About the author
This guide is written by Misume, a prominent theorycrafter and guide writer for Brewmaster Monks and a raider in WHATEVER WERE AWESOME. This guide was previously hosted on his own WordPress site, and he is a vocal contributor to the Monk community on the MMO-Champion forums. Misume has been raiding on his Monk since Siege of Orgrimmar, but has become quite influential in a short period of time.
Brewmaster is the poster child of Blizzard’s “Active Mitigation” tank model that truly debuted in Mists of Pandaria. You often hear people talk about how much you need to keep track of on a Brewmaster, and it’s true. It’s not a tank class of “Mash A B C to take less damage”; there’s a lot of involvement and it’s not something you can just faceroll. A negligent Brewmaster will take more damage than any tank out there; a talented Brewmaster will be nigh on invincible. It’s a game of both reacting to and preparing for incoming damage, whereas most tank classes do one or the other.
Brewmasters bring a lot of utility to the raid, in the form of kiting, very efficient boss positioning, and AOE threat to help pick up incoming adds etc.
Brewmasters in 6.2
Going into 6.2, Brewmasters have received a hefty dent to our survivability from a sizeable Stagger nerf. However, with careful play a Brewmaster can be just as, if not more viable than any other tank this tier. The Brewmaster toolkit is incredibly versatile, and our Tier bonus makes us a very solid pick for main tanking this tier.
• 5/27: Updated for Patch 6.2
• 3/31: A guide is born
Single Target Rotation
Our single target rotation is relatively simple. It revolves around getting Chi and spending Chi. This is a very basic overview that will go into detail in the later sections.
Note: If you take Power Strikes you can actually pool Chi before you pull the boss. Simply spam Expel Harm for about a minute before you pull in preparation, and you can start the fight with 4 Chi, allowing you to get a head start in mitigation.)
Your rotation differs depending on whether you have your Tier 18 4 Piece bonus or not. I’ll list both rotations below.
Without Tier 18 4 Piece bonus.
1. Keg Smash on cooldown.
3. Guard in order to apply a large damage absorption shield. Keep one charge of Guard on CD at all times when actively tanking.
4. Elusive Brew either when Guard is down or to prevent capping stacks.
7. Use Jab when at around 80 energy to prevent energy capping.
With Tier 18 4 Piece bonus.
1. Expel Harm on CD to reduce the cooldown of Guard by 5 seconds.
2. Guard in order to apply a large damage absorption shield. Keep one charge of Guard on CD at all times when actively tanking.
3. Keg Smash on cooldown, unless Expel Harm is off cooldown.
4. Elusive Brew either when Guard is down or to prevent capping stacks.
7. Use Jab when at around 80 energy to prevent energy capping.
AOE/Multi target rotation
• At 2 targets, there is no need to change your rotation; Keg Smash will cleave enough to keep aggro on both.
• For multiple targets, maintain the same, but try to take Rushing Jade Wind if you know you’re going to be tanking multiple targets for a long duration.
• A thing that I would like to mention is to avoid using Breath of Fire in your rotation. It’s decent (when glyphed) for 5 man content (and certain encounters), but it will get you killed in a raid if you’re pumping all your chi into it.
Brewmasters have an ability to “Stagger” their incoming physical damage. To give a brief idea what that does, it converts a percentage of incoming damage into a physical DOT, named Stagger. Purifying Brew allows us to clear that Staggered damage, effectively negating the damage that we converted. If it sounds confusing, that’s because it is.
Your auto-attack critical strikes generate charges of Elusive Brew. Elusive Brew is a nice mitigation ability that increases your chance to dodge physical melee/ranged abilities by 45%. The charges stack up to 15, and each charge consumed grants you 1 second of the buff. The number of charges generated depend on the speed of the weapon you use. We’ll cover that later.
Guard is a very powerful shield that should be used to mitigate large boss hits/abilities. It costs 2 Chi, has 2 charges, and it means you can be a little more liberal with them than in MOP.
One of your main damaging abilities By using Blackout Kick, you give yourself a 6 second buff called Shuffle, which increases your parry amount by 10%.Previously, Shuffle was something that should be kept up 100% during most encounters, as it provided an additional 10% Stagger amount while active. As of 6.2, this is not the case. Because of this, Shuffle falls behind in priority for Chi expenditure compared to Guard, but should still be maintained as much as possible. It is particularly powerful when combined with Elusive Brew.
On top of these standard mitigation abilities, you also have two 3 minute cooldowns as part of your standard toolkit:
This ability increases your health pool by 20%, your Stagger amount by 20%, and reduces your damage taken by 20%. I don’t exaggerate when I say that it’s probably the most powerful cooldown in the game. It’s an actual struggle to kill you through this. Use this during periods of intense boss damage that would otherwise kill you.
No longer redirecting raid spells to yourself, this is still a very effective cooldown when used in combination with Glyph of Zen Meditation. It’s a channelled ability that reduces your incoming damage by 90% for 8 seconds when used. However, the channel can be broken by a) moving without the Glyph equipped, or b) being hit by melee damage. Because of this, you can either use it to soak a large cast-time ability, or soak a single large melee hit.
Utility and Passive Benefits
You have a lot of utility as a Brewmaster, and also a few abilities working in the background. We’re going to cover them all as part of the rotation section.
Brewmasters benefit from Resolve, an ability that all tanks are effected by. Resolve increases the healing/absorption output of yourself, determined by the amount of incoming damage you have taken. This tends to be pretty bursty, and you will benefit more from say, a Guard immediately after taking a large melee hit because of this.
As standard, Brewmasters have a passive buff named Stance of the Sturdy Ox that increases our Armor by 125%, increases our Stamina by 25%, reduces our incoming magic damage by 15% and allows us to Stagger damage, as mentioned above.
Brewmasters also have access to Summon Black Ox Statue, a very powerful totem that pulses a large amount of AoE threat. This is fantastic on fights with incoming add waves that need to be picked up immediately. It’s relatively frail, but it has a 10 second cooldown allowing you to replace it if it were to die. As well, casting Provoke on the Statue will lead to it pulsing an AoE Taunt, making threat generation on new add packs a breeze.
Lastly, we have quite a few abilities in our utility toolkit that you should make use of when appropriate:
Nimble Brew – Removes root, stun, fear, and horror effects, and reduces the duration of such effects by 60% for 6 seconds
Detox – Removes Poison/Disease effects from a friendly target with an 8 second cooldown.
Spear Hand Strike – Single target interrupt, 15 second cooldown
Paralysis – Single target CC, broken by damage
As a Brewmaster, you possess a few tools that make you the most maneuverable tank in the game currently:
Provoke is your Taunt, forcing bosses to attack you for 3 seconds when used. It also grants you a window of additional threat generation during the 3 second period, and grants the target 50% movement speed. This is a great ability for quickly positioning bosses and adds. As of 6.2, the range is reduced to 30 yards, bringing it in line with other tank taunts.
The signature move of the Monk; it’s a two-charge ability that allows you to do exactly what it implies; your Monk stops, drops and rolls forward a short distance. It’s very handy for quick movement, and it’s very important that you bind it to a reliable keybind; too many Monks have met the hard life of rolling off say, Lei Shen’s platform, or Kromog’s little cliff face. Each charge takes 20 seconds to recharge as default- this is changed if you take the Celerity talent mentioned earlier.
