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Backlash Monk

Monk Farming Guide

By shifty76 on April 10, 2013

Introduction

Ever since release, MoC Overawe has been the mantra of choice for most monks, and with good reason: 48% more damage is tough to beat.
However, I want to share a build that I think outperforms Moc Overawe in areas with high enemy density (and with 1.08 patch, that will be LOTS of areas)

***1.08 UPDATE*** Backlash is absolutely phenomenal now! Fields of Misery, Weeping Hollow...any of those areas with high densities your backlash will be constantly triggering. It's even better than I had anticipated!

MoE Backlash deals 35% weapon damage in an area around you when you dodge an attack. Doesn't seem like much right? What the skill description doesn't mention is that the damage scales with attack speed (35% dmg x attack speed to be exact). So on my monk with around 2.1 attacks/sec, that 35% is increased to 73.5% weapon damage that hits everything within approximately the same range as Sweeping Wind.

Another thing to consider is that backlash procs both life on hit and life steal, so when you're surrounded by enemies and backlash procs, you get LoH/LS from each enemy hit. That quickly adds up to a lot of healing.
I've been hit by those ice balls from frozen enchanted packs while surrounded by enemies and have been healed back to full just from backlash, even though my character has been frozen, unable to do anything.

Due to the crazy sustain that backlash provides, it can enable characters the ability to run at monster levels higher than what they would be capable of using overawe.

Of course, most builds have some kind of drawback, and the one for this build is that it's not great against single targets. MoC Overawe clearly outshines it in those situations. You can however reduce that disadvantage by your use of other skills.




Skills


  • The basis of the build. Fantastic AOE damage, great sustain via LoH/LS procs, plus extra dodge to help keep you alive.
    Spam it whenever you're surrounded for more dodge chance, resulting in more backlash procs.
    Pro-tip: If you absolutely can't avoid being hit by a molten explosion / fallen maniac / freeze ball, hit MoE for a better chance of dodging it. That's saved my life countless times.
    Another pro-tip: Fire chains can be dodged, so vs fire chains enemies go plant yourself in the middle of them and laugh as backlash procs over and over. Provided your defenses are OK, you can even just stand there while the enemy's fire chain kills them as a result of backlash procs.

  • No real explanation needed on this one - FoT: TC is our most damaging primary attack.
  • Three main benefits to this skill:
    The first and most obvious is the +15% IAS (and to a lesser extent, move speed) when you get 3 stacks.
    Second: +8% damage from Combination Strike Passive.
    Third: Remember earlier when I mentioned that backlash damage increases based on attack speed? WotHF:BF = 15% more IAS...
  • Similar to FoT: TC, this one is pretty simple: It provides a huge chunk (at least 50% for most FoT/SW monks) of your dps
  • For lower MP levels you may have better results with Essence Burn rune, but for higher MP's where enemies have much higher HP, Flesh is Weak is king.
    Against trash try to tag the biggest enemy you can find. With the constant SW and backlash damage enemies are taking, one EP is usually enough to clear the room. Against elites, try to tag all the minions as well as the elite, then just focus on one minion so that when it dies, they all die, resulting in the elite taking a bunch of damage all at once. If you time it right (especially with Blinding Flash) you can kill an elite without even having to hit it.
  • This skill can easily be switched out for Serenity (Ascension) if you're not comfortable with not having Serenity in your build.
    I like BF for several reasons though:
    1) The blind can help in those "oh crap" moments where you just need a breather from the constant attacks.
    2) The damage scales based off attack speed, so at 2.0 attacks/sec it actually works out to around 60% more dps rather than 30% Of course, extra damage = extra life steal, so you can often tank your way through plague puddles, arcane lasers etc by popping BF for the extra damage when you need a quick heal.
    3) Synergy with EP: If EP is placed on an enemy during the BF buff, the 12% extra damage provided by the TFIW rune, is referenced to the increased DPS associated with the BF buff. This can make quick work of elites which helps to mitigate the DPS loss associated with not using Overawe..

