Best Way of Shadow Monk Build

Best Way of Shadow Monk Build - Baldur's Gate 3 (BG3)

By zanuffas
Last updated:
The best Way of Shadows Monk build for Baldur's Gate 3. It's a unique subclass that has unlimited teleports and an easy way to become invisible at every turn. Shadows are your friends and staying in them will make you almost invincible. The build is capable of doing Solor run, thanks to how invisibility breaks enemy AI.

Way of Shadows Monk Build

This build is the perfect choice for Dark Urge or Solo playthrough. It is very similar to Gloomstalker Assassin Build, which I made some time ago. However, the main difference is how the monk can handle mobility and invisibility.

Shadows Monk can teleport between shadows at the cost of bonus action. This seems normal - others can use Misty Step. Yeah, but this one only costs bonus action, with no limit on spell slots or resting. That is not all.

The next step is Cloak of Shadows. It allows you to become invisible and stay invisible while obscured. Again, this has no limitation only action points. Why invisibility is important? If the enemy cannot find you, they leave combat.

To top this, the build can utilize both unarmed and melee weapon combat based on what situation allows. The main downside is that the build starts going from level 5 and reaches its full potential on level 9. That can be late for some people, but I promise it's worth it!

Hope I got your interest and let's jump into the build

Combat Explanation

The build can be quite complicated, especially for new players. I think it warrants some explanation of how one should play it, as it is different from a vanilla monk.

The early game

The early game is simple, and you play with a monk - bash your fists against the enemy until it dies. Or rely on ranged attacks, if you are playing Solo to kite enemies. Be sure to utilize the environment - barrels, chandeliers, etc.

Understand Obscured mechanic

The most important part, before jumping further is to understand obscured mechanics. If you hold "Shift" on the keyboard, you can see whether an area has full sun, partially filled sun, or empty. Partially and empty suns means that the area is obscured.

obscured areas bg3

This is important as you can enter sneak easier on these areas. Moreover, many of the item bonuses that the build uses will only work here. Some areas, that have full sun, are easy to fix. Extinguish nearby light sources, by using the Invisibility spell - from scroll or group member.

Cloak of Shadows

Things start to get interesting from level 5. This is when you obtain Cloak of Shadows. It is the iconic ability of a shadow monk, giving it the ability to become invisible at any time while obscured. If you leave obscured places, the invisibility breaks so be mindful of that.

Why is this important? It allows you to become invisible in combat, and move away from your last location. After that enemies will try to detect you. If they don't the combat ends, and you are free to go.

I think you get the gist. You can chain this to clear rooms full of enemies. However, this costs you an action point, which does not leave you many options to attack. Well this is where Monk's special action comes in and the Thief Subclass

Bonus Actions and Flurries

Okay, so we have covered the mobility, but now comes the question of damage. The action point would be used for invisibility, how can you then attack? Here is where Flurry of Blows comes in. It gives two attacks for a cost of bonus action and ki points. Powerful, right?

flurry of blows damage bg3

With Thief (Rogue lv 3), you can do two of these attacks per turn. You can even reach 3 if using a Helmet of Grit icon bg3Helmet of Grit. So as you can see this damage is nothing to scoff at, and you can easily take out one or two enemies per turn, before becoming invisible again.

Shadow Step

Now the last aspect of Shadow Monk. At level 6 you will gain Shadow Step. It is similar to Misty Step and it allows you to move from shadow to shadow at the cost of bonus action. No cost for spell slots or ki points.

Because you will have at least two bonus actions, if the situation arises, you can just teleport away from the enemy and either flee or become invisible further away.

Leveling Overview

Here is a concise table with all the main picks during your leveling progression. For more detailed reasoning, I go further in the article. Also, do not forget to check the recommended gear as it is crucial.

The Way of Shadows Monk Overview Expand
Level Class Selection
1 Monk STR - 8, DEX - 17, CON - 15, INT - 8, WIS - 16, CHA - 8
Skills: Acrobatics, Insight
2 Monk -
3 Monk Subclass: Way of Shadow
4 Monk Feat: Ability Improvement +2 DEX or  Tavern Brawler icon passive feature bg3Tavern Brawler​ +1 CON
5 Monk -
6 Monk -
7 Rogue -
8 Rogue Skills: Perception, Athletics, Acrobatics
9 Rogue Subclass: Thief
10 Monk -
11 Monk Feat: Ability Improvement +2 DEX or Alert icon passive feature bg3Alert
12 Monk -

Starting the Game

This section covers the creation screen and what would go into the best Races, Abilities, and Skills for Way of Shadows Monk. Some of these choices are impactful as you cannot respec them.

Races

Picking a race provides various benefits - abilities, dialogue options, looks, etc. Also, keep in mind whether your picked race has Shield proficiency as this can improve survivability or give benefits for offensive.