These two abilities work in direct sync with one another; Transcendence places a small hologram of yourself at your current position that persists for 15 minutes. The cooldown is 45 seconds as standard, but is reduced to 10 seconds with one of your Draenor Perks.
Alone, this ability is seemingly useless. Transcendence: Transfer makes this one of the most interesting and fun abilities in the game.
An ability that allows you to swap locations with your Transcendence Spirit. There are a few conditions that must be met for this. Your Transcendence Spirit needs to be within 40 yards of yourself, and Transcendence: Transfer also has a 25 second cooldown. However, it’s an absolutely fantastic move.
Level 15: Tiger’s Lust
Level 75: Situational
Our first tier is based around movement, and are all pretty nifty:
A nice little ability that grants you an extra charge of Roll, and also reduces the cooldown of roll by 5 seconds. If you think a fight requires a lot of fast, burst movement, this may be a nice talent to take. Examples that I can think of currently are Imperator Mar’gok; being able to roll with Mark of Chaos to quickly range the raid is a great benefit.
Very simple, but very powerful. It simply increases the speed of a targeted Ally by 70% for 6 seconds. It’s a really nice speed boost that has a practical benefit of being able to be used on a raid member too, meaning it’s not just limited to personal usage. It also removes snares, making it very useful.
Increases your speed by 25% whenever you roll for 10 seconds, and stacks twice (because 2 rolls duh). It’s a good talent for when you have a set route and need a steady movement increase, for things such as kiting adds.
Out of all of these talents, my personal favourite is Tiger’s Lust. Having the ability to bring a speed boost to raid is way too practical for your standard raid environment. You can’t really go wrong with it.
A decent single target ability, sending out a small wave of… Chi that bounces between allies and enemies, healing and damaging them respectively. It’s on a 15 second cooldown, and it’s a hammer-and-forget ability.
Currently the strongest single target ability on this tier, but it comes at the cost of being slightly more complicated to use optimally. The ability places a sphere over you or a targets head for 16 seconds, and has a 10 second cooldown. This means you can have at least two spheres out on the raid at once. Casting ZS on a player who already has a sphere will simply refresh the duration. It ticks, dealing AOE damage and healing around the player, before detonating either at the end of the 16 second period, or when the player drops below 35% Health. Ideally, you will want to alternate between placing a sphere on yourself and then your Co-Tank whenever it is available.
A strong burst AoE ability; it fires a Kamehameha wave forward in the direction you are aiming, healing all allies and damaging all enemies on a 30 second cooldown.
Personally, I flip between both Zen Sphere and Chi Burst. It really depends on the fight, however. On a fight like say, Iron Maidens or Blast Furnace, I would run Chi Burst every time, due to the constant presence of multiple adds/targets. On a fight which is mostly single target for the majority, such as Imperator Mar’gok, I would run with Zen Sphere.
Provides you with an additional Chi every 15 seconds when you use one of your Chi generators. This works on an internal clock (meaning that the charge is refreshed every 15 seconds, and not 15 seconds after you consume a charge) and will never waste a charge either; if Power Strikes would put you over your chi limit, your character spawns a small white orb on the floor that grants you one chi when consumed.
Don’t take it without the T18 4 Piece. It only becomes truly attractive with the 4 Piece bonus. It increases your chi pool by one, and grants you 15% energy regen. We’ll talk about this in a bit.
A two-stack charge ability, on a 60 second recharge. Each charge of Chi Brew grants you 2 chi and 5 stacks of Elusive Brew.
Now, we’re going to talk about this, because there’s obviously an elephant in the room regarding these talents:
Ascension is being harped as the best talent currently, for the weakest of reasoning. It’s being praised to the heavens as it allows you for more Expel Harms/Jabs. It’s also a talent that we all took in 5.4, for no real reason other than we were lazy. It was never the best talent, but it never really mattered back then either.
Here’s the thing; in Siege, Expel Harm hit like an absolute truck. With even minimal vengeance levels, it healed like an Lay On Hands, and was one of the best abilities we had. We were self sufficient to the extreme, and for that reasoning, Ascension was a cool ability. But it doesn’t heal for that now. It’s a nice heal, sure, but forgoing the much higher Chi Generation of Power Strikes in order to get a few expel harms out is absolutely ludicrous. It’s a mentality brought about by comfort with a spec, and not paying attention to any changes. Another reason given for it is to bank Chi, which really is not needed in this tier, due to the way our Level 100 talents work.
Mathematically, Ascension falls behind so hard. It is very reliant on Haste rating in order to compare with the other two talents, and also falls into a pre-SoO concept where pooling high amounts of Chi was needed.
To give an example; if you currently generate 11 Energy per Second, Ascension would bump you up to 12.65 Energy per Second. With Jab costing 40 Energy, you would need to generate 160 additional energy through Ascension gain for it to be equal in terms of Chi Generation with PS/CB.
In order for Ascension to keep up with PS/CB in terms of CPM, it would need to provide around 2.66 Energy per Second. To get to that, you would need around 17.77 Energy per Second from Haste anyway, which is around 7000 Haste. As you can probably gather, that’s ridiculous.
However, there is a reason why I listed Ascension as the talent of choice for the Tier 18 4 Piece bonus. With this bonus, the value of energy becomes much greater while the value of Chi diminishes in comparison. By utilising Ascension, we can react to incoming damage spikes much quicker than with the other two talents by use of Expel Harm. The kicker for this is that since our Expel Harm reduces the cooldown of Guard with the T18 Bonuses, it’s a lot less risky to Expel Harm spam to safety. Because of this, I recommend taking Ascension when you manage to pick up your Tier bonuses.
Power Strikes and Chi Brew will be your go-to abilities here. Power Strikes is very good as a passive with high chi generation, while you can use Chi Brew on a fight where you need to tank say, an add or boss and you’re sitting on fumes for resources. After gaining 4 Piece, run with Ascension.
Ring of Peace
An AoE incapacitate that is more reserved for PvP. I have yet to find any real use for it in a PvE setting this tier.
Charging Ox Wave
Does exactly what the name implies. It’s a projectile based stun that stuns all enemies in the path of it for 3 seconds, on a 30 second cooldown.
A very strong 5 second stun within 5 yards of yourself. It has a long cooldown and a short range, but it’s one of the stronger stuns available in the game.
A great little passive, similar to Power Strikes. It heals you for 15% of your health pool when you hit 35% health, or whenever you use a Brew ability. The talent is a little iffy currently as to whether is actually heals for 15%, but it’s still very strong. It works on an 18 second internal clock, and is normally consumed automatically. However, if you’re at full health it won’t be consumed, meaning the healing is never really wasted.
A strong cooldown on a 90 second timer. When activated, it halves the damage intake from the next three attacks that deal more than 15% of your health pool. This lasts for 45 seconds, or until the three stacks are consumed. Note this isn’t limited to Physical abilities; spells and AOE effects trigger it too.
Diffuse Magic is Beast-Mode magic mitigation. It provides you with 90% magic damage reduction for 6 seconds when used, and clears you of any harmful magical effects if it’s able to. It’s a 90 second cooldown that should be your go-to for Magic damage.
