How to Raid with a Mistweaver Monk
A while back, I went through an exercise with my raid healing team about what everyone should know about my Resto Shaman. Well, as I am about to make the big switch to my Mistweaver Monk, I thought it would be a good idea to revisit this idea. Forgive me if some of the items here talk about both before and after the 5.2 patch, as I am writing this the day of the patch.
Monk’s have a different healing style and setup than the other healing classes. The bulk of healing classes in WoW developed a Holy Trinity of basic heals in Cataclysm:
- Slow, little, efficient heal
- Slow, big, efficient heal
- Fast, big, inefficient heal
Monks do not have this. Instead, they have a system that is all their own.
Ahh, the Monk toolkit. A very different animal, indeed. As a former Resto Shaman, the Monk is probably the furthest away healing style I could have chosen!
Two Resource System
Monks use both Mana and Chi for their abilities. Some skills and spells use Mana and generate Chi. The other skills and spells use Chi. Skills that use Chi also have a bonus of creating stacks of Mana Tea, which can be used to return Mana. For every 4 Chi spent, the Monk gains 1 stack of Mana Tea. The tea stack to 20, and returns 4% Mana per stack. Note that this is not a Mana-positive system, which is where the need for Spirit comes in, but the system is one of circular support – you have to use Mana to gain Chi, and you have to use Chi to gain Mana.
Stance of the Wise Serpent
Mistweaver Monks have a stance for healing – Stance of the Wise Serpent. Being this stance changes our main resource from Energy to Mana, which is required for our skills. It increases our healing. It increases our Hit and Expertise through our Spirit, similar to Shaman, Druids, and Priests. (Have they given that to Pallies yet? They should already.) It increases our Attack Power based on our Spell Power. It increases our Haste from items by 50%. It also gives us the passive ability Eminence, which I will describe more below, in the DPS Healing Abilities section.
Soothing Mist is the basic Mistweaver heal. It is single-target and channeled. It is not ideal for heavy movement, which is a concern sometimes. It does not heal for a lot on its own, but buffs other single-target heals (see Surging Mist and Enveloping Mist below). It uses Mana and has a 25% chance per tick to generate 1 Chi. This chance is apparently getting buffed in 5.2, which should be a big help, as Soothing Mist seems to be very RNG-heavy right now. Sometimes, it fills my Chi fast, and sometimes I can go through an entire channel without generating any Chi. I look forward to this change.
Surging Mist costs Mana and provides a big, VERY expensive heal. While channeling Soothing Mist, this heal is instant on your Soothing Mist target. Surging Mist generates 1 Chi.
I use this skill most sparingly, as you can OOM yourself in a handful of global cooldowns with it easily. But it is also a life-saver at times, assuming I both begin channeling my Soothing Mist and cast this on the target in time. I try to only use it on tanks, since it is so very expensive, but if you are expecting a big hit on a raid member it is a very nice boost to bring them back up.
Enveloping Mist costs 3 Chi, and puts on HoT on your Soothing Mist target. It also increases the healing of Soothing Mist on that target.
I personally think 3 Chi is A LOT for a single-target HoT. Why does our AoE HoT cost 2 Chi, but our single-target HoT costs 3? If I am specifically just tank healing and they are taking some moderately heavy damage, this is fairly powerful. But for that cost? I usually feel like I am better off sticking to AoE healing, unless there is the odd chance the tank is the ONLY one taking damage. (ie. Windlord when he is not casting special abilities.)
Renewing Mist costs Mana, generates 1 Chi, and puts a HoT on your target. This HoT also jumps to other raid members, so ideally it heals three targets. It is a “smart” heal jump, and travels to the most injured party members.
I find the RNG of this spell frustrating as well. Without a glyph, this travels to the nearest injured party member within 20 yards, which is not very far in a 25man setting, especially on spreadout fights. The glyph changes the jump to the FURTHEST injured party member within 40 yards. This is pretty much mandatory, even in dungeons, otherwise it just sits in the melee. Why this skill has to have so many limiting factors AND a cooldown AND a limit of three targets per cast is thoroughly frustrating. Thusfar, I feel I have no control over this particular ability AT ALL.
