Two Piece
After Elusive Brew expires, the amount of damage you Stagger is increased by 12%. This effect lasts 1 sec per stack of Elusive Brew consumed.

If you use Elusive Brew at 3 stacks, you will have increased dodge for 3 seconds, followed by increased Stagger for 3 seconds. The buff itself is called ”Staggering”. Because of this synergy with Elusive Brew, critical strike will also increase the potency of this bonus.

The awesome benefit of this bonus is the health smoothing it provides. One of the downsides (if we can even call it that) of high avoidance is that when you do get hit, you get hit pretty hard and your healers might be taken by surprise. This bonus smoothes that damage we don’t avoid by pushing more of it into the stagger debuff, thus making us easier to heal and less likely to die from burst. This bonus was very powerful when Tier 15 was progression, but was nerfed in time for Tier 16.

T15 Four Piece
Each time you take damage from Stagger, you have a 10% chance to make your next Purifying Brew cost no Chi.

This buff is called ”Purifier”, and it’s pretty straight-forward. The free Purifying Brew will be available for 15 seconds. If the proc appears, you have the choice of using it immediately or saving it for a dangerous near-future event. In most cases, you should use it sooner rather than later because it does not stack and you don’t want to waste procs. This bonus is worth roughly 2k haste because it often eliminates the need to use Chi on Purifying Brew.

Tier 14 - Armor of the Red Crane - Mogu’shan Vaults, Heart of Fear, Terrace of the Endless Spring

T14 Two Piece
Increases the chance to dodge granted by your Elusive Brew ability by an additional 5%.

Very straightforward and useful bonus.

T14 Four Piece
Increases the damage absorbed by your Guard ability by 20%.

For being early in the expansion, this four piece bonus is fantastic. Guard is used like a mini Shield Wall, and powerful Guards will always be effective shields.


As tanks who often seek dps-augmenting enchants and gear, it can be confusing to decide whether we want to use the traditional tank legendary items or the damage dealer ones.

Legendary Meta Gem

The Legendary Meta Gem (LMG) is rewarded during Tier 15 quests, and initially you’re given a choice of the tanking version, Indomitable Primal Diamond, or the damage dealing version, Capacitive Primal Diamond. After completing this quest, you also unlock the option to buy any type of gem for 5 uncut Primal Diamonds.

Both gems have experienced various ups and downs, but as it stands right now:

  • The Indomitable Primal Diamond should have around 30% to 50% uptime and reduces all types of damage.
  • The Capacitive Primal Diamond used to contribute more than 10% additional dps, but has since been nerfed to be far less effective. It should now contribute around 5% additional dps.

I recommend starting out with the tank meta gem, Indomitable Primal Diamond, because its effects will be more noticeable. That’s not to say that Capacitive Primal Diamond won’t be useful on fights that have a strict dps check or farm content, so if your’e an overachiever, try to have two helms, each with a different LMG.

Legendary Cloak

The Legendary Cloak is initially an epic cloak awarded during Tier 15 quests and upgraded with Timeless Essence of the Black Dragonflight doing quests in the Timeless Isle.

The agility tank cloak, Oxhoof Greatcloak, upgrades to Qian-Le, Courage of Niuzao. The agility dps cloak, Tigerfang Wrap, upgrades to Fen-Yu, Fury of Xuen. You can buy the epic cloaks for 7,000 gold. Using Timeless Essence of the Black Dragonflight will upgrade the cloak that is currently equipped. However, additional upgrade items cost less than 100 gold, so you can have multiple legendary cloaks.

Neither of the legendary cloaks is truly amazing for us, so your decision depends on:

  • The tank cloak, Qian-Le, Courage of Niuzao, has the best stats. The proc can save your life and thus prevent wipes, though the usefulness of such a life-saver depends on how often you die.
  • The dps cloak, Fen-Yu, Fury of Xuen, doesn’t contribute a significant amount single target dps, but it’s decent for AoE fights.

I recommend starting with the tank cloak, Qian-Le, Courage of Niuzao, because of the superior stats and wipe-saving special effect. If you have the resources, buy both cloaks and use Qian-Le for progression and hard-hitting bosses and use Fen-Yu for farming and AoE fights.