Honestly, all of these talents are viable. It’s just a case of figuring out which is going to be better for the fight at hand.
Rushing Jade Wind
An upgraded version of Spinning Crane Kick that allows you to use other abilities during, as opposed to being a channeled spell. It’s a very powerful AoE talent, and is worth taking during any fight with uptime on 3+ targets for the majority.
Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger
Probably my favorite ability in the game currently; it summons Xuen as a pet to deal melee damage to one target and cleave damage to 3. He also gets a nice little pet bar. It’s a 3 minute cooldown with a 45 second duration, and should be your go-to ability for any single target or 2 target cleave fights.
A relatively strong ability in its current iteration. It turns your roll into an ability that deals damage enemies and heals allies. The problem with it however is that rolling while tanking a boss is never a fun thing to do. Use at your own peril.
Soul Dance is the easiest one to tackle; it allows us to mitigate magic damage in the same way we mitigate physical; by Staggering a percentage of the damage. It’s a much reduced percentage, at 30% of our Stagger amount. If we are hit by a 200k spell with 25% Stagger amount, we would Stagger 15k of that damage.
It’s still a relatively nice increase, but it does play havoc with our other abilities somewhat, for reasons that Blizzard has not yet divulged.
For example, it appears to function by converting Magical Damage into Physical, in order to apply the Stagger component. Because of this, running Glyph of Guard at the same time as Soul Dance will cause magical spells to completely ignore Guard, which can lead to very dangerous situations. I do not recommend taking Glyph of Guard alongside this talent. Diffuse Magic appears to work fine.
Despite this, it definitely has advantages; a large number of fights this tier has adds that melee with Arcane damage, meaning that Soul Dance will allows you to stagger the damage efficiently.
Chi Explosion consumes all of your available Chi (with a maximum of 4), and gains an additional effect with each Chi consumed. It replaces Blackout Kick in your rotation, and follows a similar role.
• At 1 Chi, Explosion deals nature damage (around the same as a single Tiger palm). With every additional Chi consumed, it deals additional damage.
• At 2 Chi, Chi Explosion does all the above, but also applies Shuffle to yourself for 6 seconds. With every additional Chi consumed past this point, it applies 2 seconds of Shuffle.
• At 3 Chi, Chi Explosion does all of the above, but also Purifies. This Purify counts, for all intents and purposes, as use of a Brew. This means it triggers Healing Elixirs, and our T17 4 Piece bonus.
•At 4 Chi, Chi Explosion does all of the above, but also cleaves for additional damage onto surrounding targets.
As you can see, it’s a bit of an odd talent. The issue that comes with it is correctly managing your Chi, as you won’t have enough available for an emergency Guard if the time comes around. It also prevents you from banking Chi, which means reacting to incoming damage is much trickier. However, if you can learn to master it, Chi Explosion does provide higher DPS all around. It’s just not as good for Survival as the other talents in this tier.
To maximize damage, you should focus on using Chi Explosion at 2+ Chi while not actively tanking a target. Move up to 3+ Chi while actively tanking, to ensure you’re triggering the Purifying bonus. During AoE situations, you should attempt to use it at 4 Chi only.
Serenity is a 1.5 minute cooldown, that makes all of your Chi Spenders cost no Chi for 5 seconds.
Actually, that’s not quite true. It actually refunds all Chi expenditure throughout the duration of the buff. This simply means you will need to bank around 2+ Chi before activating it, in order to gain best use of it.
During the Serenity period, you can spam Blackout Kick in order to achieve generous Shuffle uptime; you can also using Purifying Brewfreely, due to the fact that it is off the GCD. Because of this, it’s a strong survival cooldown, and helps provide the additional Chi required to maintain the high demand for Guard.
In general, you can use it on Cooldown. However, there are certain situations where you may wish to save Serenity. It’s up to you to determine whether you’ll need it for this reason.
Keg Smash to provide slightly more range while kiting bosses/adds, or when moving the boss rapidly.
Touch of Death for a Single Target DPS increase.
Guard for heavy magic-damage fights.
Zen Meditation to prevent accidentally cancelling it which I have definitely never ever done ever.
How Stagger Works
I mentioned the Stagger mechanic a little earlier, but I felt like I should run into a little more detail with it currently. As mentioned previously, the Stagger mechanic functions as so: a percentage of your damage taken is converted into a damage over time effect, which applies the damage over a 10 second period. As such, the Stagger mechanic on its own leads to no damage mitigation. It’s when used in conjunction with other abilities that it becomes such a powerful ability.
Purifying Brew is a Chi Spender that costs 1 Chi, is off the GCD, and allows you to clear your currently Staggered damage.
Let’s do some math. As default, you stagger 20% of incoming damage from Stance of the Sturdy Ox. With no Mastery rating, you gain 5% extra. Previously, you gained 10% additional Stagger from maintaining the Shuffle buff; this is no longer the case as of 6.2.
Let’s pretend that a boss melees you for 200k.
Assuming you have Shuffle up, you mitigate 25% of the incoming damage meaning 150k damage is taken up front, and 50k damage is mitigated as Stagger.
If left for the 10 second duration, the 50k dot will tick its course, leading to no damage being mitigated. If purified after say, 3 seconds of the dot ticking, you take 15k damage, meaning you mitigated 70% of the staggered damage (or 17.5% of the overall damage).
If you Purify instantly, you mitigate the full 100% of the staggered damage. However, with the amount of melee hits you would be taking, purifying every hit would lead to you being unable to keep Shuffle up. Because of that, finding a balance between Purifying and Staggered is required for good play.
There are 3 types of Stagger, categorised by a debuff. Light Stagger, Moderate Stagger, and Heavy Stagger. The color is purely for display purposes, to give you a quick indication of how strong the Stagger DoT currently is. The logic for the colors is based on the damage per tick as a % of your max health. Red means >6%, Yellow means >3%, Green means >0%.
As mentioned, your Stagger amount is affected by Mastery. But we’ll cover that in the Stat section.
Elusive Brew is something that I feel we need to talk about in a little bit more detail.
I mentioned in the previous section that the charges generated by Elusive Brew are dependent on the kind weapon you’re using. To be specific, it depends on the weapon speed. A slower weapon, such as a Stave or Polearm, will generate more Elusive Brew stacks per Crit than a 1 Hander.
Now previously, we had a passive ability called Way of the Monk, which attempted to balance Weapon damage by a) increasing the damage dealt by 1H weapons, and b) increasing the melee speed of 2H weapons. Now, in an effort to combat Windwalker DPS at the beginning of the expansion, Blizzard reduced the damage increase to 1H weapons, and increased the attack speed of 2H weapons. What this led to is a severe imbalance in terms of Elusive Brew generation with 2H weapons. Get yourself a Staff/Polearm, and enjoy the huge amount of extra stacks you receive from it.
With the change to Shuffle as of 6.2, it’s best to combine Shuffle with Elusive Brew for the highest avoidance chance.
When using Elusive Brew, you want to insure that you will receive the highest effective uptime as opposed to overall uptime. You could pop Elusive Brew whenever you hit around 6 stacks and end the fight at about 60-70% uptime, but it’s very rare that will be effective uptime at all. Plan your usage of this ability around boss casts and high damage phases. For example, if you’re currently sitting at around 12 stacks on Fel Lord, and you know he’ll be using Soul Cleave in around 6 seconds, it may be prudent to save your stacks until after your Banishment phase. That way you can ensure that your stacks are put to effective use instead of wasting the majority of your stacks. It sounds simple, but it will help immensely.
