The Monk is one of the melee-focused classes in Baldur’s Gate 3, and its focus on martial arts and quick damage and flash moves make it a great option for players who fancy something a bit different than the usual sword and shield flavor of combat.
Picking what subclass you will have is an important decision, as it will affect how your Monk plays and what options you have when it comes to your adventure. This guide will detail all the Monk subclasses in Baldur’s Gate 3, as well as details on their features and some of their strengths and weaknesses.
What Subclasses Are Available to the Monk in Baldur’s Gate 3
The Monk has three subclass choices in Baldur’s Gate 3: The Way of the Open Hand, The Way of the Four Elements, and the Way of Shadow.
Each subclass provides a different flavor to your Monk, all of which can be a helpful addition to your party. Like other classes and subclasses, these lean into certain playstyles that affect how you use the class, but as a general rule, monks are all about quick, martial arts strikes and flurries of fists to chip away at their foes. They also have some cool features, such as Deflect Missile and Unarmored Movement, making them particularly adept at moving across the battlefield and handling ranged attacks. They also have a special resource called Ki Points, which allows them to use their abilities like Flurry of Blows.
Each of the Monk’s subclasses has their own benefits, and we will cover them all here so you can decide on what kind of Monk you want to play.
The Way of the Open Hand Monk in Baldur’s Gate 3
If you want to unleash a flurry of attack like a martial arts expert or roleplay as a master of unarmed combat, then this is the subclass for you. The Way of the Open Hand is a subclass focused on dishing out damage and using your fists as effectively as possible.
At level 3, Monks with this subclass will unlock three new variations of Flurry of Blows. These are Flurry of Blows: Stagger, which can stop enemies from taking reactions; Flurry of Blows: Push, which pushes a target 5 meters away; and Flurry of Blows: Topple, which knows an enemy prone. They also get Manifestation of Body, Mind, and Soul at level 6, which allows you to apply Necrotic, Psychic, and Radiant damage to your attacks respectively. They also get Wholeness of Body, which lets them regain half their Ki points, recover more over time, and get an extra bonus action.
To top it off, they get Ki Resonation at level 9, which essentially turns the target into a Ki-filled bomb once you hit them with the follow-up attack, and Tranquility at level 11, which grants you the Sanctuary spell after a long rest.
It takes what the Monk does and makes it better while also giving it some extra flavor, and if you want to pummel enemies into pulp with your fists of fury, this is the subclass for you.
The Way of the Four Elements Monk in Baldur’s Gate 3
Monks are pretty cool as is, but what about a Monk that uses magic too? That’s where the Way of the Four Elements Monk comes in. This subclass is perfect for anyone who wants some magic flair to their Monk, or wants to live out their Avatar: The Last Airbender roleplay.
This subclass gets access to some elemental spells starting at level 3, which they can use with their Ki points. These include spells like Blade of Rime, which throws shards of ice at an enemy, Water Whip to pull in enemies, or Fist of Four Thunders, which pushes all creatures and objects. They also get Harmony of Fire and Water, which lets them regain half their Ki points out of combat after a long rest.
Later, at levels 6 and 9, they unlock an additional spell to use, and at level 9, they are treated to the Improved Elemental Casting feature. This adds an extra damage die to all their damaging spells and enhances Clench of the North Wind and Embrace of the Inferno spells, letting them grab an extra target and fire an extra ray respectively.
The Way of Shadow Monk in Baldur’s Gate 3
This is the subclass for anyone who wants to take on a more sneaky role in the party, and roleplay a more stealthy, ninja-style character who can move across the battlefield while remaining hidden and leaping out to strike with precision.
At level 3, this subclass gets the Shadow Arts abilities, which lets the Monk Hide as a bonus action and gives them multiple spells, including Pass Without Trace, Darkness, Darkvision, and Silence. With these, the Monk has a ton of utility when it comes to sneaking or manipulating the battlefield and providing allies with some assistance to do the same. At level 5, they get Cloak of Shadows, letting them become invisible if they are obscured and providing more stealthy options, and at the following level, they get Shadow Step, which lets them teleport to another shadow and get advantage on their next melee attack roll.
Lastly, they get Shadow Strike, which allows the Monk to teleport from a hidden position to an enemy, and unleash a powerful strike imbued with psychic power.
Which Subclass Should You Pick for the Monk in Baldur’s Gate 3?
Of all the options the Monk has in Baldur’s Gate 3, we think the Way of the Open Hand is the best option for a subclass, mainly due to its features and extra focus on what already makes the Monk fun. It adds extra ways to handle enemies, additional damage types to your attacks, and the ability to regain Ki points so you can keep the fight going.
Following that, the Way of Shadow would be our second option thanks to its great stealth options that can be helpful in and out of combat. Way of the Four Elements is last mainly due to the drain on your Ki points, which can make balancing your usage a bit tricky. We recommend considering a multiclass with a spellcaster instead if you want some magic flair.
As we have said before, this is subjective and only our opinion, and we believe you should play whatever version of the Monk you want, as they all can be fun depending on what you want out of the game. Whatever you decide, do it with confidence and go and enjoy the game!