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Monk Inferno Guide - Life Leech Build

This is another alternative guide to playing the Monk in Inferno. Also if you haven't yet, you can check out my other Monk Inferno Guide for more great ways to play the Monk in Inferno Difficulty.


  • How to bind 2 spirit generators and 3 defensive skills?  Press Escape, click Options, click the Gameplay tab, turn on Elective Mode. You're now able to bind any ability to any button.

  • Are you sure about the Mantra choice?  Since they nerfed Mantra of Healing so much, Mantra of Evasion is just overall better.

"But doesn't dodge have diminishing returns?"

Short answer: no, but different sources multiply rather than add up.
Long answer: see links in the end.

If you're just farming easy content, Mantra of Conviction/Overawe is still the best choice for that. MoE/Backlash is also a really good balance of offense and defense, give it a try.

And lastly, if you're just beginning Inferno as a Monk, remember to use MoC/Overawe for Butcher. He has a 3 minute enrage timer.

  • Why Deadly Reach/Foresight right click?  The buff from Foresight lasts 30 seconds. You will have to remember to refresh it yourself - there is no buff displayed on the UI for it; there is a little green glow around your character and the DPS increase does show in your character window. It's also a ranged spell, which comes in handy every now and then.

  • Why Fists of Thunder/Thunderclap left click?  LoH has different modifiers for attacks, and the highest one is for FoT/TC. FoT is also the fastest attack and spirit generator. Thunderclap is amazing to chase off ranged mobs and its AoE component is good. Just learn not to teleport into molten, fire chains or other nasty things - use Deadly Reach hold position a lot when you don't have Blind/Serenity (Thunderclap will still port you while holding).

Do not use other runes for FoT! LoH does proc from AoE strikes and the Thunderclap lightning's (but not auras or Sweeping Wind), and since FoT on its own only does AoE every third hit... you can imagine how much different it is to play without the rune.

If you still feel like you need extra defense and this is your last resort - go with Deadly Reach/Keen Eye. Resolve and Crippling Wave/Concussion together give only 33% less damage received (check links in the end for proof), and Concussion needs to be applied to work. Keen Eye is just more EHP and easier to maintain, consider ranged mobs. Pick up Sweeping Wind in the freed up slot to compensate the damage loss.

  • Why Ascension and not Peaceful Repose for Serenity?  Because our heals don't scale. You will end up generating just as much health in the extra second duration with enough LoH and AS. Not to mention the utility of being immune to everything for one extra second.

  • What about other runes for Blinding Flash?  Faith in the Light increases weapon damage directly. For my character, for example, it increases my overall DPS by ~61% for those 3 seconds, it's an incredibly strong burst. Blinded and Confused can be good, but I don't like the RNG.

  • Why not use Transcendence passive?  Because there's simply no place for it, and with enough LoH, the healing from it becomes irrelevant and negligible. However, if you do not have proper gear for utilizing One With Everything (your resistances are roughly equal), you should use Transcendence.

  • What to do if I'm poor and can't afford any LoH at the moment?  Resort to keeping yourself up thanks to Transcendence and possibly Life per Spirit Spent stat (only on fists and spirit stone helms). You can actually get quite a bit of healing out of it. Just as with LoH, this scales up with Attack Speed - more spirit, more spam of spirit-based abilities, more life.

If you don't rely on OWE for high resists, you can just use Transcendence instead of OWE and win. If you do, however, you should switch your primary strike to Crippling Wave/Concussion, and use Transcendence instead of Resolve.

Monk Inferno Gear

Monk Using Sword/ShieldFirst things first, play 1h/Shield. DW and 2H are doable, but for content you are not adequately geared to farm, you will struggle without the extra defense of a shield.

Most common mistake I see is people not realizing that no matter how much damage you avoid, mitigate, or how much damage you deal, you will die without sustain. You need to have a constant source of HP. The biggest difference between Act 1 and Act 2 is that in Act 1, the heals you get from your abilities and/or passives is enough to sustain, while in Act 2, they are not.

Since Life Steal is incredibly bad in Inferno (it diminishes in higher difficulties, with only 20% of it working in Inferno), we look at the other healing stat - Life on Hit. This is an incredible stat as it procs from everything and scales with how fast you attack. The best source of LoH is weapons.

This brings us to Attack Speed. Not only this is a huge damage increase stat on its own, it also increases our spirit regen, our LoH healing per time, and how often we get our finisher moves (e.g. the knockback from Fists of Thunder - you will 'stunlock' normal mobs past 2.0 attack speed). The slots that can have AS on them are: weapon, amulet, rings and gloves. 15% is the standard amount. The more the better, but I recommend breaking at least 2.0 attacks per second.

Using One With Everything properly is very important. Tons of items with, say, +all resist and +arcane resist on them together. With OWE, a single item can net you over 100 total resistance if you stack the same random resistance across all of your gear. This is how people reach insanely high amount of resistance.

