Diablo® III

GUIDE: The Lightning Monk. 2.0.3

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LIGHTNING MONK 2.0.3

Hey guys. My names Rai and I've been playing Monk for a fair amount of time now, both in game and theorycrafting out of game. I try my best to keep up-to-date with any changes to the game and how they will affect Monks in order to keep my knowledge as relative as possible. I really enjoy the class, the speed at which you can move and clear while farming, and the variety of builds that the class offers for the many different situations you and your group may face.

Active Skills:

Spirit Generator:

Deadly Reach - Strike From Beyond

Crit Hit Chance is vital. For almost every build, for every class, this is your bread and butter. Deadly Reach itself is a short distance, fast attacking skill which gives us a 50% chance to knock up enemies on our third hit. This small amount of CC coupled with the Strike From Beyond rune allows us to generate an additional 3 Spirit for EVERY ENEMY we critically hit while keeping them at bay. While being the lowest base damage spirit generator, Deadly Reach offers a knockup which no other Primary does, and allows us to switch the rune to Scattered Blows for additional Lightning Damage if our Spirit Generation is substantial enough without Strike From Beyond.

Main Spirit Spender:

Lashing Tail Kick - Scorpion Sting

So. This is lots of damage. Lots of Lightning Damage. With an 85% Chance to stun. At 30 Spirit cost. Not only is this a heavy hitting skill (624% Weapon Damage), but the stun works on ALL enemies in the game. At 85% Chance to stun, and the stun lasting 1.5 seconds, this skill is the primary spirit spender, damage dealer, and crow control ability for a Lightning Monk.

Movement Skill

Dashing Strike - Barrage/Way of the Falling Star

Since the Dashing Strike change, almost all Monks are now using this skill. The ability to maneuver yourself in and out of the fight thanks to the multiple charge system is extremely powerful and allows the Monk to be even more mobile than they already are. Many of the runes are useful and fit different situations. I am currently using Barrage for some extra damage to the last enemy I dash through but often change the rune out for Way of the Falling Star for the burst of speed afterwards.

Sustained Damage/AoE Skill

Sweeping Wind - Cyclone

Sweeping Wind is an awesome skill, lets be honest. Not only is it the other Lightning Skill in our Lightning Monks arsenal but seeing mini cyclones shoot from you and electrocute enemies, thanks to the rune, while your treating their face to a lobster dinner is something that you just cannot miss. Sweeping Wind costs 75 Spirit to activate, but that is the only downside to an otherwise great skill. Once Sweeping Wind is up, we can keep it running by ACTIVELY ATTACKING enemies or surroundings. Sweeping Wind will not refresh its duration if it is the skill doing the damage, however a Dashing Strike through a barrel or just a Tail Kick to Malthael's face will refresh it, allowing us to save the 75 spirit needed to re-activate for more Lashing Tail Kicks.

Damage/Survivability Cooldown

Epiphany - Desert Shroud

Epiphany is our new Level 61 skill. It allows us to fly around like Jet Li and deliver many a blow to enemies while generating a ton of spirit. It has a 60s cooldown, but with Cooldown Reduction being available both on gear and in the Paragon Point System, it can be alot shorter. I prefer to use the Desert Shroud rune so that I have a 50% Damage Reduction while Epiphany is running. This can prove useful if you overpull and find yourself in a sticky situation, and Epiphany allows you to do alot of damage without other viable runes, such as Inner Fire, being an absolute neccessity.

Mantra

Mantra of Retribution - Transgression
OR
Mantra of Conviction - Overawe

As you can see I have listed 2 Mantra's here and the simple reason is due to the benefits of them in Solo and Group play. Using Retribution with the Transgression rune allows you to deal a fair amount of damage back to your attackers (101% Weapon Damage) while also boosting your Attack Speed by 10%. This is an ADDITIONAL 10% Attack Speed and does not grant you 10% of your CURRENT Attack Speed. If your playing solo and your gear is lacking AS, this could be the Mantra for you.
On the other hand, playing in a group, Attack Speed will not benefit everyone. In this situation we use Mantra of Conviction with the Overawe rune, allowing all enemies within range of the Mantra to take 16% ADDITIONAL DAMAGE. Whoops....as if Wizards didn't hit hard enough already.