Recent Brewmaster Changes

Patch 5.4 - Sep 9, 2013

In-depth analysis

  • Vengeance and Keg Smash nerfs, meaning an overall damage nerf for Brewmasters.
  • Chi Brew now restores 2 Chi, has a 45-second cooldown (down from 1.5 minutes), and generates 5 stacks of Elusive Brew.
  • Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger now has a pet control bar for Xuen, and the talent is no longer on global cooldown for all Monk specializations.
  • Rushing Jade Wind has been redesigned and replaces Spinning Crane Kick. Rushing Jade Wind: The Monk summons a whirling tornado around them, dealing damage to nearby enemies (heals nearby allies for Mistweavers). Rushing Jade Wind has the same costs, Chi generation, and periodic rate as Spinning Crane kick, but, deals 80% of the periodic damage or healing, lasts 6 seconds, is instant, and not channeled.
  • Chi Burst no longer requires a target. It now travels as a 40-yard line in front of the Monk.
  • Healing Elixirs will no longer activate if the Monk is already at full health, and activate automatically when the Monk has less than 35% of their maximum health.
  • Glyph of Fortuitous Spheres causes a healing sphere to be summoned near the Monk at no cost when their health falls below 25%. This effect cannot occur more than once every 30 seconds. Replaces Glyph of Retreat. (Plus a couple other new glyphs, though this is the only one truly worth looking at.)


Stagger is our unique mechanic that does not directly reduce damage, but essentially “smooths” it out. The primary value in Stagger comes from its ability make your damage intake more predictable, and thus easier to heal. It works by splitting incoming physical attacks into two parts:

  1. The immediate damage. Some percentage, X% of the original hit, and
  2. The after-effect damage over time. The remaining percentage, 100 - X%, of the original hit, is split up and dealt once a second for the next 10 seconds.

The second part, the after-effect damage over time, can be removed via Purifying Brew for the cost of 1 chi.

Stagger damage builds by successive hits. When a new melee attack lands on you, the after-effect damage from that hit is added to the damage remaining from the previous Stagger, and the duration is refreshed to 10 seconds. For example, take this theoretical monk with 40% stagger.

  1. Get hit for 100k total.
    1. Take 60k immediate damage, and
    2. 40k split over 10 seconds (or 4k damage per second).
  2. When that current Stagger has 5 seconds remaining (i.e. 20k damage left), you get hit again for 100k.
    1. Again, take 60k immediate damage.
    2. Another 40k is added to your Stagger DoT, which gives us 60k damage dealt over 10 seconds (or 6k damage per second).

Multiple sources contribute to our total stagger percentage. These are:

The Stagger debuff comes in three flavors: Light Stagger (green), Moderate Stagger (yellow), and Heavy Stagger (red). These different debuffs all indicate varying levels of damage intake from Stagger.

  • Light Stagger (green) means you’re taking less than 3% of your health in stagger damage per second.
  • Moderate Stagger (yellow) means you’re taking between 3% and 6% of your health in stagger damage per second.
  • Heavy Stagger (red) means you’re taking more than 6% of your health in stagger damage per second.

In normal 5 mans, your stagger will be mostly Light, in LFR and normal raids you will have mostly Light and Moderate, and in heroic raids you’ll see mostly Moderate and some Heavy. Green stagger is hardly any damage and should be ignored. Yellow stagger represents a wide range of damage, and should be purified if it reaches the upper limits of its range. Red should be purified as quickly as possible.

Defensive Cooldowns

A common requirement of tanking raids is knowing how to time your defensive cooldowns against predictable special attacks.

Primary Cooldowns

  • Guard (unglyphed). This is your key cooldown. It will usually prevent the most damage and save your life the most often. Unglyphed, it absorbs all damage types – physical, magical, and debuff. It also has the nice bonus of increasing all self-heals on you by 30%. That bonus makes it most effective to immediately follow Guard up with a self heal, like Expel Harm.
  • Glyphed Guard. This modified version of your key defensive ability will only absorb magic damage, but it will absorb 10% more. Extremely effective against bosses who use bursty magical attacks or magical DoTs. As a warning, don’t use this glyph against physical bosses. Yes, your self-healing buff will be active all the time, but your self heals can’t compensate for losing your strongest cooldown.
  • Fortifying Brew. While not as strong (usually) as the other cooldowns, Fortifying Brew lasts the longest and doesn’t require such precise timing or situational circumstances. That means it’s one of your more dependable cooldowns, and can be useful in nearly every circumstance. Use it as your “panic” cooldown.
  • Dampen Harm. Reduces damage taken by 50%, but only for the next three attacks that deal more than 20% of your health. Attacks that big are surprisingly rare, and usually Dampen Harm will only be effective against special boss attacks and not against regular melee swings. This makes this cooldown really weak as a reactive, panic button but very good at mitigating predictable damage events.
  • Diffuse Magic. The short, 6 second, duration requires precise timing, but that precise timing is well rewarded with a powerful 90% damage reduction. Diffuse Magic works exceptionally well against casted spells, like a dragon’s breath, or against stacking Magical DoTs. The short duration makes it poor for reactive use or unpredictable spell events.

