Zealot Project


Diabloii.Net Member
So something I used to do during later ladder seasons and the one SC single player kingdom I created was create as godly of a zealot (or smiter once for ubers) as I could afford, either that or I would dream about it.

I'm starting to think about how I want to build a zealot for my new HC SP kingdom. Now obviously he will be playing PvM but I would like to think he would be a good dueler as well if he had to be. One rule I want to adhere to with him will be no runewords. I am going to start a list of good items I currently have and items that I really would like to find for him. So I guess I'm starting this thread to bounce ideas for his gear choices and to keep track of finding all the godly items that I'm going to be shooting for.

So I'll start here, I found an Ethereal 243% Death Cleaver two days ago (a weapon I used to dream of finding or trading for), and although this weapon is probably better suited for PvP I figure it will still make a great PvM weapon. So, would you guys consider this worthy of a Zod?

Gear choices I currently have:
Helm- Vamp Gaze, Andy's, Shako for some mf?
Armor- 24% leviathan, +2 arkaine's
Shield- Alma Negra, SS (I know still no HoZ)
Gloves- 41% Steelrends, 10/15 Dracs, LoH, Bloodfists?
Boots- Gore Riders, War Travs
Ammy- Highlords, 35 resist Metalgrid
Ring1- Ravenfrost
Ring2- 8%ll 3%ml 19 str rare (I'm guessing this will be mandatory for the mana leech)
Belt- 37/14 Verdungo, 15% String

Godly Gear List (might need help with some item ideas for this)
Helm- 2 socket CoA (this is the big one for me)
Armor- ethereal +2 Arkaine's
Shield- 195%+ HoZ with Ber if using Arkaine's
Gloves- 50%+ Rends
Other weapons- Stormlash (ethereal would be even godlier I'm guessing)

I'll keep updates here if anything new is found or if he is started.


Diabloii.Net Member
I'm afraid I don't have much to add right now. But good luck with the project. Sounds fun !!!


Europe Trade Moderator
I'm no pvp expert, but I think that zealots suck at pvp because zeal is uninterruptible. Therefore I will make only pvm considerations.

First - skills: Maximum zeal, sacrifice, fanaticism, holy shield, one point in salvation and redemption, rest into either holy fire (when wearing T-God's) or holy shock (otherwise) or into defiance (holy shield synergy). I prefer holy fire.

Second - stats: Enough in strength to wear equipment (with or without str bugging, your choice), enough in dex for max blocking when holy shield is active, rest into vit

Now the more debatable part: Gear.

A zealot doesn't need skill bonuses. That has a general influence on my recommendations below.

I think your zealot lacks crushing blow. That's pretty bad for a melee character. 50% are good enough for zeal. You can achieve that with Guillaume's and Goreriders.

As long as you don't have a HoZ, it's OK to use a Stormshield and Arkaine's or Leviathan. Later on, I would go for HoZ and Guardian Angel.

You don't have leech from a helmwhen using Guillaume's, but that's a very nice dual leech ring you have! 3% ML are enough for zeal. I would add Dracul's for more LL and in particular for lifetap.

Regarding the other ring, there's no way around Ravenfrost, just for its CBF.

I would use T-God's as the belt because it makes you immune to lightning from monsters if lightning res is maxed... and there are quite alot of gloams on the way to Baal! Its chance to cast FoH can be annoying, but as zeal is uninterruptible, it will only be an issue if it happens on the last zeal attack. I never had a problem with that.

Amulet: Highlord's. Its chance for a deadly strike will sum up to 100% from L88 on when used with a Death Cleaver and its 20% IAS are pretty useful as well.

Charms: Whatever maxes resists. No skillers. FHR, FRW and life bonuses are useful as well.


