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Comprehensive Level 80 Crusader Build and Strategy Guide in Dragon Nest [T4]

Update: The Level 90 build for Crusader can be found here.

The skill build below is, similarly to the gear build, a reference. Skill builds should be developed in relation to the player using the build; each player is different and should determine the skill build that best suits them. The build above fills out the basic skill necessities for a Crusader and leaves 4 extra SP which can be assigned however the player decides. In order to create your own skill build; you can use this Skill Build Simulator.
Cleric Tree
Paladin Tree
Crusader Tree
Here's brief review of the significant Crusader skills; and in what manner they are used. 
  • Righteous Bolt: A skill which is used to debuff an enemies Light Resistance by 15%. It can be used as a DPS skill, however it does not compare to your primary DPS skills.
  • Toughness: A skill which boosts Physical Defense. This skill was beneficial during 70 Cap as Black Dragon Nest was predominantly a Physical Damage raid; however if the 80 Cap raid is predominantly Magic Damage this skill may not be necessary.
  • Redemption Aura: A skill which boosts the amount of health Aura of Healing heals; beneficial if used properly.
  • Vengeance Strike: A skill which allows you to recover from being knocked down quickly and with the aid of an i-frame. Helpful in various situations. 
  • Aerial Evasion: A skill which allows you to recover from being thrown in the air. This skill is essential to playing as a Crusader and will save you many times if used properly.
  • Aura of Healing: A skill which heals you and your teammates. Many parties will look towards you as a healer in the absence of other healing classes; making this skill important to Crusader game play.
  • Health Bolster: A skill which boosts your base Health. Although Health is not the most important stat to stack as a Crusader; you should always max out this skill.
  • Sliding Step: A skill which allows you to evade an attack with an i-frame. One of the most important and useful skills in a Crusader's arsenal. You will rely on Sliding Step to avoid most mechanics in the game. 
  • Mental Fortitude & Attuned Mind: Both skills which aid to your mana and mana recovery. Crusaders use a fair amount of mana in order to keep up Auras (example: Conviction Aura) and therefore require a high level of mana recovery to avoid dropping to 0 mana. 
  • Goddess Relic: A skill with high burst damage; used as a primary skill in a Crusader's DPS rotation. 
  • Charitable Zap: A skill with decent damage; mainly used to debuff an enemies Light Resistance by 15%. 
  • Electric Smite: A skill with high burst damage; used as a primary skill in a Crusader's DPS rotation. 
  • Divine Hammer: A skill which can replace Heart of Glory as an ultimate if the player decides to do so. It is not recommended as Divine Hammer does not offer the invincibility or movement speed that Heart of Glory does; but it's up to you.
  • Provoke: A skill which is vital to properly playing Crusader. Crusader's main role is as a tank (reviewed earlier in the guide). Provoke allows a Crusader to take a monster's aggro and will be used in your game play frequently.
  • Armour Break: A skill which offers a debuff increasing both the Physical and Magic damage dealt to enemies. This skill is imperative and the debuff that it offers should remain up at all times. 
  • Heart of Glory: A skill which boosts your base stats significantly. Heart of Glory allows a Crusader to boost their damage extensively and is used in unison with Crusader's Zeal to allow massive burst damage potential. 
  • Conviction Aura: A skill which boosts Light Attack by 30%. Referring to the "Crusader Focus" portion of this guide; it's easily evident as to why this skill is important.
  • Elemental Aura: A skill which boosts Fire Attack & Defense, as well as Ice Attack & Defense. This skill also allows players to break out of the "A-D" mechanic quicker. Presently learning this skill is subjective; however in an upcoming skill rework this skill will offer Light Attack, Fire Attack, and Ice Attack and will take the place of Conviction Aura as an offensive Aura. 
  • Crusader's Zeal: A skill which is used in unison with Heart of Glory to yield a massive increase in stats. Crusader's Zeal converts 40% of your Strength Stat into Magic Damage and 40% of your Intellect stat into Physical Damage. The boost granted from Crusader's Zeal while under Heart of Glory is significantly higher than outside of Heart of Glory; and that boost remains active after Heart of Glory wears off (up until Crusader's Zeal wears off).
  • Judgmental Hammer: A skill with high damage; used as a primary skill in a Crusader's DPS rotation.
  • All EX Skills: Increase the damage of various DPS skills and add new affects to individual skills. EX skills are all beneficial in the Crusader tree and should all be learned. 
  • Divine Might: A new passive which was recently added to the Crusader Tree; which is a valuable asset to Crusaders. This passive offers a 10% increase to both Physical and Magic Damage which essentially never fades, along with reducing the cool down on Smite significantly.
"What is the most important Stat?"

This is difficult to determine for many players as Crusader is an ambiguous class which is reliant on essentially every stat in the game. So if every stat is vital to the success of the class, which ones are the most important? 

