Content of the article: "Monk of Mercy: Actually Useful?"
The monk class, in general, deals less damage than other martial classes and is tied for the least hit points among martials. Its major saving grace is Stunning Strike, but that feature targets the worst saving throw (constitution) and is thus unreliable. Since the Monk doesn't have other party support options, I've previously discounted the class.
But the Way of Mercy seems interesting for two reasons:
- Hand of Healing can be combined with Flurry of Blows for a cheap bonus action heal, still allowing the Monk to do useful things with their action.
- Hand of Harm, similarly, can be combined with other actions at a cheap cost. The damage is small, but the fact that this can inflict the Poisoned condition with no save may be quite powerful.
Yes, many creatures are immune to the Poisoned condition, but those who aren't have little way to prevent a Monk of Mercy from inflicting them with this condition, given that the Monk might make four attacks and only need to land one of them, spending only 1-2Ki per round to maintain this effect on a hard-hitting target (as opposed to trying to maintain stun, which can be extremely expensive due to frequent resists). As a reminder, "A poisoned creature has disadvantage on Attack rolls and Ability Checks." This is inferior to stunning the target, but since there is no save, it's also guaranteed, and may be the easiest way to inflict consistent disadvantage on many creatures. I'd argue that this is superior to the Open Hand monk's ability to push or prone targets since both of those require a saving throw and a prone creature can simply stand up.
The archetype also has, as far as I know, the cheapest method to remove the blinded, deafened, paralyzed, poisoned, and stunned conditions. Spending 1 ki to remove such an effect is much cheaper than casting Lesser Restoration, especially when doing so as part of Flurry of Blows, and the Monk version comes along with a small heal. This is comparable to spending 1 Ki to cast Cure Wounds at 1st level and Lesser Restoration at 2nd using half of your bonus action.
Is this Monk actually useful?
- Has the Way of Mercy elegantly solved many of the Monk’s weaknesses?
- Why do I see so many people complain that Monks are weak? I think Monks are the strongest Martial class.
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