Monks are spiritual warriors who draw power from their gods. They channel this power into mighty attacks to smite their enemies. The monk class is predominantly a melee class that focuses on lightning fast hit and run melee attacks. While able to hold out in a slug fest, that isn't really the Monks way.

The Monk class brings a lot of great things with it. It is one of three classes in Diablo 3 that has a base damage reduction in effect. They take 30% less damage than classes other than the Crusader and Barbarian. It also provides group wide buffs in the form of mantras.

If you like a class that is based on speed, mobility, quick combat, but also has the ability to stick it out and soak up some damage, then the Monk class is for you.

Diablo III – Monk Resources

In Diablo III the Monk uses a resource called spirit. This resource is generated slowly over time, as well as in combat by using certain attacks and skills that generate spirit. There is no way that the slow regeneration over time will be enough to defeat many enemies, therefore you will need to ensure that you have at least one spirit regeneration ability.

Diablo III – Monk Appearance

As with all Diablo III classes the Monk has a strong theme to their appearance that progresses over time. As shown in the images above they start off with little in the way of armour or protection but make their way to find far better protection and ornamentation as they progress.

When you first start off as a Monk, you will not have much. In fact you are lucky you have the robes on your back. Monks have very little armour at the beginning, focusing more on avoiding hits than allowing armour to protect them. As you level up and gain access to better equipment you can start to protect yourself more. By the end game Monks can have some pretty ornate looking armour that offers a great deal of protection. Throughout all levels though a Monks armour always focuses on the ability to retain free movement, as their best defense is not being hit to start with.

Diablo III – Monk Abilities

The Monk has 6 different skill types just like the other Diablo III classes.  They are:

Primary Skills – These are your basic attack skills that you will use quite often. While they cause damage, one of their most important abilities is to generate spirit with each attack. Without these basic skills you would quickly run out of spirit to power your attacks. The skills in this category include fists of thunder, deadly reach, crippling wave, and way of the hundred fists.

Secondary Skills – These are more powerful attacks that combine with your primary skills to form your most basic attack rotation. These skills all cause more damage than your primary abilities but they consume spirit so you need to mix them in you with your primary skills and use them during the times your other more powerful skills are on cooldown. These skills include lashing tail kick, tempest rush, and wave of light.

Defensive Skills – These skills are all here to help protect you and sometimes your allies as well. They are powerful skills that ensure that a monk is always wanted in a group. They include blinding flash, breath of heaven, serenity, and inner sanctuary.

Techniques – This area is a catch all for a mixed set of skills. There is dashing strike which allows you to quickly move and strike an enemy, exploding palm which places a powerful damage over time effect on your opponent, and sweeping wind which surrounds you with winds that deal damage to your enemies.

Focus – These abilities are powerful attacks that help define the monk class. They include cyclone strike, seven sided strike, mystic ally, and epiphany.

Mantras – These are powerful buffs for you and your allies that come in two forms. The first is a passive which is always active and the second is a short term active effect that applies after you use the ability. You may only have one mantra active at a time, so there is never a good reason to take more than one of these. The mantras you have to choose from are mantra of evasion, retribution, healing and conviction

Detailed ability listings can be found in the Diablo III Skill Calculator.

Diablo III – Monk Stat Priority

When gearing up any character in Diablo III there are multiple different paths that you can take.  For Monks those choices are basically aiming for maximum damage output or maximum survivability. 

Max Damage

Weapon Damage > Dexterity > Crit Chance > Crit Damage* > Attack Speed

* Crit Damage is best kept in a ratio with Crit Chance.  For every 1% point of Crit Chance you gain you should look to add about 10% Crit Damage.  This is relatively easy to get through a gemmed weapon.

Max Survivability

Armour = Resistances* > Vitality = Strength

* Resistances are just as good as armour, but you need to make sure they are valid.  +Resist All is pretty much the same as armour, but stacking just a single resist needs to be considered as far less valuable.

