Almost completely forgotten and barely able to clear GR125, Bombardment Crusader received a whole bunch of buffs in season 22 patch. Between reduced cooldown on Belt of the Trove, buffed damage on Armor of Akkhan and Norvald's Fervor sets, and separate multipliers added to The Mortal Drama and Belt of the Trove, the build's damage was buffed by approximately 33 Greater Rift tiers. As it turns out, a build that can clear GR 158 (if it existed) solo is a tad overpowered. The build was nerfed before hitting live by approximately 10 tiers via Thorns of the Invoker adjustment.
Even with the nerf taken into account, Bombardment Crusader is the best Crusader solo build. It also can be used as a GR150-capable trash clearer, although better options exist there.
Akkhan Invoker Bombardment Crusader is a Thorns build, which makes it very easy to get the build going, but at the same time leaves a lot of room for gear hunt. Getting all items in Ancient quality with Thorns secondary rolls on everything is no easy task.
This build utilizes at least 4 different sets: Armor of Akkhan, Thorns of the Invoker, Norvald's Fervor and Captain Crimson's Trimmings. Some versions of it can also include Bastions of Will set, making it the first Set-only build in history in Diablo III. So if you are worried about the environment, this is your chance: "Play green crusader—save the Earth!"
Tanky ✔ Easy to gear ✔ Lazy playstyle available ✔ Can do everything on the move ✔
❌ Invoker 2p is clunky ❌ Strict CDR requirements ❌ Limited control over your damage ❌ Wildly inconsistent damage vs bosses
Armor of Akkhan set provides 50% damage reduction, 50% Resource Cost Reduction, 2000% damage increase, and it lets us easily achieve 100% uptime on Akarat's Champion.
2 pieces of Thorns of the Invoker set increases Thorns by up to 900%.
Captain Crimson's Trimmings set gives around 60% DPS, 20% Cooldown Reduction, which is necessary to reach our breakpoints, and around 70% damage reduction.
Norvald's Fervor set increases damage by 400% and lets us spam Steed Charge.
Ring of Royal Grandeur allows us to get full bonuses from all these sets.
The Mortal Drama doubles the number of Bombardment impacts and increases its damage by 500%.
Belt of the Trove casts a free Bombardment every 4 seconds and increases its damage by another 500%.
Global Stat Priorities
This build has two different Cooldown Reduction breakpoints. 55.8% is necessary to keep Akarat's Champion always active. This breakpoint is critical for the build, without Akarat's Champion, you lose 95% of your damage and 85% of your toughness. The second breakpoint is 59.3%, which is needed to cast Bombardment every 16s: on every Physical cycle of Convention of Elements. Make sure your defensive slots—boots, pants and belt—have Vitality and Resistance to All Elements on them. Your DPS stats are: Physical Damage > Bombardment Damage > Area Damage > Thorns. Attack Speed is mostly useless as it only lets you stack Bane of the Stricken faster; you can get some in place of Strength at high Paragon. Critical Hit Chance & Damage are completely useless, because they don't affect Thorns damage.
Item Stat Priorities
Flail of the Charge* The Mortal Drama (Cubed) Messerschmidt's Reaver (Cubed)
1. Socket Ramaladni's Gift 2. Cooldown Reduction 3. Area Damage 4. Elite Damage 5. Strength
*Ideally, you want to roll off the Damage Range form your Flail of the Charge. Be wary: rerolling Damage Range to Elite Damage requires, on average, 885 attempts. Tread with caution.
1. All Resistance 2. Strength 3. Vitality 4. Thorns (Secondary) 5. Life %
Boyarsky's Chip is our most powerful DPS gem. It provides more than half of our total Thorns, effectively being an over 100% damage increase.
Bane of the Trapped adds extra 60% DPS. This is a melee build, so nothing special needs to be done in order to activate the damage bonus.
Other gems vary depending on what you do: Bane of the Stricken to kill the boss in high GRs, Boon of the Hoarder for gold in T16, Gogok of Swiftness for CDR or Bane of the Powerful for a bit of extra damage.
Bombardment Barrels of Spikes is the main source of DPS. Belt of the Trove uses the equipped rune, so we must have this on the skillbar even in T16 build.
Punish Celerity provides 15% Block Chance and Attack Speed and also lets us get a few stacks of Thorns of the Invoker (2) Bonus.
