What it does:
Serenity is a 90s talented cooldown, lasting 8 seconds, that reduces the cost of all Chi spending abilities to 0, reduces their cooldowns by 50%, and increases damage done by 40% during its duration. It formerly refunded the Chi cost, which is an important change from Warlords to Legion. The cooldown reduction works on spells that already are on cooldown, which is important for what follows. For example, if Fists of Fury has 10s left on its cooldown, when you pop Serenity, you suddenly have 5s left till you can cast it again.
How you think you use it:
This ability seems pretty straightforward, you want to use your hardest hitting abilities so that you can benefit from the 40% increased damage, and use them as often as possible so that you can maximize the benefit of the 50% reduced cooldowns. Fists of Fury is our biggest hitter; so, of course, you’d want to use it at least once during Serenity, and twice if possible.
Using Fists of Fury twice during Serenity requires it to have less than an 8s cooldown, which means it needs a 16s cooldown when reduced by haste. With the 30% haste from Bloodlust, and during Serenity, Fists of Fury‘s cooldown is reduced to 8.3s, so you need some additional haste, in order to make it possible to clip the end of Serenity with Fists of Fury in order to reduce the cooldown of the second Fists of Fury by 50%. This is achievable, but only during Bloodlust, and even then it was impossible to get enough haste for the second Fists of Fury to be covered by the 40% increased damage.
Why this is wrong:
Pandanaconda showed that, although it may seem important to try to fit two casts of Fists of Fury into the duration of Serenity, and that obviously, you would want the full duration of Fists of Fury to benefit from 40% increased damage, the real answer may not be quite as obvious.
Although using Fists of Fury during Serenity increases its damage by 40%, the channeling aspect of Fists of Fury means that for the 3-4s you’re channeling, you’re not casting anything else that can benefit from the bonuses of Serenity. Channeling a full duration Fists of Fury during the 8s window you have only leaves you with 4-5s for anything else. By channeling Fists of Fury at the very end of Serenity, you snapshot the cooldown reduction which adds half a Fists of Fury per Serenity use; so, it’s roughly the same as 50% more Fists of Fury damage. This also allows you to use the 3-4s that you would be channeling Fists of Fury for increased damage and CD reduction on abilities like Rising Sun Kick, Blackout Kick, Strike of the Windlord, and Spinning Crane Kick.
How you should use it:
The first step to maximizing it is counter-intuitive. You want to maximize the cooldown reduction of major abilities like Fists of Fury and Strike of the Windlord. To do this, you want to take advantage of the fact that Serenity reduces any cooldowns remaining in half as well. As I said above; ” if Fists of Fury has 10s left on its cooldown, when you pop Serenity, you suddenly have 5s left till you can cast it again.” This is the same for Strike of the Windlord.
This means that you want Fists of Fury and Strike of the Windlord to be on cooldown so that, once Serenity cuts their remaining CD in half, they will still be usable during Serenity. You want both to have less than 15s left on their cooldowns, and in order to use both, Strike of the Windlord should be at less than 13s left on its cooldown so that you have a GCD to use it before you start to channel Fists of Fury with the last second of Serenity for the cooldown reduction snapshot. Once you pop Serenity these cooldowns will drop to less than 7.5s for Fists of Fury and less than 6.5s for Strike of the Windlord, allowing you to use them. So the last two GCD of Serenity‘s 8s buff should be Strike of the Windlord > Fists of Fury. If either ability is up earlier in the Serenity buff, use them when they’re available. Don’t purposefully delay them to the last GCDs.
So we’ve covered the last two globals, what about the preceding 6? Rising Sun Kick is the only other major ability we haven’t mentioned that has a cooldown to be reduced. Right now, fitting two Rising Sun Kick into Serenity is easy, fitting a 3rd requires quite a bit of haste, and 4 is nearly impossible no matter how hard you try. So that takes care of two more globals, leaving us with 4 to use on Blackout Kick and Spinning Crane Kick. Spinning Crane Kick does more damage per cast, but does spin for 1.5s before haste, meaning that using two of them, with 0 haste, will use up 3 GCD.
To copy directly from Panda’s post:
An example of a Serenity rotation is as follows:
When to use it:
This is the hardest question to answer. As was said in Panda’s post:
- Serenity is a difficult talent to use optimally and needs to be used well to be worth talenting into it. If you’re not comfortable with it or skilled enough to use it nearly optimally, you may see it as a DPS loss compared to Whirling Dragon Punch. Use at your own risk.
- It is hard for Serenity to compete with Whirling Dragon Punch but don’t think it will never be used; it gives a crazy amount of resources and huge burst windows. As soon as the fights will last long enough for you to make 3-4 good uses of Serenity, it is a contender in my opinion. Unfortunately, artifact traits, legendaries, and trinkets work against it!
- On 2-5 targets cleave, Serenity can dish out crazy amounts of damage, probably way more than its counterpart if played right, as you can manually tag all targets. Be aware of this possibility
This means that using Serenity is up largely to personal choice, situation, and skill. There will be players across all difficulties of content who will find Serenity to be an increase to their performance. However, there will be others (very likely the majority) who will find that it is a detriment. This will not be restricted to “lesser skilled” players, there will be highly skilled Windwalkers who are not comfortable using it, or do not find themselves in a situation to benefit enough from it frequently, or simply do not enjoy using it.
Basically: Basically unless you can go “oh, this would be perfect for Serenity, and I know exactly how to use it.” then go with Whirling Dragon Punch. If you need the WHEN, HOW, or WHY answered for you, then don’t use Serenity.
This talent is the definition of counterintuitive. Thankfully, it’s just one talent rather than half of the spec as it was in Warlords. 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 down or to the top and subscribe and support WtW.