This is the old guide. The new guide is published here!
The windwalker monk is the DPS option for the new monk class introduced in Mists of Pandaria. Windwalkers, much like rogues, paladins, or feral druids, have two types of resources they must manage in order to maximize their damage; Energy and Chi. Also like rogues and feral druids, windwalker monks have a 1.0sec GCD for their abilities, as opposed to the traditional 1.5sec GCD. (GCD = Global Cooldown, or the delay before another ability can be used.) Windwalker monks can dual wield maces, swords, axes, or fist weapons, or can single wield staves and polearms.
01 Jul: Updated for 15799. Combat Conditioning + BOK change makes it useful again. The wowhead tooltips are getting on my nerves (mostly because they only show costs in mana, not energy) so I may change over to wowdb.
10 Jun: Finished for now, completely redid the page to add tables and stuff. Like this look better, but give me feedback! Everything should be correct for 15752.
09 Jun: Back at it! Starting to rework, things may look odd for a bit.
27 Apr: Updated for Patch 15650. (Talents.)
26 Apr: Updated for Patch 15640.
21 Apr: Clarified a few abilities, corrected error on Glyph of FoF, added heirloom info.
20 Apr: Initial post.
Windwalker monks have a 100-point energy pool, which regenerates at roughly 8 energy/sec. This can be slightly increased by haste. This energy is used to power your basic damaging abilities that generate chi, as well as some other utility functions. The only way to increase your energy regen is Energizing Brew. Proper energy and chi management is a key part of playing a windwalker monk expertly.
Chi is the windwalker monk’s primary resource, which is mainly built through the use of Jab. (can change names, see below). Currently, Jab costs 40 energy and generates 1 chi baseline, but 2 while in Fierce Tiger stance (which is your only option). Monks can store up to 4 chi. Chi is affected by your level 45 talent choice: Power Strikes provides extra rotational chi, Ascendance allows for more storage, and Chi Brew gives you a full refill on CD.
Rotation Theory (Work in Progress)
Super-Simple ST Rotation:
- Use Rising Sun Kick on cooldown.
- Use Tiger Palm and Blackout Kick if they proc a freebie. (from Combo Breaker).
- Use Energizing Brew on CD, and Tigereye Brew when you hit 10 stacks.
- Use TP 3x to put up the Tiger Power buff, then use again if Tiger Power’s about to drop.
- Use Fists of Fury on CD.
- Use Blackout Kick as principal Chi dump.
- If you don’t have Chi for 1-5, hit Jab/EH.
- Spinning Crane Kick spam (Fists of Fury hits a cone, but it still does only the same amount of damage, so not worth it unless you need the stun…I think.)
Full Ability List (All targetable abilities are melee range unless otherwise noted)
Melee Damage Abilities
|Jab||40 energy, no CD. Basic attack. Increases chi by 1 baseline, increased to 2 via Stance of the Fierce Tiger. Can proc a free Tiger Palm/Blackout Kick via the Windwalker’s Mastery, Combo Breaker. Key thing here is you never want to Jab (or Expel Harm, see below) twice in sequence. Jab, use something else, Jab, etc. This keeps your chi manageable. The only exception would be if you just used Energizing Brew, in which case, Jab away, just don’t waste chi.|
|Expel Harm||40 energy, 15s CD. Targets a nearby random in-combat enemy; does small damage and returns it to you as a heal. You’ll use this instead of Jab when you need a self-heal. Feel free to macro the two abilities together.|
|Rising Sun Kick||2 chi, 8s CD. Heavy damage and causes all targets within 8 yds to take 10% additional damage (from the Monk) for 15 sec. Use this on cooldown.|
|Tiger Palm||1 chi, no CD. Moderate damage; adds a 5% armor debuff to the target (only you see the increased damage, though). Debuff stacks 3x, so 15% armor reduction. That isn’t gamebreaking, but it’s nice. I need to work out the exact numbers, but I know 3xSunder Armor (12% armor reduction) is a 5% DPS increase, so I’d expect this, fully stacked, to be about a 6% DPS increase or so.|
