The New 4-Piece: It’s Good!
The Brewmaster Monk Sepulcher of the First Ones 4-Piece Tier Bonus has been redesigned, and it is really nice. In effect, it makes Keg Smash provide more damage, self-healing, and a substantial health increase buff that can be maintained at 100% effectiveness very easily. At the first pass of testing, it’s about a 40% health increase, which is insane. This will probably be nerfed, and despite how much I would love to see it stay as-is, it should be.
Just to do a basic eyeball comparison, I’m logging into my 252+ ilvl Blood DK to compare base health values without any buffs other than this Monk 4-piece:
- 252 ilvl Blood Death Knight Base Health = 94k
- 252 ilvl Brewmaster Monk Base Health + 4-piece bonus = 104.8k
- Monk is ahead by nearly 11k health.
That’s cool, but it’s an impossible design problem for the encounter team. If Brewmaster Monks have VASTLY more baseline health than every other tank, and Stagger, and Celestial Brew, then no burst damage mechanics can ever threaten them. In order to challenge Monks, boss’ burst damage skills would have to ignore Stagger (NOOOOOOO!) or be tuned to the point that they vaporize other tanks. Sepulcher of the First Ones would probably become another Blackrock Foundry (i.e., all top-tier guilds would run a tank comp of Brewmaster Monk x2).
That’s cool, but it’s sure to receive a nerf, and rightly so. A couple of suggestions have already been floated around the Monk community, and here are the two I’ve thought worked best:
- Cap the buff at a more reasonable value – 10-20% of health. It’s a good fix. It’s simple, it’s easy, it’s still a good bonus. This is probably what it will be.
- No cap, but the duration doesn’t refresh, it just overlaps like Ironfur. This is the cooler one, but it’s way more complicated. It’s also a less consistent defensive bonus, and generally seems like it would have more room to be bad if players make mistakes. It would have to be tuned higher to compensate for basically being a worse bonus. Doesn’t matter, less likely to happen.
The main downside to this set is that it narrows your Covenant and Legendary choices. Community math still puts Charred Passions
as the #1 DPS choice in single-target, but the gap between it and Stormstout's Last Keg
is much closer, and Stormstout's Last Keg
now becomes the always-superior choice in any AoE or cleave situations. Mighty Pour
has seen a recent rise in popularity in Mythic+ due to the defensive value it can provide. It will return to being unused once this 4-piece is available, even if it is solidly nerfed (~50%).
Likewise, Kyrian becomes the clear frontrunner Covenant choice due to its superior synergy with this 4-piece.
I don’t mind any of this. Kyrian with Stormstout's Last Keg
is already the most popular setup for Brewmaster Monk in all content. It’s the build I enjoy most. This set just takes what already works well, and makes it much better. For players who are operating outside of the standard meta, this increases the gap between the optimal setup and the rest of the pack.
But that doesn’t mean it won’t still be a good bonus for Necrolord and Night Fae Brewmaster Monks. On the contrary, it’s really nice no matter your Covenant Choice, and I think it just exposes that the non-Kyrian Covenants need to be tuned up to be competitive. As for Venthyr Brewmaster Monk, that’s a lost cause.
I’ve only found one bug, and it’s one we’ve seen many times over the years of PTR and Beta testing. Like many capped effects that scale from player damage output, the health increase cap can be leapfrogged by getting a large enough crit.
Here’s how this works in practice:
- Keg Smash a low-level NPC (not a critter) for a few million damage. You now have several million max health for 10 seconds.
There’s no way to make use of this even if it were intended and went live as-is, since there aren’t going to be low-level NPC’s running around in dungeons and raids, and it won’t work with critters. It’s neat to see a 7-figure health pool again, at least for a little while.
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE NUMBERS, THOUGH?
It’s about 6% more damage in ST. This is a competitive bonus with the other tank sets. Compared to Blood Link
from Sanctum of Domination (~15-20% of total damage in ST), it’s a little underwhelming, but that is true for all the tank sets. It’s decent in ST.
In AoE/Mythic+, it’s excellent, comfortably upwards of a 10% damage increase and continually increasing in value with mob count (up to the soft AoE cap of 20). This follows the same pattern as all the other tank tier sets, and despite initial community concerns, it’s actually a lot more conservative than some of the crazier tank tier sets for AoE damage (VENGEANCE DEMON HUNTER!!!). Again, it’s okay in ST, but good in M+ and AoE. This appears to be what they want for all tanks.
Healing-wise, it’s also very good. Healing tends to be a lot less consistent than damage across tanking situations, so giving a number like “it’s about a 20% healing increase” is often pretty sketchy, but rough math estimates it’s like… a ~10-20% healing increase in single target. This is good.
Data from this week’s raid testing was totally inconclusive, due to both fights being tank-swap encounters with relatively little damage. Basically, it was generating ~1200 HPS, but that was also ~85% overhealing. Not enough data to give any useful results here, more testing required.
Keg Smash is Lay on Hands on a 6s CD Now? Monk is OP!
I’ve seen this sentiment tossed around a bit since the new bonus dropped. No.
“Lay on Hands every 6 seconds” is ~20k HPS. In testing on a 5-pack of training dummies for ~6 minutes, it’s worth a bit over 3k HPS. That’s around 600 HPS per target, so in normal Mythic+ situations, it’s going to probably be worth 3000-5000 HPS on trash, and… 600 HPS on bosses. It’s good, but that’s comparable to how good the majority of the other tank bonuses are in Mythic+ and AoE, as well.
The closest comparable bonus is Ursoc's Fury Remembered
, the Bear Druid Thrash Legendary. It offers an average around 2500 HPS on trash for the average high-level Bear Druid in Mythic+. The biggest difference is that Bear Druid is able to overlap multiple cooldowns for enormous burst windows of tankiness and damage. Monk's rotation and cooldowns are more consistent, but it can't have those giant burst windows, either. A lot of the self-healing from the Brewmaster Monk 4-piece bonus will be wasted as overhealing, which does not happen with the Bear Druid absorb shield.
It's good, but that's no reason to go crazy. The only super-overpowered component of this bonus is the health scaling.
It’s good. Real good. Getting direct defensive value out of dealing damage is always nice. There’s probably a lesson to be learned here, and while “COMPLAINING WORKS!”
is the first thing that popped into my brain, that's not right.
Blizzard is making a concerted effort to engage with player feedback, and this is the result. That's excellent. To take what was a literally useless 4-piece and give us this outstanding bonus on a one-week turnaround is very impressive.
I guess the lesson is "Keep giving feedback," so here's mine: This rules!