Here we find another ability that can get a little confusing.
Determining the Priority
There are constant questions about how the number of targets and stacks of Cyclone Strikes. To determine this, we first have to determine how we rank all the abilities into the attack priority. As it stands, Windwalkers are not currently restricted by the global cooldown, there are free globals in our rotation as we cannot generate enough Energy and Chi to fill every second of the fight. Because the limiting factor is Energy, and thus Chi, abilities are generally ranked by their Damage Per Chi (DPChi) with non-Chi spending abilities fitting in based on Damage. To allow for ability scaling, you can look at it as Attack Power Per Chi. Without including Spinning Crane Kick in the priority, Windwalker single target (and multi target) looks like this:
- Strike of the Windlord (~1685% AP/Chi)
- Whirling Dragon Punch (1245% AP)
- Fists of Fury (875% AP/Chi)
- Rising Sun Kick (455% AP/Chi)
- Blackout Kick (385% AP/Chi)
- Chi Wave (346% AP)
This is pretty close to the optimal rotation we’ve found through sims, which you can find in the Rotation section of our guides. Spinning Crane Kick deals 133.3% AP per Chi with no stacks and hitting one target. For each additional target hit, Spinning Crane Kick gains 100% of its damage and each stack of Cyclone Strikes you have when cast gains you 50% damage per stack. As it gains AP, it moves up in the priority. For example, to move above Rising Sun Kick it needs to deal more than 455% AP/Chi, which can be accomplished a variety of ways: 3 targets and 1 stack, 1 target and 5 stacks, 2 targets and 2 stacks, or any combination higher than those.
Movin’ On Up
To move ahead of Fists of Fury, it needs to out scale it through Cyclone Strikes, since Fists of Fury also gains 100% damage per target hit. At 10 targets, Fists of Fury deals 8750% AP/Chi, and Spinning Crane Kick does 1333% AP per Chi, plus an additional 50% per stack, so with 10 stacks it does 7980% AP/Chi total. It’s not until at least 12 targets and at least 11 stacks that you see Spinning Crane Kick catch up to Fists of Fury‘s 10,500% AP/Chi, with 10,374% AP/Chi of its own. Anything higher than those numbers will result in Spinning Crane Kick doing more damage per chi.
** It is worth noting that because Spinning Crane Kick and Whirling Dragon Punch are AOE all around the Windwalker, and abilities like Fists of Fury and Strike of the Windlord are a cone in front, it is easier to hit multiple targets with Spinning Crane Kick and Whirling Dragon Punch. **
Here’s how it shakes out, for Spinning Crane Kick to beat out each ability, and move ahead of it in the priority you need at least:
- Whirling Dragon Punch – 17 stacks, regardless of targets
- Fists of Fury – 12 stacks, regardless of targets
- Rising Sun Kick – 3 targets regardless of stacks OR 2 targets and 2 stacks OR 6 stacks, regardless of targets
- Blackout Kick/Chi Wave – 2 targets regardless of stacks OR 4 stacks, regardless of targets
- Strike of the Windlord – Various requirements depending on number of targets hit, the more target hit, the less stacks needed.
So, if you meet those requirements, then Spinning Crane Kick moves into that spot in the rotation. There can be some adjustments for artifact traits, but in general, those requirements hold.
Planning for Spinning Crane Kick
So now that we know what it takes for Spinning Crane Kick to move up in the priority. But there’s more to it.
Windwalker is all about planning ahead and thinking things through and making decisions several seconds before you have to press those buttons. This is important when choosing whether to focus on Spinning Crane Kick or to fit Fists of Fury in. Because Fists of Fury has a 3-4s channel, this would equate to 3-4 stacks, or 9-12 stacks during Storm, Earth, and Fire. Is not using Fists of Fury at lower stacks worth the benefit from gaining those stacks to get a stronger Spinning Crane Kick faster, rather than using Fists of Fury before you build more stacks?
The answer is pretty simple: because casting Fists of Fury effectively delays any stack-creating, if you would hit 12 or more stacks during the 3-4s you would be channeling Fists of Fury, then skip Fists of Fury and use those 3 Chi to cast Spinning Crane Kick. As an example on a fight like Iskar or Beastlord Darmac:
You’re focusing on the boss single target, so you have 1 stack and one target. Adds spawn. If you have Storm, Earth, and Fire available, and 3 Chi. You can cast Fists of Fury or Spinning Crane Kick with those 3 Chi. If there are at least 12 targets total, you can pop Storm, Earth, and Fire and uses Spinning Crane Kick, then Tiger Palm > Blackout Kick > Tiger Palm to get back to 3 Chi, using 4 GCD. This gives you the maximum of 12 stacks in 4 GCD so that you 5th CD can be used for a 12 stack Spinning Crane Kick. If you had used Fists of Fury, then that would have delayed the stronger Spinning Crane Kick by the duration of the channel before you could then generate enough Chi.
Basically, Fists of Fury is strong in both single target and AOE, Spinning Crane Kick is only strong in AOE. If you delay Fists of Fury in favor of the more immediately stronger Spinning Crane Kick, Fists of Fury will still be strong later. If you delay Spinning Crane Kick for Fists of Fury then Spinning Crane Kick may not be stronger later.
Overall, Spinning Crane Kick is an ability that will be strong for most and insane for the select few who really get a good feel for how to use it instinctively. To use it ideally requires a strong knowledge of raid mechanics as well as your raid’s capabilities to know how many Spinning Crane Kick you can fit in before the additional targets are gone.
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.