Yesterday the Battle for Azeroth Beta was briefly brought down for some short maintenance with no new build implemented. However, during this time it seems Blizzard silently added some additional tuning and bug fixes to a number of specializations, including Brewmaster!
- The Azerite trait Training of Niuzao has been reduced by about 66%.
- Guard absorb size reduced by ~20%.
- Guard duration increased to 8 seconds (up from 5).
- Guard’s global cooldown (gcd) is now 1 second (down from 1.5).
- High Tolerance now increases Stagger by 8% (down from 10%).
- Base recharge on Ironskin Brew/Purifying Brew is now 15 seconds (up from 14).
- Invoke Niuzao, the Black Ox gcd is now 1 second (down from 1.5).
What Does It Mean? Feelycraft
I’ll be blunt: apart from bug fixes like the gcd tweaks, the bulk of these changes are nerfs or net-neutral. That being said, those of you that have been playing Brewmaster enough on beta are aware of how necessary these reductions were. Training of Niuzao, in its previous state, was an absurdly strong Azerite trait as seen in this defensive evaluation of Brewmaster’s Azerite traits taken before these changes:
We’ll save the exact methodology behind this trait comparison for our upcoming Azerite Traits breakdown article, but this should help highlight how badly Training of Niuzao was in need of a nerf. In fact, despite today’s change this trait may still end up being our best defensive and offensive choice; it just may not be worth taking at any possible item level anymore.
As for the latest iteration on Guard, recall that a couple of weeks ago, the absorb size on it was massively buffed in exchange for only lasting five seconds instead of the 15 second duration it had before. Though many players believed that duration reduction to be a bug, today’s tuning shows that it was more likely to be an experiment on the talent’s design. Rather than being a smaller, more persistent shield that sort of acted as a large purify in advance, the ability was changed to function more like the Antorus trinket Smoldering Titanguard. In a sense, the shield became so massive that in many cases players weren’t meant to be able to deplete it entirely, but still be incredibly sturdy during the five seconds it lasted. However, at such a short duration, Guard‘s value could go to waste if the user were kiting or the enemies were knocked back, stunned, etc. With the duration now being 60% longer than before in exchange for losing roughly 20% of the absorb size, players can more reliably get full value out of this purpose: a way to temporarily turn Stagger percent values into actual damage reduction values. Couple this with the slight nerf to High Tolerance‘s Stagger bonus and Guard may have at last carved out its own niche on the talent row.
Finally, the slight nerf on our base brew cooldown. Before today, at 12.1% haste, the minimum amount at the time to have 100% uptime on Ironskin Brew and no spare purifies before using Light Brewing or Black Ox Brew, this translates to nearly a full purify per minute lost with the former and about half a purify per minute lost with the latter. Basically, this change has made the gap between the two brew generator talents slightly larger than before and made the “active” talent provide more raw brewgen when both are being used optimally. In addition, the base haste percent for 100% uptime on Ironskin Brew–again, before accounting for the two main talents that increase it and High Tolerance‘s bonus haste–is now 17.6%. If you want to mess around with how haste impacts our brew usage, feel free to play with Brewingscribe’s spreadsheet for it here (make a copy for yourself).
To conclude: please do not panic about these nerfs. They were more or less all justified. Training of Niuzao is likely still our best overall Azerite trait–or at least, Elusive Footwork is competitive with it again pending further tuning–and Guard, while likely not having the same uses it did when it first returned on beta, has instead traded them for a slightly different niche.
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curious how it’ll pan out, but a few questions you might be able to answer. disclaimer: only information I really have is what wowhead’s shown. and the numbers are all incorrect on there. I didn’t even know about the guard change till just now, thought it was still the 15 second duration version, but I might very well prefer it at 8.
will high tolerance + black oxe brew still be the go too for m+ (lower brew cd, allows more purifying brews with black ox thus abusing high tolerance for more purify’s. and you wouldn’t need bob n weave for delaying dmg further to get more comfy purify’s, enabling dampen harm.
or could you take guard in circumstances where you know you’ll be kiting. engage > pop guard > get solid aggro within 6-8 seconds > begin kiting. granted this would take pre-planning your pulls and kiting paths with the group ahead of time, or is the haste provided that good.
as for bob and weave, does that talent make some azarite traits like staggering strikes a little more effective? on situations where dampen harm isn’t needed.
lastly (have more but lets not ask to much at once), what’s the general proc rate and overall healing with broiling brew and niuzao’s blessing
A lot of your questions will be more clearly answered once our Dungeon and Raid guides are available (maybe even a full post about Guard), but to give some quick answers for now:
Before today Light Brewing was arguably better in dungeons than BoB since the downtime between pulls meant you spent less time reducing BoB’s cd and also had some free passive energy regen while running. Guard working the way it does now gives you some flexibility in how you want to activate it. Do you want to use it as a way to let your stagger pool passively drain away without adding to it so your healer can get some breathing room, or would you prefer having it up on pull before you start kiting if you need to? At only eight seconds, it’s probably more useful to do the first option, but the beauty is that you have that freedom of choice.
Bob and Weave will just naturally be the go-to talent in dungeons and raids unless you know you’re going to get solid dampen harm use due to how much damage smoothing it provides.
A lot of your azerite trait points will be made a bit more clear in our full breakdown, but the graph above is more or less still accurate for all the other traits listed. Staggering strikes reduces an incredibly small amount of stagger, even over time. As for boiling brew, the procrate is 1ppm, modified by haste. It would need SUBSTANTIAL changes/buffs to even be remotely worth considering (much as we’d all love to have a solid self-healing trait). Same with Niuzao’s Blessing which ALSO costs energy since you have to expel harm for it to work.
appreciate it. several of the talents look to be extremely beneficial if tuned to be useful. having a boost to mastery be better survival than outright healing with a class taking constant DoT just feels weird. granted, the sheer lack of secondary stats in BfA allows it to make more sense. considering how much dodge can be used in any sizable pull (which is what BrM wants anyway), and extra dmg tacked on doesn’t hurt. If the main stats scale as exponentially as they currently do in BfA, any small amount of mastery/haste/crit will have exponential gains relative to other choices. As they amplify the already exponential gain you have.
Contrarily, a heal talent would need to be pretty substantial on it’s scaling, or be allowed 2 main talent choices, to come close to that. At least that’s how i see it once I think about it. I completely forgot how little secondary stat gains we get in bfa. But if the rings/azarite neck provide enough secondary to mitigate some of that hyper scaling (or to reach diminishing returns), that could very well (and hopefully does) change that value. especially, since giving us an astranomical amount of heals would completely trivialize dk’s in several situations (but not dh, that 2sec duration reduction on seals per seal affecting enemies is truly busted for m+).
Curious how blizz takes this further, and how the balancing around it is. If the values are nearly equal i’d take heal > mastery 8/10 as it influences magic + physical dmg intake + smoother dmg intake which we already specialize in vs physical dmg dodge (likely still abuse-able on some bosses) + dmg output. it will very much make or break play-styles and talent choices, or encourage situational choice.