The Fistweaving Compendium – Raid
The following guide was written by Sweggles from Vesper on Area 52. He raids at an incredibly high level, and sets a high standard for all monks that follow. This is the Raid edition of the guide. A dungeon version will follow very soon.
Fistweaving throughout BFA was kind of niche. It was incredibly strong in the right hands, but it came with a higher difficulty and the performance gain compared to Upwelling was arguable at best. Ignoring a brief 2 week period in Ny’alotha where it took over the universe it just didn’t see the amount of mainstream playtime as it deserved. In Shadowlands it has the support of an incredibly strong legendary and a renewed focus on healer DPS. Let’s learn how it plays.
Fistweaving vs Upwelling
Let’s just get this age old question out of the way immediately. In my opinion Rising Mist is strictly better than Upwelling in almost every regard. I don’t think there is a good reason to not be Fistweaving. Dispel any fears about melee uptime because there aren’t really many fights in the raid that pull you out of melee for long. You are also considered a melee for mechanics regardless of talent choice so it’s actually safer for your raid if you’re in melee a lot of the time. For fights with tight DPS checks like Inerva Darkvein, Council of Blood and Sludgefist, adding 900+ DPS is of huge impact.
Rising Mist does equal or better healing, a lot more damage, and it is much more mana efficient.
How to Play
Something to always keep in mind when playing Rising Mist is that your rotation sometimes changes depending on what the boss is doing or what the raid is looking like health wise. That being said there is still a general priority that you want to follow.
- Use Vivify if someone is about to die.
- Use Essence Font if 4 or more people are injured.
- Use Renewing Mist if you’re at two charges or if your second charge is about to come off cooldown.
- Use Rising Sun Kick whenever it’s off cooldown.
- Use Refreshing Jade Wind if talented.
- Use your second Renewing Mist charge if the raid is actively injured.
- Use Vivify if you have 5 Renewing Mist out (4 Renewing Mist if you are playing Tear of Morning) .
- Use Blackout Kick.
- Use Tiger Palm.
How do I know when to stack 3 Tiger Palms or just use 1 Tiger Palm?
- Maximising HPS: Single Tiger Palm into Blackout Kick.
- Maximising DPS: Triple Tiger Palm -> Blackout Kick.
Don’t get caught up with this part too much. There are much more important metrics to maximise than accidentally getting your kick rotation wrong. Ancient Teachings does not change the priority list.
If the raid needs to stay alive and you need to spam Vivify even at less than 5 Renewing Mist then by all means do it. Your job as a healer is to keep the raid alive. Play for the kill, do not play for the parse.
How do I incorporate Yu’lon/Chi-Ji to my fistweaving rotation?
Use Yu’lon during points of high damage and always alongside Mana Tea or an Innervate. You’ll fill its duration with as many Enveloping Mist as is necessary for the incoming damage. If you don’t have an innervate then you’ll need to pay close attention to your mana here.
- Raid is getting pummeled? You might want to cast Enveloping Mist at 1 stack of the buff.
- Damage intake more of a “moderate” than a “heavy”? Grab 2-3 stacks of the buff before you Enveloping Mist. This is much more mana efficient, but is less healing over your Chi-ji window.
With Ancient Teachings you want to keep up the buff from Essence Font for the duration of Chi-Ji. Cast an Essence Font before using Chi-Ji and during if needed. Make sure you are still casting Rising Sun Kick during the duration of your Celestial since extending the Enveloping Mist buffs is a lot of extra healing.
How do I use Mana Tea?
- With Yu’lon: Use mana tea whenever you’re going to be spending a large amount of mana in a short period of time. You want to always have this up when you cast Yu’lon, and ideally whenever you need to cast more than a few Vivifies at a time.
- With Chi-ji: You don’t need to save it for your Chi-ji window so use it off cooldown to maximise uses in a fight. Spirit of the Crane is only an option if you are extremely lazy and is always worse.
Fistweaving comparatively to Upwelling has a lot of freedom over which legendaries you can play and make work. Upwelling is pigeon-holed into playing 1-2 legendaries whereas Fistweaving unlocks the option of playing almost anything you like. That being said there are still legendaries that outperform others consistently.
