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 are multi-attackers - 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 the most mobile class in the game. Each at-will and encounter power gives a monk extra movement choices, which are as good or better than other classes utility powers.
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.
Monks 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 good damage, which means that multiple opponent 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
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.
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 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. Controller - Monk are awesome minion killers, but they lack the hard control of a true controller or even a rogue. 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 unarmed attacks are as good as a longsword. However, most builds won't ever use this feature, and even then it's only going to be for attacks of opportunity. 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 free 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. TraditionsShow
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, like off of cliffs. Centered Flurry of Blows is awesome with some feat support and/or item support. 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 in standard for flury of blows. However, it does extra damage if it affects a enemy that was not a target of the triggering attack. 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 awesome. This is the first tradition that has exclusive riders on powers.
Desert Wind Flurry of Blows: This is the mobile version of Flurry of Blows for Charisma-focused monks. It does standard flurry of blow damage and gives you a shift. However, it does fire damage. This means even small levels of resit fire will greatly reduce your damage output. 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.
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 partially compensates for the lower initial damage.
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.
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 SkillsShow
Acrobatics- This is a useful skill that you will already be good at. However, some uses 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. However, this is the most important social skill. 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. 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.
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. Pixies and humans are my favorite monk races, and they excel equally at all traditions. Beyond pixies and humans, I prefer thri-kreen for Stone Fist and Eternal Tide. For Centered Breath I prefer elf, wilden and githzerai For Iron Soul, I prefer revenant and halflings. For Desert Wind, I prefer pixie, halfling, and eladrin (and yes, I did just say I prefered pixie twice).
Bladeling: Has perfect stats for a Centered Breath, but no feat support. The racial attack gives you an additional FoB opportunity. 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. 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?
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.
Gnoll: Dex/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. Half-Elf: You have your choice of two secondary stats and Diletante opens up some nice options. Combining Twin Strike (or Staff Expertise and Hand of Radiance) and a Blurred Strike Ki Focus is quite tasty.
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. Human: A Dex bonus, NAD bonus, and a free feat make humans great monks for any tradition. Monks also have a lot of nice at-wills, so a human's extra at-will definitally doesn't go to waste. 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.
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. I had no idea you could shove so much awesome into such a small package. Rules issueShow
Many monk powers say move your speed, which could mean any speed or just your land speed, or a combination thereof. There is no 100% clear interpretation of the RAW, but the RC defines Speed in relation to the Walk action, and you can use your fly speed, climb speed, and swim speed using the same Walk action. In short, Fly Speed means "speed while flying" in the RC and therefore should be useable with monk powers referencing speed. However, you should talk to your DM first so there is no confusion. If your DM says that you can only use you ground speed with monk powers referencing speed, remind him or her that pixies would get to use their fly speed of 6 in heavy armor if speed only refers to ground speed. You also get stupid results like Spinning Leopard letting you fly shift a distance up to your ground speed, despite the fact that you're flying.
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.
Satyr: Good DW monks, and some ok racial features. Shadar-Kai:Perfect stats for a Centered Breath and some interesting racial features makes for a favorful monk.
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 nice racial makes these nice monks. There also is even some racial feat synergy now.
Deva:Decent racial powers, but no real synergy except for some radiant builds.
Dragonborn: They lack of dexterity hurts. However, their strength, breath Weapon and surge bump helps them. Draconic Arrogance makes them good spear & push fighters. The racial attack gives you an additional FoB opportunity.
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. 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. In other words, none of the monk powers have the weapon keyword. Because non-magical weapon properties (such as profeciency bonus, high crit, and size of weapon) only function with weapon powers, non-magical weapon properties only matter for melee basic attacks (like OAs and charging). For example, assuming everything else is the same, a monk using a fullblade as an implement is just as damaging as a monk using a shuriken or parrying dagger as an implement.
Weapon profeciency means implement profeciency: A monk can use a Ki Focus or any weapon they're profecient with as a implement. Monks are naturally proficient with clubs, daggers, unarmed strikes, quarterstaves, shuriken, slings, and spears. Many races get extra profeciencies naturally, like elves, or through racial feats, like eladrin, dwarves, and githzerai. Monks also can get additional weapon profeciencies through backgrounds. You also can gain implement profeciency through multiclass feats, like a wand, holy symbol, or rod.
Feat, item and power synergy determines a implement's usefulness: Unlike weapons, basic vanilla implements are all equally useful in and of themselves. However, implements vary wildly in their feat support, useful magical properties of the implements themselves, and synergy with other items. As a result, monk implements vary a great deal in their usefulness.
As if things weren't complicated enough, 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.
