Hello there, it’s been a while since I wrote something here.
I might do a Frequently Asked Questions shortly after Antorus launch if things are out of the ordinary as they were in Tomb of Sargeras, but otherwise let’s try to answer all questions before the release.
If something is lacking in here, PM me (Pandanaconda) on discord.
In the meantime, keep in mind the website has been updated with tier 21 and Antorus in mind. Legendary ratings, guides, etc have all been looked over and updated by Babylonius.
State of Windwalker
This is a very common question lately. After the tier nerfs and large spec buff, people have seen Windwalker’s performance skyrocket in logs and sims. Although it looks like in some scenarios the previous build was still stronger than what we can do now, Windwalker is definitely more straightforward now and has way less requirements on it’s gearing. Many legendary options open up, which results in a bump in performance.
However, we’re not in Antorus yet. Once a tier starts, it means we go back to the state were no encounter is “outgeared”. What does that mean? Longer fights (thus less bloodlust uptime), adds live longer and more spawns happen throughout some fights. Also, people have less knowledge of kill timers or specific timings, favoring those who can adapt on the go.
All of this, when you think of it, favors Windwalkers: as usual, Windwalkers perform best when the tier starts. We don’t like haste and shorter kill timers mean bloodlust matters more. We benefit more than most from extra targets surviving as our AoE tools are very consistent/abundant.
To add to that, our current tier 20 is nerfed significantly, meaning that even though the 4p is a significant amount of dps, the 2p is not and we’ll be glad to drop that in favor of tier 21 2p.
Recently, Blizzard nerfed a lot of outliers in tiers and very slightly buffed ours. This makes our tier one of the best for single target in the Protector token, as well as tones down some of the outlier classes, placing us in a very good spot going into Antorus.
As a whole, you can expect Windwalkers to have a very solid performance early on.
Gearing for Antorus
This is a pretty big topic, and likely the reason many of you are here. I’ll break it down in relics, gear, trinkets and legendaries.
We’re gonna see a significant change in relics value going into Tier 21. Tier 20, which made Rising Winds the best trait by far even on AoE fights, is gone. Tier 21 and the legendary head,The Wind Blows, makes the Strength of Xuen significantly stronger. Finally, Split Personality and Fists of the Wind are the other two top tier traits. You’ll likely want all your traits and Neitherlight Crucible traits to belong to these 4, and only extremely large item level discrepancies can change that.
Most of the light/shadow traits from NLC seem to perform relatively evenly. Although torment the weak looked like an outlier in sims, in actual logs it’s not consistently dealing much more than the other damage/stats increasing traits.
Results differ for both talents of course, although Rising Winds and Fists of the Wind remain reliable top choices for pretty much every raiding fight. Strength of Xuen is significantly better with Storm, Earth, and Fire than with serenity, and sees diminishing returns the more you get. Here you can find sims for relics and Neiherlight crucible with Tier 21: Serenity relics and WDP relics
Another thing to keep in mind is which relics others are gonna be looking for. We’re mostly looking for relics with 3 useful traits, as in a damaging NLC trait and 2 traits out of Rising Winds, Fists of the Wind, Split Personality and Strength of Xuen. Because of that, you’ll want to get your hands on any good relics others don’t want. It’s up to your raid comp but for instance I have already realized my teammates are all looking for the Argus storm relic, whereas no one is looking for the Coven one, which is just as good for us. Worth keeping in mind!
This is a pretty big and cool topic. Going into Tomb of Sargeras, we locked ourselves into 6 pieces of tier, meaning none of those slots could be a legendary. With the nerfs to tier 20, keeping it doesn’t have a chance to outweigh the power of using legendaries as strong as The Emperor’s Capacitor.
As a result, we have complete control over the legendaries we will run. Because of that, two big outliers stand out:
–The emperor’s capacitor: This is definitely our strongest raiding legendary. It does a very solid amount of damage no matter the talents you run: with serenity it stacks up very fast, with Storm, Earth, and Fire you can fit it in the buff for an extra 50% damage. Tier 21 4p might help some builds stacking it up slightly faster, but this is clearly our best in slot for single target fights (and likely, for every fight.)
–The Wind Blows: This is no secret, Tier 21 makes the The Wind Blows stronger, much stronger and it was already a decent legendary because of the amount of stats on it. As the tier starts, we’ll upgrade legendaries to 1000 item level, increasing even further, how much this slot matters. Tier 21 increasing by 175% the value of the proc and making it generate chi every 32 seconds is a lot, and this instantly becomes our best in slot for pretty much every scenario. It is pretty sad in my opinion that we end up in the same situation as Unholy Death Knights were in Tier 20 (their legendary chest and shoulders were miles ahead every other one in pretty much every raiding scenario except extreme AoE padding.)
These are the big two and you can safely assume you can go through the whole tier with only this. However, some fights will make the The emperor’s capacitor a bit worse which will make it possible to fit in some other ones. For instance, I don’t know how good The emperor’s capacitor will be on Lifebinder Eonar, but likely not as good as usual.
