Got your Crusader to Level 70? Now what? Your goal is to get your Armor of Akkhan. In this guide, you’ll learn exactly what to do for each step, ultimately leading to the end-game as your Fresh 70 Crusader.

NO Free Set? Go to PAGE 2!

In S10, the Crusader free set is Armor of Akkhan.

Fresh 70 Crusader: Free set available! | No free set!
Getting the Free Set | Free Set 70 | Gaining Power | Bridging to the End-game

Fresh 70 Crusader: Getting the Free Set!

Read more in the box below.

Click below to reveal the instructions you need for each step:

IMPORTANT: Setting up!
Prepare for GR20 in advance
Help! I can't use those skills! (Turn On Elective Mode)
Seasonal Journey Chapter 2: Getting 2 piece
Seasonal Journey Chapter 3: Getting 4 piece
Seasonal Journey Chapter 4: Getting 6 piece
Crusader GR 20: 4pc Armor of Akkhan

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Fresh 70 Crusader: 6pc Free Set Build

Akkhan’s is a very open set, but I will be directing you towards
the typical thorns speed-farming build (which absolutely
excels at bounties, and mid-torment content).
Since it’s already given to you as a free set, you might as well gear toward that. 

S10 Akkhan’s 6 Fresh 70 Crusader
Skill Rune
Open (Smite) Open (Reaping)
Steed Charge Spiked Barding
Iron Skin Reflective Skin
Consecration Bed of Nails
Bombardment Barrels of Spikes
Akarat’s Champion Prophet
Fervor (or Heavenly Strength) Iron Maiden
Finery Lord Commander (Preference)

FROM HERE OUR GOAL IS TO GAIN POWER FAST. The next logical steps are Legendary Gems, and being mindful of the good items you need to find.

Item review before proceeding… Remember these things as you progress!

Non-set pieces: Review


Gaining Power!

Now we have to gain as much power, as quickly as possible. Legendary Gems is the first place we look – and make sure to keep an eye out for key items.

Legendary Gems

This is the easiest way to gain power simply because acquiring them has little to no RNG. Getting 3 of your best gems will increase your power dramatically in a short time span.

Click on the tabs to see Akkhan’s “Big 3” gems, and “others”.

Crusader Armor of Akkhan 6 Fresh 70: Big 3 GemsOther gems?

Get these three to L25 ASAP:

Boyarsky’s Chip: +Thorns. Nothing to explain here. Dump as many points in this as you can, but make sure to get the L25 bonuses of the next 2 gems first.

Bane of the Powerful: Synergizes well with our “Eradicate all Elites” mission. It MAXES OUT ON ITS POWER at L25, with only duration increasing so it’s super value as an early-mid game gem.

— The above two gems are the best for now, the third is a toss-up… —

Gogok of Swiftness: Dude. Listen to me on this suggestion. If your Champion is down = you’re a chump. It’s that simple. YOU DO NOT NEED MORE THAN 25 POINTS! It’s a great source for a whole 15% CDR!

— I would only recommend the below if you have enough CDR… —

Bane of the Trapped: “How do I trigger the slow!?”, easy – get in their face. While this is the DPS gem of choice, I feel that Gogok inches above it right now.

Molten Wildebeest’s Gizzard: Vastly improves our dumpster tier recovery. It’s strictly an early game “patch job” and will not scale well into the high heavens. However, it’s not a wasted investment – as you can use it for augments!

These three gems will last until you get into some ridiculously high GR’s. In which case, check the next tab…

Any other gems worth it?

Bane of the Stricken: MANDATORY for late late game. Since you don’t need to dump points into many gems past 25, feel free to stick excess gem ups on your stricken.

Esoteric Alteration: Basic endgame defensive gem. Nice to have.

Boon of the Hoarder: You need this for speedfarming.
(See: Speedfarming General, Crusader Speedfarming, Best Crusader Speedfarming Build)

Just get them asap while slowly climbing the GR’s you’re allowed to do. Do neph/GR/neph/GR etc until you get the big 3. Don’t overdo the level, just go for efficient farming and cheap empowering. GR 34 is enough to 25 a gem.

With 3 of your best gems at L25 – try much higher Torment levels. Now it’s time to find some key items!

Playing the Build & Adjustments

Now that you have the base “power level” of your 6 set and gems, let’s take a break to review How to play & adjust your build. These tips are basic, nothing comprehensive, but helpful nonetheless!

Adjusting your build is a key knowledge point – certain weak spots in your build may appear due to RNG drops, so it’s in your best interest to address these.

Here we discuss Playstyle Notes and build Build Adjustments.

Playing Akkhan 6 - BasicsOffense & ResourceDefense & HealingSpeed & Mobility

Run of the mill Thorns build, made more powerful with Akarat’s Champion. All of your “attacks” have a cooldown (for now), so it’s annoying compared to the usual builds, if you’ve never ran thorns before.

Killing tiny, loose piles of whites is THE WORST for you! 
Find elites and burst them down!
Mega piles of whites are a great Consecration target!

