Crusader Skill Rework Proposal

This proposal is about reworking two Utility skills on Crusaders’ arsenal. The most notable overall changes would be to turn Steed Charge into a channeled Wrath consuming skill, and make Phalanx a cooldown active-passive pet skill. Some items, a rune of another skill and a passive skill would also need to be adjusted to fit these changes.

  • None of the changes proposed should require creating or changing graphics, visuals, animations or models. The proposed changes are intended to only involve rewriting and coding some skills and items to make them work in a different way.

Base Skill (Physical)
Cost: 30 Wrath initially, and an additional 10 Wrath while channeling
Mount a celestial war horse that allows you to ride through enemies, deals 300% weapon damage as Physical while charging and has a 30% chance to Stun enemies for 2 seconds.

  • Costs Wrath and becomes channeled, instead of having a cooldown and limited duration. As a channeled skill, it should benefit from channeling focused items. All runes keep the base effects and add some more, none removes anything from the basic skill.
  • Speed remains the same, and that’s quite high for a channeled attack skill. This is what justifies the high Wrath cost over low damage. That, and feeding the war horse.
  • Immunity to control impairing effects and ability to move unhindered through Waller barriers are removed, but they remain on two different runes.
  • Added a base damage, lower than that of the similar skills Whirlwind and Tempest Rush. Damage would be dealt continuously like those other skills do, but since Steed Charge is faster, would deal damage to small enemies for shorter time.
  • There is no time limit other than Wrath available. With added initial cost taken from Rapid Fire, Wrath cost is high for a skill like this, higher in proportion than Whirlwind and Tempest Rush. The initial cost encourages long rides instead of shorter ones, which sounds optimal for horse charging.
  • Also added a chance to Stun to help dealing with enemies, taken from Phalanx - Stampede. An added reason to spend so much Wrath. The chance to stun should be ckecked every second for each enemy as long as they keep being hit. If stun works with Warhorse Avatars, why not make it work with Steed Charge? This makes both horse skills share a logical connection with reality, since getting hit by a charging war horse sounds like a really stunning experience.

Spiked Barding (Physical)
The war horse deals 500% of your Thorns every second to enemies through which you ride.

  • This rune remains unchanged, since it seems to be widely used among players. Works well with Thorns of the Invoker and other Thorns focused items and skills.

Nightmare (Fire)
The war horse is engulfed in righteous fire, scorching all who cross its path for 550% weapon damage per second as Fire.

  • The other unchanged rune of this skill. Doesn’t look like it needs any improvement, damage is high enough. It would work especially well with the changed Norvald’s Fervor set bonus combining it with Draw and Quarter.

Rejuvenation (Holy)
You recover 1% of your maximum Life per enemy hit.
You are immune to control impairing effects while riding.
Steed Charge’s damage turns into Holy.

  • Reworked the healing to match a channeled attack skill, instead of healing a fixed amount per cast. Should trigger each second for every enemy hit.
  • The amount of Life recovered should be enough in most cases to keep the Crusader healthy, especially with enough enemies to ride through. It could be doubled if combined with Holy Cause.
  • Added the original skill’s control immunity to make the rune more useful for defense and to prevent such a good feature to be missed in the new version of the skill.

Endurance (Lightning)
Reduce the initial Wrath cost to 20.
You can ride through walls summoned by Waller elites unhindered.
Steed Charge’s damage turns into Lightning.

  • Completely rebuilt this rune, since the original one increased skill duration from 2 to 3 seconds. To keep the aim of the rune to make the skill last 1 second longer, had the initial Wrath cost reduced, much like Rapid Fire - Withering Fire. These 10 Wrath should be worth at least 1 second of riding.
  • Added the original skill’s ability to smash Waller walls to prevent such a good feature to be missed in the new version of the skill. This matches the rune idea of charging for long, so inertia would help breaking such walls.
  • Turned rune damage to Lightning to allow better versatility. Lightning feels like it matches the idea of charging longer, spending less Wrath and breaking walls.

Draw and Quarter (Holy)
Bind 5 monsters near you with chains and drag them as you ride, dealing 370% weapon damage as Holy every second.

