With Mists of Pandaria now released, I've been actively engaged in playing my monk, and having a blast doing it. I've received several polite notes from readers about how I haven't written a mistweaver guide yet, so this week: mistweavers!
Mistweaver is the healing specialization for the monk class. Any race, except Worgen and Goblin, can be a monk. Mistweaver monks have two resources that power their healing abilities: mana and chi.
Unlike the other two specializations, Mistweavers use mana instead of energy as their primary resource. This powers the majority of their heals. Mistweavers can regain mana through the same ways as other healers (in-combat Spirit regeneration via Mana Meditation, mana potions, etc.). However, Mistweavers also generate Mana Tea stacks by using chi; one stack is generated for every 4 chi consumed (Brewing: Mana Tea). To regain mana, you channel the Mana Tea ability, which regenerates 4% mana/sec/stack. An alternative solution is to glyph Mana Tea which removes the channeling behavior and causes it to simply use two stacks (8% mana) instantly, on a 10 second cooldown.
As a supplement to mana, chi is a static 4-point pool, similar to a paladin's holy power, that decays when out of combat. Maximizing your chi generation is vital for maximizing your healing output; while you can heal without chi at all, most of your strongest HPS abilities require chi to use.
Overall, of all the healing classes, Mistweavers likely require the most thought when it comes to resource management. All the other healers get large mana regeneration cooldowns (Mana Tide Totem, Innervate, Hymn of Hope) that they can typically fire and forget; Mistweavers require more constant attention to mana and chi levels in order to maximize their performance.
Healing From the Front
Mistweavers have the capability to do some DPS healing (similar to Smite/Atonement disc priests, but more effective) due to their passive ability Eminence, which causes 50% of (most) of their damage to be converted to a smart heal on the lowest-health target. This is doubled if the mistweaver drops a Jade Serpent Statue, which should be up for every fight due to its short cooldown, and works in concert with the Serpent's Zeal buff. While DPS healing is not required for those that prefer to follow a traditional ranged style, it provides a fun and effective way to heal that works surprisingly well for periods of low damage. If you have a good tank, you can get through an entire level 90 heroic without casting a single cast-time heal. The downside, however, is that it's all single-target heals, so you'll still likely need a smattering of AoE heals.
Healing Spheres are little green globes that float near the ground, and heal anyone who touches them for a significant amount. (Hopefully, everyone in your raid has played Diablo 3.) Happily, they don't trigger if the player is at full health. The mistweaver can place one directly, or cause them to pop up randomly on the battlefield via their mastery ability, Gift of the Serpent. This requires your raiders to have situational awareness in order to move and pick them up; while they don't spawn exceptionally far away, they'll be completely overlooked if someone isn't paying attention. Their effectiveness goes up as group/raid size gets larger, as you have more people likely to run into the things accidentally.
Traditional ranged heals, for those who prefer to stand at range. Of course, these can be pulled out by the melee healer too (especially Renewing Mist/Uplift).
- Soothing Mist Your core heal. It's channeled and fairly weak. but cheap. During the channel, you can cast Surging Mist or Enveloping Mist as an instant to heal the channel target. Has a 25% chance to generate 1 Chi with each tick. Jade Serpent Statue will cast this on a random ally when you do. Costs 1% mana per tick. You can use this for its healing, but it's best used as a conduit to enable the instant properties of the other two heals.
- Surging Mist A fast, strong, expensive heal, similar to Flash Heal for priests. Generates 1 Chi. Becomes an instant-cast on your current target when channeling Soothing Mist. Costs 8% mana.
- Enveloping Mist This is a very strong but short HOT. Also becomes an instant-cast when channeling Soothing Mist, and increases Soothing Mist healing by 30%. Costs 3 chi, so not frequently used except on tanks. You should never be hardcasting this.
- Renewing Mist Getting tired of "mist" spells yet? This is a Rejuvenation/Prayer of Mending hybrid; cast it on one player, and on the first tick, it spreads to a second player, and continues until it's spread three times (for 4 total players healed). It has an 8 second cooldown, and for almost all fights, you will want to use this on cooldown. Uplift instantly heals all players with RM on, while a Thunder Focus Tea + Uplift combo instaheals and refreshes the RM duration (though not the spreading). Costs 4.6% mana.
