Thorns Build Now Very Viable in Reaper of Souls Strategy

Diablo 3 big ideas guy Monstrous has created a large post and video showing his Crusader’s gear and build in some hot fresh Reaper of Souls strategy. He’s running with a ton of DiabloWikiThorns gear, and dominating! In the first half of the video you see him laughing his way through Torment difficulty, killing off everything in sight without even throwing a punch. The killing gets even faster in the second half of the vid, when he adds another legendary item and starts hitting the monsters, adding more damage to their self-inflicted ouchies.

This build requires some very specialized gear to deal the huge Thorns damage, plus high hit points and resistances and blocking to keep from dying while standing around, completely surrounded by enemies. A quote from his forum post:

Here are the 6 key pieces of gear needed to create the build:

  • Thorns Set (helm, shoulders, gloves) – (4 set bonus) Your Thorns damage now hits all enemies in 15 yards.
  • Sanguinary Vambraces – Chance on being hit to deal 1000% of your thorns damage to nearby enemies.
  • One handed Thorns Axe – Your Thorns damage is applied to every attack.
  • Ring of Royal Grandeur – Reduces the number of items needed for set bonuses by 1.
  • The key here is the Ring of Royal Grandeur which lets me replace the Thorns Set bracers with the Sanguary Vambracers.

    The issue for many players using a Thorns build is always the “I’ll be bored just standing around waiting for enemies to die!” I had that issue trying it in D2 on a Thorns Paladin or an Iron Maiden Necromancer, but some players enjoyed it. I think the WD would be great for this in D3 since some of the pet abilities tack on their own Thorns damage as well, and it’ll be interesting to see if someone can find the items required with INT on them.

    This sort of build appeal to you guys? Even if you don’t want to play it, just knowing that this sort of variant is possible is a good step in the direction of more varied builds in the game, eh?


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    1. Pretty cool, but I don’t think any of those important modifiers would apply to a WD’s pets with Fierce Loyalty. I really hope we do see one or two viable pet-centric builds, with or without thorns. That’s what I miss most from D2.

      • Ditto. I really, really want a “horde” build for WD. I was thinking, it would be cool to have a leg / set group that’s targeted toward building an army of Zombie Dogs – say, that raises the cap on active dogs to 10 or so, and has a chance to summon an additional dog every time you crit.

    2. Nerf inc in 3..2..1.. (becouse it’s too funny and apparently in single player game with co-op future balance matters..)

      • I don’t think it needs to be nerfed all that much, if at all. The CB procs are an inconsistency given that nothing else works with Thorns. However, this build requires 6 specific Legendaries, which you may not find at all, especially when the Legendary drop chances will be reduced (if you didn’t know, their drop rate has been increased for the beta for testing purposes). I think it’s absolutely fine to allow facerolling when the majority of your gear consists of really rare items that work towards enabling one single build.

    3. Barb’s are probably better candidates than WDs for a build like this. The reason? Tough as Nails: increases Thorns damage by 50%.

      As Nasarius, I doubt as well if the Legendary affixes would apply to pets. And for the record, pets can be extremely helpful when you need to play things safe, which makes them really good options for Hardcore. Their damage does need a buff to make them viable for offense as well. Maybe in RoS…

      • This build indeed showcases the power of well designed Legendaries though. I especially like the Ring of Royal Grandeur. It may allow some other interesting item combinations as well.

        I do find it strange though that CB triggers off of Thorns, because as far as I know critical hits still doesn’t and neither does anything else.

    4. Looks good, but the damage output is kinda slow.

    5. Im interested. Quite sure this may be balanced swell, as people already mentioned it will be quite hard to get all these items when the drop rate is lowered and I think you will be able to make other at least as strong builds in that same time.
      I guess this is Torment I also? This may not be viable in higher Torment difficulty.

