The Zealot is the “Bruiser” class of Warhammer 40K: Darktide. They are specifically designed to jump headlong into the fray and dish out damage, swinging their two-handed chainsword with reckless abandon (for the Emperor, of course). Today, we’ll be taking a look at the Zealot in Warhammer: Darktide, going over their abilities and a solid build to help you take down your foes.
Let’s get started!
Abilities and Playstyle of the Zealot
In the universe of Warhammer 40K, the Zealot Preacher is one who is so strong in their devotion to the emperor that they will throw themselves into harm’s way without a second thought. They allow their hatred of heretical chaos cultists (and sometimes space orks) to guide them through any engagement, and the Zealot is no exception to the rule.
The Zealot (and every other class) in Warhammer 40K: Darktide has a primary active ability, several passive “Iconic” abilities, and a secondary active “Blitz” ability. The three iconic abilities of the Zealot all work together to encourage a very specific kind of playstyle that meshes perfectly with the in-game lore surrounding the class.
The Zealot’s active ability is Chastise the Wicked. Chastise the Wicked causes the Zealot to charge into combat, instantly replenishing 50% of their shields (or “Toughness” as it’s referred to in Darktide.) The Zealot’s next strike is also a guaranteed critical hit, which will deal an extra 25% damage on top of any critical bonuses.
Chastise the Wicked is indispensable as a gap closer, especially when facing down squads of ranged enemies. Make sure you have a clear path in front of you when aiming at your target, and you should be able to close roughly 25 meters of space in just a couple of seconds.
Iconic (Passive) Abilities
The iconic abilities of the Zealot specifically reward recklessness and bloodlust in Warhammer 40K: Darktide. Martyrdom, for example, gives the Zealot a damage boost for every 15 points of health missing. Meanwhile, Until Death allows the Zealot to tank a killing blow and grants 5 seconds of invulnerability (every 90 seconds).
Their final iconic ability, Swift Exorcism, grants a constant 10% attack speed buff, which gives them the highest natural attack speed in the game. This means that even bulky two-handed weapons can be wielded quickly and efficiently.
Finally, their Blitz ability is a stun grenade, which can stun entire hordes of enemies for several seconds. This lets you, as the Zealot, cut them down to pieces with little resistance.
All this combines to create a playstyle for the Zealot that involves diving directly into hordes of enemies and wading through them while swinging wildly.
You may be wondering. If their innate abilities push players towards one specific playstyle, why would a guide even be necessary? It turns out, there can be quite a bit of nuance to hitting heretics with a big pointy stick.
Builds and Feats for the Zealot
Since Warhammer 40K: Darktide is a game built around gearscore and weapons, which all have randomized stats that are rotated through the shop every hour, it isn’t really possible to list out a combination of weapons and feats that are definitively the “best.”
Instead, this guide aims to give you a few examples in order to show you what to look for. That way, you’ll know how to create the optimal build for fighting the forces of chaos.
Best Weapons for Zealot
Ideally as a Zealot, you are going to want one of your weapons to be specialized for mowing down hordes of weaker enemies. You’ll also want to have a backup weapon specifically for bursting down tougher specialist enemies.
Of course, you can go for a very specialized anti-horde or anti-boss build. However, that would require your teammates to be able to support your weaknesses and play to your strengths. This would be great if you have a squad of friends to play with, but we all know how random queues with strangers can be.
A great example of one of these combinations is the flamethrower and the chainsword. Both of these are weapons unique to the Zealot. The chainsword can be revved in order to deal a devastating blow to a single target. Meanwhile, the flamer…well, it does exactly what it says on the tin.
But remember, the stats and bonuses on a weapon can drastically change how it behaves in combat. When shopping around for a flamethrower, finding one with the Fan the Flames blessing is basically a must. This ignores stagger resistance; if you have enough stopping power, you should be able to essentially stunlock enemies as you bathe them in holy fire.
When looking for a melee weapon to compliment the crowd control ability of the flamethrower, you’re going to want something with high single-target damage. This example includes a chainsword, but axes and maces can also be great for this role.
The reason a two-handed chainsword compliments this build so well is due to the Shredder stat. The Shredder stat is an attribute unique to chainswords that dictates how powerful its special attack is. Having a high one means that your chainsword’s special attack becomes capable of sawing through heavy armor, including the ones that reapers and bulwarks wear.
Best Feats for Zealot
Now that we have our weapons, it’s time to examine which feats would compliment this playstyle best. We won’t be going over an exhaustive list of every single feat, its possible blessing, and its pros and cons. Instead, we’ll be showcasing what we think is the best build of feats for the Zealot in Warhammer 40K: Darktide.
Purify in Blood is the most obvious choice for a build that involves using melee mostly on specialists. Since you’ll be getting fewer overall melee kills, you want the ones that you do get to restore more toughness.
Bloodletting gives an extra 10% crit chance for three seconds (every time you hit a bleeding enemy). It also applies bleed on critical strikes. This feat greatly compliments the Zealot’s active ability, which already guarantees you a critical hit on your next attack. This means you can charge in and chainsaw whichever specialist enemy you’re targeting. If they’re somehow still alive, each of your subsequent consecutive attacks against them will have a higher chance to crit (and finish them off).
Inspiring Excoriation replenishes 20% toughness to any of your nearby allies whenever you use your primary ability. This is just a nice pick-me-up for your team. However, it’s even more useful since Purge the Wicked (the last column’s feat) lets you use your primary ability twice in rapid succession. This means you can quickly heal a large chunk of your team’s health.
Emperor’s Execution deals up to 25% extra ranged damage, based on how close enemies are. Since you’re going to be using a flamethrower, which is for the most part a close-range weapon, this one is the obvious choice.
Purge the Wicked, as stated before, allows you to use your primary ability twice before it goes on cooldown. This means you can use the ability’s charge as both an engagement, and as an escape if need be. All while healing yourself and any allies around you twice.
Demonstration of the Build
Now that we’ve cooked up a build, let’s take it to the Psykhanium (training room) and see if it’s effective!
We’ll want to test out our flamethrower to see if it can stagger and kill large groups. We’ll also want to check out how our chainsword handles specialists.
Well, that seems to be particularly effective. We weren’t even trying to kill that guy in the background. But we all know the only true way to test if a build works is to fire up a session and start using it.
Join the High Ground
Hopefully this guide gave you the skills and confidence you need to start fiddling with your own Zealot build in Warhammer 40K: Darktide. Or to just copy this build because it’s a fun one! Either way, don’t be afraid to tinker with feats, weapon blessings, and abilities. There are hundreds of combinations that can work great in tandem with one another. If you have any questions, leave a comment below, and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more Warhammer content!
Now get out there and deliver the Emperor’s mercy, kindred. You have heretics to purge!