These are the most important stats for a Crusader:

[For a Final Damage Crusader] 
Final Damage -> Light Attack -> Critical & Critical Damage -> Strength:Intellect -> Magic Damage -> Physical Damage -> Health:Vitality

[For a non-Final Damage Crusader] 
Light Attack -> Critical & Critical Damage -> Final Damage -> Strength:Intellect -> Magic Damage -> Physical Damage -> Health:Vitality

These orders of importance are both derived from a base understanding of the game. Light Attack, Critical, and Final Damage are all multipliers of base damage. Multipliers are the bread and butter of Crusader; the higher you manage to stack your multipliers the more significant your damage output will be. Light Attack and Critical are both hefty multipliers which are not difficult to stack even for an average player. Due to the ease at which these multipliers can be stacked they become the most vital element of Crusader damage for a non-Final Damage player. Final Damage is, however, the most beneficial multiplier of the three. Because of this; Final Damage takes the most important spot as a multiplier for players who have the funds and dedication to stack Final Damage to it's utmost.

Following after these three multipliers are Strength:Intellect, the base damages, and then Health:Vitality. Strength and Intellect are both equally important in successfully building a Crusader. Both of these stats are used when calculating damage under Heart of Glory and Crusaders Zeal; and are very important in maintaining high damage under HoG & Zeal as well as outside of it. The base damages fall low on the order of importance because these will primarily be raised by the stacking of Strength and Intellect; which are more prominent factors in HoG & Zeal damage. The importance behind raising the base damages is to avoid capping out (hitting the 100% buff cap in raids) too low in raid environments. Health and Vitality rank last on the order of importance because Crusader is a dodge focused class. Stacking Vitality or Health would demerit your stacking of other stats and would inhibit your damage potential; while stacking HP and Vitality is unnecessary if damage can be avoided.

Crusader is a high-DPS class. Crusader derives it's damage primarily through burst; however with recent updates to the class revamping it's skills the class can now maintain fairly high consistent damage. Doing high damage is not the only role of a Crusader. Crusader's primary role in most situations is to act as a tank; unless in the presence of another class (example: Destroyer) which can fill that role. Crusaders are generally high damage and low HP; because of this dodging is an essential part and potentially the most important part of Crusader game play. 

So, how does one properly dodge as a Crusader? The same way as any other class. Run a dungeon, nest, or raid and observe and experience the mechanics. Memorize the look and sound of each mechanic, find a proper way to avoid taking damage from that mechanic; and practice until you can react to that mechanic consistently. Crusader is a difficult class to play because of your role to provoke whilst also having low Health and little to no skills which block. This allows for very little error and a high reliance on your i-frame skills: Sliding Step and Electric Smite. It's important to note that all mechanics on the game can be avoided with the use of Sliding Step, Electric Smite, or jumping. You must determine which mechanics can be avoided with which skill and then practice to perform those skills in accordance in order to avoid taking damage.

Note that there are other means of building and playing a Crusader which allow more room for error. When entering a raid or difficult nest you can swap out either Wise or Brutal Dragon Gems for Life-Giving Dragon Gems. Along with this you can also invest in lower grade Guardian skills; such as block, which will allow you to block certain attacks rather than having to rely on i-frames. It is up to you to determine which play style fits you. 

Along with dodging and blocking; there's also the element of DPS which a Crusader must maintain. It is player specific which skill rotation one wishes to use. Here is the standard rotation:
  • Armour Break [To increase all Physical and Magic Damage dealt]
  • Heart of Glory [To increase stats - only viable if it's off cool down]
  • Crusader's Zeal [To increase stats - only viable if it's off cool down]
  • Charitable Zap [To decrease the target's Light Resistance by 15%]
  • Righteous Bolt [To decrease the target's Light Resistance by 15%]
  • Smite [Primarily to deal damage; while also to decrease Light Resistance by 15%]
  • Goddess Relic [Deal Damage]
  • Judgmental Hammer [Deal Damage]
  • Frost Nova [Deal Damage]
There are many variations of this rotation which are specific to the player's who use them. Many players use Smite right after Armour Break; doing so allows the Crusader's passive to recharge Smite quicker than if it's used later in the rotation. The only section of this rotation which always remains consistent from player to player is using Crusader's Zeal after Heart of Glory. This rotation of buffs results in a much more significant boost than if used the other way around.

The only other element of Crusader game play is healing yourself and your teammates. The skill "Aura of Healing" must be properly used in difficult raids and dungeons in order to keep yourself and your teammates alive. Although healing is not a primary responsibility of a Crusader; it is an important one. Learn to pay attention to the health of your teammates as well as your own and use Aura of Healing when necessary. The skill "Redemption Aura" will boost the amount you heal; which is important to note if a situation arises where it would be beneficial.

It has been consensus for quite some time that a gear build focused on Intellect is stronger inside raids while a gear build focused on Strength is stronger outside of raids. With the upcoming release of the class Lencea; these standards may change. Lencea has a skill known as "Harmonize" which will take the highest of three stats: Strength, Intellect, and Agility; and then boost the two lower stats, whatever they may be, to the same number as that highest stat. 

