Diablo 3 Monk Builds Guide

The Monk combines martial arts with the holy powers of the Paladin from Diablo II to give a fast-paced, heavy hitting and dynamic hero.


  • Very strong early game
  • Super-fast
  • Martial artist
  • Can take on multiple enemies at once
  • Lot’s of defensive abilities
  • Mantras give great active-passive effects that can make your Monk cooler than he/she already is


  • Little to no range
  • Lacks weapon variety
  • Lack of variety of skills
  • Can be overwhelmed by enemy numbers in higher levels
  • Spirit requires recharging with Primary Attacks, which can hinder your combat flow

I highly recommend that you refer to our essential Character Development Basics guide before reading this guide for familiarization with various terminologies and concepts.

For more help on Diablo 3 builds, read our Demon Hunter, Witch Doctor, Barbarian and Wizard guides.

Build #1 – God Speed

Tier 1 (Level 1-10)
This is the basic starting build for the Monk. Sadly, the character has a very limited start, as only a few important abilities are available initially.

Fist of Thunder can be replaced by the larger ranged Deadly Reach, but it is so slow compared to the first skill that Spirit generation and overall attack rate is reduced; they both the same amount of damage, so it just comes to preference.

Your second ability should be Lashing Tail Kick. Tempest Rush is completely useless initially until you actually acquire a Daibo weapon. The rest is all self-explanatory.

Tier 2 (Level 11-20)
The primary focus of this build is on speed. Because of that, you will be using Way of the Fist as your primary, which is one heck of a Spirit generator.

It really comes down to you whether you wish to use Lashing Kick now or opt for Tempest Rush (best with a Daibo). I’ve always preferred the former for its radial AoE.

Breath of Heaven will remain your primary healing ability throughout this build, so keep it in a specific slot and let it stay there. Seven-Sided Strike is an excellent ability.

Sadly, it has a 30 second CD, preventing one from spamming. Because of this, the ability is best used to eliminate multiple weakened foes at once – in other words being a great finishing ability.

Transcendence is also an excellent healing passive and will ensure your Monk is alive and kick (and punching) as long as you are generously spending your Spirit, which you always should.

Tier 3 (Level 21-30)
As you can see, this build is fast to develop as all the necessary skills are unlocked within the first two tiers. Now it’s just a matter of tweaking them with Runes.

I recommend keeping Circle of Scorn for Breath of Heaven throughout as it transforms the skill into a great defensive-offense ability that can both heal you and get rid of threatening enemies.

Similarly, the movement buff gained from Way of the Falling Star is good enough, and you won’t be requiring anything else if your key focus is on speed.

The Chant of Resonance passive works well with all Mantras, and is almost always a must-have.

Final Build:
The final build is almost exactly the same as that of tier 3, save for a few Runes. This is why many will opt for this path, as it is quick, effective, and generally defines what the Monk is all about: speed. Wind Through the Reeds for the Mantra will give you additional movement speed every time you dodge.

Apart from that, the only difference is the Windforce Flurry Rune for Way of the Hundred Fists.

Build #2 – May the Gods Heal You

Tier 1 (Level 1-10), Tier 2 (Level 11-20)
This is a healer type build, best suited for tanking and support, especially in co-op. Most of the essential skills required for heavy tanking and sustainability will be available in the higher tier.

However, many defensive abilities, such as Breath of Heaven and Blinding Flash are already in your grasp. Transcendence is obviously a must-have passive, as it compliments the healing/tanking aspect of this build.

Deadly Reach is used because its third strike provides you with 50% Armor for a short duration. While it may not seem much, the effect can be life-saving in some of the more difficult situations, since

Tier 3 (Level 21-30)
We’ll be making some changes in tier 3. First of all, we’ll be changing our Mantra to the Healing variant. Next, it’s time to take the assistance of a Mystic Ally, who will have a strength buff from the respective Rune, Water Ally.

The heal from Breath of Life has also been increased a notch through its Rune, and Blinding Flash has had a doubled effect.

The fantastic Mantra enhancer passive Chant of Resonance is almost always a must-have – irrespective of the build type. This is actually the downside of the Monk; there is a lack of sufficient variety in Passives when compared to other builds.

Final Build:
The final build is again similar to tier 3, save for some of the Runes. Tempest Rush now has Slip Stream, which will reduce the incoming damage while channeling this skill.

This is actually quite a useful escape ability especially when coupled with this Rune, as otherwise often Monks tend to take a lot of damage even when channeling the ability.

