Preachers live and die for the Emperor of Mankind, dedicating their entire lives in service to slaying any heretic, Xenos, traitor, or mutant. Preachers care not if they live or die so long as whatever they deem evil is cleansed or slain in service of the Golden Throne. The Zealot: Preacher in Darktide is a powerful melee fighter whose power and faith grow stronger as their health dwindles.
Brief Zealot: Preacher Class Overview
The Zealot is aggressive and specializes in slashing through enemies and sticking in the thick of a fight no matter how injured they might be. Due to the Zealot’s increased melee damage, they can cut down highly armored foes as no other class can. The lower a Zealot’s health gets, the more damage they deal, making them a high-risk, high, reward class to master.
Vermintide 2 players will compare the Zealot: Preacher to Victor Saltzpyre’s Zealot class, and we can confirm they share a very familiar play style. In Darktide, the Preacher specializes in being the best melee brawler, keeping up with the likes of the Ogryn. In general, the Zealot Preacher is more focused on raw damage, but their build also has some crowd control that comes in handy when playing against hordes in Darktide.
Due to the Zealot’s extreme faith, not only do they become stronger the lower their HP is, they can shrug off a deathblow every so often while providing Toughness damage reduction and AOE stuns.
Zealot: Preacher’s Abilities in Darktide
Ability – Chastise The Wicked
The Preacher dashes forward or towards a targeted enemy, replenishing 50% Toughness and increasing the damage of the next melee hit by 25%, making it a guaranteed critical hit.
Chastise the Wicked is extremely strong for multiple reasons. The dash allows you to close the distance on a priority target, or as an escape tool, 50% of your Toughness is replenished, and your next melee attack is a guaranteed critical hit. In comparison, the dash isn’t as strong as the Ogryn’s Bull Rush, but it’s still a great offensive ability with equal defensive purposes.
Iconic Preacher Abilities in Darktide
Swift Exorcism: +10% Melee attack speed.
A small passive but 10% attack speed is an extreme buff, which defines the Zealot as the melee-focused class they are meant to be. More attack speed also means less downtime between light or heavy melee attacks, which means you get to keep on swinging.
Martyrdom: +5 damage for each 15 missing health. Max three stacks.
Martyrdom is what makes the Zealot one of the strongest melee combatants. You can hack through armored enemies like butter, so long as you’re not hit first. If you are at 25% HP, your damage is increased by 15, and combined with the increased attack speed, you will be cutting through hordes of Pox Walkers like butter.
Until Death: Every 90 seconds, taking damage that would kill you grants invulnerability instead for five seconds.
Until Death is a beautiful passive that fits with the unwavering faith of a Zealot, avoiding death every so often is also a superb passive, especially when you are gambling your health for more damage.
The Emperor’s Will: 7% Toughness Damage Reduction (Allies in Coherency)
Standing in the Zealot’s Coherency grants everyone (including themself) a 7% Toughness Damage Reduction. Since Toughness is always your first line of defense and can be quickly replenished, damage reduction is almost better than typical HP damage reduction in most circumstances.
Stun Grenade: Throw a Stun Grenade that stuns all enemies within its blast radius.
The Stun Grenade is a powerful crowd control tool that allows the Preacher to stun Darktide hordes or even armored elites, leaving them defenseless for a short time. The Stun Grenade is also fantastic for making Bulwarks drop their gigantic riot shield or letting you land easy headshots on your foes.
Zealot: Preacher Strengths & Playstyle
The Zealot’s strengths revolve around being in the thick of the fight and dueling any highly armored opponents. Their ranged weaponry seems to revolve around more area denial or crowd control since they start with an Auto Pistol and have access to Flamers. The Zealot: Preacher also has access to the Thunder Hammer, which has a charge attack that, when combined with their Chastise The Wicked, can eliminate a highly armored target nearly instantly.
Of course, a great Darktide Zealot Preacher build is about never backing out of a fight, welcoming pain as a test of faith that empowers you to punish the wicked. Even if you draw strength from your wounds, you are still mortal, and your body can only take so much damage. Playing a Zealot is a gamble but a very bloody and fun risk.
Related Guide: Warhammer 40,000: Darktide Beginners Guide
Zealot: Preacher Talents in Darktide
During the beta, we sunk tons of hours into playing the Zealot: Preacher, but we need more time to fully max them out to test all of their talents. We will update our listing once we have a better grasp of the Zealot in the late game, but here are our current recommendations.