Passive Skills:

One With Everything

An extremely strong passive allowing you to stack one resistance (i.e. Poison) and having it apply to your All Resistances. Almost EVERY Monk should be using this.

Exalted Soul
OR
Chant of Resonance

This passive will vary depending on your Mantra and therefore depending on if you are playing with a group or solo. They both provide us with 2 Spirit per second, but Exalted Soul grants us an additional 100 Spirit to our pool, while Chant allows us to use the active part of our Mantra's with half the spirit cost. If you are using Mantra of Retribution then you will want Exalted Soul as you will not be using the active Mantra effect as much as you would be for Mantra of Conviction. If you are using Mantra of Conviction then use Chant of Resonance so that you can make use of the Active part of the Mantra and allow enemies to take even more damage.

Seize the Initiative

This passive grants us 30% of our Dexterity as Armor. In my opinion this Passive is a must and extremely strong as it will scale as our gear does and provide us with even more toughness.

Transcendance
OR
Unity

The last passive slot can vary. Currently I am using Transcendance as it allows me to recover life for each point of Spirit that I spend. This number scales with the Secondary stat on items which increases the healing received from Health Globes allowing it to become a great source of sustain. The other skill I would consider, is Unity. If you do not need the sustain from Transcendance and are playing in a group, Unity will grant you 5% increased damage for EACH ally affected by your Mantra's. This can grant you 15% Increased Damage and even more so if you have the 4 Piece Inna Set bonus, which allows you to gain the base effect of all four Mantra's at once.

"Mythic Rhythm as a passive option needs mentioning here, alongside Sweeping Winds.
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/12329973299#1"
Thanks to BBA322.

Gearing Guidelines

Your gear requirements will vary depending on what your character currently requires, but I will outline below what I believe to be the most efficient and benefical stats on each piece of gear for a Lightning Monk. I will also add any Lightning Monk specific Items that are essential to being the best you can be.

Helm - Dexterity > Crit Hit Chance > Attack Speed > Socket/Vitality/% Life
BiS Helm - Eye of the Storm. Can give upto 30% Increased Lightning Damage

Neck - Dexterity/Lightning Damage > Crit Hit Chance/Crit Hit Damage > Attack Speed > Vitality/Life On Hit

Shoulders - Dexterity > All Resistance > Vitality > Resource Cost Reduction
BiS Shoulders - Mantle of the Upside Down Sinners. One set piece that contributes towards our 4 set 15% Lightning Damage bonus.

Chest - Dexterity > 3 Sockets/Vitality > All Resistance > % Life > Monk Skill Damage
BiS Chest - Heart of the Crashing Wave. One set piece that contributes towards our 4 set 15% Lightning Damage bonus.

Gloves - Dexterity > Crit Hit Damage/Crit Hit Chance > Attack Speed/Vitality/All Resistance
BiS Gloves - Fists of Thunder. One set piece that contributes towards our 4 set 15% Lightning Damage bonus.

Bracers - Dexterity/Lightning Skill Damage > Crit Hit Chance > Vitality/Life On Hit/All Resistance
"For bracers I would mention strongarms, especially when we are already using deadly reach."
Credit to FilthyMonkey for bringing this up.

Rings - Dexterity > Crit Hit Chance/Crit Hit Damage > Attack Speed/Damage > Vitality/Life On Hit/All Resistance
BiS Ring - Stone of Jordan with Lightning Damage
"Wyrdward can be a handy ring for lightning monks to have, 15% chance for lightning damage to stun for 1.5s. When all your damage is lightining damage, that comes more often than you think."
Thanks to SkruWD for this.

Belt - Dexterity > Vitality/Life On Hit/% Life/All Resistance (Some belts but not many have Attack Speed. If it does, prioritise this second)
Thundergod's Vigor (Thanks to SkruWD)

Legs - Dexterity > 2 Sockets > All Resistance/Vitality > Monk Skill Damage
BiS Legs - Scales of the Dancing Serpent. One set piece that contributes towards our 4 set 15% Lightning Damage bonus.

Feet - Dexterity > Vitality/All Resistance > Monk Damage Modifier > Movement Speed (Try to obtain movement speed from Paragon Points to free this affix for the above priorities). Thanks to SkruWD for this.

