Just a few days into the new class changes and both Hit Combo and Mastery: Combo Strikes are already causing a ton of discussion; is it OK to drop it? Should I delay X until Y stacks? (Hint: No) and so on. Well, rather than talk it out I thought I’d go through and make a list. I assume this will be the first of eventually several posts about Hit Combo and Mastery: Combo Strikes over the next few months.
What they do:
Both Hit Combo and Mastery: Combo Strikes provide a flat damage increase to all abilities, provided that you don’t use the same ability twice in a row. Hit Combo stacks up to 8 stacks, with each providing 2% increased damage per stack, and Mastery: Combo Strikes provides the flat bonus with no stacks involved. If you use the same ability twice in a row, Hit Combo will drop all its stacks and you’ll have to start from 0, whereas Mastery: Combo Strikes only looks at the ability just used and the one preceding it.
Here is a comprehensive list of Windwalker abilities. I tested each ability for 3 things, Does it benefit from Mastery: Combo Strikes? Does it generate a stack of Hit Combo? Does it count as a separate filler ability, ie, can you Tiger Palm > X > Tiger Palm with gaining the Mastery bonus on the second Tiger Palm. Many of these seem redundant and obvious that they wouldn’t’ work, but for the sake of being thorough, I’m trying them all.
|Crackling Jade Lightning||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Fists of Fury||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Flying Serpent Kick||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Rising Sun Kick||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Spear Hand Strike||No||No||No|
|Spinning Crane Kick||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Storm, Earth, and Fire||No||No||No|
|Strike of the Windlord||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Touch of Death||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Touch of Karma||No||No||No|
|Ring of Peace||No||No||No|
|Rushing Jade Wind||Yes||No||Yes|
|Invoke Xuen, the White Tiger||No||No||No|
|Whirling Dragon Punch||Yes||Yes||Yes|
As you can see, it is pretty straightforward. Nearly all damaging abilities benefit from Mastery: Combo Strikes and if they benefit from Mastery: Combo Strikes they generate a stack of Hit Combo, with the exception of Rushing Jade Wind, which obviously doesn’t generate a stack of Hit Combo since they’re on the same talent tier.
What this means:
Obviously it doesn’t mean a whole lot. What it does mean is that some abilities that wouldn’t necessarily be used in a rotation, like Flying Serpent Kick and Crackling Jade Lightning, can be used in dire circumstances to keep up Mastery: Combo Strikes or not drop Hit Combo. Situations like this shouldn’t happen often and are more likely to be in your head than in reality. The truth is that sometimes you’ll have to just sit and wait for your other abilities to come off cooldown rather than spam Tiger Palm into Blackout Kick to fill GCDs.
There will, on occasion, come a point where you’ll be about to cap Energy, so you need to Tiger Palm to prevent from capping, but if you use Tiger Palm then you’ll over cap Chi. In this situation using Blackout Kick followed by Flying Serpent Kick or Crackling Jade Lightning enables you to Blackout Kick again, and drop 2 Chi so you can Tiger Palm again without overcapping**. This assumes you have 3 GCDs available before you’ll cap energy, and at least 4 GCDs before anything valuable comes off cooldown. An alternative to this situation is also to just use Spinning Crane Kick to dump Chi as a faster, but less damaging, alternative which only requires 1 GCD to drop 3 Chi and free up space for more Tiger Palm before another major ability, like Fists of Fury is available.
**Note: its not recommended to try and actively weave Flying Serpent Kick or Crackling Jade Lightning into the rotation to increase your damage regularly as they both need to be canceled immediately or you’ll lose more damage than you gain, making this incredibly difficult for a very small gain.**
Hopefully this answers more questions than it creates. As always you can find us on Discord to answer questions, and if you liked what you read don’t hesitate to scroll to the top and subscribe and support WtW.