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[HOTS] - Zagara, the Brood Mother - an In-depth look

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ZAGARA: THE SUSTAINED CONTROLLER

An extensive guide on how to be effective on the Brood Mother.

 

In Heroes of the Storm, Zagara is a ranged specialist that excels in lane pushing, Merc capping and zone control.

Her strenght is mostly notable in the early game, where she can be overwhelming to deal with, while her scaling into the late game tends to be mediocre.

She provides her team with a unique mechanic: Creep Tumors (more on in later on).

 

Her damage comes mostly from her summons, but she still has a strong auto attack and can even be specialized to be entirely reliant on it.

 

When it comes to builds she has diffent paths to take and choices to make, and we are here to explore the possibilities and find out what works and what doesn't.

 

But first of all, let's take a look at her abilities:

 

TRAIT (D) – Creep Tumor

Mana cost: 20

Charge Cooldown: 15 seconds

Max 3 Charges

“Lay a Creep Tumor that generates creep. You and your summons move 20% faster on creep and regenerate 1.8 ( + 0.3 per level) Health a second. Tumor lasts 240 seconds”.

Fun Fact From level 5 to level 6 the increase is 0.4 instead of 0.3. Not really sure why that is.

Creep is such a unique and important mechanic that I dedicated a chapter to it, more on it later. 

 

Q – Baneling Barrage

Mana cost: 50

Cooldown: 10 seconds

“Lauch 4 banelings that deal (40 + 5 per level) damage each”. 

While spewing out banelings you are forced stationary and are therefore vulnerable. If you can hit them all they deal a good amount of damage, but they move relatively slowly and are somewhat easy to dodge. You can time them after a Devouring Maw to ensure the detonation, or use stuns provided by your teammates to achieve the same effect. 

Worth noting that the banelings consist of solid bodies that can work as meat (acid?) shields; you can use them to block a Nova's Snipe or a Stiches hook, among other things.

 

W – Hunter Killer

Mana cost: 60

Cooldown: 14 seconds

“Summon an Hydralisk to attack a single target, dealing (46 + 6 per level) damage per second. Lasts 8 seconds”.

This is your highest and most reliable source of damage. That hydralisk packs quite a punch, especially early on. Casting it stops you for a second, keep it in mind when kiting. Use it to harrass your opponents with little to no chance for retaliation on yourself. One thing you should be careful of is enemy's AOE. The hydralisk can be killed rather easily as it doesn't have much HP, so try to position it far from yourself to ensure that the enemy will have to choose if to attack you or it, without the chance of cleaving it down. Get confident with the way it behaves and where it spawns when you summon it.

 

E – Infested Drop

Mana cost: 50

Cooldown: 12 seconds

“Bombard target area with a Zerg Drop Pod for (72 + 12 per level) damage. The pod spawns 2 roachlings that deal (15 + 2 per level) damage per second and last 8 seconds.”

The pod itself deals decent area damage on its impact location. Get confident with its timing and you can use it to snipe low health targets with it. Also, this can be used on the move so you should drop them behind yourself while kiting. Roachlings are great to soak structures ammo or to block skillshots, as well as tanking Mercs for you.

 

Heroic Abilities:


Devouring Maw 

Mana cost: 100

Cooldown: 100 seconds

“Summon a Devouring Maw that deals (99 + 24 per level) damage and devours enemies for 4 seconds. Devoured enemies cannot fight and take (40 + 2 per level) damage per second“

 

Nydus Network

Mana cost: 50

Charge cooldown: 60 seconds

Max 2 charges

“Summon a Nydus Worm at target location that you can enter by right-clicking. While inside, you exit by targeting a Nydus Worm with R or right-clicking near the Worm. Maximum 4 Nydus Worms”. 

 

We'll talk about Heroic abilities in a later Chapter, so let's skip more info for now.

 

Creep Tumors: the importance of vision

 

One of Zagara's most important tools is her trait: Creep Tumor.

Laying down a tumor lets creep spread outwards from it, covering a relatively large area, granting Zagara and her summons a bonus in movement speed and health regen, as well as vision. 

Bear in mind that the vision is granted by the tumor itself, not the creep, so place them accordingly.

Creep Tumors act as vision wards in this game, and are so far the only element that behave this way.

Different maps have different needs, but vision is never not welcome. 

Besides the obvious “Creep in the bush”, fundamental to keep sight of your surroundings and to prevent your enemies from LoS (line of sight) jukes, you should always be proactive with your creeping. 

