Windwalker Monk Best Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits — Shadowlands 9.2
Covenants, Soulbinds, and Conduits are the most important character customization options in Shadowlands. They have a substantial impact on your toolkit and performance as Windwalker 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 generic choice for most types of content, it is recommended to go with Necrolord as your Covenant and Emeni 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 Windwalker 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 Windwalker Potency Conduits
- Calculated Strikes (AoE cleave/Mythic+)
- Coordinated Offensive (single-target)
- Covenant-Specific Conduit
- Xuen's Bond
- Inner Fury
Best Windwalker Endurance Conduits
Best Windwalker Finesse Conduits
Windwalker 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. Also, remember that as of Patch 9.1.5 Conduits may be swapped as often as you like from within your Covenant's sanctum.
Windwalker Monk Potency Conduits
Calculated Strikes is far and away the strongest Conduit for AOE situations, or any with multiple targets. It dramatically increases the strength of Spinning Crane Kick by increasing the damage bonus of Mark of the Crane. When you consider how strong Windwalker is in multi-target situations, this Conduit is largely the cause and is amplified even further by Dance of Chi-Ji.
Strike with Clarity improves your Weapons of Order ability, 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 Rising Sun Kick during the cooldown and refreshing the chi reduction buff.
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, though it is capped to 2.5 seconds of reduction per use of Bonedust Brew. While the cooldown reduction is nice, increasing the damage and healing of an already highly-likely effect is even better.
Way of the Fae allows Faeline Stomp to become an even stronger ability against multiple targets, but be aware the bonus damage caps out at 5 targets hit which is the same as the ability's own target cap.
Xuen's Bond reduces the cooldown of Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger by a few seconds, but the strength of this Conduit, as one that will generally be taken if you are not using Calculated Strikes, is that it increases the damage that Xuen does directly which increases a Windwalker's burst potential.
Adaptive Armor Fragment is a unique Potency Conduit in that it is obtained as a reward for participating in activites related to Korthia. Its effects grant you a 15-second buff to your Primary Stat — Agility — when you receive healing from another player. This bonus has a 30-second cooldown between activations. As the amount of Agility provided by the effect is rather small and you are also completely reliant on other players to even trigger it, this Conduit may be safely ignored for the most part. It could still become relevant at higher item levels when not engaging in solo content, however.
Windwalker Monk Endurance Conduits
Harm Denial fills a small role in providing you with additional self-healing. It also does not increase the damage of Expel Harm. You are going to be casting Expel Harm on cooldown anyway, so you might as well get more self-healing from it.
Condensed Anima Sphere is an Endurance Conduit that can be obtained by every specialization from Mor'geth, Tormentor of the Damned or from activities in Korthia. Its effect causes you to be healed for a small percentage of your Maximum Health upon taking any damage, but has a 10-second cooldown between activations. It is easily one of most powerful Endurance Conduits over any longer period of combat.
Fortifying Ingredients causes Fortifying Brew to also grant you an absorb for the duration of the cooldown — 15 seconds. This Conduit can be very useful, especially if the shield saves your life from damage that would have, otherwise, killed you.
Grounding Breath increases the amount of healing done by Vivify and also adds a chance to refund its cost, but only works on Vivify cast on yourself. It is mandatory in Torghast, however, when combined with the Corrosive Dosage Anima Power.
Windwalker Monk Finesse Conduits
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 using Blackout Kick, the random chance of it occurring means that you should not plan your movement under the assumption it will activate when you really need it to. Instead, you should consider it a helpful bonus now and then.
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.
Lingering Numbness allows Paralysis to apply a heavy snare to the target for 5 seconds when the effect times out or is broken. Note that this can, and will, cause a target to agro to you even if it was not in combat.
As part of Patch 9.1, Conduit slots within your chosen Soulbind tree will eventually become enhanced at high levels of Renown. This bonus adds two extra ranks of power to their effects, which is equivalent to a bonus of 26 item levels! Note that this applies to the Conduit slot rather than the Conduits themselves and will be permanently unlocked row-by-row within a Soulbind, starting from the top Conduit rows and moving downward.
