edit 26/02/2021 - Updated for patch 2.7.0
edit 16/04/2019 - Updated for patch 2.6.4.
edit 24/02/2019 - Added gr122 solo seasonal clear
edit 27/01/2018 - Reworked it for patch 2.6.1 changes. Added some informations as well as a d3planner link and a grift 115 clear.
edit 03/06/2017 - added fire DoT mechanics, boss informations…
First of all, the tl;dr d3planner link is at the end of this post. Feel free to skip to it, but do not ask any question unless you read everything else here.
As you may or may not know, I am an avid Roland Sweep attack (SA) player, so I thought I would a make a guide on how to gear, what to look for and how to play the grifts.
I will start by going over the skills, then the gear and stats needed on each piece, and finally I will explain some of the mechanics you should be aware of.
But first, I want to be clear : this is a guide on the build I pushed with. You can go for different skills and especially different gems/stats on gear but that would not be the same build as mine then.
Due to 2.6.4 buff to Roland, getting the highest breakpoint on sweep attack is now trivial. Literally, you get it by having the 5 stacks of the 6p set, even with a furnace and no other attack speed buff.
Unlike some builds where the skills are set and nothing can change, SA offers quite a bit of diversity on skill you want to use.
The mandatory ones are :
- Sweep attack (Fire)
- Iron Skin (Flash rune)
- Akkarat’s champion (Prophet)
- Laws of Valor (Unstoppable force)
You cannot do without those. Now the two other skills I settled for are :
This one is IMO also mandatory but feel free to try some other skills like Judgement if you don’t feel like you need to group mobs better
Steed charge (Draw & quarter)
This is the most controversial choice. But in the end, being able to drag an elite to a place I like and just the ability to skip maps fairly fast outweights the other possibilities available such as provoke (wrath regen against the boss, which is not needed nowadays thanks to crimson) or judgement (a bit more damage).
With the weapon effect on the golden flense, you might ask yourself : “but why aren’t we using a 1-H”. Well, as it turns out, gaining 20% (additive) damage but losing roughly 80% (multiplicative) damage, not so great. Of course, in other builds the attack speed from a 1-H matters and counters the damage loss. Here, we already have max attack speed breakpoint so it doesn’t. So we use a 2-H, and that’s all.
15% (multiplicative) damage and 10% armor for free.
You are very tanky once every defensive cooldowns are in use however it does take a couple of seconds to get those going, and you usually lose them when you’re moving from pack to pack, especially on map transitions. I would not change this for anything.
It’s 10% additive damage which is fairly significant because the build cannot stack that much additive damage. 30% Sweep Attack on gear, 30% from strongarms. And -20% from Heavenly Strength.
If you can’t survive or don’t have any Life per hit on your gear (bad idea), you can run Wrathful instead.
Roland Sweep attack, with the introduction to Crimson into the build, has fairly low gear requirements overall. You can start playing 115 to 120 even at medium paragon (2000-2500), and can get into the 130 territories once high paragon (6000+). If it seems low compared to other builds, that’s because it is. But it compensates its awful damage by being fun to play (actually, only if you enjoy the playstyle. If you don’t, it’s not fun).
Here is the d3planner build for it. You can find 2 builds on there, one for low paragon where area damage doesn’t matter too much, and one for high paragon where area damage is rolled everywhere possible. As you get more and more paragon and gear, you’ll naturally evolve from one to the other.
If for some reason you do not want to use d3planner, here’s a rundown of the stats and some insights.
Another important thing to note is that area damage is a stat you should focus on only after you have everything else. It increases your damage by a lot, but only in very specific situations that you probably won’t encounter very often until you’re pushing high grifts with good gear (because said situations are quite hard to survive if you are low paragon with not so great gear). For that reason, I will here put in brackets what’s the next best easy stat to get instead of area damage.
