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 just 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 25Soul Shards
Soul Shards are powerful socketable items that only drop during Season 25. There are 4 available for Weapons based on the Lesser Evils, with another 3 for Helmets based on the Prime Evils. They drop at Rank 0 and be upgraded three times with the brand new Hellforge Embers to unlock additional powers, or be used in the Kanai's Cube as Augments. Here's how they progress:
Rank 0: Soul Shards begin with a unique static Legendary Power. Creates a Rank 50 Augment.
Rank 1: Gives all powers from the normal gems. Creates a Rank 75 Augment.
Rank 2: Grants one additional powerful stat. Creates a Rank 100 Augment.
Rank 3: Unlocks 1 of 3 bonus Legendary Powers unique to that Soul Shard. Creates a Rank 125 Augment.
Warning: Leoric's Crown and Broken Crown do not work with Soul Shards!
Read our Soul Shards Guide for full details on how they work. What you should prioritize on them to Support your Party is the following:
The Correct Soul Shard& Rank 3 Power The best shards for this build are:
Helmets: We want to use Fragment of Destruction for the unhindered movement and the reduced cooldowns. For the Rank 3 power take the Trail of Fire that executes all enemies below 10% health to help our team clear the content.
Weapons: There are 3 support-oriented Lesser Shards: Essence of Anguish with 50% Poison damage debuff, Remnant of Pain with 50% Attack Speed, and Stain of Sin with additional Progress Orb. Depending on the exact team composition we will be using one of those 3.
The Rank 2 Stat The stats that come from the second upgrade are not equal. Here's what we're looking for on them:
Helmets: We want Melee or Ranged Damage Reduction to survive. Avoid Main Stat, Armor and All Resistance as their stat ranges are far too low compared to the other options.
Weapons: We want Attack Speed as a Support to cast our abilities faster. Avoid all other stats as they offer nothing for support characters.
The Stat Ranges on the Rank 1 and 2 Powers This is just icing on the cake because the ranges will not make or break your build. Still, look for the Soul Shards with the best stat ranges, especially on the offensive stats.
For the other game modes, other Soul Shards can be used. Check the Variants below to see what's used there.
What about extra Soul Shards? Either salvage them for gems, or upgrade and use them in Kanai's Cube for Augments.
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.
Concept In Season 25 zMonk doesn't really have a place in any META 4man teams. However, many builds are strong enough to be a solo DPS in 4-man group and zMonk is the top choice for your 3rd support, especially when Squirt's Necklace is involved.
Gameplay Fairly standard zMonk gameplay: you sit next to DPS and keep up Inner Sanctuary while spamming Crippling Wave and Mantra of Healing.
Try to keep Inner Sanctuary under your damage dealer at all times. They would often move into an Oculus Ring zone, so be sure to follow them when it spawns.
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 For more damage you can drop Serenity for Deadly Reach Piercing Trident and replace Spirit Guards with Strongarm Bracers for 30% additive damage. This combo is 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.
Concept This version of zMonk is used in low GR speedruns (about 3.5-4 minutes per rift) with triple support and AoV Heaven's Fury Crusader DPS. Unlike all other Speed METAs, The Flavor of Time can be used here because all Speed Pylons are skipped.
Gameplay In these runs zMonk is the heart of the team. Because of Bracer of Fury, Crowd Control (CC) management is extremely important and 90% of it is your job.
You need to group up mobs with oneCyclone Strike and then use Blinding Flashwhen the Crusader is there and ready to deal damage. "Ready to deal damage" here means that the Crusader has all of their own buffs active; most of the time this means just casting Fist of the Heavens and Justice once, so you can blind 0.5 seconds after the Crusader arrives. If it's the first pull of the rift or you just did a lot of running with no mobs, then it will be 3 Fist of the Heavens casts, so wait an extra second before you blind!
If there's too many mobs and you need to Cyclone Strike more than once to get them all, make sure to use Blinding Flash before you Cyclone Strike the second time! Otherwise the blind will only last 1.2 seconds.
Crusader needs to stop and kill something frequently to keep Fist of the Heavens stacks up and also to reset Steed Charge cooldown. You need to create these small pulls (and blind them) every few seconds, even if there's not a lot of mobs around. Don't be afraid to use your abilities on small groups of trash, the Crusader will kill them in one or two hits and Messerschmidt's Reaver will reset your cooldowns for the next group.
Call out and skip all Juggernaut Elites, unless you have a Power Pylon active. The zDH should only click Speed Pylons when you are at 95%+ progression.
On the Rift Guardian you need to apply the blind when Crusader is ready to deal damage. Either communicate with them or just do it 0.5 seconds after you see the horse.
The effectiveness of these runs depends a lot on how well you play. When all the buffs and CC are applied, even the yellow Elites die in under 4 seconds. But if you spam Cyclone Strike too much or blind too early and the Elites don't die in 5 seconds then everything will go downhill really fast. Crusader will have to restack Fist of the Heavens and even Squirt's Necklace buff can be lost if Elites have dangerous affixes! A fight, that should've been over in 4 seconds will take more than 20; do that 3 times per run and your XP/hour goes down by 30%!
Setups If you are struggling to survive, switch Stormshield to Crystal Fist. If that's still not enough, you can replace Gogok of Swiftness with Esoteric Alteration.
At higher Paragon, you can replace Near Death Experience with Unity for 5% additive damage.
Concept This version of zMonk is used in low GR speedruns (about 2.5-3.5 minutes per rift). It's important that your amulet is NOTThe Flavor of Time. Your DPS deals way more damage than Conduit Pylon in these runs so extra 30s of that doesn't help that much, while extra minute of Speed Pylon is incredibly annoying. Hellfire Amulet is the best choice here, although you can use Rondal's Locket or The Star of Azkaranth if you don't want to farm uber mats.
Gameplay The gameplay is pretty standard speed zMonk as described above. It can be tricky for DPS to stay inside one Inner Sanctuary, so if you have In-Geom proc active, spam them all over the place!
Try not being too trigger-happy with your Cyclone Strike; it's best to use it once and then let the zBarb use Ground Stomp to pixel the mobs tighter.
Setups If you are struggling to survive your best option is switching Stormshield to Crystal Fist.
At higher Paragon, you can replace Near Death Experience with Unity for 5% additive damage.
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.