Diablo® III

[GUIDE] ZDS - Zero DPS Support

14 July 2013—Original post
16 July 2013—Boss-Buster Variant added
18 July 2013—Updated Boss-Buster Variant, especially Playstyle Section
22 July 2013—Added data comparing coop run with ZDS boss buster vs. DPS hybrid monk
23 July 2013—Added appendix for LPSS
For a long time I had intended to investigate sledge fist-based, high APS DW support monks. Finally got a chance to do this last month, and color me impressed!!! They are viable. They are fun. They can be trollish. They can be completely immortal. They are highly mobile. They can be some of the highest group EDPS. They are pretty contentious/controversial (WoWification, 0 dps troll, etc., etc. See thread that made front page just today, here <http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/9485888749> "I ain't gonna carry u!").

There is no reason to expect a nerf to core aspects of the build now or in near future and players running this build are probably going to be in demand when new, harder content arrives.

Interestingly, many of the monk’s skills/runes that never or rarely see use are viable in Zero DPS Support (ZDS) monk. Sweeping winds ends up being bad, which opens up a skill slot.

I don’t claim any ownership over the build/variants presented in this guide. No doubt someone somewhere has experimented with them before. They just haven’t shared or explained on forums to my knowledge. In one sense it’s kind of an obvious thing with sledge fist + high APS. However, there are several ideas and theories that go into making an effective ZDS monk that I have researched and describe in this guide. Lots of ideas as a matter of fact, so prepare for a long read.

As always, suggestions/corrections are welcome and encouraged!
The builds in this guide are strictly for coop party play. Obviously the builds are not viable solo!

The basic premise/effectiveness of ZDS is based on being able to provide maximum party support. As you continue to add dps buff skills, edps of other party members skyrockets while your personal edps drops fast—about 20-% for each generator dropped in Combo Strike builds, for example. If each other party member is doing 10m edps, your 20% Guiding Light buff is adding 6m to party edps. As you add in other buffs, they multiply with the already-buffed dps of other party members, increasing party edps to the point where your personal edps ends up being such a small fraction of the total that you might as well give it up entirely!

This isn’t crazy OP. There are many hybrid monk builds that can run overawe and GL while maintaining respectable personal edps. Nirvana builds come to mind.

Where ZDS begins to shine is with Cyclone Strike, speed, defense, spirit gen, and buff up-time (easy to maintain 100%), and stun/freeze lock. Each of these facets is helpful to the party.

  • Post 2 details the build I find most enjoyable/effective for general purpose coop farming (Vox’s Vicegrip Vortex). It also contains the rationale for skill and gear choices.
  • Post 3 details a palm variant great for coop elite farming.
  • Post 4 details a coop boss-buster & turtle variants
  • Post 5 contains appendices with detailed discussions of Exploding Palm, Life per Spirit Spent, and Cyclone Strike
  • Edited by Vox#1186 on 6/20/2015 7:26 AM PDT
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    This is the build that I prefer for general purposes farming. It's mobile, it has high survival, it stun locks well, it has 78% dps buff with essentially 100% uptime, it has enormous spirit regen and lots of sustain.




    Fists of Thunder: Quickening
    This is your spirit gen. I use this the most, and therefore have on left click. I ran with Crip Wave: Rising tide as my spirit gen for a while, but found quickening to be superior in this build when targets became few. It has a small knockback. The biggest reason for not using CW: Rising tide is actually because you want to make use of CW: Breaking Wave, which leads me to…

    Crippling Wave: Breaking Wave
    First lemme say--I FRICKING LOVE THIS SKILL IN THIS BUILD. Breaking Wave rune causes mobs hit to take 10% more damage. It debuffs movespeed by 30% and monster damage by 20%. This is your tank, CC, sustain, debuff bomb. It hits in 90, 180, 360 deg arc on 1st, 2nd, 3rd strikes with excellent proc chance. At high APS with sledge fist, that’s an enormous amount of AOE stun. It procs tons of LOH, and applies stun/freeze to everything around you. It has ZERO knockback, which is a big deal at 3+ APS.

    Mantra of Conviction: Overawe
    No brainer. If another monk in party, the ZDS monk should run overawe since you will have plenty of spirit to spam it!

    Cyclone Strike: Implosion
    Just no replacing this for general farming. It’s indirect DPS contribution is ENORMOUS. See Appendix C here for more discussion of Cyclone Strike.

    Mantra of Healing: Time of Need
    This is your Guiding Light buffer. It has no cooldown, its range is greater than soothing breeze and much, much greater than breath of heaven. It doubles as a defensive buff when needed (20% bonus to all res, shield, regen). This is part of the interactive fun of this build—you actually get to save allies sometimes. Great for set-up on RD horde packs or when 2+ Grotesques go belly up simultaneously. Unless you require the defense, MOH activation should be followed immediately by MOC Overawe activation to ensure 100% dps buff uptime.

    Dashing Strike: Quicksilver
    Your mobility. It gets better with high APS. I run at something like 3.15/3.25 APS. At this speed, I can spam DS:QS with no targets and go same speed or slightly faster than your ho-hum 24% movespeed run. Fun to do alongside slow friends!


    The majority will probably be scoffing at the lack of palm by now. For a great many reasons, I do not run palm in this build which is optimized for *general farming* with moderate to high dps party. Palm is included in most of the other variants included in subsequent posts and can be used to great effect in ZDS monk builds. See lengthy discussion in Appendix A in Post #5.


