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by Spiffymarlin

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Monk 5.4 Guide Guide by Spiffymarlin

Version: 1.2.1 | Updated: 06/30/2014

Introduction

Welcome to the 5.4 Monk guide! This guide is for all things Monk in World of Warcraft. I've noticed that many of the guides (all of them, really) for this game are horribly outdated (most are patches out of date and some are even entire expansions out of date). My goal is to provide up-to-date information about each class in a manner where the information is still relevant to players when they need it. This guide will be updated with any changes made from patch to patch.

Monks are the newest class added to WoW in the Mists of Pandaria expansion. They are themed around the eastern type of martial artist, with lots of punches, kicks, zen, chi, pressure points and all that kind of stuff. The class itself is a versatile hybrid capable of performing all three group roles. Brewmaster is the tank spec, based on a "drunken boxing" style. You'll drink lots of brew, smash kegs on your enemies' heads, and drunkenly dodge their attacks. Windwalker is the melee DPS spec, a rather straightforward martial artist. You'll be doing a lot of punching and kicking. Mistweaver is the healer spec, with a purification theme. You have a lot of "heal self while harming others" type abilities; ever wanted to punch the boss to heal (AKA Fistweaving)? Sign me up!

If you want to punch things, this is the class for you! Monks are very mobile; with a teleport, speed boost, cc removal, and directional roll. You'll be able to very quickly zip around the battlefield between multiple targets and dodge fire like a pro. Since this is a new class, expect quite a bit of tinkering as Blizzard really nails down this class's niche, especially in regards to Fistweaving.


5.4 Changes

General

  • Spinning Crane Kick now functions like a smart heal, healing the six most injured friendly targets within range, and minor guardians are no longer targeted. There has been no change to the total amount of healing granted by this ability.

Brewmaster

  • Keg Smash now deals 18% less damage

Mistweaver

  • Mana Tea is now consumed at an increased rate of 1 stack per 0.5 seconds (up from 1 stack per 1 second)
  • Revival's healing has been reduced by 30%

Windwalker

  • Mastery: Bottled Fury has been redesigned. Bottled Fury now gives a chance to generate an additional charge of Tigereye Brew when the Monk gains one normally
  • Storm, Earth, and Fire now deals 70% damage (up from 60%) with one Spirit summoned and 55% (up from 45%) with two Spirits summoned
  • Tigereye Brew received an adjustment:
    • It now increases damage by 6% per stack, (up from 1% per stack) but it is no longer increased by Mastery
    • A charge of Tigereye Brew is gained for each 4 Chi consumed through use of abilities and attacks (up from a charge for each 3 Chi consumed)

Talents

  • Chi Brew now restores 2 Chi, has a 45-second cooldown (down from 1.5 minutes), and generate stacks of Brew/Teas based on the Monk's specialization
    • Brewmaster: 5 stacks of Elusive Brew
    • Mistweaver: 2 stacks of Mana Tea
    • Windwalker: 2 stacks of Tigereye Brew
  • Chi Burst no longer requires a target. It now travels as a 40-yard line in front of the Monk
  • Healing Elixirs will no longer activate if the Monk is at full health, and activate automatically when the Monk has less than 35% of their max health
  • Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger now has a pet contorl bar for Xuen, and the talent is no long on the GCD for all Monk specs
    • Brewmaster Monks now gain Vengeance when Xuen takes damage
  • Power Strikes will now activate from the following Chi generating abilities: Jab, Expel Harm, Spinning Crane Kick (when it hits at least 3 targets), Crackling Jade Lightning, and Soothing Mist
  • Ring of Peace has a new visual effect that displays its AOE effect, and now disarms both enemies and those attacking allies within the Ring of Peace's AOE for 4 seconds. The silence effect for casting spells remains unchanged at 3 seconds.
  • Rushing Jade Wind has been redesigned and replaces Spinning Crane Kick
    • Rushing Jade Wind: The Monk summons a whirling tornado around them, dealing damage to nearby enemies (heals nearby allies for Mistweavers). Rushing Jade Wind has the same costs, Chi generation, and periodic rate as Spinning Crane Kick, but deals 80% of the periodic damage or healing, lasts 6 seconds, and not channeled
  • Zen Sphere now deals 15% more healing and damage

Glyphs

  • Major Glyphs
    • Glyph of Afterlife now increases the chance to summon a Healing Sphere by 100% (up from 25% chance).
    • Glyph of Crackling Jade Lightning has been replaced with Glyph of Nimble Brew.
    • Glyph of Nimble Brew causes Nimble Brew to heal the Monk when it clears a root, stun, fear, or horror effect.
    • Glyph of Expel Harm has been replaced with Glyph of Rapid Rolling.
      • Glyph of Rapid Rolling makes the next Roll or Chi Torpedo go farther after using a Roll or Chi Torpedo.
    • Glyph of Retreat has been replaced with Glyph of Fortuitous Spheres.
      • Glyph of Fortuitous Spheres causes a healing sphere to be summoned near the Monk at no cost when their health falls below 25%. This effect cannot occur more than once every 30 seconds.
    • Glyph of Stoneskin has been replaced with Glyph of Detox.
      • Glyph of Detox causes Detox to heal the target when it successfully removes a harmful effect.
    • Glyph of Targeted Expulsion now causes Expel Harm to heal for 50% as much when used on other targets.
    • Glyph of Transcendence now reduces the cooldown of Transcendence: Transfer by 5 seconds (used to increase the range by 10 yards).
    • Glyph of Uplift has been replaced by Glyph of Targeted Expulsion.
      • Glyph of Targeted Expulsion allows Expel Harm to be used on other players.


The Basics

Resources


Monks, like a lot of other classes, use a dual resource system; energy/mana + chi. Brewmasters and Windwalkers use energy while Mistweavers have their energy replaced with mana; this is so that their desirable stats more closely match other healers. All 3 specs use chi.