Due to this system being mostly passive, you should not have to worry too much about optimizing the position of your Conduits within your Soulbind as each row gradually becomes enhanced. The Soulbind recommendations in this guide have already been created with the best Conduit choices being placed as early as possible within the tree. This means that they will also be among the first of your Soulbinds' Conduit slots to become enhanced.
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 Windwalker without being a burden in whatever content you choose to participate. All of the four Covenants are within an acceptable range of each other in damage for most scenarios. Of course, DPS sometimes to have to consider more than just damage in their decision, and each Covenant offers a different variety of both defensive and utility options to be considered as well. 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 Brewmaster or Mistweaver. Fortunately, provided you have reached Renown 80 in Patch 9.1.5, you may freely swap between Covenants as often as you like.
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 single-target like some boss encounters and situations where burst can occur every two minutes. It also offers an extra health potion.
- Necrolord — Strongest in multi-target like Mythic+ and situations where burst is useful every minute. Scales well with multiple targets, but can feel frantic to play with. It also provides an additional defensive cooldown.
- Night Fae — Third-best Covenant in both Mythic+ and Raiding. Provides strong consistent damage, especially with Faeline Harmony to increase its damage. Its utility comes in the form of increased mobility through Soulshape, which is not something that Windwalker generally needs, but does not hurt to have.
- Venthyr — The most passive choice, and slightly worse than the other three options overall, but can offer decent burst damage and defense; the true strength of this Covenant is heavily reliant on the use of its Covenant-specific Legendary Power — Sinister Teachings. It also offers an extra movement cooldown, which, again, is not the most necessary thing on the most mobile spec in the game.
Kyrian Windwalker Monk
Kyrian is a strong option for Windwalker 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 causes, for the next 30 seconds, your Mastery to be increased by 12.5% and your Rising Sun Kick to put a buff on you. This buff decreases the chi cost of abilities for 5 seconds and causes Blackout Kick to reduce the cooldown of Rising Sun Kick and Fists of Fury by an additional second.
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 Windwalkers 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. In particular, Pelagos can be considered the most generic or "hybrid" option, Kleia can be thought of as being a bit more supportive to others, and Mikanikos acts as the most offensive choice.
Pelagos' effects primarily deal with the Mastery stat and, as such, is recommended as the second choice for a Kyrian Windwalker. His Combat Meditation in particular provides an additional 350 Mastery — equivalent to 10% — 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+ but it will not help in raid. Next, Let Go of the Past's extra magic damage reduction will be helpful against the damage that is most likely to kill a Windwalker. From there, Better Together will provide you with a small amount of bonus Mastery that will be more or less permanent whenever you are playing in a group. Finally, his Newfound Resolve will provide you with a large amount of Stamina and Agility if you are able to continuously identify and face the small Doubt that will spawn on a regular basis.
If you are interested in being a more supportive type of DPS, 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. In addition, many of Kleia's offerings will increase your Critical Strike, such as Pointed Courage, Spear of the Archon, and Light the Path. However, in exchange for these bonuses you will have to give up a Potency Conduit.
Forgelite Prime Mikanikos offers slightly more damage at the expense of a little less defense. His Soulbind is also one that will create the biggest impact on your playstyle. As of Patch 9.1, Bron's Call to Action will generate stacks toward summoning Bron from nearly any ability, including each individual hit of Fists of Fury and Spinning Crane Kick. This will result in Bron being summoned quite often; however, the small knockback he generates when appearing can sometimes be inconvenient. Similarly, Forgelite Filter can result in wasting your one possible use of Phial of Serenity, which is not ideal if you had a planned moment for it during a raid encounter. However, with that being said, Bron does provide a lot of additional damage when present. Likewise, Effusive Anima Accelerator can result in many more casts of Weapons of Order over time, and while Hammer of Genesis requires selecting another Endurance Conduit, it provides a lot of extra Haste in an AoE scenario.
Overall, Forgelite Prime Mikanikos will likely be the go-to choice for all content when playing Kyrian.
Recommended Kyrian Soulbind Trees
If instead opting for Forgelite Prime Mikanikos, your ideal path will be as such:
Necrolord Windwalker Monk
Necrolords are a potent contender for Windwalker Monks, especially those who enjoy juggling short burst windows of damage and dominating in AOE. It also acts as perhaps the best option for defensive-oriented Windwalkers.