If you are having difficulties making a choice, pick whatever you prefer in terms of looks or roleplay. "The perfect race pick" is important if you are into extreme min-maxing.
Race Features Description
githyanki bg3Githyanki
  • Martial Prodigy icon passive feature bg3Martial Prodigy
Very versatile race, that unlocks some good actions for combat and exploration.
elf bg3Wood Elf
  • Elven Weapon Training icon passive feature bg3Elven Weapon Training
  • Darkvision icon passive feature bg3Darkvision
  • Fey Ancestry icon passive feature bg3Fey Ancestry
  • Fleet of Foot - your movement speed is increased by 1.5m.
A very popular race choice. The subrace is perfect for increased movement speed.
Half-Elf Baldur's Gate 3Wood Half-Elf One of the more popular options, Wood Subrace gets bonuses to bonus mobility, you will not need that as much later in the game.
half orc bg3Half-Orc
  • Darkvision icon passive feature bg3Darkvision
  • Relentless Endurance icon passive feature bg3Relentless Endurance
  • Savage Attacks icon passive feature bg3Savage Attacks
Great race as a frontliner when you are often in melee combat. Moreover, the bonus critical rolls provide a bit of bonus damage.

Class

The build is going into one class - Fighter. They give all weapon and armor proficiencies, making them extremely versatile front liners - two-handed weapons, swords, scimitars, dual-wielding, etc.

Overview
monk bg3Monk
Features
flurry of blows bg3Flurry of Blows Very powerful attack, allowing you to do two hits with bonus action and Ki points.
ki bg3Ki A unique resource for Monk actions.
Unarmoured Defence icon passive feature bg3Unarmoured Defence Allows getting armor class from Wisdom modifier.
Martial Arts: Dextrous Attacks icon passive feature bg3Martial Arts: Dextrous Attacks Similar to how finesse weapons work, Monk attacks scale based on high ability between Strength and Dexterity.
Martial Arts: Deft Strikes icon passive feature bg3Martial Arts: Deft Strikes Set the base attack of unarmed attacks to 1d4, later this becomes 1d6 and 1d8.
Martial Arts: Bonus Unarmed Strike icon passive feature bg3Martial Arts: Bonus Unarmed Strike Gives an option to attack with your fists using bonus action.

Background

Backgrounds are mostly for role-playing and you can pick whatever you prefer. If you want to optimize, then it would be good to pick backgrounds that are based on your ability points of Wisdom and Dexterity.

Moreover, due to high Dexterity, it is also a good choice to pick Sleight of Hand-related options. These will allow you to become the main lockpicker, pickpocketer, or trap disarmer.

Background Skills Description
Folk Hero Animal Handling
Survival
Boosts both of these from your Wisdom modifier. It will synergize well with increased armor class.
Urchin Sleight of Hand
Stealth
An unlikely recommendation, however, as you will multiclass into Rogue, this will be an effective combo to improve your chances of lockpicking and trap disarming.
Entertainer Acrobatics
Performance
Improves Acrobatics skills and gives bonuses to Performance for some dialogue checks.
Charlatan Deception
Sleight of Hand
Mainly good for improved Sleight of Hand to unlock chests and pickpocketing.

Abilities

Now let's take a look at the abilities of the Berserker Tavern Brawler build. Correct allocation will allow us to maximize the early gameplay and get good modifier bonuses.

Ability Value Description
strengthStrength 8 I recommend leaving it this low or 10. The main reason is that either you will go with Tavern Brawler icon passive feature bg3Tavern Brawler​ and use Elixir of Hill Giant Strength to set it to 21 or rely on Dexterity for damage. Either way, there is no point in increasing strength to more than 10.
dexterityproficient_ability Baldur's Gate 3Dexterity 17 (15+2) This plays a few roles. First, it improves Armor Class. Second, it improves initiative allowing to go earlier during the Turn. Last, if it's higher than your strength damage, and attack rolls, will get a bonus from Dexterity. If you will not use Auntie Ethel's Hair, I recommend setting it to 16 and using that point either on Charisma or Strength.
constitution bg3Constitution 15 Important for HP and survivability. If you will not get Tavern Brawler icon passive feature bg3Tavern Brawler, set this to 14.
intelligenceIntelligence 8 Not important ability for the build
wisdomWisdom 16 The ability is important until you start using Light Armor. This will either be Act 2 or Act 3. Wisdom provides a bonus armor class making it easier to avoid enemy hits. However, when wearing armor it will stop serving any purpose besides skill checks.
charismaCharisma 8 This build should not rely much on this ability.

Skills and Expertise

Overall, the skills should be impacted by your roleplaying and background decisions. However, you would still want those that will give you the best benefits. My recommendations are to pick those at which you have a high ability modifier and these are Dexterity-related.

  • Acrobatics
  • Sleight of Hand
  • Stealth

For Wisdom related:

  • Animal Handling
  • Insight
  • Medicine
  • Perception
  • Survival

Leveling Progression

Here is the detailed progression for the Shadow Monk build to get you started. You can use it as a guideline because early games can be daunting and overwhelming. Later on, once you get the feel for the class you can start picking your options

Overall, up until levels 5-6, it will be quite difficult to do much. You do not have access to the iconic actions - Shadow Step and Cloak of Shadows. So until then, I recommend staying with a vanilla setup and using your fists and clothing to maximize survivability.

