Akkhan Invoker Bombardment Crusader Guide

Bombardment Solo Push

Introduction

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 GR158 (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 second 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 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 ✔
Lazy Playstyle Available ✔
Easy to Get Starter Gear ✔
Can do Everything on the Move ✔

Invoker 2P is Clunky
Cooldown Dependency
❌ Limited Control Over your Damage
❌ Wildly Inconsistent Damage vs Bosses


Core Setup

Core Item Build

Items

  • The Armor of Akkhan set provides 50% damage reduction, 50% Resource Cost Reduction, 2,000% damage increase, and it lets us easily achieve 100% uptime on Akarat's Champion.
  • Thorns of the Invoker (2) Bonus increases Thorns by up to 900%.
  • Captain Crimson's Trimmings 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%.





Season 24 Ethereals

Unfortunately while many other builds are having fun with Ethereals, this build cannot effectively use them. There is just no weapons or shields that can come even remotely close to Norvald's Fervor 400% damage bonus. The only exception to that is Solo Speed GR build, where Messerchmidt's Reaver can act as a kind of damage multiplier by letting you cast more Bombardments.

Luckily, it's very easy to get a good Ethereal for that build. You need Messerschmidt's Reaver or a well rolled The Mortal Drama Legendary power. The Redeemer is the best choice here because it gives +50% Damage to Demons and Undead while Astreon's Iron Ward and Khalim's Will give nothing useful. The only stat roll that matters is Cooldown Reduction and the only two remotely useful passives are Indestructible and Holy Cause.

Read our Ethereal Mechanics Guide for full details on how they work and our Ethereal Farming Guide to learn how to acquire them.


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 16 seconds, 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.

Assembling the Build

1. Do the Challenge Rift for the materials to cube Legendary Powers. You can complete this once a week for additional resources and we always update the guide for you!

2. Gather the full Armor of Akkhan set. Each piece can be gambled from Kadala for Bloodshards. Do not salvage any duplicate pieces you find! Instead convert them to another part of the set with Recipe 4 in Kanai's Cube. If your last missing set piece is Talisman of Akkhan - don't gamble for it! Instead gamble for a cheap and easy item, like Pauldrons of Akkhan, and once again covert it with Recipe 4. If you have extra materials you can use Recipe 3 to craft the remaining pieces, but this is expensive and not recommended for new players.


3. Gamble from Kadala in this order:

  1. The full Armor of Akkhan set
  2. Belt of the Trove
  3. Shield of the Steed
  4. Nemesis Bracers
  5. Goldwrap
  6. Shackles of the Invoker and Burden of the Invoker

4. Craft using Recipe 3 in Kanai's Cube in this order:

  1. 2-Handed Flails to get Flail of the Charge and The Mortal Drama
  2. Anything from the Gamble list in Step 3 that you haven't already acquired.

5. Do Bounties to acquire several important items for this build:

  • Act 1: Ring of Royal Grandeur
  • Act 2: Gloves of Worship (for your follower)
  • Act 3: Avarice Band
  • Act 4: Can drop any bounty item from any act
  • Bounty Turn In: Recipes for Captain Crimson's Trimmings, Cain's Destiny and Sage's Journey

6. At this point you can somewhat comfortably farm Nephalem Rifts or low GRs where you can find all the remaining items you need for different variants of the build. It's better to spend your mats improving your set pieces, getting ancient weapon etc.

