Can a monk abort a Flurry of Blows after the first bonus-action attack to avoid wasting a ki point (e.g. if the enemy goes down after the first attack)? Or do you have to "declare" Flurry of Blows and therefore spend the ki point before starting your bonus action?

Scenario: After the monk takes the Attack action, they use Flurry of Blows. The first attack drops the target and there's nothing else in range. This is effectively the same as a "normal" bonus-action attack, so do you still burn the ki point? Or is this a situation where the ki ability/Flurry is effectively declared when the second bonus-action attack is used?

From a straight read, I would say that you burn the ki point and the second attack is simply wasted, but that doesn't completely fit with the overall flavor of how 5e has modified their combat rules.

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    – V2Blast
    Commented May 2, 2020 at 2:59

1 Answer 1


TL;DR; No, it cannot be aborted - you spend a ki point, allowing you to use Flurry of Blows as your bonus action.

The description of Flurry of Blows under the Ki feature states (emphasis mine):

Immediately after you take the Attack action on your turn, you can spend 1 ki point to make two unarmed strikes as a bonus action.

Basically, you spend the ki point first; it doesn't matter how many hits land.

Now, to clarify, if you're meaning that you make your initial attack as your Attack action, and you fell the enemy, you can still spend the ki point to make 2 more attacks; if there is someone in range, you can hit them. If there are no other targets, then yes, they're wasted, so you probably wouldn't use Flurry of Blows anyway.

If you're meaning that the target is still standing after the Attack action, and you spend a ki point to use Flurry of Blows but fell them with the first bonus-action unarmed strike: then the second bonus-action unarmed strike is unnecessary, but you've still spent the ki point regardless.

So the order this would occur is:

  1. Action - make an attack
  2. Spend a ki point to use Flurry of Blows (regardless of hit or miss on your previous attack)
  3. Bonus action - make 2 unarmed attacks
  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that people don't agree when you actually have to use Flurry of Blows nor whether or not you can move between its two attacks. For example we have the following questions: "Must the Flurry of Blows attacks occur after the initial (and extra) attack?" and "Can monk move between his extra and bonus attacks?" \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 1, 2020 at 5:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2: I think RS Conley's answer to the latter question presents the best case for that based on the rules: Flurry of Blows happens only after the full Attack action, and you can insert movement before/after/between any of the attacks from either the Attack action or the bonus action. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented May 2, 2020 at 3:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ I see your logic on the ki point being spent regardless. That's what I was leaning toward myself with the interpretation, but wasn't sure. Regarding movement with Flurry of Blows, that has been covered by Jeremy Crawford elsewhere. You can move between any weapon/martial-arts attacks whether within the Attack action or a Bonus action (provided you have movement left to use...) sageadvice.eu/2018/01/20/… \$\endgroup\$
    – user63537
    Commented May 3, 2020 at 23:04

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