In this post I’ll try to explain the fine details of the Mistweaver level 100 talents, and hopefully give you a better insight on what talents to choose in different situations. I’ll start with Breath of the Serpent and Pool of Mists and save Chi Explosion till last, since the complexity of that spell require a longer exposition. At the end of the post I will summarize the pros and cons of each ability.
Breath of the Serpent
Breath of the Serpent is 1.5 minute cooldown that lets your statue breath a 20 yard cone of healing mists towards you. This is a powerful AoE healing cooldown which has no AoE cap. The more targets it hits, the greater the healing becomes.
The healing is in the form of a Heal over Time spell; a certain amount of healing ticks every second for 20 seconds. This spell is affected by haste and can therefore get more ticks. There are originally 10 ticks, of which the total healing of those tick would heal roughly half of what Enveloping Mist total ticks would heal, except on an unlimited number of targets.
The drawbacks of the spell is that it’s awkward to use. The party or raid must be tightly stack and you and your statue must be perfectly placed to use it efficiently. If the group moves within the 20 seconds, it’s possible to track them with the breath by following them, but it’s not possible to reposition the statue during the breath’s duration. Everyone who stand in the breath gets a buff however, so you can see which people are standing correctly and which are not (if you use Healbot you have to manually select the buff to show).
Pool of Mists
Pool of Mist is currently dubbed the best talent for raids. It is a passive that grants both Renewing Mist and Rising Sun Kick with 3 charges, while increasing ReM healing with 15% and RSK with 50% more damage.
A burst in the number of Renewing Mist is a nice boost to both ReM healing and the subsequent Uplift healing. It also promotes stance dancing, since you can easily slip into Crane stance for a while and then return to Serpent stance and burst out a lot of ReMs, nullifying the penalty loss of ReM while in Crane stance. This is possible since spending charges of Rising Sun Kick while in Crane stance doesn’t affect the ReM charges. When you re-enter Serpent stance you have 3 charges of ReM waiting to be cast out.
It is however a very uninteresting talent in CM or Proving Grounds since the ReM-Uplift mechanic takes a backseat when healing 5-man.
This monster of a spell is probably one of the most complex abilities in the whole game. Name me one spell that could possibly compete in complexity!
The spell can be broken down to 8 parts, since it does different things depending on which stance is active, it is 4 parts for Serpent stance and 4 parts for Crane stance. The spell evolves and changes character depending on how much Chi you spend on it, therefor it is pretty much 4 spells in one. I will deal with each tier of the ability one at a time.
Chi Explosion in Serpent stance
In Serpent stance Chi Explosion is a ranged healing spell (40yd range, 1.5 sec cast time) that can either be a powerful singe-target heal or a good AoE spell depending on how many targets the spell hits (and how much Chi you spend). Let’s break it down.
If you spend one Chi on the spell, it will do some healing plus equal amount of healing for every Chi you spend. In other words, in theoryland, if it does a 100 Heal baseline, it will add 100 heal for every Chi I spend, which is in this case 1 Chi. That means I do a total amount of 200 heal. In this stage, it is only a single-target spell.
If you spend 2 Chi on the spell it will do 100 + 100×2 Heal, aka 300 Heal. It will additionally heal the target for 50% of that amount over 6 sec. That’s a 150 total of Heal over 6 sec, or in other words =25 heals × 6 ticks. The spell is still a single-target spell greater than Surging Mist in total amount healed, but lesser than Enveloping Mist.
If you spend 3 Chi on the spell it would do 100 + 100×3 = 400 Heal. The HoT would be at 200 heal over 6 sec, ≈33 heals × 6 ticks. At this stage, the spell will divide itself equally amongst all allies within 8 yards of the target. If you have a tank with two melees close, each person will receive a 400/3 ≈ 133 heal and 200/3 ≈ 66 heal over 6 sec. The amount of healing Chi Explosion does is always the same, but it can divide the healing equally if allies are in range. It flexes between single-target and AoE depending on the situation.