Energy is a 100 point primary resource that regenerates quickly over time. Energy regeneration rate is affected by haste; the more haste you have the quicker your energy refills. Almost all combat abilities that use energy cost 40 points, so it's easy to manage.

Mana is a large pool primary resource that regenerates slowly over time. Mana regeneration is affected by spirit; more spirit = faster mana regen.

Chi is a low count secondary resource that is generated through the use of abilities that cost energy/mana. You are limited to a maximum of 4 points of chi (5 through talents). Chi is self-generated and maintained; you can switch targets and will retain your chi, unlike combo points which are maintained on an enemy target. Chi will decay over time if you aren't using it.

In general, the monk play style involves using abilities that cost energy/mana to generate chi and then spending that chi on more powerful abilities. The goal of a successful monk is to generate and spend chi as quickly as possible. This is accomplished by finding the proper balance between energy/mana abilities and chi abilities. Generally, faster energy/mana regen means more frequent ability use to generate chi, but you have to be careful not to "cap out" your chi or energy/mana. For example, if you can't spend your energy/mana fast enough you will frequently be sitting in a period of non-regeneration, wasting those potential resources. Basically you want to make sure your primary resource is always regenerating while at the same time spending your chi.

Equipment



Armor - Monks can wear cloth and leather armor. You get stat bonuses for wearing all leather so cloth would really only be for RP or sitting around town or some other stupid thing you want to waste your time with. Wear leather armor.

Weapons - Monks can equip fists, one-handed swords, one-handed maces, one-handed axes, staves and polearms. Brewmasters and Windwalkers can dual-wield one-handed weapons.

Dual-wielding vs. 2-Handers - Monks get a passive called Way of the Monk that gives them a stat bonus based on their wielding method. This makes it so that there is no significant advantage either way; play whichever way you like. Procs for the most part have been normalized so that you will get a roughly equal amount regardless of which style you go with. Therefore, use whatever weapon(s) will give you the highest overall iLvl. So, a 540 2-hander would be better than a 540 + 530.

540 > 535 = (540 + 530) / 2

That being said, when equivalent iLvls, Dual Wielding comes out very very slightly ahead due to getting 2 weapon enchants. But seriously, that's only for min-maxy stuff; dual-wielding is always hella cool.


Races

Play whatever race you want unless you're a sperglord that absolutely has to min/max. Below I'll give a rough ranking for each race in relation to the other races of that faction and a break down of their racials that might be useful to a monk. I don't really PvP much, so these are based my PvE experience. Also I really only play Alliance so my horde rankings are only guesstimates. If someone would like to help me flesh out the rankings, I would really appreciate it!

Alliance - everything but Worgen



Dwarf
PvE - D
Dwarves will make a passable Brewmaster because of Stoneform. There really aren't a lot (any) good AGI maces out there and Monks can't equip 2-handed maces anyway, so Mace Specialization isn't that useful. Dwarf racials in general kind of suck and aren't really beneficial to a Monk.

Draenei
PvE - B+
Heroic Presence is good for Brewmasters and Windwalkers, since it can help open up gear options and better optimization. Gift of the Naaru is a decent situaltional heal that can be useful for all Monk specs, especially since it costs nothing and doesn't trigger the global cooldown.

Gnome
PvE - C
Escape Artist can be useful depending on the fight mechanics, but it works on less than you think. Mistweavers will take advantage of Expansive Mind. There is a slightly higher possibility of AGI 1-handed swords so Shortblade Specialization may at least be useful depending on gear options. Also dual-wielding swords as a tiny gnome is pretty cool.

Human
PvE - A
Every Man for Himself is THE CC breaker racial; will get you out of tons of shit. The Human Spirit is fantastic for Mistweavers. Mace Specialization is lame for the same reasons mentioned in the Dwarf break down, same with Sword Specialization and Gnomes. Also Diplomacy flat-out rocks for getting those rep rewards sooner.

Night Elf
PvE - F
Quickness is useful for Brewmasters, but that's about it. Night Elf raccials are very bad.

Panderan
PvE - B
Epicurean is like the best racial there is bcause it is useful for any class or spec; great if you want to multi-spec. Quaking Palm is a decent CC but the cooldown is too long.

Horde - everything but Goblin


Blood Elf
PvE - D
You kinda get an interrupt I guess? Not that good but I know you probably want to be one anyway so that you can count your spin jumps instead of paying attention to your raid leader.

Forsaken
PvE - C
Will of the Forsaken isn't as powerful as it used to be but is still a decent CC breaker. You get a little bit of extra DPS from Touch of the Grave.

Orc
PvE - B
Blood Fury is a good add-on to "pop all your CDs" burst phases and can benefit all 3 specs. Axe spec may be useful depending on the availability of AGI axes, but I wouldn't count on it.

Panderan
PvE - A
Epicurean is like the best raccial there is bcause it is useful for any class or spec; great if you want to multi-spec. Quaking Palm is a decent CC but the cooldown is too long.

Tauren
PvE - C+
War Stomp is pretty good because AoE stuns are becoming more predominantly necessary; especially in Challenge Mode dungeons. The extra 5% health from Endurance *might* end up being clutch at some point, but isn't that outstanding for a Monk since they don't really prioritize their health pool.

Troll
PvE - B
Berserking is a great burst ability. Everything else is so-so.


Specs and Abilities

Monks have 3 specs. Each spec performs one of the given group roles: tank, heal or deal damage (DPS). Since Monks punch and kick for a living, their DPS spec is melee based, meaning you're usually looking at the bosses' butt and slappin' hams. There is a core set of abilities that each spec shares, but their usage is slightly altered by the spec. Each spec also has some form of stacking self-buff that can be consumed on-demand for a benefit based on the number of stacks consumed.

Shared Abilities

These are abilities that all monks have access to.

