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Brewmaster Monk Tank Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (Legion 7.1)

Last updated on Aug 29, 2016 at 14:08 by Furty 39 comments

Table of Contents

General Information

On this page, we list your Brewmaster Monk core abilities and how they should be used together (rotation) in World of Warcraft Legion 7.1. We also explain when to use your various cooldowns. Then, we go deeper and present all the subtleties that you will need to know if you want to excel at playing a Brewmaster Monk.

The other pages of our Brewmaster Monk guide can be accessed from the table of contents on the right.

About Our Author

This guide has been written by Furty who raids in Serenity, one of the top World of Warcraft guilds. He plays most classes at the highest level. You can follow him on Twitter and watch him play on Twitch.

1. Single Target Rotation

The single target rotation for Brewmaster Monks is based on a priority system. It does not account for your active mitigation abilities (which we discuss in depth in a dedicated section) or your survival cooldowns (also discussed separately).

  1. Use Keg Smash Icon Keg Smash on cooldown.
  2. Use Tiger Palm Icon Tiger Palm if you have 65+ Energy.
  3. Use Blackout Strike Icon Blackout Strike on cooldown.
  4. Use Rushing Jade Wind Icon Rushing Jade Wind on cooldown (if you have taken this talent).
  5. Use Breath of Fire Icon Breath of Fire on cooldown.
    • Make sure the enemies are affected by the debuff Keg Smash Icon Keg Smash applies before doing so.

If you have taken Blackout Combo Icon Blackout Combo as your tier 7 talent, then you should check this section, since the usage of Blackout Strike Icon Blackout Strike is changed.

2. Multiple Target Rotation

The multiple target rotation is also based on a priority system, and likewise does not include active mitigation abilities or survival cooldowns.

  1. Use  Icon Exploding Keg for powerful AoE burst and as a defensive cooldown for spooky packs.
  2. Use Keg Smash Icon Keg Smash on cooldown.
  3. Use Chi Burst Icon Chi Burst (if you have taken this talent).
    • Delay Chi Burst a few seconds if new adds are about to spawn, so that you can hit them as well.
  4. Use Breath of Fire Icon Breath of Fire on cooldown.
    • Make sure the enemies are affected by the debuff Keg Smash Icon Keg Smash applies before doing so.
  5. Use Rushing Jade Wind Icon Rushing Jade Wind on cooldown (if you have taken this talent).
  6. Use Tiger Palm Icon Tiger Palm if you have 65+ Energy.
  7. Use Blackout Strike Icon Blackout Strike on cooldown.

If you have taken Blackout Combo Icon Blackout Combo as your tier 7 talent, then Blackout Strike Icon Blackout Strike should be the top priority, and you should use it on cooldown.

3. Cooldown Usage

As a Brewmaster Monk, you have three defensive abilities with a long cooldown.

  • Fortifying Brew Icon Fortifying Brew should be used whenever you are about to take a large amount of damage. Alternatively, it can be used as an emergency cooldown when your health is low, although it is less effective in this way.
  • Zen Meditation Icon Zen Meditation allows you to greatly mitigate the damage abilities with a cast time (since the cast time allows you to time Zen Meditation perfectly). Alternatively, it can reduce the first melee attack or boss ability that hits you while channeling it.
  •  Icon Exploding Keg deals strong AoE damage and causes enemies to miss their melee attacks for 3 seconds. Especially potent for AoE as you can make full use of the damage and miss chance, while on a slow swinging boss it might only amount to 1-2 attacks total. Very strong in Mythic+ dungeons

Additionally, your talents have the potential to provide you with many different abilities with defensive qualities. We discuss this, as well as the proper timing and usage of your default cooldowns in a subsequent section.

4. Taunting

Provoke Icon Provoke is your single target taunt. When taunting your Black Ox Statue (if you have taken the Summon Black Ox Statue Icon Summon Black Ox Statue talent), all enemies within 8 yards of the statue are forced to attack you. This constitutes a sort of AoE taunt. It is worth noting that taunting a target with Provoke increases its movement speed by 50%, which is useful when quickly changing a boss's positioning.