You could also go with Open Hand Monk Build until level 6 and then respec. If you are doing a solo run, learn the encounters, use the environment to your advantage, and utilize ranged attacks.

Level 2

Reaching the first level-up already brings some good actions to improve tactical options

Feature Description
Unarmoured Movement icon passive feature bg3Unarmoured Movement Makes it easier to reach and move between enemies.

That is not all, by using Ki points you can get an improved version of some base actions:

Action Description
patient defense bg3Patient Defence Not something that I would use, as the bonus action has better uses.
step of the wind dash bg3Step of the Wind: Dash Can be used to reach longer distances or jump on enemies on higher grounds.
step of the wind disengage bg3Step of the Wind: Disengage A better option of Disengage by using Ki Point and a bonus action.

Optional - Elixir of Hill Giant Strength

This is optional, and for some people breaks, immersion, feel free to skip it.

Well, there is a trick early in Act 1, after you reach the first settlement - Druid's Grove. There you can stock up on some powerful potions for Acts 1, and 2 - Elixir of Hill Giant Strength.

What do they do? They increase the Strength to 21 until a Long rest. More or less this negates any need to have strength investment if you plan to use them till the late game. This way you can utilize Tavern Brawler icon passive feature bg3Tavern Brawler​ to the maximum potential with unarmed attacks.

This is somewhat gimmicky, however, if you are interested here is a guide on how to farm Elixir of Hill Giant Strength.

You can reach 22-24 based on in-game decisions, items, and picking feats. However, in Act 3 there will be an upgraded version - Elixir of Cloud Giant Strength, that will set it to 27. This is the highest possible strength value.

As Shadow Monk this will cost you usage of other elixirs. However, your Flury of Blows will deal unparalleled damage and even more once you obtain a second bonus action.

Level 3

As a Monk at level 3, you can choose the subclass. It impacts how you play the build and what combat options there are.

Overview
way of shadow bg3Way of Shadow
Features
shadow arts hide bg3Shadow Arts: Hide Allows hiding with just bonus action instead of action.
pass without trace bg3Shadow Arts: Pass Without Trace Can be useful if you need to pass stealth checks with companions. For example, sneaking through areas where enemies may see you.
darkenss bg3Shadow Arts: Darkness Very powerful action that can complement both Shadow Monk and Warlock with Devil's Sight icon passive feature bg3Devil's Sight. You can use this to hide from ranged enemy attacks, and safely attack anyone that dares to enter. I recommend Eversight Ring icon bg3Eversight Ring if you plan on doing melee combat inside to avoid getting blinded.
darkvision bg3Shadow Arts: Darkvision Not as good as it sounds. Sadly, it does not work with the Darkness spell.
silence bg3Shadow Arts: Silence Another powerful action, that you can use to break enemy concentration or immobilize mages.
minor illusion bg3Minor Illusion You can use this while being invisible. Group enemies together and let your caster kill them, or cast Darkness to change the playing field.

All of these actions can play an important role in the combat based on the situation. The most important one, in my opinion, is Shadow Arts: Darkness so here is a section covering it:

Using Darkness

This can be one of the most powerful combos that you can do, breaking enemy logic and actions. There are a few sources of it - spell Darkness, shadow monk action - Shadow Arts: Darkness, and items like Shar's Spear of Evening icon bg3Shar's Spear of Evening, that can create it at will.

The main idea is to have a way to counteract its blindness effect. For Monk, you can equip Eversight Ring icon bg3Eversight Ring or Shar's Spear of Evening icon bg3Shar's Spear of Evening and gain an advantage on enemies that dare to enter it.

Next, wait till enemies come close to the edges or are inside, then you can attack them without any repercussions. However, before ending the turn be sure to stand in the middle of the shadow. This way enemies with Long Reach cannot hit you.

Enemies may still hit you with Thrown attacks, like Rocks and Weapons. So be weary of this.

The good thing is that normal spells and ranged attacks cannot reach you. You can stay safe inside, running to the edge and chipping away at your confused foes. be sure to have a ranged weapon, in case they stand further away.

Level 4

Level 4 brings the first feat, it will be a huge improvement.

Feat

Here you can select from a few choices, based on your playstyle and what kind of playthrough you are doing.

Feat Description
Tavern Brawler icon passive feature bg3Tavern Brawler If you plan on using Elixir of Hill Giant Strength, this one is almost mandatory. It gives both damage and attack chance boost with unarmed attacks. Even if you will rely on melee weapons, your bonus action, can still do the highest damage with Flurry of Blows. Be sure to add an ability point to the Constitution, for a total of 16.
Alert icon passive feature bg3Alert If you are doing a solo run, this feat is priceless. Getting it early will allow you to avoid many situations that could take out the Shadow Monk in a few hits.
Ability Improvement If you are playing with a full party and not using Elixirs of Hill Giant Strength, then +2 Dexterity is the way to go.