Uplift costs 2 Chi. It is a powerful AoE heal, especially when the raid is spreadout. However, Uplift has limiting factors. Uplift only heals party members who currently have Renewing Mist ticking on them. So the synergy of Renewing Mist and Uplift is very important.
Healing Spheres cost mana when cast manually. They are small green globes that heal damaged allies who run over them. Healing Spheres generate no Chi.
Considering the Mistweaver Mastery conjures these on its own, I never use this skill in Mistweaver. I have found myself using it out of combat while I am in Windwalker, and that is about it.
In 5.2, there is a change coming to Healing Spheres, both those cast and those conjured by our Mastery. Cast Healing Spheres will last only 1 minute. Conjured Healing Spheres will last only 30 seconds. However, the exciting change comes in the fact that spheres that are about to expire will actually detonate on their own and heal an ally within 6 yards for 50% of the spheres normal healing. The range is not great, but since they conjure themselves near allies as we heal, they should still hit targets effectively. This will be something to watch.
- Soothing Mist – Single-target, channeled heal. Costs Mana, chance to generate Chi.
- Surging Mist – Large, expensive, single-target heal. Instant on Soothing Mist target. Generates 1 Chi.
- Enveloping Mist – Single-target HoT. Instant on Soothing Mist target. Increases Soothing Mist healing on target. Costs 3 Chi.
- Renewing Mist – Bouncing “smart” HoT. Affects up to 3 targets. Generates 1 Chi.
- Uplift – AoE heal. Heals all Renewing Mist targets. Costs 2 Chi.
- Healing Sphere – Places healing globes on the ground that injured allies can run through.
DPS Healing Abilities
Mistweaver Monks have a passive ability called Eminence, which causes all the damage we do from skills (not auto-attacking) to heal nearby party members. As of the patch, this healing is now 25% of the damage done, as it looks like they boosted the damage of some of our abilities through the passive Teachings of the Monastery. They also added a passive called Muscle Memory, which further increases the damage of Tiger Palm and Blackout kick, and causes them to return 4% mana.
The passives given to Mistweavers and the damaging abilities we have at our disposal seem to lend credence to a DPS rotation similar to that of a Discipline Smite Priest. While I feel DPS’ing to heal is a good boost to running dungeons, I am still unsure of the practical use in a raid. I currently use it to complement my healing during lulls (assuming I have the Mana to spend), and with well-placed usage of Spinning Crane Kick, but a full DPS-to-Heal rotation is not high on my list currently.
Spinning Crane Kick
As a Mistweaver, Spinning Crane Kick costs Mana. It generates 1 Chi as long as it hits at least 3 targets. It is a very mobile (especially glyphed) AoE heal that also does damage. For stacking periods, this is a very powerful AoE heal. Use caution, though, as with all AoE heals, it is very expensive.
Jab is a basic Chi-generating melee attack that costs Mana.
Be aware, the Mana cost of Jab is doubling with 5.2. It is 8% Mana instead of 4%. We shall see what kind of difference this makes added to the changes in the Mistweaver passives.
Tiger Palm is a melee attack that costs 1 Chi. Tiger Palm also buffs the Monk, causing their attacks to ignore 30% of the target’s armor.
Blackout Kick is a melee attack that costs 2 Chi. As a Mistweaver, as of patch 5.2, Blackout Kick also hits up to 4 additional enemies for 50% damage. I am curious to see the effects of this change.
Crackling Jade Lightning
Crackling Jade Lightning is a channeled ranged attack. It costs Mana and, similar to Soothing Mist, has a 35% chance to generate 1 Chi per tick of damage.
Chi Wave (Level 30 Talent)
Chi Wave is the Level 30 talent that I use. It is a bouncing heal/damage ability. It is AoE and a “smart” heal, but prefers to alternate between damage and healing. (It alternates between teal to heal and red to damage and makes firework sounds!)
I have not yet determined the usefulness, but I have so far been using it as a “smart” heal and way to spend Chi during low-damage periods. However, the Chi cost is being removed now. This means it will no longer generate Mana Tea stacks. However, it is getting a damage boost. The notes say the healing is getting nerfed, though, I wonder if this will actually increase with Eminence?
As far as the other Level 30 talent choices go, I should probably switch to Chi Burst for fights with a lot of stacking. I have not found a candidate worthy of switching my talent yet, though. Chi Wave is just too nice for both stacking and spreadout phases/fights. Now that it is free, I will try and use this more often and see if the changes have a positive effect on my heals.
