Stop Using Tornado Kick Off Cooldown
A 4.X MNK Guide by Tiffany Liz of Gilgamesh


The goal of this guide is to help players understand the fundamentals of high-level Monk play. This guide is tailored towards players who are aiming to improve their performance in Savage raids, but I will try to keep things simple enough that newer players can also utilize this guide as a resource. For additional help and information, please visit The Balance Discord server and stop by the Monk channels.

Monk Abilities

For Monk, one “rotation” consists of cycling through each of your three forms once (i.e., Boot/True/Snap, DK/TS/Demo, etc.)


Bootshine (Boot): Delivers an attack with a potency of 140. Opo-opo Form Bonus: Critical damage if dealt from a target’s rear.

It hurts way more to lose the positional bonus on Bootshine over all the other ones. Remember that your first Bootshine outside of Perfect Balance is stanceless, so there is a chance that it will not Crit. Bootshine will be used at least every other rotation where DK will not need to be refreshed. If your Chakra stacks are at 4 and you know the boss will be phasing soon, you can forgo going for your DK refresh and try to get that last stack and squeeze in that extra FC before the phase ends. Bootshine and DK are the only two skills you can hit out of stance, so be careful to not use them on accident.

True Strike (True): Delivers an attack with a potency of 140. 180 when executed from a target’s rear.

Your hardest hitting GCD in terms of potency (without DoTs). In your opener, your 5th PB GCD is preferred to be True Strike over Bootshine since you have a very high Crit chance under raid buffs + IR. Used usually after Bootshine in your non-DK/TS rotation.

Snap Punch (Snap): Delivers an attack with a potency of 130. 170 when executed from a target’s flank. Additional Effect: Grants Greased Lightning.

Your hardest hitting Flank GCD. Refreshes GL3. This is most often the move you will want to end on before a phase transition, as in most cases Demolish DoT ticks will not continue to affect the boss when they are gone. Used when Demolish does not need to be refreshed.

Dragon Kick (DK): Delivers an attack with a potency of 100. 140 when executed from a target’s flank. Opo-opo Form Bonus: Reduces target’s blunt resistance by 10%. Duration: 15s.

If you hit this out of order by accident, you will not get the Blunt down, which is something you might not notice if you are not careful. You can minimize the loss to only 3 GCDs, but it can be much worse if you are not careful.  It will also not apply the debuff if you are stanceless. The debuff applied from DK has a small delay before showing up on the enemy, so do not use your oGCDs immediately after you apply DK, or you risk losing extra potency.

Twin Snakes (TS): Delivers an attack with a potency of 100. 130 when executed from a target’s flank. Additional Effect: Increases damage by 10%. Duration: 15s.

Similar to DK, the TS buff will have a small delay before being active. Make sure to not use oGCDs until you see the buff show up, or you risk not getting the extra potency.

Demolish (Demo): Delivers an attack with a potency of 30. 70 when executed from a target’s rear. Additional Effect: Damage over time. Potency: 50. Duration: 18s. Additional Effect: Grants Greased Lightning.

Your bread and butter DoT. In most scenarios, you are applying this every 3rd rotation. The DoT lasts 18s, which means you will have 9 GCDs between each Demolish, which is exactly 3 rotations, given that you have a 2.0s GCD recast. DoT ticks in this game register roughly every 3s, so you want to reapply your Demolish at 1s – 0s to avoid clipping as much as you can — one of the most common mistakes I see from players is clipping Demolish too much. Demolish does more damage than Snap Punch after 3 ticks, so keep that in mind for reapplying before long phase transitions. When dealing with add phases in fights, make sure that you apply Demolish on enemies that will survive longer than 9s. When you are fighting adds, there will be times when you can choose between refreshing your Demolish on the boss cleanly or drop it for an entire rotation to get another RB on the add + boss. When going for speed, getting the perfect Demolish refresh will always be better, but your personal DPS will be higher if you go for the RB. Generally, I always aim to play for speed.

Rockbreaker (RB): Delivers an attack with a potency of 130 to all enemies in a cone before you. Additional Effect: Grants Greased Lightning.

