Now that you have a fresh level 70 Crusader, you may be asking yourself “What do I do now?”. Look no further. Here we discuss step by step and build by build on your sure ascent to godhood.

NO Free Set? Go to PAGE 2!

The Crusader free set  for season 13 is Thorns of the Invoker. Looking for Crusader Leveling Guide instead?

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!

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

IMPORTANT: Setting up!

Just because this process is gonna be easy, there are some very important pieces of the puzzle you absolutely NEED. Thorns is a secondary stat – in case you forgot.

Fresh 70 Crusader Items needed (yellows are ok).  Rerolling yellows, man, trust me. Find ’em, craft ’em – I don’t care. These are the yellows that will carry: having STR THORNS and VIT on as many places as you can is a start.

1H DAGGER: Yes, a damn dagger. Invoker’s scales phenomenally with attack speed, and having a weapon with the fastest base attack speed facilitates this best. SOCKET and STR are the only mandatory stats.

GEMS: I usually talk about this later on, but this is damn important. TOPAZ ON WEAPON GIVES +THORNS. A fact many forget early on. Diamonds on gear for ALLRES is godlike in the early game as well.

A good CRUSADER SHIELD: Not a shield. A Crusader Shield. The dream shield will have STR, BLOCK CHANCE (max 28 on a yellow) and THORNS.

Life on Hit – hopefully, you get some of this. It’s best on WEAPON and AMULET but take it where you can get it, for now. Have at least 1 roll.

Rings and Amulet WITH SOCKET:  In preparation for legendary gems. Thorns, too if you haven’t caught on that you WANT THORNS EVERYWHERE.

Chest Armor with 3 sockets and of course, Thorns. Invoker has no chest piece – so a good yellow will last a long time. The god chest is STR VIT ALLRES SOCKETS and THORNS. Try to get 3 of those stats. Sockets = ALLRES from diamonds.

Belt is a huge source of defensive power. STR VIT ALLRES LIFE%.

Physical% on Amulet and Bracer: I keep forgetting if this works for the on-hit Thorns from Invoker 6 but I’M PRETTY SURE IT DOES NOW A DAYS. Either way Physical% is the only one that matters.

Season Journey Chapters Table

Here’s an overview of what you should accomplish per chapter for this season. Or press Shift+J (PC) in game to check.

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4
Complete a Neph Rift Neph Rift on Expert Neph Rift on Master Neph on T1
Do 5 Bounties Craft L70 Weapon or Armor Craft Imperial Gem Reforge weapon with Mystic
Socket 5 gems in gear Fully equip a follower Spend Blood Shards at Kadala Kill Belial on T2
Blacksmith to L10 Blacksmith, Jeweler & Mystic to L12 Kill Adria at L70 on Master Keywarden Act I at T4
Jeweler to L10 Unlock Kanai’s Cube Kill Siegebreaker at L70 on Master Keywarden Act II at T4
Mystic to L10 Get to L70 Act I bounty cache Keywarden Act III at T4
Kill Diablo Kill Rakanoth at L60 Act II bounty cache Keywarden Act IV at T4
Kill Izual Kill Skeleton King at L60 Act III bounty cache Kill Ghom on T4
Get to L50 Craft L70 Ring or Amulet Act IV bounty cache GR 20 solo
Enchant an item with Mystic Act V bounty cache Upgrade rare to legendary item
Transmogrify an item with Mystic Extract Legendary Power 5 Blacksmith recipes
5 Jewelcrafting recipes
NO REWARD 1st set of
Haedrig’s Gift
2nd set of Haedrig’s Gift 3rd set of Haedrig’s Gift

1st set: Helm + Gloves
2nd set: Boots + Shoulders
3rd set: Bracers + Pants

Season Journey Chapter 2: Getting 2 piece

If you followed our leveling guide, you may be using the NO SHIELD 2-HANDER CRUSADER. I have TWO BUILDS for you to choose from. 2H No Shield and Shield.

