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Monk Uliana's Strategem Seven-Sided Strike Build (Patch 2.4.2 / Season 8)

Last updated on Oct 21, 2016 at 09:00 by Deadset 134 comments

Table of Contents

Uliana's Strategem set puts one of the coolest looking Monk skills — Seven-Sided Strike Seven-Sided Strike — in the Greater Rifting spotlight, along with the helpful push of the class trademark, Exploding Palm Exploding Palm. This high burst, AoE centric playstyle is available in both solo progression and speedfarming variations, explained in that order.

The build requires the following set pieces:

1. About the Author

This build is presented to you by Deadset, one of the very few professional Diablo 3 players. Deadset regularly publishes video guides on Youtube, where you can see how this and other builds play out in practice.

2. Builds

Solo Progression Speedruns
Active Skills
Left Mouse Button Way of the Hundred Fists Icon Way of the Hundred Fists Assimilation Assimilation Right Mouse Button Exploding Palm Icon Exploding Palm Impending Doom Impending Doom 1 Epiphany Icon Epiphany Desert Shroud Desert Shroud 2 Dashing Strike Icon Dashing Strike Blinding Speed Blinding Speed 3 Seven-Sided Strike Icon Seven-Sided Strike Sustained Attack Sustained Attack 4 Cyclone Strike Icon Cyclone Strike Implosion Implosion
Passive Skills
(battle.net link)
Active Skills
Left Mouse Button Way of the Hundred Fists Icon Way of the Hundred Fists Blazing Fists Blazing Fists Right Mouse Button Exploding Palm Icon Exploding Palm Impending Doom Impending Doom 1 Epiphany Icon Epiphany Desert Shroud Desert Shroud 2 Dashing Strike Icon Dashing Strike Way of the Falling Star Way of the Falling Star 3 Seven-Sided Strike Icon Seven-Sided Strike Sustained Attack Sustained Attack 4 Mantra of Conviction Icon Mantra of Conviction Annihilation Annihilation
Passive Skills
(battle.net link)

3. Rotation

The strategy of this build involves engaging large groups of enemies, attracting as many straggler packs as you can with a hit-and-run tactic enabled by the mobility of Dashing Strike Dashing Strike. When the monsters gather, apply an Exploding Palm Exploding Palm and your Assimilation Assimilation buff with a triple attack of Way of the Hundred Fists Way of the Hundred Fists. Then unleash a devastating Seven-Sided Strike Seven-Sided Strike, automatically spreading and detonating Impending Doom Impending Doom on the bunched up enemies with a little help from Gungdo Gear Gungdo Gear. While Seven-Sided Strike will be your primary source of damage and should be cast on cooldown, do not neglect to apply the EPs with a triple hit from Way of the Hundred Fists Way of the Hundred Fists first, and maximize the bonus from Annihilation Annihilation by getting yourself in as big of a fight as you can. Repeat this rotation until the trash or elite pack is dead, but always keep the AoE focus of the build in mind and round up monster packs as you go, never committing to small packs. Defense-wise, strive to maintain Epiphany Epiphany Desert Shroud Desert Shroud and the Blinding Speed Blinding Speed dodge buff as much as you can. While the above is a serviceable general rotation, to maximize the potential of the build you will need to internalize several obscure Diablo mechanics — please consult our Mythic Rhythm Mythic Rhythm section below.

4. Skills, Runes and Passives

Seven-Sided Strike Seven-Sided Strike is the harbinger of devastation in the build: while not providing an essential part of your overall DPS, it will trigger the chain of Exploding Palm Exploding Palm detonations through the Uliana 6-piece bonus. Despite the lack of elemental synergy, picking the Physical rune Sustained Attack Sustained Attack is crucial, as it cuts down the base 30-second cooldown of the skill in half.

The true powerhouse of the build lies in the signature Monk ability Exploding Palm Exploding Palm. The rune of choice is the Cold damage Impending Doom Impending Doom, towering over its peers with 6305% weapon damage per detonation, activated through the Uliana 6-piece bonus and spreading like the plague with the Gungdo Gear Gungdo Gear unique property. While present on your skill bar, you will not need to manually use Exploding Palm (most of the time) and pay the Spirit cost, as it will be applied with the Gungdo Gear Gungdo Gear detonation chain, as well as through your generator via the Uliana 2-piece bonus.

