Brewmaster Azerite Essences
Welcome to PeakofSerenity’s Brewmaster Monk Azerite Essence Guide. This guide is intended to give an overview of the essence choices for Brewmaster Monks. It does not cover basic concepts like activating essences.
This guide has been updated for Patch 8.3 (as of April 18th) and is regularly updated when discussion, theorycrafting, or testing yields new information.
These builds assume nothing about your group’s composition or the fight’s damage profile. Read on for details on what to swap to for specific situations.
Mythic+ (up to +20)
Mythic+ (above +20)
- Worldvein Resonance Major was majorly buffed in Patch 8.3. However, it is not remotely competitive with CoF for Brewmasters due to our lack of Agility scaling and/or cooldowns to use with the major. The bug as a minor also still persists, but so you are likely to be (effectively) capped at 3 allies with the minor as far as sims are concerned. Despite all of this, if it buffs melee enough you will wear it.
- Null Dynamo becomes our highest-priority minor when a fight has a heavy DoT. As many fights in Ny’alotha have heavy magic damage, this essence is our only near-universal defensive pick.
- In some dungeons, there is very little magic damage. In these cases, it should be replaced with Aegis for lower keys or Lucid Dreams for higher keys.
- Gift may see use as a defensive major if you need more frequent access to burst damage reduction than Dampen Harm allows.
- Formless Void Major may see use in Mythic+ to copy Memebeam. Keep an eye on this space as the patch progresses.
Note that there simply aren’t good general-purpose defensive essences. Thus, your essence choices for defensive play will have to be tuned to specific bosses. Unless an essence lines up well with a bosses’ mechanics, you should just use the a damage essence instead.
On that note: Crucible of Flame is likely to be your best single-target DPS essence for the remainder of the expansion, and the versatility given by Conflict & Strife‘s minor is better in a vacuum than any other essence we have access to (aside from CoF itself). After that, Sphere simply gives a large amount of stats—even if they aren’t the best stats. Null Dynamo also provides a substantial DPS boost at Rank 3 on most raid encounters.
The bulk of this document is devoted to The Brewmaster Essence Guide. This guide is focused on high-end PvE content (especially Heroic & Mythic Raiding). These recommendations may not apply in PvP or world content.
Also note that the effects of essences scale with your Heart level, though the effect appears small. This means that although the raw numbers may go up, the relative power should stay about the same. As far as we can tell, if an essence has a flat number that can scale (like Crucible of Flame), then that scales and not the proc chance. Otherwise, the proc chance scales (in the case of Vision of Perfection‘s major and Lucid Dreams‘s minor).
General Essences are available to all specs in the game. Unlike traits, essences can only be used for their intended roles. This is presumably to avoid situations like nerfing Pressure Point specifically for Brewmasters. Thus, we do not have access to DPS-specific essences—no matter how much we may want them.
Crucible of Flame is a very simple essence. It is effectively two trinket effects merged into one item: an on-use damage (or very weak heal) and a proc damage-over-time effect (or very weak heal-over-time). Unfortunately, the way essences are currently tuned this is likely to be our go-to damage essence because the damage is simply so high (especially once you get Rank 2). Luckily, it is unlocked by default when you unlock the Heart Forge, and Rank 2 comes from ranking up your neck to 54 and then continuing that quest line.
Verdict: Use for DPS. Unfortunately, the nerfs to Hot Trub have pushed it towards the fringes, though it remains to be seen if Mythic Eternal Palace is high enough to put it above CoF.
This essence provides a small amount of Agility. While one user is not enough to cap out the buff at 4 stacks for any sustained length of time, shards from your essence affect other Worldvein users. Thus, although using this essence by yourself is inadvisable, if all melee users are wearing it as a minor it becomes quite potent even though we don’t value Agility very highly. However, there is still a bug with the minor that effectively caps you at ~3.5 stacks, which cuts the value of this essence by about 15%. As a result, it is unlikely to be used as a minor over other essences. The major, which was buffed in patch 8.3, is not competitive with CoF major for damage.
Verdict: Skip. The major on this is very weak, but if you have an entire melee cluster using the minor it gives a huge amount of stats and may be worth using.
This essence gives everyone access to an extremely under-tuned version of Momentum and, when used as your Major essence, a Transcendence: Transfer on a very short delay. The delay gets shorter as you rank up, inexplicably making this effect worse. The only reason I can see for us to ever use this in PvE is if we need to counteract a knockback that puts us out of Transcendence range. None of these currently exist, so you should probably just never use this.