It is also worth noting that the Ox spawned by Invoke Niuzao, the Black Ox Icon Invoke Niuzao, the Black Ox has the ability to taunt targets. You can control this (including turning off the auto-taunt feature) through the pet control bar that you are provided with. Note that this taunt does not work against raid bosses.

5. Optional Read: Mastering Your Brewmaster Monk

The information presented until now will allow you to tank successfully as a Brewmaster Monk, in the vast majority of situations. However, there are several aspects about your class and spec that require a very deep understanding if you are to take full advantage of your character.

5.1. Energy

Energy is a resource that Monks share with Rogues and Feral Druids. There are several things you need to know about Energy:

  • Energy is generated passively. The regeneration speed is affected by your haste.
  • You have a maximum capacity of 100 Energy.
  • Energy never decays. A natural consequence of this is that your normal state is to have a full Energy bar (such as before starting combat).
  • Being at maximum capacity causes any additional Energy you would generate to be wasted.

5.2. Mastery: Elusive Brawler

Your Mastery: Elusive Brawler Icon Mastery: Elusive Brawler grants you a stacking buff that increases your chance to dodge, which lasts until the next time you dodge. This effect is entirely passive and there is nothing you can do to optimise it.

Your Mastery also passively increases your attack power. The amount of dodge chance increase and the amount of attack power increase depend on how much Mastery you have.

5.3. Stagger and Active Mitigation

Brewmaster Monks rely on a specific ability (Stagger) to smoothen out the damage they take throughout fights. This is a somewhat complex ability, and we will explain in depth in the sections that follow.

5.3.1. Stagger

In addition to dodging and parrying attacks, Brewmaster Monks have an additional means of mitigating the damage that they take, called Stagger Icon Stagger. This is a key element in your survivability as a tank, so it is important to understand it correctly.

Stagger causes Physical and magic attacks attacks made against you to have their damage split in two portions:

  • An instant portion, which, predictably, does its damage to you instantly, in the moment of the attack.
  • An over-time portion, which does its damage to you in the form of a 10-second DoT.

By default, 35% of the damage of a Physical attack is done over time, while only half of that amount applies to magic attacks. That said, the division between the portions of damage depends on other factors, namely whether or not you have the High Tolerance Icon High Tolerance tier 7 talent (which increases the over-time portion by 10%) and whether or not you have Ironskin Brew Icon Ironskin Brew or Fortifying Brew Icon Fortifying Brew active.

As can be easily noticed, Stagger Icon Stagger does not provide any form of damage reduction, mitigation, or avoidance. This is where Purifying Brew Icon Purifying Brew comes into play. Purifying Brew has 3 charges and a 21-second recharge time, and using it instantly removes 50% of the Staggered damage (the damage you are due to take over the next 10 seconds).

A simple example, assuming a Stagger amount of 35%, is as follows:

  1. An attack of 500,000 damage is performed against you.
  2. 325,000 damage is dealt to you instantly.
  3. A DoT is applied to you, which deals 175,000 damage over 10 seconds.
  4. You cast Purifying Brew Icon Purifying Brew after 2 seconds, removing 50% of the DoT's remaining damage.
  5. You have sustained 325,000 in instant damage, and 105,000 in Staggered damage. The remaining 70,000 damage has been removed by Purifying Brew.

The other ability that has a close interaction with Stagger and Purifying Brew is Ironskin Brew Icon Ironskin Brew. This ability also has 3 charges and the same recharge time as Purifying Brew, and in fact the two abilities share charges. Ironskin Brew grants you a 6-second buff that increases the amount of damage you Stagger by 40% for 6 seconds. Successive applications of Ironskin Brew (while the buff is active) will extend its duration. Note that Ironskin Brew effect has no impact on the existing Stagger damage, and only affects the division of damage you take while the buff is active.

Note that the remaining recharge times of your Purifying Brew and Ironskin Brew (and the remaining cooldown of Fortifying Brew Icon Fortifying Brew) are reduced by 1 second each time you use Tiger Palm Icon Tiger Palm and by 4 seconds each time you use Keg Smash Icon Keg Smash.

