Monk Static Charge Lightning Build (Patch 2.4)
Emerging from the Chinese theorycrafters to take over the Monk leaderboards, the Static Charge Generator build is a testament to the versatility of the Shenlong's Spirit and Raiment of a Thousand Storms set designs.
This dual generator, sustain damage setup is achieved through the following set pieces:
- Weapon: Shenlong's Fist of Legend
- Weapon: Shenlong's Relentless Assault
- Shoulders: Mantle of the Upside-Down Sinners
- Boots: Eight-Demon Boots
- Chest: Heart of the Crashing Wave
- Gloves: Fists of Thunder
Following Static Charge nerf in Patch 2.4 (damage was reduced and proc mechanic can no longer be abused by the entire party), this build has become irrelevant. We removed it from the menus, but we are leaving it on the site, in case a new Static Charge build appears in the future.
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 and streams on Twitch, where you can see how this and other builds play out in practice.
|Fists of Thunder Static Charge Way of the Hundred Fists Fists of Fury 1 Epiphany Desert Shroud 2 Dashing Strike Radiance 3 Breath of Heaven Infused with Light 4 Mantra of Salvation Agility|
Strategy, Skills, and Runes
When facing single targets, the Static Charge Monk has a simple rotation: hold down Fists of Thunder, only alternating with Fists of Fury to refresh the DoT and with Dashing Strike on cooldown. And while it certainly holds up in 1v1s, the build thrives when fighting large packs of monsters, alternating the debuff provided by Fists of Thunder Static Charge with the superior proc coefficients of Way of the Hundred Fists Fists of Fury. While going back and forth between the generators is easy, there are intricacies when managing cooldowns in this CDR-less setup. Pop Breath of Heaven Infused with Light on cooldown, helping you regain Spirit and reach a higher Shenlong multiplier faster. Epiphany Desert Shroud will be reserved as a Toughness boost for high density and elite fights, while the cheap Mantra of Salvation Agility can be activated liberally for a brief Toughness spike. Dashing Strike will serve multiple purposes: the natural role of a defensive mobility skill, a means to proc Focus and Restraint (because of the Raiment 4-piece bonus that turns it into a spender), and a tool to increase attack speed with the Radiance rune.
Fists of Thunder is the primary damage source of the build, taking advantage of the Static Charge debuff mechanic and distributing it with deadly efficiency in high density fights. Best applied to enemies with the full, triple hit succession of hits, the Static Charge debuff will stay on affected enemies for a generous 6-second duration, allowing you ample time to spread the hurt with your other generator.
Way of the Hundred Fists is your bread and butter skill when fighting large packs of enemies, with the Fists of Fury damage over time providing a consistent trigger to the core damage dealer, Fists of Thunder. Way of the Hundred Fists sports some of the highest proc coefficients in the Monk arsenal, helping the proc-dependent spread of the Static Charge debuff better than any other skill for the competing slot.
Mobility is arguably one of the greatest assets when pushing the Leaderboards, and Monks are blessed with the most fluid movement tool of all — Dashing Strike. A charge-based skill on a low cooldown, it will allow you to skip areas and entire fights. With two charges stored by default you can cover good distances, or open a favorable engagement with the Attack Speed bonuses of the Radiance rune. Notice that due to the 4-piece of the Raiment set, Dashing Strike will also consume Spirit — an aspect you will utilise solely for the spender requirement of Focus and Restraint.
With a generously low cooldown allowing for near permanence, Breath of Heaven adds great utility to the build. The base healing effect is eclipsed by the Spirit generation utility of the Infused with Light rune, which more than doubles the resource regeneration potential of your primary attack. In short, this will translate into a lightning-fast reserve fill, and quicker Shenlong amplification.
To solidify our defenses, we take Mantra of Salvation to passively increase all resistances by 20%, and add 35% dodge chance through the Agility rune. Its active component further increases resistances for a brief duration, and despite its Spirit cost it can be liberally used because of your naturally quick resource build up. When playing in groups with Sunwuko EP Monks, this skill can be replaced by Mantra of Retribution for the passive attack speed bonus of the rune Transgression, synergistic with many popular attack speed-dependent builds: including yours, HotA Barbarians and Carnevil Witch Doctors. Finally, when you are supported by a Proc Crusader, you will easily reach relevant IAS breakpoints due to Laws of Valor, and it will make more sense for you to run another defensive skill like Serenity Ascension or a knockback proc with Mystic Ally Earth Ally.
Epiphany is the longest cooldown in the build, compensating with a tremendous survivability boost in return. The skill 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 Shenlong bonuses are quickly maxed out. And most important of all, the Desert Shroud rune strengthens your defenses with 50% damage reduction while active. If the long downtimes in this CDR-less setup feel uncomfortable, you can trade it for the short duration invulnerability of Serenity Ascension. The tradeoff is the sustain damage reduction of Epiphany vs. the high spike prevention of Serenity.
