Windwalker Monk DPS Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities (WoD 6.0.3)

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Windwalker Monk Art Image
General Information

On this page, we list your Windwalker Monk core abilities and how they should be used together (rotation) in World of Warcraft WoD 6.0.3. 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 Windwalker Monk.

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

About Our Reviewer

This guide has been reviewed and approved by Justmonk, one of the best Windwalker Monks in the world, who raids in Method. You can follow him on Twitter: @Justw8.

6.0.2 Transition Guide

If you want to read all about the Patch 6.0.2 changes and learn how they affect your character, make sure to read our Monk Transition Guide!

1. Single Target Rotation↑top

The Windwalker Monk rotation is based on a priority system, involving several buffs and debuffs. Below, we provide a summarised version. Later on in the guide, you can read many more details.

  • Chi builders (by order of priority). Only use when you have 2 or fewer Chi.
    1. Use Expel Harm Icon Expel Harm when you are not at full health.
      • You must be missing at least twice the amount of health that Jab Icon Jab deals as damage, for Expel Harm to be worth using.
    2. Use Jab Icon Jab, your default Chi builder, and your primary source of dumping Energy.
    3. If you have taken the Chi Brew Icon Chi Brew talent, you should use it often enough to ensure that at least one of its 2 charges is reloading.
  • Chi finishers (by order of priority)
    1. Maintain 100% uptime on Tiger Power Icon Tiger Power, the self-buff applied by Tiger Palm Icon Tiger Palm. Proceed as follows:
      • cast Tiger Palm at the start of the fight, in order to apply the buff;
      • cast Tiger Palm if the buff is about to expire;
    2. Use Rising Sun Kick Icon Rising Sun Kick to maintain 100% uptime on the debuff it applies.
    3. Use Fists of Fury Icon Fists of Fury on cooldown.
    4. Spend the your free Tiger Palms and Blackout Kick Icon Blackout Kicks that you generate thanks to Combo Breaker Icon Combo Breaker.
    5. Use Chi Wave Icon Chi Wave on cooldown.
    6. Use Blackout Kick Icon Blackout Kick.

Additionally, you should use Flying Serpent Kick Icon Flying Serpent Kick if you have no Energy or Chi.

This priority is very basic (despite appearing complex), and it does not take into account your DPS cooldowns, or abilities with very situational uses. To get a better understanding, we recommend that you read our more detailed section, as well as our section on cooldowns.

2. Multiple Target Rotation↑top

Against 2 enemies, you should continue your normal rotation. A special mention is due to the use of Storm, Earth, and Fire Icon Storm, Earth, and Fire, though. This ability can be used against 2 or 3 enemies, but it is only worth using if all 3 following conditions are met.

  • Condition 1: you are facing 2 or 3 enemies, and they have equal priority. Storm, Earth, and Fire will result in an overall DPS increase, but it will lower your DPS on any single target out of the ones you are attacking.
  • Condition 2: your enemies will be alive for at least 10 seconds. The ramp-up time of Storm, Earth and Fire makes this ability a DPS loss if the targets die any sooner than that.
  • Condition 3: your clones will be alive and stay in range of the enemies until these enemies die, and the enemies themselves will be attackable for this duration.

Against 3 or more enemies, you should use Storm, Earth, and Fire Icon Storm, Earth, and Fire on 2 targets that will live the longest. From this point on, you should perform the following rotation:

  1. Keep up the Rising Sun Kick Icon Rising Sun Kick buff.
  2. Keep up the Tiger Power Icon Tiger Power buff by casting Tiger Palm Icon Tiger Palm.
  3. Use Fists of Fury Icon Fists of Fury.
  4. Use Chi Explosion Icon Chi Explosion with 4 Chi.
  5. Use Spinning Crane Kick Icon Spinning Crane Kick (or Rushing Jade Wind Icon Rushing Jade Wind, if you have taken this talent).