Be mindful of your enemies and consider their position: if it looks safe enough, you should not refrain yourself from entering their jungle and gain vision of chocke points and camps. 

Even tho Creep tumors are stealthed, they can still be destroyed by most kinds of AOE (area of effect) damage; one way to help prevent them from being destroyed accidentally during skirmishes is to place them on the sides of the lane, rather then in the middle (where the skirmish will most likely take place) and place them at the edges of bushes instead of the middle (where your enemies will most likely try to snipe them).

 

 

POSSIBLE BUILDS

Fighting Vs. Split Pushing

 

Zagara is not the most versatile hero in the game, but that does not mean she doesn't have her fair share of interesting choises to make. In my experience, there are two main builds for her: one focused on splitpushing, the other one focused on damage dealing for teamfights/duels.

Based on this, here is an analysis of her talent choices color coded by effectiveness.

 

Green = Very good

Orange = Situational

Red = Bad

 

Level 1

 

Centrifugal Hooks – Double the distance traveled by your banelings just doesn't cut it; the range is already more then enough, and since they are quite easy to dodge the extra distance won't make much, if any, difference. 

Corpse Feeders – Reduces the damage your roachlings take from minions, mercenaries and structures by 33%; while this might drain one extra shot from towers and forts, Demolitionist is just superior.

Reconstitution (Fighting) – You should have creep all over the map, and should always fight on top of it. This talent triples your health regen on top of creep, which lets you recover from trades much more effectively, especially in the early game.

Demolitionist (Split pushing) – Factoring in Zagara's good attack speed, 10% more damage and ammo drain on structures makes it for a solid pushing choice.

 

Level 4

 

Envenomed Spines (Fighting) – More range and damage on your auto attacks equals safer positioning in teamfights and easier harrassment. Solid choice.

Medusa Blades (Split Pushing) – Situational at best. On paper this sounds really good: all your basic attacks cleave. Good for pushing lanes, even tho it is not really needed; Zagara pushes like a goddess even without it.

Tumor Clutch – Mana is not really a problem for you, and the cooldown is more then enough to ensure you the vision and the regen you need.

Envenom (Fighting) – Envenom is a really good talent, don't get me wrong. It just doesn't fit Zagara's playstyle very well. You are not a burst assassin, and even if you are amazing at single target damage, this talent doesn't seem mandatory. I recommend Envenomed Spines over this.

Infest (Split Pushing) – This talent makes your lane minions powerhouses for a short while. As I stated above, Zagara already has great pushing capabilities, making this talent sort of redundant. If you end up picking this up, cast it on Archer minions: being the last ones to be focused by towers and forts, they will make the most use of it.

 

Level 7

 

Battle Momentum – Zagara does rely on her abilities for everything, and this lets you use them more often. Solid talent, but there are simply stronger choices in this tier.

Volatile Acid (split pushing) – Makes your banelings deal a lot of additional damage to minions and structures. Worth noting that the bonus damage also applies to hero summons, like other Zagara's roaches and hydralisks, Nazeebo's Gargantuan, Raynor's Banshees and so on. Not that useful, plus rapid incubation is in this tier.

Ventral Sacs (split pushing) – One extra roachling. Just not good enough.

Endless Creep – Even with this talent, most AOE will be able to destroy your tumors, and distance of spreading is not a concern. Skip.

Rapid Incubation – Mandatory for every Zagara build, in my experience. Use it to recover after a trade, use it to restore mana if you run low on it, use it to tank the last bit of DoTs ticking on you.

Worth mentioning that it has a lower cooldown then an Healing Fountain, so prioritize Incubation over the Fountain to achieve maximum sustain. Too good to pass up.

 

Level 10

 

Devouring Maw – The utility of this Heroic outclasses the other choice. It is what makes you such a good controller in teamfights; it is what lets you escape safely when split pushing. 

Use it on a clump of enemies to help your team easily set up wombo comboes, most notably with E.T.C.'s Mosh Pit, Nova's Orbital Strike, Uther's Divine Storm and the such. 

You can use it to take some annoying characters temporarily out of the picture in teamfights: suck in a healer to cut the sustain of the enemy team, suck in a crowd controller to cut their disruption.

It is worth noting that the maw itself creates unpassable terrain: you can use this to your advantage to block off choke points and isolate enemy heroes.

 

Nydus Network – I'm not that big a fan of Nydus. It lets you have some semblance of global presence, which can be useful when split pushing, and that's about it. 

The nydus itself generates creep from its location: while this lets you benefit from the movement speed and health regen, it gives out its location to your enemies. I very rarely, if ever, recommend picking this up.

