Hello fellow windwalkers. As the amount of recurring questions in the peak of serenity discord has been extremely high, I’ve taken some time to do a FAQ about the raid. It will try to cover a lot of these, but if I miss any ping me in discord and I’ll add them!
Gearing up for tomb
Here I will try to answer the big questions concerning all aspects of gearing up for and from tomb of sargeras.
It is very hard to value trinkets from tomb solely through sims as most have perks/drawbacks which you can’t really account for in sims. Here is a list of them:
–specter of betrayal is definitely one of the stronger trinkets out there. It benefits from our damage % increases through hit combo or serenity. It is the best trinket if you get the boss to remain roughly stationary. This is hard to achieve for instance on mythic Harjatan, but quite easy on mythic Sisters of the Moon for instance.
It’s high base ilvl makes it a contender just on the sheer amount of agility you’ll get. The downside is that it’s damage spreads on nearby targets (think: mistress adds.)
How do I use it: you can place it before the pull if you know where the boss will be dragged. Keep in mind if you use it close to on cooldown next to where it was last used, it is about twice as powerful. This is very important to get the most out of it and the reason it is much stronger on roughly static fights. Use for instance on Goroth, Demonic Inquisition, Sisters of the Moon, Desolate Host, Fallen Avatar, Kil Jaeden.
–engine of eradication is one of my favourites, because it’s just stats, no one use effect: no need for me to comment on AoE versus single target; it is easily one of our most solid options, allthough it is not at all consistent in how big of an uptime you get from it. Definitely up there as the winner for consistency throughout the whole raid.
Depending on available ilvl, I would be ready to use this on allmost any fight in the raid.
–Umbral moonglaives is a bit reminiscent of mirror of the blademaster: you give up a bit of single target power (here: lack of agility on the trinket) for a very strong AoE on use effect. Lining it up with AoE and serenity will give you some silly numbers. However, there are few fights in the raid which are actually about any sort of AoE, and usually there is a serious single target aspect behind it. Therefore, I will probably keep this one mostly for dungeons unfortunately. At what it does though, it is very good.
I would use this definitely on Desolate Host, Mistress Sass’Zine if you really need the extra AoE, heroic Kil’Jeaden if you need some damage on reflections (one of the few damage checks in the encounter), maybe on Harjatan.
–Vial of ceaseless toxin is a very solid trinket: flat agility with a damaging effect you can line up with serenity easily, it is solid. The reset effect has occasional use (Moontalon on sisters of the moon comes to mind.)
How do I use it: On patchwerk/generally single target fights, it is preferable to use this roughly on cooldown, keeping it a few seconds if this means serenity will affect more of it. Keep in mind you can start it 8-12 seconds prior to serenity. If there are consistent add spawns of relevance, consider using it 10-15 seconds before they die. Using it late is better than early, as 33% of the damage is upfront.
–Craddle of anguish will sim decently and perform decently on farm, but it’s really not what we want to fish for. Heavy haste is rarely what we’re looking for, and allthough if you get to keep it up forever it will be fine, in actual progress I’m not so sure of it. I would definitely consider one of decent item level for mythic mistress progress as during your high damage phases you do not take any damage. However, even there hydra shots will likely reset it frequently.
–Infernal cinders is not ideal, in that it’s not specially strong to begin with, and lackluster on any cleave/AoE compared to a trinket with agility. Obviously, more people using it makes it better; you however need a lot of bearers for it to compete with other trinkets for us.
All in all, trinkets in this instance are misleading if you judge them purely by sims. Use your brain!
This is the big question that comes up frequently. What tier pieces do I run?
The set up people have had the most success with, for early tomb, is by far “6pc”, aka running the 2pc tier bonus from nighthold’s tier 19, and the 4pc tier bonus from tomb of sargeras’s tier 20.
This locks you out of certain legendaries (including the powerful emperor’s capacitor), so it’s power level perception is skewed. However, the tier interactions is very significantly ahead of other combinations so far.
What exact pieces do you run?
People sometimes want to keep something like the tier 19 legs because of their tasty stats (crit mastery) versus the tier 20 legs (haste versatility).
However, it is very viable to run up to 12-15% haste and some amount of versatility on your tier 20 gear set. Therefore, focusing too much on secondary stats can be detrimental.
Instead, focus on agility:
If you have access to every tier piece from tomb of sargeras on heroic (915 item level) and every piece from nighthold on mythic (905 item level) you would run nighthold’s cloak and shoulders and tomb’s other four (helm, gloves, chest, legs).
The idea behind this is that you lose roughly twice as much agility from dropping item level on helm, chest or legs, than on cloak. Therefore, outside of crazy titanforges, you will end up rocking high item level on these three slots, which is more likely to happen through tomb’s drops.
Occasionally some players have access to 920 tier 19 legs and only 915 tier 20 legs, in which case it makes sense for them to change this. However, the most likely best set up is to use higher item levels on chest, helm and legs, and lower item levels on cloak then on gloves or shoulders. Furthermore, you will notice tier 20 shoulders drop from Fallen Avatar, a rather complicated boss, meaning you’re even less likely to drop much larger item level gaps there.