|Blackout Kick||2 chi, no CD. Hits for good damage, and adds a DoT for 20% of the damage if attacking from behind, or a self-heal for 20% if attacking from the front (Combat Conditioning).|
|Fists of Fury||3 chi, 25s CD. Unlike the other instant abilities, this is a 4 sec channel that hits 5 times for significant damage (each FoF tick hits for a bit more than a Tiger Palm). It also stuns enemies during the channel. Downsides: expensive, it’s channeled (can be interrupted, no autoattack during the channel) and it splits damage among targets hit, which makes it not very good for AoE. This will get changed a few more times, I’m sure.|
|Spinning Crane Kick||40 energy, no CD, generates 1 chi. Channeled 3 sec AoE that hits 4 times. Spam away if you’ve got 3+ targets in the area.|
Ranged Damaging Abilities
|Spinning Fire Blossom||1 chi, no CD. Hits moderately hard on ranged targets. A good filler if you can’t close in for some reason, but not sustainable for long. Note that, unlike pretty much every other ranged ability in the game, it doesn’t automatically track on a target, so good luck using it with any accuracy unless you glyph it.|
|Crackling Jade Lightning||30 energy+30 energy/tick, no CD. Channels a lightning DoT on a ranged target; knocks them back if they melee you, and has a chance to add chi on each tick. Not that useful for windwalkers, but if you’re stuck at ranged and you’re out of chi, this is all you’ve got. First hit is instant (unlike SFB, which has a travel time) so also can be used as a pulling tool.|
|Energizing Brew||60s CD, regenerates 60 energy over 6 seconds. Still figuring out the best way to use this; right now, I’d just use it on cooldown.|
|Brewing:Tigereye BrewTigereye Brew||When you consume 4 chi, you gain a stack of Tigereye Brew, which lasts 2 minutes. For each additional 4 chi consumed in that 2 minutes, the duration is refreshed and the stack increased (stacks up to 10). Once you hit the TB button, your stacks are consumed and you get a 2% damage buff for each stack. I’m…pretty underwhelmed by this at the moment.|
|Fortifying Brew||3m CD, +20% damage reduction and +20% health for 20 secs. Your personal survivability cooldown, though it’s a bit weak for a 3min CD.|
|Touch of Karma||2 Chi, 90s CD. All damage taken is redirected to the enemy target as a 6 sec DoT. Lasts for 10 sec. Damage cannot exceed your total health. This is amazingly powerful, and will likely get rebalanced in some way (or the PvP tears will be INTENSE). Has some interesting PvE potential as well, but I need to experiment with the mechanics more. (Touch of Karma + Fortifying Brew + Provoke…DPS cooldown?)|
|Zen Meditation||3m CD, all monks. 99% damage reduction, redirects all spell damage to you for 8 sec. Breaks on melee. Will likely get nerfed/changed before patch goes live, or Monk stacking will commence.|
|Legacy of the Emperor||+5% strength/agility/intellect. All monks get this, as do all druids and paladins.|
|Legacy of the White Tiger||+5 mastery. Only windwalker monks get this, but also given by any shaman or any paladin. (Pallies can buff either stats or mastery, not both. Currently buffs crit instead of mastery, for some reason.)|
|Roll||20s CD, two charges. Similar to blink, you go forward (or sideways, or backwards) fast. Can be talented for a 3rd charge and 15s CD or a +25% speed boost after Rolling. 275% movement speed. (The CD here means the time for one charge to regenerate…so an untalented Roll could be used twice, then 20s later you could use it again once, or 40s later you could use it twice. Hope that makes sense.)|
|Flying Serpent Kick||25s CD. Fly forward for 3 seconds at 400% speed. Click again while in flight to land and do an AoE damage/slow. This ability is AWESOME for getting around; it’s essentially epic flight form speed that’s usable in-combat.|
|Transcendence||45s CD, 0.5s cast. Places your “spirit” at your current location. Similar to warlocks’ Demonic Circle.|
|Transcendence: Transfer||15 energy, 25s CD, 0.5s cast. Teleports you to your Transcendence location and places a new Transcendence spot where you were.|
