The support Monk (usually called the zMonk because they do "zero" damage) is one of the strongest supports in the game since Season 4 and the addition of Crowd Control Resistance. Keeping people alive is their specialty, but they also can provide some offensive buffs and a lot of utility your team might need!
For the longest time zMonk was included in every high GR META team, thanks to their unparalleled ability to keep the DPS alive. Between Inner Sanctuary, all the Mantras granted by Inna's MantraSet, shield spam from Mantra of Healing as well as heals from Epiphany Soothing Mist, zMonk offers by far the most powerful toughness and recovery buffs out of every support in the game. On top of that zMonk's shields allow damage dealers to utilize "never take damage"-style items, such as Squirt's Necklace and Pride's Fall.
Unfortunately, zMonk is sorely lacking when it comes to damage buffs. The only thing they have to offer is some small additive damage bonuses: Mantra of Conviction, Exploding Palm The Flesh is Weak, Crippling Wave Breaking Wave and Unity. Comparing that to the recently buffed Odyssey's End from Season 21, it should come at no surprise that zMonk's spot in group is more often than not occupied by a zDH.
Still zMonk can find a place in triple support teams, both in high Greater Rift pushing and in speedfarming. Also some damage dealers (such as Mundunugu Witch Doctor) are too squishy to survive without a zMonk, and while zDH's damage buffs are great, you need to be alive to make use of them.
Tanky ✔ Versatile ✔ Very Strong Toughness Buffs ✔ Provides Lots of Shields and Healing ✔
❌ Requires Spamming ❌ Weak Damage Buffs ❌ Positioning is Very Important ❌ Tough to Play at Low Paragon
Inna's Mantra (2) Bonus doubles the base passive effect of our mantras, which gives us 40% All Resistance, 16% additive damage, and increased life regeneration.
Inna's Mantra (4) Bonus gives us all 4 mantras at all times: Mantra of Healing, Mantra of Salvation, Mantra of Conviction, and Mantra of Retribution.
Captain Crimson's Trimmings (2) Bonus gives 20% cooldown reduction and 20% Resource Cost Reduction, which are both critical stats we need for this build.
Captain Crimson's Trimmings (3) Bonus gives damage reduction equal to our Resource Cost Reduction, which will help us survive as we heal our party.
Ring of Royal Grandeur completes both our Inna's Mantra and Captain Crimson's Trimmingssets so we can have their (4) and (3) Bonuses respectively.
Oculus Ring provides 85% increased damage to our teammates who stand in the ring.
Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac helps us reduce the Inner Sanctuary cooldown to ease its repositioning.
Illusory Boots give unrestricted movement, which makes the build a lot more smooth and pleasant to play.
Season 24 Ethereals
Ethereals are powerful rare weapons that can only be found during Season 24. They have incredible stats, a random Legendary power, and a free passive for your class. Read our Ethereal Mechanics Guide for full details on how they work and our Ethereal Farming Guide to learn how to acquire them. What you should prioritize on them is the following:
The Ethereal Itself There are 3 different weapons available to us but only Shadow Killer provides a buff for our party reducing the monster damage by 25%. Jade Talon and Bartuc's Cut-Throat only provide personal bonuses and are not worth using on zMonk.
TheLegendary Power There are two Legendary powers useful for zMonk: Flying Dragon in high Greater Rifts and Messerschmidt's Reaver in speedruns. The latter can be replaced by In-Geom but it's not ideal because normally you want to dual wield it with your Ethereal.
The EtherealStat Rolls Each Ethereal comes with its own fixed set of powerful affixes. While some have a static value, many have a wide stat range. This means the difference between good and bad rolls is significant and something you should look for.
A Useful Passive This is just icing on the cake because a fifth passive is not going to make or break your build. You're better off hunting for the things above. Check out the Passives section down below to see which ones you're looking for.
Global Stat Priorities
Since we are a support class, we don't need any offensive stats like Critical Hit Chance, Critical Hit Damage, Area Damage, or Elemental Damage. Instead we will gather as much Cooldown Reduction, Health Globe Bonus, Resource Cost Reduction and Attack Speed as possible. Cooldown Reduction is needed to keep Epiphany and Inner Sanctuary up all the time. Attack Speed lets you Crippling Wave faster, giving you more spirit and healing from Soothing Mist. Acquire as much Attack Speed as possible.