Both of these builds are easily adjustable to accommodate any powerful legendaries you may have looted.

The toughest part about transitioning from a fresh level 70 is finding a good build. Luckily you have two base templates to choose from up there.

Chapters 1 & 2: Do these in Hard mode. No point in making things harder for you, right? Only increase difficulty when you have to complete a Neph on Expert mode.

This should also be the time that you should be unlocking the Kanai’s Cube (Ruins of Sescheron then go in to Elder Sanctum), just so you can abuse this power early on. Don’t forget to do a couple of bounties, too.  

Always keep in mind the “Setting up” tab must haves for your gear. Those items with the “correct” stats will greatly ease your seasonal journey and you’ll have your free set in no time.

Season Journey Chapter 3: Getting 4 piece
Invoker Full on Thorns Build1H+Shield and Not enough Thorns

If you can go Thorns, go Thorns. The build is basic. If you haven’t played it before, here’s my advice:

Press Iron Skin -> Dump everything -> Elite (everything) dead.

Beat a Nephalem Rift on Master Difficulty: This one can get rough if you don’t have decent gear. Even if it takes 20 minutes it’s okay – since we get our 4 piece shortly after! Check the above suggestions if you need more defenses.

RUSHING TO ELITES IS THE WAY FOR THORNS!

Now, although there are entries that need to be completed on Master difficulty, you can still do bounties in Hard mode. Slap on Steed Charge-Endurance and Lord Commander into your build and you’ll be finishing bounties in no time.

Complete on Master difficulty:

  • Beat a Nephalem Rift: This is pretty much doable. If your gear is crap, expect to complete this at a crappy pace.
  • Kill the Bosses
    • Adria – Act V, Ruins of Corvus 
    • Siegebreaker –Act III, Rakkis Crossing

Complete the rest of the chapter’s entries and let’s go get the last pieces of the (set) puzzle.

Season Journey Chapter 4: Getting 6 piece

It’s time to go full Thorns!
USING NON-THORNS VARIANT IS NO LONGER VIABLE HERE ON OUT

S13 Thorns of the Invoker GR20 Free Set Build
Skill Rune
Punish Celerity
Iron Skin Reflective Skin
Steed Charge Spiked Barding
Bombardment Barrel of Spikes
Laws of Justice (Valor) Immovable (Invincible)
Consecration Bed of Nails
Passives
Hold Your Ground Iron Maiden
Fervor Lord Commander


Upgrade a Rare to Legendary w/ Kanai’s Cube
: If I were to try and luck out on ONE legendary upgrade… Hmm.. While every category has its jackpots, Invoker’s is so narrow you likely won’t get anything usable. As such, BELT is what I would go for (Belt of the Trove).Before you go and enter the GR20 arena, let’s take care of the other entries in Chapter 4 first..

Complete a Torment I Rift: this should be a piece of cake. This will also be your minimum level to farm. But I’m guessing you won’t be stuck here for long….

Set Difficulty to Torment II: Kill Belial -Act II, City of Caldeum

Set Difficulty to Torment IV: Go straight to the bosses! No need to kill those creeps you charge past!

If you haven’t setup Thorns by now. Lol. It’s gonna be bad.

  • Kill Ghom – Act III, The Keep Depths Level 3
  • Kill Odeg the Keywarden – Act I, Fields of Misery
  • Kill Sokahr the Keywarden – Act II, Dahlgur Oasis
  • Kill Xah’Rith the Keywarden – Act III, Stonefort
  • Kill Nekarat the Keywarden – Act IV, Garden of Hope 2nd Tier
  • Keywardens maps have a key icon next to the waypoint. Purple arrows point you to their location after a short while once you’re in their respective map.

Only thing left here is the main event…. GR20. Check the obelisk first if this is unlocked for you. If not, just do a couple of the the highest GRs you can to unlock 20. Then head on to the next clicky for more on Invoker’s GR20 build.

