How to be a better brewmaster than Dave

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How to be a better brewmaster than Dave

Post by Tai » Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:42 am


It's been a while but here's some new fancy brewmaster wisdom. Note this is the fancy stuff if you want the basics there are plenty of guides out there.

This will be poorly ordered and not written in intuitive order so let's dive right in. Also the section on elusive brew was mysteriously deleted, but it's gone next expac so fuck it.

Chi explosion. This is the talent you'll be using unless your a shitter/pansy like Dave. And while using it you will fall into 3 different cycles which I will detail down here.

2 Chi Cycle: This is the cycle you will be in when you are on a single target boss fight and you are not actively tanking the boss. This is because after 2 chi the chi to shuffle time efficiency decreases, and since you're off boss there's nothing to purify, and there's no aoe, this is a time to build up a bank of shuffle.

2 Chi = 6 Sec
3 Chi = 8 Sec
4 Chi = 10 Sec

Now how do you maintain the 2 Chi cycle? Depending on your haste you may have to throw in the occasional 3 chi explosion but here are the golden rules:
-Always have energy for keg smash and dump after
-Don't use your power strike jab if Keg smash will come off Cd in 2 gcds

Now here's where the shenanigans with haste come in. You may have low enough haste where you can

The first style is the 2 chi style. This is used when you are off boss in a non aoe scenario ex: off tanking on iron reaver. During this period you are attempting to build up a base of shuffle as efficiently as possible by trying to only use chi explosion with exactly 2 chi. The best way to accomplish this is to view your rotation as a set of simple parameters, these parameters are as follows in order of precedence.

-Don't delay keg smash
-Don't over cap energy
- Don't over cap chi brew charges
-Don't go over 2 chi before dumping

Now most of these rules are pretty easy to follow, for 1 and 2 you simple only spend energy when either keg smash is off cooldown, or you're at 80 energy or above, otherwise just spamming tiger palm or your 30 talent. Rule 3 is also quite simple, you essentially want to sit on your chi brew charges as you shouldn't need them when off tanking, but use one of you would be sitting on 2 charges. Now rule four is when the finesse comes in. A simple way to think of rule 4 is that you need to generate your chi in pairs. Keg smash does this for your automatically, however when it comes to jab you must be more discerning. The most efficient way to accomplish this is by alternating a burn and build cycle. The way you begin the cycle is by keg smashing dumping and then using 2 jabs/expel harms and dumping thus burning you to ~0 energy. After this you use fillers until keg smash is off cd, then dump and then continue to use fillers until it is off cd once again, using it and dumping then using another 2 builders , repeat. This is rather tight to accomplish and requires a relatively low haste rating, and a good deal of attention to pull off properly. As such if you find yourself energy capping for a significant amount of time doing this you should simply alternate 2 and 3 chi explosions.

3 chi cycle, while not as often used as the 4 chi cycle it's more often used than the 2 chi cycle. This cycle is used when you are tanking the boss and it's a non aoe scenario ex: Tanking the robot on Sorc. The idea of this cycle is to take advantage of the free purify granted by chi explosion, while not using the less shuffle efficient 4 chi explosion. Generating 3 chi while following rules 1 and 2 is the most natural way to generate chi so that portion is trivial, however now the timing of when you dump your chi is relevant. Brewmasters who tanked Malkorok will remember that purifying can be raised to an art form, and that if done quickly enough you can avoid taking the initial stagger tick if it is purified quickly enough. So to take advantage of the free purify from the 3 chi explosion we must suppress our urge to immediately dump our chi the moment we hit 3 chi. To do this we must bear in mind that once we hit 3 chi we can continue to use fillers like tiger palm waiting for the most opportune moment to purify. Now for the most part, you're essentially waiting for the next melee swing you don't dodge to dump, but there are some mechanics like reverberating blow where having a quick purify on tap will offer very tangible results. There are only 2 things that force you to dump your chi, keg smash coming off cd, or approaching energy cap. If neither of these will occur within two gcds, you are free to continue to spam fillers. Side note, if you have a comfortable amount of shuffle time and must break the cycle err on the side of exploding with 4 chi, if you're short on shuffle uptime err on the side of spending 2.