Level 5

This is a huge milestone for Shadow Monk build as it unlocks a few powerful features.

Feature Description
Extra Attack icon passive feature bg3Extra Attack Allows striking twice, greatly improving the damage output. However, for shadow monks, this will not be as important. The main reason is that the build will be saving that action point for Cloak of Shadows. So It would be best to utilize this if you have Haste or Potion of Speed activated on yourself.

Monk class also gains special action giving a little bit of crowd control capabilities.

Actions Description
cloak of shadows bg3Cloak of Shadows The signature action of Shadow Monk. You can use an action point to become invisible while staying in obscured places. This is a truly powerful capability, that can be used without any limitations. I will cover more, on how to utilize this in the Combat section. Just to tell you, it allows Shadow Monk, to singlehandedly clear most of the encounters without getting hit.
stunning strike melee bg3Stunning Strike (Melee) This can be activated when using melee weapons. Makes the enemy skip the turn
stunning strike unarmedStunning Strike (Unarmed) It can be activated when using Unarmed attacks. Makes the enemy skip the turn.

After unlocking Cloak of Shadows I suggest equipping

Level 6

This is the last level before jumping into multiclassing and it unlocks another signature action of Shadow Monk

Actions Description
shadow step bg3Shadow Step This allows you to move freely between shadows. As it costs bonus action, it can be used indefinitely without a spell slot or other limitations. This is a perfect way to reach enemy backlines or set yourself up before the combat starts.

Monk class also gets an additional feature:

Feature Description
Ki-Empowered Strikes icon passive feature bg3Ki-Empowered Strikes You can now overcome resistance to non-magical attacks.

Level 7 - Rogue Lv 1

Now, let's jump into the next important step for Shadow Monk Build - unlocking Rogue via multiclass:

Overview
rogue Baldur's Gate 3Rogue
Features
Action_SneakAttack_Melee Baldur's Gate 3Sneak Attack (Melee) This can be exploited with weapon attacks for an additional 1d6 damage once per turn. Be sure to have an advantage or attack from hiding. Later, more damage rolls are added.
Action_SneakAttack_Ranged Baldur's Gate 3Sneak Attack (Ranged) This can be exploited with weapon attacks for an additional 1d6 damage once per turn. Be sure to have an advantage or attack from hiding. Later, more damage rolls are added.

Skills

Picking the Rogue class allows one to select additional skills. My recommendation would be Sleight of Hand. With it, you can unlock most of the chests in the game. Here are my suggested options:

  • Sleight of Hand
  • Acrobatics
  • Insight
  • Perception
  • Survival

Level 8 - Rogue Lv 2

This level gives some options for bonus action. However, there is nothing important.

Action Description
Action_Hide cunning Baldur's Gate 3Cunning Action: Hide Hide from enemies by succeeding Stealth checks. Stick to the dark and avoid enemy sightlines. Attacking or casting a spell will reveal your location. Probably the most important. Now you can start sneaking using Bonus action and then use Sneak Attack at the same turn
Action_Dash_cunning Baldur's Gate 3Cunning Action: Dash Cover more distance this turn: double your movement speed.
Action_Disengage_cunning Baldur's Gate 3Cunning Action: Disengage Retreat safely: moving won't provoke Opportunity Attacks.

Level 9 - Rogue Lv 3

This level unlocks a rogue subclass that improves Shadow Monk combat prowess, especially with Flurry of Blows.

Subclass

Overview
thief bg3Thief
Features
Fast Hands icon passive feature bg3Fast Hands Allows another bonus action, in Monk's case this will be Flurry of Blows, for more damage per turn.
Second-Story Work: Falling icon passive feature bg3Second-Story Work: Falling Reduces fall damage.

Overall, this will greatly improve your damage output on the first turn.

Level 10- Monk Lv 7

The level unlocks a few class features

Feature Description
Evasion icon passive feature bg3Evasion Gives a huge survivability boost against spells.
Stillness of Mind icon passive feature bg3Stillness of Mind Allows for avoiding Charmed and Frightened conditions, making many combat encounters easier.

Level 11 - Monk Lv 8

The second feat of the build is unlocked and an additional Ki Point has been added.

Feat

Feat Description
Ability Improvement You can go for Ability Improvement, and in this case, Dexterity +2, is great both for initiative and bonus Armour Class. Moreover, if you are not using Elixir of Cloud Giant Strength, it will boost your damage.
Alert icon passive feature bg3Alert Again, I recommend this one, as it is a game-changer in some encounters for Shadow Monk.

Level 12 - Monk Lv 9

The last level gives new features that are not relevant to the setup the build uses. However, there is one important upgrade.

Feature Description
Advanced Unarmoured Movement icon passive feature bg3Advanced Unarmoured Movement Can freely walk through difficult terrain, making it easier to reach foes. Perfect for situations where there is Ice, Grease, or other effects on the ground.

