Brewmaster PvE Quick Guide
This guide is designed to be a basic, quick guide for Brewmaster with just the information you need. For more in-depth, advanced, information follow the links to those pages in the “Further Reading” sections or in the “Advanced” section in the menu above. Navigate quickly to the section you need using the sidebar on the right.
This guide has been updated for Dragonflight and is regularly updated when discussion, theorycrafting, or testing yields new information.
For Brewmasters, it can be said that roughly 19 points of your specialization tree in particular are “locked in” and will rarely be changed. Despite this, there are two distinct builds present depending on the number of targets you are facing. Both are shown below.
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Personal Preference Changes:
- You have a buffer of roughly four points to stretch into whatever utility you may need in the class tree. This can be as simple as dropping Improved Touch of Death or Detox for Hasty Provocation, or backtracking through Chi Wave to get the points for Bounce Back, Summon Black Ox Statue, and Generous Pour.
- In the Brewmaster tree, you can use Charred Passions and Special Delivery instead of Dragonfire Brew and Rushing Jade Wind if fighting in single-target. Against 2 or more enemies, however, Dragonfire Brew and Rushing Jade Wind will provide more damage.
- In terms of your own defense and self-healing, you are largely free to choose what you want out of Staggering Strikes, Healing Elixir, or Quick Sip. Spirit of the Ox and Gift of the Ox are non-negotiable. You should also consider removing the point in Face Palm for a second point of High Tolerance.
- If you are feeling particularly ambitious, consider running Blackout Combo.
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Personal Preference Changes:
- Depending on what utilities the dungeon would benefit from, you may want to talent into Detox, Hasty Provocation, or a second rank of Generous Pour.
- If defense is not necessary, Pretense of Instability may be exchanged for Chi Surge. Blackout Combo may also be considered for a more advanced playstyle.
- Face Palm and Counterstrike may be exchanged for two points of High Tolerance if you need more defense.
Brewmasters follow a priority system rather than a strict rotation, based on which abilities are coming off cooldown and how much Energy is available. In addition, use of this priority system impacts your unique defensive tools, many of which get reduced cooldowns from your offensive abilities. With this in mind, your main pillars of playing Brewmaster are the following:
- Keg Smash and Blackout Kick are cast on cooldown: simply put, Keg Smash is the most important ability you have as a Brewmaster. It both deals a large amount of your total damage, and gives the most defensive benefits. Blackout Kick falls into a similar spot, providing both plenty of damage and defense on a very low cooldown.
- Stagger is not damage reduction by itself: Although Stagger does not make you take the full amount of damage from a hit right away, if you do not do anything about the damage in your Stagger pool you are still taking the full hit over a period of 10 or 13 seconds. Making proper use of Purifying Brew in particular is the biggest difference between an average Brewmaster and a great one.
- Use the right cooldown for the job: Brewmasters have many defensive cooldowns in Dragonflight, including Dampen Harm, Diffuse Magic, Zen Meditation, Fortifying Brew (and its modifier talents), Invoke Niuzao, the Black Ox, and Celestial Brew. Some of these abilities have cooldown timers that are much longer than the others, and some have their cooldowns reduced by your other abilities and talents. While this will make things complicated in judging the “value” of using one, in general you should consider abilities with longer cooldowns as being your “stronger” ones that you should be more judicious about using. Likewise, you shouldn’t be using a magic damage reduction cooldown like Diffuse Magic against Physical damage. Plan appropriately!
Although these three big guidelines may seem daunting to follow, the Brewmaster ability priority will become second-nature over time, as many of your effects are passively performed by following it correctly. The hard part is getting over the initial learning curve (and number of keybinds). With that in mind, here is your full ability priority as a Brewmaster Monk.
- Touch of Death, if possible
- Invoke Niuzao, the Black Ox (unless you are saving it defensively)
- Bonedust Brew, if talented
- Blackout Kick (if Charred Passions is talented and active)
- Keg Smash
- Breath of Fire
- Weapons of Order
- Blackout Kick (regardless of talents)
- Rising Sun Kick
- Exploding Keg
- Spinning Crane Kick (if Charred Passions is active and fighting 2+ targets)
- Chi Wave
- Rushing Jade Wind (cast this just before entering combat as well!)