    Guiding Light
    No brainer. Does not stack with other monks’ Guiding Light. If another monk is in party, the ZDS monk should run Guiding Light since you will have plenty of spirit to spam MOH with large range to ensure 100% uptime.

    One with Everything
    Defense. You don’t need mainstat, you don’t need CD. This leaves open affixes for single-res. Double res gear is cheap right now. Buy up and enjoy the benefits of 1200+ all res. Standing in lazers and bombs and plagued etc., etc., on MP 10 is refreshing

    Exalted Soul
    The large spirit pool helps with spirit management. Even the 1 passive regen is helpful. I haven’t tried the build without it. It probably works ok without and this could be substituted for Pacifism, Fleet Footed, Sieze the Initiative, Near Death Experience, etc. That is probably the order of usefulness for other passives in this build as well.

    This build works best with Sledge Fist, which rolls up to 50% stun (or more if you roll stun as random affix, but other affixes are better). The offhand can be any number of weapons, each with different pros and cons. The gear maximizes APS, CC, and EHP stats. The CC is needed to maximize spirit gain.

    --Recommended minimum stats for MP 10--
    70k+ life (can go WAAAY Higher)
    1000+ all res (can go WAAAY Higher)
    3800+ armor (can go WAAAY Higher)
    30+ CC (can go 50+)
    1200 LOH (can go over 4,500 with 700 from OS sledge, 1600 from OS LOH EF, 900 from ammy, 900 from rings, 450 from BT pants)
    Some LS if using palm on RD packs

    --Cost to gear--

    Cheap. I’d say less than 100m, but probably will rise, especially for weapons. My current set-up sports some top-end items and is probably worth 3-4b. Areas to splurge are cc Nat ring and OS sledge fist. Amethysts are cheap, too.


    Weapon 1—Sledge Fist with 45+% stun. Ideally open socket, though these can be very expensive! There were only two on market at 45+ stun with OS a minute ago. Other good rolls could be + freeze, spirit regen, vit roll, IAS roll, LS (stay alive on palm RD packs) and some others are ok. Obviously dps does not matter!

    Weapon 2—Lots of options, including shield.
    A. For general purpose, I like Bonesaber of Zunimakis with open socket. This guy comes with 3-4% IAS, +15-17 APS (which modifies both weapons), and LS, which won’t give you any useful sustain, but will keep you alive on palmed RD packs.
    B. For higher CC, I like Azurewrath with 14+ freeze, 20+ IAS. NOTE: the 'repels undead' knocks them back a long distance periodically and can be a substantial drawback depending on where you are hunting.
    C. For max sustain, it’s Echoing Fury with 800+ LOH and OS. The fear stinks but the build still works since most mobs are stunned and can’t move and you have tons of spirit for cyclone strike. Other options are IAS/LOH EF. A strength roll is slightly better than int/dex since the build generally as plenty of all res and gets good returns from str/armor rolls. This may also be the best weapon against bosses (see <> for Boss-Buster variant)
    D. In other builds utilizing palm, Sun Keeper with LS (to survive palmed RD packs) and 10% bonus to elites is good. I still prefer Bonesaber for higher IAS = more spirit regen.
    E. Burning Axe of Sarkhis. I haven’t used this in this build, but it has potential (comes with LOH a triggered defensive skill, and other nifty things).
    F. Rare dagger with IAS, OS, LOH, freeze, LS, stun. Haven’t tried but did look briefly and did not see any candidates on the market.
    G. Shield. Ideally with 10 cc, 250+ vit, armor, all res, single res, life %, etc. A shield will do a double whammie on your sustain by causing you to directly lose LOH from weapon given up plus much lower attackspeed due to loss of + APS and DW APS bonus. But, WAY higher EHP and ability to block! CC will help mitigate effect of lower IAS on spirit regen, but your LOH sustain will suffer no matter what.

    Your mainhand weapon should be the weapon with the highest APS after all +APS mods are accounted for. Thus, with a 1.55 APS rare weapon and a 1.57 APS sledgefist, you will want the 1.55 APS rare in mainhand since it will effectively be 1.72 APS with the 0.17 APS from sledge fist. The general rule of "higher avg dmg in mainhand" does not apply.

    Helm—BIS is a 6cc str mempo (not int because armor>all res when you have OWE). However, no one is gonna get that so let’s get a double res or 350+ armor str or int mempo instead! Try for close to 80 all res. Other options are CC nat helm (allows use of EHP ice climbers), OS andy (maybe BIS if poison monk!?).

    Chest—BIS is probably Tal Rasha’s Relentless Pursuit with armor/all res/ 100 vit/ 9IAS. But, again, no one is gonna get that, so let’s go with one of these:
    A. Double res Tal Rasha’s.
    B. 150+ vit, double res or AR/armor Blackthorne’s Surcoat.
    C. Immortal King’s with high armor/vit.
    D. Crafted vit chest with some of the following: 3 OS, armor, all res, 2nd res, double vit, reduced dmg from elites, etc.
    E. Cindercoats with vit, high res, 3OS for fire monk.

