This guide’s old! Go see the current one here!
The brewmaster monk is the tanking option for the new monk class introduced in Mists of Pandaria. Brewmaster monks, similar to protection paladins, have two types of resources they must manage in order to maximize their survivability; Energy and Chi. Brewmaster monks can wield staves or polearms, or dual wield maces, swords, fist weapons, or axes.
01 Jul: Updated for build 15799. Only major change was Tiger Palm losing its chi cost, and I missed that SHS has no energy cost for Brewmasters.
17 Jun: Updated for build 15762. No significant changes, really. Some of the text with the abilities may still be out of date. I need to go back and redo the layout of this whole thing.
13 May: Updated for build 15689. Lots of changes again, moved glyph and talent info into separate pages.
05 May: Updated for build 15662. Lots of changes in regards to Stagger.
27 Apr: Updated with build 15650 info (mostly talent changes).
25 Apr: Initial post.
Brewmaster monks have a 100-point energy pool, which regenerates at ~8 energy/sec. (Actual rate TBD, but it’s definitely not 10/sec baseline like the other energy classes.) For the brewmaster, this is primarily used to power your Chi builders, but is also used for secondary abilities. This energy regeneration rate is increased by 30% when in the tanking stance, Stance of the Sturdy Ox. (Build 15799 has bugged energy regen, FYI.)
Chi is the brewmaster monk’s primary resource. Chi is mainly built through the use of Jab, Expel Harm, and Keg Smash (See abilities below.) all Monks can store up to 4 chi. Certain talents can affect chi regeneration.
Brewmaster Mechanics/Rotation (WIP)
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 a 20% damage reduction from your tanking stance, but you’re still going to be taking quite a bit more damage than a regular tank. For example, using these numbers, a boss that melee’d for 200k would hit a regular tank for 80k, but hit a monk for 112k.
Ouch. Thankfully, Monks have something called Stagger, which is a new mechanic for Mists of Pandaria. A Staggered attack will take 70% damage instantly and the remaining 30% 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. If this is confusing, perhaps a few examples will help. Say you Stagger a 50k attack. You’ll immediately take 25k damage, and the remaining 25k will become a DOT that ticks for 2.5k a second for 10 seconds. That’s pretty simple. Now, say you stagger another 50k attack two seconds later. Again, you’ll take an immediate 25k damage, and your Stagger pool (which was down to 20k after two 2.5k ticks) will jump up to 45k, meaning the ticks will now be 4.5k for the next 10 seconds.
Obviously, as you continue to take hits, the Stagger DoT will build up to very high levels. This is currently denoted in the UI by three debuffs: Light Stagger (green), Moderate Stagger (yellow), and Heavy Stagger (red). (The colors are purely cosmetic.) Now, what do you do about this? Purifying Brew! For 1 Chi, this ability instantly removes your Stagger damage. Of course, you also need Chi to use many of your rotational abilities, so you may not want to use it on CD, and just save it for when your stagger is in the yellow.
One final note on stagger: the 70%/30% split isn’t fixed. The Brewmaster mastery increases the % of damage Staggered, and Brewmaster Training causes Blackout Kick to proc Shuffle, which makes the split 50%/50% (not counting mastery) and adds 20% parry. Shuffle is ESSENTIAL to not dying and you will want this up as much as possible.
In order to use your survivability abilities, you need Chi, and you need energy to generate Chi. Since the three primary energy-consuming moves cost 40 energy, your chi generation be a roughly 8 second cycle centered around Keg Smash and Jab/Expel Harm. Anyway, your key ability rotation looks something like this:
- Keg Smash to proc Weakened Blows and generate Chi. Use this on CD.
- Jab/Expel Harm/Spinning Crane Kick to build Chi if KS is on CD. EH then Jab for single-target; SCK for AoE. Macroing Jab and EH together seems to work fine, though I haven’t tested it extensively.
- Blackout Kick to proc Shuffle.
- Purifying Brew to mitigate Stagger damage.
- Elusive Brew/Guard. Short-duration cooldowns. I wouldn’t save these; use them proactively.
- Your Level 30 damage/healing talent, probably ZS. (Numbers have changed on this reecently; this may or may not be worth using still.)