    6. Looks like an interesting build. Now to trade the gear for it and try it out myself! … Can you spell ‘B-o-A’ again? :coffee:

    7. Funny how everyone is happy that a mechanic which should have been useful from release on is now more or less working.

      This strategy, which is being employed by many companies nowadays by the way, is smart actually. You cut 90% of the features, and when you give 10% back, all braindead fanbois will cheer for you. See Sony and Microsoft.

      • So when people screw up, admits their mistake and then start to fix things we should do what exactly? Condemn them? Spit on them? Hang them? If so, why should they even bother improving things? Grow up.

        • i’m just pointing out here how the companies do it.

          blizzard will be praised when they finally implement a working chat system, while d2 managed a better social platform 13 years ago. it is hurtful to see blizzard being able to sell dirt as gold

          • Your just pointing out here how you will find a way to make a negative comment about any info on this site no matter what. Congrat on that.

    8. Months ago I commented how a thorns build should be viable on thread about item stats. This gives me hope for build diversity. With a little creativity any skill should be awesome and with a little luck finding the right items.

    9. But thorns is still more or less useless as a normal mod, if it is only viable with a legendary which increases its damage by 1000%. But maybe this legendary is just there for testing thorn numbers. It would make much more sense, if thorn damage itself would be 500-1000% higher and the legendary would improve it by 50-100%. Otherwise nobody without this legendary would see a use for thorns. But as 1000% on a legendary seems strange anyways, i realy guess it is there for testing purposes, so that wrong thorn numbers do not impact all other testing.

    10. uh how many triple posts?

    11. QUOTE

      uh how many triple posts? - you know there is an edit button?

      I was posting from the news article, not from the forums. Since the replies don’t work from there at the moment I think I’ll be switching to the forum permanently. The problem is that some comments are missing from either way.

    12. It’s hard to make Thorns *truly* OP if it doesn’t do anything against ranged attacks. Or at least that would be true if the game had more monsters with ranged attacks. Anyway, this is cool and I like it.

    13. QUOTE

      Uhh, why is Thorns hurting ranged monsters??

      Because the expansion is awesome? 🙂

      Seriously though, Thorns damages even ranged attackers in RoS.

    14. Looks awesome. Hopefully there are similar set ups possible for the life per kill damage conversion weapon and life regen death aura pants.

    15. I want to make a thorns DH 🙂

    16. QUOTE

      Your just pointing out here how you will find a way to make a negative comment about any info on this site no matter what. Congrat on that.

      Does this refer to my post above? BoA is such an abomination that its flaws should be pointed out at every opportunity. I’m proud to be referenced as a BoA hater on these forums. Hell, you can carve it on my gravestones among my other accomplishments: “Here Lies One Who HATED BoA (and got to Heaven for it)”.

    17. QUOTE

      Does this refer to my post above?

      He was replying to Blackoutchili, but this relationship doesn’t show up when you post from the comment section. Guest posts like Blackoutchili’s however don’t show up at all in the forums. These things combined result in maximum confusion. 🙂

    18. QUOTE

      Because the expansion is awesome? :)
      Seriously though, Thorns damages even ranged attackers in RoS.

      Hmm, not sure I like that. Seems like a “reflects ranged damage” mod should be a separate thing from thorns. I mean, that’s what would prevent a billion thorns damage from dominating all the things. I guess we’ll see how that works out…..

    19. Whether it’s OP or not isn’t an issue because this build is balanced out by the fact that it’s boring as hell to play. Then again, that never stopped people from using Archon “builds”.

    20. Can’t forget the Monk Thorns Aura.

    21. QUOTE

      Whether it's OP or not isn't an issue because this build is balanced out by the fact that it's boring as hell to play. Then again, that never stopped people from using Archon "builds".

      There’s nothing stopping this build from using the xader’s array of skills to speed things up and keep things lively.