For that matter, our Drinking Horn Cover are still very potent on AoE with every talent, and on single target fights in combination with serenity. Kil’jaeden’s Burning Wish will provide a lot of attractive stats to begin the tier with. Then Cenedril, Reflector of Hatred, Katsuo’s Eclipse, and Cinidaria, the Symbiote are all pretty solid at what they do, and Hidden Master’s Forbidden Touch can still be used for niche situations (they are better than numbers say for progress situations in my opinion.)
This is a pretty big topic going into Antorus. The last boss will grant you access to two trinkets: one legendary one, Amanthul’s vision which drops as 1000 item level instantly, then another one that starts as 940, Golganneth’s vitality then which you can upgrade by 5 item level every week.
The agility specific one, Golganneth’s vitality, is clearly the better of the two. However, the other one increases very slightly the uptime your raid will have on the Pantheon buff. Is it worth it to run Amanthul’s vision for the greater good?
The final answer will be “NO” when your trinkets are both 1000 ilvl. What are the answers though during the upgrading process? Currently it looks like Golganneth’s vitality passes Amanthul’s vision at around 980 ilvl, with simming yourself always the best answer.
In the end, in raids, you’ll be running one of the Pantheon trinkets when you have access to them. However, on your way there will that be true? No trinket seems to be competing with the Pantheon ones even on mythic item level.
You can find here simulations for duos of mythic trinkets. Obviously these include Pantheon trinkets.
This is a pretty hard topic to deal with in Legion, as plenty of items will be titanforging left and right and you’ll have a hard time finding a definite list.
However this makes it a bit simpler for us. We can give a rough list of items you’ll want to equip. This list expects you to be running the two best legendaries as well as tier 21 4p, and only relics from the raid.
Helm: The Wind Blows
Neck: Collar of null flame, dropped by Fellhounds of Sargeras.
Shoulders: tier shoulders, dropped by The Coven of Shivarra
Cloak: tier cloak, dropped by Antoran high command
Chest: The Emperor’s Capacitor
Wrists: Fiendish Logistician’s Wristwraps, dropped by Admiral Svirax.
Gloves: Tier gloves, dropped by Kin’garoth.
Belt: Belt of Fractured Sanity, dropped by Varimathras.
Legs: Tier legs, dropped by Imonar the Soulhunter.
Boots: Vicious Flamepaws, dropped by F’Harg.
Ring 1: Sullied Seal of the Pantheon, dropped by Argus, the unmaker
Ring 2: Band of the Sargerite Smith, dropped by Garothi Demolisher.
Trinket 1: Golganneth’s vitality, dropped by Argus the unmaker.
Trinket 2: Shadow-singed Fang, dropped by Fellhounds of Sargeras.
This is not the best set up in every situation but it’s as close as you’ll get to a best in slot list before Antorus.
So after a very bumpy ride on the tier 20 hype train, we’re back to something very simple and straight forward as our tier 21. It still has very deep implications.
Tier 21 buffs our Combo Breaker (BoK!) procs a LOT, by making them hit nearly as hard as Rising Sun Kick and giving us one chi. This pretty much makes the proc 3-4 times stronger than it is, based on circumstances. Obviously this is a huge buff to The Wind Blows, as stated above. No big surprise there.
How strong is tier 21?
- Tier 21 4p (4p) is a significant damage increase combined with the helm, making it a very strong 4p (7-8%).
- Tier 21 2p (2p) is weaker. It’s effect is hard to benefit from fully. If you can use it fully, it’s going to be worth around 4% dps. In cases where you are overflowed with resources it goes down to 1-2.5% dps increase. For instance, a Serenity single target build, with the lack of chi spenders, it’s effect is worth around 2% in current sims at best. However, since Blizzard swapped our 2p and 4p around, we cannot get around by only using 2 tier pieces.
Which slots do I equip?
You don’t really have a choice: if you run chest and helm legendaries you will want the tier cloak, shoulders, gloves and legs. If you don’t have those legendaries, keep in mind there are slots where item level/stats matter much more than others (namely, chest, head and legs slots are the most important three by far.)
When do I swap to tier 21?
This is a pretty big questions. It will depend on many factors, in particular wether you have access to the legendary helm or not, or wether you have tier 20 equipped and what item level it is.
I’ll still try to give you guidelines:
- Tier 21 2p is not particularly exciting. Neither is tier 20 2p. To be frank, both are really lame and won’t give you any significant damage boost.
- On the other hand, both tier 20 and 21’s 4p bonus gives a very significant damage boost. Specially tier 21 with the The Wind Blows.
- Another thing to note is that tier 21 requires the legendary helm to be equipped to show it’s true potential. I feel this is highly relevant.
What does that mean? Well, if you have access to a good item level Tier 20, you’re unlikely to break it early on into Antorus. You’ll most likely make the switch when you get tier 21 4p. I would likely consider using normal tier in the weaker slots (cloak > shoulders / gloves) to round up your tier 21.
