Monk Mystic Allies Build Guide for Challenge Rifts
Meant to deal with the scaling difficulty of challenge rifts in Diablo Immortal, this build for the Monk class aims to balance one's survivability, speed, and single-target damage with the Mystic Allies skill.
Carefully balancing between survivability, single target competence and massive AoE damage dealing, this build is meant to support the Monk in the scaling difficulties of Challenge Rift attempts. It balances the single-target effectiveness of Mystic Allies and Seven-Sided Strike with the AoE-oriented trash killing detonations of Exploding Palm — all while maintaining superb speed and evasion with Mystic Strike.
If you are interested in approaching a different type of content, please see our other Monk builds below.
With the way enemy health increases in Challenge Rifts, it is important to learn to lead monster pulls into one another — forming large groups of tightly packed enemies to cleave down simultaneously. Of course, monster damage scales just as dangerously, so learning not to overstep your survivability thresholds is just as important of a skill to learn. Rotation-wise, you will be using Mystic Strike to scout around the Rift, aggroing monsters into large enough groups to lay waste on with cooldowns. Once you have a good pull going, Mystic Strike into them to clump them up (if necessary), and apply Exploding Palm to the weaker of the bunch. The Bleed DoT will start ticking, but you needn't wait for their eventual demise; instead, detonate them with a carefully placed Seven-Sided Strike. This will lead to a chain reaction, which should chunk — or outright kill — the pull you have formed. On any remaining tougher targets, like Elites or Bosses, use Mystic Allies' super single-target damage to clean up the battle. Then, assess the situation and either repeat the rotation outlined above, or finish the remaining target(s) with Fists of Thunder. When dealing with a protracted fight, hold down your Primary Attack to chip away at the boss while waiting on cooldowns.
Skills and Alterations
Primary Skill: Fists of Thunder is the Primary Attack dedicated to dishing out single-target damage, as it comboes down a chosen enemy and, more importantly, has built-in dashing mechanics that allow you to stick to that particular target. When facing down singular, highly mobile targets (the vast majority of PvE situations, and especially in PvP), this should be your Primary Attack of choice.
Single-Target Damage Dealer: Mystic Allies excel at pummeling down a priority target, making them ideal for content featuring protracted single-target fights — particularly Challenge Rifts and Raids, where time spent fighting the Boss can no longer be ignored as a factor. Note that you have to contend with pet AI when you plan the fight with your summons, and try to eliminate as many distractions (elite minions, boss adds, etc.) before popping the Allies' cooldown — this will help them beeline towards the correct enemy.
AoE Damage Dealer: Seven-Sided Strike is equally formidable as a multi-target skill as it is on single targets, providing a rare combination of heavy damage and versatility that makes it all but a mandatory inclusion in damage-oriented Monk builds. On top of its all-around strength, it has the added benefit of making you untargetable — and thus immune to damage — during its animation, enabling a third use case: as a "panic" button against an incoming heavy attack. Seven-Sided Strike is best used in conjunction with Exploding Palm, in order to ensure the demise of the Bleeding target and trigger the detonation.
- Alternative: When playing in groups, consider altering this slot to Inner Sanctuary. Inner Sanctuary is one of the most adaptable, utility-laden skills in the Monk repertoire — but has a humongous cooldown to counter-balance its positives. This ability is best used defensively and when doing progression content (i.e. Challenge Rifts) — where increasingly harder-hitting enemies turn survival into a decisive factor for your success just as much, if not more, as your actual damage dealt. It can also be adapted to AoE damage dealing with Solace of the Peaks, or to a group-wide damage buff with Empathy's Blessing.
Secondary AoE Damage Dealer: Exploding Palm is one of the hardest hitting abilities in the Monk's arsenal, synergizing with the strong crowd control and monster pulling options available for the class for powerful, screen-clearing detonations of trash enemies. In order to trigger its detonation effect more quickly and reliably, Exploding Palm greatly benefits from the inclusion of a hard-hitting, instant nuke ability, such as Wave Of Light or Seven-Sided Strike.
