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Leveling Your Mistweaver Monk (1-50)

October 30, 2012
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So you’ve created a Mistweaver Monk and hopefully read my earlier post on the pros and cons of the spec.  Now it’s time to start leveling.

Getting Started

If you have chosen to create a Pandaren Monk, you will find that the Wandering Isle does not have mailboxes (this is because of the problems that come from Pandaren being essentially faction-less until they complete all the quests on the Isle – also, can you IMAGINE the shipping costs to send something to a turtle in the middle of the sea who’s constantly moving?).  Low level Pandaren, therefore, will not have access to heirlooms until they choose a faction and are ported to their new home city.  At that point, and at level 1 for all other races, the following heirlooms are available:

  • Preened Tribal War Feathers - Available if your guild has reached level 20, purchased from guild vendors for 1,500g.  You must be Honored with your guild to purchase this piece, and the price is reduced based on your reputation level.
  • Preened Ironfeather Shoulders - Purchaseable for 2,175 Justice Points, 110 Darkmoon Faire Prize Tickets, or 60 Champion’s Seals from Argent Tournament Dailies in Icecrown.
    - or -
    Lasting Feralheart Spaulders - Purchaseable for 2,175 Honor Points.  (These shoulders have + PvP Resilience.)
  • Preened Ironfeather Breastplate - Purchaseable for 2,175 Justice Points, 110 Darkmoon Faire Prize Tickets, or 60 Champion’s Seals from Argent Tournament Dailies in Icecrown.
  • Ancient Bloodmoon Cloak - Available if your guild has reached level 10, purchased from guild vendors for 1,200g.  You must be Honored with your guild to purchase this piece, and the price is reduced based on your reputation level.
  • Preened Wildfeather Leggings – Available if your guild has completed the achievement Working As a Team, purchased from guild vendors for 1,750g.  You must be Honored with your guild to purchase this piece, and the price is reduced based on your reputation level.
  • Discerning Eye of the Beast - Purchaseable for 2,725 Justice Points, 130 Darkmoon Faire Prize Tickets, or 75 Champion’s Seals from Argent Tournament Dailies in Icecrown.  You can equip 2 of these trinkets at the same time.
  • Dignified Headmaster’s Charge - Purchaseable for 3,500 Justice Points, 160 Darkmoon Faire Prize Tickets, or 95 Champion’s Seals from Argent Tournament Dailies in Icecrown.
    (The staff is preferable to the 1H Intellect mace, which your Mistweaver can also use, only because using a 1H weapon while leveling means that you will be dependent upon quest rewards and dungeon drops to fill your offhand slot.  The Headmaster’s Charge is also generally preferable to the Grand Staff of Jordan, which is weighted more toward defensive stats for PvP.)

The shoulders, chest, trinket, and weapon(s) will all increase your experience from levels 1-80, meaning you will benefit from the XP gain until you hit 81.  The helm, legs, and cloak will all increase your experience from levels 1-85, meaning you will benefit from the XP gain until you hit 86.  Remember, however, that heirlooms count as an iLv of 1, so you may have some difficulty queueing for dungeons beyond level 70 if your heirlooms are equipped.

Levels 1-9

Before you are able to choose your specialization, you will have a chance to get used to the way your damage abilities work to build and spend Chi.  For these first 10 levels, your primary resource will be Energy rather than mana.  You will learn:

(1) Jab – Your basic attack that grants 1 Chi
(3) Tiger Palm – A stronger attack that costs 1 Chi. It also grants the buff Tiger Power, causing your attacks to ignore 10% of enemies’ armor for 20 sec. Tiger Power can stack up to 3 times, for a 30% armor penetration buff. (In Patch 5.1, this ability will no longer stack.)  Tiger Palm will be the best way to get rid of excess Chi for the much of your leveling experience.
(5) Roll – Allows you to roll a short distance.  You cannot change directions while you are rolling, nor can you stop yourself (unless you run into something).  You can, however, roll backwards if you are moving backwards when you activate the ability.  Roll has 2 charges, and those charges begin to regenerate after you use the first one.
(7) Blackout Kick -  A strong attack that costs 2 Chi.  While you are leveling, you will find that Blackout Kick is not significantly stronger for a Mistweaver Monk, so you can mostly ignore it and spend your Chi on Tiger Palm instead.  This will change slightly after level 34.

