Tags: beginner

Crusader Thorns of the Invoker Fresh 70 Starter Build (Patch 2.7.6 / Season 29)

Last updated on Sep 15, 2023 at 09:00 by Deadset 30 comments

This build is a starter build for fresh Level 70 Crusaders who have access to the Thorns of the Invoker 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.



The Thorns of the Invoker starter build differs significantly from the leveling and fresh 70 build, and Thorns builds in general are not built like most Diablo 3 specs. It is important to know from the get-go that Thorns damage can not critically hit, but rather relies on fast application and specific cooldowns. This means that for all pieces of gear you will be aiming for Thorns damage in the secondary stats, as well as cooldown reduction and attack speed wherever possible.

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

Active Skills
Left Mouse Button Punish Icon Punish Celerity Celerity Right Mouse Button Steed Charge Icon Steed Charge Spiked Barding Spiked Barding 1 Laws of Justice Icon Laws of Justice Bravery Bravery 2 Iron Skin Icon Iron Skin Reflective Skin Reflective Skin 3 Provoke Icon Provoke Hit Me Hit Me 4 Consecration Icon Consecration Bed of Nails Bed of Nails
Passive Skills

At the 2-piece Thorns of the Invoker bonus, you get an early damage increase that makes the journey to Haedrig's Gift completion rather easy and straightforward. You will have to include one of the Primary skills listed by the 2-piece bonus in your build, and we generally advise you to use the endgame-appropriate Punish Punish Celerity Celerity straight away, as it plays into the Block-based aspects of Invoker as well.

The remainder of your skillset assumes the lowest and worst possible starting point for an Invoker, complete with an overly defensive law choice — Laws of Justice Laws of Justice with the CC breaking Bravery Bravery rune. Depending on your confidence with your current gear, you can alter this slot to an Attack Speed increase from Laws of Valor Laws of Valor Answered Prayer Answered Prayer, or a Movement Speed increase from Laws of Hope Laws of Hope Wings of Angels Wings of Angels right from the get-go.

Your basic rotation would be to ride into a monster pack with Steed Charge Steed Charge (getting some bonus damage from the Spiked Barding Spiked Barding rune), using Provoke Provoke to draw monsters in (note the Block Chance synergy from the Hit Me Hit Me rune with the 2-piece Invoker bonus) and dropping Consecration Consecration Bed of Nails Bed of Nails under the whole fight. Pop Iron Skin Iron Skin Reflective Skin Reflective Skin when attacks come your way, and slash away in return with Punish Punish until they all fall dead. Rinse and repeat the process in the next fight.

Since Invoker-based builds are very Attack Speed- and Cooldown Reduction-centric, this guide assumes you will be using one-handed weapons for the synergy with the Fervor Fervor passive. If your current best weapon is two-handed however, you can temporarily use Heavenly Strength Heavenly Strength in Fervor Fervor's stead. Always keep in mind that the weapon damage stat does not affect Thorns at all; you only care about synergistic stats like Thorns (Secondary Stat), Attack Speed, Cooldown Reduction, Increased Damage vs. Elites, Strength, Life on Hit and Physical % Damage.

At this point, no additional helpful legendary items are assumed, since none of the popular leveling legendaries for Crusaders are particularly helpful for an Invoker build.


Build at the 4-piece Bonus

Active Skills
Left Mouse Button Punish Icon Punish Celerity Celerity Right Mouse Button Steed Charge Icon Steed Charge Endurance Endurance 1 Laws of Valor Icon Laws of Valor Answered Prayer Answered Prayer 2 Iron Skin Icon Iron Skin Reflective Skin Reflective Skin 3 Provoke Icon Provoke Hit Me Hit Me 4 Bombardment Icon Bombardment Barrels of Spikes Barrels of Spikes
Passive Skills

At the 4-piece Thorns of the Invoker bonus, you gain the typical damage reduction bonus associated with class sets. For Invoker, this damage reduction is tied to the existence of Bombardment Bombardment in the build; at this point, we assume you do not yet have Belt of the Trove Belt of the Trove, so you should slot Bombardment Bombardment Barrels of Spikes Barrels of Spikes in your skill lineup and manually apply the bonus. To help with its massive Cooldown, you should already have some Cooldown Reduction stats in your build, and get some additional assistance from the Lord Commander Lord Commander passive.

Lord Commander Lord Commander will also help your mobility, so you can get a lot of movement done with a simple swap to the Endurance Endurance rune on Steed Charge Steed Charge. With the damage reduction now present in the build, you should definitely drop Laws of Justice Laws of Justice for Laws of Valor Laws of Valor at a minimum; also consider the farming staple Laws of Hope Laws of Hope Wings of Angels Wings of Angels.

Now is a good time to go over the Passives. You will always include the signature Thorns passive, Iron Maiden Iron Maiden. Finery Finery is a consistently useful bonus (Strength is a multiplier to Thorns damage), and you should get a good One-handed Weapon for faster Thorns application with Fervor Fervor. Before you obtain Belt of the Trove Belt of the Trove, you might have to temporarily work with Lord Commander Lord Commander in order to have Bombardment Bombardment as often as possible for the 4-piece set bonus damage reduction. As soon as you get the belt, swap that passive away either for Hold Your Ground Hold Your Ground (more block-based damage), or Long Arm of the Law Long Arm of the Law (longer duration for your Law active).