Offensive Abilities

  • Stance of the Fierce Tiger - Basic offensive stance given to all specs. Use this when you're doing solo content like dailies or quests or whatever. 10% more run speed, 10% more damage, causes Jab & Expel Harm generate 1 additional chi.
  • Jab - Rotation ability. Punch something. Chi generator. Usage detailed per spec below.
  • Tiger Palm - Rotation ability. More punches. Chi spender. Usage detailed per spec below.
  • Blackout Kick - Rotation ability. Kick something. Chi spender. Usage detailed per spec below.
  • Touch of Death - Instantly kill anything with less health than you. Doesn't work in PvP. Costs 3 chi.
  • Spinning Crane Kick - Channeled AoE rotation ability. Spin around, kicking enemies near you. Can move while using, but movement speed is reduced. Still able to dodge/parry while using. Chi generator. Usage detailed per spec below.
  • Crackling Jade Lightning - Channeled single target ranged ability. If the target reaches you, they get knocked back a little bit. Good for pulling. Chi generator. Costs 1.2% mana or 40 energy.

Defensive Abilities

  • Fortifying Brew - Your big "oh crap" button. Increase your health by 20% and reduce damage taken by 20%. Brewmasters also gain 20% more Stagger. Costs nothing.
  • Zen Meditation - Your other big "oh shit" button, with bonus party/raid damage reduction. 90% damage reduction for 8 seconds. Also redirects up to 5 spells targeted at other party/raid members within 30 yards. Channeled, so you have to stand still for the durration. Will break early if you get hit with a melee swing, making it a little harder for Brewmasters to use. Costs nothing.

Crowd Control Abilities

  • Disable - Melee range single target 50% slow. Durration is refreshed as long as you stay within 10 yards of the debuffed target. Cast it again on the same target for an 8 second root. Costs 0.7% mana or 15 energy.
  • Spear Hand Strike - Monk interrupt. Costs 1.5% mana or 10 energy for Windwalker; costs nothing for Brewmaster.
  • Paralysis - 20 yard range single target 40-second CC. Works on anything. If done from behind the target, lasts 60 seconds. Duration is reduced in PvP. Costs 3% mana or 20 energy.
  • Grapple Weapon - 40 yard range single target disarm. Steals the target's weapon/shield. If you steal something better than your own, you get a 5% damage done/healing/reduced damage taken.

Healing Abilities

  • Resuscitate - Monk's single target resurection. Costs 20% mana or 50 energy.
  • Detox - Monk disspell. Base spell removes Poison and Disease debuffs on a single target. Mistweaver spec grants the ability to remove magic debuffs as well. Costs 2.6% mana or 20 energy.
  • Expel Harm - Heal yourself and transfer all the damage healed to the nearest enemy within 10 yards. Costs 1 chi.
  • Healing Sphere - Put a sphere on the ground that lasts 1 minute and heals the first person to walk through it, consuming the sphere. If the sphere expires on it's own without anyone touching it, it will heal someone within 6 yards for 50% of it's effect. Max of 3 up at a time. Costs 2% mana or 40 energy.

Misc. Abilities

  • Roll - Very useful short movement burst with 2 stacks. Moves in whatever direction you are currently heading, so you can roll forwards, left, right, or even backwards. No other skill like it. Each stack refills on it's own cooldown, so you can use up stacks back-to-back or space them out. Costs nothing.
  • Provoke - Monk's taunt. Also gives the target a speed boost so that it gets to you faster. Costs nothing.
  • Zen Pilgrimage - Teleport to and from the Peak of Serenity in Kun'lai Summit. Cost nothing.
  • Legacy of the Emperor - 5% AGI, INT, STR party/raid buff (AKA "stat buff"). Costs 6% mana or 20 energy.
  • Transcendence - Plop down a little ghost of yourself that you can teleport to.
  • Transcendence:Transfer - Teleport to the ghost that you placed with Transcendence. You and the ghost swap places, so the next time you teleport will be to wherever you were when you teleported the first time. Has a 40 yard range limit.

Brewmaster - Tank


Brewmasters aren't like other tanks. Instead of getting armor benefits from gear or passives, Brewmasters reduce their incoming damage via a mechanic caled Stagger and their Stance of the Sturdy Ox. The stance provides damage reduction, crit immunity, increased health, and the ability to generate Stagger. Stagger splits up the physical damage a Brewmaster takes; 80% is taken immediately while the other 20% is offloaded into a 10-second DoT. The percentage offloaded is affected by Mastery and other buffs. The nice thing about Stagger is that you have the ability to remove the DoT from yourself via an ability called Purifying Brew, which is explained in the Defesive Abilities section below. Gains Vengeance just like all other tanks in order to maintain threat. Brewmasters generally like to maintain a pool of 2-3 chi (depending on talents) which they save for emergency defensive usage.

Stat Priority

Because of their mechanics, Brewmasters do not favor the traditional defensive stats that most tanks use, instead preferring to use a mix of offensive stats to increase the potency and frequeny of their ability usage. There is lots of debate as to the relative importances of haste vs. crit vs. mastery. Your choice largely depends on how you like to play, what your raiding situation is like, and what gear you have access to. Here are some examples:

  • 25-man heroic progression brewmasters tend to prefer mastery because they're generally undergeared compared to the encounter and mastery helps them not go splat immediately because 25-man heroic bosses hit really goddamn hard.
  • Tank DPS is arguably more important to a 10-man than a 25-man
  • The set bonuses from tier 15 were really, really good for Brewmasters and let us stack a shitload of crit.
  • There was a trinket in Throne of Thunder called the Rune of Re-Origination that did wacky things with your stats and would enable you to get redonkulous ammounts of mastery.
  • If you're conservative and like to bank your chi haste is less important.
  • If you're impulsive and blow through all your chi all the time then haste is more important.


There isn't 1 exactly perfect "right" way to prioritize your stats. Experiment and find out what works best for you personally. This is just a general guideline.

