Blessed Hammer Crusader Skills and Runes
On this page, we explain how to choose and use your skills when playing Blessed Hammer Crusader in Diablo 3. Updated for Patch 2.7.6 and Season 29.
|Blessed Hammer Limitless Falling Sword Rapid Descent 1 Laws of Valor Unstoppable Force 2 Iron Skin Flash 3 Provoke Too Scared to Run 4 Akarat's Champion Prophet|
The playstyle balances between aggressive mobility (drawing stragglers into a pack, finding good density and jumping in the thick of it) and static fighting (immobilizing enemies and spamming Blessed Hammer). Provoke will alternate Wrath management duties with Laws of Valor Unstoppable Force. While the Crusader is naturally durable, protective cooldowns will still be necessary: Iron Skin for incoming damage spikes and Akarat's Champion as an overall damage and toughness buff. The final exotic ingredient in the build is Falling Sword — a mobility tool with moderate damage capabilities, it takes on a defensive role with the Seeker of the Light 4-piece bonus. As incoming damage will be significantly cut down after using Falling Sword, make good use of the cooldown resets inherent with the set and cast it when available.
Skills and Runes
Blessed Hammer is the primary spender of the build; empowered to a competitive DPS level through the Seeker of the Light set and its dedicated shield, Guard of Johanna, Blessed Hammer receives even greater benefits from the holy rune Limitless. Blessed Hammer is also the cheapest spender in the Crusader arsenal, and can be made even easier to manage with its companion bracers — Gabriel's Vambraces (a great starting point for beginners with this build). With these factors in mind, you will be able to maintain your Wrath reserves despite the high attack speed of this one-hander build, (see this build's gear page for more information).
The other half of your resource management resides in your active skills; Provoke is the Swiss knife at your disposal, the solitary Crusader cooldown with inherent Wrath generation. It is also able to consistently keep enemies in range with its taunt function and the frequent resets coming from the Seeker of the Light set. To top things off, it offers a potent, percentage based debuff from the Too Scared to Run rune, reducing the rate of incoming attacks and offering an easy proc for Bane of the Trapped.
A minor source of Wrath restoration is added on top through the Crusader staple Akarat's Champion, offering the modest 5 Wrath per second. That, however, is not its primary function: it is taken as a sizable multiplicative damage buff and as a protective juggernaut through the Prophet rune. Supplying you with a massive additional layer of armor and an invaluable cheat death, Akarat's Champion will alternate with Indestructible to keep you safe and alive.
Another mainstay of the generally resource-intensive Crusader class is Laws of Valor Unstoppable Force. Cutting down the Wrath cost of all skills in half, the Active part of the law will stabilize your resource spending in the unfavorable (but inevitable) single-target situations. Note that Unstoppable Force's Resource Cost Reduction bonuses also feed into the defensive bonus of Cpt. Crimson's set, making its inclusion even better in the build.
In Greater Rifts, sometimes even Prophet is not enough; Iron Skin will serve as your second line of defense, cutting incoming damage in half. With the freedom of movement granted by the Falling Sword resets from the 2-piece set bonus, you can consider the lengthier safety of the Steel Skin rune in Greater Rifts. In high end GR fishing however, and especially during normal rift runs, it is better to take the Flash rune to make quick and precise adjustments to your position (i.e. to make use of Oculus Ring procs from the follower).
Patch 2.4 reinforced the place of Falling Sword into the build over other mobility or utility options; besides the set-induced damage reduction, Falling Sword also becomes a reliable source of immobilization damage bonuses from the cubed Hammer Jammers (while unlisted, Knockback effects also proc these legendary pants' effects). On top of that, proper use of Falling Sword — right in the middle of big packs, of course — will skyrocket your Blessed Hammer damage through the cubed Faithful Memory bonus. Despite the difference in elemental damage, the recommended rune for Falling Sword during GR progression is Rapid Descent; when used against good density you will have a new charge ready almost immediately.
Breaking the traditional two-hander mold, the Blessed Hammer Crusader benefits greatly from Johanna's Argument — and consequently, adopts Fervor as a foundation passive. Reforging the classic two-handed Crusader image into one of an attack speed and cooldown reduction specialist, this passive will ensure you get the most of your long timers and the Life per Hit on gear.
You can choose between Holy Cause and Blunt as one of your four passives; the former provides a smaller damage bonus but offers decent healing against big packs of enemies, while the latter adds more than an item's worth of skill % bonus to your Blessed Hammers. Both options are viable, but Holy Cause is the recommendation for high GRs.
Crusaders possess an excellent cheat death passive in the face of Indestructible, invariably taken when pushing the boundaries of Greater Rift progression. Operating on the standard 60-second cooldown, it sweetens the deal with a 5-second window of invulnerability after the proc, a 35% damage increase and a substantial Life per Kill boost. Indestructible triggers second in the chain of on-death mechanics, and is preceded by Prophet — essentially adding a third life while Akarat's Champion is active.
Rounding out the standard four choices, Finery is added as a balanced source of both damage and toughness. Providing with a 1.5% Strength increase for every socket of your gear, weapons and jewelry included, it amounts to a sizable boost with an assumed average of 10 sockets across a well-equipped character.
- 13 Sep. 2023: Skills and passives reviewed for Season 29.
- 22 Feb. 2023: Skills and passives reviewed for Season 28.
- 26 Aug. 2022: Skills and passives selection revised for Season 27.
- 13 Apr. 2022: Guide reviewed for Season 26.
- 09 Dec. 2021: Reviewed for Season 25.
- 23 Jul. 2021: No changes necessary for Season 24.
- 31 Mar. 2021: No changes necessary for Season 23.
- 18 Nov. 2020: Reviewed for Season 22. No changes necessary.
- 12 Mar. 2020: No changes necessary for Season 20.
- 19 Nov. 2019: Guide revised and updated for Season 19.
- 22 Aug. 2019: Reviewed for Season 18.
- 15 May 2019: Guide was reviewed and approved for Season 17.
- 17 Jan. 2019: Information was reviewed and approved for Season 16 with no changes required.
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