Of the four classes within Warhammer 40,000: Darktide, the Zealot: Preacher is your frontline off-tank. With the right kit, Zealots are the masters of taking hits and dealing them right back with righteous fervor. Learning that kit, though, can be quite daunting with the variety of weapons and skills to choose. Here’s a guide for the Zealot: Preacher in Warhammer 40,000: Darktide, including weapons, feats, blessings, and Curios.
Base Health: 200
Base Toughness: 100
Chastise the Wicked: Dash forward, or towards an enemy in your sight. Instantly regain 50% toughness and deal 25% increased melee damage on your next hit, which is an automatic critical hit.
The activatable Combat Ability, Chastise the Wicked, can be used for both damage and survivability, and built to optimize either. This will be emphasized further by when and how you use it. It’s a great opener to chunk or outright kill a Specialist enemy. On the other hand, its mobility can allow for the Zealot to make a hasty retreat in a pinch. With the Toughness bump, you can also use it in the middle of a horde to stay in the fight longer.
Swift Exorcism: +10% melee attack speed.
Martyrdom: +5 damage for every 15 missing health points, stacking up to 3 times (+15 damage at 45 missing health).
Until Death: Upon taking lethal damage, you become invulnerable for 5 seconds. 90 second cooldown.
Stun Grenade: Throw a grenade that stuns enemies in a wide area for some time.
Swift Exorcism and Martyrdom grant additional DPS overall, especially as you take more and more damage. Until Death gives you a chance to fight or fall back when in a sticky situation. You can use some of the Feats and weapon Blessings to build a little more into each passive, which will be mentioned later. Finally the Stun Grenade is a fantastic crowd control tool, allowing you a brief moment to thin their numbers or help an ally in need.
Zealot’s Unique Weapons
The Zealot specializes in purging heretics with powerful two-handed melee weapons, as well as cleansing Tertium with holy fire. Here are each of the Zealot’s weapons in Warhammer 40,000: Darktide, and their specific niche in an arsenal.
Thunder Hammer (Melee): The Thunder Hammer is the ultimate single-target damage weapon. Powering up the weapon with the special action input causes it to electrify. The next enemy it hits will cause massive damage and stagger, but it cannot pass through the target, and it will stagger you for a moment as well. Reserve its special action in conjunction with Chastise the Wicked for massive burst damage on a Monstrosity or Ogryn unit. Meanwhile, use its wide-sweeping heavy attacks for knocking down crowds.
Crusher (Melee): Just added to the game on December 15th, the Crusher is a two-handed Power Maul with low damage but phenomenal crowd control. Its light and heavy attacks stagger and knock down lighter opponents. Moreover, its special action will quickly power it up, much like the Thunder Hammer. However, unlike its cousin, an empowered Crusher releases a shockwave on its next impact, staggering even the toughest opponents in a wide radius.
Eviscerator (Melee): The Eviscerator is a two-handed Chainsword. Like its one-handed counterpart, the Chainsword can be activated with the special action button, revving it up and allowing it to chew through flesh and armor alike. Great for killing multiple unarmored enemies per heavy attack, as well as ripping apart Specialist enemies, such as Flamers and Gunners.
Heavy Sword (Melee): The Heavy Sword bridges the gap between the other two-handed weapons and the universal one-handed swords. This weapon deals more damage and can cleave through more opponents than one-handed swords, but attacks quicker than the other heavy melee weapons to which the Zealot has access. Its special action is a staggering attack with the back of the blade.
Flamer (Ranged): The Flamer can annihilate entire hordes of enemies in seconds. Its primary fire fires a short blast of fire, perfect for chipping a small group of enemies with burn damage over time. Holding the aim-down-sights button will reduce your movement speed, but allow the Flamer to erupt a constant stream of flames. This mode is ideal for massive hordes of enemies, as well as sustaining damage on a larger enemy.
