Now that the dust settles on 7.2.5 windwalker, it’s time to answer a lot of questions.
In the past month or two, people having been coming up with recurring questions: what legendaries will you use in tomb, is monk going to be good, what tier pieces are we running, what relics do I want, how should I prepare, an so forth.

For the time being, I would just answer “it’s too early to tell”, specially since the state of windwalker on PTR initially had me wondering what blizzard was doing and contemplating going on another char for competitively. Now that changes are starting to come and the release of tomb nears, it’s about time to answer these. Note that I cannot give full answers. However, I can give you my personal opinion on a lot of topic and share the way I, as an individual, am getting ready for it.

For those who don’t know me, I’m Pandanaconda, raiding as a windwalker in Myst on Draenor (EU), three nights a week and performing in the top 50 guilds in the world. This is a semi-hardcore environment many can relate to.

State of windwalker

This is the elephant in the room. Obviously during Nighthold farm windwalker wasn’t too hot. On PTR, our single target was initially slightly nerfed with a huge hit to our AoE, and our tier went from decent/good in Nighthold to complete crap in Tomb.

Recently Blizzard apparently acknowledged the issues. They gave WW’s a small buff to their single target (around 3% damage increase) and changed our tier greatly (more on that further down.)

Where does windwalker stand now?
Well, in the first week of the patch, it’s looking a bit better. Top windwalker parses are close to competing with the majority of parses. Obviously we don’t perform crazily but we’ve never been kings of short fights or ones where adds die too quickly. It looks very slightly better than pre patch, also because main classes lost some power from their tier 19.

But going into the coming month, things will change for everyone. We’ll have access to new tier, new legendaries, new fights. During progress Windwalker’s adaptability/easy target switching/high priority damage/good AoE is always valuable. However, we can’t say we’re on the high end concerning new legendaries, but our tier is now looking very decent.

I’m feeling like windwalker still deserves a bit more love in some departments. With the current state it won’t be able to be specially good at dps’ing overall, even on cleave/AoE fights. The fact that we’re able to use serenity again, a potentially broken spell, makes me feel not too bad about that.

I would feel like considering how punishing the spec is for 75% of the player base, it deserves to be much more rewarding. However it’s now probably good enough to fill it’s role in Tomb of Sargeras. My guess is that the situation will become even worse though for more casual monks/alts

Tier 20

So our tier 20 got changed in a recent hotfix.
Our tier 20 2pc and 4pc boni got swapped around. What does this mean?

For starters, it means we are forced to get the initially very underwhelming tier 20 2pc in order to access the much more rewarding 4pc. Initially it looked like we were going to dodge 4pc for legendary slots/tier 19 2pc since tier 19 2pc and tier 20 2pc was the strongest combination by far even with huge ilvl losses.
Now we’re looking to use the full tier 20, and with the buffs it’s looking like potentially one of the strongest tier 20 boni for protector users, which is kinda new for monks.

When you’re going to look at the power levels of tiers, it’ll look like our tier 20 2pc bonus is terribly bad and the 4pc is overpowered; it is, in essence, because there is so much synergy at work: our 2pc gets “enabled” by the 4pc effect. This is not a tier which will work independently. With the 4pc up to 65%, you’ll mostly not worry about RNG: if you have around 35% crit the first 2 ticks of Rising Sun Kick are guaranteed to crit, and the next RSK will likely matter much less due to timing!

Here are the possible options as to what to equip:

Tier 20 4pc, tier 19 2pc

This is the option a lot of people have been toying around with. It’s pretty straightforward outside of serenity since you usually will mostly cast Rising Sun Kick and Fists of Fury close to on cooldown without overthinking pressure points.
However, this combination is extremely tight with tier slots: you need exactly all 6 slots, which is going to be kind of hard to achieve. You don’t really have some flexibility to equip specific big titanforged off tier pieces, and legendaries are reduced to other slots.
This means this set up will most likely run around something like legendary bracers and boots for instance, and right now is simming very strong.

