The best Zealot build in Warhammer 40K: Darktide

Darktide Zealot build - a Zealot Preacher with a Thunder Hammer
(Image credit: Fatshark)

The best Darktide Zealot build is, unsurprisingly, all about melee survivability and killing stuff in order to keep yourself alive. With the Thunder Hammer and the Heavy Chainsword as unique weapons, the Zealot is hands-down the most effective class in melee, able to slice through hordes with ease while also charging up weapons to deal with bosses, elite enemies, or pesky specials.

Just like the Slayer in Vermintide 2 who got temporary health from killing enemies, the Zealot can gain damage reduction by landing crits, and it's very powerful if you have a weapon with the right blessing to make it effective. The most important thing is that you need to keep killing stuff. If you've just started playing the beta, you might be curious about classes, how to get cosmetics, or you might just want some tips. Now, here's the best Darktide Zealot build.  

The best Darktide Zealot build 

This build for the Preacher class is all about using critical hits to grant extra toughness and survivability, while also reducing the cooldown of your Chastise the Wicked ability. Here's what you'll need:

Melee Weapon: Tigrus MK II Heavy Eviscerator (with Shred), Combat Axe (with Shred), or Catachan MK III Combat Blade (with Lacerate or Riposte)

Ranged weapon: Arteria MK III Purgation Flamer (with Fan the Flames)

Curio stat priority: Toughness 

Most important Feats: 

  • Faith Restored (rank five): 75% toughness damage reduction on crit hit for four seconds.
  • Bloodletting (rank ten): 10% melee crit chance for three seconds on melee hit against bleeding enemies. Melee crits apply bleed.
  • Benediction (rank fifteen): 15% toughness reduction for allies in coherency.
  • Invocation of Death (rank thirty): Melee critical hits reduce the cooldown of Chastise the Wicked by 1.5 seconds.

The two most important feats in this build are Faith Restored and Bloodletting, since the first gives you extra survivability on crits, while the second applies bleed with crits and boosts crit chance against bleeding enemies. Since these are both available by trust rank ten, you can start using a version of this build early on, provided you have the right weapons. Benediction grants further survivability at rank 15, while Invocation of Death reduces your Chastise the Wicked cooldown for every crit when you unlock it at rank 30.

In terms of weapons, I use a Tigrus MK II Heavy Eviscerator with the Shred blessing, which gives 4.5% bonus crit chance on repeated hit, stacking up to five times. While it isn't the fastest weapon, its special ability is useful against elite enemies and I like it a lot. You could also use a combat axe with Shred, a combat knife with Lacerate or Riposte to apply bleed or gain crit chance when you dodge⁠, or a weapon with a crit chance stat boost if you're starting out⁠.

The most important part is applying bleed, crits, and hitting quickly so you can keep getting the toughness damage reduction from Faith Restored. If you don't have a weapon with any of these, you can always Consecrate one through the Darktide crafting system. Here's also a little help with what weapon symbols actually mean in the game. 

While you can take whatever suits you in terms of a ranged weapon, I favor the Zealot's unique flamer, since it's both amazing at melting through hordes of poxwalkers, and can keep many special and elite enemies perma-stunned as long as you're firing, especially if you have the stagger debuff that the Fan the Flames blessing provides. It also works as a midrange suppression tool for groups of ranged enemies, and can be a panic button if you ever find your squad swarmed, since it doesn't deal friendly fire damage. 

For curios, you'll want to prioritise increasing your toughness, since buffing your percentage will boost the overall effectiveness of Faith Restored and Benediction, giving you more survivability when you land crits. Each one will also reduce the cooldown of Chastise the Wicked, which gives you a guaranteed crit, replenishes 50% toughness, and gives you 25% increased melee damage. The key is to prioritise staying in melee and getting crits so you can keep getting the toughness damage reduction, while dealing that little bit of extra damage.

Sean Martin
Guides Writer

Sean's first PC games were Full Throttle and Total Annihilation and his taste has stayed much the same since. When not scouring games for secrets or bashing his head against puzzles, you'll find him revisiting old Total War campaigns, agonizing over his Destiny 2 fit, or still trying to finish the Horus Heresy. Sean has also written for EDGE, Eurogamer, PCGamesN, Wireframe, EGMNOW, and Inverse.