Elusive Brew is also the only ability that counts as Active Mitigation in HFC; for that reason, if a boss ability requires active mitigation to counter you need to ensure that you either pool stacks in preparation or save a stack of Chi Brew.
We touched on the Transcendence and Transcendence: Transfer abilities earlier, but didn’t really elaborate into the uses of it in a raid environment. To recap, Transcendence places a small hologram of yourself at your current position that persists for 15 minutes. Transcendence: Transfer allows you to swap locations with your Transcendence Spirit, providing that you are within 40 yards of where you dropped your Spirit.
This ability is incredibly useful, and allows for both negating certain mechanics and very precise boss movement. The ability itself takes some preparation to use, and you should plan ahead of time if you intend to utilise it as part of your tanking strat. I will go over some examples of encounter specific examples in the Boss Guide section of this guide, but one relatively universal example I will give is the ability to reset raid encounters when required.
In the majority of encounters, the boss arena will be locked off during combat, to prevent people simply running out to negate certain abilities. If a boss leaves the encounter area, combat ends, and the boss disappears. He then respawns after a short period of time, ready for another pull.
By placing your Transcendence Spirit outside of the boss arena, you can taunt the boss and use Transcendence: Transfer to drag him out of his encounter area to cause him to reset. This saves a huge amount of time during progression raiding when a wipe is inevitable. While it may not sound like much, your raid will appreciate it immensely. Just make sure you only do it when instructed or you might find yourself without a raid spot pretty soon.
One of the main things I’m asked regarding Brewmaster in this tier is whether to run with Serenity or Chi Explosion. In short; Serenity is slightly better for Survival, Chi Explosion is much better for damage.
In 6.0/6.1, Serenity was above and beyond the best talent choice for Survival. It allowed for a huge surplus of Shuffle uptime, with 10 seconds of unlimited Chi on a 1.5 minute timer. It allowed you to spend nearly all Chi on Purifying, leading to nearly 0 Stagger damage taken. Going into 6.2, Serenity was reduced to a 5 second duration, and Shuffle had the additional Stagger amount removed from it. At first glance, Serenity can appear to be a relatively useless talent.
However, even with the reduced CD Serenity can be very potent when used correctly. Our 4 Piece leads to us being relatively Chi starved at most times, what with the increased number of Guards required to truly take advantage of it. With Serenity, we alleviate that worry a little, and it can be a lifesaver during periods of increased damage where you need back to back Guards.
Chi Explosion on the other hand is relatively unchanged since 6.1, and is still vastly superior in terms of DPS. If your guild is hitting any enrage timers, or having issues with damage of any kind, feel free to change into this talent. If your raid is coping fine with DPS checks and you want to have something to fall back on, run with Serenity.
Agility = Bonus Armor > Mastery > Versatility > Critical Strike > Haste > Multistrike
Agility > Bonus Armor > Critical Strike > Multistrike > Versatility > Mastery > Haste
Recommended (with T18 Bonus)
Agility = Bonus Armor > Mastery > Critical Strike > Haste > Versatility > Multistrike
Bonus Armor is the new stat introduced in Warlords of Draenor, and it is absolutely phenomenal. It provides huge AP bonuses which increase our self heals/damage, and mitigates a huge amount of damage too, via straight up no nonsense physical mitigation. It’s only available on Jewellery, Capes and Trinkets, so try to get as much as you can, for both damage and survival.
Mastery adds to the amount that we can passively Stagger damage. We start with 5% mastery as default, and any additional Mastery increases our Stagger amount. It also correlates well with Soul Dance, as it is affected by our Stagger amount. In a similar vein to Bonus Armor, it also increases our AP, which helps our self heals/damage output. It’s by far our best Mitigation stat next to BA, but it’s worth mentioning that it doesn’t mitigate damage alone; you need to have intelligent Purifying Brew usage to truly make use of Mastery.
As mentioned previously, Critical Strike helps us build stacks of Elusive Brew, which leads to higher levels of avoidance in physical boss fights. This is a really useful ability, but is obviously very RNG based; a bad string of missed dodges can lead to you being globalled. Because of that, Mastery still pulls ahead in terms of constant mitigation.
Multistrike doesn’t mitigate damage. It does, however, provide relatively substantial healing through Gift of the Ox. Gift of the Ox summons healing orbs next to your character after successful multistrikes, which can be consumed by running over them. In 6.2 however, the majority of our Gift of the Ox procs will be gained from the Tiger Strikes buff. As Tiger Strikes can no longer proc from Multistrikes, this stat drops in priority significantly.
Versatility is like a poor man’s Bonus Armour. The one thing it does have on it, however, is that it reduces magic damage, and is the only stat (outside of Soul Dance Mastery) to do so. However, it’s not quite as powerful as Mastery, and it scales horribly, for both DPS and damage mitigation.
Haste is currently our weakest stat by far. It scales very poorly, and provides a hugely lackluster amount of additional Chi-Per-Minute. However, this changed with our T18 Bonuses. Once you have your 4 Piece, Haste becomes less awful and can help during periods of Expel Harm spam when working towards our next Guard. Because of this, it is ahead in priority compared to Versatility and Multistrike.
With regards to weapon enchants, there’s a couple of options:
Enchant Weapon – Mark of Blackrock
A Bonus Armor proc that procs when you are below 60% health, this is a really nice defensive enchant for progression content. It’s also very cheap.
Enchant Weapon – Mark of the Thunderlord
A Crit enchant that increases duration with additional Critical strikes. Very nice for DPS.
Enchant Weapon – Mark of Bleeding Hollow
A Mastery enchant. No fuss, no muss.
Really, it’s your choice with regards to this. The only thing I can advise however, is that if you are dual wielding, do not run with dual Bonus Armor enchants. They don’t have separate ICD’s. Go with Crit/BA or Mastery/BA.
When looking at gearing options, you have to ask yourself two questions; what does my raid group need, and what does the boss fight involve? The two builds I’m going to run through have both pros and cons, and it’s up to you to make the choice as to which is better for you on a fight by fight basis.
The Mitigation build involves using a high amount of active and passive mitigation to provide a smooth, easy-to-heal damage intake. The Avoidance/Damage build revolves around evading boss abilities, and reacting to incoming damage with high throughput selfheals.
In deciding what stats you should prioritize and how you should gear, ask yourself these questions:
What does my raid need?
Different raid groups have different strengths to play to. Certain groups will have very strong healers, but weaker dps players, leading to encountering enrage timers often on a fight. Others may have very strong DPS, but weak healers, meaning a more stressful time reacting to raid damage.
To understand how these two builds effect your performance in raid, you would need to understand how tank damage intake functions. For that, I would recommend having a read of Theck’s summary of the Theck-Meloree Index, a tanking metric designed to quantify the smoothness of a tank’s damage intake. You can find the summary here.
Here is a quick rundown of the stat priorities. Once again, they differ depending on whether or not you are running with the Tier 18 4 Piece bonus.
Without Tier 18 4 Piece bonus.