Mobility: Mystic Strike is one of the strongest mobility tools in the game, and certainly the best at the Monk's disposal. Its excellent range, reasonable cooldown and triple charges available by default allow you to maneuver around a fight at will to the best possible position. It can serve as an opener in combat, closing the gap to your enemy and pulling them together; it can be used as an emergency dodge from incoming attacks, blinking you well away from danger; and it can be popped to avoid or skip combat altogether, leaving your foes hopelessly behind. Needless to say, it should be included in all builds where mobility is a consideration (so pretty much any build, really).
- Alternative: When playing in groups, consider altering this slot to Imprisoned Fist to add another source of crowd control to the party. You will maintain reasonable mobility by altering the skill with Rising Tide, which adds a movement aspect to Imprisoned Fist.
- Alternative: When soloing, if you need to pack more survivability or damage in your build over mobility, you can consider altering this slot to Shield of Zen or Wave Of Light. Shield of Zen can pull you through the worst of incoming enemy damage, particularly as you start pushing against the upper limits of your toughness. Wave Of Light is another AoE powerhouse you can add on top of Seven-Sided Strike.
Equipment is split into Primary (right side of character screen) and Secondary (left side).
Primary equipment includes the Main-hand, Off-hand, Head, Shoulders, Chest, and Legs slots of your character sheet. These slots can — and should — be filled by Legendary items, since their legendary powers and ability to be socketed with Legendary gems vastly overpowers lower tier gear. Of course, these slots will be temporarily filled with Common (Grey), then Magic (Blue), and then Rare (Yellow) gear, before graduating into Legendaries (Golden).
The suggested Legendaries for Challenge Rift Mystic Allies Monks are:
- Main-hand: Rod of Echoes &mdmash; This legendary main-hand weapon decreases the cooldown of Mystic Allies by 15%, and can be further Awakened to bolster their Health by 10%. Shortening the considerable Mystic Allies cooldown and making their single-target prowess more readily available is a welcome addition to the build.
- Off-hand: Scolding Storm — This legendary off-hand brings an additional Chilling effect upon the use of Exploding Palm, slowing enemies down and increasing survivability as a result. In a group alteration of this build, you can consider using Respite's Sigh for the extended duration of Inner Sanctuary.
- Head: The Open Mind — This legendary helm has a simple, straightforward and very valuable power — percentage-based increase to the damage of Mystic Allies, and can be further Awakened to increase the summons' Life. Another option is to use Crippling Insight for the additional charge of Exploding Palm. Alternatives for group play are Solace of the Peaks and Empathy's Blessing, both of which enhance the effect of Inner Sanctuary in different, but very strong, ways.
- Shoulders: Discipline's Weight — These legendary shoulders provide a simple, yet undeniably strong percentage-based increase to Seven-Sided Strike, and can be further Awakened to reduce the skill's cooldown. In group play, use Rising Tide instead — it brings a helpful mobility aspect to Imprisoned Fist.
- Chest: Breath of Incense — This legendary chest piece is a cornerstone piece of the playstyle, as it allows Seven-Sided Strike to trigger the Exploding Palm explosion when it kills Bleeding enemies. For group play, you can also consider Disciplined Respite, as it reduces Inner Sanctuary's cooldown by 15%, with the option to further Awaken it for 10% more CDR.
- Legs: Companion's Melody — These legendary pants increase the duration of the Mystic Allies summons by 25%, and when further Awakened will reduce the skill's cooldown by 10%. You need all the single-target damage you can get, so making the Allies more readily available is a tremendous boon to the build.
Secondary equipment includes the Amulet, Rings, Hands, Waist, and Feet slots of your character sheet. These slots can — and should — be filled with Set items, since the bonuses they form once completed vastly overpowers lower tier gear. Of course, these slots will be temporarily filled with Common (Grey), then Magic (Blue), and then Rare (Yellow) gear, before graduating into Sets (Green). Secondary equipment can only be socketed with Normal gems.
The recommended set for Challenge Rift Mystic Allies Monks is Feasting Baron's Pack, which increases the duration of crowd control on enemies and increases damage dealt to affected opponents. The set consists of:
- The Gaoler (Waist) — Farmed at Temple of Namari in difficulty Hell I and above.
- The Tyrant (Feet) — Farmed at Cavern of Echoes in difficulty Hell I and above.