Passive Skills


  • No explanation needed on this one - OWE saves you a ton of cash when gearing up. If you're one of those stinking rich bastards who can afford to gear AR on each slot and doesn't need OWE to get decent resists, then you can switch it out for something like Beacon of Ytar for reduced cooldown on BF, Guardian's Path / Sixth Sense for more dodge (more backlash procs), or even Fleet Footed for more move speed.
  • Between FoT & WotHF this gives you +16% damage. The wording on combination strike is confusing though as it makes it sound like the bonus only lasts for 3 seconds. What actually happens is that provided you are still attacking, you keep the combination strike bonus.
    The way I'll usually approach fights is FoT: TC to close with an enemy, switch to WotHF to get the 3-stack going, then switch back to FoT and hold that down. WotHF has a handy buff indicator, so when it is about to run out just tap WotHF again, then go back to FoT. Takes a little getting used to, but easy once you get the pattern down. An easy way to remember it is to just refresh WotHF at the same time as you refresh your mantra.
  • I ran with Guardian's Path for a while in this slot, but since dodge is multiplicative, it ended up only giving around another 6% dodge, so ended up switching back to StI as the armour bonus is just too good to ignore. Plus, armour helps with things that dodge can't help with, such as plague puddles, molten trails etc.

Equipment

This is going to be fairly brief, as most people who know about this site have some idea of the types of equipment to look for, plus the gear for this build is really just the same gear that you'd want on any dual wield monk anyway.

Helm: Inna's with good dex & vit rolls. If you can get one with AR as well as your OWE resist, great. If you can get one with either +sweeping wind damage or +FoT damage, then that works well too. For the ultra-rich people out there, then cc dex mempho would be your BiS choice.

Jewelry: Combination of average damage, dex, cc, cd, IAS and resists and/or vit if possible. DPS should be the primary focus in this slot. Nat's ring with cc is a good option if you have the cash, though it hurts your ehp.

Shoulders: As much dex, vit, life %, armour and resists you can get. Crafting is a great option here, as are Vile Wards.

Chest: As much vit as you can get and 3 sockets are the two affixes I'd consider non-negotiable. The rest can be some combination of resists, dex and life %. Inna's chest with high vit, Tal's chest with high vit & OWE resist (good for the IAS for backlash dmg) or a crafted rare with high dex, vit, 3 sockets & resists are all options.

Belt: There Can Be Only One, and that is The Witching Hour with as much dex, resist and/or vit as you can find. Inna's is a cheaper option, and a rare with high dex, vit & resists is an even cheaper option, though nothing comes close to the damage of a Witching Hour.

Pants: Once again, only really one choice here: Inna's is just too good to pass up. Either vit or OWE resist depending which you need more. If you have the cash, a high dex roll with vit would be BiS.

Boots: If going for Nat's 2pc with a cc Nat's ring then Nat's boots are the obvious choice. If not, then Ice Climbers provide slightly less dps but way more ehp.

Gloves: Crafted rare with as much dex, cc, cd & IAS as you can find would be BiS. Bonus if you can get vit and/or resists too. Most people are happy to just get 3 of dex, cc, cd and IAS.

Bracers: Crafted rare is again your best choice here. High dex, cc, resists and/or vit are what you want here.

As a reference of what to look for, here are a couple of links to monks using this build:

First is mine: http://d3up.com/b/13426/shyla
Next and on a higher budget is HG_Johnny's: http://d3up.com/b/496741/batuo-dual-ls-5-9


Video showing backlash LS proc


MP10 Crypt of the Ancients Video

A little slower than normal as I didn't identify that the elite was frozen enchanted. You can see around half way through that I smartened up and started spamming MoE when a freeze ball was about to hit me, allowing me to dodge several of them in a row.

Note that both these videos were recorded when I was just running with a single source of LS. Since I switched to dual LS my health bar barely moves.

MP10 Keep Depths 2 Video

I got a bit sloppy with my use of EP and missed timings on a few of the elite packs, but this demonstrates how quickly the build can clear trash packs.
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