Brewmaster Azerite Essences
Welcome to PeakofSerenity’s Brewmaster Monk Azerite Essence Guide. This guide is intended to give an overview of the essence choices for Brewmaster Monks. It does not cover basic concepts like activating essences.
This guide has been updated for Patch 8.2 (as of July 5th) and is regularly updated when discussion, theorycrafting, or testing yields new information.
These builds assume nothing about your group’s composition or the fight’s damage profile. Read on for details on what to swap to for specific situations.
- Worldvein Resonance is worth more DPS than any other minor (except Crucible of Flame) if at least 3 other melee players (including your cotank) have it. Since it also buffs melee’s DPS, it may also be worthwhile to socket the minor over a defensive minor simply to boost raid damage. If only 1-2 other players have it, it is worth more DPS than Sphere of Suppression.
- Null Dynamo becomes our highest-priority minor when a fight has a heavy DoT. If you have Rank 3, it also will be near or better than Conflict & Strife in this case.
- Gift may see use as a defensive major if you need more frequent access to burst damage reduction than Dampen Harm allows.
Note that there simply aren’t good general-purpose defensive essences. Thus, your essence choices for defensive play will have to be tuned to specific bosses. Unless an essence lines up well with a bosses’ mechanics, you should just use the a damage essence instead.
On that note: Crucible of Flame is likely to be your best single-target DPS essence for the forseeable future, and the versatility given by Conflict & Strife‘s minor is better in a vacuum than any other essence we have access to (aside from CoF itself). After that, Sphere simply gives a large amount of stats—even if they aren’t the best stats. Null Dynamo also provides a substantial DPS boost at Rank 3 if the fights support it. If magical raid/tank damage is high enough, it may become our default minor essence for both defensive and offensive purposes.
The bulk of this document is devoted to The Brewmaster Essence Guide. This guide is focused on high-end PvE content (especially Heroic & Mythic Raiding). These recommendations may not apply in PvP or world content.
Also note that the effects of essences scale with your Heart level, though the effect appears small. This means that although the raw numbers may go up, the relative power should stay about the same. As far as we can tell, if an essence has a flat number that can scale (like Crucible of Flame), then that scales and not the proc chance. Otherwise, the proc chance scales (in the case of Vision of Perfection‘s major and Lucid Dreams‘s minor).
General Essences are available to all specs in the game. Unlike traits, essences can only be used for their intended roles. This is presumably to avoid situations like nerfing Pressure Point specifically for Brewmasters. Thus, we do not have access to DPS-specific essences—no matter how much we may want them.
Crucible of Flame is a very simple essence. It is effectively two trinket effects merged into one item: an on-use damage (or very weak heal) and a proc damage-over-time effect (or very weak heal-over-time). Unfortunately, the way essences are currently tuned this is likely to be our go-to damage essence because the damage is simply so high (especially once you get Rank 2). Luckily, it is unlocked by default when you unlock the Heart Forge, and Rank 2 comes from ranking up your neck to 54 and then continuing that quest line.
Verdict: Use for DPS. Unfortunately, the nerfs to Hot Trub have pushed it towards the fringes, though it remains to be seen if Mythic Eternal Palace is high enough to put it above CoF.
This essence provides a small amount of Agility. While one user is not enough to cap out the buff at 4 stacks for any sustained length of time, shards from your essence affect other Worldvein users. Thus, although using this essence by yourself is inadvisable, if all melee users are wearing it as a minor it becomes quite potent even though we don’t value Agility very highly. Exactly how valuable it is depends on the amount of movement and number of melee wearing the essence.
Verdict: Maybe. The major on this is very weak, but if you have an entire melee cluster using the minor it gives a huge amount of stats and may be worth using.
This essence gives everyone access to an extremely under-tuned version of Momentum and, when used as your Major essence, a Transcendence: Transfer on a very short delay. The delay gets shorter as you rank up, inexplicably making this effect worse. The only reason I can see for us to ever use this in PvE is if we need to counteract a knockback that puts us out of Transcendence range. None of these currently exist, so you should probably just never use this.
