The Book of Five Traditions: A Monk Handbook

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The Book of Five Traditions: A Monk Handbook
 


(artwork by Eric Belisle)

Overview
Monks are a cool, but potentially confusing, class.  This guide will try to point out the promise and the pitfalls of the 4th edition monk, without any focus on "flavor."  Fighting monks in the real world come/came in a huge variety of flavors, so I'm not going to pretend to know what flavor you would like to play.

So Why Play a Monk?

Here are a few things that I feel make the Monk special and thus worthy of consideration:

Monks have unusual attack options - Monks are at their best when they are attacking/damaging multiple oppenents.  Monks get a lot of burst powers, and are one of the only strikers with a striker feature that affects multiple opponents.

Monks are mobile - Monks are most mobile class in the game out of the box. Each at-will and encounter power gives a monk extra movement choices, some of which are frighteningly good.  

Monks are tactically rewarding - Some degree of tactics is required to play a monk  because of its focus on being a mobile, multi-attacking Striker.  

Monks come in all favors - Monks, like in the real world, can be made to fit most flavors of unarmored fighter.  For example, you could be a unarmed monk like in the Kung Fu TV series or a sword-wielding, Japenese-style, charging monk.

Weaknesses of the Monk
Monks have a lot of strengths, but also a few weaknesses that should be built around.

Most Traditions aren't terribly good at single target damage - Although monks can be made to do good single-target damage, a monk's best powers and their striker class feature are made to hurt multiple opponents.  As a result, monks should either: 1) look at how they could increase single-target damage, or 2) simply embrace their multi-attacking nature.

Monks can get themselves in trouble -  Everything about the monk screams: "beat on me!"  Monks attack multiple oppenents for solid damage, which means that multiple opponents will likely be trying to kill the monk.  In addition,  the monk's extreme mobility and even a monk's great dexterity can get the monk in unfortunate positions.  As a result, monks should put some effort into their defenses.

Hybrid - For the most part, Monk hybrids get all the essential benefits of being a Monk and often can fix AC to Monk+Unarmored Agility levels by spending their Hybrid Talent feat on the Armor feat of the other class. There are two specific reasons that you wouldn't want to hybrid: You want to build your build on online character builder and it currently doesn't list specific traditions other than Centered Breath or Stone Fist or you plan to optimize around Blurred Ki Focus and want your multi-attacks or minor action attacks to trigger off the use of Blurred Ki Focus twice in one round.

Non-Standard Action Attacks - Monks lack for the most part attacks that are Minor Action or Immediate action Encounter options. They have some unusual multi-attack powers.

The guide will use the following rating system
Gold - A must have.  You're literally hurting your character if you don't take this
Sky blue - "Very Strong" - An exceptionally strong choice. 
Blue - "Strong"- A solid choice but nothing awe-inspiring. 
Black - "Average" -This is generally a fairly mediocre choice, or an otherwise good power with a noticable drawback.  Optimizers will try to avoid these, but in most games you won't notice a discrepancy in power level if you go with a few of these. 
Purple - "Weak" This option is weak, underpowered, or very situational.  These choices won't show up in most optimized builds.  
Red - "Very Weak" - Either totally overshadowed by another option, or just completely bad.  These kinds of choices are generally avoided.

Green- "Too variable to rate"- Sometimes something is so variable that giving an overall rating is impossible or misleading.

Glossary


The guide will use the following abbreviations

CA= Combat Advantage
CB= Centered Breath monastic tradition
DW= Desert Wind monastic tradition
ETEternal Tide monastic tradition
FoB = Flurry of Blows
IS=Iron Soul monastic tradition
MBA= Melee basic attack
NAD= Non-AC defense
SF=Stone Fist monastic tradition


The guide covers the following 4e sources

Sources

AP - Arcane Power
AV - Adventurer's Vault
AV2 - Adventurer's Vault 2
D XXX - Dragon Magazine, issue XXX
DMA 2009 - Dragon Magazine Annual 2009
DP - Divine Power
FRPG - Forgotten Realms Player's Guide\
HFL- Hereos of the Fallen Lands
HoEC- Heroes of Elemental Chaos
MM - Monster Manual
MM2 - Monster Manual 2
MOTP - Manual of the Planes
MP - Martial Power
MP2 - Martial Power 2
PHB - Player's Handbook
PHB2 - Player's Handbook 2
PHB3 - Player's Handbook 3
PHR: DB - Player's Handbook Races: Dragonborn
PHR: TF - Player's Handbook Races: Tieflings
PHH1 - Player's Handbook Heroes: Series 1
PHH2 - Player's Handbook Heroes: Series 2
PP - Primal Power
PsiP - Psionic Power


Note: This handbook would not be possible without Furious Kender's No Paper Tigers!!!!: The Monk Handbook and is for the most part, his posts directly copied onto here. Over time, significant edits will be made. Here is where I am at in terms of changes

Party Role
Monks are strikers with some controller and defender built into them. Monks are one of the few classes that have clear leanings toward three different roles.

Striker - Monks do ok single target damage for a striker, but most traditions are at their best attacking multiple targets. Desert Wind says otherwise. As for mobility, monks have out of the box mobility that often gives them extremely good positioning. Stone Fist and Iron Souls frequently need more out of the box support than the other styles. They're only Black Strikers because of it.
Controller - Monk are awesome minion killers, but they lack the hard control of a true controller or even a rogue. Eternal Tide and Centered Breath Monks upgrade this significantly because of how easily they can rinse and repeat Flurry of Blows at a distance once Paragon/Epic hit. Stone Fist has some options via feats to make all their daily powers add in both Daze(save ends) and Slow(save ends)
Defender - Monks can have great defenses, frequently as good or better than the party defender. This makes them very durable. Monk tactics also encourage mobs to attack them. Iron Souls can further develop this monk tendancy to become solid secondary defenders.
Leader - This is the only role that monks have no leaning toward. 


Baseline Mechanics
HP and Surges - These are standard for strikers. Iron Soul have constitution as a secondary ability, which gives them a significant boost in durability.
Proficiencies - No armor and a few simple weapons, but an awesome assortment of implements. Fortunately, monks do fine with these.
AC - Dexterity as a primary and Unarmored Defense means you'll start with a decent striker AC. Iron Soul get a +1 shield bonus if they aren't unarmed, which gives them nearly defender-level AC. With feat support, monks can get an AC that is better than most defenders. 
NAD Defenses
- You get a +1 to all your NADs. Centered Breath and Stone Fist both get a scaling bonus to their weakest defense. Your NADs should be strong.
Other Defensive Bonuses - Desert Wind gets scaling fire resist. Eternal Tide gets to reduce forced movement like a Dwarf, and then shift.

Class Features
Unarmed Combatant - Your weapon-based unarmed attacks are as good as a longsword. Except all your powers are implement-based and you gain benefits from holding weapons. Most builds won't ever use this feature, and even then it's only going to be for attacks of opportunity. And even if you wanted to use it for AoOs, it isn't clear why you'd cause yourself that many problems.

Flurry of Blows: This is monk's striker class feature, and it's a good one.  Depending on the path you choose, you get different version of the Flurry of Blows power, which is a melee no action attack power. All versions share much in common, triggering once per round on a successful hit you make on your turn, targeting one or more adjacent enemies. There are, however, differences between them. 

A more advanced analysis of tradition-dependant playstyle, tactics and optimization strategies is provided in the tactics section at the end of this guide. 

Traditions

Centered Flurry of Blows: This is the tactical version of Flurry of Blows for Wisdom-focused monks.   It does standard flurry of blow damage, but allows you to slide enemies around into disadvantageous positions, such into burst formations or zones.  Centered Flurry of Blows is awesome with some feat support and/or item support. Goto Move: Slide targets into burst formation with minor action attack, then pound them with a burst.

Stone Fist Flurry of Blows: This is the brute force version of Flurry of Blows for strength-focused monks.  It does 1 more damage than standard for flury of blows, but a little more if it affects a enemy that was not a target of the triggering attack. Basic problem here is that it isn't as good as Eternal Tide for the most part if you're a Str-based Monk and it is much worse at damage than a Desert Wind Monk. It does have the benefit of working properly with hybrids using online character builder...Goto Move: Pick powers that force targets adjacent. Now if only they'd be nice enough to stay there. Loves Furious Bull for this reason. It can spend feats to significantly upgrade its daily attack powers via daze(save ends) and slow(save ends)

Iron Soul Flurry of Blows:  This is the defender version of Flurry of Blows for Constitution-focued monks that use weapons as implements. It does standard flurry of blow damage. It prevents the target from shifting or taking OAs (if it wasn't the target of the triggering attack), which is strong. This is the first tradition that has exclusive riders on powers. While it has hard control, it gets dinged because it doesn't have an easy way of forcing opponents to be next to it. Goto Move: Pick powers that force targets adjacent.


Desert Wind Flurry of Blows: This is the mobile version of Flurry of Blows for Charisma-focused monks.   It does fire-damage flurry of blows and gives you a shift. It can be resisted, yet at the same time it opens up a host of extra damage possibilities with Blurred Ki Focus and any abilities that make targets vulnerable to Fire. If the enemy wasn't targeted by the triggering attack, it gives a -2 penalty to attack with any power that includes you, such as burst attacks. Goto Move: Set up extra fire damage with Blistering Flourish, then do another melee attack, preferably some sort of double-tap power such as Burning Brand, Low Slash, etc... High risk, high reward. Likes fighting Tofu or having a controller in the party to set up positioning.

Eternal Tide Flurry of Blows:  This is another defender version of Flurry of Blows for Strength-focused monks. It does 2 less than standard flurry of blow damage, but it has longer reach and a pull 1. If the enemy wasn't targeted by the triggering attack, they are slowed.  The extended reach and pull allow the monk to target more enemies in bursts attacks on subsequent rounds, which compensates for the lower initial damage.    

 

Ability Scores

Overview

A monk's power is driven primarily by dexterity, with relatively little added power from secondary ability scores (which is different than most 4th edition classes).  Monks have very few feats with ability prerequisites and have relatively few riders on powers, so  they get less out of secondary abilities than other classes.  As a result, I, and most other handbook writers, recommend a preracial 18 in dexterity for monks,  a 14 in the secondary ability (that is determined by monastic tradition) and then an 11 in whatever other score you would like (probably constitution or strength). 


Strength - Secondary stat for Stone Fists and Eternal Tide.  Fairly useful for athletics, multiclassing, and basic attacks.  I recommend a preracial 14-16 for Stone Fists and Eternal Tide.
Constitution - As a striker you still want this decent.  I recommend a 14-16 for Iron Souls, and preracial 10-13 for everyone else.  
Dexterity - This is EVERYTHING.  It affects your to hit, your damage, your defenses, intiative, and some skills.  You want this as high as possible, so I strongly recommend a preracial 18.   
Intelligence - Dump it!  U no need no books!  
Wisdom - The secondary stat for Centered Breaths.  It also is used for some important skills and it boosts the most important NAD.   I recommend a preracial 14-16 for Centered Breaths.
Charisma - The secondary stat for Desert Winds.   It also is used for some important skills and it boosts the most important NAD.   I recommend a preracial 14-16 for Desert Winds. Some Monks might want an eventual +1 modifier here.

Skills
In general, you want to train skills that you are naturally good at to help the party out as much as possible in skill challenges.  However, if your party is lacking a skill that you could train, you might want to pick it up even if you're not a natural in it.   
Class Skills


Acrobatics- This is a useful skill that you will already be good at. Some powers and feats require being trained in it.
Athletics - This helps with mobility, and therefore is useful. However, monks already are so mobile it isn't as essential as with other strikers.
Diplomacy - Unless you are a Desert Wind monk, others will be better at this. Most important social skill, though.
Endurance - This might be useful in some adventures. 
Heal - Centered Breath Monks will be good at this, but this isn't a traditional striker skill.
Insight -Centered Breath Monks will be good at this, but this isn't a traditional striker skill. It is however useful in skill challenges and it is good at picking up a specific 16th level Skill power.
Perception- It's the most used skill, so train it up!
Religion- It's based on a dump stat.  However, some builds may have a use for it.
Stealth - If you train in it, you'll be as good as the Rogue.
Thievery - Train this, perception and stealth and you are the trap monkey. However, it's used less in skill challenges that you might think.

 

 

Non-Class Skills

Arcana- This would require you to read books.   
Bluff - There is nothing worse than a bad liar. 
Dungeoneering - Based on a potential secondary, but it isn't essential 
History - Books again.
Intimidate - There is nothing funnier than someone who only thinks he's scary.
Nature - Based on a potential secondary, but it isn't essential 
Streetwise - Monks don't do drugs

 

The Naturally Talented: Races
In general, you are fine with any race with a dexterity bonus. Elves and humans are my favorite monk races, and they excel equally at all traditions - in particular, they both have the ability to get an almost assured hit.This is crucial to setting up Nova rounds for Monks - DW want to add fire damage to all their melee attacks, ET and CB want to position opponents. Another uber race is Revenant, for its ability to pick up racial abilities(aka Twin Strike). Finally, Pixies are great at positioning themselves for maximum effect. Beyond that, Thri-kreen for Stone Fist and Eternal Tide. For Centered Breath wilden and githzerai. For Iron Soul, halflings. For Desert Wind, halfling, eladrin and satyr.

Main Races

Bladeling: Has perfect stats for a Centered Breath, but no feat supportThe racial attack gives you an additional FoB opportunity if you miss in a given turn.  

Drow: Perfect stats for CB and DW traditions and some tasty racial powers make them good monks.

Changeling: They've got perfect stats for DW, but the rest of the racial powers seem ill-suited for a monk.


Kapak Draconian: Most Dragonborn are still bad, and probably outright Red now due to Dragon 421. Because Kapak Draconians get +2 Dex/Cha as an option and some reasonably useful flight at almost no cost. Very good support without getting stuck without a +2 to Dex is awesome! The online character builder will accidentally give them an additional +2 Cha, so be sure to make sure your stats are accurate.

Eladrin: They have the Dex, long sword prof for free, racial training with all spears, and feat support for heavy blades as implements.  As the Firewind Blade is only a heavy blade, Eladrin are one of the best races for DW monks.

Elf: Perfect stats for Centered Breath, inherent mobility, and free bow training!  What is not to like? Also very good for Desert Wind due to the reroll to make sure Blistering Flourish lands and access to Sarifal Feywarden.
   
Githzerai: Perfect stats for Centered Breath, defensive racial traits, and solid feat support make these one of the best monk races.   As this is also the only race whose culture is built around monks, I wouldn't expect anything less.  Decent heavy blade support also allow the use of the Firewind Blade, which means Githzerai are also decent DW monks.

GnollDex/Con bonuses makes them perfect for Iron Soul.  They have some solid feats and make good chargers. 


Gnome: A dex bonus and a lot of stealth abilities.  Small size doesn't affect monks much, but the slow speed hurts. 

Goblin: Right stats for Centered Breath or Desert Wind, but not a lot of support. They make excellent Centered Breath Monk|Sentinels for their ability to ride their companion, though.  


Half-Elf: You have your choice of two secondary stats and Diletante opens up some nice options. Combining Twin Strike and a Blurred Strike Ki Focus is quite tasty. Ought to be strictly worse than its Revenant Half-Elf cousin, but problem is that feats are usually so incredibly tight that Half-Elf still has value.

Halfling: Perfect stats for IS and DW traditions, solid defensive racial traits, solid racial feats, and no real penalty for being small means that the little people make excellent monks.  

Hengeyokai: Perfect CB or DW stats, high speed and some interesting racials. 
 
HumanA Dex bonus, NAD bonus, and a free feat make humans great monks for any tradition. Heroic Effort makes sure that setup attack works. There's even a spellscar option for adding fire damage to all encounter/daily powers.

Half-Orc:  Perfect stats for a Stone Fist or Iron Soul. Some racial abilities are useful for monks, but racial feats don't match up with monks very well. 

Kobold: Ok IS monks, not a lot of support

Pixie: Dex, tiny size, and at-will flight makes pixies uber monks of any tradition and super uber DW monks.  Just to be clear, you can use close bursts against enemies in your square, which effectively enlarges your close bursts and makes positioning much easier.

Revenant: Perfect IS or DW monks that can qualify for another race's feats is awesome for monks.  This is especially true if that race doesn't have a Dex bonus, like Dragonborn, Genasi, Half-elf and Tiefling.   However, this race is commonly seen as cheesy. Note that Revenant Genasi gain the power with Past Soul, they don't actually gain the manifestation. Which means no Shocking Flame. Also, Revenant Monks who are focused on the racial power tend to be ridiculously expensive from a feat perspective. They're sky blue, but they're not as good as they think they are.

Satyr: Good DW monks, and some ok racial features. Unlike many DW monks, they have the ability to easily slide targets, which can really boost their DPR.


Shadar-Kai:Perfect stats for a Centered Breath, some interesting racial features, and some strong controller feats makes for a solid monk. The need for feat investment on something that will last a round(and uses up your defensive/movement option) can make it complex to put into practice. Very close to Sky Blue.

Shade: There are probably better races for Monk. That said, really not as horrible as its reputation if you're a DW monk. Part of that is that by RAW, One with Shadow can be used out of combat.

Shifter, Razorclaw: Perfect stats for a Centered Breath, and nice defensive boost once bloodied makes for a solid monk.


Thri-Kreen: (DSCS): Perfect stats for Stone Fist and Centered Breath, high speed, low light vision, and useful racial traits and feats all make for an awesome monk race. The racial attack gives you an additional FoB opportunity.

Vryloka: Perfect stats for DW monks, high speed and decent racial ability make for decent monks. Low surge value while bloodied doesn't help though.

Wilden: Perfect stats for a Centered Breath and a choice of solid racial options makes these very good monks. There also is even some racial feat synergy now. 



Other Races

In many cases, the Revenant is nearly strictly better than the actual race.
Deva: Decent racial powers, but no real synergy except for some radiant builds.

Dwarf: The slow speed and lack of dexterity hurts.   However, they can have bonuses in all the different secondary stats, and their natural durability redeems them somewhat.


Goliath: Monks can put the Double-roll-for-jump racial trait good use. 

Genasi: Nice racial abilities and feats, but poor stats for a monk.  Some of the racial attacks will give you an additional FoB opportunity. Shocking Flame can do some interesting things with FoB as well.

Kalashtar: No real synergy.

Minotaur: Can have any secondary stat, but its racial abilities and feats just doesn't gel well with being a monk.

Mul (DSCS): Can have any secondary stat, and a useful racial ability.


Shardmind: Their benefits don't generally lend themselves to the life of a monk.

Shifter, Longtooth: Bonuses in both secondary stats and a nice damage boost once you've become bloodied makes them passable monks. 

Tiefling: Fire specialists could make decent DW monks. 

Warforged: As always, Warforged can make decent chargers


Implements of Destiny

Things you should know about monk implements

Before reading about specific implements, you need to make sure you understand how the monk works.  The following should give you what you need to know.

Weapons as implements clarification:  A monk is an strictly implement-based class - none of the monk powers have the weapon keyword.  Non-magical weapon properties only matter for weapon attacks (like OAs and charging). A monk using a fullblade as an implement gets roughly the same benefit a monk using a longsword as an implement.

Weapon proficiency means implement proficiency: A monk can use a Ki Focus or any weapon they're proficient with as a implement. 

Feat, item and power synergy determines a implement's usefulness:  Some feats and items only work for melee powers (which are typically single-target powers) or area powers (which are typically multi-target powers). Iron Armbands of Power are probably the best example of this, as they only work with melee powers, which are typically single-target powers.

Specific weapon/implement types
General notes about specific weapons:
One-handed weapon/implements are superior to two-handed weapon/implements because they allow the use of Starblade Flurry at paragon tier and/or a parrying dagger (aka, a sai).


Normal monk weapons/implements

Club:  Clubs are weapons that are usually held in the main hand to take the feat Crashing Tempest Style (as per the FAQ). You should probably be attacking with an off-hand accurate dagger.  Attacking with a accurate ki focus is also a decent option, but you can't use dragonshards with ki focus, which makes ki focus do lower damage than an accurate dagger would. As a club is a one-handed weapon, you can use an off-hand dagger at paragon for Starblade Flurry. If you are attacking with a club, a club does provides access to the cheapest radiant weapon available: a Crusader's Weapon. 

Dagger: A dagger is a surprisingly awesome weapon for a monk.  You can take Superior Implement Proficiency to get an Accurate Dagger for a +1 to hit. You also get to add an additional creature to your flurry of blows with Starblade Flurry, without changing your off-hand weapon.  Nimble Blade gives an additional +1 to hit if you have combat advantage, which is especially good for Centered Breaths with Deadly Draw.  Lastly, daggers have access to the only way a monk can get a magially expanded critical range on non-melee powers: a Jagged Weapon or less common based on DM, Melegaunt's Darkblade. 

Quarterstaff/StaffMonks use quarterstaves as implements, which I believe means that they can use staff enchantments, like the Staff of Ruin, but must wield them two-handed like a quarterstaff. CS consistently has agree with this interpretation.  However, if your DM rules you can use quarterstaves one-handed, like a wizard with staff implement proficiency, quarterstaves get to be a lot better as you can use a Rhythm Dagger with Starblade Flurry at paragon and save yourself a defensive feat.   Superior Implement Proficiency allows you to get an Accurate Staff for a +1 to hit. At paragon and epic however, a quarterstaff's two-handed nature means your losing some DPR and control due to missing out on Starblade Flurry. As a result, if your must wield a quarterstaff two-handed, I strongly suggest you take a multiclass feat that gives profeciency with staff implements to free up a hand sometime around level 11 so you can free a hand for Starblade Flurry. The Staff of Ruin provides one of the only ways most races can get an item bonus to damage on non-melee powers, which is a significant advantage if you do a lot of multi-attacking.

