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Crusader Class Overview

Last Updated: April 11th 2024

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Crusaders are unwavering champions of faith and law. These living fortresses use impenetrable plate and towering shields to wade through scores of foes, leaving demonic bodies smoldering in their wake... Or at least, that's how it's supposed to be. Currently most Crusader builds share two main traits:

  1. They attack really fast to the point that it looks like the Crusader is having a seizure.
  2. They constantly fight to stay alive being the only class in the game without any damage reduction items.


The leaders of the harmonious Zakarum religion once strove to imprison Mephisto, Lord of Hatred, beneath Travincal temple, preventing him from ever twisting the hearts of humanity again.

They failed.

It was not the first time Zakarum had lapsed; 200 years prior, the cleric Akkhan noticed corruption at the heart of his faith, and sent his acolytes on a far-ranging quest to cleanse it. Akkhan’s “crusaders” were young recruits, chosen for honor and goodness, trained in weaponry and flesh-scouring magics, though their most important quality was unwavering devotion to duty.

Today, the Crusaders’ focused quest for purity has broadened. Flimsy “containment” gives evil many opportunities to thrive, and wandering crusaders – often master and apprentice pairs – regularly strike down Sanctuary’s demons. Some fight out of righteousness; others in the hopes that their victories may make corrupt Zakarum whole again. When a Crusader's master dies, their student takes up their weapons and their identity…and the crusade continues, even beyond death.

Read the full story of the Crusader here


Maximum Wrath: 100

  • +25 from Paragon points
  • +30 from secondary rolls on gear
  • +30 from Righteousness
  • +8 from Stone of Jordan

Passive Regeneration: 2.5 per second

  • +5 from Akarat's Champion
  • +5 from Embodiment of Power
  • +6 from primary rolls on gear
  • +1.1 from Inspire

Active Generation: 5 per attack with a Primary skill

  • +3 from Righteousness
  • 30 + 5 per enemy hit with Provoke
  • 9 per enemy hit with Shield Glare Zealous Glare

Additional Wrath sources:

  • Aegis of Valor (4) Bonus
  • Golden Flense
  • Insurmountable

Crusaders use Wrath to cast their most powerful skills. Wrath regenerates slowly over time and can also be gained by using Primary skills and from a handful of other effects.

Most Crusader builds don't care about Wrath too much; they either don't use Wrath at all or have some combination of Akarat's Champion, Laws of Valor Unstoppable Force and Provoke to take care of that.


Crusaders are proficient with all melee weapons except Staves, but can not dual wield. Instead they equip a shield, which in the Crusader's hands becomes a second weapon. Similar to Demon Hunters, Crusaders can equip their offhand item even when using a two-handed weapon, thanks to Heavenly Strength passive.

Crusader Shields

Crusader Shields

Crusader Shields are unique Crusader items that have the same base stats as regular Shields, but also can roll certain offensive and class-specific stats:

  • Primary rolls
    • 10-20% Area Damage
    • 10-15% Damage to any Crusader Skill
    • 1.85-2.00 Wrath per Second
    • 1408-1660 Life per Wrath Spent
  • Secondary rolls
    • 8-10 Maximum Wrath

Flails and Two-Handed Flails


Crusader's unique weapons are Flails. They are fairly fast weapons (1.4 APS) with unique attack animations, which use all the normal weapon affixes plus some class-specific stats:

  • Primary rolls
    • 1.85-2.00 Wrath per Second
    • 1408-1660 Life per Wrath Spent
  • Secondary rolls
    • 8-10 Maximum Wrath

Two-Handed Flails are the bigger version of One-Handed Flails, they come with 1.15 base APS and can roll all the same unique stats but with double the amount.

*all the values given are for ancient legendary items

Sets and Builds

Armor of Akkhan
Roland's Legacy
Seeker of the Light
Thorns of the Invoker
Aegis of Valor
No Six Piece Set

Armor of Akkhan

  • (4) Bonus lets your Phalanx reduce the cooldown of Akarat's Champion and trigger Condemn on enemies affected by Judgment.
  • Enemies are considered "affected by Judgment" for 6 seconds after you cast it, even if they are completely CC-immune.
  • Phalanx Shield Bearers procs both effects each time the avatars push enemies away despite dealing no damage.
  • Condemns triggered by Phalanx use your equipped rune and can't proc Area Damage or any other on-hit effects, except Blade of Prophecy.
  • The damage of these Condemns benefits from Phalanx Damage rolls on gear and Enforcer but not from Warhelm of Kassar.

Armor of Akkhan is the most versatile Crusader set as it provides bonus to all damage and thus can be used with any skill. However, since this bonus is very weak compared to other sets, Akkhan builds only make sense when they use skills that aren't supported by any other sets.