The 4 chi cycle will be your most used cycle because pretty much everything in HFC has something to cleave onto. This cycle takes elements of both of the previous cycles and complicates them slightly. You'll still be going for generating chi in pairs and trying to obey rules 1 and 2. However, now you're given two choices with how to break the cycle should you have too much haste to do the burn and build cycle. You can either mix in 3 chi explosions, or allow yourself to energy cap for a short period to always get 4 chi explosions. The former is the more conservative defensive option, and depending on haste/#of targets may be the higher dps option. Now the 4 chi cycle also borrows the 3 chi cycle's principle of pooling but adds another 2 layers of things to consider when pooling. First is simply when and how many targets there will be in range at a given time, say for example you're on Kormrok, it's wiser to wait for the hands to spawn before blowing your 4 chi load rather than dumping it immediately. The other thing to consider when pooling is the ability to guard on demand. This is the part I think you didn't understand when we talked Dave so read up. In HFC monks are slaves to guard, without a guard on tap were liable to just go splat, as such we need to always ensure we can get a guard up when we need it. So if you'll remember the 2 scenarios in which you must dump your chi, both of them allow you to generate the chi necessary to get a guard up. So if you wait till you you have either keg smash up, or 80 energy to dump your 4 chi you will never be without the means to sustain yourself.

The brewmaster mentality

Brewmaster is relatively unique in that it's rather dependent on the ability to both maintain proactive defensive buffs and still have a very significant reactive gameplay component. If you look at Paladins they revolve around maintaining the active buffs of SotR and seraphim with very little reactive input, whereas death knights have no shield block/ SotR equivalent and have most of their mitigation front loaded into the, now almost entirely reactive, death strike. But let's get back to monks, what are you doing as a monk? What's running through my head during an encounter? For the most part it's mostly just about optimizing chi explosion and chi burst usage for dps, but when it's down to the wire on a fight to survive kind of encounter the entirety of my focus is on my outs. By outs, I essentially mean my potential responses to being in danger of being kersplatted. So I'm basically thinking if I don't dodge this next melee swing and get chunked, what am I going to do. Typically I like to use my outs in this order, Gift of the Ox orbs left, Gift of the Ox orbs right, Expel harm, Guard, Wall. Now depending on circumstances, any of these, aside from guard, may be insufficient on their own, and may need to be combined with another. So if you won't overheal fell free to tack on an expel harm to strafing into your gift of the Ox orbs. Or if you've got the 4 piece, go fucking slap happy on expel harm if you had to guard at 20% health. Now, if you're on a fight that is a fight to survive kind of fight you need to be 2 steps ahead with your outs, and know when you're about to use your last one. Because the moment you have none of these things available is the moment you have lost all control over your survivability. So upon using your last out, let your healers know you're tapped, and either ask for extra attention from them if you're close to a tank swap, or ask for an external if there is no tank swap in the immediate future.

Brewmaster is a relatively complex tanking class with a lot to manage. To borrow Sunnier's phrasing you're essentially spinning a lot of plates at once.

Stats muthafucka

Mastery. Brewmaster mastery may be the most interesting stat in this game. I've written this like 900 times but anyway, stats that decrease damage by a % do not scale linearly. For example moving from 98% to 99% party makes you take 50% less damage, whereas moving from 1% to 2% makes you take about 1.02% damage. So at higher percentages parry is almost 50X more valuable. Now, back when parry was actually a stat you could get, blizzard took this into account and caused parry to give diminishing returns, so while it might take 10 parry rating to get 1% parry at 10% parry, it could take 30 parry rating to get 1% parry at 15% parry. Brewmaster mastery has the first property I described, however it lacks the diminishing returns that were imposed on dodge and parry. This means that mastery scales retardedly. BUT WAIT THERES MORE! That's right Billy Mays, in WoD tank mastery also grants a % increase in attack power. So, to review, the more mastery you have, the better it is, the more attack power you have, the better mastery is. The more gear you get, the more mastery you can get, the more attack power you get, the more valuable mastery becomes. This not so vicious circle continues to spiral out of control until you wake up as the invincible king of banana land. Anyway now that the theory is out of the way let's take a look at mastery as a stat in practice. Aside from bonus armor, mastery is our best defensive stat (barring super weird mechanics), and offensively kinda meh. But Taiwei, it acts as an attack power multiplier isn't there a point where you get enough attack power that it becomes our best offensive stat? In practice? No. In theory, at 2h crit cap and an arbitrary value of multistrike and versatility, possibly. However that would require MoP level banana land stat scaling.

Haste. Haste has always had an interesting place in the brewmaster stat paradigm and now is no different. As a defensive stat haste's relevance is entirely seated in its ability to translate our less discrete resource (energy) into our discrete resource (chi).

Maneuvers in brewmastery.

Dedicated to Dave

So we had an argument about how chi explosion renders you unable to pool chi. That is not the case I'll explain why, and that you would often need to sit on keg smash in case you needed to get a guard off. Let's examine the rules that govern energy/chi management.

