Repost of the Zealot Guide by Cyrus


Diabloii.Net Member
Repost of the Zealot Guide by Cyrus

This is a copy of the repost that LordDamien did. Since the guide has been lost again, I am reposting his repost. All credit to Cyrus. :)

Original repost by LordDamien is as follows:

I saved up Cyrus' guide back when the thread was unstickied. Since its been lost in the crash, here it is again.

I only saved the guide itself though so the rest of the thread is lost unless someone else saved it.

all credits for this go of course to Cyrus
I know that there are lots of people interested in playing a Zealot who don't have much Paladin experience. Well, I decided to write this to help those of you out. This isn't going to be the "end-all" of Zealot guides in any since. But rather a place for us to talk about the easiest to use and most common of all Paladin builds: the Zealot. I'll start with basics though and let people give suggestions from there.

Skills are pretty standard and shouldn't be much argument here:

20 Zeal (main attack)

20 Sacrifice (synergy)

20 Fanaticism (main aura)

Other skills usually used:

20 Holy Shield (not necessary to max but I think it's definitely worth 20 points since it can give you monstrous defense these days)

One other option is to put some points into the three Resist auras to receive a passive bonus to max resists (for every 2 pts in a resist aura, you get a passive bonus of 1 pt to your maximum resist. for example: 10 in resist cold would raise your max cold resist by 5 pts at all times, even with the aura not active). This also adds to your Vengeance damage for PI's.

1 pt in other utitlity auras and skills. Make sure you have Vengeance for PI's. They aren't extremely common but can be dealt with. I find Redemption, Vigor, and Cleansing to all be invaluable. If you party play people will constantly be screaming "Gimme Salvation PLZ!". Do so if you wish. But I only suggest one point in Salvation with + skills carrying you the rest of the way.

Try to max your skills in this order: Fanaticism, Zeal, Sacrifice, Holy Shield. But make sure you immediately get at least 4-5 in Zeal and 5 or so in Holy Shield. Sacrifice is a good skill to use while waiting for Zeal at low levels. It does insane damage when combined with Might and won't hurt you much until later in the game when you deal high amounts of damage.

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Stats (pretty standard here):

Str: Enough to wear your end game gear, you know what that is so you put the points you need here. If you wear Zak shield then you can generally have 20 less str invested since you get 20 from it and it's pretty light (unless you upgrade).

Dex: Enough for max block. With max Holy Shield, HoZ, and even possibly Guardian Angel you won't need much. You'll probably end up with enough dex to wear phase blades too. But don't kill yourself to get there.

Vitality: Everything else. Should be well over 200 maybe more.

Energy: Nothing obviously. Zeal costs 2 mana and leeches like crazy.

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It's a Zealot. You generally hold and click until things are dead. This is one of my favorite D2 builds for playing late at night when I don't want to think.

Watch out for Iron Maiden curse, this thing kills any melee build instantly. Only two places you'll see it though: Chaos Sanctuary and the few places in Act 5 wher these Abyss Mages spawn (Worldstone for example).

Simple Rule: Zeal (left Click)

Fanaticism (right Click)

Keep auras on right click and combat skills on left click. It's a lot easier that way.

But other than that you shouldn't have much trouble. I really suggest having Guardian Angel + absorb items for those pesky Gloams/Balrogs and other enemies that will ravage you with elemental damage. You don't have to wear it all the time, but it's certainly helpful armor to have around (especially going into the Chaos Sanctuary).

Also, having a bow on switch is never a bad idea. It really helps picking off those Iron Maiden mages. Suggestions will be discussed in the equiment section.

When you encounter PI's switch to Vengeance which will be nicely boosted by + to skill items like Herald of Zakarum. Also, having a good elemental/magic damage dealing weapon is nice here too. More suggestions on that in the equipment section.

