With the buffs in 8.3 this playstyle is no longer valid


If you’ve been following the events that have transpired the past few days in Discord, then you’re probably aware that we’ve been discussing the pros/cons of dropping Rising Sun Kick from our single target priority. This is something that we’ve always feared would be possible, but it looks like the gear available in Eternal Palace has finally tipped the scale, and that scale will only be tipped more as our item level goes up. Credit to Zayd for being the first to suggest we check it out, and for doing a big chunk of the legwork in getting the sim APL set up, as well as Wusage and Shakugan for helping me get much of it figured out over this week.


What is happening?

Ever since Open Palm Strikes was introduced, the amount of our damage that comes from Fists of Fury has increased. As our item level has increased, the damage of Open Palm Strikes has scaled faster than the damage from our other abilities, leading to a bigger chunk of Fists of Fury‘s total damage coming from Open Palm Strikes. As the damage portion that comes from Fists of Fury has increased, so to has the value of the 1 second of cooldown reduction that is provided by Blackout Kick. This has caused Blackout Kick (when you consider the damage provided from Fists of Fury) to be equal to, or even beat out Rising Sun Kick on a damage-per-chi comparison, which is how we typically compare our abilities to determine their priority outside of cooldown windows.

This means that it has recently become worthwhile to drop using Rising Sun Kick in single target situations, outside of cooldown windows, and funnel that Chi into more Blackout Kick in order to get even more Fists of Fury. However, if you have even one trait of Glory of the Dawn, the damage increase it gives to Rising Sun Kick makes using Rising Sun Kick worthwhile in single target, moving us back to the “old” rotation. We already drop Rising Sun Kick from the rotation with 3 or more targets, except to use Whirling Dragon Punch.


How it works

It works exactly the way that you’d expect. We call it “RSKless” because you use… wait for it… less Rising Sun Kicks. Basically, you only cast Rising Sun Kick under three circumstances:

  1. You need it to activate Whirling Dragon Punch.
  2. You are about to cap resources and you just used Blackout Kick, so you’d Blackout Kick > Rising Sun Kick > Blackout Kick to get away from energy and Chi cap.
  3. You have a window of time where you don’t need to worry about Chi, such as during Storm, Earth, and Fire if you managed your Chi correctly.

This gives you more free Chi to use on Blackout Kick to reduce the cooldown of Fists of Fury to give you more Fists of Fury. This rotation is easier with one less cooldown to worry about, but centers entirely around managing your resources. Every moment you delay Fists of Fury, because you mismanaged your cooldowns or your resources, the gain by changing to this playstyle becomes less.

And that’s really it. There’s nothing spectacular or different to this playstyle, you just use less Rising Sun Kick and weave in more Blackout Kick to get more Fists of Fury.


Other Notes
  • Because the emphasis is on getting as may Fists of Fury as possible, we are not as concerned with energy capping during Fists of Fury. The priority is to get as many Fists of Fury out as possible, with as little delay as possible. However, the less energy you’re able to waste, the better your DPS will be. This is what will separate the good from the great.
  • Any downtime on the fight, or time where Fists of Fury can’t be cast, limit the efficacy of this playstyle. That’s the case with anything for Windwalkers, but this is hurt slightly more then the traditional playstyle.
  • Limited testing initially shows that this may lessen, or outright remove, the frequency of Whirling Dragon Punch not being castable due to short term Haste increases. No promises it won’t still happen, but when testing in raid, I personally didn’t notice. I am retiring from raiding due to lack of paying attention, so take that with a grain of salt.


Other Questions (FAQs)

I know there will be more questions about this, so I’ll try to preempt some of them, and update this section if need be.

How much stronger is this playstyle? Do I HAVE to switch?

Its only slightly stronger on 1 and 2 targets than the playstyle with Rising Sun Kick. Sims put it at about 0.5%-0.8% difference, but its likely that, if you play well, you could squeeze out a small amount more. Don’t expect this to be a drastic increase in your single target damage. It should minimize the opportunity for mistakes, but won’t rocket you up the charts. The gap should widen a bit as our gear level goes up, or if you’re Azerite is disproportionally higher than the rest of your gear.

Do Sims follow this?

Yes, the current Raidbots Nightly has it. It also has changes to our essences and Cyclo usage, although there’s still room for improvement on those.

What other talents should I take?

It doesn’t drastically affect our talent choices. You stick with Hit Combo, Whirling Dragon Punch, and can go with whatever level 15 and 45 talents you feel most comfortable with, which may be the same, or may be different than when using the other playstyle. There is some discussion about this maybe making long forgotten talents like Spiritual Focus stronger, maybe even worth using Vision, but that will take some time and testing to figure out.

Do I need 3 Open Palm Strikes traits to use this?

Napkin math says “Yes”, Sims say “No”. The more Open Palm Strikes traits you have, the bigger the gap will be between using this playstyle and the old one, but the maximum gap is small enough that you can mostly change when you like. If you like this playstyle better, then use it more, you should be aiming to rock 3 Open Palm Strikes traits anyway. If you don’t like this playstyle, then don’t use it, your ability to execute either playstyle will have more effect on your DPS than the playstyle you choose. The biggest thing is that you don’t switch to this style if you have any Glory of the Dawn traits.

Should I be avoiding Glory of the Dawn traits?

Not particularly. We found small inconsistencies with the strength of Glory of the Dawn in sims that will see its value drop, but there also may be other inconsistencies that increase its damage slightly. Its still better to get 3 Open Palm Strikes and 1 Glory of the Dawn then to have 2 Open Palm Strikes and other things.

Does this change anything else?

Not that we’ve discovered yet.

Didn’t we go through this already?

Yes. This is how Windwalker was during the Battle for Azeroth pre-expansion patch. It was a completely unbearable way to play the spec, and was fixed by Blizzard shortly after it was deployed. Thankfully, due to not having the Legion legendaries to worry about, playing this style is nowhere near as awful as it was in Legion. I personally found it rather enjoyable.

Won’t this get fixed too?

Its always possible that this will be rendered useless somehow, only time will tell. There will be a big banner at the top of this page if that’s the case.

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