-Keg smash on cd corollary being that you must have energy to use it when it comes off cd. The easiest way to accomplish this is to never use a non keg smash generator unless you are at ~80 or above energy.
- Don't cap energy or chi. This one must be balanced with the corollary to the first rule up there.

Let's break it down further into it's imperatives. Or more simply what are the times where you must do things

-You must spend chi at 4 chi before generating more chi
- You must spend energy at ~80 or above energy
- You must spend energy when keg smash is off cool down

Now let's look at the possible conflicts. The only two imperatives that are able to conflict are the spending chi at 4 chi and the spending energy when keg smash is off cd. Now how could these two conflict? If you are at 3 chi and keg smash is coming off cd. In which case you make the judgement call if you want to burn the chi or take the loss of one so as to be able to get the aoe off.

So Taiwei, what do I do when none of those 3 imperatives are true? GLAD YOU ASKED RHETORICAL DAVE. Whatever the fuck you want. So basically tiger Palm chi burst or chi wave. So if you've got 4 chi, you can sit on it until you either get above 80 energy, or until keg smash is a gcd from coming off cd. AND IF YOU DO THAT GUESS WHAT????? YOU WILL ALWAYS HAVE THE MEANS TO GENERATE 2 CHI FOR GUARD BECAUSE EITHER KEG SMASH WILL BE UP BY THE TIME YOU CHI EXPLODE, OR YOULL HAVE 80 ENERGY TO HIT 2 EXPEL HARMS AND HEAL YOURSELF WHILE YOU GENERATE THE CHI YOU NEED TO GUARD. That, is how you pool chi with chi explosion, you either have chi on tap or the energy/keg smash ready to generate it.

The rock

Well the secrets out. I don't know how to play brewmaster in WoD. It's been the statue tanking the entire time. Rock tank is best tank. While I'm sure you know the basic usages of the statue for streaming adds and all that bullshit there's one interesting property that you probably haven't noticed about our Oxen friend. He brings back what appears to be the dead zone for about 2 and a half seconds. For those of you unfamiliar with the deadzone, it was the area for hunters where they were too close a distance where they were unable to use their ranged weapons, and also unable to use their melee weapons. Now why do we care? Because much like the hunters that are on your side, hunter style mobs in dungeons are the most annoying motherfuckers around. (By hunter mob I mean ranged mob that cannot be interrupted) because they will refuse to run to melee and you can't interrupt them to force them into melee, and if you don't have a death knight for grips you're just going to have to single target them down after airing the clump. This is where rocky comes in, if your statue is the first thing to acquire threat then the mobs will act as if they are subject to the dead zone and run to 3 yards in an effort to beat the ever loving shit out of your pet rock. It's important to note that they will only do so for a second or two and once the effect fades they wi back up to ~8 yards and start shooting again. So why is this useful if it only lasts for 2 seconds? Becauseeeee If you execute the Taiwei shuffle (trademarked) you can keep them there. Basically it goes like this

Place rocky in a location where the mob will be able to run to it within the 2 second window

Use your rolls to get in there and leg sweep the moment everything is in an acceptable clump

Get threat on all the mobs/dismiss statues so that when they wake up they don't run back like they normally would

Pretend you're a dk with gorefiends grasp

Cry because you aren't and you don't

Other things you might know about our rock friend that you never considered using. Most of these are only really useful in challenge modes.

Eating the opening salvo. Most mobs have a set of abilities that fall into 3 main categories: Nuke, Debuff, Misc.

Nuke is their basic fuck you here's damage spell. Think bloodmaul lava bursts

Debuff, well yeah it hits you and gives you a Debuff. Think bloodmaul crushers armor crush.

Misc is some weird shit that might either be a self buff an avoidable cleave or some other shit but it gets classified as misc as it either doesn't affect you or if it does affect you, you can get out the way. Think bloodmaul slams/Boulder shields.

Now here's where rocky comes in. You use him to eat one of these nasties for you.

Typical rotations for mobs are as follows.

Caster Nuke X 2 Misc Nuke X 3 repeat

Melee ~3 swings Debuff lots more swings

Hunter style shoot X2 Nuke/Misc/Debuff Shoot X 3

So basically for casters you can get rocky to eat the first nuke or two and then kick the misc or the second nuke. Or give rocky a minute and let him eat the first Debuff off melee mobs. Note, if you want to get him to soak 2 nukes, or if you want him to be able to soak a melee Debuff without having to wait around you need to place him way ahead of you.

