How To Improve As Brewmaster Monk — Dragonflight 10.2
On this page, you will find out how you can improve at playing Brewmaster Monk in World of Warcraft — Dragonflight 10.2. We list the common mistakes that you should try to avoid and the small details that can greatly improve your performance.
While every specialization has easy-to-make mistakes, Brewmaster's unique position as a tank that takes constant damage over time due to Stagger instead of regular damage from each attack results in it often being misunderstood by players new to the playstyle. This section lists common errors made, along with strategies to both recognize and avoid them.
Poor Shuffle/Brew Management
The most common mistake made by Brewmasters is misusing their Brews. While other tanks seek to use their abilities just before periods of damage (like Shield of the Righteous for Protection Paladins) Brewmasters are focused more on reducing the damage after it has been Staggered with Purifying Brew by first maintaining 100% uptime on Shuffle. This will smooth out the damage you take — if it drops off, you will suddenly be taking a lot more damage up front from each attack and also reduce the power of Purifying Brew! Fortunately, provided you are using Keg Smash and Blackout Kick on cooldown, you should naturally achieve full uptime on Shuffle.
While Purifying Brew may feel like a long cooldown with two charges, remember that your rotation will roughly cut it in half. However, it is also important to try to stay at a point where you have one charge available for a sudden spike of damage but never have both charges sitting off-cooldown. Though Moderate Stagger (Yellow) will often be handled fine by healers — especially those that heal over time like Restoration Druids — you may find that you are often having to Purify at this lower Stagger amount to avoid sitting on both charges. On the other hand, even Heavy Stagger (Red) is not always threatening if you are the only one taking damage at the time. The hard part is striking a balance between knowing when your next big moment to Purify is coming and still using up spare charges in between.
Celestial Brew usage often does not have to rely on nearly as much of a decision-making process. You will generally use it more or less on cooldown, or potentially save it for an upcoming chunk of damage; you should have enhanced the absorb naturally from the stacks of Purified Chi generated by regularly using Purifying Brew. Just remember that damage you have already Staggered is also eating into the shield, so if you have created a large one during a time of relatively low damage, it may make more sense to not Purify and have less of the absorb go to waste by timing out.
Bad Rotational Choices
Due to the nature of your abilities having both offensive and defensive benefits as a Brewmaster Monk, your survivability can often suffer immensely from poor decision-making in the damage rotation. These mistakes most commonly appear in the form of not pressing Blackout Kick on cooldown in particular, though not using Keg Smash on cooldown is also a frequent error.
When trying to correct for this in your play but still follow the recommended ability priority on our full rotation page, it may be helpful to think of your rotation in sets of four abilities like so:
- Blackout Kick
- Keg Smash
- Blackout Kick
Using the example above, a sample sequence of abilities could include Blackout Kick, followed by Keg Smash, then Breath of Fire, and potentially a cooldown like Weapons of Order before casting Blackout Kick again. By breaking down your overall rotation into smaller chunks like this, it can be easier to continuously hit Blackout Kick and Keg Smash on cooldown. In particular, notice that thinking of the rotation in this way means you will rarely be able to press multiple cooldowns back to back; this is not a bad thing as a Brewmaster Monk, as many of these abilities last for a very long time and will still be active by the time you have another "filler" moment to use another longer cooldown!
If you would like to know more about what abilities to prioritize in your overall rotation during these small clusters of four, see our entire rotation section below; do not be afraid to put in some time fighting against training dummies while you work on mastering it!
Improper Energy Management
As a Brewmaster, you have three main rotational abilities which cost Energy: Keg Smash on a low cooldown costing 40 and Tiger Palm/ Spinning Crane Kick with no cooldown costing 25. Almost all players will make the mistake of overusing Tiger Palm or Spinning Crane Kick a little at some point. This happens when you do not have enough Energy to cast Keg Smash right as it comes off cooldown. However, players who do this too often will find it severely impacts their play. Keg Smash does a large amount of damage and reduces the cooldown on your all-important Brews.
To avoid this, you should use Tiger Palm or Spinning Crane Kick two or three times between each Keg Smash at most, with the rest of the globals filled with Blackout Kick, Breath of Fire, and talented abilities such as Rushing Jade Wind or Chi Wave. If Keg Smash's cooldown is finishing and you have only a little Energy, it is sometimes fine to not press anything.
If you find yourself in this position often, then you are also likely not pressing your other important abilities enough, such as Blackout Kick or Rushing Jade Wind if you have it talented.
Tiger Palm or Spinning Crane Kick
In theory, the decision between Spinning Crane Kick and Tiger Palm is meant to be easy: if you are fighting more than one target, then use Spinning Crane Kick instead. However, Spinning Crane Kick does not reduce the cooldown on your Brews, while Tiger Palm does. Although the Rotation section, linked below, goes into a little more detail about choosing between the two abilities, for now, this advice holds true. Do not be afraid to use Tiger Palm now and then against multiple enemies if you are only a second or two away from an additional cast of Purifying Brew, however!
Using Gift of the Ox Orbs
As you take damage, you will generate small yellow Gift of the Ox orbs to your sides. Stepping over these will heal you. In raid situations, you will be spawning plenty of them, and they can be very helpful when you are taking a lot of damage or healers are unable to pay full attention to you. Orbs that time out for any reason will still heal you for their normal amount, and you can have up to five active at a time. You can quickly see how many are present by looking at your Expel Harm icon; the number on it represents your Gift of the Ox orb count.
With how these orbs spawn, you can strafe left and right into them for some on-demand healing, though you will more often use Expel Harm to instantly collect all your orbs, no matter how far away they are. However, strafing can be more useful if you only need a little bit of healing. Expel Harm also costs Energy and has a cooldown but rewards you with a bit of damage for your healing.
Not Utilizing External Cooldowns
It is likely you are used to using Dampen Harm, Diffuse Magic, and Fortifying Brew when you need them, but there are other cooldowns available to you in a dungeon or raid setting: external ones from healers. If you are about to take a lot of damage from either a boss mechanic or accidentally letting your Shuffle drop, call for a specific external if you can! Healers will not always know the best time and may provide you with multiple at once if you just ask for help in general. This advice is mostly for those who play with a microphone and are comfortable using it, but it may often still be worthwhile asking a healer beforehand to use a cooldown at a certain point in a fight. A list of these externals are:
- Restoration Druid: Ironbark (low-cooldown damage reduction)
- Mistweaver Monk: Life Cocoon (large absorb and increase in healing received)
- Paladin: Blessing of Sacrifice (damage reduction; also harms the Paladin)
- Discipline Priest: Pain Suppression (strong damage reduction)
- Holy Priest: Guardian Spirit (saves you from damage that would have killed you, and increases healing received)
- Preservation Evoker: Time Dilation (essentially, a weaker form of Stagger, but often providing more defense against Magic damage than Stagger alone would have)
- 10 Nov. 2023: Added a section detailing tips for mastering the damage rotation.
- 06 Nov. 2023: Page reviewed for Patch 10.2.
- 04 Sep. 2023: Page Reviewed for Patch 10.1.7.
- 10 Jul. 2023: Page slightly reformatted.
- 01 May 2023: Added mention of Time Dilation under healer external cooldowns to consider.
- 20 Mar. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.0.7.
- 24 Jan. 2023: Reviewed for Patch 10.0.5.
- 11 Dec. 2022: Reviewed for Dragonflight Season 1.
- 28 Nov. 2022: Updated for Dragonflight launch.
- 25 Oct. 2022: Updated for Dragonflight pre-patch.
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