 

Level 13

 

Mutalisk – I'm not fond of Mutalisk. The only thing this talent does is give you extra chasing capabilities, which is not something you should look for anyway. The mutalisk bounce attack won't be that noticeable in teamfights, and is not useful for split pushing either: your aoe is good enough as is for minion waves.

Grooved Spines (Fighting) – Hunter Killer is your main source of damage. 35% more range means the Hydralisk can reach its target easier and stay out of potential aoe, and 20% more damage is just realy good. Best choice in this tier.

Bile Drop (Split Pushing) – Only doubles the damage of the impact of your Infested Drop, not your roachlings. Mediocre at best.

Giant Killer – Only applies to your autos. While you should always auto your enemies, your basic attack is not your main source of damage. Skip.

Spell Shield – Personally I would only take this if the enemy team has a Nova, and even then you can get stoneskin next tier. If you find yourself being focused a lot by their casters pick it up, if not Grooved Spines is just superior.

 

Level 16

This tier has a lot of good choices, all of which depend on the enemy team composition.

 

Baneling Massacre (Split Pushing) – Double the banelings double the damage, but we are not going for a baneling build. While spewing out banelings you are stationary, therefore vulnerable; this talent increases that “window of immobility”. I don't recommend it.

Brood Expansion (Fighting) – Hunter Killer is your main source of damage, and having 2 charges means your damage will skyrocket. You can pick two different targets, or you can focus down a single one much more quickly. Solid choice.

Metabolic Boost – Solid choice if you need to kite around dangerous targets, especially those without gap closers (ex. Thrall). Bear in mind that to gain the benefit of this talent you must be on creep, so don't slack on those tumors. 

Stoneskin – Solid choice if you find yourself focused by enemies with burst potential or sticking power (ex. Zeratul, Nova, Illidan). Their ability to stick on you means you can't kite them, and the shield can save your life from being 100%-0% from their combo.

 

Level 20

 

Tyrant Maw – A single good Maw is all you need, and you don't need it for the damage it does. Skip.

Broodling Nest (Split Pushing) – Broodlings add some damage and can push lanes effectively, but Nydus is already a mediocre Heroic, and this is a sub-par upgrade.

Fury of the storm – It helps your autos, which are not your main tool of damage. It lets you surprise your opponent with some burst they do not expect and helps you take camps faster, both of which are not things you really need. Plus Bolt is in this tier.

Bolt of the storm – No matter what build you go for, Zagara's main weakness is her low mobility. Bolt fixes that. Such high utility cannot be passed up. Mandatory.

 

 

 

The Early Game LVL 1-10

 

The early game is where your damage outclasses most other heroes. At level one, there's barely anyone that can win a 1v1 duel against you if you play your cards right. 

 

Given such a strong early game, you should be taking charge of a solo lane, which differs from map to map. 

Your priority heading into lane should be planting tumors in bushes to spot the enemy, as well as onto any path an enemy ganker might take to come to you. Don't be afraid to dip into the enemy jungle to lay down some tumors: unless you are playing against a premade enemy team, you will hardly face someone that's grouped up to check for you.

 

In lane, you have one keyword: Harrass. One of your strenght is that 2 of your 3 spells work on their own, and you can cast them on the move. 

You can zone your opponent pretty hard thanks to Hunter Killer, and you can start draining tower ammo with Infested Drop. 

If you picked up Reconstitution, your early sustain will be more then enough to keep your health high.

One little trick I use, to gain as much as an xp lead as possible, is not to push the lane brainlessly.

Harrass the enemy to the point where he will be afraid of getting close to minions, and position yourself aggressively (you have creep to spot for incoming ganks, so you should be completely safe doing so); keep the enemy hero far from the wave and let minions kill each other as much as possible. Each friendly minion that dies far from your opponent is a little bit of experience they are missing: in the long run this really adds up.

 

If you can force your opponent out of lane, push hard. Let your minions hit the enemy towers and then look to secure a Merc camp (if the map allows it). Thanks to your summons, you should have no problem soloing Siege Camps. Bruisers can screw you up pretty badly early on, so don't try them unless you have some help: best case scenario you will use most of your mana and most of  your health, and might lose the advantage you had in lane.

If camps are not available for whatever reason, take part in some aggressive creeping or focus down the towers. Any advantage you can get is invaluable in the early stages.

 

 

The Mid Game LVL 11-16

 

This is the part of the game where both roaming and teamfighting become much more important.

