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Solving the Double Monk Issue II

Andrew Corpuz Posted:
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In part one, we discussed decreasing Double Monk Formation (DMF) Prevalence by increasing the relevance of Dispel Scrolls & Guard Dispel. In part two, we'll continue finding sophisticated strategies to decreasing DMF while trying not to harm SMF by focusing on ideas that modify HG, Awakening, and overall PvP balance.

Category B: Modifying the Monk's Skills

This category focuses on modifying the monk's seemingly overpowered skills.

1) Create a Penalty for Holy Guard; turn Heal into a DoT or Debuff

Summary: Recently in Korea, the heal from Holy Guard has been reduced. However, this has had little effect on double monk strategy. The real benefit of Holy Guard isn't its heal; it's the protection from magic. Currently, players almost automatically Holy Guard their front-line to protect from an opponent's Viking's Freezing Axe / Ice Ridge. This, of course, isn't the case if the opponent has no Viking or if the player is under greater pressure such as stun, however, if Holy Guard's heal is turned into a DoT or debuff, players will have to wonder whether or not the protection from magic is worth the Dot or Debuff sacrifice.


  • If the debuff isn't too strong, this can enhance strategic thinking
  • A DMF will be unwilling to have two or more rows under HG, especially if they have no healers


  • Holy Guard's negative effects may be too confusing to deal with that many will opt out of Holy Guard altogether, decreasing both DMF and SMF
  • An opposing player may simply scare an opponent into using Holy Guard without actually ever having to use skills; this may give magic-heavy builds too much of an advantage

Suggestion Rating: B

2) Create a Penalty for Holy Guard; AP Drain or Paralysis

Summary: Similar to Suggestion 1), decreasing the ability to act for those mercenaries under HG will make players re-think HG use. Additionally, mercenaries that are the most susceptible to magic

Skills are most usually the most adept to deal with physical attack; for example, a Melee tank under HG is likely to receive relatively little damage, especially if he guards.

Take away the ability to guard, and damage to a mercenary under HG increases significantly.


  • Decreases DMF turtling significantly


  • -May increase use of high AP cost skills or powerful near death skills such as Deadly Shot

Suggestion Rating: A

3) Increase the Duration of Holy Guard

Summary: One of the negative effects of Holy Guard is the inability to heal a mercenary while under HG. As of now, the only build types that can truly take advantage of this are snipe builds, which can kill one mercenary under HG before they ever get a chance to receive a heal (which explains the rise of the Bow main). Increasing the duration of Holy Guard will prevent mercenaries from receiving heals for a longer period of time, giving the opponent more time to kill off mercenaries.


  • Turtling would decrease significantly
  • HG use on staff and other mercenaries who may die quickly would decrease

  • Favors snipe builds with Silence skill to an even greater degree
  • Since a single HG would basically draw in focus fire to a mercenary in that row, this may not affect DMF much more than SMF

Suggestion Rating: B

4) Reduce the heal or target range on Awakening

Summary: Another function of the monk is to reduce stun counters with the skill, Awakening. With Awakening comes an added bonus - a heal. While many have suggested nerfing the heal on Awakening, they seem to forget that the heal is already small.


  • Awakening could no longer be used as a heal
  • A monk not stunned wouldn't be able to cure much stun with a smaller awakening range


  • Monk loses some functionality, decreasing strategic application
  • Stun builds would increase, and may actually encourage use of DMF

Suggestion Rating: D

5) Nerf the Passives

Summary: Monk's passive skills do a very good job of protecting the main, but have no direct effect on how the other eight mercenaries are protected. A few individuals have suggested this idea.


  • Levels the playing field for those who don't use monk
  • Greatly punishes those who frontline their mains late in battle


  • Favors snipe and deadly strike/shot builds to an even greater degree
  • Degrades monk utility and build strategy significantly

Suggestion Rating: F

Category C: Decrease Need for Monk's Skills

This category focuses on suggestions that affect the need to use the monk's skills. By decreasing magic power or stun power, which are nullified by Holy Guard and Awakening respectively, one may hope DMF would decrease. Though many people have suggested these ideas, they usually do it out of their own formation's inability to deal with magic or stun, rather than looking at the entire picture.

1) PvP Stat Balancing - Decrease Magic Power

Summary: When AoE builds were king, many felt these builds required little thought to become effective. Just spam your AoE and win. When physical damage returned, AoE builds declined. In part due to high prevalence of DMF, the current strength of magic skills is no longer the damage they inflict, but rather the ability to control or limit the actions the opponent takes.


  • More builds may be willing to forgo use of a monk since the strength of certain skills won't be as threatening


  • May have little effect on DMF use
  • Hurts formation variety as a whole, possibly significantly harming mains that depend on magic

Suggestion Rating: D

2) PvP Stat Balancing - Decrease Stun Power

Summary: Almost every successful Division 1 Free League build has an ample amount of Gun and Cannon mercenaries whose primary purpose is to inflict stun. Additionally, Gun mercenaries are extremely efficient at scroll canceling, which makes it even more difficult to relieve stun. If the required amount of stun counters required to inflict stun was increased, the viability of applying stun pressure in a build that isn't primarily focused around stun would decrease, thus decreasing the need to use Awakening.


  • May increase formation variety


  • Dramatic effect on current core mechanics
  • May have little effect on DMF use, DMFs continuing to focus on Holy Guard

Suggestion Rating: D

3) Modify skills that almost require a monk or two

Summary: Many skills almost require the opponent to have a monk to use HG. DMF makes mercenaries such as the Witch and Elementalist, (as well as mains such as the Musician,) almost useless in terms of damage output. However, if some of the skills of these mercenaries (and mains) became innately less threatening or were modified greatly, many speculate there would be less need to have DMF. For example, if the Elementalist's skills were to miss more often or were less damaging, more players would be willing to risk omission of a monk or two for a melee mercenary. To compensate for less powerful skills, the affected mercenaries would have to receive some other benefit, such as a new skill or a stat buff.


  • Reduces need for monk altogether
  • May increase formation variety


  • May greatly affect current PvP stability; changes core mechanics
  • Too risky, greatly affecting mercenaries' utility and presence

Suggestion Rating: Variable

What are your ratings for each suggestion? How can each of these suggestions be improved further? Discuss in the comment section below!


Andrew Corpuz