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.
In Season 22, Invoker Thorns Crusader build is completely outclassed by Heavens's Fury Crusader. There is no real reason to play this build.
Tanky ✔ Great sustain ✔ Very high attack speed ✔ Great single target damage ✔
❌ No AoE ❌ Extremely boring ❌ Very bad at speedfarming ❌ Toughness can be inconsistent
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.
Norvald's Fervor set increases all damage by 400%.
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.
Global Stat Priorities
There are no CDR 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 at 13 frames breakpoint, which is achievable with 7% roll on Flail of the Charge and a total of 18% on rings 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 cubeLegendary 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.
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: Recipes for Captain Crimson's Trimmings set.
6. At this point you can somewhat farm Nephalem Rifts or low GRs where you can find all the remaining items you need for different variants of the build. Spend your mats improving your set pieces, getting ancient weapon etc.
Captain Crimson's Silk Girdle (Crafted) Belt of the Trove (Cubed)
1. All Resistance 2. Strength 3. Thorns (Secondary) 4. Vitality 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 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.
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 and to activate Norvald's Fervor(2) Bonus.
Heavenly Strength is required to equip Norvald's Fervor set.
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.
1. Movement Speed
1. Cooldown Reduction
1. All Resistance
1. Life per Hit
2. Attack Speed
2. Resource Cost Reduction
3. Critical Hit Damage
3. Life %
3. Gold Find
4. Maximum Wrath
4. Critical Hit Chance
4. Life per Second
4. Area Damage
¹ Put enough points into Vitality to have 750k Health, then the rest goes into Strength.
For this build using the follower is not recommended. In order to get more Thorns of the Invoker (2) Bonus stacks, we don't want mobs to be CC-ed and we don't want them to be distracted by the follower. And since Oculus Ring, the biggest selling point of the follower, is only useful to you when it's right next to an elite, you don't really lose much when playing without the follower.
Of course, if you are fishing for a good map, where there's always a lot of mobs on you, you'll have 10 stacks with or without follower. In that case (or if your gear is bad and you need extra Attack Speed), use Enchantress with Erosion, Focused Mind, Oculus Ring, Hellfire Ring and Smoking Tribute.
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 the buff falls off or when you need to move.
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.
Concept The solo push version uses Endless Walk set, Convention of Elements, and The Furnace 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. The best way to do it, is to click on your target before all the mobs converge, and then never let go of your Punish button. Using this strategy, you can also easily deal with Teleporter, Wormhole and Illusionist Elites. If you keep holding down your button when your target moves, then your character will keep attacking that target and will automatically chase it down, if it's out of range.
When you find a Conduit Pylon, you should avoid killing any yellow Elites with it; focus mostly on blues and juicy trash.
Setups If you are lacking toughness (or playing Hardcore), you can swap The Furnace 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 30% less damage.
GR Group RGK
Concept In RGK version of this build all our equipped items stay the same, only 2 items in the cube change. We drop Akarat's Awakening and Belt of the Trove and instead get Squirt's Necklace and Leoric's Crown. Instead of resetting our cooldowns with blocks, we now play 32s rotation. 64.5% CDR is necessary for 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, use Iron Skin and Akarat's Champion exactly at the start of Physical. Spam Laws of Valor all the time just for Attack Speed. You really want to avoid using Steed Charge during your Physical cycle, so use it 3 times per rotation at specific points: 3s into Lightning, start of Fire, and 1.5s into Holy.
Setups If you are struggling to keep your Squirt's Necklace buff, switch back to Laws of Valor Unstoppable Force, or drop it eniterly and get Stone of Jordan. If you are dying in the rift too much, Akarat's Champion Prophet can help with your survivability.
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, thanks to Norvald's Fervor.
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.
Increased Thorns Damage, provided by Thorns of the Invoker (2) Bonus, stacks with itself up to 25 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.
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