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Zealer Paladin Build for PD2

Zealer Paladin Build for PD2

One of the best Boss Killers for the Paladin Class in Project Diablo 2

Paladin Build

Updated for Season 4

Build notes:

June 18, 2021
-Build created

January 12, 2022
-Build updated for Season 4 


Build Overview

Farming Keys in non-teleport areas can be challenging, especially if you want to do it efficiently. To maximize the speed at which you can farm them, you will need alternative mobility skills (remember, teleports don't work). While multiple classes have access to these kinds of abilities, there is one that stands out - the Paladin. Thanks to his Charge and Vigor, he can cover a lot of ground extremely quickly without teleporting. As for offensive skills that can complement His non-teleport mobility, there are some interesting choices, but the one that stands out is Zeal as it deals very high physical damage (some key bosses have high magic resistances which means that physical damage is preferred).

The combination of the above-mentioned Skills has resulted in the following "Zealer Paladin" build. It excels at farming keys in non-teleport areas. If you are looking for a build that will help you to quickly find and defeat Blood Raven, Blood Witch the Wild, and Nihlathak, this is just the thing. 

Season 4 Note: Zeal and its synergy (Sacrifice) were buffed for season 4 and as a result, the build feels stronger than ever. It's great for mapping and can simply obliterate Ubers. 

You can also check our other Best Project Diablo 2 Builds


 Pros  Cons
 Great Mobility  Very Expensive to Gear Up 
 Very Solid Defenses  Relies only on Physical Damage 
 High Damage Output   A pure melee build - you are forced to face-tank enemies 
 Can farm any type of content easily   



  1. Strength - All you want, in terms of Strength, is enough of it to equip everything you will want to use on your character. 
  2. Dexterity - You should add enough Dexterity to achieve max block. This, of course, will also require appropriate gear. 
  3. Vitality - You should put all your remaining points here - main stat. 
  4. Energy - Adding points to Energy is an extreme waste - don't do it. 

This skill tree is the main focus of this build. 


  1. Sacrifice [20/20] - Increased damage at the cost of health. This synergizes with Zeal and thus we max it out. 
  2. Smite [1/20] - Prerequisite. Shield bash that does damage and knockback. 
  3. Zeal [20/20] - Quickly attacks multiple adjacent enemies. Our main offensive skill. Combined with Fanaticism, it allows us to deal a flurry of blows and obliterate everything that dares to stand in our way. 
  4. Charge [1/20] - Closes the distance with an enemy, delivering a bash on contact. You will mainly use this for the mobility it offers. If things get too hot, just charge a faraway enemy to escape. 
  5. Vengeance [1/20] - Prerequisite. 
  6. Conversion [1/20] - Prerequisite. A successful attack has a chance to convert the target to fight evil. 
  7. Joust [1/20] - Teleport to your enemies and destroy them with a dangerous strike, gaining increased movement speed upon landing. A very solid mobility skill that allows us to rapidly engage dispersed enemies and generally move much faster. 
  8. Holy Shield [X/20] - Magically enhances shield to give defense bonuses. This is our main defensive skill, keep it active at all times. You should spend your remaining points here. 


This skill Tree will give us a solid passive Damage boost. 


  1. Might [1/20] - Prerequisite. Increases damage dealt by party members. 
  2. Blessed Aim [1/20] - Prerequisite. Increases Attack Rating. 
  3. Concentration [1/20]  - Prerequisite. Reduces the chance that your attacks will be interrupted. 
  4. Fanaticism [20/20]  - An extremely powerful offensive aura that increases your Attack Speed and Attack Rating. Moreover, it increases the damage of all party members. Damage boost alone is great, but this skill offers much, much more; Attack Rating is one of the most important statistics for melee fighters and Fanaticism gives us a lot of it, which makes maxing it out mandatory. Also, the Attack Speed bonus it provides offers an incredibly high boost to our offensive performance which we simply can't pass up. 

Defensive Auras are not the focus of this build, but we spend some points on them to get extra defenses and utility: 


  1. Prayer [1/20] - Prerequisite. Heals all party members. 
  2. Resist Fire [X/20] - Decreases fire damage received and increases fire damage dealt for you and your party. Invest enough points to get this to ~level 12 for some extra elemental resistance. 
  3. Resist Cold [X/20] - Decreases cold damage received and increases cold damage dealt for you and your party. Same as with Resist Fire, get this to level ~12. 
  4. Resist Lightning [X/20] - Decreases lightning damage received and increases lightning damage dealt for you and your party. Get this to level ~12. 
  5. Defiance [1/20] - When active, aura increases the defense rating and physical damage reduction of you and your party. This gives us a solid defensive boost; it's worth spending a point on it. 
  6. Vigor [1/20] - When active, increases stamina recovery rate, maximum stamina, and movement speed for you and your party. A very solid utility skill that greatly increases your overall mobility. Also, it's great for party play. 
  7. Salvation  [1/20] - Increases all Elemental resistances for all party members. This is worth picking up if you don't have enough elemental resistances from gear. This Skill is worth taking especially if you play with a party and want to boost the elemental resistances of your teammates. 



