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Guide:Invinci-Monk Guide

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This guide is aimed at giving both a basic picture of what Invinci-Monking is as well as an in-depth look into all variations and techniques used in these tanking/farming builds.

What is Invincimonking?

Invincimonking is based on using enchantments to regenerate or completely mitigate all damage received. Some monks have very low health, while others have extremely high health, depending on the method used. There are 3 base invincimonks- 55s, SoA, and Spirit Bonders. Each has its own distinct advantages and disadvantages.

55 Monk

The 55 monk is the classic and the standard against which all other invincimonks are judged. A 55 monk is so called for its health- exactly 55 hp - which is achieved through the use of 5 superior runes and a -50 hp Cesta obtained from the Cities of Ascalon quest. The 55 health is needed to reduce all incoming damage down to 5 through the use of, traditionally, Protective Spirit. Next, the remaining 5 points of damage are either negated with further protective spells such as Shielding Hands or Shield of Absorption, or healed over by means of health regeneration (usually provided by skills like Healing Breeze or Mystic Regeneration.

Advantages to 55ing

  • Can take on a guaranteed 9-15 enemies.
  • Massive health regeneration can counter mild to heavy health degeneration.
    • Certain variations (such as a Mo/D using Mystic Regeneration) are extremely resilient to degeneration.

Disadvantages to 55ing

  • Can take on at most 9-15 enemies.
  • Traditional 55 monks using Healing Breeze for health regeneration are easily interrupted.
  • Losing Protective Spirit is near-guaranteed instant death.
  • Life stealing is deadly to 55s because it ignores Protective Spirit's cap, sometimes resulting in instant death.
  • Too much degeneration will result in death.

SoA Monk

A Shield of Absorption monk can theoretically also operate at much higher amounts of health, because the damage reduction from Shield of Absorption is cumulative. This means that the farmer will have a short time when Shield of Absorption is applied that they will take damage, but afterwards all damage is reduced to zero. This "startup damage" is usually reduced or eliminated using Spirit Bond, Mystic Regeneration, Healing Breeze, Watchful Spirit, or some combination of the four. However, if these are not used correctly, the monk can easily die during this time period (as health regeneration is less effective with more health).

The same results can be achieved with Shielding Hands where you can run at a higher health. To keep it up all the time, certain condition have to be met as described here.

It is important to mention that Protective Spirit must be cast before Shielding Hands or Shield of Absorption to achieve zero damage each time.

Advantages to SoA Monks

  • Infinite number of enemies can be taken at once.
  • Skills that work better when facing an extremely large number of enemies can be utilized.

Disadvantages to SoA Monks

  • Shield of Absorption takes a whole second to cast since an update meaning it can be interrupted.
  • SoA monks generally have 55 health and all the disadvantages that come with such a low amount of health.
  • Life stealing is deadly to 55 hp SoA monks. If faced with Life stealing use Shielding Hands and increase health instead.

Spirit Bonding

The skill Spirit Bond heals its target for a large amount, but only if that target was about to take more than 60 damage. Note that the skill heals even if that damage was reduced before it actually hits the target. So, if a Fireball was about to hit its target for 119 damage, and that target had a protective enchantment that limited the damage to, say, 50 hit points, Spirit Bond's healing will still take effect, because the original damage was higher than 60. The skill Protective Spirit is used to cap the actual damage taken so that it never exceeds the amount that the target is healed for. Then, the lowest possible armor is worn to make as many hits as possible trigger Spirit Bond's effect. Due to the nerfing of Spirit Bond it is not as effective as it once was. It is possible to die if relying on Spirit Bond and Protective Spirit alone. Shield of Absorption is usually taken as well.

Advantages of Spirit Bonding

  • Spirit Bonders can operate at any health.
  • Death penalty does not hinder their farming ability.

