Theorycraft - zDPS Crusader (S9 ready)

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Hello ! I have played 100% crusader exclusively in S8 and came up with this build. It has matured enough to be released online. I have done some small internal with my clan mates and everything worked fine. In case you would like to want a PDF with guide, please check the links below. One should give you PDF in the browser, the second one is a downloadable version. I have included everything (8 pages long text) here too. Hope you like it. I have been unlucky with posting it on reddit. Thanks for reading and commenting !



Suppadin v 2.2 – written for 2.4.3 (S9-ready)

Author – RadTang (RadTang#2819)

Minor REVision of 2.1. Updated again. Release available publicly. Please don’t change anything and report all in Reddit threads. All the (P)’s and ©’s are belong to RadTang (RadTang#2819)

Hello, it’s RadTang ! Season 8 has just finished and it was my first real season in my D3 history. Played one char (Helltooth Garg WD) in S7 softcore but haven’t gone very far. Haven’t earned even a stash tab. In S8 I have switched to hardcore – with some successes and failures. Ripped a few chars, mostly invokers and hammerdins but only one stayed alive – the one, the only, the best, the undefeatable LoN Bomber ! She pushed up to GR 77 solo (115th place in HC Crus leaderboards). Nearly ripped her in GR 78 though. Anyway, this paper is about my vision of support crusader build. I have nicknamed it “suppadin” (support paladin – sounds a bit like D2 auradin) and “CruZader” (zDPS crus). It’s just a loose idea and I don’t even have gear for it to test it in current non-season. Any comments and corrections (and fixes for the upcoming 2.4.3) are warmly welcome.

This support crus idea was tested a bit on some GR 80s. Seems to be viable. Clan tests in 2, 3, 4 man were positive. I don’t remember if I were running my zDPS through 85s. Been in 91 (noticeably harder) but we had to exit because a mate died. And we’re a real men with cojones big as our paragon lvl numbers so we play HC nearly exclusively. :P

Been in GR 80 in 4 men and got even into a NS Leaderboards – 301th place (03.01.2017). That’s a little proof.

1.       Basics

Suppadin is not focused on dealing shitload of damages like LoN Bomber. He’s totally opposite of it. Any items for him are “just stat sticks” providing stat bonuses + required legendary passives. So what you could expect from a suppadin? Some Crowd Control (later abbreviated as CC), some tankyness (decent Toughness), decent mobility. He probably won’t be as good support as monk (those 3 auras / mantras at once are cool to have !) but I hope he will find some spot in various 4 man team compositions.

Testing with various skills setups and whatnot has proven the zDPS crus as nice healer. He has a very little input to team DPS due to 20% bonus coming from Shield Glare skill + rune. Due to decent mobility, he can scout a lot.

My current, successful setup omits Condemn. This means that zDPS crus totally lacks any pulling & grouping capabilities.

I would like to underline that even with very imperfect gear and no augments my zDPS crus supports quite well in GR80. My current setup doesn’t use any augments and I don’t even have whole ancient Akkhan set. And he feels even better with 1-2 other supports. ;)

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.



·         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.




(Enjoy the zCrus ! :P )



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.


