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Monk (MNK) Guide

If you are looking for THE FASTEST WAY to reach the level cap with any class or job within 7 days, this FFXIV Leveling Guide by Killer Guides is a definite must have! It comes with step-by-step leveling tips, quest walkthroughs, detailed primal battle strategies, extensive dungeon guides, and more.


The part of the guide that deals with skill rotations has not yet been updated for Heavensward.

Monk is a melee damage dealing job which branches from the Pugilist class. It is quite complex compared to the other damage dealing jobs and requires a lot of thought and movement to play right. Most abilities can only be used when in the right form. This guide will talk about how to play the job at level 50 and it should be noted that it may not be the only way to play it. Others may disagree, but see it as a starting point and build on it from there.


Monk GuideAs a Monk your main attribute is going to be Strength (STR) as this increases physical attack damage. You should be placing all of your attribute points into this stat because the benefits from the others will not be very useful for MNK. Vitality is in fact the only other attribute from the main six that you would gain any benefit from, and as a Monk you should not be getting hit so you should not need to be stacking this stat.

With equipment however you could focus on more stats than just STR. Stats such as Attack Power, Determination, Critical Hit Rate and Skill Speed should also be considered as they will all boost your damage. Determination will boost the amount of damage dealt by all attacks and the amount of HP recovered when healed, and the rest of the stats are self explanatory. With Monk being a speedy job it may be worthwhile focussing on Skill Speed to get your global cooldown down even further.


The Monk has access to three forms, which dictate the skills they are able to use and when. Before we can get into skill rotations it is important to understand what these are and what can be used when. The three forms are called Opo-opo, Raptor and Coeurl. Each of them have three abilities and one will lead to the next form, starting with Opo-opo, on to Raptor, then Coeurl and then back to Opo-opo.

In order to use a skill from one form you must already be under the previous form, with the exception of Opo-opo as this is where you begin. The skills that belong to each are listed below:

Opo-opo - Changes form to Raptor Bootshine
Arm of the Destroyer
Dragon Kick

Raptor - Changes form to Coeurl

True Strike
Twin Snakes
One Ilm Punch

Coeurl - Changes form to Opo-opo

Snap Punch

When in Coeurl mode, using the above abilities will grant Greased Lightning status. Greased Lightning. This is a buff which can be stacked 3 times and for each stack it will add 7% to your damage output and 5% to your skill speed, giving you a maximum of +21% damage output and +15% skill speed.

Skill Rotation

For a full explanation of skills see our Monk and Pugilist pages.

Now we'll talk about how best to use these forms. Ideally you should be aiming for Greased Lightning buff so you will try to use one skill from each form in order to get there as fast as possible. One thing to remember is that positioning is key with a lot of Monk skills. You may need to be behind or on a target's flank for maximum damage though you don't want to be moving around with every action as it may not always be possible. The skill rotation for Monk is somewhere along the lines of this:

Fists Of Fire
Boot Shine - Behind
True Strike - Behind
Demolish - Behind

Touch of Death Fracture

Dragon Kick - Flank
Twin Snakes - Flank
Snap Punch - Flank

Boot Shine - Behind
True Strike - Behind
Snap Punch - Flank

Dragon Kick - Flank
Twin Snakes - Flank
Snap Punch - Flank


I begin with Fists of Fire because it increases my damage by 10% until it is turned off, so it is best to keep this ability on at all times unless you are taking damage. In which case you would switch to Fists of Earth.

I then use Boot Shine followed by True Strike and Demolish, all from behind the monster. This means I get 3 attacks in without having to move between them. The Demolish attack give a nice damage over time effect which will last the entire rotation.

You could replace Boot Shine with Dragon Kick if you don't mind moving after the first action, however this means you should probably be replacing the Dragon Kick in the above rotation with Boot Shine so it makes more sense to do it the way listed.

I then apply two more DoTs for extra damage; Touch of Death and Fracture. Touch of Death only needs to be applied every other rotation due to the fact it lasts 30 seconds.