Weapons - Dexterity > Socket. There are many things that can influence how good a weapon is but a main stat roll and a socket can save even the worse rolled white damage. Attack Speed and % Damage are the second best modifiers and your own judgement should be used when deciding which one to roll for.
BiS Weapons - Currently Thunderfury is one of the strongest weapons in the game. The unique proc and its frequency does such high damage to 5 enemies at once. Second to this I would look for a Lightning based weapon such as Odyn Son, Fulminator or Shard of Hate. Won Khim Lau also is a good alternative.

So thats my guide!

Thanks for reading this guys. It is much appreciated. I hope that I help some of you new budding Monks out there, and also hope that I can help the veterans out a little. Failing that I hope that they can respond to this thread and help me :D.

Please check out my Youtube at Youtube.com/RaisuunTV
There is a shorter and less in-depth version of this guide there as well as new videos every week.

Also check out my live stream at Twitch.tv/Raisuun
I have only just started streaming again so my schedule isn't fully set yet.

Hope this guide helps you all and much love to your Diablo 3 community.

Rai
Edited by Raisuun#2662 on 4/6/2014 10:24 AM PDT
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You put a lot of time into retyping the cookie cutter lightning build that everyone has been using for months now and calling it your "Guide".

If you wanted to advertise your stream, you could have just done that instead. :)
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04/06/2014 06:31 AMPosted by Atropos
You put a lot of time into retyping the cookie cutter lightning build that everyone has been using for months now and calling it your "Guide".

If you wanted to advertise your stream, you could have just done that instead. :)


Not everyone is aware of the spec and I wasn't a little while ago. If I wanted to just advertise my stream then I would of done, but I don't. If you just wanted to be malicious, you could of been somewhere else.
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I think you underplay shard of hate too much. The damage it adds is huge, and it is one of the weapons that really makes lightning strong. Putting it in the same league with some of those other weapons is nutty. Scattered blows is definitely the way to go once you get one. You need to be getting shard procs on your generator.

For bracers I would mention strongarms, especially when we are already using deadly reach.

I know a lot of people use it, but I don't feel sweeping wind does enough damage to be worth a slot. Especially once you start getting the weapons with 3m+ procs. You'll add more damage by just tagging an enemy with exploding palm, or rounding them up with cyclone strike.
Edited by FilthyMonkey#1715 on 4/6/2014 6:55 AM PDT
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Just a little constructive feedback, while i'm all for lightning damage, the raiment of a thousand storms is a bad source for it.

Belt - Thundergod's Vigor

Bracers - lightning strongarm bracers works well with cyclone strike and provide more lightning damage than the set ones

Boots - movement speed is better off obtained using paragon points if available, it's a wasted affix if you have the paragon levels for it.

Ring - a Wyrdward can be a handy ring for lightning monks to have, 15% chance for lightning damage to stun for 1.5s. When all your damage is lightining damage, that comes more often than you think.

Weapons - Thunderfury is absolutely awesome for groups, but useless for single target, the shard of hate wins hands down in that regard. Secondary, WKL's plain 25% lightning damage affix is inferior to odyn son's 20% and a damage proc, but that mace attack speed will hurt you. I think the overall best combo has been found to be the SoH and Fulminator, even giving up the lightning damage affix

Skills - LTK is definitely high damage, but best used for bosses. When dealing with groups, Cyclone Strike and decent area damage will clean house much faster and give more chances to proc weapon affects. more info on area damage here: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/12032383478

Deadly Reach - Scattered Blows, while being lightning damage, pales in comparison to the current king of generators, WotHF: FoF. In saying that, it's crit proc coefficient works wonders for generating cyclones, but it's hit proc coefficient makes your LoH and weapon hit effects proc half as often, so which is the better generator is arguable and depends on your playstyle, gear, and other stats. More info here: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/11882328396
Edited by SkruWD#1639 on 4/6/2014 7:07 AM PDT
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04/06/2014 06:53 AMPosted by FilthyMonkey


For bracers I would mention strongarms, especially when we are already using deadly reach.


Does the proc on deadly reach proc strong arm?
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Thank you very much for the responses guys, I will edit and include the information you have given, with credit for highlighting ofc. I somehow totally forgot about Thundergod's as the obvious Belt, and maybe I shouldn't of underrated Shard so much.
Reply Quote
04/06/2014 07:13 AMPosted by Pekson
04/06/2014 06:53 AMPosted by FilthyMonkey


For bracers I would mention strongarms, especially when we are already using deadly reach.