Agility > Expertise to hardcap (15% - 5100) > Hit to hardcap (7.5% - 2550) > haste <> crit <> mastery > parry > dodge > stamina

  • Agility is the uber stat, it increases attack power, crit, and dodge. Higher attack power means better Guards. More crit means more freuqent stacks of elusive brew. More dodge is always good.
  • Expertise and hit to hardcaps because you're attacking from the front of the boss and want to knock parries/dodges/glacing blows/etc. off the combat table. Your best chi generator, Keg Smash, can get parried and it reallllly sucks when it happens because you were probably counting on that 2 chi.
  • Haste is a good secondary stat for Brewmasters because in general, Brewmasters have slower chi generation but really really need chi because of all their active mitigation (AKA "I will die if I'm not constantly using these abilities"). Also more frequent Elesuvie Brew stacks because of faster attacks.
  • Crit translates to more frequent Elusive Brew stacks.
  • Mastery got a bump in 5.2 but it still only mitigates physical damage which a Brewmaster can pretty easily deal with already.
  • Parry & Dodge don't usually appear on leather armor anyway (sometimes it's on Brewmaster tier pieces) and you get more benefit from other secondary stats, so it's difficult to stack enough of either to be useful.
  • Stamina isn't bad per se, but you really only need enough to make sure you're not getting 1-shot. Stack enough to have a comfortable buffer for yourself and then focus on other stats.


Single Target Rotation Abilities

  • Keg Smash on cooldown; it's your primary source of chi generation and how a Monk tank maintains the Weakened Blows (-10% physical damage dealt) debuff on their target(s). Also hits really hard and generates a ton of threat. Costs 40 energy, generates 2 chi.
  • Blackout Kick whenever you have enough chi for it. Buffs you with Shuffle every time you hit with it. Shuffle gives you 20% parry and 20% more Stagger as long as it's up, so you want to keep the buff up as much as possible; shoot for near 100% uptime. Costs 2 chi.
  • Expel Harm if you're under 100% health. Costs 40 energy, generates 1 chi.
  • Jab if you're not capped on chi and Keg Smash is on cooldown. Costs 40 energy, generates 1 chi.
  • Tiger Palm to fill in any gaps where you don't have enough energy/chi/everyhing else is on cooldown. Also buffs you with Tiger Power providing armor penetration and making your Guard ability more potent. Try to have 100% uptime on Tiger Power. Costs nothing for Brewmasters.


AoE Target Rotation Abilities

  • Keg Smash on cooldown. Same reasons as above.
  • Blackout Kick to keep Shuffle up.
  • Breath of Fire as damage/threat filler. Costs 2 chi.
  • Spinnking Crane Kick to generate chi. Costs 40 energy, generates 1 chi if it hits more than 2 targets.


Defensive Abilities

  • Stance of the Study Ox - Brewmaster stance that makes you "tanky". Always want it on when tanking. Most Brewmaster abilities can only be used while in this stance.
  • Purifying Brew - Clear all of your Stagger damage. You'll be using this frequently. Low Stagger is ok. Clear it if you have spare chi. Medium Stagger you should clear soon. High Stagger is "clear this shit NOW". Costs 1 chi.
  • Guard - Self-buff short cooldown used for regular damage spikes. Absorbs damage based on your attack power. Made better by Tiger Power buff from Tiger Palm. Self-heals are stronger while you have the buff. Buff durration lasts exactly as long as the cooldown, so you can use it on CD if you're lazy. Costs 2 chi.
  • Elusive Brew - Your autoattack crits grant stacks of this buff, up to 15. You can then use the Elusive Brew ability to spend those stacks, gaining 30% dodge for 1 second per stack consumed. Save a full stack for speciffic situations where you need a lot of dodge, or spend them regularly (when you have 6-9 stacks) if you don't need to save a high stack. Costs nothing.
  • Avert Harm - 50% damage reduction for anyone that it hits, and then half of the leftover damage you take instead. This is your "raid-wide" cooldown. Only has a 10-yard radius so it will only affect the people close to you, but has a nice 15 second durration. The redirected damage will not kill you, instead cancelling the effect if you go under 10% health. Costs nothing.
  • Summon Black Ox Statue - Plop down a big stone Ox statue. Whenever you deal a certain ammount of damage, the statue will cast Guard on a nearby party/raid member. This is basically free raid damage shields, and is pretty awesome. Also provides an AoE taunt via casting Provoke on it. Costs nothing.


Misc. Abilities

  • Dizzying Haze - Throw a keg of beer at some enemies. Ranged AoE pulling ability. Generates a TON of threat and slows anything it hits. Super-useful for kiting. Non-targeted and uses the ground click reticule instead, so takes a bit of getting used to. Costs 20 energy.
  • Clash - Kind of a weird hybrid between a charge and a pull. Use it on a target and you'll meet halfway in the middle. Pull casters closer or use it as a gap closer. Since it's a pull, it usually doesn't work on bosses, which kinda sucks. Costs nothing.
  • Nimble Brew - CC breaker. Very useful for breaking out of stuns so that you don't get wrecked. Costs nothing.


How to Play a Brewmaster
Put your Ox Statue down in a position where most of the other party/raid will be near enough to it that they will recieve Guard buffs from it. Pull with Dizzying Haze or Crackling Jade Lightning. Keg Smash is your main chi generator; always be hitting it as soon as it comes up off cooldown and plan your energy usage around that. Otherwise spam Jabs to spend energy and generate chi. You can swap out a Jab for an Expel Harm if you need the self-healing. Blackout Kick frequently to keep up Shuffle. Shuffle is very important and you are very squishy without it. You'll want to be at near 100% uptime on Shuffle. Tiger Palm whenever you don't have enough energy for a Keg Smash or Jab and don't want to spend chi, since it is a free cast for Brewmasters. Purifying Brew whenever you get up into Medium or High Stagger.

