Invoker Thorns Crusader Guide

Introduction

Invoker Solo Push
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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.

Invoker Crusader is quite strong as a Rift Guardian Killer. It's also very consistent and brings a great buff Laws of Valor Critical for your Trash Killer.

In solo this build is also quite strong, but it has some major playstyle issues. The only thing you do in this build is stand still and hold down your attack button. All the other skills are just toughness buffs and you cast them as soon as they come off cooldown.

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

❌ Small 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.
  • 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 26 Echoing Nightmares

Echoing Nightmares are a new rewarding endgame activity set within the memories of fallen Nephalem. You must first acquire a Petrified Scream from a Greater Rift Guardian, and then cube it to enter. Once inside you'll be challenged with an endless wave of enemies until you are either overwhelmed or killed. Your goal here is to reach Wave 125 for the highest possible Whisper of Atonement with extra XP rewards added for going higher. Read our complete Season 26 Echoing Nightmare Guide for full information on how it works, and check out our brand new Echoing Nightmare Build Tier List and our META post for the best strategies!

Echoing Nightmare Setup
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This build is terrible for this game mode. Typically we utilize a Greater Rift pushing build with a few tweaks.

Changes

  • Use Norvald's Fervor setup because Akarat's Awakening is nearly impossible to utilize in this game mode.
  • Swap Bane of the Stricken for Gogok of Swiftness since we are fighting hordes of enemies.
  • Swap Long Arm of the Law for Indestructible to avoid getting oneshot by meteors.


Gameplay

  1. Reach Wave 100 and click Speed Pylon to boost your mobility and dodge Green Meteors.
  2. When you are more than 40% overwhelmed click Power Pylon.
  3. When you are more than 60% overwhelmed click Channeling Pylon and Conduit Pylon.
  4. After all Pylons expire, run away from monsters and dodge everything to squeeze out an extra 3-5 tiers.

Spam Iron Skin, Laws of Valor, Akarat's Champion and Bombardment as much as possible at all times. Hold down Slash to kill enemies. Use Steed Charge when the buff falls off or when you need to move.


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 7 frames Breakpoint (see here for more information), which is achievable with 7% roll on Pig Sticker and a total of 27% 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-HandPig Sticker
Flail of the Charge
The Furnace (Cubed)
Echoing Fury (Cubed)
1. Socket Ramaladni's Gift
2. Attack Speed
3. Cooldown Reduction
4. Elite Damage
5. Life per Hit
6. Strength
Ideally, you want to roll off the Damage Range from Pig Sticker. Be wary: rerolling Damage Range to Elite Damage requires, on average, 885 attempts. Tread with caution.
Off-HandShield of the Steed
Akarat's Awakening (Cubed)
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. Attack Speed
4. Thorns (Secondary)
5. Strength
BeltCaptain Crimson's Silk Girdle (Crafted)
Belt of the Trove (Cubed)
Omnislash (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

  • Slash Zeal is the main source of DPS, and it also provides a nice boost of 10% Attack Speed.
  • Iron Skin Reflective Skin provides both 50% damage reduction and around 30% extra damage via increased thorns.
  • 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.
  • Bombardment is used to activate the damage reduction from Thorns of the Invoker (4) Bonus.
  • Steed Charge Draw and Quarter is used for mobility and to activate Norvald's Fervor (2) Bonus.

Passives

  • Fervor provides 15% Cooldown Reduction and Attack Speed for Pig Sticker variant of the build.
  • 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.
  • Hold Your Ground is needed to reset cooldowns with Akarat's Awakening.

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 main stat (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.

Select Follower

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 Bombardment 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.
  • Hold down Slash to kill enemies. Use Steed Charge when the buff falls off or when you need to move.

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. Check out our dedicated Hardcore Survival Guide to learn more about how to succeed in this game mode!


Variants

GR Solo Push
Invoker Solo Push

Concept
The solo push version uses Endless Walk set, Convention of Elements and Echoing Fury to maximize damage. Akarat's Awakening helps us reset cooldowns on all our buffs.

Gameplay
With this build you want to fight lots of small melee trash monsters with some elites mixed in. Try to stand next to your Enchantress so that she doesn't lure the mobs away from you.

You deal pretty good damage to elites and can kill them on big enough maps but you still never want to fight just elites. You need some trash around to feed you Echoing Fury stacks, Oculus Rings and blocks for Akarat's Awakening.

During the bossfight, you won't block enough attacks to keep all your buffs constantly active so instead of spamming Iron Skin and Laws of Valor you can alternate them. This way you always have one of the 50% damage reduction buffs up, and that should be enough to save you from getting oneshot.

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.

At very high Paragon (6,000+) you can use Norvald's Fervor set. You need CDR on every piece and Long Arm of the Law passive to get almost 100% uptime on Laws of Valor and 32s rotation on Akarat's Champion. This setup deals about 60% more damage but you are extremely squishy when Akarat's Champion and/or Iron Skin is down.

GR Group RGK
Invoker RGK

Concept
In RGK version of this build all our equipped items stay the same, only two items the cube change. We drop Akarat's Awakening to get The Furnace. 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 Slash 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 several options: you can give up the Attack Speed roll on the necklace to get Stone Gauntlets in the cube. You can change Finery to Long Arm of the Law and Critical to Unstoppable Force. Finally you can switch to Akarat's Champion Prophet. Each of these changes will cost you 12-25% DPS but hey, it's better than dying!

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.


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.

Summary

  • Stack CDR, AS, LpH, Physical Damage, Elite Damage, and Thorns.
  • Ignore Area Damage and crit stats.
  • Never let go of your Slash!


Stab, stab, stab!


Credits

Written by Northwar.


Changelog

Apr 2nd 2022
Updated for Season 26 / Patch 2.7.3. - changed base solo push build from Norvald to Pig Sticker - removed Bombardment Solo Push variant