Brewmaster Monk Tank Quick-Start Guide for WoW Patch 5.4 – Stats, talents and spec, glyphs, rotation, reforging and gems, priorities and tanking strategies

by on September 25, 2012

It’s time to show the world your Drunken Mastery! OK, that sounded bad – but as a Brewmaster Monk in Mists of Pandaria (Patch 5.4 – the Garrosh Finally Went Loony edition), you will indeed be tanking with the power of drink. New classes are always confusing, and the Monk’s no exception – but the Melting Pot is here to help you out with a quick, no-nonsense guide to the basics of Brewmaster tanking from level 1 to level 90, including your stat weights, reforging and gems, glyphs, talent choices, and of course ability rotations from the starting zone to the end of MoP. Let’s get going!

Updated 17th September 2013 for World of Warcraft Patch 5.4

Patch 5.4 Brewmaster Changes

No changes.

Tanking With A Brewmaster Monk

Like all tank classes in Mists of Pandaria, as a Brewmaster you’ll be using abilities to damage and aggro monsters, and then another set of abilities to mitigate the damage they cause you. Your damage/aggro abilities also build up Chi energy, which is what you use for most of your damage-reduction abilities, making the Monk play rather like a tanking Rogue.

Aggro generation and Damage abilities

At level 90 (we cover levelling Brewmasters below), you’ll use the following priorities to aggro monsters onto you:

Single Target

You can pull at range using Dizzying Haze or Provoke. After the pull, use Tiger Palm.

  1. **Top Priority:** If the Shuffle buff is about to go down, use Blackout Kick. If you have 2 or less Chi and it’s available, use Keg Smash.
  2. **Second Priority:** If you have taken any damage and it’s available, use Expel Harm.
  3. **Third Priority:** Use Jab. If you don’t have Energy for Jab, use Tiger Palm.

Your taunt is called Provoke – use it to pull or otherwise as a standard tanking taunt ability. You can also Provoke your Black Ox Statue to make it cast an AoE taunt.

It’s unlikely to happen, but if your Tiger Power buff drops, use Tiger Palm immediately.


Pull with Dizzying Haze.

Use your single-target rotation for up to 2 enemies.

For more than 2 enemies, use your single target rotation, but in addition, use Rushing Jade Wind whenever possible, and use Breath Of Fire when you have spare Chi.

Damage Reduction Abilities

Your Stagger ability transforms a lot of the damage you take into a Damage Over Time effect, which you can remove with the ability Purifying Brew.

Use Purifying Brew after you have taken heavy damage, and you have the Stagger DoT ticking on you. It will remove the DoT and effectively mean you didn’t take that damage.

Movement Abilities

Brewmasters are highly mobile even for tanks, with a number of fast-movement abilities:

  • Clash – supremely useful ability half-way between Charge and Death Grip. You and the targeted enemy meet half way between your current positions. Use to pull or to get enemies off allies.
  • Roll – Quick movement in whatever direction you face, a lot like a mage’s Blink.
  • Transcendence – Pick a position then teleport to it at will. Supremely useful for kiting.


  • Guard – Use whenever available as soon as you have Power Guard.
  • Elusive Brew – Consumes stacks of Brewing: Elusive Brew, which will generate semi-randomly as you fight. Gives 1 sec of high dodge per stack. Use when you’re about to take heavy damage, or otherwise to keep stacks of Brewing: Elusive Brew below 15.
  • Fortifying Brew – reasonably powerful, reasonably short-CD, simple damage reduction cooldown. Use when you’re about to take damage!
  • Avert Harm – CD to reduce AoE damage to raid or party members – use it when people other than you are taking heavy damage.
  • Nimble Brew – Removes Stun, Fear and Root effects. Surprisingly useful for raiding – keep it on your bars!
  • Zen Meditation – Use to reduce the damage of a single attack on you whilst you’re channeling, or to redirect damage to you from your raid.


Cast Black Ox Statue before any boss or other significant fight. Make sure you’re in Stance of the Sturdy Ox.

Leveling as a Brewmaster Monk

In general, it’s recommended you level as Windwalker if you’re going to be questing or you want to level fast. Brewmaster is not a particularly good questing spec.