This is a great AoE skill that many players do not take advantage of during add phases. On two targets, one RB cast will be 260 potency, versus the 170 of Snap Punch. You should always aim to use Rockbreaker after applying Demolish and before having to reapply it when there is more than one target. It is still an expensive skill in terms of TP, but you have much less issues with TP in Stormblood compared to Heavensward. RB is a frontal cone AoE, so you will want to target the furthest enemy and position yourself correctly to ensure you are able to hit everything. This is more difficult with larger sized enemies!


Situational GCDs

Arm of the Destroyer (AotD): Delivers an attack with a potency of 50 to all nearby targets. Opo-opo Form Bonus: Silence. Duration: 1s.

This skill shines the most when there are a ton of adds to hit, such as in O3S in this tier. However, a good run of O3S finishes way before the final add phase so it is really only used for padding your DPS. It may see uses in the future fights, where there are big add phases that cannot be skipped. Like Rockbreaker, it is fairly taxing on your TP.

One Ilm Punch: Delivers an attack with a potency of 120. Additional Effect: Stun. Duration: 1s. Stun is impervious to stun nullifying effects.

There are no fights in Omega Savage that require stuns, so this skill is not currently useful. In any future fights that require things to be stunned, this will prove to be a fairly reliable stun.


Meditation: Opens a chakra. Up to five chakra can be opened at once. Recast: 1.2s. Shares a recast timer with all other weaponskills.

You will want to use this when you are forced to disconnect from the boss. You will have time to squeeze these in between phase transitions once you are familiar with the fight, such as in O4S right before and after Grand Cross Alpha. As a general rule of thumb, do not sacrifice uptime on the boss to manually charge your stacks.

Form Shift: Shifts your current form to the next in the sequence. If no form is being used when executed, you will move into the opo-opo form.

This is used to setup your Coeurl stance during long phase transitions, so that you can immediately refresh GL3 once the boss becomes targetable. With the addition of Riddle of Earth in Stormblood, you will be able to reliably keep GL3 in almost every situation in this tier, aside from Grand Cross Omega in O4S.



The Forbidden Chakra (FC): Delivers an attack with a potency of 250. Can only be executed while under the effect of the Fifth Chakra. The five chakras close upon execution. Recast: 5s.

Of all Monk skills, this one changed the most drastically from Heavensward. Every GCD you hold this skill equates to a potentially lost stack from your passive, so I would avoid holding onto your FC for too long, probably no more than 5-10s. You may want to hold it longer if you know it will be the last one you will get for the fight. Keep in mind that you will gain stacks very quickly under Brotherhood and you will want to use FC the moment you get one to avoid losing any potential stacks gained under the BH window. Similar to Bloodletter, you will want to spam-queue your FC button in advance between GCDs to ensure you don’t miss any potential resets. The animation of FC is very, very short compared to before, so you will be able to easily double weave this even if it comes up late into your GCD cooldown — every GCD you use at full stacks is a potentially lost chakra.

Elixir Field (EF): Delivers an attack with a potency of 220 to all nearby enemies. Recast: 30s.

The CD of this is 30s, so you should have it available for every IR and RoF. This means you will need to more or less keep it off CD, or you will desync from buff windows. While this skill is amazing for adds, I would not hold it for more than 5s-10s, to avoid desync from your buff windows. Optimizing your EFs for add phases requires consistent usage through the fight, and some trial and error based on how fast things die.


Shoulder Tackle (ST): Rushes target and delivers an attack with a potency of 100. Additional Effect: Stun. Duration: 2s. Cannot be executed while bound.

Mastery of the fight is essential in order to optimize usage of this skill!
This is a key skill that allows you to handle many mechanics without losing uptime. The difficult part of using ST effectively is that you want to keep it under your buff windows (30s CD lines up same with how you want to fit EF in windows) but you don’t want to have it on CD when a mechanic requires you to use it. This requires you to practice a fight many times over to see when and where you will need ST for mechanics and when you won’t. Your goal is to keep it on CD and under buffs as much as possible while still having it available to use when needed for mechanics. You may have to come up with more creative ways to deal with mechanics and keep uptime if you don’t have ST available.

Note: When you are under Fists/Riddle of Earth, the range on your Shoulder Tackle is halved. Keep this in mind if you are planning to use ST during your RoE — usually I will swap back to FoF ASAP to avoid this.

