Tier 21 has started and with it the whirling dragon punch talent has grown in popularity once again.
Tier 21 forces most people out of the legendary wrists, which is a big hit already to serenity. Furthermore, previous tiers (tier 19 and tier 20) gave us more spells to cast, increasing serenity‘s power alot as we had more things to do.
Tier 21 does the exact opposite, granting us nothing to do but giving ressources. Because of that, whirling dragon punch is back and is looking very strong. Serenity is not dead, but even on single target it’s not king anymore. The flexibility of whirling dragon punch, the quality of life improvement it provides for some of the AoE we face in antorus will make it a very potent spell.

You may have stopped using that spell two tiers ago when the legendary chest was buffed and wrists was nerfed. This article aims to guide you into using SEF to it’s fullest in Antorus.

In this article, I’ll focus on the “new” build which people are not used to, using SEF with the legendary helm and chest.

What do I do during SEF

Without wrists, SEF is very straight forward (or so it seems.)
It’s a 15 seconds buff, so we can use up to 15 spells and have 1 second left over. Obviously as a monk you have some channels to think about!

During bloodlust

Without wrists there isn’t that much that changes during bloodlust.

Fists of Fury is a 24 seconds cooldown, so with 15% haste and bloodlust it’s up every 16 seconds: even with very high haste you would NOT be able to fit more than once fists even during bloodlust.

whirling dragon punch is on the same coolown as fists, so you’ll have a single one as well.

Rising sun kick is a 10 seconds cooldown, down to 7 seconds with just 10% haste and bloodlust. Therefore, you can cast 3 of them but it’s quite tight: it needs to be the first thing you do and then be used on cooldown.

Strike of the windlord is a 32 seconds cooldown with the legendary helm, so you could get two stacks of SEF used within bloodlust and have one Strike of the windlord in each if you so wish.

This last one gives you a proc of combo breaker, meaning you’ll need to use it within the window.

Let’s add this up: 3 RSKs, 1 SotW, 1 BoK, 3 seconds of Fists of Fury, 1 WDP: that’s 9 seconds worth of things to do, 10 chi spent. If you start on 4 chi and use Energizing Elixir smartly, you have everything easily covered. This means you’ll have an easy 5-6 GCDs to play with, so you could even save Energizing Elixir or delay it a bit.

To sum it up: during a blood lust opener, the one “hard” thing to perform is getting the three Rising sun kicks in. This is an example string for your opener:

TP -> Chi Wave -> TP -> TOD -> SEF + RSK -> SotW -> EE + FOF -> WDP -> BOK -> RSK -> …

Keep in mind there is NO RUSH to use your combo breaker procs as long as you don’t risk overwriting them.

I went with the OPENER here, where you usually don’t have access to the legendary chest’s effect. Of course, in dungeons, or when bloodlust is used for last phases, things are different, but CJL is easiest fit during bloodlust anyways as it’s down to less than 3 seconds.

Outside of bloodlust

Same questions arise.

Fists of Fury is a 24 seconds cooldown, so there is no way you’ll get more than one.

whirling dragon punch is on the same coolown as fists, so you’ll have a single one as well.

Rising sun kick is a 10 seconds cooldown, down to 9 seconds with just 10% haste. You would need insane amounts of haste to get three inside the buff, which is not happening. You’ll settle for two of those, which means you really want to use one in the first 5-6 seconds of the buff. Usually, this means don’t use SEF if you just used Rising sun kick.

Strike of the windlord is a 32 seconds cooldown with the legendary helm, so it’s very easy to get one inside every SEF window. It’s effect with the legendary helm and tier 21 is overwhelming so make sure you get all of that in.

The emperor’s capacitor can be charged up slightly more often than every minute, so it can be used in most SEF after the opener one.

This adds up to 2 RSKs, 1 SotW, 1 BoK, 1 FoF, 1 WDP, 1 CJL. That’s 8 chi spent, 5 GCDs used and two 3.6 seconds channels. That’s allready 12-13 seconds of your SEF buff used to fit all of that in. This means you don’t have that much room for tiger palms and giggles.

I won’t give a sequence of what to cast in what order as the time the spells will come off cooldown may vary and it’s pretty straightforward how to fit it all in.

Worth noting, one determining factor to when to cast SEF could be the fact that you just got a combo breaker proc. This will grant you one chi gain and an extra GCD worth of stuff to do. This makes it even tigher to fit it all and easier to get the chi!

Also worth noting, you will likely use 1-3 tiger palms at most during the buff. If you want to use energizing elixir during SEF, you DON’T want to start the buff with very high energy: you don’t need to pool that many ressources, just starting with 3-4 chi and having EE should be enough.

The emperor’s capacitor

This is one big legendary which hasn’t been used all that much with SEF in the past. The common belief was that it was better used with serenity because of all the free spells granting stacks. Allthough that is true, SEF allows you to freely cast the lightning during your damage buff which is a lot of extra damage.

Back when we first started using it, I wrote an article on how to best use this legendary. Allthough it mentions tier 19 a bit, that tier barely had any impact on gameplay. You’ll find valuable information in there as to when and how to cast the lightning. I’ll mention a few SEF specific things here.

