After seeing crusader after crusader using the same Blessed Hammer builds, I thought I'd share the build I'm using. My gear is still very far from optimal, but I can faceroll torment 3 with what I got so far and still completely viable on torment 4 - just not quite fast enough yet. It will also benefit greatly from the Crusader class set bonuses, so the future is looking very bright as well. Behold: the holy shotgun!
The build revolves around a couple of simple things: the Fires of Heaven rune for Heaven's Fury and Fate of the Fell. To make this build viable, this is an obstacle you must first overcome. It is absolutely necessary to get the secondary effect from Fate of the Fell to gain two additional rays of Heaven's Fury. The reason for this is explained below. Additionally, the build includes abilities that complement the build's burst damage potential and help deal with the high resource cost of Fires of Heaven.
Why does it work?
Adding two rays to Heaven's Fury doesn't only widen the cone, but allows the ability to strike one target multiple times. At point-blank range, Fires of Heaven hits (and crits) targets three times. That means 3x 735% weapon damage = 2205% weapon damage - per cast. At the time of writing, I'm critting elites for up to three times 20 million. Of course, a triple crit is relatively rare (around 5% for most people), but not many monsters can take more than one or two anyway.
Slash with Zeal
Works mainly as a Wrath generator. Anyone using this build should stack up on some holy damage, and turning Slash into holy damage with Zeal can help deal with the weak trash monsters without spending Wrath. Not required, suggested alternatives Justice and Smite for limited ranged damage capability
Provoke with Too Scared to Run
Multipurpose ability, however the main desired effect is quick Wrath generation. Can also be used to stop ghosts from circling around, slowing down heavy melee damage monsters, snaring treasure goblins... Required, alternative ability: Shield Glare with Zealous Glare, especially with The Final Witness. I've found Provoke to be generally better.
Steed Chargewith Endurance
Change reverted: even though Steed Charge doesn't last as long as it did previously, it's cooldown has also been reduced. It now offers a weaker escape tool since it can't break stuns anymore, but still adds some much needed mobility to the crusader. Shield Glarewith Zealous Glare can replace Steed Charge in the build for even more Wrath generation.
Laws of Valor with Unstoppable Force The 50% Wrath cost reduction from the rune combined with increased attack speed from Laws of Valor and Akarat's Champion are what make this build so powerful. You will save 20 Wrath each time you cast Heaven's Fury with the Laws of Valor active ability up. Required - can be replaced with another rune once you have the appropriate set bonus.
Akarat's Champion with Prophet
The rune provides 150% bonus armor when using Akarat's Champion. This is to ensure you can stand in whatever the enemies throw at you and spend the entire duration nuking. Required. Rune can be, however, replaced with Rally.
Heavenly Strength- Required, to be able to equip Fate of the Fell and a shield of your choice. Righteousness - Recommended, do what you can do manage the high Wrath costs. Wrathful - Optional, personally this passive ability alone is responsible for keeping my health up. Finery - Optional, extra damage and armor gains through bonus strength
Alternatives: Long Arm of the Law- to make your burst capability even higher. Personally I don't use it, because I don't need to.
Srengths and Weaknesses
+ ridiculously high burst damage
+ extremely fast at destroying elites and large creatures
+ goes through high density trash like butter
- slow when having to deal with low monster density
- resource inefficiency
- requires a specific weapon - low mobility
Personal preference, if you ask me. In the core tab I've gone with maximized STR after capping movement speed, in offense maximized critical hit damage and some critical hit chance, in defense maxed all resistances and armor, and in utility full resource cost reduction and some life on hit.
Core: Movement speed to 10% total > STR = Maximum Wrath > Vitality
Offense: Cooldown Reduction >Critical hit damage > Critical hit chance > Attack Speed
Defense: All resistances > Armor > Life % = Life Regeneration
Utility: Resource cost reduction > Life on Hit > Area Damage > Gold %
Moving on to higher difficulties
The way the crusader class is designed makes it rely heavily on relatively long cooldowns to do well on the more difficult torment levels. It is also the class that has the most trouble with it's resource management. This means you have to find ways to overcome these problems rather than just racking up enough damage and toughness to go beyond farming torment 3.
