Heresy & Damnation difficulty is where the true horrors of Darktide’s endgame begin. The hordes grow more prominent, and enemies hit harder and become instantly more challenging to kill if you’re unprepared. Darktide’s greater difficulties are difficult to clear and take players, on average, over a hundred hours to gear up one class so they can survive the hordes of Chaos worshipers.
On release, Darktide has four available classes: the Psyker: Psykinetic, Ogryn: Skullbreaker, Veteran: Sharpshooter, and the Zealot: Preacher. All these classes can clear Heresy & Damnation difficulty, but who does it the best? There has been constant talk about who is the best class in Darktide, and we wanted to share our thoughts through this tier list.
B Tier – The Most Challenging Classes to Play in Darktide in High-Difficulty Missions
The Psyker is a potent spell caster who uses the powers of the Warp. However, it becomes complicated to micromanage the Psyker’s Peril, Warp Charges and stay alive. Psyker is one of our favorite classes in Darktide, but unless you are ready to micromanage, you may struggle more than other characters.
Psykers typically perform better when there is a great team composition that gives the Psyker space so they can continue to Quell without interruption. A handful of Force Staffs alter a Psykers gameplay, but at least half aren’t worth the trouble.
Psyker’s Weapon Variety
Most Psyker mains often choose between the Voidstrike, Surge, or Purgatus Force Staff. All are excellent choices, but they section of the Psyker to be either pure damage and heavy amounts of micro-management, lots of CC but minor damage, or a mix in between with moderate downtime.
On lower difficulties, this is far easier to manage, but once you get to Heresy or Damnation, there is much less breathing room.
So you either choose the Surge staff and stun every nearby Elite or Special for your team. Pick the Purgatus staff and give yourself a lot of horde clear with some crowd control, at the cost of sometimes being a worse Flamer and sometimes outshined from the Flamer’s extra range. Or use the Voidstrike staff and have a 50/50 mix of damage and crowd control, but it requires more Peril management.
For more insights, check out our guide to the best Psyker weapons in Darktide.
Psyker’s Pros and Cons
As for Pros, Psyker can get through armor with their Brain Burst, making them the best class to eliminate Maulers, Crushers, or Bulwarks. Alongside this, they get extremely powerful if you can successfully keep your 4-6 Warp Charge stacks, allowing you the power to deal tons of damage with your Brain Burst or clear hordes with your Force Staffs.
However, the Cons to using a Psyker build in Darktide mainly come from recent nerfs. If you reach the 100% cap too often in a smaller time frame, there’s a slight delay before you can Quell again. Also, your staff encourages you to use it to Quell, but that requires even more downtime to swap to your weapon and start to Quell instead of using your hands.
Lastly, Psyker doesn’t have a lot of defensive options, and their defensive utility mainly comes from their melee weapon. Psyker’s take a lot of practice and work to get going, but sometimes it’s impossible to maintain or bypass the amount of effort it takes to play this class. If you have a fantastic team that can give you the space you need, we highly recommend this class, as it’s our favorite, despite our low ranking.
Related Guide: Darktide Psyker Soulblaze Build and Effect Guide
A Tier Classes in Darktide
The lovable lad is next on our list, and it’s for a few reasons that come as a natural downside for playing an Ogryn. Ogryns are massive, they make excellent frontline tanks and can cut through hordes of enemies like no other, but their builds are typically all very similar.
Most will agree one of the hardest parts of playing an Ogryn is trying not to get hit. This is not only a problem of their size, but most of their weapons provide them with low mobility or a low dodge cap.
Still, there are tons of advantages to playing the Ogryn, especially if you enjoy playing a frontline tank that loves to protect its teammates.
Ogryn’s Weapon Variety
Ogryns have a lot of extra Stagger power, not only on their melee weapons but also on their guns. This gives Ogryns lots of crowd control and knockback, regardless of your weapon. However, since most Ogryn’s weapons are AOE focused, this leaves very few options if you want something with precise aiming.
Unless you direct impact with the Rumbler or use the Heavy Stubber, Ogryns have difficulty taking out ranged targets. This also plays into the Ogryn’s other problem, and that’s avoiding damage outside of melee combat. The Ogryn’s increased hitbox makes avoiding ranged attacks far more difficult than other classes.
