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The best Monk subclass, feats, and build in Baldur’s Gate 3

Become the Last Airbender — or a ninja

Jeffrey Parkin (he/him) has been writing video game guides for Polygon for almost seven years. He has learned to love just about every genre of game that exists.

Baldurs Gate 3 has 12 classes for you to choose from when you create your character. The Monk is a melee class that emphasizes nimbleness over brute strength.

Monks solve a lot of problems with punching like Fighters do, but they’re a lot fancier in how they do it. Their primary stat is Dexterity.

There’s no single best class in Baldur’s Gate 3, and the game gives you as many opportunities for creative problem solving as it does for punching. Finding the best class really just boils down to how you want to play. Even when playing solo, you’ll still manage the rest of your party, so you’ll get to experiment with multiple classes at once.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about the Monk class in Baldur’s Gate 3, and learn all about the best Monk subclass, feats, and build.

Is Monk the best class for you in BG3?

Baldur’s Gate 3 Monks in the character creator Image: Larian Studios via Polygon

Monks are a melee class that swap out brute Strength for quick Dexterity. They are, frankly, not the best melee class for beginners — that would be Fighters or Barbarians. Monks are a lot more, in a word, dope, though, with more exciting attacks and abilities. They do require a little more attention and planning to manage their Ki Points. Monks are a great class when you’re ready to get flashier with your melee combat and generally up your game.

Monks also let you explore how various stats interact — like the way Monk Wisdom increases AC. And, at the same time, higher Wisdom means they’re better at non-combat things like Insight or Perception.

Monk class features

Monks are all about Dexterity and Wisdom, and there are several class features that reflect that.

  • Unarmored Defense — while not wearing armor, you add your Wisdom modifier to your Armor Class
  • Martial Arts: Dextrous Attacks — attacks with Monk Weapons (Simple Weapons that are not two-handed or heavy) and unarmed attacks scale with your Dexterity instead of Strength
  • Martial Arts: Deft Strikes — attacks with Monk Weapons and unarmed attacks deal 1d4 Bludgeoning damage unless their normal damage is higher
  • Martial Arts: Unarmed Strike — after making an attack with a Monk Weapon or while unarmed, you can make another unarmed attack as a bonus action
  • Unarmored Movement — at level 2, your movement speed increases by 10ft while you are not wearing armor or using a shield

Hit Points

  • Hit Dice — 1d8 per Monk level
  • Hit Points at 1st Level — 8 + your Constitution modifier
  • Hit Points at higher levels — 5 + your Constitution modifer per Monk level after 1st

Ki Points

Monks use Ki Points to power all of their extra attacks and actions. You start with 2 Ki Points at level 1, and gain a point per level after that. Ki Points recharge on a Short Rest.


At level 1, Monks get the Flurry of Blows Action that lets you do two extra melee attacks as a Bonus Action.

At level 2, Monks get three more Ki Point Actions:

  • Patient Defense — for 1 turn, Attack Rolls against you have Disadvantage, and you have Advantage on Dexterity Saving Throws
  • Step of the Wind: Dash — double your movement speed and jump no longer requires a bonus action
  • Step of the Wind: Disengage — Retreat to safety by Disengaging and jump no longer requires a bonus action


  • Weapons — Simple Weapons, Shortswords
  • Skills — Acrobatics, Athletics, Insight, Religion
  • Saving Throws — Dexterity, Constitution

Monk subclasses

At level 3, Monks choose from one of three subclasses.

Way of the Four Elements

Way of the Four Elements Monks use their Ki to control the elements.

You gain the Harmony of Fire and Water Action that lets you regain half of your Ki points once per Long Rest.

Way of the Four Elements Monks can cast spells using Ki instead of spell slots with Disciple of the Elements. You’ll choose three spells from the Monk spell list:

