Blizzard has “fixed” this bug by preventing SEF from being canceled in any way. So this article is no longer relevant.
You can still squeeze a WDP at the end of SEF for added bonus, you just cancel it manually, and the window is only a few tenths of a second, less with latency.
I suggest reading through to fully understand this trick before using it anyway, and using the TL;DR as a quick reference.
If you’ve used Storm, Earth, and Fire pretty much ever in the last 2 years, you probably know that it’s not exactly the most perfectly functioning spell in the game. It’s got its fair share of bugs. Sometimes your clones don’t get their first cast off, sometimes they seem to just stand there, and occasionally they mimic your abilities like they’re supposed to. But this article is here to explain that not every bug associated with Storm, Earth, and Fire is a negative. This is your guide to using your clones to their fullest (unintended) potential, at least for one GCD per Storm, Earth, and Fire cast.
Use this one weird trick to gain DPS. Blizzard hates it!
So what exactly is the bug we’re talking about here? The answer has to do with the way you and your clones deal reduced damage. As you probably know, when you pop Storm, Earth, and Fire , you summon two clones that each mimic your abilities. Both clones and the spirit you control all deal 45% of your normal damage. This damage reduction is applied by the actual buff, Storm, Earth, and Fire , that appears on your character and clones during the duration of the spell. Right-clicking off this buff or removing it by any other means will take away the damage reduction, but also despawn your clones. The bug that we’re going to take advantage of here is that the clones don’t actually despawn right away. You may recall the FSK-like animation of your clones rushing back into your body as they despawn, whether it is naturally as the buff runs out, or a forced despawn when you remove the buff. During essentially this window, the Storm, Earth, and Fire buff is gone, but your clones are technically still active. What you can do is use a spell in this time and try to get you and your two clones to perform the attack… but without the damage set to 45% of normal value.
Now, that may sound like a daunting feat, and if you try to perfectly time it when your clones despawn, it’s very difficult. I only discovered it by mistake (independently, long after a handful of high level monks knew the trick as an open secret) when testing an opener for my other article and reviewing logs. But don’t worry, there’s a (relatively) much more consistent way to pull it off. For the two spells that will be discussed below (and these are the two best spells to use with the trick), here are the macros that I’ve been using:
/cast Whirling Dragon Punch
/cancelaura Storm, Earth, and Fire
/cast Rising Sun Kick
/cancelaura Storm, Earth, and Fire
What Do These Do? How Do I Use Them?
First of all, let me be very clear in explaining what the macros do. They use the spell, Whirling Dragon Punch or Rising Sun Kick, and cancel the Storm, Earth, and Fire buff, forcing your clones to despawn. That means your Storm, Earth, and Fire will be over once you use either of these macros. So it follows that you want to use whichever one fits the situation (sit tight for that) as close to the end of Storm, Earth, and Fire as you can, so that you waste as little of the window as possible. This means that you can hold Rising Sun Kick/Whirling Dragon Punch for a little so that you use them last, and perform your filler Tiger Palm/Blackout Kick/Chi Burst/Fists of Fury etc before these spells, or even end Storm, Earth, and Fire early to use them before a target dies. Before I dive into exactly when to use which spell, let me go into more detail about how the macros work with both Rising Sun Kick and Whirling Dragon Punch.
A note on the actual macro buttons: since the macro cancels Storm, Earth, and Fire when you press it, don’t press it until Rising Sun Kick/Whirling Dragon Punch are available to use and then only press it once. Don’t spam it early, or you will cancel Storm, Earth, and Fire without even using the intended spell. For keybinding, I recommend using a modifier that you don’t use anywhere else and are unlikely to hit by accident. For example, my Rising Sun Kick and Whirling Dragon Punch are on 3 and 5. Shift+3 and shift+5 are unrelated keys. I bound the macros to alt+3 and alt+5, which is intentionally awkward to press, so that I won’t cancel Storm, Earth, and Fire by mistake.
Rising Sun Kick vs Whirling Dragon Punch Details
These two spells are the best to use with this macro for the simple reason that they do the most damage in a single GCD, so they benefit from this boost the most out of any spells we have. It’s also worth nothing right off the bat that Whirling Dragon Punch is the better of the two, even in pure single target situations. The reason that Rising Sun Kick will be discussed too is that, for one thing, in single target their damage is very very similar (if they both act like we want them to). More importantly, you might not always get Whirling Dragon Punch to line up near the natural end of Storm, Earth, and Fire , so Rising Sun Kick can be another good option for single target. Let’s go over some general details of how the trick performs and how it interacts with each spell. There’s a few key things to know:
- This trick is definitely not an exact science, and sometimes it seems to give unexpected results regardless of the rest of the guidelines listed below.
- This trick is ping dependent. The higher your ping, the less consistent the bonus damage is. My testing results are from a connection with about a 67 ms ping on average.
- This trick is dependent on the position of your clones when you hit the macro. Generally, the closer they are to your actual character, the more likely it is to work. Rushing back from faraway targets, or even the other side of a boss with a very large hitbox, can cause it to fail sometimes.
- A “failure” in each case is still, in every test I could recreate, better than just normally casting the spell without the macro. So there’s no reason to not use one of these macros as long as the spell you’re using lines up somewhat with the end of Storm, Earth, and Fire.
