Brewmaster Monk Tier Set Bonuses for Dragonflight Season 1
In the latest Dragonflight Beta Build, tier sets were finally implemented! Brewmaster Monk’s tier set bonuses are a considerable step back from the quality of the Sepulcher of the First Ones 4-piece bonus (Keg of the Heavens
), but all the tier set bonuses are relatively simple, and that is okay. With more player power being shifted into the talent tree than at any point in WoW’s history, the reduction in value from tier set bonuses just isn’t really a problem. Essentially: The Dragonflight Season 1 tier set bonuses are the cherry on top of the dessert, rather than load-bearing structures that are required to make a spec feel complete.
How Good Are They?
The 2-piece bonus provides 4% damage output and damage reduction as a reward for performing your rotation normally. This a very simple, direct upgrade over the Shadowlands 2-piece bonus (Breath of the Cosmos
), which only gave 4% damage reduction. It was boring, but good. So is this. There is a small downside – Spinning Crane Kick ticks 4 times per cast, so you would expect to instantly 4-stack the buff with a single cast, but applying this buff has a 1-second ICD, so nope. At best, you can apply one stack at the time you cast Spinning Crane Kick and a second stack with the final tick. Sometimes you get 2 stacks per Spinning Crane Kick cast, and sometimes only 1 stack.
The 4-piece makes Purifying Brew remove 62% of your current Stagger value, instead of the standard 50%. Again, boring, but really good. This interacts correctly with talents like Gai Plin's Imperial Brew
, which is great.
Do They Affect Your Rotation and Talents?
Neither of these bonuses directly affect your rotation. They integrate pretty seamlessly into your playstyle. The 2-piece bonus’ stacks may fall off in raids while dealing with boss mechanics, or between pulls in Mythic+, but getting it stacked back up is fairly easy. It’s a minor annoyance. The 4-piece bonus is all upside.
This all begs a simple question: Why is the 2-piece a stacking buff at all, rather than just a one-stack-and-you’re-good design like Paladin and Warrior? This tier set arguably works better under ideal conditions than theirs -- maintaining 100% uptime is very easy on this buff, and requires some effort or RNG for those classes -- but this is massively more susceptible to being punished by boss mechanics.
If you spend 10+ seconds without casting Spinning Crane Kick, you are either playing very
poorly or (more likely) you are outside melee range, so why bother with the lengthy rampup to full effectiveness, especially when the 4-piece is hooked into the 2-piece’s functionality? It’s a good bonus at full stacks. It’s tuned to be rewarding, but not a massive boost in power, either. The stacking design is effectively just all downside. It punishes players for moving out of melee range to deal with boss mechanics, with no positive gameplay impact at any other points. It’s like a small rock in your shoe -- It won’t ruin your life, it just doesn’t feel good.
Given the massive degree of class changes happening with the new expansion, the simplicity is a good thing. Purifying 62% of Stagger is a strong damage reduction increase that meaningfully improves the value of brew generation talents, despite being mechanically a little difficult to notice in moment-to-moment gameplay, and the potential for interactions with talents like Blackout Combo
, Anvil & Stave
, Gai Plin's Imperial Brew
, Bob and Weave
, and Improved Invoke Niuzao, the Black Ox
is all very interesting.
These bonuses are good, but boring. Historically, that would be a criticism, but this time it’s all good. A mostly-passive pair of tier set bonuses allows players to get comfortable with the massive degree of changes coming in Dragonflight, and avoids creating a sense of ‘Get Tier or the class doesn’t work!’ This would be a disappointing tier set for a later patch, but for Season 1, it's great.
The first tier set for Windwalkers in Dragonflight is one that doubles down on the interactivity of spells that the new talents really opened up. Although it doesn't really alter the priorities too much, due to the fact that you can't always guarantee that you can fit 3 Rising Sun Kick
in between each Fists of Fury
, it may provide some added benefit for using Dance of Chi-Ji
even in a ST situation. This may prove to be a relatively minor change since there's a chance that we utilize Dance of Chi-Ji
and Jade Ignition
in ST anyway depending on tuning. For AOE it is much easier to use Spinning Crane Kick
three times in between Fists of Fury
, but given the relative weakness of Spinning Crane Kick
without Calculated Strikes
, the added 30% damage isn't as impressive as it might seem from a Shadowlands perspective.
When looking at the strength of the tier bonus, currently the majority of the strength comes in single target, and area that Windwalker has long been lacking. Rising Sun Kick
is a very strong button right now, in single target, and the playstyle is generally to do whatever it takes to get more Rising Sun Kick
. This means that 30% more damage to nearly every Rising Sun Kick
is a very sizable increase, with early math being around an 8% increase in single target for the 2pc bonus. In AOE the 2pc bonus isn't quite as strong since, like I said, in Dragonflight Spinning Crane Kick
is not the "spin to win" button it has been throughout Shadowlands. The 4pc bonus is, conversely, slightly stronger in AOE than it is in ST, since Fists of Fury
is a larger portion of our AOE damage than it used to be, and increasing its damage is just a benefit to it.
Overall, when looking at our tier bonuses, they can come across as relatively boring. Personally, I feel that this is fine, as there's enough moving parts with the new talent trees that adding further complexity with tier bonuses just makes it harder to look at things down the line. What matters most to me, personally, is that this tier benefits Windwalker's in ST, something I've advocated for help with for years. The majority of the "problems" with the tier bonuses lie in the current tuning of the abilities themselves, such as Spinning Crane Kick
being comparatively weak in AOE or Fists of Fury
relatively weak in ST. This just comes down to numbers tuning that we'll see over the next few weeks, so any prognostication on the strength or potential problems may change at a moment's notice. The big changes and value for each class should be in its base kit, especially the first tier, so a tier bonus that is "boring" is more than OK with me.
If I had to pick a "problem" with the tier bonuses, it is that they make the, former tier bonus, then legendary, now talent, Xuen's Battlegear
even more powerful, as 30% more damage to Rising Sun Kick
when they have 50% increased chance to crit is HUGE. However, the problem is that because Rising Sun Kick
crits reduce the CD of Fists of Fury
, you have a smaller window to fit 3 Rising Sun Kick
s in between each Fists of Fury
. This means you have to rely on a reset from Teachings of the Monastery
in order to fit all 3 Rising Sun Kick
s in, or utilize Spinning Crane Kick
since it has no CD. I think that changing the 4pc bonus from 3 Rising Sun Kick
or Spinning Crane Kick
to 2 and increase the damage bonus to Fists of Fury
from 5% per stack to 10% per stack. This would cut down on the potential reliance on RNG or using an "AOE talent" in single target just to use the excess. It would also boost the overall damage of the 4pc, as most of the power of the tier lies in the 2pc.