There is an unmentioned upgrade, the monk Martial Arts: Deft Strikes icon passive feature bg3Martial Arts: Deft Strikes​ at level 9 Monk gain 1d8 rolls, instead of 1d6. When using flurries this is an additional 2~ points of damage per flurry.

if this bonus damage is of no interest and you do not need more Ki Points, take Rogue and get third Feat.

Potions, Elixirs and Consumables

Let's take a look at what consumables we can use to further empower the build.

Potions

These are general consumables, and most of them are activated for a few turns. Potions are separate from Elixirs and can be active together.

Consumable Description
potion of speed bg3Potion of Speed In case you or your other casters have a Concentration spell slot taken and cannot cast Haste, use this potion. It acts similarly, but the effect is just for 3 turns.
potion of invisibility bg3Potion of Invisibility Can be used to get a perfect position before the encounter starts.

Elixirs

Unfortunately, only one Elixir can be active at a time. However, the good thing is that they last until a long rest, making them very useful and economical.

Be sure to activate them before combat as otherwise, you will need to use Bonus Action.

Consumable Description
elixir of bloodlust bg3Elixir of Bloodlust As you will be able to easily kill at least the weakest foe, this ensures additional attacks per turn. I would go with this option once you have 22 base strength, otherwise look at the options below.
elixir of vigilance bg3Elixir of Vigilance For some encounters, you will want to go first. This elixir will ensure that it overcomes even surprise mechanics.
elixir of hill giant strength bg3Elixir of Hill Giant Strength Sets strength value to 21 until the Long Rest. With this option, you can easily gimp on strength in the early game. You can put those points in Dexterity or Strength. Here is a farming guide for Elixir of Hill Giant Strength
elixir of hill giant strength bg3Elixir of Cloud Giant Strength An upgraded version that is available mostly in Act 3 via crafting or purchasing. Sets Strength to 27, the highest value possible. if using this one, you could set the strength to 8 via respec.

Illithid Powers

This is a special mechanic in Baldur's Gate 3, that allows you to consume tadpoles and unlock special Illithid Powers. These range from somewhat useful, to extremely deadly. I would like to leave a few recommendations:

Base Illithid Powers

Order Illithid Power Description
1 favourable beginnings bg3Favourable Beginnings Very useful power to take as it does not have any costs, and provides only benefits on the first hits.
2 luck of the far realms bg3Luck of the Far Realms Guarantees a critical hit, a very powerful action to have.
3 concentrated blast bg3Concentrated Blast Taking only for progression, to unlock the next power.
4 cull the weak bg3Cull the Weak Passive feature that does not cost anything and automatically deals bonus psychic damage around the target, once it is close to death.
5 shield of thralls bg3Shield of Thralls Taking for progression, to unlock the next power, but it also provides a good bonus as temporary health.

Elite Illithid Powers

These become unlocked later in the game as you progress. They are extremely powerful additions to the build.

Order Illithid Power Description
1 freecast bg3Freecast Removes any cost of Ki from using Monk actions.

Equipment Recommendations

Now I would like to go through some gear recommendations to maximize the Shadow Monk Build. Items are especially important as they take the build to the next level thanks to their unique effects.

Act 1

In Act 1, you should be using Unarmed attacks most time, especially once you get The Sparkle Hands icon bg3The Sparkle Hands or Gloves of Cinder and Sizzle icon bg3Gloves of Cinder and Sizzle or Tavern Brawler icon passive feature bg3Tavern Brawler​ feat.

I also recommend wearing a shield if you have proficiency.

