Diablo 3 Inferno Monk Tanking

Continuing with our Diablo adventures, let’s talk about the tanking role within the game in Inferno mode, the highest difficulty.

There are many that would state that the tanking role doesn’t really exist in the game as there isn’t really any class in the game that can stand toe to toe with those champion packs in Inferno mode without dropping like a fly but tanking is more than just being able to take punishment.

Tanking is about control.

When you’re talking about control, the monk is a wonderful choice in a group setting.

For an example of a build, start with Fists of Thunder with the Lightning Flash rune for that extra bit of survivability when you’re dancing in and out of close quarters with the mobs.

Another near mandatory tanking skill would be Cyclone Strike with the Wall of Wind rune. This is going to be your bread and butter when it comes to saving your teammates and controlling the mobs. So long as the demons aren’t chasing your high damage dealing party, they can focus on what they do best; burning everything down as quickly as possible.

Breath of Heaven with Penitent Flame rune is also a good option for control with the group heal combined with the AOE fear to give everyone some breathing room.

A relatively underused skill is Inner Sanctuary which can be incredibly useful for giving your teammates a little safe corner to call their own, especially useful when combined with the Consecration rune for the increased duration. Placed out in the open, your teammates can find it somewhat useful to kite around it in a circle but to be most effective, you can split off part of a champion pack in a doorway or a narrow choke point to let your group a smaller, more manageable chunk to deal with.

For mantras, I tend to lean more toward Mantra of Evasion than anything else. The biggest problem is that in Inferno, any champion that hits your allies is probably going to one shot them so the extra group boost to dodge is probably going to save more lives than the tiny shield/HP per second from Mantra of Healing or any other mantra you have at your disposal.

A couple other useful skills that you might think of taking is Seven Sided Strike with Pandemonium for that long stun that can save lives, including your own if you happen to need that few seconds of invulnerability or Serenity which will grant you another few precious seconds of invulnerability for those sticky situations when your reaction speed is all that stands between life and death.

For passives, you’re generally going to want to go with One with Everything for the cheap resists, Seize the Initiative for the double stacking of Dex into armor value and the last slot usually taken by Transcendence to supply you with a steady (if somewhat small) healing.

For gearing, you want to boost that survivability as high as possible so you’re going to want to pick one type of resistance and find gear with that resist, + resist to all, dex and vitality.

If you can find a piece of gear with all of that, that’s going to be your mecca and ideally, you’re going to have that on just about every gear slot. Remember too that if you’re feeling a little spirit starved, it’s perfectly fine to supplement that with a few pieces of gear like a weapon or a monk helmet with some spirit regeneration to help fuel your life-saving endeavors.


  1. Hi there,

    thank you for that nice summary :) Finding information about tanking as a monk in Inferno is kind of a pain.

    From your build I presume you would suggest taking a decent 1hand weapon + shield? I am kind of undecided. 15% extra dodge with 2 x 1hand weapons and the appropriate passive seems to be really strong in terms of actually surviving huge burst damage. On the other hand a shield grants resistances and is way cheaper.


  2. raginpower says:

    A couple problems I see.

    I see as cyclone strike being a wasted skill when facing elite packs, which is where the real fight begins. Elites are basically immune to the pull and even if they werent it would generally be suicide to surround yourself with them anyway.

    Thunderclap can be handy but I also don’t see the upside to that because its not like you blink with every punch and deadly reach/keen eye or sweeping strikes/concussion(which I dont like but others use) do a much better job mitigating damage. You can’t control anything if your dead….and inferno will not hesitate to kill and desecrate your body.

    But in all honesty I haven’t progressed far in act 2 inferno, especially as a group tank. Tried to drop dps and go heavy tank but have not had much success. Another problem I have had with monks is your heals do not scale past lvl 60 so the higher you climb the less effective they become. This points towards LoH items but to get a decent one of those you have to pay at least a million gold for each, usually more.

    Sorry for the rant and I appreciate the read.

  3. After testing around in Act III yesterday I will have to agree with raginpower. Surviving alone is very difficult without extremely expensive items. That’s basically what I really hate. You cannot get the expensive and useful items by farming Act I (where you can survive). You will have to go with your kind of bad items into Act II and Act III and still save your teammates from incoming damage.

    At the moment I use this utility skillset: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/monk#WYgXRQ!UYV!Zbacbc It is all about crowd control. I can take a few hits, sure. But most of the time I have a skill active controlling the enemies and not taking any damage. With 2 dds as support it works pretty well. You still will have to dodge some long range skills and let your dds handle those mobs.

    As for items: I use a shield with a lot of block chance and resistances and a fast 1hand at the moment, have about 700 resistances all together and 15% melee dmg reduction. My aim is to get more resistances + dex/vita. LoH just is not enough for the kind of burst damage I usually receive. That’s what I think at least.

  4. Raikage says:

    I finish solo inferno act 4 pretty easy, u dont really need over 600 all resist so dont push yourself into that path, hight speed dps is still the key, i dont use LOH, my dps is 45kdps with 2.20 attack speed, i kill so fast that i dont need LOH.

    • Anonymous says:

      no way you only have 600 resist and no LOH. Monks dont kill fast in inferno, even if u have 45k dps. only way u survive with the stats you are talking about would be if u had like 80% dodge