Diabloii.Net Member
Seems like a fun project, but whatever you do don't use Phoenix rw. The firestorm chance to cast interupts your zeal and makes the build rather ineffective indeed. Exile could be great for the lifetap proc and massive defense. I still think eth deathcleaver belongs to a ww or frenzybarb. Viable options are Stormlash (static works wonders, shaefers), BotD due to exelent double leach. The best and most broken and boring option however is Grief PB. As a helm I would just choose to wear an ummed Shako because 174 str on coa can be a pain, expecially if you aren't going to use eni ap or dusk. If you are really dr% hungry I would choose upped shaft over leviathan otherwise use forty if you are going with BotD or Deathcleaver and use Eni when you choose to use Grief.


Diabloii.Net Member
Found my first HoZ last night. I will still be looking for a higher % one to socket though. Still good news though, as I feel I have everything I want to get started.

Thanks for the replies guys, and krischan, you have a good point about the CB.

No worries about the Phoenix Treeharl, I don't plan on using any runewords actually. And looks like my best options for a helm right now are shako and Guillaume's.


Diabloii.Net Member
As to what is the most "godly" gear, the question is what you'll be doing with it--running a specific area / MFing / Or just whatever cuts through monsters the fastest?

It seems to me that you're looking for the build that mows down monsters the quickest without using Runewords. (You don't seem overly concerned about MF%.)

If so, I agree with kirschan's post. Guardian Angel has some ridiculous bonuses--20% Increased Chance Of Blocking and 30% Faster Block Rate. With HoZ, and Ums stuck in a few things or charms, you'll easily be at 90+ res all. Guillaume's will kick up the CB with Gore Riders. Metalgrid is a great amulet, but you can get resists and attack rating from charms--but you can't get the deadly strike you get from Highlords. I think Tgods and Dracul's are great, but you can probably switch things around in belt/glove department a bit depending on what is most important for you. A good roll blood gloves can be good too.

I think it's fairly standard wisdom that Stormlash is the best 1 handed weapon for a zealot if we're discounting runewords. Ethereal would be sick, but a lot damage isn't even dependent on the weapon's basic physical damage--it's the 33% CB and 15% Static Field. The real question is what to socket it with.


Europe Trade Moderator
An ethereal Stormlash is to be socketed with a Zod rune, of course :). Otherwise I would probably go for additional %ed. I don't think that more IAS is needed for max zeal speed than what comes from that weapon plus Highlord's, but it won't hurt to have an extra bit in case you have to use using another auras that fanaticism (like salvation versus a conviction boss pack).

Once you have a Lo rune, you make a Grief phase blade, of course (assuming you are using the runeword mod). Therefore I strongly suggest to start looking out for 5 socket phase blades right now because it can be extremely annoying if you have the runes, but not the base weapon. It will feel like ages or even take long literally until you find one. I know what I'm talking about (involving a monarch).


Diabloii.Net Member
Once you have a Lo rune, you make a Grief phase blade, of course (assuming you are using the runeword mod).
Churning stated he won't be using any runewords ... twice :). So I think he's quite firm about that restriction ...


Diabloii.Net Member
You can always random socket white Phase Blades for that mather. Or hunt a stable rack at Lower Kurast (any version could spawn a PB rack I believe) and run for it. I bet after 60 runs you have a 5 socket one. The best chance of finding a Lo atm is running players 6 at lower kurast. Players 8 is also viable if you want to find different runes than Lo (halves the chance of finding a Lo but Ohm and Vex are much more common) meaning you can cube them into a Lo. In any scenario expect to run LK atleast 2000 times.


Diabloii.Net Member
If you don't Zod that ethereal DCleaver, then I'd go with Stormlash. If you do Zod it, then I'd obviously go with DCleaver instead. Have in mind that indestructible weapon won't need repairs, while Stormlash will since it is not indestructible. But, it has 65 durability, so shouldn't be much of a problem.