  • Just doubled the damage to make the rune stronger than basic skill’s charge. Doesn’t look like it needs more changes. It would work especially well with the changed Norvald’s Fervor set bonus combining it with Nightmare.
  • Binding monsters works similar to Immobilize, and dragging them is actual Knockback. Immune enemies wouldn’t be affected.

Norvald’s Fervor (2) Set
Steed Charge gains the effect of every rune.
Gain 200% increased damage while using Steed Charge and for 5 seconds after it ends.

  • Changed the first effect, because increased duration and improved reduction are no longer needed. Added one of the best legendary effects for any skill: 5 runes. The original runes were already compatible, and the changed ones are too.
  • Stacking runes should make Draw and Quarter work very well with Nightmare, dragging enemies by chains over a trail of fire. This is the reason why these two runes with apparent lesser utility haven’t been reworked, since they make a natural combo.
  • Skill element damage would be that of the selected rune. Additional damage sources from runes wouldn’t change elements: Spiked Barding’s Thorns would deal the same damage types as the Crusader’s Thorns (normally Physical), Nightmare’s fiery effect remains Fire, and Draw and Quarter binding chains remain Holy.
  • The second effect remains unchanged, it is very useful and the new version of the skill would benefit more from it.

Reduces the Wrath cost of Steed Charge by 25% and increases its damage by [275 - 350]%.

  • Effect changed to make Steed Charge last longer, as the original effect did. Originally thought to just reduce cost by 40-50% like Piro Marella, but this high cost reduction felt unbalanced, so it had to be halved. Increased damage was added to compensate. This amount of damage increase feels right. The affix is taken from Gyrfalcon’s Foote, with changes on cost reduction.

Mantle of Channeling
While channeling Siphon Blood, Whirlwind, Steed Charge, Rapid Fire, Strafe, Tempest Rush, Firebats, Arcane Torrent, Disintegrate, or Ray of Frost, you deal [20 - 25]% increased damage and take 25% reduced damage.

  • Added Steed Charge to the list of channeled skills. Crusaders would finally be able to use such a good item with the changes on Steed Charge.

Hexing Pants of Mr. Yan
Your resource generation and damage is increased by 25% while moving and decreased by [20 - 25]% while standing still.

  • Effect not changed. These pants increase Steed Charge damage, since it’s a movement based skill. With the skill gaining more damage, they just become more useful.

Gain [2.00 +0.04 per level]% increased damage for 1.5 seconds when you spend resource on a channeled skill. This effect stacks up to 10 times.
Level 25: Gain 2.0% increased Armor for every stack.

  • Effects not changed. Steed Charge becoming a channeled resource spending skill allows it to benefit from Taeguk, so Crusaders would now find a good use for this gem.

Base Skill (Physical)
Cooldown: 30 seconds
Active: The Avatars charge to the targeted destination for a minimum of 40 yards. Enemies caught in their charge paths take 490% weapon damage as Physical.
Passive: Summon 4 Avatars of the Order to protect you and fight by your side. Each Avatar will attack for 100% of your weapon damage as Physical. When an Avatar dies, another is summoned after 5 seconds.

