Hey everyone, This guide was written by myself, for our community's players! This is a current, and up to date guide on healing and smiting the allies and foes of Ascalon! It Explores everything from gear, to skills, into builds then hunting! Please read it, try it, and provide feedback so we can improve our community guides.
-Cheers, Lord Arrow.
I Lord Arrow I
Generally monks are squishy, even with the buffs we have among the lowest armor ratings, survivor insignia's, help the most here but are NOT absolutely required, if you can though, you're most likely going to want to include a smiting head piece, as most of your damage will either come from that, or your secondary profession. Occasionally people use Dmg Vs Charr wraps but they aren't very popular as you don't usually whack the Charr to death with auto attacks, the weapon here isn't as important as it is with the martial professions.
Staves: Are the go-to weapon for most Monks! The weapon crafters in Ascalon don't offer any good options but those lucky enough to have access to the /Bonus content can create an Hourglass staff it is feasible to hit the damage requirement, gives you +15 energy, another +45hp while enchanted it also has 20% HSR and 10% HCT, as a backup option the Insightful Soul Shrieker will give us a +15e boost, at the loss of some damage modifiers.
Wands: While there is no good weapons available from collectors, and dual modded wands are pricey,If you can get something to reduce casting time of spells then couple it to a good Charr shield or offhand to buff your other stats. from /Bonus we get a decent Mesmer option than can provide us a bit of extra energy.
Offhands: These are the saving grace of wands, you can get a nice HSR on these as well as ocasionally Armour vs Charr and generally they all offer +energy. the /bonus option provided here is the Wolf's Favor, we typically avoid the Divine Favor stat required for the energy it provides, but you will find both HCT buffs are more than helpful.
Bows: Pretty much just used for pulling mobs, but if you're casting Symbol of Wrath it's much better to pull the mob out safely.
Shields: Can be used with wands instead of using an Offhand. Although the base armour a shield provides is useless now thanks to our Armour setting Vanguard Initiate buff, the other modifiers such as +hp, +armour against Charr or -Damage taken, are all still great! The quest: Bandit Raid given out by Baron Egan in Ascalon City, offers a Tall shield with not only a cool skin, but also an incredible +10 vs Charr, and +15hp to boot, even Ascalon's Elite and wealthy will be hard pressed to find a dual-mod charr shield that can beat that.
Be wary: Not all modifiers on bonus weapons can be replaced.
Now that you have your weaponry settled we're moving onto armour and runes I'd suggest using collectors armor but it doesn't really matter anymore the Vanguard initiate armour bonus sets your armour to an unchangeable amount which changes with your level, so that also means all +armor runes/insignia's are useless! While monks have some cool insignia options in pre (looking at you Blessed), none of them work anymore, so it's best to stick to the Radiant and survivor insignias (energy/health). As for runes, of course pick up the new headpiece from the yak outside Ranik for 50 flowers, The runes of choice are: Smiting Prayers, Protection Prayers, Healing Prayers, and Divine Favor and the multi-class rune Minor Vigor. Generally you can use all of these regardless of build and generally you will put your main skill choice's rune on your headpiece (usually Smiting, sometimes Healing/Protection).
There are different builds and skills in pre (believe it or not) most of them are more than viable for both Charr & Vanguard mobs, others are mostly preference based or a build just for the fun of it, below are just a few of the options available to Monks.
1: Mo/-- no secondary Monk
Example of build
Warning: This is not a highly optimal build, and for monk a secondary is strongly recommended. Unfortunately for us, we don't have a high capability for damage, our auto attacks are weak, and our skills are not optimal either. With just the monk profession, we run our main focus on smiting, Bane signet, and Banish for damage, Symbol of Wrath is a tricky one to use - but highly effective with a good pull you can maintain Retribution on yourself or an ally, just be sure to put cover enchantments like Shield Hands or Reversal of Fortune to keep it from being stripped by Charr Chaots.
The empty slot can be used for one of the temporary profession skills or Reversal of Fortune the best secondary options for you are Mesmer's Ether Feast, as a great quick heal option Ele's Glyph of Lesser Energy, to help your energy out after maintaining Retribution and you can pick up ranger quests for Troll Unguent and a pet your call folks! remember as long as you don't accept the profession, this can be changed.
2: Mo/E the Popular Powerhouse
Example of build
This build is a classic for a reason! it's all about dropping your enemies fast with high powered fire storms, attack stopping Bane Signets, and potent heals I recommend Radiant Insignia's here for energy management.
Playing this build you will typically start with a bow pull on open territory or drop them with a firestorm from behind cover, any wall can be used this way to keep Charr from hitting you at earlier levels, it's best to draw aggro, pull the warriors behind your barrier, and deal with them fast using your Smiting Prayers and Firestorm combo, once they are taken care of you can move onto the casters and hunters using Flare and your healing to recover.
3: Mo/R Shoot, Smite, Heal, repeat.