Not much else here to discuss for strategy except that you should always level up in the difficulty you are in before moving on to the next one. I suggest being in the mid 40's before nightmare so you can wear HoZ, Guardian Angel, String, Gaze or whatever else you have. You'll also have a much better chance of hitting things. Before going into Hell you really should have all of your endgame gear on (level 80ish). Hell is VERY hard now, even more so for melee classes since they can't "fake it" the way casters can. Get maxed resists, maxed blocking, over 10k defense, and other good stats like leech etc before trying your skills against hell.

I suppose another option is to rush through to the end of Hell to do Eldritch/boss runs for mf and higher experience. I think it's safer for a Zealot to do 8 player Nightmare Baal runs though.

I'm going to break this up into two sections. Please don't post until I post the Equipment section so that things flow smoothly.


Ah, the section that makes or breaks a Zealot in the later stages of the game. I'm going to list some low level/cheap suggestions for those on ladder, and some ultimate endgame selections for those who are rich (or not on ladder). Keep in mind you're going to need some very good gear to beat Hell without dying 1000 times. Hell is hard now, especially for gear dependent classes.


Schaeffer's Hammer (still very good)

Stormlash (similiar to Schaeffer's, I think this one is VERY good on a Zealot)

Breath of the Dying. Sick, absolutely sick. Put this in an ethereal

Berserker Axe or other 6 socket one hander and you're not going to have much trouble even with Hell.

These are some awesome endgame choices for weapons. But all of them will cost you an arm and a leg and all the items on your mules.

Almost any of the new elite weapons will work. Some of these that are quite good are Nord's Tenderizer, Demon Limb, Azurewrath, or some oldies like Baranar's Star.

You will want to hit the 4fps breakpoint which gives 6.2 attacks per second. With many weapons (BotD, Stormlash) this is almost a given. With some however it's harder (Schaeffer's). Check out the calculator to figure out how much you need for your weapon choice.

One weapon I must suggest for any Zealot (especially those on ladder) is the ridiculously easy to make and effective:

Crescent Moon Runeword (Shael + Um+ Tir). Only useable in Sword/Axe/Polearm so only Swords and Axes for our build.


10% Chance To Cast Level 17 Chain Lightning On Striking

7% Chance To Cast Level 13 Static Field On Striking

+20% Increased Attack Speed

+180-220% Enhanced Damage (varies)

Ignore Target's Defense

-35% To Enemy Lightning Resistance

25% Chance of Open Wounds

+9-11 Magic Absorb (varies)

+2 To Mana After Each Kill

Level 18 Summon Spirit Wolf (30 Charges)

Very good and very easy to make. Highly suggested for those on the ladder, or those with little resources. Only rune that is remotely hard to find is Um. The countess in Nightmare can drop the others very easily. Um can be traded for with little difficulty.

Rares have to potential to roll upwards of 400ed now, plus other good mods. DO NOT LEAVE RARES ON THE GROUND. Even normal rares can be upgraded to exc/elite if they are awesome enough.

And finally, don't forget you can cube any weapon class now with gems. I made a Cruel War Pike of Alacrity (1 socket) for my merc the other day with some chipped and trash gems I had laying around. So don't rule this option out at all.

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Weapon Switch: Lightsabre for Gloams is nice, make sure your resists are maxed against these guys too (we're talking Hell gloams here). A good bow is good for IM casting dorks. Here are some options:

Burriza (upgrade for a little more damage, but higher req)

Widowmaker (fire magic arrows, very ideal when combined with Fanaticism).

Or just any good bow. You can go into ranger mode at rare times (IM Mages) and it's very helpful. You'll be surprised at your damage output with a good bow and Fanaticism.

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Guardian Angel, Chains of Honor Runeword (for the rich), and Stone runeword are all good choices. I suggest Guardian as a backup for any Paladin build cause of the sick elemental damage you'll be taking in certain areas of Hell.

Other good words are: Smoke, Lionheart.

And some other good armors: Twitchthroe (can be upgraded as you get higher level), Shaftstop, Duriel's Shell.

