Monday, March 26, 2012

Staggering the Brewmaster

Ah the Brewmaster. Drunken fighter of the monk class. Nothing like getting totally wasted and picking a fight you probably can't handle on your own. You start brawls and take a beating but you don't even feel it until later. Nothing seems to phase you. Let's take a look at what the Brewmaster can do.

The Brewmaster spec for monks is of course the tanking spec. Able to take blows and keep on going. Much like the Mistweaver post I'll be adding notes through the abilities and comparing them to abilities we see in others. There are a few like Warriors, some like Death Knights and a unique way for reducing damage taken in one hit.

The Spec specific abilities of the Brewmasters are as follows: (as seen on mmo.champion)
  • Stance of the Drunken Ox (LVL 10)
    • Reduces damage taken by 20%, and increases your chance to Stagger damage by 25%.
      • Stagger
      • You shrug of attacks, causing 50% of the damage to happen instantly and the remaining 50% to happen 3 seconds later. Brewmaster mastery reduces the after-effect Stagger damage taken.
      • Notes: Stance of the Brewmaster this is what gives them the unique ability to Stagger attacks. This spreads the damage out a bit hopefully giving healers a chance to keep up with it. Mastery at level 80 will reduce the 2nd half of the damage. Base Mastery will reduce the 2nd hit to 38.4% of total.
  • Breath of Fire (LVL 18)
    • 2 Chi, 40 Yard Range, Instant
    • Requires Ox Stance
    • Breathes fire onto the target, causing 3,573 damage. Damage is multipled by the number of Drunken Haze stacks on the target.
    • Notes: This I'm attributing to being like Shockwave for Warriors but without the stun. Its damage ramps up based on Drunken Haze stacks much like Shockwave builds damage upon Blood and Thunder stacks.
  • Drunken Haze (LVL 22)
    • 40 Energy, 40 Yard Range, Instant
    • Requires Ox Stance
    • You hurl a keg of your finest brew, reducing the movement speed of all enemies within 8 yards by 15%. Affected targets have a 3% chance to have their attacks misfire and strike themselves instead for 12,299 damage. Stacks up to 3 times.
    • Notes: The movement speed reduction here isn't a big deal. The real use of this ability as a tank is in the increased Breath of Fire damage, and the chance for attacks to miss you and hit the mobs instead of you.
  • Leer of the Ox (LVL 24)
    • Instant, 20 sec cooldown
    • Requires Ox Stance
    • Your Ox Statue stirs hatred in the target, reducing their movement speed by 50% and causing them to attack the statue for 8 seconds. The statue must be within 40 yards of the target.
    • Requires Statue of the Ox to be active.
    • Notes: Looking at this at level 24 makes me think that there's an unlisted Statue of the Ox, that's not the one gained at level 70. Otherwise this would be useless for 46 levels. On the effect of the spell I kind of like it. It's like having an off tank for 8 seconds. Gives the healer a chance to heal if you're low. Maybe a short stacking debuff that could drop off if they're distracted? We'll have to see but I think it can be of great use. This is level 78 on the Wowhead talent calculator so the original info might be wrong.
  • Guard (LVL 26)
    • 3 Chi, Instant
    • Requires Ox Stance
    • You guard against future attacks, absorbing 38,478 damage for 8 seconds.
    • Any heals you apply to yourself while guarding are increased by 30%.
    • Notes: The "active mitigation" of the Brewmasters I believe heavily in spamming the heck out of this ability as much as you can without overwriting of course.
  • Elusive Ale (LVL 34)
    • 1 Chi, Instant, 45 sec cooldown
    • Requires Ox Stance
    • Increases your chance to dodge melee and ranged attacks by 50% for 45 seconds.