Howling Fist (HF): Delivers an attack with a potency of 210 to all enemies in a straight line before you. Recast: 60s.

This skill should line up with every IR you have, since they have the same CD. Under every IR window you should have EF, HF, and ideally ST to use. This is your only skill with real range on it, so you might be able to get creative in terms of hitting multiple targets in certain encounters in the future.

Steel Peak (SP): Delivers an attack with a potency of 150. Recast: 40s.

This is your only oGCD that is not a multiple of 30s. The 40s CD makes it somewhat awkward to line up, but generally you will hold your 3rd SP until your RoF is up, and your 4th SP will be up around the tail end of your 3rd IR. From there on, it will be desynchronized  with your cooldowns, but if there is a long phase transition in a fight you get a chance to realign it again. Do not hold it for too long because you will most likely lose a cast if you are trying to line it up every time for buffs.

Tornado Kick (TK): Delivers an attack with a potency of 330. Can only be executed while under the effect of Greased Lightning III. Effect fades upon execution. Recast: 10s.

One of the most misused skills by beginner Monks. It is a huge DPS loss to use this skill unless under optimal conditions, which require you to carefully plan out per encounter — this is very advanced, as it would rely on team coordination for precise outgoing raid buffs, among other factors. To start off with, just stick with using TK 1-2 GCDs before the boss dies. TK usage, in general, will be one of the finishing touches in terms of optimizing the fight; worry about perfecting everything else beforehand.


Utility oGCDs

Perfect Balance (PB): Allows execution of weaponskills which require a certain form, without being in that form. Duration: 10s. Recast: 180s.

Outside of your opener, I would mainly save this as a recovery tool for when you make a mistake. Your 5 recovery GCD PB sequence should always be Snap Snap Demo DK Twin, then go into Boot True Snap. You can also use this when the boss is about to die to push out more Bootshines for a small gain on DPS. You can also use this after your Tornado Kick if the boss is not dead due to miscalculation to quickly recover your stacks so your last few GCDs are still somewhat impactful.

Purification: Restores 300 TP. Can only be executed while under the effect of the Fifth Chakra. The five chakras close upon execution. Recast: 120s.

With the changes to TP usage, you will probably never need to use this unless you lose TP to mechanics or die.

Riddle of Earth: Grants Fists of Earth. Also grants Earth’s Reply if damage is taken while active. Duration: 30s. Additional Effect: Extends Greased Lightning duration to maximum. Earth’s Reply Bonus: Reduces damage taken by 10%. Duration: 30s. Both Riddle of Earth and Earth’s Reply are canceled if Fists of Earth ends.

The primary use for this skill is to maintain GL3 during mechanics that force you to have downtime. An example of when RoE shines is during Exdeath in O4S, where you will want to use this after the Holy damage goes off during The Decisive Battle to keep your GL3 through the phase. RoE is an extremely powerful tool for surviving mechanics when you are recovering from deaths/mistakes. Remember that if you are in RoF and choose to use RoE, you will lose out on your RoF buff, which is a big loss (but it’s better than dying).

Mantra: Increases HP recovery via healing magic by 20% for self and nearby party members. Duration: 15s. Recast: 120s.

Most commonly you will just throw this up during heavy raid AoE phases of fights during progression. In optimized runs there could be situations where using Mantra will free up a healing GCD, in which case is very good. Overall, it will depend on the skill of your healers to fully use this to its highest potential.

Sprint: Increases movement speed. Duration: 10s. Recast: 60s.

There are many applications of using Sprint that will give you more leeway in keeping uptime on the boss without dying to mechanics. It has a pretty short CD, so learn to use this for specific mechanics that are risky or otherwise undoable without losing uptime without it. One thing to keep in mind is that it is a very unresponsive when you use it in between GCDs, so you will want to not double weave when using it and make sure it activates when you expected it to.


Fist Stances

Fists of Fire (FoF): Increases damage dealt by 5%.

This should always be on unless you need to use RoE/FoE for a mechanic. Make sure to switch back to this ASAP after you survive the hit. Your ST icon will change based on which stance you are in, so if your ST is blue, then you know you have turned it off on accident.

Fists of Earth (FoE): Reduces damage taken by 10%.