5.3.2. Purifying Brew Versus Ironskin Brew

The hardest part of playing a Brewmaster Monk is to find the balance between Purifying Brew Icon Purifying Brew and Ironskin Brew Icon Ironskin Brew. Both of these abilities have extremely valuable effects, but at the same time, because they share charges, you cannot use them liberally.

As far as using Ironskin Brew is concerned, you should look at it as a way of reducing damage in the short term. An example of when using Ironskin Brew is a very good idea is when you have just taunted or started tanking a boss. Having the effect active will result in you taking less instant damage, and thus it will give your healers more time to start healing you.

Aside from this, Ironskin Brew has good pre-emptive uses. If you know a powerful boss ability is about to hit you, you can use Ironskin Brew to put a large portion of that damage into Stagger.

You can also use Ironskin Brew reactively, if you have taken damage and are low on health. This will cause you to take much less damage in the next few seconds, giving your healers a chance to heal you back up.

It is extremely important to keep in mind that Ironskin Brew is only valuable if you can then Purify away the Stagger damage. Otherwise, you have not achieved anything since you will still end up taking the same amount of damage, only in different forms. This means that you should always make sure to have at least 1 charge of Purifying Brew (and Ironskin Brew, since they share charges) available after using Ironskin Brew. This will allow you to Purify away the damage you have just Staggered. This is less of a concern if you are using the Black Ox Brew Icon Black Ox Brew talent, since that allows you to refill your charges on demand.

It is worth noting is that if you chose the Special Delivery Icon Special Delivery talent, you want to make sure that you never sit at maximum Brew charges, since it is an indirect damage loss.

5.4. Gift of the Ox

Thanks to Gift of the Ox Icon Gift of the Ox, a passive ability, you have a chance to summon a healing sphere each time you receive damage. These healing spheres persist on the ground around you, and moving over them causes them to be consumed, healing you. If the spheres expire without being consumed, they will do their healing to you automatically, provided that you are in range of them.

If you can predict when you will take higher than usual damage, you can save up some spheres around you and use them all when you need the extra healing.

The spheres can sometimes be hard to spot, and that is where Expel Harm Icon Expel Harm becomes really useful. Expel Harm costs 15 Energy, draws in all your Healing Spheres and damages the nearest enemy for 10% of the amount that the spheres heal you for.

Your healing spheres are precious, and you should try to save up at least 3 of them before you either pick them up or use Expel Harm. With this said, you should only use the spheres when you are dropping low on health or need to get topped off before you are struck by a special attack.

Note that if you are using Tier 18 4-Part Set Bonus, it is important not to miss out on a single Healing Sphere, since each one reduces the remaining cooldown on Ironskin Brew Icon Ironskin Brew and Purifying Brew Icon Purifying Brew by 5 seconds.

5.5. Celestial Fortune

Celestial Fortune Icon Celestial Fortune is a passive ability that uses your Critical Strike chance to give you a chance that any healing you receive (from any source, including from your healers) heals you for an additional 65% of the amount healed. This effect occurs passively, but it is good for you to know that it exists.

5.6. Detailed Cooldown Usage

5.6.1. Fortifying Brew

Fortifying Brew Icon Fortifying Brew increases your current and maximum health by 20%, reduces all damage taken by 20%, and increases your Stagger Icon Stagger amount by 20%, for 15 seconds. It has a 7-minute cooldown (but the remaining cooldown is reduced by 1 and 4 seconds when you use Tiger Palm Icon Tiger Palm and Keg Smash Icon Keg Smash, respectively).

Fortifying Brew is your main defensive cooldown, and it best used pre-emptively, such as before taking a large amount of damage from a boss ability. You can also use it reactively, to prolong your survival, since it increases your health by 20%. One thing to note about it is that, because of the Stagger increase it offers, it is imperative to use Purifying Brew Icon Purifying Brew to take full advantage of it.

5.6.2. Zen Meditation

Zen Meditation Icon Zen Meditation is a very powerful defensive cooldown. It reduces damage taken by 60% for 8 seconds, but the effect is canceled prematurely if you are the victim of a melee attack.

