AoV Fist of the Heavens Crusader Guide

AoV FotH T16

Introduction

The Aegis of Valor (AoV) Set, while mainly focused on Heaven's Fury, also applies its massive (6) Bonus to Fist of the Heavens thus giving rise to an entirely different set of builds.

Fist of the Heavens cannot compete with insane damage output of Heaven's Fury, but there's two areas where it is reigns supreme: AoE coverage and convenience. All the Fist of the Heavens multipliers are unconditional, you just have to cast the skill, there's no rotation, preparation or anything like that. This makes Fist of the Heavens builds ideal for speedfarming, especially when game difficulty is limited: in Nephalem Rifts and Bounties.

Fist of the Heavens' large area of effect and unlimited range, combined with mobility granted by Steed Charge and Norvald's Fervor set, produce the best crusader build when it comes to farming keys and bounties.





Mobile ✔
Very Easy ✔
Strong Season Starter ✔
Excellent AoE Damage ✔

❌ Bad Bossfights
❌ Inconsistent Toughness
❌ Can't reach High Greater Rifts

❌ Clunky due to Low Attack Speed


Core Setup

Core Item Build

Items

  • Aegis of Valor set provides 50% damage reduction, nearly infinite Wrath and 20,000% Fist of the Heavens damage increase.
  • Norvald's Fervor set gives 400% DPS increase and also lets you stay mounted 24/7, if you so desire.
  • Darklight increases Fist of the Heavens damage by 1,000% and adds an extra explosion to each cast, effectively providing a x22 damage multiplier.
  • Khassett's Cord of Righteousness increases Fist of the Heavens damage by 170%.
  • Squirt's Necklace provides up to 100% damage buff, which is fairly easy to keep up on a ranged build that is killing everything on the screen in seconds.









Season 24 Ethereals

Unfortunately while many other builds are having fun with Ethereals, this build cannot effectively use them. Norvald's Fervor Set provides 400% increased damage and boosts your Steed Charge which is everything this build needs and none of other weapons and shields give anything useful.

There's one exception to that: Nephalem Rift variant of the build can use Khalim's Will because it provides the same Steed Charge reset as Norvald's Fervor and has much higher Attack Speed especially with Echoing Fury in the cube. The damage loss is not a real concern in Torment 16 because you can still oneshot most enemies. To make the build work you need Khalim's Will with Darklight Legendary power. Your stat priorities for it should be: good roll on Darklight power > high DPS > Lord Commander or Holy Cause passive.

Read our Ethereal Mechanics Guide for full details on how they work and our Ethereal Farming Guide to learn how to acquire them (in case you play a different build that can use them)!


Global Stat Priorities

Stack as much Cooldown Reduction (CDR) as possible; there aren't any Breakpoints to hit but having a lot of Cooldown Reduction makes the build more fluid and pleasant to play. After that focus on increasing your DPS via Elemental Damage, Critical Hit Chance & Damage, Fist of the Heavens Damage and Attack Speed. Defensive stats are not that important, given that this is a ranged build that typically 1-2 shots all the enemies.

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 Aegis of Valor 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 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 Aegis of Valor set
  2. Khassett's Cord of Righteousness and Goldwrap
  3. Shield of the Steed
  4. Nemesis Bracers

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

  1. Flails to get Darklight
  2. Two-Handed Flails to get Flail of the Charge
  3. 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
  • Act 5: Pandemonium Loop
  • Bounty Turn In: Recipes for Captain Crimson's Trimmings, Sage's Journey and Cain's Destiny

6. All the remaining items such as for example Squirt's Necklace are not critical for the build so it's better to just wait for them to drop and spend your mats to get set items with better rolls, ancient weapon etc.