Most of the time you will just use RoE if you want to be in Earth stance. You can still manually use this if you think survival is questionable and your RoE is on CD.

Fists of Wind: Increases movement speed.

Has become even more irrelevant since now you can Sprint. Not particularly useful in combat. There might be a mechanic in the future that requires you to gap close twice in quick succession, so it might be useful then.


Role Actions

 5/5 Stars
Diversion – Reduces enmity generation. Duration: 15s. Recast: 120s.

Assuming your tanks are playing optimally, you will need to use this on CD to help them keep threat without resorting to enmity combo as much as possible. Always take this for raid.

3.5/5 Stars
Bloodbath (BB) – Converts a portion of physical damage dealt into HP. Duration: 20s. Recast: 90s.

This will heal you for a ton over its entire duration, especially if you are using your oGCDs under it. Extremely useful for mechanics such as Almagest and White Hole. The more greedy your healers play, the more useful this becomes. Having this along with Second Wind allows me to be less dependant on healers for survival of mechanics and I prefer to take this when I can.

4/5 Stars
Second Wind (SW) – Instantly restores own HP. Cure Potency: 500. Cure potency varies with current attack power. Recast: 120s.

Using this at clutch moments has allowed me to live many, many times when I where I would’ve normally died. Second Wind and Bloodbath both require awareness and experience in identifying situations during fights where you know you are at risk of dying. I prefer to always take this skill. Overall, SW is more versatile than BB, and will keep you alive better in situations that have little to no time to react to.

5/5 Stars
True North (TN) – Nullifies all action direction requirements. Duration: 15s. Recast: 150s.

This is an extremely powerful skill that basically lets you ‘cheat’ 2-3 mechanics in a fight and do them without worrying about positionals, while still getting full potency from your GCDs. This makes it much easier for yourself and your team to handle the mechanic. The CD on this is very long so you will have to plan out your usage during speedruns very carefully. Always take this unless the boss gives you free positionals, like in Neo Exdeath.

2.5/5 Stars
Goad – Refreshes TP of a single party member. Duration: 30s. Recast: 180s.

They gave this to every melee now, but with the changes to TP usage it is not really necessary to take this into many fights. I would only take this if there are no other useful skills to take into the fight, such as in Neo Exdeath, where I do not need True North. Always take this into dungeons, however.

3/5 Stars
Invigorate – Instantly restores 400 TP. Recast: 120s.

Not as critical to take as before, but still very nice to have in longer, drawn-out fights with no downtime. Assuming your ranged DPS takes tactician, it is not necessary to have this but if you don’t want to rely on someone else you should take this. Extremely good in dungeons still.

4/5 Stars
Feint – Lowers target’s strength and dexterity by 10%. Duration: 10s. Recast: 120s.

It is your job as melee now to supplement mitigation for physical damage. If the fight has heavy physical attacks, then you should take this. Be mindful and consistent of where and when you use this; people will rely on it for more precise CD usage in optimization.

2/5 Stars
Arm’s Length – Creates a barrier nullifying knockback and draw-in effects. Duration: 5s. Additional Effect: Slow +20% when barrier is struck. Duration: 15s. Recast: 60s.

When it works, this skill is awesome, but so far the only thing it seems to work well on is Vacuum Wave in Exdeath. If fights in the future have more mechanics similar to that, then you should take it in for those fights. The timing window to cancel Vacuum Wave with ST is very tight so having peace of mind with Arms Length is very nice. Keep in mind the buff for Arms Length is only 5s, so don’t use it too early.

1/5 Stars
Leg Sweep – Stuns target. Duration: 3s. Recast: 40s.

Not very useful on Monks because you already have ILM and ST. The animation is cool though.

1/5 Stars
Crutch – Removes Bind and Heavy from target party member other than self. Recast: 90s.

So far there doesn’t seem to be any effective use for this in savage yet. There could be in the future, though. Like Arm’s Length, it would be used in very niche scenarios.


Basic Fundamentals

Newer players who are struggling to do more damage often lose sight of these core fundamentals. All advanced optimizations are pointless if you are not consistent and can’t yet execute the basics at a high level.

    • Build and maintain Greased Lightning III (GL3). This is your highest priority.


    • Apply Dragon Kick and Twin Snake debuffs; do not let them drop before you refresh them.