Ki Focus/Unarmed: The rules for Ki focus use by monks are strange and unclear. There are three distinct interpetations of the Ki Focus rules for how Ki Focus interact with weapons (such as the monk's unarmed attacks), so make sure you know how your DM interprets Ki Focus before you decide to use them. 
Show Rules
1) Recent rules appear to clarify the PHB3 rules for Ki Focus, and specify that you must use a ki focus directly as a implement.  This makes ki focus only ok as implements, as neither the weapon feats, nor the unarmed feats or powers work with monk powers.  For example, Unarmed Mastery and Fighting Fury cease to work under this ruling. 
2) Newer rules, such as in HoS,  mention that Ki Focus can take the form of weapons, so your DM could say your Ki Focus is a weapon. This of course doesn't allow Ki Focus to work with unarmed feats, but it would allow ki focus to take advantage of weapon feats.  This makes ki focus good as implements if you want to use a true weapon like a dagger.  However, the ki focus presumably can't take the form of your fist, so unarmed feats or powers probably won't work with the use of a ki focus under this interpretation.   
3) Both versions of the character builder as well as customer service allow you to simultaneously make use a ki focus and a weapon  for both weapon and an implement attacks.  Under this ki focused weapon-as-implement interpretation, you apparently count as attacking with both a ki focus and some sort of weapon, like an unarmed attack or a dagger attack.  Under this interpretation, Unarmed Mastery and Fighting Fury work effectively with monk powers.   With the ki focused weapon-as-implement interpretation, the ki focus grants its enhancement bonus and the magical properties to any weapon or unarmed attack you attack with, but you lose any existing enhancement bonuses and magical properties of the weapons you were using.  The ki focused weapon-as-implement interpretation gives ki focus a big advantage, as they can benefit from weapon feats and passive weapon properties (like a Shielding Blade, a Rhythm Blade, or an off hand Ki weapon)  and also use a ki focus. This makes ki focus very good as implements.  
Under all interpetations, both of your hands are also free to hold weapons, daggers for Starblade Flurry, and clubs for Crashing Tempest Style feat (as per the FAQ). Superior ki focus do exist, so I recommend every ki focus user pick up the superior implement feat by mid-heroic.  The problem with ki focus is that dragonshards won't work with Ki Focus, so you're losing 1-5 damage relative to every weapon.  In addition, ki focus don't have a ton of really nice  properties, and some of the best properties (such as Rain of Hammers Ki Focus) can be used even if you don't attack with the ki focus.  


Spear: The usefulness of spears varies dramatically over the course of the game.  Through paragon tier, a basic spear is most useful for Centered Breaths focusing on slides at the heroic tier,  push/Draconic Arrogance builds, and charging builds. Pointed Step Style allows you to trigger flurry of blows on an enemy up to 2 squares away, which is useful. For example, it allows Centered Breaths a decent amount of board control, especially in heroic. It also allows a monk to kill a minion that is just out of normal reach or target another enemy if it dies from the main attack. (You should note however, that some DMs have Flurry of Blows trigger before you roll damage on the attack.)

Shuriken: As far as monks are concerned, anything you can do with a shuriken, you can do better with a dagger. Shuriken also don't have the off-hand property, which strictly limits their uses.



Unusual monk weapons/implements

How do I use unusual monk weapons without a generic proficiency feat? 
A few races naturally have proficiency with a weapon, such as Elves, and many more races have nice proficiency feats that also provide a damage bonus with their racial weapons, such Dwarves, Eladrin, and Githzerai. Backgrounds can also be used to gain proficiency in a weapon, such as Gritty Sergeant or Noble Sicon. A few monk PPs are give proficiency and benefit if you use usual monk weapons like the hand crossbow (Unseen Hand) and heavy blades (Soaring Blade). Multiclass feats also frequently grant proficiency with implements, with rods and holy symbols being the most popular.

Why would I want to use an unusual monk weapon/implement?
Some races gain good bonus damage using these unusual weapons as monk implements. Also, a few monk PPs are designed around unusual monk weapons like the hand crossbow (Unseen Hand) and heavy blades (Soaring Blade) and only give major benefits if you use them. Charging a lot is another way to increase Monk's single target damage and some unusual weapons might grant significant damage bonuses in those circumstances.  

Specific Unusual Weapon Types

Axes:  Axes aren't particularly good monk weapons, but Dwarves and Goliath can easy get proficiency with them.  The kopesh also is an interesting axe that is also heavy blade, so Githzerai may decide to use axes as well. Axes can be used to crit-fish using multi-attack powers combined with Rending and Melee Training.  Axes, such as a Vanguard Waraxe, can make good charging weapons 

Bow/Crossbow: Bows and crossbows make surprisingly good monk implements, especially the hand crossbow.  Bracers of Archery give an item bonus to all attacks using a bow or crossbow, which is one of the only ways to get a decent item bonus on monk area attacks.  As a monk, you also have a good ranged basic attack. In addition, the hand crossbow is one-handed so it can be used wth Starblade Flurry or a parrying dagger. The hand crossbow can also potentially be used to crit-fish with Two-Fisted Shooter. Hand crossbow users also have their own paragon path: Unseen Hand.  However, hand crossbow users may run into loading problems, as you need a free hand to load the hand crossbow. Lastly, bows and crossbows can use the Mindiron enchantment to give their attacks the psychic keyword.  This further opens up Psychic Lock and +1 to hit with the Headband of Intellect.

Hammers: Hammers aren't particularly good monk weapons, but Dwarves and Goliath can easily get proficiency with them. The Avalanche Hammer is the best charging weapon until Epic, when Thundergod become better. 

Heavy Blades: Heavy blades make decent monk weapons, especially for the githzerai and eladrin. Their accuracy and size make them good charging weapons. In addition, Heavy Blades have access to many great enchantments, such as Jagged and the Harmony Blade. These enchantments make heavy blades good crit-fishing weapons to use with multi-attack powers. The Firewind Blade also is great for DW monks, but only available as a heavy blade.  The Githyanki Silver Weapon also allows the psychic suite detailed above in the bow/crossbow section. Soaring Blade is a monk paragon path that specializes in Heavy Blades.


Holy Symbols: Holy symbol expertise means you never grant CA if you make an attack, which is great for a class that likes to fight surrounded.  Holy symbols also are slotless, so you can have two weapons, a ki focus, and a holy symbol all equiped at the same time. Taking a multiclass paladin or cleric feat is probably the best way to get profeciency. The downside is that for the most part, the Holy Symbol classes don't hand out great non-standard action attacks to poach. 

Polearms: On the one hand, monks have great stats for Polearm Momentum and Polearm Gamble.  Hafted Defense allows some additional defense and polearms are good charging weapons.  In addition, many polearms are spears, and they therefore have access to Pointed Step Style and Surprising Charge.  One the other hand, monks are best when they are adjacent to enemies.  Polearms are also two-handed, which removes access to Starblade Flurry and parrying daggers.  Eladrin, Dwarves, Githzerai, and Goliath all have access to at least one polearm through their racial weapon feat.

Rods: Rods can be used by Monks that take a multiclass feat that grants implement profeciency from a rod using class, like Artificer or Invoker.  Rod expertise grants a shield bonus to defense, which is nice.  Rods can be really fun for dragonborn monks by turning all monk implement attacks into multi-elemental rainbows of awesomeness by using the Rod of the Dragonborn and their breath feats. 

SpearsSpears have many of the qualities of polearms for Monks and not as many of the downsides. Eladrin can make use of a Short Spear in Heroic with a Club and then swap the Club over to Dagger in Paragon.

 


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Heroic Powers

 

At-Will Powers

Overview - All monks should take Five Storms and/or Steel Wind. I much prefer Five Storms, but both are great multi-attacking power that complement each other well. If you decide to take only one multi-attacking at-will, then you need to pick a nice single-target power. This power probably should target fortitude to give you some flexibility when attacking the back line. DW monks should all take Blistering Flourish. Paragon Centered Breath should get a 12 Con and Lion's Den. For other traditions, I recommend Dragon's Tail, Fallen Needle, or Lion's Den. Maybe Crane's Wings for a Str-based Monk.

Blistering Flourish (Desert Wind) (HoEC) Attacks reflex for standard damage and all subsequent melee attacks deal your charisma in extra damage until the end of next turn. As your FoB is a melee attack occuring after this attack, this is the most damaging single target at-will that monks have, but only DW monks can really use it. Many DW monks will consider using this every other attack.

Crane’s Wings (PHB3)- This power contains some mismatched elements. It attacks Fort, which you shouldn't use on the front line, and adds a push, which is useful on the front line, to put enemies in damaging zones, and to break grabs.  For Str-based Monks, the Movement Technique gives a +5 bonus to jump and allows you to jump father than your speed.  This allows you to potentially move faster than your speed, potentially negate the slowed condition (even on non-Str Monks), and get past difficult terrain and other obstacles.  However, it is important to note that you can't use the jump bonus as part of a larger move action. The attack itself is especially good for push builds, polearm builds, and campaigns with a lot of dangerous terrain (like cliffs). In addition, for Centered Breath, you can slide the opponent before you push him, so you have a good deal of control of where he goes. Keep in-mind that when you hit with an attack that pushes, you must apply your flurry of blows before the push, which is allowed as the movement would invalidate FoB, and not after completely resolving the triggering attack's hit line as you normally would. 

Crashing Wave (ET and SF) (HoEC) Attacks fort for standard damage and slides 1, which is useful.  If you're an ET or SF monk, the movement technique gives you the longest at-will shift in the game (by mid paragon), but isn't usable by other monks. Centered Breath Monks could use this for Polearm Momentum tricks.

Dancing Cobra (PHB3)- It attacks reflex, gives good damage, and adds wisdom to to damage if you provoke an OA from the target, which can be useful for durable Centered Breath on marked enemies, especially in the Heroic Tier. The problem is that Fallen Needle is almost strictly superior unless you manage to utilize the OA capabilities.

Dragon’s Tail (PHB3)- It attacks fort and knocks prone.  When combined with a decent MBA, this power can be devastating against the back line, because it causes them to lose their move action standing up.  This forces them to choose between making poor melee attacks and provoking an OA by using ranged attacks.  On the downside, the Movement Technique isn't nearly as useful as other techniques.  Overall, it's a bit specialized, but a very nice power. 

Fallen Needle (D389) - It attacks reflex, gives good damage, and gives a -2 penalty to attack you.  This is a nice attack that blends offense and defense nicely.  In addition, the Movement Technique is very flexible and useful as monks don't have much pressure on their minor actions.  It can be used to get another shift or another move 3 as a minor, so it is useful both to simply move more (e.g., speed+3), to disengage (e.g., shift away, then move your speed), to ignore the effects of slow (as the movement doesn't rely on your speed), and to move, attack, and then move again.

Five Storms (PHB3)- It's a close burst 1 at-will versus reflex that targets only enemies and does decent damage.   This power is supremely suited to laying down hurt in the front line.  It also is great that you get to pick how many creatures you place in its range, so you can easily control the amount of extra aggro you draw by using the power.  As an area attack, it also allows you to negate concealment penalties.  To make a great technique even better, the Movement Technique lets you shift 2, which is equivalent to an Epic feat.  This is a virtually a must-have for any monk.

Lion's Den (Iron Soul, Centered Breath, WereX+Slide) (PsiP)- It attacks reflex for relatively poor damage.  However, you get to deal your constitution modifer if an enemy becomes adjacent to you.  The Movement Technique gives you a small defense boost and single shift. Overall, the power appears only useful for Iron Souls, but Centered Breath WereX can really do a lot of damage with this one, once you hit 11th and easily have a 12 Con. i.e. Lion's Den(do +1d10), Centered Breath(do +1d10), slide target to adjacent square(do 1+1d10 more) - it isn't hard to hit optimized CharOp values in terms of damage and would be Gold for such a character. We generally avoid this on CharOp, but Mark of Storm can solve the slide problem for Lion's Den and would work really well as a result.

Steel Wind (PsiP)- It's a close blast 2 versus reflex that targets only enemies and does decent damage.  This power isn't quite as well suited as Five Storms for laying down massive hurt in the front line, but it is close.   To make a great technique even better, the Movement Technique lets you move your speed+2 and end a mark. 
  

Level 1 Encounter

Overview- Call up the Savage Wind, Druken Monkey, and Open the Gates of Battle are all a little situational, but are all solid powers. Call up the Savage Wind is great for setting up a nova wrong.  Druken Monkey is a lot of fun, especially if you can spawn all three attacks.  Iron souls also may be drawn to Swift River Floods.  Desert Wind may like Light the Fire. 

Awaken the Slumbering Hurt(Stone Fist, Eternal Tide) – (PHB3) It targets a single target's fortitude, making it more useful versus the back line.  Versus bloodied targets it gives you extra Strength damage to this attack and your next one(i.e. Flurry). For Stone Fist and Eternal Tide monks, it is kind of the opposite of Open the Gates of Battle. 2d8+(Str*2) = 15. Open the Gates of Battle = 3d10 = 16.5. I think I'd rather do more damage up front to bloody the target in the first place than have to wait to use my encounter power. 

Balance Restored (SF or ET) (HoEC) - Attacks fort for low damage and a push equal to half your strength modifier.  You generally want enemies close by as a monk, so not very helpful. The MT allows a shift 1 and knock the next enemy that hits you prone. 

Call up the Savage Wind (HoEC) - A close blast 3 that attacks fort for low damage.  The effect slides enemies one, which allows for you to set up a nice nova round.  The MT lets you ignore difficult terrain.  Overall, a very useful power. Auto-proning with Polearm Momentum, too is easily possible.

Drunken Monkey (Centered Breath) (PHB3) – It targets will, and causes the target to attack an enemy (including itself) with your wisdom as a bonus.  This means it is powerful and highly accurate, especially for Centered Breath. If the target is marked by a Fighter, Warden, or Assualt Swordmage (but not a Paladin, Battlemind or Knight), the attack will also kick in the defender's punishment. In other words, Drunken Monkey will frequently grant 3 attacks. Overall, this is a fun and very damaging power when used in right situation. It also stays useful as you level.

Eagle Claw (Stone Fist, Eternal Tide) (PsiP) - Attacks fortitude for normal damage.  The target also take a penalty to AC equal to your str. Too bad you don't have any attacks versus AC! Perhaps could be useful in the right party or the right build. At least the movement technique lets you fly. 

Gentle Rainfall (D398) - It's Five Storms with 1 extra damage. After damage is resolves, you shift 1 for every enemy you hit.  The mobility is nice, but there are better options.

Laughing Wind (PsiP) -It targets fortitude and you can slide enemies ending their turn adjacent to you your wisdom modifier.  The problem is that it should be used against the back line, and the back line will typically not want to stay adjacent to you. Some hilarity could ensue if you had two Monks with this power and an opponent who gets damaged when moved, say due to Lifedrinking Covenant.

Light the Fire (Desert Wind) (HoEC)- A single target attack versus reflex for normal damage.  If you have charisma, it start a fire damage aura regardless of whether you hit, this gives DW monks solid single target damage for level 1 and solid minion killing ability.   

Open the Gates of Battle (PHB3)It targets reflex so it's a generally useful power.  It also does 3d10 if a target isn't damaged, which is great at level 1.  This may mean you are spreading around damage, but at least it is nice damage.  This power however rapidly loses power as you level

Rising Storm (PHB3) – It is a single target power that attacks fortitude, meaning it should be only used on the back line.  It also does strength damage to adjacent enemies, but there probably won't be any because you're attacking the back line.  The only good thing about this power is the Movement Technique, which  lets you fly. 

Scattering of Leaves  (PsiP) - A unusual attack against reflex, that spawns a secondary attack versus fort against a different target if you hit. It also has a few different slide and push effects built in. Blurred Ki Focus likes this power. 

Stinging Nettles (PsiP) - It attacks fortitude and you do your con damage to adjacent enemies  that hit you.  The problem is that it should be used against the back line, and the back line typically won't attack you when they're adjacent.  Monks also shouldn't get hit a lot. 

Swift River Floods (Iron Soul + mace/staff) (PsiP) - Attacks reflex for average damage + slow.  Iron souls who use a mace/staff get to add their con to damage, which is solid damage for level 1. Doesn't keep value, even for Iron Souls, very long.


Level 1 Daily

Overview - Masterful Spiral and Spinning Leopard Maneuver are awesome powers.  Risen Sun gives a nice level 1 aura.  Stunning Palm provides nice utility and control. 

Cacophonous Shout (PsiP) -A close blast 3 that targets fortitude for average damage and a small push.  It's not party friendly, and should be used on the back line, which won't cluster much.  Overall, it's weak for a daily.  

Cyclone Surge (HoEC) A blast 1 against 1 creature that immobilizes and does weak damage.  You then get a sustainable zone that slides any creature in it. 
  
Harmonious Thunder (Stone Fist, Eternal Tide) (PHB3) - This power attacks the fortitude of two adjacent enemies for decent damage. The two targets then become linked and once per turn, one takes str damage when the other is damaged.  To make this work well, you would need some very special circumstances (two backliners adjacent to you with a lot of hp) and then everyone spreads damage around, which is tactically disadvantageous. 

Lashing Rain (PsiP) - It attacks fortitude for average damage and a small slide.  It also gives a stance slows you, but does 5 damage and a slide adjacent if an enemy becomes adjacent to you.  Overall, the attack is weak, but the stance could be fun, especially if other party members can move enemies adjacent to you.       

Masterful Spiral (PHB3) - This is a close burst 2 that targets reflex for solid damage.  This means you should be able to target most of the enemies you're fighting for some solid damage.  I've seen a level one monk do over 100 total damage with this power.  As an area attack, it ignores marks and all concealment.  It also allows puts you in a stance that gives +1 to you melee reach.  This will affect all your single target powers, but not Flurry of Blows or you area powers.  This is an awesome pick.

Reflection in the Water (HoEC) Weak damage and a stance that gives easy flanking. Very weak for a daily. 

Risen Sun (HoEC) A party-friendly blast 3 that does fire damage.  The kicker is an aura that does dex damage once per turn, which is nice. 

Spinning Leopard Maneuver (PHB3) - Shift your speed and attack the reflex of all enemies you move adjacent to for poor damage. This will allow you add in your melee only bonuses, like Iron Armbands of Power.  However, this power can be shut down by difficult terrain or if enemies are blocking you, like the front line frequently does. On the plus side, it allows you to attack a whole battlefield if the enemies are strung out in none burst formation.  Although it's a very nice power, especially for elves, it does significantly less damage than Masterful Spiral.

Steel Avalanche (PsiP) -A party friendly close blast 3 that attacks reflex and does solid damage.  It also grants a -2 to hit (save ends) and a decent shift. 

Stunning Palm (PsiP) - This is a strange, but nice attack.  It grants a stance that makes you immune to stun and daze, which is incredible versus some enemies (especially at paragon tier).  You can end the stance by making an attack versus fortitude that stuns (save ends).  Overall, it's a useful power that levels extremely well.  Monks won't run into much dazing and stunning until later in their career, but at low levels it is a Stun(save ends), and at Paragon, it would be one of the best utility powers ever against certain opponents.

Whirling Mantis Step (PHB3) – It attacks fortitude, so it's typically only good versus the back line. It lets you slide enemies 1, and then attack up to three adjacent enemies.  The problem is that you could attack more enemies for more damage and with higher accuracy via Masterful Spiral or Spinning Leopard Maneuver.  However, with Deadly Draw, you could offset your relative attack penalty (from attacking the front line's fortitude) with combat advantage.  Clumping the enemies together also allows you to action point and use another multi-attack power.


Level 2 Utility

Overview - Overall, a relatively situational selection of powers at this levels. Cat and Mouse is amazing if you have any melee capability whatsoever(and why don't you have a minor action melee attack?). Swift flight is probably the best of rest, especially for Centered Breath, as flying can very useful.  Reed in the Wind and Supreme Flurry will be somewhat useful for most monks.  You might also look carefully at Skill Powers, such as Agile Recovery, or Multi-Classing to see if you could get something more useful. 

Agile Recovery (req training in acrobats) (PHB3)- This Skill Power lets you stand up from prone as a minor.  As monks have little use for minor actions, which makes this a generally useful skill power. 

Careful Stride (PHB3) – You can ignore difficult terrain and liquids while you move your speed.  You should be able to boost your speed or jump over most difficult terrain already.   You also can't use this power to let you shift through difficult terrain.  Overall, this is a very situationally power.

Cat and Mouse (Centered Breath, Eternal Tide) (HoEC) When you hit with a melee attack, you get a shift and total conceal against that one enemy, which tends to make them wander off and potentially provoke an OA.  Where this is really great is when you have a power that has forced movement and you want to shift up to them and then apply Flurry of Blows without losing your melee target. It only gets better in Paragon, as you can then push/slide a target near another enemy, shift next to both enemies, and then FoB both of them.

Deflect Arrow (Dr404) Superior cover against ranged weapon attacks as an interupt.  There are a decent number of archers in low heroic, which makes this useful at level 2 when you can get it.  However, few monsters make weapon attacks, so this power won't be used much past low heroic.  Typically though, you'll want to retrain this power once you get out of low heroic.

Eye in the Sky
(Desert Wind)  (HoEC) A stance that lets you shift if an enemy becomes adjacent, and gives a little defense against them. This is best for DW monks who can shift away from enemies as part of their FoB.   
  
Fall of Wind (PsiP) - You reduce your fall damage by a significant portion.  Combined with acrobatics (assuming it stacks), you should eventually be able to leap off buildings and not take any damage.  Anyone else like Underworld?

Fast Hands (req training in Thievery) (PHB3)-  Can be used to pick up or switch items quickly once per round.  For example, you could pick up an item you dropped to use Internalize the Basic Kata.

