For all the glory and brilliance in combat the Crusader may possess, the class itself requires a bit of time and patience to get used to, especially if you’ve leveled it all the way to 70 and are wishing for some fast runs in Adventure Mode on Torment difficulty.
This get will help you find a few builds that work well for Torment. If you haven’t reached the level cap yet, you can still take a lot of aid from the three builds in this guide and the general gear recommendations that are associated with each one.
Build #1 – Balance in all Things – Click To View Build
True to its name, this build takes every positive aspect of the Crusader, utilizing one skill from every slot to make a powerful and balanced build.
The Crusader class is generally OP with its cool-down abilities as it stands midway between the powerful and brutality-oriented nature of the Barbarian and the disciplinary and tactical essentialities of the Monk. This kind of build allows you to use the best of the Crusader with little to no sacrifices.
Your main (and only) Wrath generator is Slash, which is fairly useful against multiple enemies. The Crush rune will increase your Critical Hit Chance by a generous 20%.
It’s important to know that Critical Hit Chance directly increases your damage as well; though Strength is the primary damage attribute for the Crusader, CHC and Attack Speed have a direct impact on the DPS numbers you see when you open up your inventory.
Sweep Attack is your second go-to skill, and the primary Wrath spender.
I find Elites that can freeze severely difficult to deal with, especially for melee fighters like the Barbarian, Monk, and now the Crusader. Having the same ability of freeze or slowing is actually very useful, both for fleeing in certain-death situations and for generally gaining battlefield dominance.
The Laws of Valor is your DPS assistance skill. Note that this build is centered on maximum and persistent DPS from Slash and Sweep Attack. Laws of Valor will give you a good boost to your Attack Speed, further increasing damage, and activating it will grant a superb boost of 15% increased AS, with an additional 5 seconds coming from the Long Arm of the Law passive.
Your main AoE damage skill is Bombardment. The ability normally has a large cool-down, but with the Lord Commander passive you’ll be able to greatly reduce it.
Bombardment is further empowered with the powerful Annihilate rune, which gives a confirmed Crit Chance on every hit from the skill. With a powerful level 70 character, you could be looking at tons of multi-million DPS numbers thanks to this.
Judgment is your defensive skill out of the lot, immobilizing foes around you to allow for an escape chance.
I find this a god-sent ability because of how well it works against the threatening Elite packs one can encounter on Torment difficulties – this should allow you to get out of insane situations and heal yourself, and when you come back to the judged enemies you’ll do more damage thanks to the Resolve rune.
Your final skill is Steed Charge, and it’s hard not to love the animation and the effectiveness of the skill itself. You can use it to evade, you can use it to move fast, and you can use it for lots of damage. This build suggests you use it for all three, as Ramming Speed does a good amount of damage and also knocks away targets.
The Heavenly Strength passive is something all Barbarian players in Diablo III wanted, but the Crusader managed to get it instead. This is one of the best passives in the game, allowing one to wield a two-handed weapon in one hand.
Sure, the 15% penalty on movement speed is a bit hurtful, but if you manage to find a very powerful legendary two-handed weapon, re-invest your Paragon points towards your movement speed to negate the effect.
You can choose to then use a powerful two-handed weapon along with a shield and get some amazing DPS out of it.
Sockets are your best friend, irrespective of what class you’re playing. But with the Crusader, not only are sockets your best friend, they are your life partners. The Finery passive will greatly boost your Strength based on the amount of embedded gems you have in your gear. It doesn’t matter what type of gem it is, all that matters is that you have them there.
Look for socketed armor and weapons all the item – this is something you should be doing even if you don’t have the Finery passive.
Build #2 – Heaven’s Wrath – Click To View Build
This is another powerful Crusader build which focuses more on the generation of Wrath with Shield Glare and your primary attack skill Smite. Crusaders are a bit slow when it comes to generating their skill pool as compared to Barbarians and Monks, which is why many players opt for “burst” builds (an example is the third build in this guide) rather than ones that would utilize Wrath.
