Tuesday 9 June 2015

Support Crusader 55+ 4-man GRift Beginner's Guide

I've been doing a lot of pugging in 55-65 GRifts lately and the most common thing I see are poorly played support Crusaders. No RG lockdown, letting mobs pick off their teammates, constantly worried about only running ahead and getting themselves killed -- They end up being a huge burden to the team. I mostly play support Crusader in 4-mans and it pains me to see Crusaders not reach their (incredible) potential in groups.

IMO, the support Crusader in a standard high 4 man GRift setup is the most important person in the group. I also think it's by far the most difficult build to play in our current 4-man meta. You are the quarterback of your team. Success or failure will ride on your shoulders. And it won't be easy.

In terms of a general build and gear loadout, you can check out this guide on DFans:http://www.diablofans.com/builds/56097-rift-guardian-stun-crusader-for-gr-65-group-play. I won't re-iterate everything in that guide but I want to present something for beginners.

Remember, this is a beginners build/gear loadout. If you're an advanced support Crusader, you certainly don't need tips from me.

This guide assumes you're running with a zDPS WD and that you're pushing progression (not speed farming).

  • Skill 1: Shield Bash - Pound. Used in conjuction with Roland 2pc to provide 100% Blind uptime on any mob. Pound is used specifically because of it's 1.0 proc coefficient (to keep Gogok stacks up).
  • Skill 2: Steed Charge - Draw and Quarter
  • Skill 3: Shield Glare - Zealous Glare. You'll need the Wrath if your gear isn't perfect. You can eventually change Zealous Glare to Divine Verdict once you can fully lock down RGs without the Wrath generated from ZG.
  • Skill 4: Laws of Valor - Critical
  • Skill 5: Judgement - Resolved
  • Skill 6: Akarat's Champion - Prophet
  • Passive 1: Fervor
  • Passive 2: Indestructible
  • Passive 3: Long Arm of the Law
  • Passive 4: Towering Shield

Pretty standard stuff here.


Sets bonuses utilized:
  • 3pc Born's - Sword, shoulders, chest. Pick 2.
  • 2pc Roland's - Gloves, chest, shoulders. Pick 2.
  • 3pc Captain Crimson's - Belt and pants.

Sample gear loadout with important stats:
  • Helm: Leoric's Crown (Vit, All Res, Life%, Socket)
  • Amulet: Xepherian (Vit, RCR, CDR, Socket)
  • Shoulders: Born's (Vit/Life%, All Res, CDR, RCR)
  • Chest: Roland's (Vit, All Res, Reduced Elite Damage, 3xSockets)
  • Gloves: Roland's (Vit, All Res, RCR, CDR)
  • Wrists: Drakon's Lesson (Vit, All Res, Str, Armor)
  • Belt: Capt. Crimson's (Str, Vit, All Res, Life%)
  • Pants: Capt. Crimson's (Vit, All Res, Armor, 3xSockets)
  • Boots: Illusory Boots (Vit, All Res, Str, Armor)
  • Ring 1: RoRG (Str, LoH/IAS, CDR, Socket)
  • Ring 2: Manald Heal (Vit, CDR, RCR, Socket)
  • Weapon: Born's (Vit, RCR, CDR, Socket optional)
  • Shield: The Final Witness (Vit, RCR, CDR, Wrath Regen)

  • Gogok (mandatory for CDR)
  • Esoteric
  • Efficacious Toxin / Gizzard / Trapped / etc.

Your top priority is CDR followed by RCR and Wrath Regen. All else comes secondary to this until you reach the point where you can keep an RG completely Blind-locked. Manald Heal is used because it's unique property is resource regeneration. Drakon's Lesson is used in this beginner's build to help with Wrath issues vs. single target. Swiftmount is not used in this build in favor of Capt. Crimson (10% CDR, RCR) to aid in gearing.