We want to get as much Enhanced Damage as possible to increase the build's overall power level. Faster Hit Recovery should also come as a priority as getting to the 48 Breakpoint is very important. Defense is also extremely important, as we are aiming at that maximum block. Resistances are also important, and they should be capped. Other Defensive stats, like faster hit recovery, are a nice addition but you should not choose gear for them specifically. 


Crown of Ages (Corona) - A very solid defensive choice that gives us a high damage reduction, some nice resistances, a lot of Defense, and up to three sockets which make it much more versatile than some other worthwhile helmets. 

Crown of Ages

  • Defense: 349 to 399 
  • Required Level: 82
  • Required Strength: 192
  • Durability: Indestructible 
    • 50% Enhanced Defense 
    • +100-150 Defense (varies) 
    • 75% Reduced Curse Duration 
    • Damage Reduced By 10-15% (varies) 
    • All Resistances +20-30 (varies) 
    • +30% Faster Hit Recovery 
    • Socketed (1-3) (varies) 
    • Indestructible 

Valkyrie Wing (Winged Helm) - A solid offensive choice that provides up to 40% Enhanced Damage. Moreover, it allows us to move much faster and recover from hits quicker. Don't pay attention to Amazon Skills. 

Valkyrie Wing

  • Defense:  247 - 297
  • Required Level: 44
  • Required Strength: 115
  • Durability: 40
    • +150-200% Enhanced Defense (varies) 
    • +1-2 to Amazon Skill Levels (varies) 
    • 30% Faster Run/Walk 
    • 20% Faster Hit Recovery 
    • +2-6 Mana after each kill (varies) 
    • 20-40% Enhanced Damage (varies) 

Andariel's Visage (Demonhead) - A great helmet that offers a very high Attack Speed bonus and +2 Skills increase. If Also gives quite a high Life Leech which can be extremely helpful. 

Andariel's Visage

  • Defense: 310-387
  • Required Level: 83
  • Required Strength: 102
  • Durability: 20  
    • +100-150% Enhanced Defense 
    • +2 To All Skills 
    • 20% Increased Attack Speed 
    • 8-10% Life Stolen Per Hit 
    • +25-30 To Strength 
    • +10% To Maximum Poison Resist 
    • Fire Resist -30% 
    • Poison Resist +70% 
    • 15% Chance To Cast Level 15 Poison Nova When Struck 
    • Level 3 Venom (20 charges) 


Death (Runeword) - An extremely powerful Runeword that gives us over 300% Enhanced Damage which is simply incredible for this build. It also allows us to summon a Level 12 Blood Golem and gives us a 50% Chance of Crushing Blow. Moreover, it has a Deadly Strike chance that scales with our Level, so it gets better as we progress. You should inscribe this runeword into a Berserker Axe... it requires 5 sockets which might make finding/making one quite tricky (and expensive). 


  • Damage: Depends on base Weapon 
  • Required Level: 55
  • Required Strength: Depends on base Weapon ​​​​​
  • Durability: Indestructible 
  • Hel • El • Vex • Ort • Gul
    • 100% Chance To Cast Level 44 Chain Lightning When You Die 
    • 25% Chance To Cast Level 18 Glacial Spike On Attack 
    • Indestructible 
    • +300-355% Enhanced Damage (varies) 
    • 20% Bonus To Attack Rating 
    • +50 To Attack Rating 
    • Adds 1-50 Lightning Damage 
    • 7% Mana Stolen Per Hit 
    • 50% Chance Of Crushing Blow 
    • +(0.5 Per Character Level) 0.5-49.5% Deadly Strike (Based On Character Level) 
    • +1 To Light Radius 
    • +12 To Blood Golem 
    • Requirements -20% 

Kingslayer (Runeword) - This is a solid and relatively cheap alternative to Death. It offers an amazing boost to our damage output thanks to a plethora of very strong effects. You should socket it in a Two-Handed weapon with high base offensive stats. 


  • Damage: Depends on base Weapon
  • Required Level: 53 
  • Required Dexterity: Depends on base Weapon
  • Required Strength: Depends on base Weapon
  • Durability: Depends on base Weapon
  • Mal + Um + Gul+ Fal  
    • +30% Increased Attack Speed 
    • +230-270% Enhanced Damage (varies) 
    • -25% Target Defense 
    • 20% Bonus To Attack Rating 
    • 33% Chance Of Crushing Blow 
    • 50% Chance Of Open Wounds  
    • +3 To Vengeance 
    • Prevent Monster Heal 
    • +10 To Strength 
    • 40% Extra Gold From Monsters 
    • Repairs 1 Durability In 10 Seconds 

Stone Crusher (Legendary Mallet) - A very powerful Legendary weapon that allows you to maximize physical DPS. With this, your damage will not only skyrocket but also stack up with each consecutive hit thanks to the defense-lowering effect. 