Positioning shit. One of the more dangerous things in challenge mode is rounding up all the shit you need to kill, without getting murdered in the process. So, when the going gets tough we do what we always do, send in the rock. There's 2 ways to do this. The first is drop rocky a good bit in front of the first half of mobs you're after, run past them fuck buckets at the other mobs you want and bring them back to rocky all while refraining from keg smashing until everything gets together. Then there's option two, which is the fucking sweet action movie style one. This one is typically used for gauntlets where you need to move quickly and the mobs need to as well. As such I'll explain it by giving an example of it in practice.

Slag mines gauntlet (for some reason I have that place on the brain)
This is the perfect scenario for it movement cd wise but if you don't have all of these movement cds off cooldown don't worry too much.

Place rocky 2 beats in front of toyon the middle of the gauntlet. 2 beats means that you should place it so that by the time you use a roll and a
then run towards your statue for 1 Mississippi you should be just about there. This gives you ~2 pulses worth of threat from rocky which you'll need.

Tigers lust and SCK while making a beeline for the big magma guy.

The moment your SCK ends roll to the big magma guy and drop another statue at your feet. (If it isn't quite off cd just dismiss your first and put it down when it comes off cd.

This let's you take 0 damage as you navigate the entire gauntlet while also gaining threat and not slowing anything, allowing for a quicker clump. Trust me this shit is important.

A case for chi wave. As of patch whatever the fuck zen sphere got buffed to levels where it wasn't the joke it's been for its entire existence. Anyway it surpassed chi wave as the single target talent of choice. And theoretically it's still there scaling wise. But in practice it's not. The gcd intensive nature of Zen sphere means it will be pushed to the side for things like spamming expel harm. Therefore, while it would be more damage should you be able to keep both charges on cd most of the time, the possibility of doing that without sacrificing survivability in the form of expel harms or keeping keg smash on cd or shuffle up makes it more often than not cost prohibitive (If you don't believe me look at top brewmaster logs for Zakkun). As such chi wave may be the go to for pure single target scenarios. Fights where there is constant 2ish target cleave, council/tyrant, those two also make strong cases for usage of chi burst to help out those shitter healers.

The evolution of fort brew. Fortifying brew in Mop tended to be a cd that always had a planned spot in cd rotations where you took ridiculous stacks of something or vengeance whored. Nowadays it's more often a free floating cd. Furthermore the reactive portion of it has been significantly buffed (baseline Stan increase from Ox stance changes, as well as the common practice of not glyphing it) and the nerfs to the proactive portion (value of the % stagger decreased after shuffle stopped providing stagger increases and not glyphing it) fort brew now kind of turns us into a retarded warrior who macros together shield block last stand and demo shout. Because that's essentially the functionally of fort brew nowadays. This means we need to conform to the times. So how do we use new fort brew? First off there are cases where planes usage of fort brew is a no brainer, every gorefiend big add, velhari's fuck you you're not allowed to have health phase, etc. However, fort brew is mostly a discretionary cooldown. So what's good discretion? Whenever you get nervous and you still have to tank for at least another 15 seconds. Much like last expansion power creep has rendered retarded melee swings with occasional spike damage the only way to challenge tanks. And as the tanks with the most volatile active mitigation, were pretty easy to spike to death after an undodged melee swing or two. A good rule of thumb of when you should pop fort brew is if you have 2 successive instances of taking an uncomfortable chunk of damage, this is especially true for hectic phases where healers have other shit to do. What is uncomfortable for you is solely up to you, trust your instincts. Now an important note, you should not be squandering fort brew if you have at least a charge and a half of guard, because those spikes are also spikes in resolve to super charge your guard, and gives you a chance to take advantage of guard's increased self healing.

Gift of the Ox. Or as I like to call it re gift of the Ox, because we used to have gift of the Ox, blizz took it away gave all the other classes some cool new multistrike proc, and then gave us back something we already had but now a shittier version. Basically they stole our toaster threw it in a lake and tried to give us it back for Christmas. We still need to use these little gold bastards though so let's talk how. Firstly, we need to use them as they spawn, cause these buggers disappear, and they don't come with us when we have to move the boss. Because of this fleeting nature you want to use them as your first heal. Also if you are standing still, these guys will spawn in neat little piles, and don't burst if you run over them with full health, therefore you can plan their usage ahead. To detail that explanation a little, when you know a big hit is coming you can park your ass in your golden bubble bath so that when it lands you instantly heal back up. Moreover you can even try and get some use out of them when you know you'll have to be moving. Since these things spawn on your sides you can angle yourself so that half of them will be in your path to your next destination. This works really nicely as movement transitions are usually messy and healers will tend to be busy.

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