Choosing Your Specialization, Level 10

Upon reaching level 10, you will officially be able to become a Mistweaver.  Doing so will grant you the following abilities:

(10) Stance of the Wise Serpent – This is the stance you will always use when you are healing.  It converts your Energy to Mana, increases your healing done by 20%, grants hit and expertise equal to 50% Spirit gained from items or effects, and your attack power is equal to 200% of your spell power.  Essentially, this is the ability that makes it possible for you – wearing caster leather – to effectively deal melee damage.
(10) Eminence - Your Stance of the Wise Serpent also grants this passive effect.  When you deal damage with any ability (except auto-attacks), Eminence heals the lowest health target within 20 yards for 50% of the damage done.  This is what makes it possible for you to heal by DPSing.
(10) Soothing Mist – Your first healing spell, Soothing Mist is a long, channeled spell that heals for a moderate amount.  Each tick has a 25% chance to generate 1 Chi, and this is the only direct heal you will have until level 32.  At low levels, it is best used when the tank or another group member is taking a steady stream of incoming damage.  Otherwise, you will find that it is equally effective to use your damaging moves to passively heal with Eminence.

Leveling with a Mistweaver spec is perfectly viable.  You really don’t take any longer to kill mobs than a Brewmaster or Windwalker would, and you have the added benefit of always being able to heal yourself.  Particularly if you are using heirlooms, you are very unlikely to run out of mana while you are questing.

Levels 11-30

Most of what you learn for the next several levels will be utility or situational abilities (and I have only included those that are likely to be relevant to a Mistweaver):

(18) Resuscitate – Your resurrection spell.
(20) Detox – Your dispell, which removes Poison and Disease effects.  Because you are speced as a Mistweaver, it will also remove harmful magical effects from a friendly target.  Like all MoP dispells, this ability is on an 8 second cooldown.
(20) Zen Pilgrimage – A teleport spell that brings you to a Monk sanctuary at the top of Kun-Lai Summit.  Every 10 levels, you will have a class quest to complete that rewards you with a weapon or belt and, more importantly, a 50% increase to your XP gained for the next hour.  These quests require you to defeat a monk NPC at the temple, and usually teach you about using your CC spells.  They can also be repeated once a day to get the 50% XP boost back.  There are also trainers at the temple should you need to respec or change your glyphs and talents.
(22) Legacy of the Emperor – Your raid buff, it increases Strength, Agility, and Intellect by 5%.  This is the same buff as Blessing of Kings and Gift of the Wild, so it will not stack with either of those.
(22) Touch of Death – This ability costs 3 Chi and “instantly kills” a non-player target with equal or less health than you.  What it really does is deal physical damage equal to your maximum health that ignores the target’s armor.  If you have the 3 Chi, it’s helpful to use on cooldown while questing to quickly take out a quest mob, and the same goes for dungeon groups.
(24) Fortifying Brew – This is a damage reduction cooldown you can only use on yourself, increasing your health by 20% and reducing damage taken by 20% for 20 seconds.  It’s been a lifesaver when I have an overzealous tank who can’t hold agro on everything he pulls.
(26) Expel Harm – A nifty self-heal, this spell is on a 15 second cooldown and is quite cheap to cast.  It also generates 1 Chi and damages a nearby target for 50% of the healing you receive.  If you are at anything less than full health and Expel Harm is available, use it.
(28) Disable – A helpful snare to keep you away from melee in PvP, or from angry mobs.  Disable reduces your target’s movement speed by 50%, and its duration is refreshed if the target remains within 10 yards of the you.  If you use  Disable on a target that has already snared, they will be rooted for 8 seconds instead.

Levels 31-40

Once your Mistweaver gets into the 30s, you’ll really start to see more of your healing toolkit.  The spells you learn between 30-60 are the ones you will use the most often for direct healing and group healing.

