A Master of the Brew

So, you’ve started your Monk up, you’ve got him/her leveled and you’ve decided to spec as a Brewmaster, because, let’s face it you are awesome. You hit accept and all these new abilities hit your bars, a new Stance pops up and you have no clue what is happening. Relax, grab a nice cold beverage and have a read.

The Brewmaster is the drunken brawler, relying on crazy Monk abilities and a particular type of drink to tank. The first thing you will notice is you have a new stance called Stance of the Sturdy Ox. This stance is the tanking stance, kind of like Defensive Stance for Warriors, or Bear Form for Druids, but ours is much cooler. Stance of the Sturdy Ox reduces the damage that we take by 25%, increases our Energy regeneration by 10%, reduces the chance that we will be critically hit by 6%, increases our Stamina by 20% and gives us the Stagger ability.

Stagger is the new way that Monks are able to take the damage that bosses are dishing out while only wearing leather gear. The Stagger mechanic only works on physical attacks. We will take 80% of the physical damage that we get hit for up front and the other 20% is converted into a DoT (Damage over Time) effect that lasts 10 seconds. Stagger comes in 3 different colours, Green, Yellow and Red. Green is the okay Stagger, you can leave this. Yellow you should use Purifying Brew (Explained later) for and Red you should use Purifying Brew immediately. It is a very interesting mechanic and works with a few of our abilities which I will detail.

As a Brewmaster we gain a new ability that generates Chi and costs Energy. This ability is called Keg Smash. Keg Smash costs 40 Energy, requires us to be in Ox Stance, generates 2 Chi and has an 8 second cooldown. It hits all nearby targets (The tooltip hasn’t been updated) and applies two debuffs to them. The first one is the Weakened Blows debuff which reduces the physical damage dealt by them by 10% and applies Dizzying Haze, which reduces movement speed by 50% and gives your enemies a 3% chance to hit themselves for an amount of damage, unfortunately this doesn’t work on bosses. Dizzying Haze is also a new ability of ours that affects an area and causes a high amount of threat.

Our next new ability is Breath of Fire. Anyone that has played Warcraft 3: The Frozen Throne will remember this ability from the Pandaren Brewmasters in-game. Breath of Fire does damage in a frontal cone for 8 yards. If the target has the Dizzying Haze debuff on them, they also receive a DoT effect. This ability costs 2 Chi however, and isn’t really used due to the buff that you get from Blackout Kick by being a Brewmaster.

As a Brewmaster some of your core abilities get changed due to Brewmaster Training. The changes are as follows;

  • Spear Hand Strike no longer costs Energy.
  • Fortifying Brew also increases your Stagger amount by 20% while active.
  • Tiger Palm no longer costs Chi, and when you deal damage with Tiger Palm the amount of your next Guard is increased by 5%. This buff lasts for 30 seconds and stacks up to 3 times.
  • Blackout Kick now gives you a new buff called Shuffle. This buff lasts 6 seconds and compounds on itself, so you can keep gaining duration, (I’ve had the buff at 2 minutes for a fight). While the buff is active it increases your Parry chance by 20% and increases the amount of damage that you Stagger by 20%.

As a Brewmaster we gain some new Cooldowns as well. The first of them being Guard, which creates an absorb shield on us, which scales with our Attack Power and Vengeance. It costs 2 Chi, has a 30 second cooldown, lasts for 30 seconds and also increases the healing that we do to ourselves by 30%.

Our second new cooldown is called Elusive Brew. This ability increases our dodge chance by 30% for a number of seconds equal to the number of charges we have of a buff called Elusive Brew, it has a 9 second cooldown. We gain stacks through auto attack critical strikes. Depending on whether you have a two hand weapon or are dual wielding the number of charges gained per critical strike will be different, but it maths out to be about the same over the course of a fight.

We also gain a raid wide cooldown called Avert Harm which redirects 20% of the damage that our allies take within 10 yards of us to ourselves; It lasts 6 seconds on a 3 minute cooldown. The damage we take from Avert Harm can be Staggered, but the effect will be removed from us if we hit 10% health.


Summon Black Ox Statue allows us to summon a statue that acts like a Shamans totem. It lasts for 15 minutes and has a 30 second cooldown. While we are within 40 yards of it, once we do a certain amount of damage (which increases with our Attack Power) the statue places Guard on a friendly target (that isn’t us) which lasts for 30 seconds.

Clash is a new ability of ours that works like a charge and death grip at the same time. You use it on an enemy and you pull them to you and jump to them, meeting in the middle and stunning all targets at the impact site for 6 seconds. It has an 8 to 40 yard range and has a 35 second cooldown. Unfortunately this ability doesn’t work on bosses.


Purifying Brew is one of our CORE ABILITIES. For 1 Chi this allows us to remove the DoT we gain from Stagger, which is amazing when the Stagger damage starts getting too high (Yellow or Red).

The two new passive abilities we gain are called Gift of the Ox and Desperate Measures. Gift of the Ox has a chance to creates small healing spheres next to us when we hit a target. Only we can use them, and they heal us when we move over them. You should pick these orbs up when you start losing health. Desperate Measures removes the cooldown from our Expel Harm ability when we drop below 35% health.

These are the main abilities that a Brewmaster gains. Keg Smash should be used on cooldown. Blackout kick should be used to keep the Shuffle buff up as close to 100% as you can. You should use Summon Black Ox Statue at the start of a fight and resummon it if it dies. Guard should be used on cooldown if you are taking damage, the same goes for Elusive Brew. Purifying Brew should be used whenever your Stagger damage goes to Yellow or Red.

That is the basics of a Brewmaster Monk. Brewmasters have a very active play style and they might not be the tank for everyone. Mastering a Brewmaster does take time, and is something that I am still working towards.

As always, leave and comments or suggestions about what I have written about or about my writing/blog format/whatever is relevant. You can ask questions on my Twitter @Matthews9292 or leave feedback there as well.



~ by matthewsmonk on November 23, 2012.

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