Invoker Thorns Crusader Skills and Runes

Last updated on Dec 09, 2021 at 09:00 by Deadset 96 comments

On this page, we explain how to choose and use your skills when playing Invoker Thorns Crusader in Diablo 3. Updated for Patch 2.7.2 and Season 25.

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 Unstoppable Force Unstoppable Force 2 Iron Skin Icon Iron Skin Flash Flash 3 Shield Glare Icon Shield Glare Divine Verdict Divine Verdict 4 Akarat's Champion Icon Akarat's Champion Prophet Prophet
Passive Skills


The build promotes a fearless brawling playstyle that does not just endure hits to the face, but relishes in them. You will be running from fight to fight as quickly as possible using Steed Charge Steed Charge, but you will also use this skill as a pre-buff with a momentary pop before a major fight (and especially prior to the Physical Convention of Elements Convention of Elements cycle) to trigger the bonuses of the equipped Norvald's Fervor set. As soon as you find your new target — preferably a large pack of enemies with an elite in their midst — you will draw their attention with a centered Provoke Provoke, then plant yourself in place and start cutting through them with Punish Punish. Activate Laws of Valor Laws of Valor when you throw yourself in a bigger fight and anticipate a lot of burst coming your way; Akarat's Champion Akarat's Champion is to be used as soon as it comes off its hefty cooldown. Pay special attention when activating Iron Skin Iron Skin Flash Flash — it will provide you with a burst of maneuverability and allows you to ignore enemy collision, so use it to reduce incoming damage and reposition in a fight.


Skills and Runes

Punish Punish is the solitary non-cooldown skill in the build, but do not be fooled by its unassuming generator damage — it will serve to amplify your Thorns damage through the Invoker 2-piece bonus, and conveniently dishes it out through the 6-piece bonus.

Iron Skin Iron Skin is a defensive staple of the class, and Thornsaders are no exception. While you can take the damage rune Reflective Skin Reflective Skin in most Greater Rift difficulties to enjoy a temporary spike in your damage (especially if timed to match the Physical cycle of Convention of Elements Convention of Elements), in the highest tier of progression you will need to alternate to the Flash Flash rune for the freedom of movement it offers you — more and more necessary as you seek favorable fights and maximize positioning.

In order to assist the block-based cooldown resets of the build, you will be using the taunt and Wrath generation of Provoke Provoke mostly for the block buff of Hit Me Hit Me. During its uptime, your Akarat's Awakening Akarat's Awakening procs will chunk significant portions of your major cooldowns, or outright reset the shorter ones. It is important to note that in Season 25, in order to proc the crowd control-reliant effects of the Remnant of Pain Soul Shard, you need to use Shield Glare Shield Glare Divine Verdict Divine Verdict in this slot.

Akarat's Champion Akarat's Champion is the favorite alternate form of the Crusader — seemingly irrespective of build, as the Thorns build implements it as well. While the advantage of the 35% multiplicative damage increase is obvious, the protection from Prophet Prophet's 150% additional armor and second life build the skill up to an undeniable status. Cheating death is especially important, since the build has a hard time fitting Indestructible Indestructible in due to more advantageous passives and a neck slot locked away from a Hellfire Amulet of Strength Hellfire Amulet of Strength by the necessary The Traveler's Pledge The Traveler's Pledge (see this build's gear page for more information).

You have some freedom in your 'Laws slot'; for high end progression, squeezing every bit of attack speed (and damage, respectively) while not losing too much on survivability becomes a delicate balance, one you can straddle by taking the offensive Laws of Valor Laws of Valor with the Unstoppable Force Unstoppable Force rune. While you do not have any spenders at your disposal, the worn Cpt. Crimson set scales your damage reduction based on your Resource Cost Reduction, and this rune directly affects that. Alternatively, you can lean on the old favorite Laws of Justice Laws of Justice; the percentage based scaling of Decaying Strength Decaying Strength adds some of the highest defense the Crusader has to offer.

Mobility is one of the most important aspects when rifting, and Crusaders have no better movement ability than their trusty Steed Charge Steed Charge. You will be picking up the extended duration from the Endurance Endurance rune, allowing you to reach — or skip — more efficiently. Note that this skill is also used to trigger the damage multiplication bonus of the Norvald's Fervor set, and you will need to pop it as a pre-buff to any significant engagement — especially prior to the Physical part of the Convention of Elements Convention of Elements rotation. Thankfully, the Steed Charge Steed Charge animation is easily canceled by any other subsequent skill.



As a baseline equipment passive, you are locked in Heavenly Strength Heavenly Strength due to Flail of the Charge Flail of the Charge being a two-handed flail.

A no-brainer inclusion in the build, Iron Maiden Iron Maiden increases your Thorns damage by 50%.

Increased Attack Speed is one of the most important aspects of your damage, considering the emphasis of primary skills applying Thorns (the 2-piece Invokers) as quickly and as efficiently as possible (the 6-piece Invokers) — thus making Fanaticism Fanaticism a great fit.

Finery Finery rounds out your passives with a balanced source of both Damage and Toughness. Increasing Strength by 1.5% for every socket across your gear (weapons and jewelry included), it amounts to a sizable boost with an assumed average of 10 sockets on a well-equipped character.



  • 09 Dec. 2021: Guide revised and added Season 25 Soul Shard recommendations.
  • 23 Jul. 2021: Minor clarification for a Season 24 adjustment.
  • 31 Mar. 2021: No changes required for Season 23.
  • 18 Nov. 2020: Updated advice to match usage of Norvald's Fervor in S22. Changed a passive.
  • 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: Reviewed 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: Information was reviewed and approved for Season 16 with no changes required.
  • 31 Oct. 2017: Replaced Provoke with Consecration.
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