Ideally you never stopped creeping up the map, giving your team vision and yourself movement speed to zoom between lanes and objectives.

If you went for a split pushing build you should always look for undefended lanes and push them in, taking Merc camps along the way. Your priority is to drain structures of their ammo and to deal as much damage on them as possible. Note that you WILL be on the enemy team's sights while doing this, since you are on your own and all alone. Creep on every possible ganking route they might take and be ready to escape. Always have a fall back plan. All the experience lead you might've granted your team by split pushing would be nullified if the enemies manage to kill you. 

 

If you went for the damage build, this is the time of the game where you want to teamfight. 

Placement of your Devouring Maw can make or break a fight, so you should be extra careful with that. If your team comp benefits from Wombo Comboes, try to suck in as many enemies as possible to align AOE for your team. If this is not the case, try to aim for important targets and lock them out temporarily: a sieged up Sgt. Hammer, a Lili or a Malfurion during their healing heroics, a spinning Valla, etc.

 

If no fights are in sight, focus your attention on Merc camps and pushing: Zagara is a goddess in both aspects.

 

The Late Game LVL 17+

 

Zagara's damage doesn't scale as well as other heroes (especially assassins), so this is the part of the game where you are most fragile. Hopefully, your early game strenght led you to have an advantage in experience or objectives by this point. 

If not, don't fret: you still have deadly tools at your disposal.

 

Vision should be your priority here, no matter what build you went for. If you can spot an isolated target thanks to your tumors, you might be able to get a pick; with such long death timers, this will most likely mean a 5v4 teamfight for an objective an a subsequent advantage.

Follow the same general rules as the mid game for both styles, but be mindful that by this point the enemy team will most likely be roaming all over prioritizing Merc camps and objectives, so getting out of position to creep up will be extra dangerous.

 

If you are split pushing, be mindful of your team's situation: if they are stuggling and losing teamfights, keeping on splitting might not be a good idea. Push lanes only if you feel safe doing so, and only if you feel like your team can stall the enemy. If your friends get forced into a 4v5 engagement things might go sour really fast.

 

A note on effective Merc capping

 

Zagara is considered one of the best junglers, and for a good reason. She can take Mercenaries camps quickly and with little to no risk, thanks to her summons. 

To best exploit this ability, you should always open on a camp with your Infested Drop, in orded to have your roachlings tank most of the damage. Your Hunter Killer is what will kill the camp fast, and it can also tank a couple shot for you. You should swap aggro between yourself and your Hydralisk so that it doesn't die before its full duration, but will still soak damage in your place. Banelings provide good AOE clearing and creep can give you some of the sustain you need to recover eventual injuries suffered from the camp itself. If need be, don't be afraid of using Rapid Incubation after a camp, to ensure that you go back in lane with a safe amount of health and mana.

 

 

Closing Words

 

Zagara is one of my personal favourite heroes, for the reasons explained in the guide. 

Her ability to push, secure camps and zone control make her a good addition to most team comps.

 

I hope you found this guide useful and now have a better understanding of the Brood Mother!

 

Have fun in the Nexus, and remember: The Swarm endures! (which I keep hearing as “The swarm indoors”, which makes me giggle)

 

 

***************

 

If you enjoyed reading the guide, come check my youtube channel, where I play Heroes of the Storm explaining builds and tactics for different Heroes every day!

Just a warning, my English accent is TERRIBLE, being Italian and all :D

 

Channel ----------------------->  www.youtube.com/renoflash

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      To sum it all up I would say just thing: MOSTLY HEALER. ;) I doubt if he replace the monk or really shake the meta but maybe zDPS crus could be proven as viable alternative as healer.


       

       

       

       
      2.       Skills

      You need to have elective mode set in Diablo 3’s options. Also, any keybindings here are just my preferences. You are free to set it otherwise. Testing proved the earlier combination wrong. I also thought that it’s possible to have Condemn assigned to the left mouse button.

      Left Mouse Button: Slash with Guard rune. Your only regular attack. You won’t spend any Wrath and will deal next-to-no damage, even with Akkhan’s 6pc bonus but it’s all about the extra armor coming from Guard rune. Take care of yourself too. ;) Seems to be the only viable option.

      Right Mouse Button: Steed Charge, preferably with Endurance. Endurance is preferred due to duration bonus (and thus extension of your scouting abilities). If you happen to have Swiftmount in cube and wear The Final Witness shield, you can put Swiftmount in the cube. Noticeably improves your mobility.

