——————————————————[ Spec ]—————————————————http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/monk#ecWSVk!dXb!bZbcZa—[ Wave of Light ]—
Empowered Wave vs. Wall of Light
This is your Damage. You will use WoL as both a kill-spell and a surviveability tool. Think of it as a potion button with no cooldown. As long as your weapon has LS on it, WoL is generally a 100% full heal every single time you cast it.
Empowered Wave is the best conversion of spirit to damage and it allows for more full-heals and more completed combos when you miss-judge your spirit-pool.
Alternatively you can use Wall of Light for extra DPS so that your WoL is certain to kill the monsters that have EP on them.
If you use Overawe, Empowered Wave is a LOT easier to cast from a spirit perspective.
If you use Backlash, Wall of Light will help you 1 shot those EP'ed monsters.—[ Tempest Rush: Tailwind ]—
Ah, good ol' TR! This is probably the "most efficient" skill that monks have though it is a pain to use for a great many reasons.
TR has a natural 25% move speed boost just for channeling it and then add the additional 25% on top from Tailwind and you end up with some pretty incredible move speed. The whole function of this skill is to make your time between packs of monsters go down. It is by no means a required piece of the build and you can swap it for whatever skill suits your fancy ... just know that your clear-speed will ALWAYS go up if you can master the use of TR.
There are some fun alt-uses for TR if you do choose to take it.
You can use the small knockback that TR provides in super-short bursts to keep monsters out of range to hit you but in range of CW:RT.
You can also use that small knockback to interrupt Savage Beast's charge skill and stop them from insta-killing you.
For me, the best part about TR is it allows very easy grouping of HUGE packs of monsters in Fields of Misery which I find to be extremely fun!
If you are a dual 1h monk, you should probably switch this skill out for Dashing Strike: Quicksilver. DS has a looooot of uses other than just movement and, once you get used to it, it is somewhat close to as good for moving around the map.—[ Spirit Generator ]—
Crippling Wave: Rising Tide vs. Fist of Thunder: Quickening
There is a lot that can be said about this contest. Quickening is the best spirit/sec average in the game. Rising Tide is a LOT more DPS and Cyclone procs in groups. Rising Tide is also much better spirit generation for the first 2 hits.
Why is that? While the average spirit/sec from FoT:Q is significantly higher than CW:RT, FoT only hits 1 single target for hits one and two. This is a huge issue when you are surrounded by mobs because the LS from single hits is pretty small and the Cyclone spawn rate is even smaller.
CW:RT does not have this issue. It hits in a 90degree arc on hit one and a 180 degree arc on hit two which allows it to keep you alive while generating almost the same if not more spirit than FoT:Q and producing MUCH needed Cyclones for the EP phase of the combo.
CW:RT is best for 2h monks that need the sustain from SW:C and best for all dual-1h monks.
FoT:Q is best for 2h monks that do not need the sustain and are not running SW:C.—[ Sweeping Winds ]—
Inner Storm vs. Firestorm vs. Cyclone
SW is all about sustain with this spec. It doesn't really need to do damage it just needs to keep you alive.
For dual 1h monks this is pretty strait forward, you gain little from Inner Storm (no TR to worry about) and Cyclone + CW:RT is WAY better than Firestorm.
For 2h monks, it's not so easy. Firestorm can keep you alive all on its own while you use FoT:Q to gain massive Spirit. Inner Storm can help even more with spirit while you use Backlash to heal you instead.
Or, you can go with Cyclone/RT which lets you run Overawe and requires much lower eHP than the Firestorm setup.
The concept is that while casting Exploding Palm, your monk is basically doing zero damage and thus gaining zero life from LS. To combat this, you make a wall of Cyclones from your "spirit gaining" phase which last through the EP time and keep you topped off until you can cast a Bell.
Most people will wind up going CW:Rising Tide + SW:Cyclone.—[ Exploding Palm: Strong Spirit ]—
This is the "key" the build and the major innovation on TianZi's part.
EP costs 40 spirit and Strong Spirit returns 5 spirit per monster hit with the explosion.
Theoretically, if EP hits 8 monsters, it pays for itself.
However, because we are using a Templar and Guardian Path, it actually returns:
5 * 1.47 = 7.35 spirit
If it hits 6 monsters you gain 6*7.35 = 44.1 spirit.
The thing is, you should be fighting 20+ monsters and if EP hits 15 mobs, you gain 15*7.35 = 110.25 spirit!
So, if you have 3 EP's out and each hits ~15 monsters, you will gain more than your max spirit of 250 spirit.
The way to use this is: Cast 3x EP's then spam bells until you are out of spirit. If any 1 of the 3 monsters with EP on them dies (one certainly should because Bells do a LOT of damage) it will generally chain and kill the next one which chains and kills the third. This causes all 3 explosions to explode instantly and that allows each EP to hit all the monsters in range of it.
The result is that you will cast a couple bells and go instantly to full spirit.
You can use this in a variety of ways. The most important of which is to use your 250 spirit to cast 3 more EPs and some Bells on the next group!
This spec doesn't function without EP:SS so there are no alternatives here.—[ Mantra ]—
Overawe vs. Backlash
Overawe is one of the only ways in the game to increase the total damage done by Exploding Palm and, thus, it is a good thing to have.
Your EP will do 50% of the monster's health. If you have 10k DPS it does 50% if you have 500k DPS it does 50%.
However, if that monster is affected by MoC:Overawe it does:
50% * 1.24 = 62% of the monster's health or
50% * 1.48 = 74% of the monster's health if you activate Overawe
This extra damage is SUPER helpful because it makes it FAR more likely for the first EP death to chain to the other two.
Alternatively, this spec functions quite well using Mantra of Evasion: Backlash or Mantra of Conviction: Submission.
Both of these mantras will serve to keep you alive while surrounded by monsters (MoE:Backlash is almost 100% invincibility) while sacrificing some kill speed.
If you are just learning the spec, it might be a good idea to start with one of these mantras instead.
Overawe is the most obvious choice here. It helps you kill things and allows you to take down elites.
Backlash is good if you have lower eHP and it is also good if you want to do crazy things like drop STI for Fleet Footed!—[ The Guardian's Path ]—
This is only important if you are using a 2h wep and, if you are, it's the best passive in the game.
35% more spirit applies to passive spir/sec items, spirit generated from CW:RT and spirit generated from EP:SS.
This passive will make chaining your combo together MUCH easier.—[ Seize the Initiative ]—
This is just an eHP boost. You are surrounded by monsters who want you to die and you need to absorb as much damage as possible if you want to survive. STI is especially great if you have geared out of OWE because it gives you the equivalent to a shield's worth of armor!
Alternatively, you can use OWE here and just drop down a MP level or two.—[ Exalted Soul ]—
This passive is part of what makes EP:SS so effective. At the end of your combo you should go strait to 100% spirit so having that pool be 250 instead of 150 is basically a "free" 100 spirit.
It also allows for the full EP EP EP overawe Bell combo which costs 210 spirit without having to generate spirit in between skills.
This can be dropped for OWE but I would suggest dropping STI and lowering the MP level before dropping ES.