Short term defensive abilities.
Maintenance: Balance your use of Ironskin and Purifying Brew to keep damage intake manageable. Keep Ironskin Brew active most of the time, while saving one or two brew charges for Purifying Brew. Keep an eye on your average Stagger, and Purify when you spike above that average. A good ratio to aim for is two Ironskin Brews to one Purifying Brew.
Before a big attack: Prioritize Ironskin Brew to smooth that damage out, though ideally you should save two brew charges so that you can follow up with a Purifying Brew.
Recharging brews: Weave your Brew usage around your other abilities. Use high stacks of Elusive Brawler, orbs of Gift of the Ox, high health, crowd control, or lulls in an encounter as an opportunity to recharge your brews. You don’t always need to have Ironskin Brew up, or to Purify every high Stagger, as long as you plan your brews around your other tools.
Use when you need more brews. To make the most of it, use when you have zero remaining brew charges and very low energy.
Adds a new layer of complexity to Gift of the Ox. If you’re at a moderate health level but relatively stable (e.g. no big events are happening, you have high stacks of Elusive Brawler, you have Ironskin Brew active, etc), you can save your Ox orbs and remain at low health to proc even more. Then when you do need healing, you have a much larger pool to walk through.
Adds a significant amount of complexity to your entire rotation. With this talent, use Blackout Strike as much as possible, ideally alternating between that and one of the five abilities this talent alters. For maximum defense, favor using Blackout Strike before Keg Smash, Purifying Brew, and Ironskin Brew. For maximum offense, favor using Blackout Strike before Tiger Palm and Breath of Fire.
With this talent, you want to use Purifying Brew less often to maximize the haste buff. You still want to purify to reduce overall damage, but the point at which you decide to purify is a bit higher than before, and depends on if you’re relatively stable (e.g. no big events are happening, you have high stacks of Elusive Brawler, you have Ironskin Brew active, etc).
Guarantees an Ox Orb spawn when you drop below 35%. For this reason, if you’re almost below 35% hp but aren’t likely to be killed in the next few hits, it might be advisable to save self-healing until after you drop below 35% to generate an extra Ox Orb.
While it doesn’t influence your behavior directly, this trait increases your Ironskin uptime, which in turn means you have more spare brews for Purify.
Abilities to generate resources or threat.
Use to pull, and continue using on cooldown to generate brews and AoE threat. Try to keep 40 energy on hand when it nears the end of its cooldown so you can cast it immediately.
Use when you have high energy to generate brews when Keg Smash isn’t available.
Use for significant damage and threat in AoE. Continue to use to fill empty spaces in your rotation.
Use to fill empty spots in your rotation for damage and additional effects from talents and artifact traits.
Use to pull a group at range, or for AoE damage. Can also be used for moderate party healing.
Turns Breath of Fire into a minor damage reduction tool while the damage-over-time is in effect. Continue to use Breath of Fire as your second opener in AoE and as filler for single target, but it becomes especially important to use it while the Keg Smash debuff is active.
While it rarely influences your behavior directly, it becomes all the more important to use Blackout Strike on cooldown for minor defensive benefit. If you have Blackout Combo talented, it is still more important to time Blackout Strike to activate combos than for this artifact trait.
Defensive and offensive abilities to save for dangerous situations.
Damage reduction and smoothing cooldown. Activate before an incoming attack, or to survive dangerously low health.
High damage reduction cooldown that breaks after the first melee strike. Especially useful against big casted attacks, less useful against regular attacks.
Healing cooldown. Use to top yourself off should you need full health, or let it heal you automatically if you drop below 35% health.
Magic damage reduction cooldown. Activate before an incoming magic attack to significantly reduce the damage.
Damage reduction cooldown. Activate before large incoming attacks to moderately reduce the damage. Not very effective against small, frequent attacks.
Minor AoE damage reduction cooldown. Use to pull ranged enemies, or use it defensively to briefly reduce melee damage. The defensive aspect is most effective with large groups.
Abilities to control difficult enemies.
Use to snare a group of enemies.
Use to stun or interrupt a group in melee.
Use to protect an ally if they are getting attacked, or to interrupt nearby enemies.
Use to pull a group at range.
Use offensively for burst AoE and cleave damage, or to tank non-boss enemies.