One of the biggest changes in Legion Windwalker is the removal of our old cleave technique and our dps rotational skill, Tigereye Brew, in favor of a new toy.
Storm, Earth, and Fire is now extremely important to the play style of Legion Windwalker. To perform well, you’ll want to be aware of how it works, how it doesn’t, and how to maximize its potential.
Mechanics and Bugs
New iteration of Storm, Earth, and Fire works as follows:
- You split into three spirits, one which you control and two you don’t, for 15 seconds.
- If you don’t do anything, they’ll attack random targets you’re in combat with, jumping pretty efficiently from one target to another.
- If you press the spell again, they’ll focus on current target and ignore others for the rest of the duration or until assigned to a new one.
- If there are less than 3 targets available, they can still attack the same target as you (unlike previous iterations of the spell.)
During the duration, you and your spirits will deal 55% reduced damage (50% with Spiritual Focus), for a net gain of 35% damage overall on single target (50% with Spiritual Focus!). The clones will replicate all your damaging actions, although they won’t cast crowd controls, use items or cast Touch of Death.
They will count towards mark of the crane, effectively tagging targets for your Spinning Crane Kick buff. They will be very efficient at that task, jumping to a new target without a debuff every GCD, and refreshing the oldest debuff if every target within range is tagged.
It is worth noting that Storm, Earth, and Fire, despite all the attention Blizzard gave it, has and will probably always have some bugs. As I write this they:
Reduce the damage of some spells/perks which they don’t copy, as Tornado Kicks. Can be very slow to pick a target so I would not encourage you to Fists of Fury right after you summon them since they might just stand idle during your strongest spell. Stack their own hit combo buff, making them a bit weaker during that buff than Serenity is.
- Also worth noting if one of your clones dies, the spell is canceled.
This ability has a 1:30 minutes cool down, but stacks up to 2 times; this is excellent, as it gives monks one the best cooldowns in the game (+50% damage is crazy) with flexibility to use it/delay it, or even use two in a row for a huge damage burst on a priority target (Those 30 seconds of powerful burst are quite reminiscent of Demon Hunter’s metamorphosis… proving once more how similar both classes are).
Single Target Use
The first rule for Storm, Earth, and Fire use on single target is to almost always have one charge on cooldown. There is no rush to use your second charge: as long as one is always recharging and both are used by the end of the fight, you’re getting the most out of it.
This allows a lot of flexibility. In 90% scenarios, you’ll want to use one stack on your single target opener, where all cooldowns are line up. Fists of Fury, Strike of the Windlord, a couple Rising Sun Kicks (maybe even 3 with a bloodlust) and the large amount of resources available to begin with all lead to a very strong opening burst. I believe most of you got this already anyways.
How do you use your other stacks?
The minimum you can get out of a stack is a couple Rising Sun Kicks, a Fists of Fury and a Strike of the Windlord. This, combined with pooling some chi beforehand and fitting enough Blackout Kicks during the duration is very strong. To achieve this, I encourage you to monitor Strike of the Windlord’s cooldown to ensure you see the window where you’ll be able to fit both this and Fists of Fury into the damage buff.
Can you get more than that? For sure! Some very powerful trinket procs can bring more to the table than Strike of the Windlord. You’ll still likely want to fit a Fists of Fury into this; how do I achieve this? I monitor Fists of Fury closely as well; whenever the cooldown is lower than 12 seconds, I know that if I get a strong trinket proc now, it is worth popping Storm, Earth, and Fire straight away as it will also cover Fists of Fury.
In some fights, large damage buffs will happen for 10 seconds – 1 minute durations; in these scenarios, plan ahead for your Storm, Earth, and Fire usage, sometimes even capping at two stacks for up to 15-30 seconds to set up this huge 30 seconds burst window.
Storm, Earth, and Fire during AoE bosses
One of the big things about the spell is how fast it gets Spinning Crane Kick rolling. If you switch targets yourself each GCD, you can get 9 stacks in just a Tiger Palm -> Blackout Kick -> Tiger Palm; very quickly you’ll be reaching this god mode at 10+ stacks.
Therefore, if specced into Whirling Dragon Punch, I advise planning ahead for AoE phases.
