Zen Meditation: Controlling the crowds
You’ve pulled this encounter for the upteenth time now. Each time, it seems like the adds just absolutely get out of control – and not just adds, but tempers are getting pretty short as well. Every crowd control resource at your raid’s disposable seems exhausted – the Warlocks have used their last Shadowfury, the Death Knights have used their grasps, and yet – your raid still get overwhelmed. What can possibly be done here?
The good news is there are still many tools at your disposal as a Monk. And best part is – they’re all talents, so even your Mistweaver can help out.
(Leg) Sweeping the crowd
If a longer stun is needed, Leg Sweep‘s your guy. It has your back – every 45 seconds, it’ll stun all enemies in 5 yards for you for 5 seconds. In the world of stuncraft, that’s actually a pretty long time, but at the detriment of a relatively short range and a relatively long cooldown.
This talent has absolutely become a go-to. It’s easy to use – just gather up a few adds, and every 45 seconds, hit your Leg Sweep button. You don’t have to worry as much about stun reduction – the longer duration helps that out a bit, so if your Warlock friend decides to Shadowfury them, that’s fine.
Overall, Leg Sweep becomes pretty handy if you don’t to worry about possible targeting issues from Charging Ox Wave or if a particular add pull takes more than a few seconds. However, keep in mind the drawbacks of the short range – as the Monk, you can at times be putting yourself in danger, such as if an Inferno ends up gripped with Imps on Mannoroth in Hellfire Citadel. Nevertheless, this talent typically ends up being baseline in most areas of play – and while that’s all good and fine, why do the other talents exist? Hold on a moment and read on – because they certainly have their uses!
Ring of Tier 15
Originally, the level 60 talent tree actually made the Monk choose between two stuns, or 20 yards on Paralysis through Deadly Reach. In Patch 5.2, this changed when Paralysis gained a 20 yard range baseline, replaced by Ring of Peace.
In Throne of Thunder, this talent became incredibly popular – not just for raiding, but also for PvP. Originally, the ring would silence and disarm all targets within it for 3 seconds if they cast a spell or otherwise attacked the RoPed target. While its original inception could be cast upon an enemy target – making the talent incredibly powerful – all of that changed later on. The talent now seems near-useless in that it simply incapacitates enemies around a friendly target for 5 seconds that enter the ring (or are already in it).
Note, however, that it does affect new enemies entering the ring. Also, its cooldown has been reduced from 1.5 minutes to 45 seconds. Yet, the talent has all but been forgotten and fallen to disuse by most players – it just doesn’t do as much as its competition. While incapacitation can be very powerful at times, especially if the target attacks and incapacitates themselves yet again, a stun simply does more for the monk and their team.
Perhaps at a later date, this talent will be looked at again. It might be useful in certain situations, but for most encounters, it would likely not be as helpful.
Charging the waves
While Leg Sweep has remained incredibly strong and Ring of Peace may have fallen to disuse, Charging Ox Wave has received some of the much-needed attention this expansion that it previously had not.
But why – what changed?
In short, absolutely nothing.
No, the talent simply became ignored in most of Mists of Pandaria because its competition seemed so incredibly strong. Why use a shorter-duration stun that requires a bit of a skill-shot? Why even consider not taking Ring of Peace?
Truth is, though, that Charging Ox Wave has been a go-to – at least for me – in plenty of Mythic encounters.
Take last tier’s Blast Furnace, for example. Prior to its nerf, many teams had issues actually leaving Phase 1 because melee would be in Egypt on a very important target, leaving only the ranged to interrupt Engineers before they could cast a repair. Well, that’s no good – what happens if the ranged misses theirs? Plus, stuns just needed to be quick for that particular encounter.
That’s where Charging Ox Wave really began to shine. All the Monk – regardless of their spec – had to do was turn their character, and every 30 seconds, they could stun the engineer. Have to run out a bomb from melee while your raid leader is calling to stun a huge amount of mobs and the tank might die? Ox Wave’s got your back – every half a minute, for just enough time to kill all of those adds.
The major downside to this spell is that it requires you to actually face what you wish to stun, as well as its shorter duration (likely balanced around its much shorter cooldown). However, this talent excels at stunning a large amount of adds, and at least in Mists of Pandaria, I found it actually quite useful in challenge modes. The shorter cooldown meant that my stun would be available for far more trash pulls than if I had taken Leg Sweep, plus I could stun a pack prior to casting Clash and actually engaging them. This kind of strategy saves lives.
Paralyzing with Style
While Deadly Reach no longer shares the talent tree with Leg Sweep and Charging Ox Wave, Paralysis (or as I refer to it, Purple Porcupine) still deserves much mention in any discussion about monk’s crowd control.
With 20 yards, it certainly has less range than a mage’s Polymorph. However, unlike Polymorph, it’s also instant-cast, lasts 10 seconds longer (a full minute rather than 50 seconds), and acts as an incapacitation.
Yet, here are the problems with Paralysis. The 15 second cooldown is understandable because of its lack of cast time. Even the 20 yard range can be forgiven for its longer duration and lack of a cast time. However, combine these two, and add that it also costs energy. While 3% of mana might not be that big of a deal for a mage, 20 energy can certainly be a big deal for a Brewmaster or Windwalker in a tight PvP situation. Sap, which might be compared to Paralysis, is hindered by the fact that the rogue and its target cannot be in combat. Yet, the rogue has plenty of other stuns at their disposal.
Again, however, Paralysis should be considered as part of the arsenal with Leg Sweep, Charging Ox Wave, or Ring of Peace. So, it’s not actually as weak as the cooldown, range limitation, or energy cost might have it at. Rather, if we want to discuss abilities that could use a buff, we could begin by discussing how the Monk’s root, Disable, requires two GCDs to be cast, when other root effects either require a short cast or are not on the GCD.
Movement with control!
Let’s face it – plenty of complaints can be heard on various forums about how Demon Hunters are to be masters of movement, thus stealing the title from Monks. Further, many complaints about Windwalkers have been that they can be kited all over Azeroth with little-to-no gap closers at their disposal.
However, the truth is Monks have some pretty cool abilities that have been all but ignored and taken for granted. If anything, Monks may not necessarily have the utility of amazing crowd control, but they can certain hold their own and be pretty useful in a situation require any amount of add control.
While your warriors can go to town cleaving down all of the adds, you can save the raid by making sure the imps on Xul’horac aren’t wiping your raid by keeping them stunned as much as possible. When you want to interrupt a caster from far away – provided its stunnable – Charging Ox Wave might be just the ticket for you. And if you’re doing tons of pulls that are quick but require as many stuns as possible, that Ox Wave might be worth your consideration.
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