Capicorp's "Icepick Assassin" Monk

Capicorp's "Icepick Assassin" Monk

Martial arts can be as deadly as they are beautiful in practice, comprised of precise moves, honed to flawless execution. Taking inspiration from one of his favorite novels, Capicorp#1432 has embraced the lethal artistry of a professional assassin to deliver a chilling result.

About the Build:

Exploding Palm is a shockingly effective ability with pinpoint accuracy that delivers devastation with the lightest touch. In the novel 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami, the lead character Aomame is a physical therapist-turned-assassin who specializes in eliminating her targets with similar effectiveness, her specially made icepick leaving no trace. Today, Capicorp#1432 draws inspiration from this novel to create a brutally effective cold-based build.

Pretty sure that's the kind of high-five you want to avoid.

There aren’t new themes in here for experienced Monks; like many similar builds, you’ll want to target weaker enemies with Exploding Palm while gathering up larger groups with Cyclone Strike to take down tougher monsters and elite packs. What makes this build special is its theme, and if you’re new to the Monk, it’s a flavorful way to get introduced to a common and effective build. 

The Skills:

Capicorp’s build consists of familiar themes to most Exploding Palm Monks, with some adjustments for survivability and to better fit his theme.

Active Skills:

  • Crippling Wave (Breaking Wave)
    • Main Spirit generator
    • Offers a substantial DPS boost for yourself and allies
  • Exploding Palm (Impending Doom)
    • Offers impressive burst damage
    • Fits into the Cold elemental theme
  • Cyclone Strike (Wall of Wind)
    • Fits into the Cold elemental theme
    • Offers multiple forms of crowd control with moderate damage
  • Sweeping Wind (Inner Storm)
    • Secondary Spirit generator
    • Provides constant, moderate damage over time
  • Epiphany (Desert Shroud)
    • Main defense cooldown
    • Third source of Spirit generation on a long-term cooldown
  • Mantra of Salvation (Divine Protection)
    • Substantial source of Toughness for yourself and allies
    • Offers a great “insurance” cooldown for all party members, similar to a second life ability

Passive Skills:

Alternative Skills:

The Items:

The majority of the core items in this build are set pieces, which make for a fairly daunting list. Don’t get discouraged though! This build is meant for a late game experience, and it’s bound to take time to gear toward.

Capicorp's Monk was named after the lead character from a favorite book, and has the gear to match!

Core Items:

Complementary Items:

  • Strongarm Bracers
  • Stone of Jordan
    • A great complement to any elemental build
  • Azurewrath
    • Visually matches the theme of the build
    • High chance to Freeze offers excellent crowd control
    • Offers a substantial amount of bonus Cold Damage
  • Blackthorne’s Battlegear (3 Piece Bonus)
  • Andariel’s Visage
    • Allows more juggling room between multiple sets
    • Additional option for bonus Cold Damage
  • Witching Hour
    • Allows more juggling room between multiple sets
  • Frostburn
    • Allows more juggling room between multiple sets
    • Additional option for bonus Cold Damage
    • Supplements existing crowd control with even more chance to Freeze

Recommended Legendary Gems:

  • Bane of the Powerful
    • Optimized for group Nephalem and Greater Rifts, this gem will see great use
  • Bane of the Trapped
    • With numerous ways to freeze and slow your enemies, you’ll be benefitting from this bonus damage in nearly every instance
  • Mirinae, Teardrop of the Starweaver
    • This build is very focused on area of effect damage, and Exploding Palm (Impending Doom) has limited usefulness against Rift Guardians and other single targets; this gem will help smooth out this weakness

Recommended Stats:

  • As Exploding Palm is the main source of massive damage, you’ll want to keep an eye out for +% Exploding Palm Damage.
  • The majority of skills use Cold Damage, so stacking +% Cold Damage will always be welcome.
  • A well-rounded stat for Greater Rifts, +% Elite Damage should not be ignored.

Recommended Difficulty and Game Mode:

Capicorp is currently using this build in Torment VI bounty runs and Nephalem Rifts in both group and solo play. As of the time of submission, he has reached Greater Rift 35. While currently playing in Normal mode, with a strong level of survivability and Toughness inherently built into this kit, this could easily see use in Hardcore as well.

While it doesn’t falter on bringing an impressive level of pain to the enemies of Sanctuary, this build is certainly meant to shine in group environments and your friends will be grateful for the damage and control it brings!

Why We Like This Build:

While I do my utmost to play a little bit of everything, the intricate details and mysteries of the Monk have often eluded me. With my play time split in every direction, my Monk has suffered from a combination of limited experience and poor luck with gear. Theorycrafting and research can get you quite far, but I generally prefer to learn by doing.  

A struggle with which Capicorp has less experience.

Capicorp has taken a popular build and adapted it to a literary theme, paying special attention to group utility and efficiency. It makes a popular build feel more accessible, and tells the how-to story in a narrative fashion. He’s also, perhaps inadvertently, introduced me to a new novel that I’m eager to check out and read! Japanese alternate history? Let me at it!

Tell Us What You Think!

What kind of builds is your Monk running? Have you ever thought of adapting your build to a fighting style from your favorite book or film? If so, which one? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to send it in if you’d like to share it with the rest of the community!

As we wind down for the holidays, next week will bring the primal Fury of the Barbarian for our final feature of the year. Our vote will follow soon after, so don’t forget to come back and pick your favorite!