Hectic Add Cleave
You’ve probably read this name on SimulationCraft some day or already know what it refers to. Basically, this type of fights is mostly single target with medium/large packs of adds relatively often in the fight. Usually the adds are not the priority whereas pushing the single target damage or a couple priority adds is.
In this type of fights, I advise using your first stack for single target, getting it on cool down and chunking the boss with your opening burst, then lining up other stacks with add spawns. On 8+ adds, Storm, Earth, and Fire can quickly be a gain even on single target due to how much of our rotation is AoE already and how strong Spinning Crane Kick gets.
Unrelated, but Strike of the Windlord reigns over this kind of fights. Delaying it up to 30 seconds to destroy a pack of adds can be worth it. It will cost you some small amount of single target damage to obliterate the adds.
In some fights, AoE is more than just something that happens every now and then. Bosses which transition at specific HP% and spawn some adds during important phases (Inquisitor Tormentorum in Vault of Wardens, Shadowlord Iskar, Cenarius in the emerald nightmare follow this kind of pattern) are very different.
For those bosses, usually damage during the opener is irrelevant because they are not a threat and barely use any hard abilities until they transition. This kind of bosses is hard only because of the AoE, oftentimes because of some priority add.
In such cases, in a progress environment, I’d certainly keep both stacks of Storm, Earth, and Fire for important phases and to destroy the adds. After all, that’s probably the reason you’re there as a wind walker anyways!
In other cases, adds might spawn for a very short time and die very quickly, but if done right you can get half a dozen to a dozen stacks before they go, for instance on Skorpyron. In such a case, it is true that you’ll end up having enough stacks to make Spinning Crane Kick worth using over Rising Sun Kick/Blackout Kick. However, don’t overdo it. If you get 7 stacks on Skorpyron and cast a couple Spinning Crane Kicks, chances are you’ll be delaying Fists of Fury or Rising Sun Kick soon afterwards. So be aware of your resources to not to end up doing more harm than good.
In some other cases, adds will be all over the place and grant you 10-15 stacks, making Spinning Crane Kick destroy everything. It is worth keeping your calm in such cases. Our rotation is very slow when using Spinning Crane Kick extensively, so you’ll have room to think. Make sure Energizing Elixir is up at this time; this cooldown is strong when used efficiently and often, but even better in such occasions.
Finally, once you know you’re close to capping on stacks, press Storm, Earth, and Fire again, focus it on the boss: you don’t want clones flying around damaging adds when the real target is 10 yards away.
Despite all the bugs it can have, all the inconveniences, with Spiritual Focus, Storm, Earth, and Fire is one the strongest cool downs in the game. 50% damage increase for up to 30 seconds, short coolown and AoE improvements. Make sure you’re used to the ins and outs of the spell!
Hopefully, this answers more questions than it creates. As always you can find us on Discord to answer questions, and if you liked what you read don’t hesitate to scroll down or to the top and subscribe and support WtW.
Hey appreciate these guides:-) im wondering whether there r some way i can track sck stacks, like an addon? Im using tellmewhen for some stuff but i got no clue how to track sck stacks with it.
It’s somewhat complicated to do, there is a WeakAura that many of us use to do so, but I don’t know how to set up TMW to do the same.
Where might one find this WeakAura? I have been unable to determine which spell ID is for the stacks (or perhaps just unable to correctly set up my WA to track it). Thanks!
Besides Babylonius’s weakaura (and Xerroth’s comment about tell me when), ennemy grid is a great addon to see all targets you’re in combat with and could apply mark of the crane to or allready have.
Super nice article! Would be awesome to have seen some additional comment / part aimed at Drinking horn as it effectively close to doubles the up time.
I use tell me when and found just making a fresh group and directly dragging spinning crane kick out of my spellbook onto one of the icons in a group was a simple way to track the buff stacks
Apparently monks are worst dps for raiding? What’s your opinion Babylonius?
Don’t believe Noxxic’s completely incorrect and outdated information?
Sad news, found another bug, SEF clones don’t benefit from transfer the power.
thanks a lot! passed this info along to hinalover, who reported it to devs. If its unintended we might see a fix for it within a couple weeks I guess?