  • Wrath cost removed, cooldown set to 30 seconds like the old version of Bodyguard rune.
  • Skill turned into active-passive pet skill. All runes keep both base effects and improve them, none removes anything from the basic skill.
  • This skill uses Avatar pets for both the passive and active effects. There are 3 types of Avatars, and each effect tells which kinds of Avatars it involves.
    • Effects referring just to Avatars or all Avatars affect all 3 types.
    • Avatars of the Order are the most common type, they look like male Crusaders equipped with plate armor, a Short Sword and a Royal Shield. Avatars of the Order are also the temporary Avatars that can be summoned through other ways other than Phalanx: Baleful Remnant and Falling Sword - Rise Brothers.
    • Bowman Avatars look like Avatars of the Order, but equip a bow and are only summoned with the Bowmen rune.
    • Warhorse Avatars are armored horses looking similar to Steed Charge’s, but unmounted, and can only be summoned with the Stampede rune.
  • Active effect is a rework from the original base skill. Now makes the Avatars charge the target point from their individual locations, running at the same speed as the current base skill. Each of them makes a charge and deals damage, and these charges and damages would be able to intersect and stack. If they charge for less than 40 yards when reaching the target, they keep charging until they have run this distance, given enough space. This minimum charge distance is the maximum reach of the original skill, and the remaining charge distances after the target point would help keep the Avatars scattered and create star-like shapes of intersecting charges. This combined attack should be very versatile and potentially much more powerful, depending on how many Avatars would charge, and from where.
  • Passive effect summons 4 permanent Avatars of the Order, and summons replacements for any Avatars summoned by Phalanx if they die. This is a similar effect as the original Bodyguard rune when combined with all Unrelenting Phalanx, Warhelm of Kassar and Eternal Union, but permanent, Wrath free and without need to keep summoning them.
  • Active skill damage remains nominally the same, but stacking charges of different Avatars can multiply it many times on the target area.
  • Passive skill damage seems good enough for Avatars. Their main task while not charging is engaging enemies and keeping them busy, which is what the original Bodyguard rune did. They don’t need higher damage to do that, and raising it would be unbalanced if compared to base damage of other passive pets.
  • Avatars of the Order coming from any source would benefit from passive effects of runes, charge with the active skill and apply rune effects of the charge. This includes those Avatars of the Order passively summoned by Phalanx and those coming from Falling Sword - Rise Brothers and Baleful Remnant’s effects.
  • Phalanx would now be a skill fully based on pets, so any bonuses to pet damage, speed and resistance would benefit both the passive and active Phalanx skill and its runes.

Bowmen (Fire)
Active: When other Avatars charge, Bowmen shoot rapid piercing fire to the charge target for 2 seconds, dealing 490% weapon damage as Fire.
Passive: Summon an additional 2 Bowman Avatars that wield bows and attack enemies, dealing 100% weapon damage as Fire. Bowman Avatars don’t charge with the active skill.
Gain 1 Wrath every time a Bowman Avatar deals damage.

  • Reworked the rune to get 2 permanent Bowman Avatars added to the usual Avatars of the Order. Original rune was visually cool, but even managing to get 8 Bowmen with lower cooldown than duration, they are useless at best, and even become annoying when focusing on Thorns and Blocking. These 2 should be more useful than the old 8 of them.
  • Added Wrath generation to Bowman Avatars’ shots to make the rune really useful. 1 Wrath per attack feels like it is enough for this skill, since Bowmen are quite fast at shooting, and Wrath already generates some points every second. This idea is taken from Call of the Ancients - Ancients’ Fury.
  • Added rapid piercing fire to the active skill. Bowman Avatars would perform Rapid Fire like Demon Hunter’s. Rapid piercing fire would be aimed to the target point of the active charge, and would still generate Wrath when doing damage. Piercing was added to ensure the arrows can hit enemies at the target, allows arrows to generate more Wrath, and also matches well with other Avatars’ piercing charges.
  • Active skill damage of Bowman Avatars is the same as charge damage from other Avatars. Piercing Rapid Fire would make it hit faster and potentially affect more enemies.
  • 2 seconds of rapid piercing fire should be enough to make it last for the entire charge of the Avatars of the Order. Making the Bowman Avatars concentrate fire for longer would not always be useful.
  • Turned rune damage to Fire to allow better versatility. Fire feels like it matches concepts with Bowmen shots, Rapid Fire and Wrath generation.
  • Bowman Avatars’ rapid piercing fire is the only visual effect that should be added to the Crusader’s skills in order to implement the proposed changes, but shouldn’t be very hard, hopefully: it could use the same projectile visual animation as Demon Hunter’s Rapid Fire basic skill or Withering Fire rune, and the Bowman Avatars could simply be animated to attack very fast.

Shield Charge (Lightning)
Active: The Avatars charge the target, pushing there all enemies caught in their charges. Avatars of the Order perform a shield bash at the target location, each dealing an additional 180% weapon damage as Lightning.
Passive: The Avatars of the Order have a 10% chance on every attack to perform a shield bash, dealing 100% of your weapon damage as Lighting and knocking back all monsters hit.