3. Cooldowns↑top

As a Windwalker Monk, you have several DPS cooldowns. They are best used as follows:

  • Energizing Brew Icon Energizing Brew should be used on cooldown, as long as you do not risk reaching maximum Energy.
  • Tigereye Brew Icon Tigereye Brew should be used whenever you have 10 or more stacks of the self-buff it passively applies. It can be delayed slightly so that you can do more burst damage when required.
  • Touch of Death Icon Touch of Death should essentially be used whenever available, due to the massive amount of damage that it deals.

Additionally, your talents have the potential to provide you with an additional two active DPS cooldowns. We discuss this, as well as the proper timing and usage of your default cooldowns in a subsequent section.

4. Stance↑top

You will always be in Stance of the Fierce Tiger Icon Stance of the Fierce Tiger, which provides you with various benefits. It is not technically possible to be in any other stance (or to have no stance at all) as a Windwalker Monk.

5. Optional Read: Mastering Your Windwalker Monk↑top

The above information tells you everything you need to know in order to have highly competitive DPS as a Windwalker Monk. However, in order for you to truly master the spec, there are more things that you need to understand in detail.

5.1. Energy and Chi

5.1.1. 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. Additionally, some abilities grant you Energy.
  • Energy is spent mainly on Chi-generating abilities, most notably Jab Icon Jab.
  • 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 capcaity causes any additional Energy you would generate to be wasted.

5.1.2. Chi

Chi is a Monk-only resource. There are several things you need to know about Chi:

  • Chi is generated by several abilities, the most notable of them being Jab Icon Jab.
  • Chi is spent on many crucial abilities, that are part of your rotation.
  • You have a maximum capacity of 5 Chi (6, if you have the Ascension Icon Ascension talent).
  • Chi decays quickly when outside of combat, but it does not decay while in combat. A natural consequence of this is that, when starting a fight, you will have no Chi.
  • Generating Chi while you are at maximum capacity will cause the new Chi to be wasted. The only exception to this is the Chi generated thanks to the Power Strikes Icon Power Strikes talent, which spawns a Chi sphere each time your Chi would be wasted. The sphere grants you 1 Chi when you walk over it.

5.2. Single Target Rotation in Detail

The priority list we provide at the start of this article contains all the actions you need to perform as part of your regular rotation. However, because some of the concepts require a deeper understanding, we go into further explanations in the following sections.

5.2.1. Rising Sun Kick and Tiger Power

While performing your usual rotation, there are two things you have to be constantly aware of.

  • Maintain 100% uptime on the debuff applied by Rising Sun Kick Icon Rising Sun Kick. Fortunately, Rising Sun Kick is also your second-most damaging ability. Therefore, you will want to use this as often as possible, which will also guarantee the desired uptime of the debuff it applies. It is important to note (especially for when you are facing multiple targets), that the debuff applied by Rising Sun Kick is applied to all enemies within 8 yards of the main target.
  • Maintain 100% uptime on Tiger Power Icon Tiger Power, a self-buff applied by Tiger Palm Icon Tiger Palm. Tiger Palm is an inefficient way to use your Chi (Blackout Kick Icon Blackout Kick is better), so you will only use Tiger Palm to refresh Tiger Power before it expires (it has a 20-second duration). Note that you will often get procs of free Tiger Palms from Combo Breaker Icon Combo Breaker (see below).

Regarding Rising Sun Kick, it is important to note that if you are using Chi Explosion Icon Chi Explosion, then it is better to spend Chi on that instead of on Rising Sun Kick. In that case, Rising Sun Kick will only be used as needed to maintain the debuff it applies.

5.2.2. Mastery: Bottled Fury

Your Mastery, Mastery: Bottled Fury Icon Mastery: Bottled Fury, gives you a chance to generate an additional stack of Tigereye Brew Icon Tigereye Brew each time you gain a stack.

