One of the biggest changes in Legion Windwalker is the removal of our old cleave technique and our dps rotational skill, Tigereye Brew, in favor of a new toy.
Storm, Earth, and Fire is now extremely important to the play style of Legion Windwalker. To perform well, you’ll want to be aware of how it works, how it doesn’t, and how to maximize its potential.
Mechanics and Bugs
New iteration of Storm, Earth, and Fire works as follows:
- You split into three spirits, one which you control and two you don’t, for 15 seconds.
- If you don’t do anything, they’ll attack random targets you’re in combat with, jumping pretty efficiently from one target to another.
- If you press the spell again, they’ll focus on current target and ignore others for the rest of the duration or until assigned to a new one.
- If there are less than 3 targets available, they can still attack the same target as you (unlike previous iterations of the spell.)
During the duration, you and your spirits will deal 55% reduced damage (50% with Spiritual Focus), for a net gain of 35% damage overall on single target (50% with Spiritual Focus!). The clones will replicate all your damaging actions, although they won’t cast crowd controls, use items or cast Touch of Death.
They will count towards mark of the crane, effectively tagging targets for your Spinning Crane Kick buff. They will be very efficient at that task, jumping to a new target without a debuff every GCD, and refreshing the oldest debuff if every target within range is tagged.
It is worth noting that Storm, Earth, and Fire, despite all the attention Blizzard gave it, has and will probably always have some bugs. As I write this they:
- Reduce the damage of some spells/perks which they don’t copy, as Tornado Kicks.
- Can be very slow to pick a target so I would not encourage you to Fists of Fury right after you summon them since they might just stand idle during your strongest spell.
- Stack their own hit combo buff, making them a bit weaker during that buff than Serenity is.
- Also worth noting if one of your clones dies, the spell is canceled.
This ability has a 1:30 minutes cool down, but stacks up to 2 times; this is excellent, as it gives monks one the best cooldowns in the game (+50% damage is crazy) with flexibility to use it/delay it, or even use two in a row for a huge damage burst on a priority target (Those 30 seconds of powerful burst are quite reminiscent of Demon Hunter’s metamorphosis… proving once more how similar both classes are).
Single Target Use
The first rule for Storm, Earth, and Fire use on single target is to almost always have one charge on cooldown. There is no rush to use your second charge: as long as one is always recharging and both are used by the end of the fight, you’re getting the most out of it.
This allows a lot of flexibility. In 90% scenarios, you’ll want to use one stack on your single target opener, where all cooldowns are line up. Fists of Fury, Strike of the Windlord, a couple Rising Sun Kicks (maybe even 3 with a bloodlust) and the large amount of resources available to begin with all lead to a very strong opening burst. I believe most of you got this already anyways.
How do you use your other stacks?
The minimum you can get out of a stack is a couple Rising Sun Kicks, a Fists of Fury and a Strike of the Windlord. This, combined with pooling some chi beforehand and fitting enough Blackout Kicks during the duration is very strong. To achieve this, I encourage you to monitor Strike of the Windlord’s cooldown to ensure you see the window where you’ll be able to fit both this and Fists of Fury into the damage buff.
Can you get more than that? For sure! Some very powerful trinket procs can bring more to the table than Strike of the Windlord. You’ll still likely want to fit a Fists of Fury into this; how do I achieve this? I monitor Fists of Fury closely as well; whenever the cooldown is lower than 12 seconds, I know that if I get a strong trinket proc now, it is worth popping Storm, Earth, and Fire straight away as it will also cover Fists of Fury.
In some fights, large damage buffs will happen for 10 seconds – 1 minute durations; in these scenarios, plan ahead for your Storm, Earth, and Fire usage, sometimes even capping at two stacks for up to 15-30 seconds to set up this huge 30 seconds burst window.
Storm, Earth, and Fire during AoE bosses
One of the big things about the spell is how fast it gets Spinning Crane Kick rolling. If you switch targets yourself each GCD, you can get 9 stacks in just a Tiger Palm -> Blackout Kick -> Tiger Palm; very quickly you’ll be reaching this god mode at 10+ stacks.
Therefore, if specced into Whirling Dragon Punch, I advise planning ahead for AoE phases.
Hectic Add Cleave
You’ve probably read this name on SimulationCraft some day or already know what it refers to. Basically, this type of fights is mostly single target with medium/large packs of adds relatively often in the fight. Usually the adds are not the priority whereas pushing the single target damage or a couple priority adds is.
In this type of fights, I advise using your first stack for single target, getting it on cool down and chunking the boss with your opening burst, then lining up other stacks with add spawns. On 8+ adds, Storm, Earth, and Fire can quickly be a gain even on single target due to how much of our rotation is AoE already and how strong Spinning Crane Kick gets.
Unrelated, but Strike of the Windlord reigns over this kind of fights. Delaying it up to 30 seconds to destroy a pack of adds can be worth it. It will cost you some small amount of single target damage to obliterate the adds.
In some fights, AoE is more than just something that happens every now and then. Bosses which transition at specific HP% and spawn some adds during important phases (Inquisitor Tormentorum in Vault of Wardens, Shadowlord Iskar, Cenarius in the emerald nightmare follow this kind of pattern) are very different.
For those bosses, usually damage during the opener is irrelevant because they are not a threat and barely use any hard abilities until they transition. This kind of bosses is hard only because of the AoE, oftentimes because of some priority add.
In such cases, in a progress environment, I’d certainly keep both stacks of Storm, Earth, and Fire for important phases and to destroy the adds. After all, that’s probably the reason you’re there as a wind walker anyways!
In other cases, adds might spawn for a very short time and die very quickly, but if done right you can get half a dozen to a dozen stacks before they go, for instance on Skorpyron. In such a case, it is true that you’ll end up having enough stacks to make Spinning Crane Kick worth using over Rising Sun Kick/Blackout Kick. However, don’t overdo it. If you get 7 stacks on Skorpyron and cast a couple Spinning Crane Kicks, chances are you’ll be delaying Fists of Fury or Rising Sun Kick soon afterwards. So be aware of your resources to not to end up doing more harm than good.
In some other cases, adds will be all over the place and grant you 10-15 stacks, making Spinning Crane Kick destroy everything. It is worth keeping your calm in such cases. Our rotation is very slow when using Spinning Crane Kick extensively, so you’ll have room to think. Make sure Energizing Elixir is up at this time; this cooldown is strong when used efficiently and often, but even better in such occasions.
Finally, once you know you’re close to capping on stacks, press Storm, Earth, and Fire again, focus it on the boss: you don’t want clones flying around damaging adds when the real target is 10 yards away.
Despite all the bugs it can have, all the inconveniences, with Spiritual Focus, Storm, Earth, and Fire is one the strongest cool downs in the game. 50% damage increase for up to 30 seconds, short coolown and AoE improvements. Make sure you’re used to the ins and outs of the spell!
Hopefully, this answers more questions than it creates. As always you can find us on Discord to answer questions, and if you liked what you read don’t hesitate to scroll down or to the top and subscribe and support WtW.