Or for those of you going to high strength: Leviathan and Templar's Might are both very nice armors. Arkaine's is ok... but not suggested for a zealot.

One thing about armor now is that Holy Shield can give you ridiculous defense these days. So a high defense armor is almost a given.

Finally, Enigma is good for MF, and decent armor otherwise. It's very expensive though.


Sigons, Tals Mask, Stealskull, Rockstopper, Crown of Thieves, Delirium Runeword (is just plain fun, but can be expensive to get Ist and isn't as good as others probably), Veil of Steel. I suggest Biggin's Bonnet for VERY low levels. And if you're on the ladder upgrade it to Shako status.

Lore is easy to make and quite good also.

For the rich: Crown of Ages (wow, this thing is powerful, especially with 2 sockets), Andariels Visage (very useful helm, especially for those going the Schaeffer's/slower weapon route since they'll need lots of IAS). Don't forget, if you use Andariel's to include some extra fire resists to make up for it's penalty. Vampire Gaze is still VERY good too. Never forget Vamp Gaze as an option for a Zealot.

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Shields: Ancients Pledge, Rhyme, or Sanctuary aren't too hard to make and should be put into a good Paladin class shield with nice base resists. Sanctuary can offer over 100 all resists. Also, you can make a simple Paladin shield with 4 Pdiamonds and base resists to deal with any resistance problems you have. Just be aware that you won't get anything else here.

Other good shields: Tiamats Rebuke is cool. Sigons is especially good when combined with other sigons pieces. Lots of the Elite/Exception Shields can be good but none will beat my suggestions for the rich. Also, Steelclash isn't bad for really low levels before you get Ancients/Rhyme.

For the Rich: Herald of Zakarum. The best shield out there. Alma Negra lacks resists but is still quite nice. Dragonscale is cool but probably doesn't fit a Zealot build too well.

Exile runeword has the potential to be an insane shield. Gives you defiance aura and if placed in an Ethereal Elite Paladin Shield can offer insane defense. It also has chance to cast Life Tap (also known as "immunity to death" for zealots), max bonus towards your resists, freezes target (awesome on a Zealot), 2 to offensive auras, and other good mods. Make sure your shield as high base resists though or you'll be hurting for resists in Hell. It does repair durability too so you can make it in an Ethereal shield and have no worries.

Stormshield is good too but there are better options if you're that rich (HoZ). However, you certainly won't have troubles if you use it as your shield (it's still way powerful).

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Deaths Gloves (combined with sash)

Sigons Gloves (combined with belt)

Bloodfist, Venom Grip, Lavagout. Rare/Crafted gloves can be nice too.

Laying of Hands are ideal. IAS, Fire resist, and sick damage to demons mod. Soul Drainers and Steelrend (high str req though) are very good too.

But the best gloves out there for a Zealot are Dracul's Grasp:

+90-120% Enhanced Defense (varies)

+10-15 To Strength (varies)

+5-10 Life After Each Kill (varies)

25% Chance of Open Wounds

7-10% Life Stolen Per Hit (varies)

5% Chance To Cast Level 10 Life Tap On Striking

Ok, the perfect mods for any Zealot right here (and all on one item):

Life Tap is just insane. Half the damage you deal going back to you essentially makes you pretty much invincible. This triggers VERY often with Zeal at 4fps by the way.

Life after each kill and Strength bonus are both nice. Chance for open wounds is just awesome with the regen rates of enemies now.

And 7-10& life leech! As if the Life Tap on strike wasn't enough to keep you alive. These gloves are wondrous to say the least.

They won't give you IAS but you probably won't need it unless you go with a very slow weapon.

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Deaths/Sigons as suggested in the gloves. With two pieces of these sets you get nice bonuses. Leech, and IAS for example. VERY good cheap options here.

String of Ears is still probably the best.

