Hello and welcome to PeakOfSerenity’s in-depth Brewmaster Monk talents breakdown for Battle for Azeroth! In this guide supplement, you’ll find explanations behind the choices used in the Brewmaster Monk Battle for Azeroth Guide.
This guide has been updated for 8.1.5 and is updated regularly when discussion, theorycrafting, or testing gives new information.
Level 15 Talents
- Eye of the Tiger – Your Tiger Palm leaves a damage over time effect on the target for 8 seconds, limited to 1 target.
- Chi Wave – A spell that alternates healing an ally and damaging an enemy in range, up to 8 events total.
- Chi Burst – A spell that sends a projectile 40 yards in front of you, healing any ally and damaging any enemy in its area.
Analysis: The choice in this row is fairly straightforward. Eye of the Tiger will simply out-perform both of its competitors on single target due to not costing a Global Cooldown (GCD) to use and putting out the same or better damage and healing. Chi Burst will likewise strongly out-perform its competitors in multi-target situations due to being the only talent in the row which scales with target count.
Level 30 Talents
- Celerity – Improves the base functionality of Roll by giving it a third charge and decreasing its cooldown by 5 seconds.
- Chi Torpedo – Replaces Roll, this spell sends you farther and also grants a stacking movement speed buff.
- Tiger’s Lust – An ability you can cast on a friendly target, breaking them of any roots or snares while also increasing their movement speed for a few seconds.
Analysis: While this talent tier is largely subjective, Tiger’s Lust giving a free snare/root break, while also allowing you to cast it on slower group members puts it above the rest in terms of utility added. If that isn’t necessary for a given boss fight in raids or in the dungeon, Celerity offers more frequent bursts of movement through Roll, whereas Chi Torpedo offers more potent bursts of movement through the longer distance and speed boost after rolling. This talent row will generally have very low impact outside of very specific situations and will largely be based on personal preference.
Level 45 Talents
- Light Brewing – Reduces the recharge time on your Ironskin Brew and Purifying Brew and allows you to store an additional shared charge.
- Spitfire – Tiger Palm has a chance to reset the cooldown on Breath of Fire.
- Black Ox Brew – A spell which instantly refills your energy and shared Ironskin Brew and Purifying Brew charges. This ability’s remaining cooldown is reduced by any effect which reduces the remaining cooldown on Ironskin Brew and Purifying Brew.
Analysis: This talent row is by far the most sensitive to numerical adjustments with regards to Ironskin Brew and Purifying Brew recharge time. At current tuning, the difference in Brew charge generation between Light Brewing and Black Ox Brew is very small. In general, Light Brewing will result in more available purifies on any fight shorter than 2 minutes (as in most M+ situations) or on any fight with intermittent time spent off target. Black Ox Brew will generally overtake Light Brewing outside of these situations due to the energy provided. For the same reason, Black Ox Brew is also the best offensive talent on the row. Note that the difference between these two talents with regards to defensive play is so small that mistakes in play with Black Ox Brew will cause it to be overtaken by Light Brewing even outside of the situations mentioned before.
Spitfire simply does not provide enough damage to compete with Black Ox Brew except in situations with a large number of targets for a long duration or when combined with the War Mode talent Incendiary Breath. This is due to the low relative damage of both Breath of Fire and Tiger Palm as well as the relative infrequency with which Tiger Palm is cast due to energy limitations.
Level 60 Talents
- Tiger Tail Sweep – Increases the radius Leg Sweep stuns by 2 yards and reduces its cooldown by 10 seconds.
- Summon Black Ox Statue – You create a Black Ox Statue which pulses threat onto all targets within 30 yards. You can also cast Provoke on the statue to taunt all enemies within 8 yards of the statue.
- Ring of Peace – Place a ring at the targeted area, preventing enemies from entering it. Any enemy within it when its placed are immediately pushed away.
Analysis: With Leg Sweep becoming a baseline ability in Battle for Azeroth, its talent replacement, Tiger Tail Sweep, is pretty commendable at making it just a better cooldown. However, the combination of Ring of Peace and Leg Sweep is incredibly powerful for dungeons and raids. Ring of Peace in particular is especially potent for countering the Necrotic and Sanguine affixes as it provides an additional kiting and repositioning tool which does not share diminishing returns with many other effects. (Note: Mobs which are immune to knockback effects will also be immune to Ring of Peace).
Summon Black Ox Statue will likely continue to see the same uses it saw within Legion. The statue is notable for being both an exceptional tool for pulling large groups of mobs (often more than you expect if you aren’t careful!) as well as being an AoE threat generation tool which is unmatched among tanks and can be extremely valuable with the Skittish dungeon affix. This is due to the threat generation modifier from Provoke being applied to all enemies taunted when the ability is cast on the Black Ox Statue. In raids, Summon Black Ox Statue is an incredibly useful tool to help with controlling and grouping add spawns as the threat generation is both significant and constant and the radius is large.
Level 75 Talents
- Bob and Weave – Increases the duration of Stagger by 3 seconds.
- Healing Elixir – Heal for 15% of your health immediately. 2 Charges.
- Dampen Harm – Reduces incoming damage anywhere from 20% to 50%, based on the strength of the incoming damage, for 10 seconds.
