Since I haven’t played a Crusader in a while, I decided to rebirth one to give the Hybrid Bombardment build a try. This build makes use of several sets, but is actually fairly easy to gear up (especially as a 3rd character in the season).
The way this build works is through boosting your generic damage from the 6th piece bonus of Akkhan’s and leveraging that aspect for Thorns in the 2 piece Invoker set. Because you require a great deal of cooldown, you’ll also make use of the Captain’s Crimson 3 piece bonus in addition to getting cooldown on your gear wherever you can. The cooldown is used for keeping up Akarat’s Prophet and Bombardment.
Gear-wise, here’s a rundown of what you’ll need to get this build going:
- 5 pieces of the Akkhan’s set (head, chest, amulet, gloves and legs)
- 2 piece Invokers (shoulders, bracers)
- Norvald’s Ferver (2H Flail + Shield)
- Captain’s Crimson (Boots, Belt both crafted and needing the recipe; helps with cooldown and a boost in offense/defense)
- Justice Lantern (for defense)
- Unity (more defense)
- The Mortal Drama (Doubles your bombardments and increases the damage)
- Belt of the Trove (automates the casting of Bombardment and increases the damage)
- Ring of Royal Grandeur (which allows you to use the 6 piece and 3 piece bonus for Akkhan’s and Captain’s Crimson sets)
- Convention of Elements (generic increase in damage)
You will want cooldown on your gloves, shoulders, rings, weapon and shield. Also, you want to make sure you have thorns rolled as a secondary stat where you can on your items. You don’t require critical hit and critical damage so you can just go for vitality, life and other defensive stats if you already manage to get cooldown on your key pieces of gear.
For your legendary gems you will want:
- Bane of the Trapped (general damage increase)
- Bane of the Stricken (for bosses)
- Boyarsky’s Chip (for increasing your thorns damage)
Your weapon gem should be a Topaz to gain more Thorns damage. Your helmet gem should only be a Diamond for more cooldown reduction. The rest of the gems can be Amethysts, Rubies or Diamonds. I’ve mostly seen Diamonds for the increases resistance.
For your skill setup you will want:
- Punish, Celerity (increases your thorns damage from the Invoker set)
- Bombardment, Barrels of Spikes (main damaging skill, makes your Bombardments do thorns damage)
- Steed Charge, Draw and Quarter (for grouping up enemies into your Bombardments)
- Iron Skin, Reflective Skin (for increasing your thorns damage)
- Akarat’s Champion, Prophet (your main defensive skill, you will need to keep this up at all times. Prophet gives you a cheat death)
- Laws of Valor, Unstoppable Force (increases attack speed. Probably can go for a different rune or another skill here)
Your passives are as follows:
- Heavenly Strength (allows you to wield the Flail of the Charge)
- Lord Commander (decreases cooldown for Bombardment and Steed Charge, pretty much a must have)
- Iron Maiden (boost your thorn damage)
- Hold Your Ground (increases your block chance at the expense of being able to dodge; you need high block to gain reduced damage benefits from the Justice Lantern ring)
The play style is fairly fast as you will have a high uptime on your Steed Charge. You will need to start off turning on Akarat’s Prophet immediately and make sure that you keep it up as much as possible. From there, you pretty much want to Steed Charge into elite packs and rares while dragging your enemies into your Bombardments.
Now, you don’t have to cast Bombardments because of the Belt of the Trove. But there is a significant cooldown time so once in a while, you will need to trigger it. Don’t bother with small packs of mobs since you gain the greatest benefit from your Norvald’s Ferver from killing as many mobs as possible to reset the cooldown on your Steed Charge.
Once in a while, you will be hitting enemies with Punishment to build stacks to increase your thorn’s damage. Also, you will want to keep up Iron Skin so that your thorns damage is as high as it can go. Law isn’t as important so you can try a different skill here.
In general, I found this build to be a little awkward since it’s very cooldown dependent. The key is to keep moving from large packs to elite packs. You want to kill as fast as possible to keep a high uptime on Steed Charge. That way your bombardments are constantly being cast around you at your enemies.
The awkward part mostly comes from turning Steed Charge on and off and keeping your eye on Akarat’s Prophet. Once you get used to it, the build picks up speed. I only would use Punishment once I came across a pack while my Bombardment was on cooldown.
What I like about the build is that it’s very tanky. You have very high life and can block damage. Most of the damage is automated from thorns and the Belt of the Trove. So the key is in targeting the right packs and not getting jammed in awkward spots. I know one player that hasn’t even done augments but managed to pull off very high GRs. So I think that this build can be very good once you get the basics off the ground.