Now that all of this is understood, I'll list which stats you should pay attention to the most for each slot, which useful stats the slots can have, which legendaries/set pieces to look out for, and some commentary.

- Weapon:  DPS, Life on Hit, Attack Speed, Socket, Weapon Type, Dexterity, Life per Spirit Spent, Vitality

Weapon slot is pretty much the core of this build, as its the only slot that can carry high amounts of LoH. Look for a weapon with at least 600, or 300 and a socket (Star Amethyst gives 300 LoH when put into a weapon). I've seen 900 LoH on weapons with a socket. You should get at least 600 LoH even if it will cost you weapon DPS. Attack speed and LoH together make a perfect weapon, but those will be expensive - this might be a slot you will skip AS on just due to cost.

Fists can have Life per Spirit Spent, which is a very solid stat.

And finally, there's a difference in base attack speed depending on weapon type. Daggers (1.5) > Swords/Fists (1.4) > Axes (1.3) > Maces and Spears (1.2).

- Shield:  Block Chance, Block Amount, Dexterity, Resistances, Vitality, Life %, Reduced Damage from Elites/Melee/Ranged

Pay attention to shield stats - block chance and amount - they make a big difference although it might not seem so on paper. Damage is blocked after its reduced by armor and resistance, think about that. It's likely that attack tables are single roll based, and with us having 50%+ dodge chance, the amount of damage a shield can reduce on its own is huge with a good block chance and amount. Picking a shield is like picking a weapon - block chance and value is the main stat on it, like damage is on weapons.


Hallowed Barrier
(The Hallowed Barrier is worth checking out because they are cheap)

- Amulet:  Attack Speed, Life on Hit, Dexterity, Resistances, Vitality, Life %, Reduced Damage from Melee/Ranged

AS is the primary stat to look for here. The reason I don't highlight LoH is because finding 15% AS together with 400 LoH or more on a rare quality item is hard. They exist, just very rare, and people want more for those than for Blackthorne's Medal, which makes like no sense at all. Just use anything decent with 15% AS until you can afford Blackthorne's, or hope you get lucky.

Blackthorne's Medal

- Rings: Attack Speed, Life on Hit, Dexterity, Resistances, Vitality, Life %

Exact same thing as with amulets here, but even worse. Looking for rares with 15% AS and 300 LoH I've never seen more than 10 items pop up, with ridiculous prices of course. Over 400 LoH doesn't seem to exist. There aren't even legendaries that have both AS and LoH as set stats on them. Pretty much just get AS here and some good stats you can get your hands on.

- Gloves: Attack Speed, Dexterity, Resistances, Vitality

This is the only armor slot that commonly has AS. Otherwise pretty standard. You can get lucky and get all 5 stats on a rare to be beneficial here.

- Helm: Socket, Dexterity, Resistances, Life per Spirit Spent, Vitality, Life %, Monk Skill Bonus: Fists of Thunder

You want a socket to put an Amethyst there for 15% Life. I think this is pretty important, although completely viable to ignore it if you won't go below 30k HP or so.

There are some interesting choices here when it comes to class stats though - you can get a 11% damage modifier to Fists of Thunder. If it's implemented in the most basic and logical way, a % of that is around ~7.5 Dex for us outside of situations where you're kiting with Deadly Reach [needs confirmation/testing, I assume it doesn't affect Thunderclap]. Life per Spirit Spent is, again, a very solid stat.

Tzo Krin's Gaze

- Belt:  Dexterity, Resistances, Vitality

This would be just a standard armor slot if not for one item - the legendary String of Ears. One of its predefined stats is melee strike damage reduction, and it can go up to a whopping 20%. That's an insane amount of damage reduction you can get for a single slot and deserves a separate paragraph about it.

String of Ears

- Chest: Dexterity, Resistances, Vitality, Life %, Sockets (up to 3), Reduced Damage from Melee/Ranged/Elite

Tal Rasha's Guardianship

- Boots:  Movement Speed, Dexterity, Resistances, Vitality, Life %

- Bracers:  Dexterity, Resistances, Vitality, Reduced Damage from Melee/Ranged

- Shoulders:  Dexterity, Resistances, Vitality, Life %

- Pants:  Dexterity, Resistances, Vitality, Sockets (up to 2)

Some notes about this list:  The order the stats are listed in can be treated as priority lists. I skipped sockets on jewelry because if anything, that's a waste of a potentially better stat roll in my opinion. I only listed the stats I think are relevant, there are some stats which I think have a potential like life regeneration or chance on hit to stun/freeze/fear/knock, but that's experimental for now. I only listed the legendaries that have severe advantage over rare items, but you'll bump into the "just good stats" legendaries while looking for upgrades anyway.

Also, I got some of my strategy builds from Diablo 3 Gold Secrets By Peng Joon, there's a small fee for it, but worth it.

Good luck. This class is very fun once you're attacking as fast as a ninja should and can take a beating.



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