Akarat's Champion Prophet is a staple in every single crusader build. One skill providing 35% DPS, more than double toughness, CC-immunity, Wrath regeneration and full heal on "death" is just too good to pass up.
Iron Skin Reflective Skin increases Thorns by 300% stacking additively with Thorns of the Invoker(2) Bonus.
Steed Charge is necessary to activate Norvald's Fervor bonus.
Finally the last skill slot is usually occupied by either Provoke Hit Me for extra Block Chance or Condemn Vacuum for pulling.
Heavenly Strength is necessary to equip Norvald's Fervor set.
Iron Maiden increases Thorns, and therefore damage, by 50%.
Lord Commander massively reduces cooldowns of Steed Charge and Bombardment making it possible to get a 16s cooldown on Bombardment and 100% uptime no Norvald's Fervor buff.
The last passive is usually Finery, the strongest generic Crusader passive providing for 15% damage and 12% toughness. In T16 Long Arm of the Law is used instead.
1. Movement Speed
1. Cooldown Reduction
1. All Resistance
1. Area Damage
2. Attack Speed
2. Resource Cost Reduction
3. Critical Hit Damage
3. Life %
3. Pickup Radius
4. Maximum Wrath
4. Critical Hit Chance
4. Life per Second
4. Life per Hit
¹ Put enough points into Vitality to have 800k Health, then the rest goes into Strength.
The Templar is recommended for this build due to his melee range and aggressive AI. When there's a monster in range he will always stand still and fight it, making him very predictable and easy to play around.
For the Skills pick Heal, Loyalty, Onslaught and Inspire. All the alternatives, except Intimidate, include AoE hard-CC, which makes mobs harder to manipulate.
Follower's damage is completely irrelevant, so we stack Attack Speed for more on-hit procs and Cooldown Reduction for more Heals. The Items are:
Enchanting Favor to make follower immortal
Oculus Ring for 85% multiplicative damage boost
Unity for 50% damage reduction
The Ess of Johan to pull mobs together
A dagger with Attack Speed and CDR
Any shield with CDR
Bombardment is the main damage skill. In high GRs you cast it every 16s, for every Physical cycle of Convention of Elements. In speeds you just spam it as much as you can.
You should use Punish as much as you can to maintain Thorns of the Invoker (2) Bonus stacks.
Akarat's Champion should be used on cooldown. Without Akarat's Champion you lose 95% of your damage and 85% of your toughness; dropping it even for a second is a very bad idea.
Iron Skin can be used on cooldown. If you are struggling with toughness, you can save it for your Physical cycle, otherwise you're mostly using it for the Movement Speed.
Provoke is used only before Physical to build more stacks for the nuke.
For Hardcore, your last passive must be Indestructible. Other than that, you can try using Laws of Valor Unstoppable Force in the free skill slot or switch Bane of the Trapped for Esoteric Alteration.
Concept In the push build we need the most damage and toughness possible, so we use Convention of Elements and Unity. Provoke Hit Me is used for extra block chance.
Gameplay With this build you follow a 16s rotation tied to your Convention of Elements. At the start of Lightning you need to Steed Charge inside the pull. Once inside, press Provoke and Iron Skin and hold down Punish to build Invoker stacks. Couple seconds later, when the CoE buff is at 8 o'clock, use Bombardment. After that you don't have to worry about stacks, activate your Steed Charge for the damage bonus and move into Oculus Ring when it spawns.
To maximize your DPS, you want to sync up your Belt of the Trove and your Convention of Elements. For that you need to drink a potion when your current element is 1s away from running out (CoE buff at 9 o'clock). Keep in mind that if you have no enemies around, then Belt of the Trove will not fire and it will most likely desync, so you'll have to do it again. The same will happen if you drink the potion at the wrong moment, so try to avoid panic potions. Changing zones also resets the ICD of the belt, so you need to do it at the same time (3s into any element). On this build have plenty of toughness but almost no recovery. Your only means of healing is Akarat's Champion Prophet and the Potion. You want to "die" every time you cast Akarat's Champion to maximize the healing. Ideally you want to do that during your Lightning, when you go into the pull and tank all the damage. If you proc earlier, you might be forced to use your Potion at the wrong time, killing half your damage.
