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[Feral] Paloro's How to Guide

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How to shred your way to the top of the charts:
 
This guide is meant to teach you the finer points of how to play a feral druid in 6.0.  We will be looking into all aspects of the spec.  Things like rotations, fight awareness, talent choices and cooldown usage will all be discussed.  Feel free to follow along and perhaps you too will find yourself at the top of damage charts. /shrug
 
ROTATION
The Basics:
*These do not detail specific encounter situations or cooldown usage (please refer to advanced section for those)
 
As a combo point based class, the goal is to efficiently cycle through a rotation of combo points.  This puts our skills into 2 different categories. 
 
1)      Combo Point Builders
a.      spell_shadow_vampiricaura.jpgShred
b.      ability_druid_disembowel.jpgRake
2)      Combo Point Finishers
a.      ability_ghoulfrenzy.jpgRip
b.      ability_druid_skinteeth.jpgSavage Roar (SR)
c.      ability_druid_ferociousbite.jpgFerocious Bite (FB)
 
Before an ability is used, a few questions need to be asked.  I’ll be presenting these questions in the form of flowcharts.  The first of these questions would be:

Flow_base_zps85e043a3.png

If we were to evaluate a combo point builder (no answer) our question would be:

Flow_base_cpb_zpsbdaf97ac.png

For a combo point finisher (yes answer) another question would be:

Flow_base_cpf_zps91776ff7.pngFlow_BFR_zpsca6cff1f.png

 

As you practice using these questions, you will find the rotation to be repeating through a cycle.  The cycle that you should be noticing is:
 
ability_druid_skinteeth.jpgSavage Roar – ability_ghoulfrenzy.jpgRip – ability_druid_skinteeth.jpgSavage Roar –  ability_ghoulfrenzy.jpgRip – ability_druid_skinteeth.jpgSavage Roar –  ability_ghoulfrenzy.jpgRip

 

This is the simplest form of the feral rotation.  Alternate your finishers between ability_druid_skinteeth.jpgSavage Roar and  ability_ghoulfrenzy.jpgRip while maintaining the ability_druid_disembowel.jpgRake bleed.  There will be very few times that you will have excess combo points to use for ability_druid_ferociousbite.jpgFerocious Bite.  This is completely normal.  It is also normal to find yourself waiting for energy to regenerate (see energy pooling section).  While frustrating at times, you should never feel rushed while performing your characters abilities.  Try not to spam your buttons.  If Rake, Rip and SR all have plenty of time on them, why are you furiously hitting Shred?  Be patient! Instead of hitting Shred as soon as 40 energy is available, wait until 50 or even 60.  You will find the pace to be more enjoyable and have less chance at carpel tunnel syndrome.
 
Before reading on about cooldown (CD) usage, talent modifiers, bleed strengths and openers, PLEASE make sure you are comfortable performing the basic rotation on a target dummy.  The more you practice this and it becomes engrained in your memory, the easier it will be to perform during a raid encounter (on the move while distracted).  If you can’t keep 95% or more uptime on your bleeds while standing still, how do you plan to do it while in a raid?  It also helps you become familiar with the time it takes to generate a set of 5 combo points.
 
Single Target Topping Damage:
 
There are a few extra rules to follow when you want to be on the top of single target damage.  We can now start looking a bit further into limiting factors.  First, I will mention the best single target damage talents.  For T4 and T7 you should have selected spell_druid_incarnation.jpgIncarnation and spell_druid_bloodythrash.jpgBloodtalons, respectively. 
 
Above and beyond the basic rotation, the first thing you should begin to add is using your cooldowns.  Fortunately, Feral does not have a plethora to choose from; therefore it does not add much complication to our rotation. 
 
ability_mount_jungletiger.jpgTiger's Fury (TF) can be used every 30 seconds and should be used every time it is available.  TF is a snapshotting ability, meaning that its effects (15% increased damage) will continue on your bleeds.  Thus, you should apply both ability_ghoulfrenzy.jpgRip and ability_druid_disembowel.jpgRake while under the effect of TF.  In addition to the extra damage, TF also grants you 60 energy on use (and can be used during ability_druid_berserk.jpgBerserk), so you should only wait to use this when you are below 40 energy.
 
ability_druid_berserk.jpgBerserk reduces the cost of all spells by 50%.  This is where you will find yourself using most of your FB’s.  Like TF, you should be using this ability every time it is available.
 