To do this, you need to do the following:
- find pieces of the Armor of Akkhan class set for Akarat's Champion cooldown reduction (yes, this is painful)
- forget increased critical chance stat on your gearto allow room for cooldown reductionand include Judgment with Resolved rune in your build in place of wrath generators - find equipment with wrath regeneration (flails and crusader shields) and cooldown reduction while maintaining damage through STR, increased critical damage and increased holy damage
(longtime lurker here)
Haha damn I was just thinking of writing up a guide, been on a very similar build for a week now (nice write up btw, easy to read and lots of facts). I called it a shotgun build too lol, no better way to describe it. Definitely a very fun build, no longer standing around waiting for Heaven's Fury (Ascendancy) to finish the job or stutter stepping Blessed Hammers!
Judgement's really good for holding down packs while I run over to them, especially flying ones. Activate Law for cheap wrath costs then Condemn and shotgun away If I need wrath immediately, then I'll use Akarat's (Rally) to gain more attack speed + wrath regen and spam my wrath generator. The rune will reset my cooldowns on Condemn/Judgement/Law as well, so that's a pretty nice bonus.
I agree with Thayne, definitely sounds like a wrath management problem. Definitely don't need a full set, I was already using it back when I had no sets pieces and it worked fine. Righteousness passive really helps a lot in this. I got lucky and managed to make Reaper's Wraps tho, so I could cheat with health globes
Yep been running something similar, no akarat and both zealous glare and provoke. Clearing t3 easy doing elites back to back. Wrath management is essential. But I'm only hitting for 15-20mil x 3. Need more gear.
Hi! I'm running a variation on this build. I sacrificed Steed Charge for Condemn - Unleashed and run Akarat's Champion with Fire Starter instead of Prophet. I find the burst and damage is a lot more sustainable, with there rarely being a moment that I can't be putting the serious hurt on something.
Though to be fair, I'm only playing on T2 instead of T3.
I was just about to write up a post about this build actually, and then I noticed yours. I called mine 'Click Click Boom, or The Exalted Shotgun'. Rofl, there really is no better name for it than a Shotgun build.
A couple of my friends are in awe of this build. They're so tired of seeing Hammerdins who don't do much, but watching me blast waves to pieces without having to stand right in the center, as well as having good damage on any elite we come across has given them a new appreciation for the Crusader.
I will admit, though, that a build like this requires a fair amount of gear even beyond FoTF. You've got to be tough enough to stand toe to toe with mobs and take what they dish out.
I'm running this build on hardcore currently and it's amazing. Mine is slightly modified by some specific legendaries I have been able to find and incorporate into the build, however.
For example, I am currently running Smite instead of Slash due to Armor of the Kind Regent, which casts two Smites at a time and actually generates additional Wrath from the extra cast (I believe this double dips with Life on Hit as well, but haven't confirmed this). This allows for MUCH quicker Wrath generation than normal, especially when running the Righteousness passive.
Additionally I am using The Final Witness as my shield. This allows me to more effectively generate Wrath by using Shield Glare - Zealous Glare, generating 9 Wrath per enemy hit. This is extremely beneficial for this build, as you can cap Wrath every 12 seconds in high density areas while receiving the benefit of the blind, particularly useful in hardcore.
If you want to check out my build, you can find it here. I'm currently farming T1 on hardcore, but feel I could easily push up into T2/T3 if I was feeling particularly risky. At 21M buffed toughness, I'm pretty beefy and can still put out insane damage, 2-3 shotting some elite packs if I can get my crits off on the entire pack. Anways, happy farming and many legendaries upon you all.
Yup, that was probably bound to happen. Will have to wait and see how damaging the nerf really is. 2.0.4 will either break this build or bring it down to a less ridiculous level. I'll post again when it's live.
It is a lot on paper. However, there was a lot to take from as well. In terms of overall damage for Fires of Heaven builds, the nerf is equal to around 20% damage loss. It would be wise to look into alternatives.
you say your using heavenly strength so why are you maxing run speed paragon to 25%? heavenly strength decreases your max run speed by 15% not your current. so no matter what you cant get past 110% just an fyi.