Diablo 3 Guide to Surviving Hell as a Monk

Diablo 3 Guide to Surviving Hell as a Monk written by Pyre.

Hey guys I am writing this guide for those who are having some troubles surviving in Hell difficulty.

Hell is definitely a wake up call from Nightmare. Nightmare had some twists and unexpected things that caught me off guard, but it was still pretty easy.

With Hell I had to completely re-do my build and I still am looking for ways to make it even better. For now, as I progress through Hell and beyond, I have found some things that may help you survive. Mainly dealing with your abilities.

FoT - Q: Fist of Thunder - Quickening
CS - EoTS: Cyclone Strike - Eye of the Storm
BoH - BW: Breath of Heaven - Blazing Wrath
SW - BS: Sweeping Wind - Blade Storm
TR: Tempest Rush
MA: Mystic Ally
MA - EA: Mystic Ally - Earth Ally
SSS - P: Seven Sided Strike - Pandemonium
SSS - SA: Seven Sided Strike - Sudden Assault
MoH - BoP: Mantra of Healing - Boon of Protection
OwE - One with Everything
StI: Seize the Initiative
LtK - SS: Lashing Tail Kick - Scorpion Sting
Serenity - PR: Serenity - Peaceful Repose

Note: Make sure elective mode is on. To enable it go to Options > Gameplay > Interface (this is a section in Gameplay) > Elective Mode.

My Builds:

Here are two different builds that rely on similar play style. One is more suited for solo with the other can be better in parties.

Party Build: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/monk#afXiTQ!XUY!YabZbb

Solo Build: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/monk#aZgiTQ!UYX!YYaZbb

Party Build:

Primary FoT - Q: This by far is the best spirit generator ability in my opinion. The ability itself is ok, but the rune is what makes this build tick. This rune will allow you to gain so much spirit back in such a short amount of time, it is insane. The attack speed of the skill generates so much spirit. The best this is you do not have to stack crit (and I don't suggest it). I only have a 5 % crit chance. Spam this like crazy!

Focus CS - EotS: This ability is one of my favorites. With good weapons and the ability to spam your skills, you can devastate the demons of Hell difficulty with your sheer damage. It also pulls all the enemies to you so you can spam FoT even more.

FoT does hit multiple targets, so the more clustered they are the more chances you have to crit and regenerate your spirit. For a group setting I use this ability to deal damage as well as group up the mobs so my party can concentrate their aoe damage in one specific location. It really works well with a barbarian and monk.

Note: This ability can be used for act bosses or you can replace it with LtK - SFK. Either work fine.

Defensive BoH - BW: First off the heal on this skill really is amazing and has saved my hide and my party dozens of time. I take the BW rune because I am constantly using this skill and never letting the increased damage go away. If I do let it fall off I do it with the intent of knowing I may come close to dying and really need it (ie. I see frost shards surrounding me about to explode and I am not at full health). This takes some precision and getting use to, but it is generally easy to judge.

Note: I do use this skill off cooldown, but this skill is not the primary source of your healing. It comes from MoH. MoH is amazing because it's active gives back so much health regeneration with no cooldown.

Technique SW - BS: This skill is simply amazing. If you ever played League of Legends I like to call this ability my "Kennen Ult." If you are in trouble and you are having to spam heal yourself just to survive using this will allow you to do such a thing and still produce damage.

It does a bunch of damage to groups that are clustered up. Plus the synergy with this and CS is amazing. You pull the enemies into SW and they all take damage, while you spam FoT and MoH.

Note: (This applies for both party and solo) Since I have found out that SW does not get affected by Quickening, this does not make it necessary for this build to work. Some great alternatives to this skill are either TR or MA. I would suggest TR for a party and MA for solo.

For TR I would take the rune Tailwind. This additional run speed can be great if you happen to space out for a second and then realize you need to get out in a hurry, but Serenity/SSS are down.

For MA I go with EA. I love the 10% extra vitality. If you are lacking vitality due to gear, I definitely suggest EA. If not try out Air Ally.

