Windwalker Advanced Guide
Welcome to PeakofSerenity’s Windwalker Monk PvE Advanced Tricks Guide. This guide is designed to be a more in-depth look at some advanced tricks that don’t quite fit in main PvE guide. Navigate quickly to the section you need using the sidebar on the right.
This guide has been updated for Patch 9.0 and is regularly updated when discussion, theorycrafting, or testing yields new information.
This guide is meant to be a complement to the main Windwalker PvE Guide and assumes that you have read and understand what is in the main guide. This guide will not cover obvious spell interactions like using Diffuse Magic to dispel magic debuffs, Tiger’s Lust to get rid of snares, or other “tricks” that should be obvious and general knowledge. This guide, nor its writers/maintainers are not responsible for any deaths, mishaps, or pissed off raid members that may result from you practicing or trying to implement any of these tricks. Some are riskier than others, so use them at your own discretion.
The first “advanced” trick is rather simple, it takes advantage of a phenomenon called “snapshotting” where an ability takes a “snapshot” of something when it is cast. This used to happen nearly all the time, but now it happens infrequently. For example, Warlock DoTs, such as Curse of Agony, used to deal damage based off of the stats you had when you cast it. This meant that you could get big, temporary, stat buffs and use them to drastically buff the damage that it does for its whole duration; and in some cases, even refresh it, assuming you did it before the timer ran out, to just lengthen the timer but not recalculate the damage it does. Blizzard did away with this a few years ago, making ability damage update dynamically, but it still exists in a few places, and Windwalkers have one of them. Now most things update “dynamically” which means that they look at your stats or buffs at the millisecond they do damage and calculate the damage they will do that way, and recalculate the next millisecond or time they do damage. Its why one tick of a channeled ability like Fists of Fury can do slightly different damage from the next, and why we aim to fit the entirety of a channel inside a buff like Storm, Earth, and Fire.
Although our abilities like Eye of the Tiger, Fists of Fury, and Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger update the damage they do dynamically, Touch of Karma and Touch of Death do not. Touch of Karma absorbs damage equal to 50% of your health x Versatility that you have when you cast it and redirects 70% of that absorb back to your target. Touch of Death‘s initial damage chunk is equal to 35% of your health x Versatility x Mastery that you have the moment that you cast it. This means that if you know you have more health, Mastery, or Versatility than you normally would, for whatever reason, you can cast these abilities to “snapshot” those stats and have them benefit those abilities, even though they deal damage later.
Example: If you are using a trinket like Plumage, if for some reason you had to, you could cast Touch of Death at the last millisecond of that buff and the initial chunk of damage would still be modified by the increased Versatility. The same applies to other, smaller, buffs like weapon enchant procs.
This is a trick that doesn’t come around often, but when it does, it can be extremely strong, with its biggest example being during the Mythic Gul’dan encounter in Legion. Basically the concept of “double dipping” means just about exactly as you’d expect, with certain mechanics, you get double the benefit from them, or your abilities “dip” twice. The most frequent example that Windwalker has is, again, involving Touch of Death where the initial chunk of damage it saves up from the cast is modified and increased, then it is increased a second time when the damage actually goes out. In some situations, if your target is taking increased damage by a %, such as the Demonbane debuff on the The Demon Within (Illidan Shadow) in Nighthold’s Mythic Gul’dan encounter or the Focused Animus debuff on Opulence, you can take advantage of this to do some pretty insane damage.
Example: On Opulence, if you have 200,000 health (ignoring your Mastery and Vers for simplicity sake), your Touch of Death will put up an initial damage calculation of 35% of your health or 70,000 damage. However, if Opulence currently has 50 stacks of Focused Animus, that will get modified by +50%, so your initial Touch of Death cast will be worth 105,000 damage. Even if you do no more damage, when Touch of Death explodes, the damage that it actually does is modified AGAIN, which means that the total will be 157,500 damage. If you manage to put another 100,000 damage into it through other abilities, which isn’t unreasonable with the 50% debuff, then your total before the end will be 205,000, which will be modified at the end for a total of 307,500 damage.