Unconventional Cooldowns

  • Zen Meditation. An unconventional cooldown that breaks when struck by melee attacks, but reduces the damage of any attacks or spells that land while it’s active by 90%. It requires incredibly precise timing, and is typically only useful against bosses with casted abilities or attacks that don’t technically count as melee swings.
  • Gift of the Ox. In conjunction with Glyph of Enduring Healing, you can build up a large pile of these orbs and use them after a big damage event. A large enough pile can often heal you from near-death to full health, so with some planning and quick reactions it can function as a cooldown.
  • Healing Spheres. Although rarely used in normal circumstances, some clever placement of Healing Spheres can act as a similar strong healing cooldown to a big Gift of the Ox pile.

Proactive vs. Reactive Cooldown Usage

You may noticed that I suggest proactive or reactive usage for particular cooldowns. This refers to timing your cooldowns, and whether you need to plan ahead. Proactive cooldowns, such as Dampen Harm and Diffuse Magic, work best with you use them before a special attack lands. Reactive cooldowns, like your self heals, work best when used after a special attack lands. Some skills, like Guard, work well as either a proactive or reactive skill. Knowing which skills are proactive and reactive helps you time cooldowns to their greatest effect.

Active Mitigation skills can also be classified as proactive or reactive. Skills that provide avoidance are best used proactively; self-heals and Purifying Brew are best used reactively.

Guard’s status as both proactive and reactive is one of the reasons why it is such a powerful cooldown. The shielding aspect works well to effectively prevent a large attack when used early, and to recover from a large attack when used late. The 30% boost to self heals also encourages reactive use. If a special boss attack is especially large, it’s usually best to use Guard before it lands.

Skill Overview

Primary Chi Generators

Keg Smash
This is a brewmaster’s signature ability, and the one you should use whenever it is available. It provides the 10% damage reduction debuff, grants you two chi, cleaves, and applies the Dizzying Haze debuff. Keg Smashed can be missed, parried, or dodged, and you do not gain chi should that happen.

Expel Harm
Expel Harm does more damage than Jab for the same cost (40 energy), plus heals you for a healthy amount. You should try to use this heal as often as possible (unless you know you should save it for an upcoming attack), while keeping in mind that if you’re at full health it won’t heal you or deal damage. Scales with attack power.

Use Jab to generate chi when Keg Smash and Expel Harm are on cooldown.

Defensive Chi Consumers

Blackout Kick, which provides Shuffle
Primary defensive ability that increases your parry chance by 20% and increases your stagger amount by 20% for 6 seconds. You should try to keep this buff up most of the time, especially when you expect any significant physical damage. Shuffle stacks duration, such that if you have 4 seconds remaining on Shuffle and use Blackout Kick, that will add another 6 seconds to the duration, for a total of 10. The duration of the buff can stack infinitely. For Brewmasters, the damage from Blackout Kick can miss, but the Shuffle effect will always be applied.

Purifying Brew
Clears all of the stagger damage that is ticking on you. It has no cooldown, though you will often have to decide whether to spend your Chi on Blackout Kick or Purifying Brew. Use Purifying Brew whenever your stagger reaches red or high yellow levels and when you need to reduce your overall damage intake. Synergizes with mastery. This ability does not see much use in 5 man content, but it is vital in raids.

While on a longer cooldown than your other active mitigation abilities (30 seconds), Guard is your best defense against burst damage. Also increases the effect of your heals on yourself by 30%, though this buff only lasts as long as the shield is not consumed, which means it will only be in effect for a manner of seconds. You can use whenever it is off cooldown, but usually it’s best to save it for an unexpected dive in health or upcoming burst. Scales with attack power, synergizes with Tiger Palm.

Other Defensive Abilities

Elusive Brew
Increases your dodge by 30%. With every stack of Brewing: Elusive Brew (gained from critical auto attacks), you can increase the duration of the dodge buff by 1 second. Does not depend on Chi or energy, so this ability is incredibly useful in keeping yourself alive when you’re low on both. Ideally use it during periods of heavy physical damage or Shuffle downtime. Caps at 15 stacks, duration and availability scale with crit.

Chi WaveLevel 30 Talent
This talent is primarily used by Brewmasters as a self heal, though it also provides some additional, if random, heals to the raid. If you are targeting an enemy, this talent will deal damage and then heal a nearby ally at low health, then deal damage to an enemy, then heal an ally until all 7 bounces occur. Likewise, if you are targeting yourself for the initial heal, it will then bounce to the nearest enemy to deal damage, then another ally, etc. Primarily used with a self-targeting macro (see Macro section for specifics). Generally used on cooldown, unless you know you’ll need a heal or ranged pulling tool in the near future. Scales with attack power.

