Diablo® III

Monk Inferno Guide - Updated for 1.0.3

I'm trying to keep the guide itself short and to the point. This is mostly opinion based on my experiences rather than a collection of knowledge; however, if you doubt any claims regarding numbers, formulas or mechanics, check the appendix - I link all sources.

  • 1.0.4 note


Anyhow, Paragon levels sparkled my interest to Diablo 3 again, which means I'll be playing which means I'll be expanding this guide rather than just updating it. My thoughts so far:

I'm most likely going to be rewriting the guide from scratch because the whole point of the game is changing with this patch. What's going to matter now is speed of clearing. Having read the entire patch note, I'm pretty sure that progressing through Inferno is no longer going to be an issue pretty much regardless of which exact build you're using, as long as it makes sense and you have the appropriate gear. Hence there's no point in "forcing" a certain build anymore like in this guide.

Instead I'm going to write about which abilities are the most efficient and where, certain obvious or not very obvious combinations that just work well, add a bit more theory and numbers (f.ex. Sweeping Wind mechanics).

Gear section will probably become the main focus of the guide as well, seeing as legendaries actually have a weight now and will be sought after. It'll still be just a listing of stuff with a few comments, but I'll put more effort here as there's actually a reason to min/max now.

However, I'm not going to play the game (at least not a lot) until 28th August, so this will be slightly delayed.


  • 1.0.3 changes


- IAS nerf is huge, but it's still a good stat to have. They halved it, not nerfed it to the ground;
- Sweeping Wind/Cyclone and stacking crit is the way to go. Cyclone is ridiculously good;
- Ironically, 1h/Shield remains the best way to play. This is because shields can have up to 10% crit;
- Every primary other than Fists of Thunder feels incredibly slow, Deadly Reach feels good only with >2.0 APS;
- Removed Crippling Wave suggestion completely, can't generate enough spirit to make use of Transcendence;
- Defense stat wise everything is the same as before. You just don't need them as much now and should get damage.

  • Skill build and gameplay


http://eu.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/monk#..gXY!aUX!..Ybc

These are the set in stone skills. Empty slots will vary depending on your gear, act, how well you are geared for that act, and personal preference. I will talk about all viable and/or common options as well as link full builds in the end of this section.

Primary

Fists of Thunder/Thunderclap: the go-to choice. This is what you want to run as long as you don't need extra defensive benefits of the other options. Highest spirit regeneration, highest LoH modifiers (due to Thunderclap proccing LoH separately from main attack), teleport to boost your damage uptime immensely, and the best DPS strike due to being innately hasted. This is especially important post IAS nerf, and the only attack that won't bore you to death with its slow animation.

Deadly Reach/Keen Eye: this is the skill that defines our defensive playstyle. You don't become a ranged class with it, but it allows you to not let yourself get hit by multiple mobs at the same time, not get yourself surrounded, have a much easier time avoiding ground AoE and trivialize fire chain packs. You simply move back all the time while attacking, getting mobs stuck in terrain where you can, or attacking through walls where possible. The downside is that it's very slow, you end up losing a lot of damage and potentially a lot of sustainability too if you rely on LoH, spirit regen will feel slow if you're used to FoT. If you can't get above 2.0 attack speed post patch, I wouldn't recommend going this path anymore.

Secondary

Sweeping Wind/Cyclone: with high enough crit (read: 20% or above) this ability becomes ridiculously good. You get so many cyclones with the right stats, and they usually strike several times before they disappear, more if they get stuck in walls or obstacles. The cyclones are so good I would recommend this even if you use Deadly Reach and rarely have mobs in range of Sweeping Wind itself.

Sweeping Wind/Blade Storm: scales incredibly well, best damage ability for this slot if you don't have high enough crit.

Sweeping Wind/Fire Storm: if you play with DR/Keen Eye and don't have enough crit for Cyclone, this is your choice. You need the extra range because DR itself is ranged.

Dashing Strike/Blinding Speed or Quicksilver: this gives the one thing that you lack with DR as primary and that's a dash, a controllable one too. 25 spirit is really nothing, this gives quite a lot of control. Obviously the most defensive choice of all.

Deadly Reach/Foresight: the buff from Foresight lasts 30 seconds, so this is a "passive" 18% damage. Although Blade Storm outdamages this, it is very handy to have a ranged strike for packs that are hard to deal with in melee - having both FoT and DR binded lets you switch between the two playstyles depending on affixes. There's no UI buff for it, just a green glow around your character and it affects the DPS tooltip, so you'll have to look at one of these things to keep it up.

