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Diablo 3: The Best Monk Builds, Ranked

The jack-of-all-trades class in Diablo 3 has been the Monk since day one and it hasn’t tapered off since. Existing somewhere in between the realm of tank, caster, healer, and utility, the Monk is one of those classes you play when you don’t know what you want to play… or when you want to play everything at the same time.

All that said, it’s illuminating to look at community stats and see which moves, items, and runes have resulted in higher success rates in the most difficult rifts. The monk does really well in these unforgiving environments, it’s just a matter of finding the right build that clicks for you when the controller is in your hands.

Exploding Palm

  • Active skills: Way of the Hundred Fists (Assimilation), Serenity (Ascension), Exploding Palm (Impending Doom), Dashing Strike (Blinding Speed), Cyclone Strike (Implosion), Mystic Ally (Water Ally)
  • Passive skills: Harmony, Beacon of Ytar, Seize the Initiative, Near Death Experience
  • Key Armor Sets: Inna’s Mantra, Endless Walk
  • Key Weapons: Shenlong’s Spirit
  • Augment: Dexterity
  • Gems: Dexterity
  • Paragon: Movement Speed, Cooldown Reduction, All Resistance, Area Damage

The combination of the Mystic Ally’s slow and the damage over time effect of the Exploding Palm make this one of the best builds for getting in hitting a target, then getting out and waiting for the target to die.

Lashing Tail Kick With Sunwuko

  • Active skills: Way of the Hundred Fists (Assimilation), Epiphany (Desert Shroud), Dashing Strike (Blinding Speed), Lashing Tail Kick (Vulture Claw Kick), Sweeping Wind (Inner Storm), Mantra of Salvation (Agility)
  • Passive skills: Harmony, Beacon of Ytar, Seize the Initiative, Near Death Experience
  • Key Armor Sets: Monkey King’s Garb
  • Key Weapons: Vengeful Wind, Scarbreaker
  • Augment: Dexterity
  • Gems: Dexterity
  • Paragon: Movement Speed, Cooldown Reduction, All Resistance, Resource Cost Reduction

The Monkey King’s Garb gives you the ability to stack charges of Sweeping Wind and then unleash them all at once for a devastating blow to the tune of an extra 1500% damage per stack.

Lashing Tail Kick With Legacy Of Dreams

  • Active skills: Crippling Wave (Rising Tide), Cyclone Strike (Implosion), Epiphany (Desert Shroud), Lashing Tail Kick (Vulture Claw Kick), Dashing Strike (Radiance), Mantra of Salvation (Agility)
  • Passive skills: Harmony, Beacon of Ytar, Seize the Initiative, Determination
  • Key Armor Sets: None
  • Key Weapons: Scarbringer, Raid Strike
  • Augment: Dexterity
  • Gems: Dexterity
  • Paragon: Movement Speed, Cooldown Reduction, All Resistance, Resource Cost Reduction

The Legacy of Dreams gem means that you get huge benefits so long as you have no set bonus. The Lashing Tail Kick becomes a lot easier to spam when you aren’t waiting for cooldowns or to build up charges.

Seven-Sided Strike

  • Active skills: Way of the Hundred Fists (Assimilation), Epiphany (Desert Shroud), Seven-Sided Strike (Sustained Attack), Exploding Palm (Impending Doom), Dashing Strike (Blinding Speed), Cyclone Strike (Implosion)
  • Passive skills: Harmony, Beacon of Ytar, Near Death Experience, Mythic Rhythm
  • Key Armor Sets: Uliana’s Strategem, Endless Walk
  • Key Weapons: Shenlong’s Spirit
  • Augment: Dexterity
  • Gems: Dexterity
  • Paragon: Movement Speed, Cooldown Reduction, All Resistance, Area Damage

This is likely the most well-rounded of all the builds, as the effects work well on groups and just as well on single targets. Thanks to Uliana’s Strategem, the Exploding Palm will immediately be detonated as soon as the target takes a blow from a Seven-Sided Strike.

Crippling Wave

  • Active skills: Crippling Wave (Mangle), Way of the Hundred Fists (Assimilation), Breath of Heaven (Infused with Light), Cyclone Strike (Implosion), Dashing Strike (Radiance), Mantra of Salvation (Agility)
  • Passive skills: Harmony, Seize the Initiative, Alacrity, Exalted Soul
  • Key Armor Sets: Raiment of a Thousand Storms, Endless Walk
  • Key Weapons: Shenlong’s Spirit
  • Augment: Dexterity
  • Gems: Dexterity
  • Paragon: Movement Speed, Cooldown Reduction, All Resistance, Area Damage

If consistency is the name of the game for you, then Crippling Wave will slowly and steadily kill almost every demon on the screen if you can find a place to cast without interference.