With the introduction of this skill the consensus may change. A Strength build yields a much higher value of Strength than an Intellect build yields Intellect, which means the Harmonize skill would benefit a Crusader built around Strength the most. It is up to you to determine which build would be best, and which build suits you. An Intellect build will likely prove stronger outside of the Heart of Glory and Zeal boost while a Strength build will prove stronger under the boost. 

If you would like to determine how you want to gear before purchasing the items to do so on game; you can use this Dragon Nest Gear Simulator. The simulator is an extremely beneficial tool which allows you to determine the best way to gear your character before actually doing so. Use the simulator to create two reference gear builds; a Strength based one and an Intellect based one. 

Currently the simulator does not contain level 80 Gear. With the release of new gear; you can substitute the BDN L-Grades in the reference gear simulation with Volcanic Meteorite gear for a cheaper alternative to both the Intellect and Strength builds. The Crests, Talismans, and Technique Accessories in both reference builds should also be replaced with their 80 Cap counterparts when available. Click below to view both reference builds: 

First Gear Build: Strength
Second Gear Build: Intellect

Take note that Special Dragon Gems and Skill Plates are not reviewed in the reference. As of present; Partisan and Dragon Slayer Dragon Gems are the recommended Special Dragon Gems, however this will change depending on the level 80 raid. Read up on Special Dragon Gems and be ready to purchase what you consider the best ones for the level 80 Cap raid once it is released. The recommended Skill Plates are: 

Righteous Bolt [Damage Increase] (Optional) 
Goddess Relic [Damage Increase]
Electric Smite [Damage Increase]
Judgmental Hammer [Damage Increase]
Heart of Glory [Duration Increase]
Crusader's Zeal [Duration Increase]

Both of the showcased reference gear builds are to be used as just that; references. If you determine a better means of gearing which yields higher stats then apply those means. Use the gear simulator to develop your own ideal gear set. Remember to focus on stats in accordance with the Crusader Focus section. It should also be mentioned that you have the option to use either a Flail or Mace as your main-hand weapon. Flails offer more Critical, while Maces offer more Physical Damage. Determine which stat would benefit your Crusader more; and then choose between either Flail or Mace respectively. There are also more beneficial titles than the one shown in the reference. The two titles which are better than the one in the reference are "Gazebo Lord" and "Battlefield Hero." Each title is difficult to achieve; making it more practical to use "Provoking" as your main title, however they should be noted none the less. 

You may not achieve max Critical with the reference gear builds even after switching to the 80 Cap alternatives; if this occurs make the necessary changes to achieve at least 70% Critical, preferably more. Final Damage gearing is not reviewed in this guide. If you plan to stack Final Damage; do research and use the gear simulator to determine a proper gear set. 

The "Miscellaneous Boosts" portion of this guide also serves as the guides conclusion. In this guide each of the basics for Crusader game play were reviewed; from gearing, to skill builds, to how to play. With the knowledge available in this guide you should be able to build a Crusader which is not only strong; but is also suited to your specific game play.

"Earth's Blessing" is a buff which can be applied on any character through the use of a Blessed Stone. The Blessed Stone is an extremely rare loot received from the end gold chest of any dungeon. Only three Blessed Stones can be in circulation within the game at any given time. Commonly you will find parties in-game titled "Blessed Stone Buff [x] Gold." If you join this party, then trade the player who is shining yellow the amount of gold they have asked for; you will receive the Earth's Blessing buff from them. This buff provides +100 to each base stat and +10% to both Physical and Magic Damage; which is highly beneficial under Heart of Glory and Crusader's Zeal. 

There are also guild buffs which one can apply. Guild buffs do not offer a substantial benefit and it's up to you whether or not they are worth purchasing or asking your guild leader for. The leader of a guild has the ability to purchase buffs which grant +10 to each stat; while you have the ability to purchase potions from the "Guild Rewards" page, accessed by going to your guild menu. From here you can purchase the "Miracle HP Boost" which grants 2000 HP and the Miracle Attack Boost which grants +20 to Physical and Magic damage.

The last miscellaneous boost which is easily accessible is a Wellspring. These can be purchased at the marketplace under the "Consumables" section; or they can be obtained through running Furious Mezzanine and Dread Gazebo. These offer a significant boost to your base stats, however they wear off and disappear after a set amount of time. They come in various forms which offer benefits to each base stat: Wind (Agility), Wisdom (Intellect), Bear (Strength), and Life-Giving (Vitality). As a Crusader you want to use either the Bear or Wisdom Wellsprings, depending on your focus.

Credits: Special thanks to Zetsuen for creating this very informative guide and sharing it to other DN player like us.

Zetsuen Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCf4AWMoTstsLU-P4JAgdrmQ