After looking at this question after looting a level 70 adjusted Hack, I was thinking a thorns based Crusader build might work (although I've never played Crusader). Along those lines, I have a couple of questions:

  1. What is the maximum thorns amount?

    EDIT: http://www.d3maxstats.com/ gives the maximum at 31,490. So I'd expect that 10,000-20,000 is reasonably obtainable

  2. What skills interact with thorns or are thorns based in the Crusader set?
  3. What items interact with thorns or are thorns based that a Crusader can use?
  4. Any other considerations for a build of this sort.

I think this type of build will be a lot of fun just standing around and letting things kill themselves on me, so any other advice is appreciated.

  • Of note... barbarians are also STR based and have a skill tied to thorns. Apr 29, 2014 at 16:08
  • @DiabloMonkey not just that, that passive barbarians have far trumps the passive that Crusaders have in terms of thorn output.
    – l I
    Apr 29, 2014 at 17:51
  • Related: Which legendary gems affect thorns damage?
    – Robotnik
    Nov 27, 2019 at 3:20

1 Answer 1


Question 1:

Max amount of thorns with the following assumptions:

  • No passives/skills affecting thorns.
  • 1 socket in weapon with a Flawless Royal Topaz.
  • Wearing shield.


  • If you are wearing a Neanderthal or Nailbiter, those can come with an extra 2000 thorns. Therefor, you could have 6975 from your weapon. Increasing the max thorns to 48465.

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Question 2:

With the Crusader you have a few ways you can achieve a decent thorns build. I will only point out certain skills and runes that are focused strictly on thorns and skills/runes that have good synergy with thorn gear and thorn skills/runes.

My favorite is probably a cooldown reduction thorns build. Because it works decently in multiplayer games, allowing you to hold agro a higher percentage of the time with Provoke.

Bread and Butter for thorns in BOLD.

DO NOT pick any skills or runes that prevent you from getting hit. If you block an attack you are still getting hit and it will still activate thorns.

  • Active Skills
    • Iron Skin - Reflective Skin
      • This is the bread and butter for almost all thorns builds for the Crusader. I would say it is required. Cooldown reduction has great synergy with this ability. And i believe you will have the most success with Cooldown reduction builds.
    • Akarat's Champion - Rally
      • This has great synergy with a cooldown reduction build. Allowing you to keep things like Iron Skin - Reflective Skin activated more often.
    • Provoke
      • This shield Vo'Toyias Spiker was made for this skill. Provoke can also help you out tremendously in multiplayer games. Helping you keep creatures attacking you instead of your friends. Thorns becomes worthless if you are not getting hit. This would also go well with a cooldown reduction build.
    • Laws of Valor
    • Laws of Justice
      • This would help out with survivability. You are going to be getting hit a lot and you want to be. So you are going to need to mitigate a lot of that damage.
    • Judgment - Resolved
    • Punish - Retaliate
      • On block this would give you a little extra "thorns" damage. It is not really thorns damage, but would still make them take damage for hitting you.
    • The rest of the Active skills depends heavily on your gear and build. Be creative.
  • Passive Skills
    • Iron Maiden
      • Also another slice of bread and stick of butter for a Crusader thorns build. This gives a large chunk of thorns at the cost of a passive slot. You could possibly do without this... but i would not recommend.
    • Hold Your Ground
      • Getting tired of saying bread and butter, but this is the last one. With a thorns build you do not want to dodge attacks. Therefore, this will make you never dodge and will give you increased block chance. =D
    • Heavenly Strength
      • This depends entirely on your weapon choice. I believe the one handed options for thorns are a lot better. But you don't always have your ideal gear. =(
    • Fervor
      • This depends on your weapon and your build. This would work well with Hack. Since you are attacking faster you might be triggering the Hack effect more often. It could also work well with Akarat's Champion - Rally. The more you are doing damage the more often you could reduce the cooldown of all your abilities. Creating more synergy with the Cooldown reduction build.
    • There are some other passives that are helpful too, but it depends too greatly on build and gear.

Question 3:

List of items that interact with thorns or have thorns naturally. You can get good amounts of thorns from yellow gear as well. Just enchant a piece to give you thorns or watch for thorn drops. Use those until you can replace with more important gear.

Crucial to thorns build for crusader, my opinion:

Question 4:

I can't stress this enough. Just be creative, do what you think is neat and fun. Listen to others for ideas, but don't always copy. Go out there and be weird!

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