Mantra

Mantra of Evasion/Hard Target: always run this on acts you are progressing through. Dodge stacks multiplicatively, so don't worry, it is working correctly and there's no diminishing returns.

Mantra of Conviction/Overawe: if you can survive without MoE, switch to this. This is the first thing you want to switch when you feel like your gear is good enough for the act you are farming. The damage gain is just monstrous.

Mantra of Evasion/Backlash: if you feel confident in the act you're farming but still get gibbed when you try Overawe, give this a try. The damage from Backlash is very noticeable, it's a nice balance of damage and survivability.

Mantra of Conviction/Submission: only reason I'm mentioning it is because for some odd reason, this skill scales very bad with attack speed (different to how Wind works), not that it was anything impressive in the first place. After the IAS nerf there's even less reason to try it. See appendix for more info.

Other variations/notes

Peaceful Repose rune for Serenity might be a better choice than Ascension if you're just starting inferno and have no sustain stats. I can't see this being true past Act 1 however.

If you don't stack resistances correctly and they're all roughly equal without OWE, don't use OWE. Use Transcendence until you get proper resistance gear. Again, you want to get at least a bit resistance gear before you go Act 2.

Faith in the Light increases damage by more than 30%, for some reason it scales with attacks per second. So, if you have 2 attacks per second, it's actually a 60% damage bonus. This is not just a tooltip bug, but confirmed in ingame tests. See appendix.

Complete builds

These are just to give you examples of how it all comes together.

Standard FoT & Cyclone build: http://eu.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/monk#aSgXYh!aUX!acYbca

Deadly Reach build (with no crit gear): http://eu.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/monk#bSgXYh!aUX!ZZYbca

No OWE build (entry level gear): http://eu.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/monk#aSgXYh!aYX!aZYbca
Edited by Thaya#1303 on 23/08/2012 07:14 BST
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  • Gear


Offensive

The most common mistake is not investing enough into damage. Damage is everything. Always.

Crit can be found on:
- Shields, up to 10%;
- Gloves, up to 10%;
- Amulets, up to 8.5%;
- Bracers, up to 6%;
- Helms, up to 6%;
- Rings, up to 4.5%.

Crit damage can be found on:
- Weapons, up to 100%, Emeralds socketed into weapons can give up to another 100%;
- Amulets, up to 65%;
- Gloves, up to 50%;
- Rings, up to 34%.

IAS can be found on:
- Weapons, up to 11%;
- Amulets, up to 9%;
- Gloves, up to 9%;
- Rings, up to 9%.

Since this question will arise for sure, I'll just say right away that crit > critdmg. Obviously the value of critdmg completely relies on the amount of crit you have, but there's another factor here and that's Cyclone procs. Crit chance will improve proc rate, crit damage will not, and Cyclone is a huge contributor to our damage now. Regardless of what spreadsheets will tell you, keep this in mind.

Rings are the last slots you should upgrade from IAS to crit/critdmg items, or not even upgrade them at all depending on your current rings and budget. They can carry much less crit than other slots, but the same standard amount of IAS. Also, items can potentially have all three of these stats. Just something to look forward to.

Defensive

The best approach to defensive stats in this and nearly all similar games is balancing them out. Never tunnel one stat. It's not good to have very low hp but very high mitigation, just as it is not useful to have very high hp but very low mitigation. It's useless to have lots of LoH, but health pool so low that you're going to die every time you stop hitting. Also, you stop all damage when you kill things - don't focus too much on defense. You need just enough, not too much.

To answer two of the most common questions:
1) OWE works like this: if arcane resistance is your highest stat, and you get an item with +50 all resistances and +50 arcane resistances, the total gain from that item will be 100 resistances;
2) LoH procs from all direct damage. Damage auras and DoTs don't proc it, but all our AoE cleaves do, per target. If you hit a target with Fists of Thunder, and Thunderclap will hit your main target and another 5 offtargets, it will be: 1 hit from FoT, 1 hit on main target from TC, and another 5 offtarget hits from TC, total 7 LoH procs. However LoH is scaled per ability, check the table linked in appendix for exact values.

Here's something you should add to bookmarks if you know what effective health is: http://rubensayshi.github.com/d3-ehp-calculator/

Slots

- Weapon: DPS, Life on Hit, Socket, Crit Damage, Weapon Type, Attack Speed, Dexterity, Life per Spirit Spent, Vitality

Weapon is the only slot that can carry high amounts of LoH. There's really no such thing as "LoH build", there's just "LoH weapon".

