Invoker Thorns Crusader Skills and Runes
|Punish Celerity Steed Charge Endurance 1 Laws of Valor Unstoppable Force 2 Iron Skin Flash 3 Provoke Hit Me 4 Akarat's Champion Prophet|
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, 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 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, then plant yourself in place and start cutting through them with Punish. Activate Laws of Valor when you throw yourself in a bigger fight and anticipate a lot of burst coming your way; Akarat's Champion is to be used as soon as it comes off its hefty cooldown. Pay special attention when activating Iron Skin 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 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 is a defensive staple of the class, and Thornsaders are no exception. While you can take the damage rune 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), in the highest tier of progression you will need to alternate to the 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 mostly for the block buff of Hit Me. During its uptime, your Akarat's Awakening procs will chunk significant portions of your major cooldowns, or outright reset the shorter ones.
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'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 in due to more advantageous passives and a neck slot locked away from a Hellfire Amulet of Strength by the necessary 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 with the 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; the percentage based scaling of 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. You will be picking up the extended duration from the 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 rotation. Thankfully, the Steed Charge animation is easily canceled by any other subsequent skill.
This concludes the overview of the active skills, now let us look through the passives.
A no-brainer inclusion in the build, 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 a great fit.
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.
- 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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