However, of course, it will let you tank leveling dungeons. Here’s how tanking as a Brewmaster changes through the levels:

  • 14-25: You have no non-cooldown damage mitigation abilities at these levels. Don’t worry too much about spending Chi – just use Blackout Kick whenever you haven’t got anything else to do.
  • 26-33: At 26, you gain Expel Harm – use it as above. Your aggro rotation doesn’t really change from here to level 90.
  • 34-45: You now need to watch your Shuffle buff and use Blackout Kick to maintain it as above.
  • 46-75: You get Spinning Crane Kick, making AoE tanking easier.
  • 75-90: You gain Purifying Brew at level 75, and from here on use your endgame tanking priorities, as above.

Brewmaster Monk Talent Choices

Like all Mists of Pandaria classes, Brewmasters have flexible talents, and you should definitely experiment to find the best build in each situation. However, here’s a good general-purpose loadout to get you going. Note that when in doubt, we’ve chosen talents that require as little management as possible:

  • Tier 1: Tiger’s Lust – sounds dodgy, but grants a significant movement increasing CD.
  • Tier 2: Chi Wave – Gives you a healing spell usable on yourself and others.
  • Tier 3: Ascension. Passive ability.
  • Tier 4: Charging Ox Wave – gives you an AoE stun, very useful in dungeons or with add packs.
  • Tier 5: Healing Elixirs. Passive ability.
  • Tier 6: Rushing Jade Wind. Short-cooldown DPS effect that also maintains your Shuffle ability.

Tier 5 is very, very situational. Healing Elixirs is the easiest ability to use, but the other two are very powerful against raid bosses of various types, and you’ll almost certainly end up swapping this tier a lot.

Stats, reforging and gemming for Brewmaster Monks

The basic stat priority for Brewmasters goes Hit and Expertise to 7.5% each (2550 rating) > Mastery > Agility > Crit > Haste > Parry > Dodge.

  • Reforging: Reforge to Hit first, then Expertise, then Mastery. Reforge out of Hit and Expertise above the cap, then Dodge and Parry, then Haste.
  • Gems: If you have to, gem for Expertise to hit the cap. Then use Fractured (Mastery) gems in all slots.
  • Meta Gem: Austere meta gems.
  • Getting one- or two-shot? If you’re dying before healers can heal you, you need more Stamina. Gem blue sockets with Stamina gems until it’s no longer a problem.

Brewmaster Monk Glyphs

Glyphs are a very personal choice in MoP – there aren’t many automatic must-haves. Having said that, here’s a good selection:Major: Glyph of Leer of the Ox , Glyph of Fortuitous Spheres and Glyph of Fortifying Brew.
Minor: Your choice – they don’t affect your tanking.

Brewmaster Monk Enchantments

Use whichever enchantment works better with your level of reforging – in other words, don’t use Hit enchants if you’re over hit cap already! If a profession enchant gives you useful stats, it’s probably better than the equivalent generic enchant.

  • Shoulder – Greater Tiger Claw Inscription
  • Cloak – Accuracy or Greater Protection
  • Chest – Glorious Stats or Superior Stamina
  • Bracers – Mastery
  • Belt – Living Steel Belt Buckle
  • Gloves – Superior Expertise or Greater Haste
  • Legs – Shadowleather Leg Armor
  • Boots – Blurred Speed
  • **Weapon** – Dancing Steel

Brewmaster Links

If you want to get more in-depth about your abilities, talent choices and so on, here are some excellent options for more information.

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

JOHN October 12, 2012 at 2:05 am

This guide should be updated, using [Guard] would halp alot and you got many other abileties you can use


Hugh Hancock October 18, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Guard’s actually in there – under Cooldowns. What other abilities would you like to see covered?


Alex October 19, 2012 at 10:18 am

Hi Hugh!

im a 90 monk and just joined a guild as the main tank.
Your guide helped me, tho i have some questions about it.
why do you take Chi Burst over Zen sphere? consider the time to cast Chi burst
and the damage output i would rather go with Zen sphere and a tiger palm (if you have that extra Chi and if Power strike) a healing over time and a small damage output. Not here to prove point, just finding new ways to improve my tanking.


Keith October 21, 2012 at 10:33 am

Awesome guide…Ty soo much, this will help alot


nick November 17, 2012 at 9:37 am

this guide needs work your priority is more than just your chi builds what about blackout kick? you know shuffle? and you don’t need to just put guard and evasive brew in the cooldown section they need to be part of the priority [thank you for the comments - but insults and advertisments deleted. - editor]


Hugh Hancock November 17, 2012 at 11:59 am

Blackout Kick / Shuffle: from Damage Reduction Abilities: “You should use Blackout Kick frequently enough to maintain the Shuffle buff on yourself.” – it’s in the guide already.