Enemies Within, Enemies Without
Replenish 5% Toughness per second while within 5 meters of three enemies.
We found that this was the best talent choice for any Zealot build because they always want to be in the middle of every fight in Darktide, right in the front line. This talent allows them to constantly replenish their Toughness so long as there are enemies to kill. It’s a wonderful passive that will enable you to heal without stopping your damage.
Attacks that hit three or more enemies grant +30% impact for five seconds, stacking five times. At max stacks, gain Uninterruptible.
Gaining more impact increases your stagger power, allowing you to knock enemies back as you continue your relentless assault. At max stacks, you gain Uninterruptible, a buff that prevents any of your light or heavy attacks from being interrupted during their animations, making all of your hits unstoppable.
Punishment is a great talent for your Darktide Zealot Preacher build that helps you charge through enemies like a steam tank. Moreover, it grants you extra power to push even some Elites around as if you were an Ogryn.
+15% Toughness Damage Reduction (Allies in Coherency)
Benediction is an upgrade for the Zealots Aura, which is already 7% Toughness damage reduction. This passive stacks on top of the Zealot’s Aura, increasing their passive Toughness damage reduction from 7% to 22%, making everyone close to the Zealot a lot more tanky.
Faith Restores All
After taking damage, you regain 25% of the damage taken over five seconds.
Since the Zealot is trading their health for more power, having some health gain from the damage, you are dealt pairs exceptionally well. You are never entirely in control of how much damage you take, so getting the ideal amount of health is challenging.
With this talent, Darktide’s Preachers can finally offset some of the damage they take, so long as they aren’t hit too many times in under five seconds. Faith Restores All does only replenish HP and not Toughness, which is why we previously picked Benediction.
However, Holy Revenant is another great alternative if you want to equip the talents that require you to be on low HP, like Honor The Martyr or Retribution.
+4% Damage for 5 seconds on hit, stacking up to five times.
Rising Conviction simply grants you more damage for staying in combat. Single target fights, or cleaving through hordes, as long as you continue to bash someone’s head in, you will increase your damage. This talent works with all melee weapons you can use in your Darktide Zealot build.
However, if you are using more ranged weapons while playing Zealot, we recommend using the Emperor’s Executioner talent instead.
Purge The Wicked
Chastise the Wicked now has two charges.
The final talent choice is difficult to make, and we can see the viability of all the final choices. However, we picked Purge The Wicked since having two dashes and two ways to regenerate all of your Toughness is incredibly powerful.
Other Useful Talents for the Zealot Preacher
+10% attack speed while below 50% health. The bonus is doubled while below 20% health.
The Preacher’s Retribution talent in Darktide synergizes exceptionally well with Martyrdom. If you have one passive that grants you power while on low health, you might as well have another. On Top of your natural 10% extra attack speed, having an extra 20% while on low health turns this Zealot preacher build into a holy meat grinder in Darktide.
Honor The Martyr
Martyrdom has six maximum stacks.
Without this talent, Martyrdom only has three stacks, giving you 15 extra damage. Taking this talent allows that threshold to expand, giving you 30 additional damage if your health is at 20%. This straight-up damage increase boosts the Zealot’s pre-established gimmicks to new heights.
Deal up to 25% increased ranged damage based on the proximity to the target.
One of the Zealot’s unique weapons is the Flamer, which allows you to turn hordes of enemies to ash or burn Elite enemies. If you are a fan of the purifying Flamer or the Shotgun, then Emperor’s Executioner is a great alternative Talent to include in your next Zealot Preacher build in Darktide.
Taking Emperor’s Executioner increases the damage of your ranged weapons while you are in melee range.
When Until Death ends, you gain Health based on the damage you dealt during Until Death. Melee damage dealt heals for twice the amount.
Holy Revenant is a lifesaver and has the potential to heal you to full HP, depending on how many enemies there are to slaughter. Holy Revenant is a great alternative that gives you a second chance every 90 seconds. However, it is only useful when you take a death blow. Otherwise, Faith Restores All is a more consistent healing choice.
Good Darktide Class Synergies for Zealot: Preacher
Darktide has another massive change when compared to Fat Sharks Vermintide 2. In Darktide, multiple players can choose to play the same class so that you can have an entire squad filled with Ogyrns or Psykers. Aside from this lovely addition to the game, some classes synergize well with others, and we found that Zealots pair very well with Psykers.