Not using it allways on 20 stacks is more relevant than ever here. It’s allready enough of a puzzle to line up every piece together for SEF windows, so being rigid about it won’t do you any good. Be ready to use it as low as 15 stacks if the time is right, allthough 17-20 is favored.

If you start casting it during SEF and move, you’ll stop channeling but your clones won’t. Allthough this should usually be avoided, many of us know how annoying it is when you start channeling your 8 millions damage spell with a 1 minute cooldown and you get targeted by a mechanic and need to move out. You can keep an eye on boss mods but the rotation is pretty tight allready. The fact that you won’t lose clone uptime as they’ll keep channeling it really is a big plus. They also channel it significantly faster than you so you can get back into action really fast.

It is absolutely fine, if not desired, to get your channels cast towards the very end of SEF. Your clones will channel faster, so in most cases if you cut two ticks off them it will end up damage neutral as your last tick will not benefit from the damage decrease. In some cases it will even be a damage increase. So, never be afraid to cast a 3.6 seconds channel with only 2.3 seconds left on SEF.

When do I use SEF

This is a big questions, and a lot of elements mentionned above will help you figure this out.

On patchwerk

Based on what we said above, you’ll see that there are so many rules it will pretty much dictate when to do it.

If you want The emperor’s capacitor to be up, that’s allready only happening roughly once a minute. You can use SEF up to 15-20 seconds before you would reach 20 stacks, so that’s actually a pretty large window.

If you want Strike of the windlord to be used inside of the buff, it needs to be on less than 15 seconds cooldown, preferably less than 13 seconds to get the free proc in too, which happens pretty much half the time: this is pretty easy to do but getting that on top of the rest of conditions is a thing.

Rising sun kick needs to be used early everytime so that makes it slightly harder as well. It’s up all the time, but needing it up early on might change your timing by a couple seconds.

It’s exceedingly easy to get Fists of Fury and whirling dragon punch in, but requires you to think about it slightly.

Energizing Elixir adds a 1 minute cooldown to fit in, which is quite awkward. However you can delay it slightly to use it inside the buff and get the most out of everything, which makes it possible. However, considering how smooth it is to generate chi with tier 21, you might just bypass it if all the other elements line up, and fill the few remaining GCDs in SEF with chi generators.

This might sound like a lot of things to line up, but actually it’ll come down to a couple macro decisions (Strike/Chest stacks/Energizing elixir) and a couple micro decisions (delaying a few seconds to ensure you get the small cooldowns inside).

On AoE

There are many reasons you want to use SEF on AoE. Lining up your heavy AoE hitters, getting extra mark of the crane stacks quickly, increasing the damage of your spells at the time you’re doing the most…

Due to SEF having two stacks, it’s extremely easy to line it up with AoE without even checking a boss mode. This makes it a very good AoE cooldown, less potent than serenity, but it has so much more quality of life.

When you line it up with AoE, you’re gonna make sacrifices. Once you get a few targets, you’ll stop using Rising sun kick in favor of spinning crane kick. You may want to use a last one slightly before AoE to ensure you get a free whirling dragon punch in.
It is highly convenient that the more targets you get, the less relevant spells you have: it makes it easier to say “this was the right time to use SEF anyways, because all these conditions I have to use it on single targets are not valid anymore.”

A small tip on AoE is that you can target the adds who are the furthest away: this will prevent your clones to go there themselves, while you can target that add while remaining on the inside of the pack and still hitting plenty of targets.

Last tips

Forget all I said before.
This is a slight exageration but the perks of SEF are also to be a very flexible cooldown. Sometimes the bosses will dictate what you can do.

Think of Imonar, the soulhunter: during each transition, you’ll be inactive for a significant amount of time, meaning when you reach him you’ll have everything up. It’ll come naturally that this is the right time to use SEF.
Take Kin’garoth now: You can use one stack of SEF on pull with everything up, then 30 seconds in your CJL is allmost ready, Strike of the windlord is coming off cooldown and the vulnerability phase starts: there is no doubt you’re using an SEF charge whenever this happens.

It’s good to be aware of how much time you have inside the SEF buff, of how often your cooldowns line up within 15 seconds of one another. It’s also good to focus on the rest of the fight. Being aware of mechanics/add spawns/vulnerabilities/downtime will matter much more than having perfect patchwerk mentality.

Nowdays, concordance of the legionfall is so potent, it can itself justify using a slightly off timing SEF that’s missing the chest buff or whatnot but will do just as much because of the agility gain for instance.

Maybe this article can teach you a few things about how much you can get off your SEF. There is still plenty I could say on that topic, but this sounds like a good start for now!

Am I doing something wrong?

Your boy Juko from Peak of Serenity has recently updated, with several other smart monks, the windwalker wowanalyzer tool. This makes it a very good tool and specifically, it can tell you how much damage you got in each SEF window, as well as which spells you used there. This is a very good way to visualize what you’re doing wrong/right!


I might do a weakaura at some point that looks into the cooldowns of all relevant spells and assesses how good SEF would be.
I’ll try to write something about serenity with tier 21 soon, as people will be confused to be missing the wrists!
Much love, ask questions to me in discord,