Sunnier's


Art of War

A brewmaster monk blog.

Brewmaster Guide

Getting Started

Advanced

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 avoiding 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 can be complicated for beginners. It’s worth it to learn, but Brewmasters can be overwhelming when you first start out.

Active Mitigation / Rotation

Build Active Mitigation Resources:

  1. Keg Smash on cooldown
  2. Expel Harm when not at full health
  3. Jab when energy is high

Use Active Mitigation:

  • When you know damage is going to happen (Proactive):
  • When you have to recover from damage (Reactive):

Fill With:

Miscellaneous

AoE:

  1. Keep your Active Mitigation up, as detailed above.
  2. Spinning Crane Kick for filler in AoE situations.
  3. If you’re talented into Rushing Jade Wind, keep it active as long as there are 3 or more targets.
  4. Breath of Fire for AoE situations, as long as Shuffle is active and has a duration greater than 6 seconds.

Pulling:

  1. Single target: pull with Provoke
  2. Multi-target: pull with Dizzying Haze
  3. Keg Smash when target is in range
  4. Blackout Kick to quickly apply Shuffle
  5. Leg Sweep / Charging Ox Wave / Ring of Peace to reduce incoming damage of a group.

Important things to monitor:

Purifying Brew:

When you’re first starting in 5 mans and normal raids, you will rarely even reach moderate Stagger. If you’re just starting out, I recommend ignoring it completely.

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.

Talent Rotational Replacements

Some talents flat out replace a baseline ability, changing up your rotation some way.

  • Rushing Jade Wind: Replaces Spinning Crane Kick. Instead of using it as AoE filler, as you would with Spinning Crane Kick, you use it whenever it’s not active and there are three or more targets in range.
  • Chi Torpedo: Replaces Roll. Brewmasters rarely take this talent, but if for some reason you do then you can use it as an AoE pickup/dps ability or an AoE heal ability.
  • Chi Explosion:
    • Use at 2 chi if you need to build up Shuffle.
    • Once you have a decent Shuffle lead (or if you don’t need Shuffle), use at 3 for single target dps, 4 for multi-target dps.
    • Works well with Chi Brew if you want to cast it at range to pull a group.

Stat Priority

Brewmasters have remarkably flexible gearing choices. 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.

  • Haste
    • Defense: Increases energy, and indirectly increases chi, generation. Ideal for more frequent Purifying Brews.
    • Offense: Increases auto-attack speed and usually more energy means more opportunities to use damage-dealing abilities (but not always).
  • Critical Strike
    • Defense: Increases Elusive Brew procs, indirectly increasing avoidance via higher dodge uptime.
    • Offense: Increases your chance to critically strike, dealing double damage
  • Mastery
    • Defense: Increases stagger percentage, basically making damage intake “smoother”. Also has the potential for damage reduction through Purifying Brew.
    • Offense: Increases attack power by a percentage.
  • Multistrike
    • Defensive: Increases chance to proc Gift of the Ox healing orbs. Also gives all our heals the chance to fire an additional time at reduced effectiveness.
    • Offensive: Increases the chance for damage abilities to fire an additional time, each at 30% effectiveness
  • Versatility
    • Defensive: Pure damage reduction and increase to healing potency.
    • Offensive: Pure damage increase.
  • Bonus Armor
    • Defensive: Increases armor and self healing (through attack power)
    • Offensive: Increases attack power

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 and versatility. It’s also useful for those attempting difficult content because mastery and versatility are the best stats for surviving strings of physical burst.

  1. Agility
  2. Bonus Armor
  3. Haste (to comfort level)
  4. Versatility
  5. Mastery
  6. Multistrike
  7. Crit

Control Stat Priority

This priority emphasizes crit, which increases your Elusive Brew uptime, and multistrike, which increases your ability to self heal. This build will give you high damage and strong control over your active mitigation. You’ll take more damage when your Active Mitigation isn’t up, but when it is you’ll be able to prevent and react to damage very well.

  1. Agility
  2. Bonus Armor
  3. Haste (to comfort level)
  4. Crit
  5. Multistrike
  6. Versatility
  7. Mastery

Talents

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 and snare/root remover 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 Choice: Tiger’s Lust will be the most useful in the most situations, though Celerity and Momentum are still good choices if you prefer passive effects.