Fighting Fury (Stone Fist, Eternal Tide) (PsiP) - Your unarmed melee attacks deal extra strength damage.  Too bad it doesn't affect burst or blast attack, or this would be really awesome for Stone Fist.  This power is only useful for unarmed Stone Fist if the DM allows Ki Focused weapons (like both CBs and CS do) or until they get a decent Ki Focus.  If your DM doesn't allow Ki Focused weapons, then you won't be making unarmed attacks if you use a ki focus, so this stance should be trained out quickly as it soon will be useless.
 

Grasp the Wind (PHB3) - You shift instead of being forced to moveThis could be useful in some situations.  However, most forced movement doesn't effect monks much due to their incredible mobility.

Harmonious Discipline (Centered Breath) (PHB3) – You gain your wisdom in Temps and then your wisdom as a damage bonus on your next melee attack when the temps are gone. The problem is that you can't predict when the temps will be gone, so the damage bonus it isn't very useful. In addition, the damage bonus only applies to melee attacks and not your nice burst powers. 

Reed in the Wind (HoEC) Dex in thp and CA versus one enemy each encounter.  This will be useful in every fight at low levels, but you will need to retrain out of it at higher levels.   

Supreme Flurry (PHB3) – Once per day, you get to apply your Flurry again after a decent shift.  This power gets better as you level.   

Swift Flight 
(Centered Breath) (PHB3) - You fly you speed + your wisdom mod, and fall if you don't end the movement touching the ground.  This makes it impossible to use to attack fliers, which is one of the main reasons you'll want to fly.  However, it still lets you fly a good distance, especially if you're Centered Breath.  This helps get over large amounts of difficult terrain, and around obstacles like cliffs.   I find there is at least one round per combat that a fly would be nice.


Level 3 Encounter

Overview- Eternal Mountain is clearly the best choice at this level for most monks. Some Stone Fist may like Resounding Strike.  Some Iron Fist may like Undeniable Incitement.  Some Desert Wind may like Burning Brand. 

Bonecrusher (HoEC) A single target attack versus fortitude that gives a small penalty to defenses. Movement utility adds some defense.

Burning Brand (Desert Wind, Centered Breath) (HoEC) A single target attack versus reflex. For DW monks, your FoB will immediately trigger additional charisma damage versus that enemy and every enemy adjacent to it, which makes it a damaging attack for the level. While Centered Breath won't stack up the Cha damage very high, it can make sure to clump enemies such that lots of them take extra damage.


Dance of Swords (PHB3) – It's a single target attack that gives a bonus if you should have used a multi-target attack.   

Enduring Champion (PHB3) – It's a single target attack versus fort, so it's useful for against the back line.  If you hit you get a save with your wisdom as a bonus, and the enemy takes wisdom extra damage.  The movement technique lets you provoke to gain more speed on this turn and the next.  Generally not worth it unless you can reliably avoid Opportunity Attacks.  Overall, if you have a decent wisdom, this is a nice attack to use versus the back line.  Of course, you could have been proning them with Eternal Mountain.

Eternal Mountain (PHB3) – This is close burst that attacks fortitude that prones.  It also does decent damage.  The prone effect means that enemies will have a hard time moving away from the monk, which increases the monk's DPR the next turn.  The Movement Technique also gives resistance to all damage equal to your strength to help you avoid getting crushed by drawing so much aggro.  Overall, the power is useful but inaccurate versus the front line and devastating if the back line clusters up.    

Falling Hammer in Repose (D398) - Attacks fortitude for decent damage and a push.  It is best for the backline, and the backline wants to get away from you. 

Frozen Moment
(HoEC)- A single target attack versus fort that immobilizes.  The selling point is the 3+str resist, but Eternal Mountain has a similar power and is superior. 

Inner Eye Opened (PsiP) - You are blinded and gain blindsight, which means it's nice versus invisible and concealed foes, but it also means you grant CA.  At least it attacks will, so it's accurate.  It also may provide two different damage rolls, so you could ask your DM whether the "plus 1d8 psychic" indicate a different damage roll or not. Shouldn't be too likely though. If it does provide two damage rolls, the power is better, and it will keep getting better as you level.  


Resounding Strike (Stone Fist, Eternal Tide) (PsiP) - It attacks fort and does 3+str mod the next time the target takes damage, which would seem to include FoB during that turn.  It is a damaging single target attack for Stone Fist. 

Springing Drake Assualt  (PsiP) -Attacks reflex for ok damage and gives a slide 2.  Iron Soul may get a bit larger slide. 

Twin Thunders (PHB3) – This attacks fort, and damages a adjacent enemy that you didn't target.   The Movement Technique is a strong escape/positioning power though.  This is overshadowed by Eternal Mountain. 

Undeniable Incitement  (Iron Soul) (PsiP) - This attacks will for relatively poor damage, but knocks the target prone and gives a small AC bonus. Iron Soul may get a larger AC bonus.

Wind Through the Willows (Dr 404) - A non-party friendly close blast that attacks reflex for decent damage, slows and blocks charges.  This makes it hard for enemies to move away from you, setting you up to hit more enemies in your bursts on the following turn.  The movement power allows you to move critters into the blast (e.g., if one you were flanked).     



Level 5 Daily

Overview - Water Gives Way is clearly the best power at this level, which isn't hard as the rest of the powers are pretty lackluster except for Calm Before the Storm. I'd strongly consider picking up an extra 1st level Daily if you dislike Water Gives Way for some crazy reason.

Calm Before the Storm (HoEC) - A lackluster attack, but it gives you a stance that lets you interrupt enemies that attack next to you, do damage to them, and knock them prone.  Too bad the initial attack sucks so much, because the the stance is awesome.

Deadly Cobra Strike (PHB3) – It attacks fortitude and gives weak ongoing damage of the most resisted type.   

Disrupting Fist (PsiP) - This is Stunning Fist's "special" big brother.  It creates a stance that gives +2 damage to melee attacks, and you can end it to make an attack versus fortitude for poor damage that dazes (save ends).    

Freeze the Life Blood (PsiP) - An attack versus reflex for relatively low damage that immobilizes (save ends).   The selling point is if an enemy ends their turn next to the target they take dex cold damage.  However, the secondary damage is completely avoidable, immobilization is pretty useless condition if the enemy is in the middle of the action. Plus, you probably would have been better off using a multi-target power.   

One Hundred Leaves (PHB3) - It's a close blast 3 versus reflex with a push 2.  It's not party friendly and attacks a much smaller area than Masterful Spiral. At least you get an addition Flurry of Blows Target for two turns.    

Overwhelming Mountain Strike (HoEC) - Inferior to Stunning Palm. 

Resonating Fist (Stone Fist, Eternal Tide) (PsiP) - This power attack fort, and does the same poor damage regardless of whether you hit or miss.  If you hit, you also inflict vulnerability to all damage equal to your strength mod.  Even Stone Fist require a decent amount of party support to make this power worth it.

Salamander Charge (HoEC)- A lame zone that lasts for 1 turn and a charge that does less damage than most encounter powers.  Even if you could ensure they take the zone damage twice, the damage is still only equivalent to a decent melee encounter power. 

Steel Warrior Technique (PHB3) - If you didn't feel the enemies loved you enough already, please take this power. Everyone else can avoid it. On the plus side, it does decent damage.

Supreme Avalanche Combination (PHB3) - It's a single target power that attack fortitude for ok daily damage.  This makes it only useful versus the backline.  Too bad the power's main draw is sliding the target when you hit it for the rest of the encounter, and the back line doesn't care much if it's slid.  This is a good power for polearm/sliding builds 

Thunderbolt Surge (PsiP)- A ranged power that does relatively low daily damage and prones enemies adjacent to the target. Oh, and you can't use FoB unless you take an OA.  This power is simply full of fail.

Water Give Way (Dr 404)  An off-turn quasi reliable attack with decent damage that, as it interupts being hit, allows you to slide the enemy into a square it can't attack you from, invalidating the hit. 


Level 6 Utility

Overview - Quicksilver Motion and you're done. Centered Defense is probably the best of the other powers at this level.  Purifying Meditation is also very useful.   

Abundant Step (PsiP) - CA if an enemy misses you.  This is really weak for a level 6 utility.

Airborne Form (PsiP) - A stance that increase your speed, and makes you insubstantial when you move.  Some builds may like this one.

Break the Dawn (HoEC)- Shift away as a reaction to being hit.  Most monks won't use this each encounter.   

Centered Defense (PHB3) A stance that gives +2 to all defenses for an entire encounter. Use this before using a big multi-target daily and go to town. 

Echoing Thunder (PHB3) Push every enemy in a close burst 2 but your flurry target once an encounter.  As most monks want to cluster enemies to lay down the hurt with multi-targeting attacks, this power is going very situational.

Fresh Start (HoEC) Spend a healing surge on your turn as a daily. Good defenses are better than daily self-healing. 

Iron Heart Endurance (PsiP) - Double your con mod worth of temporary HP isn't bad. 

Leap of the Heavens (PHB3) +10 to jump and count as a running start.  Too bad movement is still capped by your speed, and there are way better powers at this level. 

Purifying Meditation (PHB3) – A saving throw with a wisdom bonus is nice.

Quicksilver Motion (PsiP) - Move your speed as a free action. This power lets a Monk choose where to engage enemies on round 1 and is great for making optimized Monks get their Novas off. If you think this power isn't great for your Monk, your Monk probably has something wrong with it.

Roll the Bolder (Centered Breath) (HoEC) A stance that enlarges your forced movement by 2.  You probably have better stances by now, but CB monks may be able to use it in some parties. 


Level 7 Encounter


Overview - It's a pretty lackluster level.  I'd honestly probably take ther level 3 burst power I didn't already have (which is probably Wind Through the Willows), although I'd  also consider Strike the Avalanche or Mountainfall Stomp . 

Arc of the Flashing Storm (Iron Soul) (PsiP) - It attacks reflex for decent damage and a push 2.  It also gives a small attack penalty. You get a big penalty specifically against you if you're an Iron Soul using a mace/staff which is potentially helpful.  The movement technique is a nice teleport. 

Brilliant Counterstrike (Dr 404) - A melee attack versus reflex for normal damage.  If you hit you can do 1d8 damage against every other adjacent creature that attacks you. It is a multi-attack similar to Thundering Howl if you can make sure opponents want to attack you. If only there was a level 13 power that ought to make opponents dazed and adjacent to you...the set of conditions required to make it work is why it is only Dark Blue.

Deafening Howl (HotEC) - the Movement option is the only reason one should ever consider this power. Almost strictly inferior as an attack option compared to a few 1st and 3rd level options.
 
Feeding the Doves (PsiP) - It's Five Storms with a secondary attack that attacks everyone in a burst 2 that wasn't attacked the by Five Storms. If the secondary attack hits, it does a little damage and then pushes them 2 squares (when it would be better to pull them).  The only major benefit is that it gives two big chances to trigger FoB which makes Blurred Ki Focus users happy. It does helps clean minions. It seems weak for an encounter, otherwise.

Fiery Serpent(Desert Wind) (HotEC) - pseudo auto-hit power, usable at range, and gives a boost to fire damage with the movement technique.

Fist of One Hundred Strikes (PHB3) – Two attacks versus reflex against different targets with a 1 square shift rider and low damage.  Not impressive as it only is slightly more damaging than five storms, and it can attack fewer targets.  Melee attack specialists might get a bit more from this power as it's the first monk melee encounter power with more than one attack, but it's still pretty weak. Blurred Ki Focus users might like it.

Giant's Grasp (Stone Fist, Eternal Tidean interesting power for some massive repositioning with the movement power, especially if you're a fast monk or there's a zone nearby that triggers more than once a turn.

Grasping Tide (PHB3) Attacks reflex for low damage.  The main selling point is the daze, which is mostly useful to keep the backline from moving or to move around the front without proking an OA. It's not a very strikery power. The movement power too, can be used to do some sliding into zones and out again.

Mountainfall Stomp (Stone Fist or Ki Focus users) (PsiP) - Attacks fortitude for low damage and knocks the enemy prone.  If they stand, you get an OA.  This is decent for Stone Fist and those with an MBA.

Strike the Avalanche (Centered Breath) (PHB3) – Attacks Fortitude for decent damage, and then you slide him your wisdom modifier into other enemies like a bowling ball.  Overall, this suggests the power should be used against the back line.  The Movement Technique allows you to move up on the enemies you've proned without proking.  Too bad you probably will have to move to attack the back line target, as using the full technique could screw up the back line some.   

Titan's Step (Stone Fist) (PHB3) – Attacks reflex for decent damage and you push him your strength.  The movement technique is a big jump that creates some difficult terrain in in burst 1.

Two Falling Feathers (D398) - Attacks reflex for decent damage and a slide adjacent to you.  This seems a little weak for the level and there are better forced movement powers  available.


Unity of Steel (Iron Soul) (PsiP) - Attacks reflex for decent damage, and little bonus damage for each ally adjacent to the target.  Iron Soul using a dagger/spear get an accuracy bonus. 


Level 9 Daily

Overview - Lightning Leap and Tsunami Throw rewrote this level. Twilight Touch and Crane Dance aren't bad either. Both do similar things, but Twilight Touch's blindness rider is superior.    

Crane Dance (PHB3) It targets reflex for encounter level damage with a prone rider.  However, you can hit up to 4 enemies that can be fairly spread out.  The damage is low for a striker daily at this level. 

Finishing Move (PsiP)- It attacks fort for decent damage and the target is slowed and has penalty to hit (save ends both).  It is an ok attack against the back line, but it seems weak for a striker daily. 


Flying Tiger Assualt (PsiP)- This is a fun attack versus reflex that does decent damage.  You fly your speed, land, then attack. If you hit, you get a big push and if you miss, you still get an ok push. I'm image a lot of casters on ledges falling to their doom when I read this power.

Immolating Fist(Desert Wind) (PsiP)- Starts a stance that gives small resist fire and 5 fire damage on you melee attacks.   You can end the stance to make a fairly weak attack versus reflex that does some splash damage. Monks specializing in single target (i.e., melee attacks) might enjoy this.  Other monks should have quite a few better stances at this level. The attack part may qualify for being two damage rolls, at which point it can do a lot of extra damage given the stance.

Lightning Leap (HotEC) - Awesome multi-attack power, great for demolishing a clustered group of enemies. Thunder even. Yes, you could jump and attack other enemies, but why would you want to? Close to Gold for paragon Centered Breath characters, who can slide other additional enemies into the range of the second burst.


Relentless Hound Technique (PHB3) – This is a strange power.  You attack reflex for encounter level damage, follow the enemy around for a turn as a free action, and can hit him again as an interrupt.  This isn't impressive as a striker daily.

Stone Juggernaut (HotEC) - a utility+at-will that does an extra d6 of damage masquerading as a Daily Attack power. A very good utility.

Stone Warrior Training (Dr 404) - A leader power that give a buff to damage to one ally if you have a decent strength score and are both attacking the same target. Way too conditional in the context that you're giving up a daily.

Strength to Weakness (PHB3) Hits for around 20 ongoing damage.  This power sucks because targets that have enough HP to make this power useful on a failed save are the ones that will most likely save.  Plus, the enemy probably won't be living for more than 2-3 turns.

Tsunami Throw (HotEC) - an auto-push/prone and multi-attack as an immediate reaction. If only it were on your turn...turns Blue as you level unless you can force creatures to want to be adjacent to you.
   
Twilight Touch (PHB3)
– Attacks the reflex of up to 3 targets and blinds.  It does encounter level damage, but blinding the front line is still sweet.   

Uncommon Clarity (PsiP) It's an accurate attack versus reflex with a slightly expanded crit range and just above encounter level damage.  If you miss, you can daze yourself to try the attack again with a to hit penalty.  Again, it seems a bit lacking for a striker daily. 


Level 10 Utility

Overview - Iron Dragon Defense is probably the strongest power at this level, but Iron Heart Resilience lets you play warden versus saving throws for one encounter a day. 

Adamant Soul (PsiP) - A much worse version of Iron Dragon Defense. 

Adamantine Bones (PsiP)- Resist 5 damage for a turn could be useful from time to time. 

Confirmation of Spirit (Centered Breath) (PsiP) Regain some hp when you hit based on your wisdom. Again, it's inferior to Iron Dragon Defense. 

Elemental Resistance (HotEC) - situational, but lets you potentially resist certain encounters very well.

Flame's Blessing (Desert Wind(HotEC) - Decent for Desert Wind Monks. The minor action and daily parts are why it isn't especially great even for them.

Internal Power
(PHB3) – Spend a surge as a daily.  This provides less healing per day than Iron Dragon Defense prevents, but some Stone Fists may still find this power useful.

Iron Dragon Defense (Centered Breath) (PHB3) – Reduce the damage of an attack by 10+wisdom as an interrupt.  This will save you 1.5-3 surges worth of damage per day. 

Iron Heart Resilience (PsiP)- Make saving throws at the beginning of you turn at -3, and again at the end of your turn with no penalty.  It's like you're a warden without polymorph powers and with actual damage. The only problem being, is that you need to use it before you know you need it. That and there are some better stances out there.

Mirrored Pursuit (HotEC) - might be good for the right hybrid monk, but usually, why do you care if you're marking an opponent or using that reaction.


Spider Technique (PHB3) – You can climb your speed as an at-will. Thematic, but it is starting to be  outclassed at this level.

Spring Up (PHB3) – It's an inferior version of the level 2 skill power Agile Recovery. UBER! 

 

 

 

 

Paragon Powers

Level 13 Encounter

Overview - Furious Bull is one of the nicest area attacks you get, and it's pretty much the ideal attack for any monk. Dance of the Stinging Hornet and Torrent of Falling Knices can both provide for some serious fun. Skirling Grasp and Stoke the Flame might be good for other reasons. Great level.

As the Arrow Flies (PsiP) - Attacks reflex for weak damage and immobilized for a turn.  Iron Souls can slide the target adjacent to make sure their target can still attack them, which frankly seems counter produtive. Almost strictly inferior to Skirling Grasp.

Break the Stone(Stone Fist, Eternal Tide) (HotEC) - Very similar to Resounding Fist. Has a little bit more going for it, though not quite strictly better.

Dance of the Stinging Hornet (PHB3) - This power attacks reflex for normal encounter damage, and then lets you ride around with the creature.  This can be used to devastate the back line and flying opponents, as they need to spend a move action to escape from you, which gives the party time to gang up on them.  This is very nice power, but a little situational. ETV. Potentially Dark Blue depending on how you read the Movement power - "You can use the attack technique at any point during this movement."

Furious Bull (PHB3) - This is a party-friendly close burst 2 with a daze and a slide, with an effect shift.   The daze means enemies will be unlikely to move away, and slide allows you to cluster enemies up for a nova round. Oh, and because they're dazed, the enemies will probably stay in formation next round as well.  The only downside is that it attacks fortitude. If your DM doesn't agree with the RAW of the 4 movement powers that allow attacks via a move action, this becomes Gold.

Overpowering Strike (Centered Breath)  (PHB3) - This attacks will and does decent damage.  It gives a penalty to attack you equal to your wisdom, which could be nice in some circumstances.

Resounding Fist (Stone Fist) (PsiP) - Attacks fortitude for lowish damage for this level.  It gives your allies a bonus to damage based on your strength.

Skirling Grasp (HotEC) - Close blast vs. Fort for ok damage and Immobilization+auto-slide. Strong set up power.

Step Between the Worlds (Centered Breath) (PHB3) - This attacks will for relatively low damage, but gives you a forced teleport equal to your wisdom.  So if they fail their save, they could be teleported up in the air or off a cliff, or in the air off a cliff for nice additional damage.  For every 2 squares they fall, they take 1d10 damage, and fall prone.  For the Movement Technique you can teleport your Wisdom +2 as well.  Of course, if you don't have any wisdom, this power sucks.

Stoke the Flame(Desert Wind, Centered Breath) (HotEC) - Close burst attacks reflex for okay damage. The kicker for the aura and fire damage is quite good. Desert Wind likes the fire part, Centered Breath should be able to slide targets away 1 square and then back again into the aura. Even if their Cha isn't that hot.

Storms Wake
(Centered Breath) (PsiP) - Attacks reflex for normal damage.  If you hit, you push all enemies adjacent to you your wisdom modifier. 

Thundering Waterfall (Centered Breath)(PsiP) - Attacks reflex for normal damage.  If you hit, you push the target 3 squares, shift next to them, and make a secondary close busrt 1 attack versus fort that dazes and, if you're an Iron Soul, does a little damage as well.  This is an inferior version of Furious Bull, except Centered Breath gets to use FoB on the inital attack to set up the burst for the 2nd attack.

Torrent of Falling Knices (D398) - Shift your speed, and attack the reflex of up to 3 creatures for ok damage.   This is a nice encounter and is essentially a heroic tier daily power. Blurred Ki Focus likes this power a lot.


Level 15 Daily

Overview -   You have a choice mainly between  a nice multi-attack that does good damage+prone in Dancer on the Sea of Battle and a power that should be able to damage and daze most of the battlefield in Mithral Tornado. 

Booming Shout (PsiP) A party unfriendly close blast 5 versus fort for poor damage and some ongoing (regardless if you hit).  The enemy becomes dazed after they save.  You can't predict when an enemy will be dazed, which limits the control this power can give.  As a striker daily, it's weak.

Breath of the Storm Lord (HotEC) - friendly close blast 3 vs. reflex, okay damage, creates a zone. Feels more along the lines of an encounter power than daily

Dancer on the Sea of Battle (PHB3) -  You shift your speed and attack the fortitude of each enemy you move adjacent to for decent damage and prone.  This can devastate the back line. 

Dragon's Flame (HotEC) - friendly close blast 5 vs. will, poor damage and some ongoing and an aura. Two damage types, but again, feels more along the lines of an encounter than a daily power.

Falcon's Rent (PsiP) - A close burst 1 versus reflex for low damage.  But at least you give ongoing damage and debuff defenses.  As a striker daily, it's weak.