Item Stat Priorities

SLOTITEMSTAT PRIORITY
Main-HandThe Redeemer
Astreon's Iron Ward
Khalim's Will
Flail of the Charge
The Mortal Drama (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 from Flail of the Charge. Be wary: rerolling Damage Range to Elite Damage requires, on average, 885 attempts. Tread with caution.
Off-HandShield of the Steed1. Bombardment Damage
2. Area Damage
3. Cooldown Reduction
4. Block Chance
5. Thorns (Secondary)
6. Elite Damage
7. Strength
HelmHelm of Akkhan
Crown of the Invoker
Leoric's Crown
Cain's Insight (Crafted)
1. Socket Flawless Royal Diamond
2. Strength
3. Vitality
4. All Resistance
5. Thorns (Secondary)
GlovesGauntlets of Akkhan
Pride of the Invoker
1. Cooldown Reduction
2. Area Damage
3. Resource Cost Reduction
4. Thorns (Secondary)
5. Attack Speed
6. Strength
ShouldersPauldrons of Akkhan
Burden of the Invoker
1. Cooldown Reduction
2. Bombardment Damage
3. Area Damage
4. Thorns (Secondary)
5. All Resistance
6. Strength
Chest Breastplate of Akkhan1. Sockets Flawless Royal Diamond
2. Bombardment Damage
3. Elite Damage Reduction
4. Thorns (Secondary)
5. All Resistance
6. Strength
7. Vitality
8. Life %
PantsCuisses of Akkhan
Captain Crimson's Thrust (Crafted)
Renewal of the Invoker
1. Sockets Flawless Royal Diamond
2. All Resistance
3. Strength
4. Vitality
5. Thorns (Secondary)
BootsSabatons of Akkhan
Zeal of the Invoker
Captain Crimson's Waders (Crafted)
Cain's Travelers (Crafted)
Sage's Passage (Crafted)
1. All Resistance
2. Strength
3. Vitality
4. Thorns (Secondary)
5. Armor
Ring 1Avarice Band (A3 Bounties)
Convention of Elements
Focus
1. Socket
2. Cooldown Reduction
3. Area Damage
4. Thorns (Secondary)
5. Resource Cost Reduction
Ring 2Justice Lantern
Restraint
Stone of Jordan
Ring of Royal Grandeur (A1 Bounties, Cubed)
1. Socket
2. Cooldown Reduction
3. Area Damage
4. Thorns (Secondary)
5. Resource Cost Reduction
BracersShackles of the Invoker
Nemesis Bracers
Warzechian Armguards
1. Physical Damage
2. Strength
3. Vitality
4. Resistance to All Elements
5. Thorns (Secondary)
AmuletTalisman of Akkhan1. Socket
2. Physical Damage
3. Area Damage
4. Thorns (Secondary)
5. Cooldown Reduction
6. Strength
BeltCaptain Crimson's Silk Girdle (Crafted)
Sage's Ribbon (Crafted)
1. All Resistance
2. Strength
3. Vitality
4. Thorns (Secondary)
5. Life %
PotionBottomless Potion of AmplificationTo gain extra healing

Gems

  • Boyarsky's Chip is our most powerful damage gem. It provides more than half of our total Thorns, effectively being an over 100% damage increase.
  • Bane of the Trapped adds extra 60% multiplicative damage. 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 Cooldown Reduction or Bane of the Powerful for a bit of extra damage.

Skills

  • Bombardment Barrels of Spikes is the main source of damage. 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% damage, 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.

Passives

  • 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.

Paragon Points

CoreOffensiveDefensiveUtility
1. Movement Speed1. Cooldown Reduction1. All Resistance1. Area Damage
2. Strength2. Attack Speed2. Armor2. Resource Cost Reduction
3. Vitality13. Critical Hit Damage3. Life %3. Pickup Radius
4. Maximum Wrath4. Critical Hit Chance4. Life Regeneration4. Life per Hit

1 Add a bit of Vitality if you feel too squishy (a total of 800,000 Life is recommended).

Follower

Patch 2.7.0 revamped the follower system giving all 3 hirelings new powers and the emanate system. The first thing you should do is read our complete follower guide and remember the key takeaways:

  1. The emanation system allows followers to share certain legendary and set powers with you. The most important ones are: The Flavor of Time, Nemesis Bracers, Avarice Band, Sage’s Journey and Cain’s Destiny. Click the guide above for the full list.
  2. Follower’s powers are based on their mainstat (maxed at 25,000, but they have a 2.5x multiplier so you only need 10,000). This means we stack Intelligence on the Enchantress, Dexterity on the Scoundrel and Strength on the Templar.
  3. Followers share 20% of their Experience, Magic and Gold Find stats with you.
  4. Legendary gems do not work on followers, except Esoteric Alteration and Mutilation Guard.
  5. Cooldown Reduction does not work for any follower skill except the Templar’s Heal.
  6. Followers never deal significant damage; you’re on your own to clear the content.

