Zealer Help


Diabloii.Net Member
Hey SPF. So I'm trying to get my second Pat, a Fantaticism Zealer and was making good progress but hell Act 4 has seemed to have stopped me in my tracts. I just seem to get surrounded and take more damage than I can leach and take too long to take down the monsters.

Seems a lot of people have had success with a holy freeze zealer, so I'm considering respecking to that and wanted people's thoughts if that was a good idea or if there is something with equipment/stats/gear that I should be doing differently.

lvl: 81

zeal 20
sacrifice 20
Fanaticism 20
Holy shield 20
Defiance 3
Vengeance 1

upped Fleshrender
rhyme Grim Shield (I want to find a paladin shield with resists that I can remake rhyme in, but haven't found one yet)
Lionheart Gothic Plate (I assume this can be upgraded, either with different item or same runeword in a better base)
Tal Rasha's w/ P topaz
IK gloves
IK belt
Amulet (rare): +1 to Paladin Skill Levels, 5% Bonus to Attack Rating, +16 to Energy, +7 to Mana, All Resistances +10, Damage Reduced by 1, +5 to Light Radius
Ring1 (rare): +8 to Minimum Damage, +3 to Strength, +23 to Life, +5 to Mana, All Resistances +5
Ring2 (rare): +102 to Attack Rating, 7% Life stolen per hit, +9 to Life, Fire Resist +10%, Poison Resist +8%

Strength: 112/192
Dexterity: 98/140
Vitality: 275/295
Energy: 15/41
HP: 1025/1191
Mana: 135/177
Stamina: 419/419
Defense: 24/959
AR: 475/4902

Fire: 168/128/68
Cold: 137/97/37
Lightning: 178/138/78
Poison: 137/97/37

Act 2 Defense Merc
Hwanin's Justice
Tal Rasha's

If I forgot any key info etc. let me know. Thanks in advance for any advice, I'll let everyone know how it goes!


1. A might merc will do wonders for your damage.
2. Your weapon could use some help. What sort of runes do you have?


Diabloii.Net Member
Since both you and your mercenary have low damaging, primarily physical damage weapons I feel you should give the NM offensive Act II mercenary a try to add a much needed damage boost to both of you. If you are still dying too quickly maybe try the NM defensive guy, but I rarely use them unless I'm porting around with a Sorceress. I don't find their HF aura all that effective in Hell, since freeze duration and effect are highly reduced at that difficulty level. I think your best defense is a more powerful offense. Keep us posted how it works for you.


Diabloii.Net Member
Will try might merc and let everyone know.

Basically have runes up to Ist, which I don't think lets me do much for my weapon. But if I missed something let me know.


Diabloii.Net Member
If you can find a base elite 5 OS pole arm like a Thresher make an Obedience RW weapon. It's a semi-inexpensive wreaking machine for your Might mercenary.
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Diabloii.Net Member
You could try an Act 5 Barbarian mercenary and make him 'Lawbringer' AmnLemKo (all below Ist) for the Decrepify proc. 50% lower physical resist would make a pretty notable difference I think in your output, and you get a nice slow effect to boot. It doesn't come with any damage, so you may have to feed him every so often, but the aura should trigger often, increasing his longevity.

Not saying this is better or worse than a walking Might aura from Waheed, but it's another, cheap, option.

Edit: For that matter, you could wear the 'Lawbringer' on your switch, AND upgrade to Might Waheed! A round of Zeal on switch should easily proc the Decrepify, then switch to your main and thump away!


Diabloii.Net Member
Hi kent,

You got some good suggestions from the posts above, I would like to add few more:

- If you have the runes and a good base (exceptional weapon type) Honor is a good option for a weapon, both for you and your merc.
- I suggest 1 point in sanctuary and redemption auras and even 1 point in the 'resist all' aura.
- Improve armor base for you. I even suggest treachery for the resists, DR, and FHR for both you and your merc.
- Try the HF merc too, it will give you an example how HF zealot feel like...