Bonus Armor > Mastery > Versatility > Critical Strike > Multistrike > Haste
Agility > Bonus Armor > Critical Strike > Multistrike > Versatility > Mastery > Haste
With Tier 18 4 Piece bonus.
Bonus Armor > Mastery > Critical Strike > Versatility > Haste > Multistrike
Agility > Bonus Armor > Critical Strike > Multistrike > Versatility > Mastery > Haste
The Mitigation build is intended to provide a smooth, easy to heal damage intake. It does that by passively reducing incoming damage primarily through your Mastery amount. The Avoidance/Damage build relies on a higher rate of Elusive Brew generation, providing increased avoidance across the boss encounter, and enjoying increased throughput heals from MS/CS. It also has a much higher damage output when played correctly.
In terms of relating this to the original question, it’s pretty simple. If your guild is having issues meeting damage checks, but the healers are comfortable keeping you topped, then gearing yourself to maximise your damage would be the best thing for your raid. If your healers are particularly poor, or they have issues dealing with incoming damage on the rest of the raid, the Mitigation build may be stronger for you.
There are always exceptions to this rule, and it depends on your skill as a player more than anything as to the end result. However, this is just a simple guideline as to making a choice.
What does the encounter involve?
This is the other factor I take into account when deciding how to gear for a fight is the encounter itself; the boss itself.
There’s not much to write in this section except that different bosses play to different strengths. There are a lot of boss mechanics in Hellfire Citadel that are able to be dodged, unlike in Tier 17. Because of this, running with a relatively high Crit build is as viable as say, a high Mastery build. However, the flexibility to change your play style to adapt to fights during progression is something that you will have to develop on your own. Personally, I will be running a high Mastery build during Hellfire Citadel due to the AP increase to our already ridiculously strong Guards being a huge buff during progression. Your milage may vary.
Certain encounters will be slightly harder to make a decision on, and for those encounters, you will need to go through step by step and see which part may cause issue to your guild.
T18 Tier Bonuses
I’ve alluded to this particular bonus throughout the guide, and I think now is the time to address it and give an explanation as to why it’s so particularly powerful.
Item – Monk T18 Brewmaster 2P Bonus: Expel Harm now has no cooldown when you are below 50% health in Stance of the Sturdy Ox.
Item – Monk T18 Brewmaster 4P Bonus: Every time you use Expel Harm, the remaining cooldown of your Guard is reduced by 5 sec.
Some things to clarify before I begin to explain the benefits of these two bonuses.
- The 2 Piece bonus is not affected by Glyph of Expel Harm. That is to say Expel Harm will only cost 35 Energy if you are below 35% Health. Above that, it will still cost 40 Energy.
- The 4 Piece bonus is triggered even when at 100% Health.
Without dipping below 50% health at all, this allows for a baseline 10 second reduction on your Guard recharge time. That is huge. It equates to an additional Guard every 90 seconds. When taking the 2 Piece bonus into account, the reality is much higher.
The changes to our Stagger amount going from 6.1 to 6.2 means we spend much less time at 100% health. We will be dipping much more frequently throughout fights, which means that during harder hitting progression bosses, this bonus will be absolutely crucial. Prioritise getting your 4 piece as soon as possible.
In this section I will give a quick overview of the trinkets available to you in Hellfire Citadel, and which ones I personally recommend.
Sacred Draenic Incense: Our Class based trinket, dropping from Archimonde himself. This Trinket grants a charge of Elusive Brew whenever dropping below a certain health threshold, and increases our damage output when Elusive Brew is active. I cannot recommend this trinket, as it is negatively impacted by our 4 piece bonus. With the emphasis placed on Guard usage, it’s not often that we will be dipping enough for this trinket to be effective. If you’re not running your 4 Piece however, it’s still strong from a DPS point of view. You need fairly high EB uptime to make use of this increase though, and it can negatively impact your survival due to needing to pop EB when not actively tanking for the DPS increase.
Tyrant’s Decree: The passive bonus armor granted by this trinket is decent, but the stacking stamina effect is unreliable at best, due to the fact that we will spent very little time at the required health amount without Guard active.
Warlord’s Unseeing Eye: Currently one of the strongest trinkets available. This reduces the damage we take from abilities based on our health pool after taking the damage. It has static Haste, which isn’t awful when running our Tier Bonus, and provides incredibly strong mitigation when it’s needed most. It also is 100% effective against magic damage.
Anzu’s Cursed Plume: Very similar to Blast Furnace Door from BRF, but with a smaller more reliable proc. Static Bonus Armor with a Mastery proc; can’t get much better than this.
Imbued Stone Sigil: The HFC version of Pillar of Earth. Stamina, Versatility, Bonus Armor. Not particularly strong either way.
There are several other trinkets that you may find interesting to play with in HFC, particularly Agility DPS trinkets. I cannot really recommend taking any from an actual DPS, but Soul Capacitor, Mirror of the Blademaster and Fel-Spring Coil are all relatively strong especially for damage output. I personally recommend picking up Malicious Censer if you get the chance; the Agility proc is insane, and the static Multistrike is potent for damage.
Chi Burst, Leg Sweep, Power Strikes, Dampen Harm, Rushing Jade Wind, Chi Explosion
Anzu/BFD, DPS Trinket
Expel Harm to full Chi before the pull, so you can immediately begin with a 4 Chi Chex on Siegemaster, into Keg Smash > RJW (with Power Strikes proc) > Chi Ex > Chi Burst for the initial burst. If you have any on use trinkets, such as Mirror of the Blademaster, be sure to use them here. In Normal/Heroic, you can place your Statue directly in the middle of the room. On Mythic, place it towards whichever side you’re assigned to.
If you know that there’s going to be a large add pack coming up soon, you should either sit on Chi Burst or build up to 4 Chi for an instant 4 Chi Chex as they spawn. Save your Dampen Harm for when you’re at 2+ Stacks of Slam from the Berserkers, and save your Touch of Death for Transformed Felcasters. You should also bank Elusive Brew stacks for high stacks of Slam.
In Mythic, be prepared to survive several stacks of Slam while your raid focuses on the Artillery. If things are looking sketchy and the Door is at low health, feel free to start kiting adds; at that part of the fight, all that matters is that one person survives and the fight will be over.
Tiger’s Lust, Zen Sphere, Chi Brew, Dampen Harm, Xuen, Chi Explosion
Anzu/BFD, Tyrant’s Decree
Save your Chi Brew stacks on the opener. It’s easier for the raid for you to take the boss second, as you can get our quicker than your co-tank more than likely.
My rotation with regards to getting out with Artillery is as follows;
First Artillery, co-tank takes.
Second Artillery, Warlock Portal out, Tiger’s Lust back.
Third Artillery, co-tank takes.
Fourth Artillery, can easily be walked out due to Blitz, double roll back in.
Fifth Artillery, co-tank takes.
Sixth Artillery, any movement speed increases left. Phase pushes after this.
Dampen Harm should be utilised during Artillery casts. It can also be useful for dealing with Reactive Bombs in P2 on Mythic. The reason I recommend Chi Brew and Chi Explosion is that it allows you to easily maintain DPS while running out for Artillery. It also provides you Elusive Brew stacks for when you get back to the boss.
