Thorns Bombardment Crusader BiS Gear, Gems, and Paragon Points
Below, we detail the items and gems that you should use for your Thorns Bombardment Crusader in Diablo 3 and why. We also list your paragon points and Kanai's Cube items. Updated for Patch 2.7.6 and Season 29.
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 the craftable Captain Crimson's Trimmings and Aughild's Authority sets. The result should be a 2-piece Aughild, 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, Aughild's Search, 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 Unity. 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 be a source of damage reduction when paired with a second Unity on your follower, along with an immortality item for them (i.e., Enchanting Favor).
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 (and ideally exceed) a 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 800-900k; dropping as much as you can for offense as you grow accustomed to the build. The sustain in this build will come largely from Life Regeneration, stemming from your worn Cpt. Crimson set, Paragon points, and your Templar follower's Loyalty. The Templar follower also sports a valuable Heal.
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.
Season 29: Paragon Cap
Season 29 introduces a season-specific cap to stat benefits from Paragon levels, all while updating how Paragon point distribution is handled. For the duration of this Season, you can only assign 800 Paragon stat points to your character, removing the long-standing practice of main-stat stacking (with some gearing implications — see below) after you reach Paragon 800.
On top of that, you could only allocate 50 Paragon stat points to each of the four stats in a given Paragon category (Core, Offense, Defense, and Utility). In Season 29, you can allocate up to the full 200 points per category into any attribute, allowing you to more easily reach necessary build breakpoints (as outlined in the Gear page of the guide) for Cooldown Reduction, Resource Cost Reduction, etc.
With the changes to Paragon in mind, we recommend using the following Paragon distribution for this build:
- Core: Movement Speed: 200 points.
- Offense: Cooldown Reduction: 200 points.
- Defense: Life and All Resistance: Allocate points to maximize survivability; for Crusaders, this is usually achieved by evenly splitting 100 points into Life (directly increasing your Health pool) and All Resistance (to complement the naturally high Armor stat of Strength-based characters).
- Utility: Area Damage: 200 points.
Season 29: Gearing Considerations
In terms of gear, keeping the Paragon cap in mind is paramount, as it stymies the traditional endless supply of main stat after Paragon 800. This means re-rolling mainstat off your gear is no longer desirable, and full equipment augmentation with your main stat is even more critical. Additionally, you should take a careful look at your build and consider if you can fit the following changes to strengthen your damage and survivability:
- Guardian's Jeopardy: This is a craftable armor set, and the recipe for its creation drops from Bounty farming. Guardian's 2-piece provides a decent damage reduction bonus, but the true powerhouse of the set is the 3-piece bonus, which nets you an additional 100% of your main stats from equipped items. This is a tremendous benefit in an 800 Paragon capped Season. If the Guardian set can fit into the build with minimal sacrifices (other craftable sets, tertiary damage multipliers, etc.), consider its implementation. The available pieces are Guardian's Aversion (Wrists), Guardian's Case (Waist), and Guardian's Gaze (Head). Of course, you can wear 2 pieces of the set and complete the full 3-piece bonus with a Ring of Royal Grandeur (found from Act I bounty caches).
- Endless Walk:This is a jewelry set consisting of The Traveler's Pledge (Amulet) and The Compass Rose (Ring), and is randomly found through farming, gambling Blood Shards, and/or Kanai's Cube recipes. The Endless Walk set is a nice compromise between damage bonuses (building up while stationary) and defensive bonuses (building up while moving). It can replace glass cannon choices like the Bastions of Will set ( Focus and Restraint) and Squirt's Necklace with acceptable losses to DPS.
- Unity: A character wearing this ring, along with another Unity on their follower plus an immortality relic for them (i.e., Enchanting Favor), will reduce their damage taken by 50%. Unity can roll excellent offense-oriented stats and has an innate Extra Damage to Elites roll, which somewhat offsets losing all-out offense jewelry.
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 when in melee range.
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 Aughild 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 Templar, due to his toughness and health sustain bonuses, which come in very handy for this glass cannon 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.
The preferred potion for this build is Bottomless Potion of the Tower for its additional mitigation bonuses upon consumption.
- 13 Sep. 2023: Added Season 29 Paragon Cap and Gearing recommendations.
- 22 Feb. 2023: Added Season 28 Altar of Rites recommendations.
- 26 Aug. 2022: Guide removed due to changes to the Akkhan set.
- 13 Apr. 2022: Guide reviewed for Season 26.
- 09 Dec. 2021: Guide revised and added Season 25 Soul Shard recommendations.
- 23 Jul. 2021: No changes required for Season 24.
- 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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