I'm still working on improving this guide, there are still some unfinished parts and unpolished bits, I'd also love to add icons and images to make it look better and easier on the eye at a glance.
After browsing this forum for a while I realize we lack build guides, so I figured I'd try to contribute a little using my experience in leveling and playing my crusader to/at 70 now.
The original build was focused on building a defensive starting point that will probably get more and more offensive as you get better gear and allows you do focus more on damage passives, runes etc.
My original build, aimed at starting gear at 70 trying to live through T1: LINK
The play-style is pretty self-explanatory, you dive into big packs of mobs and nuke the crap out of them with mostly holy spells while blocking most of the incoming damage and healing the rest back with renewal.
My second build, requires a little more gear:LINK
This one can clear T1 a lot faster if you have the damage and survivability required. The playstyle is very similar to the first one only now with more burst damage. I changed my Right Click ability around a lot at this stage so play around with it if you don't like Shield Bash.
My third build, this is the one I use when I rush rifts in a group:LINK
For the hammerdins out there. I've made this my go-to build when playing with a group, if your group is rushing things and you fall behind often, change judgment to Steed Charge. This build lacks defense, so be prepared to be a little more careful in sticky situations.
This is my armory link, I play around with builds all the time so don't expect this to match the above builds or even be effective.
As far as stats go having high crit damage is a big bonus, getting a socket in your weapon goes a long way. If you go for the judgement / condemn combo, and also use heaven's fury, you end up doing mainly holy damage, so having bonus holy damage on items benefit you a lot.
Punish:This increases your block chance by a significant amount, it also does pretty good single target damage.
- Use for wrath generation and once every 5 sec to keep the buff up. Glyph - Celerity:For more single target damage. Retaliate for thorns or Roar for AoE.
Justice: Ranged alternative, also solid single target dps. Good in groups where stuff doesn't necessarily come to you. I usually use this together with Blessed Hammer.
- Wrath generation and single target dps. Glyph - Burst:Recommended, stun and splash damage. Lightning damage syngergizes with Blessed Hammer.
Shield Bash:Scales with your shield's block chance. Does solid single target dps and can do a lot of AoE damage with Shield Cross. A little costly on the wrath side so for now there are usually better alternatives.
- Wrath spender and damage dealer. Glyph - Shield Cross:Non-essential, I use Shield Cross to do more AoE damage as I often find myself surrounded by enemies(solo).
Blessed Hammer: Melee/Ranged hybrid, does a LOT of AoE damage and can be spammed due to cheapest wrath cost. I usually use this when playing with a group.
- Wrath spender and AoE damage dealer. Glyph - Thunderstruck:Recommended, makes Blessed Hammers do damage to all mobs close to you even when they are far away.
Consecration: With Shattered Ground this does a lot of AoE damage and healing on a relatively short cooldown.
- Use when ready, one of the main AoE damage sources in this build. Glyph - Shattered Ground:Recommended, makes consecration do damage as well as heal, and has a pretty awesome effect on our 5th ability: Akarat's Champion.
Judgement: Together with Condemn it does a lot of burst AoE damage. This is especially effective in groups as the whole group benefits from the increased damage from the glyph.
- Use on demand. Glyph - Resolved:Essential, increases crit chance by 80% on all targets affected, this is why you pick this ability up in the first place.
Condemn:Burst AoE damage on demand. This fits into almost every build, unless you go full on ranged (No Blessed Hammer)
- Use on demand. Glyph - Vacuum:for Blessed Hammer/Justice and other ranged builds. Eternal Retaliation for melee builds.
Akarat's Champion: This ability is really really, really strong. It increases attack speed, which with a 2H we REALLY like, it increases wrath generation, which is really low with a 2H, and it has a get-out-of-jail free card, which saves my life on a regular basis.
- Use whenever you encounter a big fight; say a lot of mobs, scary mobs or yellow/blue packs. Sometimes it's clever to save it for a moment when you know you will probably die or lose a lot of health within 20 seconds. Glyph - Rally:Essential, Rally is what makes this skill kick-ass in long fights and big AoE situations. Each time you do damage you get 1sec off the CD on every ability you have (apart from this one). If you have consecration up on 5 or more enemies, as well as Heaven's Fury ticking away, it means everything will have a 100% uptime. Yep, Heaven's Fury all the time for up to 26 seconds. It also lets you consecrate again before the previous one runs out, allowing the glyph to keep proccing for the entire duration of the skill.
Heaven's Fury: This will melt through all kinds of mobs and has a pretty short cooldown compared to the damage it does.
- Use when ready, on a 20sec cooldown this ability is pretty much always ready when you need it, which is what I like compared to bombardment and it's 60 second cooldown. This ability can be spammed during Akarat's Champion if you consecrate an AoE pack. Glyph - Ascendancy:Non-essential, I like the larger radius and increased damage of Ascendancy, although other glyphs are nice too. Use whatever you like (Except Fires of Heaven, which doesn't fit this setup at all)
Bombardment:This will melt most mobs and even elites, it has a pretty long cooldown though.
