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Monk Beginner Guide WoW – Overview & Builds for ALL Specs

Monk Beginner Guide WoW – Overview & Builds for ALL Specs

Guide Written By: Dottz Gaming

Table of Contents

  1. Video
  2. Introduction
  3. Specializations
    1. Brewmaster
    2. Mistweaver
    3. Windwalker
  4. Contact Info
  5. Update Log

Video

Introduction

Welcome to DottzGaming.com’s beginner guide for the Monk class in World of Warcraft! This guide will give you a brief overview to what the class has to offer, its specializations and new player focused talent setups to get you going on your adventures through Azeroth! If you are brand new to WoW and are reading this guide, I also recommend checking out my WoW Complete Beginner Guide, which will teach you all non-class specific things you need to know to get yourself started in WoW.

Monks were introduced in the Mists of Pandaria expansion, with the class being the master of bare-handed combat. This art of combat was developed by the Pandaren while they were under the rule of the cruel Mogu race, and the Mogu forbade their Pandaren slaves to carry weapons. But, as the mogu empire began to weaken over time, the Pandaren saw an opportunity for a revolution. Since they were unable to own weapons, they trained to fight with their bare hands and feet, mastering unarmed combat. They also mastered the use of positive energy known as Chi to empower themselves and their abilities. These Pandaren were the first monks, and this martial practice grew into what the monks we know today use. When the other races of Azeroth discovered Pandaria, the Pandaren taught this fighting style to the races of the Alliance and the Horde!

The Monk class is a hybrid, with one spec for tanking, one for healing and one for dps. Brewmasters, the tank spec of the class, are the masters of drunken fighting, using martial art techniques, movement and drunken taunts to draw the attacks of their enemies and protect their allies! Mistweavers are the class’s healers, utilizing the Pandaren martial arts, herbal remedies and the power of the mists to heal their allies wounds! Finally, Windwalker is the damage dealing spec, focusing purely on the martial arts to pummel their enemies with their fists and feet, utilizing their martial prowess and inner chi to combat their enemies. All three specs of monk are incredibly mobile, so if you’re looking for a class that can move around the battlefield with ease, this class will definitely be one for you!

The Monk’s primary resource is Energy for Brewmaster and Windwalker, while Mistweavers cast their skills using mana. For Windwalker monks, they also have another resource called chi. Chi is built up from certain skills and then spent on more powerful ones! Monks wear leather armor, they utilize Agility as their primary stat for Windwalker and Brewmaster while using Intellect for Mistweaver, and they can wield fist weapons, staves, polearms, one-handed swords, maces and axes.

Races that can play the Monk class are as follows:

  • Blood Elf (Horde)
  • Dark Iron Dwarf (Alliance)
  • Dwarf (Alliance)
  • Draenei (Alliance)
  • Gnome (Alliance)
  • Highmountain Tauren (Horde)
  • Human (Alliance)
  • Kul Tiran (Alliance)
  • Mag’har Orc (Horde)
  • Mechagnome (Alliance)
  • Night Elf (Alliance)
  • Nightborne (Horde)
  • Orc (Horde)
  • Pandaren (Alliance/Horde)
  • Tauren (Horde)
  • Troll (Horde)
  • Undead (Horde)
  • Void Elf (Alliance)
  • Vulpera (Horde)
  • Zandalari Troll (Horde)

Now that we have a brief summary of the class out of the way, let’s get into the specs and what they have to offer. The following builds are going to be tailored to new players, looking to make your rotation as easy and straightforward while adding as few additional skills to your action bars as possible. If you’re looking for something more advanced and focused on dealing as much damage/healing as possible, I recommend checking out Icy-Veins or WoWhead for builds more tailored towards end game raids, mythic+ and rated PvP.

Specializations

Brewmaster

Click here to view the talent calculator.