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 AoE damage and minor healing to everything directly in front of you. It is best for ranged pulling.

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 to cast it on yourself first, guaranteeing the heal). Zen Sphere has been unpopular for a long time, though recently it received some buffs and now it’s a good choice against sustained damage and fights that frequently drop you below 35% health. Chi Burst is good for ranged pulling and AoE damage. It used to provide strong AoE healing as well, but now tanks are capable of much less AoE healing and it’s not worth using for that purpose anymore.

Tier 3 - Level 45

Power Strikes | Ascension | Chi Brew
Three chi modifying talents. Power Strikes provides the best chi output, though it requires some extra attention to make the best use of availability and it doesn’t give you much control over when you get that chi. Chi Brew gives the most control and is fantastic for situations of low Elusive Brew generation (such as entry level and challenge modes), frequent target swapping, and expected burst damage. However, you have to use it regularly to make the most of it, and it provides the least amount of chi. Ascension provides a compromise where you get some control through having more room to pool chi, but as a passive ability you don’t have to remember to use it. It provides a bit more chi over a fight than Chi Brew and since it increases energy regen, influences abilities like Expel Harm.

Top Choice: Power Strikes as a general-purpose high-chi passive. Chi Brew for 5 mans and early raid content. Ascension for beginners and for pooling.

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 incapacitate enemies that are within range at cast or if they attempt to attack you within range for the duration. Incapacitates break whenever the target takes damage. Charging Ox Wave (30 second cooldown, 3 second duration), as a ranged AoE stun, 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 a last resort for when your group needs anything other than a stun to very briefly interrupt enemies.

Tier 5 - Level 75

Healing Elixirs | Dampen Harm | Diffuse Magic
Three defensive abilities; this is the trio of talents that you will change around the most often. Healing Elixirs is not as strong as the other two options, but it will provide some benefit in every fight, and it may even save you from death. Diffuse Magic is 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 or less predictable big damage. Note that Dampen Harm can only reduce damage that would hit you for more than 15% of your health, which is a pretty big hit for a brewmaster.

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, use Healing Elixirs because it is at least a little effective 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. This is another talent that should be swapped often.

Tier 7 - Level 100

Soul Dance | Chi Explosion | Serenity
Three disparate abilities that rank somewhere on a scale of damage vs. survival. Chi Explosion is a purely damage talent that will actually hurt your survival if you take it, due to removal of chi pooling and slower Shuffle build up. It deals a ridiculous amount of AoE damage and an increased amount of single target damage. Soul Dance is purely survival. It will make sustained magic damage, a previous weakness of ours, much more bearable. Serenity increases both survival and damage, though it’s not a huge damage boost. It allows you to build up nearly a minute and a half of stagger early in a fight, giving you more chi to spend on Purifying Brew and damage later in the fight.

Top Choice: Serenity for most situations, to be used at the beginning of a fight. Soul Dance for the rare heavy sustained magic damage fight. Chi Explosion for tight dps races, heavy AoE fights, and farm content.

Glyphs

Glyphs are highly situational and up to personal preferences. The most important glyphs to learn are: Glyph of Guard, Glyph of Zen Meditation, Glyph of Keg Smash, Glyph of Expel Harm, Glyph of Fortuitous Spheres, Glyph of Breath of Fire, Glyph of Transcendence, Glyph of Fortifying Brew.

Defensive Major Glyphs

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 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 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.

Offensive Major Glyphs

Glyph of Keg Smash (Keg Smash)
Increases the range of Keg Smash slightly. Good for frequent add pick up or heavy movement fights, where you’re frequently going in and out of range of mobs. This is a good choice for a default glyph.

Glyph of Touch of Death (Touch of Death)
Remove the chi cost of Touch of Death, which is 3 by default, while increasing the cooldown from 3 minutes to 5. We can typically use Touch of Death once an encounter, so all this glyph saves you is 3 chi.

Healing Major Glyphs

Glyph of Fortuitous Spheres (Healing Sphere)
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 Expel Harm (Expel Harm)
Another glyph that’s strong for spikey health. It reduces the energy cost of Expel Harm from 40 energy to 35. It’s a small amount, but there are some cases where you spam Expel Harm often at low health. It also reduces the amount of energy you need to pool at low health.