    Belt—It’s Witching Hour, no surprise. EHP stats + % to freeze. % freeze is gonna add huge bucks to the price tag, so stay away from that if your budget is low. Occasionally a decent EHP % freeze rare belt shows up on the cheap, but no IAS there. Blackthorne’s may be an option as well, esp if you have a 2nd piece for 100 vit bonus.

    Legs—Several options here, listed in order of my preference:
    A. Inna’s with 70+ all res
    B. Blackthorne’s with 350+ vit and 400+ LOH
    C. Rare pants with EHP stats

    Shoulders—BIS is crafted vit with double res, armor, str, chill on hit, % life. (Has anyone rolled chill on crafted shoulders? I rolled about 200 so far and none with chill...). Str/ehp vile ward are ok but don’t recommend over crafted vit.

    Feet—Several options again, listed in order of my preference:
    A. Nat boot 170+ dex, double res.
    B. Ice Climbers with str/vit, double res, armor, immobilize.
    C. Legacy Zuni with EHP.

    Gloves—Several options again, listed in order of my preference:
    A. Crafted vit with 9+cc, 8+ IAS, EHP, % stun (% stun not critical)
    B. Immortal Kings with EHP and/or % stun (if paired with IK chest, otherwise below T&T).
    C. Tasker and Theo with 9+CC and EHP

    Bracers—Usual two suspects, I rank them about the same in this build:
    A. Crafted vit with 5+cc, EHP
    B. Lacuni with 4+ cc, EHP

    Amulet—Two options in order of preference:
    A. Crafted vit with 8+cc, 8+ IAS, LOH, EHP
    B. Blackthornes with same.

    Rings—Nat ring and/or rare ring(s) with CC, EHP, LOH. Don’t feel like you have to get an expensive nat ring. Build works fine with a variety of rings that prioritize IAS/CC/EHP/LOH. Skull grasp with -CS is good, too, especially if it rolls CC.

    Cyclone striker/buffer/tank/CC

    Typical game play sequence is as follows:

    1. Dashing Strike to a pack or to the CM wiz or WD spewing AOE dps.

    2. Activate Cyclone Strike several times in succession. Although the skill tooltip says up to 8 mobs will be vortexed, I’m pretty sure it prioritizes those within the 24-yard range that are farthest from you, which is very helpful. The high attack speed and CS spam does an amazing job of cramming all the mobs into a tight ball.

    3. Swing FOT: Quickening a couple times to regain >100 spirit.

    4. If mobs not sufficiently clumped, repeat 2 and 3.

    5. Lay into your CW: Breaking Wave to debuff/stun everything around you.

    6. Blast MOH and Overawe for 68% DPS buff.

    7. CW: Breaking Wave till dead, refreshing OA as needed, CS as needed.

    8. Can refresh MOH/MOC again near end of fight if you know you will still have sufficient spirit to DS to next pack.

    If two monks
    If a second monk is in party, they should definitely assume a DPS roll. The ZDS monk should take on the spirit-intensive roles of Overawe spam and Cyclone Strike. One of the monks should take Exploding Palm.
    Edited by Vox#1186 on 8/30/2013 3:34 PM PDT
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    This build provides 80% dps buff and provides palm. It sticks with quickening so spirit is always available to Cyclone Strike and apply lots of palms, which can be applied really fast at 3+ APS! It drops Crippling Wave and therefore has lower survival (but you’re a tank anyway!).



    Fists of Thunder: Quickening
    Max spirit regen.

    Exploding Palm: The Flesh is Weak (TFIW) or Strong Spirit
    Groups killing trash as well as elites should take Strong Spirit. For just elites, it’s TFIW.

    Mantra of Conviction: Overawe
    No brainer. If another monk in party, the ZDS monk should run overawe since plenty of spirit to spam and important to spam while explosions go off.

    Cyclone Strike: Implosion
    I still recommend Implosion over Soothing Breeze for elite farming, but the choice is far less clear than for general farming that includes trash mowing. It isn’t very often that Soothing Breeze won’t vortex everything that matters and taking Soothing allows you to drop MOH, freeing up a skill slot. In place of MOH, I'd recommend Serenity: Tranquility, Crip Wave:Breaking Wave, or Inner Sanctuary DPS buff (gasp!).

    Mantra of Healing: Time of Need
    Guiding Light buffer. It has no cooldown, its range is greater than soothing breeze and much, much greater than breath of heaven. It doubles as a defensive buff when needed. Great for set-up on RD horde packs or when 2+ Grotesques go belly up simultaneously. Unless you require the defense, MOH activation should be followed immediately by MOC Overawe activation to maintain dps buff uptime.

    Dashing Strike: Quicksilver
    Your mobility. Get to the correct location fast to start cyclone striking. It can also save your butt if elite affixes get out of control. With lots of mobs/targets around, its long-distance speed rivals the fastest builds in game.


    Guiding Light
    No-brainer 20% dps buff.

    Exalted Soul
    More highly recommended in this build than in previous since you want to buff, cyclone strike, and palm in huge short-duration spirit expenditure.

    One with Everything
    I will survive!


    Same as above, but use a 30% elite damage SOJ (ideally with Cyclone Strike bonus) and possibly a 10% elite dmg Sun Keeper. Whatever you do, recommend LS on one weapon!