Mithral Tornado (PsiP)- A close burst 1 for low damage that dazes (save ends) regardless of whether you hit.  You then move you speed and do a similar attack (remember that everyone adjacent is dazed, so no OAs from them) that does low damage and dazes (save ends) if you hit.  This could be a fun power. Unfortunately, you can't target the original burst targets with the second burst.   

Quickening Assualt (PsiP)- An attack versus reflex that does encounter level damage and gives a  bonus to the damage of the next at-will you do.  This is weak and boring.

Ring the Golden Bell (PHB3) -  This power is very well-named and can be an  nice opening attack on a dangerous opponent that you otherwise couldn't get to.  You jump up to ten squares with no OAs before you attack, which ensures you get to the most dangerous opponent on round one.  You then lay down a close burst 1 versus reflex that dazes (save ends).  The daze means the creatures can't move away from you, so you can get some nice OAs versus a ranged target. For melee opponents, you can shift 1-2(from Five Storms) after the jump to ensure the melee opponent can't move to you (or even charge if they don't have reach).  Overall, a it's a nice power, but Furious Bull and Mithral Tornardo could be used in much the same way. 

Still Waters Strike (PsiP) - Attacks fortitude for normal damage and a small push.  You grant CA for a turn to the target, but if anyone hits you during that turn you can make a accurate interupt attack that does decent damage and knocks them prone.  I want to like this power, but monks can have such good defenses that they won't be hit much of the time even if they grant CA. 

Sundered Mountain (HotEC) - Decent damage vs. Fortitude, some control against willing movement

Way of the Autumn Wind (PHB3) - This is another decent opening move.  It's a close burst 2 versus Fortitude that weakens (save ends).   However, it's not party friendly, and it does fairly low damage.  The stance effect allows you to shift 2 a reaction when you get hit, which helps keep you from getting swarmed when you've out byself (as you will be if you use this power).  This is a decent controller power, but its ability to screw over your own party makes it hard to use.



Level 16 Utility

Overview - This is a nice level with some good powers.  I prefer Roots of the Mountain or Stance of the Still Sword, as it allows you more freedom to draw lots of aggro and survive.  Diamond Mind allows you to avoid some save end effects, but so does Stance of the Still Sword. Level 10 utilities like Iron Heart Resilience are also great choices if you don't already have them. 

Altered Awareness (PsiP) –You hit an enemy with a melee attack, and you’re invisible against it for a turn.  Seems weak for paragon tier.

Catch the Wind (HotEC) - an interrupt power for engaging the enemy at a distance.

Diamond Mind (PHB3) - +5 to your will defense as a interupt.  This is very nice because it allows you to avoid some of the nastiest effects, like stunned and dominate, that typically target will.  You might not use this every fight, but it is totally awesome when you do. 

Master of Winds Stance (PHB3) -A stance that lets you turn forced movement into a shift.  This is nice, but the other stances are so much better.  

Meditative Solace (PHB3) - This used to be a nice stance that allows you to make a save as a minor action one per turn.  However, it won't help you get out of the worst conditions like stunned and dominated, and forces you to make a tough choice with dazed.  Therefore, it is inferior to Iron Heart Resilience.

One Hundred Steps (HotEC) - encounter long concealment with some teleportation.

Pearl of Black Doubt (PsiP) – Wow!  A defensive stance I don't like much!  It’s an inferior version of Stance of the Still Sword.  Seems like it would be decent versus a solo, and inferior against most other things.

Roots of the Mountain (HotEC) - a variation of Wizard's Shield spell. 14 levels later, but still very good.

Stance of the Still Sword (PHB3) - This is basically the same stance as Centered Defense, but it it stacks with power bonuses to defense.  This helps you avoid getting swarmed and also avoid nasty conditions.  Overall, it's a great pick. 


Sundered Chains (PsiP) –Ending some nasty movement impeding effects is ok.

Unfailing Resolve (PsiP) –A stance in which dying does not make you unconscious, but slowed and weakened instead.  This seems like a weak dying recovery power that also provides a good way to get yourself killed. 



Level 17 Encounter


Overview
- This is nice level with a couple of very nice multi-attacks. Fist of the Whirling Tempest is very good for Centered Breath, Stone Fist will probably enjoy Whirlwind Kick the most, and Centered Breath will bath their enemies in fire several times with Steps of Grasping Fire. If your DM plays by strict RAW, A Feather's Weight or Death's Chilled Embrace might very well be the clear choice assuming the DM believes that the movement power allows the use of the standard at no action cost.

A Feather’s Weight (Stone Fist, Eternal Tide) (PsiP) – This is an action denial power in which you can move up attack versus fortitude for relatively little damage and a daze and then move away again. The enemy then can either move, attack someone within their reach, used a ranged attack, or charge.  Stone Fist get a strength rider.  This is best used against a front liner with neither reach nor a good fortitude.  At this level, that is a very rare combination, which makes the power a bit weak for the level. ETV. Could be Purple if the movement option is considered to allow the use of the Standard via a move action.

Bitter Stasis (HotEC) - It attacks fortitude, poor damage, restrains the target, and the movement grants immunity to forced movement, immobilizes you, and gives resistance.

Death's Chilled Embrace (Stone Fist, Eternal Tide) (PHB3) - It attacks fortitude, does necrotic damage (which is commonly resisted) and immobilizes the target.  If the target is hit by an attack (which doesn't include Flurry of Blows) that has forced movement, it takes 5+twice strength modifier damage. This could be decent versus the back line, if they're not resistant to necrotic.  ETV, which allows you to potentially deny a melee target an attack.  If you have a good strength and have a party with a lot of forced movement, this could be nice.
 
Fall of the Anvil's Master (D398) - Attacks fortitude off decent damage, a push and prone.  This is a decent attack to use on the back line, but is not amazing. 

Feigned Opening (Iron Soul+Mace/Staff) (PsiP) –  A strange melee reach 3 attack versus will for relatively low damage if you pull the enemy adjacent to you.  Iron Souls using a mace/staff get a constitution damage rider, which brings damage to passable levels.  The movement technique does provoke OAs from those you start adjacent to, which makes this something of a skirmisher power. 

Fist of the Whirling Tempest (Centered Breath, Eternal Tide) - has a nice aura. Hit a target with Reflex, do okay damage, and have an aura with a die roll for damage upon entering.

Glare of the Inner Eye (PsiP) – You are blinded and gain blindsight, which means it's nice versus invisible and concealed foes, but it also means you grant CA.  At least it attacks will for normal damage and has a nice melee 5 range.  The large reach may make it hard to use FoB.


Leaping Dragon Strike (Iron Soul+Spear/Dagger) (PsiP) – Attacks reflex for normal damage and a little free movement.  Iron  Soul users with a dagger/spear  get a small accuracy bonus

Living Torch(Desert Wind, Centered Breath) - attack vs. Fortitude for poor damage, but potentially a lot of damage against enemies lined up to take damage.


Steps of Grasping Fire (Centered Breath) (PHB3) - This is a non-party friendly close blast 3 versus reflex.  It does a decent amount of fire damage, which is commonly resisted.   The Movement Technique allows you to create a mini wall of fire that does 5+wisdom damage, which is cool.  Centered Breath can use the slide of Flurry of Blows to do 10+double wisdom damage to multiple opponents, which is very cool.  Just remember to create the wall before you attack.  If you have a party with a lot of forced movement, this could be awesome. Probably the best pick for Centered Breath.

Three Winds Kick (Centered Breath) (PHB3) - This attacks the reflex of up to 3 enemies for ok damage if you have a good wisdom.  The Movement Technique is a teleport to an adjacent square to an enemy within 6.  This is fairly lackluster at this level, but it you're specialized in melee attacks, then it is slightly better.

Whirlwind Kick  (PHB3) - This pulls every enemy within three adjacent if you hit their fortitude.  You then attack adjacent targets reflex for very nice damage if you have a good strength.  As it bunches up enemies, it is a good set up for a nova and includes more targets.  It also can devastate the back line.   Probably the best pick for Stone Fists. Better for Eternal Tide or Centered Breath, because if you miss an enemy, you can pull/slide them in too with Starblade...



Level 19 Daily

Overview - Some decent powers, but lacking a spectacular choice. Duel of Fates, Fire-Snake Dance, Neutralizing Strike, and Rising Dragon all have something going for them.

Angelic Legion Technique (PHB3) - It attacks reflex for nice damage and gives a mark (save ends).  On its turn you can use a free action to force the target to attack you with a ranged or melee attack, and get +4 power bonus to attack it till the end of your next turn.  Decent damage, but not a very useful attack at this level.  However, some monks playing defender might like it.

Crushing Reprisal (PsiP) – Wow, this power seems to be rooting for team monster.  It’s an immediate reaction that does measly damage and stunned (save ends).  The problem is that this occurs after the monster has attacked and on the monster’s turn.  This means the monster might not lose any actions from being stunned, and gets a save BEFORE losing any actions, or even granting CA.  Monsters you’d like to use it on likely have substantial save bonuses, so this is a real stinker for a daily. 

Dual in the Heavens (PHB3) - This is a multi attack power versus the fortitude of a single target, but since the second attack doesn't roll for damage, you won't be getting a number of bonuses on it.  It helps you isolate a target, which isn't very helpful for a monk.  If you hit on both attacks,the combination of dazed and prone is very nice. 

Duel of Fates (HotEC) - close burst 2 against a target that if it doesn't have a friend, it is a dead enemy if your Monk has any amount of time to spare. Use it on the medium-sized solo, move to the edge of the zone, and shoot it. As everything around it is blocking terrain and it can't teleport, it has problems...

Fire-Snake Dance (HotEC) - an upgraded shift your speed+4 power, okay damage, and immobilize on a hit.

Hare’s Panicked Retreat (PsiP) – Attacks versus fort for relatively poor damage for this level.  Gives slowed (save ends) if you hit, and you can push 2 on their turn until they save.  It is weak for a power of this level.

Inevitable Fist (PHB3) - This is a low damage, but accurate attack versus reflex.  A miss still provides a damage roll, so you do almost as much damage on a miss. Gives a stance where your Flurry of Blows does 2 more damage the whole encounter. Pretty lackluster at this level, but could be useful versus a foe that is hard to hit.

Loud Fist Strike (PsiP) – This is a fun power that is best used to shove a back line target into another group of creatures, damaging everyone. You first shift you speed, allowing you to close on a distant target.  You then attack fort for some damage, but hit or miss you push them 5 (preferably) into a group of other enemies.  You then make an area burst 2 attack versus fort centered on the target for some more damage and another push.  Overall, it’s a decent power, but lackluster compared to other striker powers.

Neutralizing Strike (HotEC) - Damage+Stun vs Fortitude, Weakened on a miss. Your enemy won't like you either way.

Rising Dragon Fire  (PHB3) -  It is a non-party friendly close burst 2 versus reflex.  This creates a burst 2 zone that does an extra 2d6 fire damage to anything you hit.  This is a nice power, but is hard to use and isn't overwhelming for the level compared to what other strikers have. It probably should be used in the first turn before the party moves in, assuming you get to the enemies first due to your awesome intitiative and mobility.

Twin Fountain Strike (PsiP) – You shift your speed +2, and attack the reflex of 1 or two creatures for low damage and 10 ongoing.  While the on-going is still in effect all enemies who can see the creatures affected get -2 to attack.  This also creates a little bit of concealment, which will benefit you as you can rely on your bursts to not take the attack penalty. Overall, it isn't horrible, but I don't really see why I'm taking this over Flame-Snake Dance.
 

Epic Powers
 

 

Level 22 Utility


Overview - This level has a lot of decent powers.  As you are already so mobile, I'd probably go with Empty Body or Supreme parry if you want another defensive stance, or Diamond Body or Indomitable Technique if you are already happy with your stances.

Diamond Body (PHB3) – Resist 20 damage as an interupt every encounter.  That's a 15% increase in durability.  A solid choice.

Empty Body (PsiP) – A stance that lets you take half damage from all sources, ignore difficult terrain, and move through enemies.  The only downside is you must be bloodied. So what happens when you get healed to above bloodied...

Everywhere At Once (HotEC) - A daily stationary zone that grants CA at the wrong time and some immediate reaction teleporting in the zone. If this is worthwhile to your character, something is probably horribly wrong.


Hastened Effort (HotEC) - this Daily grants a shift and a non-attack standard action. Seems to have potential, but the daily and no attack limits what it can do.

Indomitable Technique (PHB3) – This daily helps ensure you won't lose a turn because you're dying by letting you spend a surge, for 2 surges worth of healing.   Many character's epic destiny will give a similar power at level 24, but it's still useful as it allows you extra freedom to take the big risk, big reward actions strikers live and die for.  However, if your epic destiny doesn't grant a similar effect, this is an awesome power. 

Meditative Vanishing (PsiP) – As a Daily that allows you to become invisible against most or all of your enemies until you attack that particular enemy.  This would be better if monks didn’t like to attack the whole battlefield.  As is, it’s doesn’t go along with monk strengths.  It also is inferior to most monk defensive stances. 

Mist Walker's Step (PHB3) – Gain phasing and ignore difficult terrain for 2 rounds on an encounter basis.  This is ok, but situational.

Perfect Motion (HotEC) - Ignore Opportunity Attacks as a Daily Stance. Very situational and as a Monk, not likely something that's a huge concern.


Supreme Parry(PsiP) – Add the proficiency bonus of your weapon to your AC and reflex.  I think you can add only one weapon’s prof bonus, but check with your DM if they read it as allowing more than one.  This stance is good, and it stacks with all power bonuses.  However, it would be better if it added to all your defenses, as fortitude and will will be targeted quite a bit at this level.

 

Thousand World Stride (PsiP) – A daily stance that allows you to teleport your speed as a free action at the beginning of your turn. Probably not the most useful stance ever, but the ability to teleport quickly around a huge Epic battlefield likely adds to the value.

Wind Walker (PHB3) – You can fly your speed as an at-will, but you must land at the end.  This is situationally useful, but you will probably already have some fly or teleport options at this level, and flight is inferior to teleporting and might sometimes even be inferior to some jumping techniques.  You can even get superior powers at this level through items, such as Boots of Teleportation.

 

Level 23 Encounter

Overview -  This level has some decent choice - if you're unsure, Legion of One is a very solid power, but I think Order Unbound is often going to be the better choice, especially if Str-based. Blazing Sourge should appeal to some Desert Wind monks.

Blazing Scourge(Desert Wind(HotEC) - short ranged multi-target attack vs reflex that immobilizes. Not bad, but we're really here for the movement power - shift speed and add power bonus to fire damage rolls as a move.

Fist of Golden Light (PHB3) – A low damage attack versus fortitude, that grants a secondary attack versus fortitude that blinds every enemy adjacent to the original target (but not the original target).  This is strange controller power that you most likely will be using on the front line, which means you'll miss a lot. 


Hungry Ghost (PHB3) – It attacks reflex and does a decent amount of necrotic damage, which is commonly resisted.  If you hit, you gain 10+wisdom thp.  The Movement Technique grants phasing and insubstantial for the turn.   

Iron Cascade (Iron Soul) (PsiP) – Attacks fortitude for normal damage with a damage bonus for each ally that is adjacent to the enemy. The problem is that allies will tend to cluster around the front line, which has a good fortitude.  The iron soul accuracy bonus gets around this problem, which makes the power decent for them.  Iron soul also can benefit from the movement technique, which gives a nice shift to you and an ally based on your constitution, which will help set up the damage bonus.

Legion of One(PHB3) – An enemy-only close burst 3 versus reflex for decent area damage. This will allow you to target most of the battlefield, which is awesome. The effect on the power and the movement technique are both shift 4, which allows you to position yourself in the most optimal place. An awesome power.  

Lightning in the Clouds (HotEC) - Attacks reflex for poor damage and a daze. Very weak. Movement does grant flight with hover until start of next turn, though.

 

 

Lightning Throw (PsiP) – Attacks reflex for ok damage.  A hit spawns a lightning bolt with range 10 that attacks a different target for relatively poor damage and blindness.  It is mediocre for an epic power.

Order Unbound(Stone Fist, Eternal Tide) (HotEC) - Poor damage close burst 2 vs Fort with potentially huge slide based on Str with auto-prone if they attack. Part of the value is the awesome movement option - insubstantial until start of the turn + teleport your speed. Doesn't get much better than that.

 

Shattered Earth Fall (PsiP) – Attacks the reflex of a single target for ok damage and proned, and also attacks the fort of all other enemies adjacent to you to prone them.  It is very weak for this level.

Sunder the Castle (PHB3) – Attacks reflex for decent damage and pushes your strength.  It's an ok power. Need a really good reason to take this over Order Unbound, such as a desire to be suboptimal.



Level 25 Daily

Overview - Watchful Hydra Technique and Living Lightning are the clear standout at this level.  Some Stonefists may also be drawn to Phoenix Dance.

Crushing Anger (HotEC) - Ok damage as a reaction. Has some minor action do damage and knock prone as an auto-effect, but it involves a save, likely at a penalty.

Dragon Fist Strike (PsiP) - Some flight, and then ttacks reflex for decent damage and prone (save ends).  Enemies take a -2 to any attack including you for a turn.  This would be decent against flying targets, but it can't be used to attack flying targets, which makes it weak for the level.   

Enduring Boulder (HotEC) - Decent damage, no control attack. The Black rating is in the effect, which starts you off with resist 30, which drops 5 after each hit and a power bonus to melee damage rolls.

Fate's Judgement (PsiP) - Immediate reaction for lowish damage and a weak damaging save ends effect.  The enemy gets a save before taking any damage, so it's probably wasted.  Overall, the power sucks.

Four Hidden Sounds (Centered Breath) (PsiP) - A standard action stance that lets you make 1 weak, elemental, non-party friendly, close blast 5 attack as a minor each turn for four turns.  This gives you an extra minor action attack on three turns. However, it also has some significant drawbacks.  It also uses wisdom for damage. At this level, creatures will frequently have some elemental resistances.  Plus, you already are going to have some good stances for hard fights, and the non-party friendly nature of the power makes it hard to use.  Overall, if have a good wisdom and can make use of all 4 attacks without nuking your party, it's a decent power.

Glacier's Mantle (Stone Fist, Eternal Tide) (PHB3) - Attacks reflex for normal damage.  It lets you enter a stance that does 5 extra cold damage on melee attacks and 5+str cold damage when a enemy becomes adjacent to you.  You might not be using many melee attacks much at this level, and you should already have some good stances. Thus, the power is not as good as it may seem.  If you do make a lot of melee attacks, this could be good power. The bonus damage on the attack is not extra damage, so you might get to add damage modifiers more than once. If that's true, kick it up to blue

Living Lightning (HotEC) - Fly your speed, then do some weak damage vs. reflex. The effect is what the kicker is - on a hit, stunned until EoNT, on a miss, creature loses its standard action.
  
Phoenix Dance (Stone Fist) 
(PHB3) - It's Dancer on the Sea of Battle with 5+strength radiant damage as an effect. This means all targeted creatures will take at least 5+strength radiant damage, which ensure minions will die and makes the damage better than it seems.  If you have a good strength, it's a good power, but the competition is a lot more fierce than it was at level 15. 

Strike of Perfect Clarity (PsiP) - Attacks will for decent damage for a monk attack.  If you miss you can make the attack again. Plus a second damage roll.

Strike of the Vulnerable Turtle(PHB3) - Attacks reflex of a single target for good damage.  It grants a leader effect that won't affect you, but it might help weapon users in your party.  Not what I look for in a striker. 

Wandering Comet Strike (PHB3) –  Attack the reflex of up to three targets for poor damage for a daily. You can attack one creature twice, which is useful.  

Watchful Hydra Technique (PHB3) -
 Attacks the reflex of all enemies in a burst 3 for good damage, which should target most of the battlefield.  It also lets you enter into a stance that is similar to Starflurry Blade. Overall, it's an awesome pick.  


Level 27 Encounter

Overview - This level has some unusual, but fun powers.  Heart Sundering Strike lets you dominate a single target, and Celestial Drunken Boxer confuses a good section of the enemies to tear up themselves. 

Celestial Drunken Boxer (Centered Breath) (PHB3) – An enemies only burst 2 vs. Will that does no direct damage, but forces the enemies you hit to make a melee basic with a wisdom bonus to attack and damage.  This melee basic can be used to target themselves, and even that will provoke defender retribution, so it's a nice power if you have got the wisdom. Centered Breath Monks should be able to position their targets so that this turns into a multi-attack against a single target. 

Fist of Indomitable Iron (Stone Fist) (PHB3) –  High single target damage versus reflex for monks with a good strength. Yawn.... 

From Earth to Heaven (PsiP) – A party friendly close burst 2 versus fortitude for low damage, a small push and immobilized.  This could cause the front line to lose some attacks, but those enemies will likely have a good fortitude.  However, it still could be a useful power. 

Get Away, Stay Away(Stone Fist, Eternal Tide) (HotEC) - low damage burst 1 vs Fortitude that pushes based on Str. Not a capstone.


Heart Sundering Strike (PHB3) – Now here's a Capstone with a Capital C. It attacks Will and dominates (which is the best status effect in the game) with an some low damage once they snap out of it. Oh, did I mention the movement power has that wonky use during a move? If your DM doesn't go for that RAW, then it is only Sky Blue

Loose the Screaming Gale (HotEC) - solid blast 5 vs. Fort that does ok damage, slides, and immobilizes. Plus movement is flight that doesn't force you to land. 

 

Part the Seas(Iron Soul) (PsiP) – Attacks fortitude for very low damage and stunned for a turn. Movement technique can make enemies prone. The stunned is always nice, but is clearly inferior to Heart Sundering Strike. Iron Soul kicks it up to the point where maybe it isn't strictly inferior, just worse.


Shatter the Mountain (Stone Fist) (PsiP) – Attacks fortitude of decent damage and a moderate push.  Stone Fist get a larger push. Movement technique gives resist 5.  For this level, it is weak.