    • Keep Demolish ticking on your primary target, do not let it drop for more than 1 second but do not refresh it before there are 1-2 seconds remaining.


    • Try to line up your off global cooldowns (oGCDs) with your buffs – everything is a multiple of 30s (besides Steel Peak) so they will naturally line up well over the course of the fight. I will have a detailed section on this later.


    • Work to have a comprehensive understanding of the encounter. Know how the boss will move and turn based on the mechanic/phase it is in. Without this, you will not be able to output DPS at a high level.


    • Avoid disconnecting from the boss as much as possible; try to maintain 100% uptime.


    • All of your core weaponskills have positional requirements for the full potency. Your goal should be always to land at least 95% of them in an encounter. In 99% of cases do not delay your global cooldowns (GCD) to try and get a positional. It is important to keep your GCDs cycling when you are starting off.
    • Do NOT use Tornado Kick (TK) unless the fight is about to end, or when you know 100% you will lose GL3. There are very, very few scenarios where you are forced to lose GL3. Only use TK when you have exhausted and tried every option at your disposal to keep GL3.



In all openers, you should activate sprint at about 15s before your pull, unless you are planning to use Shoulder Tackle to reach the boss. It is rarely optimal to use Shoulder Tackle first unless the phasing of the boss lines up for it very well, such as in O3S. You will gain more potency from using Shoulder Tackle optimally under buff windows than getting an extra unbuffed one on the start of the pull.

Since you will be pulling the boss without Shoulder Tackle for the majority of the fights, you will want to make sure that you can consistently hit the boss as early as possible without pulling early. It is critical to start your 1st GCD off as consistently as possible, as many mechanics require you to be at a precise point in your GCD rotation to execute cleanly.

In your opening sequence, you will always want to establish GL3 first, then apply your DK and TS debuffs, and then unload your oGCD sequence. It is strongly preferred that you can get 5 GCDs inside your PB. As a rough estimate, if your SkS is below 800, it is imperative that you delay the cast of your PB until at least half of your GCD has elapsed, or else you risk not being able to get a 5th GCD in under PB. You should be in the habit of doing this regardless of what your SkS is because it gives you the most room for error in case something goes wrong.


Low Ping Opener:

This is the preferred opener if you are able to pull off double weaves without clipping into your next GCD. You will need to have relatively low ping (<80ms) to do this consistently. By neatly condensing your oGCDs, you will be able to fit them in upcoming buff windows much more easily than if they were spread out. One thing to keep in mind is that unless your team plays perfectly, the raid buff windows will naturally become more and more desynced as the fight progresses.


Standard Opener:

This opener only requires you to double weave under Riddle of Fire, which should slow down your GCD recast enough to give you ample time to do so without clipping into your next GCD. If you somehow are still clipping, your connection is either extremely poor or you are not pressing your oGCDs quickly enough after your GCD.


Buff Usage and Alignment

Using your Buffs at the correct times is one of the most critical aspects of getting high DPS. Buffs in FFXIV stack multiplicatively, so when used together under the same window they become much stronger than when used alone. I cannot stress enough that coordinating buffs is a team effort, and requires mechanical consistency and awareness from all of your team members. Team composition also comes into effect for this regard.

For both RoF and IR, you will most of the time want to delay its cast until you are at least halfway into the cooldown of your GCD. This is because if you use it too early after a GCD, you risk losing the final GCD  that is supposed to be buffed from its duration. However, there are times where you will want to weave it earlier if you are trying to fit a certain amount of oGCDs in before a phase transition or before the boss dies

Most buffs in the game are typically 60s, 90s, 120s, and 180s. This means that aside from your opener, in most cases you will only be able to align everything (but 120s) together at 180s. If the fight is longer than 6 or 9 minutes, you will have more opportunities to align everything under your ‘180s’ window, which is the highest spike. 60s and 120s will sync up together through the fight naturally, and same with 90s and 180s. Typically, there are also 60s, 90s, and 120s windows you will want to take advantage of.  It is important to understand the CDs of your teammates. This way you can plan out what buffs should be going out at which times, and when it would be optimal to hold GCDs so that they align together for a final burst phase, given that you will not lose a cast from holding it.