Example of build
Ranger is a great secondary on every profession, but with a monk you can run strong heals with the unremovable Troll Unguent, and Healing Breeze combo it's highly possible you will spend most of your time at +10 regen, with next to no energy issues, you're best off running this one with a set of survivor insignias and if possible either /bonus bow will help the damage output tremendously.
With a flatbow it's always preferred to maintain Read the Wind for accuracy, with a Longbow you can switch to Ignite for a little more AoE damage and slight increase in energy cost.
Thank you Meir for this submission.
4: Mo/W the Charr Mo/Wer of Ascalon
Example of build
This one is a bit of a rarity, and one of my personal favourite builds in Pre-Searing. The Monk/Warrior concept, Typically run with an axe for extra AoE in the form of Cyclone Axe, this build saw a huge increase in viability with the introduction of the Vanguard Initiate armour buff.
Typically you will want to pull a mob towards you with a bow, drop your AoE skills and focus the rest of your time on healing/protecting your life total until you can use Cyclone Axe and Symbol of Wrath again. The most complex thing here is your skill point distribution, with the majority of it invested in axe mastery, and the remaining to be split between smiting and protection prayers, at 1 point in Healing prayers and +1 from a rune you will have +5 regen from Healing Breeze. This is plentiful if you make use of Healing signet and Protection spells.
If you can not find a nice axe worth using, Check out the Rinblade at the crafters and (quest) Tall-shield available in pre as great weapon choices
Charr hunting is the number one reason to level up any character in Pre. The higher the level, the faster Charr die.
Upon entering the Northlands, continue north until you see 2 charr groups after a small wall section, if you intend to kill them make sure to pick up a few minions from the Oakhearts near the entrance of the Northlands. The wall here will prevent charr casters/hunters from being able to hit you. Deathly Swarm, Firestorm, Bane Signet and the Mesmer spells can do damage to enemies while you're hiding behind the safety of the wall or tower on the right, you can also pull them just by being in their proximity, and deal with any warriors that run around with your smiting spells.
Continue east to the shrine. You'll run into some Grawl here, eliminate them or avoid them. The first group of 3 can be safely eradicated from any angle. There will be a group that patrols up and down the left side of the shrine and one that runs diagonally through along the right. generally starting with the right side is preferred so they don't ambush you by surprise later, then hit the left group before moving on to the bosses.
Pull these towards you with a bow as far back as you can to eliminate the chances of other charr aggro be mindful to not pull other charr by keeping a distance, and careful use of pets/minions, if you do pull aggro, just back up to cover if you can and pick them off safely. Typically at higher levels you will steam roll these foes even if you aggro an extra mob. Note: Blaze Bloodbane may occasionally reach out and heal these groups, if this makes it too difficult to kill them, just pull back further towards the ledge to get them out of his range.
Once the side groups are eliminated, pick apart the warriors standing guard on either side, if they haven't joined in already and prepare to fight the bosses starting with Jaw Smokeskin!
If you're running an ele build drop a firestorm on him in other cases, it's often best to pull Jaw forward with a bow or you can shoot the boss behind him to pull both and hit them with AoE. You can now pull the other 2 bosses with a bow if they haven't already joined the fray.
To pull both bosses, simply shoot one of them with a bow, and back up, they will eventually gather nicely on the front stairs for you to safely eliminate any way you see fit.
After this, you can easily round up any other charr in the area and pick up your loot!
VI: Other Info
What enemy should I target first?
Generally, the Charr Hunters and Chaots! they do the most damage and Chaots will shatter your enchantments! in fact, you'll probably want to hide, or give the hunters something else to target while they're still alive as you're quite squishy compared to the damage they can deal.
Is Monk popular/viable/meta?
YES! it is in fact one of the safest picks for survivor characters in Pre-Searing, many have attempted and succeeded on their first tries, and some of our very first and fastest survivors were monks.
Why should i hide behind cliffs and walls if i can't attack them either?
But you can! Bane Signet, Deathly Swarm, Firestorm, and most Mesmer or Necro hexes/curses will work right through the wall while very few charr skills are able to hit you.
I don't have (bonus weapon, or imp) am i still viable as a Monk?
Absolutely, Monks are not weapon-reliant as the martial professions are; as for the imp, of course he's a big help as a near permanent minion, but fear not, you are more than capable without.
What rune do i use on my Headpiece?
While this is totally decided on your build, and you absolutely can do with out, it's usually a toss-up between Protection, Smite, and Healing prayers, and almost never Divine Favor as there are no divine favor skills in Pre-Searing.
Just how much armour do i get from the Vanguard Initiate buff?
As a light armour profession it would be the same as other casters:
Levels 10-13 your armour is set to: 15
Levels 14-16 your armour is set to: 25
Levels 17-20 your armour is set to: 35
Please remember most armour modifiers and armour adding runes will NOT affect this number as it is a "set" amount, and over-rides your actual armour value.
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Any questions? anything I missed? I can add it to the guide or answer it just ask me in-game or post/message here on the forums at Lord.