Resource Cost Reduction will allow you to spam Mantra of Healing for constant shields to protect Squirt's Necklace on our damage dealers. Health Globe Bonus secondary rolls will make our shields and heals even stronger and will be a key stat we're looking for. Try to aim for at least +150,000 Health Globes Bonus before attempting to zMonk. For defense, prioritize All Resistance > Life % > Vitality > Armor. Since Intelligence gives us more All Resistance, craft any pieces on a Necromancer, Wizard or Witch Doctor.
Assembling the Build
1. Do the Challenge Rift for the materials to cubeLegendary Powers. You can complete this once a week for additional resources and we always update the guide for you!
2. This is a support build, meaning we deal zero damage and need to farm the pieces/materials with a different build/character. We'll use BloodShards and Crafting Materials to acquire the remaining pieces outlined in the steps below.
Gather 3 pieces of the Inna's Mantra set and 2 pieces of the Uliana's Stratagem set. Do not salvage any duplicate pieces you find! Instead convert them to another part of the set with Recipe 4 in Kanai's Cube. If you have extra materials you can use Recipe 3 to craft the remaining pieces, but this is expensive and not recommended for new players.
Nemesis Bracers, Spirit Guards and Strongarm Bracers
Create a level 1 Demon Hunter and upgrade 1-Handed Swords to get In-Geom
Daibos to get Flying Dragon
2-Handed Axes to get The Executioner
Rings to get Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac and Oculus Ring
Anything from the Gamble list in Step 3 that you haven't already acquired.
5. Do Bounties to acquire several important items for this build:
Act 1: Ring of Royal Grandeur
Act 2: Illusory Boots
Act 4: Can drop any bounty item from any act
Bounty Turn In: Recipes for Captain Crimson's Trimmings and Born's Command
6. There is one final required piece that is difficult to acquire, The Flavor of Time. With amulets being so expensive to gamble or craft, we'll have to search for it to drop in Nephalem and Greater Rifts. The biggest hint is to party up with other players and kindly ask them to drop any duplicates they find.
1. All Resistance 2. Life % 3. Intelligence 4. Vitality
Bottomless Potion of Kulle-Aid
For breaking walls to pull enemies and increase DPS
Iceblink makes enemies 10% more likely to be critically hit. Only 1 Iceblink should be used in groups as they do not stack. Both zNec and zDH apply chill better than zMonk, so if your group has one of those, they should be the one to run this gem.
Gem of Efficacious Toxin poisons enemies hit for 10% additive damage (stacks) and 10% damage reduction (does not stack). Other supports can also wear this gem because the damage buff stacks.
Gogok of Swiftness gives 15% Attack Speed, 15% Cooldown Reduction and up to 30% Dodge based on the amount of stacks you have. You gain a stack with each hit up to a maximum of 15, and all stacks are refreshed if you attack every 4 seconds.
Esoteric Alteration gives 60% non-Physical damage reduction, and can be taken instead of Gem of Efficacious Toxin if you cannot survive.
Crippling Wave is our spirit generator and also heals the party with Epiphany Soothing Mist. Different runes can be used here: Breaking Wave for damage, Concussion for damage reduction, or Tsunami to proc Iceblink.
Epiphany Soothing Mist lets us teleport to monsters, spam our abilities, and heals our party members when we use any skill.
Mantra of Healing provides massive shields and life regeneration to our party, allowing them to wear Squirt's Necklace. The shielded amount is increased by 15% of our Health Globe Bonus, which is why we take that roll on all of our items. Time of Need is the most commonly used rune, providing damage mitigation when things go haywire. One exception to that is Wizard DPS with their Max HP scaling shields, in that case Heavenly Body is used instead.
Inner Sanctuary Temple of Protection provides a safe place for our party to stand, giving them 55% damage reduction and immunity to crowd control effects. Crowd Control Immunity will also negate the slowing effect from Stone Gauntlets.