Focus SSS - P: I love this ability. Not only is it a great offensive ability, but the defensive capability of SSS is outstanding. Have you ever fought a Arcane Empowered, Desecrator, Jailer Champion and get jailed in a pool of lava with a laser zapping your face off? With SSS it allows you to escape your prison and move out of the fire/laser. SSS allows you to become completely untargetable for a few life saving seconds as well. If you use this ability right before a frost champion freezes everybody (you can tell when the ice balls on the ground become super huge) you can SSS and take no damage. As for the rune of Pandemonium is really nice for the stun. It helps your group out by making them take less damage since the enemies can not attack while they are stunned.

Note: SA would be good too, if you really want to use it a better escape tool. This allows you to teleport to the monster you are fighting. With this teleport it can get you out of a situation that would land you right back in plague or desecration. However, this is not the best method out of it and if you are having problems with dying due to landing right back in the crap you are trying to avoid.

Mantras MoH - BoP: Mantra of Healing has been amazing for a party set up. With the above stated information I have been able to spam it in tight situation and keep myself alive. The initial activation is amazing and it is primarily what I use it for. As for the rune BoP is really nice. In addition to being given ungodly amounts of health regeneration it gives you a bubble that helps reduce the damage being taken.

Passive Abilities:

OwE: This passive is amazing from Hell onwards. I never really had any reason to grab resistances in Normal and Nightmare. In Hell it is a different story. Resistances are your new best friend, and with OwE you only need to focus on one. This passive can save lives.

Note: If you do not have many resistances (ie fresh out of Nightmare) Resolve would be a better choice over OwE. OwE would be a waste if your highest resistance was arcane with 20 resist. I do not know what you could deem an appropriate level of resistance to switch from Resolve to OwE and I will update as I go along.

Transcendence: Here is another passive I really like. With this build it takes full advantage of it. Since you are spamming abilities and dumping spirit as fast as you can, you are getting health back for each point spent on top of MoH and BoH when you use them. This can mean the difference between life and death. This passive is by no means mandatory on a monk, but it is highly suggested with this build.

StI: I love this passive. I currently have about 1200 dexterity. That gives 33.09% dodge itself (I have 42% dodge total). In addition to that this passive gives me a really nice amount of armor. To be exact I have 2650 armor, which reduces damage done to me by 50%. This makes for great tanking.

Solo Build: 

Primary FoT - Q: Same as above.

Secondary LtK - SS: I choose this over CS due to the fact that it does more damage for the spirit cost, plus SS allows for additional defense. Plus while in solo play the mobs are attracted to you anyway and come straight for you.

Defensive Serenity - PR: This ability is amazing, it allows you to become immune to all damage for 3 seconds. This can mean the difference of killing that pack of mobs, or angrily breaking your keyboard in half because Desecrator Plagued Vampric champions are the absolutely ridiculous -_-. I use PR as a rune because it replaces BoH, and while it's heal is not your primary source of incoming health, it can help when the health regeneration from MoH isn't enough.

Technique SW - BS: Same as above.

Focus SSS - P: Same as above.

Note: SSS paired with Serenity can potentially give you up to 6-7 seconds of immunity. Time it correctly and this can mean all the difference in the world.

Mantras MoH - BoP: Same as above.

Passive Abilities:

Both builds use the same passives (see above).


As far as stats go I have found that the general goal for your stats is Dexterity > Vitality > Resistance.

As far as these two builds go you will want to Dual Wield over 2 Handed weapons. Take what you can get, but go for DW immediately.

When it comes to determining whether or not your weapon with straight damage is better than your weapon with dexterity look at your character sheet. Pay close attention to which stats you would gain and sacrifice when equipping different weapons. While greater damage can be amazing, dexterity also gives dodge.


I suggest putting in Rubies into your weapons, Amethyst in your helmet, and Emeralds everywhere else.

Remember play smart, try to avoid damage as much as you can. Simply because you can spam your abilities doesn't give you a ticket to stand in everything and expect to live. This build may not suite some people. Everyone has different play styles. This is just what I have found works for me. Hopefully it will give you a good sense of abilities that synergize well together. Be sure to try it out and let me know what you think.