Tier 20 4pc

This is a bit different. If you use only tier 20, then you have a lot of advantages which are not apparent in sims, but mostly it comes down to flexibility. You are able to keep abusing the infamous legendary chest, upgrading it straight away to 970 and getting a silly amount of agility from it. You are able to chose the pieces of tier you equip to some extent, and to dodge for instance the badly itemized chest. Also, if you come across a 955 titanforged set of legs, nothing prevents you to equip them. You could loot the Wind Blows legendary next week as 970, get the legendary chest to 970, equip both and have a very high agility set up with pretty strong and synergistic effects.
Although sims might be favoring the first set up right now, as time goes on and we get mythic item level gear and some new titanforged procs, this set up will become very attractive. Keep in mind this expansion is all about flexibility. You never know which boss is going to give you crazy titan forged loot, so having some breathing room is cool. Being able to use the legendary chest, helm or even gloves can be very strong. Nothing prevents you from having the legendary boots equip, you’re ready to play either serenity or whirling dragon punch.

Itemization and relics

Tier slots

Obviously this is not unrelated to previous questions. To finish with tier:
I’m gunning for tier 19 2p + tier 20 4p, because even if it ends up being very mediocre in the end, it’s still good to at least consider it and doesn’t cost me much.
In that regard, considering the item level on heroic tomb of Sargeras gear and mythic nighthold, it is obvious there might be an eventual ilvl gap between the two. Which tier pieces do we keep?

Personally, I’m edging towards shoulders and cloak. However, the following combinations are also pretty good: shoulders and gloves, gloves and cloak.
The thought process behind it is this: Yes, the new tier legs have bad stats and the tier 19 ones have good stats, yes, tier 20 cloak has better stats than tier 19. However, you lose around twice as much agility from legs than from cloak item level. That’s why I’m favoring cloak then shoulders/gloves: these are the tier pieces which lose the least agility per ilvl.

Obviously it’s a personal question: if you have 905 tier 19 cloak but 925 tier 19 legs, then for sure it’s better to consider legs. However in the grand scheme of things, if all your nighthold gear was 905 and all your tomb gear 920, I would keep cloak and shoulders or cloak and gloves. Secondary stats budgets on these pieces is not very big and there is always room for crit and versatility rating in your stats.

Relics

There is a very easy choice for your iron relic in tomb of Sargeras, the only one with a good trait (Rising Sun Kick damage). On the other hand, there are two good choices for storm relics, Split Personality and Fists of Fury damage.

It’s a tough choice to make right now; I’m currently mapping out a lot of possible rotations; I’m trying to value the split personality relics the best I can. With two relics, you would get serenity to line up with touch of death for instance, or you could use serenity every minute on a specific mechanic/adds spawn. It’s very hard to say whether this will be a thing or not, so more on that in the future. In the meantime, hold onto these relics if you get your hands on some, but don’t overdo it, and Fists of Fury is a safe bet for a decent relic.

Trinkets

Trinkets are once again hard to value. In sims it’s looking like the trinkets with damage components (Specter of Betrayal and Vial of toxins) are the highest simming single target ones. However, so was drought of souls, and barely anyone ever used it as a windwalker. This is a bit different however it’s still something to keep in mind: as soon as there is some AoE, you’d probably still have a trinket with a lot of stats on it. In that regard, we have two big contenders here:

-Cradle of Anguish is a cool looking trinket, pretty rewarding if you remain above 50% health. However during progress this might not be the case. Think of Harjatan: whenever you soak a smash for instance, you’re likely to lose stacks (or at least I was during testing). It’s easy to imagine phases where you would drop stacks, and this might quickly be too punishing.

-Engine of Eradication is another cool looking trinket. It’s, on average, a stat stick in disguise, barely better than that if you manage to pick up all the orbs. But we’re not asking for more than that.