      1: Shield Glare with Divine Verdict. Apply it every now and then. This will give a nice 20% dmg increase for the DPS so you actually help team in more than just one way (the healing).

      2: Consecration with Bathed In Light rune. Your healing skill. Enhanced to heal even deeper and more painful wounds ! If no-rune Consecration = Healing, then Consecration paired with Bathed In Light rune is Healing2. ;)

      3: Law of Justice / Hope / Valor: I personally prefer Jusitice. It’s a great passive Toughness increase for the whole team. I believe it stacks with similar buff to the whole team. There’s a lot of viable runes here. I would personally take Immovable Object if your DPS is squishy. With great CDR, there’s only a very short, about 1 second long, window without active form. Every active form of this Law gives you and your team more resists. Another good option is Bravery – CC immunity. Last but not least – Decaying Strength but I haven’t tested this. Used Bravery and switched to Immovable Object upon asking the DPS guy.

      Remember – before starting the GR, ask the team about their needs. Laws offer nice adjustment to your team needs and allow you to fulfill their wishes.

      Alternatively you can take here: Law of Hope + runes: there’s much less choice of viable runes. Either Promise of Faith (25% non-physical dmg reduction) or Hopeful Cry (25% dmg reduction for physical dmg only). Selection depends on team composition – more range-based team might prefer Promise of Faith as they won’t go into melee combat. Ask before starting the run. For speedrunning with decent team members’ Toughness, I would try Wings of Angels for greater movement speed to move between Elite packs much quicker.

      There’s a third Law – Law of Valor, probably the least used one. It grants some buff to teams attack speed. Possible runes with some viability are: NONE. Thought that team might gain some CHD but it’s only a personal buff. You might use it on some speedrunning build though.

      So, from Laws – Justice (preferred one) or Hope. If you happen to play with another Crusader, be sure to ask him about his Law + rune to not waste it (effects won’t stack). If he runs Justice – switch to Hope.

      4: Akarat’s Champion with Prophet rune. A no-brainer pick. This buffs your personal Toughness a lot. Also, it benefits from Akkhan’s set. AC is a staple skill of any Crusader build. Kinda god mode cheat for the sader.

      Last but not least – passives ! There are few mandatory ones: Fervor (more CDR – we will use 1h weapon anyway – more on it later) and Indestructible (your cheat death passive) and Long Arm of the Law (longer active, empowered Law of your choice). The last one can be: Lord Commander (more horsepower for you :P ) / Towering Shield (shortens cooldown for your Shield Glare) / Hold Your Ground (more block %) / Vigilant. If you want to wear Hellfire Amulet, choose one of these for the 4th slot. I have decent one with Long Arm Of The Law (and empowered Law’s CD nicely fit the enhanced duration so I have about a 99% uptime of empowered Law, same is with my AC too, by the way). I have got a Hellfire Amulet with Long Arm so I switched it for Towering Shield.

      My current passive setup is: Fervor, Indestructible, Towering Shield, Hold Your Ground, Long Arm Of The Law (Hellfire Amulet). Seems to work well so far.


       
      3.       Gear

      The most important things are: Armor of Akkhan set and it’s 4 pc bonus (reduces cooldown of Akarat’s Champion by 50%). You can use 6pc bonus partially as it provides you 15% damage reduction during Akarat’s Champion. Also, you need the recommended Flail and Shield. And Illusory Boots do change the game. Really.

      As we need Akkhan’s 4 / 6 and we don’t need to deal serious DPS, we can use the benefits of Ring of Royal Grandeur and reduce the required elements to 3 / 5 (to get 4 pc and 6 pc bonus respectively). This frees at least 1 slot for some other gear – you need only the 4pc bonus (Akarat’s Champion cooldown reduction) but having the 6pc bonus (the received DMG reduction during AC) is tempting and certainly useful.

      From what I have learned and tested so far, you don’t have to have all ancients, and decently augmented to be able to support well in GR 80s, maybe 85-90. I have 0 augments and some ancients. My crus has 900 paragon levels acquired so far. Low but S8 was my first season in HC. Don’t take it for granted though. Your results and mileage may vary. Had successes both in 2 men (DPS + support) and 4 men or 3 men setup.

      My current gear setup + cube is here: http://www.d3planner.com/719993919 (it’s a public profile, idk what it means)

      Little side note: 2.4.3 brings Akkhan’s amulet so Akkhan set will consist of 7 parts. If you’re out of luck with your Hellfire Amulet (best option for amulet for this build), try Akkhan. As far as I remember, it will be always rolled with CHC so it will be your best bet for rerolling it into CDR. You might try the Ess of Johann too if you want to try some pulling but this haven’t been tested. Sshame.