In short, you need to make sure you match your implement with the right feats, right items, and right powers to be a fully effective monk.
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).
Club: Clubs are weapons that I generally recommend you hold, and not attack with The other monk implements are a bit better to attack with, and you don't need to attack with the club to gain the main benefit you can get from clubs: Crashing Tempest Style (as per the FAQ). At heroic tier having a club in the main hand is awesome due to the +2 to flurry damage from the Crashing Tempest Style feat. If you want to hold a club, 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 rhythm parrying dagger (aka, a sai) or 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 Profeciency to get an Accurate Dagger for a +1 to hit. This means that a dagger almost does as much damage as a club (only .5 dpr less), but hits more frequently and therefore is better at applying rider effects. If you want more damage, you can also use a dagger in your off-hand, and a club in your main hand to use both an Accurate Dagger and Crashing Tempest Style feat (as per the FAQ). If you want more defense, at heroic through epic, you can wield an offhand Rhythm Parrying Dagger for +2 AC and +1 reflex. If you're not an Iron Soul, you can even stack Two-Weapon Defense or a Shielding Blade on top if you'd like, making daggers the premier defensive option for monks from paragon on. 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. Quarterstaff/Staff: Monks 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 Profeciency allows you to get an Accurate Staff for a +1 to hit. This means that a quarterstaff does as much damage as a club (only .5 dpr less) at heroic, but hits more frequently and therefore is better at applying rider effects. 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. Your quarterstaff defensive options are Staff Fighting and Hafted Defense, which grants +2 AC and +1 reflex, but costs an additional feat relative to a parrying dagger and doesn't stack with Two-Weapon Defense. 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. Shielding Whirlwind Style also helps you fight surrounded.
Ki Focus/Unarmed: The rules for Ki focus use by monks are strange and unclear, so contact your DM to see how they interpret the rules. 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 RulesShow
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 goodas 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 goodas implements.
Under all interpetations, both of your hands are also free to hold weapons, so you can hold parrying daggers for the defense, 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.) However, Pointed Step Style doesn't provide an additional flurry of blow target until epic tier, so Pointed Step Style is made obsoleteby Starblade Flurry at paragon, but becomes useful again at epic.
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.
How do I use unusual monk weapons without a generic profeciency feat? A few races naturally have profeciency with a weapon, such as Elves, and many more races have nice profeciency feats that also provide a damage bonus with their racial weapons, such Dwarves, Eladrin, and Githzerai. Backgrounds can also be used to gain profeciency in a weapon. A few monk PPs are give profeciency and benefit if you use usual monk weapons like the hand crossbow (Unseen Hand) and heavy blades (Soaring Blade). Multiclass feats also frequently grant profeciency with implements, with rods and holy symbols being the most popular.
Why would I want to use an unusual monk weapon/implement? Frequently, using these unusual weapons as monk implements leads to an effective and flavorful build. This is especally the case if your race receives additional bonus damage with their racial weapons, such as Githzerai and Goliath. With these races, their racial weapons frequently equal or surpass the normal monk weapons.
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.
Unusual implements also grant some useful bonuses. For example, maybe you wish to not grant CA, so you decide to use holy symbols so you can use Holy Symbol Expertise.
Another reason to use unusual monks weapons is if you decide to charge a lot, which is a very effective strategy to increase monk single-target damage. If you have a monk wielding a big weapon, such as Revenant Dwarf with a waraxe, you should think strongly about developing a charging specialty.
Axes: Axes aren't particularly good monk weapons, but Dwarves and Goliath can easy get profeciency with them. The kopesh also is an interesting axe that is also heavy blade, so Githzerai may decide to use axes as well. Eladrin also can easily get profeciency with the Urgrosh. Axes can be used to crit-fish using multi-attack powers combined with Rending and Melee Training. Axes, such as a Vangaurd 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.
Flails: Normal flails are nothing to write home about. However, there are three flails that require a Multi-Class feat to you use that some monks might be interested in. A Bolo allows you to forgo damage to immobilize the enemy. Thus, Bolo Training is horrible for strikers, but good if you want to make a controller monk. Net Training allows you to slow all opponents you hit, and you mobility allows you to possibly get away from them. However, this will tend to spread enemies out, making multi-attacks difficult, and the slowed enemy can simply attack a different party member. Whip training allows you to give an enemy a -2 to hit against you or one ally, but you will get no benefit out of the whip's reach. Even so, a whip is a useful defensive option at the heroic ter, but is somewhat obsoleted at paragon by a hand crossbow or heavy blade with the Psychic Lock suite. All three of these flails are one-handed so they can be used wth Starblade Flurry or a parrying dagger.