The Zealot’s feats usually revolve around either increasing melee DPS or Toughness management, though exceptions exist. As with every class, Zealots unlock each column every 5 levels, starting at level 5 and ending at level 30. Furthermore, you can only choose one Feat per column, but you can mix and match them at any point aboard the Mourningstar. Here is each Feat in the Zealot’s skill tree explained:
Zealot Column 1: Toughness Retention & Regeneration
Purify in Blood: Replenish 50% more Toughness per kill.
Faith Restored: +75% damage resistance for Toughness for 4s upon landing a critical hit.
Enemies Within, Enemies Without: Replenish 5% Toughness per second when within 5 meters of three or more enemies.
Zealot Column 2: DPS and Crowd Control
Bloodletting: +10% melee critical hit chance against enemies that suffer from the Bleeding condition. Melee critical hits now apply the Bleeding condition to enemies (Note: enemies that are Bleeding take damage over time for a short period of time).
Punishment: Hitting 3 or more enemies with one attack grants +30% Impact for 5 seconds. This can stack up to 5 times, and upon reaching maximum stacks you become Uninterruptable (Note: Impact on a weapon determines its ability to stagger and knock down enemies. Uninterruptable makes your attacks unable to be stopped by you taking damage).
Retribution: +10% attack speed while below half health. Bonus is doubled when below 20% health.
Zealot Column 3: Aura Augments
Holy Fervour: +20% Power to allies within Coherency for 5 seconds when you gain a stack of Martyrdom (Note: Power increases your damage output and reduces damage taken).
Benediction: +15% Toughness damage reduction for you and allies in Coherency.
Inspiring Excoriation: Using Chastise the Wicked replenishes 20% of Toughness to allies in Coherency.
Zealot Column 4: Survivability
Holy Revenant: When Until Death ends, you regain health based on the amount of damage dealt while the effect was active. Melee damage doubles the amount of healing.
Thy Wrath Be Swift: You cannot be stunned by enemy melee attacks. Gain +20% movement speed for 2 seconds upon taking damage.
Faith Restores All: Regenerate 25% of the damage you take over 5 seconds upon being hit.
Zealot Column 5: Damage Bonuses
Emperor’s Executioner: Ranged damage is increased the closer enemies are to you, scaling up to 25% more damage.
Rising Conviction: +4% damage for 5 seconds upon hitting an enemy. Maximum of five stacks.
Honour the Martyr: Martyrdom stacks up to six times instead of three.
Zealot Column 6: Combat Ability Augments
Invocation of Death: Melee critical hits reduce the cooldown of Chastise the Wicked by 1,5 seconds.
Fury of the Faithful: +20% attack speed for 5 seconds when Chastise the Wicked is used.
Purge the Wicked: Chastise the Wicked has two charges.
What to Use as a Zealot?
As a Zealot, you are a frontline off-tank. What this means is that you are the tip of the spear in your group. You are taking hits, controlling crowds, and taking down high-priority targets that get too close. Furthermore, you’re the best at harassing or outright annihilating high-health units, such as Monstrosities, Ogryns, and Ragers.
To do this, have the following pictured feats active:
The feats in this order keep you well rounded, giving you good damage and survivability. Importantly, too, is that you’ll be able to keep up your momentum by negating stagger from enemies’ attacks. This will allow you to swing the powerful, yet slow, two-handed weapons with which the Zealot thrives.
Enemies Within, Enemies Without grants passive Toughness regeneration while in melee with groups of enemies, as a Zealot should be. Punishment grants greater crowd control that enemies can’t interrupt. Benediction is a fantastic passive-defensive tool for you and your allies. Thy Wrath Be Swift lets you freely charge in and out of melee combat, even when enemies are hitting you. Rising Conviction allows for a passive damage bonus just for doing what you’d normally do, but any Feat in this column works great. Finally, Purge the Wicked is excellent for increasing your burst damage potential and survivability.
Alternatively, you can change the first column to Feat 2, second column to Feat 1, and sixth column to Feat 1. This will net you a powerful Toughness/Bleed tank build when combined with certain weapons and their perks, explained below.
