A monk is a special version of a tank, because a monk is primarily built with much of the same focuses (DX, STR, HP) as a tank, however the Monk also focuses on Unarmed Combat (UC) to do melee damage. The interesting part about this strategy is that there exists a number of pieces of equipment that directly augment UC, and therefore make this strategy definitely viable.

Armor for Monks:

  1. Combat Gi [1]
  2. Elven Cloak [4] (EC)
  3. Elven Boots [10] (EB) or Displacement Boots [0] (DB)
  4. Helm's Gauntlets [4] (HG)
  5. Helm of Ecthelion [6] (HoE)
  6. No Shield (or Shield of Capacity [0], Buckler of Mandos [10], or Mage Shield [0])
  7. Amulet of Might [0] (AoM), Amulet of Invisibility [0] (AoI), Amulet of Focus [0], or Amulet of AC [0]

This set has a base AC of [25] with EB and [15] with DB, or [35] and [25] if the Buckler of Mandos is used. This set is capable of much more AC at a cheap cost, as the Gi, EB, EC, and BoM all upgrade quite nicely at low levels.

Advantages of each item listed above:

Combat Gi: Grants +10 UC right off the bat (this means that new characters/minions can train base UC, equip a Gi, and then start building up their ST and DX right away with a much better "weapon" level than many characters in the lower ranks). It also grants 1/2 (instead of the normal 33% granted, without the Combat Gi) of the trained UC level in Evasion (useful at higher levels). It also upgrades very cheaply for a while, reaching +50 with just over $1 million Net Worth.

Elven Cloak: Grants a 1% bonus to Dexterity and Skills for each enchantment point. Dexterity bonuses are obviously advantageous to all minions who use physical attacks.

  • Note: A Tattoo of Augmentation can be used instead of Combat Gi and Elven Cloak. You do lose the bonus to UC that the first two items give, the Evasion bonus granted by the Gi and the DX bonus from the Cloak. However, what you gain from using a ToA is a large amount of XP that you would normally have to spend on ST and DX, which can instead be used to pump up your UC to much higher levels. What you also gain is the ToA's bonus to PTH, which at higher levels increases your chances of multiple strikes, increasing your overall damage. In general, however, it is hard to use a ToA effectively on a Monk, and this option should be weighed carefully against the combined benefits of the Combat Gi and Elven Cloak.

Elven Boots: Also grants a 1% bonus to Dexterity and Skills for each enchantment point. Grants AC, unlike DB (see below).


Displacement Boots: Grants Evasion for each enchantment point. Does not grant any AC or Dexterity. It fits with the strategy nicely due to the Evasion that comes with UC, compounded with what the Gi does. Because of Evasion's upgrade curve, however, Displacement Boots will gradually become less efficient if not continually upgraded somewhat on pace with Unarmed Combat.

Helm's Gauntlets: Grants a 1% Strength bonus for each enchantment point. Also grants 1.5 points of effective UC level (the number in parentheses) for each enchantment point. Some strategies involve Elven Gloves instead of HG, mainly for those who focus their strategy around higher DX. However, one must consider the dual UC and Strength (and, therefore, damage) bonuses they are giving up for the added dexterity.

Helm of Ecthelion: Grants a 1% Strength bonus for each enchantment point. This was the first piece of headgear with no UC penalty, the only other being the Helm of Clearsight.

  • Note: The Helm of Clearsight can be used alternatively if a monk's ranged attack is sufficiently powerful that the user opts for an extra ranged shot in exchange for the loss of the HoE's strength boost. This can be effective, though is not recommended for monks depending mostly on their melee damage from Unarmed Combat.

No Shield: All shields have a penalty to UC. This, combined with the Dexterity/Skill penalties that accompany many shields, make it generally undesirable to use a traditional shield such as a Buckler, Kite Shield, Tower Shield, or even Mithril Shield.


Specialty Shields: The Shield of Capacity, the Mage Shield and the Buckler of Mandos each have certain advantages that many UC teams apparently consider worth the -5 to UC effect level. Additionally, one could note that the static bonus from a Combat Gi or a pair of Helm's Gauntlets does more than enough to account for this 5 point loss to effect. (This logic could also be used to equip other armors that penalize UC, although the AC granted by a Cabasset or a pair of Leather Gauntlets will never be comparable to the advantages that can be provided by these shields).

  • The Shield of Capacity absorbs a percentage of physical damage taken and returns twice the damage stored when a blow is landed with a hammer-type weapon. Unarmed Combat is considered a hammer-type weapon. The Shield of Capacity is particularly effective in combat against Archers, as 5 or 6 rounds of fairly heavy damage can build up to very large return damage in the first round of melee (assuming the Monk is able to survive all of Ranged combat). An important thing to note, however, is that the SoC does not help at all against mages.
  • Some UC minions may choose to use the Mage Shield despite the -5 penalty to Unarmed Combat and the additional penalty to skills/dexterity. This is a viable option as Unarmed Combat teams tend to have a relatively large portion of their experience devoted toward their Monk's weapon, and are therefore left with comparatively little to build up Hit Points or Anti-Magic Field. The MgS helps to cover this vulnerability to Direct Damage. As above, there are certain important things to note about this shield: firstly, it does not help in the least when battling physical-damage teams, and secondly, it will prevent its wearer from casting any Magic Spells.
  • The Buckler of Mandos is probably the best middle-of-the-road shield. The Buckler of Mandos provides traditional AC on a reasonable upgrade curve, as well as a boost to Strength. Its advantages over the SoC and MgS include the fact that it can reduce both types of damage (as well as Rune of Balrog Flame damage, which is classified separately), while these other shields only reduce one type each; however, it is not as effective as either specialized shield at reducing either particular type of damage. The BoM also gives a high bonus to strength (+25% bonus for 3mil Net Worth), which increases both damage and Encumbrance. However, most monks find that they don't have too many issues with ENC, and the ST-related boost to damage will not approach the sorts of surges one can achieve from SoC-assisted blows. As all other shields, the BoM gives a static -5 to Unarmed Combat.

Amulets: 4 of the 6 Amulets could reasonably be used with a traditional Monk strategy. Additionally, the other two could be used on certain more specialized strats involving secondary damage dealers or familiars.

Amulet of Might: Grants a 2% bonus to ST for each enchantment point (+). Helps boost ST.

Amulet of Invisibility: Acts as a pair of DB +20, and makes physical damage target the next minion in line (if any is present). Helps with evading physical damage.

Amulet of Focus: Grants a 3% bonus to skill level for each + upgraded. This means that it is fairly cheap to get a 30% bonus to your base UC level using this item. The catch is that enchantments cast on you, such as Ethereal Chains, will be increased in effectiveness by that amount as well. Helps UC to grow faster.

Amulet of AC: Grants 1 extra point of Armor for every point of upgrade; upgrades more cheaply than other amulets. Helps reduce incoming damage.

    last edited by Miandrital at Dec 25 2009 - Edit Monk

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