Hammers: Hammers aren't particularly good monk weapons, but Dwarves and Goliath can easy get profeciency with them. Hammers make very good charging weapons, so a few non-dwarves may be drawn to them as well. 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. Scimitars also make decent monk weapons due to Scimitar Dance, which adds Dex damage if you miss on a melee attack. 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. Some weapons count as holy symbols, such as Avandra's Whisper (light blades) and the Disrupting Weapon (Club or Flail), so these can be used with weapon feats. Avandra's Whisper is especially nice because it can be an accurate dagger and also count as a holy symbol.
Polearms: I'm not sure what to think about 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.
A Primer on Monk Tactics When you pick monk powers, you need to decide what type of opponent it would be best used on.
For more advanced tactics, please see the tactics section at the end of the guide.
Enemies have many different roles, but they can be pretty much divided into two types : the front line and the back line. The front line The front line consists of strong and tough monsters that try to smash you as they protect the back line. Because they are strong and tough, they tend to have stupidly good fortitude defenses, and poor reflex and will. Therefore, you want almost always avoid attacking fortitude when you attack the front line. In addition, as the front line is trying to protect the back line, they tend to group up like linemen in football. This makes them vulnerable to multi-target attacks, and dangerous to draw OAs from. In addition, they tend not to move around much once they’re in melee, so they are resistant to effects that limit movement (like prone, slowed or immobilized) unless the effect causes them to not be able to get in melee range. The back line The back line typically consists of nimble and intelligent creatures that give nasty status effects and make powerful ranged attacks. This means that the back line typically is more dangerous than the front line. Because they are nimble, they tend to have good reflex defenses, and decent fortitude and poor will. Therefore, attacking fortitude is somewhat better than attacking reflex when attacking the back line, all other things being equal. They also tend to be fairly spread out and mobile. This means you typically won’t be able to use your multi-target attacks very well when you attack the back line, but their fragility means that catching a large section of the back line with a multi-target power can be devastating. In addition, because the back line attacks from range and moves around a lot, effects that limit movement (like prone, slowed or immobilized) are effective against them if they are in melee. The back line’s ranged nature and mobility also can require you to be very mobile to reach them.
Monks have a good selection of multi-target and single-target powers. Multi-target powers are typically best used against the front line(because they tend to be clustered up), and single-target powers typically are best used against the back line (because they tend to be spread out).
Around half of monk powers target reflex, around half target fortitude, and a few target will. If at all possible, you should avoid attacking the front line’s fortitude. Similarly, attacking the back line's fortitude tends to be somewhat more effective than attacking their reflex.
Putting it all together
If a power is single target and targets fortitude, it should almost always be used on the back line.
If a power is single target and targets reflex, it is somewhat better to use it on the front line.
If a power is multi-target and targets fortitude, it will be devastating if you catch the back line clustered, but you will tend to be using it on the front line and missing quite a bit.
If a power is multi-target and targets reflex, it will be effective whenever you find enemies clustered, which will tend to be the front line.
The Best Defense is a Good Offense?
Damage, Defense and You: Learning to Live TogetherShow
Because monks don't do very good single target damage, they can't live by the "Best Defense is a Good Offense" motto like barbarians and rangers. Even seasoned players complain about their monks dropping due to multi-attacks drawing too much enemy aggression.
As a result, monks face two choices: 1) use single target attacks, which tend to not do very good damage for a striker. 2) focus on defense and use the best attack available.
I strongly encourage people to choose opton 2: "Defense as a Means to a Good Offense." For monks, this means taking as many multi-attack powers as possible and also taking making use of the best defensive options available. In other words, a monk should take feats and utilites to enable themselves to stay alive while taking the best multi-attacking powers available.
As monks get more and more multi-attacks as they level, if you choose to pick powers that draw less enemy attention, from paragon on, you and/or your party will be suffering.
If monks have devoted enough effort into defenses, they can be more durable than most defenders.
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?Show
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.
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.
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.
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?Show
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
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 simultaneouslyShow
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?Show
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.
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. For other traditions, I recommend Dragon's Tail, which can devastate the back line or Crane's Wings, which has a useful push and adds some awesome mobility options. However, Fallen Needle is also a solid attack that provides additional mobility and Lion's Den could be useful for Iron Souls.
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 use it.
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. 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 Centered Breath), 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. DancingCobra (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. As Dancing Cobra only hits for 1 damage more than Five Storms (plus a little more if you use Iron Armbands) and attacks the same defense, this is a fairly lackluster attack. However, the Movement Technique increases your speed by 2, which can be useful to chase down the back line and to get past difficult terrain (although Fallen Needle lets you move 1 more). Overall, it's a decent power for some builds, but it faces fierce competition.