One of the main draws of the Zealot in Warhammer 40k: Darktide is the class’ access to two-handed weapons. The standard build especially thrives with the Thunder Hammer and Crusher. Whichever one you want to use depends on whether you want more reliable single-target damage or wider crowd control, respectively. For Perks, the Thunder Hammer appreciates additional damage against carapace-armored enemies, as its damage is weakened greatly against them. Since it’ll be used mostly against fodder, the Crusher benefits from increased damage against unarmored or infested enemies. For Blessings, methods of increasing Power or Impact, such as Thrust or Hammerblow, will be your best bet on either weapon.
When using the Bleed build, go for weapons that have Blessings that can easily proc Bleed. The best weapon for this purpose is the Combat Blade. While small and weak on individual hits, it’s fast and can roll with a Blessing called Lacerate that easily procs Bleed on enemies, giving extra DPS and damage resistance thanks to Blood Letting and Faith Restored. If you want to keep the two-handed weapon fantasy of the weapon, the Eviscerator does have its own Blessing to proc Bleed, called Bloodletter. It’s a bit more finnicky to use than the Combat Blade, but you’ll still retain some of the raw power of the first build.
Contrary to the Veteran class, Zealot should treat its ranged weapon as a secondary weapon used for niche scenarios where a melee weapon may not necessarily cut it (no pun intended). These situations may include using a Lasgun to take out a Sniper from afar. In short, use any ranged weapon you see fit.
I do have a rule of thumb for choosing a ranged weapon to pair with a melee. That rule is to try to make up for a melee weapon’s weaknesses with the ranged weapon’s strengths. If you’re using a Thunder Hammer, compliment its single-target damage with a spray-and-pray weapon, such as a Flamer or Autopistol. A good choice to compensate for the Crusher’s low damage is using a high-caliber gun such as the Stub Revolver or Boltgun. A good choice for the Bleed Build when using the Combat Blade is a long-range precision weapon, such as a Lasgun of any variety, though the slower, high-damage ones may be preferred.
For either melee or ranged weapons, use gameslantern.com to see all possible blessings that are able to roll on any particular weapon.
Curios will be the cherry on top of this sundae. Personal preference may take precedence, but I recommend two curios that increase Toughness, and one that gives an extra Wound, especially on higher difficulties. Due to the fact that Toughness does not always block all incoming damage, it is inevitable that you will take damage, and even go down. You’ll have a bit of leeway on higher difficulties with the extra Wound, allowing your allies to pick you up if you go down once more. For Perks on the Curios, look for additional Toughness, Toughness regeneration speed, and ability regeneration speed.
Zealot Tips and Tricks
Even with these builds, you won’t be unstoppable. The enemies of Mankind are fierce and powerful. Here are some tips and tricks to survive and smite within the bowels of Tertium:
- Stay close to, but in front of, your ranged companions (Veterans and Psykers), but don’t block their shots.
- Prioritize enemies directly in front of you.
- Funnel enemies into chokepoints, such as doorways.
- Avoid long hallways in which ranged combatants will shred you.
- With the Thunder Hammer, Use heavy attacks to knock down a group of enemies, then light attacks to pick them off one-by-one.
- With the Eviscerator, use the push-attack, then keep holding for a heavy attack. Repeat this combo for constant wide-sweeping attacks and solid defense.
- Use Chastise the Wicked to rush to allies pinned by Pox Hounds. You will automatically stagger the Hound if you reach it while dashing, freeing your ally.
- Time your uses of Chastise the Wicked to deal massive damage at the apex of a charged attack.
- Chastise the Wicked’s Toughness replenishment allows you to stay in fights longer.
- You are a melee-oriented class, but don’t be afraid to hand back and shoot when you need to soften up a horde or take out some shooters.
While Warhammer 40k: Darktide advertises the Veteran as the FPS-adept’s class, the Zealot is your go-to berserker archetype. With massive damage potential and great survivability, Zealot is an easy to use, hard to master class with various playstyles. Though all servants of the God-Emperor worship Him, Zealots ensure that every breath, step, and life they take is for the glory of the Master of Mankind.
Blood for the Emperor! Skulls for the Golden Throne!