Attack speed on weapon is multiplied with total IAS on gear, so there's nothing bad about weapons with IAS contrary to popular belief. There's a difference in base attack speed depending on weapon type: Daggers (1.5) > Swords/Fists (1.4) > Axes (1.3) > Maces and Spears (1.2).

Emeralds socketed into weapon give crit damage, Amethysts give LoH. Even the last non-recipe tier is good:
http://eu.battle.net/d3/en/artisan/jeweler/recipe/star-amethyst
http://eu.battle.net/d3/en/artisan/jeweler/recipe/star-emerald

Only Fists and Daibos can have Life per Spirit Spent.

- Shield: Block Chance, Block Amount, Crit Chance, +% Block, Dexterity, Resistances, Vitality, Life %, Reduced Damage from Elites/Melee/Ranged

Pay attention to shield stats - block chance and amount - they make a big difference although it might not seem so on paper. Damage is blocked after it is reduced by armor and resistance, think about that. Picking a shield is like picking a weapon - block chance and value are main stats on it, like damage is on weapons.

- Amulet: Crit Chance, Crit Damage, Attack Speed, Life on Hit, Dexterity, Resistances, Vitality, Life %, Reduced Damage from Melee/Ranged

Amulets can actually have very considerable amounts of LoH, high end ones are around 600.

- Rings: Attack Speed, Crit Chance, Crit Damage, Life on Hit, Dexterity, Resistances, Vitality, Life %

I keep attack speed as highest priority here simply because you can find more of it than crit. Amount of LoH on rings is abysmal.

- Helm: Crit Chance, Socket, Dexterity, Resistances, Life per Spirit Spent, Vitality, Life %, Monk Skill Bonus

You want a socket to put an Amethyst there for 15% Life. I think this is pretty important, but completely viable to ignore it if you won't go below 30-35k HP or so.

There are some interesting choices here when it comes to class stats - you can get a 11% damage modifier to any primary skill. Don't overestimate this stat, it won't be better than 100 Dexterity. These and Life per Spirit Spent are available only on Spirit Stones.

- Belt: Dexterity, Resistances, Vitality

This would be just a standard armor slot if not for one item - slightly overhyped String of Ears. One of its predefined stats is melee damage reduction, up to 20%. However, it is a level 53 item so its stat rolls will be fairly low, and it has +11-20 resist to all as a set stat meaning it can't even roll for all resist. A good rolled item level 61+ belt will most likely be overall more EHP than String, even against melee (you can check yourself on the EHP calculator).

https://eu.battle.net/d3/en/item/string-of-ears

- Gloves: Crit Chance, Crit Damage, Attack Speed, Dexterity, Resistances, Vitality

- Bracers: Crit Chance, Dexterity, Resistances, Vitality, Reduced Damage from Melee/Ranged

- Boots: Movement Speed, Dexterity, Resistances, Vitality, Life %

- Chest: Dexterity, Resistances, Vitality, Life %, Sockets (up to 3), Reduced Damage from Melee/Ranged/Elite

- Pants: Dexterity, Resistances, Vitality, Sockets (up to 2)

- Shoulders: Dexterity, Resistances, Vitality, Life %

Some notes about this list: order the stats are listed in can be treated as priority lists, but don't follow them to the letter. This game is about balancing stats and choosing what to prioritize depending on your own playstyle and which act you're at. There's no single pattern that will work just as good for every situation, think for yourself.

I skipped sockets on jewelry because if anything, that's a waste of a potentially better stat roll in my opinion.

Adding 'best in slot' legendaries for post-patch is on my to-do list.

  • Appendix


- http://rubensayshi.github.com/d3-ehp-calculator/ - EHP calculator, this tool is amazing

- http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/5151274359 - a discussion about dodge mechanics and diminishing returns on US forums

- http://armadagaming.com/showthread.php?459-Armor-Resistances-and-Effective-Health - a very known thread about DRs and EHP

- https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0ArKUly7-jsZzdGhjaG1ERDMtS2M0cHhkTjB5b0hZTkE - Monk LoH values table

- http://www.clicktoloot.com/p/combat.html - combat mechanics compendium

- http://eu.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/4211013502 - damage reduction debuff stacking test (Resolve + Concussion)

- http://eu.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/4551990465 - Sweeping Wind and Submission tests (Submission info at posts 16 and 17)

- http://www.diablofans.com/topic/54433-monk-inferno-guide-updated-for-103/page__st__40#entry959036 - post #58 (and the discussion leading to it) for Faith in the Light test and details

Please rate and/or request sticky the post.