Dragon’s Tail (PHB3)- It attacks fort and knocks prone. When combine with a decent strength or Melee Training, 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) (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. This power is obviously meant to be used against an adjacent target and then for the monk to shift away, which forces the enemy to follow. Overall, the power is only useful for Iron Souls.
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.
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 – (PHB3) It targets a single target's fortitude, making it only useful versus the back line. Versus bloodied targets it gives you extra Strength damage to this attack and your next one. Problem is that, as the creature is bloodied, the target should be dying before you get to attack it again.
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.
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, Druken 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) (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! 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.
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 .
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.
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) (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. The only reason I didn't rate this as pure sky blue, is that monks won't run into much dazing and stunning until later in their career. I can see quite a few paragon level monks still running around with this power.
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.
Overview - Overall, a relatively weak or situational selection of powers at this levels. Swift flight is probably the best of the bunch, 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.
Cat and Mouse(Good MBA) (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. Decent for a level 1 power if you make a lot of melee attacks.
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.
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 thier 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) (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 move. This 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.
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.
Burning Brand (Desert Wind)(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.
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 ask your DM whether the "plus 1d8 psychic" indicate a different damage roll or not. If it does provide two damage rolls, the power is better, and it will keep getting better as you level.
Resounding Strike(Stone Fist) (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).
Overview - Calm Before the Storm and Water Gives Way are clearly the best power at this level, which isn't hard as the rest of the powers are pretty lackluster. 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) (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.
Overview - Centered Defense is probably the most useful power at this level. Purifying Meditation is also very useful, but Centered Defense should help keep you out of situations where you will need a save.
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.
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.
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, which changes to a sizable attack penalty if you're an Iron Soul using a mace/staff. The movement technique is a nice teleport.
Brilliant Counterstrike (Dr 404) - A lackluster melee attack versus reflex for normal damage. If you hit you can do 1d8 damage against every other adjacent creature that attacks you.
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 another chance to trigger FoB. It does helps clean minions. It seems weak for an encounter.
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.
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.
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 melee training or Internalize the Basic Kata.
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.
Overview - Anther fairly lackluster level. The closest thing to standouts in my eyes are Twilight Touch and Crane Dance. 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(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.
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 Warrior Training (Stone Fist) (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. 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.
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.
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. 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 reason this isn't sky blue is that you a lot of options for stances, and you should have good defenses (boosted by stances) that prevent you from gaining save end conditions.
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!
Overview - This is a very nice level. 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, Step Between the Worlds and Torrent of Falling Knices can all provide for some serious fun.
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. If you're playing defender, this power is ok. Also, if you can move away out of the target's reach, forcing the enemy to lose their attacks, this power is nice. If you don't plan on doing either option, then skip it.
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.
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. However, it is still better than many monk dailies, which is why I rated it 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. This could be ok in some circumstances, but it seems that it would be quite weak in most encounters. 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.
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(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Overview - This is a nice level with some good powers. I prefer 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.
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. 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.
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.
Overview - This is nice level with a couple of very nice multi-attacks. 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.
A Feather’s Weight (Stone Fist) (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. Death's Chilled Embrace (Stone Fist)(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. The Movement Technique lets you make the attack at anytime during the movement, 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.
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
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 this it probably your best choice at the level.
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.
Overview - There isn't a very good selection at this level. Rising Dragon Fire is probably the best of your choices, but a few other powers aren't far behind. You might be better taking a lower level power.
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.
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.
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’s a decent controller power.
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 to start the stance. It’s a solid defensive stance. It's good if you have good defenses already and a couple of defensive stances, but it's great if you only have ok defenses
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 for 2 rounds. This is ok, but inferior to Empty Body. 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 stance that allows you to teleport your speed as a free action at the beginning of your turn. As monks are so mobile and have so many other good stances, I don’t see most monks get much out of this power. Wind Walkers Step (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.
Overview - This level has several mediocre powers, and one awesome one. Take Legion of One and don't look back.
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 (Centered Breath)(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+Dagger/Spear) (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.
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 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.
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(Stone Fist) (PHB3) – Attacks reflex for decent damage and pushes your strength. It's an ok power.
Overview - Watchful Hydra Technique is the clear standout at this level. Some Stonefists may also be drawn to Phoenix Dance.
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. 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) (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. 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. 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 nice but not noteworthy at this level. 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.
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.
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.
Heart Sundering Strike (PHB3) – 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. If you are wondering what to do with dominated enemies, I prefer to have target charge another enemy across the battlefield, drawing OAs from you and your allies as they go. This is a very effective and fun encounter power.
