Mistweaver Advanced Studies: Mana Management
Please see Mistweaver 101: Chi & Mana for an updated discussion on this topic.
Like most things Mistweaver, our system for mana return is vastly different than that of every other healer in the game. Priests, shaman, druids, and paladins all have some sort of ability they can use every few minutes that will return a chunk of mana to them. Monks, on the other hand, must constantly manage our mana-return ability throughout an entire fight. It is a significantly more active system than for other classes.
The Mistweaver’s only way to regenerate mana is through our Mana Tea ability. The ability requires stacks of a buff by the same name to use, and this buff can stack up to 20 times. We generate 1 stack of Mana Tea for every 4 Chi that we spend.
Let’s go back and review that again:
In order to return mana, we have to spend Chi.
This is extremely important, and makes up a significant part of what we need to learn to be effective healers. At first glance and during leveling, Chi may seem somewhat optional for us. The vast majority of our direct healing spells require mana to use, not Chi. But the introduction of Mana Tea at level 56 completely changes the importance of our second resource.
In order to efficiently generate stacks of Mana Tea, Chi should be spent as quickly as we generate it. The only exception to this is when we know that there is large spike in damage coming soon, and we want to hold on to 2 or 4 Chi to use Uplift on our raid group. Aside from these situations, there is essentially no reason to save Chi nor to allow it to cap.
To Glyph or Not to Glyph
Unglyphed, our Mana Tea ability returns 4% mana for every 1 second that we channel it – up to a maximum of 80% of our mana over 20 seconds. The obvious downside to this ability is that we must channel it, meaning we are able to do nothing else during that time (think of Potions of Concentration/Focus as a parallel). Stacks are not wasted if we cancel the channel, so we can easily cancel the ability and resume healing if we need to (unlike the Potions mentioned).
Given the difficulty of using Mana Tea as a channeled spell, however, the vast majority of Mistweavers choose to Glyph Mana Tea. The glyph makes Mana Tea an instant cast, and uses up to 2 stacks of the buff each time (it will always consume 2 stacks unless we only have 1 stack when the ability is used). It also gives Mana Tea a 10 second cooldown. Basically, the Glyph of Mana Tea can give us 8% mana back every 10 seconds – assuming we have enough stacks of the buff to constantly support this.
In order to track when I should use Mana Tea, I have created a Weak Aura that checks for 3 variables:
Is the Mana Tea ability off cooldown?
Do I have 2 or more stacks of Mana Tea?
Do I have less than 85% mana?
If the answers to all 3 variables are “yes,” then my Weak Aura will appear to remind me that I should use Mana Tea. The import string for this Weak Aura is provided below:
Overall, I find myself enjoying this system and the added complexity it brings to the Mistweaver spec. I really appreciate how much thought went into the way that mana use, spending Chi, and returning mana all interact with each other. It makes for a challenging, interesting, and incredibly unique healing model.