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3 advanced monk tactics you might not be using

Interested in trying out the new monk class, but can't tell your Tiger Strikes from your Tiger Palms? Written by Chase Hasbrouck of World of Monkcraft, WoW Insider's new monk coverage will get you kicking in no time!

In the previous weeks, I've covered the basics for brewmasters, mistweavers, and windwalkers. Now that we've had a month to get used to the new specializations, it's time to try some advanced tactics. Stick with me as we roll through one ability for each specialization that'll help propel you to the top of the charts, be they healing, damage, or your healer's Christmas card list.

Windwalker: Touch of Karma

All damage you take is redirected to the enemy target over 6 sec instead of you. Damage cannot exceed your total health. Lasts for 10 sec. 90 second cooldown.

Touch of Karma is amazing. First, this is one of the best defensive skills for a DPS'er in the game, as it essentially gives you a 350k HP shield which works against everything. It won't save you from insta-kill void zones, but for damage you know is coming, it's much better than a druid's Barkskin or a paladin's Divine Protection. In a raid setting, it's worth telling your healers to add Touch of Karma to their raid frames so they don't waste heals on you for the duration.

That's not the advanced part, though. What gets fun is using it in an offensive manner. (Yes, it may appear offensive to your healers as well.) After all, why spend 2 chi for a 40k damage Blackout Kick when you can do nearly ten times that with Touch of Karma? Run into cleaves! Stand in bad! Try to soak up your whole lifebar in damage in 10 seconds! If you do this right, it will actually make you more situationally aware, since you have to know exactly when various environmental damage sources are coming up so you can stand in them, and then duck out quickly once Karma ends. I highly recommend using the glyph in case you need to use it at range. Here's a partial list of some effects I've tested it on in LFR:
  • Stone Guard: Amethyst Pool, Jasper Chains
  • Feng the Accursed: Arcane Velocity (it doesn't work on Epicenter, which is probably a bug)
  • Gara'jal: Voodoo Doll
  • Spirit Kings: Everything! I like to use this early to help soak the first Massive Attack, because very few others will.
  • Elegon: Celestial Breath/Energy Conduir (if you like to live dangerously), or just as needed defensively
  • Will of the Emperor: Titan Gas
Oh, and for bonus damage: Touch of Karma scales with Fortifying Brew. That's an extra 20% damage right there. Just don't get cocky, kid: Some effects in raids hit hard enough that they'll kill you through Touch of Karma, and if your healers are struggling, it's better to use it as a damage reducer then a DPS enhancer.

Brewmaster: Zen Meditation + Avert Harm

Zen Meditation: Reduces all damage taken by 90% and redirects to you up to 5 harmful spells cast against party and raid members within 30 yards. Lasts 8 sec. Being the victim of a melee attack will break your meditation, cancelling the effect.
Avert Harm: You cause 20% of all damage party and raid members within 10 yards take to be re-directed to you. Lasts for 6 sec.The damage received through Avert Harm can be Staggered. Avert Harm is cancelled if you reach 10% or lower health.

If you're like me, you saw Avert Harm for the first time, tried it, died horribly, and didn't touch it again. Fear not! There is a way to use it well, and that's coupled with Zen Meditation. ZM is normally not overly useful for a tank because it cancels during a melee; but for off-tanks and moments where the boss isn't attacking directly, coupling Zen Meditation with Avert Harm works similarly to the old paladin Divine Sacrifice/Divine Shield combo and provides your group/raid with an excellent damage reduction cooldown. It absolutely shines when used on Feng, as it can mitigate Epicenter and Arcane Velocity.

Even if you take Avert Harm out of the equation, Zen Meditation has some applicability because of the 90% reduction. It'll trivialize one of Elegon's breaths, for example, and any other damage spike effects you can think of.

Mistweaver: Crackling Jade Lightning

Soothing Mist is typically seen as your low-damage efficient healing spell, and it fills that niche well. What I've discovered, though, is that Crackling Jade Lightning fills that niche even better. Let's look at some numbers! I tossed out a Jade Serpent statue and pulled a few level 90 mobs in Dread Wastes to test.
  • Soothing Mist: Heals 6k per tick + 3k per tick from the Statue. Costs 3k mana per second.
  • Crackling Jade Lightning: Does 11k damage per tick, heals 6.5k per tick + 6.5k per tick from the Statue. Costs 4.5k mana per second.
At first glance, they're pretty comparable. CJL heals for about 33% more than Soothing Mist, but for 50% more mana, so it's stronger but slightly less efficient. In an actual fight, however, there's several things that put CJL on top. First, CJL is 100% smart healing, where only the statue portion of Soothing Mist is smart. If your tank goes on an avoidance streak, channeling Soothing Mists does very little, but the healing from the lightning can tick on anyone that it needs to.

Second, it actually does some damage. I've healed several heroics doing nothing but channeling CJL and dumping Chi on Blackout Kick, and done close to 15k DPS. While that's not a lot, every little bit of damage helps clear the instance faster and moves things along to get those tasty Valor Points. It's also effective in shaving a few seconds off a challenge mode time. Now, in a raid, I wouldn't want to use this too much; then again, you're probably not using Soothing very often in a raid, either. Still, it's a lot of fun and gives you a way to contribute without needing to move into melee range if you don't want to.

Got any other tips? Share them in the comments! Until next week, keep on kicking!

Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.

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