Wave Of Light With Sunwuko

  • Active skills: Wave of Light (Explosive Light), Epiphany (Desert Shroud), Mystic Ally (Air Ally), Dashing Strike (Blinding Speed), Sweeping Wind (Inner Storm), Mantra of Salvation (Agility)
  • Passive skills: Harmony, Beacon of Ytar, Seize the Initiative, Near Death Experience
  • Key Armor Sets: Monkey King’s Garb
  • Key Weapons: Kyoshiro’s Blade, Vengeful Wind
  • Augment: Dexterity
  • Gems: Dexterity
  • Paragon: Movement Speed, Cooldown Reduction, All Resistance, Resource Cost Reduction

This build is a variation on the Lashing Tail Kick with Sunwuko build and it makes sense because the damage amplification works for Wave of Light as well.

Wave Of Light With Legacy Of Dreams

  • Active skills: Wave of Light (Explosive Light), Cyclone Strike (Explosion), Epiphany (Desert Shroud), Mystic Ally (Air Ally), Dashing Strike (Blinding Speed), Mantra of Salvation (Agility)
  • Passive skills: Harmony, Beacon of Ytar, Seize the Initiative, Near Death Experience
  • Key Armor Sets: None
  • Key Weapons: Kyoshiro’s Blade, Rabid Strike
  • Augment: Dexterity
  • Gems: Dexterity
  • Paragon: Movement Speed, Cooldown Reduction, All Resistance, Resource Cost Reduction

If you like Wave of Light and do not like being restricted to a single armor set, this is the build for you as you gain immense bonuses to your damage output.

Tempest Rush With Sunwuko

  • Active skills: Tempest Rush (Flurry), Blinding Flash (Faith in the Light), Mantra of Salvation (Agility), Sweeping Wind (Inner Storm), Epiphany (Desert Shroud), Cyclone Strike (Soothing Breeze)
  • Passive skills: Harmony, Beacon of Ytar, Seize the Initiative, Relentless Assault
  • Key Armor Sets: Monkey King’s Garb, Captain Crimson’s Trimmings
  • Key Weapons: Vengeful Wind, Won Khim Lau
  • Augment: Dexterity
  • Gems: Dexterity
  • Paragon: Movement Speed, Cooldown Reduction, All Resistance, Resource Cost Reduction

Crippling Wave might have the superior area of effect, but the Tempest Rush can be directed and is a lot more mobility. With the Monkey King’s Garb, it gains lethal damage capabilities.

Tempest Rush With Patterns Of Justice

  • Active skills: Blinding Flash (Faith in the Light), Sweeping Wind (Inner Storm), Mantra of Salvation (Agility), Tempest Rush (Flurry), Epiphany (Desert Shroud), Serenity (Ascension)
  • Passive skills: Harmony, Seize the Initiative, Beacon of Ytar, The Guardian’s Path
  • Key Armor Sets: Patterns of Justice, Captain Crimson’s Trimmings
  • Key Weapons: Shenlong’s Spirit
  • Augment: Dexterity
  • Gems: Dexterity
  • Paragon: Movement Speed, Cooldown Reduction, All Resistance, Area Damage

The Patterns of Justice were specifically tailored to elevate this ability. With six set pieces, you gain a boost of a ridiculous 15,000% to your Tempest Rush. This is the highest damage output in the game when it comes to Monk builds.

Support

  • Active skills: Crippling Wave (Tsunami), Deadly Reach (Piercing Trident), Mantra of Healing (Time of Need), Serenity (Tranquility), Inner Sanctuary (Temple of Protection), Epiphany (Soothing Mist)
  • Passive skills: Near Death Experience, Beacon of Ytar, Resolve, Unity
  • Key Armor Sets: Inna’s Mantra, Captain Crimson’s Trimmings
  • Key Weapons: Born’s Furious Wrath, Stormshield
  • Augment: Intelligence
  • Gems: Vitality
  • Paragon: Movement Speed, Cooldown Reduction, All Resistance, Resource Cost Reduction

It might not be nearly as exciting, but the Monk makes for an incredible healer when backing off of damage. No other class even comes close to keeping allies alive like a Monk with the support build. If you have friends to play with and want to conquer tougher rifts, this build has no equal.

NEXT: Diablo 3: The Best Solo Classes Ranked From Worst To Best

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Hodey Johns is a writer for Game Rant based out of the Rocky Mountains in North Ogden, Utah. He’s had a passion for video games and literature since he was a child growing up along the beach in San Diego, California. As a graduate of Theology from Liberty University, he puts his experience with religion, philosophy, and debate into his work. His other interests include sports, bike riding, and good old-fashioned barbecue.

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