If you’re going from no tier into Antorus, then ignore what I said and just pick tier up as you go, however I wouldn’t drop item level to equip tier 21 2p.
What about tier combinations of tier 20 and 21?
Considering they swapped both our tier 20 and 21 at some point, none of the 2p bonus are interesting enough to warrant a “6 tier pieces” situation again, and considering how strong The Wind Blows and Chest are, this is not happening. Even if you lack those legendaries it will not be a thing.
This is a very hot topic. As Tier 21 floods us with resources, a lot of talents are going to be discussed. Obviously our lvl 100 talents are very related to the resource discussion with how much resources are generated during serenity. However so are our lvl 30 talents.
I’ll start off by killing a common belief. Just because tier 21 “works better with Storm, Earth, and Fire than with serenity” doesn’t mean that talent will be the best. This is poor logic. If the latter is superior to begin with, even though tier doesn’t favor it, we cannot deduce which one will come out on top.
lvl 100 talents
This is the hottest topic, and is being discussed all day by Windwalkers around the world. At times it’s been very clear cut, at times it’s very close. Both talents have had an edge.
Running The emperor’s capacitor has been known to be strong with serenity fueling it with a lot of stacks. However, you can use those very stacks during the Storm, Earth, and Fire buff easily, specially considering we’re not running Drinking Horn Cover all that much next tier.
Looking at the current situation won’t tell us much. Storm, Earth, and Fire should win in very short fights as it has two stacks of the buff at the begining of a fight, and we actually start to see some top parses on most types of fights running it. However, it’s not that clear cut and the longer the fights, the more we see serenity beating it (take Kil’Jeaden mythic for instance: longer fight, serenity definitely wins). Going into a new tier, where fights will last longer and you’ll get more casts of either spell, you could expect serenity to gain an even bigger edge.
However, serenity has big issues in tier 21: tier 21 itself. The spec is overflowed with resources with the lack of tier allowing us to expand more resources quicker.
Tier 21 makes the The Wind Blows much stronger. This is an issue since serenity is very strong in combination with the Drinking Horn Cover and The emperor’s capacitor. So you’ll have to lose one of your favorite toys, whereas Storm, Earth, and Fire, which didn’t benefit as much from the Drinking Horn Cover, will have more gains there.
Overall, what’s the end result? It’s impossible to say what people will be running. Fight types will matter a lot. As soon as you’ll see 2-5 targets cleave, I expect serenity to be very strong once again. You’ll have a solution to dump the resource excess into SCK as early as two targets, and serenity is the strongest cooldown on a few targets. When it’ll be add spawns at awkward timings, you can expect Storm, Earth, and Fire to shine as it’s flexibility will be very good.
On single target, I believe they’ll be quite close. Serenity might still be the superior talent but with how many things are working against it, I believe people who really can’t stand it will finally be able to succeed very decently. Rejoice!
lvl 45 talents
With the recent builds being ran, people have started to see the demise of the extremely strong Energizing Elixir. It’s alternatives have grown closer and closer, and are now beating it in sims.
Recently, it has come to the attention of everyone that our current talents/legendary builds were making it very hard to make any use out of this spell, which is unexpected. This is to the point where it makes sense to run something else on single target.
Now, you can still run it, because it will never be much worse than the other talents if at all. It is even harder for us to make simulationcraft use that spell than it is for you to time it well. Don’t take the sims too seriously on this talent row as fight types, downtime due to mechanics, add spawns will all affect your resource flow so much. Any use of SCK throughout the fight makes those sims inappropriate.
I will keep my judgement on these, but keep in mind: nothing comes close to the power level of Energizing Elixir. Refreshing your resources during AoE is extremely strong and will provide more resources than either alternative can, all centered around one specific moment.
Using it inside Storm, Earth, and Fire is very strong and is not something that’s shown into the sims.
lvl 15 talents
I put these last and I’ll be short because they don’t have that much of an impact. Unlike what you may believe, chi wave isn’t necessarily worse when you’re struggling to spend resources as it allows Hit Combo management. All in all, none of them will perform way out of line and it’s mostly down to a personal preference at this point. It’s better to use one well than another one badly.
Tier 21 is looking very straightforward, with lots of easy optimisation, choices, rotation. I’m expecting Windwalker to spike in popularity early on (that is, compared to how underplayed it was in Tomb.) I’m expecting us to be pretty good.
I’ll also warn you again about taking sims as too reliable of a source of information. The game is moving so quick, there are so many builds/legendaries/talents/timings/fight types/durations out there, sims will never treat them all equally. Sims are not okay to compare everything, nothing is. Keep an open mind, think for yourself, be critical, use logs to check what people are doing and you’ll perform better.
A new tool is coming online on wowanalyzer for Windwalkers. It’s been updated by a bunch of very smart monks out there. Keep an eye on that – it’s gonna be a wonderful tool in the coming tier in my opinion, replacing the glorious checkmywow better and better as time goes on!