Next is the Eternal Ally Rune for the Mystic Ally, which has a 50% chance of regenerating another ally 5 seconds after the first one dies. Additionally, it also buffs the damage. Who wouldn’t want a probable freebee?

Finally there is the Sustenance Rune of the Mantra of Healing, which will massively increase your life regeneration. This, combined with Transcendence, will ensure you have enough health to survive most situations and crowds of enemies.

Build #3 – The Gods Strike through Me

Tier 1 (Level 1-10), Tier 2 (Level 11-20)
This is an offensive DPS/CC type build. While it’s not something that would make the Monk imitate the DPS nature of the Demon Hunter, it is definitely one that will increase the net amount of damage you deal. The focus of this build is the abilities Crippling Wave and Exploding Palm.

Crippling Wave may not have the same reach or speed as other Spirit Generating Abilities, but it does have a decent CC associated with it. Wave of Light and Cyclone Strike are more burst damage type abilities; best used either initially or for finish-offs.

Exploding Palm is an interesting skill; it acts both as a DoT skill and as AoE damage. The target bleeds for 3 seconds, and if it dies it explodes dealing AoE damage to surrounding enemies.

This is particularly useful against those squishy minions which surround tougher enemies – they can be used as bombs to do collateral AoE damage, taking neighboring enemies out.

Tier 3 (Level 21-30)
Very similar to tier 2, except that now you are using the Mantra of Conviction and have buffed Cyclonic Strike and Serenity with powerful Runes.

Mantra of Conviction is your primary source of damage buff against all enemies, and with the usual Chant of Resonance passive, its effective can be considered almost indefinite.

Wave of Light now does additional burst Holy damage to nearby enemies, while Cyclonic Strike now has an increased range.

Serenity is one skill that is widely underestimated – it is one of the best defensive abilities when the Peaceful Repose Rune is used. With the Rune, when the skill is activated you will be healed a considerable amount, and your character becomes completely immune to damage for 3 seconds (which is the main effect of the ability).

Final Build:
Once again we observe the resemblance between the final build and tier 3. The only two changes you’ll notice are the Rune upgrade for Wave of Light and Mantra of Conviction. In the former’s case, we’re using Pillar of the Ancients because it deals 2 hits with massive damage for each.

In the Mantra’s case we’re taking Submission, which will periodically deal Holy damage to close-by enemies, maintaining the DPS aspect of the build while you add in some burst from the other skills.

Build #4 – Eternal Protection (Experimental)

Tier 1 (Level 1-10), Tier 2 (Level 11-20)
This is just a filler for this late developing experimental build. The purpose of this build is to make a Monk that has high defenses and is an essential PvE support. However, there are also quite a few offensive abilities included in this build.

Know that since this is an experimental build, there is questionability of its usefulness in the singleplayer mode and its general effectiveness.

Tier 3 (Level 21-30)
Mantra of Retribution will be our primary source of damage reflection, while Inner Sanctuary remains your primary source of defense and immediate source of burst health.

Once again we’re using the same conventional 3 passives which should give generous defensive buffs and considerable duration increase to the Mantra.

Final Build:
The final build will once again make some Rune amendments. This will greatly change the way your Monk behaves. Firstly, Fist of Thunder now has AoE damage due to its Bounding Light Rune.  Tempest will be an offensive-defensive skill for escapes and damage reduction of enemies.

Sweeping Wind is a great offensive ability if you can manage to keep it up. This obviously demands constant attacking, as otherwise its mere 2 second span time is negligible.

Build #5 – Mantra Insanity (Experimental)

Tier 1 (Level 1-10), Tier 2 (Level 11-20)
Insanity is the right word for this build, and you’ll see why. The reason why this build is experimental and not entirely recommended is because it is heavily Mantra oriented, which also means that its development is super-slow.

Tier 2 is almost entirely optional; however, I recommend getting yourself used to using Serenity with the right mouse click. You’ll see why.

Tier 3 (Level 21-30)
Say hi to a strange build. It still isn’t at its full potential, since you don’t have access to the important Runes till the very end.

Mantras are your source of dealing with all sorts of situations. In need of health? Just activate Mantra of Healing. Want to increase your evasion? Just use Mantra of Evasion. You get the idea…

Final Build:
Say hello to Mantra fest! Many people actually theorize that this type of build would work wonders against casters, particularly in PvP. While that remains to be tested, it can easily be deduced that this build would make survivability in all sorts of different circumstances a great possibility.

Now, who is brave enough to go hunting with 4 Mantras and just one offensive spell?

Don’t forget to share your builds, character development tips and skill rotations of choice with us in the comments below. Your feedback will not only improve this guide but also help other readers.