Monk Leveling and Fresh 70 Guide (Patch 2.6.8 / Season 20)

Last updated on Mar 13, 2020 at 09:00 by Deadset 49 comments

The purpose of the beginner Monk guide is to provide you with a build and item recommendations that will reliably carry you from leveling, through the pre-Torment difficulties and get you into low Torment farming, without requiring specific legendary or set bonuses. The guide also includes a section for Seasonal Monks, explaining how best to take advantage of the free set from Haedrig's Gifts.

1.

Why choose the Monk?

Choose the Monk if you want to gain mastery over the dexterous, hand-to-hand melee combat, and channel the built up powers of your melee pummeling into crushing blows of sacred energy. The Monk is the master of engagement, dashing through the battlefield and exerting utmost control through pulls, pushes, and mantras. Your crippling blows overpower the adversaries like the sweeping tides, as you finish them off with flurries of spiritual power. The Monk embodies the duality of natural evasion and sacred destruction in Diablo 3.

2.

Progression (Seasonal or Not Seasonal)

2.1.

Leveling Build

Your progression on a given character always start with leveling to 70. To help you with that, we have a beginner leveling build that you can access using the link below.

2.2.

Haedrig Gifts' Season 19 Starter Build

After reaching Level 70, the easiest way to start gearing up and progressing towards the end-game is by using the set given by the Haedrig's Gifts. Haedrig's Gifts are cache-like rewards that drop 2 pieces of a fixed class-specific set after completing chapters II, III, and IV of the Seasonal Journey. Having a full 6-piece set bonus available to you will skyrocket your character's power well in the mid-to-high Torments. This makes the early portion of the Seasonal Journey your first priority upon reaching Level 70.

In Season 19, Monks will find the Uliana's Stratagem set in their Haedrig's Gifts. We have an early progression build for this set, which you can find by clicking the link below.

2.3.

Other Starter Builds

While you get a fixed free set at the start of every Season, it is not unreasonable to assume you will attain other sets in quick succession. If you are interested in switching around your playstyle, take a look at the beginner points for other sets below, and note to which endgame builds they point you after.

3.

Gear To Look For

To learn how to gear up quickly and approach a character's progression in general, check out our Beginner Seasonal Guide. It includes advice and tactics related to gambling Blood Shards, doing Bounties, Regular, Greater and Challenge Rifts, and using Kanai's Cube for easy upgrades.

Certain items can be targeted through the completion of bounties or boss kills. The following is a list of such items, in order of importance for the class.

  • Ring of Royal Grandeur Ring of Royal Grandeur is a legendary from Act I caches that reduces the number of set items required for set bonuses by one. While it might not be immediately useful, obtaining powerful bonuses (such as the 4- and 6- piece set bonuses of the Raiment of a Thousand Storms set) as early as possible for a huge spike in character power is an opportunity you should not pass up. Doing bounties will be inevitable for crafting materials anyway, so optimize your farming time and get this ring as soon as possible.
  • Avarice Band Avarice Band is an Act III cache legendary ring that extends your pickup radius by up to 30 yards as you pick up gold. This unassuming bonus has the potential to turn in the strongest source of defense during normal rifts due to its synergy with Boon of the Hoarder Boon of the Hoarder and Goldwrap Goldwrap. Their powers combined, they can render your character practically invulnerable even in the highest of Torment difficulties.
  • Illusory Boots Illusory Boots are an Act II cache legendary item that removes enemy collision — a staple of support builds in Greater Rifts, as their precise positioning for party-wide buffs and enemy disables dictates the course of Greater Rift progress. Monks have been staple supports for many patches now, with several party-wide damage buffs and plenty of damage reduction to add to the group, making Illusory Boots Illusory Boots reasonably attractive to the class.
  • Reaper's Wraps Reaper's Wraps are meant to assist classes and builds with resource management problems. These bracers restore up to 30% of your Spirit reserves when you get healed by a health globe — an easy trigger if you keep an eye on the battlefield. Note that these bracers are craftable, and the plan for their creation drops when you kill the Act V boss Malthael on any difficulty. Reaper's Wraps Reaper's Wraps are reasonably attractive to Monks, as they frequently suffer from resource issues in the early game, before they acquire Spirit management legendaries like Incense Torch of the Grand Temple Incense Torch of the Grand Temple or transition into light-spending specs like Raiment set and Uliana set builds.
  • Gloves of Worship Gloves of Worship are an Act II cache legendary that extends the duration of Shrines to 10 minutes, a very decent farming effect that is usually stored in Kanai's Cube. The combined power of Empowered Shrines (doubled resource gain, halved cooldowns), Frenzied Shrines (25% Attack Speed) and Fleeting Shrines (25% increase to Movement Speed and 20-yard pickup radius), often refreshing before their 10-minute duration, is a huge buff during normal rifts. Monks are among the classes that can benefit from Gloves of Worship Gloves of Worship, as the armor Cube slots of their most common farming specs are often flexible enough to fit the item in.
  • Envious Blade Envious Blade is an Act II cache dagger with one of the most powerful speedfarming bonuses in the game — a guaranteed Critical Hit against enemies at full health. A well equipped character using this dagger can oneshot entire screens of enemies in a suitable farming difficulty. While class-specific legendaries are generally considered more important to Monk builds, Envious Blade Envious Blade is a decent option for a Cube effect in the weapon slot.
  • Pride's Fall Pride's Fall is a helm obtained through Act III cache bounties, whose legendary effect reduces resource costs by 30% after not taking damage for 5 seconds. Almost never fighting at a range that can abuse this power, Monks do not consider farming Pride's Fall Pride's Fall a priority.