Talents

  1. Eye of the Tiger – This talent gives our Tiger Palm (a single target damage dealing attack) the ability to apply Eye of the Tiger, which applies a DoT to our enemy and a HoT to ourselves, making this basic attack much more powerful!
  2. Chi Torpedo – This talent replaces our basic roll with a stronger movement ability. Chi Torpedo sends us forward and increases our movement speed by 30% for 10 seconds (stacking up to 2 times)! This is helpful for allowing us to better position ourselves in dungeons and raids.
  3. Light Brewing – This passive talent lowers the cooldown of Purifying Brew and Celestial Brew by 20%. These brews give us potent defensive bonuses and interact with our Stagger passive (which I’ll discuss in the rotation section) which is why we want to lower their cooldown!
  4. Tiger Tail Sweep – Increases the strength of our primary AoE stun, Leg Sweep, by increasing its range by 2 yards and lowering its cooldown by 10 seconds!
  5. Bob and Weave – This talent buffs the duration of one of our most important passives, Stagger, by 3 seconds, allowing us to more easily manage this passive.
  6. Rushing Jade Wind – This talent gives us a nice AoE active ability which deals damage around you. This makes it easier for you to deal damage to multiple foes and maintain aggro.
  7. High Tolerance – This talent further buffs our stagger passive by making it 5% more effective, and giving us up to 15% haste based on our current level of stagger!
  8. Incendiary Breath – This PvP talent increases the radius and damage of Breath of Fire by 100% and causing it to disorient all targets it hits, but it in turn increases the ability’s cooldown by 100%.
  9. Eerie Fermentation – This passive talent further plays into the stagger focused build we have by giving us up to 30% movement speed and 15% magical damage reduction based on our current level of stagger.
  10. Admonishment – This gives your taunt some use in PvP, make it increase the damage your target takes by 3% for each person (up to 5) that attacks the taunted player! As you attack the player effected by Admonishment, this debuff that is placed on them is refreshed!

Rotation

How to Play Brewmaster

If you don’t know how threat works, I recommend checking out my complete beginner guide, as understanding threat is essential for playing a tank properly. Tanks also play a bit more dynamically than damage dealers, responding to what is happening in any given instance. Here are some things to keep in mind when tanking as a Brewmaster Monk!

The first thing to understand is how stagger works, which can be seen as a bar below your Energy. Stagger basically turns a portion of the damage you take into a DoT instead of taking it all at once, making it easier for you and your healer to heal through. Since this is an incredibly strong passive for Brewmaster monks, it’s why our talent build was focused around this passive. Do note though, that this passive doesnt actually mitigate damage, it just delays it. That’s why we have to balance it with our Shuffle passive, Purifying Brew and Celestial Brew. Our shuffle passive – which increases staggers effect by 100% – will be taken care of pretty much by our rotation, so I wont go too deep into it. In terms of Purifying Brew (which has 2 charges) and Celestial Brew, Purifying Brew clears a portion of our Stagger and increases the potency of Celestial Brew, which gives us a big damage shield. You’ll typically want to use 1 charge of Purifying Brew on cooldown as you start to build stagger, saving the 2nd charge for just in case you take a big spike of damage. You’ll also want to follow up your Purifying Brew with Celestial Brew to make sure you’re gaining the empowered shield.

Now, in terms of the damage rotation for Brewmaster monk, you want to use Keg Smash, Blackout Kick and Breath of Fire on cooldown. You also want to use Rushing Jade Wind whenever it isnt up on you, trying to keep this skill up at all times. When those other skills are on cooldown and Rushing Jade Wind is up, you’ll simply fill with Tiger Palm in single target situations, and Spinning Crane Kick in AoE!

Also, when you take damage as a Brewmaster Monk, you have a chance to summon healing spheres around you that heal you when you walk through them. You can choose to walk through them, or simply use Expel Harm to draw them all into you and get a nice heal!

Don’t forget to use your variety of movement skills as the situation calls for them! The great thing about monks is they have a lot of movement tools, allowing you to move around the battlefield with ease.

Offensive Notes

  • Use Invoke Niuzao, the Black Ox whenever you want to help contribute to your groups damage! In addition to dealing big damage, he helps defensively too by taking a portion of your stagger effect!
  • Use Touch of Death on a low health enemy to help your team execute it!