The last two skills slot often change depending on the team composition. Popular options are: Serenity Tranquility for extra shields, Breath of Heaven Zephyr to give movement speed to the party, Blinding Flash Crippling Light for extra damage reduction, Deadly Reach Piercing Trident to proc Strongarm Bracers and Exploding Palm the Flesh is Weak for increased damage. In speedruns, Dashing Strike Blinding Speed and Cyclone Strike Implosion are often used to move through the rift quickly and group up the mobs.
Beacon of Ytar gives 20% Cooldown Reduction.
Near Death Experience allows us to cheat death.
Resolve reduces enemy damage by 20%.
Seize the Initiative gives us 30% Attack Speed.
Chant of Resonance can be taken if you do not have enough Resource Cost Reduction (RCR) to spam Mantra of Healing to grant shield to your allies.
Unity gives 5% additive damage to all party members affected by our Mantras.
1. Movement Speed
1. Cooldown Reduction
1. All Resistance
1. Resource Cost Reduction
2. Attack Speed
2. Life %
2. Life per Hit
3. Critical Hit Chance
3. Pickup Radius
4. Maximum Spirit
4. Critical Hit Damage
4. Life Regeneration
4. Area Damage2
1 Put all points into Vitality until you reach 3 million HP, then put the rest into Dexterity for Armor. 2 Do not take Area Damage as we deal no damage and it will lag the game.
First of all, note that any knockback attempt from Deadly Reach will trigger the damage buff from Strongarm Bracers, even if the target is not displaced, including on Rift Guardians and Juggernaut Rares. But remember this is not the case for Cyclone Strike! If several players use Strongarm Bracers, their effect will stack additively. Check out our Crowd Control guide by Chewingnom for more details!
High Greater Rifts Here your job is to provide buffs and debuffs. Follow your trash killer and spam Crippling Wave, Epiphany, Mantra of Healing, Breath of Heaven and Serenity all the time.
Place Inner Sanctuary where your group is setting up. This will usually be where the monster density is, or at an intersection where monsters can be pulled from multiple sides. If your damage dealers are moving to an Oculus Ring then move with them to drop a new Inner Sanctuary there (use Exploding Palm to reset its cooldown with Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac).
Generally you want to move around your damage dealer (the Trash Killer), while staying inside Inner Sanctuary range. This will help you spread your debuffs (Iceblink, Resolve, Exploding Palm) and will also prevent dangerous ground effects from stacking in one spot making both you and your damage dealer take less damage. Don't stand directly on top of your damage dealer as it makes the above problem twice as bad and also doubles the chances of stuff like Wormhole spawning under them!
On the Rift Guardian switch your attention to Rift Guardian Killer and follow them with your Inner Sanctuary. If you are using Crippling Wave Tsunami don't use it's 3rd strike! Attack twice then wait a couple of seconds. Otherwise you will freeze the boss making it resistant to other Crowd Control effects.
Greater Rift Speedfarming Similar to high GRs, you need to spam Epiphany, Serenity and Mantra of Healing all the time, but this is where the similarities end. Unlike high GRs, where zMonk is a glorified stat stick, in speedruns you are the main support leading the group.
Get slightly ahead of the group with Dashing Strike and look for Elites or large packs of trash to kill. When you find them, use Cyclone Strike to group everything together, put Exploding Palm on a low HP enemy, and when the DPS arrives place Inner Sanctuary under them. Stay there, providing mantras and shields until everything is dead, then Dashing Strike ahead again and look for more enemies.
Consider the following changes to become tankier when playing in Hardcore:
Drop Gem of Efficacious Toxin for Esoteric Alteration for 60% non-Physical damage reduction.
Change Seize the Initiative to Sixth Sense for 25% reduced non-Physical damage.
Try Dashing Strike + Crystal Fist and drop Flying Dragon.
Ethereals If you don't have Shadow Killer, use Born's Furious Wrath and Born's Privilege.
Concept In teams with Spirit Barrage Witch Doctor trash killer, the zMonk is used as a second support, because WD is too squishy and has almost no recovery. We bring Iceblink and Nemesis Bracers. You need to have Chance to Bleed on Hit on your weapon and/or shield to proc WD's Pain Enhancer.