Verdungo's Hearty cord can be quite nice too though, considering you'll probably have enough leech as it is.

Other good belts would be rare/crafted. Wilhelm's Set belt is good too.

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Gore Riders are probably the best boots you'll find. With Deadly Strike, Crushing Blow, Open wounds, and good R/W it's hard to beat these boots.

War Travellers are also good for the rich. Sandstorm trek are also nice if you're hurting for poison resists (example: wearing Rockstopper, which doesn't give psn resist).

For those with less resources: Sigons, Sanders, and Cow King's Boots are all VERY good boots. Sigons when combined with other Sigon's set items gets good bonuses. Sanders/Cow King's can carry you through Hell.

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Raven Frost is perfect. Especially since you won't have CBF anywhere else on your gear probably.

For a second ring I suggest a nice rare dual leech ring since they are back. Blood rings are always nice. As are the BK ring, carrion wind (very good actually), and Dwarf Star/Wisp Projector in your stash for fights with elmental baddies.

At low levels I really suggest trying out two angelic rings when combined with Angelic Amulet (and even armor) these items can give you a huge boost to AR, mf, life, replenish life, and even 1 to skills if you wear the armor.

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There are several good low level choices. As I suggested Angelic ammy when combined with the other set items is good. So is Eye of Etlich, Nokozan (for flayer jungle/balrogs in normal), Mahim Oak, or any good rares.

For engame the best is probalby Highlords. Looking at the mods you can see why I'd say this. Seraph's Hymn and Metalgrid are much better than most people think. Both of these have great potential.

Rare amulets with the right stats (dual leech, skills, all resists) could possibly beat any other unique amulet in the game though. Gambling for these in later difficulties can provide some nice profits.

Mara's is good too, but it's good for any build really.

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Go for all resist charms if possible. Even with HoZ and resists on other gear you'll still need more in Hell. It's also easy to find single resist charms with 9-11% and save them. By the time you reach Hell you really need maxed resists, nothing less is acceptable when you go toe to toe with LE's, Steel Scarabs, Gloams, Balrogs, Abyss Mages, Diablo, etc...etc...

Other than that an Annihilus is good.... if you can get one. Gheed's can give nice gold/mf. And skill charms are probably better replaced by life/resist charms, but a few can't hurt either.

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I think that's about it for the equipment guide. I know there are other options but I hope that I ran across some of the more obvious ones. Grisworld's full set can be very good too. But good luck finding the whole thing. However, I think it is easier now with them dropping certain items into lower TC's.

Hope you guys enjoyed the guide. Have fun zealing away at Hell's minions and I hope to play some with you all on the ladder.


Diabloii.Net Member

IMO this guide should be adjusted a little concerning to the runewords that are available on ladder too! Gives the build more options thus meaning more weapons, shield, armors...

Just my 2 cents!



Paladin Moderator
Decebal said:

IMO this guide should be adjusted a little concerning to the runewords that are available on ladder too! Gives the build more options thus meaning more weapons, shield, armors...

Just my 2 cents!

That's why these Guides are left open to post updates. Give advice :)

This is an older Guide. So any input would be helpful for the members.

Thanks MoonUnit. I just added it to the Guide Thread. :thumbsup:


Diabloii.Net Member
Given enough time over the summer, I think I could change the guide an rewrite it according to the new Rune Words.

I'd also like to include a PvP section to cover all the bases; however, I have very little personal interest in building my own PvP Zealot (and not enough resources... :eek:) so I'd need someone to help me out with PvP strategy. Gear I can take care of.

Ce Olba

[exile] said:
Given enough time over the summer, I think I could change the guide an rewrite it according to the new Rune Words.