  • Change log


21/06/2012:
- 1.0.3 rewrite. Short summary at the top of the post. Too many changes to list them all individually.

18/06/2012:
- Completely rewrote the skill/gameplay section and the intro text of gear section. A better format, more attention to DR, more attention to gearing for DPS, a few words about vitality, more builds covered;
- Reworded and clarified some stuff here and there;
- Using IAS abbreviation now instead of AS everywhere.

10/06/2012:
- Edited String of Ears info, it is not that good.

07/06/2012:
- Added full LoH spreadsheet to references (was linked in the thread before, I just forgot to add it, nothing new here);
- Added Helm of Command recommendation.

04/06/2012 update 2:
- Explained that LoH does proc on AoE hence Thunderclap is mandatory;
- Added LoH modifiers table;
- Added a Transcendence/HP per Spirit Spent suggestion for a source of sustain;
- Stat orders are correct now in gear section, vitality put where it should be.

04/06/2012 update 1:
- Huge update to the gear section. New format, much more information;
- Explained why Faith in the Light is the best rune for Blinding Flash properly;
- Some minor changes / proof reading.

31/05/2012:
- Slightly changed the build - recommending Mantra of Evasion now as baseline;
- Rearranged the build/gameplay section slightly, Mantras are the first thing discussed now;
- Explained dodge;
- Mentioned that using Crippling Wave is a possibility, don't be shy to try things;
- Added more info about shields, bracers and chests in gear section;
- Added links to various tools, reference and math in post 2.

P.S.
Please do not attempt to add me to friend list on battle.net. Post all feedback and questions here.
Edited by Thaya#1303 on 24/06/2012 17:32 BST
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This is kinda the best guide for monk as i read at this moment. THanks alot m8.
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85 Undead Warrior
12365
Great post. The skill breakdown was good and fairly reassuring as it's pretty similar to what i'm working with.

The gear & itemisation part is excellent, a good reference for which slots can have which stats.

Whilst I appreciate the information, reading:

Having 4 out of 5 slots with AS is mandatory - you absolutely need to break the 2.0 attacks per second barrier at least.

Is somewhat painful as i've been having some real issues getting a hold of decent +AS gear. Still though, I've seen enough info around now to know its a decent direction to head, so will just have to keep trying for the gear.

One question however, the post is labelled "Act 2 and up", I can see the relevance of it to act 2 as i've got some experience there, but i've not touched act 3. So out of interest, is the build & gearing direction all viable for act 3 when it gets time for that?
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One question however, the post is labelled "Act 2 and up", I can see the relevance of it to act 2 as i've got some experience there, but i've not touched act 3. So out of interest, is the build & gearing direction all viable for act 3 when it gets time for that?
Yes, it just takes even more gear. Same direction though.

You might want to experiment with Mantras in A3. I found Evasion useful here and there.

Also, getting 60% AS isn't too hard. At least weapon, amulet and gloves is fairly trivial. Finding good rings might be hard though, at least it was for me.
Edited by Thaya#1303 on 30/05/2012 14:10 BST
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Nice guide.. I just hit 60, and will try to follow your guide...

If I read correkt, the first thing to do is to get AS and LoH.. after that I should get res?

Can you recommend a "starter kit", what should I aim for stats wise to start act 1 inferno?
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90 Night Elf Druid
12095
Great post. Ever since Hell I've been wondering if a LoH+Att/s build with good dmg reduction and controlled amount of vitality would not be the way to go with the monk.

Your post certainly helped me feel like it is a very reasonable way and appropriate for what I believe should mostly be our role in groups (damage soaker/support/mob delayer for the more "pure" dps classes).

Hope you get sticky.
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You can find also 15% IAS at Tal'Rasha chest + huge amount of rezistance, but the well rolled (with dex/vit) is quite expensive
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awesome guide, thanks a bunch
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Uhmms?

how do i get fist of thunder and deadly reach at the same time? because they are both in the same skills slot?
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#jmadp
Turn on elective mode in gameplay settings
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#Thaya
Could you post a screenshot of your stat and weapon, just tried it out and got absolutely raped, have zero LOH which im guessing it the problem ;)
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Uhmms?

how do i get fist of thunder and deadly reach at the same time? because they are both in the same skills slot?

Read the next 2 lines after the link.

30/05/2012 14:33Posted by hades
You can find also 15% IAS at Tal'Rasha chest + huge amount of rezistance, but the well rolled (with dex/vit) is quite expensive

I'm not sure if I should just copy stuff from the "notable items" thread or link it yet. Leaning towards just throwing a link in there. But thanks for the info.

