Fresh 70 Monk: No Free Set

Congrats reaching Level 70 Monk! The grinding begins! But first, we have to “build up” our little Monk-ie. This Fresh 70 Monk guide will help you bridge your game to the “End-game”, both using all yellows and the free set.

Don’t forget to equip your Monk with Level 70 gear, with Dex and Vit in them, before you proceed. The difference is huge!

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Fresh 70 Monk: No free set! | Free set available!
Build | PlaystyleSetting up | Gaining Power! | Bridging to the End-game

Fresh 70 Monk: No free set

Basic skill setup for bounties, nephalem rifts and low-level greater rifts to get you going!

Monk Fresh 70 Build 
Skill Rune
Way of the Hundred Fists Hands of Lightning
Wave of Light Pillar of the Ancients
Sweeping Wind Inner Storm
Mystic Ally Air Ally
Dashing Strike Blinding Speed (preference)
Mantra of Retribution Against All Odds
Exalted Soul Transcendence
Seize the Initiative Chant of Resonance


Help! I can't use those skills because they're from the same category! (Turn On Elective Mode)

If you’re not allowed to put two skills on your bar because they’re from the same category – FEAR NOT! This isn’t a bug or a permanent in-game restriction. You simply have to CHECK ON ELECTIVE MODE, via Esc > Options > Gameplay > Elective Mode!

Binding Force Move to Mousewheel up & down is a value change that every player should make IMO. It prevents misclicks and skill misfires, and forces you to move to where otherwise an enemy might be.

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Playing the Build & Adjustments

Ultimately, there’s a million ways to setup fresh 70 Monk – each with its pros and cons. The unique point of this build is it’s more intuitive playstyle – actually having a basic attack, and MORE CONSISTENT results.

The fresh 70 Monk build is quite similar to our leveling build – smashing heads with giant bells. The entire build revolves around giving you the means to practically do this.

Wave of Light – although expensive, not only does this skill do a lot of damage, it has a larger AoE as compared to the others. It is also brainless, in the sense that you can just walk and trigger WoL. Definitely a plus during the early parts of level 70.

Mystic Ally-Air Ally: one of your best sources of Spirit. Activate this when your globe is halfway dry to start its cooldown asap. Don’t let yourself be without Spirit.

Mantra of Retribution-Against All Odds, and the passives Exalted Soul, and Chant of Resonance are here for the same reason – Spirit regen.

Way of Hundred Fists-Hands of Lightning: The build struggles with single target damage and this makes up for that in a big way. A lot of fancier fresh 70 builds forsake generators – but I don’t always agree with that. This is one of those “Quality of life” changes that isn’t a crutch – merely a change with its own up and downside.

As mentioned earlier, there are variants in the build which include Exploding Palm and Cyclone Strike-Implosion. While these builds are great in their own way, I feel they suffer from inconsistency, painfully long RG and champion fights, and too punishing for newer Monks. Feel free to experiment as you play more.

Offense & ResourceDefense & HealingSpeed & Mobility

Need more Damage or Spirit?

Offense is usually categorized in Damage or, indirectly, Resource Gain.

Mantra of Retribution – and its various runes provide some great early game offensive power.

Mantra of Conviction will replace Retribution as your go-to offensive Mantra once your power levels increase a bit. Overawe is a great rune choice, Intimidation is a great hybrid selection, too.

Mystic Ally-Air Ally: Passively regen Spirit, and gives an on demand Spirit boost.

Fist of Thunder-Quickening: Generic +Spirit rune. Always a good tool while you’re still learning to play in a more streamlined manner.

Epiphany-Insight: Is the ultimate Spirit steroid.

Beacon of Ytar: Is mainly used to reduce the cooldown of Epiphany, Mystic Ally (and even Dashing Strike) giving it quite a bit of power in terms of Spirit regeneration and Mobility.

Unity: Is pretty decent, as it counts yourself, your Mystic Ally and Templar in the mix. If you have Crudest Boots – you get the full benefit! At worst this is a +15% Dmg with 100% uptime.

