D3: Lower Level Face-Melting Monk Style
I figured it was due time to post something about my Monk and the reference both Laz and I are currently referring to in creating our leveling specs, with some slight modifications for level requirements and personal playstyle.
When we started the Monks, it was quickly a matter of, “Wow, these two are OP.” Then, we started “twinking” them out with cheap AH gear – fast daggers, high stats and sockets in every slot we could get them… sockets we put Flawless Square gems into. (Which drop quite frequently while farming in Inferno Act I!)
There was much ohh’ing and ahh’ing at our stats and damage.
There was also much face-melting of mobs and elites and bosses.
While perusing the D3 forums, Laz came across a very interesting post by a player named Potts, who is trying to go against the current convention of Monks using shields and stacking Life on Hit. I immediately realized I agree with him in the respect that Monks do not strike me as a class that should be using a shield.
So this right off the bat kept me reading.
I also realized that his spec was similar to what I was already using at lower levels. (The Monks were about 44? in Nightmare Act II when we came across the forum post and are currently Level 51 and at the beginning of Hell Act I.)
One difference, at that time Laz and I were playing around with the Water and Fire Mystic Allies, as they are quite powerful and long-lived. We started doing some 4-player grouping with guildies in Act II and III, and ended up changing out the pets for other skills, as they were getting bad about pulling several groups at a time and in turn killing our Wizard companions. And even our Monks a few times.
Solo, the pet would probably work better, just maybe not in Act III… Too many mobs for an ADD pet. heh
So without further ado, here is the spec that I am currently using on my Monk at 51, and have been using since at least my mid-40’s. This spec is focused on creating large amounts of damage from the damaging skills I do have, yet has several CDs and Passives for high survivability.
The minimum level requirement for this particular spec is Level 41.
Monk Spec – Pre-Level 60 – Nightmare and Hell Mode
Action Key Skills
Primary – Crippling Wave (Mangle): Crippling Wave has become my favorite Primary attack and Spirit generator. There is no teleport, like with Fists of Thunder. There is no ridiculous range, like with Deadly Reach. But it has good AoE, and it just works. The Mangle rune increases the damage of this skill, which is good with all the non-attacks (CDs and Blind and Mantra) I am using.
Secondary – Cyclone Strike (Wall of Wind): Cyclone Strike is just awesome… The lazy tank’s friend – much like Death Grip only with less reach but a shorter CD. It puts the mobs at perfect range for Crippling Wave. I use this as my secondary attack, as it also does damage. Wall of Wind increases Dodge for a short time, perfect when I know I am going to have a big group surrounding me at that very moment. 😉
Action Key 1 – Blinding Flash (Self Reflection): Blind is a hugely OP CC. It makes even elites and bosses unable to attack you for the duration. I am using the Self Reflection rune, to increase the duration.
Action Key 2 – Breath of Heaven (Blazing Wrath): Breath of Heaven was my original draw to the Monk, being a career healer, as it is the only real heal in the game that you can heal other players with. Some Mantras and Shouts give passive regen, but that is not the same as a castable heal. With the Blazing Wrath rune, you get a 45 second damage buff, which means I now use Breath even more frequently than I originally did. It is more of a rotation piece than anything, but still has a short enough CD to pop it in emergencies, inbetween using it for the buff. This skill means a fair amount of healing output for a Monk.
Action Key 3 – Mantra of Conviction (Overawe): Mantras are pretty nice. Like a Barbarian’s Shouts they give group buffs. Conviction is slightly different, though. Instead of buffing players, it debuffs mobs around you, making them take more damage. The Overawe rune increases this damage the mobs take – by almost 50% if you kill the mobs within three seconds!
Action Key 4 – Serenity (Peaceful Repose): Serenity already beats my much detested Smoke Screen on my Demon Hunter with a three second duration. Add a heal to that with the Peaceful Repose rune, and you have a great CD to pair up with Breath of Heaven. Three seconds of immunity is long enough to actually accomplish something. Blizzard should take notes from this skill in regards to Smoke Screen – if you do not want people abusing it, rather than nerf the duration, give it a cooldown! Serenity is also good for breaking out of CCs like frost traps.
My Passives are all pretty focused on character management and survival. The less likely I am to die, the better, I say.
Chant of Resonance: This Passive gives a small amount of Spirit regen when you have a Mantra active – which you always should. 🙂 It also increases the duration of Mantras, which will help with keeping them up. At some point, when I am more comfortable with all the buff management on the Monk and have near-perfected my Spirit management (or perhaps have picked up some Spirit regen on a piece of equipment), I will swap this for something more worthwhile.
Transcendence: This Passive heals you every time you spend Spirit. How can you argue with that?
Seize the Initiative: Extra armor. Simple enough. I figure this is a good Passive considering all the Dexterity I currently have.
This is what I am currently using, as things are still not hitting too hard just yet. I am sure as Hell progresses, we hit Level 60, and then we start Inferno mode, mobs will hit much harder and a slightly heavier shift towards survival will be in order.
I expect come Inferno:
- My Crippling Wave’s rune may switch to Concussion for less incoming damage.
- My Mantra of Conviction’s rune may switch to Intimidation for less incoming damage.
- My Blinding Flash’s rune may switch to Faith in the Light for some added damage.
- One of my Passives may be swapped for One With Everything, as I start to focus on Resists.
- I will take a look at the Passives Resolve and The Guardian’s Path, as both look like good survival abilities worth checking out.
Playing duo Monks is proving pretty effective, more so than I expected. Laz is usually running Manta of Evasion with the Hard Target Rune. We trade off on Blinds, and try to keep the mobs tossed around with our alternating Cyclone Strikes. (Mobs cannot cast while they are flying through the air!) It makes for really good survivability.
Oh and BTW, between my last spec post, for my Demon Hunter, and this one, I finally turned on Advanced Tooltips! Yay! Actual numbers!
To the Monks out there, what are your thoughts? How are you playing your Monk?