A special not about our two all time favorites, Memento of Angerboda and Entwined Elemental Foci. If it so happens that we end up getting some crit to have near 100% critical chance on Rising Sun Kick with 4p, then these trinkets will lose a bunch of their value on one of the two good procs, since you’d be getting crit chance that doesn’t affect you within pressure point. They might be losing some value if we go this route. Shame, I like memento on progress!

Umbral glaives have been seen doing crazy amounts of AoE damage in some testing. Keep an eye on them, they might be the new Mirror of the Blademaster, and some will know what that means: on some fights nothing came close to mirror.

Talents

This comes down to the good old “Serenity versus SEF” question.
Right now serenity is looking hot, simming best in many scenarios; it has fun interactions with tier although pretty complicated, it has a fast paced rotation and potentially the sickest AoE. However, not as much work was put into SEF. SEF might be showing up big on progress as it still has many assets. Mark of the crane was nerfed so the appeal of SEF tagging quickly a ton of targets went down but let’s be real, even nerfed this mechanic is silly. The flexibility of always having SEF ready might be cool if timers don’t fit serenity very well. More on that very soon.

As for the rest of the talent nothing crazy; keep an eye on Dave (black ox statue) as he’s known to do fancy stuff; keep an eye on ring of peace as well, who knows.

Eye of the tiger is remaining strong in the clogged up serenity rotation. I don’t even mind.

Xuen might be a thing for very short burst on progress. He’s unlikely to be king of overall dps but he’s still in your kit, don’t forget the kitty!

Serenity

Now on to the real topic. I did a video about 7.2 serenity explaining bugs and the likes for WW. Apparently that was appreciated so I think there is still plenty to be said about that.
Serenity changed a bit with the RSK bug being removed. However, it will change much more with new tier coming in. Whether we channel FoF for 2 or 3 ticks inside of serenity to trigger pressure point, what we end up doing with Pressure point and different tier set ups is still unclear.
Here are some guidelines as to what we’re doing right now (that is, serenity in 7.2.5 with tier 19):

Opening with bloodlust/heroismTime warp/Ancient Hysteria/netherwinds: serenity:
Serenity+RSK -> SotW ->BoK -> RSK -> BoK -> SCK -> RSK -> BoK -> SCK -> RSK -> FoF (11 GCDs) is a solid opener

Outside of bloodlust/heroism/Time warp/Ancient Hysteria/netherwinds, with at least 5% haste for instance, you can do this:

Serenity+RSK -> SotW -> BoK -> wait then RSK -> BoK -> SCK -> wait then RSK -> BoK -> SCK -> wait then RSK -> FoF on last tick.

This rotation has 0.3 seconds less duration and one less GCD than optimal, but fits an extra Rising Sun Kick in the 45% increased damage. It is considered worth it to lose two Spinning Crane Kicks and replace them with a Rising Sun Kick.

On AoE (3+ target), the priority hasn’t changed much: try to fit as many RSKs and SCKs as possible, with usually one SotW in there.

One thing to keep in mind is that serenity allows you to potentially get 2 Rising Sun Kicks inside every pressure point buff, So using Fists of Fury right before serenity is usually paramount. Considering Fists of Fury’s priority is pretty low nowadays, it’s more important to keep it for serenity than to cast it on cooldown and delay serenity a lot.

Serenity halves the cooldown on Fists of Fury but not the refund from tier, so Fists go off cooldown nearly instantly during serenity.

Conclusion

This answers quite a few questions people might be wondering about tomb; if something very important is missing, hit me up with a PM on discord and I’ll add it.

I plan to do another article and probably a stream highlight for serenity with tier 20. I will be filling the encounter guides for the tomb of Sargeras heroic encounters by the end of the heroic week if everything goes right (already gathering my notes from testing on PTR for some), and will follow that with mythic tips as I progress.

If you want, you can watch me on twitch, where I stream most raids and most of mythic progress. It’s a shit quality stream/sound, I do not have a monitor to check chat and focus on raiding over it, but feel free to ask me questions over there.
Unless I reroll to another class, in which case hasta luego hehe!

Martially yours,

Pandanaconda

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