Highlord Kruul

This multi-phase fight provides a great deal of challenge not just for your skills as a tank, but also as a Brewmaster. With a combined DPS check, it can get a bit overwhelming.

When you first enter, you will be assisted by Velen and Kor’vas.

Builds

Talents

talents 1123122 - brewmaster build for highlord kruul artifact challenge

Most talents can be swapped around, but this build has seen the most success.

This build probably seems a bit strange, but bear with me.

15: Chi Burst will help you pick up adds off of Velen if you need to. It also allows you to cleave/aoe the adds in addition to whichever boss you are currently hitting (this is especially important on Variss, as you cannot be within melee range of him for most of the fight).

30: Tiger’s Lust might be useful here, too, but most people prefer Chi Torpedo in order to have more Sprints available for them, and to reposition quickly.

45: Black Ox Brew is a mainstay in our rotation. However, it is worth nothing that people have had some luck with Gift of the Mists.

60: Trust us, Leg Sweep will save your life here! While you might think to take Summon Black Ox Statue in order to pick up adds, it should be roughly unnecessary. Leg Sweep gives you some relief from incoming damage, and allows you to interrupt more of Kruul’s annihilates.

75: Healing Elixir is a lifesaver. Given our lack of self-healing, even just relying on its procs at 35% health can help prevent certain death.

90: Invoke Niuzao, the Black Ox may be a bit of a niche talent, but this is also niche content. I generally use him at the start of the fight; this means that at the beginning, I can worry more about doing damage than mitigating. He should then be up in time for Kruul to eat the first two Annihilates. If you are finding that he is not up by the time you down Variss, then it is advisable to hold Niuzao through Phase 1.

100: Blackout Combo comes in handy because the entire fight is a DPS check. While some people have been successful with High Tolerance, the damage increase from Blackout Combo greatly outweighs this due to the fight’s tight DPS check.

Trinkets

Most trinkets should come in handy; however, Fang of Tichondrius has been integrated into every successful build to date. This is because when pairing it with Exploding Keg, Keg Smash, and then Breath of Fire onto the adds, you can nearly heal to full, thus saving some Holy Wards.

Otherwise, play around with what other trinkets you have available to you. Darkmoon Deck: Immortality also comes in handy for handling the melees from adds as well as some of the physical damage in Phase 2, or a plain Versatility stat-stick trinket will work. However, another DPS trinket will normally be more useful, as the fight still functions as a relatively high DPS check. Further, Darkmoon Deck: Immortality only helps in P2, as P1 remains mostly magic damage.

Legendaries

Ranked in order of usefulness, here are some legendaries to consider:

Gai Plin’s Soothing Sash: the beauty of this legendary is not noticable in Phase 1. However, in Phase 2, it can easily heal you to full. In Phase 1, you can game it for some slightly less consequential self-healing.

Sal’salabim’s Lost Tunic: with the tight damage check, this legendary remains the most useful in all content. Plus, it bumps up your damage.

Prydaz, Xavaric’s Magnum Opus: while probably even for Cinidaria, the Symbiote, this necklace proves very useful in both phases to mitigate much of the damage you will be taken. In addition, while it does not have Versatility, it does have a fair amount of every other stat.

Cinidaria, the Symbiote: less useful than Gai Plin’s overall, the damage from this can help you get adds down very quickly and can also help you heal to almost full. However, its usefulness drops off greatly in Phase 2 (there are much fewer adds here, and you will want to focus more of your damage on Kruul). Consider using this while you progress on Phase 1, or if you do not have two of the previously noted legendaries.

Archimonde’s Hatred Reborn: you would want to pair this with Fang of Tichondrius. The bubble can act as another cooldown when you need it, this potentially saving many Holy Wards. In addition, the damage from its burst, especially when paired with Fortifying Brew in Phase 2, can allow you to deal a consequential amount of damage. In addition, it has versatility.

Your other legendary options can all be very useful as well, so if you do not have the ones on this list, do not feel disheartened! These are simply the legendaries listed from “most successful” as reported by members of the community.

Secondaries

Keep in mind that this fight is mostly about magic damage and maximizing your personal damage. Thus, bring out whatever versatility you possibly can. Consider this stat priority, ignoring set bonuses:

haste (to comfort) > versatility > crit > mastery > haste

Many other people also drop item level in order to pick up more Leech; however, you will want to remain near at least a 900 item level. If Leech is not available to you, consider items with more Versatility or go by highest item level. For your neck enchant, any enchant should be reasonable aside from Mark of the Heavy Hide.

