Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Impending Release Brewmaster Review

So with the release coming in literally less than a week it's time for a short review of each spec and the primary abilities. Beginning here with the Brewmaster, the tanking specialization for the Monk.

Well let's dive right in shall we? We all know what tanks do here in World of Warcarft, if you don't, well tanks are there to get punched in the face. They do this so the rest of the group can do what they need to do to "make stuff dead".

The Primary Abilities: (Per Blizzard)
  • Blackout Kick - This is essential to make you Shuffle and also to increase the damage you Stagger. Very key to survivability.
  • Dizzying Haze - While tanking the biggest part of this is the 3% chance for enemies to punch themselves in the face instead of you. The snare is obviously still handy for mob control, like the pesky ones that like to think they can run away when they're low on HP.
  • Breath of Fire - The AE strike that gets bonus damage for Dizzying Haze being on the target, this will really get the groups of mobs to hate you instead of that uber warlock over there sucking the soul out of them.
  • Guard - A very nice damage shield and is a key point to the active mitigation of the Brewmaster. It can be buffed through Tiger Palm and don't forget that bonus 30% heal for self heals (sync bonus for using Expel Harm while this shield is up).
That's what Blizzard describes as the key abilities of the Brewmaster. I would say most other things you'll be commonly using interact with those abilities in some way. The Mastery is of course important to keep in mind since it increases Stagger amount. Since the key point of being a Brewmaster is to take damage, I'll start with ways in which it can be reduced.

 Damage Reduction
  • Avert Harm - Reduces Party damage rather than your own, BUT(!) it can be Staggered and using this at key times will help with any rough patches of group damage.
  • Elusive Brew - Dodging more will most certainly decrease incoming damage. Enemies can't hit you if you're too drunk to stand still. It's very tiny cooldown makes me think you should be nailing this every few stacks of the brew you have, but also be thoughtful of saving it for a long period of high incoming damage.
  • Fortifying Brew - The 3 minute cooldown of the Brewmaster it lasts a very hefty 20 seconds. HP increase, Dmg reduction AND Stagger increaser.
  • Grapple Weapon - Now at first look you may not think of a disarm as a damage reducer but as a master of alcohol if you manage to snag the weapon of an elite, not only will they not have the weapon, but you'll also take 5% less damage overall.
  • Guard - As seen above of course. Once you have Brewmaster Training, Tiger Palm will give you Power Guard. Stacking up to 3 times this increases the shield by up to 15% (5% per stack). This should be easily done in between other abilities (to allow for energy regen when low on Chi for instance) especially since it makes Tiger Palm free to use.
  • Keg Smash - While this is a primary Chi producer, it should be noted that this applies both Dizzying Haze (and its 3% miss chance) and Weakened Blows with its 10% damage done debuff.
  • Purifying Brew - Costs a Chi, but liberal use of Purifying Brew will negate Staggered damage entirely. This is especially important when Stagger damage gets very high (red debuff) and absolutely HAS to come off you. I'd recommend that if not hitting it often, then hit it when Stagger debuff goes yellow.
As you can see, many important abilities listed for damage reduction, most of which make up the key "rotation" of the Brewmaster. The second most important thing to me about being a tank would be to provide some utility to the group.

  • Paralysis - CC ability, keeping the target out of the fight for 30 seconds, or 1 minute if applied from behind the target somehow. 
  • Provoke - aside from the basic Taunt it provides, if you use this on your Black Ox Statue it will taunt everything within 8 yards of it, to the statue. This allows you to place a Black Ox Statue next to repeat offenders or areas where you know adds come from, to get them off the party/raid faster. Otherwise useful as your AE taunt.
  • Spear Hand Strike - Interrupt! The normal standard but it goes free with Brewmaster Training.
  • Summon Black Ox Statue - While giving other utility, the statue also puts an absorption shield party/raid members
  • Zen Meditation - Getting hit will break this, but this can still be useful for off tanks or periods where damage goes out w/o the need for tanking. You must note that it is harmful spell casts that are redirected.
What I'll describe next are what I feel key points to the basic structure of a Brewmaster's survivability and tanking in general:
  • Use Tiger Palm to buff Guard (when you learn Brewmaster Training)
  • Keg Smash generates 2 chi, Expel Harm 1 chi and Jab 1 chi. Use Expel Harm over Jab when it's up.
  • Expel Harm does more damage and healing when Guard is up.
  • Liberally use Purifying Brew to drop the Stagger damage debuff.
  • Also be a lush with the use of Elusive Brew. The more often it's up, the less damage you take. Note that stacks are generated through autoattack crits.
  • Watch for your Healing Spheres created by Gift of the Ox. Moving through them constantly or saving them for high damage will also help your healers. Don't forget the buff they get from Guard as well!

If I didn't describe that in a way that makes sense or if I missed something very important, let me know. I can't at the moment think of a good way to go over that. What I'll do is add links down here at the bottom for other Brewmaster Resources. Perhaps someone else is more articulate than I am in that regard.

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