In this work we introduce and analyze a new multiscale method for strongly nonlinear monotone equations in the spirit of the Localized Orthogonal Decomposition. A problem-adapted multiscale space is constructed by solving linear local fine-scale problems which is then used in a generalized finite element method. The linearity of the fine-scale problems allows their localization and, moreover, makes the method very efficient to use. The new method gives optimal a priori error estimates up to linearization errors beyond periodicity and scale separation and without assuming higher regularity of the solution. The effect of different linearization strategies is discussed in theory and practice. Several numerical examples including stationary Richards equation confirm the theory and underline the applicability of the method.