5.2.3. Combo Breaker

Combo Breaker Icon Combo Breaker is a passive ability that grants you a chance, each time you use Jab Icon Jab, to proc a free Tiger Palm Icon Tiger Palm or a free Blackout Kick Icon Blackout Kick. There are several things you must know about these procs:

  • The two effects (free Tiger Palm and free Blackout Kick) are separate from one another. This means that it is possible for Jab to only proc one of them, or to proc both of them at the same time.
  • The proc has a 20-second duration, and any new procs gained while an old proc exists are wasted.
  • Expel Harm Icon Expel Harm, which we recommend as an alternative means to sometimes generate Chi with, instead of Jab, does not proc Combo Breaker.

The general rule is to always use these procs as soon as they become available. More specifically, you must use them up before using Jab again. Therefore, it is perfectly fine (and recommended) to delay using them up if other, more important abilities are available.

If you are using Chi Explosion Icon Chi Explosion, then it is important to know a few things. Your Blackout Kick Combo Breaker will be replaced with Combo Breaker (Chi Explosion), which refunds you 2 Chi whenever Chi Explosion is used next. In the case of this Combo Breaker proc, you should not use it as soon as you gain it, since using Chi Explosion with less than 3 Chi is not recommended.

5.2.4. Flying Serpent Kick

Flying Serpent Kick Icon Flying Serpent Kick can be a small DPS increase, if you use it as a filler spell when nothing else is available (this means you do not have enough Energy for Jab Icon Jab, and you have less than 2 Chi).

You will want to cast it, and then very shortly afterwards cancel the effect. This is due to the mechanics of the spell, which will quickly become apparent to you after a use or two (you "land" and deal damage when you cancel the effect).

Keep in mind that, after you land, you may be out of position relative to the boss (most likely in front of it), so you must be prepared to move back into position quickly.

5.2.5. Expel Harm

As we mentioned in the priority at the top of this page, Expel Harm Icon Expel Harm is sometimes used as a Chi builder. There are several aspects regarding how Expel Harm works, and when it is best to use it.

Expel Harm costs 40 Energy, and generates 2 Chi. In this sense, it is identical to Jab Icon Jab. This, however, is where the similarities with Jab end. Unlike Jab:

  • Expel Harm has a 15-second cooldown.
  • Expel Harm's main effect is that of healing you. The healing is based on your attack power and your weapon damage. A secondary effect of Expel Harm is that it deals damage to a nearby target, worth 50% of the amount that you were healed for. Only actual healing (not overhealing) will count towards the damage that Expel Harm does.
  • Expel Harm is not a targeted attack. You can cast it out of combat, or without selecting a specific mob. It will damage a nearby mob within 10 yards of you, so, unlike Jab, you do not need to be in melee range.

What this means in practice is that you should never cast Expel Harm instead of Jab, if your health is not low enough to justify it. More specifically, you must be missing twice as much health as Jab deals damage, for Expel Harm to be worth using. The exact amount will depend on your gear, so you must check these values for yourself.

Finally, while the self-healing provided by Expel Harm can help to heal you up when you have sustained damage, you should not save it for emergencies, but rather you should use it whenever its damage is competitive with Jab's damage.

5.2.6. Afterlife Procs

Afterlife Icon Afterlife is a passive ability that gives you a 75% chance, each time you kill an enemy that grants experience (or would have done so were you not at maximum level) or honor, to summon a Healing Sphere Icon Healing Sphere next to you. The Healing sphere lasts for 30 seconds, and heals anyone who walks over it, healing them for a small amount.

Furthermore, thanks to the same ability, each time you kill an enemy using Blackout Kick Icon Blackout Kick, you have a 50% chance to summon a Chi sphere. The Chi sphere lasts for 2 minutes, and grants you 1 chi when you walk over it.

5.3. Detailed Cooldown Usage

5.3.1. Energizing Brew

Energizing Brew Icon Energizing Brew has a very straightforward usage. It restores 60 Energy over 6 seconds, with a 1-minute cooldown. To maximise the benefit of this cooldown, you should make sure to use it as many times as possible during an encounter. The only thing to be wary of is not to use it when you are at maximum Energy. If you use it while you are over 40 Energy, make sure to use an Energy-consuming ability within the following 6 seconds.