Disadvantages to Spirit Bonding

  • Healing reduction is extremely dangerous since Spirit Bond will then heal for less.
  • Life stealing can be dangerous in large amounts.
  • Uses an extra skill slot compared to 55ing.
  • Cannot take on very large groups (Spirit Bond can run out before recharge in this case).

600/Smite

A Spirit Bond monk (as above) can be paired with a Smiting bonder using Shield of Judgment, Holy Wrath and Retribution to free the need for damage skills on the tank. The smiter does not need to gain aggro of the enemies to participate, and in fact usually stays well away from the 600 but within radar range to maintain the bonds. A hero is often used for the smiter role, but a human smiter is often simplest due to not having to micro SoJ and HW.

Advantages of 600/Smite

  • Steady damage source that can be supplemented by damage skills on the 600 if the area being farmed allows. This allows for fast farming with no downtime on damage.
  • Having extra skillbar space on the tank allows for more survivability options, and the smiter's extra skill slots can provide support to the tank.
  • The smiter can carry resurrection skills such as Rebirth to save a farming run if something goes wrong.

Disadvantages of 600/Smite

  • Having a second character reduces drop rates, but this is usually compensated for the increased speed and safety of the farm.
  • As with solo Spirit Bond invincimonks, Spirit Bond can be overwhelmed by too many foes attacking.


Skill Selection

The basic skill bar for all invincimonks is simple. It merely stops incoming damage with a way to keep health up.

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Every other slot can be filled with skills of your choice! Let's examine all the possible choices below:

Health Regeneration

Healing Breeze Healing Breeze

Shield of Regeneration Shield of Regeneration

Mystic Regeneration Mystic Regeneration

These three are temporary, on-demand enchantments. They both provide lots and lots of health regeneration easily. Healing Breeze does have a longer cast time than Mystic Regeneration and requires a heavier investment in Healing Prayers compared to Mystic Regeneration's shorter cast time and larger regenerative effect. However, Mystic Regeneration limits a character to having a Dervish secondary profession.
Shield of Regeneration operates similarly to healing breeze but costs 5 more energy, gives a bonus of +40 armor, and is a Protection Prayer-based spell rather than utilizing Healing Prayers. However, being an elite, it does limit your potential ability to deal damage. If stacked with healing breeze, even the most massive of degen can merely be shrugged off.

Watchful Spirit Watchful Spirit

Mending Mending

These are both maintained enchantments. They provide less health regeneration than either of the above spells but are far more easy to use because they are maintained (and thus don't have to be activated in battle). Watchful Spirit will provide +2 health regeneration regardless of attributes but Mending is better with heavier investments in Healing Prayers. Generally, if bringing Healing Breeze, you should bring Mending instead of Watchful Spirit.

Spirit Bond

Spirit Bond Spirit Bond

The very lifeblood of the Spirit Bonder is the skill it's named after: Spirit Bond.

Shield of Absorption

Shield of Absorption Shield of Absorption

This skill forms the core of all SoA Monks. The monk itself is named after this skill.

Shielding Hands Shielding Hands

Since Shield of Absorption is very difficult to keep up, this skill and SoA can be alternated to keep a monk under perpetual damage reduction.
By taking Blessed Aura and 12+3+1 on Divine favour with a +20% enchantment weapon you can keep this up almost forever.

Energy Gain Skills

Balthazar's Spirit Balthazar's Spirit

Essence Bond Essence Bond

These skills are very important. Each time you get hit, which will be very often, they give you energy. Consider bringing both, but at least one is needed for sure. Balthazar's Spirit is better than Essence Bond because it triggers on any damage, not certain types of damage.

Blessed Signet Blessed Signet

When you have 3-4 maintained enchantments on you, Blessed Signet is there to help you get energy to start up Protective Spirit and Spirit Bond. Usually, after casting several pre-battle enchantments, you'll have very low energy. This is very useful for getting your feet off the ground, unless partied with a Necromancer using Blood Ritual or even Blood is Power.

