Thorns Bombardment Crusader BiS Gear, Gems, and Paragon Points
Best in Slot Gear and Alternatives
The backbone of the build lies in the 6-piece set bonuses of the Akkhan set , mixed in with the additional powers of Thorns of the Invoker and adding two pieces of the craftable Captain Crimson's Trimmings set — Captain Crimson's Silk Girdle and one more of your choosing, according to your weakest rolls from the other sets (either Captain Crimson's Thrust or Captain Crimson's Waders). The result should be a 2-piece Invoker, 2-piece Cpt. Crimson, 5-piece Akkhan split, which will benefit from a cubed Ring of Royal Grandeur to complete the full 6-piece bonus. Note that while some of the pieces will be fixed — Talisman of Akkhan, Breastplate of Akkhan, Shackles of the Invoker and Captain Crimson's Silk Girdle will have to occupy their respective slots — the remaining armor set pieces can be moved around to your liking, as well as to your best rolls. The sample gear split provided in the table below shows a possible, but not mandatory distribution of set pieces.
In this almost exclusively set-dependent build, your weapon and offhand will also be set piece fixtures — the Norvald's Fervor set, Flail of the Charge and Shield of the Steed, which doubles your damage output while Steed Charge is active, and for 5 seconds after you dismount. This creates a unique stop-and-go feel to the build, where you scout the battlefield (either for the full duration of Steed Charge, or you can cancel it by activating any other skill), then stop, pre-buff and release your burst (see this build's skills page for more information). Make special note of the weapon stats: the weapon's damage range will not affect Thorns damage, and your focus should be on obtaining other valuable and synergistic stat rolls, such as Cooldown Reduction, Area Damage and Increased Damage vs. Elites. You should also note that Bombardment skill damage is a possible, and very desirable, roll on the shield, alongside CDR.
As for the rings, you will be using a combination of Convention of Elements and Justice Lantern. The former will provide you with a massive increase to damage in a cyclical pattern, and you will need to time your manual Bombardment cast bursts to match the Physical part of the rotation — since Physical elemental damage benefits Thorns. The latter will simply be a source of damage reduction, coupled with the Block synergies of a shield-wearing and Punish Celerity-using build.
Desired Stats, Breakpoints and Other Notes
For Offense stats, try to obtain Bombardment % bonus on the shoulders, torso and shield (maximum of 45%), Physical elemental damage on both the amulet and wrists (maximum of 40%), and Thorns damage in as many Secondary stats of your gear as possible, without sacrificing important rolls like CDR and Area Damage. When it comes to Cooldown Reduction, you will be trying to reach a baseline of 56% CDR to attain permanent Akarat's Champion with the Akkhan set bonuses, but ideally you will also reach a second breakpoint of 59.3% CDR — this will allow you to cast Bombardment every 16 seconds, matching every Physical cycle of the Convention of Elements. Strength still scales your Thorns damage and is recommended across the board. Any base weapon 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.
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, weapon).
All augmentations on gear should be done with your main stat, Strength.
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 is not 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 does not crit). In Defense, prioritize All Resistance, then Life %, then Armor, and finish off with Life Regeneration. In Utility, build up Area Damage and Resource Cost Reduction (for Cpt. Crimson's bonus) first, then finish off with Life per Hit and Globe Radius.
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 Invoker 2-piece 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.
The weapon cube slot will be taken by The Mortal Drama, a flail that doubles the number of Bombardment impacts. The effect is simple, but devastating as it not only affects your own shots, but those of Belt of the Trove as well.
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 another massive damage multiplier for Bombardment, which is conveniently maximized by cubing the item.
The jewelry cube slot is necessarily taken by Ring of Royal Grandeur — a legendary item from Act I bounty caches that reduces the number of items needed for set bonuses by 1. This allows you to enjoy the full 6-piece Akkhan bonus, while still enjoying the 2-piece Invoker and 3-piece Cpt. Crimson bonuses.
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 recommended follower for this build during solo GR progression is the Enchantress, due to her cooldown reduction- and increased attack speed bonuses, both of which are helpful to the needs of a CDR-heavy build such as this one.
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.
The preferred potion for this build is Bottomless Potion of the Leech due to its Life per Hit bonuses, adding some much needed life sustain to the build.
- 31 Mar. 2021: Added follower recommendations.
- 17 Dec. 2020: Minor fix to Cube selection explanations.
- 18 Nov. 2020: Revamped gear section for Season 22.
- 30 Jun. 2020: No changes required for Season 21.
- 12 Mar. 2020: No changes necessary for Season 20.
- 19 Nov. 2019: Reviewed for Season 19.
- 22 Aug. 2019: Item recommendations have been revised for Season 18.
- 15 May 2019: Guide was reviewed and approved for Season 17.
- 17 Jan. 2019: Added suggestions for the baseline Ring of Royal Grandeur for Seasonal characters.
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