30/05/2012 14:22Posted by Honne
Can you recommend a "starter kit", what should I aim for stats wise to start act 1 inferno?

If you literally just dinged 60 you're probably going to get one shot by stuff in Inferno, so it's more logical to work a lil bit on your health and resistances first before moving on to LoH and AS.
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#Thaya
Could you post a screenshot of your stat and weapon, just tried it out and got absolutely raped, have zero LOH which im guessing it the problem ;)

I currently have a 850 dps weapon with 150 dex, 17% AS and 700 LoH.

However I've cleared A2 with a 550 DPS weapon with around 650 total LoH (was socketed) that I got for cheap. I had around 30-35k hp at the time and 500ish resistance to all with OWE.
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One quick observation, your saying fist of thunder is best damagewise, this is simply no where near true.

The Way of hundred fists have a damage potential fist of thunder can never live up to or even get close to, since when using way of a hundred fists your damage modifier is 140% rather then 110%, this mixed with buffs such as the one from blinding flash, overawe etc, scale up to such an amount that fist of thunder could never even hope to get close.

Though for life on hit, fist of thunder is obviously superior.
Edited by Munx#2602 on 30/05/2012 14:57 BST
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One quick observation, you saying fist of thunder is best damagewise, this is simply no where near true.

The Way of hundred fists have a damage potential fist of thunder can never live up to or even get close to, since when using way of a hundred fists your damage modifier is 140% rather then 110%, this mixed with buffs such as the one from blinding flash, overawe etc, scale up to such an amount that fist of thunder could never even hope to get close.

Though for life on hit, fist of thunder is obviously superior.
Thunderclap rune adds another 35% to FoT - although I haven't tested whether that actually hits the primary target or not. Judging by the animations I would say it does.
Edited by Thaya#1303 on 30/05/2012 14:55 BST
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Not the same thing, that eletric charge hits for 35% of your weapon, and from what I've seen it only actually actives after a teleport.

And even so, thats fist of thunder WITH a rune only outdoing way of a hundred fists by a measly 5%.

In which case Hands of lightning rune, Blazing Fists or Windforce flurry would again heavily tip the overall damage potential heavy in the favour of way of a hundred fists ;)
Edited by Munx#2602 on 30/05/2012 15:06 BST
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Cheers Thaya, much appreciate that. The community need people like you.
It cost me the last 3 days to figure out that my main problem on Act 2 where not primary my skills or my defensive values, but my life sustain. I have a terrible 1.2 speed weapon, now i realise how bad that is, even if it has 750 damage.

Thanks for the information abut 2,0 attack you need to chainstun, did not know that.
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Not the same thing, that eletric charge hits for 35% of your weapon, and from what I've seen it only actually actives after a teleport.

And even so, thats fist of thunder WITH a rune only outdoing way of a hundred fists by a measly 5%.

In which case Hands of lightning rune, Blazing Fists or Windforce flurry would again heavily tip the overall damage potential heavy in the favour of way of a hundred fists ;)

I still found myself doing more damage overall with FoT/Thunderclap, maybe that was thanks to the increased attack speed and the different AoE mechanics of the abilities, or maybe because of getting much more spirit to work with and more Conviction/Overawe spam with FoT.

This is all subjective however, to get an actual good comparison - both AoE and singletarget - we'd need to calculate all of this. I see where you're coming from though, and I agree WotHF might be a better single target spell.
Cheers Thaya, much appreciate that. The community need people like you.
It cost me the last 3 days to figure out that my main problem on Act 2 where not primary my skills or my defensive values, but my life sustain. I have a terrible 1.2 speed weapon, now i realise how bad that is, even if it has 750 damage.

Thanks for the information abut 2,0 attack you need to chainstun, did not know that.

The chain knockback is just a nice bonus vs white mobs, vs some packs I take 0 damage. It's not a key point. You mostly want 2.0 attacks per second to generate enough health to sustain, and of course, more is better. I just felt like it's much harder with less than 60% during my experiments and attempts.
Edited by Thaya#1303 on 30/05/2012 15:14 BST
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85 Undead Warrior
12365
Nice guide.. I just hit 60, and will try to follow your guide...

If I read correkt, the first thing to do is to get AS and LoH.. after that I should get res?

Can you recommend a "starter kit", what should I aim for stats wise to start act 1 inferno?


Just dropping this in for additional help, for Act 1 I cleared it (all champion packs etc) having zero LoH using a 500~ dps wep. Imo resistances and making sure you have a decent enough health pool to survive any hits you take should be your first priority.
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