The spell_druid_bloodythrash.jpgBloodtalons (BT) talent functions exactly how DoC did previously in MoP.  Both BT and TF still use snapshotting and you should take advantage of this.  Optimally, when you have a ability_hunter_pet_cat.jpgPredatory Swiftness (PS) proc and have obtained 4 cp’s, you should cast spell_nature_healingtouch.jpgHealing Touch (HT) and TF.  Then you will proceed to apply Rake followed by a Rip.  This will again grant you another PS proc and thus 2 more BT charges when you cast HT.  To increase the overall uptime of BT/TF buffed Rake, you will re-apply Rake before TF expires.
 
spell_druid_incarnation.jpgIncarnation increases damage and allows abilities used in stealth (the Rake perk @lvl100).  This CD should be synced with ability_druid_berserk.jpgBerserk for optimal damage.
 
Another factor we must consider is time.  That is the time till death (TTD) of the target.  TTD will tell us exactly how much energy we will have for the given fight length.
 
If you take the TTD and divide it by the various lengths of your cooldowns (CDs), the whole number plus one is how many times you should be able to use it throughout the fight.  For instance, if Iron Juggernaut took your guild 6:10 (min:sec) to kill last week, you should have been able to use ability_mount_jungletiger.jpgTiger's Fury 13 times (370/30=12.33+1) and ability_druid_berserk.jpgBerserk 3 times (370/180=2.05+1).  This should be a point of analysis for you when reviewing logs.
 
FB weaving will now be vital to maximizing your damage.  An optimal damage distribution will have you at roughly 20% of all abilities (Rip/Rake/Melee/Shred/Ferocious Bite).  Action priorities from simcraft give us a set of rules to follow as to when to cast FB.
 
FB if:
You are in Blood in the Water range (Boss Health < 25%) and Rip is about to expire
You are in Blood in the Water range and have 5 combo points
You are about to cap in energy while Berserk is active and TF is about to come off cd
 
This list of rules indicates that maximizing bleed uptimes is still paramount to achieving optimal damage.  In the simcraft profile, the Rake and Rip uptimes averaged to be 99.6% and 94.8% respectively.
 
Flow_AFR_zps1c02942f.png
 
Multi Target:
 
Sustained 3+ targets
Maintain SR
Maintain Thrash
Maintain Rake
Rip on high priority targets (as many as possible)
 
Short (<30 sec TTD) 2-4 target
Maintain SR
Maintain Thrash
Maintain Rake
FB
 
Short 11+ target
Maintain SR
Maintain Thrash
Swipe
 
The Opener:
1: (Pre-Pull) Cast Healing touch to gain 2 stacks of Bloodtalons
2: (Pre-Pull) Stealth
3: (Pre-Pull) Use your Draenic Agility Potion
4: (On-Pull) Rake
5: Incarnation (Any on-use trinkets would also be used here)
6: Berserk on the GCD after Incarnation, as you cast Shred
7: Shred to 5 Combo Points
8: Tiger's Fury + Rip
9: Shred until you have 4+ Combo points
10: Healing Touch
11: If at 4 combo points, Rake then Ferocious Bite. If at 5 combo points, Ferocious Bite then Rake
12: Repeat steps 9-11, using a Shred instead of Rake if Rake does not need re-application
13: When Incarnation is about to fall off, use Shred or Rake to refresh Savage Roar
 
Fight Awareness:
 
Shred was cleansed of the behind the target requirement, but attacking from the front will still increase the chance that your attack will be parried.  Make sure you are attacking the boss from behind at all times.
 
Does the encounter have a phase that you cannot be in range for a period of time?  Make sure to refresh bleeds prior to these phases in order to maximize damage output.
 