|Paralysis||20 energy, 15s CD. 30s stun, or 60s if done from behind. Can be talented to be usable from range. Can only affect one target at a time.|
|Disable||15 energy, no CD. Reduces enemy movement speed by 50% for 15s, but duration is refreshed while the target remains within 10 yds. A second use will remove the snare and root the target for 8s.|
|Grapple Weapon||No cost, 60s CD. Ranged disarm ability, disarms the target for 10s. Supposedly buffs you if you “steal a better main-hand weapon,” but have not seen that effect yet.|
|Spear Hand Strike||30 energy, 25s CD. Interrupt/Silence. Fairly high energy cost; monks will not like being asked to interrupt.|
|Detox||20 energy, 8s CD. Dispels diseases and poisons. Ranged. (Yes, you might become part of a dispel rotation.)|
|Healing Sphere||60 energy, ranged. Lets you drop a Healing Sphere somewhere, which can be walked through for about 10% health. Can have up to 3 up at one time, and they last for 2 minutes. Other than setting up a pre-fight “fallback point,” I don’t see windwalkers using this often.|
|Resuscitate||Out of combat rez. Useful for those partial wipes where you survived but others didn’t.|
|Touch of Death||3 chi, 90s CD, all monks: Instakills a target with less health than the monk. Affected by Fortifying Brew, mostly a fun way to kill quest mobs while leveling.|
|Zen Pilgrimage||Teleports you to Pandaria to train skills and such. Similar to a death knight’s Death Gate or a druid’s Teleport: Moonglade.|
|Path of Blossoms||30 energy. Creates a Fire Blossom at your feet that lasts for 10 sec, creates up to 3 if moving, blossoms explode for 10k damage when an enemy moves over it. I confess, I haven’t tested this yet, but it doesn’t seem overly useful for windwalkers. (Mistweavers, definitely.)|
|Stance of the Fierce Tiger||Increases damage by 20%. Default stance, no reason to change.|
|Tiger Strikes||Autoattacks have a 10% chance to proc a buff that increases attack-speed and generates 4 extra attacks. Don’t worry about this.|
|Sparring||5% parry buff when attacked, stacks up to 20%. Helps keep you alive when soloing.|
|Afterlife||Dead enemies have a chance to proc a Healing Sphere or Chi Sphere. Again, more of a soloing help.|
Damage in premade gear (out-of-date)
All numbers with premade 85 gear, no buffs/debuffs.
- Melee: 5.5-7k
- Jab (Generates 1 chi): 4-5k
- Expel Harm (Generates 1 chi): 12k, 10k heal
- Tiger Palm (1 chi): 8k-10k (without +50% increase)
- Blackout Kick(2 chi): 10-12k (without DoT)
- Rising Sun Kick(2 chi): 25k
- Fists of Fury(3 chi AOE): 5 hits for 13k over 4s
- Spinning Crane Kick(2 chi AOE): 4 hits for 8k over 3s
- Crackling Jade Lightning: 5k a tick
- Spinning Fire Blossom: 9k close in, 13k at range
- Flying Serpent Kick: 2-3k, buggy
Talent Recommendations (see the Monk Talents page for a full list and descriptions)
These reccommended talents are the ones I see as being most broadly useful. That said, it’s very easy to change out talents now, so swapping on a per-encounter basis as needed is quite easy and definitely a good idea.
- Level 15: Celerity. With Flying Serpent Kick, we don’t need the long-range movement potential of Momentum.
- Level 30: Zen Sphere. You can cast this and get self-healing and extra damage while continuing your normal damaging rotation.
- Level 45: Power Strikes. Best chi generator. Chi Brew is a good choice for burst-DPS encounters.
- Level 60: Leg Sweep. The best choice for helping out tanks with trash.
- Level 75: Diffuse Magic. Healing Elixirs is too underpowered, and Dampen Harm is too situational. I’ll take the self-dispel.
- Level 90: Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger. Because it’s AWESOME (and the other choices are pretty bad, though Rushing Jade Wind might be helpful for the occasional AoE situation).
Glyph Recommendations (see the Monk Glyphs page for a full list and descriptions)
Heirloom Gear Recommendations:
- 2 Venerable Mass of McGowan
- 1 Venerable Dal’Rend’s Sacred Charge (main hand only) + 1 Mass
- 2 Battleworn Thrash Blade (suboptimal)
- Agi Staff (NYI)