I then move to the flank and execute Dragon Kick followed by Twin Snakes and Snap Punch. The Twin Snakes is good because it gives me a damage boost of 5% while the Snap Punch is one of my most powerful attacks.

My next three attacks are Boot Shine, True Strike and Snap Punch. Here I begin behind the monster and use my two better Opo-opo and Raptor skills. I don't need Twin Snakes here because my buff is still on, likewise with the Dragon Kick buff. I then move to the flank and use Snap Punch.

Staying on the flank I re-apply my buffs and finish with Snap Punch. This is the basic rotation of the Monk. More complex rotations can exist depending on your skill speed but this should get you started.

Other skills should be factored into your rotation when you get the chance and when their recast is available.

Internal Release is a very nice buff that you should work in for critical hit rate, but as it is on a 60 second timer it can't fit into a rotation. It should be used whenever it is available.

Mantra is a good skill to use on your tank when in critical situations.

Perfect Balance is a very useful skill as it allows you to execute your best weapon skills without being under the required form. But due to the long recast it is an ability you should ensure is available for boss fights, meaning you should use with caution between such fights.

Then you have your area of effect skills which will alter your rotation somewhat. Arm of the Destroyer replaces opo-opo skills whereas Rockbreaker replaces coeurl skills. There is no AoE raptor skill. There is a skill which is AoE that can be used outside of your forms which is Howling Fist, it is very strong however it is a straight line attack.

Cross Class Abilities

MNK can take cross class skills from the LNC and MRD classes and at level 50 you can equip up to 5.

From LNC you should take Invigorate (regain some TP), and Blood for Blood (damage buff).

From MRD you should take Mercy Stroke (powerful attack when the monster is under 20% HP) and Bloodbath (Converts 25% of your next skill's damage to HP restored). Fracture is also useful for dealing damage over time if you can find the chance to use it. Perhaps using it at the beginning of the fight would work best.


The best gear for your Monk constantly changes depending on what was added in the latest patch so it is important to do your own research on top of this guide. We have broken the gear down into tiers in order to give some indication of what you can use before you get up to that item level tier.

Slot Best Next Tier Third Tier
Main Hand Rising Suns
Gordian Cesti
Knuckles of the Heavens
Antiquated Rising Suns
Head Gordian Sallet of Striking
Tantra Tantour
Mistbreak Cap of Striking
Void Ark Halfmask of Striking
Antiquated Tantra Tantour
Prototype Gordian Sallet of Striking
Body Tantra Chestwrap
Mistbreak Cyclas of Striking
Gordian Mail of Striking
Antiquated Tantra Chestwrap
Void Ark Coat of Striking
Prototype Gordian Mail of Striking
Hands Tantra Wristwraps
Mistbreak Armguards of Striking
Gordian Gauntlets of Striking
Antiquated Tantra Wristwraps
Void Ark Halfgloves of Striking
Prototype Gordian Gauntlets of Striking
Legs Tantra Galligaskins
Mistbreak Hose of Striking
Gordian Breeches of Striking
Void Ark Trousers of Striking
Antiquated Tantra Galligaskins
Prototype Gordian Breeches of Striking
Feet Gordian Sabatons of Striking
Tantra Gaiters
Mistbreak Boots of Striking
Void Ark Boots of Striking
Antiquated Tantra Gaiters
Prototype Gordian Sabatons of Striking
Waist Gordian Tassets of Striking
Fabled Belt of Slaying
Mistbreak Ringbelt of Striking
Fabled Belt of Striking
Void Ark Belt of Striking
Ardent Belt of Striking
Prototype Gordian Tassets of Striking
Neck Fabled Necklace of Slaying
Gordian Neckband of Slaying
Mistbreak Necklace of Slaying
Ardent Necklace of Slaying
Prototype Gordian Neckband of Slaying
Ear Fabled Earrings of Slaying
Gordian Earrings of Slaying
Mistbreak Earrings of Slaying
Ardent Earrings of Slaying
Prototype Gordian Earrings of Slaying
Rings Gordian Ring of Slaying
Mistbreak Ring of Slaying
Fabled Ring of Slaying
Ardent Ring of Slaying
Prototype Gordian Ring of Slaying
Wrist Gordian Wristband of Slaying
Mistbreak Armillae of Slaying
Fabled Bracelet of Slaying
Ardent Bracelet of Slaying
Prototype Gordian Wristband of Slaying


In FFXIV all materia can be added to any slot so this guide only lists the materia that is useful for the Monk rather than where to put it.

