Brewmaster Monk Best Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits — Shadowlands 9.0.2
Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits are the most important character customization options in Shadowlands. They have a substantial impact on your toolkit and performance as Brewmaster Monk. This page's purpose is to help you pick the right options according to the content you intend to do in Shadowlands.
This page assumes that you are already familiar with Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits. If that is not the case, we have a number of pages that can help you get up to speed:
- Covenants Guide, which explains what Covenants are, what perks they bring, and how you can join one;
- Monk Covenant Abilities, which lists all the abilities that Monks gain by joining each Covenant;
- How To Change Covenant?, which tells you how you can switch Covenant (rejoining a former Covenant will require you to perform a number of tasks to regain their trusts);
- General Soulbind Guide, which explains what Soulbinds are and how you can pledge yourself to them to open up their Soulbind tree;
- Monk Conduits, which lists all of the Conduits available to Monks.
Summary of the Best Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits
If you desire the most generic choice for most types of content, it is recommended to go with Kyrian as your Covenant and Pelagos as your Soulbind. This choice can be considered a useful baseline, despite not necessarily being the "best" in every situation. As such, it is highly recommended to look at Choosing the Best Covenant For You to find what appeals most to you.
Best Conduit choices of a Brewmaster Monk
When interacting with the Soulbind system in particular, you will find that there is a lot of overlap among the Covenants in what powers your specialization has access to, with the primary exception of one Conduit for each that interacts with the Covenant's ability for your class.
Best Brewmaster Potency Conduits
- Walk with the Ox
- Covenant-exclusive Conduit — Strike with Clarity / Bone Marrow Hops / Way of the Fae / Imbued Reflections
Best Brewmaster Endurance Conduits
Best Brewmaster Finesse Conduits
Brewmaster Monk Conduit Breakdown
Note: Within this section Conduits will be roughly ordered in their usability from best to worst, but some overlap will likely occur.
Brewmaster Monk Potency Conduits
Walk with the Ox causes Niuzao from Invoke Niuzao, the Black Ox to deal increased damage with his Stomp. In addition, your abilities that give Shuffle duration — Blackout Kick, Keg Smash, and Spinning Crane Kick — also reduce the cooldown of Invoke Niuzao by 0.5 seconds. Spinning Crane Kick also offers a unique interaction with this Conduit, since it provides Shuffle on all four ticks of the ability. This results in 2 seconds of reduction rather than just 0.5! If correctly following the rotation priority, the cooldown of Invoke Niuzao will be roughly 40 seconds shorter than its baseline 3 minutes. However, depending on how often Spinning Crane Kick was used during this time, it can instead be reduced by 60 seconds or more.
Strike with Clarity improves your Weapons of Order ability by increasing its duration by 5 seconds and providing additional mastery while it is active. Although the mastery value is small, the added duration can be the difference in achieving an additional cast of Keg Smash during the cooldown and refreshing the damage debuff.
Bone Marrow Hops increases the damage or healing amount when an ability is replicated through Bonedust Brew. In addition, when it activates the cooldown on Bonedust Brew is reduced by 0.5 seconds, capping out at 2.5 seconds of reduction per use of the ability. While the extra cooldown reduction is nice, increasing the damage and healing of an already highly likely effect is even better.
Way of the Fae really allows Faeline Stomp to come into its own as an incredibly strong ability against multiple targets, but be aware the bonus damage caps out at 5 targets hit which is the same as the ability's target cap.
Scalding Brew allows your Keg Smash to deal increased damage to targets that are suffering from Breath of Fire's damage over time effect. While it sounds nice in theory, Breath of Fire is not always active on a target, reducing the strength of this Conduit. However, it is still competitive with the alternatives despite this and can occasionally end up superior with the right choice of Legendary Power.
Brewmaster Monk Endurance Conduits
Harm Denial fills a similar role as Celestial Effervescence, in that it provides you with additional self-healing. However, Harm Denial only applies to the baseline heal of Expel Harm and does not increase the healing of any Gift of the Ox spheres picked up by your cast. It also does not increase the damage of Expel Harm.