Verdict: Skip. If you’re like me, you’ll never even unlock it because doing so requires turning War Mode on.
When used as a major, this essence will proc Angry Dave for about 11 seconds slightly more than once per minute. Rank 2 increases the duration of this effect. The minor effect decreases the cooldown of Fortifying Brew by 15%. The major effect is unlikely to be powerful enough as a DPS option to unseat Crucible of Flame, and the minor effect is incredibly weak.
Verdict: Skip. Despite other specs salivating over this essence, Brewmasters should just skip over it.
Both the major and minor effects of this essence increase our resource generation. However, Energy is largely useless for Brewmasters. To see this, note that we only have three abilities that use energy: Tiger Palm, Expel Harm and Keg Smash. Of these, only Tiger Palm is actually limited by energy generation. Alas, the damage from TP is so anemic that it’d be a DPS loss for us to add extra casts of it to our rotation in place of any other abilities, and the extra brew generation is better gotten from talents like Light Brewing and traits like Straight, No Chaser. Indeed, we are frequently faced with having too many resources and having to choose the least-bad way to waste them. As a result, this essence is not for us.
Verdict: Skip. If Energy were a limiting factor in our rotation, this essence might be usable. However, this is not the case and thus this essence isn’t worth remembering.
The hype attached to this essence has been unreal. We started off having the PvP talent Hot Trub unlocked in PvE via this essence. While we still have it, there have been two key nerfs that ultimately brought this essence low:
- damage was changed to split between all targets hit (which was necessary to avoid being hopelessly broken), and
- the damage was nerfed from 30% of purified damage to 20% of purified damage.
Wowhead’s tooltips may not reflect the latter change yet, but that appears to have shut down this essence as a viable DPS option. That said: this essence scales with the amount of incoming damage, and therefore if any fights in Eternal Palace have unexpectedly high damage, it may be worth slotting Conflict & Strife over Crucible of Flames. You can use the Hot Trub Time Machine on WoWAnalyzer to check how much damage it would have done on a given fight without having to equip or unlock it.
Verdict: Maybe. We’re holding out hope that this essence might be viable due to high tank damage in the coming tiers, but it unfortunately seems unlikely.
Before breaking down the individual essences, I have some bad news. You might want to take a seat for this, but here it goes: the tank essences are almost universally bad and should not be used in a raid environment. I am not just saying this as a filthy padder, though I have been known to sometimes use Dagger in the Back in my raid setup. This is also a different situation from defensive traits: while those were generally pretty weak outside of the innermost row, they competed with weak damage options. These defensive essences are weak but compete with strong damage options, so you’re sacrificing quite a bit for questionable gain.
Now, that said: you might want to use some of these essences to deal with specific fight mechanics, but there are (almost) none that you’ll want to slap on for every fight in the next tier. Their power level is simply too low outside of the niche they fill, and even sometimes within the niche they fill.
This essence combines a version of Ablative Shielding with a frankly absurd cooldown on the minor with a low-duration, low-cooldown Dampen Harm as the major. Even if you’re already choosing Ablative Shielding on your azerite gear, you probably don’t want to dedicate your essence slot to a higher-armor version with a 2-minute cooldown.
Further, we don’t often need Dampen Harm since they stopped putting tankbusters in raids, so if you need that effect you’re likely to switch talents off of Bob and Weave first rather than giving up your essence slot. That said: if there is a frequent, high-damage nuke that lines up well with this essence’s cooldown, it may see use.
Verdict: Niche. You don’t want this unless you are already using Dampen Harm and need an extra cooldown beyond it, but if you are in that situation you’ll be glad you had it.
