Zealot Build

diablo 2 zealot build
Art by soft-h

The Zealot Zealer or Zealadin is a Paladin build that focuses on the Zeal skill. It’s the build’s main attack and it is often used along with the Fanaticism Aura, which boosts attack speed and damage. Zealots are very effective at fighting versus monsters but they are weak in Player versus Player fights. However, they can be satisfying at PvP if they use some specific and expensive items.

Zealot Build Skills

The Zealot build invests 20 points in the following Primary skills:


  • Zeal (4-20):It’s the main attack of the build. The Zealadin relies on a powerful melee weapon with high damage. This way he maximizes his damage output with Zeal’s attack speed bonus. The number of hits per attack is limited to 5 (achieved at 4 points) and investing points in Sacrifice increases Zeal’s damage through synergy faster than Zeal does. Thus, a version of this build spends only 4 points on Zeal, while another version spends 20 points on it.
  • Fanaticism: This is the build’s most common aura. The increased attack speed is essential for Zealots. In addition, this Aura boosts your entire’s party damage.
  • Holy Shield: This is used mostly because Zeal is performing better with fast one-hand weapons, allowing you to equip a shield as well. Also, the Holy Shield is increasing your character’s block rating considerably. However, not all Zealot builds max Holy Shield because the defense and block bonus are already enough at level 4-5 when you combine it with the proper gear.

You can use Zeal along with faster 2-handed weapons as well but it’s not recommended. This way you will have less sustainability, especially at higher levels.

Further, you should spend some point on the Synergy skills:

  • Sacrifice: It’s a prerequisite for Zeal, but it also provides Zeal a 12% damage bonus per level. Also, Sacrifice is a decent skill to have at the earlier stages of the game as it deals high damage at a relatively low cost.
  • Defiance: This is a synergy for Holy Shield. It isn’t required to max out Defiance as Paladins have a very high defense rating. Anyway, you can spend some spare points here.

Zealot Build Items

One-Handed Weapon

  • Grief: For the additional damage when using Smite. It’s often socketed in a Phase Blade.
  • Breath of the Dying: It has lower average damage than Grief, but it has lower requirements as well. Also, it’s indestructible, it has higher attack speed, dual leeching and a great boost to all stats.
  • Oath: It offers up to up to 340% Damage, indestructibility, damage and attack rating bonuses. It’s best to place it in an ethereal Weapon with high Damage such as a Cryptic Sword, Berserker Axe or Scourge.
  • Stormlashor Crescent Moon: For Static Field chance.
  • Death: It’s similar to Breath of the Dying, but with great Crushing slow and Deadly Strike effects at the cost of lower damage.
  • Last Wish: Life Tap, Might Aura, Chance to cast fade, and great Crushing Blow chance. Place it in a Berserker Axe or Phase Blade.


Two-Handed Weapon

  • The Grandfatheror Doombringer: They provide great Attack Rating bonuses and high damage.
  • Ethereal Edge: Fast and many damage bonuses.
  • Hellslayer or Messerschmidt’s Reaver: They offer increasing damage bonuses depending on your level.
  • The Cranium Basher: For a Huge Crushing Blow chance, bonus resistances and an Amplify Damage chance.
  • Breath of the Dying: Place it a Champion Axe, an Ethereal great poleaxe or a Colossus Blade.
  • Death: Place it in a Champion Axe, Colossus Sword, Colossus Blade.



  • Herald of Zakarum: The best shield for the majority of the Paladin builds.
  • Exile: Life Tap, + to Aura skills, Defiance aura. It’s better to place it in an Ethereal Vortex Shield.
  • Alma Negra: Enhanced damage, bonus to Defense and blocking, +1-2 to Paladin skills.
  • Stormshield: 35% physical damage reduction.



  • Guillaumme’s Face: For the Deadly Strike and Crushing Blow effects.
  • Crown of Ages: physical damage reduction, Resistance bonuses, and additional sockets.
  • Andariel’s Visage +2 to skills, poison resistances, and life leeching.



  • Leviathan: Physical damage reduction and Strength bonus.
  • Arkaine’s Valor: Faster hit recovery, +1-2 to all skills and Life bonus.
  • Guardian Angel: High Defense, +points to Paladin skills, increased the chance to block and increased maximum resistances.
  • Fortitude: 300% Enhanced Damage.
  • Chains of Honor: +65 bonus to all resistances, damage bonuses, life leeching, +2 to all skills, and damage reduction.
  • Enigma: Teleport, Magic Finding bonus and +2 to all skills.



  • Verdungo’s Hearty Cord: The best suggestion due to its physical damage reduction and Life bonuses.
  • String of Ears: You can find this easier than Verdungo’s and it’s a decent alternative.
  • Nosferatu’s Coil or Arachnid Mesh: For slowing opponents.


  • Thundergod’s Vigor: Strength and Vitality bonuses, Lightning Absorb, and a boost to maximum lightning resistance.



  • Dracul’s Grasp: Open Wounds, Life Tap, Life Leeching.
  • Soul Drainers: Dual leeching, chance to cast weaken, reducing monster’s defense.
  • Steelrend: For the Crushing Blow effect and the enhanced damage.



  • Gore Rider: For the bonus to Deadly Strike, Crushing Blow, and Open Wounds.
  • War Traveler: It’s a good alternative with many helpful bonuses.



  • Highlord’s Wrath: +1 to skills, Deadly Strike, increased attack speed and lightning damage.
  • The Cat’s Eye: For the increased attack speed.
  • Metalgrid: Attack rating and resistance bonuses.
  • Mara’s Kaleidoscope: Resistances and Skill bonuses.
  • The Eye of Etlich: + to skills, life leeching, and cold damage.



  • Bul-Kathos’ Wedding Band: + to skills and life bonuses.
  • Raven Frost: Cannot be Frozen effect and attack rating bonus.
  • Manald Heal: Mana leeching.


Zealot Build Stats

Strength: Higher damage is definitely a good thing for the Zealot, but it’s better to invest only as many points as your endgame items require.

Dexterity:  A higher Attack Rating is also a useful thing for this build. However, it seems better to invest points until you reach the max (75%) block chance or until you can equip your best items.

Vitality: Zealot is a melee character. Thus, he needs a high Life pool in order to survive in higher difficulties. This is the reason you should spend all the points left in this attribute.

Energy: You don’t need to waste any points here. Zeal is one of the cheapest skills in the Paladin’s arsenal as it costs only 2 Mana per use. So your equipment can easily cover any mana issues.


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