Bonedust Brew is a 1-minute cooldown that allows you to coat all targets at a location with a special brew for 10 seconds that provides a 50% chance for any damage and healing done by you to replicate itself at 35% of the original strength. It should be noted that as of Patch 9.1, this replicated damage or healing can also critically strike! In addition, hitting a target affected by Bonedust Brew with Spinning Crane Kick refunds 1 Chi, even if that Spinning Crane Kick was free from Dance of Chi-Ji. This is what enables Windwalkers to ignore Mastery during Bonedust Brew in order to spam as many Spinning Crane Kick as you can.
Fleshcraft acts as the other half of the Necrolord ability pair and has a 2-minute cooldown. Over a 3-second channel, you will build up an absorb capping out at 40% of your Maximum Health. Moving or using another ability will end the channel early. This makes it a powerful defensive cooldown in an emergency.
On top of its already-potent active effect, Fleshcraft also carries a passive as well. Walking by the corpse of an enemy you helped slay will reduce the cooldown of the ability by one second. The more carnage you make, the more safety you can create.
The Soulbinds available to Necrolord Windwalkers, Plague Deviser Marileth, Emeni, and Bonesmith Heirmir, might be considered a bit more situational than the options on other Covenants. All three of them offer some combination of offense and defense, but of the three, Marileth can be considered the most defensive while Emeni is the most offensive. Heirmir is perhaps the most "hybrid" option, but ends up being not as useful as her alternatives.
Plague Deviser Marileth is the recommended soulbind for single-target situations. Plague Deviser Marileth offers a number of offensive benefits, though many of them are conditional. Volatile Solvent, for example, offers a number of strong effects depending on the type of enemy corpse you consume with Fleshcraft's passive effect, but requires Fleshcraft to be on cooldown and plenty of enemies to slay. However, there are truly is a buff for every occasion if the right corpse appears. Likewise, Ultimate Form grants you a total of 12% regeneration of your Maximum Health, but requires you to fully channel Fleshcraft to receive most of it. Then, Ooz's Frictionless Coating and Undulating Maneuvers require you to fall below 50% health or remain above 80% to activate, respectively. Finally, Kevin's Oozeling amplifies your damage dealt to a target, but is only out for a short period after you cast Bonedust Brew.
Emeni is more likely to be your offensive Soulbind of choice as a Necrolord who wants to deal maximum damage in AOE situations, 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. 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. She even provides a modest shield against magic damage with Resilient Stitching and turns Fleshcraft into a damaging ability with Pustule Eruption.
Bonesmith Heirmir is generally remains behind the other two for damage. Her Serrated Spaulders will activate on every melee attack received, thus favoring a tank specialization rather than DPS, 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 have 50% reduced damage dealt in this state. She should be strongly considered in a Mythic+ environment where these traits, along with her Carver's Eye and Mnemonic Equipment, allow her bonuses to be maximized
Recommended Necrolord Soulbind Trees
If opting for Plague Deviser Marileth in single-target, this your recommended Soulbind path:
When using Emeni in AOE, this will be your ideal path to take:
Night Fae Windwalker Monk
Night Fae is another practical choice for a Windwalker Monk to be, and is potentially a strong option for sustained damage. 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. Finally, while you are standing on the faeline you have created, any damaging ability — along with Spear Hand Strike — has a 6% chance to immediately reset 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. However, be aware that as of Patch 9.1.5 this is one of the few AoE abilities to still maintain a target cap of only 5.
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 Windwalkers are already one of the more agile specializations, having another mobility tool is always welcome.
Night Fae Soulbinds
Night Fae players have no shortage of viable Soulbinds to choose from. Niya offers a great combination of offense and defense that can also be tailored to favor single-target or AoE damage, while Korayn provides a plethora of effects that only get stronger against more targets. Even Dreamweaver holds massive potential, but will further incentivize staying in place on your faelines.