Oh boy do I have some opinions on this. The minor is bonus HP that goes away when you actually need bonus HP. Rank 3 has a HoT, but its actually weaker than some of the azerite traits I rated as Skip, so I only mention it to avoid people DMing me about it on Discord. The active is a better or worse version of Idol depending on your point of view: Anima heals for less on a longer cooldown, but deals more damage.
While you might use this in Mythic+ for damage purposes, you won’t be using it defensively until your HP out-scales the Idol heal with Eternal Palace gear. This essence is also extremely bad in raids, since the active is going to be a 10% heal on a 2 minute cooldown on most fights, while Idol would let you leech from melee players.
Verdict: Maybe in Keys? You might use this for damage, and once the percentage heal on Anima out-scales Idol’s fixed value and even then only once you get Rank 3.
The minor effect of this essence gives you a reasonable amount of Versatility based on the number of enemies nearby. This bonus caps out at 2.5% damage reduction at 10 enemies within ten yards, which doubles to 5% damage reduction when below 35% health with Rank 2 of the essence.
The major effect is almost not worth discussing. It prevents a flat amount of damage from every hit for 15 seconds on a 2 minute cooldown (reduced to 1.5 minutes at Rank 2). This kind of effect is most beneficial against damage-over-time effects that deal a large number of small hits. If you read that and think of Stagger, I have some bad news: Aegis does not work on Stagger.
However, even if it did the effect would be too small to even consider. The major would stop absorbing all stagger damage once you reach at least 30k damage staggered, and would provide 10% Stagger DR at about 75% Stagger (just above the minimum for Heavy Stagger) in BoD gear. That is: it would be entirely useless at dealing with high Stagger damage. By the same token, it is also useless for dealing with the DoT effects that it actually does reduce, as well as at dealing with frequent small melee attacks. Do not ever, ever put this in your Major slot. It would need to be majorly buffed (read: DR increased five-fold at a minimum) before I’d even consider using it.
Verdict: Please, Please Skip. The major is a lost cause, and the minor is unlikely to be effective in keys at a measly 2.5% DR. I won’t blame you for buying it to complete your essence list, but it is a waste of manapearls.
Null Dynamo is one of the two essences I’d consider using as a default defensive essence in Eternal Palace. The major provides an (incredibly under-tuned) on-use magic absorb that is paired with a dispel at Rank 3. The minor provides a magic absorb that does up to 1.5k effective HPS (22k per 15 seconds at Rank 2). At rank 3, you deal damage equal to the amount absorbed split among nearby enemies.
Given the prevalence of magic effects in recent tiers (Champions, Jadefire, Rastakhan, Mekkatorque, Stormwall, and Jaina—or: every fight but Grong, Opulence, and Conclave in BoD—all had substantial magic damage dealt to tanks), this seems likely to be a reasonable defensive option that gains offensive power (to the tune of up to 1.5k DPS) at Rank 3.
Verdict: Niche. At Ranks 1 & 2, you will likely only use this if the fight has magic DoTs on the tank. At Rank 3, you might use it if you can reliably break the minor’s shield to provide a mixture of defensive & offensive power.
Sphere of Suppression is one of our best defensive essences in all scenarios. The major effect provides a strong AoE slow (perfect for Mythic+) tied to a hefty attack speed reduction that happens to work on raid bosses. Due to current tank damage profiles, the major is almost a simple 25% damage reduction for 8 seconds on a 45s cooldown (60s at Rank 1), which far outstrips every other option. As a bonus: you can use this as an external for your cotank in high-damage scenarios (for example: Uunat with multiple adds up).
The minor effect slows enemies when they hit you, and gives a decent amount of haste. Although Haste isn’t our best stat, free stats are free stats and this is totally fine.
Verdict: Good Luck in Ashran. This is the only essence that I’d consider for general defensive use in raids. However, it provides nearly no offensive power for limited defensive gain, which is not a great trade-off. That said: this seems great for Mythic+.
- 5 July 2019 — Updated rankings based on latest sims.
- 2 July 2019 — Updated Worldvein Resonance evaluation based on new numbers.