(32) Spear Hand Strike – Our interrupt, which can also silence a target if they are facing us when we hit them.
(34) Surging Mist – This is somewhat like a Flash Heal for monks.  It is expensive, heals for a large amount, generates 1 Chi, and becomes an instant-cast if we cast it while we are channeling Soothing Mist.  This is part of what makes monks so much different from other healers – the way that many of our spells work differently if they are used while we are casting Soothing Mist.  There is really never a reason to hard-cast this spell; it should always be used while channeling as an instant-cast.  Use Surging Mist during periods of high damage when you need to quickly top up the tank or someone else in your party.
(34) Enveloping Mist – A HoT which both heals its target for a moderate amount over 6 seconds, and also increases the amount of healing done by Soothing Mists on the target.  Just like Surging Mist, Enveloping Mist is instant-cast if used while channeling Soothing Mists and, again, never should be hard-cast.  This is doubly true with Enveloping Mist, since the idea is to cast it on a target who you will then continue to heal with Soothing Mist.  Enveloping Mist costs 3 Chi.
(34) Teachings of the Monastery* – This passive skill enhances 3 of your DPS abilities:  Tiger Palm, Blackout Kick, and Spinning Crane Kick.  Our Blackout Kick will now provide the buff “Serpent’s Zeal,” which makes any auto-attack damage we do heal nearby party members for 25% (or 50% at 2 stacks).  Our Tiger Palm ability will now grant the buff “Vital Mists,” which reduces the cast time and mana cost of our next Surging Mist by 20% per stack (up to a total of 5 stacks, at which point Surging Mist will be instant-cast and free).  Finally, our Spinning Crane Kick will heal nearby injured targets in addition to causing AoE damage.  If you heal at least 1 target (other than yourself) with Spinning Crane Kick, it will also generate 1 Chi.

* Teachings of the Monastery is the ability that makes so-called “Fistweaving” (a somewhat awful name for the Monk style of healing that involves actively damaging an enemy rather than traditional, cast-based healing) a viable way to heal in many fights.  Whether Fistweaving is an effective way to heal at max level is a hotly-debated topic among Mistweaver monks right now.  For leveling purposes, however, you will find that healing through melee abilities is certainly possible, and often more engaging than casting.

Levels 41-50

The 40s will give us access to our group-healing spells, as well as a few additional utility abilities.

(42) Renewing Mists – Easily my favorite monk healing spell, Renewing Mists is a very unique HoT.  Not entirely unlike Prayer of Mending, Renewing Mists jumps from its initial target to 3 additional party members, applying its HoT to each of them.  The HoT lasts for 18 seconds, but only has an 8 second cooldown – meaning it can be rolling on several people at the same time.  Casting Renewing Mists generates 1 Chi.
(44) Paralysis – The monk’s CC ability, which lasts 30 seconds against PvE mobs – or a full 1 minute if you cast it while behind your target. In PvP, this ability lasts 4 seconds if cast from the front and 8 seconds from behind. Unless you choose to take the Deadly Reach talent, you must be within melee range to use this spell.
(45) Dematerialize – A handy emergency passive during PvP or when unruly mobs decide to smack the healer, Dematerialize causes you to “phase out of existence” when you are stunned.  This effect lasts for 2 seconds and temporarily causes all melee, ranged, and spell attacks to miss you. It has a 10 sec cooldown.
(46) Spinning Crane Kick – As cool as it sounds, Spinning Crane Kick puts your character into a whirlwind that both damages enemies and heals friendly targets.  Unglyphed, it will also slow your movement speed by 30%.  For fights in which our party or raid can be tightly stacked, this is a very strong AoE heal.

Levels 50-90 will be covered in the second half of this guide.  Questions, comments, and corrections are more than welcome!

9 Comments leave one →
  1. ellori permalink
    October 30, 2012 8:48 pm

    Just started a mistweaver monk, and this guide is great! Looking forward to seeing the next half!