Slot Item Description
melee slot bg3Melee (One - Handed) Knife of the Undermountain King icon bg3Knife of the Undermountain King I recommend picking this weapon up, it will come in handy later on, once you unlock Cloak of Shadows and obtain Flawed Helldusk Gloves icon bg3Flawed Helldusk Gloves
Corellon's Grace icon bg3Corellon's Grace A good staff, that can be used by Monk for additional unarmed damage. You will still have to attack with the weapon for the main hand and use bonus actions to attack with fists. I only recommend using this until you get the first gloves with bonus damage, like Gloves of Cinder and Sizzle icon bg3Gloves of Cinder and Sizzle. After that just use unarmed attacks.
ranged slot bg3Ranged Bow of Awareness icon bg3Bow of Awareness Gives bonus initiative, allowing one to go earlier in combat
Titanstring Bow icon bg3Titanstring Bow If you are using Elixir of Hill Giant Strength this is the best bow in terms of damage. However, this is a contender for a dedicated archer and requires Longbow proficiency. You can get it as an elf.
Hunting Shortbow icon bg3Hunting Shortbow Excellent bow against monstrosities. There are plenty of them in Act 1.
helmet slot bg3Head Haste Helm icon bg3Haste Helm Provides increased speed at the start of the combat.
cloak slot bg3Cloak The Deathstalker Mantle icon bg3The Deathstalker Mantle The only option in Act 1 that is okay, is by providing once-per-turn invisibility. Only available to Dark Urge origin.
armor slot bg3Armor The Graceful Cloth icon bg3The Graceful Cloth Gives +2 Dexterity making it a very good choice for the end of Act 1 and the start of Act 2.
Armour of Uninhibited Kushigo icon bg3Armour of Uninhibited Kushigo Somewhat relatable first unarmed build armor. It is nothing special as I do not think you will utilize the effect.
gloves slot bg3Gloves Gloves of Cinder and Sizzle icon bg3Gloves of Cinder and Sizzle It gives fire damage, increasing the variety of damage types that you do.
The Sparkle Hands icon bg3The Sparkle Hands Amazing gloves that after the first hit will give Lightning Charges. These then provide bonus 1 damage lightning and can stack up with more Lightning Charges.
boots slot bg3Boots Disintegrating Night Walkers icon bg3Disintegrating Night Walkers Avoids slipping on various terrains and most importantly unlocks Misty Step each short rest. These boots can last till Act 3, as walking on icy surfaces can be deadly for melee build. The item removes this problem.
Boots of Genial Striding  icon bg3Boots of Genial Striding Allows the Monk to walk freely on difficult terrain.
amulet slot bg3Amulet Sentient Amulet icon bg3Sentient Amulet Great amulet that will be useful for most of the game. With its actions, it is the perfect choice for Monk.
ring slot bg3Rings Crusher's Ring icon bg3Crusher's Ring Improves movement speed, making it easier to reach your next target.
Ring of Protection icon bg3Ring of Protection Gives defensive bonuses to Armour Class and Saving Throws.

Act 2 - mid-game

Act 2 changes the landscape and there will be a lot of dark areas. Moreover, it will provide some amazing items for you to find, that will improve the build damage.

This is also where I recommend equipping Knife of the Undermountain King icon bg3Knife of the Undermountain King and a shield if you can. Besides that, there are a few weapon options if you cannot do that.

Slot Item Description
melee slot bg3Melee (One-handed) Justiciar's Scimitar icon bg3Justiciar's Scimitar Its unique effect can be used to deal bonus damage without breaking concealment. Just be sure to wear this on the main hand.
Knife of the Undermountain King icon bg3Knife of the Undermountain King Having this weapon equipped will increase critical roll range. This is important once you start attacking mainly with bonus actions.
melee slot bg3Melee (Two-Handed) Shar's Spear of Evening icon bg3Shar's Spear of Evening This is another good weapon, that you can use for dual-wielding. However, this requires you to make some evil decisions, so it may not be accessible.
ranged slot bg3Ranged Titanstring Bow icon bg3Titanstring Bow The is still useful due to its bonus damage from strength if using Elixir of Hill Giant Strength. Requires Longbow proficiency.
Darkfire Shortbow icon bg3Darkfire Shortbow Amazing bow that allows to precast Haste before combat. This may not seem big as you can use Potion of Speed, but sometimes its short duration is not enough.
Bow of the Banshee icon bg3Bow of the Banshee Can frighten enemies, making them unable to move, and giving you and the party a big boost.
helmet slot bg3Head Dark Justiciar Helmet icon bg3Dark Justiciar Helmet A more powerful version, but requires Medium Armor Proficiency.
Covert Cowl icon bg3Covert Cowl This headwear will lead you through the rest of the playthrough unless you have medium armor proficiency for other options.
cloak slot bg3Cloak Cloak of Protection icon bg3Cloak of Protection Improves survivability and Saving Throw success.
The Deathstalker Mantle icon bg3The Deathstalker Mantle If you have this, it is still a solid choice.
armor slot bg3Armor Yuan-ti Scale Mail icon bg3Yuan-ti Scale Mail If you can wear medium armor, this is an amazing choice as you can scale its Armour Class beyond +2 from Dexterity.
The Graceful Cloth icon bg3The Graceful Cloth Still a solid option throughout Act 2 due to bonus Dexterity, before getting ASI +2 Dexterity.
gloves slot bg3Gloves Flawed Helldusk Gloves icon bg3Flawed Helldusk Gloves Deals bonus necrotic damage with unarmed attacks and can apply bleeding. Also deals bonus damage with weapon attacks, perfect for what is Shadow Monk build aiming.
boots slot bg3Boots Evasive Shoes icon bg3Evasive Shoes Bonus armor class for higher survivability.
Disintegrating Night Walkers icon bg3Disintegrating Night Walkers The boots are still a good option in Act 2.
amulet slot bg3Amulet Sentient Amulet icon bg3Sentient Amulet The amulet is great as it allows for the restoration of Ki Points.
Surgeon's Subjugation Amulet icon bg3Surgeon's Subjugation Amulet Can be an effective amulet against humanoid enemies, and fully paralyze them.
Amulet of the Harpers icon bg3Amulet of the Harpers Allows casting Shield spell, can be a lifesaver if attacked heavily for one turn.
ring slot bg3Rings Risky Ring  icon bg3Risky Ring Provides an Advantage on attack rolls. This is a mandatory ring as it will both guarantee more hits and a higher chance of critical hits.
Shadow-Cloaked Ring icon bg3Shadow-Cloaked Ring An offensive ring that gives bonus damage against obscured enemies.
Eversight Ring icon bg3Eversight Ring If you use Darkness heavily and don't have Shar's Spear of Evening icon bg3Shar's Spear of Evening, this ring is perfect to avoid blindness
Ring of Protection icon bg3Ring of Protection Bonus armour class is a good bonus, and the ring still takes place.