Way of the Hundred Fists Way of the Hundred Fists is the generator of choice that serves multiple purposes in the build:

  • keeping up a damage buff from the Assimilation Assimilation) rune;
  • set synergy with the Uliana 2-piece bonus for the initial application of Exploding Palm Exploding Palm;
  • last but not least, resource generation with a standard 12 Spirit per hit.

Note that in speedruns the additive damage increase of Assimilation Assimilation is excessive and can be replaced by the movement speed bonus of Blazing Fists Blazing Fists.

Epiphany Epiphany is the centerpiece defensive cooldown in the build. It bolsters your mobility by allowing you to stick to your target, securing the kill. It increases your Spirit regeneration by 20 per second, ensuring your Seven-Sided Strike Seven-Sided Strike and Cyclone Strike Cyclone Strike activations will always be available. And perhaps most important of all, the Desert Shroud Desert Shroud rune strengthens your defenses with 50% damage reduction while active.

To clump up enemies for the convenience of your Seven-Sided Strike Seven-Sided Strike and to maximize Assimilation Assimilation stacks, you will be using Cyclone Strike Cyclone Strike with one of the longest range pulls in the game — the 34-yard Implosion Implosion rune. This skill is vital for Greater Rifting due to the cubed Lefebvre's Soliloquy Lefebvre's Soliloquy legendary bonus, cutting incoming damage in half. In speedruns, you can leave its protective utility out for the movespeed bonuses of Mantra of Conviction Mantra of Conviction Annihilation Annihilation.

Dashing Strike Dashing Strike is the smoothest movement tool in the game, and one of the best assets in the Monk arsenal; the Uliana build adopts it mostly for survival needs in GRs. A charge-based skill on a low cooldown, it will allow you to skip low populated areas and unfavorable fights. With two charges stored by default you can cover good distances, or simply maintain the 40% Dodge buff of the Blinding Speed Blinding Speed rune. In speedruns, simply swap to the Way of the Falling Star Way of the Falling Star rune to enjoy a sizable increase of movement speed.

This concludes the overview of the Active Skills, now let us look through the Passives.

Beacon of Ytar Beacon of Ytar is a solid foundation for high skill uptime, providing a 20% chunk to your Cooldown Reduction. Further reducing the Seven-Sided Strike Seven-Sided Strike downtime is only half the reason to take this passive, as it also cuts down the sizable 60-second cooldown of Epiphany Epiphany and directly improves your defenses.

A mainstay in the Monk arsenal of passives, Harmony Harmony fuels your All Resistance with 40% of the single elemental resistance per piece of gear (g.g. 100 Fire Resistance roll on the boots will add 100 to your sheet Fire Resistance and add 40 to your other resists). A well geared Monk will usually sport secondary resistances in all the gear slots that are able to roll them, adding significantly to his overall Toughness.

To counteract some of the damage spikes the build is exposed to, we will be taking Near Death Experience Near Death Experience — the cheat death passive available to Monks. On the standard 60-second cooldown, it will prevent a lethal situation and restore you to 35% Life and Spirit instead. The 2-second immunity to damage and crowd control impairing effects is a nice bonus on top. If you are confident about handling spike damage, the best alternative for this passive slot is The Guardian's Path The Guardian's Path — a top tier defensive passive when dual-wielding, offering a substantial 35% dodge chance increase. Working alongside the dodge bonuses from Blinding Speed Blinding Speed and Agility Agility, it will be the optimal passive choice for physical attacks protection in high density maps.

Mythic Rhythm Mythic Rhythm remains one of the strongest damage passives you can take as a Uliana Monk, as it offers a 40% multiplicative damage bonus for your next damaging Spirit spender after a triple attack from a generator, mirroring the mechanics of the set.

4.1. On Mythic Rhythm and Snapshotting

High end GR clears with Uliana's set are using a snapshot of the passive Mythic Rhythm Mythic Rhythm. In Diablo terms, snapshotting is taking a certain buff dependent value and using it for an extended period of time, well beyond the intended buff duration. In this particular build, Uliana monks are snapshotting temporary buffed damage values from Mythic Rhythm Mythic Rhythm (Assimilation Assimilation and Power pylons have been changed into dynamic buffs and can no longer be snapshotted) into a damage increase for the entire rift. This is how it is done:

  • Find a big pack of enemies and attack 3 times with your generator, Way of the Hundred Fists Way of the Hundred Fists, getting as many Assimilation Assimilation stacks as you can. This will also apply the Mythic Rhythm Mythic Rhythm buff, as the Exploding Palm Exploding Palm created by the Uliana 2-piece bonus counts as a spender for the purposes of the passive. Unfortunately this will create numerous Exploding Palm Exploding Palms, and you will have no way of telling which particular target has Mythic Rhythm Mythic Rhythm on it.
  • Attack 3 times again on the same targets. This will once again create the Mythic Rhythm Mythic Rhythm buff, but since Exploding Palm Exploding Palm has already been spread from the first round and there are no new targets, the Mythic Rhythm Mythic Rhythm buff is retained on yourself.
  • Move away from the current pack of Exploding Palm Exploding Palmed monsters you used to create a buff for yourself. Their Exploding Palms cannot be overwritten. Find a new large pack of monsters and apply a supercharged Exploding Palm Exploding Palm on a new, single monster. Do not do this by a 3-generator attack, but manually using the Exploding Palm Exploding Palm skill on your bar.
  • Use Seven-Sided Strike Seven-Sided Strike to detonate and spread the supercharged Exploding Palm Exploding Palm. Destroy most of the monster pack, leaving a few living targets with the supercharged Exploding Palm Exploding Palms and drag them to the next big group of monsters, strictly using Seven-Sided Strike Seven-Sided Strike to detonate and generate Exploding Palm Exploding Palms, and not using the Uliana 2-piece method (3 successive generator attacks) until the end of the rift.

Note that this tactic may be perceived as exploitative by the development team and might not survive future patches.

5. Best in Slot Gear and Alternatives

The build incorporates the complete Uliana's Strategem set, taking all six available pieces and opening up the jewelry for the Endless Walk set and its damage multiplication bonuses. Rolls-wise, this Exploding Palm-centric playstyle takes good advantage of Cooldown Reduction, Skill and Area Damage affixes. Cooldown Reduction is recommended as the fourth primary on Uliana's Fury Uliana's Fury, alongside Dexterity, Crit Chance and Crit Damage (as you approach 15,000 Dexterity due to high Paragons, it is recommended to even reroll the Dexterity on the glove to Area Damage). Life Regeneration or Elite Damage Reduction, plus high Dexterity and Vitality and secondary Physical Resistance are the desired stats on Uliana's Heart Uliana's Heart. High main stats, CDR and Area Damage rolls will be helpful on Uliana's Strength Uliana's Strength. Note that both Uliana's Heart Uliana's Heart and Uliana's Strength Uliana's Strength are able to roll Seven-Sided Strike Seven-Sided Strike %, but it is not advisable to seek these stats out, as the skill is mostly a tool to spread and detonate Exploding Palm Exploding Palm, and the primary roll is best spent on something else. Uliana's Burden Uliana's Burden is dedicated to Toughness, with high Dexterity, Vitality and Life Regeneration rolls ideally accompanied by Physical Resistance in the secondary stats. While both Uliana's Spirit Uliana's Spirit and Uliana's Destiny Uliana's Destiny can roll Exploding Palm Exploding Palm % bonus, it is preferable to seek skill damage on the boots and to leave the huge mainstat potential of the helm for a hefty Vitality roll.

Not skipping on any of the six available set pieces to obtain the full Uliana set bonus allows you to split between offense and defense in the jewelry slots. One of the 2.4 reworks, the Endless Walk set — The Compass Rose The Compass Rose ring and The Traveler's Pledge The Traveler's Pledge amulet — adds a unique mechanic that slowly increases your damage by up to a 100% if you remain stationary, and drains it away and increases your damage reduction while moving. This dynamic fits the Uliana playstyle, which alternates dashing between fights with periods of stationary Seven-Sided Strike Seven-Sided Strike spam (the movement from the SSS animation does not lower the Endless Walk damage bonus).

Your other ring slot will be taken by Unity Unity; this item offers 50% damage reduction when paired with another on the follower, plus an immortality item for him (i.e. Enchanting Favor Enchanting Favor). Also note its unique Elite damage roll, which makes it preferable for high GR pushing as it makes a difference during the tough Guardian fights. Nevertheless, you can swap this slot out for Convention of Elements Convention of Elements with comparable performance, and cube the worse item.

Understandably, both the buildup mechanic of the Endless Walk set and the protective powers of Unity Unity are unfit for the speedy Torment difficulties, where they are best replaced by the Bastions of Will set, Focus Focus and Restraint Restraint. These rings excel at all-out offense by offering a 2.25 independent damage multiplier as long as you alternate between a primary and spender attacks — which you do by weaving Way of the Hundred Fists Way of the Hundred Fists with Seven-Sided Strike Seven-Sided Strike. These speedrun rings are best completed with a Hellfire Amulet Hellfire Amulet, as it allows you to include another farm-appropriate passive like Fleet Footed Fleet Footed.