Brewmaster Self-healing can be very strong. Gift of the Ox will poop out a ton of Healing Spheres around you that only you can pick up. Wiggle around a bit to pick them up and get a burst of self-healing. Desperate Measures makes your Expel Harm have no cooldown if you're under 35% health; you can blow through your energy reserves to heal up, or sneak in a quick self-heal all while generating chi.

Brewmaster Tips & Tricks

  • Reposition your Ox Statue as needed, since it does have range limitations.
  • Use Guard on cooldown if you want the increased self-healing, or save it for an incoming damage spike that you know is coming soon.
  • Have some way to monitor the status of your Stagger damage. There are mods out there that will give you detailed info, but even the base UI has different debuffs for Light (green), Medium (yellow), and Heavy (red).
  • Keep track of your Elusive Brew stacks. You don't always have to wait for it to stack up to 15 before using it. Plan your usage ahead of time based on the fight: save up full stacks for a better chance at dodging a heavy hit or use it regularly (between 6-9 stacks) to even out damage intake. Regular usage can result in rather significant Elusive Brew uptime with the right combination of haste and crit.
  • Keeping at least 2 chi in reserve is a good idea for emergency Purifying Brews and Guards. Build up to your chi cap at the start of a fight and only spend it when you need to, rather than always emptying out.
  • Drop your Transcendence ghost and then plop your 3 Healing Spheres down on top of it. Then Transcendence:Transfer to swap with your ghost and gobble up the spheres you dropped. Less useful since they nerfed the durration of Healing Spheres, but you can glyph them to last longer.

Windwalker - Melee DPS


Windwalkers are very strong, easy to play melee DPS. They have a very simple, straightforward rotation without a lot of procs or conditional ability usage. Mastery behavior was changed again in 5.4. The only stance available to you is Stance of the Fierce Tiger, so you're almost always generating at least 2 chi at a time. Very easy to chi cap in this spec if you're not paying attention; however you should be spending chi as fast as you generate it. This spec has a ton of passive abilities.

Stat Priority

agility > Expertise to softcap (7.5% - 2550) > Hit to hardcap (7.5% - 2550) > haste to comfort (5000 - 7000) > mastery <> crit > haste

  • Agility is the uber stat, giving both attack power and crit.
  • Expertise and hit to cap to knock misses & dodges off the combat table. Attacking from behind means you only need to soft-cap expertise, unline Brewmasters.
  • Haste to comfortable amount, usually between 5000 to 7000. "Comfortable" meaning just enough to have good energy regen but not cap out. This is a highly situational thing that depends on your gear, access to buffs, talent choices, trinkets, racials, etc. So you will have to figure out on your own what exactly is best for you.
  • Mastery and crit are somewhat interchangeable depending on what kind of damage output you want. If you want a lot of on-demand burst to line up with trinkets, racials, hero/lust etc. then favor mastery. If you want more steady damage or don't want to deal with lining up burst CDs, then favor crit.
  • Windwalker is more GCD limited than resource limited, so stacking a ton of haste usually means you're sitting there with capped energy wasting resource regen time. Get to your comfort level and then reforge out of it into better stats.


Single Target Rotation Abilities

  • Rising Sun Kick on cooldown. Hits hard and debuffs all targets within 8 yards to take increased damage from you. Keep that debuff up. Costs 2 chi.
  • Blackout Kick whenever you have the chi for it. The Combat Conditioning passive adds an effect to Blackout Kick. If you are behind the target it adds a DoT; if you are in front it heals you for 20%. Costs 2 chi, free from Combo Breaker procs. If you get a Combo Breaker proc for Blackout Kick, generally you want to use it immediately.
  • Tiger Palm to buff yourself with Tiger Power, providing armor penetration and making your Guard ability more potent. Only needed to keep Tiger Power up. Costs 1 chi, free from Combo Breaker procs. If you get a Combo Breaker proc for Tiger Palm, save it for when you need to refresh the Tiger Power buff.
  • Expel Harm if you're under 100% health. Costs 40 energy, generates 2 chi.
  • Jab to generate chi. Costs 40 energy, generates 2 chi.


AoE Target Rotation Abilities

  • Rising Sun Kick on cooldown. The damage taken debuff from Rising Sun Kick has an AoE component, so keep it up. Costs 2 chi.
  • Spinning Crane Kick to generate chi. Costs 40 energy, generates 1 chi if it hits more than 2 targets.
  • Place Storm, Earth and Fire clones on secondaryand tertiary targets. It's not so much an "AoE" ability, but more of a "split your single target DPS among a few targets". It's a very unique ability that makes up to 2 clones of yourself that stick on whatever you currently have targeted and mirror the special attacks you use. Your damage is split between the clones, so it's not really a good single-target DPS gain. All in all a rather complicated, but cool ability.


Offensive Abilities

  • Tigereye Brew - On-demand damage boost. You gain 1 stack of the buff for every 4 chi that you spend, up to a max of 20 stacks. Mastery provides a chance to generate an additional charge every time you gain one normally. Consume up to 10 stacks at a time for a 15 second DPS boost proportional to the stacks consumed; 6% increase per stack.
  • Energizing Brew - Gives 60 energy over 6 seconds. Relatively short 1-minute cooldown and one of the reasons why haste isn't as important for Windwalkers.


Misc. Abilities

  • Fists of Fury - Very good long durration channeled AoE stun. There's some theorycrafting that making it part of your Single Target Rotation is a DPS gain, but since the ability is channeled, the timing is so unbelievably tight that it's very very difficult to work it in. Costs a whopping 3 chi.
  • Flying Serpent Kick - ZOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM! Move hella far, hella fast. Probably the best "get the fuck outta here" skill ever made. Cast once to activate, cast again to stop. Non-targeted and follows a straight line. "Stomp" when you land and any nearby enemies are hit with a short AoE slow. Costs nothing.
  • Touch of Karma - Windwalker unique defensive cooldown, with a twist; it's an enemy debuff instead of a self-buff. Any damage you take for the durration is instead transfered to the debuffed enemy. Save yourself by dealing damage, nice! Won't save you from a 1-shot ability though, nice try. Kind of tricky to use since it is only melee range. Costs nothing.
  • Nimble Brew - CC breaker. Very useful for breaking out of stuns so that you don't get wrecked. Costs nothing.
  • Spinning Fire Blossom - The traditional martial-artist "fireball" type ability. Non-targeted, travels in a straight line and hits the first mob it encounters. If it goes more than 10 yards, deals more damage and roots. Use when you're forced out at range. Please don't macro this with "/say HADOOKEN!". Costs 1 chi.
  • Legacy of the White Tiger - 5% crit party/raid buff. Costs 20 energy.


