Shield bash/thorns build viable?

So I started playing around with the valor set that is given to us for finishing the seasonal quests and wow the power of set armors are just huge. I went up from doing torment 6 greater rift to easily doing torment 11 greater rifts. However I want to build a sword and board type of knight that can take hits while bashing his foes’ faces with his shield. I am looking at the Roland set. You guys think viable? I know valor sets are so much more easier to use since we just nuke enemies from afar.

Your sword+board thorns options are 1) LOD/LON bombardment or 2) invoker. Both builds typically run bombardment, a law, iron skin, akarat’s champion and condemn vacuum (for gathering mob density). Typically, LOD/LON bombardment runs punish (celerity rune) for the sixth skill, while invoker always runs slash for the AOE thorns applications when coupled with the omnislash legendary belt power. Based on my personal testing with comparable gear they have a similar power level in S28.

The valor set is for heaven’s fury pushing builds, or fist of heavens farming builds in echoing nightmares and low difficulty rifts.

Shield bash is a dead skill. It has two weak supporting items and is completely outclassed by sweep attack for the roland set.

IMO all crusader builds benefit nicely from the S28 altar theme because the crusader class is largely a cooldown spammer, and the empowered shrine potion proc greatly reduces cooldowns.


Sad that shield bash is still a dead skill after all these years. When RoS expansion came out, my main interest in crusader is how we can bash mobs with our shield in their face haha

I guess I’ll just try to build one. I am just a casual player anyway. Just playing for fun till d4 comes out. Then it is off to my odinson druid with his big 2handed hammer and lightning haha

I’ve got an Invoker Thorn build that I run in HC. It’s a blast. I’ve modified the Maxroll build to use the Heart of Iron and cranked the vitality thru the roof. I can speed run GR100 easily and it works amazing well for farming keystones. With around half a billion toughness it’s pretty much unkillable. Also very fun for farming ubers. A nice break from my Tal’s wizard.

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The S28 altar theme allows some gear flexibility in both of the builds I linked. Specifically, you get crowd control (CC) immunity and passability (walk through enemies). This means you don’t need ice climbers or illusory boots, and you can wear stone gauntlets fine even without akarat’s champion active.

This means you can easily run heart of iron on LOD/LON bomb build for extra thorns. You can’t fit it into the invoker thorns pushing build because you need the omnislash belt for your kanai cube legendary armor power, and your chest armor slot is occupied by aquila’s cuirass (for toughness).

The key to the invoker thorns build is condemn vacuum to gather density. Otherwise you are constantly moving around trying to melee something and having most of your omnislash AOE wasted.

Technically, the “punish” primary skill bashes your enemy with your shield, and then provides some buff to you afterwards. Punish is used by the LOD/LON bomb build usually to stack bane of the stricken (legendary gem) stacks on a single target elite/boss.

If you are really set on shield bash itself, then your best (and still terrible) bet is to run it with roland’s set. The shield bash version of roland set should be similar to the sweep attack version shown in this guide:

Shield bash only has two supporting items, so you have lots of flexibility here. Both the equipped weapon and cube weapon/shield slots are open.

There’s one more thing I want to note if you are new to crusader builds:

  • Every crusader build runs 5 pieces of a particular set (e.g. invoker or valor) and 2 pieces of the “captain crimson trimmings” set, except for the LOD/LON bombardment build that can’t use set bonuses outside of the LON rings
  • the captain crimson set crafting plan drops from bounty bags
  • this set has belt + pants + boots pieces
  • with ring of royal grandeur (RROG, act 1 bounty bag) in your jewelry cube slot you can equip 5 pieces of a crusader set and 2 pieces of the captain crimson set to get both the 6 piece bonus of the crusader set AND the 3 piece bonus of the captain crimson set
  • the crimson set is particularly good for crusaders because of the huge cooldown reduction → every crusader build uses multiple cooldown skills, especially akarat’s champion
  • the resource cost reduction component of captain crimson set can also be useful for some builds that require wrath consumption, but even for no resource builds like invoker, captain crimson is still used because it’s just that good. In your case shield bash is a pretty wrath hungry skill, so the resource cost reduction of crimson should help a lot. If you are playing with the S28 altar, then one of its buffs also gives resource generation on a crit attack. (Side note: thorns damage can never crit, so both the thorns builds I mentioned originally run zero crit chance and zero crit damage on gear)
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Yea i will try to build a paladin type warrior with roland set. One of the main concern i had with shield bash before was its resource cost. But i just saw in my crafting forge that there is this set called captain crimson which reduces resources cost and skill cooldown. It seems to be a very good support set since it also increases damage and defense based on our total Cooldown reduction