    • Notes: Nothing major, low cost, low cooldown ability. Hitting this once you get Recoil at 56 will be a huge burst of Chi you can spend on other abilities making huge survivability and damage output from one cooldown.
  • Avert Harm (LVL 48)
    • 15 yard range, Instant, 1 min cooldown
    • Requires Ox Stance
    • You reduce the damage taken by all nearby friendly targets within 10 yards by 20%, and cause half of all remaining damage they take to be re-directed to you. Lasts for 15 seconds.
    • Avert Harm is cancelled if you reach 10% or lower health.
    • Notes: I can't recall the name of it but I know there was a Prot Pally talent that did the same thing. I don't know if this would be of big use as a main tank but having this as the offtank could make this quite useful.
  • Recoil (LVL 56)
    • Whenever you dodge, you gain 5 Chi.
    • Notes: This combined with Elusive Ale will be absolutely amazing for Chi generation. Should get to just blast away at Chi using skills here.
  • Summon Black Ox Statue (LVL 70)
    • 40 yard range, 5.5 sec cast, 3 min cooldown
    • Requires Ox Stance
    • Summons a Black Ox Statue at the target location. Lasts for 10 minutes. Only one Black Ox Statue can be summoned at any one time.
    • The Black Ox Statue interacts with your Provoke and Leer of the Ox abilities.
      • Guard (on-click effect)
      • Allies can right-click the Statue to gain the Guard effect, absorbing 12,826 damage. Any healing done by the Monk is increased by 30% while Guard is active. Guard has 10 charges.
      Notes:  The Statue for a Brewmaster has a really interesting mechanic with taunts. There's the Leer of the Ox that forces your target to attack the statue for 8 seconds. Then if you cast Provoke on the statue instead of on an enemy the statue itself taunts everything within 8 yards of it. I'm thinking now with that interaction of provoke you could use Leer to force a mob onto the statue, and spam Provoke every 8 seconds to keep it there? Will have to try this out once I can.
  • Brewmaster Training (LVL 72)
    • You become adept in the ways of the Brewmaster, amplifying two of your spells.
      • Tiger Palm
      • Increases the effect of your next Guard by 5%. Lasts 30 seconds. Stacks up to 3 times.
      • Blackout Kick
      • When you parry, your next Blackout Kick will cost no Chi and can be used on targets regardless of their health percentage.
      Notes: I love the X Training skills and how they change the way basic ability interactions. You'll want to Tiger Palm 3 times to make max out Guard +15%. Blackout Kick will turn into a form of Revenge activated only by Parry. When it procs you'll want to use it.
  • Mastery: Drunken Brawler (LVL 80)
    • Reduces the damage taken by Stagger by 14.5%, and increases the effect of your Guard by 14.5%.
    • Each point of Mastery reduces the Stagger damage taken by an additional 1.1% and increases the amount you Guard by an additional 1.1%.
    • Notes: The usefulness of the Brewmaster mastery is in question based on when the roll for staggering an attack happens. I would think it would be as useful as Block is to the Warriors and Paladins even if it's on the 2nd roll but this is something else we'll just have to test out to get a true test of it.
  • Shuffle (LVL 82)
    • 2 Chi, Channeled
    • Requires Ox Stance
    • You shuffle around, causing all melee attacks to be staggered. While shuffling, you cannot move, attack, or cast spells.
      • Stagger
      • Instant
      • You shrug off attacks, causing 50% of the damage to happen instantly and the remaining 50% to happen 3 seconds later.
      Notes:Automatically staggering attacks could be very useful dependent on how strong our Mastery is. It's 2 Chi and channeled but I've not seen duration or anything for this.

