Crusader Armor of Akkhan Fresh 70 Starter Build (Patch 2.7.6 / Season 29)
This build is a starter build for fresh Level 70 Crusaders who have access to the Armor of Akkhan set.
This guide is part of our Crusader Seasonal Progress Guide, which also includes a leveling build and other early builds for fresh 70 characters.
Fresh 70 Build
Due to the utility focus and generic nature of the set, it is hard to point at a specific build path as best for a beginner Armor of Akkhan set starting build. The natural recommendation is to keep Akarat's Champion from the leveling and fresh 70 build, since the set builds up your resource management and damage bonuses around the uptime of this cornerstone steroid skill. You can otherwise keep the beginner spec as-is (if you favor Blessed Hammer), or change to another Wrath spender depending on your preferences and/or early game crafts and gambles.
The following build assumes you will assemble the build in 2-piece increments, similarly to how Haedrig's Gift would dole the set out. Haderig's Gift is a seasonal participation reward that gives you a full class-specific set as you complete Chapters II, III and IV of the Seasonal Journey (accessible via the leaf-shaped icon in the top right corner). The cadence of early natural character progression is also not too far off the listed strategy, so even if the set is not part of Haedrig's Gift, you can put the advice below to good use.
Build at the 2-piece Bonus
|Blessed Hammer Limitless Steed Charge Endurance 1 Laws of Valor Unstoppable Force 2 Condemn Vacuum 3 Provoke Too Scared to Run 4 Akarat's Champion Prophet
At the 2-piece Armor of Akkhan bonus, you still do not have any damage-related bonuses, so you can continue using as close to the leveling build as you choose to, or adapt it closer to the suggestions below.
The dynamic at this point is to Steed Charge from fight to fight, alternating Condemn Vacuum with Provoke Too Scared to Run to draw enemies in, and then demolishing them with Blessed Hammer Limitless. The Akkhan set will only contribute to resource management, and only while Akarat's Champion is active — a highly conditional and unwieldy bonus at this point. Try to alternate the use of Laws of Valor Unstoppable Force and Akarat's Champion Prophet so you have a source of resource cost mitigation at all times; this is, after all, a generator-less setup.
One thing that might influence your build decisions early on is your crafting and/or gambling at level 1, especially if you followed the advice in the Beginner Seasonal Guide. Items you might have from leveling that significantly alter your setup are:
- Blessed Shield-related items — If you lucked into crafting an Akkhan's Leniency or a Gyrfalcon's Foote with the Upgrade Rare recipe, and/or gambled Akkhan's Manacles at level 23. In this case, you should have Blessed Shield in your setup as the main damage dealer.
- Blessed Hammer-related items — If you lucked into crafting Johanna's Argument with the Upgrade Rare recipe, or gambled Gabriel's Vambraces (high chance) and/or Guard of Johanna (decent chance). In this case, stay with a build close to the leveling and fresh 70 one.
- Sweep Attack-related items — If you lucked into crafting Golden Flense and/or gambling Denial, you should use Sweep Attack as your primary DPS skill.
- Other spender-related legendaries — if you crafted a Darklight, use Fist of the Heavens as your main attack. If you crafted a Fate of the Fell and/or gambled Bracer of Fury at level 33, use Heaven's Fury as your main damage dealer.
Build at the 4-piece Bonus
|Provoke Hit Me Steed Charge Spiked Barding 1 Iron Skin Reflective Skin 2 Consecration Bed of Nails 3 Bombardment Barrels of Spikes 4 Akarat's Champion Prophet
At the 4-piece Armor of Akkhan bonus, you can slowly start transitioning the build into a powerful Thorns-based setup, or keep the build from the 2-piece stage for as long as you have supporting items for it. The Akkhan set remains largely unhelpful, cutting the downtime of Akarat's Champion in half, but otherwise staying irrelevant in terms of damage dealt, or your survivability.
If you delve into the Thorns side of builds, you will transition to a cooldown-centric build that cycles through its active skills pretty much as soon as they become available. Your targeted nuke will come in the form of Bombardment Barrels of Spikes, but Consecration Bed of Nails, Iron Skin Reflective Skin and Steed Charge Spiked Barding will all contribute to your clear speed. For your gear rolls, always keep in mind that Thorns (secondary stat) is vital for your performance with such a build, so do not neglect to seek it out.
It is not unreasonable to assume that at the 4-piece bonus, you have attained at least one additional key item for Thorns Akkhan Crusaders. If you follow the advice in our "Get the build started" section below, this item will likely be either Belt of the Trove or The Mortal Drama. Here is how they factor into your beginner Thorns Crusader build:
- Belt of the Trove drops automated and empowered Bombardments from the sky; they will inherit the rune on your bar ( Barrels of Spikes in this case) and will deliver some serious damage, carrying you through Rifts almost by themselves.
- The Mortal Drama empowers and doubles the number of Bombardments dropped, both self-cast and ones dropped by Belt of the Trove.
Build at the 6-piece Bonus
|Provoke Hit Me Steed Charge Endurance 1 Iron Skin Reflective Skin 2 Laws of Hope Wings of Angels 3 Bombardment Barrels of Spikes 4 Akarat's Champion Prophet
At the 6-piece Armor of Akkhan bonus, you should have at least a few pieces to help you put together a Thorns-based hybrid build. It is not out of the question to still be on a spender-based build if you lucked into exceptional items for the purpose, but you will probably be eyeing a more endgame-oriented build at this point. Fortunately, Akkhan starts contributing with an overall damage bonus at this point, allowing you great flexibility to deal with monsters as you see fit.