First, let’s talk about the biggest weakness of the build which is low or no on-demand damage. This is solved later on by the use of Hack (Using Punish-Celerity).

Steed Charge does good damage here! It’s the closest thing you have to a basic attack right now. It’s annoying when you have to use this as purely a mobility skill – then of course some dudes show up, lol.

Bombardment is your main damaging skill but has a a long CD. Getting Belt of the Trove makes life much easier. Consecration is a weaker version of this, with healing.

Iron Skin is not just a hefty 50% damage reduction – it makes your damage go to astronomic numbers with Reflective Skin! Keep BOTH halves of the skill in mind!

Akarat’s Champion-Prophet is a powerful offensive and defensive steroid! I chose Prophet as the base build as the toughness it provides allows you to push into more difficult content compared to any other rune. Given how strong this skill is, you will need CDR to keep it up 100%.

Inconsistency is the problem with this build. Much more so than other fresh builds. I highly recommend you tunnel on hunting down certain legendaries to smooth out the game play. While you should be okay running around killing elites only, this can cause problems and loss of speed in Nephs or Bounties. (Lots of re-rolling at the mystic needed, too)

Getting the two items mentioned above: Hack and Belt of the Trove is your priority. While most end-game builds may only focus on one aspect of the build (Either Thorns on-hit or Bombardment), a hybrid isn’t so bad for general purpose early game farming.

As you progress, you may have certain aspects of your build hinder you from going upwards in difficulty – here are some adjustments you can make.

More offense or Wrath needed?

Offense is usually categorized in Damage or, indirectly, Resource Gain.

First of all, Wrath has no purpose in this build – let’s get that out of the way. Also, it’s quite difficult to increase your DPS by traditional build changes. GEAR is the main source of DPS for thorns, and legendary affixes…

Finery – is the first thing you want to activate and maximize. That’s going to be the most relevant change you can do in the build to bolster damage. It’s recommended in the base build and should never be removed.

Iron Maiden and Fervor are similarly TOO IMPORTANT and I’d think twice before touching them, too.

Punish-Celerity is something to keep in mind when you loot a Hack.

Lord Commander makes a strong case. While this is our loosest passive, the upsides are damn obvious. This of course falls off a little once we have godlike CDR.

Thorns being thorns, there aren’t much built-in adjustments we can make to improve our damage output. What do!

More defense needed?

Defense is usually self-healing and/or damage reduction.

Laws of Hope Promise of Faith (any rune) is a solid defensive choice early on in the game for some healing and shields. It scales poorly into late-game, though.

Laws of JusticeImmovable Object is a pretty massive defensive boost that’s better in the late game. This is the strongest linear defensive buff in the entire game.

Keep in mind that Iron Skin isn’t just for Thorns – it has 50% damage reduction! Use it in a pinch! Consecration has a heal – in case you forgot!

While there are many possible defensive modifications we can make, there aren’t many slots to actually fit them in. If you wanna replace one of the passives for a defensive one, Hold Your Ground and Vigilant aren’t bad.

More mobility needed?

Mobility and Speed are a luxury as a fresh 70 character, but here it is anyway:

Steed Charge-Spiked Barding is your Mobility (and damaging!) skill. Sadly, there’s not much else this build can change to improve your movement.

Lord Commander is an amazing filler passive to help bounties along faster. It’s worth noting that this might even be a good addition to the base build…

Fervor (already recommended) lowers your Steed Charge CD.

Mobility isn’t the strong point of a Crusader, and any changes to facilitate that right now is a bit greedy. Your mobility is locked behind items, so not much we can do. Ultra-speedy setups shouldn’t be your focus as a fresh 70 Crusader.

Any other changes for speed at this point is too greedy, and I can’t recommend it.”?
(See: Speedfarming General | Crusader Speedfarming | Best Crusader Speedfarming)

Items to look for

Okay, now that the easy part of powering up is done, it’s time for the farmy bit. Here, I will be listing all the high-impact items you can pick up, and how to get them (aside from drops).


Blood ShardsDeath's BreathClassics
Using Blood Shards:

Helm: Leoric’s Crown. If you didn’t get your FREE 100% DROP LEORIC’S CROWN from campaign, get it now! It’s a well known cheese. Simply beat him in campaign at L20 (or is it 15 now?). You can also spend shards for it if you don’t feel like wasting time. THIS DOUBLES THE EFFECTIVITY OF YOUR DIAMOND ON HELM, giving you a massive CDR boost.

Belt: Is the first place I’d dump shards. Belt of the Trove helps us with our AoE clear PASSIVELY (which is relevant in the early game). Goldwrap and other semi-useful fillers are found here, too. FREE BOMBARDMENTS, dude. FREE.

2pc Invoker (Bracers + any set item) is a pretty good “evolution” to the build. Since you’ll be getting random odds and ends, keep in mind that you can fit in 2pc Invoker easily since Akkhan is a 7 set, and Invoker uses a Bracer!

