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 2.6.5 and Season 17.
|Blessed Hammer Limitless Falling Sword Rapid Descent 1 Laws of Valor Critical 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 Gabriel's Vambraces, in multi and single target situations respectively. The cheap price of Blessed Hammer and the solid resource management already present in the build allows you to take and liberally use a pure offense law in the face of Laws of Valor Critical. While the Crusader is naturally durable, protection will 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.
2. Skills, Runes and Passives
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, made even easier to manage with its companion bracers — Gabriel's Vambraces. With these factors in mind, you will be able to maintain your Wrath reserves despite the high attack speed of this one-hander build.
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.
The use of laws, party-wide constant buffs with a powerful activation effect, is a signature of the Crusader class. When pushing Greater Rifts, your law of choice should be the damage staple Laws of Valor Critical; not only does its attack speed passive bonus fit right at home in this cast speed-oriented build, but its Critical Damage bonuses are a welcome addition to a shield-wearing build that naturally hungers for the stat.
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 through the Sacred Harness belt. 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, freeing up space for other cooldowns to be reset via Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac.
This concludes the overview of the active skills, now let us look through the passives.
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.
- 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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