Crusader Leveling Build Guide (Patch 2.7.2 / Season 25)
Welcome to our Crusader leveling guide, where we give you an efficient build for easily leveling to Level 70, with plenty of explanations.
This guide is part of our Crusader Seasonal Progress Guide, which also includes early builds for fresh 70 characters.
|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|
Note that while the skills and runes recommended in the build are specifically chosen to be available at an early level and remain a solid pick throughout the leveling and early character progression, you will have to temporarily work with other skills as the build gradually unlocks. To familiarize yourself with the class, experimentation is strongly encouraged.
The build focuses on the dynamic between Blessed Hammer and Condemn, combining the circular destruction of the former with the vortex effect of the latter. Strive to open fights with Condemn Vacuum, drawing as many enemies as you can on top of you for maximum efficiency per Wrath spent. Then begin the Blessed Hammer onslaught, clearing entire screens of enemies with the efficient Limitless rune. To balance the resource spending of this no-generator setup, you will alternate Laws of Valor Unstoppable Force with Provoke; the combination of the two should provide enough sustain with the cheapest Crusader spender equipped. Akarat's Champion will temporarily boost both your damage and toughness, but with its low uptime in barebones gear setups, it should be limited to important fights. An efficient farming build would be incomplete without mobility, so we also include Steed Charge as the most reliable movement tool of the class.
Skills, Runes and Passives
The basis of every build lies in its chosen damage dealing skills. As they invariably require resource or cooldown management mechanics of some sort, and such are scarce for low level and less geared characters, you will focus on one damage dealing ability early on. The typical early game build will feature a dominant damage dealer, a mobility skill, buffs and/or shields, and resource generators (either active or passive). The recommended split is:
- Slot 1 — Damage dealing ability: Reliant on sets and high level legendaries to skyrocket the damage of most of his spenders, the Crusader does best with his cheapest damage dealer early on — Blessed Hammer. Until you acquire it at level 12, you will have to make do with Shield Bash (level 2) and Sweep Attack (level 5), both of which are significantly more taxing on your Wrath reserve. Once the hammers become available, switch to them and add the Burning Wrath rune at level 18, sticking to it until level 35 where you swap it out for Limitless. You can safely stay on the latter for the remainder of the leveling process. Blessed Hammer becomes especially attractive with some of the gambling strats you can apply, discussed in our Beginner Seasonal Guide.
- Slot 2 — Mobility skill: Crusaders have a single reliable movement tool in the form of Steed Charge; a high-cooldown celestial mount that boosts your speed and removes enemy collision for its duration. It unlocks at level 13, but gains the only relevant upgrade to the role quite further down the line — the Endurance rune at level 42.
- Slot 3 — Resource management: As cheap as Blessed Hammer is, for a decent chunk of your leveling you will have to include a Wrath generator to replenish some of your reserve. Any of your four primaries — Punish, Slash, Smite or Justice — will do early on. Once you hit level 45 however, you will add the resource management powerhouse Laws of Valor Unstoppable Force, and will never have to resort to a generator again.
- Slots 4 & 5 — Utility: With the scattershot approach of Blessed Hammer, you will do well to include control abilities to reduce whiffed hammers. Provoke unlocks at level 9, and taunts enemies to beeline straight into your AoE; you will add some healing to it at level 15 through Cleanse, but will gain the biggest defensive benefit at level 32 — from the percentage based debuff of Too Scared to Run. Provoke also has considerable Wrath generation utility, which cannot be ignored in a generator-less setup. Condemn (level 21) will not assist you with Wrath, but will compensate with the best monster pulling ability at the disposal of Crusaders in the face of the Vacuum rune, available at level 26.
- Slot 6 — Supplementary damage: You have considerable freedom for your final active skill slot, with reasonable options like Falling Sword Part the Clouds (level 28), Phalanx Bowmen (level 30) or Heaven's Fury Ascendancy (level 36). The standard recommendation Akarat's Champion becomes available at level 25, and despite its low uptime in a beginner build brings considerable, directly controllable damage increase to the build, along with additional tankyness and a cheat death with the Prophet rune (level 49).
- Passives: You should alternate between Heavenly Strength and Fervor according to your currently equipped weapon. You can make temporary additions to the passive setup for defense ( Indestructible at level 25) or offense ( Holy Cause at level 27), but definitely make way for Long Arm of the Law as soon as it unlocks at level 45 — along with Unstoppable Force, it will be the basis of your Wrath management. Finery will spike both damage and toughness when it unlocks at level 60, amounting to a hefty boost of toughness and damage with an assumed average of 10 sockets across a well-equipped character. You will solidify your Blessed Hammer powers with Blunt at level 65, adding more than an item's worth of skill % to your build.
Gear and Stats Priorities
As the leveling process in Diablo 3 is relatively quick, specific legendary recommendations are impossible. During leveling finding upgrades is frequent, so your gear will be swapped in and out within the span of a few minutes. Following the in-game comparison system and the stat priorities outlined in the tables below will result in a solid character throughout the leveling journey.
The table below is meant to point you in a general correct direction and is by no means indicative of the exact rolls you want to go for. They can vary greatly from build to build and it is always preferable to refer to our exact guide page. If you simply use the rolls below however, and roll for skill damage on the applicable pieces:
- Blessed Shield, Shield Bash, Phalanx, Blessed Hammer, Fist of the Heavens, Sweep Attack on helms and boots;
- Condemn, Heaven's Fury, Falling Sword, Bombardment on shoulders and chest;
- Justice, Punish, Smite, Slash on belt and pants.
Wherever it says 'Elemental damage', match it to the rune of your damaging skill of choice. You will come out with a functional spec, and probably not too far off from what we would recommend in a dedicated build!
Note that skill damage and elemental damage recommendations only apply if the majority of your damage is done through that skill or element. For alt characters however, sockets take priority above all other attributes, since you can slot high level gems and benefit massively from their stat increase. For the purposes of an alt character, leveling a Gem of Ease to level 25 and socketing it in a level 70 weapon will be the single biggest boost you can provide to the leveling process.
- 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.
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