With these in mind, let’s get into our recommendations for this build.

T16 Enchantress

T16 Enchantress

For T16 we recommend this Enchantress setup because she is the only follower that gives Cooldown Reduction, allowing you to spam your abilities more. Since this is T16 content, she’ll stay alive with Esoteric Alteration and Mutilation Guard and use Hand of the Prophet to gain all skills. This will give us Cooldown Reduction, Elemental Damage, Reduced Damage from Ranged Attacks, Armor, Attack Speed, and a Cheat Death.

Stat Priorities:

Since we do not have the immortality focus, we need to stack survivability on our Enchantress.

Intelligence > Vitality > Life % > Armor > All Resistance > Life Per Hit > Attack Speed.

Key Items:

  • The Flavor of Time: For double duration on Pylons.
  • Nemesis Bracers: For extra Elites, Death’s Breaths and In-geom procs.
  • Avarice Band: For the insane pickup radius.
  • Ring of Royal Grandeur: To complete our sets.
  • Gloves of Worship: For 10 Minute Shrine Buffs.
  • Sage’s Journey: For double Death’s Breaths.
  • Cain’s Destiny: For 25% more Greater Rift Keystones.
Speed GR Enchantress

Speed GR Enchantress

For speed Greater Rifts we recommend this Enchantress setup because she is the only follower that gives Cooldown Reduction, allowing you to spam your abilities more. Since this is speed content, she’ll stay alive with Esoteric Alteration and Mutilation Guard and use Hand of the Prophet to gain all skills. This will give us Cooldown Reduction, Elemental Damage, Reduced Damage from Ranged Attacks, Armor, Attack Speed, and a Cheat Death.

Stat Priorities:

Since we do not have the immortality focus, we need to stack survivability on our Enchantress.

Intelligence > Vitality > Life % > Armor > All Resistance > Life Per Hit > Attack Speed.

Key Items:

  • The Flavor of Time: For double duration on Pylons.
  • Nemesis Bracers: For more progression from Elites.
  • Oculus Ring: For 85% increased damage.
  • Ice Climbers: To make your follower immune to Freeze and Immobilize effects.
  • Hellfire Ring, Leoric's Crown and Cain's Destiny: For more Experience and Attack Speed.

GR Pushing Templar

GR Pushing Templar

For Greater Rift pushing we recommend this Templar setup for the sustain from Heal, 10% increased damage from Onslaught, and the very powerful cheat death mechanic from Guardian. This is the only follower build that stacks Cooldown Reduction because it works with Heal. Since we take the immortality relic, we do not need any survivability stats.

Stat Priorities:

Since we have the immortality relic, we do not need to stack survivability on our Templar.

Strength > Cooldown Reduction > Attack Speed.

Key Items:

  • The Flavor of Time: For double duration on Pylons.
  • Nemesis Bracers: For more progression from Elites.
  • Oculus Ring: For 85% increased damage.
  • Unity: For 50% damage reduction if you're also wearing one.
  • Ice Climbers: To make your follower immune to Freeze and Immobilize effects.
  • Leoric's Crown and Captain Crimson's Trimmings: For more Cooldown Reduction on Heal.

Gameplay

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.

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 should be used before each Bombardment cast in the Lightning Convention of Elements cycle.

Provoke is used only before Physical to build more stacks for the nuke.

Hardcore

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.


Variants

Nephalem Rifts
T16 Solo

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 damage we focus entirely on Movement Speed and Cooldown Reduction. 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.

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 Captain Crimson's Trimmings set and get Goldwrap and Gloves of Worship instead.

When playing in groups, equip Nemesis Bracers, replace Rechel's Ring of Larceny with Avarice Band and exchange Captain Crimson's Trimmings for Sage's Journey. On the Rift Guardian switch to Cain's Insight and Cain's Travelers to get extra Greater Rift Keystones.