You’re probably aware of this already, but just in case, SEF clones also don’t benefit from Tornado Strikes or Haste. The haste bit is especially annoying since your clones lose a tick of FoF or even two while under Bloodlust if you input your next command too early.
Is it meant to say 50% damage increase? Isn’t it only 35% increase (45% dmg x 3)?
Yes, I meant it. With spiritual focus (an artifact traits, 14th going counter clockwise and 20th going clockwise I think?) you gain 5% damage per clone, doing 150% damage total.
But yes, it’s 35% baseline. Which is allready huge IMO
In addition to Tornado Kicks not working with Storm, Earth and Fire, from testing it isn’t taking into account our mastery either. I tested with 35.87 mastery and, ignoring crits, it was consistently hitting for approximately 18% of the damage of the first hit of RSK, not the 25% stated. Multiplying the smaller number by 35.87% was getting the correct 25% number. This was reduced even further when using RSK during the mastery proc from the 2 set bonus Jacin’s Ruse, as it obviously wasn’t getting the bonus mastery from that either. This could be intentional, but the tooltip doesn’t specify base damage so I think it’s a bug. I encourage all WWs reading this to report it, along with the SEF bug, as it makes one of our golden traits significantly less powerful than it should be.
Not benefitting from mastery is intentional, according do what we got back from the Devs.
Ah ok, thanks for the confirmation. I find it pretty disappointing because I think that makes the tooltip pretty deceptive, but at least I know now.
You’ve probably noticed already but they hot fixed it a couple days ago so that Tornado Kicks now benefits from mastery, so looks like it was unintentional after all. Pretty nice to get our ST mildly upgraded, helps soften the blow of the SotW nerf.
we often get comments like “this is intentional” when reporting stuff that later gets fixed :S
Any take on potion of endless war not interacting with SEF? Im assuming we pot and don’t use our first SEF until after the pot ends?
At the start of the fight you want to prepot and use SEF because thast when everythign else is up on pull. After that you can stagger them.
Thanks a lot for the guides and the hard work you share with us fellow monks. I do have many questions which i find really wierd about the SEF mechanics. First of all i have found that pure dmg proc trinkets get pretty much half their value when SEF is active cause the only spirit that actually uses the trinket is the storm spirit that we command(with a 50% debuff on it while sef is active). Also i strongly feel that crosswinds damage is being cut in half from the full worth it would get if SEF was not active too. Since ill soon get Gale Burst has anyone tested if the 10% proc benefits from our earth and fire spirits or does it only take into account the storm spirit,making it pretty much half the worth of the trait like crosswinds. Sorry for the long post,and pls feel free to correct me on any mistakes i may have made. These are my pure feeling and slightly dummy testing thoughts.
SEF has several little issues like that. I haven’t heard about crosswind’s being reduced, but thats possible. I’m unsure about gale burst but it wouldn’t surprise me if it didn’t count toward the damage bonus.
Thank you very much for this guide. I am trying out for a mythic raid team and right now on some fights without potions my damage is not up there with others even though my DPS is 230K+ on most fights. I think I was still thinking that popping SEF was going to lower my damage but I need to get out of that habit. I will start engaging SEF at the beginning of a heroic fight to see how it goes now. Thanks you guys an gals!
If I understand it correctly one use trinkets should not be activated during SEF? Because the other 2 spirits won’t get the effect? Is there a difference between static buffs and a buff that enhances your direct dmg? Lets say
Horn of Valor
Thanks in advance for an answer and the site helped me alot in the transition from Ret to WW!!!!!
Just realized that Horn of Valor is okay as they benefit from it by dealing the same dmg as I do.
I am still uncertain about triathon’s betrayal though.
Horn of Valor is stats, which the Sef spirits benefit from. It’s only trinkets that deal damage that don’t benefit from SEF.
I would like to know if you know where I could find a WeakAuras for SEF like “Time To Serenity Window” (https://www.weakauras.online/en/a/Jay9XzXZX1), please ?
I tried to modify “Time to Serenity Windows” but my aura don’t work :'(.
Thanks for your great job.
Hello. Any tips on how to stop the spirits from attacking random distant targets? It is a huge inconvenience to waste 2 GCDs+time waiting for them to reach the main target, specially on a >150 ms latency. Thank you.
They should attack the target even if they’re not visually in range.