Crusader GR 20: 4 piece Thorns of the Invoker
S13 Thorns of the Invoker GR20 Free Set Build
Skill Rune
Punish Celerity
Iron Skin Reflective Skin
Steed Charge Spiked Barding
Bombardment Barrel of Spikes
Laws of Justice (Valor) Immovable (Invincible)
Consecration Bed of Nails
Passives
Hold Your Ground Iron Maiden
Fervor Lord Commander

FIX PARAGONS: STR | CDR | ALL RES | LpH

To have an idea of how powerful you need to be, here’s my stats of my tests:

  • Offense sheet: 197K
  • Toughness sheet: 9.8M
  • Recovery sheet: 334K
  • STR: 6000
  • NO ‘special’ legendaries aside from the Thorns of the Invoker 4-pc Free Set.
  • NO Pylons taken.
  • NO Legendary Gems.
  • NO Cubes powers used.
  • Remaining Time: 2-6 MINUTES

Again, I had nothing.. I took no PYLONS ffs I TOOK ZERO PARAGONS!!!! I DE-SOCKETED MY TOPAZ! I tried hard to emulate the “worst case” and still SMASHED IT!

You know the drill: actively hunt down and kill elitesIron Skin and blow everything on ’em. Don’t waste Bombardment without Iron Skin.

THE ONLY CHANCE OF FAILURE is a lack of self-healing, or defense, in particular. While the possibility is very far off, this is literally the ONLY WAY you’ll fail this. Life per Hit goes a long way. Setting up Templar to take all healing skills (left left left right) helps, too.

Offense numbers DO NOT take into consideration most Legendary Powers and Gems. But since I did it RAW – these will serve as a great estimation.

Fresh 70 Crusader: 6 piece Free Set Build

Season 13 Thorns of the Invoker Free Set Build
Skill Rune
Punish Celerity
Consecration (open) Bed of Nails
Steed Charge Spiked Barding
Bombardment (open) Barrels of Spikes
Laws of Justice (Valor) Immovable Object (Invincible)
Iron Skin  Reflective Skin
Passives
Hold Your Ground (open) Iron Maiden
Fervor Finery

Quick notes: Only PunishSteed Charge and to a lesser extent Iron Skin are NECESSARY to thrive with Invoker! Bombardment *can* be dropped once we get Belt of the TroveConsecration falls off hard later on, and is not included in the very highest tiers of the build. Provoke goes in if you find Vo’Toyias Spiker. Got room for adjustments!

Quick playstyle note:
RUN AROUND KILLING ELITES

So, now what!?

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!

A quick review before proceeding…

As you’re proceeding with the next steps, keep these important things in mind!

Non-set pieces: Review

You can scroll down there to see the useful legendaries you may come across, but here let’s discuss some key item reminders for right now.

Race towards your best Topaz: Obtaining a Flawless Royal Topaz (or as close to it) is an easy to shoot for mini-goal that will skyrocket your power.

Get rid of Crit – get CDR or ASPD! Unlike most builds, Thorns DOES NOT CRIT. Reroll those useless stats off!

Get those sockets on rings and amulet if you haven’t. Legendary gems are up next!

Life Per Hit on Weapon and hopefully amulet. But even on something like rings is fine.

Belt gives massive toughness. STR VIT RES LIFE. It also rolls a very high value of Thorns. It’s hard to get a great yellow which fulfills all of this, but do the best you can.

Physical%? Okay, so since it works with the six piece now… this is godlike roll to increase your damage. However, it’s not like you’re lacking in that department for now.

Getting the “correct” stats has a much higher impact vs.
getting the “perfect” stats, for now
.

TRY TO GET THORNS ON EVERYTHING IT CAN ROLL ON!

Gaining Power!

The only thing left to do is get legendary gems and gear to maximize the Invoker set bonus – helping you progress to the end-game.