Gameplay Fairly standard zMonk gameplay: you sit next to WD and keep up Inner Sanctuary while spamming Crippling Wave and Mantra of Healing. Tap Tempest Rush every 3s to apply Iceblink.
With WD you should focus on keeping the Inner Sanctuary active and in the right place. A few second before Cold rotation, the WD will Spirit Walk into a nearby Oculus Ring. You should follow them with your Tempest Rush to resetting your Inner Sanctuary cooldown in the process.
When you need to click a pylon, first make sure to drop a fresh Inner Sanctuary and then use Epiphany teleports to get to the pylon and return back before it expires!
Setups At very high Paragon (5000+), you can drop Born's Command and Spirit Guards for 2 pieces of Uliana's Stratagem. Use Pig Sticker as your weapon and cube Illusory Boots. Finally, replace Tempest Rush with Exploding Palm The Flesh is Weak and change Crippling Wave rune to Tsunami to proc Iceblink and apply palms to more mobs. This setup costs you a lot of toughness but gives 15% more additive damage to your WD and RGK.
Another high Paragon damage option is dropping Serenity for Deadly Reach Piercing Trident and replacing Spirit Guards with Strongarm Bracers for 30% additive damage. This combo is more powerful but it needs to be used very carefully, because you don't want to actually send the mobs flying, you only want the debuff. Make sure to only use Piercing Tridentafter zBarb's Ground Stomp to not mess up Crowd Control Resistance!
If you're just starting out and don't have enough Resource Cost Reduction to sustain Mantra of Healing spam, replace Seize the Initiative with Chant of Resonance.
If your toughness is good and you're feeling brave, use Unity instead of Near Death Experience for 5% additive damage.
High GR Wizard
Ethereals If you don't have Shadow Killer use Pig Sticker.
Concept You can run a zMonk in a triple support team with one Firebird Wizard as a DPS. While there's some stronger team compositions such as running a dedicated Necro or WD trash killer or just doubling up on Wizards, the zMonk still has some advantages. First of all, zMonk brings a lot of extra touhgness which makes dying almost impossible and also ensures high Squirt's Necklace uptime. Especially important are Mantra of Salvation and Inner Sanctuary because they also affect Mirror Images, which otherwise can easily die in big pulls at lower paragon. The second advantage of zMonk, compared to second DPS, is less lag, which can be a real problem in the first weeks of the season.
Gameplay Here your job is to protect not only the Wizard but also her Mirror Images. The Wizard will teleport all over the place chasing Oculus Rings, but you don't always have to follow them. The wizard is very tanky and, unless the pull is very hostile, it's better to keep the Inner Sanctuary under the Mirror Images to make sure they can attack.
Crippling Wave has fairly small range so you need to move around a bit to apply your Resolve, Shadow Killer and Concussion to all enemies.
Setups If the servers are too laggy even with just one Wizard, remove Exploding Palm from the build. Instead use Tempest Rush Tailwind to proc Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac. Also replace Uliana's Stratagem with 2 Born's Command pieces.
2P & 3P Wizard
Ethereals If you don't have Shadow Killer use Pig Sticker.
Concept The zMonk can replace zBarb in 2 and 3 player teams with Firebird Wizard DPS. While zMonk can't pack the mobs as well as zBarb and can't provide as much damage, there's one area where it excels. zMonk can keep the Wizard and most importantly her Mirror Images alive! Unless you are very high Paragon (4,000+), the Images dying is a major problem and zMonk ends up working better than zBarb.
Gameplay Here you are the main pulling support. You need to gather and pack mobs with Cyclone Strike, apply all your debuffs with Crippling Wave Tsunami, place Exploding Palms on the key targets, all the while doing the usual Mantra of Healing spam and placing Inner Sanctuary under the Wizard and/or her Mirror Images.
Setups In 3-man team your setup stays largely the same, but you don't need Iceblink anymore so you can get Esoteric Alteration and use Concussion or Breaking Wave rune on your Crippling Wave.
You can replace Exploding Palm with Serenity Tranquility if you want some extra defense instead of 15% additive damage.