Chi Torpedo (Level 90 Talent)
Chi Torpedo is the Level 90 talent that I use. It replaces Roll. It has no cost, and paired with Celerity (Level 15 talent) I can use it far more often. It does damage and healing to targets I torpedo through. It is great for movement, and it is a quick way to cross a boss room (through the boss is preferable, so I can damage/heal my way across the room!). I will be the first to admit I do not use this ability enough. It is a free damage/heal ability. It makes for great mobility.
Sure, it has its downsides. Sometimes torpedo range is way too far for where I am going. Torpedos are BAD BAD BAD on Stone Guardians when I have chains. >< (Unless I am trying to break them.) Torpedoing from bad into bad is still BAD.
But the pros usually outweigh the cons, and one of my big Monk To-Do’s is to utilize this more.
- Spinning Crane Kick – Powerful AoE heal for stacking. Costs Mana and generates 1 Chi if it hits at least 3 targets.
- Jab – Melee attack. Costs Mana and generates 1 Chi.
- Tiger Palm – Melee attack. Costs 1 Chi.
- Blackout Kick – Melee attack. Costs 2 Chi.
- Crackling Jade Lightning – Ranged, single-target, channeled damage spell. Costs Mana and has a chance per tick to generate 1 Chi.
- Chi Wave (Level 30 Talent) – Bouncing heal/damage ability. No cost.
- Chi Torpedo (Level 90 Talent) – Movement ability that heals/damages targets the Monk moves through. No cost.
Mistweaver Monks have a minimal amount of raid cooldowns, and they seem somewhat lackluster.
- Revival – This is a one-shot big AoE heal that affects everyone in Line of Sight of the Monk. It is not a pulsing heal like Healing Tide Totem or Tranquility. It is not a damage reduction, like Spirit Link Totem or Barrier. It is a straight heal. So there is a big difference in usage here. Don’t smash as soon as the raid/heal lead calls for a healing cooldown like you would with a pulse or absorption, be sure you give enough time for the raid to take a little bit of damage before popping it. Revival also removes all Magic, Poison, and Disease effects on all targets. Revival costs Mana and has a 3 minute cooldown.
- Life Cocoon – Puts a damage absorbing bubble on your target. While the target is in the Life Cocoon, they receive increased periodic healing. So this is a good time for Soothing Mist and Enveloping Mist. The downside with Life Cocoon is it only lasts until the damage is absorbed, which can be VERY quickly in a raid fight. Life Cocoon costs Mana and has a 2 minute cooldown.
- Zen Meditation – A huge damage reduction to the Monk and redirects up to 5 harmful spells cast against party members within 30 yards. Any melee attack against the Monk or movement will prematurely end the effect. Zen Meditation lasts 8 seconds and has a 3 minute cooldown.
We do have some self cooldowns which are kind of nice.
- Fortifying Brew – Increases your health by 20%, reduces your damage taken by 20%, and makes you large and grey. A very nice self-preservation ability. Fortifying Brew has no cost, lasts 20 seconds, and has a 3 minute cooldown.
- Diffuse Magic (Level 75 Talent) – Reduces all spell damage taken by 90% and clears magical effects on you. It also reflects some abilities, though, I am not sure which ones will and will not work. I imagine the reflect does not affect most raid boss abilities. Diffuse Magic has no cost, last 6 seconds, and has a 90 second cooldown.
- Expel Harm – Not really a cooldown, since it has a short duration, but it does provide a nice, instant self-heal while damaging close enemies. Use sparingly if Mana is a concern. It could possibly complement a melee rotation. Expel Harm costs Mana, generates 1 Chi, and has a 15 second cooldown.
- Thunder Focus Tea – Chug some tea that boosts either your next Surging Mist or your next Uplift. Surging Mist – doubles the healing. Uplift – refreshes Renewing Mist on all targets. I consider this is a so-so ability, but since it helps somewhat whether I am single-target or multi-target focused, I created macros for both Surging Mist and Uplift that use this if it is available. Probably not ideal, but it works, and I do not have to think about it. In my opinion, the 1 Chi cost needs to go. Thunder Focus Tea has a 45 second cooldown.