I'd also like to include a PvP section to cover all the bases; however, I have very little personal interest in building my own PvP Zealot (and not enough resources... :eek:) so I'd need someone to help me out with PvP strategy. Gear I can take care of.
Lol, the strategy is pretty similar for all classes:
if u have enigma, then tele+zeal away.
without enigma i would suggest charge namelocking with grief, almost always sure kill if enough +skills (i had lvl 1 charge on my smiter, and +6 combats from gear, and i killed almost any tele caster with it (but that was on nm))
there really isn't any other pvp strategies, and if there are, they're pretty damn weak, since imo walk+zeal away=about 90% death. Myself i don't really have that much experience on pvp zealots, since i tried only grief on my zealot, and the visible dmg really sucked, so i didnt even try it in pvp. But now i regret it, since it could've been nice.


Diabloii.Net Member
As far as weapon's go, would a Grief'd Ethereal Phase Blade be a good weapon for this build? The speed and damage, to me, seem incredible.


Diabloii.Net Member
if using grief does fanaticism add to the damage that grief does straight to the person? because if it doesnt add to the dammage then would blessed aim be better for add AR or how about Thorns? plz respond


Diabloii.Net Member
Personal views on build...

I love being a zealot. Sure, hammerdins are more notable at times, but with the recent Uber-Tristram, I'm finding more folks wanting smiters and zealots in their parties instead of hammerdins. Sorry casterdins ;)

I do feel that with the 1.11 patch, the guide should get a small update. However, the new runeword armor isn't really for zealots. Actually, I'm not sure who they designed it for. The only new runeword armor that is killer is the Necro's. Sad, really.

As for the gear, I feel an emphasis should be put on certain items both mentioned and unmentioned. Take notice that I'm referring to end-game, not the starting gear. I believe the author has spelled out what to find early on and so forth and quite well.

For weapon, get a Nord's. They're not hard to get in the trade rooms, as most underestimate its value to zealots. Azurewrath is a necessity if you're on Ladder or can score one from the last ladder. Yes, Breath of the Dying would be the absolute best of course, but if you're not on ladder along with a LOT of patience to cube runes or have the immence patience for countess runs straight for weeks, forget about it. As the author recommended, a 6os eth bezerker axe is the best. I wouldn't agree with Crescent Moon personally, but I guess that's a matter of taste. I do agree that Lightsabre is necessary for gloams/souls. As for the bows, I cannot comment as I haven't tried it yet.

Guardian Angel and CoH are the only two armors I can see using. If you're on ladder, up the Angel.

Sadly, Crown of Ages is the best for this build, but it is so rare, that even a low end one would rake in many HRs. So, don't plan on it unless you win the loot drop lottery. I'd go with Crown of Thieves or Vampire Gaze if you don't have anything that leeches mana.

HoZ is of course the most uber shield to get as is Exile, but there were a couple overlooked in the guide. One is, of course, Spirit. Since there are plenty of paladin shields dropping, even some with resist already onboard, making one isn't hard (even on non-ladder). Also, if you are able to get one, Head Hunter's Glory 3OS filled with PDiamonds or Ums would come close to a HoZ minus the skills.

The author is right on the money about getting Dracul's as your gloves. The lifetap is great when facing leechless mobs. Just a note, when playing in parties, make yourself known of their curses. Laying of Hands and Soul Drainers are the only other gloves I would recommend.

The author, again, is on the mark concerning belts. You only want String of Ears or Verdungo's Hearty Cord depending on your leech vs. speed needs.

The only boots are Gore Riders. War Travellers are best saved for MFers, Strafazons, etc. By the way, zealots are not MFers.

Raven Frost is indeed perfect. Since getting the other rings can be difficult to get (you want a dual leech and to pray it isn't a dupe), go for two. For amulet, once again, the author nails it with Highlords.

Let me stress that even with the best gear, you still need res charms. W/O them, you will be stuck in Hell Act 1-2 for awhile. Annis and Torches are a huge help but a huge journey to get and an even larger matter of trading for one.

