Blizzard recently released a blog on updated secondary stats. Since our creation, Brewmasters have been lucky to have non-concrete stat priorities. Depending on your playstyle, experience, and raiding level, you could choose to favor crit, mastery, or even haste (though that is rare), and still be competitive. Hopefully, that trend will continue to expand in Warlords.
Warlords Secondary Stats
- Haste: (Unchanged) Increases attack speed, spell casting speed, and some resource generation
- Critical Strike: (Unchanged) Increases your chance to critically strike, dealing double damage
- Mastery: (Unchanged) Increases the effectiveness of your specialization-specific Mastery
- Multistrike: (New) Grants two chances for your damage and healing effects to fire an additional time, each at 30% effectiveness
- Versatility: (New) Increases damage and healing, and reduces damage taken
- Bonus Armor: (New, tank-only) Increases your armor
Haste will continue to increase our energy regeneration, which increases our chi generation and thus our flexibility in chi expenditure. It’s also possible haste will indirectly increase our multistrike chance via Tiger Strikes. Likely, we will be able to maintain near 100% uptime on Shuffle even without any haste (as is the case now), so more haste only means more frequent Purifying Brews and Expel Harms at low health. Our resource buffer stat.
Critical Strike will continue to increase critical strike chance and Elusive Brew proc chance. With high gear levels at the end of Mists, we really only stack it for personal damage (since the dodge buff has nearly 100% effective uptime), but at low gear levels stacking crit is useful when you need to save up Elusive Brew procs for when you may need them. Our avoidance stat.
Mastery will continue to increase the potency of shuffle damage delay, as well as a new attack power bonus. Our damage smoothing stat.
Multistrike will increase our Gift of the Ox proc rate. Our self-healing stat.
Versatility will increase the strength of everything. The interesting effect of Versatility is that it currently is the only way to directly reduce magic and DoT damage, which is situationally incredibly valuable. Our reliable jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none stat, or in some cases our magic and DoT damage reduction stat.
Bonus Armor will reduce physical burst damage and increases attack power through Bladed Armor. Blizzard promises that this stat will be one of our best, but only available on jewelry. Our reliable physical damage reduction stat.
Agility will be our avenue to increase attack power and dodge (remember that it no longer increases crit chance). Attack power will increase our damage, the strength of our heals and shields. As a primary stat (and with the sharp reduction of gem slots), our control over stacking Agility is limited. Another jack-of-all-trades stat.
I’m hoping our stats remain relatively balanced so that it can be up to each individual brewmaster to gear their character. Assuming that Blizzard’s aims hold true, bonus armor will be our best stat for pretty much any build. That just means we should want tank accessories, but the rest of our gear and stat choices are up to us. Also, all our stats increase damage done, though it’s hard to say which will be the best.
Self Healing Build
A build we didn’t really have in Mists. Focusing on multistrike for the Gift of the Ox orbs. Haste may compliment self-healing by increasing low-health Expel Harm frequency, but I predict mastery or versatility will work best. Mastery, by making you more “healable” via increasing the window you can stay alive. And versatility, by increasing the potency of those heals and also smoothing damage through damage reduction.
Obviously you want crit, but what works well with an avoidance build? You could go with self-healing, either through multistrike, haste or versatility, to help with covering unlucky hits. Or you could aim to reduce the damage of the hits that may land, with mastery or again versatility. I think a crit/versatility build would be the best combination for avoidance, since versatility will help to cover unlucky hits both by reducing them and increasing your ability to recover.
Mastery will probably remain king of keeping damage intake predictable and increasing easy of recovery. Combined with multistrike, you can compliment your stagger damage with some small ox orb heals. With a high mastery build, it’s unlikely you’ll drop low often enough to trigger a cooldown reset on Expel Harm, so that aspect isn’t useful. Haste does allow more frequent Purifies, but as we’ve seen in Mists, well-timed Purifies are often more useful than more often Purifies.
What to recommend to beginners?
Currently I suggest new brewmasters start out with a mastery/stam build because it is very forgiving and you don’t actively have to do much to make it effective (since most of mastery’s value comes before you even purify the damage). With these updates, will that change? Versatility looks like a good starting stat simply because it doesn’t require much interaction, except for the healing part (meaning you have to push your healing buttons to make use of the healing aspect). I expect some combination of Versatility and Mastery will offer a decent safety net for those just learning the class.
Personally, I like keeping my damage intake predictable and having regular self-heals, so I think a mastery/multistrike build would be the most fun. I also love the two brewmaster-unique abilities those support: stagger and ox orbs.