With the dependence on Exploding Palm Exploding Palm to deliver the bulk of the damage, it is no wonder that Gungdo Gear Gungdo Gear is the suggested bracer for the build. With an effect both simple and devastating, this piece applies Exploding Palm Exploding Palm to enemies caught within the radius of a detonated Exploding Palm Exploding Palm, spreading like wildfire through the Uliana 6-piece bonus. Aim for the expected Cold elemental damage, Crit Chance, Dexterity and Vitality.

Created with Seven-Sided Strike Seven-Sided Strike in mind, Binding of the Lost Binding of the Lost is a damage reduction powerhouse that scales with the power of Lion's Claw Lion's Claw, optimally providing you with 49% DR. With a generous 7-second uptime and the Cooldown Reduction focus of the build, you will easily overlap its effect. Note that the unique power of this belt ranges between 3-3.5 damage reduction, with a 7% loss between the minimum and maximum — so try to perfect your roll for optimal performance. In Torment farm, you should swap this belt out for Goldwrap Goldwrap — its legendary power will complement the gemmed Boon of the Hoarder Boon of the Hoarder and cubed Avarice Band Avarice Band perfectly to render you invulnerable throughout the rift.

The Fist of Az'Turrasq The Fist of Az'Turrasq is your first mandatory weapon; this legendary fist increases the on-death explosion damage of Exploding Palm Exploding Palm by up to a 300%; as a true multiplier to the base damage of the skill, it essentially doubles the output of your primary source of damage. Getting a roll with or close to the maximum 300% of the unique bonus is your foremost concern; other optimal stats include a good base damage roll, Cooldown Reduction and Area Damage.

Lion's Claw Lion's Claw was introduced in Season 4 as an item tailored after this build. Turning Seven-Sided Strike Seven-Sided Strike into a fourteen-sided strike without extending casting time, this fist weapon serves as another true damage multiplier by allowing you twice as many Exploding Palm Exploding Palm detonations from Uliana's 6-piece bonus. The preferred stats for Lion's Claw Lion's Claw are similar to your other weapon — good base damage roll, Cooldown Reduction and Area Damage.

Slot Pieces Stat Priority
Head
  1. Dexterity
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Socket
  4. Vitality
  5. Exploding Palm %
Shoulders
  1. Dexterity
  2. Vitality
  3. Cooldown Reduction
  4. Area Damage
Torso
  1. Dexterity
  2. 3 Sockets
  3. Vitality
  4. Life Regeneration
  5. Reduced damage from Elites
  6. Single Elemental Resistance (Physical prefered)
Wrists
  1. Dexterity
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Cold Damage
  4. Vitality
  5. Life Regeneration
Hands
  1. Dexterity
  2. Cooldown Reduction
  3. Critical Hit Chance
  4. Critical Hit Damage
  5. Single Elemental Resistance (Physical prefered)
Waist
  1. Dexterity
  2. Vitality
  3. Life Regeneration
  4. Single Elemental Resistance (Physical prefered)
  5. Armor
Legs
  1. Dexterity
  2. Vitality
  3. 2 Sockets
  4. Life Regeneration
  5. Single Elemental Resistance (Physical prefered)
Feet
  1. Dexterity
  2. Vitality
  3. Exploding Palm %
  4. Single Elemental Resistance (Physical prefered)
  5. Life Regeneration
Amulet
  1. Socket
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Critical Hit Damage
  4. Cold Damage
  5. Single Elemental Resistance (Physical prefered)
Ring #1
  1. Socket
  2. Cooldown Reduction
  3. Critical Hit Chance
  4. Critical Hit Damage
  5. Area Damage
Ring #2
  1. Socket
  2. Cooldown Reduction
  3. Critical Hit Chance
  4. Critical Hit Damage
  5. Area Damage
Weapon #1
  1. Weapon Damage
  2. Socket (preferably from Ramaladni's Gift Ramaladni's Gift)
  3. Dexterity
  4. Cooldown Reduction
  5. Area Damage
  6. Vitality
Weapon #2
  1. Weapon Damage
  2. Socket (preferably from Ramaladni's Gift Ramaladni's Gift)
  3. Dexterity
  4. Cooldown Reduction
  5. Area Damage
  6. Vitality

6. Paragon Points

Slot Paragon Points
Core
  1. Movement Speed up to 25% cap
  2. Dexterity
  3. Vitality
  4. Maximum Spirit
Offense
  1. Cooldown Reduction
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Critical Hit Damage
  4. Attack Speed
Defense
  1. All Resistance
  2. Armor
  3. Life %
  4. Life Regeneration
Utility
  1. Area Damage
  2. Life on Hit
  3. Resource Cost Reduction
  4. Gold Find

7. Gems

Your three jewelry sockets will be taken up by the legendary gems Bane of the Trapped Bane of the Trapped, Gogok of Swiftness Gogok of Swiftness, and either Bane of the Stricken Bane of the Stricken (for Progression) or Boon of the Hoarder Boon of the Hoarder (for Torments).