    [Don't do much elite farming myself, so probably some improvements can be made to gear section here].
    Edited by Vox#1186 on 7/31/2013 6:34 AM PDT
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    This build is optimized for taking down bosses as fast as possible with all-out dps buffs at all costs. Cyclone Strike and Dashing Strike are sacrificed in order to stack more buffs. Up to 105% dps buff is provided, along with palm. Only 90% can be maintained indefinitely, while 15% can be used once every 16 seconds.

    Notably, it increases the damage dealt to monsters by up to 70%, boosting palm's damage from 20% in 4-player coop to 34% with monk skills alone (not counting other skills or gear that would affect palm as explained in post 2).

    Also of note, the Guiding Light and Inner Sanctuary buffs (cumulative 35% dps buff) are direct buffs to pdps and can be snap-shotted by many channeled skills.

    Quickening and some decent CC are required to keep buffs up. Bring some EHP and 2k+ LOH to stay alive.


    --BUILD LINK--


    Fists of Thunder: Quickening
    Max spirit regen vs. 1-2 targets. Good LOH/stun returns vs. 1-2 targets in part because hits so fast.
    Running total buff: 0%

    Crippling Wave; Breaking Wave
    10% additional damage debuff. 20% attack speed debuff. 30% attack speed debuff. All for 3s.
    Running total buff: 10%

    Exploding Palm: The Flesh is Weak
    12% additional damage debuff. Single target, lasts 9s. Explodes for 20% in coop, but can easily be upwards of 50% with proper gear and other party member buffs.
    Running total: 22%

    Mantra of Conviction: Overawe
    48% additional damage debuff. Spirit intensive, but easy to maintain 100% uptime with this build. If another monk in party, the ZDS monk should run overawe since plenty of spirit to spam and important to spam during palm explosions. If another monk is present, they might want to run Mantra of Regression: Transgression.
    Running total buff: 70% (up to this point, everything affects palm explosion damage)

    Mantra of Healing: Time of Need
    Guiding Light buffer. It has no cooldown, its range is greater than Cyclone Strike: Soothing Breeze and much, much greater than Breath of Heaven. It does not reset or interrupt the generator attack sequence. It doubles as a defensive buff to resistances when needed and provides a shield for 930 dmg. MOH activation should be followed immediately by MOC Overawe activation to maintain dps buff uptime. Provides Guiding Light buff on activation only. Regen ticks do not refresh the buff. Technically, CS: Soothing Breeze can provide a tiny bit more potential dps by keeping MOC up during the 0.1s of MOC uptime that gets lost using MOH. The benefits of MOH outweigh the benefits of CS: Soothing Breeze IMO--mainly range, but also mini-shield, no attack turn (=additional ~10 spirit gained from 1 quickening strike), and no reset on generator attack sequence (=higher likelihood of landing 3rd strike in generator sequence. 3rd strikes have higher proc chance and hit more targets).
    Running Total buff: 90%

    Inner Sanctuary: Forbidden Palace
    Allies standing in the sanctuary deal 15% more damage for 5s. This is a buff to paper dps. Base cooldown is 20s, reduced to 16s if using Beacon of Ytar passive. Optimally, this would be provided to all allies 5s of every 16s, but it is hard to coordinate and use correctly and the range is rather small. Thankfully bosses do not seem to run away from Inner Sanctuary as trash does. I tested this on Ghom, and a little on Siege/Kulle.
    Running Total buff: 105%


    Guiding Light
    20% dps buff (accounted for under MOH)

    One with Everything
    I will survive!

    Beacon of Ytar
    Only assists with Inner Sanctuary cooldown reduction. Total effect on DPS buff is so marginal that I highly, highly recommend Resolve instead of Beacon of Ytar here. If no LS on weapon, recommend Near Death Experience if reflected palm death is possible.

    With Resolve and Crippling Wave, enemies are attacking 20% slower and dealing 25% less damage. You're a tank stunning the crap out of bosses with Sledge Fist, reducing incoming damage. I'd wager the net effect of damage reduction + stun is roughly 40-70% damage reduction for whole party. Not the objective here, but not to be scoffed at!!!

    B. GEAR

    Weapon 1--Vit, %Elites, IAS, LOH, OS, LS dagger BIS mainhand. This is fast and provides tons of Sustain. Not even sure if all those can roll on one item. % Elites and LS is only useful for palm dmg bolstering and survival, respectively. Any fast weapon with LOH and OS will do. OS Bonesaber is wonderful and probably your fastest choice, increasing spirit regen.

    Weapon 2--I prefer OS Sledge Fist here, although 0.25 APS Echoing Fury with any combination of IAS, LOH, OS will rock house vs. bosses immune to fear. Sun Keeper with ~15% increased damage to elites on gear swap (lame!) for palm explosion.

    For armor, see recommendations in Vox's Vicegrip Vortex. Pay attention to whether boss threats are spikey (Magda/SK) or slowly overwhelming (Ghom, Azmodan). Slowly overwhelming = more mitigation (armor/all res over vit) and IAS/LOH. Spikey = more Vit and total EHP.

    If abusing palm vs. paired bosses, suggest 30% SoJ and some other Bonus vs. Elite or Bonus vs. Monster Type gear. Manually coordinating a palm-maximizing gear swap while maintaining buffs is gonna be a challenge.