The suggested setup above is an alteration of the 4-piece setup that leans into more speed, exchanging Consecration for Laws of Hope Wings of Angels and the Spiked Barding rune on Steed Charge for either Endurance (longer lasting) or Nightmare (breaks down doors and obstacles on its own). These alterations are not mandatory in the slightest. For your gear rolls, always keep in mind that Thorns (secondary stat) is vital for your performance with such a build, so do not neglect to seek it out.
It is not unreasonable to assume that at the 6-piece bonus, you have attained at least two additional key items for Thorns Akkhan Crusaders. If you follow the advice in our "Get the build started" section below, these items will likely be either In-geom or Aquila Cuirass. Here is how they factor into your beginner Thorns Crusader build:
- Aquila Cuirass is a protective cornerstone for low resource spending builds. Since Thorns Crusaders are entirely Cooldown-based specs, the defensive bonuses of this armor piece will be effectively permanent.
- In-geom will get you back to Akarat's Champion form quicker, cutting your downtimes in 10-second chunks as you kill elites. Thorns Crusaders are excellent elite hunters, so lean into those strengths and prioritize finding and nuking down champion packs with Bombardments.
How To get This Build Going?
In this section, we will briefly go over how to kickstart this build into reality; which items you should aim for with priority when farming and gambling, and what is their relative priority for the functioning of this spec. Note that these suggestions are exclusively aimed at getting you up and running into endgame farming, and might not reflect the gear you need to wear for high-end Greater Rift solo or group pushing. This section also assumes a fresh Season's start, which usually is the point where most players work on assembling their first build with a particular set.
If the Akkhan set is part of the Haedrig's Gift for the Season, your simplest and most straightforward path to assembling the build is to complete the Seasonal Journey chapters up to Chapter IV. The Seasonal Journey chapters will gradually give you a complete class-specific set, giving 2-3 pieces for Chapters II, III and IV.
From the pre-game menu, choose and do this week's Challenge Rift. When successfully completed, this weekly event will grant you 5,1 million Gold, 475 Blood Shards, 370 Reusable Parts, 350 Arcane Dust, 125 Veiled Crystals, 35 Death's Breaths, and 15 of each Bounty cache material: Khanduran Rune, Caldeum Nightshade, Arreat War Tapestry, Corrupted Angel Flesh, and Westmarch Holy Water. This will allow you some early Seasonal leeway to extract and reforge items in Kanai's Cube, speeding up the assembly of this build with the items recommended below.
Having some materials at your disposal, either from farming or the Challenge Rift, is particularly important when you get duplicate pieces of your desired set. When you do, you can use Kanai's Cube Skill of Nilfur recipe (10x Forgotten Souls, 10x Death's Breaths, 1x Set item) to convert into another item from the same set. You should never salvage duplicate pieces of a desired set before you have it assembled.
In order to assemble an Akkhan Thorns Crusader, you should do the following.
- Gather the full 6-piece Armor of Akkhan set using the advice above, or by spending Blood Shards at Kadala. In order of gamble chance, you should spend for: Shoulders, Boots, Gloves, Pants, Gloves, Helm, and Chest. Do not gamble on the Amulet; it is prohibitively expensive to gamble on jewelry early on. A trick you can also use is to gamble for duplicate pieces with an easier gamble chance (i.e., Shoulders) and convert them into another piece from the same set using the Skill of Nilfur recipe in Kanai's Cube.
- Upgrade rare (Hope of Cain recipe in Kanai's Cube) Two-Handed Flails to get The Mortal Drama and Flail of the Charge; these are build-defining weapons that increase the output of your main source of damage, Bombardment.
- Note that Flail of the Charge is part of the Norvald's Fervor set, along with Shield of the Steed. Gammble for the shield after getting the full Akkhan set.
- Gamble Bracers to get Shackles of the Invoker for yourself (you will combo Akkhan with the Invoker set eventually), and Nemesis Bracers for your Follower.
- Gamble Shoulders to get Burden of the Invoker. Equip your two Invoker pieces for the 2-piece bonus, vital for this setup.
- Upgrade rare One-handed Swords to get In-geom; doing this on a level 1 Demon Hunter alt will improve your chances due to their lowest loot pool of legendary swords. In-geom greatly benefits Thorns Crusaders, since they are an entirely cooldown-based build.
- Do Act I bounties to attain the act-specific Ring of Royal Grandeur from Bounty caches. This will be helpful either in completing the basic set bonus, or mixing other helpful legendaries in the build as described in the dedicated endgame Akkhan Bombardment guide. Bounties will net you craftable set recipes as well, so you will be killing two birds with one stone. Bounties will also net you Avarice Band (Act III), another farming-oriented staple for most builds and classes, this one included.
- While largely undesirable due to high costs, gambling or upgrading rare Jewelry is also possible; Convention of Elements and Unity will drastically improve this and other builds, with other standout pieces that can be helpful like Oculus Ring and The Flavor of Time for your Follower.
- 15 Sep. 2023: Reviewed for Season 29.
- 22 Feb. 2023: Reviewed for Season 28.
- 14 Apr. 2022: Thorough rework for Season 26.
- 10 Dec. 2021: Reviewed for Season 25.
- 23 Jul. 2021: Reviewed for Season 24.
- 02 Apr. 2021: Reviewed for Season 23.
- 13 Mar. 2020: Reviewed for Season 20.
- 22 Nov. 2019: Page added.
- Diablo 4 Patch 1.3.1 Hotfixes: February 7th
- How To Get All Lunar Awakening Cosmetics and Mount Very Fast in Diablo 4’s New Event
- Protection Shrines May Not Work Correctly After Lunar Awakening Patch
- Workaround for Diablo 4 Crashing While Loading
- The Gauntlet & Leaderboards Launch Delayed
- World Tier 4 Vault and Trading Re-Enabled
- Timeline of Blizzard Presidents
- World Tier 4 Vault of the Loom Temporarily Disabled