Stone Crusher

  • One-Hand Damage:  210.5-233
  • Required Level: 68 
  • Required Dexterity: - 
  • Required Strength: 189
  • Durability: 30 
    • +[280-320]% Enhanced Damage (varies) 
    • Damage +[10-30] (varies) 
    • -25% Target Defense 
    • 40% Chance of Crushing Blow 
    • -50 to Monster Defense per Hit 
    • +[20-30] to Strength (varies) 
    • +50% Damage to Undead 
    • -[10-15]% to Enemy Physical Resistance (varies) 

Stormshield (Monarch) - a BiS defensive option that will allow you to achieve Max Block. It offers rock-solid defensive stats which come in handy in almost every boss fight. 


  • Defense: 136-519 (Depends on your level)
  • Required Level: 73
  • Required Strength: 156
  • Durability: Indestructible
    • +3-371 Defense (+3.75/level) 
    • 25% Increased Chance of Blocking 
    • 35% Faster Block Rate
    • 20-30% Physical Damage Taken Reduction 
    • +40-50% Cold Resist 
    • +25% Lightning Resist 
    • +20-30 Strength 
    • Indestructible 
    • Attacker Takes Lightning Damage of 800-1400 

Herald of Zakarum (Gilded Shield) - The bonuses this shield provides are unbelievably strong. It not only increases your offensive power, but it's also a great defensive shield (high enhanced defense, high chance to block, very high all resistance bonus, and vitality). 


  • Defense: 422 to 507 
  • Required Level: 42 
  • Required Strength: 89 ​​​​​ 
    • +[1-2] to Combat Skills (Paladin Only) (varies) 
    • +2 to All Skills 
    • +30% Faster Block Rate 
    • 30% Increased Chance of Blocking 
    • 30% Bonus to Attack Rating 
    • +[150-200]% Enhanced Defense (varies) 
    • +[15-30] to Strength (varies) 
    • +[15-30] to Vitality (varies) 
    • All Resistances +50 

Exile (Runeword) - An extremely powerful Shield that not only takes care of our defenses by adding a lot of Faster Block Rate, Defense, and Maximum Resistances but also improves our offensive power by providing +2 to Offensive Auras. Also, it gives us a free Defiance Aura. 


  • Damage: Depends on base Weapon 
  • Required Level: 57
  • Required Strength: Depends on base Weapon ​​​​​
  • Durability: Depends on base Weapon 
  • Vex • Ohm • Ist • Dol
    • 15% Chance to Cast a level 15 Amplify Damage on Striking 
    • Level 13-16 Defiance Aura When Equipped (varies) 
    • +2 To Offensive Auras (Paladin Only) 
    • +30% Faster Block Rate 
    • Freezes Target 
    • +220-260% Enhanced Defense (varies) 
    • Replenish Life +10 
    • +4% To Maximum Cold Resist 
    • +4% To Maximum Fire Resist 
    • 25% Better Chance Of Getting Magic Items 
    • Repairs 1 Durability Every 4 Seconds 

Call to Arms (Runeword) - This powerful Runeword will allow you to pre-buff yourself up with Warcries (buffs persist through weapon swap). 

Call to Arms

  • Damage: Depends on base Weapon 
  • Required Level: 57
  • Required Strength: Depends on base Weapon ​​​​​
  • Durability: Depends on base Weapon 
  • Amn • Ral • Mal • Ist
    • +1 to All Skills 
    • +40% Increased Attack Speed 
    • +250-290% Enhanced Damage 
    • Adds 5-30 Fire Damage 
    • 7% Life Stolen Per Hit 
    • +2-6 To Battle Command 
    • +1-6 To Battle Orders 
    • +1-4 To Battle Cry 
    • Prevent Monster Heal 
    • Replenish Life +12 
    • 30% Better Chance Of Getting Magic Items 

Lidless Wall (Grim Shield) - A very powerful Shield that grants up to +2 Skills and high FCR. Good to have on swap for that additional Skill Levels. 

Lidless Wall

  • Defense: 271 - 347
  • Required Level: 41
  • Required Strength: 58
  • Durability: 70
    • +80-130% Enhanced Defense (varies) 
    • +1-2 to All Skills (varies) 
    • Increase Maximum Mana 10% 
    • 20% Faster Cast Rate 
    • +4-6 to Mana After Each Kill (varies) 
    • +10 to Energy 
    • +1 to Light Radius 


Atma's Scarab - A very solid choice for this Build. Atma's Scarab has a chance to cast level 18 Amplify Damage on Striking which is simply amazing for damage output. Moreover, it gives a lot of Attack Rating which is nice. 