Glyph of Detox (Detox)
This isn’t a great PvE glyph because it requires Detox to actually dispel something before activating the heal. Since our Detox only dispels poison and disease, it’s opportunities are few and for such a small heal it’s never worth dropping another glyph.

Glyph of Nimble Brew (Nimble Brew)
We get some opportunities to use Nimble Brew to dispel stuns, but not enough to justify filling a glyph slot. Similar to Glyph of Detox, this heal can only be activated after Nimble Brew successfully breaks a stun, fear, or horror effect.

Glyph of Targeted Expulsion (Expel Harm)
Allows you to use Expel Harm on other players, at the cost of 50% healing. Our heals are already terribly ineffective on other players, and we always need Expel Harm for ourselves, so this is a bad glyph.

Major Utility Glyphs

Glyph of Transcendence (Transcendence: Transfer)
Reduces the cooldown of Transcendence: Transfer by 5 seconds, from 25 seconds to 20 seconds. If you’re a frequent user of the teleport then this is a useful glyph.

Glyph of Freedom Roll (Roll)
Snares are rare in raids, but they do happen occasionally. You won’t use this glyph much, if at all, but it’s not a bad idea to have it learned just in case.

Glyph of Victory Roll (Roll)
This glyph gives you a charge of Roll after killing an enemy. Useless in raiding, but really good for leveling since it can move between targets faster.

Glyph of Rapid Rolling (Roll)
This glyph allows successive rolls to move you farther. I personally find it dangerous, since I’m not always expecting that second roll to take me so far, so I don’t recommend it. Typically if you need to do two rolls within 5 seconds, you should probably use Transcendence or Tiger’s Lust instead.

Glyph of Breath of Fire (Breath of Fire)
Attaches a disorient to your Breath of Fire. Disorients are weak crowd controls, since they’re broken on damage, but this glyph still gives you a tiny bit of breathing room. Strong for 5 mans.

Glyph of Leer of the Ox (Summon Black Ox Statue)
This glyphed skill often won’t taunt bosses and most raid adds, and sometimes won’t even 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.

Glyph of Paralysis (Paralysis)
This glyph is designed to be used to coordinate crowd control. If you want to CC an enemy, but there are DoTs on it, then instead of Paralysis breaking on the next tick you can remove the DoTs entirely. Not very useful for PvE.

Minor Glyphs

These glyphs are all cosmetic so the choice is completely up to you. The only one I really recommend is Glyph of Zen Flight, which grants you an instant-cast flying ability (which may save you from accidentally dismounting high in the air).

  • Crackling Tiger Lightning: Your Crackling Jade Lightning visual is altered to the color of the White Tiger celestial.
  • Fighting Pose: Your spirit now appears in a fighting pose when using Transcendence.
  • Honor: You honorably bow after each successful Touch of Death.
  • Jab: You always will attack with hands and fist with Jab, even with non-fist weapons equipped.
  • Spirit Roll: You can cast Roll or Chi Torpedo while dead as a spirit.
  • Water Roll: You can Roll or Chi Torpedo over water.
  • Zen Flight: Teaches you Zen Flight - You fly through the air at a quick speed on a meditative cloud.

Enchants & Gems

Whichever enchants and gems you choose depend on your chosen stat priority. See Stat Priorities. For more information on the professions themselves, read Wowhead’s Guide to Enchanting and Wowhead’s Guide to Jewelcrafting.

Enchants

Best Options Cheap Options
Weapon

If you’re tanking difficult content (i.e. spend a significant time below 50% health), then you want Mark of Blackrock. Otherwise, you want an enchant that provides crit, mastery, or multistrike.