For example, if you are expecting a kill time of under 6 minutes, then you will only have 2 usages of 180s and 3 usages of 120s. It will be important to ensure the final usage of those skills are used at the best time possible as holding them will be fine if the boss dies before 6 minutes since you would not lose out on a cast.

This link here will show you where commonly most raid buffs will fall under in your opener.


Riddle of Fire (RoF): Increases damage dealt by 30% while increasing weaponskill recast time by 15%. Also grants Fists of Fire. Duration: 20s. Recast: 90s. Riddle of Fire is canceled if Fists of Fire ends.

This is your most powerful buff window. You will want to use RoF ideally before your Bootshine ideally, or before a True Strike as your second best option. Some people like to use it before a Demolish and will clip into it to refresh a second Demolish before RoF ends — this is also fine, assuming you are clipping at 6s or lower. In later tiers when SkS can become higher, it may be possible to do a natural refresh on Demolish under your RoF window. RoF has a 90s CD, which means it will line up with every Brotherhood, which is very nice. You should always use these two skills in unison. You should have EF and ST available under every RoF window. HF should be available during every other. Delay your 3rd SP to get it under your 2nd RoF, it should only be held 3-5s or so. Since 90s is not a very good timing window with most of the other buffs that benefit Monk; you will alternate between weak and strong RoF windows.


Internal Release (IR): Increases critical hit rate by 30%. Duration: 15s. Recast: 60s.

You will want to use this right before True Strike. This way, you will only have one Bootshine under your IR window instead of two, and also be under two True Strikes. In general, it is fine to do this anytime that is not before a Bootshine. Since its CD is 60s, IR lines up very nicely with almost every raid buff, with the most important being Trick Attack. You should have IR with every single TA, and along with that you should have EF, HF and ST for sure. Keep in mind that aligning your IR to cover the entirety of TA is more important that aligning it optimally with your GCD sequence. Hitting these 60s windows are very important to hit to maintain optimal DPS. IR will also be up for every 120s and 180s CD so it is important to maintain consistent usage to have them available under all raid buff windows.


 Brotherhood (BH): Increases physical damage dealt by nearby party members by 5%. Also grants a 30% chance of opening a chakra when party members under the effect of Brotherhood execute a weaponskill. Duration: 15s. Recast: 90s.

SE decided that you do not get the damage bonus from your own buff, which makes this sort of awkward to use optimally for your team in the opener. However, in an optimal composition where you have no casters on your team, the fact that it will give you 2-4 FCs under buff windows is insanely powerful, giving Monks one of the highest burst windows, on par with BRD. This alone offsets trying to use it more optimally for your team, because the personal DPS you are gaining from using this later in your opener far outweighs the raid DPS gained from using it earlier. BH will follow the same usage as RoF, since they are both 90s. You will start to get a feel of when to expect FCs to come up under your BH windows the more you and your team practice and become consistent in a fight. — do your best to not waste any potential Chakras that could be gained.


Uptime and Positionals

The key to having high DPS on Monk is to perfect your fundamentals. Every small mistake you make, whether it be a lost GCD or a lost positional will add up over the course of the encounter. Every 3 or so lost positionals is the same as losing a GCD. Your goal is perfecting every small optimization for each mechanic that occurs during the fight — once you can do so, you will be able to execute an extremely clean run, which will invariably lead to high DPS.

Individual optimization of each mechanic involves understanding the timing of when the damage goes out whether based on timer, cast bar, or animation.

Leaving at the latest possible time to avoid damage and coming in at the earliest possible time after the mechanic is the most critical rule for having high DPS as a melee. Your ultimate goal in every fight is to be able to deal with the mechanics in such a way that you have 100% uptime — no lost GCDs, no lost auto attacks and ideally no lost positionals. Every mechanic in each encounter must be thought about within these constraints if you are aiming to push your DPS to the highest level. In order to see what is possible and what is not, you will have to take risks and go out of your comfort zone to push the limits of your uptime. Obviously, you will die in many of these cases but through trial and error you will be able to find what works best for you in each mechanic. Do not be content with how you are handing a mechanic unless you have achieved both 100% uptime and positionals.

Every Monk should aim to have the cleanest run possible — the pursuit of perfection.