Energy Pooling:
 
Energy is directly related to combo points.  Energy pooling refers to waiting until you have sufficient energy to perform your next series of abilities.  If you look at the picture below, you will see that in order to get to 5 combo points, your best case scenario (having 2 crits and refreshing a Rake) will take you 11.5 seconds.  The worst case scenario (5 Shreds with no crits) takes 20 seconds.
EnergyPoolingExample_zps871ab3cf.png
What you should take away from this is that on average, you will have to wait 15 seconds until you get to your next finisher (outside of cds) and that your damage will not change so long as you aren't waiting while at 100 energy.
 
 
Stat Priorities:
 
I will keep an updated BiS stat priority single target chart here (for individual results, please use simulationcraft to create personalized stat weights for yourself).
 
T17MBiS_zpsa99e66df.png
 
For single target, you can see that the priority is Agi>>Crit>Vers=Multi=Mastery>>Haste
 
When you move to multi-target, you will find that Mastery jumps ahead of Crit. Because there are hardly any fights that are pure single target, we try to optimize around the fact that we will be spreading bleeds.  Because of this, the accepted stat priority is:
 
Agi>Crit>Mastery>Multi>Vers>Haste
 
In order to quickly compare gear, you can input your custom stat weights into this spreadsheet Quick Gear Compare and see for yourself which piece is better.  It takes into account all secondary stats as well as socket bonuses.  
 
UI:
WoWScrnShot_121014_202424_zpsc237f662.jpAbove is a screenshot of my guild wiping during the Mythic Twin Ogron encounter.
 
I would like to go over some of the key addons used and how they help me perform better in raids.
 
The base addon used is known as ElvUI.
Elements used from Elv include:
Unit Frames
Name Plates – helps for tracking bleeds on multiple targets
General Overlay – provides a uniform look to the entire UI
 
For my action bars, I prefer to use Bartender
Bartender_zps71bd3cf9.png

 

There is much more customizability using this addon then the base bars from ElvUI.  I keep my cooldowns larger and closer to the view of my bleed tracker while the rotational keys are kept lower and smaller (no real cooldowns needed to track).
Off to the right you can also see some icons that are faded.  When I mouseover them, they no longer have opacity.  These skills I rarely use in combat thus don’t need to be shown.
The dial like cooldown tracker you see over each icon is from the addon, OmniCC.
 
Weakauras2:
WA2_zps1d800bf8.png

 

Even if you don’t like this bleed tracker.  You should go download WA2.  It is essential for progression raiding!  You can find and install the strings yourself from this post at TFD. Going from the bottom up, you can see an energy bar followed by a combo point tracker.  I have the cp’s to change to green when @ 5 cp’s. 
Next up we have the essentials tracker.  It follows Savage Roar, Rip, Rake, Thrash and Moonfire (when spec’d into LI).  These icons are opaque when not applied as shown above.  There is also an overlay for each icon that lights up green when it reaches pandemic.
Up one further, there contains a progress bar that tracks Predatory’s Swiftness.
Lastly, you can see the bleed tracker which tracks the strength percentage of your bleeds.  Here you can see that if I were to re-apply Rake, it would be 15% stronger.
 
Vuh-Do
CenterHUD_zps10e2c01f.png

 

In WoD, Feral DPS now has the ability to off-heal during our rotation and provide a substantial amount of relief for the healers as well as increasing our own survivability. I choose Vuh-Do as my raid frames so that I can quickly apply Rejuvenation or Healing Touch to any of my raid members.  It also allows me to break up the groups as you see in this screenshot.  Here, I have groups 1-2 on the left and groups 3-4 on the right.  This helps keep the center of the UI clear so you can see all the fire you aren’t supposed to stand in.
 
In addition to the addons I just explained, I also use the following:
Skada Damage Meter
Deadly Boss Mods
Fontain – Overwrites all addons to use the same style text.  This might not seem like a big deal, but when you are trying to read information fast, it helps that it all looks the same.
Mik’s Scrolling Battle Text – Again, this might not seem important, but if you can minimize the clutter in the middle of your screen, you will stay out of fire better.