Ideally, Zealots pair well with everyone, and while pairing Psykers with Zealots is hilarious, their passives actually work well with one another. Psykers are fragile and prefer to dance between close and mid-ranged combat in Darktide. The Zealot’s Aura and the tendency to want to be in the frontline makes a reliable pair with the Psyker. Plus, the Psyker’s Aura boosts damage toward elites, which significantly aids the Zealot’s killing power.
Tips and Tricks for the Preacher in Darktide
- Always remember that Preacher’s Darktide ultimate ability fully restores your Toughness. You don’t need to strictly use Chastise the Wicked to gain a free critical hit, but you can also use it defensively.
- The Zealot does have a ranged weapon, but their arsenal suits more for Suppressing enemies at close to mid-range, allowing you to push forward to hack them apart.
- Zealot can be challenging to master since their primary way of gaining power is by losing their vitality. Familiarize yourself with your weapons moveset, how quickly you can block, and always dodge whenever possible.
- Your Stun Grenade can stun elites, making them vulnerable to attack. Your grenade is also great for blinding patrols of Traitor Guardsmen before they have a chance to find cover.
- Use your weapons special attack before using Chastise the Wicked. Preemptively revving up your Chainsword or charging your Thunderhammer, then using your ult will significantly boost your next attack. The damage increase is so drastic that you can one-shot Scab Maulers.
- Chastise the Wicked increases the damage of your next attack and makes it a guaranteed critical hit. Yet, this bonus gets even better depending on the weapon in your Darktide Preacher build. For example, using a heavy attack on a Thunderhammer will swing your hammer through a dozen enemies. If you use Chastise the Wicked, then a heavy attack that cleaves, you will deal crit for that entire swing, not just on the first enemy hit.
Related Article: 7 Tips and Tricks for Warhammer 40,000: Darktide
Additional Zealot: Preacher FAQs
The Zealot may be the best brawler and close-quarters combat specialist in Darktide. While you can build an Ogryn in Darktide with a massive shield to be a tank, they don’t quite mix damage with tank as well as the Zealot. This is largely due to the massive toughness bonus you gain from Chastise the Wicked.
One of the best weapons for the Zealot is their unique flamer weapon. Hordes can be quite powerful, especially in the game’s later raids. The flamer weapon serves a Zealot Darktide build well and allows them to back off and burn hordes that get too large for close-quarters combat.
Don’t stand back and engage only from range. The best strategy is to be on the front line. You should also keep track of your more fragile allies, such as your Veterans and Psykers. You can use your combat ability to burst over to them and help take out anything that is hard for them to handle.
Zealot preachers have the role of a brawler in Darktide. This means that they are usually up-close and personal with enemies. Moreover, they often opt for melee combat. Zealots aren’t quite tanks, even though they have strong defenses. Instead, they really do best when constantly slaying to keep their toughness up. With a proper Zealot build in Darktide, you will be able to deal massive damage and tank a lot of damage. You may not be able to deal as much damage as a Psyker or Sharpshooter nor tank as much as an Ogryn. Yet, you strike an amazing balance that makes you invaluable on any team.
Follow our guide and suggestions for what role to play. If you can stick to the brawler role with your Zealot build in Darktide, you will help destroy enemies while keeping hordes off of your ranged allies.
The best curios in Darktide for a well-balanced Zealot build will improve your defenses or mobility. You want to be a highly agile character that can quickly get into attack range (often with your melee weapons). Beyond that, once engaged, you need enough Toughness, health, and stamina to make it through to the end of the battle.
Wrap Up on Our Darktide Build Guide for the Preacher Zealot
That’s our Guide for the Zealot: Preacher, a faithful yet brutal melee brawler who takes any punishment and gives more in return. Zealot is extremely fun, and it wouldn’t be a Warhammer 40k game without someone screaming about the Emperor of Mankind every few minutes, and we love them for it.
If you enjoyed our guide on how to build and play the Zealot Preacher in Darktide, check out our guide on how to play and build the Veteran Sharpshooter class, who has is a very different character that focuses much more on ranged combat.
If you don’t already have the game, you can pick the game up right now from the Steam Store.
Good hunting, Rejects!