Mark of Blackrock (500 Bonus Armor sub 50%)
Mark of Bleeding Hollow (500 Mastery)
Mark of the Thunderlord (500 Crit)
Mark of the Frostwolf (500 Multistrike)
Neck Gift of Critical Strike
Gift of Haste
Gift of Mastery
Gift of Multistrike
Gift of Versatility
Breath of Critical Strike
Breath of Haste
Breath of Mastery
Breath of Multistrike
Breath of Versatility
Cloak Gift of Critical Strike
Gift of Haste
Gift of Mastery
Gift of Multistrike
Gift of Versatility
Breath of Critical Strike
Breath of Haste
Breath of Mastery
Breath of Multistrike
Breath of Versatility
Ring Gift of Critical Strike
Gift of Haste
Gift of Mastery
Gift of Multistrike
Gift of Versatility
Breath of Critical Strike
Breath of Haste
Breath of Mastery
Breath of Multistrike
Breath of Versatility



Gems

Consumables

Flasks & Potions

Food

Whichever food you choose depends on your chosen stat priority. See Stat Priorities. For more information on cooking and how to obtain these items, read Wowhead’s Guide to Cooking.

Professions

Professions and Garrisons are tightly entwined. In general, you can craft anything but the very best items with nothing more than the appropriate Garrison building. Having a matching building and profession is recommended because it increases your generation of special crafting reagents. For more information, read Wowhead’s Profession Overview

I consider the most useful professions to be: Enchanting, Inscription, Alchemy, Jewelcrafting. However, that’s only because those professions are more likely to prove beneficial late into the expansion. If you want to focus on getting starter gear, then professions like Leatherworking and Engineering are still great.

Weapons

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 and more stacks of Elusive Brew per crit (not more, just bigger and less frequent).

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? The slightly higher dps from dual-wielding will probably be more effective in this case.

Trinkets

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, mastery, crit, haste, multistrike, bonus armor, or versatility is a viable option.

In general, start a fight with avoidance or damage reduction trinkets designed for tanks (agility, mastery, crit, haste, multistrike, bonus armor, or versatility) and swap to stamina trinkets if it feels like you need the extra health. If you find you don’t need much extra survival, then swap in trinkets designed for agility dps. In general, your very best trinkets are going to have agility, bonus armor, versatility, mastery, multistrike, and crit on them.

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

Recent Brewmaster Changes

Warlords of Draenor Release - Nov 13, 2014

Complete Official Patch Notes

Level 90 - 100 Bonuses

Warlords Talents

  • 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.
  • Serenity will likely be your default choice. For an in depth analysis, read here.

Patch 6.02 - Oct 14, 2014

In-depth information and analysis

  • 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)
  • Baseline damage buffs - To compensate for the loss of Vengeance, all our offensive abilities have been buffed. We should have near constant dps, instead of giant peaks and valleys dependent on damage taken.
  • Stats
    • All numbers have been squished.
    • We don’t have to worry about hit or expertise caps, and all our abilities will hit every time.
    • All secondary stats have an offensive and defensive benefit.
    • New stats: Multistrike (tied to Gift of the Ox), Versatility, Bonus Armor
  • Removed Abilities (for just Brewmasters): Avert Harm, Clash, Power Guard (the Guard buff attached to Tiger Palm), Disable, Healing Sphere, Stance of the Fierce Tiger, Grapple Weapon, Weakened Blows (Boss damage reduction debuff removed from everyone).
  • Abilities gained - Surging Mist, Legacy of the White Tiger, Tiger Strikes (multistrike proc off auto-attacks)
  • Ox Statue - Mini-guard utility removed. New functionality will be a threat magnet.
  • 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). Will also automatically heal you when they expire and if you’re in range.
  • Transcendence: Transfer - No longer has an energy cost. (Transcendence still has a cast time and long cooldown until we start leveling to 100.)
  • 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.
  • Legacy of the Emperor - Replaced with Legacy of the White Tiger, which also applies the crit raid buff, in addition to the stats buff.
  • Stance of the Sturdy Ox now increases Stamina by 25%, reduces magic damage taken by 10% (down from all damage taken by 25%), and grants a 50% increase to Armor, but no longer increases Energy regeneration.
  • Shuffle now increases Stagger and Parry by 10% (down from 20%).
  • Fortifying Brew now lasts 15 seconds (down from 20 seconds).
  • Spinning Crane Kick now always generates 1 Chi, and no longer reduces movement speed.
  • Dizzying Haze now has no Energy cost, but no longer causes the target’s melee attacks to sometimes misfire.
  • Elusive Brew now increases dodge chance by 45% (up from 30%).
  • Zen Sphere healing increased. There were a couple rebalanced skills, but this one in particular may be worth reevaluating your talent choices. I’m not saying it’s the best, but it’s worth experimenting with now.
  • Chi generation talent tier was rebalanced. Power Strikes will give you the most chi but with a high chance for misuse. Ascension will give you less chi, but is easy to use and gives energy (which can be applied to Expel Harm). Chi Brew gives you chi and stacks of Elusive Brew on demand, though less overall chi than Power Strikes. For content in Siege of Orgrimmar, I suggest either Power Strikes or Ascension. (This will change at level 100.)
  • Tier 16 two-piece changes from a small shield on statue Guard to reducing the cooldown on Fortifying Brew by 30 seconds. Neither bonus is particularly good, so it’s not really a loss.
  • New Glyphs: Glyph of Expel Harm, Glyph of Keg Smash, Glyph of Victory Roll
  • 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.