The spell is most useful for reducing the damage of abilities with a cast time, since the cast time makes it very easy to time Zen Meditation perfectly. It can also be used to mitigate a powerful melee attack or other boss mechanic.

5.6.3. Exploding Keg

 Icon Exploding Keg causes enemies to miss their attacks for 3 seconds. It also deals heavy AoE burst.

Try to take advantage of this when you are tanking a large pack of mobs and need a few seconds to stabilize or catch up. It is also fine as an emergency melee cooldown on raid bosses, though it is less efficient to use it in this fashion as it will only causes 1 or 2 attacks to be evaded. This keg has a very long range and can be used to assist another tank if they are tanking a group of adds away from the boss, for example, on Skorpyron.

5.6.4. Tier 1 Talents

If you chose Eye of the Tiger Icon Eye of the Tiger, you should strive to maintain 100% uptime on the buff it provides, which requires you to use Tiger Palm Icon Tiger Palm at least once every 8 seconds.

Chi Burst Icon Chi Burst is best used when there are a lot of mobs stacked up. You should always try to aim the projectile towards your raid, since it heals all allies in its path.

Chi Wave Icon Chi Wave should be used on cooldown. If you are dropping low on health, you should cast this on yourself, rather then on the boss. This is achieved with this macro.

5.6.5. Tier 3 Talents

If you chose Black Ox Brew Icon Black Ox Brew, you should always make sure to use up all your Brew charges before using it. A good way of doing this is to use 2 Ironskin Brew Icon Ironskin Brew followed up by a Purifying Brew Icon Purifying Brew, if you are actively tanking, or just 3 Ironskin Brews otherwise to prepare for incoming damage. Remember that Black Ox Brew also refills all your Energy, and since Ironskin Brew and Purifying Brew are off the global cooldown, this leaves you with room for a Keg Smash Icon Keg Smash or Tiger Palm Icon Tiger Palm at the same time. This talent shines in combination with Special Delivery Icon Special Delivery, due to the increased gain in Brew stacks.

5.6.6. Tier 4 Talents

Ring of Peace Icon Ring of Peace can be useful to interrupt several mobs at once (since the knockback interrupts casts), but you should be careful never to use the ability on raid members standing in the melee group, since this can cause adds to be knocked out of melee range. While it has its uses, Ring of Peace is mostly a PvP ability.

If you chose Leg Sweep Icon Leg Sweep, you should always be the first person using your stun. The instant 5-second stun is really amazing, and should in almost all cases be used before diminishing returns kicks in. Make sure you set up a good stun rotation to get the most out of this talent.

Summon Black Ox Statue Icon Summon Black Ox Statue is a one of a kind ability that you should strive to play with. Having all of the mobs running to the same place makes everything so much easier when trying to pick them up. Remember you can use Provoke Icon Provoke on your Black Ox Statue to taunt all the mobs near the statue. This utilises the amount of mobility needed from you in the encounter, since you can easily pick up all the mobs with a single Provoke. Remember that the statue is killable, so you should try to summon another one once you have picked up the adds.

5.6.7. Tier 5 Talents

Healing Elixir Icon Healing Elixir should most often be allowed to proc on its own when you are low on health, although you can also use it manually if you feel the need to top yourself off in preparation for a large attack.

Diffuse Magic Icon Diffuse Magic is your only reliable means of protection against magic damage. Again, it must be used preemptively.

Dampen Harm Icon Dampen Harm is a survival cooldown that you can use to mitigate the damage from powerful boss attacks. It is most useful if used preemptively.

5.6.8. Tier 6 Talents

Rushing Jade Wind Icon Rushing Jade Wind should be used on cooldown. Since it does not need to be channeled, you can simply continue casting your other abilities as soon as you cast it.

Invoke Niuzao, the Black Ox Icon Invoke Niuzao, the Black Ox can be commanded to attack and taunt specific targets through the pet control bar. We advise you to remove the auto taunt feature. Note that bosses are generally not susceptible to Niuzao's taunt.