Part the Seas (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.
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.
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. 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 (Iron Soul +Dagger/Spear) (PsiP)– Attacks reflex for good damage. Iron soul may get an accuracy boost. Boring...
Overview - There are two respectable powers at this level, both of which have nice control effects. Multi-attackers will take Mist on the Storm, which weakens. Stunning Fist stuns the big baddie. 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.
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. 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.
Stunning Fist (PHB3) – Attacks reflex for decent damage and has a second attack that stuns (save ends) on a hit and weakened+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. [/sblock]
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.
As monks are fairly feat starved, I will only mention feats that I'd rate at least black overall. I also rate these feats relative to one another, and not relative to the 100s of feats that the vast majority of monks won't even consider taking.
If you are interested in what order I would recommend you should take a feat, list out the feats from this guide that you want. Then take them in order based on their rating. In other words, take Gold first, Sky Blue second, Blue third, etc. This will match my recommendations most of the time.
DPR Feats I recommend you take at least 2 feats per tier that increase accuracy or damage. As Flurry of Blows only fires off if you hit, I generally recommend taking feats that increase accuracy before feats that increase damage. HeroicShow
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 (Centered Breath) (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, this feat is very situational. Past the heroic tier, Centered Breath are much better off with Deadly Draw as you are in control of Deadly Draw's CA.
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 FeatsShow
I rate these feats relative to each other. Any optimized monk needs one of these feats.
Holy Symbol Expertise (Centered Breath) (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 not a monk implement. However, using holy symbols is easy to get if you have a little wisdom by taking a MC cleric or paladin feat that gives implement profeciency and this expertise feat is equivalent in cost to Versatile Expertise and Uncanny dodge combined. Plus it gives you an extra skill and a useful daily power over what you would have gotten from Versatile Expertise and Uncanny Dodge.
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 monks.
Versatile Expertise (PHB3) - Many monks who uses weapons as implements (like dagger users) will like this feat. The errata now makes this feat scale at 11 and 21 like the other expertise feats. However, other than working for both implement and weapon attacks, this feat gives no other useful effect over the other expertise feats.
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, which will suck unless you take Internalize the Basic Kata. Even then, if you're optimizing basic attacks, then you're still going to be better off with a weapon. It's a TRAP for most monks.
Nimble Blade (Centered Breath) (PHB) - If you use daggers and have CA a lot, this is a solid feat. Works well with Deadly Draw and frost cheese.
SlashingKama Style (Dr404) -As monks tend to attack multiple enemies over multiple rounds, this could end up a sizable increase in FoB damage, but it occurs at a slower pace. This makes it not as good as Crashing Tempest overall. Starblade Flurry also requires a hand, so there really aren't enough hands for this feat once you hit paragon. Wilden can use Briar Thorns to make this feat into an effective slowing and proning combination.
Superior Implement Training (PHB3) - Dagger, Ki Focus, and Quarterstaff users want to take this to get their Accurate implements. +1 to hit baby! Monks using a Flaming dagger also could do well with an Incendary Dagger. Popular Superior ImplementsShow
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)
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.
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.
Mighty Ki Focus (PsiP) - If primarily use reflex attacks, you could make some use out of this.
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 Stone Fist or Iron Soul using a Frost Weapon and have Lasting Frost, you will want this feat. Otherwise skip it. Deadly Draw is strictly better for Centered Breath.
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.
Elan Mental Assault (req Elan Heritage) (PsiP) If you use FoB on a target, you're next attack can be versus their will. As will is typically the lowest defense, this is equal to a +1 or more to hit. This is even better if your original attack would target the enemy's strong NAD, such as the Front Line's fortitude. Too bad it requires Elan Heritage.
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.
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.
Serenity in Simplicity (PsiP) - +1 to hit with at-wills after you expend all daily attack powers. By this time, you have too many daily powers for this feat to be terribly useful.
Scimitar Dance (PHB) -– Dex damage on a miss if you use scimitars. Too bad it's only on melee attacks.
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 Melee Training or a good strength.
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. HeroicShow
Defensive Mobility (PHB) - If you draw a lot of OAs, you could find this useful. But you have a lot of other defensive feats available and a lot of ways to avoid OAs.
Durable (PHB) - You have a ton of defensive feats available, and can get really good defenses. So you probably won't need this, but some monks do swear by it. Make sure to take it after toughness.
Hafted Defense– A solid feat for Quarterstaff users, as they are a little behind the curve in optimized monk defenses. However, this provides a shield bonus so it won't stack with Two Weapon Defense or Iron Soul class features.
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.