Ya the captain crimson set is a must for every set-based crusader build as described in my wall of text above

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Awesome thanks for taking the time to answer. I really love the crusader here in d3 and sad that d4 did not have them. Druid there is basically their counterpart of a warrior with spells so will run druid in d4 haha.

I do not plan to totally hardcore play d3 but i have to say i am enjoying this season because of a lot of QoL traits in that altar like run speed, double bounty cache which i just unlocked a few minutes ago and other like you mentioned. Really makes it more convenient once i try to see the story of other classes.

I plan to run necromancer soon thru the campaign. Hope the dialogues etc of necromancer is nice and immersive like the other classes have been so far. Crusader’s banter with our companions and even leah and Tyrael is very nice.

The crusader is generally rated last in all categories by top D3 streamers, but in the end the same rule applies for ranking: play what you enjoy, since this is a game, not a job (hopefully). I played the paladin class in WoW for a long time as a sword+board tank, and nothing fits that playstyle except crusader in D3. I’ve also played ARPGs, including D2, for many years. The funny thing is I didn’t play the D2 paladin much relative to the D3 crusader, even though paladin is the D2 godmode class.

D4 is virtually guaranteed to have some type of holy/light-based warrior class as some paid feature or expansion thing sooner than later. It’s pretty much free money for blizz.

There was a leaked photo of all the planned classes that theorizes some sort of Spear Wielding Valkyrie on a mural like photo that has all the existing classes on it as well. The photo was taken down immediately by blizz hence people are thinking that it might indeed be a future class. But if it is indeed a valkyrie then will it be locked into only a female gender?

I doubt it will be gender locked. A lot of promotional art often goes with a certain gender for a certain class, like the male barbarian. It doesn’t mean anything in terms of gameplay.

True. it would probably not be called a valkyrie too. We will probably meet some angelic npc along the way in the story in D4 that will give us an idea of what these warrior of heavens are called

Ya it will probably be tied to something angelic since we see lots of cinematic and other art involving spears used by angels. I think all of heaven hates us except for tyrael, so we can tenatively call the new class “tyrael’s bros”.

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well, aegis of valor uses shield and… pig sticker? (shotgun build) i did a 138 this season in HC. Planning to push furter in a couple of days

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Every crusader build uses a shield, so that’s not a useful criteria for the OP. There is a variant of the valor set in which the goal is to get constantly punched in the face, so you keep blocking and spawn fires of heaven (heaven’s fury) from the “ivory tower” legendary shield effect.

That build takes a lot of damage so it requires rather high toughness from a pretty high paragon level, which I doubt the OP will attain. Trying to play this build in the 1-1.5k paragon range in S28 is a direct path to a dirt nap in any GR pushing, so don’t bother.

The other variants of the valor set are all short ranged builds where you minimize damage intake and are rather squishy.

If you want a true sword+board build with high toughness and good pushing viability, and who stays in melee or near melee all the time, then LOD bomb or invoker set are your choices.

For the very casual playstyle of the OP a shield bash variant of the roland’s set + crimson set should be fine, even though it doesn’t use thorns and it’s pushing potential is quite low for various reasons.

you think combining 3 pcs of roland and 3 pcs of invoker can be good. There is this gear that constantly casts bombardment every 3 second which basically permanently gives us 50% damage reduction as well as thorn upgrade from invoker set. It seems to compliment the melee play of roland sets.

Also is Legacy of Dream gem build still worth it? I am very interested in it ever since i saw it since it basically makes it more viable to try different builds and setups compared to the specific skills that sets pigeon hole us into. However since sets gives 17000 to 20000 bonus damage to their respective skills compared to only 9000 on a fully ancient setup on legacy of dreams. It seems it is very weak.