How to Play a Windwalker
Windwalker is all about blowing through your energy & chi as quickly as you can. Don't hold back, spend it as soon as you have enough for an ability. Keep up your Tiger Power buff, Rising Sun Kick debuff, and Blackout Kick DoT. Combo Breaker procs trigger a UI effect; a blue lightning arc will appear on your screen near your character model. The left one indicates a Tiger Palm proc, the right one indicates a Blackout Kick proc. Use up Blackout Kick procs as soon as they happen, but use Tiger Palm procs only when you need to refresh Tiger Power of if the proc itself is about to expire. Generally your energy spend will slowly outpace your regen; when you get low on energy use Energizing Brew.

Learning how to manage your Tigereye Brew stacks is key to Windwalker DPS. The damage boost was made much more potent in 5.4, while charge generation was evened out. Stack usage is highly situational and dependant on the fight. You need to know what the timing is for burst periods and make sure you have a high stack to use, otherwise regularly rolling through your stacks so that you don't stay capped. You also have to consider combining stack usage with other on-deman burst or procs from other sources, such as engineering gloves, trinkets, meta gems, legendary cloaks, etc. That is the heart of good Windwalker DPS.

Windwalker Tips & Tricks

  • Keep your DPS up at range with Spinning Fire Blossom and Crackling Jade Lightning if you're forced outside of melee due to some fight mechanic.



Mistweaver - Healer


Mistweaver is a fairly unique take on healing. Its cast heals are a kind of mix between Druid and Priest: a small channeled direct heal over time and a large cast direct heal over time, a medium-large inefficient direct heal, a spreading heal over time, and an AoE heal that interacts with the spreading HoT. They can also heal via melee damage, much like Discipline Priest's Atonement but with much higher AoE damage capability; this is usually called "Fistweaving". You can go strictly melee or strictly heal from range, although I find that it's more effective and fun to combine the two. Mistweavers generate and use Chi like other specs, but Stance of the Wise Serpent turns their energy into mana. Their mana is used and regenerated like other healers. Mistweavers excel at healing AoE damage, especially constant amounts or large predictable bursts, but still have serviceable single target abilities.

The opinion of an experienced healer that has played all healing classes is that Mistweaver is the most unique. They particularly like that it can respond fluidly to damage and healing requirements mid-fight. It's a lot of fun to contribute significantly to your group's damage while at the same time healing for a noticeable amount, and being able to turn into an AoE healing machine with prior planning and good cooldown use. Great mobility with Roll and Transcendence.

If anyone else is a Monk healer with other ideas, speak up! I've had a hard time finding good discussion on the spec that doesn't have too much of a theorycraft bent.

Stat Priority

Spirit > Int > Haste to breakpoint (3145 in Tiger Stance) > Crit > Mastery > Haste

  • Spirit - Enough to feel comfortable, which will vary depending on what you're doing. I found 10k and some regen trinkets to be a good amount for progression.
  • Int - Pretty obvious. Makes you heal for more, gives you a bit more crit. Orange or purple gems in MoP are usually the way to go compared to Cataclysm's predominance of red gems, thanks to the secondary stat rating increase on gems.
  • Hate to breakpoint (3145 in Tiger Stance) - This will let you get 2 additional tics of Renewing Mist if you have the 5% spell haste buff from a raid member. This is perhaps your most important healing spell, so it's a key breakpoint. Note that this is the haste rating you'll need in Stance of the Fierce Tiger, as Stance of the Wise Serpent will buff your haste rating from items by 50%.
  • Crit - Most of your spells are either instant or benefit very little from haste, so crit is your go-to secondary stat after the haste breakpoint is reached. Your crit percentage is also directly translated into a percent chance to generate double charges of Mana Tea.
  • Mastery - An odd stat. Increases the chance on heal to summon a healing orb by the affected target, which will heal any ally that walks over it. They last for 1 minute, and will heal an ally within 6 yards for 50% of the effect if they expire. Better than extra haste, but requires you and your raid members to be more aware of them, which can be a challenge.
  • Haste - As stated, doesn't significantly affect most of what you do, and not worth getting once breakpoints are reached. ((I believe it either doesn't affect (or doesn't affect very much) the channel time for Soothing Mist, which is your main cast heal. Does ,more noticeably affect the channel time of Spinning Crane Kick))


General Abilities
The basic Mistweaver shtick is to spread your HoT, generate Chi, and use that Chi for your fancier abilities based on the current healing needs (usually Uplift)