This is a pretty hot topic. As you might have noticed, when rocking tier 20, you’re quickly locked out of chosing your secondary stats.
Because of that, people end up with unusual amounts of haste for instance.
Another topic is critical chance rating and tier 20.
This is a very complicated topic. Haste is subject to many misunderstandings. It is highly devalued by talents like energizing elixir or serenity.
If you’re running the emperor’s capacitor with ony one tier set, you might have more control over your stats; in that case, running pretty low haste is likely very decent (8-10%.)
On the other hand, when running tier 19 2p plus tier 20 4p, you’re likely gonna find out you have a lot of haste.
This is not too big of an issue, I personally find it very fine to have 12-15% haste. I would however, like to specify there is one theoretical haste break point around 15.38% haste; above this amount, during blood lust, if you chain Fists of Fury into Rising Sun Kicks, you will be casting Rising Sun Kick a hair before your third Fists of Fury tick happens, resulting in a small damage loss.
This can be avoided by running specific Lag tolerance settings, however the simplest solution is to remain within 10-15% haste where this can simply not happen.
Depending on your haste, you may be able to do different things inside your serenity. There are too many different strings of actions for me to list them all here. This might be the topic for another article if anything.
Let’s get things straight out there: there is no specific need for 35% crit chance to play with tier 20. It makes fists of fury’s behavior with pressure point more predictable, that’s for sure. However this does not mean it’s the best damage output solution.
Let me put it this way: tier 20 2pc makes crit slightly more attractive. However, tier 20 4pc makes crit much LESS attractive as a huge chunk of your damage is allready on extremely high crit chance.
Therefore, crit starts showing relatively low value around 30-35% chance, and crit loses significant value BEYOND 35%. This doesn’t mean it is specially good prior to that.
Sure it is annoying to miss that 97% crit and it might mess up your plans. However, more often than not, you can still keep up pressure point during serenity with missed crits. If you notice early enough you missed a crit and react accordingly with other fillers, then you should be fine.
That being said, if you have very close sets of jewelry, I would allways pick the one with higher crit chance, for consistency. I would definitely take my 2k dps loss on sim for guaranteed crit hits under pressure point. It is up to you to ponder the different rings you can equip and make the shot calling on that matter.
There are no mastery or versatility breakpoints. Don’t worry too much about them to be frank. More often than not, you’ll be willing to get mastery, sims can give you pretty good answers on that matter. However it is rarely worth dropping a lot of ilvl to achieve better stats as a windwalker.
TL;DR: most likely run drinking horn cover; with 6pc, pick either boots, belt, soul of the grandmaster, sephuz, prydaz, kil’jeaden’s burning wish. If you’re not running 6pc, chest is likely the best, with the wind blows up there.
Another pretty big topic, and one where not everyone shall agree with me.
It has become pretty clear that our legendary wrists, drinking horn cover, is probably our strongest legendary overall. Despite having lower stats and unattractive secondaries, the item’s effect is just too good currently. It’s not as strong as people want it to be, but considering the small amount of windwalker theorycrafter, the sole fact that many of them have access to the wrists and work to make the wrist rotation better makes this even more overwhelming.
If you have access to them, I would most likely run them in every scenario.
The second choice seems to be pretty overwhelmingly Katsuo’s eclipse. This is because of the higher pace of Fists of Fury in our new rotation with tier 20, it appears as a very smooth legendary to run.
However, keep in mind the extra chi is only as strong as what you make of it. On some AoE fights it will turn into strong spinning crane kick fights. In single target fight, it will either go to waste or to mediocre blackout kicks.
There is no denying this is a very solid legendary to run, and considering you’re running 6pc, you have fewer choices available. However, in single target it appears to me that running this usually leads people to mediocre chi management/mostly relying on the legendary for their rotation. As a result, it appears to me that their energizing elixir useage is not at it’s best.
Because of that, I believe our second legendary slot to be rather “weak”. I believe on average the belt to be one of our best options on fights where the damage dealt above 90% is relevant. It is a bit undervalued in baseline sims, yet it holds up in comparison.
When there are more targets available, the legendary boots do gain some value, significantly so. But so does the legendary trinket, another very solid option due to the silly amount of stats on it. If you have mediocre trinkets, consider it as well!
Conclusion: The wrists are definitely a winner, but don’t be too quick to assume boots are as well. With serenity, belt is probably your best option, legendary trinket/soul of the grandmaster have their uses.
In the future, we will see probably new set ups without tier 19 show up is my guess. When this happens, get ready to see a ressurgence of legendary chests, maybe even helms.
Level 100 row
Looking a bit through combat logs will show serenity to be the clear winner here. Take it with a grain of salt however. Tomb has a big emphasis on single target damage, and the build that received the most attention is definitely serenity. It is also the one that benefits the most from running 6 tier pieces. Once things start moving, we will probably see a much more competitive whirling dragon punch build.
You will also notice whirling dragon punch has some relevance in heavy AoE fights, and some people have done very well with it. Note though, their boss damage is usually very bad as a result for that. It is worth noting that with the nerfs to some of our AoE kit, whirling dragon punch‘s burst AoE is more relevant than ever.