Celestial Effervescence increases all of your own healing, but only when Celestial Brew is active. Although you are largely safe from danger while your absorb holds, there is a strong chance you may be at low health and Heavy Stagger when you use the ability. That is when this Conduit is at its most helpful for allowing you to recover, as its effect applies to both Gift of the Ox and Celestial Fortune.
Fortifying Ingredients causes Fortifying Brew to also grant you an absorb for the duration of the cooldown — 15 seconds. As you are already quite sturdy from the baseline effects of Fortifying Brew and it having a long cooldown, this Conduit is not terribly useful for a Brewmaster compared to the other Monk specializations.
Grounding Breath increases the amount of healing done by Vivify and also adds a chance to refund its cost, but only works on Vivifies cast on yourself. As you cannot dodge while casting Vivify, it is almost never used and is not worth justifying the Conduit slot as a Brewmaster.
Evasive Stride's effect sounds nice at first. As long as you have Shuffle, there is a low chance that any damage taken from Stagger while you are in Heavy Stagger will instead heal you. However, the small amount of time you are in Heavy Stagger throughout the content of the Shadowlands, along with this supremely small chance to occur, results in the Conduit healing only once or twice throughout an entire Mythic+ dungeon or raid encounter. For now, avoid it entirely.
Brewmaster Monk Finesse Conduits
Dizzying Tumble has an effect that is actually strong enough to make it the best defensive Conduit for Brewmasters, despite being in the Finesse category! Contrary to the tooltip, after the stun from Leg Sweep ends, enemies that were stunned deal less damage to everything for 5 seconds. However, the target must have been stunned successfully to apply this effect. If they are stun-immune, such as a boss, then this Conduit will not do anything.
Swift Transference provides you with a movement speed buff for 5 seconds whenever you use Transcendence: Transfer. As Transcendence is often used as a way to help escape from danger, this extra speed helps with that goal.
Tumbling Technique causes Blackout Kick to have a chance to instantly grant you a charge of Roll. While this extra mobility is a nice reward for essentially playing correctly by keeping Blackout Kick on cooldown, the randomness makes it fairly unreliable.
Lingering Numbness allows Paralysis to apply a heavy snare to the target for 5 seconds when the effect times out or is broken. This is by no means a bad effect, but it is one that will be more useful in PvP where Brewmasters are less likely to be.
Choosing the Best Covenant For You
While it is tempting to follow whatever tools like Raidbots and SimulationCraft say offers the most damage, it is incredibly important to note that all four Covenants can be used on your Brewmaster without being a burden in whatever content you choose to participate. All of the Covenants are within roughly 5% of each other in damage for most scenarios. Of course, Tanks in particular are likely going to have to consider more than just damage in their decision. There is also the matter of what content you might be most interested in playing and whether or not you intend to also play as a Windwalker or Mistweaver.
With that being said, different Covenant abilities will cover different niches, and you may feel that two or three of the four choices more solidly fit into certain bits of content, detailed below:
- Kyrian — Strongest in raid. Convenient "hybrid" choice for PvE/PvP. Balanced in defense and offense, but its damage component requires time to build up. Also offers an extra health potion and is the best covenant in Torghast.
- Necrolord — Equally best for raiding. Marginally strongest defensive choice, but still very powerful in offense. Scales well with multiple targets, but can feel frantic to play with.
- Night Fae — Best in Mythic+. Strongest offensive choice at 2+ targets, but can be prone to variance and made worse in high movement scenarios. Also offers extra mobility.
- Venthyr — Best source of burst damage in both Single Target and AoE while also being fairly passive, but slightly worse than the other three choices overall. Somewhat reliant on fight length.
Kyrian Brewmaster Monk
Kyrian is a strong option for Brewmaster Monks. Both its class and signature abilities can be used in almost any form of content and may be ideal for Monks who wish to play all three specializations.