Reworked in Season 27 Akkhan Condemn is poised to take #1 spot on Crusader leaderboards thanks to Phalanx avatars triggering hundreds of Condemn explosions at no cost! The build is not amazing outside of solo pushing, but it's not terrible at GR speedfarming and second best Crusader build for T16.

Roland's Legacy

  • (2) Bonus reduces the remaining cooldown of all Defensive and Law skills with each cast of Shield Bash or Sweep Attack.
  • (4) Bonus provides an unconditional 40,000% separate multiplier (x176) to Shield Bash and Sweep Attack.
  • Attack Speed provided by the (6) Bonus stacks additively for a total of 375%, which together with 10% from Paragon leaves you just 15% away from Attack Speed cap of 5.0 while using the slowest Weapon type - a Two-Handed Mace.
  • Damage reduction provided by the (6) Bonus is the only stacking buff in the game that stacks multiplicatively with itself providing a total of 55.6% damage reduction at 5 stacks.
  • After reaching 5 stacks, every use of Shield Bash or Sweep Attack refreshes the duration of all stacks.

Roland's Legacy buffs two skills: Sweep Attack and Shield Bash, but supporting legendaries for the latter (Drakon's Lesson, Piro Marella and Flail of the Ascended) are incredibly weak so the build is not even worth mentioning.

This build uses Denial and Golden Flense together with Attack Speed from the (6) Bonus to slap enemies really hard and really fast with your giant mace. Unlike many other Crusader builds, this one is very tanky and quite fun to play thanks to all the tools at your disposal (Vacuum, Draw and Quarter). It is however, quite weak and has no use outside of Roland's Legacy leaderboards.

Seeker of the Light

  • (2) Bonus reduces the remaining cooldown of Provoke and Falling Sword each time Blessed Hammer hits an enemy. This effect has an internal cooldown equal to 0.9s/Blessed Hammer APS.
  • (6) Bonus provides a x151 multiplier to Blessed Hammer and x11 multiplier to Falling Sword. Since Falling Sword has no other supporting legendaries its damage is never relevant and this bonus is purely cosmetic.

Seeker of the Light only buffs one skill and only has one build. The set also forces you to use Falling Sword - the worst skill in the game. Just imagine a teleport skill with an animation so slow that just walking is usually faster.

This build uses Johanna's Argument, Guard of Johanna, Faithful Memory and Hammer Jammers to launch hundreds of Blessed Hammers spinning through the air, letting you relive that Hammerdin experience from the previous installment in the series. Power-wise this build is not doing very well, and doesn't really exist outside of Seeker of the Light leaderboards.

Thorns of the Invoker

  • Increased Thorns Damage, provided by the (2) Bonus, stacks with itself up to 10 times for a total of x10 increased Thorns.
  • Each stack of the buff has a separate 2 second timer.
  • The Thorns bonus stacks additively with Iron Skin Reflective Skin.
  • Damage reduction from the (4) Bonus can be activated by Bombardments cast by Belt of the Trove. Mines from Mine Field can't proc this buff.
  • Attack Speed from Thorns of the Invoker (6) Bonus stacks multiplicatively with Weapon Attack Speed, Attack Speed Increase from gear and skills, and Fanaticism.
  • Thorns of the Invoker (6) Bonus makes your Punish deal 67,500% Thorns damage to the first target hit. If you click Punish while hovering over a monster, that monster is always considered "the first target hit", even if you don't hit it at all. However, Thorns Damage is only applied to that "first target" if your Punish actually hits something.
  • The above interaction lets you deal damage at range. You need to have an enemy directly in front of you and then you use Force Stand Still + Punish while hovering over your intended target. However, using this technique in solo push is not recommended because you will be applying Bane of the Stricken stacks to the wrong target.

Thorns of the Invoker doesn't directly buff any skills. Instead, its (6) Bonus provides a powerful thorns-based proc, which can be activated with Punish or Slash.

This build uses the (6) Bonus to deal damage in small AoE. The build is not very strong and mostly contained within Thorns of the Invoker leaderboard. It can, however, make a passable RGK when fully optimized for a single target.

Aegis of Valor

  • (2) Bonus increases the damage of Heaven's Fury by 125% per stack stacking additively for a total of 375% increase.
  • (4) Bonus gives 5 Wrath with every instance of Fist of the Heavens damage including zaps from Divine Well and fissure/lightning arc ticks from Fissure. Fiery storm from Heaven's Tempest is the exception and doesn't return any Wrath.
  • (6) Bonus provides an unconditional x151 multiplier to Heaven's Fury and Fist of the Heavens.