- Roland’s visage (helm) - Str / CHC / %SA / Socket
- Roland’s mantle (Shoulders) - Str / RCR / CDR / %AD [All rez] (you can potentially live without cdr but try not to)
- Roland’s Grasp (Gloves) - CHC / CHD / CDR / %AD [Str]
- Roland’s bearing (Chest) - Str / Vit / Elite dmg reduction (you can go for %life instead of elite damage) // better with secondary rez and no All rez here
- Captain Crimson’s Silk Girdle (Belt)- Str / vit / All rez / Life%
- Roland’s determination (Pants) - Str / vit / all rez (keep in mind, if you have a secondary rez, you can’t have all rez)
Roland’s stride (Boots) - Str / vit / all rez / %SA
Either of those two needs to be changed to a Captain Crimson item
- Strongarm bracers (Bracers) - %elem / CHC / Str / Life per hit or vitality (If you don’t have LpH on your weapon, go for LpH here. You don’t necessarily need on both to survive though)
- CoE (Ring) - CHC / CHD / %AD [Str / CDR]
- Compass rose (Ring) - Str / CHC / CHD / %AD [CDR / RCR]
- Traveler’s pledge (Amulet) - %elem / CHC / CHD
The Furnace (Weapon) - %dmg / Life per Hit / %AD [Str] (%dmg is a true 10% damage multiplier. Life per hit is a ton of survivability. Strength is good at low paragon, better than 10% dmg until you have at least 15000 strength without finery.)
You need a furnace for max damage output, as you still get 5 aps with it, even without %as on the weapon.
- Denial (Shield) - Str / Vit / CHC / CDR
For all those items, always try to get secondary rez when you can. That is, on helm, gloves, chestpiece, rings, amulet, bracers (though ranged/melee damage reduction are better).
Also, gold & globe pickup radius is amazing if you can get it. Optimally : boots, pants, helm, belt (if WH) and shoulders.
Cubed items :
- Golden Flense
- Aquila cuirass
- Ring of the Royal Grandeur
- Bane of the trapped
- Bane of the stricken
- Esoteric alteration
- Go for the Scoundrel, because of its damage increase. You need to have it equipped with Flavor of Time, Nemesis Bracers (especially for boss). You want 25000 strength to get the 4% crit chance. You also want the 100% crit chance buff, unless you’re low paragon and feel too squishy, or play in hardcore. In this case, go for the cheat death skill.
Legendary potion :
- Kul-aid, to break walls.
3/ Mechanics explained
Why is fire so great :
The fire DoT from sweep can stack (ie : you can have several different ones ticking at the same time) and, as all DoTs, scale on (basically) elemental (elite) sheet DPS (which includes atk speed). Since you have very high atk speed, you have a lot of DoTs ticking and they tick for a lot of damage.
Basically, at 4.8 attack speed, you can consider the 120% Weapon Damage (WD) DoT to be a 120*4.8 = ~580% WD DoT, so fire does 480%+580% = ~1060% WD per swing, which is more than double what othe runes does (so expect ~4-5 grs difference).
Thanks to WorkWorkWork and the chinese community to bring this fact to the US forums so that we can understand why fire is better !
Strongarms is, now, a necessary item as it gives 30% (additive) damage which, as it is implied, stacks with the 20% debuff from Heavenly Strength. It’s pretty much a true 20% damage multiplier, you just can’t ditch something that great. Condemn - Vacuum applies the necessary knockback even if the mob isn’t moved, as long as it could have been moved but wasn’t due to crowd control resistance. That means if a mob is staying close to you and wouldn’t be moved by condemn, it will not get the damage increase. It is very important to move slightly away from the boss before Fire CoE (end of physical) to proc strongarms during your fire CoE.
Crimson vs Zodiac, resource cost and cooldowns
When Crimson was buffed to its current iteration of giving %damage based on cooldown and %damage reduction based on resource cost reduction, I didn’t think it was a great fit for Roland. I still do not think it is a great fit for it, however it is actually the best way to play the game. You can think of Crimson as a permanent akkarat’s champion, but better because it gives more damage (roughly 50%). Toughness wise, because it is very easy with roland to keep permanent Laws of Valor up, you also get a permanent ~60% damage reduction from the set, which is roughly equal to what Akkarat’s champion would give you.
