It has been a long time coming, but with the wait finally over Patch 9.1 of World of Warcraft: Shadowlands is upon us; and yes, I feel like every Patch is being prefaced with a “long wait” these days. However, unlike Patch 9.0.5, there is far more substantial content to experience this time around. All of this and more will be covered here to best help you survive Chains of Domination as a Brewmaster Monk, but first, we have to discuss the all-important class changes.
- The Cardboard Assassin Engineering Belt enchant from Cataclysm is now on the same shared cooldown as potions and has had its stats greatly reduced.
- Items in the Shoulder slot can now be transmogged separately for each Shoulder.
- New Honor talent: Rodeo — Every 7 seconds Clash is off-cooldown generates stacks of a buff (max 3) that allows you to cast Clash again immediately after next using it.
- Reworked Honor talent: Nimble Brew — Throw at a targeted location within 30 yards to give all allies hit by the effect the ability to negate the next loss of control effect received within 8 seconds; 1.5-minute cooldown.
- Craft: Nimble Brew has been removed as a result of this change.
- Bugfix: Two Brewmasters using Weapons of Order on the same enemy now properly gives that enemy two increased damage taken debuffs rather than just one.
- Bugfix/Buff: Bonedust Brew‘s replicated damage and healing can now critically strike.
- Bugfix: Fallen Order‘s cooldown now properly resets with bosses
- All Soulbinds have received 4 new rows consisting of a Potency Conduit slot, two new traits, Finesse/Endurance Conduit slots, and a new capstone trait. The capstone traits are unlocked at 54/55/57 Renown.
- New Kyrian traits:
- Pelagos — Better Together, Path of the Devoted, Newfound Resolve.
- Kleia — Spear of the Archon, Hope Springs Eternal, Light the Path.
- Mikanikos — Soulglow Spectrometer, Reactive Retrofitting, Effusive Anima Accelerator.
- New Necrolord traits:
- Marileth — Viscous Trail, Undulating Maneuvers, Kevin’s Oozeling.
- Emeni — Sole Slough, Resilient Stitching, Pustule Eruption.
- Heirmir — Carver’s Eye, Waking Bone Breastplate, Mnemonic Equipment.
- New Night Fae traits:
- Niya — Called Shot, Survivor’s Rally, Bonded Hearts.
- Dreamweaver — Cunning Dreams, Waking Dreams, Dream Delver.
- Korain — Vorkai Ambush, Hunt’s Exhilaration, Wild Hunt Strategem.
- New Venthyr traits:
- Nadjia — Sinful Preservation, Nimble Steps, Fatal Flaw.
- Theotar — It’s Always Tea Time, Life is but an Appetizer, Party Favors.
- Draven — Regenerative Stone Skin, Intimidation Tactics, Battlefield Presence.
- Maximum Conduit Rank is now Rank 9 (Item level 252).
- All Soulbinds unlock Empowered Conduit slots at higher levels of Renown. Conduits in Empowered Conduit slots have their effects increased by two Ranks, resulting in up to Rank 11 effects when using Rank 9 Conduits.
- New tank-exclusive Potency Conduit: Adaptive Armor Fragment.
- New Endurance Conduit: Condensed Anima Sphere.
- Many Soulbind traits have had their values adjusted.
- No previous Legendary Powers from Patch 9.0 or 9.0.5 have been adjusted for Brewmasters.
- Four new Legendary Powers have been added, with one exclusive to each Covenant that enhances your class ability within that Covenant. The memories for these Powers are automatically obtained at 48 Renown with a respective covenant. Ideal slots to craft each in are bolded.
- Kyrian — Call to Arms, crafted on Legs or Feet — Casting Weapons of Order will also summon your specialization’s Celestial for 12 seconds. This means you will spawn Niuzao from Invoke Niuzao, the Black Ox.
- Necrolord — Bountiful Brew, crafted on Shoulders or Chest — Your abilities will occasionally cause a cast of Bonedust Brew to occur at your target’s location. This occurs at a frequency of approximately 1.25 procs per minute, but has a 5-second cooldown between activations of the effect.
- Night Fae — Faeline Harmony, crafted on Waist or Hands — The 6% chance for your abilities to reset the cooldown of Faeline Stomp is doubled, increasing it to 12%. In addition, both enemies and allies hit by Faeline Stomp gain the Fae Exposure buff. This buff increases the damage taken or healing received from you by 8% for 10 seconds, depending on if the target was an enemy or an ally.