Then there are general abilities the Brewmaster will also be using. I've cut out the CC and the rez and some utility to get down to the most important ones for tanking.
  • Blackout Kick
    • 2 Chi, Melee Range, Instant, 3 sec cooldown
    • Kick with a blast of sha energy, causing 471 Physical damage to an enemy target. Only useable on targets at or below 35% health.
    • If the target is killed by Blackout Kick, you are refunded 1 Chi.
    • Notes:  This will probably not be of use except in soloing and after level 72 after learning Brewmaster Training.
  • Crackling Jade Lightning
    • x Energy, 40 yard range, Channeled
    • Channels Jade Lightning at the target, causing 4,116 Nature damage over 5.50 seconds.
    • If the enemy attacks you within melee range while victim to Crackling Jade Lightning, they are knocked back a short distance. This effect has an 8 second cooldown.
    • Notes: Other than for soloing purposes Brewmaster are the most likely to use this ability regularly, any chance to reduce damage taken is a welcome one in the land of active mitigation.
  • Expel Harm
    • x Energy, Melee Range, Instant Cast, 15 sec cooldown
    • Instantly heals the target for 14,896, and causes 120% of the amount healed to instantly be dealt to a nearby enemy as damage within 5 yards of the target.
    • Notes: Considering spending time on casting Healing Spheres would be pretty silly, this is all the self healing the Brewmaster has going for him. 
  • Fortifying Ale
    • Instant, 3 min cooldown
    • Increases your health by 100%, but you cannot be healed. Lasts 20 seconds.
    • Notes: 100% health is just.. it sounds crazy. The not being healed part is obviously there to not make this just ridiculous OP. Best bet is probably going to be to use this to absorb some crazy hit or to live through the healer getting battle rezzed, and then canceling it out when it's safe to do so again. Could also consider it a second life if used right. Also doubling your health would make Touch of Death useable that much sooner.
  • Grapple Weapon
    • 40 yard range, Instant, 1 min cooldown
    • You fire off a rope spear, grappling the target's weapon and shield, returning them to you. Depending on the quality of the weapon, your damage done, healing done, and damage reduction may be increased.
    • Notes: As with Mistweavers Grapple Weapon is going to be something you want to use as often as you can to increase your capability all around.
  • Jab
    • 40 Energy, Melee Range, Instant
    • You Jab the target, dealing 139 damage and generating 1 Chi.
  • Provoke
    • 40 yard range, Instant, 8 sec cooldown
    • You mock the target, causing them to rush toward to attack you at an increased 50% movement speed.
    • If targeting your Statue of the Black Ox, you provoke all enemies within an 8 yard radius of your statue.
  • Roll
    • 50 Energy, Instant
    • Roll a short distance.
  • Spinning Crane Kick
    • 1 Chi, Instant
    • Requires Serpent Stance, Ox Stance, Tiger Stance
    • You spin while kicking in the air, dealing 218 Phsyical damage every 1 second to all nearby enemies within 8 yards. Movement speed is reduced by 30%. Lasts 6 seconds.
  • Tiger Palm
    • 1 Chi, Melee Range, Instant
    • Attack with the palm of your hand, dealing 279 Physical damage. Deals 140 additional damage if the target is above 50% health.
    • Notes: As seen on Brewmaster Training, using Tiger Palm will give you up to 3 stacks of increased capability upon using Guard.
  • Touch of Death
    • 4 Chi, Melee Range, Instant, 1.5 min cooldown
    • Requires Ox Stance, Tiger Stance
    • You exploit the enemy target's weakest point, instantly killing them.
    • Only usable on non-player targets who have equal or less health than you.
    • Notes: Not entirely sure where this will fit in but I put it here because as a Brewmaster you should have the most health of any of the monk specs allowing more flexible use of this. I could see this ending up with an addendum like Deep Freeze where enemies not susceptible to instant death take some amount of damage instead.

The abilities that are going to expend energy (some of these will also generate chi):
  • Jab (generates 1 Chi)
  • Drunken Haze
  • Crackling Jade Lightning
  • Expel Harm
  • Roll
The abilities that will spend Chi are:
  • Breath of Fire
  • Guard
  • Elusive Ale
  • Shuffle
  • Blackout Kick
  • Spinning Crane Kick
  • Tiger Palm
  • Touch of Death
As you can see there is only one ability there that generates Chi and that is Jab. Just like the Mistweaver, Jab is a very important skill to use constantly for the Chi generation it provides. The only other way to gain Chi as a Brewmaster is through Recoil (lvl 56) that grants you 5 Chi when you dodge. The short wording makes it seem that it will be every time you dodge instead of a % chance to do so.

