As a preacher that delivers their sermons up close and personal, the Zealot is the most effective melee fighter in Warhammer 40,000: Darktide.
Maximizing the Zealot’s ability to land critical hits while reducing incoming damage and increasing toughness regeneration is crucial to get the most from close-quarters combat.
If It Bleeds, We Can Kill It
The level 5 feats provide different ways of taking less damage. While Purify In Blood and Enemies Within, Enemies Without both replenish toughness, Faith Restored is the best bet as it helps prevent toughness loss in the first place. It also activates on a critical hit, which the Zealot should always land when first charging into combat in Darktide, thanks to the Chastise The Wicked ability.
Picking the Bloodletting feat at level 10 leans deeper into a crit-focused build, applying a damage-over-time bleed effect to the targeted enemy with critical hits. The other two feats here, Punishment and Retribution, are only helpful in specific situations and will activate less frequently.
The feats at level 15 are about applying benefits to the whole team when in Coherency. Benediction‘s 15% toughness damage reduction for allies in Coherency is just the tonic when surrounded by a horde of enemies. Inspiring Excoriation is a decent alternative pick, as the Zealot should use Chastise The Wicked whenever available in Darktide.
Get In, Get Out
All three level 20 feats have merit, and there’s no clear winner. The broad damage reduction from Faith Restores All gives it the edge in terms of how often it comes into play. Holy Revenant delivers a hefty heal, but requires Until Death to kick in first. Thy Wrath Be Swift‘s movement buff is a great way to close the gap on a ranged enemy, as well as a quick retreat and repositioning when overwhelmed.
Rising Conviction is the superior feat at level 25. Stacking its damage bonus only takes one hit. Each stack lasts five seconds, making maintaining consistent uptime on multiple stacks easy.
At Level 30, Purge The Wicked gives a second charge to the Zealot’s chief ability, Chastise the Wicked, which should be used every time it’s off cooldown. If every melee attack delivers a critical hit, Invocation Of Death might come out ahead, but that is extremely unlikely. Fury of the Faithful is a distant third pick for the top-tier feats.
Choosing a Loadout
The Heavy Eviscerator in Darktide is the melee weapon of choice for the Zealot in most scenarios. Once mastered, its alternating heavy, light and push attacks make it the most formidable all-rounder weapon. For a loadout more focused on critical hits, a Tactical Axe is the best bet. While a ranged weapon is less of a priority for the Zealot, the Kantrael MG XII is an exceptional lasgun, and the Flamer is a reliable choice.