Storms Fall Without Warning  (D389) - A close burst 1 versus will for ok damage.  It also gives you a couple teleports.  It's accurate, but lackluster for the level. 

Tap the Life Well (PHB3) –  
Attacks Fort for mediocre damage, and dazes two targets if you hit with a secondary attack.   This is not a good power for this level.

Weight of the Anchor  (PsiP)– Attacks reflex for good damage.  Iron soul may get an accuracy boost.  Boring...

Wildfire Unleashed(Desert Wind, Centered Breath) (HotEC) - the power itself isn't that great, a blast 3 vs reflex that does poor damage. However, it creates two seperate zones for damage instances. Have a party with lots of forced movement and this could be kicked up another notch. 



Level 29 Daily

Overview - There are three respectable powers at this level.  Multi-attackers will take Mist on the Storm, which weakens.  Stunning Fist stuns the big baddie. Desert Wind Monks or in games with killer DMs should look at Rising Phoenix. If you can't make up your mind, pick Rising Phoenix.

Adamantine Hurricane (PsiP) – You get a small defense bonus, then make a party friendly close burst 1 versus reflex for low damage and 10 ongoing.  You then move, drawing OAs.  Enemies that miss you are proned and take a little damage.  You then make an identical close burst 1 against a different group of enemies.  It’s not a bad attack, but at this level it’s a bit lackluster. 

Bones of the Mountain King (HotEC)- a relatively weak close burst 1 attack vs Fort that auto-immobilizes and does ongoing(save ends) and gives a hefty penalty as long as you're next to the targets. That close burst 1 part and this being level 29th is why it is purple.

 

Falling Star Strike (PsiP)- A cinematic, non-party friendly  close burst 2 for relatively little damage and a blind (save ends).  Creatures must move out of area of effect or take a little more damage.  The cinematics of this attack are very cool, too bad the attack itself is weak for the level.

Mist on the Storm (PHB3) – This is an enemy only blast 3 versus reflex for decent damage and a weakened (save ends) rider. Even on a miss, the targets will be weakened.  This can be used to devastate the front line. The stance gives phasing and an insubstantial interrupt. Overall, a solid power. 

Quivering Palm (formerly Heart Sundering Strike) (PHB3) – About the same damage as the other powers at this level, but also 10 ongoing damage (save ends).  Anything you would want to use this on will have a good saving throw bonus, and stunned is much better than 10 ongoing, so this power is a trap. Stunning Fist completely overshadows this power.

Rising Phoenix(Desert Wind) (HotEC) - An interrupt, friendly burst 3 vs. Reflex, that does some weak damage, marks, and does some ongoing. You heal, you get an aura that does fire damage to enemies, and a fly speed if you needed it. All in all, a good choice.
 

Stunning Fist (PHB3) –  Attacks reflex for decent damage and has a second attack that stuns (save ends) on a hit and weakened or dazed (save ends) on a miss.   It is a good way of controlling the big baddie, but it isn't overwhelming at this level as the big baddies have big saving throw bonuses. 

Titan’s Mighty Grasp (PsiP) – It attacks fort for decent damage and a grab.  You can sustain the grab as a standard action, and make an accurate, encounter level attack versus fortitude that prevents the enemy from  escaping on their next turn.  If you’ve got a good fortitude defense or use it versus a dazed enemy, it’s a decent way to keep a flyer down, but it won’t help if the enemy has relatively common teleportation powers. It seems too situational to recommend at this level.

Tormenting Mirage (HotEC)- low damage, close burst 1 that attacks Reflex. It gives a relatively weak stance(this is Epic, most opponents won't be adjacent to you, so therefore you're granting CA) and an at-will reaction that is frankly weak. This wouldn't even be a good level 27 encounter power.

 

 

Feats

 Feat Overview
As detailed in the tactics section, monks are designed to use close burst attacks against multiple enemies.  This draws more aggression that other strikers. In addition, due to the close burst nature of their best powers, monks are frequently in some of the most dangerous positions strikers can be found in. This means that DPR and Defenses are a monk's two top goals.

DPR Feats
http://community.wizards.com/content/forum-topic/3714446General place to find out about DPR boosting options

Heroic

Coordinated Explosion – If you use a lot of party-friendly close bursts, and have allies in melee with you, this is a solid feat. Otherwise skip it.  
  
Crashing Tempest Style (Club users) (PHB3) -
If you are holding a club you get a +2 to FoB damage. The FAQ for the PHB3 now specifies clearly that this feat works even if you're not attacking with the club.    

Deadly Draw (Centered Breath) (PHB3) - For Centered Breath Monks this gaurantees combat advantage against 1 or more enemies as long as you hit at least one enemy each turn.  This combines well with Nimble Blade, Starblade Flurry, and Defensive Advantage.

Cunning Stalker (HFK) - You get CA if you're the only creature adjacent to the enemy.  Thus, you depend on the party not fighting with you and the DM keeping monsters spread out for you to get CA.  However, if you consistently go play off by yourself, or your party is light on melee, you could get some good use out of the feat.  However, if your party is melee heavy, you should still be able to get flank, though.

Expertise Feats (Various) An expertise feat should be your first or second feat as a monk.  See below for a run down on the different expertise feats.
Expertise Feats

I rate these feats relative to each other. Any optimized monk needs one of these feats.

Holy Symbol Expertise (HoS)- This feat gives a superior version of Uncanny Dodge and Eyes in the Back of the Head, which helps you fight surrounded.  Holy symbols are easy to get if you have a little wisdom or cha by taking a MC avenger, cleric or paladin feat that gives implement profeciency. Only downside is that most divine classes have poor opportunities for minor action or off-action attacks.

Ki Focus Expertise (HoS) - A little scaling extra damage versus bloodied targets. 

Staff Expertise (HFL) - Essential for any staff user, but the benefit isn't useful for most monks. 

Versatile Expertise (PHB3) - Versatile Expertise has two big advantages - it works with both your ki focus and your weapon of choice. So you can use your Radiant/Frost/Subtle Dagger or your Blurred Ki Focus to make attacks, depending on which one is more useful. Plus, then, if you do need to use a long ranged weapon, you can shoot it with the ki focus.
 

Flurry Resounding (Dr404) - Use flurry again on an AP. As this feat only will typically apply only  twice per day, you probably could find something better.   

Implement Focus (HFL) - Extra damage is nice for a striker.


Improved Monk Unarmed Strike (PHB3) - It gives 1 extra damage to your unarmed basic attacks. Something you'll find really hard to use, even if you specialize in trying to use it. Avoid.

Nimble Blade
(Centered Breath(PHB) - If you use daggers and have CA a lot, this is a solid feat. Works well with Cunning Stalker, Deadly Draw and frost cheese.

Silvery Glow (Dr386) Frost+Radiant damage boost, though requires a specific deity.

Slashing Kama Style (Dr404) Generally just a bad idea and you don't have the hands for it in Paragon. At the minimum, you're giving up either +2 damage to your FoB or an extra target. Why?


Superior Implement Training (PHB3) - Dagger, Ki Focus, and Quarterstaff users want to take this to get their Accurate implements.  +1 to hit!  Monks using a Flaming dagger also could do well with an Incendary Dagger. 
Popular Superior Implements

Accurate (PsiP) -  It is boring, but it is the biggest accuracy and DPR increase of any superior implement.  All implement types a monk would use have this superior implement. 

Fluid Ki Focus (PsiP) - Extra mobility and defense (if you don't already have a shield bonus)

Inexorable Ki Focus (PsiP) - If you primarily attack fort and have some force powers, this could be useful.

Iron Ki Focus (PsiP) - Some extra damage and bonus forced movement on implement powers.  This does NOT affect Centered Breath FoB, as FoB isn't an implement power. 

Mighty Ki Focus (PsiP) - If primarily use reflex attacks, you could make some use out of this.  


Mountain Ki Focus (PsiP) - Extra defense (if you don't already have a shield bonus) and bonus forced movement on implement powers.  This does NOT affect Centered Breath FoB, as FoB isn't an implement power.

Serene Ki Focus (PsiP) - If primarily using Will attacks, especially psychic, you could make some use out of this. Not that many psychic Monk attacks, though.

Transcedent Ki Focus (PsiP) - there are a number of good Monk teleporation attacks, so is concealment and +1 reach with melee attacks more valuable than a +1 to hit?  



Two-Weapon Fighting (PHB) - The +1 damage only applies to weapon attacks as per the recent errata, so this is only useful to open up further feats.

Wintertouched (Stone Fist or Iron Soul)(PHB) - If you are a non-Centered Breath Monk using a Frost Weapon and have Lasting Frost, you will want this feat or maybe Cunning Stalker.  Otherwise skip it. Deadly Draw is strictly better for Centered Breath.


Paragon

Brutal Flurry (PHB3) - If you primarily target 1 target, this is a decent boost to your FoB.  However, it is strongly overshadowed by Starblade Flurry unless you've got one of those DMs that constantly makes you fight a single Solo.

Fiery Blood/Icy Heart/Burning Vapors/Lightning Soul/Thunder's Rumble (HotEC) - Various bonuses to elemental damage and an unusual option attached. Assuming you're doing elemental damage, you want one of these.
 
Lasting Frost (PHB) - If you're using a Frost Weapon, you want this. Otherwise, skip it.

Light Blade Precision – If you use daggers, it's a decent damage boost against large enemies. Late in the game, most of your enemies will be large.

Reserve Maneuver - Good if your Paragon Path's encounter power is poor. The likely want for this is picking up a power that is a multi-tap, such as Drunken Monkey or a power that does multiple attacks for Blurred Ki Focus.


Simple Precision(PHB3) - +1 to hit with at-wills after you hit with an at-will. You have too many encounter powers at this point for this feat to be terribly useful.  As you have a lot of multi-attacks, this feat may (ask your DM) allow you to gain +1 to hit with subsequent attack rolls of the same power.  In this case, it could be useful.  

Starblade Flurry (PHB3) - A true must have if you have a free hand.  This is the best striker and control feat monks have to offer.  It gives you an additional FoB target that can be up to 5 squares away.  Also, you don't need to wield a dagger, only hold a dagger in the off-hand, so everyone but quarterstaff users can benefit from it.  CB monks use this to slide enemies into bad spots and suck additional targets into burst range. Iron soul use this to hinder enemies, such as keeping them next to the defender.  Stone Fist get a decent amount of extra damage.  Even unarmed monks and monks that need a free hand can use this feat by spending a minor to draw a non-magical dagger or shirken each turn (which gets thrown and leaves them empty-handed again).   

Two Weapon Opening – An extra attack on a crit is nice. However, monks have no decent ways of improving critical range and no use for a second melee weapon. Ki Focus monks may be able to make some use out of it however. Requires a good MBA. Almost strictly inferior to Two-Fisted Shooter.



Epic

Bow Mastery

Stone Fist Master (PHB3) - Your FoBs grants CA to the next attack, which could be your own.  A decent leader effect, but not awe-inspiring at this level.

Unarmed Mastery (PHB3) - This is either a trap or a decent feat depending on how your DM interprets Ki Focus.  If your DM makes you use a ki focus directly as an implement or allows ki focus to take the form of a weapon, this feat does nothing unless you forgo your enhancement bonus. If your DM allows ki focused weapons as implements, then this feats allows unarmed monks (who use a ki focus) get 19-20 criticals when they make melee attacks. This is the only way to get 19-20 criticals on implement attacks through a feat as a monk.  However, it does NOT affect area attacks.  


Defensive Feats
I recommend you take 1-3 feats per tier that are defensive in nature.
 
Heroic


Improved Defenses (HFL) - A nice scaling bonus to NADS.  This is ok at heroic, good at paragon and awesome at epic. 

Iron Parry (req Iron Soul) (PsiP) - +1 untyped bonus to AC. Given feat starvation, I probably wouldn't take this.

Resilient Focus (HFL) - +2 to saves.  This is very nice, especially when combined with Superior Will.

Shielding Whirlwind Style (Dr404) - No CA by being flanked and also cover versus ranged and area attacks (but not versus close attacks).  You will be flanked frequently if you use a lot of close bursts, so this is an very good feat for staff users. 
  
Superior Will (req 15 wis or cha) (HFL) - If you have the necessary wisdom or charisma, this is a awesome feat from late heroic on through epic tier.  It gives a nice scaling bonus to will, and lets you save versus daze and stun at the beginning of your turn even if it isn't a save ends effect.    Too bad it only gives you +1 will over Improved Defenses. 

Toughness (PHB) - This is a solid feat.  However, monks can get defenses high enough that they probably won't need it. 

Unarmored Agility (PHB3) - A +2 to AC is too good to pass up. Probably should be your first feat. Depending on your Paragon tier options, it may be a feat that you retrain out of and possibly back into.



Paragon

Defensive Advantage (Centered Breath) (PHB) - This is a big bonus to AC that is pretty well constant for Centered Breath with Deadly Draw
 
Eyes in the Back of Head - Flanking doesn't cause CA.  If you do a lot of close burst attacks, you will be flanked very frequently, so this is a useful feat.  Stone Fist who aren't staff users will prefer this over Uncanny Dodge, as it has no wisdom requirement. 


Uncanny Dodge (req 15 wisdom) (PHB) – When you grant CA, enemies don't get the +2 to attack you.  So if you are flanked, stunned or dazed, enemies still will have difficulty hitting you.  If you do a lot of area attacks, you will be flanked very frequently, so this is a solid feat.  The wisdom requirement means this will probably only be taken by Centered Breath. Shielding Whirlwind Style also provides similar effects. 

Whirling Iron Defense (req Iron Soul) (PsiP) - +1 defenses against enemies you hit with FoB.  This is a solid feat for an Iron Soul, because it boosts all defenses and, as you should be attack multiple opponents each turn, it has a very common trigger. 

Epic



Epic Defenses - This consisted of the three Epic Defense feats: Epic Fort, Epic Reflex and Epic Will. All of them are solid feats, but Epic Will is the most useful because the worst riders (e.g., Daze, Stun and Dominate) tend to attack will.   



Utility Feats
Utility feats increase your control over the battlefield, increase your mobility, and allow you additional types of actions.  These can be useful to some builds. 
Heroic

Fluid Motion (PsiP) - +1 speed bonus than raises to +2 at paragon.  Speed is useful for monks, so this could be useful.

Improved Initiative(PHB) - You already have a good intitiative modifier, but if you get your defenses high enough, as a monk, you want to convince the monsters to focus fire you and play mock-Defender.

Internalize the Basic Kata
(Ki Focus users) (DR404).  You gain a useable MBA on your OAs and you can trigger FoB on OAs if you didn't already use your FoB during the round. This feat doesn't let you use FoB more than once a round, so it's basically a semi-improved Melee training for Ki Focus users. You lose one hand's worth of items or your level 2 utility power (for fast hands). If you are weilding a quarterstaff in two hands, or decide to drop a weapon in one hand and and pick them up via Fast Hands after your OA, then this feats gets a bit better. Remember however that unless you're using a ki focus and one of the ki focus expertise feats, you will lose your primary weapon/implement's enhancement bonus as well as the bonus from your expertise feat. This means that Melee Training could still be better for a significant number of monks. 

Melee Training – Probably the best feat option, given most Monks will want two weapons in their hands. Worth considering just getting Babau Gauntlets as most Monks won't be making more than one MBA a turn anyway. 

Pointed Step Style (PHB3) - Spear users can have 1 of their FoB targets 2 squares away.  However, it does not add any additional FoB targets (until Epic level).  As a result, the usefulness of this feat is lessened by Starblade Flurry at paragon.  You can use both Starblade Flurry and Pointed Step Style together.

Skipping Stone Flurry (PsiP) - If you have a sling in hand, you can replace a normal FoB target with one up to 10 squares away.  Some DMs may make you reload the sling, but by RAW, you don't need to.  



Paragon

Agile Opportunist – Depending on your party, this can provide an extra basic attack from time to time.  Requires Melee Training. 

Centered Intuition (req Centered Breath) (PsiP)- It's a ever so slightly better version of Danger Sense. If you're Centered Breath and only have room for 1 initiative feat, this is the one until Superior Initiative is available.

Danger Sense (PHB) - Rerolling initiative every time can be useful. Approximately as valuable as Improved Initiative.

Dazing Fist (req Stone Fist) (PsiP) - Daily attacks also daze (save ends).  This adds some solid control to Stone Fist. If you've decided to be a Stone Fist over Eternal Tide, this had better be the reason you did so.

Polearm Gamble
(PHB) -If you're wielding a polearm, you will want to consider this. Although, you likely want to consider why you're wielding a polearm, also. Requires an MBA. This combines well with Spear Push and Polearm Momentum and Repel Charge. Although again, we're heading off the beaten path in a serious way.

Psychic Lock (PHB) - If you have a weapon that can make you do psychic damage, this is a nice way to augment the build. 

Repel Charge (PHB3) - This is a good way to discourage charging you.  It requires a good basic attack. Better in Heroic.

Resounding Thunder (PHB)- If you are specializing in thunder (e.g., Malec-Keth Janissary), you get to enlarge all your bursts and blasts by 1, which is AWESOME for a monk. 


Epic

Blind-Fight (PHB) - Helps you deal with Invisible enemies, which is important as many monk powers only work against enemies you see.

Centered Breath Master (PHB3) - FoB now slides an additional square, which is very useful. 

Form Mastery (PsiP) - Regain an encounter power when you spend an AP. 

Long Step (PHB3) - This allows you to shift one extra square, which is nice considering how much monks shift around.

Superior Initiative (PHB3) - An upgrade to Improved Initiative. 

Unfettered Stride (PHB) - Ignoring difficult terrain permanently can be quite handy.



Dragonmark Feats

Mark of Passage - A nice bonus to shifting distance

Mark of Storm - This is awesome when combined with Lightning Weapons, especially with Polearms.  Stone Fist can also use it with Deadly Draw to gain permanent CA like Centered Breath.  Deadly Draw or Polearm Momentum can be used to try to negate charges.


Racial Feats
Racial feats sometimes provide much stronger benefits than a normal feat.  I recommend you look these over carefully before planning out your monk.   

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Dragonborn

A few of the breath feats might be useful. However, they don't especially scream "monk," so I'm not covering them here.

Draconic Arrogance (Stone Fist, Eternal Tide) (req fighter- PHB, paragon) - Str modifier to damage when you push or prone someone.  You have a decent selection of powers that do this. Of course, I'm a Dragonborn Monk with a Str score? Uh, oh...


Drow

Merciless Killer (FRPG, paragon) - +5 damage against bloodied foes if you have CA.


Dwarf

Dwarven Durability (Iron Soul) (PHB) - A big boost in durability for Iron Soul, who would probably be better served by increased defenses.

Dwarven Weapon Training (PHB) - A nice damage bonus in the heroic tier.  Too bad axes and hammers are poor monk weapons.


Eladrin

Dancing Thorn Style (Dr 389)  +1 to hit anytime you use a longsword, and +1 FoB damage if you use one two handed. Let's work out the basic math - I could have a Ki Weapon in one hand, so that's the Longsword. And I lose the benefit of the other weapon. Seems good, but marginal.

Eladrin Soldier (PHB) - Proficiency and a +2 damage bonus with longswords and all spears. At heroic and paragon tiers this is a solid feat. 


Elf


Valenar Weapon Training (DR 385) - Proficiency and a decent scaling bonus with scimitars.  Too bad these aren't the best monk weapons unless you manage to get Firewind Blade going...


Genasi

Shocking Flame (FRPG, Paragon) - A crazy good feat for Firewind Blade abuse. Um, we're a Genasi? Rated Black for that reason.
Extra/Dual Manifestation(FRPG, Epic) - Something to consider if we have a Genasi Monk and we've made it up to Epic. Of course, we could take Extra Manifestation in Paragon, but why?


Githzerai

Githzerai Heavyblade Training (PHB3) - Profeciency and a +2 scaling damage bonus with heavy blades. Too bad heavy blades aren't the best monk weapons unless you get Firewind Blade going.

Githzerai Mobility (DR 378) - A bonus to defenses versus OAs based on your wisdom.  This can be useful, such as if you wanted to draw defender punishment down on an enemy.  However, a monk's many shift movement techniques makes it completely optional and monks have a lot of defensive feats available to them. 

Zuoken's Centering (req wis 15) (PHB3) - Use Wisdom for hp, surges, and athletics.


Gnoll

Swift Bite (Dr 367) - Do another 1d6+str damage when you bloody a target.


Half-Elf


Martial Dilettante (MP 2) - Retrain bait for Versatile Master in Paragon, and if you have a martial power aka Twin Strike, a very useful feat for most combats.

Effortless Dilettante (DR 385) - Once per encounter use dilettante in place of a melee basic.  With the melee training nerf, this feat is looking better.

Versatile Master (PHB2) - The whole reason you are playing a half-elf.


Halfling

Lost in the Crowd (PHB) - +2 AC if you are next to two medium or larger enemies, which should be most of the time. 


Human


Action Surge (PHB) - +3 to attacks you make as the result of an AP.  This helps ensure your dailies hit.

Stubborn Survivor (FRPG) +2 to saves if you don't have any APs remaining, which stacks with Resilient Focus.


Revenant


Some of the feats making a revenant unkillable may be useful, but they don't particularly scream "monk."

"Soul" feats, such as Dwarven and Draconic Soul are nice.  Half-Elf Soul is awesome.

More information on revenants can be found in the revenant handbook 


Shadar-Kai


Deathless Warrior (Dr 372) - Damage reduction if a hit would drop you below 0. 


Shifter, Longtooth


Beasthide Shifting - Resist 2 when shifting

Gorebrute Charge (PHB2) - A nice bonus to charge damage.