Zen SphereLevel 30 Talent
This talent can be guaranteed to heal you if you cast it on yourself, or another player. Places a HoT on the target and deals damage to the target’s nearest enemy. If you drop below 35% health or once the HoT finishes, it deals a burst of AoE healing and damage. You can keep the HoT up indefinitely, though you have to keep in mind that it cannot detonate from expiration if you’re always refreshing it. Use to keep Heal over Time active. Scales with attack power.

Chi BurstLevel 30 Talent
This talent will always heal you and if aimed properly can heal others, while dealing a significant amount of ranged AoE damage to any foes. You can dodge and parry while casting, but if you’re hit it will delay the cast. Best used as a mini-AoE healing cooldown or as a ranged AoE tool, if you can aim it correctly. Scales with attack power.

Fortifying Brew
This ability increases health by 20%, reduces damage taken by 20%, and increases the damage shaved off by Stagger by an additional 20%. This is a brewmaster’s version of Shield Wall. Use when you are in grave danger, and be prepared to follow up with a Purifying Brew.

Zen Meditation
At first glance, this appears to be a raid cooldown. However, it is difficult to use while tanking and is best saved for the personal 90% damage reduction. This is a channeled ability, so you cannot dodge or parry while it’s active. If you use it while tanking, it will reduce the damage of the next hit you take by 90%, but will immediately cancel after the first melee hit. I find it best to use this ability as a personal cooldown and activate it before expected large attacks like dragon breaths. It’s also useful as a personal cooldown for raid damage if you’re not taking direct hits.

Tiger Palm
Tiger Palm is free for Brewmasters, so you should use it whenever there’s a lapse in your rotation (i.e. energy is low and you have enough defenses active). It only contributes to your defense in a small way by increasing the effect of Guard by 15%, though because Tiger Palm is your filler ability, the buff is almost always active. It also provides a moderate damage increase, allowing you to ignore 30% of your target’s armor.

Healing ElixirsLevel 75 Talent
Technically a passive talent, but active in that you control when the heal occurs. Healing Elixirs will heal you whenever you use a “brew” skill, which for brewmasters includes Fortifying Brew, Elusive Brew, and Purifying Brew, meaning it will proc quite often, though that doesn’t change the fact that 15% of your health is not much. However, since it does not depend on Vengeance, it is relatively strong early in a fight. The 18 second cooldown starts when the Healing Elixir buff appears, not when you consume the buff, so you do not have to use a brew skill every 18 seconds to maximize this talent.

Dampen HarmLevel 75 Talent
Dampen Harm is a very powerful damage reduction skill, but it requires you taking big hits and is useless in situations where you are taking hits that deal less than 20% of your health. Use in preparation for big, predictable attacks or reactively against hard-hitting bosses.

Diffuse MagicLevel 75 Talent
Diffuse Magic is very reliable against magic spells, though the reflection aspect does not work in PvE. Use before you get hit by a big magic attack or in response to heavy-hitting magical DoTs.

AoE Abilities

Breath of Fire
As long as you have the Dizzying Haze debuff up (which you will in most cases because of Keg Smash), this ability will apply a DoT on your targets. It’s a relatively narrow cone effect, so you need to stack your group of mobs directly in front of you. This is also a good ability to use if you don’t need to worry about your defenses and want to spend chi on AoE damage instead. Use when you need threat or multi-target damage as opposed to defense. The single target damage is sadly not so impressive, so only use it if there’s more than two targets.

Dizzying Haze
This is your ranged pulling tool. It doesn’t directly deal damage, but it deals a huge amount of threat and places a debuff on your enemies which gives their attacks a chance to misfire and snares them. The misfire mechanic gives your opponents a 3% chance to miss you entirely and deal a small amount of damage to themselves. It will be up almost all the time due to this skill and Keg Smash. Because Dizzying Haze doesn’t do any damage, you can use it on crowd controlled targets without worrying about breaking the crowd control. Also a fantastic kiting tool because of the snare it provides. Beware that it has a rather significant travel time, which you will need to take into account if your target is moving.

Spinning Crane Kick
Spinning Crane Kick prevents you from using any other abilities for its duration, so you should use it only after you’ve used your other AoE abilities. It is useful if you want to deal AoE damage or pick up mobs Dizzying Haze might have missed. It grants 1 Chi as long as it damages three or more targets.