      Akkhan’s ammy will allow you to resign from Akkhan’s helm in favour of Leoric’s Crown to boost your CDR with a Diamond. Well-rolled Leoric’s Crown should have 80%+ passive bonus but don’t be afraid of using any lower one. I’ve added a Crown to my D3 planner for simulation – with the gear I have (focused to gather best possible CDR rolls), you need 82%+ Leoric’s Crown to pass the 70% CDR mark. 100% uptime for ALL of used skills. Any % more won’t make major difference. Even with 100%-rolled LC, your gain is marginal. Save the 100% one for other character. Or as a spare in case of your sshameful RIP.

      On yourself (not in order of best-worst):

      ·         Head: Leoric’s Crown / The Helm of Rule (crafted; for the % block if you want to block a lot to proc Salvation’ bounty shield passive)) / Helm of Akkhan;


       
      ·         Torso: Tyrael’s Might (guaranteed all res) / Breastplate of Akkhan (always has 3 sockets !). Well-rolled Akkhan’s armor seems to be the best bet. Aquila is also good – then you can wear either Ice Climbers or Illusory Boots and put the other boots in the cube;


       
      ·         Belt: Vigilante Belt (for guaranteed Cooldown Reduction – CDR) / Belt Of The Trove (guaranteed all res & melee dmg reduction);


       
      ·         Trousers (Legs): Cuisses of Akkhan (2 guaranteed sockets) / Skelon’s Deceit (crafted, if you don’t want Akkhan’s)

      ·         Boots: Illusory Boots / Ice Climbers / Board Walkers (crafted – worst possible option) / Akkhan’s boots (good option). Try to put here Illusory or the Climbers. They will offer you more value than Akkhan’s. If you wear Illusory Boots, then you can wear in cube Aquila Curaiss for the sweet dmg reduction.


       
      ·         Pauldrons: Akkhan’s (guaranteed all resists !) / Death Watch Mantle. Akkhan’s are definitely the best possible option here;


       
      ·         Bracers: Krelms (due to passive bonus – best option) / Nemesis (ask team) / Kethryes’ Splint. Nemesis are ok, could be mandatory. At least I was asked to wear them.


       
      ·         Hands: Akkhan’s. No choice except Gloves of Worship in Nephalem rifts to speed them up. If you don’t need the speed bonus from shrines to be efficient – stay with the Akkhan’s here.


       
      ·         Weapon: Unviolable Faith (awesome option for Suppadin – the best one !) / Swiftmount (moar horsie !!1). I have resigned from Salvation and put Swiftmount into cube. You might wear Swiftmount and have Unviolable Faith in the cube. You don’t need any damage here so it’s wise to reroll the dmg stats (except +STR which gives you armor but reroll stuff like +attack speed or +X – Y elemental damage). Ramaladni’s Gift – if you want to have Gem of Ease here then use it.


       
      ·         Shield: Coven’s Criterion (guaranteed % block) / Storm Shield / Salvation (best option, also spawns with guaranteed % block) / The Final Witness (cool passive) / Akarat’s Awakening. IMHO best are: The Final Witness and Salvation or Akarat’s in cube. Use Unviolable Faith then if you want to wear shield in cube;


       
      ·         Ammy: The Traveler’s Pledge (take ring from this set to use some extra dmg reduction) / if not – Hellfire Amulet or The Flavor of Time (guaranteed cooldown reduction)


       
      ·         Ring #1 & #2: Justice Lantern (for % block, if you want to have Salvation to proc the bonus more often) and Oculus Ring (mandatory on supports). Ring of Royal Grandeur is mandatory too but in cube only. If you have low % roll on legendary bonus on Oculus, it seems wise to cube it for max % bonus and use your RoRG paired with Justice Lantern.


       
      ·         Best setup: Akkhan (possibly with CDR roll; head) or Leoric’s Crown (head) / Akkhan (torso armor) / Vigilante or Trove (belt, your choice depends on your needs) / Akkhan (legs) / Illusory Boots (feet) / Akkhan (pauldrons) / Krelm’s (bracers) / Akkhan’s (hands) / Unviolable Faith (weapon) / Final Witness (shield) / Traveler’s Pledge OR Hellfire Amulet Or Flavor of Time (ammy, your choice) / Compass Rose + Justice Lantern OR Justice Lantern + Obsidian Ring (rings)


       
      ·         Best setup notes: If you take Akkhan’s helm instead of Leoric’s Crown, you will unlock 3rd Akkhan’s set bonus with your RoRG in cube. Lack of Crown’s passive can be overcame by CDR & socket on the helmet. CDR is important – horse & Akarat’s Champion & Law of your choice. Weapon – you can safely reroll the +dmg to something more important like CDR. ;) You’re not here to kill.