 

 

 

 

Author Qualifications:

Paloro

Icy-Veins Feral Moderator since 2013

Feral Druid since BC (2008)

Currently in the guild <Static> of Arthas who was ranked top 30 US for 25m guilds in both MoP and Cata

Has had several #1 World Parses such as:

ge8h.jpg

 

 

Additional help from:

Bradykin

Played Feral since Firelands (Cata)

Currently a member of <Semi-Respectable> Mal'Ganis

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Changelog:

 

12/8/14:

Added more description to stat weights
Gear Compare spreadsheet added (thanks Krazyito for using google)
Energy Pooling section
Detailed Opener
Multi-target priority

12/11/14

UI and related elements 

Next on the list:

OoC proc explanation and usage

Author forward

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I think k my biggest problem is exactly what you said. Spamming shred ASAP.

I like feral just because I main a druid, but I much enjoy hitting SOME THING.

Question: during incarnation when you're cycling through points, after you use BT to buff rake/rip, do you just continue to use subsequent BTs on rake? If outside of incarnation shred?

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holy shit now I understand Feral :)

See, it isn't that hard...right?

I think k my biggest problem is exactly what you said. Spamming shred ASAP.

I like feral just because I main a druid, but I much enjoy hitting SOME THING.

Question: during incarnation when you're cycling through points, after you use BT to buff rake/rip, do you just continue to use subsequent BTs on rake? If outside of incarnation shred?

But if you are autoattacking and bleeds are up, what extra damage are you gaining?

For your question. Incarnation will be like RoR now, just spam Rake.

Outside of Inc, only re-use Rake if you are at the end of TF. Otherwise, use Shred.

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But if you are autoattacking and bleeds are up, what extra damage are you gaining?

For your question. Incarnation will be like RoR now, just spam Rake.

Outside of Inc, only re-use Rake if you are at the end of TF. Otherwise, use Shred.

Nah, its just a play style I enjoy more. I know you don't gain anything and when trying to play feral it's just a habit I need to break when playing this spec.

KK.

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Why do you pick incarnation over soul of the forest?

Inc > SotF is because of the improved Rake perk you get while leveling.  It causes Rake to do 100% increased damage when coming from stealth (exactly what Ravage used to do).  The reason Inc wasn't very viable during MoP was due to the energy cost associated with it.  Rake however, is much cheaper and allows high bleed uptimes.

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I've been getting pretty in depth with simulations for the upcoming 6.0 release.  I was mainly interested in how this affects our BiS list, but there are a few key points that I will lay out.

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@Paloro - Thanks for this. Wonderful guide. A few Questions;

 

What should we be watching for with Weak Auras in WoD? I (think) I'm using a modified version of your bleed strengths currently in MoP. But for WoD it seems there will be some changes.

 

Also, how are you (with Weak Auras) tracking bleed strength on multiple targets (since combo points) move now. Any different than tabbing between different ones using your current MoP WA?

 

Can you share a string of of WoD WA? Or what addons you are using to track stuff?

 

I'd also love to see your UI setup (in general or any tweaks you've made for WoD)

Edited by Sikeli

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@Paloro - Thanks for this. Wonderful guide. A few Questions;

 

What should we be watching for with Weak Auras in WoD? I (think) I'm using a modified version of your bleed strengths currently in MoP. But for WoD it seems there will be some changes.

 

Also, how are you (with Weak Auras) tracking bleed strength on multiple targets (since combo points) move now. Any different than tabbing between different ones using your current MoP WA?

 

Can you share a string of of WoD WA? Or what addons you are using to track stuff?

 

I'd also love to see your UI setup (in general or any tweaks you've made for WoD)

The only kind of snapshotting that we will have in WoD will come from TF, BT, SR and Rake(leveling perk).  The newest string available for this is located here: http://pastebin.com/eSufH3xE

You will have to re-size/color them as you feel fit.

 

I'm not 100% sure with the interaction of WA and multiple targets, but during SoO, when I switched targets, the targets bleed strength was saved meaning that the aura will dynamically update as you switch targets.