- Uplift Heals all targets with Renewing Mist active for a good amount; about three ticks of Renewing Mist. This is your only real AoE heal if your raid isn't clumped for Chi Burst. When used with Thunder Focus Tea, it renews the duration of all Renewing Mist effects back to 18 sec. Costs 2 chi.
- Chi Burst / Chi Wave / Zen Sphere You get one of these at level 30. Chi Wave is similar to Chain Heal but with longer range, and is good for smaller groups or spread raids. Chi Burst, in contrast, is amazing for large groups/stacked raids. I'd recommend either one. Zen Sphere is a moderate-strength HoT that can be cast again for some AoE healing, though I find it doesn't really have a niche. Costs 2 chi.
- Summon Jade Serpent Statue If you want to DPS heal, you have to start with this. The statue will mirror your Eminence heals, but only in a 40 yard range, so you want it up and nearby. Only has a 30 second cooldown, so you should be able to drop it on almost every pull. It can get destroyed, though, so keep an eye on it.
- Spinning Crane Kick Does AoE damage to enemies and AoE healing to friends within 8 yards. Generates 1 chi if it heals at least 3 targets, not counting yourself. Costs 5.5% mana.
- Jab Basic attack for single enemies, increases chi by 1 and does a bit of Eminence healing. Costs 3% mana. The most efficient chi generator, bar none, and a good reason to stay in melee range even if you're using casted heals.
- Blackout Kick This kick will do a significant amount of damage (which becomes healing via Eminence) but also buffs your autoattacks to convert 25% of their damage to healing. This Serpent's Zeal buff stacks twice, and lasts 30 seconds. Even if you don't DPS heal at all, staying in melee range and just using BOK to keep SZ up gets you some free autoattack healing. Costs 2 chi.
- Tiger Palm Stacks up the Vital Mists buff, which reduces the cast time and cost of your next Surging Mist by 20%. (Surging Mist becomes instant and free at 5 stacks.) Also stacks up Tiger Power, which slightly increases your overall damage and thus healing. Not really that important; used more as a chi dump. Costs 1 chi.
- Crackling Jade Lightning Channeled damage spell. This generates some good HPS, DPS, and has comparable HPM to Soothing Mist. I hate to say it, but for short, easy fights with mostly single-target damage, just doing nothing but channeling CJL can get you through just fine. Unfortunately, since it's mana-based, it doesn't generate any Mana Tea stacks, so doing nothing but spamming this will run you dry in a couple minutes.
There's not much here; generally, mistweavers don't get huge raid savers like some of the other classes do.
- Thunder Focus Tea This doubles your next Surging Mist, or causes your next Uplift to refresh Renewing Mist. Best used for the RM refresh; you can potentially get RM on 15+ targets with TFT, which is great for fights with AoE damage. 1 chi, 45 sec cooldown.
- Life Cocoon This is your big single-target save. It's a large absorb shield (about 2.5 PW:Shields in strength) that increases periodic healing taken while its up; a Life Cocoon/Enveloping Mist combo can heal a tank back to full very quickly. 4.5% mana, 120 sec cooldown.
- Revival Instant, Large instant AoE heal and dispel. Not much more to say about it then that; one second everyone's cursed, diseased and close to death; next minute everyone's fine. 7% mana, 180 sec cooldown.
- Zen Meditation This channeled ability is mostly a personal cooldown; it reduces the damage you take by 90%, and redirects 5 harmful spells cast against the raid to you. Unfortunately, it seems to work like Grounding Totem, so a lot of boss abilities aren't redirectable. It'll take testing on a fight-by-fight basis to see what it's useful for. With the glyph, you can cast it and keep moving. 180 sec cooldown.
- Fortifying Brew Another personal survivability cooldown that increases health by 20% and reduces damage taken by 20%. Best saved for predicted burst moments or "I'm about to die" times. 180 second cooldown.
- Dampen Harm / Diffuse Magic You get ONE of these abilities as your Level 75 talent choice. (Or Healing Elixirs, but I wouldn't recommend that one at all.) Both talents are great for countering boss abilities. 90 sec cooldown.