Psychic Feat (Dr 389) - Increased regen when you hit


Shifter, Razerclaw


Beasthide Shifting - Resist 2 when shifting


Thri-Keen

Four-Armed Flurry(DSCS) - +2 damage to one target of the triggering attack if you use FoB on the target.
Thri-Kreen Shooter/Thri-Kreen Thrower - Extra hand for a Monk weapon? Not quite - they both are only usable for ranged attacks and FoB is a melee...

Themes

At level 10 and beyond, the strongest themes for monks are the three were-creature themes from Dragon 410. Sarifal Feywarden is heavily competitive with them for elemental damage monks. Other than those, Ironwrought, Guardian, 

Only listing themes that rate black or higher for a monk.  

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Beguiler (Dr420)- a minor action attack for both triggering blurred ki focus and sliding a target into burst radius. Very useful.

Devil's Pawn (NWCS)- An minor action encounter minion popper and a debuffing zone.  Use the zone before your nova to make sure every enemy in the burst gets hit.  The fire resist is just a bonus.

Fey Beast Tamer (HoFW)- A useful pet that grants bonuses and makes enemies grant CA. However, it will probably cost surges each day. 

Guardian (Good MBA) (Dr 399)- An immediate action weapon attack that gets your attacked instead of an ally.  Monks typically have a weak MBA at best, but if you have a decent MBA and have good defenses, then this is a decent path 

Knight Hospitaler (Centered Breath, Desert Wind) (Dr 399)- If you got the wisdom, immediate action heals for allies are helpful.


Harper Agent (NWCS)- The harper pin provides three powers that will always be useful in every encounter.  The Resourceful Dastard power is awesome if you're a Ghostwalker.

Ironwrought(Blurred Ki Focus) (HotEC) - Only consider if you have a minor action melee weapon attack, but if you do, this is a powerhouse option for Blurred Ki Focus, especially for Centered Breath Monks.

Ooze Adept - Blurred Strike Ki Focus user looking for an extra minor action attack?

Order Adept (Dr 399)- There are two versions of this theme, one in the compendium and CB which is poor for monks, and another in the original article which is useful.   The original article is the actual rules source, but it doesn't read sensibly.  For monks, you can pick wizard utilities (at all levels, or just level 2) instead of monk utilities, and you get a power bonus to will, which won't stack with most stances.  

Mercenary (Dr 399)- A no-action prone increases stickiness, and a defense bonus when bloodied helps keep the monk alive.

Primordial Adept (HoEC) A lot of fun burst powers + bonus to elemental damage. Generally good theme.

Noble Adept (DSCS)- Turns a miss into a hit each encounter.

Sarifal Feywarden (Dr 404)- Great for elemental damage users, particular Desert Wind types

Sohei (Dr 404)- The level 1 power doesn't work for monk powers. That said, if you have an MBA or power swap, this can work out.

Were-Bear (Dr 410)- At level 10, you can use claw gloves to add 1d10 to both FoB and your melee powers. You also get a nice power bonus to defenses. Regen utility 2 is amazing.

Were-Rat (Dr 410)-At level 10, you can use claw gloves to add 1d10 to both FoB and your melee powers.  You also can use Goblin totem for an item bonus to all your powers.  You also get a nice power bonus to defenses. Regen utility 2 is amazing.

Were-Wolf (Dr 410) At level 10, you can use claw gloves to add 1d10 to both FoB and your melee powers.  You also get a nice power bonus to speed. Regen utility 2 is amazing.

Yakuza (Dr 404)- If you have good defenses and drop a minion, the encounter power equals +2 to all defenses until the next time you're hit.  That bonus stacks with all but 1 stance, and may have made you virtually unhittable. Especially good for Desert Wind Monks.
 

Paragon Paths
Monks have some solid, but not awe-inspiring paragon paths.  A few multi-class paths and racial paths can be very interesting to monks.  The synergy in monk Paragon Paths isn't always immediately evident, so think carefully about your options before making a choice.

Monk Paths

Overview - Centered Breath focused on defense will be drawn to Ghostwalker. Centered Breath focusing more on offense will be drawn to Radiant Fist. Desert Wind, Eternal Tide Stone Fists will be drawn to Initiate of the Dragon, but they could also do well with Radiant Fist if they're expecting undead or other party members are also exploiting radiant damage. Unseen Hand works well if you're exploiting Blurred Ki Focus.

Basilisk's Fury Adept (PsiP) This path is really weird.  You get some save bonuses against mobility-related conditions, and you petrify (save ends) if you crit.  Petrified makes the oppoenent helpless, which allows you and your allies to make Coup to Graces against the enemy, but the enemy has substantial resistance - think of it as a controller/leader path and it makes more sense - you control your opponent so it can't act and then set it up to be knocked out by the PC with the critical hit weapon. Versatile Expertise for a 19-20 crit weapon and a ki focus with a d12 crit die is the way to go here.

 

Falling Needle Itinerant (D389) - This path is defensive and mobility related, for the monk skirmishers out there.  You add 1 to all shifts given by monk powers, and get a small defensive boost. The features are a bit weak, and the powers are weaker. 

Four Winds Master (PsiP) This path mostly provides extra mobility, and some resistanes/save bonuses.  The powers are ok,  but nothing amazing.  Overall, the path seems underpowered as it doesn't improve a monk's DPR or control. The U12 utility's insubstantial as an interrupt will make you very durable, though.

Ghostwalker  (PHB3)- It is quite defensive in nature, with a decent improvement in your mobility as well.  The big selling point of this path is having concealment if you have CA, which means that Centered Breath with Deadly Draw basically will have permanent concealment and the +2 defenses (and stealth possibilites) that come with that.  Shifting when you're missed will also allow you to get out of the reach of multi-attacking creatures.  This path also allows you to grant some nice conditions, such as weakened and stunned.  As this path draws monks who wish to be unhittable, the level 20 is a stun followed by a "dazed until we quit ignoring him." 

Herald of Madness (Dr 394) - solid AP feature, but rest of it weak, especially for a Striker.


Initiate of the Dragon (Desert Wind, Eternal Tide, and Stone Fist) (PHB3) -  A nice AP feature if you're a Stone Fist, but everyone gets some fire resist and +2 FoB damage.  Desert Wind Monks are drawn toward making their FoB irrestible, as fire or variable resistance is common in enemies of this level.  This path gives you some party unfriendly close blasts, but they do fire damage so they're easily resisted.  However, the daily power is a awesome polymorph power.  Seriously, who doesn't want to play a dragon? 

Mountain Devotee (PHB3) -  You must be Stone Fist to enter this path.  For most styles of play, this path is pretty well inferior to the Initiate of the Dragon, which also give +2 to FoB damage.  The +2 damage to monk unarmed strikes only clearly functions on weapon attacks, and monks don't have any other than their basic attack.  However, if you're using a lot of melee basics with your monk unarmed strike or otherwise are using a lot of unarmed weapon attacks (like a half-elf twin strike abuser), this could be a good path.   The powers are quite lackluster. 

 

 

Radiant Fist (Centered Breath) (PHB3) -  This path is mostly geared towards Centered Breath Monks, but Stone Fist also could find use in the Path.  If your party is exploiting radiant vulnerability, taking this path is a no-brainer. It gives you a channel divinity feat (I recommend Solar Enemy), a good wisdom-based AP feature, and makes your FoB deal radiant damage.  Because your FoB is a seperate power, this allows you to do radiant vulnerability damage twice per hit to enemies.  Make sure to grab a weapon that turns your attacks radiant to take advantage of this!  The utility power is awesome for Centered Breath, as it isn't a stance and gives resist all equal to your wisdom.  The daily also is awesome and gives an encounter long effect.   

Soaring Blade(Iron Fist) (PsiP) - At level 11, you get to use acrobatics (with a decent bonus) for most athletics checks.  This means you can easily avoid most difficult terrain by jumping.  You also gain profeciency with military heavy blades, which is a mixed blessing as you other implements have superior implements and heavy blades don't.  At level 16, you get to add cold/fire/or lightning  damage equal to your constitution modifier to damage rolls from melee attacks using a heavy blade. i.e. not your FoB. As the best monk attacks aren't melee attacks, this again is a mixed blessing. The addition of elemental damage means you can always optimise for frost, fire or lighting attacks, which is a very nice benefit given the new item rarity rules. The powers are decent, but nothing awe-inspiring. Overall, this path is decent, but it would be significantly better if it wouldn't hamstring you into using melee attacks with a heavy blade.

Tiger Claw Master (Stone Fist) (PsiP)- The main selling point is some nice powers and the ability to take a -2 on attack rolls until you trigger FoB to get +4 damage on FoB, which might be useful if you've got a lot of FoB targets and are using a multiattack.  As monks aren't super accurate, this will lead to a decreased DPR in many cases.   A level 16, you get an improved second wind if you have a good strength.  The level 20 daily is awesome if you have a good strength, and works well with some the AP charge rerolls. If you're good at remembering (and like) conditional modifiers and you get bloodied a lot, you might really enjoy this path.  It's definitally not my personal style however.

Transcendent Perfection (PsiP) - A bit weird, but the AP feature is solid(shift speed+insubstantial until EoNT) - lots of movement.

Unseen Hand (PsiP) - In theory, this is the path that Blurred Ki Focus Monks are dreaming about, especially Centered Breath. Massively clump up targets and then repeatedly burst them. Overall, it would be an nice path if not for the potential problems, which are shown below.  The path gives prof with hand crossbows, which are decent monk implements (if your DM says you don't need to reload them), and you gain another FoB target within 10 if you have one loaded in hand.  Also gives 2 squares extra shift if you have concealment, and this paths provides a lot of ways to get concealment and hide in combat.   The powers all provide concealment and are reasonably fun and effective. The daily is a stunned (save ends). There are two potential problems with this path.  

Path Problems

1) You have no way to reload the hand crossbow unless you either: have a free hand and attack with a ki focus (you can draw a mundane dagger, perhaps with Fast Hands, each round for Starblade Flurry),  MC rogue and take Two Fisted Shooter, or have 1 (Thri-Kreen racial) or 2 draw/shealthing abilities (e.g., Battle Harness and Fast Hands). Another option during late paragon is to use a Ring of the Warforged and a Shoulderbow (no reloading, and no hand needed), assuming that your Dm counts you as holding an embedded weapon.  Whether you solve the loading problems by having a free hand, which loves your defenses or damage, or through equipment, feats, and power choices, it's still an expensive trade.
2) Monks commonly have the best defenses in the party, so frequently hiding in combat as this pp allows might actually make it harder on the party as the monk is no longer a viable target. If you have poor defenses or the party can handle the additional monster love, then this is a nice path for you.

  

 
Multi-Class, Dragonmark, Theme, and Divine Paths

Overview-If you decide to multi-class, there are a lot of nice choices to pick from regardless of the type of monk you are.  Lyrander Wind Rider, Morninglord, Resurgent Wilder, and Tharanni Shadow Killer all provide additional offense. Evermeet Warlock is potentially a nice pick for the defensively inclined monk.  Devoted Orator is a nice way for Centered Breath to enlarge their bursts and blasts. Just remember to figure out where your non-standard actions are coming from, so you don't sacrifice power for less power.

Arena Champion (Dragon Magazine, Any Martial, Arena Fighting Feat, Intimidate, and Bluff) - Okay, enough odd prereqs for you? This is based off of Heather. Changeling(1 bluff check), Escaped Slave(2 additional bluff attacks) = 3 free basic attacks for 3 rounds of combat to trigger Blurred Ki Focus...expensive though. As you don't have any Rogue at-wills, Gulg Hunter Practice, Urikite Staff Practice or Yaramite Giantslayer Practice for the free bonus to a skill are probably best.

 

Demonskin Adept(Desert Wind) (Sorcerer) - while pointless for anyone but a Dex/Cha Monk, this allows an easy swap for Flame Spiral+Demon-Soul Bolts - just have a way to avoid being blinded(Armor of Eyes) and it gives some awesome easy to insert capabilities.

Devoted Orator  (Centered Breath) (Invoker- DP)- At level 16, you can add a push 1 to all you attacks, and (if you have a 14 int) do 1 extra thunder damage.   Either of these effects makes all your attacks into thunder powers, which opens up Resounding Thunder. Resounding Thunder enlarges all your bursts and blasts by 1, which makes Five Storms into a close burst 2.  The powers are decent party friendly bursts that are useable by Centered Breath. Malec-Keth Janissary is generally easier.



Evermeet Warlock (Warlock- FRPG) - Use a power-swap feat to grab Ethereal Sidestep, then you're going to teleport every round to be invisible to those you were adjacent with.  Add in a Cloak of Translocation, and you'll never be hit again with a melee attack.   You just need to remember to roll stealth when you teleport to make the enemy pick which square they're attacking, with a -5 penalty if they get the right one.   However, monks commonly have the best defenses in the party, so frequently hiding in combat as this pp allows might actually make it harder on the party as the monk is no longer a viable target. If you have poor defenses or the party can handle the additional monster love, then this is a nice path for you.


Kensei (Fighter) - as the +1 to hit only works with weapon attacks, this is basically an exercise in how to waste your paragon path for +4 damage on attacks that use a weapon at 16th. Bad AP, e11, poorly worded U12, f11 that only works with non-Monk powers, and not particularly useful D20. There are a number of almost strictly better paragon paths.


Lyrandar Wind Rider (Iron Soul) (Mark of Storm-EPG) -Iron Soul with a lightning weapon are in heaven.  +1 to hit and con to damage. 

Malec-Keth Janissary (Swordmage-MoP)- Add extra damage to all attacks.  As this can be thunder damage, it can be combined with Resounding Thunder or Fire damage for Firewind Blade.  Extra damage is applied to FoB, as FoB is also an attack.  The rest of the path is pretty worthless, but you don't need anything else. 

Morninglord (Centered Breath) (Any Divine-FRPG) Grab a radiant weapon and have yourself a blast granting radiant vulnerability! One downside is lack of easy minor attack action and the path doesn't really kick in until 16th for Monks. Avenger has Soulforge Hammering at 17th, but that's a long time to wait in many real games.

Resurgent Wilder (Wilder Theme - DSCS) - This Dark Sun path lets you get 18-20 criticals on at-wills, which and opens up critical fishing builds as solid possibilities.  Allowing you to spend a surge on a crit also can be useful.  The features and powers are all decent, and are usable by any kind of monk.  It has a very leadery feel for a striker PP.

Shock Trooper (Eternal Tide, Stone Fist) (MP) - the idea here is that you have Rain of Blows and Shocking Twister. This works a little better in the context of hybriding Fighter and it is best if you have a naturally accurate race/theme to help land those Shocking Twister swings.

Tharanni Shadow Killer (Centered Breath) (Mark of Shadow-EPG)-The selling point is the useful AP and the multi-attack that works with move action powers without requiring the spending of a specific MC feat. Monks who can consistently gain CA, you will be able to consistently add ongoing necrotic.  However, necrotic is fairly regularly resisted.  Shadowstep is a cool and useful power that gives you complete concealment, darkvision, and also CA, all encounter long for the cheap price of a minor action sustain. However, over half of monsters have darkvision or blindsight, so the power is less useful than it may seem.  Spectral Garrote also looks fun, but could be hard to sustain. Overall, it looks like a solid path, even if it is a bit situational. This is a strong black, weak dark blue path - Centered Breath gains a slight advantage because they'll often find themselves surrounded by dazed opponents and being invisible in that situation is useful.

Traveler's Harlequinn (Any MC and trained in Bluff - D392)   Training in Bluff is difficult, but managable, as backgrounds and some MCs will give it to you.  You get to multi-class freely like a bard, and you will get a few rerolls via the level 16 feature.  You can pick any level 20 daily power, so you should be able to get a real encounter changer.




Racial Paths

Adroit Explorer (Human - PHB2) - Reuse your favorite encounter power and some durability boosters. 

Blade Banshee (Centered Breath) (Eladrin, Ranger)Not actually that bad a choice, the problem is that there are some nearly strictly superior choices. Doing Wisdom Thunder to melee attacks only is generally worse than Malec-Keth Janissary's +1d4 to all attacks or Soaring Blade's ability to pick up Fire or Cold damage to melee attacks without using up an MC feat.

Honorable Blade (Dragonborn & Martial MC - PHBR-Dr)- Easy way to pick up Fire, Cold or Lightning Damage for all your attacks and bypass resistance due to retaining the original damage type. Thunder can be an option too, if you take the Thundering Breath feat.

Moonstalker (Centered Breath) (Shifter - PHB2) The main selling point is you and your allies adding your wisdom modifier to damage when adjacent to a prone target.  

Rrathmal (Githzerai - PHB 3)  Features are ok, but not specifically good for monks or strikers for that matter.  It does have some fun powers that give a more defender/leader feel to a monk. Make sure to never use Trace Chance, as it's a trap. 

Storvakal (Githzerai - DR 376)-  The selling point is that you can take 2 less from attack penalities, which is fairly situational for most builds, especially given that monks don't need to worry about concealment if they use burst attacks.  Melee-focused Stone Fist can however take Power Attack and use it without taking the attack penalty, which would be quite nice if monks didn't get so much benefit out of attacking multiple enemies primarily using bursts (and using two implements). The powers are decent, but Storvakal seems to be better suited for other classes.


Epic Destinies 

Destinies

Overview-There are a lot of nice Epic Destinies.  The Raven Knight and Destined Scion are two of my favorites. In general, three things to remember about Epic Destinies: Awesome 30th level capstones are usually irrelevant, you want something good at 21st level in real play, and death benefits might be cool, but then again, you might not have needed the death benefit if you had gotten a real 24th level capability...

Demiurge (PsiP) - Good for for gaining APs to use
Destined Scion (PHB) - Awesome for just about anyone, monks included. Demigod(PHB) and Chosen(DP) are weaker variants on this.
Diamond Soul (PHB3)- A dex boost, a speed boost, and an increase in shifting distance. The utility makes sure you land your best melee attack each encounter.
Emergent Primordial (HotEC) - Only +2 to one stat, but you gain +3 damage to damage rolls that include a specific type of elemental damage.
Eternal Seeker (PHB) - Steal Ranger and Rogue powers
Grandmaster of Flowers (PsiP) - A dex boost is ok.  With Superior Will, you will avoid being inconvienced by most stunning and dazing effects from level 21 on, which is awesome.  However, the rest of the ED is farly lackluster compared to Demigod. 
Indomitable Champion (HotFL) - A double stat boost for any stat like demigod, extra hp, a +1 to NADS, and some defensive boosters. 

Master of Moments (PsiP) - while Master of Moments definitely has its moments, the issue for Monks is how to take advantage of all those extra actions that they'll get past the first couple of rounds or so. That and it doesn't give a stat boost. That said - not hard to do a combo of say Sarifal Feywarden+Death's Chilled Touch+Path of the Blade+Death's Chilled Touch+Path of the Blade with Form Mastery and Martial Mastery...

Prison of the Winds (D 371) - Iron Souls will enjoy the stat and speed boosts.  The stance is also decent, but you probably already have a ton of stances. 
Raven Knight (D 380) - Perfect stat boosts for an Iron Soul, but giving an attack penalty to adjacent foes, a speed boost, darkvision and an awesome power make this ED a winner for any type of monk.

 

Multiclassing
Monks definitely need to consider multiclassing and/or hybriding. They lose very, very little from hybriding except the ability to use non-Monk powers to power Blurred Ki Focus. The big problem for Monks is that they don't get any minor, single target multi-attack or immediate action attack options and it is debatable whether or not they have some move action attacks - even if they do, it helps to have standard action attacks from elsewhere. The good MCs

Assassin

Shadow Initiate - Rogue is almost strictly better unless your DM believes that Claw Gloves interact somehow with Shrouds. Expect Table Variation.
Novice Power - Flurry of Talons. Again, Expect Table Variation. What does 3 attack rolls that one resolves as a single hit even mean? If you get a very favorable ruling from your DM, go to town.


 Avenger

Discipline of Divine Wrath (req wis 13) (PHB2)- Skill training in religion, access to the avenger's striker mechanic for two turns, and holy symbol training. Too bad that the aveger's striker mechanic works poorly for close burst specialists like the monk.  However, it can help you score on a nice melee daily power. The basic problem here is that there really isn't a tradition wow'd by this. Soulforge Hammering might attract a Centered Breath Monk, but Soulforge's real value is in assuming your target will survive until the next turn and that it is worth a standard + minor to do 2-1w+stat attacks.
Novice Power: Fury's Advance. Only for Centered Breath Monks


 Cleric

Cleric is a nice choice for the holy symbol proficiency, decent paragon paths, and some nice healing power swaps. Wisdom 13 is relatively easy to qualify for as well.  
 
Divine Channeler (req wis 13 and religion trained) (CD) - Healer's Mercy is a nice power to have when things go horribly wrong.  

Initiate of the Faith (req wis 13) (PHB) - Training in religion, a heal once per day, and holy symbol profeciency is nice for a feat.


 Fighter

Fighter is a common MC for monks due to some feats, like Polearm Momentum and Slashing Storm. Small races, like halflings, also can gain a lot from Small Warrior's Defense.  Some fighter stances, like Dancing Defense also may be worth a power swap. If your DM goes for move-based Monk powers getting an attack, Fighter jumps to Sky Blue.

Battle Awareness (req13 Str, 13 Wis) (MP)- If you have Melee training or a good strength, then you will get good use out of the free melee basic each encounter. However, the stat requirements suck for everyone but polearm users.

Cyclone Warrior (MP2)- A scaling bonus to all damage rolls for a turn each encounter could be useful.

Wrathful Warrior (Iron Soul, req 13 Con) (MP2) Temp hp and a skill

Power Swaps: Rain of Blows, Come And Get It
Paragon Paths: Shock Trooper


Invoker

Invoker is a decent choice for a monk looking to pick up staff profeciency (to use it one-handed).  

Acoltye of the Divine Secrets (re wis 13) (PHB2)- Training in religion, an invoker at will(aka Hand of Radiance), and staff implements.


