Guide to Monk Chi
Chi is the secondary resource system for Monk. It represents the spiritual energy around you. As a Monk you can generate up to 4 Chi, or 5 with a specific talent, and then use it to power specific abilities. If you think of it in much the same way as Rogue combo points you will not be that far off.
Chi however is more complicated that simple combo points but it’s a good starting understanding.
At the most basic level, Chi is generated by using several basic abilities that cause it to be generated. Once you have Chi you can then use it to power other more advanced abilities. Which abilities generate Chi and which consume it forms the basic section of this guide.
Abilities that Generate Chi
Chi is developed through specific melee abilities or by casting specific spells based on your specialization.
Windwalkers (melee DPS) and Brewmasters (Tank) generate Chi by attacking enemies. Some of the abilities that they use are as follows:
- Jab (+1 Chi) basic attack and chi generator. Better yet with the talent Power Strikes it generates 2 Chi instead of 1.
- Expel Harm (+2 Chi) Heals yourself for a small amount and damages the nearest enemy target within range for the same amount as was healed.
- Keg Smash (+2 Chi) generate 2 Chi while attacking 3 nearby enemies (8 yard range). This is key for tanks since it affects multiple enemies keeping threat on them and can apply the weakened blows effect.
- Spinning Crane Kick (+1 Chi) is a spinning attack that hits all enemies within 8 yards.
Mistweavers (healers) can also generate Chi through the use of their healing abilities. Such as the following:
- Soothing Mist (+1 Chi, 25% of the time) This is a very cheap efficient channelled heal that also has a 25% chance to generate 1 Chi. Better yet, while challenging this heal, you can use Surging Mist or Enveloping Mist on the same target without interrupting the channelled Soothing Mist.
- Surging Mist (+1 Chi) This is a heal that generates 1 Chi automatically, and can be cast as an instant when cast at the target of your Soothing Mist, instead of taking 1.5 seconds to cast.
Abilities that Consume Chi
Now that you have Chi by using the abilities in the previous section, it is time to consume it. The abilities listed here use up the Chi that you have generated.
- Purifying Brew (1 Chi) This is a Brewmaster Chi ability as it clears all staggered damage, which means you take far less damage than you would.
- Guard (2 Chi) This is the other major Brewmaster Chi ability. It prevents a large amount of damage that is taken over the next 30 seconds, although it is usually used mush sooner than that.
- Rising Sun Kick (2 Chi) This is a Windwalker ability that deals a large amount of damage and a mortal strike to it’s target as well as applying a stacking debuff that allows you to deal 10% more damage (and up to 30% with the full 3 stacks) to everyone within 8 yards.
- Touch of Death (3 Chi) This is an instant cast Chi ability that kills any non-pvp target that has the same or less health as you currently do. It is on a 90 second cooldown, but is a really powerful ability.
- Enveloping Mist (3 Chi) This is a big heal that Mistweavers can cast instantly if it is on the same target as their soothing mist. It heals for a huge amount but does that heal over 6 seconds, and is one of the best heals in the game.
- Blackout Kick (2 Chi) An attack that deals damage to your target and helps the monk in secondary ways dependant on your specialization. The secondary effect varies and is: shuffle for Brewmasters, combat conditioning for Windwalkers, and Serpent’s Zeal for Windwalkers. These are key abilities and make this a Chi costing ability that will be part of your rotation.
- Tiger Palm (1 Chi) This is an attack that does minor damage but grants a stacking damage boost called Tiger Power or Power Guard if you are a Brewmaster.
Ok, the above was all the easy stuff. You use abilities that generate Chi, you then use the Chi for other abilities. There is more to it than that though, since there are specialization bonuses, talent bonuses, and even glyph bonuses to how Chi is generated or spend. These are the advanced Chi topics.
Monk Specialization Bonuses for Chi
Mistweavers and Windwalkers get Afterlife which is a passive ability that has a chance to generate either a Chi or Healing sphere when you kill an enemy. There is a base 50% chance to summon a healing sphere or if you kill the enemy with a Blackout Kick it instead has a 50% chance to generate a Chi sphere.
Brewmasters instead get the Brewmaster Training passive which while it does not generate Chi like Afterlife does, it does affect Chi. Once you have trained as a Brewmaster and get this ability your Tiger Palm no longer costs Chi, which means you will have a whole lot more to use on other abilities. You even get the chance to summon healing spheres the same as the other two specializations, once you hit level 70 and get Gift of the Ox. This gives all you melee attacks that deal damage to have a chance to summon a healing sphere, of which you can have up to three active at a time.
Monk Talents that Help Chi or Function off Chi
At level 45 you gain access to several talents that help with your Chi as a Monk. They are as follows:
- Power Strikes Your Jab generates an additional Chi, on a 20 second cooldown. If you are already at maximum Chi, a Chi sphere is created near you.
- Ascension You may now store 5 Chi instead of 4.
- Chi Brew Instantly restores all of your Chi, on a 90 second cooldown.
Each of these talents have their place and depend largely on your playstyle. The most commonly chosen one is Ascension since it is always active and has nothing for players to do to make use of it. If you are a PVP player though, Chi Brew might be the best since it can help with your burst damage or healing on demand.
Glyphs that affect Chi generation or usage
As if bonuses to chi generation or usage through specializations or talents were not enough, there are even glyphs that benefit your Chi. They are as follows:
- Glyph of Uplift Your Uplift ability no longer costs Chi, but instead costs 6% mana. Uplift is a Misteaver ability that heals all targets affected by your renewing mist ability.
- Glyph of Touch of Death Your Touch of Death no longer costs Chi, but instead has a 2 minute cooldown. This is a Windwalker ability.
You now understand how Chi is generated and consumed on both a basic and advanced level. You will probably also already grasp the basics on the usage of Chi, but just to be clear, let’s go through them.
As a Brewmaster, the most important consideration for Chi is to ensure that you generate enough to have Guard up as often as it comes off of cooldown (every 30 seconds) and enough to use Purifying Brew any time your incoming stagger damage starts to add up. To generate enough Chi you will use jab and keg smash as you main attacks.
As a Windwalker you generate Chi through your attacks which will be Jab and Expel Harm in single target fights, and adding in Spinning Crane Kick for AOE situations. You will then spend it on Rising Sun Kick or Blackout Kick to your enemies.
As a Mistweaver you will generate Chi though your use of surging and soothing mists. This should keep you with more than enough Chi to use your big heal Enveloping Mist any time you need it.