Ancient Teachings of the Monastery
Craft on: Hands. Recommended Stats: Any two of Haste / Crit / Versatility. Acronym: AtotM
This is your fistweaving lifeblood and you can consider it your absolute default choice. It provides a lot of HPS without any major changes to your playstyle (we are even talking 20-25%+ on some fights). If you are not playing Tear of Morning for extra spot healing or you are not playing Invoker’s Delight for more cooldown HPS, then you are playing Ancient Teachings of the Monastery. We’ll discuss playstyle more below.
Craft on: Helm. Recommended Stats: Any two of Haste / Crit / Versatility. Acronym: ID
Invoker’s Delight is a niche, but situationally incredibly powerful legendary that massively increases the power of your Celestials. With Invoker’s Delight, Yu’lon becomes the single strongest pure throughput cooldown in the game with nothing else really coming close. Even 40k+ HPS is possible for the duration of Yu’lons and while this kind of insane burst healing is rarely needed there are few fights where this legendary could be played over Ancient Teachings. Some examples include:
Heroic: Sun King’s Salvation, Council of Blood, Sludgefist, Sire Dentharius
Mythic: Sun King’s Salvation, Council of Blood
It should also be mentioned that Invoker’s Delight isn’t mandatory for the above, you can play Ancient Teachings on literally everything and it will still do very similar healing. For this reason you should consider Invoker’s Delight for your second or third legendary craft rather than your first.
Tear of Morning
Craft on: Helm. Recommended Stats: Any two of Haste / Crit / Versatility. Acronym: ToM
This was originally heralded as a potential best in slot legendary for Mistweaver and that wasn’t necessarily wrong. It’s a fantastic all-rounder legendary that can be used with multiple playstyles. It really only sees competition from Ancient Teachings where it’s beaten in mana efficiency and damage. It’s also much more difficult to play, with large rotational changes necessary to really maximise value. It’s best on fights like Huntsman, Sun King and Stone Legion Generals, but even on those you might lean toward Ancient Teachings as your default (Sun King excluded). If you do run Tear of Morning, be constantly checking it’s value with tools like Wowanalyzer and QE Live to make sure you are getting decent performance out of it.
How to Improve your Gameplay
Fistweaving can be a little difficult to understand sometimes since it differs quite a lot to how healers in general play. Here are some methods you can use to break down your logs yourself and to understand how to improve.
Look at your Casts per minute (CPM) on some abilities and compare to what the top logs are doing. You can find these under logs by clicking on Tables and then looking at Casts. There are five key abilities that you’re looking for: Tiger Palm, Blackout Kick, Rising Sun Kick, Essence Font, and Renewing Mist.
You should aim for something around the following:
Wowanalyzer can give you recommendations and statistics based off your logs. I really cannot stress how amazing WowAnalyzer is. It is incredibly well made and it shows you what you can improve on just by plugging in the log. It is very simple to use. Use the Suggestions tab to see what you can improve on at a basic level.
Make sure you are scoring highly for key spells like Rising Sun Kick, Thunder Focus Tea and Renewing Mist. You want to be using these almost off cooldown so if they are on your list of improvements as in the above screenshot then that’s a large improvement you can make.
The core rotation is quite similar regardless of content type which means you can find pug normal or heroic groups and just practice getting your rotation down perfectly. Building muscle memory is incredibly important because it’ll let you focus more on the mechanics during a hard boss while you auto-pilot the basic rotation itself.
Exceptions to the rule: Sun Kings Salvation
Sun King is an amazing fight for Mistweaver Monk, but you play it significantly differently to how you would the other nine bosses. Your goal as a healer on Sun King is to hard pump single target healing into Kael’thas to get him to 45 / 90%. The faster you can push, the easier the fight becomes. You can and will hard carry your raid here if you are prepped for the fight. Here’s how you do it:
- Prepot an intellect potion and roll toward Kael as the boss is pulled.
- Apply Renewing Mist with Thunder Focus Tea.
- Channel Essence Font.
- Cast Yu’lon.
Ask for Innervate here if available. If you get one, hold mana tea until it ends. If not, pop mana tea at the start of the rotation.
- Cast Enveloping Mist on the boss.
- Rising Sun Kick a nearby target to extend all HoTs.