This is how you get silly things like (Not)Xes’s Touch of Death hitting The Demon Within for 16.78 million damage where he didn’t do that much with 4 casts to Gul’dan the rest of the fight. The Demon Within took 250% damage, so the initial damage was multiplied by 2.5x, the damage that went into the Gale Burst part was modified by 2.5x, then it was all modified a second time when it exploded for another 2.5x.
This is a trick that has come to our attention more recently, mostly championed by WuSage, although likely has been in place for awhile. It is simple to understand, but difficult to execute. It takes advantage of the very very slight lag time between the visuals of some encounter mechanics and when they actually do damage. During this small window, if you have Trans preset elsewhere and use Trans Transfer, you can avoid taking the damage. This is possible on some, but not all, mechanics that have visuals that fall from the sky or come from another place before they hit you and do damage.
Example: If you are targeted with Coin Shower on Opulence, you would obviously place your Trans on the group to get back there quickly. There is a small window between when the visual for the Coin Shower appears above your character and when it hits the ground and deals damage. If you use Transfer during that window, you’ll escape out and not take any damage. However, do it too early and the Shower will fall on your raid, and do it too late and it will kill you.
Storm, Earth, and Fire
Many of these advanced tricks take advantage of the mechanics and underlying workings of Fire, so I put them all into one section.
The next Fire trick involves a fix that Blizzard made to the clones a while ago where, in order to stop the clones from missing ticks or casts of abilities, they made them cast and channel roughly 25% faster than the player and copy the amount of haste that you have when they spawn. We can take advantage of this in situations where we time a channeled ability like Fists of Fury for the very end of the Fire buff. The clones will cast all 5 ticks in the time it takes the player to cast 4 and, if timed correctly with the end of the buff, they will disappear, leaving the player to do the last channeled tick at 100% damage. Basically you get 14 ticks of Fury at 45% damage and the 15th at 100% damage so instead of Fury hitting for a base of 603.75% AP or 815% AP with Fire, it will do 860.725% AP. Not as big of a gain, but better than nothing, and doable if, for whatever reason, you’re using Spiritual Focus. This applies to other channeled abilities like Crackling Jade Lightning. It’s worth to note that any haste gained after your clones have spawned will not apply to the clones and can result in them casting slower if it exceeds the 25%.
ToK + Xuen + SEF
***NOTE*** This doesn’t currently work because the highly predictable bugs with Storm, Earth, and Fire rarely get fixed. In fact, currently using Storm, Earth, and Fire and Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger together results in a lessening of the “Gale Burst” mechanic, but not enough that you would avoid stacking them still.***NOTE***
This trick involves careful timing of our three strongest cooldowns; Storm, Earth, and Fire, Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger, and Touch of Karma. To understand this trick, you have to understand how Storm, Earth, and Fire works, and that in itself is quite the feat. Basically, during Storm, Earth, and Fire you do 45% your normal damage, and your two clones copy your moves; but, they don’t copy all your moves, namely Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger and Touch of Karma, which is what we take advantage of in this situation. Because your clones don’t copy these abilities, they are cast at their normal damage, so that Touch of Death will always do the same initial damage and Touch of Karma will always absorb and redirect the same damage, regardless of whether or not you have your clones out. The “Gale Burst” part of Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger, which is normally 10% of your damage getting added to Touch of Death becomes 30% to offset the fact that it doesn’t calculate your clones damage. This means that 30% of any damage you do gets added to Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger, which normally offsets the fact that you only do 45% of your normal damage. However, Touch of Karma does 100% of its normal damage and comes all from you, which means that 30% of its damage, which isn’t reduced to 45% of your normal damage, goes into Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger rather than 10%. This results in a small damage boost, not earth shaking, but a bit more than 0.
Example: If I have Touch of Karma up, thereafter cast Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger, and take damage enough to eat through the Karma shield, roughly 10.5% of my health will be added to the Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger explosion at the end if you have Fire up, instead of just 3.5% without Fire. It is small, but even stronger if you can manage to combine this with the above double dipping trick.
- Nov 20, 2020 – Updated for Shadowlands
- May 17, 2019 – Page created