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      This is a tanky necro. As long as you have 15 stacks of bone armor up, and especially if the shield from the Gizzard is up, wade right in. Avoid the explosions when some mobs die, but sometimes I take a chance on this as long as Final Service hasn't been used in the last 60 seconds; I don't want to wait for the explosions to gather orbs, and so sometimes I get caught in explosions which would have resulted in death without Final Service.
      You must get bone armor up right away. It does full damage even with one stack. You should try to get it to 15 stacks as soon as possible. It is really annoying when you initially encounter just a few mobs and get a correspondingly small number of stacks of bone armor, and you can't get more until the ten second cooldown passes. In these situations, consider just blood rushing past the small number of mobs to get to a larger number of mobs so that you can start with more bone armor. 
      Once you have 15 stacks, you only need a single mob to maintain all 15 stacks when you recast, but you do need to recast (and you need a live mob) before it expires. You must recast after the ten second (before CDR) cooldown, and before the 60 second expiration. Ideally recast when there are a bunch of mobs, and/or an enemy elite/champion/rift guardian around; there is a significant boost in damage to nearby mobs when you recast. Generally recast soon after the cooldown. If you have a follower with an Oculus Ring, it's great to recast while standing in an Area of Focused Power.
      If you die during e.g. a GR rift guardian and there is thus only one mob available to rebuild bone armor, you will be squishy and need to kite. Cast bone armor on cooldown; when you haven't taken damage for four seconds and the shield from the Gizzard gem shows up, wade in and get some hits and apply a DOT. Also, you will have no way of recovering Essence; make sure you have Simulacrum up when you cast Death Nova, and don't do it until you have enough stacks of Bone Armor that you can keep casting until Essence is exhausted while Simulacrum is still up.
      I only use Simulacrum on rift guardians or bosses during bounties. You could probably use it more often.
      Cast Devour often. Try to maintain ten stacks of Fueled by Death. As with Bone Armor, once you have ten stacks, you only need to consume a single corpse to maintain the ten stacks.
      For solo play, I use the templar because of the life-per-second from Loyalty, which enhances the Gizzard. I equip him with Enchanting Favor so I don't have to care about vitality, resistance, etc., and can concentrate on CDR and AS (for equipment procs), Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker with Lightning damage plus the Legendary power because I used to play WoW (well, actually, because of the lightning damage, to proc his ring), The Ess of Johan to gather mobs so I can run through them, maybe casting Bone Armor or a Death Nova, Wyrdward to stun enemies via lightning damage (and thus proc my Krysbin's Sentence), Oculus Ring to dramatically increase my damage when it's convenient to blood rush (or just walk) into an area of focused power and recast Bone Armor and/or cast Death Nova, and Freeze of Deflection to freeze attackers occasionally, again proccing my Krysbin's Sentence. Skills are largely up to you, other than the previously-stated advantage of Loyalty; I use Intervene, Charge, and Inspire (I don't want the knockback from Guardian; I want mobs clustered together).
      What stats work best for the build?
      Enough Vitality to run the content at your paragon/gear level. Otherwise, Intelligence for faster killing (and Resist All). CHC is particularly important if you want to use Pain Enhancer as your DOT gem; it does its damage over just three seconds, but only to mobs you critically hit. If your CHC isn't high enough, use Gem of Efficacious Toxin. It takes ten seconds to do its work, but it doesn't require crits and it benefits from +Poison Damage. CHD is a big damage boost. +Poison Damage affects both your bone armor and your death novas. +Bone Armor damage is nice. Life per Second enhances the shield from the gizzard.
      Where should you be putting paragon points?
      Mostly this is a late-game build, so you'll have topped out or nearly topped out everything except Intelligence and/or Vitality. There, put enough in Vitality to stay alive and safe; put the rest in Intelligence. When I started running this build I used PPs and gems primarily for Vitality. Once I got augments on everything and mobs died faster I moved toward Intelligence.
      What gems and legendary gems should you be using?
      For helm, amethyst seems like the only sensible choice. For weapon, an emerald via a Ramaladni's Gift. For jewelry, Molten Wildebeest's Gizzard, Bane of the Trapped, and either Pain Enhancer or Gem of Efficacious Toxin as discussed above. For the remaining sockets, amethyst or topaz depending on your survivability needs, as discussed above.
      What should be in your Kanai's cube?
      As discussed above, either Trag'Oul's Corroded Fang or Reilena's Shadowhook, depending on which is equipped, Krelm's Buff Belt, and Wisdom of Kalan unless you're wearing it, in which case you could cube Krysbin's Sentence and wear something like Bul-Kathos's Wedding Band or Convention of Elements instead.
      I hope others find this useful.