- More situational, you should only use this on higher health mobs or other packs you struggle with. Glyph - Annihilate:my go-to glyph here, but arguments can be made that Inpactful Bombardment is really fun (dem numbers) and also very effective. Might overkill everything but elites making it a little less practical.
Steed Charge: For mobility, only when you clear stuff fast enough to make travel one of your bigger downtimes (Often the case in groups). Glyph - Endurance:Because why would you take anything else.
Laws of Valor:For increased damage for your entire group, I usually put this in slot 1. If your crit chance is really high(50%ish) you don't really need Judgement as much (especially if soloing) and this can take it's place. Glyph - Critical:Highly Recommended, the other glyphs are ok at best. The increased crit damage can be used for extra burst damage.
Heavenly Strength: Two-Handers are far superior in terms of damage and stats at level 70 (As far as I've seen) so I would highly recommend picking Heavenly Strength up. The tooltip can be misleading, This decreases your max move speed from 125% to 110%, this means that if you have 10% ms on boots or from paragon levels, you are capped. It doesn't actually decrease your move speed, it just changes the cap.
Finery: This passive gives you tons of damage if you have a lot of sockets. Usually you want a socket in your helmet, 3 sockets in your chest armor, 2 sockets in your pants and a socket in your weapon. This will give you 490 strength with 7 sockets. Excellent offensive passive.
Righteousness: Increases your wrath regeneration, I'd only pick this up if you rely on your spender for most of your damage. As of now I don't find myself using this too often, but for a 4offensive passives build, I can see it being useful.
Holy Cause: A very solid passive if your weapon does holy damage. Only use together with a holy damage weapon. This also has a defensive side which provides a decent amount of healing if using fast-hitting holy spells like Heaven's Fury.
Blunt: Pretty self-explanatory, use it when you have Justice/Blessed Hammer on your bars.
Wrathful: A good source of healing when you aren't blocking as much. I use this in my ranged/hybrid builds where I wouldn't proc Renewal as much.
Renewal: This ability is going to heal you a LOT if you have a high block %, I really recommend this for melee crusaders, can be outgeared. Synergizes well with Hold Your Ground.
Hold Your Ground: Pretty self explanatory, synergizes well with Renewal. Pretty mandatory in block builds, unless you reach the cap (75%).
Divine Fortress: More armor, a lot more armor. I don't find myself needing this at all anymore, maybe when I try very high torment levels.
Any feedback or constructive criticism is welcome! This is what I ended up on after trying several builds on live @70, I hope people have managed to land on other viable builds, and I'd love to hear if yours is similar to mine possibly with a few improvements.
Punish - Roar : with 59% chance to block it's going off non-stop
Blessed Hammer can receive a TON of modifiers from gear pieces (Shield, Helm, Boots) as well as Elemental Damage THEN the 20% from the passive makes it, in my opinion, the best Wrath spender.
Law of Valor - Invincible: I use this as my "Oh GOD GONNA DIE" button. It's a large amount of LoH and keep in mind can't block ground spells (don't stand in them you say?). Thought about switching to the All Res Law but it's debatable.
Condemn - Vacuum : Allows me to keep things "on me". Combine this with Cooldown Reduction OR the cooldown reducing Legendary shield it could potentially be a "Cyclone Strike".
Heaven's Fury is just my favorite spell and really good damage for it's cooldown.
Also I like using Divine Fortress as a Passive. This would change if I find a stronger 2handed weapon.
There are a couple Crusader shields to look out for: One heals you and your allies for the amount you block for and another that reduces cooldowns by 1 sec everytime you block. I'm unsure if there's a level 70 version of Helm of Command but so far it looks like it's the only other item that has %block (other than shields).
I know blessed hammer is really good, but I really dislike the way it works so I try to use something else. So far Shield Bash has a really practical charge and does a ton of damage with 30% block on my shield.
I'm still playing around with my build and have already made a few changes. I also just got a leg shield that reduces my Heaven's Fury CD by 50%, so I don't really need consecrate anymore (I switched to CD reduction per enemy hit on condemn) and picked up Judgement with 80% crit chance glyph. I'm gonna update the guide later once I stop making modifications.
It fares well, but I think they tuned the wrath cost a little high, which is probably why most melee crusaders end up using sweep attack instead with it's wide attack and lower cost.
They should reduce the cost to 20 wrath to bring it in line with the other spenders. Try sweep attack if you don't like it. The built in charge is nice though, if you get stuck in a group of mobs you can charge some of the further away ones and push your way out. That said it does plenty damage and hits many targets if you position yourself right.
@borque1987 - Pretty much what Xye said. Also keep in mind when you block you are blocking 10k-12k damage (possibly more depending on your shield). So think of the Heal as extra block damage. You could also increase the Block amount through the passive Insormountable, however requires you be surrounded so it's difficult to use on some Elite packs/Bosses.