Setups If you are dying too much, replace Provoke with Laws of Valor Unstoppable Force and Finery with Long Arm of the Law. Another option is switching Bane of the Trapped to Esoteric Alteration, although that one will cost you quite a bit of damage. If you are fishing for a very good rift, 11% Block Chance on shield becomes unnecessary and you can get an extra Area Damage roll instead. You also have an option of losing one AD roll to get more CDR. This will make the build easier to play by giving you a larger window to recast Bombardment, and it will also bring the cooldown of Akarat's Champion down to almost 16 seconds, letting you "die" on every rotation.
Gameplay Same as solo, you follow a 16s rotation tied to your Convention of Elements. Slightly before Lightning the zBarb needs to use Ground Stomp to group up the mobs. It needs to be done early so that the mobs can hit the Crusader and give Invoker stacks. At the start of Lightning use Iron Skin. One second into Lightning press Provoke and hold down Punish for the next 2 seconds. Slightly later, when the CoE buff is at 8 o'clock, use Bombardment. After that you don't have to worry about stacks. Use Shield Bash and activate your Steed Charge for the damage bonus and move into Oculus Ring when it spawns.
Try to avoid using Steed Charge at any other time to prevent your Belt of the Trove from randomly killing mobs before you set up the pull. Use Shield Bash to move around.
To maximize your DPS, you want to sync up your Belt of the Trove and your Convention of Elements. For that you need to drink a potion when your current element is 1s away from running out (buff at 9 o'clock). Ask your monk to stop spamming shields, so that you can take damage and use a potion. Keep in mind that if you have no enemies around, then Belt of the Trove will not fire and it will most likely desync, so you'll have to do it again. The same will happen if you drink the potion at the wrong moment, so try to avoid panic potions. Also only enter next floor at the same time (1s before the element ends), or you will have to do the potion sync again.
Setups At very high Paragon (6000+) you can drop Bastions of Will to get Squirt's Necklace and Stone of Jordan. This setup has about 20% more DPS if you can keep the buff.
Solo Speed GRs
Concept This is almost the same build as the one used for solo pushing, the only differences being Bane of the Powerful instead of Bane of the Stricken and Condemn Vacuum in place of Provoke. This build is quite clunky thanks to Invoker 2p, so instead of normal for speedfarming 2-3 minute runs, you need to go a few tiers higher and aim at 4-6 minute clear times.
Gameplay In speedruns, you mostly ignore your Convention of Elements and just use your Bombardment when you see a lot of high HP mobs or an elite pack. Spam Akarat's Champion, Iron Skin and Condemn. When you find a yellow elite and kill everything around it, don't stay and wait for it to die, take it with you on a ride via Draw and Quarter!
Setups At high Paragon (3000+) you can sacrifice some of your toughness for Bastions of Will set and use Shield Bash Shield Cross instead of Vacuum to activate the bonus. Shield Bash is by far the best spender here because it includes a dash that lets you move through mobs.
Concept In T16 variant we drop Thorns of the Invoker set entirely. There's two reasons for that. First, it's incredibly clunky and you need to stop to hit or get hit all the time to get stacks. Second, Bombardment oneshots everything short of the Rift Guardian even without the set. Instead of Invoker pieces we have Nemesis Bracers and Leoric's Crown. We also get Avarice Band and Boon of the Hoarder for gold and pickup. Finally, we invest heavily into CDR and switch Captain Crimson's Trimmings for Sage's Journey. This build is outclassed by AoV FotH Crusader but it's playstyle is ideal for watching a movie on your second screen.
Gameplay This is the ultimate lazy build. Belt of the Trove automatically casts a Bombardment (which lasts 4s) every 4s. And that alone will kill everything in sight, as long as you have Akarat's Champion active. So all you have to do is go through the rift and pick up loot. Unfortunately, Belt of the Trove stops casting when there's no enemies on screen, which happens all the time in T16. You can cast your own Bombardment to get some more barrels, but it's not necessary. On the Rift Guardian you can switch to Cain's Insight and Cain's Travelers to get extra Greater Rift Keystones.
Setups This build is pretty tanky but it's not running Goldwrap, so you have to respect stacked molten explosions. If you ain't about that life, drop Sage's Journey set and get Goldwrap and Gloves of Worship instead.
All damage done by Thorns is Physical.
Thorns Damage cannot critically strike (except with Envious Blade).
Iron Maiden passive provides a separate 1.5 multiplier to your total Thorns.