       
      ·         Little weapon protip: make a socket via Ramaladni’s Gift and put here Gem of Ease.


       
      Cube:

      ·         Weapon / Shield: Salvation (Bounty-exclusive Crusader shield – blocked attacks will you & allies by 30% of blocked amount. Few thousands, though less than 10k, is possible. You need to get decent block % then) or Akarat’s Awakening (you still need a good block chance to proc the effect and reduce your cooldowns by 1 sec) or Swiftmount (6 secs horsie with Endurance… feelsgoodman) or Inviolable Faith (everybody will get his own healing… I don’t know if basic or with rune of your choice !) or The Final Witness (more CC and even more team dmg !) or In-Geom (reduces your cooldowns after killing an Elite);


       
      ·         Armor: Aquila Curaiss (best safety – you won’t lose any Wrath so you will constantly have 50% damage reduction). There’s basically no really good alternative to this except Illusory Boots / Ice Climbers if you wear Aquila.


       

       
      ·         Ring / Amulet: I recommend Ring of Royal Grandeur (bounty stash exclusive item). The best possible option;


       
      ·         Best setup – Cube: Salvation (healing, weapon / shield slot) OR Swiftmount (mobility, weapon / shield slot); Aquila Curaiss (armor); Ring of Royal Grandeur (jewelry slot).


       
      4.       Gems

      As you know, sockets are important. The most important slots are: helm (1 slot), armor (3 slots), legs (2 slots), weapon (1 slot). You can have a slot (1) in your shield too. For weapon, add socket with Ramaladni’s Gift if you can use one (preferably on a well rolled ancient weapon).

      I am a HC player so I may overemphasize Toughness. That’s a suggestion. Similar setup worked quite well with my LoN Bomber.

      All possible slots: DIAMOND. Yes. You don’t need that STR as you don’t deal damages. You need to stand here and heal. Seems crazy but works.

      Weapon: Hmmm… tough choice. Amethyst for Life Per Hit is the best option. Other than that, socket on weapon won’t help you much. As I have said before, put here Gem of Ease if your weapon has a socket. If not, use Ramaladni’s Gift. If you don’t have it – don’t bother with socket in weapon. CDR is more important to have than a socket.

      5.       Legendary Gems

      There are only 3 slots for them – 2x ring, 1x ammy. Be sure that your jewelry contains a socket.

      Possible options:

      ·         Bane Of The Powerful (after lvl 25) – you don’t need any dmg but that reduction against elites is good to have;


       
      ·         Bane Of The Trapped (after lvl 25) – extra CC (slows mobs), BoTP is more important, I think;


       
      ·         Esoteric Alteration – non-phys dmg reduction. Good thing to have;


       
      ·         Gem of Effacacious Toxin (after lvl 25) – you can poison enemies with Slash, I think, to proc the lvl 25 bonus. 10% more dmg from other team members for each poisoned enemy and 10% dmg reduction for whole team. Needs testing, I think;


       
      ·         Mutilation Guard – reduces melee damage done to you;


       
      ·         Moratorium – another defensive option;


       
      ·         Molten Wildebeest – more life regen + shield for you;


       
      My gem setup is: Bane of The Powerful (damage reduction), Esoteric Alteration (damage reduction), Mutilation Guard (surprise ! damage reduction… physical this time ;) ). Tried Toxin but it doesn’t work for me. Maybe it’s ok against Rift Guardians. You attack too rarely and your attacks are rather single-target. Your DPS won’t profit much from your Toxin gem – except when fighting the RG.

      War recommends this setup: Esoteric Alteration + Gem of Effacacious Toxin + Gogok of Swiftness (for some extra CDR). The third slot is still more or less a freedom-of-choice slot. However, if you manage to get 65%+ CDR, you don’t have to use Gogok as your CDR should be enough.


       
      6.       Paragons


       
      ·         Page nr 1: 1. Movement (enough to get 25% total from items + pgon) 2. Vitality (all the rest) 3. Ignore rest options here.


