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Zen Archer

This chapter has been updated for most Update 33 changes. Note that Ninja Spy adds DEX-to-damage in its second core ability for any weapon but staves and handwraps, but includes bows, saving you AP in the Elf tree. Latest build now includes level 30 information.

While DDO supports the use of longbows and shortbows with a Monk, thanks to the Zen Archery feat, emulating some of the natural offensive powers of the Ranger class is more difficult without multiclassing, which is outside the scope of this guide.

Two critical challenges come in developing a Monk archer:

  • Bow damage on a Ranger is defined by the Bow Strength feat, granted automatically to Rangers but requiring a prohibitive number of feat slots for other classes. Without Bow Strength, there is no damage modifier to a bow unless your STR is less than 10.
  • The Zen Archery feat makes the bow a centered ki weapon but doesn't give weapon proficiency feats to the character, requiring more feat slots to avoid attack penalties.

To avoid this, the Zen Archer (as well as the Zen Bowmaster) take advantage of the Elf racial tree's ability to use DEX as the damage modifier, rather than STR).


This chapter, nor the Zen Bowmaster chapter, describes how to build a "monkcher."

The Book's purpose is illustrate how the Monk can leverage their innate skills from levels 1 to 20 and beyond for players new or unfamiliar to the Monk class. While the Book does not completely shun multiclassing (as is required for the Kensei Monk), the Book is primarily designed to help players to appreciate the whole of the Monk class, no matter what the weapon wielded.

For more on the "monkchers," browse this DDO forums thread.


The Zen Archer is a high-defense sniper, built is to maximize miss-chance and innate Monk defenses while using Harper Agent and Elf enhancements to maximize damage.

Comparable to the Deepwood Stalker Ranger, the Zen Archer is a "stand-your-ground" archer. Unlike the Deepwood Stalker, the Zen Archer can stay in place longer and keep their Archer's Focus maintained.

A Zen Archer with all defenses up can stand against a horde of enemy archers and kill them with little loss of HP because the miss-chance. saves and Deflect Arrows effects are that potent in combination.

Unlike a Stalker, the Zen Archer maximizes Dodge and Concealment while also adding Incorporeality, Spell Resistance and higher Reflex saves, the Deflect Arrows feat, and Improved Evasion. The Zen Archer resists more incoming fire than any other class while still maintaining a consistent and potent level of attack.

The Zen Bowmaster, in contrast, has higher DPS but is slower to grow because of level requirements and has fewer damage options from the AA tree because of its very high AP costs.

A Zen Archer, with a Shield clicky, Death Ward, Displacement and Greater Heroism, is a sniper extraordinaire. She can stare an ogre in the face while it flails at her while she systematically removes enemies ahead before removing the ogre, with less damage to herself than a Ranger. Spells are resisted, missile attacks are avoided while enemies fall.

The build is most superior by Epic levels as Ranged Power builds up through Epic Destinies and Epic leveling. The Zen Archer matches well with Pin and Otto's Whistler from Shiradi Champion. One or both abilities, by way of Twists of Fate, can be added with Rejuvenation Cocoon for a strong archer.

It's highly recommended to add A Dance of Flowers from Grandmaster of Flowers. For this reason, with higher ki support, offensive options and other monastic benefits, Grandmaster of Flowers is a strong general purpose ED since this leaves many Fate slots to add from other destinies that support ranged attacks.

Like the Shiradi Shuricannon, fortification bypass can be added with the Precision feat and also from Shadowdancer with Grim Precision. The Zen Archer can become a potent Shroud portal beater with 80-90% fortification bypass through items, enhancements and feats.

General Feats and Elf Racial Enhancements

The Zen Archer uses the Elf racial tree. This, combined with the Zen Archery feat, gives the Monk natural use of the longbow and saves many feats otherwise required to make the bow proficient.

Once trained to its highest tier, the Elf provides weapon damage bonuses but, before Update 33, used the Aerenal Grace ability for DEX for the damage modifier, rather than STR. The more DEX, the better the archer's to-hit and damage, as well as AC and Reflex save bonuses.

But now, you should use the second Ninja Spy core enhancement, Advanced Ninja Training, since you'll be adding points in that tree. It will give you DEX-to-Damage to bows and any weapon you wield as Centered, except handwraps and quarterstaffs. You still need the Elf tree for granting you Longbow proficiency, bonuses to damage and attack, Displacement (through the Elf dragonmark) and other bonuses, but now you save some AP in the Elf tree.