    --PHASE 1: Set-up--
    1. Activate MOH/MOC early since they are your biggest buffs and can be activated while moving (68%).
    2. Apply Palm and Crippling Wave (cumulative 90%).
    3. Spam quickening and activate Inner Sanctuary (cumulative 105%).
    <<NOTE>> For snapshotting, recommend MOH/Inner Sanc 35% pdps buff ASAP to get snapshot set-up. The 70% buffs to damage taken can be applied afterward.

    --PHASE 2: Maintenance--
    <<NOTE>> Surprisingly, it is hard to keep all buffs up optimally due to different and rapid buff expirations, and potential spirit exhaustion. Thus I recommend the following cycle, which is easier to maintain. This cycle 'clumps' buffs in a way that I think makes the most sense and that is tracked by a single buff timer: MOC: Overawe's 3s. This cycle is rather specific and may not be what helps you the most to keep all buffs up.

    1. Refresh MOC/Crippling Wave (both 3s cooldowns tracked by MOC buff icon).
    2. Regen spirit to full with Quickening (requires about 1-2s).
    3. Refresh MOH/MOC/Palm/Crip Wave (GL 15s and Palm 9s to be refreshed every other MOC cycle, at 6s intervals).
    4. Regen spirit with Quickening
    5. Repeat 1-4. These are your priority buffs.
    6. Activate Inner Sanctuary whenever it comes off cooldown.

    This cycle allows you to focus on only 3 things instead of 6 separate skills: A) Holding down quickening--easy, B) Alternating between button spam at Maintenance Step 1 and button spam at Maintenance Step 3, each tracked by MOC Overawe 3s buff timer--harder, takes a little practice, and C) Refreshing Inner Sanctuary when cooldown refreshes--easy.

    <<Spirit Regen Notes>>
    Maintaining all those buffs is spirit intensive, but very possible. You are consuming approximately <30?> spirit per second with a spike of <125?> spirit at my suggested Maintenance Step 3.

    With 50% CC (rather high but entirely possible for this build), half your Quickening strikes are critical hits. This means each strike will regen, on average (6+15)/2 = 10.5 spirit, or roughly 31.5 spirit per second at 3 APS (easily obtained in this build). Quickening has a fast speed coefficient, your party may be providing IAS buffs, and there may be multiple mobs for much higher spirit regen. In short, 31.5 spirit per second is the low end of spirit regen in this build.


    Did some testing today for ZDS Boss-Buster in 4-player coop setting. Super thanks to my friends that helped slaughter ghom over and over again for no reward!!! You know who you are :)

    ZDS Boss-Buster build (15.7m party edps) performed very similarly to hybrid DPS support (16.3m party edps).


    All runs were same 4-player coop party vs. MP 10 Ghom. No party members changed gear. No party members changed builds. Everyone was instructed to just play their best on every run. There was almost no variation in kill times within the two set-ups tested, suggesting that everyone did in fact do the same thing over and over again. The only thing that varied was the monk gear/build.

    Party EDPS was calculated by timing each Ghom run from first attack until death, then by taking MP 10 Ghom total hps in 4 player coop (346,063,520) and dividing by the number of seconds to kill.


    I wanted typical a typical party, and I think that’s what I got.
    Party consisted of me (monk), barb, wiz, wd. Everyone was mid- to high-end geared. Basic info about the party is below:

    **Wizard-CM Freeze**
    Party buffs provided:
    20% IAS bubble (IAS bubble—near 100% uptime)
    15% increased dmg taken (bone chill—near 100% uptime)
    Unbuffed DPS: 333,085

    **Witch Doctor-COB**
    Party buffs provided:
    20% IAS (BBV slam dance—near 50% uptime based on battle duration)
    30% increased dmg taken (BBV slam dance—near 50% uptime based on battle duration)
    20% increased dmg taken (paranoia--near 50% uptime based on battle duration)
    Unbuffed DPS: 191,217

    **Barbarian-HOTA/Frenzy/rend** (w killing spree, overpower, WOTB insanity)
    Party buffs provided:
    Unbuffed DPS: 285,000

    **Monk set-up 1—quickening bells hybrid dps**
    <<Build Link>>
    Party buffs provided:
    20% dmg (Guiding Light—100% uptime)
    48% dmg taken (MOC: Overawe—~99% uptime)
    Unbuffed DPS: 208,405
    Total party unbuffed paper DPS: 1,017,707

    **Monk set-up 2--ZDS Boss-buster**
    <<Build link>>
    Party buffs provided:
    20% dmg (Guiding Light—100% uptime)
    48% dmg taken (MOC: Overawe—~99% uptime)
    15% dmg (Inner Sanctuary--~20% uptime)
    12% dmg taken (Exploding Palm: The Flesh is Weak—~99% uptime)
    10% dmg taken (Crippling Wave: Breaking Wave--~99% uptime)
    Unbuffed DPS: 9,100
    Total party unbuffed paper DPS: 818,402


    The runs with the hybrid quickening/bell monk (68% max buff) were as follows:
    Mean = 21.2s
    Ghom MP 10, 4-player hps =346,063,520
    Party EDPS = 16,323,750

    The runs with the ZDS Boss Buster monk (105% max buff) were as follows:
    26s***see note
    Mean = 22.8
    Ghom MP 10, 4-player hps =346,063,520
    Party EDPS = 15,178,224

    ***NOTE: The 26s run was the first recorded after a single warm-up run. Because it was so aberrant, and it was the first run recorded post-warm-up (seems 1 warm-up wasn’t enough!), I will exclude it.