Act 3 - Final Build setup

This is the last act of the game, where you will get access to the most powerful items. To get them as early as possible you will need some planning, but overall, it should not be a problem.

There are two main setups that I see, that I would like to cover with weapons:

If playing with a group of 4 characters, then relying on Cloak of Shadows every turn is not necessary. So you can use your action point to attack two times.

Slot Item Description
melee slot bg3Melee (One - Handed) Crimson Mischief icon bg3Crimson Mischief A ridiculously powerful dagger, that when worn on the main hand deals a bonus 7 piercing damage. In addition, it adds 1d4 necrotic damage. it's not as good when worn in the offhand.
Rhapsody icon bg3Rhapsody The most versatile weapon to be worn when dual-wielding. The Scarlet Remittance effect gives bonus damage for each killed foe during the Long Rest. This is important as this also works on unarmed attacks.
Knife of the Undermountain King icon bg3Knife of the Undermountain King Until you get both of the above ones, this one serves as a perfect option to wear.
melee slot bg3Melee (Two-Handed) Shar's Spear of Evening icon bg3Shar's Spear of Evening Now, this is not as powerful as Crimson Mischief icon bg3Crimson Mischief in pure damage. However, it is still good and has interesting unique effects, like blindness immunity.

If you are going for a Solo playthrough, weapon slots will be used to improve critical chances as you will mostly rely on Flurries. However, this can still deal substantial damage in case you have the option to attack. Shar's Spear of Evening icon bg3Shar's Spear of Evening is also a contender in case you heavily rely on Darkness.

Slot Item Description
melee slot bg3Melee (One - Handed) Blade of the First Blood icon bg3Blade of the First Blood Increases critical range rolls. The main hand effect is not as relevant because you will be wearing Bhaalist Armour icon bg3Bhaalist Armour. So I would recommend wearing this in the off-hand.
Rhapsody icon bg3Rhapsody Perfect contender for the setup as the bonus damage also applies to unarmed attacks.
Knife of the Undermountain King icon bg3Knife of the Undermountain King Improves damage and critical rolls for unarmed attacks.

Now, for the other equipment:

Slot Item Description
ranged slot bg3Ranged The Dead Shot icon bg3The Dead Shot
(BiS)
Increases critical range, and is perfect for improving damage. However, this requires Longbow proficiency, it's not a big problem if you are not using ranged attacks, as that does not bring any downsides for melee combat. Otherwise, you would have to be Elf to have the proficiency.
Darkfire Shortbow icon bg3Darkfire Shortbow Amazing bow that allows to precast Haste before combat. This may not seem big as you can use Potion of Speed, but sometimes its short duration is not enough.
Hellrider Longbow icon bg3Hellrider Longbow Gives a big boost to the initiative, guaranteeing that you can go first. However, you will need to get Longbow proficiency from race.
Bow of Awareness icon bg3Bow of Awareness Bow from Act 1, is useful for a bonus to initiative.
helmet slot bg3Head Horns of the Berserker icon bg3Horns of the Berserker I think the best option for the helmet is thanks to a necrotic damage boost. This is better than a critical range boost. Otherwise, use the ones from Act 2.
Helmet of Grit icon bg3Helmet of Grit I think this would be the best helmet as you could do an additional Flurry attack with Bonus action. However, this requires you to have less than 50% HP. If you decide to use this, be sure to equip Amulet of Greater Health icon bg3Amulet of Greater Health. So it is a very risky option.
cloak slot bg3Cloak Cloak of Displacement icon bg3Cloak of Displacement
(BiS)
Improves the chances of attacks missing the wearer until getting hit for that turn.
Shade-Slayer Cloak icon bg3Shade-Slayer Cloak The cloak can serve a purpose for Shadow Monk as you often attack from hiding. However, it should not take priority over survivability, the additional critical range, is not that strong when you average everything.
armor slot bg3Armor Bhaalist Armour icon bg3Bhaalist Armour
(BiS)
This is the creme de la creme of this build. It is ridiculously powerful armor, that doubles the damage of piercing weapons. If you are using your weapon attacks to some extent, just take this if the story choices allow.
Elegant Studded Leather icon bg3Elegant Studded Leather Although not as good as the one above, the Shield spell can be a lifesaver.
Armour of Agility icon bg3Armour of Agility If you can wear medium armour this is another great option for Shadow Monk.
gloves slot bg3Gloves Helldusk Gloves icon bg3Helldusk Gloves
(BiS)
The best gloves in my opinion as they work both on weapon and unarmed attacks, covering all your damage options.
Gloves of Soul Catching icon bg3Gloves of Soul Catching
(BiS)
If you mostly rely on Flurries, these gloves are crazy. They give the highest bonus damage of 1d10
boots slot bg3Boots Helldusk Boots icon bg3Helldusk Boots
(BiS)
These boots are amazing. Although you would lose some damage, its advantages of overcoming difficult terrain are nothing to take lightly.
Boots of Uninhibited Kushigo icon bg3Boots of Uninhibited Kushigo Very good boots, that you obtain early in Act 3. For this reason, you should also have your Wisdom modifier positive.
amulet slot bg3Amulet Sentient Amulet icon bg3Sentient Amulet
(BiS)
The upgraded version of the amulet is a perfect choice for Monk.
Amulet of Greater Health icon bg3Amulet of Greater Health It makes any Constitution ability investment redundant as it maximizes it to 23 points. Use this together with the Helmet of Grit icon bg3Helmet of Grit.
Magic Amulet icon bg3Magic Amulet Gives an Advantage on attack. I would use this only if you do not have Risky Ring  icon bg3Risky Ring. Otherwise, this does not provide much use, besides Saving Throw Advantage.
ring slot bg3Rings Shadow-Cloaked Ring icon bg3Shadow-Cloaked Ring
(BiS)
A perfect ring for bonus damage. It requires the enemy to be obscured, so check the stealth icon, whether the sun is half-empty or full-empty.
Risky Ring icon bg3Risky Ring
(BiS)
Increases critical chance and success of attacks landing on the target.
Eversight Ring icon bg3Eversight Ring If you use Darkness heavily and don't have Shar's Spear of Evening icon bg3Shar's Spear of Evening, this ring is perfect to avoid blindness
Ring of Protection icon bg3Ring of Protection Bonus armor class is a good bonus, and the ring still takes place.