Item Stat Priorities

SLOTITEMSTAT PRIORITY
Main-HandKhalim's Will
Flail of the Charge
Darklight (Cubed)
1. Damage Range
2. Socket Ramaladni's Gift
3. Cooldown Reduction
4. Damage %
5. Attack Speed
6. Strength
7. Elite Damage
8. Fear on Hit (Secondary)
Off-HandShield of the Steed1. Critical Hit Chance
2. Fist of the Heavens Damage
3. Cooldown Reduction
4. Strength
5. Elite Damage
6. Fear on Hit (Secondary)
HelmCrown of Valor
Leoric's Crown
Sage's Apogee (Crafted)
1. Fist of the Heavens Damage
2. Critical Hit Chance
3. Socket Flawless Royal Diamond
4. Strength
5. Fear on Hit (Secondary)
GlovesGauntlets of Valor
Sage's Purchase (Crafted)
1. Critical Hit Chance
2. Cooldown Reduction
3. Critical Hit Damage
4. Attack Speed
5. Strength
ShouldersSpaulders of Valor1. Cooldown Reduction
2. Strength
3. All Resistance
4. Vitality
5. Area Damage
Chest Brigandine of Valor1. Sockets Flawless Royal Diamond
2. All Resistance
3. Elite Damage Reduction
4. Strength
5. Vitality
6. Life %
PantsChausses of Valor
Captain Crimson's Thrust (Crafted)
1. Sockets Flawless Royal Diamond
2. All Resistance
3. Strength
4. Vitality
BootsGreaves of Valor
Captain Crimson's Waders (Crafted)
Sage's Passage (Crafted)
1. Fist of the Heavens Damage
2. All Resistance
3. Strength
4. Vitality
Ring 1Rechel's Ring of Larceny
Focus
Ring of Royal Grandeur (A1 Bounties, Cubed)
1. Socket
2. Cooldown Reduction
3. Critical Hit Damage
4. Critical Hit Chance
5. Attack Speed
Ring 2Avarice Band (A3 Bounties, Cubed)
Pandemonium Loop (A5 Bounties)
Restraint
Stone of Jordan
1. Socket
2. Cooldown Reduction
3. Critical Hit Damage
4. Critical Hit Chance
5. Attack Speed
BracersNemesis Bracers
Warzechian Armguards
1. Elemental Damage
2. Critical Hit Chance
3. Strength
4. Vitality
5. All Resistance
AmuletSquirt's Necklace1. Socket
2. Critical Hit Damage
3. Elemental Damage
4. Critical Hit Chance
BeltCaptain Crimson's Silk Girdle (Crafted)
Khassett's Cord of Righteousness (Cubed)
Goldwrap
Sage's Ribbon (Crafted)
1. All Resistance
2. Strength
3. Life %
4. Vitality
Potion Bottomless Potion of Kulle-AidFor breaking walls to pull enemies
and increase DPS

Gems

  • Zei's Stone of Vengeance is our main DPS gem, giving up to 80% extra damage vs far away targets.
  • Molten Wildebeest's Gizzard is necessary to protect your Squirt's Necklace buff from stray projectiles.
  • The third gem is either Boon of the Hoarder for Nephalem Rifts or Gogok of Swiftness for Greater Rifts and Bounties.

Skills

  • Fist of the Heavens is the main source of DPS as well as necessary skill to activate Aegis of Valor (4) Bonus.
  • Iron Skin Flash is one of the most used Crusader skills which provides both 50% damage reduction and large Movement Speed boost.
  • Steed Charge Nightmare is used for mobility and to activate Norvald's Fervor damage bonus as well as different on-hit effects such as Rechel's Ring of Larceny, Warzechian Armguards and Gogok of Swiftness.
  • 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.
  • One of the remaining skill slots is occupied by Law skill, which is either Laws of Hope Wings of Angels for mobility or Laws of Valor Unstoppable Force for defense.
  • Finally the last skill slot is free, except for variants of the build that run Bastions of Will, which use Justice Hammer of Pursuit. For other variants this skill slot can be either Provoke Flee Fool to activate Rechel's Ring of Larceny or Falling Sword to jump over walls.

Passives

  • Heavenly Strength is mandatory to equip both pieces of Norvald's Fervor.
  • Indestructible is used to prevent random oneshots when Akarat's Champion and/or Goldwrap buff falls off.
  • Long Arm of the Law for increased uptime on our Law skill.
  • The last passive is usually Finery, the strongest generic crusader passive, which provides about 15% DPS and 12% toughness boost. The bounty version uses Lord Commander for 100% Steed Charge uptime.

Paragon Points

CoreOffensiveDefensiveUtility
1. Movement Speed1. Cooldown Reduction1. All Resistance1. Area Damage
2. Strength2. Critical Hit Damage2. Armor2. Pickup Radius
3. Vitality3. Critical Hit Chance3. Life %3. Life per Hit
4. Maximum Wrath4. Attack Speed4. Life Regeneration4. Resource Cost Reduction

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.

Gameplay

Fist of the Heavens is the main damage skill, its resource cost is completely negated by Aegis of Valor (4) Bonus, so you can just cast it on everything that moves.

Akarat's Champion, Iron Skin and your chosen Law skill should be spammed as much as cooldown allows in order to maximize the uptime on defensive and Movement Speed buffs.

Steed Charge is used when you need to move, or in the middle of the fight when Norvald's Fervor buff is about to fall off you use it to quickly move away from the mobs and refresh the buff.

Hardcore

This build is not very hardcore-friendly due to being dependent on toughness buffs which do not have 100% uptime. As a result you can often find yourself to be way squishier than expected, and if an unlucky attack happens to come your way, you just proc your Indestructible without any warning. One way you could remedy this would be by including Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac and Captain Crimson's Trimmings for 100% uptime on the Law and Akarat's Champion.


Variants

Nephalem Rifts
T16 Holy FotH

Ethereals
If you don't have any Ethereal Item use Norvald's Fervor set and cube Darklight.

Concept
This variant of the build uses the standard for Nephalem rift combination of Gold items: Goldwrap, Avarice Band and Boon of the Hoarder. Together, these three give you a screen-wide pick up radius, 30% Movement Speed, nearly infinite toughness, and a steady supply of gold. Fist of the Heavens Divine Well is used for it's screen-wide AoE coverage. All the other items and skills are focused on maximizing Movement Speed: Warzechian Armguards, Rechel's Ring of Larceny + Pandemonium Loop, Provoke Flee Fool and Laws of Hope Wings of Angels. We also try to get Chance to Fear on hit wherever possible to get some Rechel's Ring of Larceny procs when Provoke is on cooldown.