Analysis: Within this talent row, many newer players latch onto Healing Elixir for a source of self healing which Brewmaster Monks sorely lack. Against low damage — such as in solo content — the talent is certainly a strong contender. When compared against the survival benefits of Bob and Weave and Dampen Harm in moderate to high damage situations, however, the talent is sorely lacking.
Bob and Weave is a difficult talent to understate. While the effect is simple, it has many emergent effects which are not immediately apparent. The duration increase of stagger means that incoming spike damage — while the impact damage is unaffected — is smoothed out over a significantly longer period of time, resulting in lower damage taken per second (DTPS) from Stagger. Another effect of this longer dot is that for a given period of damage intake, our pool of Stagger damage will be larger due to the increased time it takes for damage to leave the Stagger pool naturally. This means that in addition to a significant smoothing of damage spikes, the talent also increases the damage removed by Purifying Brew casts by a significant amount. In a situation in which purification is unavailable, this talent will provide no net damage reduction as the total quantity of Staggered damage will be the same as without the talent. However, it will take significantly longer to reach this equilibrium point for which DTPS is the same with and without the talent. This means that in general, regardless of the time period in question, both your average and peak DTPS will be lowered.
When choosing between the Bob and Weave and Dampen Harm, the first question to ask is whether there is a specific, infrequent situation in which damage will be very high or for which the raw damage reduction of Dampen Harm is necessary to survive. In those situations, your choice has largely been made for you as Bob and Weave provides no direct effective health increase. Dampen Harm is also our only talent which has a significant impact on magic damage taken due to being a cooldown which has no direct interaction with Stagger.
Level 90 Talents
- Special Delivery – Casting Ironskin Brew or Purifying Brew launches a keg into the air which will land at your target’s current location after 3 seconds, dealing damage and slowing enemies hit by 50%.
- Rushing Jade Wind – A spell which deals ticking damage to all targets in an area around the player.
- Invoke Niuzao, the Black Ox – Summons a pet which will attack your current target and occasionally deal AoE damage around itself. Outside of raids, this pet will also taunt your target on cast and tank it for the duration (or until the pet dies).
Analysis: The comparison within this row is fairly simplistic as the three talents at their core are simply DPS abilities. With current tuning, Rushing Jade Wind provides the highest sustained DPS of the three in both single target and multi-target situations. It can be outperformed by Invoke Niuzao, the Black Ox in single target situations with significant downtime (or in single target burst) or by Special Delivery when significant periods of time will be spent out of melee range in multi target situations (as when kiting in a M+ or raid situation). Special Delivery additionally provides a very strong (50%) persistent AoE snare to aid with kiting enemies.
Level 100 Talents
- High Tolerance – Increases the proportion of damage delayed by Stagger and grants Haste based on your current quantity of Staggered damage.
- Guard – A spell which provides a shield that prevents a flat amount of damage from entering your Stagger pool for 8 seconds.
- Blackout Combo – Causes your Blackout Strike to empower the next (valid) ability cast.
Analysis: Blackout Combo is primarily a DPS focused talent. The optimal usage of it is to spend your empowerment on Tiger Palm every time except in 3+ target situations where all targets will live longer than approximately 30 seconds. In that case you should empower every cast of Breath of Fire and spend the remaining empowerments on Tiger Palm. The primary defensive benefit of this talent comes from niche uses of the Stagger pausing effect granted by empowering Ironskin Brew. This effect, while powerful, can be actively detrimental to survival if mismanaged, however, so this empowerment should be used only sparingly and only when planned. A Stagger pause should always be followed by a cast of Purifying Brew after the 3 second window. This talent will provide the highest single target damage output of any talent on the row when combined with 3 Pressure Point traits, but should only be used when survivability is known to not be an issue.
Guard is a difficult talent to evaluate effectively. Currently this talent lags numerically behind its 2 competitors by a significant margin in most respects and should not be taken. The talent can be best interpreted as turning Stagger into a true damage reduction effect rather than a damage delaying effect while the shield holds. While the damage reduction potential of the talent is very strong, the asynchronicity of its impact from the cast of the ability makes it hard to evaluate in the moment. It provides no momentary benefit to your damage intake or effective health when cast, but instead reduces the damage you will be taking shortly after. The nature of the talent means that it’s best used as a preventative tool when you know a significant spike in your Stagger pool is incoming for which the effective HP benefit of High Tolerance is not needed. It will generally see its best uses in situations where the damage pattern is known beforehand (as in a raid encounter) or where a frequent additional cooldown is needed. Against high, sustained physical damage intake, the talent also provides very significant personal damage reduction when compared to High Tolerance. As the talent is least beneficial when used as a reactionary tool, it is not recommended for newer players.
High Tolerance is, quite simply, everything a tank could want in a passive talent. It provides a passive increase in effective health (approximately 25-40%, increasing with gear) and an increase in both damage done and resource generation at times when needed most due to the Haste granted. It provides comparable DPS benefit to Blackout Combo (with 3 Pressure Point traits) on a single target (though definitively lower) and better damage in multi-target situations as well as a substantial passive survival benefit. In general, this talent should be your default choice for encounters and dungeons.
- July 15th, 2018 – Created.