Aegis of Valor buffs two skills: Heaven's Fury and Fist of the Heavens. The two resulting builds are both great in different ways. Heaven's Fury is very strong, but slow and clunky, while Fist of the Heavens is weaker, but is very fast and easy to use.

This build uses Fate of the Fell, Bracer of Fury and Norvald's Fervor (or Shield of Fury) to utterly devastate enemies with holy power. The damage output of this build is insane, although high-end variations of it are often very squishy. This build is not very good at speedfarming due to the clunkiness of Heaven's Fury legendaries.

AoV Fist of the Heavens - Beginner friendly

This build uses Darklight, Khassett's Cord of Righteousness and Norvald's Fervor to smite the enemies with holy lightning. Unlike Heaven's Fury there's no hoops to jump through before you can deal damage: all your multipliers are active at all times, you just need to blast. While the damage output of Fist of the Heavens is not nearly as high, this build excels at speedfarming Nephalem Rifts, Bounties and low Greater Rifts. Essentially, the build can do it all. It's not a push build so it doesn't have a place on the solo tier list.

Legacy of Dreams/Legacy of Nightmares

For skills that don't have a dedicated Set, you can always make a build around the Legacy of Dreams gem or Legacy of Nightmares set, which provide a 97.5x damage multiplier at 13 Ancient items. Since the Crusader's generic damage set, Armor of Akkhan, only provides a 21x multiplier, this battle is often won by LoD.

For Blessed Shield, Legacy of Dreams is by far the better choice, whereas for Bombardment, LoD loses to Akkhan in damage but has more flexibility in skill and item choices.

The Support Crusader is too weak after its nerf in Season 4 and has no chance of making it into any META team.

With The Mortal Drama and Belt of the Trove this build lets you call down incredibly powerful Bombardments. Unlike its Set counterpart, this build can include various speedfarming items such as In-Geom, Squirt's Necklace and St. Archew's Gage, making it one of the best Greater Rift farmers in the game.

This build uses Gyrfalcon's Foote, Akkhan's Leniency, Jekangbord and Akkhan's Manacles to send your shield ricocheting all over the place. Apart from pushing it can also farm Greater or Nephalem rifts, but it's mediocre at it all. Currently it's only useful for people who want to roleplay as Captain America and don't really care about META and tier lists.


Apart from 6-piece sets, Crusaders have 52 unique Legendary and Set items, providing bonuses to various skills and in some cases even altering their behavior. Curiously enough, Crusaders are the only class in the game to have 0 defensive items, despite all that "immovable tank" fantasy going on.


  • Darklight
  • Golden Scourge
  • Gyrfalcon's Foote
  • Inviolable Faith
  • Johanna's Argument
  • Justinian's Mercy
  • Kassar's Retribution
  • Swiftmount


  • Jace's Hammer of Vigilance

Two-Handed Flails

  • Akkhan's Addendum
  • Akkhan's Leniency
  • Baleful Remnant
  • Fate of the Fell
  • Flail of the Ascended
  • Golden Flense
  • The Mortal Drama
  • Flail of the Charge

Two-Handed Maces

  • Skywarden

Two-Handed Swords

  • Blade of Prophecy
  • Cam's Rebuttal
  • Faithful Memory


  • Denial
  • Eberli Charo
  • Ivory Tower
  • Vo'toyias Spiker

Crusader Shields

  • Akarat's Awakening
  • Frydehr's Wrath
  • Guard of Johanna
  • Hallowed Bulwark
  • Hellskull
  • Jekangbord
  • Piro Marella
  • Salvation
  • Shield of Fury
  • Sublime Conviction
  • The Final Witness
  • Unrelenting Phalanx
  • Shield of the Steed


  • Hammer Jammers


  • Angel Hair Braid
  • Belt of the Trove
  • Blessed of Haull
  • Khassett's Cord of Righteousness
  • Omnislash
  • Sacred Harness
  • Vigilante Belt

Chest Armors

  • Armor of the Kind Regent


  • Warhelm of Kassar


  • Akkhan's Manacles
  • Bracer of Fury
  • Drakon's Lesson
  • Gabriel's Vambraces


  • Eternal Union

Below are listed select few items that have mechanics, which aren't immediately obvious from their description.

