Yesterday the Battle for Azeroth Beta was briefly brought down for some short maintenance with no new build implemented. However, during this time it seems Blizzard silently added some additional tuning and bug fixes to a number of specializations, including Brewmaster!
- The Azerite trait Training of Niuzao has been reduced by about 66%
- Guard absorb sized reduced by ~20%.
- Guard duration increased to 8 seconds (up from 5).
- Guard’s global cooldown (gcd) is now 1 second (down from 1.5).
- High Tolerance now increases Stagger by 8% (down from 10%)
- Base recharge on Ironskin Brew/Purifying Brew is now 15 seconds (up from 14).
- Invoke Niuzao, the Black Ox gcd is now 1 second (down from 1.5).
What Does It Mean? Feelycraft
I’ll be blunt: apart from bug fixes like the gcd tweaks, the bulk of these changes are nerfs or net-neutral. That being said, those of you that have been playing Brewmaster enough on beta are aware of how necessary these reductions were. Training of Niuzao, in its previous state, was an absurdly strong Azerite trait as seen in this defensive evaluation of Brewmaster’s Azerite traits taken before these changes:
We’ll save the exact methodology behind this trait comparison for our upcoming Azerite Traits breakdown article, but this should help highlight how badly Training of Niuzao was in need of a nerf. In fact, despite today’s change this trait may still end up being our best defensive and offensive choice; it just may not be worth taking at any possible item level anymore.
As for the latest iteration on Guard, recall that a couple of weeks ago, the absorb size on it was massively buffed in exchange for only lasting five seconds instead of the 15 second duration it had before. Though many players believed that duration reduction to be a bug, today’s tuning shows that it was more likely to be an experiment on the talent’s design. Rather than being a smaller, more persistent shield that sort of acted as a large purify in advance, the ability was changed to function more like the Antorus trinket Smoldering Titanguard. In a sense, the shield became so massive that in many cases players weren’t meant to be able to deplete it entirely, but still be incredibly sturdy during the five seconds it lasted. However, at such a short duration, Guard‘s value could go to waste if the user were kiting or the enemies were knocked back, stunned, etc. With the duration now being 60% longer than before in exchange for losing roughly 20% of the absorb size, players can more reliably get full value out of this purpose: a way to temporarily turn Stagger percent values into actual damage reduction values. Couple this with the slight nerf to High Tolerance‘s Stagger bonus and Guard may have at last carved out its own niche on the talent row.
Finally, the slight nerf on our base brew cooldown. Before today, at 12.1% haste, the minimum amount at the time to have 100% uptime on Ironskin Brew and no spare purifies before using Light Brewing or Black Ox Brew, this translates to nearly a full purify per minute lost with the former and about half a purify per minute lost with the latter. Basically, this change has made the gap between the two brew generator talents slightly larger than before and made the “active” talent provide more raw brewgen when both are being used optimally. In addition, the base haste percent for 100% uptime on Ironskin Brew–again, before accounting for the two main talents that increase it and High Tolerance‘s bonus haste–is now 17.6%. If you want to mess around with how haste impacts our brew usage, feel free to play with Brewingscribe’s spreadsheet for it here (make a copy for yourself).
To conclude: please do not panic about these nerfs. They were more or less all justified. Training of Niuzao is likely still our best overall Azerite trait–or at least, Elusive Footwork is competitive with it again pending further tuning–and Guard, while likely not having the same uses it did when it first returned on beta, has instead traded them for a slightly different niche.
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