The majority of the gear will be found by random chance as you farm normally, by killing monsters, opening chests, gambling at Kadala and upgrading rare items at the Cube. While the list below is not exhaustive, these are some of the pieces to seek, spend blood shards on, or upgrade yellows for — in order of priority:

4.

Stat Priorities

Slot Stat Priority
Head
  1. Dexterity
  2. Socket
  3. Critical Hit Chance
  4. Vitality
Shoulders
  1. Dexterity
  2. Vitality
  3. All Resistance
  4. Area Damage
Torso
  1. Dexterity
  2. 3 Sockets
  3. Vitality
  4. All Resistance
Wrists
  1. Dexterity
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Elemental Damage
  4. Vitality
Hands
  1. Dexterity
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Critical Hit Damage
  4. Vitality
Waist
  1. Dexterity
  2. Vitality
  3. All Resistance
  4. Life %
Legs
  1. Dexterity
  2. 2 Sockets
  3. Vitality
  4. All Resistance
Feet
  1. Dexterity
  2. Movement Speed
  3. Vitality
  4. Skill Damage if applicable
Amulet
  1. Socket
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Critical Hit Damage
  4. Elemental Damage
  5. Dexterity
Rings
  1. Socket
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Critical Hit Damage
  4. Dexterity
Weapon
  1. High Damage Range
  2. Dexterity
  3. Socket
  4. % Damage
Off-hand
  1. Dexterity
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Attack Speed
  4. Skill Damage
  5. Vitality
5.

Paragon Points

Slot Paragon Points
Core
  1. Movement Speed up to 25% cap
  2. Dexterity
  3. Maximum Spirit (depends on build)
  4. Vitality
Offense
  1. Critical Hit Damage
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Cooldown Reduction
  4. Attack Speed
Defense
  1. All Resistance
  2. Armor
  3. Life %
  4. Life Regeneration
Utility
  1. Resource Cost Reduction
  2. Area Damage
  3. Life on Hit
  4. Gold Find
6.

Gems

Your armor and weapon sockets should be taken up by the highest tier Emerald gems you can afford at the time, while the helm is best filled by a Diamond gem for a boost to Cooldown Reduction. When you stumble upon jewelry with good primary stats and a socket, you should start dabbling into Legendary Gems. The Legendary Gems to consider for Monks are, in order of importance:

7.

Gems

Your armor and weapon sockets should be taken up by the highest tier Emerald gems you can afford at the time, while the helm is best filled by a Diamond gem for a boost to Cooldown Reduction. If you stumble upon jewelry with good crit stats and a socket, you can also start dabbling into Legendary Gems. At the lower gem levels, ones with individual damage procs like Wreath of Lightning Wreath of Lightning, Pain Enhancer Pain Enhancer and Gem of Efficacious Toxin Gem of Efficacious Toxin will yield the best result per gem level.

Slot Gems
Helm
Torso and Pants
Weapon
8.

Kanai's Cube

Kanai's Cube choices are highly build- and content-specific, making them hard to summarize. Generally speaking, Monks should store the powers of the following items in the Cube as soon as they have the materials available: Flying Dragon Flying Dragon, In-geom In-geom, The Furnace The Furnace, Envious Blade Envious Blade, The Flow of Eternity The Flow of Eternity, Cindercoat Cindercoat, Depth Diggers Depth Diggers, Lefebvre's Soliloquy Lefebvre's Soliloquy, Spirit Guards Spirit Guards, Gungdo Gear Gungdo Gear, Nemesis Bracers Nemesis Bracers, The Laws of Seph The Laws of Seph, Goldwrap Goldwrap, Convention of Elements Convention of Elements, Unity Unity, Avarice Band Avarice Band and Ring of Royal Grandeur Ring of Royal Grandeur (outside of Season 16).

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

  • 13 Mar. 2020: Reviewed for Season 20.
  • 22 Nov. 2019: Overhauled the guide and updated it for Season 19.
  • 23 Aug. 2019: Updated for Season 18.
  • 16 May 2019: Updated for Season 17.
  • 18 Jan. 2019: Updated for Season 16.
  • 20 Sep. 2018: Updated for Season 15.
  • 14 Jun. 2018: Updated for Season 14.
  • 23 Feb. 2018: Updated for Season 13.
  • 08 Nov. 2017: Updated for patch 2.6.1 and season 12.
  • 30 Jun. 2017: Updated for patch 2.6 and season 11.
  • 31 Mar. 2017: Updated the guide with a starter build for the Season 10 free set, Inna's Mantra.
  • 06 Jan. 2017: Updated the guide with a minor note on a beginner Sunwuko build.
  • 21 Oct. 2016: Updated the guide with a starter build for the Season 8 free set, Uliana's Strategem.
  • 03 Aug. 2016: Updated the guide to include leveling, a better fresh 70 setup and Haedrig's Gift use tips.
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