In order to do this, you will need to be very experienced in the encounter, and know exactly when and how to deal with each mechanic given your situation. The tools at your disposal will always be Shoulder Tackle, Sprint, and most importantly of all, your brain.

Many mechanics not only take individual optimization, but also team coordination. How the boss is faced and positioned through the encounter mostly falls on your tanks, and it is a team effort to ensure that all mechanics can be dealt with in such a way that minimizes boss movement and ensures highest uptime for everyone. For newer players and teams, this is not something that will happen overnight and will take a ton of practice to improve upon. A good strategy is useless without consistent and clean execution.


Group Composition

You do not need an exceptional team composition, or even a good one, to perform at the 75th-95th percentile level if you are playing the fight well at an individual level. Do not blame your team composition if you cannot achieve 75th percentile or greater — you only have yourself to blame up until you are pushing past 95th percentile.

For speedruns, ideally you will want to have DRG/NIN/BRD as your 3 other DPS, also have AST/SCH, a PLD/DRK, and WAR. This composition takes full advantage of stacking Critical Hit and also gives the most physical raid buffs. You will be the star of the show, so performing at your peak is important.

Best in Slot Gearsets

Since there are no definitive stat weights at the moment, these gearsets are merely suggestions. Critical Hit is definitely the stat you will want to have the most of, due to the nature of the Monk class. Direct Hit will probably be a close second, and you should have Skill Speed adjusted to your liking. Please refer to the table below to see how much Skill Speed you need to hit the next GCD tier. You can fine tune your Skill Speed to hit a certain breakpoint under Riddle of Fire as well.

Note: It is important to realize that substat optimization will only factor about 1-3% of your overall DPS potential. A common mistake that I see many players doing is spending the majority of their time trying to optimize substats when they could be focusing instead on execution of the fight, which influences 97% of your performance.


GL3/GL3 + Riddle of Fire

Build one
This build focuses on getting a healthy amount of SkS while maintaining a high level of Crit. This would be my preferred BiS as I value having higher SkS.


Build two
This low SkS build is a favorite among some veteran monk players. It is very strong and favours those who enjoy playing at a slower GCD.


General Advice

    • Do not be afraid to make mistakes and die. You will need to push your limits to know what you can and cannot get away with for each mechanic. Being complacent with just being able to clear the fight is a poor mentality if you are seeking to improve.


    • Sub-stat optimization will only roughly affect your DPS by 1-3%. Do not spend the majority of your time trying to figure out what sub-stats are the best when you can spend time practicing and figuring out how to execute cleanly, which influences 97% of your performance.


    • Recognize the goals of your group, and be aware of the overall mindset of your raid members. Communicate with your teammates to make sure they are on the same page for what you want to accomplish during raid time.


    • Own up to your mistakes. You will never get better if you don’t admit to doing anything wrong.


    • Record your own gameplay so that you are able to review it after raid is done. There are many things that you can identify that may not be apparent when you are focusing on the fight. Find POVs of good Monk runs and review their logs and footage and compare it to your own.


    • All fights in this game are scripted. You will need to be consistent so that you have a baseline GCD map of the fight, and from there you are able to adjust and refine. You cannot optimize your DPS if you are unable to consistently be at the same GCD at the same part of the fight every time.


    • Practice. Repetition is key to being able to perform at a consistent level. When you are able to perfectly do your rotation without much thinking, then you are able to allocate more brain power to identify parts in actual fights that you could optimize better for.


Closing Thoughts

The goal of this guide was to give a somewhat detailed overview of the Monk job, and introduce you to advanced concepts that are used in optimization. Going even further in-depth about optimization would require its own guide, and go far beyond the scope of what this guide was intended for. I hope that after reading this guide you will be motivated to experiment and try some of these concepts yourself and eventually develop your own sense of how to approach a fight with optimization in mind.



Shoutouts and Special Thanks

Thanks to everyone over at The Balance, a fun and active community where everyone is seeking to learn and improve to be better players — this guide is was made with players like you guys in mind. Also, shout-out to all the regulars on the Monk channels, keep up the good work.

Shoutouts to <Star> Stellarium Free Company of Gilgamesh, the most wholesome FC. :blobmelt:

Special thanks to all the Monk veterans who have shared their experiences and knowledge, which I could not have written this guide without.