Diabloii.Net Member
Your Attack Rating is far too low. Gear-wise, if you had a pair of IK boots or you swap to an Angelic amulet + ring combo, that would help (you'd want to drop the ring without leech in that case), but an even bigger impact could be had with swapping the points in Holy Shield and Defiance over to Blessed Aim. With no +skill gear, or only +1 or so, I could see up to 3 points in Holy Shield, though still only putting in 1 is fine, but 20 is just a complete and total waste. Defiance, also, is not helping you at all. For defense to be useful as a stat you need numbers that are far out of reach of the gear you have available, and even with an ideal set of gear you have to play a specific way and some monsters bypass even all that hard work.

What I would do for skill points, assuming you've already completed the Izual quest (if you haven't, just shave points off Sacrifice, it's the least important skill because the damage boost is less noticeable than the AR boost of Zeal in your case.)

20Blessed Aim
2Holy Shield

But that's flexible, depending on exactly how you want to play it. Sanctuary makes all Undead have 0 Physical Resistance, and since most Physical Immune monsters are Undead it's pretty amazing. If you still feel you need a point in Vengeance, you certainly can put one in there. Also, I put 2 points in Holy Shield for duration considerations, but you could certainly leave it at 1. The 20 points in Blessed Aim will passively increase your AR from Dexterity points and items (and the +50 from IK 2-piece bonus) by 100% which isn't the same as flat doubling your listed Attack Rating, but will still be quite the improvement.

As others have said, you want to change your merc as well. You have three options: Blessed Aim (Act 2 Offensive, Normal), Might (Act 2 Offensive, Nightmare) and Holy Freeze (Act 2 Defensive, Nightmare). Blessed Aim will help you hit more frequently, and is probably the most consistent boost you can get with your current gear. While an upgraded Fleshrender is certainly more than strong enough to finish Hell, the damage isn't really high enough to get a huge boost from Might and so you'll probably need to be a little more tactical with your engagements, moving behind the merc and using him as a meatshield so you don't take too much incoming damage against packs of enemies. Might is certainly the stronger choice for single targets and small groups, with higher leech per hit, but the more constant hits of Blessed Aim mean a more consistent way of maintaining your health. Assuming you've made the skill change I suggest above I imagine they'd be more or less equal in terms of average life gained over time, so it's mostly a choice of how you'd rather approach things. Lastly, Holy Freeze sort of bypasses to-hit issues by reducing the amount of incoming damage and is somewhat safer than the other options in that regard, but it doesn't actually help you deal any more damage directly like the other two options do, so it's the option I would personally tend to value the least but it remains a completely viable option.

Other things: I'd also swap out the PTopaz in the Tal's Helm for a res rune (probably Thul in your case, to help against Cold Enchanted uniques) or a Shael if the Shael would hit a higher Faster Hit Recovery breakpoint (FHR isn't a huge deal because Zeal is uninterruptible, but it can help while moving and if you get hit between attack cycles.) Also, you can reach the fastest Zeal attack speed with your current gear by putting a Shael in the weapon and a Jewel of Fervor in the helm, if you have the option. Just putting a Shael in the weapon would gain a single frame on the last swing, whereas just a Jewel of Fervor would do nothing (except under Decrepify) so I probably wouldn't bother with one if I couldn't also do the other. Putting an Eth in the weapon is a decent choice, otherwise.

You certainly can improve your gear, but what you have currently is more than good enough to beat the game.


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A quick advice is to get a better weapon. With runes up to Ist, runewords like Crescent Moon and (in an ethereal sword or axe) Oath are pretty good. Among the uniques, Stormlash is the very best and probably one of the few which can compete with the runewords, but if you had such a rare weapon, you would have all kinds of better gear as well.

Once you can afford it, your fana-zealot will have a Grief phase blade, of course.


