I didn't start my monk journey as many others did at MoP's release, but switched mains during tier 15 due to raid needs. My confidence was at an all-time low because monk healing felt so foreign, compared to other healing classes. After some time, I completely fell for my monk and want to share what I've learned along the way.
I'd like to get it out of the way now - this guide isn't meant for the advanced mistweaver. It's a quick guide to get you healing, stat. I'd like to cover in-depth mistweaver topics in the future, so don't worry! This is a resource meant for monks hitting level 90 and are interested in trying their hand at healing. It's meant for brewmasters or windwalkers curious about healing or even for those being thrown into a new off-spec.
How we roll
Monks juggle two resources - mana or energy, as well as Chi - to do what we do. As a mistweaver, you manage mana and Chi, cast spells that generate Chi, spend Chi, or spend mana. The rhythm of monk healing is like a graceful dance, and it'll take practice to master like any other spec. Although monk healing may seem foreign, especially coming from another healing class, it's quite fun once you get comfortable.
Before getting to the business end of our heals, there are a few things every mistweaver must check off of their list.
- Buff - Legacy of the Emperor is our version of the druid's Mark of the Wild and the paladin's Blessing of Kings. It doesn't stack with either.
- Stance - As mistweavers, we have access to two stances, one of which is our default for healing. Stance of the Wise Serpent turns our energy into mana, activates the bulk of our healing spells, and offers other healing buffs. You should always be in this stance.
- Statue - Train yourself to place your Jade Serpent Statue before every new pull (at least). It's similar to the concept of a totem or a Lightwell. You may have to reposition it during an encounter due to range restrictions, as you generally want the statue to be in a spot where most of your ranged group is standing. Without getting too much into it, your statue will enhance a few aspects of your healing via smart heals: 1. Melee - 25% of non-autoattack damage done by you will be converted to a heal directed at the lowest health nearby target within 20 yards of the statue. 2. Soothing Mist - When you cast this on a target, the statue will also cast Soothing Mist on someone within 40 yards.
The mistweaver's toolbox includes the following spells, in a loose order of priority:
- Renewing Mists - Keep this on your tank and use it on cooldown to blanket your group or raid. It will jump to two other players. This heal is your bread and butter and is on an 8 second cooldown, so let's do other stuff in the meanwhile... (Chi generator)
- Uplift will heal everyone with a Renewing Mists HoT applied. This is why we want Renewing Mists on as many people as possible. (Chi spender)
- Thunder Focus Tea - Use before the shortest duration Renewing Mists HoT falls off in order to refresh the duration of all Renewing Mists HoTs currently ticking (ideally when you have around 5 - 6+ active). This can also be used to increase the heal of your next Surging Mist, but its use to extend all Renewing Mists is ideal. (Chi spender)
- Soothing Mist - Channel this on a player who needs spot healing. While channeling, Surging Mist and Enveloping mist are instant. (Chi generator)
- Surging Mist - Use this to quickly top someone off. It's an expensive heal to cast, so think of it like Flash Heal. Instant while casting Soothing Mist. (Chi generator)
- Expel Harm - Use this on cooldown for the Chi and self-heal. If you find that you need to save the self-heal in cases of heavy incoming damage, hold off until it's needed. (Chi generator)
- Mana Tea - Channel this to gain mana. You won't lose any stacks if you stop the channel before consuming every stack, so feel free to drink and move as soon as you need to!
- Take advantage of your (free!) level 30 talent heal - Chi Burst is a powerful directional heal, Chi Wave bounces to heal allies and to damage enemies, and Zen Sphere is a targeted heal that "explodes" to do a bit of AoE healing.
- Enveloping Mist - This is only here so people don't think I forgot about it. Enveloping Mist isn't used as often as our other healing spells (in general), but is a good way enhance single-target heals. If the target is taking sustained damage, cast this during a Soothing Mist channel for an instant Enveloping Mist, or if you need to spend Chi. Although in many cases it's best to spend your Chi in other ways.
"Oh, Crap" tips
- Chi Brew + Uplift to quickly use multiple Uplifts in succession if you're low on Chi.
- Xuen (if specced) can serve as burst healing through eminence heals.
- Revival is our huge "heal everything" 3 minute cooldown.
- Spinning Crane Kick/Rushing Jade Wind is used as an AoE heal in a tight group. Roll into a group and spin!
- As mentioned earlier, spamming Surging Mist while channeling Soothing Mist is excellent for burst heals, but is very mana-intensive.
- Cast Life Cocoon on a target (or yourself!) to absorb a large amount of damage.
- Your personal defensive cooldowns include Diffuse Magic or Dampen Harm, Zen Meditation, and Fortifying Brew.
- Tiger's Lust + Roll will get you out of many situations. Tiger's Lust can also be cast on others, so you can help them out of sticky situations, too.
A final note on fistweaving
In a nutshell, fistweaving is a monk healing style similar to a priest's Atonement healing, wherein we utilize several damage-dealing spells in order to heal. Although fistweaving plays a decent part in monk healing, it's something that should be covered in a separate post as it's more in-depth than this quick guide is meant to go! The main thing to keep in mind when jumping into mistweaving is to never stop spending and generating Chi - monk healing is very active and it depends on juggling your resources, so don't sit on Chi. In order to be a successful monk healer, keep an open mind, plan ahead, and don't be afraid to get into melee range!