Defensive Notes

  • You want to use Fortifying Brew whenever you are about to take a large amount of damage, as it reduces damage taken by 20%, increases your maximum health by 20% and increases the potency of your stagger by 10%.
  • You want to use Zen Meditation when you’re going to take a big hit from a skill with a cast time. That is because this skill is a channel and is canceled when you’re hit by a melee attack or move, but it reduces damage taken by 60% for 8 seconds, allowing you to heavily dampen the damage from a casted skill.
  • Use Provoke on enemies you don’t have aggro on to make sure they’re attacking you and not your allies!
  • Use Detox to remove poisons or diseases from you or an ally!
  • Use Spear Hand strike to interrupt enemy spell casts!
  • Paralysis is good to take a problematic enemy out of the fight, making it so that you and your group can save it for last! Keep in mind this will break on damage taken. On the other hand, if you want to CC a group of enemies so you and your allies can pummel on them, use Leg Sweep.
  • Use Vivify to heal yourself or an ally if you need a heal in a pinch!
  • Placing your Transcendance portal can be helpful to get out of a sticky situation. Place your portal in a safe location in case you need to port to it. Keep in mind this moves your port to your ported-from location when you use it, so don’t forget to re-place this!

Secondary Stat Priority

  1. Versatility = Mastery = Critical Strike
  2. Haste

Shadowlands Specific Information

Recommended Covenant: Necrolord

Recommended Legendary: Memory of Charred Passion

Mistweaver

Click here to view the talent calculator.

Talents

  1. Mist Wrap – This talent give Enveloping Mist, one of our primary healing abilities, a 1 second longer duration on its HoT and increases its healing bonus by 10%!
  2. Chi Torpedo – This talent replaces our basic roll with a stronger movement ability. Chi Torpedo sends us forward and increases our movement speed by 30% for 10 seconds (stacking up to 2 times)! This is helpful for allowing us to better position ourselves in dungeons and raids.
  3. Lifecycles – This passive talent adds an interaction between two of our primary heals: Enveloping Mists and Vivify, by making the next Enveloping mist reduce the mana cost of Vivify by 25% and vice versa!
  4. Ring of Peace – This talent gives us a really cool active ability by putting down a ring on the ground that enemies cannot enter. This is helpful for zoning enemies out of a certain area, or using it to knock them back and interrupt spell casts.
  5. Dampen Harm – This talent gives us a powerful defensive cooldown that reduces the damage we take by 20% to 50% for 10 seconds. How much damage this skill reduces depends on how much damage we take with larger hits getting reduced more.
  6. Summon Jade Serpent Statue – This talent gives us another active that helps our throughput a ton, by summoning a statue that channels Soothing Mist on our target whenever we do as well! Soothing Mist is one of our primary heals, so this just really helps our healing output on our target!
  7. Focused Thunder – This talent gives our Thunder Focus tea the ability to empower our next two spells, allowing us to greatly increase the potency of our next two primary healing skills!
  8. Counteract Magic – A PvP talent that strengthens one of our main heals, Renewing Mist, by making it heal for 135% whenever the target is effected by a magical damage over time effect!
  9. Refreshing Breeze – This makes our Vivify heal for 20% more, and refresh the duration of Essence font (one of our HoTs) on the target it heals.
  10. Chrysalis – This talent lowers the cooldown on Life Cocoon (our major “Oh no” cooldown) by 25 seconds, allowing us to more frequently save our allies from certain death!

Rotation

How to Play Mistweaver

Mistweaver monk is one of the easier healers in the game to start on in my opinion, as it has great spot healing and healing over time baked into only a few buttons! You want to use your heals in a priority, depending on what’s happening to the people you’re trying to heal:

  1. Renewing Mist should be used on cooldown to keep party members healed up, and so that it has a chance to jump to injured allies who need it.
  2. Vivify should be used if a target needs direct spot healing and needs to be healed up quickly.
  3. Enveloping Mists should be used when you’re target is taking heavy damage, as this applies a strong heal and makes them receive 40% increased healing from other skills.
  4. Soothing Mist is your filler heal to be used when targets are taking low to moderate damage. Note that while channeling soothing mist, you’ll be able to use enveloping mist, expel harm and vivify as instant heals on the ally who is being healed by Soothing Mist without canceling the channel!
  5. In situations where a LOT of people are taking damage, you want to use Essence Font to heal. You only want to use this if 5-6+ people need healing, as other heals are more efficient when healing less targets.

