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Can I be an effective tanking Monk without a Shield at higher difficulty levels?

Currently I am a level 39 Monk in the middle of Act II on Nightmare. My items and build right now are fine, but I'm starting to notice enemies getting more difficult. As of right now I run with two one-handed weapons (to proc The Guardian's Path passive skill) and the Mantra of Evasion to boost my dodge chance up to around 45%.

My dilemma is this; a friend of mine that has been playing since launch advised that I pick up a shield instead of the second weapon. This would free up a passive slot (to replace The Guardian's Path), give me more armor, and give me a chance to block...but at the cost of DPS (loss of a weapon) and dodge% (loss of The Guardian's Path proc). Dodge blocks all oncoming damage for that attack whereas blocking only removes X amount of damage. When I brought this up, he just told me to 'Do it and see what happens'.

So. As I move towards the Hell and Inferno difficulties, would it be worth dropping a weapon for a shield?

  • both if you can get it
    – l I
    Jul 10, 2012 at 22:49
  • Added a bit to my question to clarify. Replacing the weapon with a shield loses 15% dodge chance because of how The Guardian's Path works. Jul 10, 2012 at 22:52
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    in that case then this is what you are looking for: gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/68519/…
    – l I
    Jul 10, 2012 at 22:55
  • Interesting. Defensively, that argument definitely makes sense. I had thought that shields only gave up to about 15% block chance! In that case, does playing with a shield lower your DPS to the point where you become ineffective in solo Inferno? Jul 10, 2012 at 23:05
  • that highly depends on your weapons and equipment. My monk has about 1200 dex and does about 15k dps, but I can pretty much tank most of A3 inferno.
    – l I
    Jul 11, 2012 at 3:28

2 Answers 2


As with a DH build eventually the benefits of a shield start to outweigh the benefits of a second weapon.

As nice as it is to deal damage and clear enemies more quickly, heck sometimes it feels essential, having low armor, resists and other goodies common on a shield will get you killed from most of the AOE affixes.

So the debate between dodge and block % might seem very important, I would argue it's not, but having a decent level of both is even more effective than a high roll of one or the other.

I've done too much math tonight to demonstrate it, but in essence if you fail the dodge check you can now take a chance on the block check. It's combinatorially more efficient.


I would recommend a shield, since it also gives you a significant boost to armour. It really depends on your style of play and what skills you are using though.

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