Balancing The Two

While the above are the ideal paths for max damage or survivability, as a matter of necessity you will really need to balance the two different directions.  After all killing everything quickly but dying to a single hit is not very useful, just as being able to live forever but taking 5 minutes to kill a single normal enemy monster is not useful.  Therefore keep both in mind and balance between them to best suit your style of play.

Diablo III – Monk Only Stats

There are several stats that only a Monk can use on their gear. They are:

  • Spirit Regen - This boosts the rate at which your spirit regenerates.
  • Life per Spirit Spent - This stat heals you for a set amount per point of spirit spent, giving you a constant amount of healing.
  • Monk Skill Bonuses - These boost several Monk skills by a percentage amount. Most are between 10 and 20%. It is important to note that they are not calculated into your damage rating and therefore gear may appear to have lower damage output, but if it is an ability you use all the time, it may actually be an upgrade.

Diablo III – Monk Paragon Points

Every class in Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls has access to essentially the same Paragon bonuses, each class has a different resource increase under their core choices, but other that that they are the same. Each class though has different priorities in the placement of these points. For Monks the best placement is as follows:

  1. Core - Movement Speed to 25% > Increase Max Spirit > Dexterity
  2. Offense - Attack Speed > Critical Hit = Critical Damage (Keep these at a 1:10 ratio as discussed above)
  3. Defense - All Resistances (to 70% on stat sheet) > Armour = Life > Life Regen
  4. Utility - Life on Hit > Area Damage > Resource Cost Reduction

Diablo III –  Monk Leveling Build

While levelling the main aim with any class is to kill enemies fast so that you can keep moving and earning more experience.  From levels 1-20 can be done by grabbing pretty much any skills you like as you get them.  However by level 30 and if you are playing higher than normal difficulty you will probably want to switch to something that allows you to stay alive while killing enemies quickly.

Monks have many great leveling builds and can focus on many different things. However one of the best ways to play them when leveling is to make sure you can kill large groups of enemies at once. To do this, you use dashing strike to move around until you have collected a large number of enemies following you and then deal with them all at once with your many AOE abilities, such as crippling wave, lashing tail kick, and breath of heaven. Killing large groups at once, and constantly moving allows you to level very quickly.

  • Primary - Crippling Wave / Mangle
  • Secondary - Lashing Tail Kick / Sweeping Armada
  • Action Bar 1 – Dashing Strike / Way of the Falling Star
  • Action Bar 2 – Breath of Heaven / Circle of Scorn
  • Action Bar 3 – Mystic Ally / Water Ally
  • Action Bar 4 – Mantra of Conviction
  • Passive Skills – Resolve, Transcendence, Chant of Resonance

You can find more details on the individual skills here: Diablo III - Monk Leveling Build.

Diablo III – Monk Max Level Build

There are many different builds that you can use once you reach max level on your Monk. Options include builds meant to kite enemies, builds meant to pull in and tank enemies, AOE based damage or single target damage builds. While all of them work well, they depend on what you would like to do.

One build that I have found effective when playing the end game focuses mainly on damage, but still has some group buffs and escapes so that you can help the group but still get away when you need to. The build is based on lighting damage so getting a bit of +% to lightning damage will certainly help this build a lot.

  • Primary – Deadly Reach / Scattered Blows
  • Secondary – Lashing Tail Kick / Scorpion Sting
  • Action Bar 1 – Sweeping Wind / Cyclone
  • Action Bar 2 – Breath of Heaven / Blazing Wrath
  • Action Bar 3 – Serenity / Peaceful Repose
  • Action Bar 4 – Mantra of Conviction / Overawe
  • Passive Skills – Seize the Initiative, Transcendence, One with Everything, Mythic Rhythm

You can find more details on the individual skills here: Diablo III - Monk Max Level Build.

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Diablo III Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Byron 1
Byron has been playing and writing about World of Warcraft for the past ten years. He also plays pretty much ever other Blizzard game, currently focusing on Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone, while still finding time to jump into Diablo III with his son.