Guide:MNK Ability Guide by Urthdigger
Strategies and information in guides may not work for everyone.
Welcome to my guide for Pugilist/Monk. Unlike other guides, this won't be focused on endgame. Rather, I will be going through each ability level by level covering the uses they have, and where to fit them into your rotation. This guide is based on the information on 4.0 received from the Media Tour and will be updated accordingly upon release. Likewise, I do not claim to be the best DPS ever, and I am always open to constructive criticism on how I can better use these abilities.
- 1 A Realm Reborn
- 1.1 Level 1: Bootshine
- 1.2 Level 4: True Strike
- 1.3 Level 6: Snap Punch
- 1.4 Level 8: Second Wind
- 1.5 Level 10: Internal Release
- 1.6 Level 12: Arm's Length
- 1.7 Level 15: Fists of Earth
- 1.8 Level 16: Leg Sweep
- 1.9 Level 18: Twin Snakes
- 1.10 Level 20: Diversion
- 1.11 Level 20: Enhanced Greased Lightning
- 1.12 Level 24: Invigorate=
- 1.13 Level 26: Arm of the Destroyer
- 1.14 Level 30: Demolish
- 1.15 Level 30: Rockbreaker
- 1.16 Level 32: Bloodbath
- 1.17 Level 34: Fists of Wind
- 1.18 Level 35: Shoulder Tackle
- 1.19 Level 36: Goad
- 1.20 Level 38: Steel Peak
- 1.21 Level 40: Feint
- 1.22 Level 40: Enhanced Greased Lightning II
- 1.23 Level 40: Fists of Fire
- 1.24 Level 42: Mantra
- 1.25 Level 44: Crutch
- 1.26 Level 45: One Ilm Punch
- 1.27 Level 46: Howling Fist
- 1.28 Level 48: True North
- 1.29 Level 50: Dragon Kick
- 1.30 Level 50: Perfect Balance
- 2 Heavensward
- 3 Stormblood
A Realm Reborn
Level 1: Bootshine
Your basic attack, with a potency of 140 and a TP cost of 50. This is your basic move, 40% stronger than auto-attacks. By itself, that's 140 potency per global cooldown (GCD) and 2.8 per TP spent. It will also grant the Raptor Form buff, but you currently can't do anything with that.
Level 4: True Strike
This attack requires Raptor Form, and thus needs to follow Bootshine as the second step in your combo. It deals 140 potency for 50 TP, same as Bootshine, UNLESS executed from the opponent's rear, in which case it deals 180 potency. For easy positioning, look at the targeting ring beneath the enemy: The broken section represents the rear of the enemy. If properly executed, this attack is worth 3.6 TP per potency spent, and the two step combo deals a total of 320 damage over 2 GCDs, or 160 potency per GCD and 3.2 potency per TP. It grants Coeurl Form, but at the moment you can only restart the combo.
Level 6: Snap Punch
Finally the end of your combo, this requires Coeurl Form and 40 TP to execute and opens up a world of possibilities. First off, it deals 130 potency normally (worse than either of the previous moves), but if done from the flank it deals 170 potency. You can easily swap between the rear and flank by stand by where the break is in the targeting ring, and just taking a step to the broken section for rear attacks and the unbroken section for flank attacks. The full combo if done properly (two rear attacks and a flank) deals 490 potency over 3 GCDs, or 163.3 potency per GCD and 3.5 per TP spent. If not done properly (Like if soloing) it'll only be 410 potency over 3 GCDs (136 per GCD and 2.9 per TP)
For finishing the entire combo you will get the buff Greased Lightning. This grants +10% damage, and makes all your recasts and auto-attacks 5% faster. On top of this, you'll enter opo-opo form, which grants Bootshine a guaranteed crit when done from the rear, a massive increase in damage dealt.
One thing that may help you down the line to keep rear and flank attacks straight is to segregate them on your hotbar. Perhaps make rear attacks require ctrl be held and flank attacks require alt, or LT and RT for controller players. This will become all the more important down the line.