- Mana Tea As mentioned above, you'll build up Mana Tea stacks as you use Chi, and then channel Mana Tea to remove the stacks and restore mana. Can be glyphed to make two stacks restore instantly but add a 10s cooldown to the ability, which I typically recommend for most fights.
- Roll This gets you out of the way of something fast; click it, and your monk instantly rolls about 20 yards in the direction you're currently moving. (This is different from things like Blink and Disengage, which operate according to the direction you're facing.) It has two charges so can be used twice; each charge regenerates after 20 seconds.
- Detox Your dispel, with a lovely 8 second cooldown that all healers get to share now. Maybe people will learn not to Stand In Bad (not likely). Costs 2.6% mana.
- Legacy of the Emperor Gives 5% to primary stats for you and your group. All monks get this.
- Spear Hand Strike Your standard spell interrupt.
- Disable A short-ranged snaring ability, which can be used again to make it a root.
- Paralysis A short-ranged crowd control ability. Lasts longer if used from behind.
- Grapple Weapon A ranged disarm.
Of course, there isn't really a healing rotation per se, so instead, here's some recommendations and tips for what abilities you should be focusing on, depending on the level of damage incoming and its distribution. No matter what, always have your Jade Serpent Statue down.
- Low Damage: DPS heal! Use Jab to generate Chi, then attack with Tiger Palm and Blackout Kick (see Teachings of the Monastery) and let Eminence + the Jade Serpent Statue heal. If it's a short fight and you can drink after, feel free to just channel Crackling Jade Lightning.
- Medium Damage: CJL healing tops out at about 25k HPS; if the tank's taking more damage then that, you'll need to switch to something else. Typically, this will be Jabbing for Chi, then channeling Soothing Mist and adding an Enveloping Mist cast.
- Heavy Damage: Add in Surging Mist casts to your Soothing Mist + Enveloping Mist combo. Use Life Cocoon or Thunder Focus Tea + Surging Mist if things look bad.
- Low Damage: Use Renewing Mists on cooldown. Note the 8 sec CD and travel time on RM, so you need to start early to blanket your group. In almost every raid encounter, it's worth it to just use RM on cooldown so you can have it covering as much of the raid as possible.
- Medium Damage: Uplift your pre-stacked Renewing Mists. If RM isn't up, your options are limited. Spinning Crane Kick or Chi Burst works well if people are stacked up. if not, use Chi Wave. (Yes, this means you'll be switching out talents depending on the fight.)
- Sustained Damage: Use Thunder Focus Tea + Uplift after your third RM cast; if you've been casting RM every 8 seconds, you should have 8 stacks out after 16 sec and can keep those rolling for 16 more seconds. Keep Uplifting Renewing Mists on cooldown. Use Revival if things look bad.
This isn't Cataclysm where you pick your talents once and you're done; now, you'll want to switch up talents as necessary for certain fights. Take this general recommendations with that in mind.
- Level 15: Momentum I prefer the sustained movement here. Tiger's Lust is more for PvP.
- Level 30: Chi Wave or Chi Burst. Chi Burst is best for larger/stacked raids; Chi Wave is good for smaller groups. Zen Sphere doesn't really have a good niche; the sustained healing it does is too low, and the AoE detonation healing is too expensive. (It was bugged to not respect AoE healing caps; it does now.)
- Level 45: Chi Brew This gives you chi on demand, which you can convert to quick heals. A Chi Brew+TFT Surging Mist+Enveloping Mist is a good emergency tank-saving combo. Power Strikes isn't terrible, but I don't like tracking the internal cooldown for a marginal gain over Chi Brew. Ascension doesn't do much; our problem is generation, not storage.
- Level 60: Leg Sweep AoE stuns are fantastic for trash. Charging Ox Wave is decent, but LS is better. I might consider recommending Deadly Reach if the range increase was more than 20 yards.
- Level 75: Dampen Harm or Diffuse Magic. Either choice is very nice in certain situations, Healing Elixirs doesn't provide nearly enough healing to be worth the choice.