GoD DH Speeds
Ethereals If you don't have Shadow Killer use Stormshield.
Concept This version of zMonk uses the full Inna's Mantra set to freeze the mobs with Water Ally for synergy with your Demon Hunters' Buriza-Do Kyanon. We also stack some Crit Chance for more Spirit generation via Shadow Killer.
In GoD DH speedruns your last support can be zBarb, zNec or the zMonk. zNec provides the best freeze and also the ability to kill Juggernauts. zBarb is more of a defensive option with extremely strong defensive and movement speed buffs but less consistent freezes. Monk falls somewhere between those two providing better freezes and pulls than zBarb but also some movement speed and defense.
Gameplay In these runs you are the leader of the group and need to stay slightly ahead to group and freeze the mobs before the Demon Hunters arrive. But you can't go too far ahead because then the monsters might unfreeze before you are able to kill them. Ideally the whole team should stay close together with monk just barely ahead and go through the rift like a train of destruction leaving only frozen chunks of demons in its path.
Since this team is so dependent on freezes you need to limit your knockback usage. Don't use Cyclone Strike more than once on the same mobs and skip all the Speed Pylons. If your DH's gear is optimized for freeze runs, you can't kill Juggernaut elites, so skip those as well.
Setups You can replace Serenity with Breath of Heaven Zephyr is you want more movement speed. This skill however, has very small range so you need to dash right on top of your DH each time you use it.
You can also play this build without The Crudest Boots. This allows you to include Nemesis Bracers which work better on zMonk than on zDH because you are much faster. Without the boots you need to reactivate Mystic Ally every 1.5 seconds to keep the freeze going.
If you are struggling with survivability, replace Illusory Boots with Stone Gauntlets.
Ethereals If you don't have Shadow Killer use Stormshield.
Concept A zMonk can replace zBarb in Bird Runs, and while this setup is not very popular it can produce the same or even better results than zBarb if played well. Compared to the normal group, you lose about 4% DPS and 1.5% XP, but you gain the ability to group mobs much faster than zBarb can, thanks to Cyclone Strike Implosion with its massive range and no cooldown.
Gameplay The gameplay is pretty standard speed zMonk as described above. Every time you make a pull, drop Inner Sanctuary in the middle to give your Wizards a spot where they can channel without being interrupted. In these runs you are the only player with CC so feel free to use Cyclone Strike as many times as you need to suck in all the mobs.
Setups If you are struggling to survive your best option is switching Stormshield to Crystal Fist. If that's still not enough, you can replace Gungdo Gear and Exploding Palm with Stone Gauntlets and Serenity Tranquility.
Ethereals If you don't have any Ethereal Item use Fleshrake.
Concept This build is very different from all the others and can be hardly called a support monk. Still it can be used to help your party and it deals "zero" damage so it has a place in this guide.
The idea here is to use Raiment of a Thousand Storms(4) Bonus together with loads of Resource Cost Reduction and Spirit generation to use Dashing Strike indefinitely and without any delays. You need to stack all the RCR and CDR you can get, all other stats don't really matter. Attack Speed makes Dashing Strike animation shorter, but you will be limited by your own ability to avoid walls rather than by how fast you can dash.
Both your Weapons, Amulet, Bracers and right ring are not important and you can use any items with good rolls in these slots.
Gameplay The gameplay is very simple: keep up Epiphany and Sweeping Wind, spam Blinding Flash and hold down Dashing Strike. That's it, congratulations on becoming the fastest being in the entire Sanctuary. Cops would give you a ticket, but they can never even see, let alone catch you.
This mobility can be used for a number of things:
Finding Pools of Reflection. A skilled monk can usually find 10 pools in under 5 minutes by checking all the zones with a lot of shrine/pool spots. It can come in handy when your group takes a small break for one reason or another.
Hunting for Rainbow Goblins. Since Cosmic Wings have the same drop chance regardless of difficulty, you can play this build on Normal where you still deal enough damage to kill stuff. Superior mobility of infinite dash monk will let you find more goblins per hour than any other build.
Doing Sprinter conquest. With this build you can beat the entire campaign in under one hour even if you play solo, and you will usually even have 5+ minutes to spare. To kill stuff faster switch Sweeping Wind to Wave of Light Explosive Light and replace Burst of Wrath with Incense Torch of the Grand Temple.