Now, if you note during the author's build, he mentioned using a pike for his merc. There's no mention of which merc to use or what gear to use at all. Well, if you have another character, you're probably aware of the NM Act 2 Offensive (Might) Mercs. Given the right gear, they can be a huge help, especially picking off mobs from the outside, while they're all on you as you you play duck-duck-goose but only calling out goose. Here's my picks for gear for them:

Bonehew has a high STR requirement, so either use a Nef in a slot or have a Duriel Shell to boost STR. When it uses Bone Arrow, it can damage PI mobs slightly. I'd consider this the low-end of end-game. Now, Cresent Moon would be a great weapon for the merc, unless you're using one already. Tomb Raider brings Life Leech, can raise skeletons from fallen mobs to fight with you (evil) and with 3 sockets, unlimited possiblities. Doom .. *drool* ..only for the rich or connected folks.


Only three for end-game IMO. Up'ed Shaftstop, Leviathan or Stone. If you're not uber, go with a Duriel's Shell or Gladiator's Bane.


I strongly feel that there are only two choices: Guillamume’s Face if your merc's life leech is fine OR Crown of Thieves if it isn't. I wouldn't waste a Vampire Gaze on a merc unless it's eth, though I still feel a max leech Crown still wins.

Again, this is an excellent guide. I just feel it needs a few revisions. Thanks for making the zealots shine. ;)


Diabloii.Net Member
I have not found a single problem with this guide so far. Im a level 56 Zealdin and this guide helped alot.


Diabloii.Net Member
abel said:
As far as weapon's go, would a Grief'd Ethereal Phase Blade be a good weapon for this build? The speed and damage, to me, seem incredible.
Im actually looking for one of those, ive got the runes. The prevent monster heal is good to. Right now i have a war scepter that gives 2 to sacrifice and 1 to fanaticisim. it dosent do alot of damage tho.


Diabloii.Net Member
for rune words i would also recomend famine, hand of justice, or passion, after breath of the dying.


Diabloii.Net Member
does doom in axe work for Zealer? or is it totally worthless??
i have the same question for enigma too.. does it work or?


Diabloii.Net Member
Galinho said:
umm.... What is a grief blade?
Rune word "Grief" in a sword, usually a phase blade.
And isn't it possible to upp the exceptional version of the crystal sword with the cube recipes while eth in order to get the indestructible?

-Kat :xmas8:


Diabloii.Net Member
krilian said:
does doom in axe work for Zealer? or is it totally worthless??
i have the same question for enigma too.. does it work or?
I believe that would move the buld to the branch version of the zealot... the frost zealot.
-Kat :xmas8:


Diabloii.Net Member
I've got a lvl 86 Zealot, and got just one little problem. Currently I'm using Angelic Ring/Amu, with them my AR is about 10,5k. I'm thinking of getting Highlords, with it I'd be using Raven/Dwarf or Raven/Raven probably, but with this setup my AR would be 6,5k at best, which translates to about 80% Chance to hit I think.
If I end up using Highlords, is the only solution getting some AR charms? Because I don't really want to use Angelics endgame especially if I'll be doing the Ubers. :tongue: The character is primarily a Zealot and not an uber-runner, which is why I'm trying to raise the AR.

ed: I'm using a Might merc, Blessed Aim merc would be one option too.


Paladin Moderator
MegaFlame said:
Did grief even get mentioned in this guide?

This Guide is open for discussion.
To keep the Guide up to date.

Galinho said:
umm.... What is a grief blade?
Grief 5 Socket Swords/Axes Eth + Tir + Lo + Mal + Ral 35% Chance To Cast Level 15 Venom On Striking
+30-40% Increased Attack Speed
Damage +340-400
Ignore Target's Defense
-25% Target Defense
+(1.875 per character level) 1.875-185.625% Damage To Demons (Based on Character Level)
Adds 5-30 Fire Damage
-20-25% To Enemy Poison Resistance
20% Deadly Strike
Prevent Monster Heal
+2 To Mana After Each Kill
+10-15 Life After Each Kill