Rushing Jade WindLevel 90 Talent
This is a level 90 talent that replaces Spinning Crane Kick and improves your sustained AoE damage. Instead of a channel, it puts a buff on you that deals damage to all nearby enemies, giving you the opportunity to use other AoE or defensive skills while it’s active. If there are three or more enemies nearby, cast Rushing Jade Wind enough to keep the buff active.

Invoke Xuen, the White TigerLevel 90 Talent
Likely pronounced similar to “shwen”, this summoned tiger will deal cleave damage and taunt non-boss creatures off of you. When summoned, a pet bar will appear that gives you control over his movement and two of his abilities: a taunt and a leap. It is suggested that you turn both of these abilities off autocast because his taunt can cause unexpected aggro issues and the leap can reduce his overall damage output. Use when overwhelmed with adds, when you need to deal significant cleave damage, or as simply a dps cooldown.

Chi TorpedoLevel 90 Talent
This talent will change the animation of your Roll and add damage and healing. Neither the damage or healing is significant, but the ability can be almost spammed, which gives it some value. Use when your raid needs healing and you can afford to move around.

Passive Abilities

Mastery: Elusive Brawler
Increases the amount of damage your stagger initially shaves off melee hits. See the Stats section for more information on Mastery as a statistic.

Brewing: Elusive Brew
Grants your brewmaster a way to scale defensively with crit. Whenever you crit with an auto attack (not a special attack), you get a charge of Elusive Brew, which you can later use through the clickable spell Elusive Brew. Dual-wielding will generate more crits because of the two weapons, so to compensate a two-hander will generate more stacks of Elusive Brew per crit.

Stance of the Sturdy Ox
A monk’s tanking stance. You should always be in this stance while tanking, and probably while dpsing since some of your core abilities can only be used in this stance.

Same as all the other tanks, this is a buff that scales with potential damage received. The goal is to help some of your skills scale with incoming damage and to increase your personal damage done while tanking. Any sort of active or passive mitigation, like Shuffle, dodge, parry, mastery, Purifying Brew, etc, will not reduce Vengeance gain, so do not try increasing vengeance by reducing active mitigation usage. Skills that scale with attack power, like our heals and Guard, benefit significantly from Vengeance. Vengeance caps at your maximum health (which is a cap you’re not likely to ever encounter in normal situations). While tanking multiple enemies, your Vengeance gains are subject to diminishing returns.

Swift Reflexes
This adds an offensive component to parry. It’s not a huge amount of damage (usually a little less than 5% of your overall damage), but it makes parry slightly more interesting than dodge.

Gift of the Ox
This passive ability gives all of your melee attacks and skills a chance to spawn small green spheres at your feet. The spheres are only visible and usable by you. If you find you need immediate healing, then you can walk over a group of these and receive a relatively strong heal. The heal scales with attack power, and the proc frequency is increased by haste. You have to move on top of these spheres to activate them, which means you will need to strafe left and right while tanking.

Brewmaster Training
Passive bonus that modifies a brewmaster’s major cooldown, Fortifying Brew, attaches Shuffle to Blackout Kick, adds a small bonus to Tiger Palm and makes it free, and removes the energy cost from Spear Hand Strike.

Desperate Measures
If you’re below 35% health, you should be using Expel Harm instead of Jab to heal yourself and generate chi. Expel Harm still costs energy so you cannot spam it as much as you would like. This passive ability becomes surprisingly vital to progression tanking as a Brewmaster. Synergizes with haste, since more energy gain allows you to spam Expel Harm more often at low health.

Leather Specialization
This passive is here to encourage monks to wear the appropriate armor class. It provides 5% stamina, like all other tanks.

Movement Abilities

Classic monk ability that utilizes a charge system. If you use up your two charges, you will have to wait a maximum of 20 seconds for it to recharge.

Works like a cross between Charge and Death Grip, where (usually) you and your target will meet in the middle. Has some unreliable behavior in that it will sometimes pull you halfway if the target is immune. Using it on any target will aggro that target. Try to use it like Death Grip, not charge. Good for pulling and controlling trash.

This skill functions similarly to a warlock’s Demonic Circle, except every time you teleport, your teleport destination is updated to your current position. It has a small cast time so you cannot use it while moving, though it’s small enough to be safe to use while tanking. Use when you have to move a pre-ordained position quickly.

Tiger’s LustLevel 15 Talent
This is a level 15 talent that functions similar to other sprint skills, except that it can also be applied to your teammates and it removes movement impairing effects.

MomentumLevel 15 Talent
This talent applies a stacking movement speed bonus to the monk after each Roll.

CelerityLevel 15 Talent
This talent reduces the cooldown and brings the maximum number of charges of Roll to three.