The thing is, in order to get that, you drop the perma akkarat’s champion that you had, by replacing Zodiac with RoRG. But you can still use Akkarat’s champion. You can use it a lot actually : with optimised gear, you get a cooldown of ~45 seconds on AC, which means you can use it every 3 CoE rotations. If you use AC at the start of the fire CoE, you get 2 AC-buffed fire rotations, and 1 without it. It’s huge.
Using Crimson also means you can easily maintain 100% wrath even against a single target, if you have at least 1 RCR roll on gear (usually on shoulders or shield). Even if you don’t have that RCR roll, you will have a positive wrath gain while AC is active, so you will slowly drain, then slowly gain resource throughout the bossfight.
Since we can now use Nemesis Bracers through the follower buff in 2.7.0 for free, you will also get an easy wrath-cap when you click the pylon on the boss, if you saved one.
Because the build doesn’t rely on Zodiac procs to reset Akkarat’s champion, you can freely cast both Iron Skin and Laws of Valor without risking losing precious Zodiac procs to reset those cooldowns instead of AC.
Roland is a truck. It is slow but you just get everything in your path and kill it.
The way I play it is :
1 - Go into a rift.
2 - If rift is bad, exit game and start from step 1
3 - Find the first pack of trash. You should aim for at least 6% of trash + an elite.
4 - Gather density and scout during the 8 seconds of your CoE following your main damage (= holy and lightning).
5 - Stop and start attacking during physical. Reason is you want the full bonus of endess walk for your main element CoE, as well as Fire DoT running.
6 - If an oculus area spawns, try to go into it. Do that only if you’re still hitting the elite. Use Condemn to bring mobs with you to the Oculus area if you do. Do use condemn even if it doesn’t really bring anything close to you, it is free to use, and procs Strongarms.
7 - Once the pack starts thinning out, start looking for a new one. If you have one elite, use your horse to drag it. If you have several elites, lead them just by baiting/body pulling.
8 - Always stop to do your fire CoE on the pack even while moving from a spot to another. You should almost always have enough density to get your 5 denial stacks
9 - Find a new spot with trash, go back to step 4
10 - Always be on the lookout for pylons. Pylons come usually every 20 to 35% density. Conduit is the most welcome pylon. Do use power pylons unless you’re sure to have the boss soon. Channeling is almost useless, take it if you feel like you need the CDR to survive. Leave it for the boss just in case otherwise. Shield is usually bad for the simple reason that you can’t proc your iron skin flash while it’s active, which means you can’t go into oculus areas. Don’t take shield unless you’re fighting a very difficult pack.
11 - Boss ! If you have a pylon, always wait before taking it. You shouldn’t take a pylon before the boss is at 75% health. The boss is usually very fast to kill, in fact I can kill a boss in a gr135 in less than 3 minutes without a pylon. With a pylon, I don’t expect a boss to last much longer than 2 minutes, thanks the elites that spawn with nemesis.
If you have any question feel free to ask here.
Grift 138 non season clear : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVswaH__kRA
Once the patch 2.7.0 is officially out, I will go for rank 1 roland crusader, and try to upload the video to share it !
My NS profile : eu.battle.net/d3/en/profile/Kikaha-2290/hero/59623037
I try to keep this character up to date with the latest roland build/gear available, unlike this guide which I rarely update.
I do recommend the maxroll guide on Roland :
It basically goes over the same thing I mentionned here. Northwar, however, doesn’t push Roland as hard as I do. It’s the only “bad” thing I can say about it (which means it’s great). His version goes for a heavy 32 seconds rotation on AC (instead of 48 here). I do not believe the loss of area damage and toughness is worth the trade-off, but do as you will.
[tl;dr d3planner link]