Took a little longer than I’d hoped (yay for real life obligations!) but the Brewmaster Monk full guide is finally complete! See the excerpt below. I’ve also opened up some forums for monk discussion: Go check them out here, since Blizzard hasn’t opened an official Monk class forum yet.
Brewmaster monks are a tank class that was newly added to the game for the Mists of Pandaria expansion. Any race, except Worgen and Goblin, can be a monk. (All my pictures are pandaren because, well, that’s all the art at the moment.) Like all monks, they have two resources that must be managed; energy and chi.
Energy regenerates at a constant rate (10/sec, or 11/sec in the tanking stance), and is used to power several abilities. Brewmasters have a 100-point energy pool. Energy regeneration does scale with haste, but not significantly so. As such, your energy regeneration is your primary limiting factor when it comes to how many abilities you can use.
In contrast, chi is a static 4-point pool, similar to a paladin’s holy power, that decays when out of combat. To build chi, a brewmaster will use a “chi builder,” such as Keg Smash or Jab. This chi is then used to power other abilities that increase the brewmaster’s survivability. The key difference between chi and other secondary resource systems (such as holy power or combo points) is that all chi consuming abilities have a fixed cost and effect, compared to the others where the effect scales based on the amount of secondary resource currently banked.
Every fight against non-trivial enemies will require careful management of both resources. The two primary mistakes you want to avoid are chi wastage and energy capping. Chi wastage is using a chi builder when you are already at full chi (thereby wasting energy), whereas energy capping is allowing your energy meter to fill to 100, which causes your energy regeneration to stop. As you get used to the spec, you’ll learn how to weave chi builders and chi consumers together to keep a constant flow going.
Stagger and Shuffle
The very first thing you’ll notice when trying to tank something as a Brewmaster is how hard you’re being hit. Bear tanks, for example, have this cool thing called Thick Hide that increases their armor by 330%. Monks don’t get anything like that, which means your damage reduction from armor is going to be around half that of a traditional tank. Now, you still get some damage reduction from your tanking stance, but you’re still going to be taking a bit more damage initially. For example, using these numbers, a boss that melee’d for 200k would hit a regular tank for 80k, but hit a monk for 100k or so.
Ouch. Thankfully, Monks have something called Stagger. A Staggered attack will take 80% damage instantly and the remaining 20% is added to a DoT that ticks for 10% of its damage value every second. A second Staggered attack resets the DoT timer and increases the DoT’s damage, and so on until you die, stop taking attacks (which allows the DoT to run its course) or you remove the DoT via Purifying Brew.
So why aren’t brewmasters purifying machines? Well, PB costs Chi, and you need that Chi for Shuffle. (insert LMFAO joke here.) The shuffle buff gives you 20% parry and 20% more Stagger (the damage split becomes 60/40, instead of 80/20), which is a very good thing. Unfortunately, the primary way to get Shuffle is via Blackout Kick, which is hard on the chi. You have to strike a balance between shufflin’ and purifyin’. Too much dancing means you keel over from the DoT effect; too much purifying will make you hard to heal, because you’re low on avoidance.
These are the abilities you’re going to use most often, so know them, love them, hotkey them.
|Jab||40 energy, no CD. Basic attack, which increase chi by 1. Use this to generate chi if EH/KS is on cooldown.|
|Expel Harm||40 energy, 15s CD. Every 15 seconds, you’l want to press this instead of Jab, as it generates 1 chi, heals you for a decent amount, and turns that healing into a bit of damage. If you’re below 35% HP, Expel Harm has no cooldown, though it still costs energy so you won’t be able to spam it.|
|Keg Smash||40 energy, 8s CD. Generates 2 Chi, applies the Weakened Blows debuff (-10% damage), applies the Dizzying Haze debuff (-50% movespeed, 3% miss), and does a bit of cleave damage to adds. Your most important ability for generating chi, and should be used on cooldown. Dizzying Haze can also be cast separately on ranged targets for 20 energy; this does no damage but significant threat, and is a good pulling tool. Note that the Dizzying Haze debuff does not work on bosses.|
|Spinning Crane Kick||40 energy, no CD, generates 1 chi if it hits three or more enemies. Replaces Jab for AoE situations.|
|Blackout Kick||2 chi, no CD. Most of your chi will go to this kick, solely because it lets you Shuffle (Brewmaster Training). You want to keep Shuffle up most of the time, but not at the expense of Purifying Brew or Guard.|
|Purifying Brew||1 chi, no CD. Purifying Brew removes your Stagger DoT. You don’t want to purify stagger too quickly, because that wastes chi; instead, wait until your stagger debuff turns yellow/red (yellow = 3-6% HP loss per second, red = >6%) before purifying. I’d say every 10 seconds is a pretty good baseline to shoot for.|
|Guard||2 chi, 30s CD. This is a short cooldown that you want to use when it’s up, as it puts a significant absorb shield on you. Scales with AP, so don’t use it if you’re just starting a fight; build some Vengeance first.|
|Elusive Brew (Brewing)||9 sec CD (not that it matters much). This has a somewhat unusual mechanic. It stacks based on crits (which is normalized for weapon speed, you get more stacks with a 2H, more crits with DW) up to 15, and once you use it, it gives you 30% dodge for 1s per stack. There’s no penalty for using it sooner or later, just use it before you stack up to 15.|
|Fortifying Brew||180 sec CD. This is your big personal cooldown. Increases health by 20%, reduces damage taken by 20%, and increases Stagger by 20% (Brewmaster Training). Best saved for predicted burst moments or “I’m about to die” times.|
|Gift of the Ox||This is a passive, but it’s rather significant. As you fight, healing spheres will pop up around you, Diablo 3-style, up to a maximum of three. Bad brewmasters will ignore them, good ones will get them as they pop, but GREAT ones will leave 2 up at all times and snag them after they take a big hit. It procs about 15% of the time on specials, and about 20% on autoattacks (halve that for DW), so you’ll see a lot of these.|
Remember, this is an excerpt. Go here for the full guide.