A sister enhancement, Skill, increases the Dodge bonus and adds 3% Doubleshot to the character.

The Zen Archer trains the Least Dragonmark of Shadow feat. This adds enhancements that also give Displacement: 50% Concealment that is useful for maximum defense during tougher battles. Using the tier 5 Magic of Patience enhancement from Harper Agent, Displacement will extend it's duration to nearly 6 minutes in Epic play.

Central to the Zen Archer's defense is the Deflect Arrows feat. On a Monk, this feat works 360%, swatting any missile attack once every six seconds. This means that the feat is available any time where the first three miss-chance defenses (Dodge, Incorporeality or Concealment) do not ward off the missile, adding a stronger defense.

The standard ranged feats (Point Blank Shot, Quick Draw, Rapid Shot) are also chosen, as is the Monk class feat Ten Thousand Stars for a faster 1 minute cooldown multiple-shot attack.

While Manyshot is also trained for a more powerful boss-beating 20 second attack, the Zen Archer's rapid ki regeneration and shorter cooldown of Ten Thousand Stars allows more continual use of its feature over Manyshot. Being a pure Monk, TTS gains the maximum benefits as a Zen Archer.

Precise Shot with its Archer's Focus feat is a central feature of the Zen Archer, which allows free targeting of one enemy without causing damage (and aggro) of other enemies. Archer's Focus also generates increasing damage bonuses while standing still.


A valid question involves the lack of one specific feat in this build: Improved Precise Shot (IPS).

It's not there and can't be, if the Zen Archer wants to survive.

The Zen Archer is a type of sniper, which means it's picking off enemies while trying not to aggravate other enemies. While Precise Shot allows ranged/thrown attacks to pass through enemies to reach your target, IPS does the opposite, striking your target and anything in-between you and the target.

As a result, the accumulating aggro will kill a Zen Archer, no matter how potent their miss-chances, simply by overwhelming enemies and their attacks.

A Zen Archer with full defenses up can ignore a single enemy at point-blank range, especially some mages and any enemy with ranged attacks, for long periods while still targeting others with little to no interruption.

While monkchers and Arcane Archers often kite enemies to avoid damage, the Zen Archer does not kite as a normal defense. If the build must kite a superior enemy such a a Champion, it moves at Monk speeds, giving it a superior advantage over other mixed-builds.

Ninja Spy and Monk Enhancements

As a Monk that levels to 20, the character gains higher Dodge, movement speed, Spell Resistance and Evasion feats. As a full Monk, the build will have at least 25% Incorporeality and 20% Concealment through a Blurry item. The level 4 Bracers of Wind are easy to build and remain a Bound to Account item.

Monks have a base Dodge of 6% but now grows dramatically with Update 33 enhancements. Ocean Stance adds more stacking bonuses, as does Ninja Spy and (optionally) points in the Elf racial tree. Update 33 pulled the critical bonuses from Earth Stance to Fire Stance, so using Earth Stance isn't recommended now as your bows will no longer gain bonuses. Ocean Stance will provide better protection and is superior to Fire Stance since Greater/Ultimate Ocean Stance gives passive ki regeneration as well.

As a Ninja Spy, the Zen Archer can boost their Dodge to 28% using the Agility enhancement. (Higher guilds can boost the total to 30% with the Fencing Master airship amenity that gives a 2% Guild bonus to Dodge cap) as well as add additional Dodge bonuses using the Acrobatic enhancement. Update 33's boost to Dodge bonuses mean these numbers are likely to be higher, especially if you choose a level 30 Legendary feat that adds more Dodge and a stacking addition to your total Dodge cap. You could see an Epic character with Dodge in the 40% range.

The Stealthy enhancement is key from this tree as it adds +1 passive ki regeneration, needed to recharge ki since ranged or thrown damage does not. With Update 33, it includes the Faster Sneaking effect, saving you more AP.

Sneak Attack damage can also be added from this tree. This is highly recommended once you have two or more Deception effects, which bluff the target and cause repeated Sneak Attack vulnerabilities.

Do note that Update 33's later patches changed the aggro pattern. Shoot one enemy and nearby ones will follow and attack you. You're no longer able to "pick off" enemies as in prior updates. Solo, the Zen Archer works well with parties or hirelings that have good aggro to slow the approach for you to kill more efficiently. Enemies are bluffed but no longer "spin" or slow appreciably from Deception.