- Dematerialize – This is a passive ability, but kind of a cooldown. Whenever you are stunned, you “phase out” for 2 seconds, making you immune to all attacks. The ability has a 10 second cooldown and passively activates.
Other than Spirit, Mistweavers only have one real way to manage Mana, and that is Mana Tea.
As I mentioned above, Mana Tea stacks are generated by spending Chi. Every 4 Chi spent creates 1 stack of Mana Tea. Mana Tea can stack up to 20 stacks. Each stack replenishes 4% Mana.
By default, Mana Tea is a channeled Mana replenishment, kind of like a Potion of Focus. The nice part about channeling Mana Tea is that it can be interrupted and will retain the remaining stacks. However, there is a glyph for Mana Tea that makes the usage instant. With the glyph, each use consumes two stacks, returning 8% Mana. There is a cooldown, though. Bascially, glyphed Mana Tea makes this part of my rotation, assuming I can keep my Mana Tea stacks up.
Monks actually have a lot of utility abilities.
- Legacy of the Emperor (Buff) – Increases the party’s Strength, Agility, and Intellect by 5%.
- Detox (Cleanse) – Removes Poison, Disease, Magic from the target. Successful cleanses activate an 8 second cooldown.
- Spear Hand Strike (Interrupt) – Interrupts the targets spell, locking that school for 5 seconds. If used in front of the target, it also silences for 2 seconds.
- Leg Sweep (Stun) (Level 60 Talent) – Knocks down all enemies within 5 yards, stunning them for 5 seconds.
- Paralysis (CC) – Incapacitates the target for 40 seconds (60 seconds if from behind).
- Disable (Movement Impairment) – Decreases the target’s movement speed by 50%.
- Grapple Weapon (Disarm) – Disarms the target for 8 seconds.
Lastly is a utility item I felt deserved more room for explanation.
Jade Serpent Statue
Jade Serpent Statue costs Mana and lasts fifteen minutes. It mirrors Soothing Mist as well as Eminence (heals from dealing damage) on other low party members.
This is important to keep up at all times. I always have it for dungeon and raid bosses. Since it does have a 30 second cooldown, I try and keep it on “important” trash pulls. (Importance is subjective of course.) But that includes all raid trash and as much trash in dungeons as I can manage.
The mana cost for the statue is being removed in 5.2. As a Mistweaver Monk, I can cheer about this…
Honestly, as a former Shaman, this statue is a mild point of contention for me. It is basically a totem. >< And on top of this, instead of the very short duration totems now have, it lasts 15 minutes. >< And on top of that, as a Shaman who has done her share of totem-pulling, I find it horribly ironic that the statue does not interest mobs in the least. >< And on top of that, it is not destroyable, which is the bane of my Shaman existence, since mobs STILL LOVE to smack the totem. >< And now, on top of all of that, it is a FREE cost totem? My inner Shaman is crying. D:
These are my current talents.
- (15) Celerity – More Roll/Chi Torpedo. Basically 3 per 15 seconds.
- (30) Chi Wave - Bouncing heal/damage ability. No cost.
- (45) Power Strikes – Jab, Soothing Mist, and Crackling Jade Lightning all have additional chances to generate Chi. Chi generated in this way above the Monk’s maximum are spawned in grey-colored Chi Spheres similar in appearance to Healing Spheres.
- (60) Leg Sweep – Knocks down all enemies within 5 yards, stunning them for 5 seconds.
- (75) Diffuse Magic – Spell damage reduction cooldown.
- (90) Chi Torpedo - Movement ability that heals/damages targets the Monk moves through. No cost.
The Mastery for Mistweaver Monks is Gift of the Serpent. It causes a Healing Sphere to form near allies while you cast. The tooltip for Gift of the Serpent on WoWhead says this has a max of 3 Healing Spheres, but that is definitely incorrect unless this is a 5.2 change I missed in the notes.
I consider this Mastery to be tough for me to define my thoughts about. I tend to keep my Mastery low, reforging it into Haste and Crit as needed. The change to the way Healing Spheres work might change this. We shall see.
How I 25man
I realize that with the changes coming in 5.2, my playstyle may be affected. Because of this, I am going to post this section separately very soon.