Gameplay
This build is extremely easy to play: you ride the horse when you don't see the enemies and you right click the enemies when you do see them. At the same time you can leisurely spam your buffs without paying attention to their cooldowns. One thing you should pay attention to, is to only use Provoke when there are enemies in range, otherwise you get no Movement Speed.

Setups
If you play in groups, equip Nemesis Bracers and cube Avarice Band. At around 2,000 Paragon you can also include Sage's Journey for extra Death's Breath drops. For this you need to lose Khassett's Cord of Righteousness but the damage is high enough without it. Maybe you'll have to cast an extra Fist of the Heavens on some Elites, but that's it.

Bounties
AoV Speed Bounty

Concept
This is basically a cross between T16 and Speed GR variants, it focuses mostly on Movement Speed because monster HP is capped, but it doesn't use any of the gold-dependent items and instead uses Captain Crimson's Trimmings for extra CDR and defense. Everything else is focused entirely on Movement Speed: Rechel's Ring of Larceny, Provoke Flee Fool and Laws of Hope Wings of Angels. We also try to get Chance to Fear on hit wherever possible to get some Rechel's Ring of Larceny procs when Provoke is on cooldown. Finally, we use Lord Commander as our 4th passive for 100% Steed Charge uptime.

While Crusader is not the best class to run bounties, this build is as good as it gets. With 100% uptime on both Steed Charge and Wings of Angels you can get to the quest location reasonably fast, and once there you can kill everything on the screen in just a few casts of Fist of the Heavens.

Gameplay
There's nothing different in the gameplay of bounty build. When running to the quest you want to always be on the horse, so only use your buffs in-between Steed Charge casts, otherwise it will be interrupted early and you'll need to kill something to reset cooldown. Be careful to not recast the Steed Charge itself too early, as casting it while mounted will not start a new Steed Charge but will just dismount you instead.

Setups
At high Paragon you can switch Stone of Jordan for Pandemonium Loop for increased Rechel's Ring of Larceny uptime. At very high Paragon you can switch Zei's Stone of Vengeance for Wreath of Lightning to squeeze out that extra bit of Movement Speed.

GR Solo Speeds
FotH Solo Speeds

Concept
This version is aiming to get as much DPS and toughness as possible, sacrificing movement speed for it, since just base Steed Charge is fast enough already. To that end we utilise 2 extra sets: Captain Crimson's Trimmings and Bastions of Will. We use Laws of Valor Unstoppable Force for 50% RCR, which turns into damage reduction, and Justice to activate Bastions of Will damage bonus. Iron Skin's rune is changed to Steel Skin for increased uptime on the toughness buff. We use Nemesis Bracers to get to 100% progression faster. And finally, our 3rd gem is Gogok of Swiftness for some extra CDR and toughness.

Gameplay
With this build you want to do fairly fast runs, it's optimal to run at the tier where your average time is a tad below 3 minutes. Generally you want to stay away from the mobs to maximize your Zei's Stone of Vengeance damage buff. When mobs get too close, use Steed Charge to get away and refresh Norvald's Fervor bonus. Don't forget to use Justice every 5s to keep both Bastions of Will buffs active at all times. Staying at range will also help you avoid unnecessary damage and retain your Squirt's Necklace stacks.

Setups
If you are aiming for low gemups and loot rather than XP, you can trade some toughness for Movement Speed: switching back to Iron Skin Flash and Unstoppable Force to Wings of Angels. To make it work you need to go 8-10 tiers lower and go for very fast (2 minutes on average) runs. This way you will kill most enemies in 1-2 casts, before they have the chance to attack you.


Video Guide


Mechanics

Darklight

  • Produces an extra explosion with each cast of Fist of the Heavens, instead of having on explosion directly under the cursor, two are spawned to the left and to the right of it.
  • Both explosions can damage the same target.
  • Both explosions can proc Area Damage.

Iron Skin Flash

  • Provides a Movement Speed buff every time you take damage while the effect is active.
  • Duration of the buff is refreshed by every new damage instance.
  • Buff is provided even if all the damage is shielded.
  • Buff is not provided if damage is negated e.g. by dodge or by Indestructible.

Fear on Hit

  • Affected enemies flee in fear for 3 seconds.
  • Stacks multiplicatively from different pieces of gear.
  • Fear is applied after the damage, meaning that it can never proc when the target dies in one hit.

Steed Charge

  • Provides a 150% Movement Speed buff for the duration.
  • For 0.4 seconds after activation, blocks all the skill casts.
  • Using any skill while the buff is active will remove the buff. This includes Steed Charge itself even if its cooldown is shorter than its duration.

Summary

  • Stack CDR to make your life easier
  • Spam Fist of the Heavens to your heart's content
  • In fact, spam ALL the buttons

Guide by Northwar.
Charge onward to victory!