This concludes the overview of the Active Skills, now let us look through the Passives.
A mainstay in the Monk arsenal of passives, Harmony fuels your All Resistance with 40% of the single elemental resistance per piece of gear. (E.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.
Working into the Shenlong set bonus that scales off your Spirit reserve, you will be taking Exalted Soul to directly increasing your damage by expanding your resource pool with 50 Spirit. The Spirit regeneration aspect is just an added bonus.
Two attack speed oriented passives round out your passives selection. Seize the Initiative provides you with a temporary attack speed increase when engaging enemies over 75% health, resulting in faster Spirit generation for more Static Charge damage. As you get more comfortable with the build, you will learn to draw the attention of additional enemies or freshly spawned boss adds to effectively extend the benefits from Seize the Initiative. Alacrity is another offensive fit for the build, adding a 15% separate attack speed multiplier to your Spirit Generators and directly translating into better damage through the faster buildup of resource for Shenlong.
A strongly recommended option for a fifth passive if you manage to obtain a well-rolled Hellfire Amulet is The Guardian's Path — one of the best defensive passives at the Monk's disposal when dual-wielding, offering a substantial 35% dodge chance increase. Working alongside the dodge bonuses from Agility, it will be the optimal passive choice for physical attacks protection in high density maps. If you play hardcore, or feel like you are receiving more one shots than sustained damage, you can swap it out for the cheat death Near Death Experience.
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, Static Charge monks are snapshotting temporary buffed damage values from the Fists of Fury DoT into a damage increase for single target fights like non-adds Rift Guardians. Credit to Davlok of the us.battle.net forums for discovering the method:
- Rift Guardian spawns. Seize the Initiative would activate for a considerable period.
- Activate Dashing Strike Radiance for a burst of attack speed.
- Attack with Fists of Thunder until your Flying Dragon procs, essentially doubling your attack speed.
- Attack with Fists of Fury until you reach the maximum DoT stacks. While not explicitly stated in the skill, the maximum stacks are ( 9 )*(Sheet-APS). Putting it simply, this requires 5 three-strike combos from Fists of Fury, or about 2 seconds of holding down the button at the 5 APS cap.
- Attack with Fists of Thunder, alternating with Fists of Fury once every 2.5 seconds to refresh the DoT duration.
Note that this tactic may be perceived as exploitative by the development team and might not survive future patches.
Best in Slot Gear and Alternatives
Taking the Raiment of a Thousand Storms set a step further than the fire-based Mangle setup, you will be utilising the 4-piece bonus to amp your Spirit Generator attack speed and damage with powerful, separate multipliers. The necessary pieces are the Mantle of the Upside-Down Sinners, Fists of Thunder, Heart of the Crashing Wave and Eight-Demon Boots, and you will be aiming for high Vitality, Life %, Armor and secondary resistances across the board. While this guide will not delve into the specifics of breakpoint chasing, Attack Speed is an important stat for Static Charge Monks, and the rule of thumb is reaching 1.9 attacks per second in your sheet, taking into account the Enchantress with her Focused Mind buff. This will provide optimal uptime of your cubed Flying Dragon procs, and also puts you at the 5.0 attacks per second cap during a proc. Finally, a perfected Fists of Thunder glove would include Stun on Hit in the secondary stats, allowing for a trigger to the cubed Ancient Parthan Defenders.
With no necessary defensive or utility jewelry, the Static Charge Monk takes easy advantage of the dominating offensive ring combo — the Bastions of Will set, Focus and Restraint. This ring set adds an impressive 2.25 independent damage multiplier as long as you alternate between a primary and spender attacks; to take advantage of it, weave Dashing Strike at least once every 5 seconds in your generator spam.
Completing the jewelry, you have a number of options for the amulet slot. Arguably your best option would be a well rolled Hellfire Amulet of Dexterity, with a synergistic fifth passive like The Guardian's Path. You could also attempt a safety route and make yourself immune to a source of elemental damage, for example by using Mara's Kaleidoscope. A third decent option would be the ranged damage reducing Eye of Etlich. Regardless of your choice, the desired stats are Crit Chance, Crit Damage, an open Socket, and Lightning elemental damage.
With so much reliance on Spirit generation for high damage output, it is no wonder that an Eye of Peshkov is considered best in slot as the helm piece of the Static Charge setup. Halving your Breath of Heaven cooldown, this piece and Paragon points alone will allow you over 80% uptime of the skill. Note that the range of the unique property is painfully wide (38-50%), so maximizing the benefits from Eye of Peshkov can be quite hard, as you also want a Maximum Spirit roll in the secondaries.
Introduced in Season 3, the Spirit Guards bracers will multiply your damage reduction by 40% for 3 seconds after using a Spirit Generator — functionally a permanent bonus for this dual primary build. Stacking with your other sources of damage mitigation, these bracers will add sorely needed survivability to this melee setup. Similarly to the helm, this bracer has a significant range of the unique bonus (30-40%), so try to obtain the maximum without sacrificing Lightning damage, Dexterity, Vitality and Crit Chance.