    When the 26s run is excluded, we end up with:
    Mean runtime= 22s
    Party EDPS = 15,730,160

    Or 96.4% of what the hybrid support provided.

    <<Note regarding individual EDPS>>
    I didn’t ask any of my friends to run their build for personal EDPS or multipliers. But I did run my support hybrid to check his EDPS/multiplier.

    Runs averaged 77s raw time. MP 10 Ghom has 138,425,408 hps solo. This translates to 1,797,733 unadjusted edps. Since I had 208,405 pds, this is an unadjusted edps multiplier of 8.63. NOTE: I was not wearing any hidden dps (bonus to elites, WKL, etc., EXCEPT for 1 item that provided 11% SW bonus—wish I hadn’t worn it in retrospect as just complicates things, but whatever).

    I was most interested in what my personal contribution in the party I was running with was, including my Guiding Light buff, which doesn’t do anything while solo. To get the in-party equivalent edps I took my unadjusted edps and multiplied by 1.20 for Guiding Light 20% buff to get an in-party edps multiplier of 10.35. This does not count any buffs from other party members that I received.

    It would be interesting to know what proportion of party edps the build provided. I need to account for other party buffs, then compare with total party edps to get at that. Not sure how they all add/multiply together, but if someone who knows more about this wants to try and figure it out, it would be interesting to know!


    Spirit regen was insane. I had waaay more spirit than I usually do because of party IAS buffs. No problem spamming all buffs all the time in both builds.

    Although ZDS had slightly lower party edps in this test, this will likely shift to favor ZDS when other party members do more edps compared to the hybrid support monk.

    The more party buffs are provided by other party members, the more edps hybrid support will contribute over ZDS.

    ZDS monk has a ton more survivability than hybrid DPS. Especially when it comes to spike damage.

    ZDS provided it's usual defensive party perks (Resolve, Stuns, Crip Wave debuff to attack/movespeed) wheras hybrid DPS support did not bring any of these.

    I may not have used the most effective ZDS hybrid build in terms of maximizing personal and party dps when comparing with ZDS.

    ZDS ran exploding palm whereas hybrid DPS did not (but could--easier to fit into a bells build than a combo strike build).


    In prep. Two turtle builds proposed--One that absolutely maximizes personal suvivability, one that maximizes party survivability.

    How high can that EHP/Sustain go? Forgoes dps buffs for survivability. Utilizes MOE: Hard Target, Deadly Reach: Foresight, Crippling Wave, Resolve, etc.

    No real application in-game at present.
    Edited by Vox#1186 on 8/29/2013 4:12 PM PDT
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    This post contains appendices with detailed discussions of Exploding Palm, Life-Per-Spirit-Spent, and Cyclone Strike relevant for ZDS and in general.
    APPENDIX A. Discussion of Exploding Palm (EP)___________________________________________________________________

    TLDR: EP is better when things die slower and party is doing more single-target dps. It does 20% base but can be boosted to 55%+ total mob hp in 4 player coop with right gear/skills. For general farming, I recommend EP if trash takes more than 3 seconds to kill and Crippling Wave: Breaking Wave instead if trash takes less than 3 seconds to kill.

    EP damage in coop play
    EP explosion does base 20% total mob health on explosion in 4-player coop. It is boosted by Overawe (48%), CW: breaking wave debuff (10%), and bonus to elite dmg (pretty easy to stack to ~40%), bonus-to-monster-type dmg, and other skills/bonuses that increase damage done to mobs. In most 4-player circumstances, Overawe is active and EP does about 30% of the palmed mob's hps.

    EP or not to EP
    EP can boost party edps substantially, but it is not necessarily the best choice for most efficient skill in group play.

    This is mostly because of the opportunity cost. EP takes an attack turn and it costs a hefty amount of spirit. Focusing too much on EP will result in lost Overawe up-time and lack of spirit available for CS or DS, all of which are very important for party efficiency.

    In contrast, using 50 spirit for Overawe's 24% activation bonus lasts 3 seconds and affects everything continuously in much larger radius than EP's one-time blast. If you miss any Overawe uptime because you are focusing on EP, the usefulness of EP drops off dramatically. Since it only takes a second to kill anything in MP 10 these days, vortexing mobs is generally way more important for efficiency than making one mob take 12% more damage and explode on death.

    EP produces a VERY visible, gratifying fireworks show. It LOOKS like it does amazing things and it's easy to understand how it works. It's much harder to appreciate overawe up-time, a 10% debuff to mobs from Crippling Wave: Breaking Wave, additional mobs vortexed, etc., etc.

    Other EP drawbacks are:

  • Kills you mighty effectively on RD elites. (can mitigate with LS on a weapon, NDE passive, serenity, etc.)
  • You have to drop some spirit regen, CC, and sustain in order to apply.
  • It's often hard to hit an exact target you want. Double applications are wasted.
  • It makes everything die at same time, rather unexpectedly--this is a drawback because it can leave you low on spirit (can't DS/TR away to next pack, slowing u down--Strong Spirit rune mitigates this but in my experience doesn't do it very well or dependably in coop), or as a CM, leave you with low arcane power with everything (cept teleport) stuck at max cooldown (= vulnerable).
  • -

    If running EP in ZDS, I generally recommend Crippling Wave: Rising Tide and dropping FOT: Quickening. Incidentally, this elminates all knockback from the build!