Combining this with the fact that the only significant way to prevent this downside is to use the Slab Shield. The Slab Shield is an insanely powerful defensive weapon, allowing you to block attacks from bosses and use no Stamina.
However, if you don’t enjoy using the Slab Shield, there are other great melee weapons for the Ogryn, like the Cleaver or the Latrine Shovel. Still, they offer a limited amount of increased mobility or dodges to help you avoid ranged attacks. Check out our companion guide for a more in-depth explanation of the best Ogryn weapons in Darktide.
Pros and Cons of Playing the Ogryn Class in Darktide
The Pros of using a great Ogryn build in Darktide come from your unbelievable tankiness, which allows you to be the best frontline for your team. You can cut through dozens of enemies in a single heavy attack while simultaneously Staggering surviving enemies back. Your ranged weaponry also emulates this style, either with powerful crowd control or horde clear with your explosive weapons. Or you can bulldoze through dozens of enemies with the Ripper Gun or the Heavy Stubber.
However, the Cons of playing Ogryn are you cannot deal with ranged units easily and often have to focus on taking them out by either closing the distance or peppering them from afar. Also, Ogryns have an easy time surviving in melee range, but outside of hordes or close fights, it becomes difficult to avoid chip damage from enemies in cover.
Still, the Ogryn is an amazing and fun class to play, and everyone enjoys having one on their team from the numerous crowd control and utility they provide for the team.
S Tier for Darktide Classes
The Faith and raged-filled Zealot have proven to be the strongest melee class in Darktide for many reasons. Zealots get stronger as they take more damage and have on-demand ways to restore half of their Toughness while getting guaranteed Critical Hits in Darktide. On top of gaining the ability to prevent death every 90 seconds, the Zealot is one of the strongest classes in the game, earning their top spot on our Darktide class tier list.
The Zealot can be built to cut through hordes of enemies or to become the best duelist, capable of cutting through armored enemies like a can opener. You will always benefit from having a Zealot on your team.
Zealot’s Weapon Variety
The Zealot has a few very unique melee weapons, ranging from the iconic Thunder Hammer, Flamer, and Eviscerator. The Thunder Hammer provides a massive boost to the Zealot crowd control, allowing you to knock around hordes or bigger foes to the ground. The Thunder Hammer allows the Zealot to perform the highest burst damage in Darktide when you combo their Chastise The Wicked with the powered attack.
The Flamer also deals significant, consistent damage to single targets or turns waves of enemies to ash but lacks the significant range to deal with ranged enemies reliably. Lastly, the Eviscerator has amazing Cleave and can slice through armored and unarmored enemies like butter. Of course, the Zealot also has access to Darktide’s basic weaponry, giving you many options when playing the Zealot class.
However, even if Zealot does have access to most of Darktide’s basic ranged weapons, they are still a melee-focused class and will provide more for their team by staying in the thick of a fight. So ranged Zealots are less proficient than Veterans since they gain more benefits for being in melee. On this high of a difficulty level, you will want to stick to the best Zealot weapons in Darktide.
Zealot’s Pros and Cons
The Pros of playing Zealot are you are the strongest melee combatant on your team. Their role changes slightly depending on what weapon they have equipped. Horde clear, eliminating Elites, or crowd control, the Zealot can build for it. Where the Ogryn is proficient in crowd control, the Zealot is focused on dealing damage.
Along with their ability to avoid death, they grow stronger from taking damage and providing their team with Toughness Damage Reduction; they are wonderful to have on your team.
The few Cons of a great Zealot build in Darktide is its focus on melee damage. They have a more diverse arsenal of ranged weapons, which makes them viable at ranged, and they can use the Boltgun, which is insanely powerful.
However, it’s not their primary focus, and if you prefer a more ranged play style, you’d be better off playing the Veteran. Apart from what we previously mentioned, and the Zealot can be underwhelming if you don’t have a preferred weapon for your playstyle, there’s not much holding the Zealot back in Heresy or Damnation.
