Invoker Thorns Crusader Guide

Invoker RGK

Introduction

Thorns of the Invoker Crusader build, as the name implies, utilizes Thorns to deal damage. However, the Thorns of the Invoker (6) Bonus makes sure that 99.7% of your damage comes from Punish, effectively turning this build into Generator Crusader with Thorns itemization.

Bombardment changes in Season 22 Patch made Akkhan/Invoker Bombardment build incredibly overpowered, so Thorns of the Invoker set was adjusted to move even more of its power into the (6) Bonus. Buffed at the same time Norvald's Fervor set was now strong enough to be included into the build and overall Invoker Crusader came out of the whole ordeal stronger than it was before. In Season 24 Ethereal weapons take place of the Norvald's Fervor set but the resulting increase in power is very small compared to most other builds.

Invoker Crusader can be a decent Rift Guardian Killer that can consistently kill any boss in the same time and also brings a great buff Laws of Valor Critical to the party. Unfortunately it's not nearly as strong as the top Rift Guardian Killers.

In solo this build is also quite strong, but it has some major playstyle issues. This build is purely single target. And when you push high enough there's only one type of enemies worth attacking: yellow Elites. What if there's not enough of them in the rift to summon the boss? Too bad, try again!

Tanky ✔
Great Sustain ✔
Very High Attack Speed ✔
Great Single Target Damage ✔

❌ No AoE
❌ Extremely Boring
❌ Inconsistent Toughness
❌ Very Bad at Speedfarming


Core Setup

Core Item Build

Items

  • Thorns of the Invoker set provides 50% damage reduction, 100% Punish attack speed, 900% increased Thorns, and also lets your Punish deal 675 times your Thorns as damage.
  • Captain Crimson's Trimmings set gives around 65% DPS and 65% damage reduction, as well as 20% Cooldown Reduction.
  • The Furnace provides 50% elite damage.
  • Ring of Royal Grandeur allows us to get full bonuses from all the sets.
  • Aquila Cuirass provides 50% damage reduction, that is always active in a Generator build.
  • Endless Walk provides another 100% damage boost.











Season 24 Ethereals

Ethereals are powerful rare weapons that can only be found during Season 24. They have incredible stats, a random Legendary power, and a free passive for your class. Read our Ethereal Mechanics Guide for full details on how they work and our Ethereal Farming Guide to learn how to acquire them. What you should prioritize on them is the following:

  1. The Legendary Power
    This build requires The Furnace to be functional. We need our Ethereal to roll exactly this power and we want a good roll on it.
  2. The Ethereal Itself
    There are 3 different weapons available to us, each with its own benefits:
    • Khalim's Will - This is the best Ethereal because of its high Attack Speed which is the only damage stat this build cares about. Life Per Hit roll is also very useful.
    • The Redeemer - This is another option. It has about 20% less DPS due to lower Attack Speed, but provides +50% Damage to Demons and Undead (about 60% of enemies you find in Greater Rift are one of these two types).
    • Astreon's Iron Ward - This option is the same as The Redeemer in terms of Attack Speed and has no other benefits whatsoever.
  3. The Ethereal Stat Rolls
    Each Ethereal comes with its own fixed set of powerful affixes. While some have a static value, many have a wide stat range. This means the difference between good and bad rolls is significant and something you should look for.
  4. A Useful Passive
    This is just icing on the cake because a fifth passive is not going to make or break your build. You're better off hunting for the things above. Check out the Passives section down below to see which ones you're looking for.

Global Stat Priorities

There are no Cooldown Reduction Breakpoints in this build, but you still stack as much CDR as possible for more uptime on defensive buffs, as well as more DPS from Captain Crimson's Trimmings. In terms of Attack Speed, you should aim towards a 8 frames Breakpoint (see here for more information), which is achievable with 15% roll on Khalim's Will and a total of 20% on Jewelry and Gloves. You should invest heavily into Life per Hit, as it is your only source of Recovery; try to get at least 40k of it. As usual, you stack DPS stats everywhere—Physical Damage, Elite Damage, Thorns Damage and Strength. Critical Hit Chance, Critical Hit Damage and Area Damage do not work with Thorns and should be ignored.