Stagger

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 10k total.
    1. Take 6k immediate damage, and
    2. 4k split over 10 seconds (or 400 damage per second).
  2. When that current Stagger has 5 seconds remaining (i.e. 2k damage left), you get hit again for 10k.
    1. Again, take 6k immediate damage.
    2. Another 4k is added to your Stagger DoT, which gives us 6k damage dealt over 10 seconds (or 600 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 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.

Purifying Brew removes the Stagger damage over time effect from you. Ideally, you want to Purify quickly after a heavy attack lands, before it is allowed to tick. Purifying early is always better. If a Stagger debuff has less than 5 seconds left, it’s not worth purifying it.

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.
  • 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.

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 when 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.

Jab
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.

Guard
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 and Resolve.

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 Wave Level 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 Sphere Level 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 Burst Level 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
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.

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 also provides a moderate damage increase buff, allowing you to ignore 30% of your target’s armor.

Healing Elixirs Level 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 Resolve, 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 Harm Level 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 15% of your health. Use in preparation for big, predictable attacks or reactively against hard-hitting bosses.

Diffuse Magic Level 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 snare on your enemies. 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.

Rushing Jade Wind Level 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 Tiger Level 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 Torpedo Level 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. The only stance you will have access to as a Brewmaster.

Resolve
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. Any sort of active or passive mitigation, like Shuffle, dodge, parry, mastery, Purifying Brew, etc, will not reduce Resolve gain, so do not try increasing Resolve by reducing active mitigation usage. Our heals and Guard, benefit significantly from Resolve.

Gift of the Ox
This passive ability gives all of your multistrike attacks a chance to spawn small golden 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 Resolve, and the proc frequency is increased by multistrike. 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

Roll
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.

Transcendence
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 Lust Level 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.

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

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

Group Utility

Legacy of the White Tiger
The one raid buff brewmasters provide. It is a combination of the 5% stats buff and the 5% crit buff.

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. The statue will pulse a small amount of threat, which is useful for picking up waves of adds before they head for your healers. It shouldn’t generate enough threat to pull off anything.

Miscellaneous Abilities

Provoke
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.

Spear Hand Strike
This is a brewmaster’s interrupt. It requires melee range, but it’s your only option against casters.

Paralysis
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.

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

Detox
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. Against bosses, you can use it once they hit 10% health for a huge burst of Execute-style damage.

Macros

Level 30 Healing Talent Macro

Will change depending on the talent you’ve selected. For Chi Wave, it will automatically target yourself so you can guarantee at least the first heal landing on yourself.

#showtooltip
/cast [nomod,@player,talent:2/1] Chi Wave; [nomod,talent:2/2] Zen Sphere; [nomod,talent:2/3] Chi Burst

Combined Level 90 Talents

Puts Xuen, Rushing Jade Wind, and Chi Torpedo on the same keybind so you don’t have to move your skills every time you respec.

#showtooltip
/cast [talent:6/1] Rushing Jade Wind; [talent:6/2] Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger; [talent:6/3] Chi Torpedo

Combined Level 60 Talents

Puts all level 60 talents on one button so you don’t have to move them around when you respec.

#showtooltip
/cast [talent:4/1] Ring of Peace; [talent:4/2] Charging Ox Wave; [talent:4/3] 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.

#showtooltip
/cast  [talent:5/2] Dampen Harm; [talent:5/3] Diffuse Magic

Taunt

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.

#showtooltip
/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.

#showtooltip
/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 target if you have one, otherwise interrupts your target.

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

Addons

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.