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.
Staff Fighting – Another solid feat for Quarterstaff users. Take this after Hafted Defense.
Superior Will (req 15 wis or cha) (HFL) - If you have the necessary wisdom, 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 very solid feat. However, monks can get defenses high enough that they probably won't need it.
Two-Weapon Defense (PHB) - It’s a shield bonus to AC and Reflex without dropping anything else. It is a nice feat, but it requires Two-Weapon Fighting, which is quite a tax on builds. Iron Soul already have a shield bonus from their class features, so they can't use this feat.
Unarmored Agility (PHB3) - A +2 to AC is too good to pass up. Probably should be your first feat.
Weapon Profeciency: Parrying Dagger- A +1 to AC is solid. This is primarily useful for dagger users, as it makes it impossible to use Starflurry Blade at paragon unless you wield a dagger. Please note however, that a parrying dagger isn't actually a dagger, so it doesn't allow you to use Starblade Flurry by RAW.
Defensive Advantage(Centered Breath)(PHB) - This is a big bonus to AC that is pretty well constant for Centered Breath with Deadly Draw
Effortless Motion (PHB3) - +1 to AC if you use a movement technique. Too bad you won't always be using movement techniques.
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 First who aren't staff users will prefer this over Uncanny Dodge, as it has no wisdom requirement. Still Water (PsiP) - +2 AC when you hit with an at-will if all encounter powers are expended. You have too many encounter powers and dailies for this to be terribly useful.
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. Holy Symbol Expertise gives you an improved version of this feat, so you might think about a turn toward religion. 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.
EpicDefenses - 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. HeroicShow
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 as a monk, you want to "Play Stupid" (see the tactics section) and get surrounded by monsters so you so you can attack them all before they realize their mistake. However, this assumes you have good defenses. If you aren't making a defensive monk, avoid this feat.
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 an 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– Internalize the Basic Kata is probably better unless you don't specialize in ki focus, are optimizing charging, or otherwise need both hands occupied with weapons.
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.
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.
Danger Sense (PHB) - Rerolling initiative every time can be useful. However, monks have less incentive to go first than other classes.
Dazing Fist(req Stone Fist) (PsiP) - Daily attacks also daze (save ends). This adds some solid control to Stone Fist.
Fleet-Footed (PHB) - Fluid Motion is strictly better.
Polearm Gamble (PHB) -If you're wielding a polearm, you will want to take this. Requires Melee Training. This combines well with Spear Push and Polearm Momentum and Repel Charge.
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.
Resounding Thunder(PHB)- If you are specializing in thunder (e.g., Devoted Orator), you get to enlarge all your bursts in blasts by 1, which is AWESOME for a monk.
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.
Githzerai Heavyblade Training (PHB3) - Profeciency and a +2 scaling damage bonus with heavy blades. Too bad heavy blades aren't the best monk weapons.
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.
Briar Thorns (Dr388) Combines with Slashing Kama to have your FoB slow one target, and then with World Serpant's Grasp to prone the target. This makes the target incapable of moving away without provoking.
Multiclassing Some players may want their monks to do things a bit differently than standard monks. For these monks, multiclassing may be a good answer. Unlike some other classes, like avengers, monks in general don't need multiclass feats to function well.
Multiclassing into an implement using class frequently gives you profeciency in the implements used by that class. For example, a MC cleric could use monk powers through a holy symbol. These options may make MCing into implement-using classes more appealling than MCing into non-implement classes. In addition, some implement classes allow you to develop completely new abilities, such as adding a secondary leader role (Cleric and Shaman) or becoming a skill monkey (Bard).
Ratings for MC classes are done a bit differently, as they're partly rated compared to other multi-class feats and partly based on how good they are for a general monk. If I were rating MC feats exclusively based on the general monk, all MC feats would probably receive a black or poorer rating due to their completely optional nature.
MCing into classes is done for a few different reasons: 1) Implement access- Maybe you want your monk to use a holy symbol or a one-handed staff implement 2) Feat access- For example, spear and polearm monks may find some fighter feats useful 3) Powers the MC feat itself gives- For example, you might want a Healing Word once per day or spirit companion 4) Skill Training- Most MC feats give you training in a skill 5) Paragon path access- For example, most monks could use a path like Morninglord 6) Power swaps- Occasionally monks may want a power a different class offers, like an at-will teleport (Etheral Stride) or a nice stance.
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.
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
Rogues have a few feats, like Surprising Charge, that could be used by some monks. In addition, few feats provide training in skills that are not already on the monk class list. On the plus side, rogues powers all use dex and MC feats are easy to qualify for. Feat swaps again will be looking for potential encounter changers, like Stunning Strike or Executioner's Mein.