The most desirable belt for a Static Charge Monk is the glass cannon champion, The Witching Hour. Naturally sporting the unusual combination of Attack Speed and Crit Damage, the best-in-slot rolls would also include Freeze on Hit in the secodary stats, also triggering Ancient Parthan Defenders. The soloing alternative (as noted below) is String of Ears — infinitely easier to obtain, but sacrificing some of your pushing potential. In groups with attack speed boosting Crusaders, your optimal belt becomes Thundergod's Vigor, rolling with up to 15% Lightning Damage.
Though present for a long time, Depth Diggers have only recently begun to shine with the emergence of Monk generator builds. Uniquely targeted at primary skills that generate resource, these pants can bump your output with up to a 100% additive damage increase. Remember that this slot can roll damage % for primary skill, so in group settings where Toughness is supplemented by party members, you can roll the guaranteed All Resistance into additional Fists of Thunder %.
The mandatory weapon set for the build is Shenlong's Spirit, Shenlong's Fist of Legend and Shenlong's Relentless Assault. These fist weapons have been reworked into multiplying your damage by 1.5% for each point of Spirit you have, and upon reaching your maximum reserve will irreversibly deplete it, forcing you to rebuild the damage bonuses as quickly as possible. This necessary weakness is offset by another 100% damage multiplier, ensuring top tier viability of the build. The desired fourth primary stat on both weapons is Life per Hit, and it is highly desired they both have additional Spirit in their secondaries. Perfected secondaries include either Freeze or Stun on Hit.
Imperfect Gear Variation
With its steep gear requirements asking for savagely rare secondary stats alongside perfected primaries, the Static Charge Monk can be hard to optimize for top 10 performance. A less demanding and GR70+ capable build can be pulled off with the following modifications:
- Replacing Eye of Peshkov with The Eye of the Storm, a spirit stone that is able to roll up to 30% additional Lightning damage.
- Replacing The Witching Hour with String of Ears — a Toughness powerhouse, this piece reduces melee damage by up to 30%, somewhat bridging the gap left by the Ancient Parthan Defenders absence at the cost of The Witching Hour damage.
- Cubing Eye of Peshkov instead of Ancient Parthan Defenders to maintain high uptime on Breath of Heaven.
Stat Priorities per Gear Slot
To help you with farming the gear you need for your builds, we have two very useful guides that you can access by clicking the links below: a Salvage Guide to help you quickly check whether or not you can safely salvage a piece of gear and a Legendary Farming Guide to help you efficiently farm legendaries and set items.
- Bane of the Trapped is a potent source of additional damage, as it is its own multiplier in your total damage calculation. The gem will be procced primarily by itself through the level 25 property when in melee range, where the Static Charge Monk fights by default.
- Simplicity's Strength offers a rare mixture of DPS and healing, adding up with skill damage bonuses from gear into a skill damage multiplication source for your generators. Upgrading with a steady pace of half a percent per gem level, it quickly becomes a priority and a fixture in your gem choices. Its healing secondary effect is roughly equivalent to a Life per Hit roll on your gear, essentially providing a free primary recovery stat.
- Introduced in Season 4, Bane of the Stricken occupies the third and final jewelry socket. 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 Static Charge Monk is not an exception, and Bane of the Stricken is considered a great addition to the setup.
- Pain Enhancer is a decent substitute in the setup, allowing more freedom in the primary rolls of your gear as its attack speed increasing property will easily cap you to the maximum in good density maps. This will allow you to roll off IAS from rings and use the Blinding Speed rune of Dashing Strike, adding a lot of survivability to the setup. While less consistent than either of the Bane gems because of monster dependency, it is a definite runner up for the competing gem slots.
|Torso and Pants|
- Cubing the Flying Dragon provides you with one of the strongest weapon procs in the game: a chance to double your attack speed with a separate multiplier, an incomparable bonus for a build that benefits so much from IAS.
- Triggered by stuns and (inexplicably) freeze effects, Ancient Parthan Defenders are the best-in-slot option for the cubed armor piece — as long as secondary crowd control stats are present in the correct gear slots. The powerful damage reduction effect is dependent on density, but is stronger in the correct circumstances and does not sacrifice damage potential from the belt. As noted above, imperfect gear setups best stick to cubing Eye of Peshkov and using The Eye of the Storm as a replacement helm instead.
- Functioning exactly as if you wore it, the Unity ring offers unparalleled damage reduction when paired with another on the follower, plus an immortality item for him (i.e. Smoking Thurible). In multiplayer, where splitting damage with a follower is not an option, it is recommended that you use Convention of Elements instead.
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.
- 12 Jan. 2015: Build is no longer viable in Patch 2.4.
- 16 Oct. 2015: Updated the guide to include more information about perfected gear and high Greater Rift strategies.
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