- Rising Sun Kick: Generally I could not get the full benefit of the trick with Rising Sun Kick. The most common outcome was both of my clones doing 100% damage (as in, the damage that an Rising Sun Kick would deal outside of Storm, Earth, and Fire), and my character’s own spirit dealing the intended 45% damage. (It’s possible the explanation behind this is the clones’ boosted haste so that their channeled spells don’t last longer than yours.) When I tested with clone spread to faraway targets, the typical result was the furthest clone doing 0 damage, the closer clone dealing 100%, and my character doing 45%. This still adds up to 145% damage, which is higher than the 135% of a normal Rising Sun Kick cast within Storm, Earth, and Fire. Other times, the trick seemed to “fail” completely, and both clones and myself would each deal the intended 45% damage. I could not recreate a situation where both clones did nothing, or one did 45% damage, and I did 45% damage, which would be the only scenarios where using the macro would be a downside.
- Whirling Dragon Punch: Overall the macro is MUCH more consistent when using Whirling Dragon Punch. In pretty much every situation, both clones dealt a full 100% damage on all three hits of Whirling Dragon Punch. My own character would flip flop between dealing 100% with all three hits, and dealing 100% on two hits and 45% on the last.
- The takeaway is that “failures” are still as good or better than either cast without the macro. So as long as it doesn’t cause you to miss other casts in Storm, Earth, and Fire (and even if it makes you miss a bit), it’s definitely worth using these macros right now.
When Do I Use Each?
Ideally, you would use the /cancelaura Whirling Dragon Punch at the end of every Storm, Earth, and Fire. This does the most damage in all situations and is the most consistent. However, it’s good to have the Rising Sun Kick macro bound as sort of a backup in case Whirling Dragon Punch doesn’t line up well with the end of Storm, Earth, and Fire. Just looking at the numbers, a full /cancelaura Whirling Dragon Punch deals 245%-300% damage of a normal Whirling Dragon Punch (compared to 135% used normally in Storm, Earth, and Fire), so even if it doesn’t line up amazingly, this is definitely worth holding a cast for, and especially in AoE situations. Rising Sun Kick would come into play mostly in single target scenarios, since the difference between the two is small at that point (assuming the Rising Sun Kick gets a lot of bonus damage from the trick). An example of this would be your (non-Bloodlust) opener on a single target boss. At that point, you might as well use Whirling Dragon Punch in its normal spot, then hold the second Rising Sun Kick cast for a few seconds (and use your Tiger Palm/Blackout Kick/Chi Burst filler beforehand instead) and use the /cancelaura Rising Sun Kick as the last spell of Storm, Earth, and Fire. In the Bloodlust version of the opener, you should already be using a 3rd Rising Sun Kick at the end of Storm, Earth, and Fire, so you just use the macro in its place. On a boss with AoE windows, such as Zek’voz, it can be worth it to hold Whirling Dragon Punch until the end of your opener’s Storm, Earth, and Fire instead. On that particular boss, I found that I was holding a later cast of Whirling Dragon Punch to use on the phase 1 small adds at the end of a Storm, Earth, and Fire anyways, so holding it in my opener had no impact on my later rotation. If you want to play it safe, don’t hold Whirling Dragon Punch in your opener, but there are definitely times when you can.
Something I just touched on that’s key to this is holding Whirling Dragon Punch to use with the /cancelaura macro at the end of an Storm, Earth, and Fire in AoE. This is easily the biggest strength of the macro. On dungeon packs and situations where you have a lot of targets not too spread out, you definitely want to line up Whirling Dragon Punch to use with this macro. This can mean you end up holding Whirling Dragon Punch for a fairly long time just to take advantage of this, or even end Storm, Earth, and Fire early if you know the extra time would be spent on filler spells and mobs may be dying or getting out of range soon. In an ideal scenario, you would pop Storm, Earth, and Fire when there’s about 13-14 seconds left on Whirling Dragon Punch‘s cooldown so that you hold it for as little as possible. In a situation where adds will last less than 15 seconds, you can use Storm, Earth, and Fire a few seconds before spawn since you’re going to end up canceling it with the Whirling Dragon Punch macro anyways to get the most damage.
- Use the above macros as close to the end of Storm, Earth, and Fire as you can to get lots of extra damage on a cast of Rising Sun Kick/Whirling Dragon Punch (up to 300% normal damage).
- In almost all situations, especially AoE, try to use the macro with Whirling Dragon Punch over Rising Sun Kick.
- To make this work as smoothly as possible, try to use Storm, Earth, and Fire with ~13-14 seconds left on Whirling Dragon Punch‘s cooldown.
- Getting off the /cancelaura Whirling Dragon Punch on multiple targets is worth a huge amount. This means delaying Whirling Dragon Punch for a while/canceling Storm, Earth, and Fire early can also be very worth doing.
- For a video demonstration, see below.
For those of you who prefer a video, or just to see an example of the /cancelaura macro, check out Kuya’s explanation & demonstration video here.
Sidenote: Swift Roundhouse
This is mostly irrelevant with the recent nerfs, but it’s worth noting. The Rising Sun Kick version of trick doesn’t work amazingly with the trait Swift Roundhouse. Results were wildly inconsistent, but the gist of it is that it was that clones didn’t always keep the SR stacks when using their Rising Sun Kick as they despawned. This means the Rising Sun Kick damage they dealt was with 0 stacks a lot of the time, making it not worth using over a normal Rising Sun Kick with Swift Roundhouse stacks in Storm, Earth, and Fire.
Another sidenote: The Future
With 8.1 PTR coming soon, it’s possible that some bug fixes for Storm, Earth, and Fire come along with it. This means there’s a chance, however small, that this stops working when that patch (or a later one hits). Let’s see if we get another sub-24 hour turnaround that invalidates an entire article!