Baldur’s Gate 3 Monk Way of the Four Elements spells

Name Description
Name Description
Blade of Rime Throw a shard of ice that deals 1d10 Piercing damage, and then explodes with 2d6 Cold damage in a 7ft radius circle
Chill of the Mountain Reduce the target's movement speed by 10ft with 1d8 Cold damage
Fangs of the Fire Snake Hit your foe with 1d10 Fire damage and your next melee attack deals 1d4 Fire damage
Fist of Four Thunders Release a wafe of thunderous force that pushes away all creatures and objects for 2d8 Thunder damage (CON Save)
Fist of Unbroken Air Push the target back 20ft and knock it Prone with 3d10 Bludgeoning damage
Rush of the Gale Spirits Summon a strong wind that pushes creatures back 17ft and forces them Off Balance
Shaping of the Ice Create a climable ice cube
Sphere of Elemental Balance Hurl a sphere that deals 3d8 Thunder damage and possibly creates a surface on impact
Sweeping Cinder Strike Expel fire from your outstretched hands and ignite anything flammable with 3d6 Fire damage
Touch of the Storm Deal 1d10 Lightning damage and the target cannot use reactions
Water Whip Deal 3d10 Bludgeoning damage and possibly pull the target toward you or knock it Prone

Way of the Open Hand

Way of the Open Hand Monks specialize in unarmed combat. You learn three new Actions that use Ki Points.

  • Flurry of Blows: Topple — Punch twice in quick succession for 2d6 Bludgeoning damage and possibly knock the target Prone
  • Flurry of Blows: Stagger — Punch twice in quick succession for 2d6 Bludgeoning damage and Stagger the target to make them unable to take reactions
  • Flurry of Blows: Push — Punch twice in quick succession for 2d6 Bludgeoning damage and possibly push the target 17ft away

Way of Shadow

Way of Shadow Monks hide in the shadows and focus on stealth and subterfuge.

You’ll learn the Minor Illusion Cantrip to distract enemies, and Shadow Arts: Hide that makes hiding a Bonus Action.

You’ll also get four new spell-like uses for your Ki Points:

  • Shadow Arts: Pass Without Trace — gives you and all nearby companions a +10 bonus to Stealth Checks
  • Shadow Arts: Darkness — create a dark shroud that Heavily Obscures and Blinds creatures within
  • Shadow Arts: Darkvision — grant a creature the ability to see in the dark out to 40ft
  • Shadow Arts: Silence — create a sound-proof sphere where all within are Silenced and Immune to Thunder damage.

Best Monk subclass and build in BG3

Baldur’s Gate 3 Half-Elf Monk in the character creator Image: Larian Studios via Polygon

Baldur’s Gate 3 races don’t really have any direct impact on your class, but certain races and subraces come with features that play well with certain classes like extra movement or proficiency with certain weapons. For Monks, it’s best to focus on movement and expanding the list of Monk weapons with races like:

  • Wood Elves and Wood Half-Elves have an extra 5 ft of movement and let you treat shortswords as Monk weapons
  • Humans’ Civil Militia feature adds spears to the Monk weapon list
  • Any of the Dwarf subraces let you treat handaxes and light hammers as Monk weapons, but theGold Dwarves’ Dwarven Toughness gets you an extra hit point each level

When you’re creating and leveling up your Monk, Dexterity (for hitting things) is your most important stat followed closely by Wisdom (for your Unarmored Defense AC boost and for Monk spellcasting). Make Dexterity your highest stat and Wisdom your second highest.

At level 3, you’ll choose your Monk subclass. Way of the Four Elements mixes in some Last Airbender vibes while Way of Shadow makes you a lot more ninja-like. For simplicity and combat effectiveness, though, the Way of the Open Palm is the best subclass. You’ll get options for more versatile attacks that let you control the battlefield with your punches.

Best Monk Feats in BG3

Every four levels, you’ll get the option to either increase your stats or choose a Feat. Feats are special talents that add features to your character. If you’re happy with your stats and start taking Feats, Monks can benefit from:

  • Athlete. Your Strength or Dexterity increases by 1, to a maximum of 20. When you are Prone, standing up uses significantly less movement. Your Jump distance also increases by 50%.
  • Durable. Your Constitution increases by 1, to a maximum of 20. You regain full hit points each time you take a Short Rest.
  • Mobile. Your movement speed increases, and difficult terrain doesn’t slow you down when you Dash. If you move after making a melee attack, you don’t provoke Opportunity Attacks from your target.
  • Savage Attacker. When making weapon attacks, you roll your damage dice twice and use the highest result.
  • Tough. Your hit point maximum increases by 2 for every level you have gained.

For more information on the classes in Baldur’s Gate 3, consult our overviews on the Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer, Warlock, and Wizard classes. If you’re stumped by the choice, consult our guide on what class to start with.

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