Weapons of Order is a 2-minute cooldown that immediately resets the cooldown of Keg Smash (or one charge of the ability if using Stormstout's Last Keg ) when used. Then, for the next 30 seconds, it also increases your Mastery by 10% and causes your Keg Smash to debuff the enemies it hits. This debuff increases the damage taken from you by 8% for 10 seconds and stacks up to 4 times. The combination of Mastery and increased damage over a long period of time results in Weapons of Order acting as a versatile offensive or defensive cooldown wherever it is used. However, since its damage debuff requires four casts of Keg Smash on a target to reach its maximum, it can be less useful on targets that die quickly. Its 2-minute cooldown also does not allow it to naturally line up with Brewmaster's other baseline, 3-minute cooldown: Invoke Niuzao, the Black Ox. However, users of both Charring Passions and Walk with the Ox can bring these cooldowns together through the use of Spinning Crane Kick.
Summon Steward allows you to call your own personal companion who will immediately supply you with three Phial of Serenity every five minutes. When used, this Phial will restore 20% Health and remove most poison, curse, disease, and bleed effects on a 3-minute cooldown. This cooldown is also separate from traditional Health potions and Healthstones, though it can only be used once per boss encounter. Although Brewmasters are already able to remove poisons and diseases with Detox, the additional on-demand removal of especially dangerous curses and bleeds is a powerful piece of utility.
Beyond supplying you with Phial of Serenity, your Steward can also perform other optional services on a much longer cooldown including acting as a basic vendor — no repairs allowed — or allowing you to change talents. By participating in the Kyrian-exclusive Path of Ascension content, you can further unlock temporary access to a mailbox or your bank along with additional vendor items!
All three of the Soulbinds, Pelagos, Kleia, and Forgelite Prime Mikanikos, can have moments of being the "best" choice. Of the three, however, Pelagos remains the most consistently useful. Combat Meditation in particular provides an additional 10% Mastery during each use of Weapons of Order and can last for longer than the cooldown itself if extended. Meanwhile, Focusing Mantra will allow for more frequent usage of your Phial of Serenity in Mythic Plus but it will not help in raid. Finally Let Go of the Past's extra magic damage reduction will be helpful against the damage that is most likely to kill a Brewmaster.
If you are interested in being a more supportive type of tank, Kleia might be for you instead. Many of her traits, such as Valiant Strikes, Mentorship, and Resonant Accolades offer bonuses to allies rather than just yourself.
For Brewmasters at least, Forgelite Prime Mikanikos is the least likely Soulbind to see frequent use as a Kyrian. Bron's Call to Action can often end up being a nuisance when knocking back enemies, while Forgelite Filter can result in wasting your possible one use of Phial of Serenity. Overall, his Soulbind should be avoided.
When using Pelagos, this will be your ideal path to take:
Necrolord Brewmaster Monk
Necrolords are a potent contender for Brewmaster Monks, especially those who enjoy juggling short burst windows of damage. It also acts as perhaps the best option for defensive-oriented Brewmasters, uniquely being the only Covenant that can slightly increase the number of casts of Celestial Brew over time.
Bonedust Brew is a 1-minute cooldown that allows you to coat a location with a special brew that provides a 50% chance for any damage and healing done by you to replicate itself at 35% of the original strength. In addition, hitting a target affected by Bonedust Brew with Keg Smash or Tiger Palm reduces the cooldown of your other Brew abilities by an extra second. It is important to note that the 50% chance can apply to every tick of an ability like Breath of Fire's DoT component or Rushing Jade Wind as well as the healing from Celestial Fortune. However, a Keg Smash that echoes its effect does not trigger its natural 3 seconds of Brew reduction a second time. Finally, since Bonedust Brew is itself a Brew, Keg Smash and Tiger Palm also reduce the ability's own cooldown as well! This means that it can essentially be used every 25-30 seconds rather than its tooltip cooldown of 1 minute.
Fleshcraft acts as the other half of the Necrolord ability pair and has a 2-minute cooldown. Over a 4-second channel, you will build up an absorb capping out at 20% of your maximum Health. Moving or using another ability will end the channel early, but channeling near the corpses of enemies increases the size of the absorb to up to 50% of your max Health instead. While it certainly would not be wise to spend time channeling this ability as you tank, there can be moments of downtime where even a partial channel might be useful or at the end of a pull in Mythic Plus to add some extra defense for the next one.