Does the proc on deadly reach proc strong arm?


It does yes :)
Reply Quote
04/06/2014 07:15 AMPosted by Raisuun
04/06/2014 07:13 AMPosted by Pekson
...

Does the proc on deadly reach proc strong arm?


It does yes :)


Ahh, completely forgot about the knockup from deadly reach, good call
Reply Quote
04/06/2014 06:53 AMPosted by FilthyMonkey
I know a lot of people use it, but I don't feel sweeping wind does enough damage to be worth a slot. Especially once you start getting the weapons with 3m+ procs. You'll add more damage by just tagging an enemy with exploding palm, or rounding them up with cyclone strike.


I don't really know the exact math now, but I remember when planting it into D3up pre2.0, sweeping winds and the cyclones dealt a considerable amount of my damage, up to 40% or so, obviously dependent on the build. Also, the fulminator effect procs off sweeping winds too, but i'm unsure about any other off lightning damage procs, like the wyrdward. Could be worth some investigation
Reply Quote
Mythic Rhythm as a passive option needs mentioning here, alongside Sweeping Winds.
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/12329973299#1
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How did u gear up that much? Chest run uh.
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Bump
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Just turned lightning monk yesterday since a ton of lightning stuff dropped for me (2 WKLs, a 2nd Thundergod Vigor, a 2nd Eye of the Storm). If only I can get 2 or 3 pieces of Rainment of the Thousand storms so i can replace my old set stuff (and a Shard of Hate hopefully)
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this is a joke right? my gear is alot better and I still haven't found the dream wep (TF + SOH).

I am only 1 inna belt away from having double 4 set bonus from the thunder and inna sets.
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Despite the great + lightning from eye of the storm, I argue that GNK (http://us.battle.net/d3/en/item/gyana-na-kashu) is the best helm for LTK focused builds.

My average LTK hits for 6.7m - GNK hits for an average of 2m. That's a 30% damage increase when using GNK. No other item will increase my damage by that much in the helm spot. A perfect rolled eye of the storm only increases all my damage by ~20%.

Note that this is only the case because I have +lightning on 4 other parts.

Also think you massively overvalue the set bonus...there's almost no way the tradeoffs made for the 4 set are worth it.

No one seems to realize this yet, but a GOOD Sun Keeper (http://us.battle.net/d3/en/item/sun-keeper) will be a BiS item. 30% elite damage is way too godly. I'm using a very mediocre one with a min elite dmg roll and it still outclasses anything else I have. I'm waiting on a SoH though, that thing's also broken.

For anyone wondering, I'm currently running a build focused exclusively on massive spirit regen to just spam LTK. Works wonders in T1/T2 as extra damage or extra tankiness are completely wasted as mobs die so fast anyway.
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Nice build, what changes to abilities / runes would you recommend for boss fights (if any) ?
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04/07/2014 04:41 AMPosted by Rivera
Nice build, what changes to abilities / runes would you recommend for boss fights (if any) ?


For boss fights I personally use Seven Sided Strike instead of Sweeping Wind or Dashing Strike because of its immense damage, and when used on a single target its quite fun to watch :).

Apart from that I have found that the consistent damage from LTK spam is substantial enough for most bosses, and changing your Spirit Generator out to Fists of Thunder would deal more single-target damage too.
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@Shazbot
I'm using the same build too! I love the Spirit-regen build because spamming LTK feels really strong! I'd love to have a GNK but I stupidly salvaged mine sometime ago without realizing its value -_-
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04/07/2014 07:32 AMPosted by Raisuun
04/07/2014 04:41 AMPosted by Rivera
Nice build, what changes to abilities / runes would you recommend for boss fights (if any) ?


For boss fights I personally use Seven Sided Strike instead of Sweeping Wind or Dashing Strike because of its immense damage, and when used on a single target its quite fun to watch :).

Apart from that I have found that the consistent damage from LTK spam is substantial enough for most bosses, and changing your Spirit Generator out to Fists of Thunder would deal more single-target damage too.


Cheers mate :).
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