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.
One good reason to take a multiclass into a implement using class is to gain the use of additional types of implements. As per the new essentials rules, many MC feats give you profeciency in new kinds of implements that you can use with monk powers. A monk MCing into cleric for example could use holy symbols with their monk powers.
Implement using classes also tend to give you access to skills that aren't already already class skills, which can be useful.
MCing into implement-using classes also allows you to develop completely new abilities, such as a secondary role as leader. Doing this frequently requires at least 2 feats.
One downside to MC feats for implement-using classes is that they frequently require mental stats that you might not otherwise need. As a result, Centered Breath monks have an advantage in qualifying for these feats.
Holy symbol profeciency is nice, but cleric probably gets you more bang for your buck.
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.
Cleric is a nice choice for the holy symbol profeciency, 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.
Shaman is a fun and useful MC choice, that even fits in with the flavor of martial arts films. Too bad totems aren't impressive. MCing into Shaman also lets you develop a clear secondary role as leader, which gives the monk at least a secondary emphasis in all 4 character roles.
Spirit Talker (req wis 13) (PHB2) - A spirit buddy, training in nature, some mildly useful powers, and training in totems. The spirit even uses your defenses, so it should be hard to kill.
Mending Spirit (Req Spirit Talker) (PP) - A once per encounter minor action heal is awesome.
Themes Most themes are campaign setting, so I've ranked and listed themes by campaign. At level 10 and beyond, the strongest themes for monks are the three were-creature themes from Dragon 410. Other than those, if you have access to all themes, Pack Outcast (note the errata), Primordial Adept, and Devil's Pawn are the best offensive themes for most monks. Defensive monks have a variety of good paths, but Were-Bear, Harper Agent and Yakuza probably have the most going for them for most defensive monks. Desert Wind monks may like Firecrafter
As themes are coming out all the time, I'm only going to list themes that I would rate black or higher for a monk. Dark SunShow
Elemental Priest (DSCS)- A encounter conjuration with a nice little defense bonus. Noble Adept (DSCS)- Turns a miss into a hit each encounter. Wilder (DSCS)- A usable implement ranged attack, but primarily used for the associated paragon path.
Bregan D'aethe Spy (req Drow) (NWCS)- Not giving enemies their attack bonus when you grant CA is nice for a monk.
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. 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.
Pack Outcast (req. human or shifter) (NWCS)- A speed boost and easy flanking, which means you will get CA a lot. It loses most of its luster for CB monks in paragon, who can rely on Deadly Draw for constant CA. Son of Alagondar (Good MBA) (Dr 402) All the features are helpful, but daze on any melee attack makes MBAs very effective even if you do hit like a girl. Sohei (Dr 404)- The level 1 power doesn't work for monks.
Spellscarred Harbinger (NWCS)- Gives a set of three powers that are all useful. Remember that the invisibility reduces stickiness, so only use it if you're in trouble or you'll lower your DPR. Being spellscarred sucks however if you fight other spellscarred creatures.
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.
Alchemist (Dr 399)- Free Alchemy once an encounter can be useful to anyone.
Cultist (BVD)- Some THP and a little extra damage, and a -2 to hit you the first turn is nice for defensive monks. Elemental Initiate (HoEC) A immediate reaction attack is nice. Too bad it's a weapon power. Bonus to will is also nice.
Fatedancer (Dr 401)- Depending on your deck of fortune cards, this could vary from poor to awesome. Firecrafter (Desert Wind)(HoEC) - An 1 turn aura isn't bad. Desert Wind will love Burning Bright
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 hit like a girl on MBAs even when they hit, but if you have a decent MBA and have good defenses, then this is a decent path. Iron Wolf Warrior(Ki Focus Users with Good MBA)(Dr 400)- No action weapon attacks, but the starting feature requires you to charge. You can combine the theme with a Blurred Strike Ki Focus to brutal effect. Knight Hospitaler (Centered Breath) (Dr 399)- If you got the wisdom, immediate action heals for allies are helpful.
Mercenary (Dr 399)- A no-action prone increases stickiness, and a defense bonus when bloodied helps keep the monk alive.
Ordained Priest (Dr 399)- A close blast power is useful in the heroic tier.
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.
Primordial Adept (HoEC) A lot of fun burst powers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 also could work decently, if you can cope with the path's problems. 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. Monks taking this path have no way to get an expanded critical range other than items and few ways of attacking the same enemy multiple times in a turn, so criticals will be far and few between, and frequently when you can't use them. To top things off, the powers are weak.
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, control, or significantly improve defenses.
