Windwalking Into Shadowlands: Pre-Patch Guide

The time has come to get ready for the *eventual* Shadowlands, and that means its pre-patch time. The guides have been updated, but here are the changes;

In-Game Changes

Spell Changes
  •  Expel Harm – Returns as a usable spell. It does neither a ton of healing nor a ton of damage. You press it when you need a small heal but don’t want to stop to cast. You’ll look to use this on cooldown since it generates 1 Chi for 15 energy.
  •  Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger – Now one of Windwalker’s primary DPS cooldown with  Storm, Earth, and FireAfter level 58, Xuen should be more impactful as he generates the “Gale Burst” that used to be a part of  Touch of Death 3x during his duration and it is currently an AoE around him rather than a single target. However, till that point he’s just a “fire and forget” ability.
  •  Fortifying Brew – Moved from a PvP Talent to a baseline ability. Although it’s nice to have another defensive, it does return the (in my opinion) unhealthy playstyle of using  Fortifying Brew before  Touch of Karma for more DPS.
  •  Dance of Chi-Ji – Becomes a talent that you use in AOE situations. It will proc separately from the Azerite Trait that it is derived from.

 

Target Caps

None of these caps have any functional effect on how or when you use the abilities.

 

GCD Changes
  •  Energizing Elixir – Removed from the GCD; makes it a very reasonable talent choice for sustained AOE where you can use all the resources it provides.
  •   Storm, Earth, and Fire – Removed from the GCD; with the loss of Touch of Death we now have more flexibility for when to use this, mainly with big stat procs or damage phases. No longer do we HAVE to use it every 2-minutes. Just don’t sit at 2 stacks unless you know its a gain.
  •  Serenity – Removed from the GCD; increases its value quite a bit, but not enough to see a ton of use at the moment

 

DW vs 2H

Windwalker can, yet again, utilize 2H weapons. However, currently there hasn’t been any discernable tuning, so we don’t know if one is the default better than the other. As always, sim what you have and see what’s best.

 

Bugs

Among the other bugs that are most likely still there, the bug where Whirling Dragon Punch damages things when you don’t cast it, as mentioned in this article, appears to be live. You don’t need to do anything for it, just enjoy the extra damage. You can still use Whirling Dragon Punch on cooldown like you would otherwise. I love this bug and I hope it never goes away.

LOL JK WHY WOULD WE WANT TO ENJOY THE SPEC.

 

Guide Changes

To see everything in its entirety, check out the Windwalker PvE Guide.

Talent Changes

There hasn’t been much in the way of changes for talents;

  • Dance of Chi-Ji becomes the best, on average, for sustained AOE encounters like most M+, Hit Combo remains slightly ahead for single target or mixed encounters.
  • Energizing Elixir becomes a talent to consider for single target if you prefer it and should be the default for sustained AOE encounters like most M+.

So, the current recommended talent set up looks like this;

 

Priority Changes

The biggest changes is the interjection of Expel Harm anytime that its up. The 1 Chi it provides per 15 energy is MASSIVELY better than anything else we have available to us.

Because there’s currently no interaction between Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger, Storm, Earth, and Fire, and Touch of Death, you can just use them independently of each other when their up and usable.

For more information on what this all looks like; just see the Ability Priority Section of the PvE Guide.

 

Stat and Gear Changes

There aren’t any, because our damage profile is largely staying the same, there isn’t much change to the way that Windwalkers prioritize stats, trinkets, consumables, and the like.

The only change is that you’re going to want to grab one Agi gem.

 

Azerite Changes

Heart of Darkness got changed and is very much overtuned, so it becomes the one that you want 3 of above just about all else. You’ll look to have one each of Dance of Chi-Ji and Fury of Xuen, 3 Heart of Darkness and fill with Open Palm Strikes.

 

Essence Changes

Because of the loss of burst, Blood of the Enemy is not as strong, opening the way for other essences like Condensed Life-Force for a Major. It will take a smidge of time to figure out, so don’t be surprised if things change.

 

Overall

Things are definitely going to feel weird for Windwalker for a bit, but it shouldn’t be so different for people that have played before. There’s still a pretty reasonable amount of bugs under the hood but at least some of them won’t affect us until Shadowlands actually comes out. The spec should be fun, and hopefully over the next few weeks we’ll see more bug fixes and damage tuning so that the spec’s output matches its fun.

This page will be updated as things change.