  • Reworked the rune to improve the original effect. Now Avatars of the Order gain a chance to perform a shield bash when attacking normally, Avatars push enemies to the target point, and Avatars of the Order perform an extra attack there, concentrating lots of damage on more targets at the place.
  • Avatars push enemies up to the target point, and no further if they keep charging. This push is actually knockback, and immune enemies wouldn’t be pushed.
  • The shield bash from the active charge should affect a small area around the target point. Damage of active shield bash remains the same as the original rune, but each Avatar deals it and they stack.
  • The passive effect is a chance for Avatars of the Order to deal a shield bash, using the same animation as the active one. This bash deals usual passive amount of damage in a small area like that of the active skill. It also knocks back enemies affected, which could be helpful to scatter the Avatars around and allow them to charge from different places. This knockback effect is taken from Shield Bash - One on One.
  • A 10% chance of shield bash can seem low, but many more than 4 Avatars of the Order can be active at the same time, and this 10% could already allow one or more of them to knock back enemies every second.
  • Turned rune damage to Lightning to allow better versatility. Lightning feels like it matches the idea of stacking damage in one place and knocking back enemies hit.

Stampede (Physical)
Active: Warhorse Avatars also charge the target for a minimum of 60 yards.
Passive: Summon an additional 2 Warhorse Avatars that charge freely through enemies for 100% weapon damage as Physical and have a 30% chance to stun them for 2 seconds.

  • Reworked the rune keeping its original idea of Warhorse Avatars stunning enemies hit. Now adds 2 Warhorses to the permanent Avatars of the Order the skill summons, makes Warhorses charge continuously for base passive damage, gives them permanent chance to stun, and commands them to charge along with the Avatars of the Order for their same damage, but for longer distance.
  • 20 extra minimum yards for Warhorse Avatars’ active charge sounds like a good idea that matches with the concept of a stampede, which should be something chaotic.
  • The passive chance to stun while charging to the target is also applied with the active skill, but only for Warhorse Avatars.
  • The permanent Warhorse Avatars always charge through enemies at normal charge speed, but dealing usual passive damage. They should preferably charge towards a close enemy not recently charged through.
  • Warhorses should perform a permanent stampede, being unable to change directions abruptly or turn their charge paths at sharp angles. To turn around in tight dungeons without enough space to charge around they should stop to turn on the place, not charging neither stunning enemies while doing so. This should prevent them from hitting a single strong enemy too fast in both big and tight places, which would activate too many stuns.
  • The chance to stun and duration is the same as the original rune. This, combined with the constant charge, would allow Warhorses to stun some enemies at any place during a fight, making the stampede useful but hard to control, and really chaotic.
  • 2 Warhorse Avatars seem enough to make this rune very useful for its stuns. A stampede of just 2 horses is a small one, but adding more would be very unbalanced for the other runes, and too unfair from the point of view of Burning Hells’ minions.

Shield Bearers (Physical)
Active: All Avatars deal an additional 200% of your Thorns while attacking the target area.
Passive: All Avatars gain 100% of your Thorns.

  • This rune has been completely reworked, since standing Avatars blocking the enemies’ movement aren’t incompatible with the concept of a phalanx charging. And not very useful as an attack either. Instead, a mechanism familiar for Crusaders has been added to the new version of this skill: Thorns. This doesn’t mismatch the rune’s name too much.
  • Now all Avatars would benefit from the Crusader’s Thorns and hurt any enemies hitting them, which is the only way to make them compatible with Thorns focused builds like Thorns of the invoker.
  • Additionally, the active attack gets Thorns added to its damage, which could be insignificant in builds not relying on Thorns at all, or awesomely mighty on Thorns builds. Each Avatar would be able to add great Thorns damage to their active attack, and these of course would stack when intersecting.
  • The amount of Thorns for both the passive and active effect seems right like this. Passive thorns damage could be lowered if it proved to be too high. Active thorns added to attack could also be adjusted if needed, but should be kept higher than 100% to keep this rune more effective than just using Hack, which adds 100% of Thorns to all attacks.

Bodyguard (Holy)
Active: Increase the damage of all Avatars to 560% weapon damage as Holy.
Passive: Increase number of Avatars of the Order summoned by 2. The Avatars deal 130% weapon damage as Holy with each attack.