- Your Level 75 damage mitigation talent, probably DH. Only if you need it, and you’re more likely to use this at key moments.
- Summon Black Ox Statue: Drop this prepull, and forget about it. Right now, it helps shield your party/raid, but not you.
- Tiger Palm to boost the strength of your next Guard. Handy, but definitely a filler. (At least you don’t need Chi for it anymore.)
Full Abilities List
Primary Rotation Abilities:
- Jab (40 energy, no CD, all monks): Increases Chi by 1. Basic attack. Can change to other skills, depending on weapon equipped; functionality remains the same.
- Expel Harm (40 energy, 15s CD, all monks): Targets a random in-combat enemy; does small damage and returns it to you as a heal. You’ll use this instead of Jab on CD (or close to it.)
- Keg Smash (40 energy, 8s CD, Brewmaster only): Generates 2 Chi, applies Weakened Blows, applies Dizzying Haze (3% miss), and does a bit of cleave damage to adds. Very critical ability for the debuff and the chi gen.
- Tiger Palm (1 Chi, no CD, all monks): Moderate damage, inc[reased when target is above 50% HP. Modified by Brewmaster Training to increase the amount of your next Guard by 5%; stacks up to three times.
- Blackout Kick (2 Chi, no CD, all monks): Moderate damage, increased when target is below 50% HP. Modified by Brewmaster Training to gain Shuffle, which increases Parry and Stagger % for 6 sec.
- Purifying Brew (1 Chi, 1s CD, Brewmaster only) Removes your Stagger DoT.
- Elusive Brew (no cost) This has a somewhat unusual mechanic. It stacks based on crits (which is normalized for weapon speed and DW/2H) up to 15, and once you use it, it gives you 30% dodge for 1s per stack.
- Guard (2 Chi, 30s CD, Brewmaster only) Adds a large damage mitigation shield and increases your self-healing by 30% (aka healing sphere) while it’s active. Buffed by Tiger Palm.
- Fortifying Brew (no cost, 180s CD, all monks): Increases health by 20%, reduces damage taken by 20%, and increases Stagger by 20% from Brewmaster Training. 20 sec duration.
AoE/Ranged Damaging Abilities:
- Breath of Fire (2 Chi, no CD, cone attack, Brewmaster only): AoE damage, adds a DoT if they’re affected by Dizzying Haze.
- Dizzying Haze (20 energy, 40 yd range, 8 yd AOE, Brewmaster only): Keg Smash, but usable at range. AoE pulling tool.
- Spinning Crane Kick (2 Chi, all monks): Small AoE damage to all enemies in melee range, lasts 3 sec. You do still dodge/parry during SCK.
- Crackling Jade Lightning (cost bugged, all monks): Channels a DoT on a ranged target; knocks them back if they melee you, and has a chance to add Chi on each tick. Mostly intended for Mistweavers, but could have situational use as a chi generator/puller.
- Stance of the Sturdy Ox (Brewmaster only): Reduces damage taken by 20%, increases health by 30%, increases Stagger chance by 25%, and adds crit-immunity. Your tanking stance.
- Stance of the Fierce Tiger (all monks): Increases damage by 20%. Will not use this often, unless not actively tanking.
- Legacy of the Emperor (all monks): +5% stats.
- Tiger Strikes (all monks): Autoattacks have a 10% chance to proc a buff that increases attack-speed and generates 4 extra attacks. Not certain on proc chance.
- Way of the Monk (all monks): DW one-handers get +40% damage; two-hander gets +40% attack speed. A lever for developers to tweak to keep DW/2H damage roughly equal.
- Swift Reflexes (all monks): Small amount of damage done to the enemy on a parry. Looks like a tuning lever for Brewmaster DPS.
- Mastery: Elusive Brawler (Brewmaster only): Increases the Stagger DoT percentage, and increases Parry.
- Desperate Measures (Brewmaster only): While at or below 35% health, your Expel Harm has no cooldown.
- Summon Black Ox Statue (180s CD, Brewmaster only): Periodically casts Guard on friendly targets, and buffs Provoke and Leer of the Black Ox.