    If not running EP in ZDS , I generally recommend running FOT: Quickening and Crippling Wave: Breaking Wave. This combination of skills leaves much more spirit available for buffs, CS, and DS. CW: Breaking Wave causes monsters to take 10% additional damage. The 360 deg arc applies the debuff to everything around you, which is pretty much everything on screen if you are using Cyclone Strike.

    If there are two monks one should definitely make room for EP!

    EP rune choice
    As far as runes go, I highly recommend Strong Spirit if farming includes trash, where lots of applications (and spirit drain) will occur, and where lots of Strong Spirit triggers will return spirit.

    For farming elites or bosses, where fewer applications are needed and spirit isn't as strained, I recommend the Flesh is Weak for additional 12% dmg.

    Other comments
    Chazhang wrote the following, which shows how EP can really shine, and may be especially good with barbs using small but potent AOE HOTA builds. [Chaz, if you don't want any of this here, please let me know!]

    …there are a lot of things that have synergy with EP that you typically have available in a group:

    In a party of 4 monster HP is going to be 250% normal.

    In a support CM + support monk setup all skills listed as "enemies take X% more damage" will stack additively to increase EP damage.

    All Y% bonus to elite damage on the monk when the EP goes off (does not snapshot) will stack additively to increase EP damage but multiplicatively with the bonus above.

    In a typical setup X will be 15% (bone chill) + 20% (damage bubble) + 12% (Flesh is weak) + 48% (Overawe) = 95%

    With my support monk setup I swap to my 15% bonus to elite sunkeeper after I'm done setting up the elite while using Sledge, combined with the 30% bonus to elite on SoJ means that y=45% (I have a 10% bonus to elite sun keeper that has LS for reflect packs so I don't explode, but still looking for that elusive 16% bonus to elite WITH LS sunkeeper...)

    So instead of just 50%, you would deal 50% * 1.95 * 1.45 = 141.375% base monster HP damage.

    141.375/250 = 56.55% of the 4 player monster HP as damage which means in the typical setup I run where you have HotA barb(s) hitting 2 of the 3 or 4 blue elites, 2 of them exploding = all dead.

    Edit: Here's a video showing how it synergizes with HotA barbs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OVOCx_vUn0. Dis is actually one the best CS positioners though so I actually end up being able to hit all 3 of the blue mobs anyways. As you can see in the elite pack where we got hit with HEAVY lag, if you don't set it up properly EP is pretty useless.


    APPENDIX B. Discussion of Life-per-Spirit-Spent (LPSS)

    TLDR: LPSS is not as good as LOH for ZDS, but darn close and a very viable supplmentary source of sustain--much moreso than in other monk builds because of the massive mitigation + spirit production + spirit use in ZDS.

    I recommend LOH for ZDS. This is because ZDS builds generally have high attack speed and use high proc chance spirit generators that maximize LOH returns. Crippling Wave especially is great at returning life from LOH in crowds. However, LPSS is very, very good as well. It's just not needed for the build to survive in current content.

    With a sledge fist, you can stack ~180 LPSS on another fist (60) + spirit stone (60) + Transcendance (60) passive.

    At 10 spirit spent, that's 1,800 life.

    At 100 spirit spent (one activation of MOH + MOC) that is 18,000 life, which is NO JOKE at the high mitigation the ZDS monk can sport.

    ZDS generates 30+ spirit per second and can expend spirit with dual mantras without compromising spirit generation because mantras don't take an attack turn and don't interrupt spirit generator attack sequence or frequency. Potential spirit generation could be considerable higher with Nirvana variants or with builds using other sources boosted attack speed (other party members IAS buffs + Way of the Hundred Fists: Blazing Fists).

    According to Wyatt Cheng, LPSS may be buffed and LS may be nerfed:

    Original post: 18 July 2013

    "I think buffing the numbers on things like LpSS and Life Regen is reasonable. I lean more towards LpSS."

    "Lifesteal is another issue, and is currently too good."

    LS nerf and LPSS buff would be a HUGE net buff to ZDS sustain.


    APPENDIX C. Discussion of Cyclone Strike (CS)

    TLDR: For non-boss farming, use Implosion. It is one of the most powerful skills in the game. It's contribution to party edps and xp/h is arguably greater than any other skill in the game.

    Things to know about Cyclone Strike.
    <in progress>

    Tooltip Reads: >

    Implosion increases the range from > to >, which is approximately double the area. Notably the additional area is where we really want to vortex mobs from.

    CS speed coefficient is 1.25 (source: Rayquorz, page 8 this thread).

    CS spirit cost is >50 (all runes except eye of the storm) and can be reduced by up to 19 spirit from CS reduction gear (in 1.08, this is SOJ-5, SG-4, Mara's-5, spirit stones-5).

    CS is affected by monster knockback resistance <link chart>. The knockback resistance is checked on activation and mobs are vortexed if their distance from the monk is greater than the knockback resistance value. Most trash mobs have knockback resistance = 0 and are thus always vortexed. Goblins, certain purples and most yellow elites can be vortexed with CS Implosion dependably if they are located at the edge of Implosion's range.

    This can be handy if party needs a yellow moved out of a pile of hellish affixes.