 Paladin

Paladin is an okay choice for monks who want to play defender, or pick up some save granting powers. Holy symbol proficiency is also very nice. There's a small catch-22 with Desert Wind and Divine Challenge/Sanction - penalty to hit you, penalty to hit your allies.

Divine Channeler (req wis 13 and religion trained) (CD) - Divine Mettle is a nice get.  

Soldier of the Faith (req str 13 and cha 13) (PHB) - difficult stat requirements, but a mark once per encounter might be worth it for monks wanting to play defender. 

Soldier of Virtue (req wis 15) (CD)- Any 1 skill, remove one effect as a minor action is nice, plus you get holy symbol prof.  Can't complain.


 Ranger

Ranger is good primarily because there are some triple-hitter ranged attack powers that could fit in well.


Rogue

Rogues have a few feats, like Surprising Charge, that could be used by some monks. On the plus side, rogues powers all use dex and MC feats are easy to qualify for.  Feat swaps will be looking for Minor Action attacks, such as Low Slash, Snap Shot, or Tumbling Strike. Or a massive multi-attack power such as Path of the Blade, which quite frankly is really nasty with a blurred ki focus Centered Breath Monk, low charisma and all. If you're going for the Paragon Path Unseen Hand, this is mandatory for Two-Fisted Shooter. This is Sky Blue because you're picking up an attack power to use.

Sneak of Shadows- Sneak attack once per encounter could be useful.

Twilight Adept- Once per turn you can hide with only concealment/cover and not take stealth penalties for movement.  

Swordmage

This is mostly just for Eladrin, due to Eladrin Swordmage Advance and Borrowed Confidence.

Warlock

Some warlock paragon paths could be fun, and some power swaps also could be useful, like Ethereal Stride. 

Binding Initiate (phb) - Rod and Wand profeciency, and the ability to turn invisible once per encounter after killing something. If you're an optimized monk and have just surprised the living daylights out of your DM, this may be something you want to do.

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Hybriding

In general, Monk doesn't lose a whole lot by hybriding other than the ability to poach minor action or multi- attacks from other classes and then use them with Flurry of Blows. So if you pick up something better and weren't planning to use a Blurred Ki Focus anyway, but rather Elemental Damage, there you go. There are still some options to use a Blurred Ki Focus with the hybrids - just take multi-attack Monk powers, but it can be more difficult or stat-intensive. The one difficult part is that WotC hasn't updated(and almost certainly will not) the builder to understand that Eternal Tide, Desert Wind, and Iron Soul are legal options to be picked. Which means leaving the tradition black and in the power menu, adding a custom power - then just pick the correct FoB. The other ability isn't usually particularly relevant as you ought to spend your Hybrid Talent feat to either get Armor from your other side or Monk Unarmored Defense

 

 

Fighter - Rain of Blows, opens up Polearm Momentum without spending the MC feat, great AC via hybrid talent, a couple of really good paragon paths, synergizes well with Eternal Tide. V-stat issues which Rain of Steel partially gets rid of, don't plan to mark past 3 rounds, though(Rain of Blows, Kirre's Roar, Come And Get It). Could potentially MC into Bard for Daring Blade for a Blistering Flourish+Rain of Blows set up where you dump Str.
Ranger - Single stat, Archer Ranger means use bow as implement, bracers of archery, twin strike, disruptive strike while having monk close burst options as alternative. Str has minor action attacks, but V-stat not as helpful compared to Rogue. Basically, you're a Monk who has good damage bonuses and has Twin Strike.

 

 

Rogue - Single stat, minor action attacks galore. Hybrid talent opens up unusual +1 to hit with daggers or crossbows. You're a Monk who uses Low Slash and Tumbling Strike with a little extra accuracy. Another advantage is that you can still MC into Fighter for Polearm Momentum, MC into Assassin for the paragon cover feat to join the ranks of the hidden, or into a Divine Class for Holy Symbol and Symbol of Victory.

 

 


Barbarian - similar to Fighter, but the V-stat is a bit more painful due to Storm of Blows issue.
Battlemind - Synergy between Iron Soul's ability to prevent a shift and Battlemind's immediates. Great AC via feat. Get a decent MBA and force targets to consider taking an MBA or Forceful Reversal. Add in Soaring Blade for +Con fire damage to melee attacks, get a Firewind Blade, and Brutal Barrage.
 
Cleric - good AC, minor action attack from Paragon of Victory Paragon Path, get Holy Symbol. Has V-stat issues.
 
Sentinel - Pet for concealment or CA, multi-target ranged attacks and solid encounters(Magic Stones, Charm Beast), reasonable stat synergy with Centered Breath, has good AC option via hybrid talent, hands out Staff as an implement. Lacks minor action attacks and V-stat.
 

Seeker - Hybrid talent opens up an unusual +1 to hit with thrown weapons that is not dependent on making a weapon attack. Lacks minor action attacks and has V-stat issues.
 
Executioner - Decent MBA, single stat, access to feats.
Paladin - Holy Symbol, decent MBA, great AC at the cost of a feat, solid routes to basically being a full-fledged Desert Wind Monk in terms of attack powers while being a full-fledged Defender part of Paladin in terms of Divine Challenge/Sanction. V-stat issues, but not as severe as one might think.
Cavalier - better than Paladin outside of Epic as you don't want to spend minor actions to trigger Divine Challenge anyway most of the time and +4 initiative/+2 to surge value. Plays mostly the same as Paladin.
Blackguard - A touch worse than the other Paladin options. We're mainly here to upgrade Virtuous Strike's damage.

There are a number of other classes that aren't bad, just no particular synergy and/or hard to make work in Online Character Builder:
 
Invoker - Very similar to Sentinel except it lacks the light shield from Hybrid Talent and has worse hp and surges.
 
Sorcerer - Flame Spiral+Furious Bull. Now if only AC wasn't a problem.
 
Warden - go Str/Dex for AC. Eternal Tide Slows...

 

 

Items 
For this part of the guide, only going to list items I would consider good or better. If you're looking to boost damage, this is a very good guide here When Everyone is Super

Armor

Monks have a tendency to fight surrounded by enemies. Therefore I recommend, in general, getting the armor with the highest enhancement bonus as quickly as you can. 

For example, in LFR at level 14 you can always get +3 Battle Harness, which is very nice armor.  However, at the same level, you can also always get a Magic +4 armor, because of the change in masterwork armor you gain another +1 AC or Will on top of the +1 AC enhancement bonus.  This means that there is up 2 AC difference between a  +3 Battle Harness and +4 Magic armor. 

In short, it's not always smart to pass over a higher enchantment armor in the hopes you get the perfect armor at some later level. 

Level 2+
Resistance (PHB) It's cheap and provides 5*tier resistance of your choosing.  I'd go with poison, necrotic, fire, or acid in that order, as those are common and/or commonly have ongoing damage riders. 

Robe of Eyes (AV) It's cheap, and prevents you from ever being blinded.  Most monk bursts don't allow you to target foes you can't see, so being blind especally sucks for monks.  As an added benefit, it gives a bonus to perception. 

Level 3+
Armor of Sudden Recovery (AV2) A small bonus to ongoing damage saves, and an awesome daily power that can turn a nasty ongoing damage effect into equivalent regeration for the encounter. 

Stoneskin Armor (AV) 5*tier in temp hp per encounter isn't bad.  The first round of the encounter is one of the most damaging for monks as they tend to run ahead of the party, so this is handy. 

Level 4+
Armor of Adaptable Resistance (PsiP) - It's armor of resistance with a daily power that allows you to change the type of resistance, so that you always have the right kind.

Battle Harness (Dr 368) Can draw weapons as a free action. Also gives enchantment bonus to initiative.  You can use this to switch consistently to more offensive weapons (like a Ki weapon) or more defensive weapons (like a Shielding Blade).  Make sure to take the level 2 thievery skill power to help in this.  This armor can also help load a hand crossbow, by allowing you a free hand for a simple minor action.  

Flowform Armor (PHB3) A no action save each encounter.   It helps you get out of those pesky dominates and stuns.


Level 5+
Bloodthread - A +2 item bonus to AC and saves when you're bloodied.  This is really expensive and doesn't stack with Boots of the Fencing Master and other common item bonuses to defense. 

Level 13+
Desperate Resolve Vestaments (PHB2)- Insubstantial for a round as an daily interupt.  It also lets you spend a healing surge.  This is a nice answer to a critical against you



Arms

There are only three sets of armbands that I really like for monks.  The first are Bracers of Archery, which are the best way to get an item bonus to damage.  The second are Bracers of Brachiation, which provide a monk with a surprising number of extra mobility options if you think three dimensionally.  The third are Wrist Razors, which are a Dark Sun arm slot weapon that you can use as a third hand. 

Level 3+
Executioner’s Bracers (AV2) - A small boost to critical damage. Too bad monks have so few ways to increase critical range. 

Wrist Razors (DSCS)- This is a Dark Sun weapon that uses the arm slot, and not a hand. This allows you to put a nice static property on it, such as a Ki Weapon, Rhythm Blade, or Shielding enchantment.  However, many Dark Sun campaigns (like Ashes of Athas) use inherent bonuses so you can't expect to be able to get these enchantments, and many campaigns don't allow Dark Sun weapons at all.  In short, these are nice if you can get them enchanted as you like.

Level 4+
Counterstrike Gaurds (Stone Fist) (AV) - These, especially the paragon version, are nice if you have a nice MBA 

Level 5+
Bracers of Brachiation (Dr 378) - Very cool for monks, as it greatly increases mobility without reducing damage.  The heroic ones give you a climb speed equal to half your speed, and the paragon and epic ones give an increased climb speed.  A climb speed is still a speed, so movement techniques stack with these bracers.  A climb speed allows you to shift up walls to keep out of a flank and also to make sure you are adjacent to as many monsters as possible.   For example, I've fought entire battles fighting directly above the defender who was standing in a doorway or under a tree.  It also makes it hard to get shoved off a cliff.  You can also do a reasonable impression of spiderman if you combine these with a Flying Hook, which is an awesome combination IMO.  Overall, these are a ton of fun for monks.  Also, as per the RC, if you have multiple speeds, the largest one determines the total you can move, but you can't move more squares than that particular speed allows.  So if you have speed of 6 and a climb speed of 8 (such as through the Epic version of the bracers), you can move 8 but at least 2 of those must be climbed.   

Level 6+
Bracers of Archery (AV) If you're using a bow or hand crossbow, these are what you want.  These bracers are the easiest way to get a item bonus to all damage rolls for a monk.  The Ring of the Dragonborn Emperor is also competitive at paragon tier, if you're a burst specialist.

Iron Armbands of Power (AV) An item bonus to melee attack.  This will not affect your burst or blast attacks, so I tend not to get them on my monks.  As a result, most monks will either prefer the Ring of the Dragonborn Emperor or take both items so all attacks get some sort of item bonus.

Level 15
Rapidstrike Bracers (AV) - A +2 to initiative and you can use a melee at will instead of a melee basic when you make an OA once per encounter.  Say good bye to Melee Training!

Level 19+
Trollhide Bracers (AV) Regeneration for one encounter per day could be nice


Dragonshards


Level 2+

Eberron Shard of Lightning (EPG) - Awesome with a Lightning Weapon and Melee Training.

Kyber Shard of Fiery Depth (EPG) - Awesome with a Flaming Weapon and Melee Training.

Eberron Shard of Lightning (EPG) - Awesome with a Frost Weapon and Melee Training.

Level 3+

Siberys Shard of the Mage (EPG) - Simply awesome! A must have for any weapon using monk.
 
Siberys Shard of Radiance (EPG) - Awesome with a Radiant Weapon and Melee Training.



Feet

Most monks will be drawn to Boots of the Fencing Master.  However, Rushing Cleat are awesome for CB monks.  Once epic tier comes around, a lot of other great options open up.

Level 7
Boots of the Fencing Master (AV) - An +1 item bonus to AC and reflex every time you shift, and a free shift once per encounter.  Awesome for monks.

Rushing Cleats (Centered Breath, Eternal Tide) (AV) These clearly add 1 to CB FoB's slide, as the FoB is a melee attack.  These are pure win for CB and ET monks as, when combined with Starblade Flurry, they allow a huge amount of control over the battlefield.  It's like having Come and Get It on every turn. 

Level 9
Boots of Eagerness (9 AV) An extra move action in every encounter.

Boots of Striding 
(PHB) +1 speed is always useful, but Greaves of Maldeen are better and similar in level.

Level 12
Dragonborn Greaves  (AV) These are like improved Boots of the Fencing Master while bloodied.  However, monks have a lot of ways to keep from getting bloodied.

Greaves of Maldeen (D364) +2 speed is really nice for the level

Shadowdancer’s Boots (AV2) +1 speed all the time, and another +1 to speed in dim light.

Level 18
Phantom Chaussures (AV) Shadow Walk boots.  Too bad monks tend to enjoy being surrounded.
Planestrider Boots (MotP) Big teleport and the ability to port around corners. Always useful.

Level 22
Boots of Speed (AV) +2 speed and a extra move action once per encounter. 

Level 24
Boots of Caiphon (AV2) Teleporting for damage and a bonus to reflex.

Zephyr Boots (AV) True flight. Nuff said.

Level 25
Sandals of Avandra (AV) A boost to speed and a lot of shifting.

Level 28
Boots of Teleportation (28 AV) At-will teleportation.


Head

The really good head slots happen in mid-paragon and tend to be build dependent. Are you nearly impossible to hit? Do you want to save a feat on Superior Will? Or are you going elemental damage and want to boost it?

Casque of Tactics(Level 4+, AV): A small init bonus with an occasionally useful daily power.

 

 

Circlet of Indomitability (Level 8+, AV): A scaling untyped bonus to Will

 

 

 

Helm of Able Defense (Level 14, AV2): Hard to hit initially, +1 item to Will. For high defense characters who have Superior Will and use a Blurred Ki Focus. Part of the Panoply of the Shepherds of Ghest set.

 

 

Crown of the Brilliant Sun (Level 14, AV2): Boosts Lightning or Radiant damage. Great for WereX characters with Superior Will who use an elemental damage weapon. Part of Gifts of the Radiant Queen.

 

 

Circlet of Arkhosia (Level 14+, Head, PHR:D): Superior Will in Item form. For feat-constrained(who isn't) Monks.


Ki Focus

Ghost Strike Ki Focus (Level 2+, PHB3) - a cheap item that only works with melee attacks. And really, no reason to have it at all unless you're solely focused on using a weapon as implement - then you use the property to defeat insubstantial. Or you know you're fighting insubstantial undead - being a common item, it is nearly free.

Blazing Arc Ki Focus (Level 3+, PHB3) - A cheap flaming weapon that only works with melee attacks.  Tieflings are the only ones who should probably try to make this work. 

Final Sleep Ki Focus* (Level 3+, D382) - d12 crits if you attack with the focus.  Shifting when you drop someone regardless if you use it to attack.

Rain of Hammers Ki Focus* (Level 3+, D382) -An extra area attack will help clean up a group and trigger the property. The extra attack once per day also helps any build.  My favorite ki focus for non-ki focus users. 

Body of Fire Ki Focus (Level 4+, MME) - An upgraded version of Blazing Arc Ki Focus. Decent for Desert Wind types.
Elusive Action Key Focus* (Level 4+, PHB3) +2 AC versus OAs. 

Hawk's Talon Ki Focus* (Level 4+, D382) - Use an at-will instead of a melee when you charge once per day, and a jump bonus on a charge. 

Mighty Strike Ki Focus (Level 4+, PHB3) - A more expensive, inferior version of a Ki Weapon that only works if you attack with it.  However, you can hold a Ki Weapon in your off hand, attack with this ki focus, and then get both benefits as they stack.

Blurred Strike Ki Focus (Level 5+, PHB3) - This ki focus is very expensive, but it lets you use FoB twice a round if you hit with two different attacks.There are three possible readings for this focus based on what is meant by 'attack' and RAI vs RAI issues.
Here's the three options:

 

 


  1. Attack means attack roll. This works with RC, but is extremely unlikely to be RAI as the meaning of attack changed from PHB to RC and the item came out before then.

  2. Attack means attack line. This both works with RC and PHB. In PHB, it makes it clear that different attack lines are considered separate attacks. That's less clear in RC. This is likely RAI assuming that the R&D person did know the rules.

  3. Attack means attack power. This is likely RAI assuming that the R&D person responsible for the item didn't know the rules of what a different attack was. The odds are unfortunately high that this is a correct assumption. But...there's no real rules basis for it and assuming that the writer didn't know the rules when writing a rule is a very slippery slope for RAI. If true for your game, Ooze Master's value goes way up as it is one of the few minor action attacks from themes that involve a hit and use either an implement or weapon - and then you can take both Ooze Master and a minor-action attack from somewhere else. Another option might be to spam MBAs with uses of the get to use a Standard Attack while doing the Move. But if your DM is doing this reading, they're not likely to grant the Move either.
 

 

I think the safest reading is each separate attack line. It works with the RAW of PHB and RC, there are Monk powers with secondary attacks(so the item is not relying on having MC'd or using APs to work), and we're not picking something clearly against RAI when it was released.

Iron Body Ki Focus (Level 5+, D382) - damage resistance until the end of your next turn against the attacks of the creatures you hit using this focus.



Weapons


The + sign indicates tha there's another version of the weapon with an additional +1 enhancement bonus even 5 levels.

 

 

 

 

Level 2+

 


Goblin Totem (Any - FRPG) - If you're small, this is an awesome way to get an item bonus to all your powers.  And it's cheap!

Prime Shot Weapon (Any Ranged - AV) - A little extra damage against adjacent foes for dagger monks.  Awesome if your DM let's you apply the property even to attacks that don't use the weapon, which would include FoB.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Level 3+


Frost (Any - PHB) - Combines with Lasting Frost for +5 damage. If only we weren't concerned about specific kinds of damage or multi-attacking.

Hidden Weapon (Light Blade, Mace - DSCS) - Boosts your initiative, but the real advantage is being able to quick draw a dagger when you need to do so.

Ki Weapon (Any -PHB3) - 2 extra damage on your FoB. A solid choice. Note that you don't need to attack with this weapon to get the benefit of its property.

Rhythm Blade (Light Blade - AV2) - Put this on a dagger or parrying dagger in your off-hand.  Works even with Two-Weapon Defense, a Shielding Blade, and the Iron Soul shield bonus. Some DMs may say that this ONLY works if you already have a shield bonus, so if you don't already have a shield bonus, then grab a Shielding Blade instead. 

Subtle (Any melee- AV1)- An item bonus to damage if you have CA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Level 4+


Master’s Blade (Heavy Blade, Light Blade -AV2) - You don't have a ton of stances, but it is nice when they work together.  Also gives a bonus to  hit with at-wills when you're in a stance.

Screaming Bow (Bow -AV2) - a bit specialized, but you have a bow that can turn powers without a damage type into Thunder. Such as many Monk burst powers. Plus Bow is free for Elves, works with Bracers of Archery, and Siberys Shard of the Mage

Shielding Blade (Heavy Blade, Light Blade -Dr 391) - A common item that gives a shield bonus.  This stacks with a Rhythm Blade, but doesn't stack with Two-Weapon Defense or the Iron Soul shield bonus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Level 5+


Flaming (Any - PHB) - This weapon is OK by itself, but it's better for Tieflings, thanks to Hellfire Blood.



Lightning (Any - PHB) - If you have the Mark of Storm, this is your claim to fame.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Level 7+


Infighting Blade (Light Blade, One-Handed Axe- AV2) - A nice daily power to have if you're surrounded, and you will tend to be surrounded.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Level 9+


Crusader's Weapon

Githyanki Silver Weapon  
(Heavy Blade - AV2) - Awesome when paired with a Headband of Intellect and Psychic Lock.

 

 

 

 

 

Level 12+


Jagged (Axe, Heavy Blade, Light Blade - AV) - Just about the only way to get 19-20 criticals. Plus, it's cheap!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Level 13+


Thunderbolt (Any Ranged -AV) - A cheaper version of a Lightning Weapon for dagger monks

 

 

 

 

 

Level 14+


Battlemaster's (Any) (AV) - Allows you to recharge an encounter power once per day. 

Mindiron (Bow, Crossbow - AV) - Awesome when paired with a Headband of Intellect and Psychic Lock.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Level 15+


Radiant (Any - AV) - Expensive, but it allows you to exploint radiant vulnerability and get an item bonus to all of your attacks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Level 17+


Avandra's Whisper (Light Blade-AV) - A cheap way for holy symbol users to get a dagger weapliment, so they can use dragonshards and weapon feats with their holy symbol.




Until I finish this item potrtion of this guide, I would recommend the Item Guide for help on picking your accessories.

 

 

 

 

 

Tactics

Increasing Your Damage Through Increasing Your Number of Targets
Monks are primarily close burst specialists.  This means that a monk's damage depends on getting as many enemies around them as they can. 
There are three main tactics that monks can use to accomplish this:

1) Use conditions, such as prone, dazed, slowed, stunned, or the Iron Soul's FoB to discourage enemies from moving away.  For example, Eternal Mountain can be used to knock a bunch of adjacent enemies prone, which makes it impossible (without teleporting) to move away without provoking an opportunity attack on their next turn.
2) Use forced movement to more enemies into groups (preferably adjacent to you).  Many monk powers slide, such as Furious Bull and Centered Breath's FoB, or have other forced movement effects that can be used to cluster up enemies for you to attack next turn.  
3) Use positioning to encourage enemies to attack you and continue to attack you.  The Play "Stupid" and Spring the Trap tactics detailed below is one such tactic.  

Tradition-Specific Optimization, Tactics, and Fighting Style

Centered Breath
At heroic tier, a Centered Breath has not yet come into their power, but they are still consistently useful even at heroic tier because they can slide around single enemies into disadvantageous spots like into a flank.  However, Centered Breath are at their best when there is damaging terrain (like cliffs or fires) and/or a damaging zone to slide enemies into, or make them prone if they resist your efforts.  