Bonetti's Defense Bonetti's Defense

Consider bringing this skill for some energy gain. This isn't nearly as useful on a Spirit Bonder as on a 55 because a Spirit Bonder doesn't need the damage mitigation this skill provides. Also, when under heavy health degeneration, a Spirit Bonder needs to be taking enough damage to heal themselves. Essence Bond and Balthazar's Spirit are generally superior choices.

Channeling Channeling

Since a monk is usually surrounded by enemies Channeling can give a monk a ton of energy or at the very least severely lower the cost of casting several high-costing spells.

Pre-nerf Spirit Bonder in action

Damage-Dealing Skills

Ray of Judgment Ray of Judgment

Because of a June 2009 skill balance, this skill now causes scatter in HM. Still works moderately well in NM.

Shield of Judgment Shield of Judgment

The staple damage dealer of Invincible Monks is still the same. It is very powerful and strong, making it a solid choice for solo farming everywhere. Note, however, that if you are farming in Hard Mode, enemies that cannot be knocked down and fight in melee will flee until only three are engaging you at any point in time.

Judge's Intervention Judge's Intervention

This skill is useful especially while farming a boss, and will trigger just like spirit bond - in other words, when you would have taken more than 55 damage, regardless of protective spirit.

Balthazar's Aura Balthazar's Aura

Symbol of Wrath Symbol of Wrath Kirin's Wrath Kirin's Wrath

While once the staples of dealing damage, these three are no longer recommended. These spells cause continuous area of effect damage. Since an update towards the end of 2005, enemies will now flee when faced with repeated Area of Effect damage.

Retribution Retribution

Since Spirit Bonders tend to have high health and get hit for high damage, Retribution can dish out some serious damage over time. It calculates damage after Protective Spirit, meaning Retribution does 33% of 10% of your health. This is 3.33...% and the primary reason for Spirit Bonders to push health as high as possible. This is useless for 55 monks and SoA Monks.

Spiteful Spirit Spiteful Spirit

Spiteful Spirit takes a while to cast, but over time or against extremely durable enemies, Spiteful Spirit is very potent. Consider using it if you do not expect interrupts.

Spoil Victor Spoil Victor

Spoil Victor is a hex spell that deals damage to a foe attacking or casting a spell on another foe with less health. It is effective on 55 and SoA monks because the enemy will always have more health than you. Due to it's fast destruction of a few enemies at a time, it is commonly used to farm bosses for greens.

Sliver Armor Sliver Armor

The bigger the aggro gathered around the monk the more destructive this skill will become. It's problems include the short duration and the fact that its damage is affected by the armor of the foes. Furthermore, acceptable damage is only achieved with enormous masses of enemies meaning only SoA Monks can use this skill to its fullest potential.

Zealot's Fire Zealot's Fire

Every time you reapply a monk skill, which will be fairly often, it deals damage to all surrounding enemies. If using this skill, be sure to time your skills in 3 seconds intervals or more, or enemies will flee from you.

Holy Strike Holy Strike

Stonesoul Strike Stonesoul Strike

These work well with Shield of Judgment. Consider using these to take out heartier foes that require more damage to drop dead (and hopefully drop their loot as well).

Shockwave Shockwave

Crystal Wave Crystal Wave Teinai's Crystals Teinai's Crystals

These three skills can easily replace the standard monk damage dealers. This skill set is extremely powerful in an area with exceptional amounts of melee attackers, like the Minotaurs in Elona Reach or the Mountain Trolls outside Droknar's Forge in Talus Chute. For more potency, consider using them as an E/Mo instead of Mo/E.

Aftershock Aftershock

Particularly effective when used with Shield of Judgment, due to it's extra damage versus knocked-down foes.

Damage Vulnerability Skills

Only Spirit Bonders need to increase the damage they take to trigger spirit bond, so these skills are all useless for all other invinci-monks.