- The Mailed Fist (Hands) — Farmed at Kikuras Rapids in difficulty Hell II and above.
- The Subjugator (Neck) — Farmed at Destruction's End in difficulty Hell II and above.
- The Turnkey (Ring 1) — Farmed at Tomb of Fahir in difficulty Hell IV and above.
- The Prisoner (Ring 2) — Farmed at Forgotten Tower in difficulty Hell IV and above.
The 6-piece set bonus of Feasting Baron's Pack is as follows:
- 2-piece Set Bonus: Increases the duration of your abilities that cause loss of control by 30%.
- 4-piece Set Bonus: Increases damage done from all sources by 15% to enemies suffering under your loss of control effects.
- 6-piece Set Bonus: Unleash a nova of ice each time you defeat an enemy afflicted by your loss of control effects, dealing damage to nearby enemies and Freezing them for 4 seconds. Cannot occur more often than once every 40 seconds.
Improving your attributes in Diablo Immortal generally revolves around increasing the total amount of Combat Rating, or CR. Every primary attribute point (Strength, Fortitude, Vitality, Willpower, and Intelligence) grants you 1 point of CR.
The priority attribute for Monks is Strength, which gives +0.3 Damage per point; given otherwise identical options, use the one with higher Strength to increase your DPS. Second in the priority order is Fortitude, which adds to your Armor Penetration — indirectly increasing damage dealt by also improving your crit chance. This attribute suffers from diminishing returns due to crit caps, but is still quite valuable. Third in the priority order is Vitality, which simply increases your Life total; the longer you can stave off death, the better.
Stat priority order and stat benefits for Monks are as follows:
- 1. Strength — Grants +0.3 Damage to Monks, and +1 to your total CR.
- 2. Fortitude — Grants +0.1 Armor Penetration, which affects your crit chance. It also grants +0.1 Armor; Armor increases your Block chance, and blocking attacks mitigates 20% of the damage dealt. More mitigation is never amiss, and even more so when dealing with riskier content like the Helliquary. It also adds +1 to your total CR.
- 3. Vitality — Grants +3 Life; the more you can add to your total health pool, the better. This is especially true for melee classes like the Monk, as they are frequently in the thick of the fight and endure hits head on. This attribute also adds +1 to your total CR.
- 4. Willpower — Grants +0.1 Potency and 0.1 Resistance. Potency increases the duration of harmful effects that you inflict on your foes. Resistance lowers the duration of harmful effects inflicted by your enemies on you. This attribute also adds +1 to your total CR.
- 5. Intelligence — Grants +1 CR. This attribute does nothing else for Monks, and should be avoided as much as possible.
Secondary (Special) Attributes
You should not put an emphasis on Special Attributes when considering between gear pieces. This is due to the overpowering importance of Primary Attributes and your CR total. That being said, the better Special Attributes are the two Crit Stats (Critical Hit Chance and Critical Hit Damage), Cooldown Reduction, Beneficiary Effect Duration, and Movement Speed. You can also consider Increased Damage to Players for PvP gear.
Pieces of Primary Gear that you upgrade at the Blacksmith attain up to three additional Bonus Attributes for Reforging at Ranks 6, 11, and 16. These Bonus Attributes belong to "families" (outlined and ranked below); a Family Bonus can be unlocked if all three Bonus Attributes are from the same family. Multiple Primary Gear pieces can have the same Family Bonus to improve your proc chance. The process of Reforging is done with the Reforge Stone consumable. Note that only Primary Gear pieces can be reforged; Secondary Gear pieces cannot. For Monks, priority Bonus Attributes are:
- 1. Tremor Stone is the most valuable bonus for general content, as its Family Bonus adds a crowd control proc and extra damage to your Primary Attacks.
- 2. Vengeance Stone brings a single target-oriented Family Bonus that becomes increasingly important as you push the difficulty of the content you are doing, i.e. Challenge Rifts. Pair it with high Attack Speed choices like Fists of Thunder to have a chance at finishing off Boss fights within the timer.
- 3. Wildfire Stone is mostly valuable due to its innate attributes, as it brings valuable Critical Hit Chance to the table. The Hydra summon from the Family Bonus is mostly an extra minion to soak up damage.