Lastly, we have the strongest ranged class in Darktide at our top tier list spot. A good Veteran build in Darktide is the best class for picking off Gunners or any other enemy with a gun. The Veteran is the opposite of the Zealot. The Veteran thrives from standing in the backline and picking off heads of any heretic on the other end of their scope. Fight fire with fire, and no other class can compete.
The Veteran has access not only to their unique selection of Lasguns or Plasma Guns but they have access to all of Darktide’s standard weaponry. They have more ammunition, have better counters for Suppression, and their gameplay style drastically alternates from what ranged weapon you have equipped.
Veteran’s Weapon Variety
The Veteran has the least unique weapons out of any class in Darktide, but the best Veteran weapons are extremely strong. This is really a benefit and helps him earn his top spot on our Darktide class tier list. At the game’s highest difficulty levels, you don’t want complex mechanics. You need to efficiently clear the hordes and take out any special enemies you see.
Aside from the Helbore Lasguns, the Power Sword, Plasma Gun, and the basic Shovel are all really strong weapons. The Veteran wants to keep their enemies beyond arm’s length, which makes the Shovel an excellent choice for pushing nearby enemies away from them.
Alternatively, the Power Sword has minimal defensive stats but can cut through nearly any enemy like butter.
The Plasma Gun also is limited in ammo but can obliterate hordes of clumped-up enemies or one-shot Crushers. The Veteran also has access to the Legendary Boltgun, which is still extremely strong. Still, it’s better suited for the Zealot since the Veteran’s job is to pick off priority targets at a distance. So typically, you will want to pair your Veteran with a Lasgun and a complementary melee weapon to cut through hordes or to help increase your mobility.
Veteran’s Pros and Cons
The Pros of playing the Veteran are your passives and abilities reward you for keeping your distance and picking off priority targets with your Volley Fire. On top of gaining extra ammo from killing Elites, you also start with more ammo, allowing you to be a bit more carefree with spending your bullets.
Also, like the Zealot, your playstyle changes significantly based on your choice of ranged weaponry, allowing you to play a more mid-range to long ranged Veteran. However, it’s still your job to eliminate those enemy Gunners and squads of Guardsmen before they apply too much chip damage to your team.
On the Con side of playing Veteran, many ranged weapons need to be stronger to use reliably in Heresy or Damnation. The Lasgun, Plasma Gun, Boltgun, and maybe the Recon Lasgun are what we primarily see in higher difficulties.
Also, the Veteran is reasonably squishy like the Psyker, and they don’t have any talents which support them in melee. It will be far more challenging to play the Veteran if your team doesn’t keep enemies away from you so that you can keep the ranged foes off them.
We highly recommend trying the Veteran out for yourself. Their strengths and their role are better showcased on the battlefield rather than on paper. Be sure to pair your ranged weapon with a melee weapon with a good mobility stat so you can retreat to a better position. Still, if you can keep your distance and aim steady, you will see why the Veteran is one of the strongest ranged classes in Darktide.
Disclaimer for our Darktide Class Tier List for Heresy/Damnation
This Darktide class tier list is formed from our experience and opinions on the current state of Darktide’s class balancing. As we previously mentioned, every class is viable and has a place in every team or difficulty mode.
However, this list is focused on stating why certain classes are performing better or worse, but if you enjoy playing any class in Darktide, regardless of its tier list ranking, we highly encourage you to play what you want.
Conclusion on our Darktide Class Tier List for Heresy/Damnation
This concludes our tier list covering the best classes in Darktide. We focused on higher difficulties, as this is what you will be building and preparing for. All classes are viable and have a handful of possible builds that allow them to shine in certain moments.
Sadly, some shine brighter than others, and with Darktide’s limited weapon pool, we only see a few builds that excel on higher difficulties. Hopefully, the underperforming weapons will receive buffs or other adjustments to make them more in line with the popular weapons rather than nerfing the meta picks.
Still, regardless of our tier list ranking, play whatever Darktide class you find the most enjoyable. This is especially true since coherency auras and other class abilities don’t stack. Even if Psyker isn’t the best pick in general, the bonus damage to Elites will always benefit the team, even if the class is struggling a bit.
And, if you instead are just starting out and need some more guidance for early difficulties, feel free to check out our related Darktide characters tier list for beginners.
Good hunting, Rejects!