Verdict: Skip. If you’re like me, you’ll never even unlock it because doing so requires turning War Mode on.
When used as a major, this essence will proc Angry Dave for about 11 seconds slightly more than once per minute. Rank 2 increases the duration of this effect. The minor effect decreases the cooldown of Fortifying Brew by 15%. The major effect is unlikely to be powerful enough as a DPS option to unseat Crucible of Flame, and the minor effect is incredibly weak.
Verdict: Skip. Despite other specs salivating over this essence, Brewmasters should just skip over it.
Both the major and minor effects of this essence increase our resource generation. However, Energy is largely useless for Brewmasters. To see this, note that we only have three abilities that use energy: Tiger Palm, Expel Harm and Keg Smash. Of these, only Tiger Palm is actually limited by energy generation. Alas, the damage from TP is so anemic that it’d be a DPS loss for us to add extra casts of it to our rotation in place of any other abilities, and the extra brew generation is better gotten from talents like Light Brewing and traits like Straight, No Chaser. Indeed, we are frequently faced with having too many resources and having to choose the least-bad way to waste them. As a result, this essence is not for us.
Verdict: Skip. If Energy were a limiting factor in our rotation, this essence might be usable. However, this is not the case and thus this essence isn’t worth remembering.
The major on this grants us the PvP talent Hot Trub, while the minor gives a pretty substantial amount of Versatility. Unfortunately, the damage dealt by Hot Trub is too low to make this essence competitive outside of the highest of keys. In Patch 8.2, this meant level 20+ keys, and due to increased K scaling and Stagger nerfs, it will be even higher in Patch 8.3. As a result, don’t expect to use this essence as a major at all (RIP). The minor, however, is still very good and will be a staple of PvE Essence builds despite coming from PvP.
Verdict: (Major) Skip. (Minor) Use for DPS. Between Stagger nerfs and increased K scaling, the major on this is virtually unusable.
The major on this essence copies another player’s major at whatever rank your FV is, with a slightly longer cooldown. DPS essences stand head-and-shoulders above tank essences, so I would be unsurprised for this to see use as a Major, though time will tell how practical it is. The minor gives a bit of Agility and Haste, which is not ideal for us—but we’ll use it anyway for the +10 Corruption Resistance.
Verdict: (Major) Maybe. (Minor) Use for DPS. There are practical considerations with the channel time to copy essences, but it may be one of our best essences this patch.
Before breaking down the individual essences, I have some bad news. You might want to take a seat for this, but here it goes: the tank essences are almost universally bad and should not be used in a raid environment. I am not just saying this as a filthy padder, though I have been known to sometimes use Dagger in the Back in my raid setup. This is also a different situation from defensive traits: while those were generally pretty weak outside of the innermost row, they competed with weak damage options. These defensive essences are weak but compete with strong damage options, so you’re sacrificing quite a bit for questionable gain.
Now, that said: you might want to use some of these essences to deal with specific fight mechanics, but there are (almost) none that you’ll want to slap on for every fight in the next tier. Their power level is simply too low outside of the niche they fill, and even sometimes within the niche they fill.
This essence combines a version of Ablative Shielding with a frankly absurd cooldown on the minor with a low-duration, low-cooldown Dampen Harm as the major. Even if you’re already choosing Ablative Shielding on your azerite gear, you probably don’t want to dedicate your essence slot to a higher-armor version with a 2-minute cooldown.
Further, we don’t often need Dampen Harm since they stopped putting tankbusters in raids, so if you need that effect you’re likely to switch talents off of Bob and Weave first rather than giving up your essence slot. That said: if there is a frequent, high-damage nuke that lines up well with this essence’s cooldown, it may see use.
Verdict: Niche. You don’t want this unless you are already using Dampen Harm and need an extra cooldown beyond it, but if you are in that situation you’ll be glad you had it.
Oh boy do I have some opinions on this. The minor is bonus HP that goes away when you actually need bonus HP. Rank 3 has a HoT, but its actually weaker than some of the azerite traits I rated as Skip, so I only mention it to avoid people DMing me about it on Discord. The active is a better or worse version of Idol depending on your point of view: Anima heals for less on a longer cooldown, but deals more damage. Unfortunately, that damage is much lower over the entirety of a key than just running CoF, so there is little reason to put this on.