You want to also place the Jade Serpent Statue down in fights, as it duplicates the healing of Soothing Mist and really increases your throughput.

Also, don’t forget to use your variety of movement skills as the situation calls for them! The great thing about monks is they have a lot of movement tools, allowing you to move around the battlefield with ease.

Offensive Notes

  • Use Touch of Death on a low health enemy to help your team execute it!
  • You want to use Thunder Focus Tea when you need to boost your heals. Typically, you’ll want to use it on Vivify if you need to save mana while spot healing, or Renewing Mists to make it easier for you to maintain that HoT on your allies!

Defensive Notes

  • You want to use Fortifying Brew whenever you are about to take a large amount of damage, as it reduces damage taken by 15% and increases your maximum health by 15%. You can also use Dampen Harm in the same way, which reduces your damage taken by 20% to 50% depending on the size of the hit you take.
  • You want to use Life Cocoon whenever an ally is taking big damage and needs to recover immediately. This skill applies a powerful damage shield and increases heal over time effectiveness on the target by 50%! If you need to heavily increase your throughput on the whole group however, use Invoke Yu’lon, the Jade Serpent as it will heal multiple allies with strong HoTs for 25 seconds!
  • Use Detox to remove poisons or diseases from you or an ally!
  • Paralysis is good to take a problematic enemy out of the fight, making it so that you and your group can save it for last! Keep in mind this will break on damage taken. On the other hand, if you want to CC a group of enemies so you and your allies can pummel on them, use Leg Sweep. You can also use Ring of Piece to zone enemies out of an area you don’t want them, or use it to knock them back and stop spell casts.
  • Placing your Transcendance portal can be helpful to get out of a sticky situation. Place your portal in a safe location in case you need to port to it. Keep in mind this moves your port to your ported-from location when you use it, so don’t forget to re-place this!
  • Use Revival if your party is taking group-wide damage from magic, poison or disease effects, as this will clear them off of everyone and heal everyone in the group

Secondary Stat Priority

  1. Critical Strike
  2. Versatility
  3. Haste
  4. Mastery

Shadowlands Specific Information

Recommended Covenant: Kyrian

Recommended Legendary: Memory of Yu’lon

Windwalker

Click here to view the talent calculator.

Talents

  1. Eye of the Tiger – This talent gives our Tiger Palm (a single target damage dealing attack) the ability to apply Eye of the Tiger, which applies a DoT to our enemy and a HoT to ourselves, making this basic attack much more powerful!
  2. Tiger’s Lust – This talent gives us a powerful active ability that increases our or an ally’s movement speed by 70% for 6 seconds and removes all roots and snares!
  3. Ascension – This passive talent gives us a big sustain boost by increasing our maximum chi by 1, maximum energy by 20 and energy regeneration by 10%, making windwalker monk feel a lot smoother to play!
  4. Good Karma – This talent empowers one of our defensive cooldowns, Touch of Karma (which absorbs damage taken and redirects it back at the enemy), by also making the redirected damage from this skill heal us!
  5. Inner Strength – This talent gives us some strong passive damage mitigation by making each Chi we spend reduce damage taken by 2% for 5 seconds, stacking up to 5 times!
  6. Hit Combo – This talent rewards us for adhering to our mastery passive, by making it so that each time we trigger combo strikes, our damage is increased by 1% stacking up to 6 times! The Windwalker mastery will be explained in the rotation section.
  7. Whirling Dragon Punch – This strong active talent gives us a powerful AoE attack that is usable while Fists of Fury and Rising Sun Kick are on cooldown, giving us a button to fill up some of the spec’s downtime!
  8. Alpha Tiger – This talent grants us 30% haste for 8 seconds when we attack a new target, making our initial engagement with a target having us hitting hard and fast! This effect though cannot occur more than once every 30 seconds per target.
  9. Reverse Harm – This increases the healing done by Expel Harm by 100%, and makes our Expel Harm generate 1 additional Chi. Expel Harm heals us and damages a nearby ally, and this talent just further empowers that ability!
  10. Turbo Fists – This talent makes Fists of Fury insanely oppressive by making it deal full damage to all targets hit, reducing all targets movement speed by 90% and causing us to parry all attacks while channeling the skill!