Why do you feel Guard and Elusive Brew (there’s no ability called Evasive Brew – I assume you mean Elusive Brew as it’s the most similar-sounding ability) should be in the priority system? Damage reduction abilities are best used when you’re going to be taking damage – in particular, Elusive Brew takes a while to build and can be used in a wide variety of highly flexible situations, so why would you lock into using it in strict priority rather than thinking about the fight?

(If you want to read more on Elusive Brew usage, Icy Veins’ section on using it is excellent, and neatly illustrates why it’s not a simple priority ability. )


Misinformation Abound November 30, 2012 at 10:15 pm

Do not listen to anything written in this guide.

It’s bad.


Hugh Hancock November 30, 2012 at 10:17 pm

What elements of the guide are you unhappy with?


Kreep December 16, 2012 at 4:14 pm

I must say this guide has and is still helping me with my brewmaster so thanks and keep the info flowing bro.


Merciful Killing January 2, 2013 at 8:49 pm

I disagree with not levling as a brewmaster. It a thing of beauty when you can gather up 5 or 7 mobs of your same level and destroy them and end up with 100% health. Its also nice to farm skins this way.


Belching Brewmaster Belf January 30, 2013 at 7:36 am

Yeah, it is a good levelling spec, I agree. Hard to kill = dominate PVE. Who needs a pet, or super high damage if you can easily take on a mob of baddies, and live through it.

Also, when you’re a tank (healers too), you can usually queue for and be in a dungeon within 5 seconds – and dungeons are great for xp and gear! Dungeons are great ways to level, and you don’t even need to leave Stormwind or Ogrimmar.


Andy March 4, 2013 at 11:36 am

Hi guys. I love this guide and all the guides on here. I was just curious as to why this guide recommends using power strikes instead of ascension, with ascension giving an extra chi sphere and also increased energy regen. Surely 15% increase to energy regen is better than the buffs provided by power strikes? Thanks for your time


Hugh Hancock March 5, 2013 at 11:05 am


Testing shows that whilst it looks good, the energy regen is actually worse than power strikes – if only just.


Akemi March 7, 2013 at 3:22 pm

I like this site. It helps me alot. And for those who are NOT reading. I would advise that you read them instead of making rude comments about how bad of a job he does at making these.


Hugh Hancock March 13, 2013 at 10:44 am

Thanks :)


Monkzilla March 24, 2013 at 1:28 am

So i checked out one of the links you posted on that site they said it was a good idea to go hit to 7.5% then exp to 15% just to make sure every hit lands and you keep on hiting your healing orb procs


Hugh Hancock March 25, 2013 at 2:38 pm

D’oh. You’re absolutely right – tanks do indeed need 15% Expertise. Fixing. Thank you for pointing that out!


Lovehandelz April 25, 2013 at 7:55 am

Hugh let me just thank you for all that you do. I have been a WoW addict since the vanillia days and have always followed your guides since I have found your site. Keep up the awesome work


Hugh Hancock April 29, 2013 at 5:38 pm

Thanks! That’s really nice to hear!


Jadespade June 5, 2013 at 6:10 am

I’m just curious about the power strikes vs. ascension question, is there a certain amount of haste you can achieve that will make ascension>power strikes, or is power strikes mathematicly better for chi generation no matter how much haste you obtain?


XiaoLiwen August 1, 2013 at 1:50 am


Lots of good information. I was wondering, what is the best way to pull as a Monk Tank? I’ve tried several different approaches, from rolling upto them and smashing a keg to clash, to JadeLightning. I have the same problem, is that I don’t have enough threat from an of those to hold off anxious ranged dps. I’m so spoiled with my pali tank and avenger’s shield. thoughts?



Zandt August 7, 2013 at 5:35 pm

Did you purposely leave out Breath of Fire because you think it’s bad or was that an accident? I personally love BoF and I think it’s a great AoE attack, until you get Spinning Crane Kick at least. I’m just curious because I use it a lot.


Zandt August 7, 2013 at 5:50 pm

I should also mention that I’m still leveling so I’m not at endgame yet but shouldn’t Breath of Fire at least be used for leveling?


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