Described through the notes the biggest combination is probably Drunken Haze + Breath of Fire. Breath of Fire doing much more damage per stack of Drunken Haze. This is the Blood and Thunder talent + Shockwave combination that Warriors have today to keep mobs under control in AE situations. The other combination is very obvious as well. While using Guard all your self heals are 30% more effective, combined with Expel Harm (which does damage based on the amount healed) you have both a very powerful way to help keep yourself alive, as well as a strong instant damage dealing attack.

Going to wrap this up with a bit on the talents I think sound most useful to being a Brewmaster. Also Wowhead now has a working monk talent calculator on it's beta website here. It also seems the level 75 and 90 talents are reversed on there compared to my resources when I wrote the Mistweaver post. Not sure which is right but I'll reference the Wowhead talent calculator from now on.

  • Level 15: My favorite here is Intuition removing the Energy cost of Roll. It's inactive for 15 seconds but as a tank you shouldn't have to worry as much about using it to move out of stuff but as something to go to adds and things like that.
  • Level 30: Other than not knowing what the Mystery Talent is about my favorite of the 2 remaining for Brewmasters is Ascendance. With Recoil giving away 5 chi every time we dodge I don't see Jinyu Cider as being as useful as it is to a Mistweaver. Ascendance I see getting that extra 1 Chi as less "waste" if you dodge a few times in a row, gaining Chi faster than you can spend it.
  • Level 45: As much as I like Charging Ox Wave, Leg Sweep knocking down everything in 5 yards of you would be very useful for trash situations.
  • Level 60: I'm a fan of Beguile here just because it's unique. It makes you move faster and enemies around you to move slower, stacking as you get hit. This could be used to give you further control over a pack of enemies. Also I see Dematerialize dropping threat for those 3 seconds leaving the group tankless which would of course be counterproductive.
  • Level 75: I don't like the uncontrollable nature of Rushing Jade Wind very much. I see the most generally useful here to be Ring of Peace. Making all enemies around you unable to act for 10 seconds is a very strong damage prevention cooldown.
  • Level 90: For Brewmasters I'm going to go with Chi Sphere here. Chi Bind might be useful? You could potentially move enemies into the line binding you and your statue. Chi Sphere though you could cast and instantly blow up for the ae burst. If you can just stand a boss inside your Chi Bind for the duration of a fight that might produce a lot of extra damage done as well as heal melee behind the boss standing in it so it has potential there too.
And with that we have my take on the Brewmaster. Some very interesting abilities and interactions with Dodge, Parry and the new ability Stagger. I think being a Brewmaster could be a lot of fun and very interesting to play with varied ability use depending on ae or single target tanking situations. Roll gives mobility and the statue abilities provide you with your own off tank. I'm looking forward to trying this out.


  1. In terms of the Crackling Jade Lightning, I doubt that it will be very useful for Brewmasters as it is a channeled ability, which means you can't dodge, parry, and presumably stagger hits, and knockbacks don't work on bosses, so this is only really potentially useful if you are offtanking just ONE mob. In addition, the knockback has an 8 second cooldown, so you'll probably be taking those unavoidable hits while waiting those 8 seconds.

    Otherwise, not too bad. I'd say that a lot of things will change on both this and any other guide as the Beta progresses.

    1. That's a good point thanks. I guess this is pretty much just an "Oh Shi..." button soloing or just won't find a lot of use unless it does good enough damage for a Windwalker to want to use it but not get the extra benefit from it. Hmm.. hopefully if it doesn't end up very useful they cut or replace it then.

    2. When I read it, I thought PvP with the Mistweaver, actually. Keeps melee away from the healer while still healing via statues.