In a 4 man high Grift group, there's 3 main "positions": Backline (where your DPS are), center (where your WD is positioned), and forward (unexplored path ahead of you). Within that context, here are your priorities as your team's support Crusader:
  1. Keep the WD alive. If the WD dies, everything will go to shit instantly. Your top priority upon reaching a new pack is to check the forward/flank position for ranged/charging mobs (archers, exorcists) that can hit your WD in the center.
  2. Keep the DPS alive. If your DPS dies, you won't beat the timer. As soon as you ensure your WD's safety, it's time to turn your attention to the backline. Check behind them for stray mobs, any mobs to their perpendicular, and especially any ranged mobs that aren't feared. Smart DPS will park themselves into a corner with their backs to a wall. Dumb DPS will stand in between doorways and hallway intersections and take many spears to the face. Unfortunately, your job is to protect both types.
  3. Pack up the group. This is especially true if you're playing with Slowball DHs. Just because the mobs are loosely grouped around the WD doesn't mean your job is done. Drag the guys on the edge of the radius to the middle. Drag mobs THROUGH and ONTO the Lightning Ball line while positioning them.
  4. Keep your buffs on the group. So the mobs are packed in and the DPS are going to town. Your job now ISN'T to run off and pull a crapload of extra shit no one asked for. Keep your buffs up at least until the mob group is nearly dead. Remember that one of the reasons Crusaders are considered exceptionally strong support are their group buffs. Use them! Unless:
  5. If you're fighting mobs with substantial HP pools, now is the time to consider pulling more back into the pile. High HP elites or packs are good candidates to pull extra mobs back towards. If you don't expect the group of mobs to live long, for the love of god, please don't play fetch with more!
  6. As the current group is about 4-5 seconds from dying, scout the next group. Approach the next set of mobs and remember to PULL MOBS FORWARD TO THE NEXT GROUP, NOT BACK. If you run into 3 mobs, pull them right into the next set. Don't waste your DPS's time by fighting stragglers. Just pull them up into the next group or skip them entirely. Most pug Crusaders I see act like Golden Retrievers in a field of tennis balls; They are way too eager to play fetch and subsequently get their team killed (or at least annoyed).

The big takeaway here is that pulling new mobs is YOUR LOWEST PRIORITY COMPARED TO KEEPING YOUR TEAM SAFE. I see so many newbie Crusaders just rush ahead while their team behind them is getting killed, bringing back a Reflect elite and 3 anarchs with him. Make sure your group is safe first ALWAYS.

When you identify a threat (a ranged mob priming up a spear for your WD or a straggler that got loose and is making it's way to your backline), do the following:
  1. If the mob is beyond Shield Glare range, SHIELD BASH TO IT. Do NOT Steed Charge to it or you risk pulling mobs currently around you out of position.
  2. Once in range, BLIND IT.
  3. Only after the mob is blinded and neutralized, DRAG IT IN.

Shield Bash is a fucking amazing mobility tool and will teleport you to any monster on-screen. Think of it as WoW Warrior's Charge or Intercept. Use it to close the gap.

When shit goes sideways

Sometimes you enter an open area and you're absolutely surrounded by archers and anarchs. Your WD sets up but there's about 10 mobs to the east that he can't reach (even running laps in a circle like any good WD should), so what do you do?

Remember that you have the capability to perma-CC in a screen-wide radius as well. Charge (with Shield Bash) into the middle of the un-feared group and keep them perma-Blinded to prevent them from shooting/moving. Drag as many back using Steed Charge and immediately charge back into them (again, using Shield Bash!) to re-apply Blind. Keep doing that until all the mobs are grouped. The jist is that you can control an area of mobs separate from the WD. This is also useful when you scout ahead and run into a huge pack or elites.


You'll use a simple Glare>Bash>Glare>... cycle to perma-Blind any mob in the game, RGs and bosses included. A few key things to note:
  • Both Glare and Bash use an attack animation. Therefore blindly mashing both (or macroing them to autofire) will seriously screw up your ability to perma-Blind. You absolutely need to Glare>Bash>repeat and Bashing twice before a Glare will see the RG breaking perma-Blind.
  • Law and Akarat's Champion do NOT use an attack animation. It's safe to macro these into your Glare or setup as autofire.
  • Judgement DOES use an attack turn. If you're new to support Crusader, stick to Glare>Bash>repeat with Law/Prophet sprinkled in. Throwing in Judgement will fuck with your timing. Once you get really good at boss control, you can think about weaving in Judgement to your Glare>Bash rotation.
  • Bash costs 30 Wrath so stacking RCR/Wrath regen/using Drakon's Lesson or Divine Verdict is critical to this build, second only to CDR.

I hope this is useful to someone. Remember that playing a good support Crusader is really fucking hard and pugs are unforgiving but you'll feel like Joe fuckin' Montana when you help your team hit their new 4-man personal best. Practice practice practice!