Verdict: Skip. At least in islands you can do giga damage when you pull the entire place and nuke it in one go.
The minor effect of this essence gives you a reasonable amount of Versatility based on the number of enemies nearby. At neck level 50, bonus caps out at 2.5% damage reduction at 10 enemies within ten yards, which doubles to 5% damage reduction when below 35% health with Rank 2 of the essence. However, this bonus scales with neck level, so over time it becomes much stronger. At level 55 the defensive component caps at 3.5%, and continues going up from there. Increasing your damage by 7% is not a small thing either, but since our damage is naturally fairly low this bonus is often worth less than Crucible of Flame.
The major effect is almost not worth discussing. It prevents a flat amount of damage from every hit for 15 seconds on a 2 minute cooldown (reduced to 1.5 minutes at Rank 2). This kind of effect is most beneficial against damage-over-time effects that deal a large number of small hits. If you read that and think of Stagger, I have some bad news: Aegis does not work on Stagger. While this effect does also scale, it does not do so quickly enough to make it relevant against the DoTs in Eternal Palace or Mythic+
The major effect on this essence is an AoE taunt combined with a 6s 50% damage amplification on a 2-minute cooldown. This, unfortunately, compares poorly with memebeam and does less damage than CoF, so we are unlikely to use it in any scenario—especially given our access to an AoE taunt via Black Ox Statue. The minor is a very weak healing effect (for any reasonable neck level, it is worse than an ilvl 400 diamond), but may see use due to the +10 Corruption Resistance.
Verdict: (Major) Skip. (Minor) Maybe. You don’t want to be using either part of this essence at current tuning, but you might use the minor for CR if you don’t want to run FV (or don’t have it yet).
Brewmasters have little use for Cheat Death effects, since Stagger keeps us so safe. However, the major is by far the best effect like this we’ve gotten in years. Unfortunately, to equip it you have to drop CoF major and lose around 7% of your total DPS. The minor is awful for us, as 0.3 extra ISB casts per minute is not worth a minor slot. This essence is also more time-gated than SotW so if you want something defensive with Corruption Resistance, you will wear that instead. Do note that the Corruption Resistance from essences is Unique and therefore equipping all 3 of the new essences will still only give 10 CR.
Verdict: Skip. Other tanks might get some use out of the best Cheat Death in ages, but it isn’t a good choice for Brewmaster.
Null Dynamo is one of the two essences I’d consider using as a default defensive essence in Eternal Palace. The major provides an (incredibly under-tuned) on-use magic absorb that is paired with a dispel at Rank 3. The minor provides a magic absorb that does up to 1.5k effective HPS (22k per 15 seconds at Rank 2). At rank 3, you deal damage equal to the amount absorbed split among nearby enemies.
Given the prevalence of magic effects in recent tiers (Champions, Jadefire, Rastakhan, Mekkatorque, Stormwall, and Jaina—or: every fight but Grong, Opulence, and Conclave in BoD—all had substantial magic damage dealt to tanks), this seems likely to be a reasonable defensive option that gains massive offensive power at Rank 3.
Verdict: Seek Out. At Ranks 1 & 2, this is a great choice on many fights in EP. At rank 3, this is also your BiS offensive minor on any fight where you can break the shield.
Sphere of Suppression is one of our best defensive essences in all scenarios. The major effect provides a strong AoE slow (perfect for Mythic+) tied to a hefty attack speed reduction that happens to work on raid bosses. Due to current tank damage profiles, the major is almost a simple 25% damage reduction for 8 seconds on a 45s cooldown (60s at Rank 1), which far outstrips every other option. As a bonus: you can use this as an external for your cotank in high-damage scenarios (for example: Uunat with multiple adds up). Unfortunately, the damage loss from running this in any scenario is so overwhelming that you should never use this as a major. The minor, however, can be used as a placeholder until you get C&S or Null Dynamo R3
Verdict: Skip. This essence is powerful, especially in Mythic+. However, the damage loss from running this is so high that you really shouldn’t use it.
- 16 January 2020 — Added essences for 8.3 and general updates.
- 21 July 2019 — Updated rankings based on neck scaling numbers and Mythic EP damage profiles.
- 5 July 2019 — Updated rankings based on latest sims.
- 2 July 2019 — Updated Worldvein Resonance evaluation based on new numbers.