Aegis of Valor set, while mainly focused on Heaven's Fury, also applies its massive 6-piece 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 ❌ Feels Clunky due to low Attack Speed
Aegis of Valor set provides 50% damage reduction, nearly infinite Wrath and 20000% 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 1000% 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.
Echoing Fury provides a ton of Attack Speed and some Movement Speed, the perfect item for a speed build!
Global Stat Priorities
Stack as much Cooldown Reduction (CDR) as possible; there aren't any breakpoints to hit but having a lot of CDR makes the build more fluid and pleasant to play. After that focus on increasing your DPS via Elemental Damage, Crit, 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.
Item Stat Priorities
Flail of the Charge Darklight (Cubed) Echoing Fury (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)
Shield of the Steed
1. Critical Hit Chance 2. Fist of the Heavens Damage 3. Cooldown Reduction 4. Strength 5. Elite Damage 6. Fear on Hit (Secondary)
1. All Resistance 2. Strength 3. Life % 4. Vitality
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.
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.
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.
1. Movement Speed
1. Cooldown Reduction
1. All Resistance
1. Area Damage
2. Critical Hit Damage
2. Pickup Radius
3. Critical Hit Chance
3. Life %
3. Life per Hit
4. Maximum Wrath
4. Attack Speed
4. Life per Second
4. Resource Cost Reduction
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
Hellfire Ring for 0.9% XP boost
The Ess of Johan to pull mobs together
Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker for the Attack Speed slow
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.
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.
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. We use Nemesis Bracers to get to 100% progression faster. 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: 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 At around 2000 Paragon you can 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.
Solo Speed Greater Rifts
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, out 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.
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.
Produces and 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 4s.
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.
Provides a 150% Movement Speed buff for the duration.
For 0.4s after activation blocks all the skills.
Using any skill while the buff is active will remove the buff. This includes Steed Charge itself even if its cooldown is shorter than duration.