If you spend 4 Chi, it would do 100 + 100×4 = 500 Heal. The HoT would be 250, ≈42 heals × 6 ticks. It will also add 8 Healing Spheres in an 8 yard radius around the target which do moderate healing.
Chi 1: 100 Heal + 100 Heal for each Chi = 200 Heal (Single-target)
Chi 2: 300 Heal + 150 Heal over 6 sec (6 ticks of 25) (Single-target)
Chi 3: 400 Heal + 200 Heal over 6 sec (6 ticks of 33) (Single/AoE)
Chi 4: 500 Heal + 250 Heal over 6 sec (6 ticks of 42) + 8 Healing Spheres (Single/AoE)
The questions is now, is the spell worth it? It competes directly with Enveloping Mist in single-target healing with Chi, and Uplift in AoE healing and Breath of the Serpent talent-wise. There is only so much Chi we can spend, isn’t it better to choose Breath of the Serpent as a talent and heal normally with Uplift or Enveloping Mist?
If we look at raid-healing, Chi Explosion is inferior to our normal spells. The amount of healing it does AoE-wise is less than the total amount Uplift or Breath of the Serpent do when healing a raid. It can definitely not compete with Pool of Mists superior flexibility.
However, according to some rough calculations I’ve done, Chi Explosion does a greater amount of healing when it heals 4 targets compared to Uplift or BoTS, assuming you spend 4 Chi on it. This is true even if you take into account that you can do two Uplifts on one 4chi – CE. At 5 targets however, Uplift and BoTS surpass Chi Explosion.
Where do will this come in handy then? That’s right: Challenge Modes. Intense healing with a 5-man party, where you often enough can’t hit 5 targets with BoTS or always have 5 ReM active when you really need it. The remaining problem is however that you’ll need the Chi for Enveloping Mist. How does 4chi-CE compare to Enveloping Mist?
Going back to my crude calcs, it seem that Enveloping Mist do more healing if you take into account that it layers with Soothing Mist (which gets a 30% increase in healing while EvM is active). But Chi Explosion isn’t far off though, and it’s still true that the spells differ somewhat in character. An Enveloping Mist layered Soothing Mist takes time to channel and it locks you from moving or doing other spells. Chi Explosion is a fast burst, giving you time to react to the environment, which is paramount in CM.
It seems that if you want to do AoE healing in CM, Uplift is good for a really spread group and Chi Explosion is better in all the other cases. When single-target healing, Enveloping Mist layered with Soothing Mist is better, until you need burst healing where Chi Explosion is better. The problem there is of course that you can’t single target heal with 4chi- CE if there are people standing 8 yards in range of your target. If the tank has two melees close by, you can’t burst him up with Chi Explosion, then you need to use Enveloping Mist as usual.
A good rule of thumb is that if you have 2-3 melees, the spell is an AoE on the tank and a single-target on yourself. If you have 2-3 ranged it’s a single-target (or two-target) in melee and an AoE on yourself (unless you’re spread). You know how many targets the spell hit since affected players get a HoT called Chi Explosion (also a spell you need to manually select to show in Healbot).
The upside of the spell is that it’s always used at maximum capacity: the entirety of the amount of healing it generates will always land on at least on player. You will never “lose” healing if you didn’t hit all the intended targets (it will simply be soaked up by the players it hit). Unlike Breath of the Serpent, which is much less efficient if it doesn’t hit enough targets.
Although, Chi Explosion can be a bit too difficult to use for some, to which I would still recommend Breath of the Serpent. It is a very good spell and a good cooldown to have (and that it looks amazingly good). In my opinion, Breath of the Serpent and Chi Explosion is very equal in practice. It all depends on what suits your playstyle. Personally, I favour Chi Explosion since it’s so flexible. And let’s not forget that there is another side to the spell. In Crane stance, Chi Explosion gives you a much needed AoE healing and damaging range spell that you otherwise lack.