Strength - Melee attack damage
Quickarm - Skill Speed
Heavens' Eye - Accuracy
Savage Might - Determination
Savage Aim - Critical Hit Rating

As you will be limited by how much of a certain stat you can apply to gear through stat caps it is a good idea to use a variety and add stats to gear which aren't already on the piece.

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Tearendil [Anon]
Jan 19, 2014 - 17:06:45 | Location: Nowhere, In a Box

Perfect Balance is a great idea, but only if it's a boss/many mobs close together, otherwise it will be quickly wasted. I also suggest (if you like to dance around the mob like I do) using Twin Snakes in the first rotation to get that damage boost asap. Usually what I do to start is use the flank rotation first, apply Touch of Death and Fracture, then do the rear rotation with Demolish, refreshing Fracture and Demolish each time I go through their rotation, and Touch of Death every other time. Keeps the DoTs pretty much spot on even if you don't have great skill speed and allows quicker +damage appliation at the start. Otherwise, it's all the same, switching from flank to rear and back.
CrityKitty [Anon]
Dec 22, 2013 - 16:24:23 | Location: Nowhere, In a Box

Hey man why not use #perfect balance at the start to get your grease lightning stacks up immediately?
Luhnah Gray [Anon]
Dec 16, 2013 - 02:00:41 | Location: Nowhere, In a Box

Typo in the aoe paragraph. Rockbreaker replaces coeurl form attack, not arm of the destroyer.
Nov 01, 2013 - 18:28:21 | Location: Durham, United Kingdom

Yeah that is correct Eviil. The gear guide is meant to just be a good starting point, more advanced players like yourself can go a step further and factor in multiple melds etc. It's hard to factor melded gear into a guide like this.
Eviil [Anon]
Nov 01, 2013 - 04:00:20 | Location: Nowhere, In a Box

I understand that its alright to not consider lets say for example one i70 to another from the same slot, but I do know its a fact that a combination of certain items in each slot will certain yield more damage compared to another combination of another i70. Especially if its melded with stats. Therefore, I came to the conclusion that I will not follow certain tips from this guide. Great and well organized guide otherwise.
Xerre [Anon]
Sep 23, 2013 - 05:41:40 | Location: Nowhere, In a Box

Add in your Fist of Death and Fracture after demolish, every other dot rotation refresh FoD as it's more than long enough... having 3 dots up at all times will net you more dps in the long run

Jack [Anon]
Sep 22, 2013 - 10:20:33 | Location: Nowhere, In a Box


OH GOD DAMN IT. Welp, Guess I'm gonna make a tiny sacrifice for style then.
Digi [Anon]
Sep 17, 2013 - 23:19:54 | Location: Nowhere, In a Box
@Jack, It's a subligar... LOL
Maudred [Anon]
Sep 13, 2013 - 19:15:52 | Location: Nowhere, In a Box

Ignore what I said..I misread it in game. Snap punch is flank.
Rhys [Anon]
Sep 11, 2013 - 20:07:49 | Location: Nowhere, In a Box

No touch of death?
Sep 10, 2013 - 21:16:52 | Location: Durham, United Kingdom

The darklight is probably better. The gear guides on here are a bit outdated and need to be updated to be honest.
Jack [Anon]
Sep 10, 2013 - 07:26:05 | Location: Nowhere, In a Box

This is a great guide. It definitely rekindled my love for monk after XI. I never expected it to be a rhythm-based classed now.

Just wondering, where are the darklight pants in that darklight set? Do they not exist or are they just crap?