Chest: is next Aquila Cuirass is a free, brainless 50% damage reduction. While Heart of Iron is also in this pile, it’s only considered a filler – the actual thorns damage you get from it is small. – those 2 are cubeable

BracerNemesis Bracers fits the bill with our anti-elite style. Invoker bracers!

Shield: isn’t a bad place to invest. There are a literal TON of shields that can help you get “to the next step of power” whether they be endgame viable or not. Shield of the Steed and Akarat’s Awakening are the jackpots here.

Again reminding you of the bounty rings:
Ring of Royal Grandeur: Act I bounties, to fit all our greed.
Avarice Band: Act III bounties, for speedfarming.

Using Death’s Breath – Rare to legendary:

Upgrading 2H Flail and Shields to attempt completing Norvald’s Set (Flail of the Charge, Shield of the Steed). This is NO JOKE. These two items DOUBLE YOUR POWER and VASTLY IMPROVES YOUR SPEED!

Upgrading Axe for Hack can give your gameplay a more normal feel. It turns your chosen basic attack into a nuke.

1H Flail – Swiftmount is a godlike filler for bounties. Never sad to have this.

2H Mace for The Furnace. There are only a few weapons and shields that are even remotely usable by Thorns. Furnace isn’t “that” hard to get, given the small pool of possible results.

The Classics: Good for any type of newer character, and even the most battle-hardened of builds.

Ring of Royal Grandeur: “Break” your 6-piece to make space for a good filler item! from Act I

Accessory Sets: FocusRestraint or Traveler’s Pledge. Completing any of these 2-sets is a vast power jump. +100%++ is substantial for only 2 slots.

Convention of Elements: Good ‘ol CoE. Wear it, Kanai it, as a filler or till the end of time. Learning to maximize CoE in any build you choose is a turning point for higher GR’s.

Unity: Straight 50% damage reduction in the cube. Too bad you need two of ’em.

Goldwrap + Avarice + Boon of The Hoarder: I don’t care how many times I have to remind you about this combo. Be on the lookout. Avarice drops from ACT III bounties.

Bridging to the End-game

So you skipped a whole chunk of the powering up phase with the free set. Now what? Like I always say, “Speedfarming first before pushing GR’s”. So, convert what you have NOW to be as speedfarmy as possible, first.

Other Crusader Guides:

Check out our D3 Guide Directory for other resources.

Fresh 70 Crusader:Free set available! | No free set!
Getting the Free Set | Free Set 70 | Gaining Power! | Bridging to the End-game

Well, Armor of Akkhan is a tough set to transmit to the end-game, but It can “pretend” to be LoN bombardment for quite a while! It’s great as this seasons free set since it’s very easy to speedfarm with it shortly after being a fresh 70 Crusader!

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  1. Used this guide and leveled to 70 in a matter of hours.
    Hit 70 and found a Gyrfalcons Foote to cube, that along with aquila curiass i never spend wrath. Pretty boss right now

    • we’re fixing our site right now to correct the bugs we got after changing our site’s theme… but apparently some pages were reverted to older guides. will fix this in a couple of days. really sorry about this. for now, you can see our build in Dfans/TeamBRG.

  2. From 2.4.2 Patch Notes:

    Thorns of the Invoker

    (6) Set Bonus
    The 800% Thorns damage dealt to the first enemy hit can now benefit from +% Physical Damage

    This should make Doombringer a viable alternative to Pig Sticker.

  3. Amazing build for fresh 70, I couldn’t believe how potent it is with full set of yellow only, I was doing T1 GR, and it felt like a walk in the park, guardian died right away. I was lucky to pick up the Boyarsky’s Chip in that GR, and it’s even more potent now I am sure.

    Thank you so much for writing this guide, it truly is amazing.

  4. I love these fresh 70 guides!
    One technical difficulty – Have tried several reload / clear cache options, and I am still seeing the Season 12 version of this guide.
    Is anyone else experiencing this problem too?

  5. I think I might be missing something here. This is my first season and I’m still figuring out how certain things adjust the offense/defense/recovery numbers. I’m just about set to go for Chapter IV completion and I was comparing my stats to where your stats are going in to completing the Level 20 GR and I’m pretty much lined up in each stat except my damage is only at 16000 and you say your damage is at 19000. I’m geared pretty much exactly how you suggest, however I already have the Belt of the Trove. Everything non-invoker has strength and Thorns and I just don’t understand 3000 damage difference.

    I’ve got a pretty solid yellow dagger and have slotted everything with a Diamond. Should I be willing to upgrade to a different weapon or slide some Rubies into some slots instead? At what point do I jump out of the suggested setup suggestions and focus on more damage?

    • Damage numbers don’t matter for the most part – IGNORE SHEET DAMAGE for the purposes of D3 (in 99.99% of builds) – it’s near meaningless. Especially for a thorns build, the “damage” stat is extremely useless as it does not take into account thorns in any way shape or form. You have ZERO chance of failure with Belt of the Trove.


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