Frenzy Frenzy

Elemental Resistance Elemental Resistance

Physical Resistance Physical Resistance

Any of these 3 stances can be used to make sure that your enemies do enough damage to trigger Spirit Bond. The general utility stance is Frenzy, as no matter the foe you are facing, it works, provided you cast Spirit Bond after activating it. The other two are for more specialized purposes. For example, in the Underworld, Grasping Darknesses do only 40 damage to you even when not wearing any armor. All their attacks are physical, so Elemental Resistance give you a low enough armor class to actually kick Spirit Bond into effect.

Healing Signet Healing Signet

While using Healing Signet, your armor is lowered by 40, definitely low enough so that all enemies in high level areas will do enough damage to trigger Spirit Bond. The downside is that it has a recharge, and may thus force you to rely on Healing Prayers during the recharge, making the your attribute layout less flexible. However, what you can do is begin using this skill, then immediately cancel it using the "Escape" key, so that you can keep up the -40 armor benefit of this skill.

55 Monking in the Underworld

Enchantment Removal Protection Skills

Spell Breaker Spell Breaker

Spell Breaker stops enchantment stripping spells, just like Spell Shield (below). In an Underworld or Fissure of Woe farming team, losing your Protective Spirit or Spirit Bond means certain death. Since you just have to tank the mobs while the other player deals the damage, spending your elite slot on a relatively carefree way to prevent enchantment removal is a good deal.

Shadow Form Shadow Form

Possibly one of the most overpowered anti-spell enchantments in the Guild Wars arsenal. Non-spell skills that can strip your enchantments still do so, but those are few and far between. This can be maintained with [[gww:Deadly Paradox|]], unlike Spell Breaker, but caps damage based on your Shadow Arts level.

Leech Signet Leech Signet

Power Return Power Return

Needed when solo farming and Spell Breaker isn't viable because you need the damage from a different elite, or when faced with enchantment removal by non-spell skills. Interrupt the stripping skill, and you'll live. Criteria to judge them include:
  • Energy cost, an interrupt is no good if you can't use it when you need it. Signets work well here.
  • Ability to interrupt non-spell skills, if necessary.
  • Recharge.
A complete list of all possible interrupts can be found here, but the usual choices are placed above.

Miscellaneous Skills

Balanced Stance Balanced Stance

Some enemies have vicious knockdowns that can kill a farming run quickly. Either of these will prevent against such occurrences. Fleeting Stability is better because it can be kept up indefinitely. Balanced Stance, on the other hand, can not. Naturally, both of these restrict your choice of secondary professions.

Vital Blessing Vital Blessing

If a Spirit Bonder, Retribution can do lots of damage, and if using superior runes to bolster the capability of your other skills, Vital Blessing can help you get the most out of Retribution.

Sympathetic Visage Sympathetic Visage

Ancestor's Visage Ancestor's Visage

Consider adding one or both of these to deny the mobs you farm the use of energy and adrenaline skills.

Blessed Aura Blessed Aura

Arcane Echo Arcane Echo

Does Spirit Bond expire too fast? Maybe your Shield of Judgment dissolves before everything is dead, or Spell Breaker dies before those enchantment strippers do. Blessed Aura and Arcane Echo are here to help. Make those enchantments last longer using Blessed Aura, or use Arcane Echo to get an extra copy of your favorite spell.

Mantra of Concentration Mantra of Concentration

Glyph of Concentration Glyph of Concentration

There are mobs with interrupts you need to counter. The glyph may work as a cover skill to draw the monster's interrupts, or will make your next spell uninterruptible if itself completes.

Life Attunement Life Attunement

This skill will increase the life gain from Spirit Bond significantly with decent attributes. This will help you survive in places where the usual Spirit Bond healing is not enough.

Glyph of Renewal Glyph of Renewal

This glyph will instantly recharge a skill. However, Glyph of Renewal is itself an elite skill limiting its usefulness. It can combine very well with Sliver Armor.

