Leviathan's "Zoosader" Crusader

Leviathan's "Zoosader" Crusader

The Crusader's background and history certainly played a role in the development of her abilities. For example, as members of a divine martial order, Crusaders are never truly alone and can trust their companions to have their backs in battle. This idea manifests in skills like Phalanx, Bombardment, Akarat's Champion, and Steed Charge

Today, Leviathan#1356 shares a build that capitalizes on these stalwart associates, with a tendency for big bursts and rapid resource regeneration.

About the Build:

It's been said that sometimes the best defense is a good offense, and Leviathan's "Zoosader" build epitomizes this anecdote. Phalanx takes the forefront in this set of skills, and additional pet summons from complimentary items such as Haunt of Vaxo and the Asheara's Vestments allow the Crusader to summon a contingent of troops to stand by her side in combat. 

In addition to allies, this build also focuses on quick and effective burst damage. "The goal is to have access to area-of-effect (AOE) skills at all times to clear trash mobs quickly and then to utilize sustained burst to take down Elite packs before they ever have a chance to overwhelm us," Leviathan writes in. "Many people believe that the key to Hardcore is a strong defense, but I'd maintain that having just as strong an offense is essential, too."

My own Crusader has also been experimenting as a Zoosader this week!

To support this burst-oriented play, Leviathan focuses on high resource regeneration by utilizing one-handed weapons and selecting skills with short cooldowns, ensuring that these big push moments come in regular strides. After all, the less your enemies have the option to target you, the less damage there is to mitigate.

The Skills:

Before we get too far into the details, it should be noted this build was submitted before Patch 2.0.5 went live earlier this week. As a result, while I've preserved the original build below, I've also added comments regarding recent changes that reflect how this week's patch affects its concept and execution.

Active Skills:

  • Justice (Burst)
    • Primary Wrath generator
    • Reliably procs thematic items, such as Haunt of Vaxo and the 4 Set bonus from Asheara’s Vestments 
    • Provides additional crowd control with a minor stun
  • Fist of the Heavens (Retribution)
    • Primary AoE damage dealer
    • Primary (and only) Wrath spender
    • Allows the Crusader to maintain range from his enemies while dealing substantial damage
    • Has a little more control over AoE damage direction than other offerings
  • Steed Charge (Ramming Speed)
    • Can serve as a great fight initiator
    • Primarily serves as a method of re-positioning out of hairy situations
  • Phalanx (Bowmen)
    • Short cooldowns are preferable and play well with Akarat’s Champion available
      • Note: This skill functions differently as of patch 2.0.5
        • Rather than Akarat's Champion regularly resetting the cooldown on Phalanx (Bowmen) over time, it now allows rapid use of the skill back to back 
        • This results in a much larger singular burst of wave clearing power, leaving less to chance than its previous iteration
    • Compliments a ranged play style
    • Serves as one of the many companions integral to the build's theme
  • Laws of Valor (Critical)
    • High attack speed supports rapid resource regeneration
    • Critical Hit Damage builds on bursty aspects and compliments Phalanx damage
    • Additional attacks increase the likelihood of regular affix procs
  • Akarat's Champion (Rally)
    • A great damage and resource generator for big burst moments
    • Offers extreme cooldown reduction to encourage regular use of short cooldown skills
      • Note: This skill functions differently as of patch 2.0.5
        • Rather than Akarat’s Champion regularly resetting cooldowns regularly, it now allows rapid use of these skills back to back 
        • This results in a much larger singular burst of wave clearing power, leaving less to chance than its previous iteration
    • Offers excellent utility by breaking crowd control effects; extremely valuable in Hardcore as a result

Passive Skills:
Passives in this build offer much more in terms of customization. As a result the skills listed below are suggestions and not mandatory in order for the build to be successful.