Hunting for some achievements. Similar to rainbow goblin farming, many achievements don't have a difficulty requirements so you can do them on Normal using this build.
Allows you to teleport to monsters when you punch them from at least 7 yards away with any melee attack. If you want to avoid the teleport there's two ways to do it. Hover a monster that is within 7 yards of you or hover nothing and hold down Force Stand Still button.
Can teleport through walls, but you need a vision of a monster behind the wall (either from a teammate or if the wall in question has a window).
Maximum teleport range is 100 yards, although it can be extended if either the monk or the mob is moved during the animation (Wormhole, Rage Flip).
Epiphany Soothing Mist
Casting any ability will heal yourself and your allies within 30 yards.
Healing effect has an ICD equal to 1/APS.
This ICD uses sheet APS instead of skill APS so using skills with Attack Speed coefficient greater than one will result in desync (the ICD of Soothing Mist will not be ready when you hit with your generator).
When attacking with any generator, you will proc heal every 2 out of 3 attacks, but adding either Alacrity or Raiment of a Thousand Storms(2) Bonus will change that to every other attack, resulting in less healing per second despite higher Attack Speed!
The visual effect has a static 0.5 second cooldown, but it has no effect on your actual healing output.
The value of the healing is a base of 16 093 HP in addition to 4% of your Health Globe Bonus. You can get up to 270 375 Health Globe Bonus (7 * 38 625), which means that you can buff the base healing of Soothing Mist by up to 10 815 HP, for a grand total of 26 908 HP per heal. In other words, the difference between having no globe bonus and having perfect globe bonus will result into ~67% more healing. Missing Health Globe Bonus in one slot will result into a loss of ~6% healing.
These days, zMonks are mostly valued for their ability to shield their allies rather than their ability to heal, the main reason being to protect Squirt's Necklace damage multiplier. This explains why Health Globe Bonus is now more important than Attack Speed, as direct healing is not essential anymore and all Monk shielding abilities scales with your Health Globe Bonus.
The main shielding mechanic of the zMonk is the Mantra of Healing active effect spam. Mantra's active effect has a cooldown of 0.5 seconds. Mantra of Healing shield has a 3 second duration but only one shield per monk can be active at a time.
Mantra of Healing gives a shield to any party member within 30 yards that can absorb up to 62 064 damage, increased by 15% of your Health Globe Bonus. With perfect Health Globe Bonus (38 625 on 7 pieces for a maximum total of 270 375), we're looking at a shield absorbing up to 62 064 + (270 375 * 0.15) = 102 620 damage, that can be refreshed every 0.5 seconds.
Mantra of Healing Time of Need is the most commonly used rune, providing damage mitigation when things go haywire. One exception to that is Wizard DPS with their Max HP scaling shields, in which case Heavenly Body is used instead to scale their shields even further.
Serenity Tranquility is another powerful shielding tool of the zMonk. It grants to other party members within 45 yards a 3 second shield that can absorb up to 120 158 damage, increased by 40% of your Health Globe Bonus, for a maximum of 120 158 + (270 375 * 0.4) = 228 308 damage.
Inner Sanctuary Intervene grants a shield of 3 seconds capable of absorbing up to 107 284 + (270 375 * 0.28) = 182 989 damage to all party members within 11 yards. This skill is generally avoided in high GRs because Intervene will dash onto your cursor location and place the Sanctuary there, which is hard to control overall, and Temple of Protection is considered a must-have to offer some peace of mind to the zBarb regarding Ignore Pain uptime.
Has 4% chance to double your Attack Speed for 7 seconds.
Has a 5 second internal cooldown (ICD).
Can proc from any action, including talking to a NPC.
This means you have a 2 second window to re-proc it while still having the double Attack Speed.
Put together the normal build and focus on perfect Cooldown Reduction, Attack Speed, at least 150,000 Health Globes Bonus, and as much Resource Cost Reduction as you can.
Spam your abilities and keep Inner Sanctuary down where your Trash Killer and Rift Guardian Killer go.