Build Variations

There are a few variations that the build could be changed about. I think it is more for advanced players who are likely doing some deeper optimizations.

Setup Description
  • 8 Monk
  • 4 Rogue
This unlocks the third feat, if you need that. However, you lose 1d8 on unarmed attacks and Ki Point.
  • 6 Monk
  • 4 Rogue
  • 2 Fighter
This is a perfect solo-run build. It gets Action Surge, for first-turn burst attacks, and can equip all weapons. It would require some advanced optimization and testing, with stuff like dual Spears. You will most likely also drop Flurry of Blows and Tavern Brawler icon passive feature bg3Tavern Brawler​ altogether and concentrate only on weapon attacks. This utilizes monks' Cloak of Shadows and Shadow Step for mobility.

Conclusion

Thank you for reading the Way of Shadows Monk build for Baldur's Gate 3. I hope you enjoyed reading the build. This should cover everything that you need to become the ultimate killer from the shadows.

Cheers!

Enjoy what you read? I'm passionate about creating exceptional and high-quality gaming builds and guides. If you find value in my work and would like to see more, I would be grateful for your support on Patreon/Ko-Fi. It helps me to focus on expanding the website, relying less on ads, and continuing this journey full-time. Every bit of support makes a big difference :)

- Zanuffas
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com
Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Discussion

Anonymous

Is Shadow Monk the only build you made suitable for a Solo run?

Multiclassing monk, rogue and warrior, is it okay to equip heavy armor?

Anonymous

Hey, Just wanted to let you know in the ability score you have charisma as 12 but I think you meant to put it at 8 or else its impossible to have all other scores! Love the builds helping me beat honor run for the first time after 350 hours in the game! Thanks alot

Yeah, my mistake, it is set correctly in the leveling table. Would like to hear how the build goes and if you have ideas for improvements :)

Anonymous

That’s why he’s the MVP, that’s why he’s the GOAT, the GOAT

Cheers!

Anonymous

If i'm playing as gith, can I use 2h swords at beginning (or in entire game)?

If you are not into optimizations, then you can use it and still use Flurry of Blows with bonus action, as nothing can compete with it in the early game. Otherwise, it would be best to start using them later in Act 2 or 3.

Also, if you are adamant about only going with dual wielding, you can also check this build - https://gamestegy.com/post/bg3/864/assassin-rogue-build-stalker

I was ignorant about this katana, I didn't even get to act 3. I'm more excited to play with this build

I want to play with Dark urge, I want to play with gith and I want to run monk. That's perfect, thanks for this build

I will just need to include the section how to play with this amazing build, as there are a few caveats. But overall it's very fun build :)

It would be interesting if there was a katana in the game and allowed it to be equipped in this subclass to give it a totally ninja vibe (my opinion, at least)

There is a Katana in Act 3

gamestegy-discord-invite-link
zanuffas
Gamestegy Founder. I have been writing game guides and builds for 4 years. I like to push myself to create something wonderful for the readers!