Kickpuncher, a guide to Monk Tanking.
Monk Tanking Guide.
My name is Herpecin, i have been tanking on a warrior since vanilla and with the release of MoP i decided to try my hand at Monks, and i quickly fell in love. There is much to do while tanking on a Monk, but good play pays off very well.
Monks are a new class and as such there will be new information coming out regularly so i will try to keep this as updated as possible if people are interested.
To start off Monks are a completely viable tank, many top guilds use them and as a matter of fact Monk tanks can be seen in many world first kills.
Level 15 This is your movement tier, it is mostly up to personal choice between Celerity and Momentum, i prefer Momentum.
Level 30 This is your healing Tier, while you wont use it all the time, proper use of it can make or break a fight. All the options are god for different boss types, Zen Sphere is very nice if you are all grouped up, Chi Burst is excellent on the first boss in HoF(mainly for Force and Verve), and Chi Wave is a good standard spell that is good to keep yourself up. All of these abilities have crazy AP scaling on them, it is not uncommon for a Zen Sphere detonate to heal for a total of 600K or more. I recommend you familiarize yourself with them all and no when to use what to help your raid team.
Level 45 This is the Chi Tier, as of right now Power Strikes is in the lead with Chi Brew close behind, however in 5.1 Ascension is poised to take the lead with its 10% energy regen bonus(we will talk about energy a bit later). I prefer Power Strikes right now.
Level 60 Your CC Tier. While none of these really work on raid bosses you will spend a fair amount of time each raid killing trash, so it is useful to know what is good. Leg Sweep is the only real choice to me, a case could maybe be made for Charging Ox Wave for very specific situations, but 3 seconds every minute versus 5 seconds every 45 seconds seems like a no brainer. Deadly reach is of no use in PvE for a tank.
Level 75 The Mitigation Tier. Unless you can guarantee to not be at full health when Healing Elixirs goes off it is kind of bad. It looks cool, 40% health every minute awesome, but in reality the other options just blow it away. Dampen Harm will be your go to talent, it is good for almost every fight and with a 45 second duration you can get creative with its timing. Diffuse Magic is more of a specialized move, but when it is good to use it is arguably the single best tank CD in the game. Anytime that a short duration or single hit magic ability(Elegon's Breath for instance) will hit you this move is great, but it has a short duration and is on the GCD so using it will require timing and finesse.
Level 90 Your Final Tier. For tanking Chi Torpedo is useless, the other 2 however are not. Whenever there are enough adds that you will be using Spinning Crane Kick you want to go with Rushing Jade Wind, it costs the same as your Blackout Kick and Also adds Shuffle. For single target however Xuen is great. He costs no resources and has amazing AP scaling, also he does not taunt raid bosses so you can disregard that line in the Talent Description.
Geming right is quite simple. 320 haste in every slot but a select few. The only time you will want to deviate from that is when it is a blue socket with an agi or haste bonus, in which case you will use a haste/hit gem. You will want to use the agi meta.
With secondary stats having twice as much as primary stats on gems yellow gems are the new go to gems for almost every class.
Shoulder - 200 agi 100 crit
Cloak - 180 hit
Chest - 80 stats
Bracers - 170 agi
Gloves - 170 haste or 170 expertise
Legs - 285 agi 165 crit
Boots - 140 agi + movement speed
Weapons - Dancing Steel, or Windsong if you cannot afford the 10 Sha Crystals.
If these all look like what a DPS would use then you are correct. Monk tanking gear looks that way, and as a result you will have lower Stamina then the other tanks, but that is irrelevant until Hardmodes.
Leatherworking is the leader, its bonus gives you 330 extra agi.
Blacksmithing, Jewelcrafting, and Enchanting all give you 320 agi.
Engineering give you an average of 320 agi, but it is on use so anytime where there is a tank swap and it is on CD its value goes up quite a lot.
The gathering Professions dont give enough benefit to be mentioned for raiding, but if you must choose to get one i would do skinning, as it pairs with leatherworking and constant 320 crit is better then the rest.
While there are no longer "mandatory" glyphs in MoP, there are still some very good ones, and some not so good ones. I will not go over every Glyph there is, only the ones that pertain to tanking.
Breath of Fire - the disorient breaks on damage so it is almost pointless.
Clash - you cannot Clash on bosses and you really dont need a 50 yard initiate ability, but if you like it go for it.
Expel Harm - not a bad choice, helps insure your Expel Harm damage lands, but you will usually be in melee range of the boss so that shouldn't be an issue
Fortifying Brew - the closest thing to a mandatory glyph we have. Unless there is a single large damage hit you are concerned with you should be using this.
Guard - a rather interesting glyph with a few far reaching bonuses. the obvious advantage to having guard only absorb magic is that it wont be wasted on melee hits from a weak boss, the other advantages are less obvious. Firstly it makes the Guards that your Statue casts 10% more powerful as well, however they dont suffer the magic only restriction. The second obscure thing it does, and the real reason why you would want to or not want to use this, is that it makes your self healing 30% stronger all the time on bosses with no magic damage. That means your
Gift of the Ox globes, Expel Harm, and LvL 30 talents are 30% more potent. It is a gameplay decision and one you will have to make for yourself.
