The Monk is the master of martial arts, and thankfully in Baldur’s Gate 3, they are much more potent than their 5e counterpart. That doesn’t mean, however, that the 3 Subclasses are equally effective. Unlike some other classes, one subclass stands above the rest: Way of the Open Hand. Between the improved Flurry of Blows actions you get as soon as you take your subclass and the Manifestations you get by Level 6, Open Hand Monks are incredibly powerful, attacking many times while dealing crippling status effects that can synergize hugely with your Companions. Especially with some good gear, Open Hand Monks easily compete with other martial classes, and synergize with them well.
However, the other two Subclasses still have their uses. Monks tend to have pretty high Dexterity, which means that Way of Shadow can be extremely effective. If you want to do stealth while still dealing huge damage and exploring everything you can, Way of Shadow is the way to go. Live out those ninja dreams. Lastly, Way of the Four ElementsMonks have powerful spells, but their downside is that… Well, any good party composition will already have better spellcasters. As useful as the occasional positioning spell can be, it isn’t really worth the high ki cost when Way of the Open Hand Monks already have positioning effects that are more reliable, and your spellcasters almost certainly have better options. It can be useful for mage-multiclassed Monks, but is a weaker subclass overall.
Monks are supremely good at 3 things: controlling positioning on the battlefield, making many attacks at once, and using Wisdom-based skills. Because Monks have very high movement speed and several abilities that improve that further, while also having plenty of opportunities to push targets or force them prone, they can keep enemies controlled. Especially against bosses and other large, single enemies, this positioning benefit is huge, enabling Monks to get in, strike 3 to 4 times, and retreat just in time for other damage dealers to make short work of their target. While a Monk probably won’t be your primary damage dealer (though good equipment can prove pretty effective), they can set up massive combos with their party quite easily.
When they aren’t fighting, though, they are just as effective. High Wisdom means you are likely to pick up more environmental obstacles using Perception or Survival, preventing you from stepping on traps or missing loot. This means that they excel at the very front of a party, noticing what others don’t. And in dialog, this persists: while Charisma skills will be the most useful for most dialogs, next comes Wisdom due to the frequency with which Insight (and general Wisdom) can be used to pick up on details. And even Medicine and Survival can come in handy often enough (and often with Inspiration, if you or a party member is an Outlander). This means that Monks have quite a lot of explorative and social ability, even without Charisma.
The most obvious weakness that Monks have is that (for a Martial class) they are squishy, and their damage can be lackluster. It is simply a fact that simple weapons and fists won’t compete with a Barbarian or Fighter with a greatsword. While they have more options to disable or control enemies, actual damage isn’t their strong suit. They also have relatively low HP for a martial class, meaning that anything that consistently hits them is likely to down them, even if Unarmoured Defense can prevent that some. And, of course, Monks do lack magical abilities, even lagging behind other Martial classes when it comes to their magical subclass, which limits their utility.
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