- 4. Barrier Stone has a Family Bonus that brings some much needed mitigation to Monks, a class that face-tanks all of its damage. The absorption shield is paired with some excellent innate attributes like Damage Taken Decreased and Block Chance, which further reduce incoming hurt.
- 5. Jolt Stone offers situationally valuable bonuses; it has Beneficial Effect Duration Increased as an innate attribute, which is decent for groups, and a Cheat Death proc which is never amiss when soloing content. Its Family Bonus brings soft CC to attackers, which is decent mostly for PvP.
- 6. Ravager Stone offers summoner-oriented innate attributes that are all but useless to Monks (unless you hyper-specialize in the Mystic Allies summons). Its Family Bonus requires enemies to be slain to proc, significantly diminishing its usefulness when doing progression content like Challenge Rift bosses and Helliquary.
Normal and Legendary Gems
As per tradition for Diablo games, socketed gear allows you to insert beneficial gems according to your needs. In Diablo Immortal, gems are divided between Normal Gems (socketable in Secondary Gear) and Legendary Gems (socketable in Primary Gear).
Normal Gems can only be socketed in Secondary Gear. Normal gems are divided into Red, Blue and Yellow sockets, and their priority is listed below. Priority-wise, gems are decent power increases to your character, but should never come at the cost of Primary Attributes and your CR score. Go for Red and Blue gems over Yellow if possible, as they provide a stronger bonus overall.
- Red Sockets: Prioritize Tourmaline as it provides a straight Damage increase. Ruby is also decent for the Life increase, but only if you lack Tourmalines.
- Blue Sockets: Prioritize Sapphire, which increases your Armor Penetration, and your Critical Hit Chance stat as a result. Note that Crit Chance provided from Sapphires has diminishing returns, capping out at 33%; when benefits from ArPen get too insignificant, swap to Aquamarine. Aquamarine provides Armor, which is a decent source of damage mitigation.
- Yellow Sockets: Prioritize Citrine for the Potency gains, increasing the duration of harmful effects you inflict on enemies; however small its benefits, they trump the Resistance effects provided from Topaz.
Legendary Gems can only be socketed in Primary Gear. They provide unique and very powerful bonuses on top of a robust stack of stat increases. Legendary Gems are found in Elder Rifts enhanced by the Crest consumables, as well as through crafting at the Jeweler in Westmarch.
Early on in Monk character progression, you should use common, 1- and 2-Star Legendary Gems like:
- Fervent Fang — Can be obtained from the Battle Pass, saving you some Crests. Provides a stacking damage increase against a target with successive attacks; great for single target damage.
- Everlasting Torment — For the mere cost of a critical hit, this gem inflicts a considerable DoT and an Attack Speed increase to boot. Even at a low quality, this gem starts off with incredible stats and fits nicely from the get-go.
- Chained Death — This is a great early game gem, especially during farming where you usually pull hordes of enemies to maximize your AoE skills. It amplifies your damage the more enemies you fight, encouraging chaining fights together.
- Lightning Core — Despite its low proc chance, this damage-dealing gem can wipe out entire packs when activated, or focus down a larger foe, making it a decent addition to you legendary gem lineup.
- Power & Command— Since you will frequently interweave Primary Attacks in between popping Ability cooldowns, you will always have some part of the alternating bonuses of this gem going.
- Berserker's Eye — This gem increases damage dealt at the cost of an increase in damage taken. For most of the farming PvE content, this is a reasonable trade-off that you can feasibly mitigate with the Monk's strong sources of shielding.
When perfecting your character for endgame content, the 5-Star Best-in-Slot Legendary Gems for Monks include:
- Blood-Soaked Jade — With its Damage and Movement Speed increases, it is largely considered to be the best legendary gem in the game for pretty much all forms of content.
- Seeping Bile — The value of this gem scales with the number of attacks you inflict, fitting nicely with the screen-wide pulling capabilities of Monks. With a considerable damage proc and a spreading effect, it is one of the best additions to your legendary gem lineup.
- Frozen Hearth — With percentage-based mitigation against ranged damage, this is one of the strongest defensive legendary gems you can support your character with.