- Venthyr — Sinister Teachings, crafted on Wrist or Finger — Fallen Order summons one additional adept matching your specialization that lasts for 24 seconds. While any adept from Fallen Order is present, your critical strikes reduce the cooldown of Fallen Order by 3 seconds.
- Newly-crafted Legendaries and those you upgrade will automatically receive a socket, if crafted in a slot that a socket can appear on
- Maximum Legendary Rank has been increased to 6 (item level 262). Ranks 5 and 6 do not cost Soul Ash to create. Instead, they require Soul Cinders, a new resource obtained from the highest Layers of Torghast and various Patch 9.1-related activities.
Analysis of Changes
For the most part, Brewmasters have made it out relatively unscathed in Patch 9.1 in terms of class changes. Instead, many of the larger design changes in Chains of Domination occurred in the area of PvP, with nearly every specialization receiving one or two new Honor talents. Unfortunately, Brewmasters are not exactly known for their dominant Battleground or Arena presence; it turns out having a Mastery designed around dodging attacks does not work so well in an environment where everyone is trying to hit you in the back. Who knew? However, for those brave Brewmaster Monks that aim to play a more supportive or disruptive role in PvP, the new Honor talents of Rodeo and Nimble Brew should be fairly impactful. Forcibly moving up to 4 enemies with Clash while still rooting anyone else around them can help set up some impressively dangerous situations, especially when combined with area denial from Ring of Peace or disorienting multiple players with Incendiary Breath. Likewise, while the new Nimble Brew may not be useful in a reactive sense like the previous Craft: Nimble Brew talent could be, it does give you the opportunity to save far more players from a well-timed mass stun, fear, or disorient.
What is more noteworthy for Brewmasters are both the new Soulbind traits and the new Legendary Powers added to every Covenant, in addition to the tuning of the already-existing traits. Take Mikanikos’ new Effusive Anima Accelerator trait, for example. There is certainly a possible synergy between having a shorter cooldown on Weapons of Order and the new Call to Arms Legendary temporarily summoning our friend Angry Dave (Invoke Niuzao, the Black Ox). This is especially true when, even when taking serious advantage of the Walk with the Ox Conduit’s cooldown reduction, Weapons of Order and Angry Dave will naturally desync their cooldowns over time. In addition, Bron’s Call to Action has been reworked. Now, many abilities can grant multiple stacks at once (a single Chi Wave can generate 8), Bron appears at only 75 stacks, and his damage has been buffed. However, in exchange, you can no longer gain stacks while Bron is present. Needless to say, Mikanikos is certainly on the rise as a possible new go-to Soulbind for the dps-minded Brewmasters out there that were still trying to be diehard Pelagos fans.
Kyrians are not the only Brewmaster Covenant to be seeing some major damage gains. Necrolords will also be seeing some strong improvements too! For example, Plague Deviser Marileth’s Volatile Solvent will now also activate every time you cast Fleshcraft, giving you the Humanoid benefit (2% Mastery for 2 minutes). Perhaps more importantly, Emeni’s Pustule Eruption acts as an extremely potent damage increase and turns Fleshcraft into a hybrid offensive/defensive cooldown. Finally, Bonedust Brew being able to critically strike on its echo effect is yet another damage increase. Realistically, the gap between Kyrian and Necrolord has never been closer, and you can still safely choose between either to do great things.
Perhaps the most exciting news out of these Soulbind and Legendary changes is the increase in damage Night Fae Brewmasters will see in Patch 9.1 compared to the Kyrian or Necrolord players. With the help of Faeline Harmony and reliable access to the Way of the Fae Conduit, Faeline Stompers paired with Niya are a force to be reckoned with in AoE. Sadly though, this Covenant will still be a moderate amount behind in single-target especially, and comes with the restriction of having to be even more careful about staying on your faelines.
Venthyr players….you are on your own.
If you would like to see how this all shakes out for determining the new best Brewmaster Covenants in each target scenario, be sure to look at our Covenant guides in the coming days as they receive updates for Patch 9.1. You can also find a quick breakdown in the #brew-resources channel of the Peak of Serenity Discord.
Sanctum of Domination
With Patch 9.1: Chains of Domination being a major content release for Shadowlands, it is no surprise that there is a new raid tier to go with it! This time around, Brewmasters, along with every other specialization and class, will be taking the fight directly to Zovaal the Jailer in the Sanctum of Domination. This 10-boss raid takes place within The Maw, and it is also the place to go if you would like to collect a full appearance set of the Legendary Armor you have been crafting. In addition, if you are brave enough to take on Mythic Sylvanas, you may be rewarded with her mount: Vengeance. Fortunately for the sanity of our Cutting Edge raiders out there, Sanctum of Domination also has an unlockable skip within the raid. Do you have what it takes to become a “Breaker of Chains” and stop Sylvanas Windrunner?