Updates in 5.2
I am not sure how long it will take for WoWhead to update everything, or how long it will take me to adjust to the changes. So I wanted to list the changes that 5.2 is making to Monks, since I am writing this as the patch drops.
Monk Updates (as of 5.2 Release Notes 3/5/12)
I took out the Brewmaster and Windwalker stuff and reorganized the list into what I think is a better flowing order.
- Level 15 Talents
- Tiger’s Lust no longer has a Chi cost.
- Tiger’s Lust can no longer be used on targets that have other temporary speed increases active.
- Level 30 Talents
- Chi Wave now does 100% more damage and 14% less healing, and no longer costs Chi, and has a 15-second cooldown.
- Zen Sphere now has a limit of 2 (was 1), detonates when either the recipient reaches 35% health or the Zen Sphere is dispelled, no longer costs Chi, and has a 10-second cooldown. Its periodic damage has been increased by 22%, periodic healing has been reduced by 61%, and its detonation healing has been reduced by 62%.
- Chi Burst now does 380% more damage, 69% more healing, no longer costs Chi, and has a 30-second cooldown.
- Level 60 Talents
- Deadly Reach has been removed.
- NEW Ring of Peace – Ring of Peace forms an 8 yard sanctuary around a friendly target for 8 seconds, disabling enemy player auto-attacks in PvP, and causing all enemies (both players and NPCs) in the area of effect to be disarmed for the duration. In addition, enemies that cast a damaging spell while within the area of effect will be silenced for 3 seconds. The ability has a 45-second cooldown.
- Charging Ox Wave now has a 30-second cooldown (was 60 seconds).
- Level 75 Talents
- Healing Elixirs now heals the Monk for 15% of maximum health (was 10%).
- Dampen Harm can now be used while stunned, and its cooldown will now begin when used, not when the effect ends.
- Level 90 Talents
- Chi Torpedo now deals 15% more damage.
- Path of Blossoms has been removed.
- Glyph of Path of Blossoms is now Glyph of Paralysis. This glyph causes the Monk’s Paralysis ability to remove all damage-over-time effects on the target.
- Paralysis is now a physical, non-magical effect, can no longer be dispelled, grounded or reflected, and its base range has been increased to 20 yards. The paralysis effect lasts 40 seconds (was 30 seconds) for non-player targets, 4 seconds when used against other players, and lasts 50% (was 200%) longer when used from behind a target.
- Spear Hand Strike, used on a target that’s facing the Monk silences them for 2 seconds (was 4 seconds).
- Healing Spheres now have a duration of 1 minute. Healing Spheres generated by Mastery: Gift of the Serpent have a duration of 30 seconds.
- Healing Spheres will now heal for 50% of their original value if they expire without being picked up. This healing will factor in relevant Mastery.
- Soothing Mists now generates chi more consistently and average generation rate is slightly higher.
- Renewing Mist had its mana cost reduced by 10%.
- The Glyphed version of Uplift now costs 16% of base mana (was 6.6%) to cast.
- Muscle Memory is a new passive ability for Mistweaver Monks. Successful Jabs and Spinning Crane Kicks which damages at least 3 enemies cause Muscle Memory. Muscle Memory causes the Monk’s next Tiger Palm or Blackout Kick to deal 150% more damage and restore 4% mana.
- Teachings of the Monastery now provides additional benefits.
- Tiger Palm damage increased by 100%.
- Crackling Jade Lightning damage increased by 100%.
- Blackout Kick now hits 4 additional nearby targets for 50% damage.
- Eminence now heals for 25% of the damage done (was 50%).
- Serpent’s Zeal no longer stacks and heals for 25% of the damage that had been dealt.
- Jab now costs 8% (was 4%) of base mana to use.
- Summon Jade Serpent Statue no longer costs mana.
- Life Cocoon can no longer be dispelled.
- It is no longer possible to use Thunder Focus Tea while silenced.
- Zen Focus, the 4-piece Mistweaver set bonus, is now more responsive.
Learning to play a new class – both to me and to the game in general – is proving a interesting journey. The Monk is so very different from a Shaman that I have gone a little back and forth on whether this is a change I can happily and successfully make.
I believe it is.
I am still learning. I am still improving. I am still seeking out my happy healing place. But I feel success is close around the corner.