Interface and Macros

First of all, you’ll want to have a few macros for interrupts and kicks. A boss frame interrupt/kick will work for both Paralysis and Spear Hand Strike:

/cast [@boss1,exists,nodead][]Paralysis
/cast [@boss1,exists,nodead][]Spear Hand Strike

This allows for quicker interrupts with Paralysis and Spear Hand Strike without needing to rely on a focus (thus needing to re-create your focus when Kruul appears).

Vexylie was also nice enough to provide a set of tank challenge WeakAuras which will give you more in-your-face alerts for certain abilities. Deadly Boss Mods also created a Tank Challenge module very similar their other encounter modules, which will give alerts. If you are a BigWigs user, you can also find this as part of LittleWigs.

Consumables

Use Bear Tartare for food, regardless of your character’s race.

Use Potion of the Old War as your pre-pot for higher damage. You should probably use Potion of Prolonged Power whenever Kruul appears for not just its damage aspect, but also survival aspect. You will also want to have some version of lust through Drums, which you can purchase on the auction house. Any version of these give the same amount of haste for the same amount of time, so just use whatever is your cheapest option.

For your flask, use Flask of the Seventh Demon.

Phase 1

In this phase, you will first face Inquisitor Variss. With about 40M health after April 20th nerfs (39M and some change, really), he can be a roadblock. Kor’vas will be imprisoned and unable to help you, but Velen will cast Holy Wards roughly every 30s that will heal both of you to full, and disorient your enemies.

Variss’s Abilities

Variss casts two spells.

  • Mind Rend – Deals an amount of shadow damage. With around 10% versatility, this hit for around 1M every 4 seconds. You will occasionally want to use Spear Handed Strike to interrupt this.
  • Drain Life – Drains a significant amount of life from the target every second. You will want to interrupt this as close to the end of the cast as possible to provide some damage relief, as well as to prevent Variss from healing to full (and from yourself or Velen from suffering.
  • Aura of Decay – This reduces your total health with a stacking debuff when you are near Variss. You can tell where the aura begins by the much darker purple on the ground.

Adds

Several types of adds will be summoned that each have an ability.

Tormenting Eye

Probably both the least and most dangerous add of the encounter, Eyes will not harm you but they will knock you back if you are not facing them at the end of their Inquisitive Stare cast. They have very little health, however, and can be killed in a few CDs — however, they also spawn very quickly.

Nether Horror

Summoned approximately every 30 seconds, these give you a stacking debuff (Psytalons) every time they melee that increase the amount of arcane damage you take. While the tooltip does not indicate that this ability does damage, logs indicate that it does (and increases in damage taken with every stack). Unlike for other tank challenges, it is worth noting that for Brewmasters, Nether Horrors will not cast Nether Storm like they do for other classes.

Smoldering Infernal

Similar to the Tormenting Eye, the Smoldering Infernal can be both one of the most and least dangerous adds in the encounter. These cast a Smash ability that will knock you back and deal an amount of damage. Additionally, when they are not Smashing, they will cast Fel Resonation, a long, AoE pulse that deals 5% of their health as damage.

General P1 Strategy

First, you will want to unload as much damage as you can while also saving Velen’s Holy Wards. You can have up to 3-4 Holy Wards up at a time; they spawn roughly every 30 seconds. Try to optimize your self-healing and CDs as much as you can so that you can survive with as few Holy Wards in Phase 1 as you can, as you will want them up for clutch moments and for Phase 2.

Damage Priority

You can kite the Smouldering Infernals around and they will eventually kill themselves, but note that they will still do a fair amount of damage to you. The challenge lies in keeping damage on Variss, while also keeping Nether Horrors dealt with.

Pick up Nether Horrors from Velen using Chi Burst, and tank them just at the edge of the aura so that you can hit Velen with your Keg Smash. For the first wave of Nether Horrors, you should not need many CDs, as they will die very quickly from Chi Burst, Keg Smash, and Exploding Keg. You will want to make these a priority target, because they will kill you if they are left up too long.

You will not want to focus too much attention on the Tormenting Eyes. Many players found that it seemed easier to down Eyes spawning behind you or on one side of the room, and ignoring the rest — otherwise, you will be running everywhere trying to kill Eyes. Clear Eyes when you have a high amount of Aura of Decay stacks and nothing else to hit.

CC and Interrupts

Interrupt Variss with Spear Handed Strike now and then, but save Paralysis for Drain Life. This way, you take a little bit less Mind Rend damage, but you also do not have to worry about not having a CD for Drain Life. The macros in sections above will help make this much easier.

Note that everything here can be stunned. If you have no stuns, CCs, or Interrupts, but need to interrupt a Drain Life, you can use a Holy Ward, but this is not as advisable as using your CC and class abilities instead (unless you need the healing!).