Group Utility

Legacy of the Emperor
The one raid buff brewmasters provide. It is the same as Mark of the Wild and Blessing of Kings, and it is provided by monks of any specialization.

Avert Harm
This raid cooldown is only available to brewmasters and reduces the damage taken by your nearby teammates by 20%, but redirects the damage reduced back to you. That may sound like a good way to kill yourself (and many times it is), but keep in mind that the redirected damage is reduced by stagger. The redirected damage is always dealt to you as physical damage, and not as the type of damage the raid is taking (such as AoE magic damage). Unlike some of its cousins, Avert Harm reduces any type of damage, but the downside is its small range of 10 yards. You can use it while tanking, but you have to be careful because your health might dip very low. You can also use it as a minor cooldown for your co-tank, or in conjunction with a Hand of Protection from a paladin, which prevents any of the redirected damage from hitting you.

Summon Black Ox Statue
Using this ability places a revolving ox statue wherever you wish. Placing it next to a mob will aggro that mob. For every x amount of damage the brewmaster deals, it places a shield (similar to Power Word: Shield) on an injured teammate. You do not have to do this much damage in one hit; it’s accumulative. The shield cannot be placed on the brewmaster. This statue should be active at all times, and is best placed near other raid members or near any spawn points to distract new adds. The amount of damage you have to deal to activate the shield scales with Vengeance, so more or less attack power should not effect the proc rate by much, though the shield amount will increase with vengeance.

Miscellaneous Abilities

Standard taunt. The run speed increase for your enemy sounds strange, but it’s really there to get your target to you faster. The run speed does work on select bosses. If you’re targeting your Ox Statue, using this skill will taunt everything within a 8 yard range of your statue to you.

This is a cheap snare, though it’s unlikely you’ll be using it much for that purpose because you already have Dizzying Haze. It may be useful for the root, which occurs when you use Disable twice on the same target.

Spear Hand Strike
This is a brewmaster’s interrupt. It requires melee range, but it’s your only option against casters. As a tank, most enemies will be facing you and so it will almost always silence the target in addition to interrupting.

This is your primary crowd control, available to all monks. You can use it from 20 yards away. The cooldown is shorter than the duration, so you can easily refresh it by going behind a paralyzed target and using it a second time. It can be used in combat, but breaks on damage.

Crackling Jade Lightning
This isn’t a key ability of brewmasters, but you can use it as a single-target knockback or ranged way to deal damage / generate chi. There are a few raid fights that benefit from ranged damage, so don’t completely forget about this skill.

Healing Sphere
Consumes too much energy without granting chi to be a regular part of a brewmaster’s rotation, but you can use it while not tanking to prepare for burst or to heal others. Situationally, the heal can be very powerful and should be used in fights where there’s significant downtime followed by significant burst. This is the only heal brewmasters can use on others, with the exception of the level 30 healing talents.

Nimble Brew
Breaks stun, fear, and snares. Brewmasters are especially vulnerable during stuns, and this skills is useful for alleviating those moments.

Grapple Weapon
Provides a 5% damage mitigation buff for 10 seconds and a disarm. Only usable on some creatures with visible weapons. Some bosses are vulnerable to disarm effects, and some are not, so this ability requires experimentation.

Cleanses poison and disease effects.

Zen Pilgrimage
Similar to Teleport: Moonglade. Will take you to Serenity Peak in Kun-Lai Summit where you can find class trainers, monk-only quests, and vendors with monk-flavored gear. Clicking the skill a second time will teleport you near where you started, though you can also leave the peak by flying.

Touch of Death
Will instantly kill non-player characters that have less health than you do. Useful for scoring killing blows and killing low-health adds. As a tank, you generally will have quite high health, so this ability gives Brewmasters a good advantage over other tanks at killing adds.


Chi Wave Macro

Targets yourself for the first heal, guaranteeing that it hits you. If you use a “ctrl” modifier, will hit your target first.

/use [nomod, @player] Chi Wave
/use [mod:ctrl] Chi Wave

Combined Healing Talents

Uses the Chi Wave macro from above, but adds in your other two healing talents so you don’t have to move your skills around every time you change that talent. The bottom line changes the icon depending on which ability you are talented into. You have to change the bottom line “MacroName” to whatever you name this macro.

/use [nomod, @player] Chi Wave
/use [mod:ctrl] Chi Wave
/use [nomod] Zen Sphere
/use [nomod] Chi Burst
/run local G=GetSpellInfo SetMacroSpell("MacroName", G"Chi Wave" or G"Zen Sphere" or G"Chi Burst")

Combined Level 90 Talents

Puts Xuen and Rushing Jade Wind on the same keybind so you don’t have to move your skills every time you respec. Change the “90Talents” in the final line to whatever you name your macro.