       
      ·         Page nr 2: 1. Cooldown Reduction. Most important stat here. 2. Critical Hit Chance. 3. Damage. 4. Attack Speed. CDR is the most important here. It’s safe to put rest points here though with your near-minuscule damage, it doesn’t matter :P You don’t even have to put points anywhere than CDR.


       
      ·         Page nr 3: 1. Resistances. 2. Life %. 3. Armor %. 4. Life regen. All points here. It’s mandatory.


       
      ·         Page nr 4:  1. Life on Hit. 2. Gold Find. 3. Resource Cost Reduction. No area damage. It won’t help at all.


       
      7.       Your skill rotation

      Your job is simple – Shield Glare the mobs (so DPS would do more DPS). The you apply Consecration for extra sustain for the team. Use Akarat’s Champion for personal protection and use empowered Law for the benefit of your allies.

      The Final Witness will help your team greatly as it applies your Shield Glare in 360 degree around you. Unviolable Faith will give extra sustain to everybody and what could be better than healing, you might ask? MOAR HEALZ !!!1 ;)

      Steed Charge through some nearby area to scout and notice your allies about the elites (like putting your banner).

      This build, with awesome CDR, feels like finger dance. You constantly do something. Very active playstyle though you might feel it’s very passive.


       
      8.       What to focus on gear

      You need to have decent CDR. Your damage means nothing at all. Better focus on your own Toughness. CDR is important. I think that anything above 60% should be very good. That value is inferred from my own experience and Deadset’s very good LoN Bomb guide. Also, focus on resists, armor and your life. Forget about any damage improving stats – except strength as it counts into your armor and thus improving your Toughness. You can safely reroll any attack speed %, Critical Hit Damage or +dmg on weapon. ;) Don’t throw away INT-rolled gear. INT gives you resists. And you need them too. More than damage.

      Personally, I have managed to acquire 66% CDR. My Akarat’s Champion’s CD ends 1-2 seconds before the effect wears down so I can reapply it. Empowered Law lasts 10 seconds (thanks to the Long Arm passive) and its cooldown is also about 10 seconds. There’s just about 1 second window where the empowered Law is off but I can’t recast it. Still, it’s about 90-95% uptime.

      Augments – Vitality (Amethysts). 1-2 Strength augments shouldn’t hurt you much though. Strength also improves your Toughness (by increasing your armor).


       
      9.       Thanks!

      Thanks goes to RadTang (me ! :P ) for the idea and work put on this guide. Whole Revolutionaires (<REV>) clan on Europe server – for the support ! J And of course, thx everybody for helping me with testing it. Remember, this build is highly experimental. No one is crazy enough to play Crusader as support.


       
      10.   Few last words

      This build is based on Diablo 3 2.4.2. I am aware of 7th piece of Akkhan’s set coming in 2.4.3. This build is highly experimental. Any testing and comments & ideas are very welcome. Tested it on a few GR 80s and seems that it works. DPS could do that solo as far as I think but he felt a bit better with me at his side. He would feel even better with a monk support though.

      Yours,

      RadTang


       
      (Enjoy the zCrus ! :P )


       
      REVisions:

      1.0   – Initial, Condemn-focused version.

      2.0   – Major changes (thx War !): skills -> to current in-game setup; gems in items -> to current in-game setup; paragon points distribution changed; some various fixes, tweaks and so on. Some parts were changed (like Basics section). Serious rework after some testing. This is Slash-focused rework.

      2.1   – Little change to Gear part. Added info about upcoming (soon-to-be-live 2.4.3 patch) Akkhan’s amulet and speculation about the Ess of Johann (not tested).

      2.2   – Changed Legendary Gems & Gear sections a bit (thanks again, War !). This is the first release to be published outside the clan.


       
    • By ch1zra
      Hey everyone,
       
      Seeing how most of LoN builds focus on Hack and Thorns damage, I was thinking about something like this:
      http://www.d3planner.com/240277617
      Mantle of Channeling and Aquila should provide damage reduction, alongside APD combined with Wyrdward in cube. That all plus LoN's 52% DR.
      As for damage, it has potential for total of 85% Lightning damage (Andariel, Thundergods, amulet and bracers), and since it's dual wield, it can get in the 550+% cdmg.
      Most of damage would come from Fulminator passive, which would behave similarly to monk gen build, zapping madly in high density, and Schaefer's is there just to add a bit more juice.
      Now all this is under assumption that item passive (fulminator and schaefers) actualy gets boosted by LoN and elemental damage increase, in which I am not sure.
      But it looks tempting (to me, at least).
      I will give it a go once I get all gear, but I was interested in hearing what you might have to say?