Brewmaster Monks are getting some big changes in 7.0, moving a lot of focus onto their Stagger mechanic and making Brews their central defensive abilities. A lot of Monk changes are actually reflective of the Paladin changes (or vice versa if you're more focused on Monks than Paladins.) In both cases, the healing and tanking specs have lost the class' major secondary resource, and much like Protection Paladins, Brewmasters will be focusing on regaining charges of their defensive abilities. So let's get started!
No More Chi:
Chi is now a Windwalker-only resource. Instead, you'll use Energy for some abilities while the rest won't cost anything except a cooldown or a recharge. You'll still be encouraged to use these Energy abilities, as they tend to help recharge your brews.
Two Brews to Rule Them All:
While you'll still have a couple of Brew-themed abilities as cooldowns, you have two really central ones that are going to be the focus of your defensive gameplay. These are Ironskin Brew and Purifying Brew. The two abilities have three shared charges with what I believe is an 18-second recharge, reduced by haste.
Ironskin Brew grants you 40% additional Stagger for 6 seconds, and I suspect that it's the ability you'll be hitting more frequently.
Purifying Brew now only purges half your Stagger damage, but you'll be staggering more by default.
You'll now Stagger 35% of physical damage you take over 10 seconds, and half that amount of magical damage. So that means that with Ironskin up, you'll be Staggering 75% of the physical damage you take.
Mastery: Elusive Brawler:
You no longer are able to increase your Stagger amount via Mastery. Instead, each time you get hit with an attack, you'll gain dodge chance by a percentage determined by your mastery. This will continue to stack until you dodge an attack. Essentially, mastery will help smooth out your damage intake, with higher amounts meaning more frequent dodging.
You'll really only spend Energy on three abilities - Keg Smash, which has an 8-second cooldown reduced by haste, costs 40 Energy, and hits the target and nearby targets for a nice chunk of damage. It will also reduce the cooldown on your major brews by 4 seconds. It also slows targets by 50% for 15 seconds.
Tiger Palm costs 25 and has no cooldown, doing less damage and to a single target, reducing the cooldown on Brews by 1 second. Basically, you'll fill this in when Keg Smash is on cooldown.
Expel Harm works a bit differently now. You still have Gift of the Ox, which now has a chance to trigger when you take damage. Expel Harm will allow you to suck in all those Healing Spheres without running over them, and then does damage based on the amount healed. You can still run over the spheres if you want to, but Expel Harm only costs 15 Energy and has no cooldown, so you'll probably want to use this instead.
Breath of Fire finally becomes a major part of the rotation, though its only role is still threat and damage. This has no cost but does have a 15-second cooldown. It'll burn the target for fire damage and then, if they've been recently hit by Keg Smash, they'll get a Fire DoT as well.
Your ultimate filler ability is Blackout Strike, which has a 3 second cooldown and just hits the target for some physical damage.
Crit Getting Healed:
Celestial Fortune gives you a chance equal to your critical strike chance to get healed by an additional 65% when a heal lands on you.
Brawlin' in the Tavern:
Most of the rest of the spec is familiar. You'll still have Crackling Jade Lightning to pull (though no Dizzying Haze.) You still have your interrupt, your rez, and a new single-target heal called Effuse that you can use between fights.
Fortifying Brew now has a 7-minute cooldown, but I think that's to balance the fact that this, like Ironskin and Purifying, also has its cooldown reduced by Tiger Palm and Keg Smash.
I do think that without Spinning Crane Kick or Dizzying Haze, Brewmasters are going to have a somewhat more difficult time holding huge groups of adds, but that only really puts them down on the same level as other tanks. You'll still have Keg Smash and Breath of Fire, which should be enough to keep swarms interested in you.