Some interesting spins on our underused talents, unique trinkets, updates on brewmaster Tier 16, and discussion over the legendary cloak.
The key theme of these changes is increasing the attractiveness of unpopular talents. None of these changes are powerful enough to significantly effect your default talents, but they should add some mildly interesting decisions for the times you need to change.
Chi Brew will now also generate 3 stacks of Brew/Teas based on the Monk’s specialization. (Brewmaster: Elusive Brew, Mistweaver: Mana Tea, Windwalker: Tigereye Brew)
These changes are tempting, especially for tank swap situations, but don’t get too excited. The true weaknesses of this talent, that it provides the lowest amount of chi of the three in its tier and that it’s an active talent, remain. I still think that Chi Brew is counter-productive to chi pooling techniques, and experienced Brewmasters should almost never be in a situation where they are at 0 chi and need more chi instantly, so it still shouldn’t replace Ascendance as our default talent choice.
Power Strikes will now activate from all Chi generating abilities; Jab, Expel Harm, Spinning Crane Kick (when it hits at least 3 targets), Keg Smash, Crackling Jade Lightning, and Soothing Mist.
This is an attractive quality of life change, but it doesn’t increase the chi you receive from this talent. It has the same internal cooldown – you simply have more ways to activate it. As a reminder, Ascension will provide the superior chi gain when you have moderate to high levels of haste (the actual number depends on fight length), while Power Strikes will be better at low levels of haste. The numbers are close enough that it’s still mostly up to personal choice. However, Ascension also provides the benefit of more room to pool chi and more low-health Expel Harms, so it will remain my recommendation.
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.
This change is great for reducing the weaknesses of Healing Elixirs. However, its competitors, Dampen Harm and Diffuse Magic, are just so good that it would take a very significant change to make Healing Elixirs of equal power. That said, for fights that don’t have big hits (for Dampen Harm) or significant magic damage (for Diffuse Magic), Healing Elixirs will remain a solid choice. Also, it remains the easiest talent for the lazy or inexperienced to utilize. That’s cool!
Ring of Peace has a new visual effect and now disarms both enemies and those attacking allies within the Ring of Peace’s area-of-effect for 4 seconds (up from 3 seconds); the silence effect for casting spells remains unchanged at 3 seconds.
This change is so boring that I didn’t want to include it. But for completeness’ sake – here it is. (The new visual is nice, though.)
There are some really interesting trinkets discovered in the latest PTR build. They’re so new that they don’t even have names yet.
- Passive Stamina, On-use AoE damage reduction. AoE damage is rarely something that deals significant damage to a tank, simply because if it threatened a tank it would probably kill non-tanks. That said, there could be some creative uses for this trinket – especially if it works for cleave attacks.
- Passive Dodge, Damage to healing conversion passive, On-use dodge. The numbers are in flux, but I assume that the passive healing will be fairly insignificant, because Blizzard has spent the last few expansions turning down the potency of similar abilities.
- Passive Cooldown reduction, On-use health increase. Assume for now that the numbers on this trinket are placeholders. According to WoWDB, this trinket will reduce the cooldowns of Guard, Fortifying Brew, Zen Meditation, Avert Harm, Transcendence: Transfer, and Clash. Depending on how much the final numbers are, the cooldown reduction on Guard could be incredibly powerful. The reduction on the other skills won’t be significant because those skills are usually saved for key points of an encounter and not used on cooldown, though it could be useful nonetheless.
- Passive Stamina, On-use crit. It’s really exciting to see a stamina trinket with crit, and it feels like Blizzard might be ready to acknowledge the desires of agility tanks.
- Passive Stamina, On-use dodge. Not nearly as impressive as the crit+stam trinket above, but at least we have three whole stamina trinket options in tier 16.
Agility DPS Trinkets
Most of these trinkets have a chance to proc more damage. Tank damage is becoming more and more important these days, so these trinkets will be very popular for brewmasters.
- Passive Cooldown reduction, Chance to proc agility. I list this trinket because, as the tooltip says, it only works for “Agility-based damage roles”. That likely means that the passive will not work for us while we’re in Brewmaster spec, so if you want the cooldown reduction you gotta use the tank version. :(
- Passive Haste, Chance to proc extra damage
- Passive Crit, Chance to proc cleave damage
- Passive Mastery, Chance to proc agility
- Passive Agility, Chance to proc mastery
Tier 16 Two Piece
A recent nerf to our T16 two-piece:
Item - Monk T16 Brewmaster 2P Bonus: When your Black Ox statue Guards another player, you also get a Guard for 8% (was 15%) of that amount.
We all knew that the numbers were volatile, though I’m a little sad to see this one reduced. It wasn’t a terribly powerful bonus to begin with because it was passive. Oh well, not enough to get upset about (yet).
Tier 16 Four Piece
Back on the EJ thread, some calculations were done that determined that haste increases the self healing capabilities of the four piece bonus more than mastery. However, haste has some sharp diminishing returns and it’s generally a bad idea to go above 8k anyway, whereas mastery continues to scale linearly. That means there’s a point where mastery catches up to haste when it comes to maximizing that set bonus.
Another note that I forgot to mention is my early preview of the bonuses is that with four piece, we will almost never want to purify at full health, because that would waste the heal. Most of the time, it’s not something to worry about because a big hit will leave our health below max anyway, but there are times you have that hit absorbed by Guard or something similar.
Tier 15 Two Piece
Many people have been concerned that the two-piece will remain in use far into tier 16. Not because T16 4pc is bad, but because T15 2pc is so damn good. Rest assured that the devs know about this, and so we can hope they nerf it after 5.4 is live.
More datamining has revealed potential procs for our eventually-legendary cloaks. There’s a tank one and a DPS one.
- Tank Cloak Proc. The Endurance of Niuzao fully absorbs the damage of one attack that would normally kill you. This effect has a 60 sec cooldown.
- DPS Cloak Proc. Your damaging attacks have a chance to trigger a Flurry of Xuen, causing you to deal 60% weapon damage to all targets in front of you, every 0.5 sec for 3 sec.
Both look viable, though we will likely be confronted with the same conundrum we face with legendary meta gems: do we use the tank proc or the dps proc? As much as I prefer going with the traditional tanking proc, I predict that (at least in 10 mans) the dps proc will be more useful. Just as is the case with the meta gems, the loss of the tank benefit can be overcome with skill, while the gain of the dps benefit will almost always be useful for progression.
Another worry is that we might not be able to swap between cloaks like we can swap the metas. In the live game, you can’t have more than one cloak in your inventory, so you aren’t able to swap between tank and dps versions. It’s not a huge problem right now, but it will be with these procs. Blizzard has hinted at removing that limitation, so let’s hope that’s the case.