The Soulbinds available to Necrolord Brewmasters, Plague Deviser Marileth, Emeni, and Bonesmith Heirmir, might be considered a bit more situational than the options on other Covenants. Plague Deviser Marileth, in particular, offers a number of non-combat benefits while only enabling a small amount of health regeneration and crowd-control immunity from channeling Fleshcraft with his Ultimate Form. Though Volatile Solvent has a number of strong effects depending on the enemy type you have consumed with Fleshcraft, relying on outside forces or even on having to first slay an enemy results in him being a poor choice.
Emeni is more likely to be your Soulbind of choice as a Necrolord, due to a reliable amount of Agility provided by Lead by Example. As its duration is as long as Bonedust Brew's debuff, it will achieve the same amount of uptime as the ability and grant you both damage and slightly higher Stagger. Beyond that, much of her tree is filled with further utility like an extra Hearthstone from Hearth Kidneystone or movement speed when near enemies through Gristled Toes.
Bonesmith Heirmir is perhaps the most interesting Soulbind for a risk-reward playstyle. Her Serrated Spaulders will activate on every melee attack received with no cooldown as a source of extra damage, while her Runeforged Spurs will increase your movement speed while mounted if you are attacked on your mount. She also has a sort of martyr effect in the form of Forgeborne Reveries, which allows you to fight for up to 10 extra seconds after death. Be aware, however, that you may have a harder time maintaining threat against your enemies like this due to your reduced damage.
When using Emeni, this will be your ideal path to take:
Night Fae Brewmaster Monk
Night Fae is another practical choice for a Brewmaster Monk to be, and is potentially the strongest offensive option. However, there is a random element to be aware of.
Faeline Stomp creates a massive shockwave in front of you, damaging enemies and healing allies in a large cone on a 30-second cooldown. In addition, a faeline will spawn, starting underneath your character. Your Stagger amount will be 5% higher for 8 seconds against any enemies that are hit by this faeline. This Stagger bonus is identical to High Tolerance, but without the added Haste effect. Finally, while you are standing on the faeline you have created, any damaging ability — along with Spear Hand Strike — has a 6% chance to immediatelyreset the cooldown of Faeline Stomp. Only one faeline can be active on the ground at a time, however. Sadly, this reset component adds some variance to how much damage you can deal, but in general if you are always able to stand on your faelines the average cooldown time will be roughly 16 seconds. Fortunately, the lines are large enough that even with some light movement it is possible to stay on top of them. As a result, Faeline Stomp is a potent increase in overall damage that can also enable a small amount of group healing.
Soulshape is the second Night Fae ability on a 1.3-minute cooldown that will teleport you forward 15 yards and place you into a shapeshift form for 12 seconds that provides 50% increased movespeed. While in this form, you may teleport forward another 15 yards every 4 seconds with Flicker, but using any other ability will immediately cancel your soulshape. Two other benefits to Soulshape are that you can choose from a variety of unlockable animal forms to become, and that while in a rested area you may stay in Soulshape indefinitely. Although Brewmasters are already one of the more agile specializations, having another mobility tool is always welcome.
Night Fae Soulbinds
Niya is generally the best choice of Soulbind for a Night Fae Brewmaster. Her Grove Invigoration provides a healthy amount of Mastery and maximum Health and the buff lasts for as long as the baseline cooldown of Faeline Stomp. However, its stacking effect works like a Druid's Ironfur, where each stack has its own independent 30-second timer. As a result, a Brewmaster will be sitting at roughly 6-7 stacks assuming average cooldown resets on Faeline Stomp. In addition, Niya's Tools: Burrs adds a lot of passive damage and even works on bosses! If it can be activated reliably, Niya's Tools: Poison can instead reward you for successfully using Spear Hand Strike with a bonus DoT effect.