  • Jade Serpent Statue - Always have this down! Provides weaker versions of your Soothing Mist to targets within 40 yards, and Eminence to targets within 20. Now with no mana cost, so reposition as needed during a fight.
  • Renewing Mist - Perhaps your most important heal. A medium strength heal over time that will bounce to two additional targets, for a 6 person coverage outside of special cooldown use. 8 second cooldown, and almost always cast on cooldown. Generates 1 Chi.
  • Soothing Mist - A weak-ish channeled heal, your filler if you're healing from range. Interacts with Surging Mist and Enveloping Mist, making them instant casts onto your Soothing Mist target. Your statue will cast a weaker version of this on the lowest health ally in range. Changed in 5.2 to basically generate 1 Chi per 3 tics.
  • Uplift - Your main AoE heal. Heals any target who currently has one of your Renewing Mists for a medium amount. Costs 2 Chi.
  • Mana Tea - Your active regeneration ability. You get 1 charge of Mana Tea for each 4 Chi you spend, with a chance equal to your crit percentage of generating 2 charges. Using one charge restores 4% mana. Almost always glyphed to instantly consume 2 charges and incur a 10 second cooldown, as opposed to the default 1 charge per second channeled ability. Typically used on cooldown once a fight's underway.
  • Surging Mist - A quick, high mana cost medium-large heal. Instant on your Soothing Mist target, 1.5 second cast otherwise. Used situationally due to its cost, and because tank healing isn't really your forte. Generates 1 Chi.
  • Enveloping Mist - A large direct heal over time. Targets with Enveloping Mist receive higher healing from Soothing Mist. Costs 3 Chi.
  • Spinning Crane Kick - For Mistweavers this becomes an AoE heal, good for periods of intense raid damage but fairly mana intensive. Generates 1 Chi if it damages or heals at least 3 targets.
  • Healing Sphere - Bit of an odd spell. More mana efficient than Surging Mist, but heals for ~20% less and has to be placed on the ground with a targetting reticule. Also does not generate Chi. Not something I personally use much in raids because of the targetting requirement and attention demands, but I'm sure others have used it effectively.
  • Expel Harm - Works the same as other specs, self heal that generates 1 Chi. Relatively inexpensive Chi generator, use as appropriate.
  • Detox - Your dispel. Works on Diseases, Magic, and Poison. 6 second cooldown like everyone else's.


Fistweaving Abilities
"Fistweaving" is the common term for healing through melee damage. This doesn't necessarily mean that that's all you do, and in fact in most fights you should not exclusively melee.

  • Eminence (Passive) - Your damage abilities heal for a percentage of damage dealt to allies within 20 yards. Your statue will mirror that healing.
  • Jab - Generates 1 Chi, deals a bit of damage, and costs 8% mana. Grants Muscle Memory, which affects Tiger Palm and Blackout Kick
  • Tiger Palm - Costs 1 Chi and does damage. Does a lot more damage if you have Muscle Memory, and will also refund 4% mana if used with Muscle Memory. Basically if you're fistweaving, don't cast Tiger Palm without Muscle Memory. Grants Tiger Power, allowing you to ignore 30% of the target's armor, which means more damage that will be pushed into healing. Also stacks a buff that at 5 charges causes your next Surging Mist to be instant cast 0 mana cost.
  • Blackout Kick - Costs 2 Chi, does more damage than Tiger Palm, and deals half damage to up to 4 nearby targets. Grants Serpent's Zeal, a 30 second buff that makes you and your statue heal nearby targets for 25% of your autoattack damage.
  • Spinning Crane Kick - Grants Muscle Memory if it damages at least 3 targets.


Cooldowns

  • Thunder Focus Tea - A medium cooldown that empowers Surging Mist or Uplift. Surging Mist has its healing increased by 100%, but its main use is to cause your next Uplift to refresh the duration of all your Renewing Mists to full. Used on cooldown on fights with constant raid damage throughout, or in anticipation of burst AoE damage otherwise. If used correctly you can cover an entire 10 man raid in Renewing Mist, pool Chi, then use multiple Uplifts on everyone once the damage hits. Costs 1 Chi, 45 second cooldown.
  • Life Cocoon - A "save someone who's about to die" ability. Puts a very strong shield (almost 100% of my HP) on the target and increases the effect of HoTs on them by 50%. 3 minute cooldown.
  • Revival - Very large heal on the entire group. Also cleanses all Magic, Poison, and Disease effects. Great in 5 and 10 mans, not as effective in 25 mans because it splits the amount over more people.


How to Play a Mistweaver

Ranged - Sit back with your statue down, spread your Renewing Mist on cooldown, and cast a lot of Soothing Mist. If there's a lot of AoE going out and your Renewing Mist is on a majority of damaged targets, cast Uplift. If someone has taken strong single damage and it won't get sniped, use Enveloping Mist. Use Surging Mist sparingly due to its mana cost. Use Soothing Crane Kick if you're bunched up and everyone needs healing, but bear in mind its mana cost as well. Drink your Mana Tea on cooldown if you have 92% or less mana.

Fistweaving - Punch some dudes. Still spread Renewing Mist on cooldown. Keep up Tiger Power and Serpent's Zeal. If there's 1 or 2 targets, alternate Jab with Tiger Palm to make the most of Muscle Memory (alliteration!) Use your instant, 0 cost Surging Mists after 5 Tiger Palms. If there's 3 or more targets, use Spinning Crane Kick to get Muscle Memory, and use the Chi you generate along with that of Renewing Mist, Expel Harm, and empowered Surging Mists to cast Blackout Kick. (Don't Jab twice in a row, you'll wreck your mana longevity) Use Mana Tea on cooldown if you have 92% or less mana. The damage and healing with ~4 or more targets is substantial, and is great for fights like Horridon. With my 10k spirit and regen trinkets a constant damage rotation isn't something I can maintain indefinitely, so you have to spend some time autoattacking to regenerate mana.

Hybrid approach - I think this is the most effective, but takes some getting used to. Stay in melee, keep up Serpent's Zeal and autoattack. Spread Renewing Mist. Get a feel for your mana, and see how much damage and healing you can contribute via fistweaving without stressing your reserves. If a single person drops low, use Soothing Mist to heal them and generate some Chi you can use for Blackout Kicks or other things. If mana permits and there's multiple enemy targets, the damage and healing from Spinning Crane Kick and Blackout Kick is significant. Basically stay in melee and get the most of your healing through damage, but be ready to respond to the raid's more intense healing needs. How much melee vs standard healing you'll be able to do will depend on the encounter and your gear level.