  • Righteousness
    • Additional resource regeneration ensures Fist of the Heavens can always be at use between cooldowns
  • Lord Commander
    • Vastly increases the damage output of Phalanx
    • Helps ensure Steed Charge is regularly available for tough combats
  • Finery
    • A well-rounded supplement to damage
  • Blunt
    • Synergizes with the main resource generator to provide just a bit more damage
  • Fervor
    • Patch 2.0.5 brought a major revision to this passive, and this works well with the intent of favoring one-handed weapons in Leviathan's build. 
    • Additional attack speed and cooldown reduction compliment many other skills.
    • Recommended to swap out with either Blunt or Righteousness.

The Items:

The Zoosader is a social creature, and needs all the friends she can get to fight alongside her! The recommended items below offer her a veritable menagerie of assistance and help her survive the toughest of rumbles, while burst play is supported through additional resource regeneration options.

Sadly, Leviathan’s original Zoosader has been laid to rest, but here’s a glance at this fallen hero's equipment!

Core Items:
While not mandatory to function, the additional survivability offered by these items as well as their minion-focused affixes help for the foundation for this build.

  • Asheara's Vestments
    • Four piece bonus brings your followers into the fray, who can tank some of those nasty hits for you
    • As a crafted set, a bit easier to gear towards and acquire, and a great place to start
  • Haunt of Vaxo
    • Shadow clones provided by this item offer wonderful stun utility

Complementary Items:

These items compliment the core items, and mostly focus on increasing efficiency.

  • Reaper's Wraps
    • As a crafted item, a bit easier to gear toward and a good place to start
    • Offers excellent resource regeneration for any class
  • Ring of Royal Grandeur
    • While a highly coveted item in general, this build can make use of a lot of set items, making this bauble that much more valuable
  • Aughild's Authority
    • Three Piece bonus offers strong survivability in Nephalem Rifts 
    • A sure go-to for any Hardcore character

Recommended Stats:
Specific items are less of a concern with this build, and can be filled in for by focusing on the following stats:

  • As a pet build, Critical Hit Damage scales wonderfully and drastically improves the performance of Phalanx (Bowmen) 
  • Attack speed provides not only much-desired DPS, but indirect Resource Regeneration
  • +Physical or +Lightning damage both prove beneficial, but are less required due to the used skills being split between elemental types
  • +Damage bonus to specific skills, such as Phalanx, Fist of the Heavens, and Justice, should also be sought

Recommended Difficulty and Game Mode:

When this build was submitted, Leviathan was regularly using it in Hardcore and farming Torment III on his own. Certainly, with the appropriate levels of Damage and Toughness, Zoosader can hold its ground in any difficulty (and any game mode), and flourishes when tackling challenges from Bounties or Nephalem Rifts.

Brave Zoosader Buffy tackled a variety of challenges before falling in combat.

Of course, we always recommend taking careful steps, especially in Hardcore, when trying something new. Be sure to feel out where your gear level is before diving headfirst into any build!

Why We Like This Build:

Pet-based builds can be really appealing for a number of reasons. Not only is it cool to have a cadre of companions following along, but the Crusader makes for a thematically strong commander. Also, while the Crusader herself is a tough, imposing force to be reckoned with, having an army following alongside her and supporting her along the way just makes her all the more intimidating.

The burst aspect of this build is equally appealing, as it provides a sense of rhythmic play, something that I personally enjoy. Jumping headlong into danger is very intimidating for many players who are new to Hardcore, but knowing this type of playstyle is both feasible and viable can assuage some of those concerns.

Also, it brings you loot. *Note: Does not actually increase your chances of loot.*

I've had a lot of fun experimenting with this build on my own Crusader. If you'd like to see it in action, tune in to tonight's livestream, I'll be playing it all day!

Tell Us What You Think!

Leviathan's Zoosader is a slight concept twist on a character you might not have imagined. Pets are usually the realm of Witch Doctors and Demon Hunters, but the Crusader has the ability to dip her toe in that pool and propser. A thematic build that's both conceptually and mechanically sound, the Zoosader works as advertised and performs admirably.

Are you ready to share your thoughts? What would you change if you had a Zoosader? Have you already given it a shot, and want to share your findings? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to send me your builds at TheorycraftThursday@blizzard.com.  I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what you've got to share after Patch 2.0.5 and beyond!