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 Thorns of the Invoker 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 Thorns of the Invoker set
  2. Shield of the Steed and Akarat's Awakening
  3. Aquila Cuirass
  4. Belt of the Trove and Goldwrap
  5. Nemesis Bracers

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

  1. 2-Handed Flails to get Flail of the Charge
  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
  • Bounty Turn In: Recipe for Captain Crimson's Trimmings

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

Item Stat Priorities

SLOTITEMSTAT PRIORITY
Main-HandThe Redeemer
Astreon's Iron Ward
Khalim's Will
Akkhan's Addendum (Cubed)
1. Socket Ramaladni's Gift
2. Attack Speed
3. Cooldown Reduction
4. Elite Damage
5. Life per Hit
6. Strength
Off-HandLidless Wall
Akarat's Awakening
1. Cooldown Reduction
2. Elite Damage
3. Thorns (Secondary)
4. Block Chance
5. Strength
HelmCrown of the Invoker
Leoric's Crown (Cubed)
1. Socket Flawless Royal Diamond
2. Strength
3. Vitality
4. Life per Hit
5. All Resistance
GlovesPride of the Invoker1. Attack Speed
2. Cooldown Reduction
3. Life per Hit
4. Resource Cost Reduction
5. All Resistance
6. Strength
ShouldersBurden of the Invoker1. Cooldown Reduction
2. Resource Cost Reduction
3. Strength
4. All Resistance
5. Vitality
Chest Aquila Cuirass1. Sockets Flawless Royal Diamond
2. Thorns (Secondary)
3. Elite Damage Reduction
4. All Resistance
5. Strength
6. Vitality
PantsRenewal of the Invoker
Captain Crimson's Thrust (Crafted)
1. Sockets Flawless Royal Diamond
2. All Resistance
3. Thorns (Secondary)
4. Strength
5. Vitality
BootsZeal of the Invoker
Captain Crimson's Waders (Crafted)
1. All Resistance
2. Strength
3. Vitality
4. Thorns (Secondary)
5. Armor
Ring 1Ring of Royal Grandeur (A1 Bounties)
Convention of Elements (Cubed)
1. Socket
2. Attack Speed
3. Cooldown Reduction
4. Life per Hit
5. Thorns (Secondary)
Ring 2
The Compass Rose
Justice Lantern
1. Socket
2. Attack Speed
3. Cooldown Reduction
4. Resource Cost Reduction
5. Life per Hit
6. All Resistance
7. Thorns (Secondary)
Bracers
Shackles of the Invoker1. Physical Damage
2. Strength
3. Life per Hit
4. All Resistance
5. Vitality
AmuletThe Travelers Pledge
Squirt's Necklace (Cubed)
1. Socket
2. Physical Damage
3. Thorns (Secondary)
4. Cooldown Reduction
5. Strength
BeltCaptain Crimson's Silk Girdle (Crafted)
Belt of the Trove (Cubed)
1. All Resistance
2. Strength
3. Thorns (Secondary)
4. Vitality
5. Life %
PotionBottomless Potion of AmplificationTo gain extra healing

Gems

  • 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 Stricken is extra useful on this build. Apart from Rift Guardian, this gem also helps us kill elites in the rift, due to Punish's single target nature.
  • 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.

Skills

  • Punish Celerity is the main source of DPS, and it also provides a nice boost of 15% Block Chance and Attack Speed.
  • Iron Skin Flash is a very popular skill and for a good reason. Damage reduction, Movement Speed and no collision for only one skill slot. It's a bargain!
  • 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.
  • Laws of Valor Unstoppable Force provides 50% damage reducton and 15% Attack Speed.
  • Provoke Hit Me gives extra Block Chance and taunt, which help us stack Thorns of the Invoker (2) Bonus and proc Akarat's Awakening.
  • Steed Charge Endurance is used for mobility.

Passives

  • Fervor provides massive stat boost: 15% Cooldown Reduction and Attack Speed.
  • Finery is the strongest generic crusader passive, which provides about 15% DPS and 12% toughness boost.
  • Iron Maiden increases Thorns, and therefore damage, by 50%.
  • Fanaticism provides 15% multiplicative Attack Speed Increase for Punish.
  • Useful extra passives to get from your Ethereal are (from best to worst):
    • Holy Cause
    • Hold Your Ground
    • Indestructible
    • Long Arm of the Law

Paragon Points

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

1 Add a bit of Vitality if you feel too squishy (a total of 750,000 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.

GR Pushing Enchantress

GR Pushing Enchantress

For Greater Rift Pushing we recommend this Enchantress setup for the Slow from Temporal Pulse, Damage Reduction and Armor from Powered Shield, and the Attack Speed from Focused Mind. You can choose between Prophetic Harmony and Amplification depending on how much CDR you have on gear.