GR Solo Speeds
Bomb Solo XP

Ethereals
If you don't have any Ethereal Item go back to Norvald's Fervor and farm higher tiers in 5-6 minutes.

Concept
This speed build drops Thorns of the Invoker in favor of Aughild's Authority, which isn't nearly as strong but doesn't force you to stop and block attacks all the time. We go for maximum Cooldown Reduction and Messerschmidt's Reaver to spam Bombardment and Iron Skin as much as possible. Frydehr's Wrath lets us use Condemn to proc Bastions of Will damage bonus and also prevents it from stealing Messerschmidt's Reaver procs.

Gameplay
Keep your Iron Skin active as much as possible. Spam Condemn and use Justice once every 3-5 seconds. Don't recast Akarat's Champion until it's almost over. Be careful to only cast Bombardment when the Iron Skin is active. Use Steed Charge when there's no mobs left or when you get yourself stuck by Vacuuming too many. In that latter case you need to react fast, because mobs will soon recover from the knockback and attack you all at once!

Setups
At high Paragon (3,000+) you can switch Akarat's Champion rune to Rally to cast even more Bombardments.

GR Solo Push
Bomb Solo Push

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 damage, sync up your Belt of the Trove and 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, Belt of the Trove will not fire, it will most likely desync and 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 internal cooldown of the belt, so you need to do it at the same time (3s into any element).

On this build you 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.

Gear your Templar properly to get some extra healing. With 25,000 Strength and maximum CDR he will heal you for 420,000 HP every 10 seconds!

Setups
If you are dying too much, replace Provoke with Laws of Valor Unstoppable Force, additionally you can drop Finery for 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 Area Damage roll to get more Cooldown Reduction. 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.

At high Paragon (6,000+) you can use Enchantress instead of Templar. That will give you 10% Physical damage but you will lose all the healing.

GR Group Trash Killer
Bomb Group DPS

Concept
In group play, Bombardment Crusader can serve as a passable Trash Killer, although both AoV Crusader and Bone Spear Necromancer perform better in that role.

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. 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.

To maximize your damage, sync up your Belt of the Trove and 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 Belt of the Trove will not fire, it will most likely desync and 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
If you are having trouble staying alive, replace Zei's Stone of Vengeance with Esoteric Alteration.


Video Guide


Mechanics

Thorns

  • 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.
  • Read the full guide on Thorns Mechanics here.

Thorns of the Invoker (2) Bonus

  • Increased Thorns Damage, provided by Thorns of the Invoker (2) Bonus, stacks with itself up to 10 times.
  • Each stack of the buff has a separate 2s timer.
  • Thorns bonus stacks additively with Iron Skin Reflective Skin.

Bombardment Barrels of Spikes

  • Drops 5 barrels over 2 seconds.
  • The Mortal Drama doubles both the number of barrels and the skill's duration.
  • The first barrel drops 1 seconds after the skill is activated.
  • When used manually, there's also an animation delay between starting the attack and skill actually activating.
  • The first barrel drops at the cast location, the rest drop on nearby enemies.
  • Each barrel deals 200% Thorns + 570% Weapon damage.
  • Your Thorns are snapshot at the time of cast.
  • Cannot crit, including the weapon damage part.
  • Can proc Area Damage.
  • Only procs Life per Hit once per cast.

Belt of the Trove

  • Bombardment cast by the item uses the equipped rune.
  • Can proc Area Damage and stack Bane of the Stricken.
  • Cannot proc Life per Hit.
  • Casts Bombardment only when there are enemies nearby.
  • Item's cooldown is reset upon drinking a Health Potion or switching area.

Summary

  • Reach 55.8% Cooldown Reduction before anything else
  • Cast Bombardment on Physical Convention of Elements cycles
  • Stack Area Damage, Physical Damage and Thorns
  • The monsters go "poof"

Guide by Northwar.
Dropping barrels full of spikes on top of monsters seems a bit impolite, but hey, it works!