Spinning Crane Kick - Good for 5 mans, but in a raid you will most likely be standing in the same spot when you AoE.
Stoneskin - Only good on fights with a bleed, and there is only 1 of those.
Transcendence - This one has good possibilities, however Transcendence is tricky to use, but if you are comfortable this can gain you things in a few boss fights.
Zen Meditation - A very good Glyph that allow your amazing 90% magic CD with a built in raid CD to be used while moving.
Leer of the Ox - Not a bad Glyph, but your Statue cant take that many hits from a raid boss so use it cautiously.
All Minor Glyphs are only cosmetic and have no effect on gameplay.
Now we get to into the thick of it, our rotation is rather complex but works on a simple concept. Keep Shuffle up.
Your Chi Generators are Keg Smash, Expel Harm, and Jab(they all cost 40 energy). Keg Smash should be used on CD as it gives 2 Chi and does a crap ton of damage. Jab is your basic Chi generating move, use it whenever you have the energy but dont allow its use to interfere with Keg Smash. Expel Harm should replace a Jab every time its CD is up and you are below max health, unless you are saving it for a specific mechanic.
Your Chi spenders are where your mitigation comes from. Blackout Kick adds 6 seconds to your Shuffle(this can stack with no limit). Guard gives you a very nice EH boost and scales with AP, with high Vengeance you can get 150K+ Guards on yourself. Purifying Brew, this is what clears your Stagger Damage stack, you should use it whenever your Stagger get to yellow. Level 30 Talents, your healing talent, these should be used only when your Shuffle will not drop off, your Guard is on CD, or you are helping your healers with a specific mechanic.
Long CDs, Fortifying Brew, Zen Meditation, and your Level 75 talent. These should be used to help with specific abilities such as Titan Gas, Total Annihilation, Force and Verve, etc.. if you need to use these regularly to help healers then either you or they are not geared enough for the content.
You do have one Raid CD, Avert Harm. it isnt the best as it doesnt directly reduce the amount of damage the raid is taking, but if you use Purifying Brew you can help your healers with intense mechanics.
Elusive Brew. This is a special case as is does not take any resource, but its use is pivotal to proper tanking. generally you want to use it on CD if you have 5 or more stacks, however you can bank up to 15 stacks in double tank fights or in periods of low boss damage.
Gift of the Ox. these are small personal helath globes that you spawn close to youevery few melee hits, their use is what will set you apart from other onk tanks. During AoE you will feel like pac-man running around picking these things up, but in boss fights they will basically form 2-3 clusters near your location. Keep an eye on them and pick up a group of them when your health gets low.
Haste. This is your primary point of concern as a Monk tank as far as gear goes. The more haste the more energy, the more energy the more chi, the more chi the better your Shuffle uptime will be. Haste also helps with Elusive Brew stacks and Gift of the Ox. There is a "soft cap" and a "hard cap" for haste, both of which are unattainable for the vast majority of raiders right now. The hard cap is truly unattainable as it is 20 energy a second*this allows you to use a Chi generator every other GCD). The sof cap on the other hand is a bit closer and will be within reach of many when 5.1 hits, it is 13.33 energy a second(this allows a Chi generator every 3rd GCD). while you can maintain 100% shuffle uptime with zero haste what so ever, you will not have the chit to do much else(you will be using Purifying Brew much more in raids then you do in 5 mans).
Hit/Exp. While the math says you dont need to really worry about these right now, i still prefer to give them a little attention. While missing your first Keg Smash and Jab my be fine in a simulation that runs 10000 times, i dont plan to do that many boss attempts. Consistency is key, and while you really shouldn't worry about them over haste, we are already wearing DPS gear that comes with a bunch of hit/exp on it anyway so getting 7.5% in both is rather easy without sacrificing much.
Crit. While Crit does help with Purifying Brew, it doesnt help as much as Haste does.
Mastery. Shuffle increases your Stagger amount enough for normal modes so this is close to a wasted stat. Mastery is your least attractive secondary stat.
Dodge/Parry. The typical tanking stats, these are of no concern to you and will not even show up on your gear(aside for a few tier pieces). However, on use trinkets like the Relic of Nizauo can be useful on certain fights. like any good tank you should keep a full gambit of trinkets with you to swap around when needed.
Stam. Something else that you will avoid.
The Stat weights i use are Agi-> Haste ->Hit/Exp to 7.5% -> Crit -> Dodge/Parry.
However how much Hit/Exp you want are purely subjective, but i enjoy the consistency they bring.
Ok, if you are doing Hardmodes(or are very very undergeared for regular and are attempting it anyway) your main concern is now your EH. Monks have the lowest EH in our standard model and as such simply getting more better gear wont do the trick. So your Enchants/Gems will change quite a bit, they are now focused on Stam and Mastery. This means you will lose quite a bit of haste and will have less Chi to use. you still want your Shuffle uptime to be as high as possible, and with a higher Mastery comes increased use of Purifying Brew, so that means you probably wont be using Guard or your Level 30 Talent that much.
While Monk tanks are fully viable for Hardmodes and even for Progression kills in top guilds, they have to change many things in order to do it. And it will be an adjustment for healers as well.
Thank you for taking the time to read this guide and i hope you found it informative.