Undocumented Buff to Bron Soulbind Trait on 9.1 PTR - Mikanikos a Dark Horse Soulbind?
During the last 9.1 PTR build on Thursday, 20th June, it was discovered that the first trait for the Kyrian soulbind
, had a major undocumented change that increases its value significantly compared to live.
How Bron Currently Works on Live
Since many people don't know the specifics of how this trait works, I will first cover that. Thanks to Mythie for the formulas. Every 90 stacks of a buff
, Bron will appear, knock back nearby enemies which aren't immune to crowd controlled, and perform a series of actions for 30 seconds.
Bron's Abilities and Damage Breakdown
As a pet, Bron gains 0.5x of your character's attack power, and 2x of your spellpower.
Bron has 4 primary abilities:
Melee - a standard autoattack, dealing 1/3 of his attack power in damage, equivalent to 1/6 of your attack power.
- fires every 10 seconds, dealing ST damage following the formula 0.55*max(attack power, spellpower)This means it deals the equivalent of 27.5% of your attack power or 110% of your spellpower in damage, whichever is higher.
- fires every 15 seconds, dealing AoE damage following the formula max(attack power, .25*spellpower)This means it deals the equivalent of 50% of your attack power or spellpower in damage, whichever is higher.
- fires every 5 seconds, healing a single target following the formula max(2.3*attack power, 0.575*spellpower)This means it heals the equivalent of 115% of your attack power or spellpower, whichever is higher.
is a major outlier, dealing much more damage for hybrid specs such as Brewmaster Monk than they would for non-hybrids such as Vengeance Demon Hunter due to spellpower conversion for those non-Intellect specs that can heal.
How Stacks are Currently Gained
Currently, stacks are gained only from
the action of casting
spells with a number of known restrictions:
You must be in combat.
The spell must be a class ability.
The spell must be
In addition, you can gain stacks while Bron is active, so you are constantly building and spending stacks.
The rest of the rules are currently unknown and inconsistent, so the time it takes for any given spec to get 90 stacks can vary widely. In this case, some spells that will generate a stack are
, while spells that do not generate stacks are
. Each of the spells when cast would generate exactly 1 stack.
As an example, on a Brewmaster Monk, it takes approximately 2 minutes on live to spawn him once due to the majority of spells generating a stack:
On the other hand, for a Vengeance Demon Hunter, most spells do
generate a stack, so it takes nearly double the amount of time to spawn him at about 3:30!
What's Changed on the 9.1 PTR
There are two major changes to how stacks are gained on the PTR.
Firstly, you can no longer build stacks for the 30 second duration where Bron is active once he has been summoned. This might sound like a nerf, but it's really just to balance out the second change.
The second and more important change is that Bron stacks can now be generated significantly more quickly with the restrictions on spells having been changed. Now, each time a spell is
a damage or healing event occurs that is not a DoT/HoT
, it will generate a stack with an internal cooldown of .05 seconds. In addition,
class spell can now generate a stack, regardless of whether it is on the GCD or not. That means off-GCD abilities such as
will generate a stack, but racials, trinkets, Covenant signature abilities (such as
) and other non-class abilities will not. This also means that spells such as
can generate multiple stacks; in this case, 13 stacks, 1 for the cast and 12 for the damage/healing events. Due to each tick generating a damage and healing event at the same time, only 1 stack is gained per tick. However,
for example, will generate 5 stacks: 1 for the cast, 2 for each hit of the spell, and 2 for the soul fragments generated from the spell. Absorbing the soul fragments will then generate a stack for each one absorbed as well.
How This Impacts Stack Generation
The result of this change is a massive increase in the uptime of Bron, leading to significantly higher contribution from this trait than in the current patch.
For a Brewmaster monk, the uptime is nearly doubled, with it taking only 30 seconds to build enough stacks to spawn Bron instead of 2 minutes, but no longer being able to generate stacks while he is out, so he spawns approximately every minute as seen in the graph below:
Meanwhile for Vengeance Demon Hunter, the uptime is nearly
! It only takes 15 seconds to generate stacks for Bron, making it approximately 45 seconds between spawns, rather than 3:30 as shown below:
Effects of the Change
While I haven't significantly tested other specs and the amount gained varies, this increase in uptime applies to every spec! In my tests, the damage and healing contribution from Bron more than doubled, making Mikanikos a much more attractive soulbind in addition to his new traits. For the majority of Shadowlands so far, Mikanikos has had an extremely low adoption rate(<1% in general), with nearly every Kyrian player choosing to go with Pelagos, and a few playing Kleia. I expect these changes in combination with the strength of the new traits to make Mikanikos a much more competitive, if not the preferred, soulbind for a number of specs, particularly for tanks.
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