Unfortunately, the Ninja Poison effects do not work on bows, so further training in this tree cannot apply. Shiradi Champion's Nerve Venom works excellently in combination with Ninja Spy's No Mercy and any Sneak Attack bonuses for greater damage on those helpless enemies.

The Henshin Mystic tree receives 8 AP, sufficient to train Contemplation. That's not only +3 to the Concentration skill but also another +1 passive ki regeneration. By level 12, Greater Ocean Stance adds another +1 passive ki regeneration to keep the Zen Archer well charged with ki throughout their Heroic life and beyond.

A skilled player might skip this training and apply the 8 AP into the damage tree, the Harper Agent, for more Ranged Power. By Epic levels, you can reallocate the Mystic's 8 AP once you have Epic Destinies abilities you can Twist, such as Grandmaster of Flowers, which have options to add passive ki regeneration.

Harper Agent Enhancements

The Zen Archer boosts general damage through Ranged Power, a Favored Enemy if desired, effects that can bypass Good DR or use Improved Deception to slow down and bluff enemies so that Sneak Attack damage is applied.

Every Versatile Adept enhancement at all tiers are trained to their maximum, generating 18 Ranged Power. In addition to weapon enhancement damage, the fifth tier offers a final weapon enhancement choice. You can make your bow Good-aligned with Harper Enchantment of Righteousness or add additional damage and Improved Deception with Harper Enchantment of Deception. Deception will cause a Bluffing effect that spins enemies about, where Sneak Attack damage from the Ninja Spy tree will hit.

The optional Magic of Patience enhancement adds Extend Spell to the mix. The Zen Archer has few spell-like abilities that can be affected by this option save one: Displacement from their Shadow Dragonmark. As the character levels, Displacement will increase in duration as high as 6 minutes for each of the maximum 4 charges available through Elf training.

Action Points can also go into DEX bonuses, skills, hireling ability scores, and the selection of a favored enemy, identical to the Ranger ability. Difficult and numerous enemies such as undead may be a good choice for this.


Another question asked by early reviewers of this build: If the tree uses Harper Agent, why not use the Strategic Combat I and II skills and pump up only INT for to-hit and damage?

Answer: Because Monks don't work on INT.

While the Harper tree's options really help INT DCs of Rogues but putting much into one stat, the Monk still relies on their unlimited AC bonuses from DEX. Also, all the AP spent on Elf training to gain DEX-to-Damage enhancements would become pointless. Lastly, to get the needed Reflex saves to keep the build alive, a feat slot for Insightful Reflexes must be carved out, sacrificing either Manyshot, Ten Thousand Stars or Precision.

If a Zen build wanted a few more INT points for additional skills, that's not a bad option with the penalty of lower AC and greater resources.

Gameplay and Soloing Notes

The Zen Archer is quite solo-capable when using Ninja Spy techniques.
  • Stealth tactics are used, especially in Heroic levels where the build cannot stop or slow a charging attacker prior to getting Paralyzing bows
  • Sufficient distances to targets are kept so that the character uses that distance to kill before targets can get close and so other targets remain unaware of you (watch out for Update 33's new aggro changes)
  • Strong base-damage weapons with Seeker and other damage options through augment slots are used for higher damage rates, especially in Heroic modes (Early bows include the Greatbow of the Scrag, Serpentbranch, and Thornlord)
  • Deception effects also cause Bluff effects and stack together. While they're bluffed, Sneak Attack damage and effects apply.
To repeat, the Zen Archer is NOT a "monkcher." It is NOT designed for aggressive super-high DPS attacks on a large attack force.  (See the note above on why Improved Precise Shot is not included in this build.)

The Zen Archer ultimately works best in a medium to large party mode, especially as a rearguard that kills off attackers of other party members, or as damage dealer of important targets from long range (the dragons in the "Fire on Thunder Peak" raid are good examples).

With one or more hirelings or party members as aggro magnets, the Zen Archer can add damage and remove targets rapidly with little interruption. In player character parties, keeping a Zen Archer in Sneak affords them the ability to guard a party from a distance, adding damage to enemies aggroed on a tank or support class, especially with Sneak Attack damage in play.

Starting off, the Zen Archer's basic weapon damage will be lower until you train Advanced Ninja Training,  which adds Dexterity-to-Damage to bows through the Ninja Spy tree. Priority should be in training any enhancements first to build up this enhancement. You'll also want at least 1 point in each of the Dragonmark enhancements to get the Greater Dragonmark for Displacement.

