The upcoming expansion Reaper of Souls is close to release, and fans of Diablo 3 are getting quite excited. But even before it got to hit the shelves, dedicated Diablo 3 players have already figured out what to do with the Crusader, which is the new character class that makes use of mid-range spells behind a kite shield. The Crusader Thorns build came about during the Beta/PTR phase recently, and it has been tested in Torment difficulty with a good measure of success.
This build depends on a good set of Diablo 3 items for best effect. Due to the new Loot 2.0 system, new builds such as this can be created with the synergy of the new items and skills to be introduced in the new expansion. It's far from perfect as of now as there is still much playing around with passive skills and other factors to do in order to get the right build.
The core of the build is the Thorns Set, which includes the helm, shoulders, and gloves. It should give you the ability to deliver Thorns damage within 15 yards, which is an extraordinary range for Thorns. If you're surrounded by enemies, they will all feel your sting. However, this is actually a 4-item set, with its 2-item bonus being 4000 damage to melee attackers. The reason why you can equip only 3 items and still get the full set bonus will be explained shortly.
The next item is the Sanguary Vambracers, which multiplies your Thorns damage by giving you a chance to deal it 1000% to nearby enemies on hit. If the Thorns Set is the backbone of the build, then the Sanguary Vambracers is the muscle that gives it more power. With how good this item is, it may be quite rare and hard to obtain. But with the hardships you will face in higher difficulty levels as a Crusader, you will want to look for this.
You should then equip a one-handed Thorns Axe, which should also be good for attacking as well. You'll mostly be using your skills anyway for offense, so you can stand your ground and do what you can while your Thorns damage softens up the rest of the enemy mob. However, you can then take that Thorns damage and apply it with your every attack thanks to the effect of this weapon, making it a must for this build.
Finally, the Ring of Royal Grandeur is what ties it all together. Its effect is the reduction of the number of required items for set bonuses by 1, which explains why you can equip only 3 items of the Thorns Set and still get the full set bonus. This lets you equip an extra item and optimize the build even further.
There is still much work to be done on this build, but it has great potential in being a Crusader staple once Reaper of Souls finally comes out. Since the Crusader is one of the centerpieces of the expansion, having a build that players can immediately have fun with is crucial to making it work.