    22. QUOTE

      Can't forget the Monk Thorns Aura.
      Good catch, 
      Mantra of Retribution

      could indeed be useful as well for a build like this, especially with the Retaliation or Collateral Damage rune, but when you want Spirit regen Against All Odds could be also a good choice.

    23. Awesome news. I really wanted such build in D3V, and tried it with my Barb, but with the lack of any special items which suport thorn build, I gave up. I hope they wont nerf it,because I really like such tank playstyle.

    24. QUOTE

      Whether it's OP or not isn't an issue because this build is balanced out by the fact that it's boring as hell to play. Then again, that never stopped people from using Archon "builds".

      Or people in D2 to play double dream sorceresses.

    25. Don’t worry , by release it won’t be viable any more ……….

    26. The entire thorns mechanic is stupid. A set of gear that specializes in doing nothing to do damage? Why is this interesting? Thorns paladin in D2 classic was interesting in that you needed to actively convert monsters to make it work. Or you played with a pet class (necro) to really melt through monsters. D2:LoD mechanics made thorns damage negligible past nightmare.

      I think the devs should really rethink what thorns means as an affix. It should interact with skills beyond just passive abilities. Attach thorns damage to skills that don’t normally do damage — like say Threatening Shout skill for barb dealt primary stat x thorns damage to all enemies hit. Something to make thorns more interactive to play.

    27. Thorns is passive damage that supplements your other damage sources. You don’t have to just stand and do nothing to make use of it. And you do have to make an effort to make use of it in D3 either, because by itself it still sucks. You have to pick certain passives and items to fully utilize Thorns. I think it has enough synergy, now it’s time to make every affix as interesting. Turning Life regen into a Life degen aura and using Life on Kill to explode enemies is a really good start though.

    28. Though it would’ve been much more interesting if throns only reflected “melee” damage.. Or only “physical/projectile” damage. That way you not only build yourself but also you team. – A team with 4 thorn based people should be worse than a well rounded one.

    29. In a game where you can encounter all those types of attack in a single area that would make Thorns completely useless, like it is now. Sure, a team of 4 could specialize for each, but then again enemies have greatly increased HP in MP, so that still wouldn’t work. Too heavily specialized effects like that would be ignored also because we have a limited amount of affix slots. Basically Thorns would have to provide viable damage just from 2 or 3 item slots for your idea to work.

    30. Thorns completely useless, like it is now.
      Not if it is “the best action against those type of monsters”. This would mean that you could A) go for both thorns and normal damage in a single clothing set. Or B) go for thorns and beat half the monsters fast and ignore the other half.

      What is the problem of “having to ignore vs slower speed” tradeoff?

    31. Nothing actually, I just didn’t really think of it that way.

    32. QUOTE

      Nothing actually, I just didn't really think of it that way.

      It is exactly this tradeoff that drove my “many builds” thing in diablo 2.. Building a character which beat the weakness of the previous character. And then building a character that would be strong again the new weaknesses…

    33. In a game where you can encounter all those types of attack in a single area that would make Thorns completely useless, like it is now.

      Considering that stacking Thorns doesn’t prevent you from using any skills you want, you can focus your other skills on damaging the mobs that Thorns can’t. I dearly wish more aspects of the game had that kind of tradeoffs.

    34. I saw this the other day and was pretty impressed with it overall, hopefully it makes it to release since it does promote build diversity after all.

    35. I haven’t played him in a while, but I was doing this a long time ago and was able to do MP3 on my WD with 19k thorns and some decent int and resistances.

      The thorns proc on pets is really nice, but the best part of it is the zombie dogs. Every time they get hit and proc thorns, they heal themselves and you for 50% of the thorns damage. I expect this will be removed in the expansion, so you will have to keep the pets healed with either a fetish shaman or health globes.

      The affix on a weapon to do thorns damage on hit is cool because it makes this a much more active build, but it might still be difficult for thorns to compete in terms of dps. I don’t think that’s an issue though, because it can be very strong and fun to play.

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