  • Bane of the Trapped Bane of the Trapped is a potent source of additional damage, as it is its own multiplier in your total damage calculation. When fighting in melee range, as a Uliana Monk naturally does, the gem will proc on its own through the level 25 property, bringing a self-sufficient increase to your DPS.
  • Gogok of Swiftness Gogok of Swiftness has great synergy with the build, indirectly providing you with more damage and survivability by increasing the essential Cooldown Reduction, as well as scaling Dodge chance. While less important, the Attack Speed aspect will assist with resource upkeep to enable care-free spam of Cyclone Strike Cyclone Strike.
  • Introduced in Season 4, Bane of the Stricken Bane of the Stricken occupies the third and final jewelry socket in GR progression. Building up your damage multiplicatively in prolonged fights and with a level 25 bonus specifically targeting Rift Guardians, this gem is designed to assist AoE heavy builds in their struggle against single target, high HP enemies. The Uliana Monk is a prime example of such a build, and Bane of the Stricken Bane of the Stricken is considered mandatory for pushing. In Torment clears, this gem is best replaced by Boon of the Hoarder Boon of the Hoarder, whose interaction with a worn Goldwrap Goldwrap and a cubed Avarice Band Avarice Band will keep you rich, safe and sped up throughout the rift.
Slot Gems
Jewelry
Helm
Torso and Pants
Weapon

8. Kanai's Cube

The Kanai's Cube recommendations are as follows: The Flow of Eternity The Flow of Eternity for the weapon slot, Lefebvre's Soliloquy Lefebvre's Soliloquy (Progression) or Madstone Madstone for the armor slot, and Convention of Elements Convention of Elements for the jewelry slot.

  • Cubing The Flow of Eternity The Flow of Eternity is essential for the build, as the unique power of this daibo cuts the base cooldown of Seven-Sided Strike Seven-Sided Strike by 60% and doubles its damage. No other weapon effect is remotely comparable, as better uptime of that skill directly translates into damage and survivability.
  • Stored in the armor slot, Lefebvre's Soliloquy Lefebvre's Soliloquy will multiply your damage reduction by 50% for 5 seconds after using a Cyclone Strike Cyclone Strike — adding helpful survivability during Seven-Sided Strike Seven-Sided Strike downtime. In speedruns, this protection is overkill and you will be swapping out of Cyclone Strike Cyclone Strike entirely, enticing you to change this slot to Madstone Madstone for ease of farming. Cubing this Spirit Stone will reduce the need to attack with a generator down to Focus Focus and Restraint Restraint maintenance.
  • In GR progression, your jewelry slot is best taken by the pure damage boost of Convention of Elements Convention of Elements, whose rotation of elemental bonuses you will need to learn and time to maximize the benefits of the short-lived Cold proc. Note that you can still cube Unity Unity and wear Convention of Elements Convention of Elements with comparable performance, depending on your better rolled item. In speedruns, these rings offer excess defense and offense respectively, and are better replaced by the utility of the Act III cache legendary Avarice Band Avarice Band. Its interaction with Boon of the Hoarder Boon of the Hoarder will feed into your Goldwrap Goldwrap-induced invulnerability.

9. Follower

For more information regarding followers, we advise you to read our Follower Guide, which contains detailed advice for choosing the skills and the gear of your follower.

10. ChangeLog

  • 21 Oct. 2016: No changes needed for Season 8.
  • 28 Jul. 2016: Revised the skill, gemming and stat priorities for Patch 2.4.2. Added speedrunning options.
  • 25 Apr. 2016: Slight revision to stat and gemming priorities for Patch 2.4.1.
  • 13 Jan. 2016: Updated the guide to reflect its 2.4 buffs, the inclusion of the Endless Walk set, and Cube changes.
  • 30 Sep. 2015: Updated the guide to include more information about high Greater Rift clears.
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