5.3.2. Tigereye Brew

Tigereye Brew Icon Tigereye Brew is a stacking self-buff that you gain a stack of each time you spend 4 Chi. The effect stacks up to a maximum of 20 stacks. When you use Tigereye Brew (an active ability with the same name as the stacking buff), up to 10 of your stacks are consumed, and your damage is increased by 6% for each stack, for 15 seconds.

There are a few aspects to consider when managing your Tigereye Brew.

Firstly, you should make sure not to have it capped at 20 stacks, because doing so is wasting any further stacks you may gain.

Secondly, you should be stacking it with any effects that increase the damage you deal (trinket procs, DPS potion, Heroism Icon Heroism/Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust/Time Warp Icon Time Warp, and so on) or the damage that the target takes (encounter mechanics). When you know that one of these events is about to happen, it is recommended to save up Tigereye Brew stacks in preparation for it.

5.3.3. Touch of Death

Touch of Death Icon Touch of Death is only usable against enemies who have equal or less current health than you, or who are below 10% health. This latter part makes it usable against raid bosses. The ability does a very large amount of damage, and you should do your best to use it whenever possible.

5.3.4. Survival Cooldowns

Fortifying Brew Icon Fortifying Brew increases your health by 20% and reduces all damage taken by 20%, for 15 seconds. It is a useful defensive cooldown to use during times of intense raid damage, or other dangerous moments.

Touch of Karma Icon Touch of Karma redirects all the damage that you take to your target, for 6 seconds, up to a maximum damage equal to 50% of your total health. The spell can be used to deal extra damage against raid bosses when there is raid damage.

Zen Meditation Icon Zen Meditation reduces all damage taken by you by 90% for 8 seconds. The spell is channeled, meaning that you cannot DPS or move while it is active.

5.3.5. Tier 2 Talents

Of your Tier 2 talents, only Chi Wave Icon Chi Wave is a boost to your single-target DPS. Chi Wave has a low position in your DPS priority, being overtaken by all of your special attacks, with the exception of Jab Icon Jab and Blackout Kick Icon Blackout Kick (in the case of the latter, only when you are using it to dump Chi).

Against multiple targets, Chi Burst Icon Chi Burst is a DPS boost, and you should use it in the same way as Chi Wave.

5.3.6. Tier 3 Talents

Power Strikes Icon Power Strikes provides its benefit passively, by causing your Jab Icon Jab, Expel Harm Icon Expel Harm, Spinning Crane Kick Icon Spinning Crane Kick (when it hits at least 3 targets), and Crackling Jade Lightning Icon Crackling Jade Lightning to generate 3 Chi instead of 2, with a 15-second internal cooldown. This is a benefit you should simply enjoy, which will not affect your rotation in any way.

Chi Brew Icon Chi Brew is a DPS cooldown. The ideal time to use it is when you have 0-2 Chi. Depending on the encounter, you can attempt to time this in such a way that will allow you to perform burst DPS, but you should always try to use it as many times as possible during an encounter.

Ascension Icon Ascension, will also provide its benefit passively, by giving you a larger Chi pool, and increasing your Energy regeneration rate.

5.3.7. Tier 6 Talents

The unequivocal best single-target choice, is Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger Icon Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger. This spell should be used as many times as possible during the fight, even against single targets. If there are moments in the fight where multiple targets are available, you should save the spell for such moments.

Against 3 or more targets on which burst damage is needed, you should use Rushing Jade Wind Icon Rushing Jade Wind.

5.3.8. Tier 7 Talents

Chi Explosion Icon Chi Explosion causes several alterations to how your abilities should be used. We have covered most of these throughout the guide, but there is one more important one. If you are using Chi Explosion, this ability will replace Blackout Kick Icon Blackout Kick in your single target rotation, and it will become the last in order of priority, to be used only with 3 or more Chi.

5.4. 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.

Finally, Chi Torpedo Icon Chi Torpedo, a tier 6 talent, replaces Roll with Chi Torpedo. Chi Torpedo is identical to Roll in every way, except that it rolls 5 yards further, and it damages enemies and heals allies in your rolling path.