Whirling dragon punch is definitely a significant amount behind on single target fights right now, but not as much as logs show it to be.
Eye of the tiger or chi wave
This row of talents has become a topic of discussion when it actually amounts for 2% of your damage no matter what. I will take the potential slight damage loss to run chi wave whenever I feel like it’s utility in making my rotation more flexible is worth anything.
No matter which you run, the difference should be very small anyways. I would consider even running chi burst for nothing more than raid healing (I used it back in Krosus progress to top up people packed in melee in between orbs of destruction and slams, and it was well worth it).
As healer’s output groves stronger and stronger, the effectiveness of Healing elixirs becomes smaller. I usually run dampen harm unless I only expect heavy damage from damage over time effects. For instance on mistress sass’zine, the dangerous combos are when you are affected by a dot of sorts, followed by a big hit: dampen harm is perfect to deal with these and overall my favourite in there.
Just don’t use something else. It is the biggest amount of ressources on single target, AoE, it’s the best in any situation as it’s the biggest amount of ressources in this row by far. The difference between good and over the top windwalkers lies in using this well right now. You can use other talents, you’ll just perform worse.
Tier 20 and rotation
Allthough it looks pretty straightforward, tier 20 changes a lot. Tons of questions to be asked. This section assumes you run tier 20 4pc bonus, and at times might consider tier 19 as well.
Do I keep Fists of Fury for serenity?
Yes! it is very important that you have your Pressure Point buff ready when entering serenity. The extra crit damage, the extremely quick reset on Fists of Fury’s cooldown are very important.
At times, it might feel like you’re waiting very long on your fists of fury cooldown (10-15 seconds) but you wouldn’t gain anything from casting it earlier as serenity pretty much resets it’s cooldown if done right.
As a side effect, when your serenity nears, you can start looking at how much you will end up delaying Fists of Fury; if it’s by a significant amount, start prioritizing it less to favour other spells (RSK for instance).
What is my rotation inside serenity?
This is a bit complicated but can be summed up in a few points:
1) Max out the number of Rising Sun Kicks inside of it
2) Max out the number of GCDs available by doing so
3) Make sure tier 20 4pc affects each and everyone of these Rising Sun Kicks
For instance, with 10% haste, you could do something like this outside of blood lust (this assumes tier 19 2p):
Fists of Fury prior – > serenity + Rising sun kick -> Strike of the windlord -> Blackout Kick -> Rising sun kick -> Blackout Kick -> Fists of Fury -> Cancel it with Rising sun kick -> Blackout Kick -> spinning crane kick -> Rising sun kick -> Fists of Fury clipped at the end
This is just an example of a rotation, but you can see what it seeks to achieve: using tier 19 2p to get 4 Rising sun kicks inside instead of 3, getting 2 of them in every Pressure point window, refreshing pressure point after the second Rising sun kick. With this amount of haste, you have the freedom to easily clip that Fists of Fury at the end of your string, resulting in a very chi efficient/CD efficient string of actions.
What is this story of “canceling fists of fury” about
Well, during serenity, considering Fists of Fury has no cost, it is considered a simple filler. Because Fists of Fury ticks instantly, the shorter the channel, the more damage per execute time efficient it becomes (2 ticks in the first GCD for instance). Therefore, people chose to disregard transfer the power when inside of serenity to get the most out of it and tier 20 4pc while also maximizing the number of casts therefore the effect of drinking horn cover.
During bloodlust effects, for instance, with a bit of haste (10-12%?) if you go for Rising sun kick -> Fists of Fury -> Rising sun kick you should get exactly 3 ticks of the Fists of Fury, but also completely reset the cooldown of that spell with the second Rising sun kick. This means you can keep chaining these two spells. This will maximize your cooldown efficiency on Rising sun kick resulting in a 5 Rising sun kicks serenity which is extremely strong. A side effect is the instant perfect uptime on Pressure Point, the tier 20 4pc.
Outside of serenity, it is extremely rare that you want to interrupt that Fists of Fury, so you should mostly forget about that.
Is serenity playable without legendary wrists?
Yes it is. Allthough it is slightly weaker, it retains a lot of the strength of the spell to fuel the ressource hungry rotation of the 6pc.
Here is for instance a bloodlust + 6pc serenity with at least 10% haste:
–Fists of Fury prior – > serenity + Rising sun kick -> Strike of the windlord -> wait very shortly -> Rising sun kick -> Fists of Fury -> Cancel it with Rising sun kick -> Fists of Fury -> Cancel it with Rising sun kick
With slightly more haste, you can fit in another GCD before the second Rising sun kick (around 14% haste I think) while still fitting the rest of the rotation.
Outside of bloodlust, you will settle on 3 rising sun kick casts; you can likely achieve this easily while maintaining Pressure Point and maybe even clipping a fists of fury at the end of the buff with tier 19 2p, tier 20 4p and around 10-12% haste:
-FoF prior to serenity -> Serenity + RSK -> Strike -> BoK -> RSK -> Fists channel -> RSK before serenity ends
There are better things to do, and I will try to eventually expand on that topic.