Diabloii.Net Member
Hej kent, i am currently playing a zealer too, i am farming mefisto for gear now and havent started act 4 yet. and was progressing slowly through hell. Weapon and low AR was a problem as someone mentioned. Just yesterday i switched from Aldrurs Rhytm to Baranas star which dropped from Meph, it has 200% bonus to attack rating and i still miss often.
My merc had an upgraded Woestave, was good utility but crap damage. Then today Meph dropped Bonehew which i socketed with two eth runes. Now its much better. Merc is act 2 defensive like yours.
My armor is smoke in a great hauberk. Helm is 3 topaz grand crown. Sjiled is Rhyme in a rez pala shield. Rings belt gloves ami are all magic find. But one thing i found very useful, goblin toe boots which i use, the crushing blow helps a lot. Got Alibaba on switch and gonna keep farming mefisto to get more good gear before moving on to act 4. If you into Mf and need some Chance guards and Goldwrap belt i got spare. Maybe ill go farm Countess until she drops or i can cube an Um for The ShaelUmTir weapon. That thing is good with the static field proc.
Without a strong weapon for vengeance it took ages to kills some ghosts i couldnt skip.
Good luck too you m8, zealer is one of the builds which needs ueber gear to really shine.


Diabloii.Net Member
Thanks for all the advice. Some super detailed responses.

I have a jewel of fervor. So I will try adding the sheal and jewel to hit the next breakpoint.

I switched to the might merc, helps damage but doesn't make a huge difference. Merc survivability seems to be an issue. I will test further.

As for Merc weapon, Lawbringer procs look awesome, but I'm worried merc won't be able to leach enough to survive. Is there a way to deal with this? Otherwise I will look for a base for Obedience.

What should I do with stat points if I respec to the skills that Maareek suggested?


Levelling up a few times will help with both your chance to hit, and your merc's survivability. I'm usually level 87 or so before starting Act 4 Hell.

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Diabloii.Net Member
alright, so really enjoying the new breakpoint with zeal. Also gave my Merc an Arioc's needle, with might it makes a huge difference in both his killing ability and his survivability. Still probably need to upgrade armor to held him stay alive longer. Leveled to 84 which also helped overall, dumped points in dexterity and blessed aim. Still pondering the respec suggested above. Is the blessed aim etc. enough for AR that I just need enough dexterity to equip equipment and put everything else in vitality or should I be getting higher dexterity?

With changes was able to progress through act 4 a bit, completed hellforge quest (Mal).


Diabloii.Net Member
5 AR per point in Dexterity isn't worth the loss of 3 life per Vitality point, at least in most circumstances. Especially when you consider making a change to your to-hit chance past say 5k AR takes several hundred points of AR which, even with a ~500% boost to AR from Zeal, Fanaticism and Blessed Aim still costs you a good chunk of life it's clear that you want to get AR from gear and charms and use stat points for life, in general.

Basically you want enough Strength to wear your gear, enough Dexterity for max block and dump the rest in Vitality. If you would like a formula to calculate the Dexterity necessary for max block, you can use this one from the wiki:

Total Blocking = (blocking * (dex - 15)) / (cLvl * 2)
  • blocking = A total of the blocking on all of your items. Keep in mind that shields with "+x% Increased Chance of Blocking" have already added their bonus to the shield's blocking percentage that you see when hovering over it.
  • dex = The character's base dexterity plus all dexterity bonuses (f.ex. charms, equipment)
  • cLvl = The character's current level
otherwise just make sure you put your points into Holy Shield and put on your +skills equipment after you've respecced, then just put points into Dex until the LCS hits 75% chance to block, then adjust as necessary with each subsequent level up.


Diabloii.Net Member
and thanks to the help of the SPF I have successfully created my second Mat/Pat! Really enjoyed playing this character. Moving onto the next character for now, but at some point I hope to turn my zealer into some sort of runner.


Diabloii.Net Member
Big congrats on ur 2nd mat/pat!
Could you kindly post ur final gears and stats for me?

P.S. A screenie of you standing over Baal's corpse would be nice too =P

-- Gynli


Diabloii.Net Member
Chur Kent, wats ur final setup? If u post it we can suggest possible areas 2 run.


Diabloii.Net Member
Pat thread posted (including final gear), sorry it took so long. Thanks again everyone!