At paragon tier things really start changing in how a CB monk plays.  With Starblade Flurry, CB monks can draw enemies into their burst range using their FoB slide, making CB monks one of the most effective multi-attacking styles.  This also means that typical DPR calculations will under estimate Centered Breath DPR, as these calculations aren't taking into account the monk's ability to draw enemies into burst range.  Deadly Draw also means up to 3 enemies (at paragon) you slide adjacent are granting combat advantage, which is superior to anything you can get from flanking. This easy access to CA makes CB monks the most accurate of the traditions.  Rushing Cleats and Centered Breath Master can be used to make the FoB slide longer, which allows you to draw even more monsters into your kill zone.   These slide enhancers also allow you slide enemies around and leave them in the same square (to allow an ally to continue to flank and trigger Deadly Draw).  Because CB monks draw so many enemies adjacent to them, they must have great defenses and some resistances or they will drop from massive amounts of attacks and overlapping damage auras.  This ability also makes them decent off-tanks as they can frequently keep enemies out of reach of the squisher party members


Stone Fist
Stone Fist are probably the easiest tradition to play. However, they have the least control over the battlefield, which makes them less powerful than the other traditions if played by a tactically competent player.  Damage is always useful in any situation, so a Stone Fist will always find themselves useful.  Stone Fist get a lot of extra damage from Starblade Flurry, and also can have a good melee basic attack if they use a larger weapon.

However, many inexperienced Stone Fist players will use single target melee powers to trigger their increased FoB damage against another adjacent target.  This strategy is almost always a trap, as a close burst attack would likely have done more overall damage



Iron Soul
Iron Souls lock enemies in place, allowing the party to swarm them without taking OAs in the process.  If the enemy wants to move, they will typically take OAs from multiple party members as the enemy cannot shift.  This makes Iron Soul very effective against artillery and other enemies that benefit from movement.  Iron Soul are wonderful multiattackers because they lock enemies into place within their kill zone.  This ability also makes them good off-tanks as they are sticky, but it also requires good defenses and some resistances or they will drop from massive amounts of attacks and overlapping damage auras. Starblade Flurry makes Iron Soul into useful controllers, as they lock enemies adjacent to other party members, such as the defender.

As per the RC FAQ, the Iron Soul FoB does not break a grab and prevent an enemy from flanking.  


Specific Tactics

Play "Stupid"
The Play "Stupid" tactic is designed for a defensive monk, such as my Centered Breath Master of Defense build, to get as many monsters inside the monk's kill zone as possible.  The tactic works by tricking the monsters into thinking the monk is vulnerable, when in fact the monk is probably the worst target in the party.   This tactic could also be called "Defending Through Positioning," if your goals were to defend the rest of the party.  
 
One of the most common ways to die for a striker is to wander too far from the herd, get singled out, and then die from massive focused fire.  However, monks are not you everyday striker.  In fact, many monks frequently have higher defenses than the defender.  Therefore, many monks can take massive focused fire and not die.   In fact, if monsters are focusing fire on the monk, the monsters are typically clustering themselves within the monk's kill zone.  This allows the monk to attack a lot more monsters than the monk would otherwise be able to do. 

There are three common situations that call for this tactic:
1) At the start of combat, you want to be 2-5 squares in front of the party. Monsters will naturally come over and attack you as a result. 
2) Monsters are spread out, and the party hasn't engaged.  At this point the monk probably wants to get behind some of the monster front line.  This will tend to make the monsters all cluster up on you, and will allow your party to come up and flank and focus fire on the front line monster(s) you are behind.    
3) If one melee party member as engaged one melee target, and other melee monsters have yet to move up and engage, the monk (with good defenses) should move behind the monster the other party member is engaging.  The other monsters will typically think "easy lunch" and move up to surround and flank the monk, who unleashes a barrage of burst attacks when the monsters are in range.  

So now you have the monsters clustered arround you, so you have lots and lots of targets to use your close bursts on.  Centered Breath and Iron Soul will also be able to keep the monsters more or less in this formation. 


 Spring the Trap
This is a variant of the Play "Stupid" tactic.  To Spring the Trap, you need to
1) Move into a position where the monster should move up to attack you, a la Play "Stupid".  Preferably, you should start with at least 1-2 monsters who have already acted already inside your burst range.
2) Ready a burst attack for when 1-2 additional monsters have moved into range (preferably a close burst 2 or better to make sure the monster don't stop out of reach).  If the attack dazes, like Furious Bull or Mithral Tornado, it is MUCH better, as dazing a monster after it has moved will cost the monster the rest of its turn. 


However, you need to be sure your readied burst attack is as big or bigger than the monsters' reach.  Otherwise, your readied action will never go off. 

One other drawback, your FoB needs to be triggered on your own turn, so your probably won't let you use FoB on the attack.  In short, you need to make sure that getting more targets in your burst is better than sacrificing your FoB.


 Flail Madly About
For defensive monks, allow enemies your defender has marked to make opportunity attacks against you.   However, make sure your defender has a punishing mark (such as fighter or paladin) that doesn't require you getting hit (like the battlemind and assualt swordmage do).   Your superior defenses will make it unlikely you will get hit, and the defender gets free damage on the enemy.   This is especially good for halflings and githzerai with Githezerai Mobility.

Do NOT use the Flail Madly About tactic when multiple enemies will get OAs on you. 




Optimizing Your Flurry of Blows

Ways to increase numbers of targets hit by Flurry of Blows:
Pointed Step - use a spear to hit someone a square away.
Starblade Flurry - use a dagger to hit an additional target upto 5 squares away
Unseen Hand - use a hand crossbow to hit an additional target upto 10 squares away.

Ways to increase damage: 
Ki Weapon = +2 damage once per turn.
WereX Themes + Claw Gloves + CA = +1d10 damage
Crashing Style 
Builds
Needs a rewrite

These are some optimized builds that are good from level 1 and have a good monk feel to them.  I've tried to make sure the builds generally avoid cheese, are relatively item independent, and stay clear of any rules questions.  Most of these builds can be seen as templates to help you build your own monk. 

Centered Breath

The Drunken Boxer: Centered Breath Master of Defense  


The Thunder Monk: Centered Breath Burst Specialist 
notes
This doesn't become fully operational until level 16, but it is very playable from level 1
 


Iron Soul

Iron Sparrow: A Classic Iron Soul Monk  

Master Pai Mei: Wilden Defender Monk  by Svendj
notes
This is actually a revenent wilden build, but it could easily have been a living wilden without any noticable difference in effectiveness.  This doesn't become fully operational until level 11, but it is very playable from level 1.  I disagree with some feat choices, but the build overall is solid

 
Stone Fist

Stone Claw Mantis Style - An Optimized Sickle Monk (Ongoing Damage) by Rathyr
notes
This is a nice melee-focused monk build, which is unusual for monks, but it synergizes well with the advantages of going Stone Fist. 


Rules Questions
Show

What is a Full Discipline power?
All monk at-will attack powers and all monk encounter attack powers are Full Discipline powers.  You can tell if a power is a Full Discipline power by checking to see if it has the Full Discipline keyword.  Each Full Discipline power contain both a movement power (called the movement technique) and an attack power (called the attack technique).   You can use one or both of these powers in a given turn.  However, you cannot use powers from a different Full Discipline power in the same turn unless you use an action point.

For example, you could use the Five Storms attack power to attack, and then the Five Storms movement power to shift two squares as a movement action.  Once you've done this, you cannot use a movement power from Fallen Needle as a minor action (unless you spend an action point) because Fallen Needle is a different Full Discipline power.  


Can I save portions of Full Discipline encounter power use later in the encounter?
No.  Once you use either part of a Full Discipline power you have until the end of your turn to use the other part of the Full Discipline power, or that power is expended as well.  So if you use the Drunken Monkey attack power, the Drunken Monkey movement technique will expire at the end of your turn unless you use it.    



When does Flurry of Blows trigger?
 Flurry of Blows is a triggered no action, it has variable timing.  The Rules Compendium specifies that triggered actions are reactions unless they need to be interupts to function (e.g., Backstab).  This means that FoB typically is resolved after the triggering attack power is resolved.  However, some attacks invalildate FoB if it is treated as a reaction, such as powers that push the triggering enemy away so it is no longer a valid FoB target.  In these cases, FoB is treated as an interupt, which effectively means it happens before the hit line is resolved.  

In short, in most cases FoB is resolved after the triggering attack is resolved.  Sometimes however FoB would be invalidated if it happens after the triggering attack and, in these cases, FoB occurs between the attack and hit line of the power.

Is Flurry of Blows an attack power?
Flurry of Blows (FoB) is a class feature.  However, by the Rules Compendium guidelines, FoB would also clearly fit under the attack power clasification.  Therefore, FoB is both an attack and a class feature.  FoB being an attacks means you CAN augment it with a few items, but that you can only use it once per turn. 


What modifies my flurry of blows?
FoB is a melee attack (as per the RC), but FoB doesn't have an attack roll or a damage roll.  This means that FoB doesn't ever hit or miss, and nothing that modifies "hits" or misses will ever modify FoB.  In other words, only things that augment attacks and damage directly, as opposed to increases "on a hit" or to "damage rolls."  

FoB also has no keywords, so 99% of implement properties and all weapon properties do not apply to FoB unless the property specifically say that they increase FoB damage.  In addition, as FoB lacks all keywords, items that modify FoB Damage like the Ki Weapon modify FoB damage regardless of whether you attack with the weapon or not (unless it specifically says you need to attack with the item).

As FoB is an melee attack, items, feats, and buffs that specify that they add damage to "attacks" or "damage" will also add to FoB damage as long as it does not require a "hit" or "damage roll."  However, buffs that specify that they add damage to "damage rolls" or "on a hit" will not add to FoB, as FoB doesn't have a damage roll or an attack roll.

For example, Rushing Cleats and Shocking Flame both apply to FoB, as both specify that they work on melee attacks and do not require any keywords, damage rolls, or hitting.

Do you add weapon profeciency bonuses to monk attack powers?
No.  All monk attack powers are currently implement powers.  As these powers do not have the weapon keyword, you cannot add the weapon profeciency bonus

Do I need to hold a Ki Focus
No.  A Ki Focus could take about any form, so you do not need to hold a Ki Focus.  

Can I use a Ki Focus and another implement simultaneously
This is not entirely clear, so please ask your DM. The most recent rules sources, such as HoS, clarify that you most use the Ki focus directly as an implement. So the answer seems to be no at this time.  But to add more confusion, back into the situation, the newer rules sources also specify the a Ki Focus can take the shape of a weapon. In addition, both Customer Service and both versions of the character builder allow you use to both a ki focus together with some form of weapon-as-implement, but those aren't good rules sources, so please ask your DM.   In short, ask you DM. 


How many hands do I need to wield a two-handed weapon as an implement?
This is not entirely clear, but CS has consistently ruled that two-handed weapons take two hands to wield as an implement.  So a fullblade takes two hands to wield as an implement. The one exception to this is that if you have staff implement proficiency from a multi-class feat, then you can clearly wield a staff or quarterstaff as a one-handed implement.

Been a long time since we've had a new handbook go up, good luck!
Striker
 - Monks do ok single target damage for a striker, but are at their best attacking multiple targets.  In this regard, they resemble the sorcerer.  As for mobility, no other class can come close to matching a monk.


I suggest that anyone who attempts to play a sorcerer as a 'blaster' is doing it wrong (except the rebreather of course).

I would also submit that the druid can be far more mobile than the monk.
Back to Basics - A Guide to Basic Attacks You might be playing DnD wrong if... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein
Right now, all the posts are what Furious Kender did. As I have time to edit them, I'll make changes to them to focus them where I think the Monk should be. So at the moment, if you want to suggest changes, I'd focus on the following:
Builds that you like
Options that you think are globally rated badly for all Traditions(aka Quicksilver Motion) 
Ah I see. I thought it was a lot of info for straight away.

Btw, what is the title in reference to? 
Back to Basics - A Guide to Basic Attacks You might be playing DnD wrong if... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein
Ah I see. I thought it was a lot of info for straight away.

Btw, what is the title in reference to? 



The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi - there are five books based on the japanese elements - earth, water, fire, wind and void. As it so happens, there are five traditions of Monk in 4e
"I Cast Fist" was a way better title.
Anyway, good luck with this project.
I thought it looked familiar Tongue Out

Awesome initiative, and good luck!
"I Cast Fist" WAS a great title. Shame that guy was never able to finish.

However, I am equally amused at the 5 Ring/5 Tradition coincidence, so it makes for an excellent title, too. Good luck with this MWaO.
Flurry of Blows is a triggered no action, it has variable timing.  The Rules Compendium specifies that triggered actions are  reactions unless they need to be interupts to function (e.g., Backstab).  This means that FoB typically is resolved after the triggering attack power is resolved.  However, some attacks invalildate FoB if it is treated as a reaction, such as powers that push the triggering enemy away so it is no longer a valid FoB target.  In these cases, FoB is treated as an interupt, which effectively means it happens before the hit line is resolved.



This is false.  FoB is always resolved as a reaction.  The "needs to be an interrupt to function" rule applies when a game element would otherwise be universally nonfunctional, not just when you create circumstances that prevent you from using it. 
Okay to post. The Monk Handbook is annoying me because it hasn't been updated recently and there are some new ideas about how Monk works(or not) and I think it would be improved with a couple of ideas about where to focus on.

I don't expect the changes to happen that quickly, but I'll go through them over time. It is easier to just post the thread and then work from there, because I can get the colors to go over that way. 

Yah, I don't think any of the HotEC was included in the original handbook. Was disappointing not to find Lightning Leap (lvl 9 double-tap multi-target daily) among the recommended powers.  It compares well to Sorcerer's sky blue lvl 5 daily Thunder Leap...

You're missing Feywarden in themes, which is Bright Blue for desert wind monks.  (And between Feywarden or or Werecritter, why I think Burning Brand should be Bright blue for them, and Light the fire should get some additional love too.  And in the same line, Blistering Flourish should likely mention that you should end up using it every other attack as a Desert Wind single-target monk)

"Nice assumptions. Completely wrong assumptions, but by jove if being incorrect stopped people from making idiotic statements, we wouldn't have modern internet subculture." Kerrus
Practical gameplay runs by neither RAW or RAI, but rather "A Compromise Between The Gist Of The Rule As I Recall Getting The Impression Of It That One Time I Read It And What Jerry Says He Remembers, Whatever, We'll Look It Up Later If Any Of Us Still Give A Damn." Erachima

Genasi should be rated a little higher. Revenent Genasi has good stat for iron soul and raw two extra manifestion feats will grant you all the prereqs for Shocking Flame. Lightning Shocking Flame on flurry and then comboed with Lyrander windrider? Increased accuracy and double dipping on damage on your monk melee powers and flurry power without a lightning weapon even. Only thing even comparable is the morninglord/radiant one that can also add it to their flurry.
Thundergod weapons are good for a charging monk. It is phrased such that it work on flurry as well on a charge. 2d6 thunder damage on a flurry. Only pure monk though no hybrids allowed.
Thundergod weapons are good for a charging monk. It is phrased such that it work on flurry as well on a charge. 2d6 thunder damage on a flurry. Only pure monk though no hybrids allowed.



Firstly a charging monk is a dreadful idea, pretty much every class will do it better.
Secondly, "Your melee attacks deal +1d6 thunder damage when you charge." means that you don't get the extra damage on flurry because by the time you are flurrying you have finished your charge. 
Back to Basics - A Guide to Basic Attacks You might be playing DnD wrong if... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein
Was there ever any consensus on what a good PP was for Desert Wind? I had toyed with the idea of trying one out, but none of the PPs seemed to really be a good fit for them.
There are a number of things I find to be missing or annoying about this guide, so looking forward to seeing some work done on it.

One of those things is Deadly Draw. I still can't figure out why this is rated so highly for Centered Breath. I play a CB monk, and it seems to hardly come into play. Whatever I hit and gain CA against, is usually dead before I get another turn against it. And from one of my turns to the next, there are 10-11 turns, which changes the battle field so much, attacking that lone creature left around me that I have CA against may not even be a good idea when I can bounce somewhere else and hit 2-3 enemies. It seems every time CB monk is mentioned in the guide, Deadly Draw is mentioned as though it gives you permanent CA against everything on the board. In my experience, this is not even close to the case in practice. I get more mileage out of Superior Reflexes. Perhaps I'm also fortunate that I have allies who provide dazing, proning, shaman pet, Pack Outcast, plain old flanking, and other methods through which I gain more reliable CA.
Genasi should be rated a little higher. Revenent Genasi has good stat for iron soul and raw two extra manifestion feats will grant you all the prereqs for Shocking Flame. Lightning Shocking Flame on flurry and then comboed with Lyrander windrider? Increased accuracy and double dipping on damage on your monk melee powers and flurry power without a lightning weapon even. Only thing even comparable is the morninglord/radiant one that can also add it to their flurry.



Revenant Genasi with Past Soul gain the power, not the manifestation...
There are a number of things I find to be missing or annoying about this guide, so looking forward to seeing some work done on it.

One of those things is Deadly Draw. I still can't figure out why this is rated so highly for Centered Breath. I play a CB monk, and it seems to hardly come into play. Whatever I hit and gain CA against, is usually dead before I get another turn against it.



The general benefit of it is that Centered Breath Monks all have Starblade Flurry once they hit Paragon. So they constantly gain a new target to attack with CA in case the target they're standing in front of is dead. I agree, not as generally as good as some of the other options.
Are you saying that there are some Monks who DON'T have Starblade Flurry as soon as they hit Paragon?
The rating on Dragonborn is quite different now that it can be dex/cha.

Thanks for taking the time on this one, the old guide was bothering me with how outdated it was. If nothing else, just adding all the HotEC content will do a lot.

I never noticed the five traditions/five elements connection, but now that you mention it, I'm pretty sure that was deliberate (earth|Stone Fist, water|Eternal Tide, fire|Desert Wind, wind|Centered Breath, void|Iron Soul). They may have been doing a hybrid thing with chinese elements, which were earth, water, fire, wood, and metal; take wind instead of wood but metal instead of void. Neat.
Are you saying that there are some Monks who DON'T have Starblade Flurry as soon as they hit Paragon?



No. But other Monks don't auto-slide a random, possibly uninjured, opponent on a hit 2-3 squares. If you're a tactical Centered Breath Monk, you're constantly trying to slide opponents next to you, so as to set up your next burst attack.
and notice that Deadly Draw has more than one rating specifically because it's not something every monk should take.

EDIT:  OH and of course, much thanks for updating this handbook !
"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

Okay, did a first pass of revising Heroic Tier powers. The major changes:
Quicksilver Motion I rated Gold. Even unoptimized Monks can benefit from this.
Lightning Leap and Tsunami Throw really made the level 9 Monk powers better.
Kicked most of the powers that Desert Wind monks might want to use up a notch. 

Anything I missed?
The general benefit of it is that Centered Breath Monks all have Starblade Flurry once they hit Paragon. So they constantly gain a new target to attack with CA in case the target they're standing in front of is dead. I agree, not as generally as good as some of the other options.

Maybe in high-paragon I'll have the feat space for it. Until then I'll rely on my allies to give me CA. I really don't think it deserves a sky blue plus all the hype, like it's a high priority feat that gives perma CA.
I had tried to establish a baseline build for a fire/radiant Sarifal Feywarden/Radiant Fist Monk a couple of months ago because I couldn't find one anywhere, but didn't get much interest.  It's got a solid encounter nova by level 11...it may be helpful to include and/or improve upon if you're looking at specific builds or vulnerability issues.
The general benefit of it is that Centered Breath Monks all have Starblade Flurry once they hit Paragon. So they constantly gain a new target to attack with CA in case the target they're standing in front of is dead. I agree, not as generally as good as some of the other options.

Maybe in high-paragon I'll have the feat space for it. Until then I'll rely on my allies to give me CA. I really don't think it deserves a sky blue plus all the hype, like it's a high priority feat that gives perma CA.



what's your heroic feat list look like ?  Just curious because I find centered breath monks to be more open when it comes to feats, even in heroic.
"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

Okay, did a first pass of revising Heroic Tier powers. The major changes:
Quicksilver Motion I rated Gold. Even unoptimized Monks can benefit from this.
Lightning Leap and Tsunami Throw really made the level 9 Monk powers better.
Kicked most of the powers that Desert Wind monks might want to use up a notch. 

Anything I missed?


Quicksilver Motion is reason enough to MC Monk and nab the power, so yeah, happy with Sky Blue or Gold.

I think Purifying Meditation deserves a higher rating for Centered Breath. It's worth mentioning as a reasonable level 10 choice.

Arc of Flashing Storm is really my favorite L7 power, teleport is just a really good tool to have on an encounter basis. Brilliant Counterstrike is okay, but has the adjacency problem, unless you have a way of keeping people next to you.

Prescient Defense or Prescient Maneuver may be worth a mention in utilities as skill powers. Monks don't have that many immediates.
what's your heroic feat list look like ?  Just curious because I find centered breath monks to be more open when it comes to feats, even in heroic.

1. Unarmored Agility
2. Versatile Expertise
4. Crashing Tempest Style (retrained to Superior Implement Accurate Dagger at 11)
6. Sentinel Initiate (LoL?)
8. Superior Will
10. Implement Focus Dagger (retrained to Icy Heart at 12)

I know Sentinel Intiate is crazy. It's complicated, I just need it. It would be replaced with another MC feat for another build. There are so many contending feats in heroic, Sneak of Shadows and Low Slash take up two feats if you want a nova, and is about the best nova option that also happens to let you be Sohei if you're feeling extraordinarily brave. Skill Power is always tempting, some of those Insight powers are great.  Fluid Motion is tempting, though waiting for paragon is fine for that.