Belt of the Trove

Blade of Prophecy

Bracer of Fury

Flail of the Ascended

Hammer Jammers

Ivory Tower

Shield of Fury

Vigilante Belt


Crusaders have some of the best passives in Diablo 3 that are suitable for every single build. Virtually every single Crusader build will use either Fervor or Heavenly Strength, depending on which type of weapon you need to wear (and allowing the Crusader to wield a two-handed weapon with a shield as the only class in the game). Other strong passives are Finery, which is simply a solid mix of offense and defense that fits into any build, and arguably the best cheat death in the game: Indestructible. To learn more about details about all the passives, check below:


Divine Fortress




Heavenly Strength

Hold Your Ground

Holy Cause



Iron Maiden

Long Arm of the Law

Lord Commander



Towering Shield




Primary Skills





Primary skills deal a little damage and generate Wrath with every attack. However, most builds can solve their resource issues with other means, and Primary skills are only used to proc Bastions of Will and Thorns of the Invoker bonuses or for the stat boosts they provide: Punish Celerity or Fury, Slash Guard, and Justice Sword of Justice are typical choices. Hammer of Pursuit is also used sometimes as it's the easiest Primary skill to hit with.

Damage Dealing Skills

Shield Bash

Sweep Attack

Blessed Hammer

Blessed Shield

Fist of the Heavens



Heaven's Fury


These are the main build-defining skills. Pick one of these, a Set that buffs it, 2-3 supporting Legendaries and you got yourself a build.

Phalanx and Shield Bash are lacking supporting legendaries and while you can make a build around them, they are very weak.

Condemn Vacuum is the only skill on this list that is used outside of its own build to pixelpull the mobs. In Condemn builds it becomes a spammable Wrath spender thanks to Frydehr's Wrath.

Heaven's Fury is another cooldown skill, but it can still be circumvented by using Fires of Heaven rune or Ivory Tower.

Bombardment has a very long cooldown but it's strong enough that just casting it once per Convention of Elements cycle (with loads of Cooldown Reduction and Lord Commander) is enough to compete with other builds that can spam their skill multiple times per second.


Crusaders can choose to have one of three Law skills: Laws of Hope, Laws of Valor and Laws of Justice. Every Law provides an aura that gives small stat bonuses to all allies within 60 yards. Law can be activated to empower the aura for a short time.

90% of the time your Law is either Laws of Valor Unstoppable Force for defense that you get when combining it with Captain Crimson's Trimmings (3) Bonus, or Laws of Hope Wings of Angels when you need mobility rather than toughness. In the rare cases when those two don't work for you, Laws of Valor Critical or Laws of Justice Decaying Strength is used for either offense or defense.

Utility Skills

All the other Crusader skills can be grouped together. They are used to round up the builds with extra defensive, offensive and mobility buffs, or to proc certain Sets or Legendaries.

Akarat's ChampionThe ubiquitous skill that's included in every build for it's 35% multiplicative damage, CC-immunity and huge defensive bonuses from the Prophet rune. In rare cases where you don't need toughness (mostly in 4-man parties), Hasteful can provide some extra DPS. In some Bombardment builds Rally is used to cast more Bombardments.
Iron SkinWidely used defensive skill, provides 50% damage reduction and immunity to Crowd Control effects. Most builds choose Flash rune for mobility, but in some cases Steel Skin is used for higher uptime. Thorns-based builds go with Reflective Skin for extra damage.
Steed ChargeThe only good Crusader mobility skill. Grants 150% Movement Speed and ability to move through monsters. This skill is included in every build that has space for it, and is mandatory for Norvald's Fervor builds. Endurance is usually used for extra duration, but in push builds Draw and Quarter can be very helpful.
ProvokeThis skill is mostly used by the builds that need Wrath. Too Scared to Run or Cleanse runes are typically used for defensive bonuses. Some block-based builds use Hit Me just for the extra Block Chance.
Shield GlareUsed in Heaven's Fury builds to proc Bracer of Fury. Divine Verdict rune provides 20% additive damage.
JudgmentAgain used in Heaven's Fury builds, usually in Ivory Tower variations, where blinding monsters is ill-advised. Debilitate is the most common rune choice, but Resolved can be sometimes included for more damage.
ConsecrationVirtually never used. Bed of Nails can be included for its ability to proc Pain Enhancer.
Falling SwordDeals no damage and only used to activate Seeker of the Light and Faithful Memory bonuses. This is the other Crusader mobility skill with long range that can go over walls, but the teleport animation is so slow that walking/riding the horse is usually faster.

Below are listed select few build-relevant skills and their mechanics are explained in detail.

Blessed Shield

Bombardment Barrels of Spikes

Condemn Vacuum

Iron Skin Flash

Sweep Attack


Crusaders are the most expectation-defying class in the game. For a guy with a shield wearing heavy plate armor having low toughness but very high attack speed is very unusual to say the least. Still there's something oddly satisfying about just riding your horse through hordes of demons and smiting then with holy power. Launch your own Crusade against the forces of Hell and show them the true meaning of righteous fury! Deus vult.


Written by Northwar.
Reviewed by wudijo and Raxxanterax.

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