  • This rune has been reworked to plainly increase the base skill’s effectiveness. Since the original rune just summoned 2 Avatars of the Order, and the whole reworked skill is based on this, the rune needed to get something useful added, and plain damage increase can be certainly useful.
  • The active damage increase matches the old rune’s base damage. Each charge would deal more damage, and stacking many stronger charges when intersecting would be even better.
  • The 2 extra Avatars of the Order would add extra charges to the active skill and fight along with their other Avatar brothers with the passive skill, substantially increasing damage.
  • The passive damage increase should not be something very useful, but could be a bit of extra help. It is proportionally higher than active damage increase, and increasing it further would be very unfair for other passive summon skills, especially having already added more Avatars.
  • Turned rune damage to Holy to allow better versatility. Holy feels like it matches the idea of getting more Avatars and making them stronger.

Baleful Remnant
Enemies killed while Akarat’s Champion is active turn into Avatars of the Order for 10 seconds.

  • This effect needs a bit of rework to make its Avatars compatible with Phalanx. The temporary Avatars of the Order should deal the same base damage as those summoned by Phalanx, make them charge when commanded, and allow them to benefit from any selected rune effects, including element damage change, passive and active skill effects, and other enhancements to Phalanx.
  • If Phalanx is not in use, it should just summon the Avatars, which would still deal Phalanx’s base passive damage as Physical, and wouldn’t be able to charge.
  • Baleful Remnant alone could make the new version of Phalanx work amazingly well with Armor of Akkhan, summoning a bunch of temporary additional Avatars to fight foes and charge the target when commanded, greatly multiplying the active skill’s damage and effects.

Unrelenting Phalanx
Phalanx gains the effect of every rune.

  • Changed the effect for something even better than doubling Avatars: all 5 runes. They have been reworked to be compatible and have an effect not much different from old Unrelenting Phalanx when combined.
  • Just equipping Unrelenting Phalanx makes Phalanx summon 6 Avatars of the Order, 2 Bowman Avatars and 2 Warhorse Avatars. That’s 10 permanent Avatars, more than the old version of this shield could do in any case. Each diferent kind of Avatars would benefit from some effects of the runes:
    • All Avatars, even temporary ones, would benefit from Shield Bearers and Bodyguard active and passive effects.
    • Avatars of the Order, even temporary ones, would also benefit from Shield Charge active and passive effects.
    • Bowman Avatars would also benefit from Bowmen active and passive effects.
    • Warhorse Avatars would also benefit from Stampede active and passive effects, and Shield Charge’s first active effect of pushing enemies, but not of the shield bash.
  • Skill element damage would be that of the selected rune. All Avatars would deal the same kind of damage with their base attacks and active skill. Only Shield Bearers’ passive effect would make all Avatars deal Thorns damage of the same element as Crusader’s Thorns (normally Physical), even if the Avatars deal different element damage with their attacks.

Warhelm of Kassar
Reduce the cooldown and increase the damage of Phalanx by [45 - 60]%.

  • This helm doesn’t need any change to keep being greatly useful, since it adds a few damage and reduces cooldown greatly.
  • Cooldown reduction used to benefit only Bowmen and Bodyguard runes. The reworked active skill always gets a cooldown, so the reduction would be useful for every rune.
  • Any Avatars would benefit from this damage bonus for both the active and passive skill effects, even those summoned by Baleful Remnant or Falling Sword - Rise Brothers.

Tasker and Theo
Increase attack speed of your pets by [40 - 50]%.

  • This item doesn’t need any change to keep being useful for Phalanx. It would increase all Avatar’s passive attack speed, making them more effective at dealing damage and triggering effects.
    • Bowmen’s active rapid piercing fire and passive arrow shots would benefit from increased attack speed.
    • Shield Charge’s active and passive shield bashes would benefit from increased attack speed.
  • Charges from the active skill and passive Stampede effect wouldn’t be affected, since they hit once each enemy they get through while charging, and charge speed wouldn’t be increased by these gloves. This could be changed, though, to also include these charging attacks.

Eternal Union
Increases the damage and duration of all Avatars by 200%.