Dreamweaver offers some nice stat bonuses as well, giving you and your allies Versatility with Social Butterfly and additional Haste when casting Faeline Stomp with Field of Blossoms. However, there is a nasty drawback in the form of Podtender, the first mandatory spot on the tree. Although its cheat death effect sounds useful at first, it suffers from some mechanical issues. While you are regenerating in the wildseed, you cannot take any actions, lose all threat, and you cannot cancel the effect to die early. Any one of these effects is dangerous for a Tank specialization; all three combined is a nightmare. Unless you know that you will not trigger Podtender, Dreamweaver's Soulbind must be avoided on a Brewmaster.
Korayn is a slightly more defensive Soulbind with some extra utility benefits focused on movespeed. Wild Hunt Tactics, for example, will grant increased movement speed and damage when hitting targets above 75% Health, while Horn of the Wild Hunt will give bonus movespeed to allies whenever you use Soulshape. Finally, Face Your Foes acts as a form of passive damage reduction that will always be present for a Brewmaster. If you are not as concerned with damage, Korayn makes for a nice alternative to Niya.
When using Niya, this will be your ideal path to take:
Venthyr Brewmaster Monk
While all four Covenant choices are viable as a Brewmaster Monk, Venthyr is generally the least useful. However, it still provides a strong source of burst damage and offers a more passive choice for Brewmasters that do not want to add more complexity to their playstyle.
Fallen Order is a 3-minute cooldown that will create a portal nearby. From this portal a Monk spirit will spawn every 3 seconds to aid you in combat and attack your current target for 6 seconds. The Monk will be one of the three specializations players have — Brewmaster, Windwalker, or Mistweaver — with half of the spirits being Brewmaster and the other half split evenly between the other two. Brewmaster spirits in particular will last for 8 seconds rather than 6 and cast both Keg Smash and Breath of Fire. Note that these versions of the abilities do not give you extra Brew or damage reduction. Windwalker spirits, meanwhile, will only use Spinning Crane Kick and Mistweaver spirits will only channel Soothing Mist. Overall, the large amount of Keg Smash, Spinning Crane Kick, and autoattack casts during this time makes for a massive amount of damage. However, the long cooldown and random order the spirits spawn in creates a lot of variance that hinders this ability's strength.
Door of Shadows allows you to teleport to a location within a 35-yard range on a 1-minute cooldown. However, it has a 1.5-second cast time. What is interesting about this ability is that it does allow for teleporting to a ledge above you or beyond certain barriers, which can enable some fun possibilities. It can also be useful to help avoid certain mechanics in a raid or dungeon if given enough time to cast the ability.
The Venthyr Soulbinds offer a variety of tools, though usually at the cost of giving something up along the way or having somewhat niche usage. Take Nadjia the Mistblade, who offers what is effectively 3% Versatility through Dauntless Duelist at the cost of having to accept an extra finesse Conduit and the ability only working on one enemy at a time. Or, instead, you could take an extra Potency Conduit along the way to gaining passive resistance to crowd-control effects with Familiar Predicaments. These options, along with extra Haste from Thrill Seeker, make Nadjia a very flexible choice.
Theotar the Mad Duke provides a similar type of trade-off decision as well. With Token of Appreciation, you could give those that heal you an extra absorb while also taking a path to deal more damage, or you could choose to gain additional defense along the way to stronger potion effects with Refined Palate. There is also the ability to gain a large amount of Mastery for a time with Soothing Shade, though you will have to stand within a circular area to benefit from it. This all combines to make Theotar a flexible and useful Soulbind as well.
Finally, General Draven offers what may be the strongest Soulbind out of all four Covenants for a Brewmaster. His Service In Stone provides passive damage reduction when you are at low Health and need it the most while also giving you a martyr effect to damage and heal enemies/allies respectively if you should die. Move As One, meanwhile, gives you movement speed from any bonus movespeed effects your allies have received. This caps off with Hold Your Ground allowing you to have higher maximum Health and increased self-healing, including Celestial Fortune, if you are able to avoid moving too often. Although he requires the completion of the Venthyr Covenant Campaign, Draven will very likely be your default choice once unlocked.
When using Draven, this will be your ideal path to take:
- 22 Jan. 2021: Slightly modified Soulbind Trees, added new info to Walk with the Ox.
- 14 Dec. 2020: Improved advice for choosing Covenants.
- 19 Nov. 2020: Page added.
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