Equipment

Armor

For a 55 or SoA monk, your armor can be any level, except for Spirit Bonders, in which case the armor must be armor level 15 or below or in teams in which case, an extremely low level armor is advisable as well due to monster AI mechanics. Shing Jea Level Ascetic Armor, available from Kambei, Moon Ahn, or Nu Leng is optimal.

Spirit Bonders are different however. Spirit Bonder's reliance on extremely low armor levels means spirit bonders must have low level armor. Anything above armor level 15 is too much. The level 5 Starter Armor is the best for Spirit Bonders; however, Shing Jea Level Ascetic Armor, available from Kambei, Moon Ahn, or Nu Leng is fine. Try wearing as few pieces of armor as possible if you need to further increase the damage you take. Leg and feet armor provide additional energy regeneration, so are probably not expendable, but the energy bonus on hands and especially the chest piece (with its high probably of getting hit) might not be worth removing a piece of armor.

Runes

For 55 and SoA builds, use 5 superior profession runes (one of each, plus an extra one).

For Spirit Bonders, you will want the best Vigor rune possible, and whatever you need to boost your skills. Keep in mind that the higher your health, the higher the damage from Retribution and the more room to recover from the occasional hits that do less than the required 60 damage. If you have the space on your armor, consider bringing Vitae runes as well.

Weapons

For 55 and SoA Monks, a weapon of Enchanting and the -50hp cesta from the Cities of Ascalon quest is needed. Common green weapons of enchanting are the Totem Axe and Rajazan's Fervor, with the Spirit of the Forgotten providing ranged damage as well. The Flame Spitter is fine as well provided it is upgraded with an enchanting 20% upgrade.

For Spirit Bonders, your staff or wand and offhand can be anything, as long as it does not increase armor. That said, an enchanting weapon is tremendously useful, required even; any additional health is welcome, too. For solo farming, a cheap, starter's combination would be the Totem Axe and Wenslauss' Chalice. These increase enchantment length by 20%, give +45 to your health and a total of +17 energy (if you have at least 9 Divine Favor). The best offhand is Shen's Censure, which is smiting prayers-based and can give you a more powerful smiting spells with +1 20% to Smiting, as well as possibly halve the skill recharge of Shield of Judgment. As for 2 man farming, the Kaolin Protection Staff and Kepkhet's Refuge are excellent choices for 2 man groups where you are the tank. An excellent offhand to use, if staves are not wanted, is The Soulstone with it's +1 to divine favor, making Spell Breaker last a second more, giving you that cruicial edge, plus 20% chance for HSR for Divine Favor, making Spell Breaker recharge twice as quickly. However, clearly the best weapon for any type of farming as a Spirit Bonder is the Flame Spitter, which will reduce your armor by 10 while attacking, grant a 10% chance of half skill recharge, can be fitted with an axe grip of enchanting, and still leaves you space for an offhand, like Shen's Censure or Wenslauss' Chalice.

Usage

Now that you have all the skills and equipment, it's time to use them.

First, cast all maintained enchantments. Then use Blessed Signet to regain your energy back to maximum (or just wait, if you have energy regeneration left). Get near some monsters and cast Protective Spirit. Then, if a spirit bonder, activate your damage increasing stance, then cast Spirit Bond. Be absolutely sure to not cast Spirit Bond before the stance, otherwise the damage increase will come into effect after the Spirit Bond check and hence do nothing useful at all. If a 55 monk, cast your healing regeneration spell. Finally, if a SoA Monk, cast Shield of Absorption.

Congratulations, you are now invincible! Cast Shield of Judgment or a similar skill if you are afraid it would get interrupted later, then run ahead and make all those foes hit you. Recast Protective Spirit, the damage-increasing skill and Spirit Bond before they run out, apply whatever damage-dealing skills you have chosen, and make sure you're always fighting several monsters (otherwise you are likely to run into energy problems).

Farming Locations

See Also

Other Professions using Protective Spirit

All of the archived 600/smite team builds can be found here