5.6.9. Tier 7 Talents

Elusive Dance Icon Elusive Dance is generally useful when you are actively tanking a lot. When using Purifying Brew Icon Purifying Brew, your Dodge and damage done is increased by up to 15% for 6 seconds. In addition to this, you are also Purifying 65% of your total Stagger damage rather than 50%.

The negative part about this is talent is that it does not grant you any additional Brew stacks, like the other 2 talents in this tier do.

Blackout Combo Icon Blackout Combo empowers your next ability, and therefore changes your rotation somewhat. It is also different from both Elusive Dance Icon Elusive Dance and High Tolerance Icon High Tolerance in that it is still strong while you are not taking any damage.

You should make sure to always use your Blackout Strike Icon Blackout Strike in combination with Keg Smash Icon Keg Smash to make sure you maximise the number of Brew charges you gain throughout the encounter. If you chose the Special Delivery Icon Special Delivery talent, more Brew charges also give you an indirect damage increase.

Keg Smash Icon Keg Smash has an 8-second cooldown (reduced by Haste), while Blackout Strike Icon Blackout Strike only has a 3-second cooldown (not reduced by Haste). With enough Haste, your Keg Smash cooldown should be reduced by roughly 2 seconds, which means each second Blackout Strike should be used in combination with Keg Smash.

So what should you use your second Blackout Strike in combination with? If you are actively tanking, you should be using it on either Ironskin Brew Icon Ironskin Brew or Purifying Brew Icon Purifying Brew. If you find yourself not taking any damage, it can be used in combination with either Breath of Fire Icon Breath of Fire, for a shorter cooldown, which is great for AoE purposes, or in combination with Tiger Palm Icon Tiger Palm for higher single target damage.

Lastly, High Tolerance Icon High Tolerance also has some great uses. Elusive Dance and High Tolerance are similar in that you want to pick these talents up when you are taking a lot of damage, to make the best use out of them.

High Tolerance is generally good when you are facing enemies that deal insanely high amounts of damage to you each time they damage you, such as through special attacks or strong auto attacks. This is due to the 10% additional Stagger Icon Stagger that High Tolerance provides. Remember that you also gain up to 15% Haste depending on your current amount of Stagger, which means that you require less Haste in general.

5.7. Roll and Transcendence

5.7.1. Roll

Roll Icon Roll is an ability that allows you to quickly move 15 yards in front of you. It is a useful mobility ability, which you should use extensively for quickly traversing short distances. Here are a few facts about Roll:

  • Roll has no resource cost and no cooldown. It is based on a charge system.
    • It has a maximum of 2 charges, and each charge has a 20-second recharge time.
    • The Celerity Icon Celerity talent increases the number of charges to 3, and reduces recharge time to 15 seconds.
  • Roll is off the global cooldown, but while you are rolling, you are unable to use any other ability.
  • Roll will always send you in the direction that your character is currently moving (including backwards). If your character is stationary, Roll will send you in the direction your character is facing.
  • You cannot roll through objects or obstacles. If you encounter an obstacle, your Roll is ended prematurely.
  • Your movement speed while rolling is greater than while running, so rolling off a cliff will push you further than if you were just running and jumping.

5.7.2. Transcendence

Transcendence Icon Transcendence allows you to place a copy of yourself behind for up to 15 minutes. If you then use Transcendence: Transfer Icon Transcendence: Transfer, you will be instantly moved back to the location of your copy. This can be useful in a wide range of situations, typically those where you know you will have to return to a certain location after moving away from it.

Transcendence can also be used to reset a fight. If you place it outside the room before you engage the boss, you can taunt the boss and use Transcendence: Transfer, and he will follow you outside and reset.

6. ChangeLog

  • 29 Aug. 2016: Updated for Legion's launch.
  • 23 Jul. 2016: Fixed an issue where we were referring to Blackout Strike as Blackout Kick.
  • 19 Jul. 2016: Completely revamped many talent discussions to account for some changes in opinions.
  • 19 Jul. 2016: Added a mention of the interaction between your Tier 18 4-Part Set Bonus and your Healing Spheres, and slightly tweaked the single target rotation.
  • 18 Jul. 2016: Updated for the Legion pre-patch.
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