Invoker Thorns Crusader BiS Gear, Gems, and Paragon Points
Below, we detail the items and gems that you should use for your Invoker Thorns Crusader in Diablo 3 and why. We also list your paragon points and Kanai's Cube items. Updated for patch 2.6.9 and Season 21.
Best in Slot Gear and Alternatives
The build incorporates the full Thorns of the Invoker set bonus, taking 5 of the 6 available set pieces and completing their bonuses with a Ring of Royal Grandeur. Rolls-wise, this cooldown- and attack speed-centric build benefits from CDR on both Burden of the Invoker and Pride of the Invoker, along with an attack speed roll on the latter. Physical elemental damage is recommended on Shackles of the Invoker, as Thorns benefits from that element. The remaining pieces — Crown of the Invoker and Zeal of the Invoker — can be entirely dedicated to Toughness.
Armor set-wise, you will also be crafting and equipping two of the three pieces of the Captain Crimson set — the mandatory Captain Crimson's Silk Girdle and either Captain Crimson's Thrust or Captain Crimson's Waders (again, their bonuses completed via Ring of Royal Grandeur). The Captain Crimson set provides CDR as well as RCR bonuses, and then scales your damage dealt and damage reduced according to both stats — bringing a massive boon to the build. Note that you will not be rolling Resource Cost Reduction on gear, but will attain a considerable amount via your skill choices — namely, Laws of Valor Unstoppable Force.
Your jewelry will balance between damage and utility. Unlike most builds in the game, the Invoker Thorns Crusader can take great advantage of a worn Ring of Royal Grandeur due to its natural Attack Speed and Life on Hit rolls, both of which are desirable for the build — you will only have to watch for a socket and CDR to make the ring best-in-slot. (The ring is still interchangeable with Convention of Elements depending on your better rolled item, but CoE rolls with innate Crit Chance, which makes the odds unfavorable.) The Endless Walk set makes up the remainder of your jewelry; The Compass Rose ring and The Traveler's Pledge amulet — add a unique mechanic that slowly increases your damage by up to a 100% if you remain stationary, and drains it away and increases your damage reduction while moving. This balance mirrors the Thorns playstyle, which fights rooted in one spot for extended periods of time, with periodic bursts of movement to the next big brawl (see this build's skills page for more information).
Your best-in-slot chest piece is Aquila Cuirass, which cuts incoming damage in half if you maintain above 90% of your resource — effectively a permanent bonus in this no-spender build. Note that Aquilla is not a Thorns-related item by nature, so you will need to watch for Thorns damage in your secondary stats, or reroll for them if necessary. The unique damage reduction property of the item has a range of the roll that you need not take into consideration, so you can focus strictly on the relevant rolls for the build.
With the added emphasis on quick application of Thorns damage via your primary attack in Patch 2.6.1, Pig Sticker returns as the preferred weapon of the build. While lacking any flashy bonuses, this noisy knife more than makes up for it. First, it has the superior attack speed of the dagger weapon class (1.5 base); second, it rolls up to five primary stats, meaning it can have high Strength, Vitality, Cooldown Reduction and Increased Attack Speed, AND its base weapon damage roll can (and should, in a perfect scenario) be rerolled into Life per Hit or Increased Damage vs. Elites. And third, its unique bonuses vs. human and beast enemies are multiplicative in nature and can lead to massive damage spikes in certain rift compositions.
To complete the setup, the rarest Crusader shield — Akarat's Awakening — supplies this block-heavy build with a reliable source of the all too vital cooldown reduction.
Desired Stats, Breakpoints and Other Notes
Strength still scales your Thorns damage and is recommended across the board. Any base Damage, Critical Hit Chance and Critical Hit Damage stats can be safely replaced by survivability and utility stats, as Thorns damage is not dependent on basic attack damage and cannot crit. Focus entirely on Cooldown Reduction, Attack Speed and Life per Hit rolls wherever possible.
For Defense stats, aim for a life pool between 700-900k; dropping as much as you can for offense as you grow accustomed to the build. The sustain in this build will come from Life per Hit rolls across gear, so try to obtain it on at least 2-3 items (i.e. bracer, helm, gloves), though you could go for more.
Note that the stat suggestions below portray an ideally rolled item with stats listed in relative order of importance. The first four of them are main stats, and the latter two — secondary stats. If your item lacks and is unable to be rerolled into the primary stats outlined below, especially for a stat higher on the list, strongly consider its replacement. Perfecting Secondary stats is mostly a case of hyper-optimization and isn't a case for discarding an item, except where noted.