Niya is almost always the best choice of Soulbind for a Night Fae Windwalker. 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 Windwalker will be sitting at roughly 6-7 stacks assuming average cooldown resets on Faeline Stomp. These stacks can even be further empowered with the help of her Bonded Hearts trait! In addition, Niya's Tools: Burrs adds a lot of passive damage and even works on bosses, while Survivor's Rally provides a passive source of healing when you need it most. If it can be activated reliably, Niya's Tools: Poison can even reward you for successfully using Spear Hand Strike with a bonus DoT effect, though it comes at the cost of giving up a Potency Conduit.
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. There is even the additional benefits of passive healing from Waking Dreams and bonus damage or healing to a target with Dream Delver.
Korayn is a soulbind that benefits most from many targets that are short-lived, which can be useful, but only occasionally. 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. There is also passive damage reduction from Face Your Foes and passive Leech from Hunt's Exhilaration, both of which will always be present for a Windwalker. If you are in a mythic+ scenario or wish to focus a bit more on burst to small targets the Korayn can be the pick for you.
Recommended Night Fae Soulbind Trees
When using Niya, this will be your ideal path to take:
In single target you will want to swap
Venthyr Windwalker Monk
While all four Covenant choices are viable as a Windwalker Monk, Venthyr is generally the least useful. However, it still provides a strong source of burst damage and defense while offering a more passive choice for Windwalkers that do not want to add extra 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 spirit will represent one of the three specializations players have — Tiger (Windwalker), Ox (Brewmaster), or Crane (Mistweaver) — with half of the spirits being Tiger and the other half split evenly between the other two. Tiger spirits in particular will last for 8 seconds rather than 6 and cast both Spinning Crane Kick and Fists of Fury. Overall, the large number of Fists of Fury, Spinning Crane Kick, and autoattack casts during this time makes for a large amount of hands-free damage along with absorbing around 20% of your maximum health in 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. Among them, Nadjia the Mistblade may hold a lot of raw power within her traits, for example, but provides them at the cost of having to pick up three Finesse Conduits. Theotar the Mad Duke, meanwhile, can offer a large amount of secondary stats and healing, but will only do so at random times. Finally, General Draven is perhaps the strongest defensive Soulbind choice in the game without any serious drawbacks, but such defense is not very useful for a DPS specialization.
Nadjia the Mistblade is a Soulbind who offers her power at the cost of poor Conduit choices along the way. While she provides 3% Versatility through Dauntless Duelist, it comes at the cost of having to accept an extra Finesse Conduit and the trait only working on one enemy at a time. She also grants you a substantial Haste bonus on a regular basis through Thrill Seeker, which will also eventually increase your Critical Strike or Versatility through Fatal Flaw. She can also offer a small defensive bonus in Sinful Preservation, though it too comes at the cost of selecting a Finesse Conduit. Overall, the large amount of secondary stats Nadjia provides makes her the best general choice for a damage-oriented Venthyr.
Theotar the Mad Duke provides a similar type of trade-off decision-making as well. With Token of Appreciation, you could give those that heal you an extra absorb while also taking a path to gain another Potency Conduit, 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 effect also will provide you with healing and damage reduction through It's Always Tea Time. He will even graciously gift you with 3% of Agility or any secondary stat with Party Favors. However, as this power is limited to a random stat for four hours at a time with a one hour cooldown between uses, it can be hard to justify choosing Theotar over Nadjia for damage.
General Draven offers what may be the strongest Soulbind out of all four Covenants, but only for tanks rather than a Windwalker. His Service In Stone provides passive damage reduction when you are at low Health 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 if you are able to avoid moving too often. Likewise, Battlefield Presence and Regenerative Stone Skin further amplify your defensive potential as long as an enemy is around and you are receiving healing, respectively. This Soulbind is one that all players should take if they need to in a defensive scenario.
Recommended Venthyr Soulbind Trees
If using Nadjia the Mistblade, your ideal Soulbind path will look like this:
- 19 Feb. 2022: Reviewed and approved for Patch 9.2
- 01 Nov. 2021: Updated for Patch 9.1.5. Added more detail to covenant information and clarified recommendations.
- 28 Jun. 2021: Updated for Patch 9.1.
- 15 Apr. 2021: Updated Covenant Recommendations to recommend Kyrian for everything.
- 09 Mar. 2021: Reviewed for 9.0.5.
- 20 Nov. 2020: Page added.
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