/use Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger
/use Rushing Jade Wind
/run local G=GetSpellInfo SetMacroSpell("90Talents", G"Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger" or G"Rushing Jade Wind")

Combined Level 60 Talents

Puts all level 60 talents on one button so you don’t have to move them around when you respec. Replace “60Talents” with your macro name.

/use Ring of Peace
/use Charging Ox Wave
/use Leg Sweep
/run local G=GetSpellInfo SetMacroSpell("60Talents", G"Ring of Peace" or G"Charging Ox Wave" or G"Leg Sweep")

Combined Level 75 Talents

Puts all usable level 75 talents on one button so you don’t have to move them around when you respec. Replace “75Talents” with your macro name.

/use Dampen Harm
/use Diffuse Magic
/run local G=GetSpellInfo SetMacroSpell("75Talents", G"Dampen Harm" or G"Diffuse Magic")


Uses Provoke if no modifier key, AoE taunts off of your Black Ox Statue if shift modifier is used, taunts to your statue if ctrl modifier is used but only if you have Glyph of Leer of the Ox.

/cast [nomod] Provoke
/target [mod:shift] Black Ox Statue;
/cast [mod:shift] Provoke
/cast [mod:ctrl] Leer of the Ox

Tiger Palm + Trinket

If I need a trinket to be macro’d, I usually tie it to either Jab or Tiger Palm. This macro temporarily turns off error messages so you won’t hear annoying sounds when you use this macro while the trinket is down.

/cast Tiger Palm
/script UIErrorsFrame:UnregisterEvent("UI_ERROR_MESSAGE");
/console Sound_EnableSFX 0
/use Jade Warlord Figurine
/console Sound_EnableSFX 1
/script UIErrorsFrame:RegisterEvent("UI_ERROR_MESSAGE");

Focus Interrupt

Interrupts your focus if you have one, otherwise interrupts your target.

/cast [@focus,exists] Spear Hand Strike; Spear Hand Strike


I exclusively use Weak Auras to track Brewmaster abilities. Check out my Brewmaster Weak Aura Guide for details.

For general use addons, please read my User Interface Guide.


The Ideal Professions

The following professions all provide roughly identical stat bonuses. Blacksmithing has a slight lead due to the secondary stat gems, but since it provides no other perks to monks I generally don’t recommend it.

Alchemy: Elixirs and Flasks provide extra stats. Stamina flasks provide an extra 480 stamina; every other flask provides an extra 320. The armor flask gives 480 extra armor, other elixirs give an extra 250 (remember that when using elixirs, you can use armor plus an expertise/crit/haste elixir at the same time). Extra benefits include: doubled flask duration and the ability to make your own potions, flasks, and elixirs.
Blacksmithing: Provides 2 extra gem sockets for a total of 480 stamina, 320 agility, or 640 secondary stats. Extra benefits include: the ability to make your own belt buckles, rare-quality weapons.
Enchanting: Ring enchants grant 320 agility or 480 stamina. Extra benefits include: disenchanting unneeded items, providing your own enchants.
Engineering: Hand enchants (tinkers) provide an average of 320 agility or 480 dodge (depending on which tinker you use). You should probably macro them to a commonly-used ability to keep the uptime high. Extra benefits include: repair bots for your raid, epic goggles, fun toys like rocket boots and gliders.
Inscription: Grants special shoulder enchants which provide an extra 320 agility or 480 stamina. Extra benefits include: Darkmoon Faire cards, glyphs, raid buff scrolls.
Leatherworking: Grants you bracer enchants that are not only cheaper than the normal enchants but also give you 320 extra agility or 480 extra stamina. Extra benefits include: Cheaper leg enchants, epic leather armor. Skinning: Grants a passive 480 crit. Extra benefits include: Farming leather, good when paired with Leatherworking.

Less Ideal Professions

These professions are still okay to use, they’re just not the best.

Jewelcrafting: Gives you the ability to use two jewelcrafter-only gems, which provide a total bonus of 320 agility, 320 secondary stats, or 480 stamina. Extra benefits include: cutting your own gems, epic mounts. Because Brewmasters use primarily secondary stat gems, the bonus primary stat gems provided through this profession are not very useful.
Herbalism: Grants Lifeblood, which provides an average of 480 haste and a very small heal. Extra benefits include: Farming herbs, good when paired with Alchemy and Incription.
Mining: Grants a passive 480 stamina. Extra benefits include: Farming ore, good when paired with Blacksmithing, Jewelcrafting, and Engineering.
Tailoring: Grants an extra cloak enchant that has a chance to provide an extra 4000 attack power, which I’m guessing averages out to around 670. Extra benefits include: Not much that’s useful for brewmasters.