Level 8: Second Wind
You're limited in how many of these can be set (currently unknown how it scales, but assuming for now it will be one every 5 levels for classes and one every 10 levels for jobs until level 50, like 2.x cross-class abilities), so choose wisely.
Second Wind is a 500 potency heal based on your attack power that can only be used on yourself every 2 minutes. It's quite useful when soloing or to recover after AoE attacks, but in a party with a decent healer this may see little use.
Level 10: Internal Release
As if guaranteed crits on Bootshine weren't enough this 60 second cooldown gives a 30% critical hit rate buff for 15 seconds. Use it early, use it often, you can keep it up a quarter of the time and the damage increase is nothing to scoff at. This, and all other moves that don't use the global cooldown, can be used in between weaponskills to buff up without slowing down your damage.
Level 12: Arm's Length
Your second shared role ability, this 60 second cooldown grants a buff that inflicts anyone that hits you with a 30% slow, while also nullifying knockback or draw-in effects. Useful when soloing, or on fights where you know something will knock you around.
Level 15: Fists of Earth
Your first stance! This is a buff that you put up and it just remains up until you remove it or replace it with a different stance. This reduces the damage you take by 10%. It won't really help you in a party situation with a tank (Barring excessive AoE) but for now it's better than nothing.
Level 16: Leg Sweep
Your third shared role ability, this 40 second cooldown allows you to stun a target. While this can be used to keep them from hitting the tank, it's not terribly effective especially as monsters will quickly gain resistance, with the duration shortening until they're immune, though it wears off with time. The most effective use of Stun is to interrupt an enemy's weaponskill or spell. This can prevent many deadly or annoying moves from going off, and even many bosses can be interrupted in this manner.
Level 18: Twin Snakes
Your combo is about to change up. This move requires Raptorm Form, and thus can only be used as the second move in your combo. Unlike other melee classes, the stance system allows you to mix up which moves are used in the combo as you see fit. This move deals a minor 100 potency if used impoperly, and 130 if used from the flank (Compared to True Strike, which deals 180 potency and should be done from the rear). The main draw of Twin Snakes is a 10% damage buff that lasts for 15.
At this point, your rotation should be Bootshine -> Twin Snakes -> Snap Punch -> Bootshine -> True Strike -> Snap Punch -> Repeat, working in Internal Release when it's available.
Level 20: Diversion
Your fourth shared role ability, this 2 minute cooldown halves your enmity generation. It won't due anything to enmity you've already accrued, but using it alongside damage buffs to offset the increased enmity from the extra damage can help your tank damage more instead of fighting for hate.
Level 20: Enhanced Greased Lightning
This allows you to get a second Stack of Greased Lightning. So, after two runs of your combo you will have +20% damage, and +10% speed to all your actions.
Level 24: Invigorate=
Your fifth shared role ability, this 2 minute cooldown immediately restores 400 TP. While not useful with your rotation so far, this will become invaluable once you start using Area of Effect (AoE) abilities and gaining more spell speed.
Level 26: Arm of the Destroyer
Your first AoE, this deals a mere 50 potency for 130 TP, but it deals this to every enemy within 5 yalms. At 3 enemies the total damage per GCD is more than doing Bootshine effectively, but due to the large cost there needs to be at least 8 enemies to be more efficient in TP per potency. This move also counts as the first move in a combo, allowing True Strike or Twin Snakes to be used afterwards, and if in opo-opo form it will silence every foe it hits for 1 second, though the requirement to do it as part of a combo makes it unreliable for interrupting spells.
While inefficient for TP, if you have Invigorate set you can feel free to replace Bootshine with this at 3 or more foes, just be prepared to pop Invigorate and swap back to using Bootshine when you get low.
Level 30: Demolish
Another Coeurl form move (so third move in your combo), this deals a mere 30 potency, 70 if done from the rear. However, it also inflicts a Damage over Time (DoT), dealing 50 damage every 3 seconds for 18 seconds (300 total), making it 370 potency for 40 TP when done properly. That said, it only reaches this potency if allowed to tick for the entire duration (the monster doesn't die early) and reapplying merely resets the duration, it doesn't add a new one. So, just like Twin Snakes it needs to be put back up when it's close to falling off, and thankfully both should be replaced every two rotations.