Positioning Tips

First, when you initially pull, you can use Crackling Jade Lightning in order to force Variss closer to the middle of the room. This is depicted below:

open on inquisitor with crackling jade lightning

Open with Crackling Jade Lightning

Run to the ledge to force Variss to the center.

Run all the way to the back ledge where you initially began – this outranges Inquisitor and forces him to the center.

Variss is now centered with Velen

As you can see, Velen and Variss are now more-or-less stacked, making add pickup much easier.

That makes it much easier to grab any adds off of Velen, and also places you closer to Holy Wards for clutch healing. The downside is that you might find that Holy Wards are often spawned on your head (but this is negligible – they will usually spawn in the worst manner necessary, such as stacked atop one another).

Tank the adds the opposite side of Variss from Velen. This keeps some of the Infernals off of him, prevents you from accidentally taking a Holy Ward you didn’t want, and allows you to view what is happening to him (for example, if an Infernal is meleeing him, or if a Nether Horror decided to go back to him).

If you find yourself flung off of the platform often, consider placing your Transcendence in the general area that you have been tanking the boss. I usually tank my adds toward the left (as Velen is facing), thus I keep my Transcendence toward that part of the platform. Otherwise, if you are not having issues with this, you may consider placing it on the other side of the platform from where you are, in case you need to grab a Holy Ward more quickly or wish to kite away from adds for a moment.

For picking up Nether Horrors, you have a few options. Following the above steps to pull Variss to the center of the platform, this is simplified with just using Keg Smash. Othewise, if you are not near Variss, you can use either Chi Burst or Effuse. To pick up with Effuse, simply cast a heal or two on yourself when the adds first gain their healthbar; they will instantly aggro on you. With Chi Burst, you will need to begin casting it as they go to Velen.

Phase 2

If you thought Phase 1 was awful, Phase 2 has had much fewer nerfs and can still remain a roadblock for many people.

Once Variss dies, Phase 2 will begin with Kruul appearing. Any remaining Tormenting Eyes will despawn. Nether Horrors and Infernals will remain; however, only new Nether Horrors will spawn. New Infernals will not spawn.

Additionally, Kor’vas now must be protected. She does very negligible damage, but this surprises almost no one. Velen will continue to create Holy Wards for you.

Kruul has a few “fun” abilities to be aware of:

  • Netherstomp – Kruul leaps into the air, and lands to create a green pool. These pools will do a lot of damage to you and Kor’vas, but you can begin moving early so as to not be hit by it.
  • Twisted Reflection – You MUST interrupt this spell, or else you will get a debuff that causes you to heal Kruul any time you deal damage with him. Given the tight DPS requirement for this fight, any mistakes with this can cost you the attempt (note that some people have managed to complete the challenge even with a few of these casts going off successfully).
  • Annihilate – This is the big check against you, as a DPS – sorry, as a tank. You cannot interrupt this with Spear Handed Strike, but you can stun, incapacitate, disorient (with Holy Ward) or Paralyze Kruul in order to delay its cast as much as possible. It only deals moderate damage, but it applies a debuff that causes you to take 130% additional damage per stack. You will likely die by the 4th or 5th Annihilate if you have not killed Kruul yet.

Additionally, you’ll see purple “slicers” go out now and then. These are barriers you cannot run through, but will do damage. Look for them and find an opening so you can get through them. However, if the openings pull you too far away from the boss, adds, and Holy Wards, run against them and jump or Chi Torpedo. The damage you take from them is relatively negligible, so you should not sacrifice uptime on them.

To handle this phase, open with Invoke Niuzao, the Black Ox as quickly as you can. You will want to delay Kruul’s Annihilates (even the ones on Niuzao, so that Angry Dave does not die too quickly — yes, he will be taking the first few Annihilates for you) as much as possible with Paralysis, Leg Sweep, and Holy Ward.

Keep interrupts on Twisted Reflection, and save brews for after Annihilation to quickly Purify it while also maintaining Ironskin Brew. Don’t forget to use Fortifying Brew!

Keep an eye on Velen; Nether Horrors will continue to spawn as mentioned; you will want to pick these up now and then or else they will kill Velen. However, do not focus too much damage into these. I generally would kill a few in order to reduce the pressure on my HP bar. You will want to focus as much damage as you can into Kruul while also managing the adds. Whenever I killed this, I left a round of Nether Horrors on Velen and simply pushed damage as hard as I could into Kruul himself. This occurred when Kruul hit around 12% HP.

Final notes

Keep in mind that this guide is compiled from the experiences not only of the writer itself, but also from various people in the Monk community that have shared their experiences. As the encounter can only be completed successfully once, it is expected that this guide can quickly become outdated. As such, if you experience something different in the encounter, please direct feedback to the writer over Discord.

When you finish, congratulations on your awesome new weapon!

Brewmaster challenge weapon