- Tiger Palm/Spinning Crane Kick in single-target or AoE, respectively, so long as you will have enough Energy to spend on Keg Smash once it is off cooldown again.
Ability Usage Notes
- Keg Smash – Your highest-priority Energy ability; also grants Shuffle and cooldown reduction to your “Brew” abilities.
- Blackout Kick – Your highest-priority free ability; also grants Shuffle to improve your Stagger.
- Breath of Fire– A damage-over-time effect that also reduces damage enemies deal to you. This ability’s cooldown does not matter due to the Sal’salabim’s Strength talent.
- Rising Sun Kick – Although it has no interactions with the rest of your toolkit, this ability deals massive damage while also being free and having a low cooldown. Use it as often as you can.
- Gift of the Ox – You will passively generate a healing sphere for every 100% of your maximum health taken as damage (before counting any Armor or mitigation).
- Expel Harm – A cheap, low-cooldown heal that will also immediately gather any Gift of the Ox spheres present.
- Tiger Palm/Spinning Crane Kick – Your main “filler” abilities that also cost Energy. In general, use Tiger Palm in single-target and Spinning Crane Kick when facing 2 or more enemies, regardless of talents.
- Charred Passions/Dragonfire Brew – Two competing choice talents that both interact with Breath of Fire. Due to Sal’salabim’s Strength, both talents are competitive in single-target, though Charred Passions has an advantage against 2-5 targets and Dragonfire Brew against 6 or more.
- Rushing Jade Wind/Special Delivery – Two choices on the same talent node that increase your damage. Keep Rushing Jade Wind‘s buff active if you have it.
- Purifying Brew – Used to reduce your Staggered damage; gets cooldown reduction from Keg Smash and Tiger Palm.
- Celestial Brew – Cast this ability more or less on cooldown, as it offers defensive benefits and gets cooldown reduction from Keg Smash and Tiger Palm.
- Dampen Harm/Diffuse Magic/Fortifying Brew/Zen Meditation – your primary defensive cooldowns. Use as appropriate based on both the type of damage being taken and how large the hits are.
- Exploding Keg – You deal additional damage to all targets hit by this ability for 3 seconds based on the number of hits you deal. This means you should aim to use Spinning Crane Kick in these windows.
- Invoke Niuzao, the Black Ox – For the most part, this cooldown is more defensive in Dragonflight, as his potential Stomp damage has been both reduced and requires an investment of three talent points to gain strength; may be situationally useful in raids.
- Bonedust Brew – This ability does gain cooldown reduction from Keg Smash and Tiger Palm. Do not cast if your target already has a debuff from the Bountiful Brew talent.
- Weapons of Order – Use this ability on cooldown for bonus damage. So long as you are properly casting Keg Smash, you will already be maximizing this ability’s potential.
- Touch of Death – Use when it can be triggered. If you are looking to really min/max, you can make sure to only use it when it will kill the target, as this can do a maximum of 100% of your HP as damage instead of the 35% it normally does to boss targets.
- Summon White Tiger Statue – Mostly a “use on cooldown” button, easiest way is to macro it to something with an @cursor or @player targeting conditional.
Offense: Agility (item level) > Critical Strike = Versatility > Mastery = Haste
Defense: Item level (item level) > Mastery > Versatility = Critical Strike > Haste
The offensive stat priority can change for your character depending on your current gear and stats. Stat weights are largely an outdated thought. Sim the gear you have through Top Gear. If you’re looking for what gear to aim for, use Droptimizer.
Dual Wielding vs 2 Handed Weapons
TL;DR: Generally, dual wielding wins for now with full enchants and consumables. It is possible that later in the expansion, 2 handed weapons will pull ahead. For specific situations or item level gaps, sim your character’s options with Raidbot’s Top Gear Tool.
Early sims and quick math show that the difference between 2 handed weapons and dual wielding should play out roughly the same way it did in Shadowlands, with dual wielding generally being better. This mostly happens because of very powerful enchants coming in Dragonflight. For some math behind this topic from the Peak of Serenity discord, click here. As always, the best way to tell what is best for your character is to use Raidbot’s Top Gear Tool for the most specific and accurate results.