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 Thorns of the Invoker “Big 3” gems and “others”.

Invoker's 6 Fresh 70: Big 3 GemsOther gems?

Get these to L25 ASAP:

Boyarsky’s Chip: Lol. +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.

Bane of the Powerful: Creams elites, helps survive against them and doesn’t scale much past 25? What a great early investment.

Bane of the Trapped: “How do I trigger the slow!?”, easy – get in their face.

Temporary defensive gem? Ehh… Molten Wildebeest’s Gizzard may be the best in this phase of the game…? I wouldn’t mind using it and leveling it up to 50 then augmenting it.

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: I don’t know if you’ll ever need this, but when you hit the high 70’s you might consider it. If you find yourself taking more than 1 minute to kill yellow elites – it’s time to switch Powerful to this.

Esoteric Alteration: Is the late game defensive gem of choice.

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

Aside from these 7 gems listed in these tabs, any other gem is considerably worse.

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

As you progress and get items, your build may have a weak point here and there that you can patch up given the simple skill, rune, and passive changes listed below.

Here we discuss Playstyle Notes and build Build Adjustments.

Playing Invoker 6 - BasicsOffense & ResourceDefense & HealingSpeed & Mobility

What’s there to say? Plant your feet in front of your target and slug it out. 
Align your cooldowns to all come out during Iron Skin!
Hunt down elites like a madman!
That’s 90% of it!

Elites – they’re your best friend. Since our AoE damage is poor (yeah, Bombardment owns now, you’ll see how bad it is later on), it makes no sense focusing on whites. If you haven’t played a character wherein elite hunting is your priority, this may feel weird, but try it out!

Align the stars – Iron Skin  is your best skill. It quadruples your damage. Make sure you can use the entire duration, and all your Thorny skills are on cooldown! Make it a habit that you HOLD OFF on using, example… Consecration, and wait for Iron Skin to come up. It’s a very bad habit to WAIT for Consecration when Iron Skin is up.

Align the cosmos – It doesn’t stop there. Convention of Elements? Triples our damage on top of that. Provoke + Spiker? Double it again. You get it.

Elites + Aligning – once you actually try it and see how powerful it is, you’ll know why even the hardiest elites in the highest of GR’s will be a juicy target.

So don’t complain about Invokers lack of AoE when clearing rifts. Yeah, it’s a problem and puts a cap on speed at the low end – but you can easily farm higher GRs as compensation for this. Not every set can do everything.

More offense or Wrath needed?.

Resource gain and Wrath related changes are 100% irrelevant for Thorns of the Invoker, which uses none of it.

Damage? Ahh.. let me count the ways! While there are many ways to improve Thorns damage (many of which are recommended in the base build) let’s run by them.

Thorns: is your bread and butter. Increased by the substat. Strength modifies it. Iron Maiden (Passive) boosts it by 50%. Attack Speed indirectly improves it. CDR is huge for our cooldowns! Blocking improves Thorns! There are many vectors to improve Thorns (and how it interacts with Invoker), directly or indirectly!

Fervor is great. Attack speed and CDR? Really!? Finery improves Strength! Lord Commander is mainly there to reduce the cooldown on Steed Charge. It improves your farming speed greatly. Bombardment-CDR is a bonus.

How about ways outside the base build?

Well, now it goes into the territory of “Practical” increases which are worth the trade off. While I can’t advise you what’s worth it or not given that everyone’s setup is slightly different – here are some ideas…

Akarat’s Champion is sick once you’re able to use it consistently. It requires massive CDR. Use Prophet – it’s a significant survival tool later on. Akarat’s Awakening is great to help you on this front.

Laws of Valor-Invincible is a great hybrid choice. Always keep it in mind. It gives decent attack speed bonuses and its active not only further boosts ASPD but gives a significant Life per Hit bonus.

Fanaticism and Holy Cause are “small” bumps in your DPS.