To help you with farming the gear you need for your builds, we have two very useful guides that you can access by clicking the links below: a Salvage Guide to help you quickly check whether or not you can safely salvage a piece of gear and a Legendary Farming Guide to help you efficiently farm legendaries and set items.
In the Core section, max out Movement Speed to the 25% cap. Normally this is done by dumping the first 50 Core Paragon points into Movement Speed, but if your boots have an imperfect roll with Movement Speed as a stat that you cannot replace, adjust the necessary point investment accordingly by simply subtracting your roll from the 25% max. After that dump as much as you comfortably can into Strength, but feel free to invest into Vitality if you feel yourself lacking in toughness. Do not place any points into Maximum Wrath, they are wasted in a no-spender build.
In the Offense section, max out Cooldown Reduction and Attack Speed; you can fill out the remaining Crit stats, but they are useless in a Thorns build (Thorns doesn't crit). In Defense, prioritize All Resistance, then Life %, then Armor, and finish off with Life Regeneration. In Utility, build up Life on Hit and Resource Cost Reduction (for Cpt. Crimson's bonus) first, then finish off with Gold Find. You can fill out Area Damage, but it serves no function in this build.
Bane of the Trapped is a potent source of additional damage, as it is its own multiplier in your total damage calculation. The gem procs itself with its level 25 property and matches the set Thorns radius perfectly.
Added in Patch 2.4, Boyarsky's Chip fulfills a simple and straightforward purpose: increasing your Thorns damage. Its level 25 property is useful in sticking enemies on top of you, right in the 2-piece set bonus radius.
Introduced in Season 4, Bane of the Stricken occupies the third and final jewelry socket. Building up your damage multiplicatively in prolonged fights and with a level 25 bonus specifically targeting Rift Guardians, this gem is designed to assist during the takedown of the biggest bottleneck in GRs, the scaling HP numbers.
When it comes to gear gems, you will start out progression by slotting the highest available level of Rubies in the chest and pants sockets. Ideally, these will all be Flawless Royal Ruby as soon as possible. As you grow in Paragon (bulking up Strength in the Core section) and aim for higher tier and more dangerous GRs, you will transition those gems into the defensive Flawless Royal Diamond. There is no specific breakpoint where you do that; the rule of thumb is to make the change as soon as you feel the lack of toughness impede your progress. Thorns Crusaders are highly Cooldown Reduction dependent, so a Flawless Royal Diamond should be socketed in your helm. In your weapon, use a Flawless Royal Topaz for the Thorns boost.
|Torso and Pants|
For more information about gems, please refer to our guide on gems.
Cubing The Furnace provides you with an incomparable source of bonus elite damage, significantly shortening fights with champion packs and Rift Guardians — arguably the most dangerous fights in Greater Rift progression attempts.
Due to the introduction of the Cpt. Crimson set in the build, Belt of the Trove moves to the armor Cube slot. With its use, you gain the 50% damage reduction after casting Bombardment from the 4-piece set for free, allowing you to slot other synergistic skills and not worry about another long cooldown on your hands.
The jewelry slot in the cube is best taken by Convention of Elements, squeezing some extra damage in a spec that already excels at survival. Maximize its benefits by keeping in mind the heavy burst during the Physical cycle of the rotation.
The Kanai's Cube can be used for much more than simply extracting Legendary powers from items. Please refer to our Kanai's Cube guide for more information.
The preferred potion for this build is Bottomless Potion of the Leech due to its Life per Hit bonuses, which synergize perfectly for the high attack speed and sustain-through-attacks playstyle of the build.
For more information regarding followers, we advise you to read our Follower Guide, which contains detailed advice for choosing the skills and the gear of your follower.
- 30 Jun. 2020: No changes required for Season 21.
- 12 Mar. 2020: No changes necessary for Season 20.
- 19 Nov. 2019: Guide revised and updated for Season 19.
- 22 Aug. 2019: Revised Cube recommendations for the build for Season 18.
- 17 May 2019: Minor fixes to skill recommendations; guide approved for Season 17.
- 24 Feb. 2019: Item and skill recommendations revised further to reflect the meta.
- 17 Jan. 2019: Added suggestions for the baseline Ring of Royal Grandeur for Seasonal characters.
- 31 Oct. 2017: Changed weapons to reflect Thorn's changes in Patch 2.6.1.
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