Use Raidbot’s Top Gear Tool for the most specific and accurate results for your character. In general, it will usually follow the stat priority above.
- Weapon – Enchant Weapon – Frozen Devotion (2h)
- Weapon – Enchant Weapon – Frozen Devotion or Enchant Weapon – Burning Writ (dual wield offhand; damage), Enchant Weapon – Sophic Devotion (minor defense)
- Cloak – Enchant Cloak – Graceful Avoidance/Regenerative Leech/Homebound Speed (Avoidance, Leech, or Movespeed; largely your preference)
- Chest – Enchant Chest – Waking Stats or Accelerated Agility (slightly less Agility in exchange for movement speed)
- Bracers – Enchant Bracer – Devotion of Avoidance/Leech/Speed (Avoidance, Leech, or Movespeed; largely your preference)
- Boots – Enchant Boots – Watcher’s Loam/Plainsrunner’s Breeze (Stamina or Movespeed; your preference)
- Ring – Enchant Ring – Devotion of Versatility as a general recommendation, or sim for your character
- Armor Kit – Frosted Armor Kit/Fierce Armor Kit > Reinforced Armor Kit (these are functionally enchants)
The easiest thing is to look at the lists on BloodMallet or HeroDamage. They’re lists based on the sim profiles.
Sim the gear you have through Top Gear. If you’re looking for what gear to aim for, use Droptimizer.
- Phial – Phial of Glacial Fury/Phial of Tepid Versatility
- Potion – Elemental Potion of Ultimate Power/Potion of Shocking Disclosure
- Food – Hoard of Draconic Delicacies/Grand Banquet of the Kalu’ak/Fated Fortune Cookie. You can use stat food that matches your gems/ring enchants as well.
- Weapon Enhancement – Buzzing Rune (use 2 if dual wielding)
Currently, all races sim within a small range of each other and reshuffle constantly. The added utility of Blood Elf’s Arcane Torrent can be useful at times. Other than that, pick whatever race you prefer.
Professions have no bearing on your ability to perform your role. Pick whatever will make your playing time easier and more enjoyable. As a starting point, many players take Engineering and/or Alchemy for some small perks.
There are very few, if any, required WeakAuras for Brewmaster. The most commonly used are to track current Stagger damage, though WeakAuras can be used for more complicated tasks as well such as monitoring the health of your Black Ox Statue.
- Traditional Stagger
- Use this aura to track Stagger more effectively. Traditional Stagger can let you adjust how your Stagger is displayed in a number of ways, such as how much of your Maximum Health is being Staggered, the total amount per tick, and the like.
- Black Ox Statue Health can be useful for those moments when you are relying on your Black Ox Statue (Dave) to hold the attention of some enemies but want to be aware of how soon it will be destroyed if it does not receive any healing.
All-in-One Taunt Macro
- #showtooltip Provoke
- /cast [nomod,@mouseover,harm,nodead] Provoke
- /cast [nomod] Provoke
- /targetexact [mod:alt] Black Ox Statue
- /cast [mod:alt] Provoke
- /targetlasttarget [mod:alt,exists]
This macro will allow you to use Provoke in a variety of ways. It can target whatever you are currently mousing over, or if the modifier key is used, target your Black Ox Statue for its aoe-taunt capability. Should alt not be the key you wish to use for statue-taunting, you can modify that section of the macro.
Passive Double Barrel Macro
- #showtooltip Keg Smash
- /cast Double Barrel
- /cast Keg Smash
This macro will automatically make use of the Double Barrel Honor Talent if you have it selected and cast it at the same time as your Keg Smash whenever the ability is off-cooldown. It will still work even if you do not have this Honor Talent selected and is useful if you would just like to benefit from its passive damage increase and stun effect every 45 seconds while out in the world.
- Jan 24, 2023 – Updated for Patch 10.0.5. Talents adjusted; slight consumable/enchant adjustments.
- Nov 28, 2022 – Guide created for Dragonflight