Your primary Wrath generator is obviously Smite, which will generate more Wrath than normal because of the Righteousness passive, and when you can collect a trash mob in one location you can use Shield Glare. Once you have enough Wrath, you can deal an insane amount of damage with a combination of Phalanx, Heaven’s Fury, and Condemn.
Condemn can be spammed easily with the Eternal Retaliation rune, and you can also repeatedly release the powerful horses of the modified Phalanx to do insane AoE damage.
Heaven’s Wrath has been modified here, and though it tends to do slightly less damage with Fires of Heaven, its effectiveness becomes much better as you are the source of the beams of light, and can control which enemies to direct them more conveniently.
Once again, you’re looking at familiar passives in Finery and Heavenly Strength, allowing you to carry added firepower.
Akarat’s Champion is to Crusaders as Berserker is to the Barbarian, or as Archon is to the Wizard (though that’s a bit more powerful). This is your main skill to go to whenever you see an Elite pack or unique monster. The Attack Speed will allow you to deal plenty of damage, while the greatly increased Wrath generation should allow for plenty of Phalanx spamming.
An issue with this build is that it’s not taking the use of any defensive skill, apart from the Hold Your Ground passive. You thus want to focus on armor that grants you a lot of Vitality and healing, while boasting a shield with an already fairly high block chance.
That block chance will be further amplified with the passive, and you can use a two-handed weapon (preferably Flail) with it. Yes, you will once again lose 15% movement speed, but utilize your Paragon points to nullify this penalty.
Again, sockets will be your best friends for this build as well, as Finery will allow you to stack up a lot of Strength (and hence damage), so prioritize socketed items over normal ones (do the simple math if an item has multiple sockets but natively gives less strength than what you are wearing, maybe by adding some Rubies and taking benefit from the Finery passive, it could well surpass your current respective gear).
Build #3 – A Burst of Light and Flames – Click To View Build
This is yet another very powerful build, but slightly hard to play with. In fact, if you want to get the best out of your Crusader, you might want to try out this build with a few minor tweaks.
Unlike most of the other builds you are ever likely to see for the Crusader, this one isn’t about generating Wrath at all. Instead, this build is all about burst damage. You’ll need to catch the attention of a large trash mob along with a set of elites, take them to a comfortable place, and unleash devastation.
When you manage to collect a mob, you’ll need to start off with something like Bombardment, followed by Heaven’s Fury, and then finally activating Akarat’s Champion. AC will then start to generate Wrath for you, and you can spam your Blessed Hammer without much trouble.
The rune on Akarat’s Champion (Rally) will allow your other skills to cooldown much quicker, especially Bombardment because it will also get a CD reduction buff from the Lord Commander passive. Once AC is over, your Heaven’s Fury and Bombardment will be available once again, and you can use them for another round of insane damage.
Consecration will be your offensive defense skill, while Lows of Justice will be your defensive boon that will aid you very well against enemies with a lot of magic damage. The downside of this build are quite visible as well though – five of its six skills have a cool-down, and the only one that doesn’t relies on a slowly regenerating Wrath pool.
If you like repetitive persistent combat, this isn’t the build for you (also meaning you’ll spend longer time dealing with trash mobs and elites on Torment difficulty), but if you enjoy hit-and-run tactics and wish to clear mobs quickly with the Crusader, you really need to give this build a go.
You’ll need a lot of Crusader-specific gear for this, and if you can manage to find gear that would aid in cool-downs and critical hit damage (remember, Bombardment will do 100% crit damage with the Annihilate rune, so instead of getting crit chance prioritize items with increased crit damage), you will be able to deal with Elites and mobs of countless enemies very easily.
Don’t forget to share your own builds with us by commenting below!
One of the long time staff at SegmentNext, Haider is an integral part of the team with a love for writing, playing guitar, and aviation.
Apart from writing for us, Haider is also a competitive FPS player and also enjoys exotic RPG games like Diablo and Xenogears (his favorite game of all time) on the side.