Rotation

Dealing Damage

The rotation for Windwalker Monk will take some time to get used to, but it definitely is an interesting one! The Windwalker Monk mastery increases the damage of your skills by X% as long as it’s not a copy of your previous ability. This is then further accentuated by our hit combo talent, which gives us more damage for adhering to our mastery. So when attacking our enemies, we want to try and hit our skills in the following order:

  1. Expel Harm
  2. Tiger Palm
  3. Rising Sun Kick
  4. Tiger Palm
  5. Fists of Fury
  6. Whirling Dragon Punch

One thing to keep in mind is that Tiger Palm has a chance to make the next Blackout Kick free, so you want to make sure you use that Blackout Kick before you use Tiger Palm again to adhere to your mastery and prevent any overlap on those procs.

But basically with the windwalker monk, your goal is to use Tiger Palm and Expel Harm to generate Chi, while prioritizing spending it on Rising Sun Kick and Fists of Fury, and then using Whirling Dragon Punch when these would go on cooldown. If everything is on cooldown, you can spend Chi on Blackout Kick. Just do your best not to use two of the same spell, like Blackout Kick or Tiger Palm, twice in a row. Also, when fighting 3+ enemies, you want to attack different targets with tiger’s palm and blackout kick to build up stacks on Spinning Crane Kick, which will increase its damage based on how many different targets were struck in the last 15 seconds. You can then use the empowered Spinning Crane Kick to unleash a hard hitting AoE attack! The rotation will take some practice, but you’ll get into the flow of it in time!

Offense

  • When you want to deal a big burst of damage, use Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger! This summons Xuen, who deals heavy nature damage to your target for 24 seconds. You also have Storm, Earth and Fire which summons clones of yourself that mimic spells you cast in combat, greatly increasing your damage throughput!
  • Use Touch of Death on a low health enemy to help your team execute it!
  • Use Disable to slow down enemies and keep them near you so you can maintain the highest possible uptime on them!

Defense

  • You want to use Fortifying Brew whenever you are about to take a large amount of damage, as it reduces damage taken by 15% and increases your maximum health by 15%. If you want to turn a big hit into some offense however, you can use Touch of Karma, as this skill will absorb damage you take and redirect the damage to be a DoT on your enemy while healing you for that amount!
  • Use Detox to remove poisons or diseases from you or an ally!
  • Use Spear Hand strike to interrupt enemy spell casts!
  • Paralysis is good to take a problematic enemy out of the fight, making it so that you and your group can save it for last! Keep in mind this will break on damage taken. On the other hand, if you want to CC a group of enemies so you and your allies can pummel on them, use Leg Sweep.
  • Use Vivify to heal yourself or an ally if you need a heal in a pinch!
  • Placing your Transcendance portal can be helpful to get out of a sticky situation. Place your portal in a safe location in case you need to port to it. Keep in mind this moves your port to your ported-from location when you use it, so don’t forget to re-place this!
  • Use Tiger’s Lust if you or an ally needs a movement sped increase and to be free of snares/roots!

Secondary Stat Priority

  1. Versatility
  2. Mastery
  3. Critical Strike
  4. Haste

Shadowlands Specific Information

Recommended Covenant: Night Fae

Recommended Legendary: Memory of Jade Ignition

Contact

If you have any questions about the build, join our discord server and ask @Dottz about the build in the #wow-general channel!

Update Log

1/8/2021 – Guide created