So, your new rotation at this point is Bootshine -> Twin Snakes -> Demolish -> Bootshine -> True Strike -> Snap Punch -> Repeat. That's a lot of moving back and forth between the flank and rear. If there are 2 or more foes, you can simply cycle between them and always use Demolish as your third move.
Level 30: Rockbreaker
Your first job ability, this is another AoE that requires the Coeurl Form (third step in the combo). It deals 130 damage to all enemies in a cone in front of you for only 120 TP, FAR more efficient than Arm of the Destroyer. At 4 or more foes it becomes more damage than Demolish, though only at 9 or more monsters is it more efficient per TP. As with Arm of the Destroyer, Invigorate can go a long way to mitigating the TP issue.
Level 32: Bloodbath
Your sixth shared role ability, this 90 second cooldown converts a portion of the physical damage you deal into HP. Another defensive cooldown, this is mostly useful for soloing, don't expect to use it much in parties.
Level 34: Fists of Wind
Increases your movement speed. Useful for moving around, but useless in a fight. Not even useful between pulls in a dungeon as you'll simply reach the foes before the tank does.
Level 35: Shoulder Tackle
This is technically your first ranged attack, this 30 second cooldown instantly moves you to a foe within 20 yalms, delivers a 100 potency attack, and inflicts stun. Useful to close distance to a foe, interrupt an attack, or just as additional damage: Though, if a fight requires that moves be stunned you should avoid using this for damage so the foe doesn't gain stun immunity.
Level 36: Goad
Your seventh shared role ability, this 3 minute cooldown restores the TP of a fellow party member over time for 30 seconds. Only useful in parties, and only useful if one of your party members is using a lot of physical AoE attacks. That said, when it is useful it's VERY much appreciated.
Level 38: Steel Peak
This 40 second cooldown deals a free 150 potency attack. That's it. Weave in between other weaponskills.
Level 40: Feint
Your eighth shared role ability, this 2 minute cooldown lowers a foe's strength and dexterity by 10% for 10 seconds. The duration isn't very long, so this is mostly used to mitigate powerful physical moves some boss monsters may have. Knowledge of the fight helps to use this effectively, but it's a potent way to help the tank when used properly.
Level 40: Enhanced Greased Lightning II
Not much changes, but now you can reach three stacks of Greased Lightning, for +30% damage and +15% speed.
Level 40: Fists of Fire
Your final stance, this increases damage dealt by 5%. For party purposes this is what you will typically be using. Put it on and forget about it (Unless level sync removes it)
Level 42: Mantra
This 2 minute cooldown increases HP recovery from healing magic by 20% for you and all party members within 7 yalms. This is mostly useful to help the party recover from nasty enemy AoEs, though keep in mind that it specifically says MAGIC, so abilities like Second Wind are not affected.
Level 44: Crutch
Your ninth shared role ability, this 90 second cooldown removes Bind and Heavy from a target party member other than yourself. Literally unusable solo, this is a highly situational skill that depends on bosses using Bind or Heavy as part of their mechanics.
Level 45: One Ilm Punch
This is a Raptor Form skill (second move in a combo) and deals a mere 120 potency for 120 TP, but inflicts stun. The usefulness of this is entirely dependent on what the new "stun is impervious to stun nullifying effects" means. In any case, like using Arm of the Destroyer to silence, timing an interrupt with this may be tricky.
Level 46: Howling Fist
This 1 minute cooldown deals a 210 potency attack to all enemies up to 10 yalms in front of you. It's free and a short recast, while it's most effective on packs of foes you can freely use it on single foes between weaponskills like any other cooldown attack.
Level 48: True North
Your tenth shared role ability, this 2.5 minute cooldown removes all direction requirements, allowing you to get full damage from all your weaponskills regardless of direction. This is most useful for fights where the foe just won't sit still or is otherwise difficult to hit from the required directions.