 

I've been extremely busy with work lately so I'm not 100% prepared myself for WoD or 6.0 even.  I do plan on posting UI things in the coming weeks however cool.png

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@Paloro - Thanks! That pastebin link is 6.0 compatable as well? I do look forward to your UI upcoming, I've been very curious about it for sometime.

Edited by Sikeli

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When 6.0 hits next week (Oct. 14th), what do you need to know/do?

 

1) DON'T PANIC  Many things have changed, but the core of the feral rotation is still the same.

 

2) Our BiS list has been altered.  I'm not going to post the new list, because you shouldn't be bothered with acquiring a bunch of new gear in the 4ish weeks before WoD is released.

 

     2a] If you have been collecting extra pieces of gear with anticipation for 6.0, feel free to use equal item level gear that has crit on it.  Preferably crit/haste, but crit/mastery works also.

 

     2b] Upgrading gear now comes from lesser coins.  There is still time to farm these up for some easy item level enhancements.

 

3) Stop using Thrash on single target

 

4) Tab Rake for AoE up to 11 targets (not Thrash/Swipe)

 

5) We no longer have a damage increasing level 90 talent.  Because of this, our overall damage in raid will go down quite a bit. Take these next few raids to re-adjust yourself to FB-weaving (like back in WotLK) and enjoy being able to sustain Rip on 2 targets.

 

*As always, feel free to ask any questions or if you feel like something else should be mentioned, please let me know.

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Very useful. Getting serialization errors on trying to import that pastebin in WA. Could you repost and just confirm which version of WA you are using.

 

Thanks

 

That's probably my fault for not specifying.  The WA string is for WA2 and it was developed for use in Beta and (crossing fingers) when 6.0 is released on live.

 

http://pastebin.com/eSufH3xE

 

The errors are probably occurring if you are trying to use them in live.

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That's probably my fault for not specifying.  The WA string is for WA2 and it was developed for use in Beta and (crossing fingers) when 6.0 is released on live.

 

http://pastebin.com/eSufH3xE

 

The errors are probably occurring if you are trying to use them in live.

 

Yea the aura is probably using WoD only combat log filtering and arguments.

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Thanks Got that one imported using the lastest WA2 Alpha on PTR.  However its not displayiing at present (target dummies only so far)

 

UPDATE: working now thanks moved to latest Alpha and removed some other rogue auras that seems to have got it displaying plausible numbers. Its going to be a strange few weeks still nothing could be worse for kittys than that first morning of the cata pre-patch.

Edited by notanotherkitten

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Hello Paloro, I'm sure Incarnation > SotF for WoD, but I don't think thats the case right now in 6.0.2 live level 90 servers, I believe that SotF is best in that talent tier without the rake perk. 

 

same goes for the rake spreading, it is better to rake spread rather than swipe/thrash on WoD, but not right now in current live level 90 right? I remember trying doing that on Galakras in SoO, and my dmg was almost the same as the healers, lol. our dmg suck anyway big time right now. but yea rake spreading on galakras i felt like there wont be time for rake to even tick.

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Hello Paloro, I'm sure Incarnation > SotF for WoD, but I don't think thats the case right now in 6.0.2 live level 90 servers, I believe that SotF is best in that talent tier without the rake perk. 

 

same goes for the rake spreading, it is better to rake spread rather than swipe/thrash on WoD, but not right now in current live level 90 right? I remember trying doing that on Galakras in SoO, and my dmg was almost the same as the healers, lol. our dmg suck anyway big time right now. but yea rake spreading on galakras i felt like there wont be time for rake to even tick.

This guide was written with level 100 in mind.  

 

For level 90, SotF is the best talent to choose.

 

Rake spreading is actually the correct thing if the targets will live long enough for Rake to expire on them.  For Galakras, this is not the case as the adds have very short life spans.  There, you should Thrash/Swipe.

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Alright so my question is: If it is worth to use the world drops BoE's (ilvl 665) that have stats like versatility, haste, mastery instead of the CM gear or even heroic gear with bis stats (crit/Multistrike), i'd be losing alot of important stats like crit, multistrike, but i'd be gaining alot of agility. It feels like if i switch to gear without crit and multistrike i'm losing damage. I'm not used to this stat priority.