After Advanced Ninja Training, building passive ki and movement speed with Ninja Spy's Stealthy, training Dodge bonuses and Sneak Attack (if desired) up to getting all three ranks of No Mercy and Shadow Veil at level 12 for Incorporeality are important. Harper Agent training wraps up with Ranged Power, extra MP (for Epic use), boosting hireling and summoned abilities are welcome. Tier 5 uses Harper Deception and Magic of Patience.

Epic damage builds dramatically with 
Grandmaster of Flowers' A Dance of Flowers to add 1.5W to bow damage. as well as 1W from Combat Archery. Train Grandmaster of Flowers first for this reason. Work your way through Legendary Dreadnought and then to Shiradi Champion and Primal Avatar. Complete both Primal destinies to get the Doubleshot epic destiny feat by level 28.

Levels 29 through 30 brings you superior gear options. The Outfit of the Celestial Guardian is superior defense. A Complete Thunder-Forged Longbow with Mortal Fear is a very powerful takedown bow. Your Epic, Epic Destiny and Legendary feats should focus on more defense or boosts to your Ranged Power. I would go for Ranged Power since more Dodge was granted with Update 33.

Additional destiny training will allow you to open and upgrade fate slots. Other destinies also add critical hit and threat bonuses. 

You will find that several destinies may be preferable as a raid destiny than simply using Grandmaster of Flowers, which offers the bulk of special ki and offensive-support features, requiring only some Twisted abilities for battle healing or single-enemy control, such as Shiradi's Pin.

For example, Divine Crusader's last innate ability, Zeal of the Righteous, is a very powerful 2.5 minute buff to Doubleshot and Ranged Power, allowing you to stack not only your own inherent Doubleshot and Ranged Power bonus but those of Manyshot and Ten Thousand Stars as well for a long session of room-clearing barrages of 181-212 Doubleshot, starting off, with 150+ Ranged Power or more.

Shadowdancer's high Ranged Power and special ranged options are also helpful, especially with the Zen Archer's higher Sneak Attack damage and deception effects.

Healing

The Zen Archer, as are other Ninja Spies, are weakest in battle healing options and healing amplification in Heroic levels. Skill points could be reallocated to Use Magic Device but at a grave cost to the build's foundation of stealth.

Yet battle healing is less required by the Heroic Zen Archer because of its innate defenses IF the character isn't thrown into a mob. Shooting from afar will kill things far faster than they can kill the Zen Archer. Don't zerg with a Zen Archer. See the Stormreach Shadows guide to stealth if you need help in learning stealth techniques.

By Epic, the popular and easy-to-train Rejuvenation Cocoon from the Primal Avatar epic destiny will do well for the build, especially if Devotion items are used. Harper Agent training in Magical Endurance or wearing Wizardry/Archmagi items will add what few MP are needed for solid battle healing, but often the SP bonuses of many epic destinies fill this SP gap well.

Build Information

Here is the build information as of February 4, 2016, complete to level 30 and includes Update 33 changes to save 2 AP from Elf in light of Advanced Ninja Training's DEX-to-Damage support for bows. This is a light but durable archer, so do make adjustments to as you see fit, especially for fortification bypass in Epic levels. You should be able to import this information into Character Builder Lite 2.1.0 or later, where it was generated.

Zen Archer 2.1

Monk 20

Lawful Good Elf



Stats

               32pt     34pt     36pt     Tome     Level Up

               ----     ----     ----     ----     --------

Strength        12       12       12                4: DEX

Dexterity       20       20       20       +6       8: DEX

Constitution    10       10       10               12: DEX

Intelligence    10       10       10               16: DEX

Wisdom          14       15       16       +5      20: DEX

Charisma         8        8        8               24: DEX

                                                   28: DEX


Skills

          1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

         ------------------------------------------------------------

Concent   4  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  23

Hide      4  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  23

Move Si   4  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  23

Spot      3  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  22

Tumble    1                                                            1

         ------------------------------------------------------------

         16  4  4  4  4  4  4  4  4  4  4  4  4  4  4  4  4  4  4  4



Feats


 1        : Point Blank Shot

 1 Monk   : Deflect Arrows

 2 Monk   : Zen Archery

 3        : Least Dragonmark: Shadow

 3 Monk   : Path of Inevitable Dominion

 6        : Ten Thousand Stars

 6 Monk   : Precision

 9        : Rapid Shot

12        : Manyshot

15        : Improved Critical: Ranged

18        : Dodge

21 Epic   : Combat Archery

24 Epic   : Great Ability: Dexterity

26 Destiny: Holy Strike

27 Epic   : Blinding Speed

28 Destiny: Doubleshot

29 Destiny: Harbinger of Chaos

30 Epic   : Overwhelming Critical

30 Legend : Scion of: Arborea



Enhancements (80 AP)