Level 50: Dragon Kick
Another Opo-Opo Form (combo starter) attack. This deals a mere 100 damage normally, 140 when done from the flank. Unimpressive on its own, when in Opo-Opo Form it increases all blunt damage the foe takes by 10%. As you cannot start in Opo-Opo form, this will have to be on your second combo.
Current rotation: Bootshine -> Twin Snakes -> Demolish -> Dragon Kick -> True Strike -> Snap Punch -> Repeat, weaving in cooldowns where possible.
Level 50: Perfect Balance
This 3 minute cooldown allows you to use any weaponskill you wish without needing to be in a particular form. Two of the better uses of this are doing a demolish and two snap punches to hit greased lightning III right off the bat for bosses, and spamming Rock Breaker on large groups. As a bonus, this will leave you in Opo-Opo form when you go back to using combos normally, so you can swap Bootshine and Dragon Kick in the rotation above.
Level 52: Form Shift
This is a GCD ability that moves your form forward as if you'd just done a part of your combo. If you have no form currently, it will put you in opo-opo form. It's most useful to start in Coeurl and get a stack of Greased Lightning right off the bat, but if you can't use it 3 times while approaching the foes you can at least use it once to begin in opo-opo form and use Dragon Kick as your opener.
Current rotation: Dragon Kick -> Twin Snakes -> Demolish -> Bootshine -> True Strike -> Snap Punch -> Repeat, weaving in cooldowns where possible.
Level 54: Meditation
This GCD grants a stack of chakra, which stacks up to 5. At five stacks you unlock certain moves...
Level 54: The Forbidden Chakra
This replaces Meditation at 5 chakra stacks, and allows you to use a cooldown weaponskill to do a free 250 potency attack. The five moves required to unlock it make this unfeasible to do during combat, but you can and should use Meditation out of combat so when you do enter combat you can weave this between your other weaponskills for free damage.
Level 56: Elixir Field
This 30 second cooldown deals a 220 potency attack to everything within 5 yalms. Most useful on large groups, but even on single targets it's free damage on a short cooldown. Weave it in where you can.
Level 58: Purification
Only usable with 5 stacks of chakra, this 2 minute cooldown restores 300 TP. Between this and Invigorate you should be able to AoE your heart out, especially if you have a fellow melee with Goad set as well.
Level 60: Tornado Kick
Only usable with Greased Lightning III, this 10 second cooldown delivers a 330 potency attack... and removes all your Greased Lightning stacks. The tradeoff is generally not worth it, so this is best used when you know you'll be losing your stacks due to inactivity soon anyway.
Level 62: Deep Meditation
Every time you do a critical hit with a weaponskill, you have a 50% chance of opening a chakra for free, allowing you to use skills that require it multiple times per fight. All the more reason to hit enemies from the rear with Bootshine and use Internal Release.
Level 64: Riddle of Earth
This 1 minute cooldown changes your stance to Fists of Earth, and for 30 seconds if you take any damage you will gain Earth's Reply, reducing any further damage by 10% and automatically giving you 3 stacks of Greased Lightning. While this may mostly be useful for soloing, it may also see some use if you can predict incoming unavoidable AoE damage, especially if you can make use of the Greased Lightning refill to use Tornado Kick for "free."
Level 66: Tackle Mastery
Alters Shoulder Tackle based on your current stance. Under Fists of Earth it will only have a range of 10 yalms, but knock the foe back 10 yalms, under Fists of Fire it will deal 130 damage instead of 100, and under Fists of Wind it will allow you to use it twice in a row, but at 65 potency (130 total). As with the fists themselves, the effect of Fire will likely be the most useful in party content.
Level 68: Riddle of Fire
This 90 second cooldown changes your stance to Fists of Fire and increases damage dealt by 20% while increasing weaponskill recast time by 30%. Ordinarily this is a net loss, but if you have a lot of cooldown attacks (Marked as abilities rather than weaponskills), they're not affected by the recast increase.
Level 70: Brotherhood
Finally you get some raid utility. This 90 second cooldown increases the damage of all party members within 15 yalms by 5%, while also granting a 30% chance whenever any of them executes a weaponskill to open a chakra. Especially in a party full of melees this can lead to a LOT more Forbidden Chakra uses.