Fists of Thunder


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Fists of Thunder in action, with Lightning damage.

Fists of Thunder (known as Hands of Lightning prior to July 2011) is a Primary Monk skill unlocked at Level 1. The Monk charges his strikes with lightning. Every third strike adds knockback.


The Monk charges his strikes with lightning in a three-stage attack that ends with an area of effect blast.

Skill Rune Effects[edit]

Name Level Description
Fists of Thunder

1 Release an electric shockwave with every punch that hits all enemies within 6 yards of your primary enemy for 120% weapon damage as Lightning and causes knockback with every third hit.
Wind Blast
1 Every third hit Freezes enemies for 2 seconds.

Fists of Thunder's damage turns into Cold.

Static Charge
1 Fists of Thunder applies Static Charge to enemies hit for 6 seconds. Each time an enemy with Static Charge gets hit by you, there is a chance that every other enemy with Static Charge within 40 yards takes 40% weapon damage as Lightning.
1 Increase Spirit generated to 20.

Fists of Thunder's damage turns into Physical.

Bounding Light
1 Every third hit also releases arcs of holy power, dealing 240% weapon damage as Holy to up to 3 additional enemies.

Skill Design[edit]

A Monk vs. the Undead.

This skill first appeared at BlizzCon 2010, playable in the demo. It adds lightning damage to the Monk's strikes.

During the beta, all the skills previously known as combos were simplified down so much that only three of them (Fists of Thunder, Deadly Reach, and Crippling Wave) still contain any semblance of combo functionality. These three skills now provide simply an additional effect on every third strike, while the others (Way of the Hundred Fists, Exploding Palm, and Sweeping Wind) now have a single function on every strike. Combos previously consisted of: the normal spell attack on the first strike; a stronger attack on the second; and on the third, an even stronger attack coupled with an additional effect.


The following Monk passives provide a benefit to Fists of Thunder, runed or not:

Name Level Description

1 Damage you deal reduces enemy damage by 20% for 4 seconds.
Combination Strike

1 Each different Spirit Generator you use increases your damage by 10% for 3 seconds.


Killing Zombies.
Killing Zombies harder.

Fists of Thunder was first shown at BlizzCon 2010, then named Hands of Lightning. Blascid reported on using the skill at BlizzCon:[1]

In the Monks case, with her actual lightning fist skill (I do not remember the name), the first hit would be a claw sweep with lightning damage, the second one granted more lightning damage with more lightning graphics, and the third hit was a lightning blast that created a nice AOE arc. (The third move’s animation {Monk’s move and spell effect} reminded me of how Ryu and Ken’s Hadouken looked in Street Fighter 2 {Sorry, I have not played any more recent than that} if your opponent was right in front of you.)

Flux also wrote about using this skill at BlizzCon. A small excerpt:[2]

The only drawback of Hands of Lightning was the fun factor. It was a fairly plain attack. It looks pretty with the big lightning blasts, but it’s basically just a straight ahead right, left, right combo. It doesn’t hit multiple enemies, it doesn’t debuff them, it doesn’t let you dash across the screen to start hitting, etc. It’s the lowest level combo skill for a reason; it’s just a damn powerful attack to use against a single or a few enemies, and sure, killing them quickly and efficiently is fun. But if I were playing for real, I’d probably respec it to another combo when I had the chance. (Though it might be handy long term for the huge lightning damage.)

Before the July 2011 Press Event (when skill tiers were removed), Hands of Lightning was renamed Fists of Thunder.


The beta started in September 2011, and Fists of Thunder became a level 1 skill. The skill system was once again overhauled for the Beta Patch 13 in February 2012, and Fists of Thunder was classified as a Primary skill (but remained at level 1). For Beta Patch 14, it was buffed a bit.

A male Monk unleashing the third strike.

Previous Versions[edit]

See Hands of Lightning for the original version of this skill.

Also, see the combos page for additional information on how this and other combo spells used to work.

The three hits of Hands of Lightning, with the big blast on the final hit (from 2010).
Did somebody mention Street Fighter?


Fists of Thunder can be seen in action on video here:

You can find pictures in the Diablo III screenshot and picture gallery:


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