Reddit: /u/Hesitation
Discord: tiff#4099

19 Responses

  1. Kaelos

    has SE ever addressed why MNK’s coolest looking ability(imo) and a capstone, Tornado Kick, is intended not to be utilized? or what it’s intended purpose actually is?

    it feels so unintuitive, and just wrong. I started leveling a MNK, was enjoying myself. then I started to see in guides that I would hardly ever push this button, and I couldn’t keep myself playing the job.

    • Tabris Augur

      The key to high level monk is to keep GL3 up as much as possible, so using up those stacks has always been an absolute last resort, even back when Tornado Kick was introduced. A bunch of fights, especially in pre 4.0 content have sections where it is impossible to keep GL3 up, so then and only then is it advised to use Tornado Kick. 4.0 has less of these, especially for good players who can recognise how and react correctly to keep those stacks up during those mechanics. If you don’t think you can do it, then a last ditch attempt by using Tornado Kick is better than just losing them.

      And as we know from anime, last ditch moves always look cool.

    • Tiff

      the skill is not intuitively designed, unfortunately. SE doesn’t really know what direction they are taking with the monk class as a whole.

    • Catgrillpuncher

      Dunno, seems kind of silly since my monk in WoW uses both cool looking (WoW monks use a lot of excellent looking 16-bit fighting game moves from Capcom and SNK) punches and kicks all of the time and has god tier mobility.

      Some of the new abilities and changes to monk this expansion pushed me to Samurai instead and that class just has a better overall flow and feels faster to play to me. I’ll still play my monk since it shares gear but I rather be playing my WoW/GW2 (Daredevil) monk instead.

      I hope they redesign monks next expansion tbh, but Japanese devs can be quite stubborn unlike US devs.

  2. Cicatrix

    Hello, sorry for noob questions, but I just started playing. I was looking at your opener and the first icon is Demolish. How do you do that? Don’t you have to be in Coeurl Form to use Demolish?

    • Oldbear

      Later on you’ll get a skill called Form Shift, that can be used (even out of combat) to cycle through your stances one at a time, so you can start the fight in whatever stance you like.

  3. Stravitch

    What would an AoE rotation look like for large dungeon pulls? Seeing as there are only a couple DPS and large packs stay up longer would you only use RB and forego AotD to save TP?

  4. Palk93

    Hi! Thanks for this guide! What do you suggest to resolve the problem to not have a chest equipment with Critical hit in the end game? We have only the 310 verity and the 340 from Omega 4 Savage, but we don’t have a middle way for it T_T

  5. Key

    Hello, very good guide!, i’m currently playing with more or less 240 MS, and i understand when you say “If you somehow are still clipping, your connection is either extremely poor”, that i’m never going to perform efficiently, but i’d like to ask, do you have another opener or could you make one for people with vbad ping like me?, thank you for reading this o/ .

    • Tiff

      you can’t really space them out any more than 1 ogcd between gcds. you will just have to deal with the clipping in the opener if you cannot double weave well under RoF. i would recommend running the 717 sks build if your ping is high.

  6. Reidar

    Thanks for the guide, I panicked at level 50 when I received Dragon Kick and I said to me: WHAT? Another number to keep? But I’ll practice and follow your tips. Thanks!

  7. Nuri

    I’m new at playing monk and this guide helps me a lot to understand how to play him, whats important to practice and includes good advices. Thank you very much

  8. FL

    I just your gear on lodestone and noticed you’re using the 717 skillspeed build. But in the guide, you say that the 1353 skillspeed build is your preferred one. Is there any reason for the switch? I’m interested to know cos i’m at the point in which i’m trying to min max sub stats on my monk.

    • Tiff

      i am testing the 717 one; i think it is better when you have the optimal composition. the slower gcd was also something i preferred during ucob prog.

  9. Baby Cookie

    Out of curiosity, do you play with battle effects for other party members off or limited, to make the positional circle more obvious?

  10. Nayiah Takeru

    Thanks for this guide well explained !

    I tried to update my opener and try to reflect on my utilisation of offGCD but my DPS doesn’t rise this way.

    Here’s my usual opener:
    And here the new opener I tried today:

    With my usual opener, i cast all of the offGCDs (except ST when needed) when they’re just up.

    What do you think about my situation ?


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