Stat Priorities:

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

Intelligence > 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.
  • Mempo of Twilight and Cain's Destiny: For more Attack Speed.

Gameplay

  • Spam Iron Skin, Laws of Valor and Provoke as much as possible at all times.
  • Akarat's Champion can be spammed as well, but pay attention to your health: if you are about to die, delay your Akarat's Champion so that you can immediately recast it, after the "cheat death" effect procs.
  • You use Punish when you have an elite to kill. Use Steed Charge when you need to reposition.

Hardcore

This build is not very hardcore-friendly; your toughness depends on 3 different buffs, and they only stay up if you block enough attacks. At some point, while running through the rift, you can become unexpectedly squishy. If you play hardcore, swap Finery for Indestructible and also use the Justice Lantern setup. This way you will not only gain about 50% damage reduction, but also extra block chance, which in turn will get you more consistent uptime on your defensive buffs.


Variants

GR Solo Push
Invoker Solo Push

Ethereals
If you don't have any Ethereal Item use Norvald's Fervor.

Concept
The solo push version uses Endless Walk set and Convention of Elements to maximize damage. Akarat's Awakening helps us reset cooldowns on all our buffs. We use Belt of the Trove in the cube to activate Thorns of the Invoker (4) Bonus, because we don't have a skill slot for Bombardment.

Gameplay
This build focuses entirely on killing Elites, fighting any kind of trash mobs is not worth your time. If you push high enough, the same becomes true of the blue Elites, and at that point you are only looking for yellows. Still, make sure that you aren't fighting just the Elite; you need to have at least 5-10 mobs on you to feed you enough blocks.

The biggest challenge of Invoker Crusader build is actually clicking on the Elite, and not on one of the surrounding mobs. If the elite is small and there's a lot of mobs around you will lose the target and waste a lot of time. You need to recognize this situation before it actually happens and skip these elites!

When you find a Conduit Pylon, you should avoid killing any yellow Elites with it; focus mostly on blues and high-progress trash.

Setups
If you are lacking toughness (or playing Hardcore), you can swap Convention of Elements for Justice Lantern. For that, you need to cube Ring of Royal Grandeur and equip the Justice Lantern itself, otherwise you will be missing out on 16% extra Block Chance. This version is twice as tanky, and it also has more consistent uptime on defensive buffs; the downside, of course, is 40% less damage.

GR Group RGK
Invoker RGK

Ethereals
If you don't have any Ethereal Item use Norvald's Fervor.

Concept
In RGK version of this build we drop Akarat's Awakening to get Lidless Wall. Instead of resetting our cooldowns with blocks, we now just stack as much CDR as possible. Leoric's Crown in the armor slot helps with that. Since we no longer need to block, we drop Provoke for Bombardment to activate Thorns of the Invoker (4) Bonus. We switch the rune on Laws of Valor from Unstoppable Force for Critical to buff the damage of our Trash Killer.

Gameplay
In the rift, use your Laws of Valor Critical on your Trash Killer's DPS rotation. You can also put some damage on the Elites, if you manage to get close to them.
On the boss, you just need hold down Punish and activate your buffs in sync with your Convention of Elements. Iron Skin and Laws of Valor at the start of every Physical and Akarat's Champion at the start of every other Physical.

Setups
If you are struggling to stay alive you have two options: cube Stone Gauntlets or change from Critical to Unstoppable Force. The former will cost you 2% damage and you will make you dependent on permanent Ignore Pain from your zBarb. The latter will take away 50% Critical Hit Damage from your Trash Killer.

You can choose between Endurance and Draw and Quarter runes on your Steed Charge. The former lets you adjust your position inside the pull so that you can try DPSing Elites in the rift. The latter lets you pull the mobs, which can be very powerful in an open map.


Video Guide

Guide Video

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.
  • Thorns bonuses from Thorns of the Invoker (2) Bonus and Iron Skin Reflective Skin stack additively with each other.
  • Read the full guide on Thorns Mechanics here.

Thorns of The Invoker

  • 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.
  • 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 67500% Throns damage to the first target hit. If you click Punish while hovering over a monster, that monster will always be considered "the first target hit", even if you don't hit it at all. However, Thorns Damage will only be 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.

Summary

  • Stack CDR, AS, LpH, Physical Damage, Elite Damage, and Thorns.
  • Ignore Area Damage and crit stats.
  • Only fight (yellow) Elites.
  • Never let go of your Punish to stay fixated on the target.

Guide by Northwar.
Stab, stab, stab!