Lord Commander may be in and out of your build. Again, it’s main upside is SPEED which you can drop sometimes for tryharding GR’s. But, in the “elite killing” game, speed means a lot.

More defense needed?

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

Well, we can’t really talk about ALL the ways Crusaders can increase survivability, can we!? Hell, Iron Skin is our best offensive cooldown, and gives a hefty defensive bonus!

Life per Hit is goes a long way to help you survive. The 6pc attack speed bonus synergizes well with it. While only Laws of Valor-Invincible is the only built-in Crusader source for it, rolling it on weapon (amulet) is a good choice.

Laws of Justice-Immovable Object is the king of hardening.

Indestructible is a great passive. It nearly ensures you can kill ANY ELITE every minute. It gives you a second layer of insurance that your mega alignment of cooldowns doesn’t go to waste.

Invoker and Thorns doesn’t use Crit as a stat – so your main advantage is that you have so many EXTRA ROLLS for defense! It can be argued that AS and CDR replace these stats… But AS and CDR increases our defenses indirectly! AS gives more life per hit, CDR gives more mobility and usage of cooldowns. Attack Speed and CDR, while most builds ignore them, these are great for Invoker.

More mobility needed?

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

Crusader’s Steed Charge is a very mobile skill, but it’s part of our main offensive skills too… it’s a bit of a problem I admit. Most of Crus mobility is locked behind items, but you can make a few changes for bounties if you’re desperate for speed.

Lord Commander: Reducing Steed Charge cooldown is legit. You can even try using the Endurance rune if you’re hellbent on the anti-elite strategy.

Fervor reduces Steed Charge CD, and you can even change the rune to Endurance if you don’t need Spiked Barding.

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).

LEGENDARY ITEMS LIST

Blood ShardsDeath's BreathClassics
Using Blood Shards:

Belt: Is the first place I’d dump shards on. Belt of the Trove helps us with our AoE clear PASSIVELY (which is relevant in the early game) but more importantly, triggers our Bombardment for free, and gives our 4pc 100% uptime. Goldwrap and other semi-useful fillers are found here, too. Once you get Trove, you can even remove Bombardment from your bar…

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.

Bracer: We love elites! So we love Nemesis Bracers. It has no effect on our combat stats but it helps farm faster.  (Don’t even think of Sanguinary Vambraces if you find it – the proc is slightly stronger than 1 Punish)

Shield: isn’t a bad place to invest. While the possible pool is huge, Vo’Toyias Spiker and Akarat’s Awakening are no joke. The best place to spend when you’re done getting the above items.

Other filler items? To be honest I don’t think there’s much out there. String of Ears… Leoric’s Crown… Illusory? Nothing game breaking.

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:

There isn’t a “right choice” here. If I’m to recommend one at gunpoint… it would be upgrading 2H Mace for The Furnace. Why? There are only a few weapons and shields that are even remotely usable by Invoker. Furnace isn’t “that” hard to get, given the small pool of possible results.

Upgrading 2H Flail and Shields to attempt completing Norvald’s Set (Flail of the ChargeShield of the Steed). This vastly improves our speed. Shields will also yield Vo’Toyias Spiker which is amazing. It works on our Punish-Thorns.

Upgrading Axe for Hack ~ meh… it really isn’t as good as it sounds. If you get one randomly, yeah why not – use it or cube it for the meantime.

Daggers for Pig Sticker: while this is the ultimate weapon for Invoker, it only shines when augmenting a “Fully realized build”. Since you can’t improve a turd, our resources are better spent getting us out of turd status.

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!

Accessory SetsTraveler’s Pledge is about as good as it sounds for a build that wants to walk around hunting for elites and bashing their face toe to toe.

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

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22 COMMENTS

  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.

  6. Why no Iron Skin in the “Season Journey Chapter 4: Getting 6 piece” build? Sweep Attack instead? How does that help with Thorns?

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