Hi guys! This post has taken me quite some time to compose, so forgive the lateness. Today I am going to impart some of my Challenge Mode experiences with you all. I have done the dungeons as a mixture of specs so I thought it would be nice to share with you what I discovered in each one!! Also, I have noticed a lot of people have different methods for completing each dungeon, there is no "correct way" of doing it. So it's good to have different ideas to throw around. Without further ado, I present to you...my Challenging Dungeon extravaganza!! (Please note this post was bigger than I had originally envisioned so it will be split into one this week and one next week!)
Challenge Modes: A Brewmasters perspective:
As a Brewmaster you are actually one of the most sort after tanks for completing these challenges. All the top fastest times on record will more often than not have a Brewmaster as their tank. Through my own experiences I have discovered where are three pretty strong reasons for this;
1. Our "kiteability".
As a Brewmaster we have amazing add control. Got a fight that needs some adds being taken care of? Get a Monk tank. Our unique Keg Toss enables us to single handedly "mass slow" mobs while we run off freely to do what we please. Other tanks don't have this ability, the closest is a warrior with their hamstring but this has to be applied to each individual mob from melee range, whereas ours is aoe, and ranged.
2. Our Speed.
I guess this is closely linked with the previous point, but it is a factor none-the-less. When it comes to getting from A to B we are incredibly mobile with our roll and tigers lust.
3. Our damage output.
This is not to say we can do more damage than all the other tanks, Prot Warriors are also very good at pushing out numbers. When you put this with our mobility and Kiteability however.....
The other thing we can do on top of all this as a Brewmaster is take a lot of punishment before we fall over. Which is something you will need to be prepared for as these challenge dungeons are NOT forgiving.
To gear up for this you want plenty of gem slots (though that can be said for ANY spec or class) and you will probably want to run a crit heavy/avoidance build, as mastery seems to be really weak here. I managed to tank two of the dungeons with my mastery build but it was more of a struggle than it should have been. With the crit build you can actually turn around and tank a pack of mobs rather than having to kite them like I did. As when I turned to tank them, I had no brew running so I fell over :(
Challenge Modes: A Mistweavers Perspective:
Mistweavers are unfortunately one of the weaker healers for these dungeons. That's not to say they are bad or cannot do it, but in comparison to other healers we do not have a massive set of cool downs to keep our tank up through periods of heavy damage and actually have to work to keep them topped. I say this in comparison to a priest, who can spirit shell, bubble, pain sup and shield a tank, while keeping the rest of the dungeon topped too. A druid has Ironbark, Cenarion Ward, Tranq, and a constant rolling heal placed under the whole group if needed.
Do not be disheartened by this. Mistweavers still have plenty of tricks up their sleeves to make us viable healers, we just have a harder time in the big damage phases is all ;).
As a monk we have our speed, which means we can keep up with our tank while healing, unlike a druid for example, that must go kitty to speed up, and use an extra GCD to shape shift back to heal. As these dungeons revolve heavily around how quickly you can get through them, being a monk is not a bad thing!! Another thing we have is healing spheres (well until WoD anyway!). Do not under estimate these little green bubbles, they are instant, cheap and can crit for a decent amount and keep your tank alive through line of sight effects such as the smoke bombs in the gate of the setting sun. We also have the damage factor, meaning that unlike most other healers whi will have to switch to DPS for the last boss in the brewery, we can stay healer and STILL put out dps!
Stat wise I'd run the same as you would for PvE, plenty of crit! Mana won't be an issue, although you will have very little spirit, the Amber that you can buy from the Kalaxxi will sort you right out between pulls, so don't be afraid to blow all your mana.
Challenge Modes: A Windwalkers Perspective:
Here's where the fun really begins. As a Windwalker, you bring not one, not two, but THREE dps to the fight with Storm, Earth and FIRE! This is by far one of the most "OP" things since the Fire and Brimstone hit the dungeons on warlocks. Combine this with RJW and you have a whole wirlwind of damage just ready to go. As a WW you have plenty of everything, damage, survivability, and mobility. Even though you don't have a Timewarp or Bloodlust, your ring of peace is an awesome cool down to help out the tank during periods of heavy damage. It can also get that all important silence on a group of casters when needed. So bringing a WW monk to your CM runs is definitely something to consider, even though melee are not as "popular" as ranged.
Talent choices and quelling a few CM "Myths".
Before I go any further i'd just like to comment on a few things that I have heard on the grapevine while running CM's.
"Only ranged are viable for proper runs". This is codswallop. Melee are just as viable. Especially monks. So don't let anyone fob you off with this comment.
"You HAVE to have a TW/BL to make gold timers." Again, bullsh*t. We did all ours on my monk with no such thing, and for the first 4 dungeons one of our locks was running affliction so we had lower damage too. It's about co-ordinating CD's, pulling the right things, and working as a team. TW and BL are nice, but not essential.
"You must have experience". This is by far one of the silliest things I have come across, but yet it is on pretty much every run on open Raid. Don't be disheartened, people just want an easy run. My question is, how are people supposed to gain exp when they aren't allowed in with none?
"Monks don't have many useful utilities unless they are a tank". Yes I have actually heard this one. This is of course completely untrue as we have plenty of utilities in all specs. So don't let anyone force you to tank if you're not comfortable with it. Do what YOU are happy with.
*Side note, some of the dungeons leave you little space for preparation, be careful with things like jeeves if you use him to access your bank, he may end up in the wall!!
Tier 1: Tigers lust is pretty much the only choice here, especially if you are tanking. Its great in all 3 specs though as its a nice helping hand for any of your "slower" comrades ;)
Tier 2: For me personally, Chi Wave is the best choice for all dungeons. It's spammable, and contributes dps and healing with minimal input from you, so you can concentrate on other things. As a healer you might like to try the sphere but I personally preferred the wave.
Tier 3: I liked to use chi brew for healing/dps and the ascension for tanking. Though this is personal preference I would definitely recommend the chi brew as a MW so you have extra tea stacks when you need them.
Tier 4: Although leg sweep seems like a nice Idea RoP is actually better here for all 3 specs, unfortunately when you mass stun mobs, their current swing gets interrupted. Consequentially they all "re-swing" together, usually annihilating your poor tank. RoP is a nice choice over all as it can be cast on someone else if your healing, keeping you, well out of harms way.
Tier 5: This Varies from dungeon to dungeon. For something like temple of the jade serpent, I would recommend the diffuse magic, as the initial pull comprises of a LOT of magic damage. As a tank it's pretty important which of these you select, so find your way round, and decide as you go through where the magic damage lies. For WW I actually preferred the healing elixirs as they were low maintenance and kept me alive long enough for a healer to help me. For MW again it's dungeon dependent, although you may not find yourself using this talent much as a healer, if there are any phases where you may need to get stuck in, it is preferrable to have a CD for yourself apart from the fortifying brew.
Tier 6: As a WW I would recommend RJW all the way. It's extremely powerful and provides consistent damage. As a tank it's really your choice, if you're having no threat issues then Xuen is great, he can also face tank some adds for you, allowing you to pull more than your average tank. As a MW I would recommend Xuen all the way. RJW eats mana and doesnt really provide enough healing to be that useful, whereas Xuen provides a huge dps boost to your group.
Next week I shall go through the individual dungeons and post some videos! If you have any comments or questions feel free to contact me on twitter or post them in the section below :)