Warlords of Draenor Changes

A list of the important upcoming changes to Brewmasters in the newest expansion.

Complete Official Patch Notes


  • Stat Squish - All health, stats, and numbers are being reduced to more human-readable (and computer-readable) levels. This should have no noticeable effect on your relative power level. (More Info).
  • Removed secondary stats
    • Expertise and Hit - Removed from gear. Brewmasters will have a 100% chance to hit with their main-hand weapon (off-hand weapons still have a 22% chance to miss for balance reasons) and 0% chance to be parried or dodged.
    • Dodge and Parry - Removed from gear. We still get them through active mitigation and we still get dodge from agility.
  • New secondary stats:
    • Multistrike - Grants our spells the ability to duplicate themselves, at 30% effectiveness. For Brewmasters, it will provide a damage boost, a chance at a healing boost, and auto-attack multistrikes will proc Gift of the Ox.
    • Versatility - Increases damage and healing, and reduces damage taken. (More Info on new and retired stats)
    • Bonus Armor - Increases our armor and attack power. Only appears on “tank” gear (i.e. rings, necks, trinkets).(More Info on Bladed Armor)
  • Changed secondary stats
    • Mastery - In addition to its current effect of increasing stagger amount, it will also increase attack power by a percentage.
  • Agility - No longer increases chance to critically hit. Still grants dodge and attack power, though at a reduced rate.
  • Strength and Intellect - No longer provide any benefit for Brewmasters.
  • Offensive and Defensive Benefits - All stats (except maybe Readiness) will provide both an offensive and defensive benefit for tanks.

Ability Changes

  • Vengeance/Resolve - Vengeance is gone and replaced with a similar but purely defensive passive, Resolve. Resolve will boost our self healing and shields proportionally to recent unmitigated damage taken. (More Info) (More Details)
  • Removed Abilities (for just Brewmasters) - Avert Harm, Clash, Power Guard, Disable, Healing Sphere, Stance of the Fierce Tiger, Grapple Weapon, Weakened Blows.
  • Abilities gained - Surging Mist, Legacy of the White Tiger
  • Ox Statue - Mini-guard utility removed. New functionality will be a threat magnet. (Source)
  • Ring of Peace - No longer Silences or Disarms enemies. It now incapacitates targets in the area for 3 seconds, or until the target takes damage.
  • Spear Hand Strike - No longer Silences the target.
  • Gift of the Ox - In addition to being a proc on multistrikes instead of regular hits, when a player runs through multiple spheres at once, only as many as needed to heal the player to full health will be consumed (instead of all of them if the player is injured at all).
  • Transcendence: Transfer - No longer has an energy cost.
  • Touch of Death - Usable on targets that have 10% or less health remaining, or have less current health than your maximum health. The rules against players remain unchanged. This means it will act similar to a conventional execute that you can use only once but for huge damage.

Level 90 - 100 Bonuses

  • Enhanced Roll: Your Roll now travels the same distance in 25% less time.
  • Improved Breath of Fire: Your Breath of Fire spell now always applies its damage over time effect to the target.
  • Improved Guard: Guard now has 2 charges.
  • Improved Dizzying Haze: Dizzying Haze no longer has an energy cost.
  • Enhanced Transcendence: The cooldown of Transcendence is lowered by 35 sec, and Transcendence: Transfer is now instant cast.
  • Empowered Blackout Kick: Damage of Blackout Kick increased by 20%.
  • Empowered Keg Smash: Damage of Keg Smash increased by 20%.
  • Improved Elusive Brew: Elusive Brew now increases dodge chance by an additional 5%.
  • Improved Stance of the Sturdy Ox: Increases the Stamina bonus of Stance of the Sturdy Ox by 20%.


  • Soul Dance: You are now able to shrug off even spells, such that 30% of your normal stagger amount works against magic damage.
  • Chi Explosion: Consumes up to 4 Chi to cause the target to explode with Chi energy, causing additional effects based on Chi consumed:
    • 1+ Chi: Deals Nature damage to an enemy equal to XXXX plus XXXX per Chi consumed.
    • 2+ Chi: You also gain Shuffle for 2 sec plus 2 sec per Chi consumed.
    • 3+ Chi: Also purifies all of your staggered damage.
    • 4 Chi: The damage also hits all enemies within 8 yards of the target.
    • Replaces Blackout Kick.
  • Chi Serenity: You enter an elevated state of mental and physical serenity for 10 sec. While in this state, all Chi consumptions are instantly refilled.

Clarification and Analysis