Bear in mind few things with assumption you go standard 20 point Fanaticism:
If you go DCleaver route, have in mind you already have 66% deadly strike from weapon alone. With Highlord's you are already near or at 100% and any extra will be wasted. In fact, if you go Guilaume's + Gore Riders route, then Highlord's might be a wasted slot on 1 skill and 35% lite resist (cuz it would rise your deadly strike from 96% to 100%+), and IAS makes sense only if you need it for breakpoint. Meaningful breakpoints for 20 fanaticism with Berserker Axe are 7 for 5 frame zealing and 60 for 4 frame zealing. And by using LoH + DCleaver you already have 60. That extra IAS even doesn't take you to next breakpoint if you are decreptified, so its useless.

So, depending on your gear choices, Highlord's could prove as a waste of slot that offers you only 1 skill and 35% lightning resistance, and then you would be much better with say Metalgrid. And I would recommend to focus more on crushing blow than deadly strike by using Guilaume's + Gore Riders, and then don't use Highlord's. And use LoH, there are no better gloves really and they also offer 20 needed IAS to remove Highlord's from amulet slot.

If you go Stormlash route, then for level 20 fanaticism desired breakpoint to hit is 40 IAS for 4 frame zealing. Nice. LoH + 30 IAS from Stormlash and you are there!
Problem is, in this case Highlord's is not a wasted slot since now that 35% or whatever deadly strike from it means something. Now IAS is overstacked, but oh well. Crushing blow is also excellent, 33% from weapon alone! You could total ~65% deadly strike and 83% crushing blow + chance of static field etc... You could socket Lash with Lo rune for more deadly strike, but not really needed.

As for armor, option is also Black Hades which socketed with ed% jewels could be mini fortitude, but clearly lacks some survivability other armors offer.

For switch I'd recommend Naj's Puzzler for teleport charges. If you use merc with Reaper's Toll (which you should), then teleport is skill that will boost your damage a lot cuz you will have ability to control your merc who will curse monsters for you. Most monsters have 25-50% physical resistance, and having curse on them all the time boosts damage more than anything else in the game. It will boost crushing blow damage too as well as physical damage. So, teleport charges on switch is best you can do. If you don't have Naj's Puzzler, then shop for Staff in act 3 normal for teleport charges.

I do think having teleport option will make your build function much better and that should be one of your priorities to get. If you don't plan on using merc or whatever, then you can do without, but still have option of getting in or out of trouble when needed.

I'd go Stormlash route and not use Zod on DCleaver. But your call.
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Diabloii.Net Member
As usual, <3 to Grip's post.

Do you actually have a Zod or is it just theoretical?
If you do have a Zod, I'd wait for an eth Stormlash. If you're really serious about this project, then that's the ideal weapon, and I wouldn't waste a Zod and then wish you had one later.
If you're not really serious about the project and it's just for fun, then no need to spend a Zod on it.


Europe Trade Moderator
I wouldn't use a Zod rune on that weapon as well. I wouldn't even put it into a Stormlash, at least not until I have further Zod runes for other purposes. I guess that I would rather use that DC or an eth Stormlash for a blade fury assassin, as you don't have to zod it then. Without the runeword mod, a Jah'ed Stormlash is probably the best blade fury weapon.

Gripphon has a point regarding Highlord's. I think that Guillaume's is more useful than Highlord's in this scenario, so it's the amulet which is to be replaced in my opinion. I'm not sure about IAS breakpoints with a berserker axe, but if another 20% are needed, I would use Cat's Eye then. Its dex and FRW bonuses are certainly useful. Stuff like Mara's is more suitable to casters.

Regarding Metalgrid, you could use it and get 20% from LoH as well, as Gripphon said, but I think that for a melee character, Dracul's+Cat's Eye is better then LoH+Metalgrid. Once lifetap is running (which also works on monsters with 0% drain effectiveness, like skeletons, and is not nerfed in nightmare and hell mode), your zealot is basically unkillable as long as there are non-PIs in melee range. Metalgrid's bonus to resists can be compensated with charms and you have plenty of free space in the inventory, as you don't need skillers. Finally, the %ed to demons bonus from LoH is a non-weapon bonus and a melee paladin usually has more than 1000% of that already, so its effect might be less than you might think. The same goes for Fortitude BTW, but runewords might not be an option here in general.