    • October 30, 2012 8:52 pm

      I hope you have as much fun with it as I did! :D

  2. Squelchy permalink
    October 30, 2012 9:12 pm

    You already know how much I’m enjoying it. So much so that I need to stop checking the DPS button on the dungeon finder because every time I get sent in as DPS I’m all depressed!

    Strangely, given that I started as a rogue, I’m having a lot of trouble remembering to use the abilities that cost Chi (rather than generate it). Maybe it’s something as silly as the fact that Surging Mist’s spell effect (and its effect on health bars) is so easy to see, while Enveloping Mist makes me say “Wait, did I actually cast it?” because it’s so subtle.

    I’m curious as to how often you see Vital Mists x5. At lower levels I would see it pop all the time, but at level 50+ now, even as a dedicated meleeweaver, it’s all I can do to keep Serpent’s Zeal up–I can’t afford to Tiger Palm as well, at least not with squishy tanks. So generally, even when it does pop, the tank is already topped off, because if they weren’t I’d be actively healing them.

    Still, I’m having more fun now even than with shaman healing during Wrath, which for me used to be the best healing style in the game. I love it. Rogue DPS, warrior tanking, monk healing–these are the specs that will keep me alting.

    • October 31, 2012 7:28 am

      So, one option for Enveloping Mists is to have Vuhdo display the HoT, which is what I’ve done to make it a little more obvious.

      As for Vital Mists, I tend to go for Fistweaving more often in heroic dungeons than in raids, and that’s when I find myself getting to 5 stacks a few times during a boss fight. Once your get your Jade Serpent Statue, which will duplicate a portion of your Eminence healing, you’ll probably find meleeing a stronger option than it is for you now.

  3. November 2, 2012 7:14 am

    When you say “I tend to go for Fistweaving more often in heroic dungeons than in raids” are you finding at this stage of progressive raiding that fistweaving isn’t a viable option to the ‘stand back and heal’ way to go? I’m curious as I moved to Monk from playing Druid since Vanilla and I love it – especially Brewmaster. I’m entertaining trying out Mistweaving (I was a TreeBear in raids) to well, become a Mistmaster in specs :)

    Am very interested in your thoughts on the two heal paths in a raid environment. Also great guides! I’ve shared them with a few people and linked them in our community on EU-AD. :)

    • November 13, 2012 9:28 am

      Apologies for the delayed response. This probably requires more than a comment to explain, but I’ll try to do the abridged version. Depending upon the mechanics of the fight, I spend some time in melee and some at ranged during most raids. There are some fights (though not many) where I find it easier to remain at ranged the entire time – but most I spent at least a portion of the fight within melee range of the boss.

      The difference between the Fistweaving I do in raids and what I do in heroics, however, is about dedicated DPS. During raids, I basically just Blackout Kick twice to get up 2 stacks of Serpent’s Zeal, and then make sure I am close enough to auto-attack for passive Eminence healing. During heroics, I spend a lot of time actively DPSing, because people really aren’t taking that much damage at this point. I absolutely could sit back at range and heal as I would with another class, but DPSing to heal during heroics makes me feel like I’m passing the time a little faster. :P

  4. Pat permalink
    January 16, 2013 11:42 pm

    I am not sure which race to choose for my new Mistweaver. I like the animations of the Pandaren, but I leaning towards the increased spirit from humans or the gnome’s bigger mana pool. Any thoughts?

    • January 18, 2013 9:32 am

      Hi Pat! The stat differences are so minor that I’d recommend just choosing whichever race fits you the best. The only argument for choosing humans that has ever persuaded me, is the human racial bonus to reputation gain – which would be very helpful when your monk gets to all the Pandaria dailies. Personally, I think that the Pandaren have the best animations, since their models were created most recently and have the necessary scope of motion to actually make monk abilities look good. Human and gnome animations are Ok, but I find them a little off-putting because it’s so clearly a brand new animation on a very dated model.

  5. Frank permalink
    August 21, 2013 7:20 am

    thanks for this guide, was wondering where or when you would post the 50 – 90 guide ?

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