Domination Shards and Sockets
In addition to the usual trinkets and gear, Chains of Domination brings with it a new system of gems and sockets that are (mostly) restricted to the Sanctum of Domination Raid: Shards of Domination. These special gems are obtained from bosses within the new raid and can only be slotted into Domination sockets. There are five of these sockets per armor type; for Leather, they are on the Helm, Shoulders, Chest, Hands, and Feet slots. While there are other items in these slots on the raid’s loot tables, they will more or less be ignored in favor of acquiring more Domination Sockets, regardless of secondaries. This also means that you may have to re-craft a number of Legendaries to accommodate wearing all five items with Domination Sockets. Both the recommended slots for Stormstout’s Last Keg and Charred Passions have changed as a result; see our Legendaries page for their new crafting guidelines.
How powerful must these Shards be to encourage you to ignore other items entirely and even re-craft some Legendaries on your Brewmaster? Well, there are nine different Shards to choose from, grouped into 3 each of Blood, Frost, and Unholy. Among these groupings there is one offensive effect, one defensive, and one utility. However, if you place all three Shards of a set into Domination Sockets — and ensure you are wearing a specific piece containing that socket, which should not be a problem when you are trying to wear all five anyway — you will activate a set bonus! Of the three set bonuses, Blood’s Blood Link effect is currently the strongest. Unfortunately, tuning is still ongoing for these Shards, so the “best” bonus may change over the next few weeks of Patch 9.1.
Not only do Shards of Domination include a powerful set bonus, the Shards themselves can also be upgraded to five different levels and even be safely removed from their Domination Sockets — after paying a one-time fee of 2,500 Stygia to acquire the reusable item unlocking the ability to do so — allowing you to switch your loadout on the fly to whatever content you are doing. You may not want to have to wear the defensive and utility Blood Shards if you will not get its Blood Link set bonus, after all. As for upgrading them, this will be done with a currency known as Stygian Embers which are obtained in limited amounts from a few areas of Patch 9.1 content, but especially from Sanctum of Domination bosses. However, be aware that upgrading the Shards will not upgrade the set bonus.
Unique Weapon Effects
Not only does Sanctum of Domination’s loot include Shards of Domination and gear with Domination Sockets, but there are also a number of weapons with entirely unique effects, including Sylvanas’ own Legendary bow Rae’shalare, Death’s Whisper. Among these items are two in particular that Brewmasters want to be on the lookout for: Jotungeirr, Destiny’s Call and Cruciform Veinripper.
Jotungeirr, Destiny’s Call is a Polearm that drops from The Nine in the Sanctum of Domination. It has no secondary stats, but in exchange it comes with an on-use effect that will temporarily grant you a massive amount of every secondary stat for 30 seconds on a 3-minute cooldown. During this time you will also be transformed into a Mawsworn! However, while this effect is powerful, note that it shares the cooldown of on-use trinkets, so it cannot easily be combined with other effects. In addition, you cannot swap to or from this Weapon while in combat. This is to prevent players from only wearing Jotungeirr for the duration of the on-use effect and swapping to weaponry with secondary stats in between uses. Ultimately, this weapon has some potential, but its strength depends how much you can optimize your damage during this additional cooldown.
Cruciform Veinripper is a fist weapon from Painsmith Raznal, also without secondary stats, that can frequently cause a bleed effect, but only if your target has been snared/rooted, is under a loss of control effect, or you are behind them. If you remember Bile-Stained Crawg Tusks from Battle for Azeroth, this weapon is essentially the next iteration of it. Fortunately, Brewmasters can easily satisfy one of the conditions with the 20% snare that is attached to Keg Smash. However, this causes a problem in raid where most bosses cannot be snared and you can rarely stand behind them. This unfortunately means that the use of these weapons will be limited to mythic+ or trash, though if you really want to maximize your damage, you can swap these weapons and use them to hit the back of a boss if you are not actively tanking. You should by no means feel forced to do this, however.
Mythic+/PvP Season 2
Beginning on the week of July 6th, Season 2 of Shadowlands begins for both Mythic+ and PvP. With it comes a new set of rewards, including mounts, higher item level gear, and a reset of the Valor and Conquest currency caps. However, some tweaks have been made to these systems.
- For those of you out there that frequently do “weekly no leaver” keys, be aware that you will need to complete a +15 key to maximize your Great Vault’s item level now.