Mantra of Healing-Circular Breathing: Is a more consistent Spirit gainer – and not a bad swap for the mantra recommended in the build. It’s a brainless safety boost as well.

Momentum and Determination – are pretty much “the same” passive. Both are pretty easy to trigger, but if you’re gonna get one of these, go for Momentum as it’s quite easy to trigger with Dashing Strike, and better for single target DPS. Seize the Initiative is a great passive, but increased attack speed means increased Spirit spent for us – not something we can handle right now.

Way of Hundred Fists-Assimilation: A popular tool in the Monk repertoire – the more experienced you are with Monk, the more you can abuse this. Stack up the effect before blowing up Exploding Palm or spamming WoL!

Exploding Palm-The Flesh is Weak: if you’re not having problems with Spirit and would want to increase the damage you deal instead. Better for groups, I guess? Worth throwing it out there.

More defense?

Defense is usually categorized in either Toughness or Self-healing capability.

Dashing Strike-Blinding Speed: Initiating against, or escaping from the hordes – this simple rune change gives a surprising amount of survivability. Dodge is hard to come by these days.

Mantra of Salvation-Agility: Even if I just said Dodge is rare – here it is yet again. This is the generic change of mantra most Monks use to skyrocket their toughness. Simple and effective.

Mantra of Healing-Circular Breathing: is a notable combination since it gives a brainless passive Spirit gain, and added safety.

Epiphany-Desert Shroud – Spirit regen and damage reduction rolled into one. This skill and rune combo is commonplace once you start tackling higher difficulties.

Harmony – the beefiest defense passive available. However, your gear might not be able to support this just yet. It’s worth mentioning this now, since any Monk even thinking about reaching ultra end-game will be trying to squeeze every bit of value out of Harmony.

Sixth Sense is your usual “esoteric” passive, along with Near Death Experience as your usual “free death” passive. I’d avoid these two unless absolutely necessary.

Resolve – Hmm… It’s really not a bad passive… probably better in groups. While having one “reduce enemy damage” effect is great – you may have a hard time fitting this in.


Dashing Strike-Way of the Falling Star is the first layer of change you’d make for speed.

Mantra of Conviction-Annihilation is a great combination of offense and mobility.
Any other change is too greedy for a fresh build, and should only be considered by more progressed Monks (See: Speedfarming General, Speedfarming for Monk, Monk Best Speedfarm)

Setting up!

Level 70 Gear! Equip your Monk with level 70 items, either from Blacksmith or items you’ve picked up. Keep in mind that your gear should have Dexterity and Vitality in their stat to increase your damage output.

Skill%? Wave of Light% shows up in boots and helm and while you have multiple sources of damage, buffing up WoL is probably the best idea compared to Exploding Palm.

Element% Should ideally be lightning since it covers your basic and WoL. Keep in mind that even if you’r experimenting on runes, Element% on your gear should align with your WoL as it’s your main source of damage.

Basic Attack% Appears on legs and belt. This is a small bonus you should keep an eye out for – very helpful for champions and rift guardians (single target DPS – where the build struggles).

Other rerolls like CRIT on gloves, accessories, helm… At this point it’s not about making the best yellows but more on NOT WEARING GARBAGE (Removing Armor, excessive Life Regen…). Crit Damage is a bonus at this point so don’t worry if you’re not getting a lot of it.

Re-roll your yellows! Aim for the above stats to increase your power! Keep an eye out, too, for those yellows that can be re-rolled into solid fillers. But you don’t really have to aim for the “perfect” roll.

Templar: Don’t let him stand around in town! Let him fight! With you! In rifts or bounties! Let him heal you and increase your Spirit regen!

Gaining Power!

Do Bounties for your materials to upgrade or re-roll your yellows and GRs to get and upgrade your legendary gems!

