Diablo 3 Best Monk Builds For Inferno, Nightmare and Hell

By   /   Sep 7, 2013

If you asked me to identify one thing that made Diablo 2 so good, the first thing that would come to my mind would be the classes. All the classes were so unique, and so well balanced – you could just close your eyes, pick one, develop it and still find it to be powerful and fun to play with.

For more help on Diablo 3 Builds, read our Demon Hunter Builds, Wizard Builds and Barbarian Builds Guide.

Diablo 3 Best Monk Builds

When I got my hands on Diablo 3, I was expecting something similar, but was initially disappointed. For some reason, the Monk really didn’t appeal to me. It was the oddest class of all of this, because it relied so much on Mantras.

Of course, that changed drastically when I started acquiring some awesome items, such as the Monk-exclusive Daibos. After that, this Holy homemade Paladin-wannabe became so much more fun to play with.

I’ve never really liked the shield and board combo with the Monk, even though it’s so commonly used. I mean dude, the Monk ain’t a Paladin, get that through your skull!

In fact, with such a setup, you’re doing nothing but reducing the Monk’s fast-paced DPS ability. So, drop that crap, get yourself a powerful Daibo, and start poking that stick in places where the demons would even feel ashamed.

Diablo 3 Monk Inferno Build

Holy Living Hell
Now, it’s time to trim your beard and get on with slaying some monsters. You’re a white shining become of hope, and to them elites that’s the equivalent of a flying cockroach in your room, except that unlike you they aren’t intimidated by your flying abilities. Let’s teach them a lesson with some holiness of ours, shall we?

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Active Skills
So, some will yell Fists of Thunder, while others will saying Deadly Reach. I really can’t tell which is better for Inferno, but for the most Fist of Thunder has worked best because of its faster pace. Sadly, there’s nothing better than the Thunderclap rune, so you’ll just have rely on it more than the others.

Now, what to do with all that Spirit? Well, the first thing I can think of is blind all the enemies with your holiness! Faith in the Light will make Blinding Flash worthwhile, especially against elite enemies who will shamefully miss even after the effect has gone out. This is a much underrated skill that works unexpectedly well in Inferno.

Consider it as the primary Spirit spender, alongside:

Sweeping Wind is your go-to skill for constant harassment, and another underrated Monk skill. By itself it doesn’t do much damaging, but the fact that it resets every time you melee strike an enemy (which you will be doing a lot) gives it its charm.

Also, you can stack up this skill insanely to make it do even more powerful damage, and since you should be looking to get as much crit rate/damage as possible in solo games, you will greatly benefit from the Cyclone rune as well.

Next is Breath of Heaven, which is probably the best healing skill in the game. It’s hard to say anything else about it really, so we’ll just slap on the Infused with Light rune and head to the next skill.

Serenity is your main escape skill, and since it costs so less, you’ll find yourself using it more than Breath of Heaven when situations get tough. Remember, you won’t always find yourself in an ideal situation where you have plenty of Spirit to blind enemies and make a run for it.

In this case Serenity’s economical usage works very well. Plus, it’s giving you completely immunity for a duration, allowing you to recuperate in otherwise impossible situation. A Hardcore Monk without this skill doesn’t deserve to be in Inferno mode.

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Finally, you have the Mantra of Healing. Every other Mantra becomes irrelevant and completely useless in Inferno, so you’ll naturally have to take this. Plus, who would mind a boost to their region? And let’s not forget you’re getting a 20% increase in resistance too, which is often an under-looked but vital trait.

Now that we’ve covered the Active Skills, it’s time to have a look at what passives we’ve chosen for our holy ninja.

Passive Skills
The three-way combination of Resolve, Seize the Initiative, and One with Everything is nearly unavoidable for me.

In fact, I’ve seen most Inferno Monks with at least 2 of these three passives selected. Another good option is Near Death Experience, which is used a lot in higher Paragon levels, but I’ve never been a fan of passives with Cool-downs.

I mean, what’s the benefit of a passive if it ain’t gonna be present all the time?

Resolve and Seize the Initiative will give you all the tankiness you need to survive Inferno, while One with Everything gives your elemental resistances further boosts. The bitter truth is that no matter what you do you cannot have the same damage output as a DPS like the Wizard and DH, nor have the terrifying presence of the Barbarian.

So, as a Monk, you need to give yourself a lot of beef and do things in the time-consuming manner. This means that you’ll have to look for ways to boost your survivability so you can chip in the required damage, which is why we’re opting for such defensive passives. Got it? Good, now let’s move on to the Weapons and Armor.

Weapons and Armor
The primary attribute for the Monk is Dexterity, but I like to concentrate on Vitality in the same manner. Thus, look for armor items that will give you insane amounts of Vitality and Dexterity.

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If you’re an Auction House addict (which pretty much everyone is), you should be able to find such stuff very easily.

On your gloves, amulets, and rings, you should be looking for as much crit chance/crit damage as possible, while also hunting for Attack Speed.

Yes, Attack Speed is very important with the Monk, because it directly affects how quickly you can generate Spirit; remember, Spirit is very different from Fury or Hatred, because it gets spent like Mana (no per-second costs), but doesn’t regenerate nearly as fast.

Speaking of Spirit, I would recommend Spirit Stones that as lots and lots of points to your Spirit, while also giving you Dexterity. Search for items with sockets, and have all your armor embedded with a mix of Emeralds and Amethysts for some serious Dexterity and Vitality boosts respectively.

As far as weapons go, don’t go for the shield and sword combo. Again, you are not a Paladin – save that crap for the Crusader in the Reaper of Souls expansion. You need to deliver attacks as quickly as possible, which is why you should look to utilize the Monk’s own set of weapons, i.e. Daibos and Fist Weapons.

I personally prefer Daibos over Fist Weapons, because they have much more DPS, even though they might be slightly slower. If you can get your hands on the Inna’s Reach Daibo somehow, then you should do 20 minutes of Harlem Shake and send me a picture of it. If not, then even Flying Dragon would suffice.

Diablo 3 Monk Nightmare Builds

Build #1, Build #2
You should be around level 31-35 when starting Nightmare. Now, in Nightmare and a good part of Hell, you’re allowed to do what you want, and that means maximizing damage without caring much for health. Of course, this isn’t the necessarily the case when you’re playing Hardcore, but it can still work if you have Vitality-boosting items.

Any-who, these two builds should help you for the most part of Nightmare, with Dashing Strike from Build #2 combined with Seven-Sided Strike allowing you to deal with multiple hordes of enemies.

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Don’t get cocky, and don’t be shy of using Breath of Heaven for them heals.

Build #1 does similar stuff in theory, but with different skills. It’s really just the same meat with different seasoning. These two builds work well as a solo Monk, since they give you good damage and some partial survivability.

Diablo 3 Monk Hell Builds

Build #1, Build #2
Your level should be around 50 when you start Hell’s first Act. It’s time to be little more careful, so that’s why we’ll stick to defensive passives. I liked Wave of Light a lot because of its reduced cost by the Empowered Weave rune, and found myself using to for the first half of Hell.

That’s why I’ve recommended it in Build 1, but not without the assistance of some defensive passives and the Mantra of Healing. Build #2 is a little less wary and more for players who believe they have items that give them lots of defense and Vitality.

If you managed to grab some really powerful “reduced level requirement” items from the Auction House, then you can blast your way through most enemies in Hell. It’s for this reason that we’re taking a ruthless, close-quarters combat approach.

If you wish to share your builds with us, please do so in the comments section below. Enjoy!