- Leer of the Ox (20s CD, Brewmaster only): Causes the Black Ox “statue” to taunt your target, and reduces it’s movement speed by 50%. OP if it works on bosses, as it enables single-person taunt kiting. (I think this is gone now, or possibly only available via glyph)
- Avert Harm (60s CD, Brewmaster only): Reduces the damage taken by all nearby targets by 50%; redirects half the remaining damage to the Brewmaster. Lasts for 15s or until the Brewmaster drops to 10% or less health. I’d…avoid using this for now until you get a hang of what AoE damage is out there.
- Meditation (180s CD, all monks): 99% damage reduction, redirects all spell damage to you for 8 sec. Breaks on melee. Will likely get nerfed.
- Roll (20s CD, two charges, all monks): Similar to blink, you go forward (or sideways, or backwards) fast. Has 2 charges; the 1st starts regenerating immediately when you use it.
- Transcendence (45s CD, all monks): Similar to Demonic Circle. This places your “spirit” (aka teleport point).
- Transcendence: Transfer (25s CD, all monks): This relocates you to your spirit and relocates your spirit to the spot your body was in before.
- Zen Flight (all monks): Out of combat only, mostly decorative.
- Paralysis (15s CD, all monks): 30s/60s incapacitate. Melee only so will be semi-tricky to use in dungeons. CAN be broken by Expel Harm currently.
- Disable (15 energy, all monks): Reduces movement speed by 50%. On second use, roots.
- Grapple Weapon (60s CD, all monks): Ranged disarm. Possibly may buff the Monk, but this part’s TBD.
- Spear Hand Strike (
300 energy, 15s CD, all monks): Interrupt/Silence. No energy cost for Brewmasters due to Brewmaster Training.
- Provoke (8s CD, all monks): The monk’s taunt. Increases enemy movement speed by 50% for some reason. Brewmasters can Provoke their Black Ox statue for an AoE taunt (around the statue).
- Clash (35s CD, Brewmaster only): You and the target charge each other, then put out an AoE stun where you meet.
- Detox (20 energy, 8s CD, all monks): Dispels diseases and poisons.
- Healing Sphere (60 energy, 0.5s CD, all monks): Creates a sphere which can be walked through for health.
- Path of Blossoms (30 energy/1.5% mana, all monks): Creates 1-3 fire blossoms (multiples only created if you’re moving) at your feet, which last 10s and detonate when enemies walk over them. Looks PvPish.
- Resuscitate (100 energy, all monks): Out of combat rez.
- Touch of Death (3 chi, 90s CD, all monks): Instakills an NPC with less health than the monk. Affected by Fortifying Brew, mostly a leveling ability.
For the full list, see the monk talent page. For Brewmasters, my recommendations:
- L15: Celerity. More frequent rolls beats faster rolls.
- L30: Zen Sphere. Only one that can consistently keep yourself alive, though numbers are still out of whack.
- L45: Power Strikes. Greatest overall chi gain.
- L60: Leg Sweep. All the talents have situational use, but Leg Sweep’s probably going to be the best.
- L75: Dampen Harm. Another tank CD is a great choice. Certain fights may demand Diffuse Magic, however.
- L90: Invoke Xuen, The White Tiger. Because tigers are cool (and I haven’t really tested this tier extensively).
For the full list, see the monk glyph page. For Brewmasters, my tentative recommendations:
- Glyph of Dizzying Haze
- Glyph of Breath of Fire
- Glyph of Expel Harm
- Glyph of Transcendence (situational)
- Glyph of Guard (situational)
TBD. Obviously, you’re going to want Agility. For secondary stats, nobody knows yet; I have a sneaking suspicion that parry will be best, though, since you won’t have much of that and will therefore get it mostly DR-free.
Heirloom Gear Recommendations:
- 2 Venerable Mass of McGowan
- 1 Venerable Dal’Rend’s Sacred Charge (main hand only) + 1 Mass of McGowan
- 1 Battleworn Thrash Blade (suboptimal, unique so can only use 1) + 1 Mass of McGowan
- 1 Burnished Warden Staff (will be implemented in MoP)