Chi Explosion in Crane stance
In Crane stance, Chi Explosion is part damage and part healing. The ability can now only be cast on enemy targets within a 30 yard range and is instant, instead of the 1.5 cast time in Serpent stance. I have seen that the damage also procs Eminence, although giving me some weird numbers. I’m not sure if it’s intended or not, so I’ll leave it for now.
The tiers of the spell are the following: if you spend 1 Chi on it, it will do some damage. Let’s say it does 50 damage. I pick a random number now and it has no relation to the previous numbers in the Serpent stance version of the spell. I don’t think that the two versions of the spell scale equally, since healing is often based on spell power and damage is based on a more complicated equation between attack power and the DPS on your weapons. So, completely unrelated to Serpent version: for now it does 50 damage.
For 1 Chi you get 50 damage + 50 for each Chi you spend. In this stage it therefore does 100 damage.
At 2 Chi, it does 50 + 50×2 = 150 damage. It also does healing, and once again I pick a random number: 60. This is all just to illustrate how the spell evolve depending on how many Chi you use, so the exact number isn’t important. So, 60 healing + 60 healing for each Chi you spend. The summary is then 150 damage and (60 + 60×2 = 180) 180 healing.
At 3 Chi, it does 200 damage and 240 healing. The healing is divided amongst all allies within 8 yards of yourself. In the Serpent version it’s within 8 yards of your target, here it is from your own position. In other words, if you plan on healing anyone but yourself, stand close to the people you want to heal.
At 4 Chi it does 250 damage and 300 healing, and in addition spawns 8 Healing Spheres. The Spheres spawn at your location, not your target!
Summary (numbers have no relation to Serpent version of the spell!):
Chi 1+: Deal 50 Damage + 50 Damage for each Chi = 100 Damage
Chi 2+: Deal 150 Damage + 180 Healing
Chi 3+: Deal 200 Damage + 240 Healing (Healing spread, 8 yards from yourself)
Chi 4: Deal 250 Damage + 300 Healing + 8 Healing Spheres (Healing spread, 8 yards from yourself)
This spell is incredibly useful in Crane stance. Now only is it a nice boost to your healing, it also let you DPS from a ranged position! You can either switch to Crane stance when you have enough Chi from Serpent stance and detonate a Chi Explosion quickly (since you keep your Chi from Serpent stance when entering Crane stance. The other way you only get to keep 1 Chi). Or, you can generate Chi through Chi Brew, Expel Harm, spam some Surging Mist or if you dare use up your mana: Crackling Jade Lightning.
Since the spell is an instant spell in Crane stance it can be used while you move, even far away from the target. Just make sure that you stand 8 yards within the targets you want to heal! As I said before, the spell seem to proc some Eminence (intended?) so the Jade statue will do some healing as well.
Summary – Pros and Cons
To summarize the post, here is the verdict:
Breath of the Serpent
- Powerful AoE cooldown that has no AoE cap
- It tracks your position, so the Breath can be rotated
- Works like a HoT and can get extra ticks from haste
- Looks amazing
- Can’t reposition statue during the Breath
- Loses efficiency if it doesn’t hit enough players
- Players are locked in position for 20 sec in order to benefit from the whole cooldown
Pool of Mists
- A good ReM burst
- Generate many Chi in Serpent stance
- The charges of ReM and RSK don’t affect each other
- Supports Stance dancing
- A very uninteresting spell when healing 5-man
- A flexible and quite powerful AoE or Single-target heal
- Gives a burst healing in Serpent stance
- Always used at maximum efficiency
- Adds a ranged damaging spell in Crane stance
- Can be used while moving in Crane stance
- Competes with Enveloping Mist and Uplift about Chi
- Very complex, could potentially be difficult to use properly
- Minimal control over how many targets it heals (Single vs AoE)
Pool of Mists is still the best Raid talent, while I believe Breath of the Serpent and Chi Explosion are quite equal in 5-man. As with most Mistweaver spells, the choice depends on your preferred playstyle and everyone must pick the spells they are most comfortable and efficient with.
EDIT: You can find the math about the talent spells on my Talent page.