- Level 90: Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger Xuen gives you a lot of Eminence healing, so it's effectively a set-it and forget-it HPS increase. Rushing Jade Wind used to be great, but after Spinning Crane Kick was nerfed, it's not that great a choice anymore. I haven't found any good uses for Chi Torpedo.
Just like talents, you can swap glyphs in and out at will; unlike talents, you'll find that glyphs aren't all that important anymore. Here's a few options you can try, though.
- Glyph of Renewing Mist Essential to ensure Renewing Mist works as it should in most cases. You'd only NOT consider it if you had a specific plan for RM (say you had a melee and ranged stack, and you wanted to keep RM in one place).
- Glyph of Mana Tea In general, I recommend the glyphed behavior of Mana Tea over the nonglyphed version. Fights where you have uninterrupted time to stop and channel are rare, but fights where you have to move are common.
- Glyph of Crackling Jade Lightning Reasonable for soloing but hopefully nothing is targeting you in a group. Not a bad third choice, though.
- Glyph of Spinning Crane Kick Helpful, but too many other good choices, I think.
- Glyph of Uplift I don't recommend this glyph, but if you can't Jab for some reason and need to do significant AoE healing, you're not going to have enough chi for Uplift unless you use this. This will run you dry of mana quick, though.
- Glyph of Surging Mist For leveling/5-mans, I could see a meleeweaver using this as it simplifies using Vital Mists procs.
- Glyph of Enduring Healing Sphere Doubt this will be useful anywhere.
- Glyph of Life Cocoon PvP glyph (but a good'un).
- Glyph of Transcendence Helpful, but situational.
Stat Weights and Enchants
You'll want as much spirit as you can get while you learn how to heal effectively. After that, you need to get haste to 8.32% to get an extra tick on Renewing Mist and Enveloping Mist. If you have the 5% haste buff (from moonkin, shadow priests, or elemental shaman) you'll need 1345 haste, which should be quite simple; if not, you'll need 3538 haste to get there. Any extra haste after that isn't all that helpful, so I'd go crit > haste > mastery at that point. If your raiders are good at picking up spheres or you raid 25's, move mastery in front of haste.
- Head – Gone!
- Shoulders - Greater Crane Wing Inscription (200 int/100 crit) Inscription: Secret Crane Wing Inscription (520 int/100 crit)
- Chest - Glorious Stats (80 all primary stats) or Mighty Spirit (200 spirit)
- Waist - Living Steel Buckle (gem socket)
- Legs - Greater Pearlescent Spellthread (285 int/165 spirit)
- Feet - Pandaren's Step (+8% movespeed/140 mastery) or Greater Haste (175 haste)
- Wrist - Super Intellect (170 int) Leatherworking: Fur Lining - Intellect (500 int) Blacksmithing: Socket Bracer (gem socket, stacks with enchant)
- Hands - Superior Mastery (170 mastery) or Greater Haste (170 haste) Blacksmithing: Socket Gloves (gem socket, stacks with enchant) Engineering: Synapse Springs (1920 int proc, stacks with enchant)
- Fingers – Enchanting - Greater Intellect x 2 (160 int)
- Back - Superior Intellect (180 int) Tailoring: Lightweave Embroidery (2000 int proc)
- Weapon - Jade Spirit (1650 int/occasional 750 spirit proc). Heartsong is a good cheaper option.
Several more options here than we used to have, thanks to the new focus on cooking. Unlike in Cataclysm, to get the best-possible food, you can't rely on a feast; you'll need to cook/buy your own. I've included options here for both intellect and spirit, depending on your preference.
- 300 spirit: Steamed Crab Surprise
- 300 int: Mogu Fish Stew
- 275 spirit: Fire Spirit Salmon, Banquet of the Steamer
- 275 int: Braised Turtle, Pandaren Banquet/Great Pandaren Banquet, Banquet of the Pot
- 250 spirit: Shrimp Dumplings
- 250 int: Swirling Mist Soup, all other lesser Banquets
- Flasks: Flask of Falling Leaves (1000 spirit) or Flask of the Warm Sun (1000 int)
- Potion: Potion of Focus (4500 mana/sec over 10 seconds, channel), Master Mana Potion (28-32k mana), Potion of the Jade Serpent (4000 int/25 sec)
It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!