I decided I wanted to share my build/guide for my monk since I haven't found anything yet that matches its balance in survivability while still dishing out an incredible amount of damage.
This build has been tested in both solo play as well as group play above normal mode with great success.
In this guide I aim to share with you why I feel there isn't a better build for general progression/farming. The build is essentially the same for all gameplay aspects except for two specific scenarios whereby small changes are needed for optimal usage. I will mention these after I explain the initial build.
Let us begin!
Base Skills and Runes Overview:
The Build: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/monk#UYgSjQ!YZd!bbaZab
Way of the Hundred Fists – Fist of Furry
Blinding Flash – Blinding Echo
Serenity – Peacefull Repose
Sweeping Wind – Blade Storm
Mystic Ally – Water Ally (earth ally later on if you still need more hp)
Mantra of Healing – Boon of Protection
The Guardians Path
Now lets break these down and explain why you pick each one:
WoHF – Your go to left click skill, it provides a decent gap closer/opener, high frontal aoe dps, and an added extra layer of dot damage to your primary target making it great for focusing an elite with small adds surrounding him. Not to mention the tiny knockback/disruption it provides on the final hit. One could argue for a number of other left click attacks but my bet is on WoHF 90 percent of the time. Even Cripple isn't necessary since you will be mitigating a large portion of their attacks non stop anyways.
BF – Amazingly great at reducing your incoming damage. You want Echo since it requires no additional spirit and provides you with a double blind. In my opinion none of the other BF runes can compare. Great CC with a great range twice!
Serenity – As you progress higher into the difficulties absorbing incoming damage becomes way more valuable then simply outhealing it or mitigating it. Any skill that can adsorb damage immediately shoots to the top of the priority list. Still a heal is important and Peaceful Repose rune gives you that heal along with invulnerability. Serenity will also be your anti CC move, allowing you to break free of CC and mitigate it all together.
Sweeping Wind – While it does have a fairly high initial cost, sweeping wind provides a great amount of consistent damage and it only gets better with blade storm. You are going to be in the thick of the battle and even if you are CCd and cant cast a spell you still will be doing damage. Plus it breaks barrels and tables for you! It also works hand in hand with Resolve but we will get into that later.
Mystic Ally – Oh MA how I love you so. Mystic Ally is your best buddy. Although he plays a smaller role in team play, in solo he is a godsend. He will tank mobs for you while still dealing good damage like its second nature. Pesky suicide mobs annoying you? No problem for MA! Often times when I had him and my templar out he easily would outlast my templar (in good gear and with defensive abilities of his own). Its a fire and forget spell with a small spirit cost and no cd.
Mantra of Healing – Believe it or not this is your spirit dump. With the BoP rune your mantra becomes an on demand shield for both your allies and you. Its a great utility spell that you can cast 3 times if you are full on Spirit! 3 TIMESSSSS! Its great when you are stuck in poison or lava and need to tough it out in between Serenity CDs. Plus since you aren't casting any other spirit spells all your spirit can go to this! I cannot stress enough how important this spell is. Great regen and a great shield. Will save your butt against hard melee attacks a lot.
Now the passives:
Transcendence – I dont know how else to put it...if you aren't using this then I feel pitty for your soul. It gives you HP back when you spend your spirit. Now I know I know you are thinking “but Spunkify you aren't using many abilities over and over with this build!”. Well you are right, but wrong at the same time. Transcendence becomes godly when used in conjunction with Serenity and MoH. Not only will you heal twice when you use Serenity (serenity rune + Transcendence proc) but you get 3 additional smaller (but still strong heals) when you use MoH. Plus because both abilities give you shields you dont have to worry about the heal going to waste (immediately losing the HP you just got back).
Resolve – Reducing damage is a huge factor. So what if you have a lot of armor and can heal. If you take huge hits all the time its not going to matter. Thats where resolve comes in. More specifically thats where Resolve + BF + SW comes in. With SW you are constantly debuffing those around you. You do not need to auto attack them in order to apply the debuff. You simply need to do damage to them. BF is useful for this when it comes to applying it to those just out of range of SW.
The Guardians Path – To be honest this one is the least impactful out of the three. It serves as a way to give you a static boost to your dodge ratio (assuming you are running dual wielding if not sieze the initiative is a good alternative). You could argue that Sixth Sense has the potential for providing you more dodge chance but that is only possible once you stack (or IF you stack) a large amount of crit. So it may be better once your gear is higher but not while you are still progressing.
Niche Abilities – These are the abilities you will swap in based on a couple of things. Namely high damage, high CC mobs (generally speaking arcane/chain frost nova/fear mob packs) and bosses.
Pacifism Passive – Although this appears to be a spell we will use a lot in PvP it also is extremely useful when facing the above mentioned High CC/Damage mobs. If serenity is on CD Pacifism will help you whether that damage as you wait for your CC to expire. If there is an upcoming pack like this swap out Guardians Path and you will be good to go.
One with Everything - This ability is the flip side of Pacifism. If the mobs you face have lots of AOE but no CC you will use this instead since it greatly boosts all your resistances to the level of your highest one.
Lashing Tail Kick with Sweeping Armada Rune – This ability goes hand in hand with Pacifism. You will be swapping BF for this since most of the time the damage you take from the mob packs wont be mitigated by simply blinding their auto attacks. LTK pushes these mobs super far away while also slowing them allowing you some breathing room to reposition.
Mystic Ally Earth Rune - Although I still prefer the Water Ally for his dps and AoE move, the Earth Ally provides you extra hp and tanking power via a taunt. However that taunt is only directed to one mob. Grab this ONLY if you are low on vitality.
Near Death Experience – Once you get up into the Hell/Inferno difficulties, NDE is a must have on boss fights. Too many boss abilities can essentially one shot you. You arent really going to use this out of boss fights though since it does have a long internal cd of 90 seconds. Replace TGP with it.
Exploding Palm/Seven Strike/Dashing Strike – All abilities that can increase your single target damage and sometimes mobility. Good for boss fights where your mystic ally may not be very useful or the target moves too much or has too much aoe around him to make use of sweeping swing.
I hope everyone gets a chance to try this out as I am having huge success with it compared to all the other builds I have tried. I really cant think of any build that matches this ones sustained dps while still maintaining a high level of survivability. Hopefully this was useful to those of you new or those looking for a higher sustained output.
To Recap the PROS / CONS:
- High “Spammable” Survivability moves
- Great Sustained AoE Damage vs Spirit Cost
- Versatile for both solo and group play
- Good Solo target DPS as well
- Small ramp up to sustained AOE.
- Not the highest mobility build
- Vulnerable to impromptu CC Elite Packs.