@Xye - I'm biased on Blessed Hammer simply because of my huge love for Hammerdins in D2. In d2 the hammers used to "break" if they hit an object or a wall.. now they go through walls so they really made it strong. Also if it wasnt' for Blunt passive I'd like use Sweep Attack with the Pull in. I also probably would use the Glyph Limitless if I had more Holy damage oriented items.. I feel goofy using a Fire mod with a Cold mod on my bracers.. just need the mats to re-roll the bracers to likely Holy (15-20%)
EDIT:: Also I'm testing Provoke - Hit Me which puts me at 66% block almost behaving like my heal (better than using the Horse sometimes) But finding out theres more and more abilities that can't be block (Crushing Blows if you will).
Provoke - Hit Me puts you at 66% block? When I use my wrath generator I'm already at 60%...
You should get more block % on your shield, no need for Hit Me.
I've also updated the post with new info and a few changes / corrections, for some reason Dfans still like to mess with my structure (format) so I apologize in advance for the sometimes random spaces and line shifts, I think I managed to clear up most of it in the end.
That Flail would go well together with my 50% CDR on Heaven's Fury. I'm using Fist of the Heavens with Heaven's Tempest as my spender right now and I'm liking it. The DoT makes it do so much damage/wrath.
I've started using blessed hammer with the lightning rune, and it is quite efficient, even if I personally dont like the ability. It seems like a far superior spender to everything else, I might update my post later today including a blessed hammer build as well.
Edit: Does anyone know a way around letting Dfans mess your post structure up after you click save changes? The formatting gets messed with so much making it a pain in the ass to edit and further improve my post.
After a bit of testing i've concluded that Shield Bash and Blessed Shield DO seem to scale with increases in block % outside of the shield's own value. I tested this by removing my Hold Your Ground passive and Not proccing Punish, and seeing what numbers I could get with both abilities. Then I tried it again with Punish procced and the passive enabled, and saw a significant increase in damage.
Whether this is intended or not I do not know but it does explain why I've had such success with Shield Bash.
I have basically been using this since I started playing but tend to use Iron skin with Reflective Skin instead of Akrat. At barely 8k thorns damage you can reflect for 6m crits when you get to around 14-16k thorns you reflect for 11-14m. Iron skin alone will melt most elite packs or rare spawns unless they run and hide or cast slowly.
Even in groups with WD/Wizards mowing down things quickly I provide great group buffs via Judgement/Valor and great burst with Provoke/Ironskin(thorns) and spamming Shield Bash(Shattered Shield)
I disagree with Holy Cross tho I feel like it misses too many mobs that it should be hitting. I can watch the animation go through mobs around me and see no numbers. Really flaky rune IMO. Armory for reference below.
Holy Cross could use a few improvements, I agree. As far as your provoke/ironskin build goes, It does indeed do amazing damage when you pop ironskin, but for the rest of the fight it's kinda lacking. The cooldowns on ironskin and provoke are simply too long and the duration too short.
Aside from that Judgment freeze mobs in place, unabling any melee mobs not right next to you to hit you, so that ability seems kind of counter intuitive for this setup.(apart from buffing your teammates of course)
Its a cool build nonetheless, maybe with some CDR or akarat's active the CDs can be lowered enough to warrant it's use. I have experimented very little with provoke and ironskin mainly because of their cooldowns. I'm really looking forward to what Crusader skills Blizzard plan to address first, but these should definitively be on their list.
judgement i would replace with provoke rune hit me and heres why first of all gain 50% chance to block which makes your defense go higher for 4 seconds because of the passive and forces the mobs to come to you so you activate condemn and then use provoke it works great and you use shield bash which the damage will increase because of the 50% chance to block
and passive i would of taken righteouness off since you got 15% attack speed as it is from punish so your attack speed is ok and you can generate wrath nicely i would of put divine fortness its an insane boost of toughness
i hope they fix this damn bug tomorrow i want to return to this build so badly
I've been looking all over for that item, because I really like blessed shield but lack the ability to spam it enough to make it worth it. That item can also free up an item slot as you can use blessed shield as a primary and put another dps cooldown or utility spell on your bars.
Not depending on having wrath for your damage is probably the best way to go around the current problems we have, where we spend too much time building wrath and very little time spending it (Except in the case of blessed hammers).
I'm not sure what to recommend, I'd have to play around with it myself first. I'll say this though, I'd probably make space for Laws of Valor and Steed Charge on my bar at the same time. This leaves me with 3 more slots to fill, I love Akarat's Champion and Heaven's Fury so I'd probably get those, and then I'd try putting Condemn in my last slot and get a lot of CDR items. This build might be messed up and feel entirely wrong if I actually got to try it but that's the first thing I'd try.
Having Punish does buff Blessed Shield's damage but I'm not sure it buffs it enough to warrant it's use once you don't really need a builder. I'll just say again that all this is purely speculation, but give it a try, and whatever you end up with, give us an update. This legendary changes the entire feel of the Crusader and there might be spells and possibilities I've overlooked entirely.