Build at the 6-piece Bonus

Active Skills
Left Mouse Button Punish Icon Punish Celerity Celerity Right Mouse Button Steed Charge Icon Steed Charge Endurance Endurance 1 Laws of Hope Icon Laws of Hope Wings of Angels Wings of Angels 2 Iron Skin Icon Iron Skin Reflective Skin Reflective Skin 3 Provoke Icon Provoke Hit Me Hit Me 4 Condemn Icon Condemn Vacuum Vacuum
Passive Skills

At the 6-piece Thorns of the Invoker bonus, you gain a massive Attack Speed and single-target damage increase that will propel you through most of the farming difficulties just by itself. At this point, you should definitely get the Laws of Hope Laws of Hope Wings of Angels Wings of Angels plus Long Arm of the Law Long Arm of the Law combo to get some mobility into the otherwise plodding Invoker pace, and get some more crowd control from Condemn Condemn Vacuum Vacuum (assuming you got some Invoker-synergistic items — see below).

Presumably by the 6-piece bonus you will have between 1 and 3 legendary items that are synergistic with your Invoker bonuses, and perhaps even more. To somewhat make up for its lackluster speed farming capabilities, Invoker is one of the most item-independent sets in the game, with very few required pieces. Here's some of your best early items, and how they affect your build:

  • Belt of the Trove Belt of the Trove — This is a crucial piece as it allows you to drop Bombardment Bombardment from your skill bar altogether, and get automated damage reduction from its proc instead. Note that despite its imposing visuals, Invoker does not focus on Bombardment Bombardment damage at all; focus on increasing your attack speed instead.
  • Akarat's Awakening Akarat's Awakening — The legendary power of this shield will allow you to turn your Block-based powers into additional Cooldown Reduction, and will enable the permanent uptime of Akarat's Champion Akarat's Champion, a massive boon to the build.
  • Aquila Cuirass Aquila Cuirass — Invoker builds do not need and do not include any Wrath spenders, making the bonuses of this chest piece effectively permanent. Include it in your build as soon as possible.

How to Get This Build Going?

In this section, we'll 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 Invoker 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 Reusable Parts, 350 Arcane Dust Arcane Dust, 125 Veiled Crystal Veiled Crystals, 35 Death's Breath Death's Breaths, and 15 of each Bounty cache material: Khanduran Rune Khanduran Rune, Caldeum Nightshade Caldeum Nightshade, Arreat War Tapestry Arreat War Tapestry, Corrupted Angel Flesh Corrupted Angel Flesh, and Westmarch Holy Water 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 Soul Forgotten Souls, 10x Death's Breath 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 Invoker Thorns Crusader, you should do the following.

  • Gather the full 6-piece Shadow 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, Helm, and Bracers. 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.
  • Gamble Belts for Belt of the Trove Belt of the Trove; this item will automatically proc the 4-piece damage reduction bonus, freeing up a skill slot on your bar from the otherwise necessary Bombardment Bombardment. Gambling on Belts will also net you Goldwrap Goldwrap, which is a nice survivability alternative for T16 runs.
  • Upgrade rare (Hope of Cain recipe in Kanai's Cube) One-handed Swords to get In-geom In-geom; doing this on a level 1 Demon Hunter alt will improve your chances due to their lowest loot pool of legendary swords. Invoker builds are pretty good at hunting and bursting down elites, which makes In-geom In-geom a great piece for them.
  • Gamble Shields or upgrade Rare Crusader Shields for Akarat's Awakening Akarat's Awakening; this is the block-based equivalent of Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac for Invoker builds, as it chips away at your cooldowns as you facetank attacks. This shield is one of your shortcuts to resetting the indispensable Akarat's Champion Akarat's Champion cooldown, and can ease you into GR pushing with this build.
  • Gamble Bracers for Nemesis Bracers Nemesis Bracers to get yourself additional Elite spawns, feeding into your In-geom In-geom cooldown reduction machine and greatly speeding up farming runs overall. Gambling Bracers will net you other valuable pieces, such as the farming staple Warzechian Armguards Warzechian Armguards, or the numerous build-specific legendary bracers for Crusaders.
  • Do Act I bounties to attain the act-specific Ring of Royal Grandeur Ring of Royal Grandeur from Bounty caches. This will be helpful either in completing the basic set bonus, or mixing other helpful sets in (Cpt. Crimson) as described in the dedicated endgame Invoker Thorns guide. Bounties will net you the craftable set recipes to begin with, so you will be killing two birds with one stone. Bounties will also net you Avarice Band 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; Justice Lantern Justice Lantern, Convention of Elements Convention of Elements, and the Endless Walk set (The Traveler's Pledge The Traveler's Pledge and The Compass Rose The Compass Rose) will all drastically improve the build, with other standout pieces that can also substitute or be temporarily helpful in the face of Unity Unity, or Oculus Ring Oculus Ring and The Flavor of Time The Flavor of Time for your Follower.


  • 15 Sep. 2023: Reviewed for Season 29.
  • 22 Feb. 2023: Reviewed for Season 28.
  • 10 Dec. 2021: Thorough rework 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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