Unlocking Kanai’s Cube

Gain 3 more additional legendary powers. Search for that cube and unlock it! An extra three legendary powers is a significant increase in power.

Getting your legendary gems

Legendary gems are our power boosters but some more so than others. Here are the gems that are crucial for Monks to get through the early stages of level 70.

Bane of the Powerful, Bane of the Trapped and Wreath of Lightning are the first 3 gems you should level up. Powerful and Trapped increases damage, while Wreath is just additional, brainless damage. For now, just upgrade Powerful and Wreath around 25-ish. Trapped, however, can be used until end-game, so upgrade it all you want.

Simplicity’s Strength is also valuable for primary attack “generator” builds. It’s a rare hybrid of offense and defense so it’s worth a shot if you’re going that route.

Molten Wildebeest’s Gizzard is the best early game defensive gem, if you’re in desperate need (Esoteric Alteration for endgame defense is quite common).

There are a number of gems that Monk can be used depending on your build, but among these, Trapped is set in stone, so the other 2 gems really vary. Do some further research before heavily investing in something else.

Boon of the Hoarder: Always a good investment. It’s part of the Speedfarm holy trinity. (See: Speedfarming General, Monk Speedfarming General, Monk Best Speedfarming).

Items to look for

Now that we’ve set up the skill build for our Fresh 70 Monk, it is time to search for the legendary items that would support our build/s.

Reaper’s Wraps: Even if I mention this down there in the ‘classics’ section, it deserves to be mentioned here. Spirit generation is the main concern for most Monk builds (and especially early on). This will greatly reduce your downtime and it’s not even hard to find.

Blood ShardsDeath's BreathClassics

Using Blood Shards:

Spend Blood Shards to get a 2, 4 or 6 set items. While doing so, keep an eye out for the ‘random’ legendaries to make your fresh 70 Monk life easier.

It’s hard to tell you what slot to spend shards on first – there aren’t that many GENERAL USE Monk items, as most are locked to usefulness to a certain set. Here are some good ones anyway:

Tzo Krin’s Gaze: casting WoL right where you want it. Kill enemies right before they get to you.

Lefebvre’s Soliloquy: equip this together with Cyclone Strike to increase your toughness.

Cindercoat: greatly reduces cost of Fire skills (Wave of Light-Explosive Light says hi).

Gungdo Gear: Extremely powerful – makes an amazing chain effect with Exploding Palm.

Pinto’s Pride: amplifies WoL damage and now Slows enemies. Pair it with Tzo Krin’s.

Spirit Guards: A generic toughness increase for whenever you’re using a basic attack. Easy to activate and keep up.

Kyoshiro’s Soul: not a lot of choices for Monk’s belt but this will help you enough to, at least, reach mid-game with this.

The Crudest Boots: Allows you to have not only a main chick, but a sidechick too. Used in many Monk builds – best to keep your best pair and cube the second one you get.

Goldwrap: yup! you’re gonna need this at some point in time…

Gyana Na Kashu, Rivera Dancers: Extremely powerful filler items that, when obtained, should prompt you to use LTK in the meantime.

Using Death’s Breath – Rare to legendary

Upgrade your rare yellow daibos and fist weapons in the hope of getting the items below.

Monks have a number of good weapons, but for now, upgrade to get daibos. They’re easier to acquire, since you only need one and has a much higher damage per sec.

While Monks have a number of good weapons, the most value type of weapon to upgrade from yellow to legendary is Daibo – why?

There’s no other category of weapon that has more “game-changers” effect, hell even Balance is ok. The next best thing would be…

Fist Weapons:

There are a bunch of other decent fists that will help you in the short term, worn or cubed.

The ClassicsIt’s safe to say that everyone should have these. In stash, in person or in cube!

Ring of Royal Grandeur: lacking one item to complete that 4/6 set? wanna squeeze in 2 sets for your build? Well, this ring’s for you! Look out for it in Act I bounties.

Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac: If you read closely it says “Near 100% CDR”.