Touch of Death should obviously be used for Bombs during P2. In Mythic, I tend to use TOD on any bombs in P1 I run past while moving out with Artillery, as it means any raid members stay away from me instead of moving to kill bombs.
The main reason I recommend Tyrant’s Decree during this fight is that the Stacking Stamina buff can be a life saver when moving out for Artillery. You’ll normally always benefit from the buff, and it can easily save your life in Mythic.
Tiger’s Lust, Chi Burst, Power Strikes, Diffuse Magic, Xuen, Chi Explosion
Glyph of Zen Meditation
Anzu/BFD, either DPS trinket or Warlord’s Unseeing Eye. 4 Piece is useful, but not required.
This fight is relatively harmless on tank damage, aside from two choice moments. If you’re running with Warlord’s Unseeing Eye, neither of these should be threatening.
Pool Chi before the pull, and pick the boss up first. It doesn’t matter if you continue to tank after he Leaps, but it’s important to position the boss as soon as possible so that you get the correct pool.
In every variant of this fight, I go Green > Orange > Purple. When you use Xuen depends on your raid; in Normal and Heroic, Lust/Heroism is best used after he lands from the first pool. In Mythic, it tends to be used after your second 3 Minute CDs are up. Because of this, save Xuen until he lands in Normal and Heroic, but pop on pull in Mythic to ensure it’s up for Lust.
During Grasping Hands, pool 4 Chi before the hands spawn, and try to time it so that you will have Power Strikes up during. When they spawn, Chi Explosion > Chi Burst > Keg Smash > Jab w/Power Strikes > Chi Explosion should be enough to net the most damage you can from this short burst.
The 3 tank mechanics are relatively easy to handle. Foul Crush is in my opinion the worst to deal with, as your raid will often need to deal with Grasping Hands during. This is where the 4 Piece is useful on this fight, as you can Expel Harm > Guard spam while trapped. If you don’t have 4 Piece or would prefer to use Higher iLvl off piece for damage, simply call for an external in this phase. Explosive Burst is difficult, as you cannot pop a CD during. Try to Guard before it is applied to you, and call for an Ironbark/External if you’re unable to do so. Swat can be dealt with by Guarding the initial hit, then popping Diffuse Magic for the run back. If DM is down, Glyphed Zen Med is fine too.
Hellfire High Council
Zen Sphere, Power Strikes, Diffuse Magic, Xuen, Chi Explosion
Either Anzu/BFD and DPS trinkets, or Double DPS trinkets. Alternatively, 4 Piece and Warlord’s Unseeing Eye.
Your strategy is a little different depending on whether you’re tanking Blademaster/Gurtogg or Dia. Really though, this is a pretty dull fight to tank, and your job is similar for both roles.
Do not pop Xuen on the pull. Wait until the bosses have fully dropped onto the floor before using him, as using him early causes him to teleport to the balcony and never come down. I wish I was joking. He can also be saved for the Gurtogg push if your raid is having DPS issues, but this shouldn’t be needed.
For tanking Gurtogg and Blademaster, stand in the corner and pop Elusive Brew whenever it’s available. If your stacks of the Gurtogg Debuff won’t drop before he finishes Fel Rage, ask your cotank to taunt him, and then taunt him back as soon as your stacks drop. If you’re on Dia, you’ll want to interrupt as frequently as possible, and ensure that you pool Elusive Brew stacks for her Nightmare Visage phase. For any melee attacks that aren’t avoided, simply shuffle left/right for Gift of the Ox healing and you should be fine.
During the Ghost phase, I tend to call for an External and Diffuse Magic if it’s available when I’m tanking Dia. I’ll also use Zen Meditation if she’s stuck in her Void Blast cast cycle, which negates the damage during this phase.
Even if you’re tanking Gurtogg and therefore dealing with mainly physical damage, Diffuse Magic is the default choice on this fight regardless of your job. The main reason being is that it completely removes Mark of the Necromancer from you, and stop it from transferring to any other raid members. This is a huge amount of healing saved, and on Mythic your healers will definitely thank you.
Zen Sphere, Chi Brew, Healing Elixirs, Xuen, Chi Explosion
Anzu/BFD, DPS Trinket or Class Trinket
This strategy will depend largely on where you tank the boss. If you tank the boss where he stands normally, your opener will be as normal, but with Chi Brew thrown in to allow you to definitely have EB for the first Shred Armour. If you’re pulling the boss back towards the entrance of the room, I open like so;
Keg Smash > Double Roll towards entrance of room > Provoke > Chi Explosion > Chi Brew x 2 > Chi Explosion.
This makes ample use of your Chi Brew stacks on the opener and makes sure of two things. One, the boss is moved as quickly as possible. Two, your cotank doesn’t rip threat on the pull.
While tanking Kilrogg, you should place your Transcendence directly in front of him, facing towards the ranged group. This means that you can move out for Heartseeker and Transfer straight back in front of the boss, avoiding any mishaps with Visions of Death spawning in a wall or out of range. Ensure that you have Elusive Brew for every single Shred Armour. The debuff hurts.
When tanking the add, roll and Provoke out at around 15% to ensure that you don’t splash your co-tank with corruption. You can easily Touch of Death the add when he’s out of range of your co-tank. You should be able to interrupt his cast, but if it comes during your roll provoke, call for a ranged to interrupt.
Zen Sphere, Power Strikes, Diffuse Magic, Xuen, Chi Explosion
Either Anzu/BFD + DPS trinket, or 2 On-Use trinkets.
This depends largely on whether you or your co-tank is going down first. During our Mythic runs, my co-tank enters the stomach first, and I go in second, but really it doesn’t matter too much. If you’re going in first, help your raid out by using Touch of Death on a full health Construct in the stomach. Pick up the Enraged Spirit as soon as possible, and make sure you don’t clip your dps/healers with the Fel Puddle. Interrupt his cast and do as much damage to him to burst him out as soon as possible. There is a small trick in here to save time on the add outside in Mythic. The add has a much smaller health pool inside the stomach, but retains the health percentage when leaving. If you bring the add to 50% in the stomach, he will be at 50% when he comes out. Because of this, if you’re fine on Digest time, feel free to pool chi to burst him down when he hits 70% and attempts to leave the stomach. Any ranged DPS that aren’t too busy can pump a few hits into him down there as well.
Place your Statue just outside of the bosses melee range to ensure that the Gorebound Spirit doesn’t melee any raid members when spawning. If you’ve already been in the stomach, you should pick up the add first and then have your co-tank taunt after the first Bellowing Shout. I personally use my Fort Brew and Diffuse Magic here if I am going into the stomach next, as I’ll often hold the add until around 14-15 Stacks. If your DPS is strong enough, it should die before you go in though. This only applies to Mythic, as in Heroic/Normal only one tank is sent down per Phase 1.
During Feasts, pop everything you have and go John Friggin Madden on the boss. This is actually one of the reasons I recommend double on use trinkets; you can ensure that you’re dealing the most damage when you need it, and chain them back to back in this phase. Soak any Spirits your group assigns you do and just smash away at the boss until P1 begins again. You can easily net around 130k DPS in this phase.
Zen Sphere, Power Strikes, Dampen Harm, Xuen, Chi Explosion
Get in the Robot, Shinji.