Ghostwalker(Centered Breath)(PHB3)- This path is aimed at Centered Breath monks. 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." Initiate of the Dragon(Deset 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. The +2 damage to monk unarmed strikes MIGHT function (ask your DM) with implement attacks if you use a ki focused monk unarmed strike. If so, this path is looking better.
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 Soul) (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. 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) - This path is trying to make a monk more leader-like, and failing miserably at it.
Unseen Hand (PsiP) - 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 ProblemsShow
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 PathsShow
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. However, all MC feats are a tax on builds, so make sure that what you gain is worth the added cost.
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.
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.
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. I also believe the 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! Centered Breath can use the powers if they get another implement, such as a Crusader's Weapon.
Radiant Servant (Centered Breath) (Cleric - PHB)- 19-20 criticals on radiant powers and some decent wisdom powers. With the new implement rules, you don't even need another implement and can use cleric implements with monk powers.
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.
Shadow Assassin (Rogue-PHB)- Deal Dex damage when you're missed!
Tharanni Shadow Killer(Centered Breath)(Mark of Shadow-EPG)-The selling point is ongoing necrotic on one enemy per round when you hit with CA, and some fun powers. For Center Breath monks with Deadly Draw and monks using frost cheese, 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 Centered Breath have a poor enough fortitude defense that they are unlikely to sustain the grab for too many rounds. Overall, it looks like a fun path, even if it is a bit situational.
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.
Adroit Explorer(Human - PHB2) - Reuse your favorite encounter power and some durability boosters.
Honorable Blade (Dragonborn & Martial MC - PHBR-Dr)- Another more complex, but better, way to get Resounding Thunder on all blasts & bursts.
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.
Overview-There are a lot of nice Epic Destinies. The Raven Knight and Indomitable Champion are two of my favorites.
Chosen (DP) - Essentially Demigod, with some deity-specific variability in what utility you get.
Demigod(PHB) - Awesome for just about anyone, monks included.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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 Shadowflow Armor (PHB) Not terribly expensive. Gives an untyped bonus to stealth and concealment (invisibility at epic) for one round per encounter, which allows you to stealth right out in the open. A couple monk PPs survive on concealment.
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 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) - Awesome 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
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)(AV) These clearly add 1 to CB FoB's slide, as the FoB is a melee attack. These are pure win for CB 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.
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.
As Ki Focus are implements, I believe their properties always function unless it specifically states they only function on an attack using the implement. So even if you don't use Ki Focus to attack with, you may still find it useful to pick one up.
The * sign indicates the the Ki Focus is useful even if you don't attack with it.
The + sign indicates tha there's another version of the weapon with an additional +1 enhancement bonus even 5 levels.
Blazing Arc Ki Focus (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* (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* (D382) -An extra area attack will help clean up a group and trigger the property. I love to turn minions into a DPR tool, and the extra attack once per day also helps any build. My favorite ki focus for non-ki focus users.
Elusive Action Key Focus* (PHB3) +2 AC versus OAs.
Hawk's Talon Ki Focus* (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 (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(PHB3) - This ki focus is very expensive, but it lets you use FoB twice a round if you hit with two different attacks. This does not work on are attacks like Five Storms, as these powers count as a single attack that targets multiple enemies. However, it does work with power providing multiple attacks like Twin Strike, Spinning Leopard Maveuver, and Feeding the Doves. Monks have relatively few of these multiple attack powers, and no multiple attack at-wills, so you basically will need to build around this Ki Focus if you decide to use it.
Iron Body Ki Focus (D382) - damage resistance until the end of your next turn against the attacks of the creatures you hit using this focus.
The + sign indicates tha there's another version of the weapon with an additional +1 enhancement bonus even 5 levels.
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.
Frost (Stone Fist) (Any - PHB) - Combines with Lasting Frost for +5 damage, and if you are a Stone Fist, allows permanent CA via Wintertouched.
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 (Centered Breath)(Any melee- AV1)- An item bonus to damage if you have CA, which Centered Breath should have all the time via Deadly Draw.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Githyanki Silver Weapon(Heavy Blade - AV2) - Awesome when paired with a Headband of Intellect and Psychic Lock.
Jagged (Axe, Heavy Blade, Light Blade - AV) - Just about the only way to get 19-20 criticals. Plus, it's cheap!
Thunderbolt (Any Ranged -AV) - A cheaper version of a Lightning Weapon for dagger monks
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.
Radiant (Any - AV) - Expensive, but it allows you to exploint radiant vulnerability and get an item bonus to all of your attacks.
Avandra's Whisper (Light Blade-AV) - A cheap way for holy symbol usersto 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.