- Use your Covenant ability and then Life Cocoon Kael.
- Soothing Mist -> Vivify spam.
- Reapply Enveloping Mist near the end of your mana tea or innervate.
- Return to Soothing Mist -> Vivify.
Watch it in action
Quick Fire Questions
Chi-ji or Refreshing Jade Winds?
This is dependent on a number of factors including your raid composition and the boss you’re about to progress on. If the fight does not have good AoE damage patterns for RJW (Council, Sludgefist, Shriekwing, Inerva, Sire Denathrius) then you more than likely want to play Chi-Ji. Using Chi-Ji also means that you have better mana sustain as you will not be needing an innervate for Yu’lon and you will not be using a lot of your GCDs on RJW which means you can spend more time on free abilities or lower cost abilities. Think of Chi-Ji as a mana saving tool in conjunction with Ancient Teachings. It might not do the absolute maximum HPS possible but it does within a couple hundred HPS of RJW while having no constraints on mana or on innervates.
Chi Burst or Mist Wrap?
You’ll play Chi Burst 90% of the time. Swap to Mist Wrap for Sun King and any fight where Enveloping Mist + Enveloping Breath make up 20%+ of your healing before considering the Mist Wrap bonuses.
Which Covenant should I play?
This one is a little hard since they are all relatively close to each other in terms of HPS but I believe that Necrolord is the best for absolute min maxing. The combination of Necrolord’s Bonedust Brew with Emeni as the soulbind and an on use PvP Badge trinket allows you to get 400 free intellect on a 1 minute cooldown. We have very strong cooldowns which makes this a potent combo. You can still play other covenants if you feel like Necrolord is too boring (or too… ugly) for you but if you have no strong preference then Necrolord is the play. If you’re already 24+ Renown in your Covenant then don’t feel like you must switch (and if you do so then you could do it between tiers when you know more about 9.1).
How do I use my Covenant ability?
Bonedust Brew should be used before whenever incoming damage is high, but the cooldown is low enough that you can also use it for raw damage – particularly at the start of a fight. Use your knowledge of damage patterns here.
Venthyr’s Fallen Order gives you a 3 minute cooldown that does not do a whole lot of healing for the long wait between uses. It’s not enough to solo heal raid mechanics so pair it with something else.
Faeline Stomp is an efficient, strong cast with a very short cooldown and should be used as often as possible.
How should my stats look?
Intellect is still your best stat by a very large margin. If you have items of equivalent item level then aim towards 10-20% haste, then stack versatility or crit. Keep in mind that 18-21% haste is the soft breakpoint for Renewing Mist extensions. It’s not mandatory though if you don’t have the items for it. You can use QE Live to optimize your gear.
What about Conduits?
None are hugely impactful, and you will play some combination of the following:
- Playing Chi-ji? You can take Jade Bond for the cooldown reduction.
- Necrolord? Consider Bone Marrow Hops for fights like Council, Artificer and Stone Legion.
- None of the above? Rising Sun Revival is a good default. It offers a little cooldown reduction and a little healing on your revival. Replendent Mists is also very good.
What should I be using Thunder Focus Tea on?
Thunder Focus Tea should be used almost exclusively on Rising Sun Kick, and exclusively so when running Ancient Teachings. The only exception is when you are out of range, or are unable to melee for 15 seconds. Ideally you’ll use TFT directly after casting a full Essence Font. This allows you to fully extend the HoT while getting a lot of direct healing from Rising Mist.
What if the guide differs from top logs in some aspect?
Top logs are not always the best way of indicating what is correct. A lot of the top logs are playing for the parse and are not playing for the kill. You should not just aim for the biggest HPS possible to impress the 3 people in your raid who actually care about that. There is much more to being a viable healer than that. Often top logs are able to abuse heavy innervate usage and Power Infusions to take mana heavy talents and this is usually not the play for progression.
I’ve got an extra question for you
You can bring any extra questions to the Peak of Serenity discord, or to me directly. We’re always happy to answer questions.
If you want to watch Sweggles live in action, you can catch him on Twitch at https://twitch.tv/SwegglesQT, on Discord at sweggles#0001 or on Twitter @sweggles1. You’re also more than welcome to leave a comment below.