This section will depend on whether you’re piloting the robot or not. If your co-tank is a Death Knight, I strongly recommend that you pilot the robot. If not, feel free to sit it out.
During P1, you’ll need to ensure that the boss is face towards a relevant stack point for each Reverberating Smash. It’s the number of stacks that are split on each smash, not the damage, so no need to go overboard on soaking these. Of course, you could just three tank it and have a different tank solo soak every single Reverb Smash in a row, because this fight is stupid and nobody bothered to even think about it.
This fight is honestly easier on Mythic than it is on Heroic, but I’ve already ranted about this elsewhere. Here’s a handy cheatsheet as to your priorities with regards to piloting the robot though.
- Do not let Reverberating Smash drop from the Spirit of Socrethar.
- Maintain Fire Lines between your raid and the Blue Ghost portal.
- Use Volatile Orb on CD on the Ghosts.
- Melee Socrethar/Dominator when they spawn.
During Mythic, you’ll have a different number 1 priority; Ensuring that you Fel Prison the Cthulhu looking adds from P1 for the entirety of the phase. Ensure that you call for a Vigilance if available during every Dominator spawn.
If you’re not piloting the robot, your job is really easy. Just ensure that you interrupt Socrethar whenever you can, and Touch of Death the Dominators whenever possible.
Chi Burst, Power Strikes, Diffuse Magic, Xuen, Chi Explosion
DPS trinkets, prioritising Mirror of the Blademaster if you have it
This fight is honestly really dull to tank. There’s nigh on nothing that happens that requires any particular work on our side, but we might as well go into the basics.
First of all, going into this fight you must ensure that you are ready to pass the Eye of Anzu if you are required to. I personally use the Iskar Plugin that comes with Exorsus Raid Tools, but you can also use Iskar Assist or this simple mouseover macro;
/target [@mouseover, exists]
That macro there will throw the Eye to whatever character you mouseover. You’ll need to ensure that you pass the eye during Phantasmal Winds, and also if you are about to be hit by Shadow Riposte in Mythic. The only other thing to make sure of in this phase is that you taunt if your co-tank is targeted for Chakram.
The transitions have a little bit more work to do. To begin, I pool Chi to 4 just before Iskar leaves the platform. I place my Statue and immediately taunt off it when all of the adds have spawn. I then Chi Burst > Chi Explosion > Keg Smash to establish threat, and start cleaving off the primary target. If you took Mirror of the Blademaster, make sure you use it in this phase. In Transitions 2 and 3, you may be assigned to interrupt the Warden. Just make sure you pass to a healer after interrupting, as Fel Bomb will come soon after. You can also keep the Eye to negate the Fire debuff applied by the Raven in Transition 3.
In Mythic, you will want to pass to someone targeted with Chains after you interrupt the Warden during transitions, as opposed to a healer.
Fel Lord Zakuun
Tiger’s Lust, Zen Sphere, Power Strikes, Dampen Harm, Xuen, Chi Explosion or Serenity
Anzu/BFD, Warlord’s Unseeing Eye. 4 Piece is useful.
The main challenge that comes in this fight is simply navigating the Banish realm late into the fight. In Normal/Heroic you can simply Zen Meditate and ignore all the damage in here, but in Mythic doing this will kill the other people sent down with you. Because of this, I tend to use Tiger’s Lust while down here to ensure I can dodge waves effectively.
Aside from that, it’s a relatively dull fight. The majority of the tank damage will come during his Disarmed phase, and for this I recommend pooling as many Elusive Brew stacks as you can before he transitions. Cover any period without Elusive Brew/Guard up with external cooldowns, and feel free to take Serenity if you feel the damage intake is too severe.
Leg Sweep, Chi Burst, Power Strikes, Diffuse Magic, Xuen or Rushing Jade Wind, Chi Explosion
Anzu/BFD, either Warlord’s Unseeing Eye or DPS Trinket (with preference on Mirror of the Blademaster). 4 Piece is strong on Mythic.
I actually really like Xhul’horac, especially the Mythic variant. It’s really two different fights to tank though, so I’ll address them both differently.
In Heroic/Normal, the fight can essentially be solo tanked until P3. However, I recommend that you take either the boss or the add that spawns and have your co-tank take the other. If your co-tank is a DK, have them take the add while you tank the boss. Otherwise, swap it around. Guard for every Fel Strike/Void Strike and ensure you Diffuse Magic if you have no Guard charge available for whatever reason. During P3/4, make sure you taunt for your respective strike. If you are Fel Touched, taunt for Fel Strike. If you’re Void Touched, taunt for Void Strike. Repeat until boss is dead!
In Mythic, you should be tanking Omnus + Void Xhul. The main reason I recommend Chi Explosion during this fight is because you cannot afford to waste a Provoke on Omnus, and he can often spawn far away from you. Chi Explosion lets you pick him up easy. Handling Void Strike is similar to Heroic/Normal, but you need to be aware of the wombo combo that can come during Withering Gaze and Void Strike. For those clutch moments, save a Diffuse Magic or a Zen Meditation.
Zen Sphere, Dampen Harm, Xuen, Chi Explosion
Anzu/BFD, Warlord’s Unseeing Eye. 4 Piece is fantastic on this fight.
This fight is the most disgusting fight to tank for two reasons. One, the damage is ludicrous. Two, the mob movement is the most frustrating thing I’ve ever experienced in this game.
Phase 1 is relatively easy to tank. To deal with Tempest, count to two and step either left or right. Then count to 2 and step back. Easy. You can also sidestep the Enforcer’s Onslaught in order to avoid spawning a fire circle on the ground. Double easy.
Phase 2 is difficult, but the difficulty is very much at the end of the phase. However, our 4 Piece is ridiculous in this phase, as you are locked under 50% health for the majority of it. All you need to do during this is just spam Expel Harm and Guard. You can easily hit around 200k HPS for the duration of this phase, and it’s completely trivialised for the most part.
In Phase 3, you’ll want to ensure that you either have Elusive Brew up during all active time tanking the boss, or call for an external when you don’t have EB available. If it gets too dangerous, you can also have a Warrior DBTS taunt, but this only really applies to Mythic. If the add dies, the boss will more than likely die soon after so good job.
Zen Sphere, Chi Brew, Dampen Harm, Xuen, Chi Explosion
Anzu/BFD, Warlord’s Unseeing Eye
Phase 1 is incredibly easy to tank for a Brewmaster. Providing that your guild runs Infernals > Doom Lords > Imps in the order of Summoner kills, you’ll only get one Doom Lord throughout the first phase. Just pick it up and hold it until it dies, making sure the debuff doesn’t drop and simply Zen Med when it dies. You’ll take nigh on no damage from the debuff dropping, and save a lot of trouble taunt swapping.
Phase 2/3/4 is also very well suited to our toolkit, due to the way we can avoid the knockback from Massive Blast. Place your Transcendence inside the boss model, and simply pop Transfer when you’re knocked back by Massive Blast.
The Glaive Combo can be pretty deadly if not handled correctly. You’ll need to either pool Elusive Brew stacks beforehand or ensure that you have a charge of Chi Brew available before it begins.