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You will have to analyze each piece individually for your current gear set-up with your personalized stat weights for the most optimal answer.
 
I set up a basic spreadsheet in this thread about secondary stat weights.

 

If you want a more simplistic answer:

a)Mastery+anything

b)Any secondary but Haste [keep a mastery piece for aoe though]

c)Haste+anything

 

You will try to fit into situation (a). Situation (b ) is more likely, but try to avoid situation ©.

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      Overwhelming Essence Blood is Power Stand Alone / Aberrant Animator Draw Life / Life from Death / Final Service  
      Now, into the parts that honestly don't matter nearly as much. Most of the build is in your hands, now this is just the nitpicky optimizations that I will honestly spend far too much/little time on. For the next sections I will be discussing gear, gems, Kanai's Cube, and paragon points. 
      For Gear I recommend going for a Legacy of Dreams build. This is rather standard, gives you an insane damage boost, and overall is versatile and workable. Make sure that you haveMaltorius' Petrified Spike. Another recommendation is your helm. Leoric's Crown is ideal for general battling, but Broken Crown is my preference for base gem farming, for hopefully obvious reasons. Honestly, just use common sense. LoD builds are incredibly player dependent, and you can build them just about however you want. Just prioritize whatever will feed into the general gameplan of spamming SimulacrumReservoir and Bone SpearTeeth. 
      For Kanai's Cube, you want to slot in Reilena's Shadowhook as your weapon, Krysbin's Sentence for jewlery, and the worse of either Reaper's Wraps or Nemesis Bracers. Shadowhook scales your damage based on your maximum essence, and with Overwhelming Essence and SimulacrumReservoir you're pretty well maxed out on your essence. 
      For Paragon Points you want to basically use common sense. This build is an ability spam build with limited sustain. Play to that. For example, you want to invest heavily into Essence, Cost Reduction, and Cooldown reduction. As far as defense, I recommend investing in armor so that Blood is Power is easier to proc. 
      For  Gems you should put Bane of the Trapped, Enforcer, and Legacy of Dreams in your ring slots. Zei's Stone of Vengeance is a solid alternative. For your Helm, slot in  Flawless Royal Topaz to provide resource cost reduction or Flawless Royal Diamond for CDR. Personally, since this is a teeth build you should go Topaz. For your weapon, you should go Flawless Royal Topaz if going the ranged build, and Flawless Royal Emerald for the close range build. And for your other slots, you should go (you guessed it) Flawless Royal Topaz. In my honest opinion, Topaz is the best base gem for necromancer. It provides Intelligence, thorns, and resource reduction. Sure, the thorns are only especially ridiculous with Aberrant Animator but once again, topaz is a godsend for Necromancer. 
       
       
      Changelog: 10/2/19 Fixed some grammar errors, clarified poor usage, and added more details to the build    

    • By positiv2
      This thread is for comments about our Nomi Druid deck.
    • By positiv2
      This thread is for comments about our Dalaran Heist Druid guide.
    • By positiv2
      This thread is for comments about our Heal Druid deck.
    • By Shreem
      restoration druid nerfs 8.1

      I saw on Wowhead that Restro druids are receiving a nerf to  Tranquility : Heals all allies within 40 yards for [(41%37% of Spell power) * 5] over 8 sec. Each heal heals the target for another 16 over 8 sec, stacking.
      Healing increased by 100% when not in a raid.

      I feel like its not necssary and are going to effect my healing in a bad way duh. (Nerfs normally do.) But as it is right now im far behind Mistweaver munks and every priest spec. 
      My Tranquility is my second higest if not the higest healing abillity i have (Thats what Details Tells me.) 

      And im unsure how the Autumn leaves changes is gonna effect me, wheter or not its for the better or worse.

      What do you guys think?

      This is my first post please no roast 👶
      friendly 
      https://www.wowhead.com/news=287890/patch-8-1-ptr-28048-class-changes-monk-pvp-talents 
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