Harper Agent (38 AP)

    • Agent of Good I, Dexterity, Agent of Good II, Dexterity, Agent of Good III

         1. Harper Enchantment, Traveler's Toughness III

         2. Magical Endurance III, Versatile Adept III

         3. Highly Skilled III, Versatile Adept III, Dexterity

         4. Versatile Adept III, Dexterity

         5. Harper Enchantment: Deception, Versatile Adept III, Magic of Patience


Elf (22 AP)

    • Elven Accuracy, Elven Dexterity, Elven Accuracy II, Elven Dexterity II

         1. Phiarlan Dragonmark Focus III, Aerenal Weapon Training

         2. Lesser Dragonmark of Shadow, Aerenal Weapon Training

         3. Greater Dragonmark of Shadow, Aerenal Weapon Training

         4. Aerenal Weapon Training, Skill


Ninja Spy (20 AP)

    • Basic Ninja Training, Advanced Ninja Training, Shadow Veil

         1. Stealthy III, Sneak Attack Training

         2. Agility III, Sneak Attack Training, Melee/Ranged Power Boost III

         3. Sneak Attack Training, Dexterity



Destiny (24 AP)


Shiradi Champion

   1. Healing Spring III, Dexterity

   2. Prism, Pin II, Dexterity

   3. Rainbow, Otto's Whistler II, Dexterity

   4. Double Rainbow

   5. Nerve Venom III

   6. Audience with the Queen


Twists of Fate (10 fate points)

   1. Rejuvenation Cocoon (Tier 1 Primal)

   2. Enlightenment (Tier 1 Flowers)

   3. Dance of Flowers (Tier 1 Flowers)

   4. Brace for Impact (Tier 1 Sentinel)



Suggested Gear

High resistance items increase the general saves. Fortitude saves are needed most of all as CON is not boosted on this build. A pair of shortswords for close-quarters work (knocking down root walls and breakable doors, as well as dark finishing moves) are recommended. (That's what Legolas carries in "The Lord of the Rings.")

Items that give armor-piercing or lower enemy fortification are a plus. Deception items are helpful as weapon-based and Harper Agent effects will stack to increase the chance of their effect.

Items that can slow or stop enemies temporarily or instantly kill them are a plus, such as the Ring of the Stalker with the Manslayer effect, Nerve Venom from Shiradi, and the ice-encasing Frozen Tunic.

There are many bows that deliver incredible damage and have augment slots for some modification, such as the Greatbow of the Scrag, Serpentbranch and Thornlord. You should also get an Aligned bow to take on what few Maruts you encounter without getting a negative-level as from an Anarchic bow or ammo, as well as bows with Disruption, Smiting, Maiming, blunted ammo (against skeletons and Xoriat renders) and a "Harry Beater" Metalline of Pure Good/Holy/Silver weapon. The Bow of the Silver Flame is a Silver/Holy bow.

By Epic, the Thunder-Forged Longbow works excellently for nearly all targets and is easy to farm. A Pinion bow from the "Caught in the Web" raid also works well, as do Eveningstar Challenge bows with their random effects. A Green Steel "triple-positive" Greater Disruption bow does the job well against most undead.

There are also the Legendary Green Steel bows available from ingredients in the Legendary Shroud raid, introduced with Update 29.

The Zen Archer does not use Conjured Arrows as the Arcane Archer, relying on "Sturdy" Deneith 75% returning arrows with sufficient House Deneith favor. Saving up the frequently dropping +5 Holy arrows and similar elemental arrows work great when bosses are anticipated. The Large Wide Quiver with 1,000 arrows of one type is recommended early on. The named quivers are the best options starting at level 14 or so:

  • Dynamistic Quiver/Epic Dynamistic Quiver ("Grim and Barrett"): An excellent level 14/28 quiver with Doubleshot 5/8% and Ranged Power, with 3,000 arrows of one type with up to 5 types.
  • Quiver of Poison (Gianthold): Available in Heroic and Epic versions, this harder-to-attain quiver adds Poison damage to ranged attacks that can stack with Ninja Poison effects. However, the Zen Archer can't deliver Ninja Poison through bows.
  • Quivering Quiver: Normally an ideal item for those who hate buying arrows as this quiver randomly generates an assortment of Xoriat-typed arrows of various alignments and materials. But arrows form only if you are attacked--a problem since the Zen Archer's miss-chance design reduces the attacks that land on you.
  • Quiver of Alacrity: Heroic only! This item, available from the "Accursed Ascension" raid, is 10% Ranged Alacrity with 1500 arrow storage. Don't use the Epic Quiver of Alacrity; it has been deliberately nerfed with a Concentration -50 attribute to all but prohibit its use by the monkcher builds, which, regrettably, also affects the high-Concentration all-Monk archers from using it. Alternately, use Cannith Crafting to make a 10% Ranged Alacrity trinket, which is far easier to obtain.
Items to boost DEX (your main stat) and WIS are crucial, as are items that boost your Spot and give True Seeing and Ethereal or Ghost Touch. Epic levels and Epic Destinies that add Ranged Power (as well as the Grandmaster of Flowers' A Dance of Flowers) will soon show base damage with arrows at 100+ points per attack, with high critical hit damage. Recent updates augmented Ten Thousand Stars to add your WIS score to your Ranged Power for 30 seconds...a clear reason for a higher WIS and to be a pure Monk, which augments the feat's effectiveness.

Armor and other items to help with Doubleshot ("Flurry" or "Hasty") are good early on. You can't take advantage of the usual bonuses on most Monk outfits, so a Frozen Tunic is a good offensive option, while the Icy Raiment with its high Dodge and Protection AC is an excellent mid-level outfit.

By Epic, the Way of the Sun Soul set affords another temporary layer of protection in Earth Stance with its Radiant Forcefield-like 25% damage reduction effect or the Fire Shield/Cold effect while in Ocean Stance, not to mention the extra WIS, Concentration and ability score bonuses. For fortification bypassing, the Heroic and Epic Black Dragonscale Robe is a good stacking addition to the Precision feat or the Shadowdancer's Grim Precision. Look to the Shadowfell Armor and the Archon Celestial outfits from the Legendary raids as the ultimate protection by level 29/30.

Rings to give extra Dodge, Fortification or Concentration are good in Heroic. By Epic, the combined use of the Deception effects of the Seal of House Avithoul (DEX +8 or Insightful DEX) and the Epic Ring of Shadows (Blurry or even Lesser Displacement with high Hide/Move Silently) are ideal rings. The Seal of House Avithoul adds to Sneak Attack and Improved Deception and really slows charging enemies while dishing more damage, especially with other Deception effects.

To keep a sufficient MP store by Epic use of Rejuvenation Cocoon, train up the Harper Agent enhancement Magical Endurance, wear Wizardry/Archmagi items, and use destinies that provide SP bonuses.

As for cloaks, the Cloak of Shadows covers well for stealth skill bonuses in Heroic. By Epic, it may be wise to use an fully upgraded Adamantine Cloak of the Wolf or Bear for additional Dodge or PRR, respectively. The Wheloon Prison's Guardian's Cloak provides high, multiple damage reductions against several damage types.

The helm, goggles, trinket and necklace slots are likely the most exchangeable areas by Epic. Use any of these or the ring slots if desired to get 30% Dodge, 20-25% Concealment, 150%+ Fortification, and 75-100 AC, or other desired effects. Items from the newest content, especially "The Haunted Halls of Eveningstar," the "Trials of the Archons" and "The Devil's Gambit" have superior items for both Heroic and Epic use.

While a Monk gains 15 Physical Resistance while in Earth Stance, any items that add high Sheltering bonuses will add more damage mitigating PRR while in Earth Stance for more general protection when something bypasses your innate zen defenses. Update 29 adds random-loot items that may offer Insightful Sheltering with PRR stacking bonuses.

Don't worry about Magical Resistance; as a Monk, you have strong magical defense with innate Spell Resistance from the granted Diamond Body feat. Be sure to wear Deathblock items at all times and also have Death Ward handy in some form. Carry at least Heroism potions, use Ocean Stance and horde or obtain Greater Heroism for crunch times. You can find items with Insightful Spell Resistance, which does stack with the Monk's innate Spell Resistance for improving an already-powerful defense.