A lot of people have messaged me saying that they have difficulties surviving the Second Glaive Thrust in a Glaive Combo, which leads me to believe that a lot of guilds don’t quite know how to handle this mechanic. It should be handled as so:
Glaive Thrust 1 = Current tank takes, using Active Mitigation to avoid receiving the ticking DOT.
Massive Blast = Current tank takes, knocked back across the platform.
Off tank taunts the boss immediately after Massive Blast completes.
Glaive Thrust 2 = Off tank takes after taunting after Massive Blast, using Active Mitigation to avoid receiving the ticking DOT.
With this rotation, you avoid two things. One, you avoid the boss needing to be repositioned, as it will not follow your co-tank at all across the platform. Two, you avoid needing to bank a surplus of Elusive Brew stacks and being caught short.
In P4, you need to ensure that your Transcendence is placed inside the boss model, to prevent yourself getting clipped by Empowered Massive Blast Waves when you Transfer. Aside from that, the fight is relatively easy to tank.
Zen Sphere, Power Strikes, Diffuse Magic, Xuen, Chi Explosion
Anzu/BFD, either Warlord’s Unseeing Eye or Mirror of the Blademaster. 4 Piece is useful too, depending on how efficient your DPS are on killing Doom Lords.
This fight is honestly not too difficult to tank, although it mostly depends on how efficient your DPS are in killing Doom Lords. Make sure that you have a 4 Chi Chex ready for Doomfire/Add spawns, and make sure that you pick up the Shadow Damage Reduction buff that spawns from Desecrate in P1. It makes tanking the Doom Lord much easier.
I personally use Diffuse Magic on CD when tanking these, and cover any periods not covered by DM with Expel Harm > Guard spam. This is where the 4 Piece excels on this fight, and you should take advantage of it as much as possible.
During the final burn phase, I place my Ox Statue just outside of melee range of the boss in order to pick up Infernals. If you three tank this fight, there’s very little to deal with here. If not, make sure you taunt in Infernals one by one so your raid can easily kill them. After that, boss dies.
The two BRF WA sets listed above were created by Nerien. In order to configure the Offtank Debuffs correctly, head to /wa, select the Offtank Debuff family, select Triggers, and change the name listed to the name of your Offtank.
With regards to Macros, I mostly use them to control the usage of my Statue.
AOE Taunt from Statue
/target Black Ox Statue
/click TotemFrameTotem1 RightButton
#showtooltip Summon Black Ox Statue
/target Black Ox Statue
/script SetRaidTargetIcon("target", 1)
/cast Summon Black Ox Statue
Bonus Armor > Crit = Multistrike > Mastery > Versatility = Haste
Focus entirely on DPS stats after Bonus Armour. Crit and Multistrike are huge boosts to your self sustain via pure healing throughput.
The thing to remember about running CMs as a Brewmaster is pretty simple; forget everything I’ve told you so far in this guide with regards to mitigation and playstyle.
Tanking CMs relies on a very simple philosophy; whatever can’t hit you, can’t kill you. And whatever is dead, can’t hit you. Therefore, kill everything as soon as possible. Your job as a tank is to survive that short period of time, and deal as much damage/self healing as possible.
There are a couple of different ways to play Brewmaster in Challenge Modes, and I’ll run through on a dungeon-by-dungeon basis. If you just want a cookie cutter talent build, I’ll post one below;
Level 15: Momentum
Level 30: Chi Burst
Level 45: Chi Brew
Level 60: Leg Sweep
Level 75: Diffuse Magic
Level 90: Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger
A few key things to note; crowd control is key in Challenge Modes. Ensure that you Nimble Brew everything you can to ensure you have higher uptime on mobs/bosses that stun, and remember that you can utilise Paralysis as a pseudo-interrupt. Use Black Ox sparingly, as a weaker version of a DK Mass Grip.
With that over, let’s look at the dungeons themselves.
This instance is very interrupt heavy. There are a large amount of caster packs with very deadly nukes, and several mobs that cast time consuming buffs on enemy target. For this reason I recommend taking Serenity, and using it to spam Glyphed Breath of Fire on the mob packs. Guard sparingly and follow up into stuns after your BOF spam is over. This locks down the deadly casters for a huge amount of time, and makes the tank damage in this dungeon incredibly trivial. For the casts that do get through ensure that you Diffuse Magic or Zen Meditation as they can easily global you.
Aside from this, you can use Nimble Brew in fights like Magmolatus in order to eke out a little more DPS. You can also place your Transcendence in the hallway outside the first two boss rooms to make for a quicker time moving from boss-to-boss.
This instance is made ridiculously easy by your Black Ox Statue. You can use it for almost every pull, and chain into stuns when enough adds have congregated. Transcendence is also very useful in this dungeon, as you can use it on the second, third and fourth bosses in order to reduce downtime.
It can also be worth taking Glyph of Zen Meditation as it allows you to nigh on ignore the Cannon Barrage mechanic on the final boss. If you choose not to do this, then Diffuse Magic is a viable alternative. They both reduce the incoming damage by 90%.
Very caster heavy, so ensure that you’re using Diffuse Magic to negate the magic nukes. You can use Ring of Peace in this dungeon providing you have enough external stuns in order to make grouping adds easier. Not much else to comment on here, aside from the obvious Serenity + BOF spam to lock down caster packs.
SQUAWK SQUAWK SQUAWK SQUAWK SQUAWK SQUAWK SQUA-
Sorry about that. Birds galore here, and Serenity + BOF is stronger than ever. Transcendence is very useful for tanking the Dread Ravens and ensuring you don’t take a one way trip to the floors of Arak. Statue allows you to pull the bird packs before the third boss into a nice, easy to stun pile. You can also Touch of Death Birds on the final boss, and (not confirmed) may be able to Paralysis them.
Serenity once again pulling ahead here. It allows for incredible CC while dealing with the Mage packs, as well as the casters before the first boss. Ensure you use Transcendence during second and fifth bosses to reduce downtime, and use Diffuse Magic to soak the nukes from the mage boss. You can also use your Statue pretty liberally here to help group adds up, especially the Mage packs.
Statue is king. It makes a lot of the more risky pulls very easy to execute. You can pull pretty aggressively here with a strong AOE comp and Serenity. This instance is definitely doable with Chi Explosion, but may be dicey depending on your healing comp. If you have a Druid, go for it.
Shadowmoon Burial Grounds
You can use Transcendence or Touch of Death to negate the wall mechanic on the final boss. Personally I recommend using TOD, as it saves the rest of your raid having to focus on the wall adds. Chi Explosion is viable due to the huge amount of cleave and (in the words of Furty) nothing too spooky. You can also use Touch of Death in the Shadow Realm phase during the second boss to immediately exit into reality.
Upper Blackrock Spire
Statue and Serenity is a really good combo for risky pulls in the first room. Every single boss can be made slightly easier using Transcendence. Use it on the first boss to get back to the platform after deactivating an electric pylon, and on the second boss to get to the stairs quicker after the kill. Place near the entrance of the third boss for a speedy exit, and use it to dodge the Dragon Breath on fourth and fifth bosses. You can’t use Nimble Brew to escape from the Ogre stun before the fourth boss, but you can use it before they stun to gain a 60% reduction on the stun time. The trash packs here hurt, but the bosses are particularly tame in terms of tank damage. Because of this, ensure your cooldowns are up for difficult pulls.