  • This item’s unique affix had to be reworked, since only increased duration of Avatars, and now Phalanx makes them permanent. It still increases duration for temporary Avatars.
  • Damage increase was added to make it useful for Phalanx as well. It should increase damage done by all Avatars and also the active skill and active runes.
  • This amount of damage increase shouldn’t be too high on most cases, since Phalanx has to compete with other attacks like Condemn with huge amounts of damage increase from items. Anyway, if it proved to be overpowered, this damage increase could be halved.

Increase the damage of your pets by [15.00 +0,3 per level]%.
Level 25: Your pets take 90% less damage.

  • This gem doesn’t need any change to be effective with Phalanx. With the changes proposed, it would enhance all damage done by Phalanx, not just Bowmen and Bodyguard old runes. All Avatars would deal incresed damage with both their normal passive attacks and the active skill’s charges and rapid piercing fire.
  • Damage reduction for Avatars can be very useful when combined with Shield Bearers and a nice Thorns build.

Rise Brothers (Physical)
You land with such force that 4 Avatars of the Order are summoned forth to fight by your side for 10 seconds.

  • This rune needs a bit of rework to make its Avatars compatible with Phalanx. The temporary Avatars of the Order should deal the same base damage as those summoned by Phalanx, make them charge when commanded, and allow them to benefit from any selected rune effects, including element damage change, passive and active skill effects, and other enhancements to Phalanx.
  • If Phalanx is not in use, it should just summon the Avatars, which would still deal Phalanx’s base passive damage as Physical, and wouldn’t be able to charge.
  • To compensate for the damage reduction, Avatars were increased to 4 and duration to 10 seconds. This would make this rune work much better with Phalanx.

The cooldown of Akarat’s Champion is reduced by 25% and Bombardment by 35%.
Damage dealt by Steed Charge and Phalanx is increased 20%.

  • Reworked this passive skill to adjust it to the changes on Steed Charge and Phalanx. Now both these skills deal 20% more damage, since Steed Charge no longer has a cooldown, and Phalanx’s cooldown can be greatly reduced with Warhelm of Kassar.
  • Akarat’s Champion gets the cooldown reduction formerly assigned to Steed Charge. This should be very useful for builds relying on this skill, especially with Armor of Akkhan. Since the reworks on Steed Charge and Phalanx have been done to match this armor set better, it just felt natural to add a bit of help with Akarat’s Champion’s cooldown. This would make Lord Commander an even better option for some builds.
  • Bombardment’s cooldown reduction hasn’t been changed, since it would allow interesting combinations with the other skills and especially with Thorns of the Invoker, since the three attacks this passive skills benefits have runes specialised in Thorns damage.

The aim of the proposed changes is to compensate several lacks that Crusader players can find. Here are some of the reasons that led to imagine this rebuild:

  • Crusaders don’t have a Channeled skill, so can’t benefit from Mantle of Channeling and Taeguk. The changes on Steed Charge would fix this, and greatly improve usability and control of the skill, making it more versatile and useful for offensive purposes further than Spiked Barding with Thorns of the Invoker.
  • To use Steed Charge well enough in combat, now it’s required to use Norvald’s Fervor and Swiftmount, and find enough weak monsters to kill fast in order to keep cooldown low enough. This makes the skill less useful against single high resistant enemies, a situation where good skills and builds really shine.
  • Phalanx looks like a fun and useful skill, but currently it has little to none practical use in any of the five major armor sets. Damage can only get significant with Armor of Akkhan, but it isn’t close to the best skill options for this set. Shield Charge, Stampede and Shield Bearers runes are never better options than other Wrath consuming skills, even when wearing all Phalanx enhancing items. Bowmen and Bodyguard runes are already virtually permanent with Warhelm of Kassar and Eternal Union, but the skill has to be cast often and that’s annoying. And even with these items and Unrelenting Phalanx, the Avatars are still too weak to be useful at all on high levels of Torment.
  • The armor sets Thorns of the Invoker and Armor of Akkhan as they currently are would be able to exploit these changes better than the current versions of the skills: both sets generate lots of Wrath for Steed Charge to spend, there is a Thorns rune on both skills for Thorns of the Invoker to use, and Phalanx would finally fit well in a couple of major builds.
  • Phalanx and its runes only deal Physical damage, and Steed Charge doesn’t have a rune for Lightning. This makes planning builds harder for players who like to stack elemental damage bonuses.