- There is a new scoring system implemented directly in-game for Mythic+. If you know of Raider.io, this is essentially that. Shadowlands Keystone Master: Season 2 is now based on score rather than simply doing every +15 in time.
- Upgrading items with Valor beyond certain levels will require the new Keystone milestone achievements. The maximum Valor item level is 246.
- A new Seasonal affix called Tormented has arrived. It is similar to Battle for Azeroth’s Awakened affix in that there are four “technically optional” Lieutenants in each dungeon for you to defeat. In exchange, you will gain Anima Powers for the remainder of the dungeon (no, you cannot get Corrosive Dosage).
- PvP gear has had its item levels reduced, but in exchange these items increase in item level when participating in PvP content. You no longer need to worry as much about reaching 1800/2100 rating for your PvE gearing, as 2100 gear is only item level 246 in PvE.
Among the new content of Patch 9.1 that players may dread is a revamp to Torghast, Tower of the Damned. For starters, there are now only 5 floors in a run rather than 6. In addition, rather than a limited number of deaths available to players in a run, there is instead a scoring system complete with a variety of modifiers for performing certain aspects of a climb more skillfully. So long as you meet the score threshold, which is generously low, you will receive your full rewards; even if you fail to meet this level, you will at least get partial credit in terms of your Soul Ash and Soul Cinders. Acquiring as many Soul Cinders as you can is especially important, as these are the new currency needed to upgrade your Legendary items to Ranks 5 and 6!
Those who are familiar with the Visions of N’zoth activity from Patch 8.3 may also recognize the presence of a Tower Knowledge system that can be used to purchase a variety of permanent upgrades to make for easier climbs of the tower. This also includes the ability to unlock a special bonus floor on particularly successful runs called the Adamant Vaults. Although the challenge is greater there, so too are the rewards. You can receive both Death-Bound Shards and Alloy-Warping Facetors if you are willing to face their treacherous halls up to and including Layer 12.
Flying and Tazavesh
Finally, two more of the big features arriving with Chains of Domination are the ability to use flying mounts in the Shadowlands and the release of a new megadungeon by the name of Tazavesh, the Veiled Market.
Unlocking flying in the Shadowlands is a much less strenuous activity than it has been in Legion or Battle for Azeroth. All you will need to begin the quest chain leading up to the ability is a mere 44 Renown, which will be obtainable starting from the week of July 6th, 2021. You will even be rewarded with a unique Covenant-themed flying mount! However, be aware that flying is a bit more restricted this time around. Once you have unlocked the ability, you can still only fly within the four main Shadowlands zones. You cannot fly in Oribos, nor can you fly to the individual zones yourself, so keep using your Wormhole Generator: Shadowlands (it even has an option to go to the new zone of Korthia).
For those of you who wish to catch up in item level or just want to experience something new, there is also a new dungeon opening in Patch 9.1 on the week of July 6th. This dungeon will see you entering a vast area run by the mysterious Brokers as you fight to acquire item level 226 gear from its 8 unique bosses. In addition, there is a secret “hard mode” version of every encounter that ups the loot to 233! If you are both brave and skilled enough complete this dungeon on hard mode, your entire party will be rewarded with the Cartel Master’s Gearglider; the Mage class mount is not so special anymore. However, similar to the megadungeons of Legion and Battle for Azeroth, this dungeon is unfortunately only available on Mythic for the time being and not Mythic+. It will be available as two separate wings for Mythic+ when Patch 9.2 eventually arrives in the year 2053.
You may be asking yourself whether or not it is worth it to come back to the Shadowlands for Patch 9.1. The truth of the matter is that much of what you will see in Chains of Domination could be considered more of the same or a mash up of ideas and mechanics from recent patches. Indeed, it feels like Blizzard’s content introductions in an expansion over the past number of years has had a bit of a predictable cadence. With that being said, the long amount of time spent in Patch 9.0(.5) has likely soured a lot of players’ interest in returning.
However, although it took quite a while to arrive, there is more than enough content to keep even a non-raiding player occupied for at least a couple of months. There are plenty of mounts, pets, and toys to collect, two new reputations to interact with, the entire zone of Korthia and its storyline, not to mention the experience of going through the visual splendor and wacky mechanics of Tazavesh. If you are behind on Renown, you are even eligible to receive it three times as fast as other players until you are caught up to the former cap of 40! So if nothing else, you may want to at least consider coming back to once again say hi to Bron, your new best friend as a Kyrian Brewmaster.
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