    CS seems to prioritize monsters at the edge of it's range. Thus activating it as monsters approach will preferentially grab those distant monsters over those immediately next to you.

    CS can permanently immobilize mobs by glitching them into the landscape. This happens very frequently at high APS and in complex/vegetated terrain. This is obviously a bug.

    CS is considered a ranged attack and does not refresh SW, trigger SW stacks, or produce SW:Cyclone cyclones.

    UNCONFIRMED--Vortexed mobs are not considered potential CS targets while they are flying throught the air. Thus, in a pack of 16 mobs, a quick double-CS will vortex 8 mobs and then a different 8 while the first 8 are in mid air and unable to be considered valid targets.
    Edited by Vox#1186 on 9/12/2013 2:29 PM PDT
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    My friend use this build, and i like his quote "Don't laugh it works" :D

    Yup i have to admit this is the best support build. Constant 48%+ 20%+ 12% damage buff for party, exploding palm, vortex, stun, freeze... No mobs or even elites can escape :D He become a true leech (stick to mobs and never let them escape)

    I am as monk can focused to dps and deal high damage bell, firebats WD love this build too
    Reply Quote
    Vox, Can you post a video?
    Reply Quote
    I have to say the same thing...

    "Don't laugh, it works"

    "You'll see"

    "Just wait"


    Also, just noticed that decent sledge fists are fricking expensive now :/

    Build should work fine with low end sledge fist as stun is just a perk. A big perk, but a perk ^_^

    Could even run without sledge, just use bonesaber (still cheap) and LOH/OS dagger or one of my other suggested weapons.
    Reply Quote
    07/14/2013 10:26 PMPosted by couch
    Vox, Can you post a video?

    Sadly no, and am very busy IRL with work/kids/other stuff. I was planning on asking around for someone to team with and make vid, but never got to it.

    If you really want to see, you can add me and I can show u when I get some time to play.
    Reply Quote
    I will add you vox ^_^

    I love ur support build
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    Ha! I love it! I already have a decent Sledgefist, so I might just have to pick up a Bonesaber and get my loaned-out Mempo back to try this out for fun. : )
    Reply Quote
    I want to try this as well. I hope I could get a decent Sledgefist and Bonesaber for cheap before everyone picks them up or some people stash them all to resell it for profit (I think this happened to the Maximus)
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    I like the bonesabers best for general purpose. It's lifesteal also helps if you run palm on RD packs.

    BTW, use bonesaber in mainhand, since it will have higher APS when paired with sledge. CS and palm use only mainhand attack speed.

    Azurewrath is also insanely fast in mainhand. One thing I forgot (will add now) is the "repels undead" is actually quite annoying. It took me a surprisingly long time to figure out that it wasn't some newb using a knockback skill because I always ran build in coop and was 100% convinced it couldn't be me!!! At one point I was totally convinced it was a meathead barb and I was getting kinda mad!!!

    The repels undead knocks back undead a long ways. It's not very frequent, and you can just CS mobs back or hunt in areas without undead, but I don't like it.
    Reply Quote
    How much does this build depend on the Stun of Sledgefist?
    If I could get all the stats you listed but no Sledgefist you think it would be viable?
    (This is in case I can't get any good Sledgefist cheap)
    Edited by Gungnir#1425 on 7/15/2013 9:32 AM PDT
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    I’ve mentioned this several times before, but I’ll mention it again: Implosion can vortex goblins, purples, and yellow elites with 100% guarantee. They just need to be positioned at edge of implosion range.

    I posted in your other thread regarding the mechanics of this "edge of implosion" theory. Thought it would be good information for your guide, since it makes mention of it.

    Reply Quote
    How much does this build depend on the Stun of Sledgefist?
    If I could get all the stats you listed but no Sledgefist you think it would be viable?
    (This is in case I can't get any good Sledgefist cheap)

    Build works best with sledge but fine without sledge. Bonesaber and OS IAS LOH dagger will be pretty amazing.

    Without a CM wiz, the sledge stun is quite valuable, particularly vs. packs of knockback or wind-up elites such as Grotesques, Savage Bulls, and those hammer dudes in Halls of Agony.

    With a CM wiz, the stun is nearly pointless (still great for using on fresh cycloned striked ball of mobs to keep them balled up before CM arrives; also good if using rising tide to keep things within range and bolster spirit regen).

    Even a "bad" OS sledge fist with 30+ stun is still gonna be good. The 0.15-0.17 APS applies to both weapons and you want that attack speed.
    Edited by Vox#1186 on 7/15/2013 10:58 AM PDT
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    I posted in your other thread regarding the mechanics of this "edge of implosion" theory. Thought it would be good information for your guide, since it makes mention of it.


    Yes, posted response there. SUPER KUDOS again! That "resistance" type was something I was not even aware of! Will edit here as well when i get chance.
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    Good stuff man!
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    At one point I was totally convinced it was a meathead barb and I was getting kinda mad!!!

    ...that wasn't me was it Vox?? :P

    I gotta say this build was awesome with two Witch Doctors and my "meathead" HOTA/WW barb! :P
    Reply Quote
    No, no, Wannabee, not you :)

    I've known to blame myself for the Azurewrath knockback for about a week now.

    Actually, took off azurewrath once I figured out it was causing the knockback in areas I like to run (Festering Woods and Weeping Hollow are almost all undead!) and haven't tried it since!
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