Mistweaver Tips & Tricks

  • The game considers Mistweavers a melee class for purposes of targeting and boss abilities.
  • Always cast Renewing Mist on someone who doesn't have it to maximize your coverage.
  • In my experience, the best time to cast your Thunder Focused Uplift is before your Renewing Mist cooldown is back up, and before the oldest HoT fades. If you know something big is coming (like Rain of Blades on Mejarak), you want to cast that Uplift ~10 seconds before that damage goes out. That gives you enough time to cover everyone in a 10 man (I don't raid 25) and pool some Chi to deal with the heavy AoE damage. If you time it right and have enough Chi, you can usually heal a big AoE phase by yourself without need of other healer's longer cooldowns.
  • Use Expel Harm as a Chi generator. It's a good self heal, and it's an inexpensive source, especially after the Jab mana cost increase in 5.2.
  • Don't forget to mix in your level 30 tier talents, especially now that they have no Chi cost. Certain ones will be more effective based on the fight, but Chi Wave is good all around.
  • Don't forget about your disarms, slows, and stuns. Disable's ability to root already slowed targets is helpful in several fights.

6. Talents

Monk talents are all rather varied and provide a wide range of utility. Being a hybrid class, there is no specific focus on DPS/healing/damage reduction, instead, all your bases are covered. Each tier of talents has a "theme" as to what it affects and a new tier is unlocked every 15 levels. Talent choices can be changed at any time when not in combat by spending a reagent; 1 reagent per tier change. Characters level 15-80 use Vanishing Powder, 81-85 use Dust of Disappearance, and 86+ use Tome of the Clear Mind. It is a good idea to swap out your talents depending on your current activities; Arena, Battlegrounds, Raiding, etc. The optimal choices can even change from fight to fight, there is no 1 default "best" choice. Talents are intended to be a personalization option.

Tier 1 - Movement


These talents give you increased mobility.

  • Celerity - Passive. Gain 1 more Roll stack and reduce the stack cooldown by 5 seconds. Roll more frequently.
  • Tiger's Lust - Ability. Clears roots and slows off a target and gives a 70% speed boost for 6 seconds.
  • Momentum - Passive. Gain 25% move speed for 10 seconds after you Roll. Can stack for 50% speed.


Tiger's Lust is the standout winner this tier, simply because it's a CC breaker that you can use on yourself or other players. Celerity can be useful when comboed with the Tier 6 Chi Torpedo talent.

Tier 2 - Healing & Damage Combo



These talents are all abilities that will heal allies and damage enemies at the same time. Can be targeted on either allies or enemies. These are all very powerful damage/heal combo abilities. 5.2 made all of these talents free to cast, which was a pretty huge buff.

  • Chi Wave - Ability. Bounces up to 7 between allies and enemies, healing allies and damaging enemies. 20 yard limit to the bounce. "Smart" heal that will prefer more damaged allies.
  • Zen Sphere - Ability. Combination AoE HoT and single target DoT. If the target of the Zen Sphere goes under 35% health or Zen Sphere is disspelled or expires, it will explode for a burst of damage/healing. Can have up to 2 Zen Spheres out at a time.
  • Chi Burst - Ability. Untargeted AoE direct damage/heal that moves forward from the monk, healing/damaging anything in it's path. Will also always heal the monk casting it. Dodge/parry/autoattack continues while casting.


Chi Wave is the default choice if you don't need the AoE healing/damage from the other 2 talents. Chi Wave can be an insanely good self-heal for Brewmasters if they have Guard up and it only bounces between themselves and their target. Zen Sphere can be good for fights with steady AoE raid damage. Chi Burst can be good for fights with burst AoE damage, but the positioning requirements make it difficult to use.

Tier 3 - Resource Generation


These talents affect your energy/chi generation.

  • Power Strikes - Passive. Gain the Power Strikes buff once every 20 seconds, causing your next Jab, Expel Harm, Spinning Crane Kick (if it hits 3 or more targets), Soothing Mist, or Crackling Jade Lightning to generate 1 extra chi.
  • Ascension - Passive. Increase your maximum chi by 1, maximum mana by 15%, and energy regen by 15%.
  • Chi Brew - Ability. Restores 2 chi and generates stacks of brew/tea based on the monk's specialization. 45 second cooldown.
    • Brewmaster: 5 stacks of Elusive Brew
    • Windwalker: 2 stacks of Tigereye Brew
    • Mistweaver: 2 stacks of Mana Tea


Chi Brew was redesigned in 5.4 and is much more attractive to all 3 specs due to the shorter CD and added brew/tea stack generation. The only drawback is that it is an active ability instead of a passive; it's useless if you forget to use it!

Power Strikes is the preferred default choice for Brewmasters and Windwalkers with low haste as it ends up generating more chi over time; higher haste builds somewhat prefer Ascension. There's some math dealing with haste breakpoints and when exactly Ascension becomes preferable, but it's mostly a matter of personal preference.

Mistweavers usually prefer Power Strikes or Chi Brew. Since haste breakpoints are more important to a Mistweaver and only very high haste benefits more from Ascension, Ascension is generally not that useful to a Mistweaver. Chi Brew + Thunder Focus Tea/Uplift is quite a good raid cooldown combo.

Tier 4 - AOE Crowd Control


These talents provide some form of AoE crowd control on a short-ish cooldown.

  • Ring of Peace - Ability. Targeted 8 yard AoE sanctuary that silences and disarms any enemies inside it.
  • Charging Ox Wave - Ability. Non-targeted frontal AoE wave that travels 30 yards and stuns any enemies in in it's path for 3 seconds.
  • Leg Sweep - Ability. Stuns all enemies within 5 yards of the Monk for 5 seconds.


Leg sweep is the default choice because of the longer stun and slightly shorter cooldown. Brewmaster/Windlwaker are usually right in the middle of the mob pack you're trying to CC anyway. Ring of Peace has situational utility; ie. when dealing with groups of adds that can't be stunned. Charging Ox Wave may be preferable if you want to stay away from the mob pack.