- Howler's Call — Triggered off Primary Attacks, this legendary gem supplements the lacking ranged attack arsenal of Monks with a hard-hitting ranged proc.
- Blessing of the Worthy — Monks thrive at melee ranges and sustain a lot of attacks, making the retaliation proc of this gem quite valuable. Note its scaling off maximum Life, which turns the Monk's considerable health pool into a makeshift nuke.
- Chip of Stone Flesh — This is a PvP powerhouse of a gem, inflicting hard CC and increasing damage dealt on affected targets. It also provides decent value for progression content.
Paragon Points are character-specific progression system that allows you to advance in power after you reach maximum level. Each level gives you a Paragon point to spend into currently available nodes on the five Paragon Trees. While Paragon Trees are specialized for certain tasks, you should always keep in mind the tenets of character building — increasing damage and mitigation as much as you can. With that in mind, focus down the Vanquisher tree first, pick up the experience bonus from the Treasure Hunter tree, pick up whatever is useful from the Gladiator tree, and finish off with the group powerhouse of the Soldier tree. Always keep in mind that the (circular) Persistent Attributes are always active once leveled, but the (square) Specialization Skills are only applied when their respective Paragon Tree is active.
- Vanquisher Tree: The offense focus of this tree makes it the best starting point for all characters. It is recommended that you start with the middle row, maxing out Damage and picking up Zeal. Go down the bottom row, maxing out Damage and picking up Wrath. Finally, go along the top row, maxing out Potency, putting the point in Exorcism, and finishing off with Deeper Pockets and Heart of Wrath. This puts you at Paragon level 49.
- Treasure Hunter Tree: This tree unlocks at Paragon 50 and focuses on rewarding you more for your grinding efforts, making it an attractive mid-progression pickup. Go through the middle row, maxing Armor to attain Swift Learner. Then go on straight by maxing out the Damage node. This puts you at Paragon 70.
- Go back to the Vanquisher Tree. Max out the Life nodes in the mid row that follow Zeal, and put one point in Judgment to finish off that row. Then, go to the bottom row and put 3 points into Armor Penetration, which puts you exactly at Paragon 99.
- Right around this point, you have a decision to make. If you focus on PvE content, you should divert your attention back to the Survivor Tree — the other tree unlocked by default. Start out by maxing Life, picking up a point in Unyielding and progressing downwards. Max out Armor, then through the middle row — taking Escape Artist, additional Life, and Precognition along the way. Finish off with the coveted Damage increase. If you focus on PvP content, you should focus on the Gladiator Tree instead; this tree unlocks at Paragon 100, and offers brawling-oriented bonuses. Start off with maxing Armor Penetration, picking Uncontrollable right after it and continuing upwards. Max out Life, attain Quick Witted, and go into maxing Resistance and the second Life node. Get the Cheat Death right above the Life node. Finish with the consistently desirable Damage.
- At this point, you are hovering around the Paragon 180-185 point. One thing to consider is going back to the Vanquisher Tree to finish off the bottom right Armor Penetration node. You can also divert to the Treasure Hunter Tree to grab Gold Find and its subsequent Armor Penetration node. Alternatively, if you group up a lot, you can tab over to the Soldier Tree. This tree unlocks at Paragon 150 and is focused on grouping bonuses and provides tremendous utility for most modes of play. Take Hold Formation and head down to Resistance, then even further down into Damage. Attain the full bottom row — Battle Morale into Armor Penetration into Sacrifice. Then, finish off the middle row with Combat Veteran and Potency. Finally, go through the top row of Life and First Aid.
It is important to reiterate that your utmost priority is picking up all the damage nodes you can, deviating into one tree or another only to further that goal. Secondary valuable pickups are found in Armor Penetration and Life nodes. Once you are done with leveling all the Damage nodes, you are free to fill out Paragon trees as you see fit, as well as to activate specific Trees for the needs of the content you are doing.
When you turn in Bestiary pages, you will receive a class-specific consumable. For Monks, this item is the Incense Candle, which increases Magic Find for you and your allies by 5% for 20 minutes. There's no reason to be stingy with its use, especially when you engage in party activities and/or content with potentially valuable rewards, such as dungeons with highly-sought set pieces.
- 30 May 2022: Guide created.
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