Reaper’s Wraps: Malthael has the plan so go get him! This is extremely good for an early Monk – cutting your downtime by a huge amount.

Accessory Sets: FocusRestraint or Endless Walk. Equipping any one of these sets will greatly increase your power!

Convention of Elements: Equipping this in your gear or kanai’d, gives you a huge boost in your elemental damage! Learn to trigger your elemental damage in time with the CoE’s rotation for maximum value!!!

Unity: reduces your damage, if and only if you equip Templar with one, too.

Goldwrap + Avarice Band + Boon of The Hoarder: Speedfarming Trifecta. Try it out and see for yourself have good this is! Avarice Band from Act III bounties.

Bridging to the End-game

Now that you’ve been building up your fresh Monk, on to our ultimate objective: Clear high level rifts! But before we can proceed, we have to farm our sets first. Speedfarming is the way to go. Fine-tune your current build and make it into a speedy farming set.

Other Monk Guides:

Check out our D3 Guide Directory for other resources.

Fresh 70 Monk: No free set! | Free set available!
Build | PlaystyleSetting up | Gaining Power! | Bridging to the End-game

Well, your Fresh Monk 70 is good for now. Good luck rifting and getting your sets! May the hands of Ytar bless you!

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  1. hello, this is my first season and this helped greatly. It took me the three day weekend, but I made like paragon 50 and have the full set. I see the paragon recommendation in the comments. thanks again.

  2. Thanks for the guide, just started supporting you guys on Patreon since I’ve been using your guides for the last few seasons.

    Do you have paragon point recommendations? I only saw the small bit in the section on beating GR20.


    • Oh wow! Thanks so much! Paragon Priorities are as follows for a basic fresh 70 monk using Uliana:

      MS > DEX > Spirit optional > VIT
      CDR > CHC > CHD > AS
      ALLRES > Life > Armor > Regen
      AD > LPF > RCR > GF

  3. Thanks a lot for the guide, I killed T4 Belial without many problems(and without doing the GR20 or good sockets). If anyone needs, the paragons and the skills were the same as the guide suggests, except for one swap, which is Cyclone Strike(with the Soothing Breeze run) for Sweeping Wind.
    Here you have the setup I used for it:

  4. Really awesome content on this website. Was wondering why fill a skill slot with a mantra, while wearing 4 pieces of inna’s? the set bonus already gives every mantra, epiphany desert shroud seems like a solid skill to use instead

  5. In the recent guide for season 9, you list one of the requirements for getting the 6 pc as having to kill Ghom on T1. The achievement requires T2.

    • Blood Shard section gives a good idea. Depth Diggers is best, and everything else is tiny in comparison. Magefist… I’ts difficult to have a useful body slot. Spirit Guards/Nemesis. Ring? RoRG > Rue Chambers… CoE. Weapon is Flying Dragon best > Crystal Fist? In-geom? Raiments strength is so narrow (Basic attacks) that options improving on it aren’t that vast.

      • I’m on GR40 now and cubed Crystal Fist is very good actually, cuz we’re dashing every 6 sec anyway and Raiment (you said it) are low-def set. Some hits couldn’t be covered with LoH even with Flying Dragon proc, so -50% dmg received is great. Just a thought.
        No doubts about Diggers and RoRG, bis.
        When I’m supposed to switch to Shenlongs? Non-ancient 2h legendary mace gives like 676k dps when Shenlongs 580k, but “in the field” I’d say the fists shows more stable results even with weaker emeralds in both.

        • Shenlongs gives an otherworldly DPS increase… youll unerstand once you try it. My only advice is switching once you have the “full build” including the Lefebres rorg diggers.

  6. I’m a total noob in monks but this guide has helped me greatly. Just to let you know guys, this work is appreciated, thank you very much!

  7. For your Inna’s 4 set clear GR20 build I think there is an error.

    You have the build with Crippling Wave: Mangle but then you say to try to stack Assimilation as much as you can. Which is it?


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