The vast majority of sets provide 99%+ of their damage through the 6 piece bonus, not the 4 piece bonus. Roland’s is an exception in this regard, except its 6 piece bonus still gives both massive attack speed and defensive bonuses. You really need that 6 piece defensive bonus of roland’s by using 5 pieces + ring of royal grandeur.

You need to remember that invoker is not a thorns set in the traditional sense. The thorns damage dished out by being hit is tiny compared to the 6 piece invoker bonus, which deliver a +67500%+ multiplier by using punish or slash, both primary skills. Slash is always used in the build these days for the melee AOE delivery of thorns damage.\

If you ever played a D2 paladin zealot, the D3 invoker is the closest thing to that theme. You even run the “zeal” rune on slash for increased attack speed as you deliver thorns damage to everything in melee range around you.

Roland’s is a sweep attack or shield bash set. Invoker is a thorns set in which 99%+ of the damage is delivered through slash, a primary skill, not by being hit yourself. There is no compliment or overlap between the two sets, so trying to fit one set into the other just leaves you extremely weak offensively and/or defensively.

The only crusader build that incorporated multiple armor (not the flail + shield set thing) set bonuses was the old akkhan bombardment build. This was before S27 when akkhan was a generic damage set, not a phalanx condemn set.

That version of akkhan paired 6 piece akkhan’s with 2 piece invoker. All of your damage came from thorns (barrel of spikes) bombardment and the 2 piece invoker bonus helped further amplify that thorns damage delivery. This build is now dead with the akkhan’s rework. Everyone that wants bombardment now played the LOD version.

The only Legacy of Dream (LOD) fit for the crusader is LOD bombardment, which I already mentioned and linked. It’s a solid A tier build and is generally enjoyable for a lazy player like myself. The only other recognized LOD build for crusader is LOD blessed shield. You can also find a guide for it on the maxroll site, but it is significantly weaker than both LOD bombardment and invoker in GR pushing. LOD blessed shield would be comparable in power to a sweep attack variant of the roland’s set.

Besides those two notes there is no reason to run LOD as crusader because each of the crusader sets is significantly stronger (both offensively and defensively) for various skills, such as fist of heavens and heaven’s fury for the valor set. The multipliers are simply way better for the respective sets than running an LOD version.

The wizard class generally has the greatest variety in fun and decently viable LOD builds, but 99% of wizard players are now playing tal rasha meteor because it’s absolute godmode in S28.

Overall, if you want a full melee thorns build, then the invoker set is still your choice. All of your damage output is in your control, not relying on monsters to actually hit you constantly.

The same concept applies to the LOD bombardment build. You use boyarsky’s crip (legendary gem), and thorns rolls on your gear to delivery thorns damage through “barrel of spikes” bombardment casts, not by being hit directly. This build requires a lot of cooldown reduction (CDR), so it generally isn’t a good early season build idea. However, like all other crusader builds, the S28 altar benefits us strongly because one of the final altar nodes unlocks a potion power to give you an “empowered shrine” effect, which itself gives a big CDR bonus. You can have this bonus for an entire rift if you equip “gloves of worship” on your follower. This means that bombardment, which has a 60 second base cooldown on the tooltip, can be reduced to under 10 seconds with a variety of bonuses and the empowered shrine effect.

Shield Bash may have some limited viability, however due to how the game performs math involved in damage and the item affixes currently in game, this will likely place shield bash behind other builds.
Having said that, I currently farm GR105 easily using a shield bash build and am lacking some key items; Hellfire neck w Holy Cause, a primal ancient weapon, a 100+ Gogok, and a shield with even a half-decent block chance stat. I may also trade out justice lantern for Convention of Elements if my survivability remains acceptable.
An optimal shield bash build demands some funky theory crafting and a lot of trial and error. For some, that’s one of the most fun parts of the game. I encourage people who really want a competitive shield bash build to experiment.

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I found it most effective to just take Norvald’s + Ascendancy for this build.