Atma's Scarab

  • Required Level: 60
    • 7% Chance to Cast Level 18 Amplify Damage on Striking 
    • 40-60% Bonus to Attack Rating (varies) 
    • 400 Poison Damage over 4 Seconds 
    • Poison Resist +30-60% (varies) 
    • Attacker Takes Damage of 400-600 (varies) 
    • +3 to Light Radius 

Highlord's Wrath - This powerful Amulet offers us a great combination of offensive stats which make it hard to pass up. 

Highlord's Wrath

  • Required Level: 65
    • +1 to All Skills
    • 20% Increased Attack Speed 
    • + 0-25% Deadly Strike (+0.25 per Character Level) 
    • Lightning Resist +25-35% (varies) 
    • Adds 1-300 Lightning Damage 
    • Attacker Takes Lightning Damage of 400-650 (varies) 

[Alternative] Rare/Magic Amulets with + Paladin/Combat Skills are great budget choices and solid fillers before you are able to get a proper Amulet. 

Amulet Amulet

  • Required Level: varies. 
  • In Magic Amulets, look for:
    • +3 to Combat Skills. 
  • In Rare Amulets, look for:
    • +2 Paladin Skills 
    • Magic Find 
    • Resistances 
    • Attributes 


[BiS] Fortitude (Runeword) - This Rune Word seems to be designed specifically for this build; it provides A LOT of enhanced damage, high resistance bonuses, and great overall defenses. If you're looking for an item that will make your character better in every way, you can't go wrong with Fortitude. 



  • Defense: Depends on base Armor 
  • Required Level: 59 
  • Required Strength: Depends on base Armor 
  • Durability: Depends on base Armor 
  • El + Sol + Dol + Lo
    • +25% Faster Cast Rate 
    • +[250-300]% Enhanced Damage (varies)
    • +200% Enhanced Defense 
    • +15 Defense 
    • +X To Life (Based on Character Level) (1-1.5 Per Level) 
    • Replenish Life +10 
    • +4% To Maximum Lightning Resist 
    • All Resistances +25-30 
    • Damage Reduced By 7 
    • 12% Damage Taken Goes To Mana 
    • +1 To Light Radius 

Stone (Runeword) - If you feel like you need additional defenses, you will like this one very much. Stone will greatly increase your overall survivability and still give you some offensive power in the form of +1 to all Skills. 


  • Defense: Depends on base Armor 
  • Required Level: 61 
  • Required Strength: Depends on base Armor 
  • Durability: Depends on base Armor 
  • Shael + Um + Pul + Lum 
    • Indestructible 
    • +1 to All Skills 
    • +60% Faster Hit Recovery 
    • +200-290% Enhanced Defense (varies) 
    • +10 - 16 To Strength (varies) 
    • +10 - 16 To Vitality (varies) 
    • +10 To Energy 
    • All Resistances +15 
    • Level 16 Clay Golem (36 Charges) 

[Alternative] Lionheart (Runeword) - If you're looking for a relatively cheap yet still effective armor, this would be the best choice. It offers a solid Damage boost, some resistances, and quite a lot of bonus Attributes. 


  • Defense: Depends on base Armor 
  • Required Level: 61 
  • Required Strength: Depends on base Armor 
  • Durability: Depends on base Armor 
  • Hel + Lum + Fal 
    • +80-110% Enhanced Damage (varies) 
    • Requirements -15% 
    • +10-25 To Strength (varies) 
    • +10 To Energy 
    • +10-20 To Vitality (varies) 
    • +10-15 To Dexterity (varies) 
    • +50 To Life 
    • All Resistances +20-30 (varies) 


[BIS] Raven Frost - This ring provides Freeze immunity which is extremely important to have. If you have freeze immunity from another item, you can choose a different ring.  

Raven Frost

  • Required Level: 76
    • +150-250 Attack Rating (varies) 
    • 15-45 Cold Damage 
    • +15-20 Dexterity (varies) 
    • +40 Mana 
    • Cold Absorb 5-10% (varies) 
    • Cannot be Frozen 

Bul-Kathos Wedding Band - A  great ring that adds +1 to Skills. It also increases stamina and gives some nice life steal. 

Bul-Kathos Wedding Band

  • Required Level: 58
    • +1 To All Skills 
    • + (0.5 Per Character Level) 0-49 To Life) 
    • 3-5% Life Stolen Per Hit (varies) 
    • +50 Maximum Stamina 

The Stone of Jordan - One of the most iconic items in Diablo 2. It increases the level of all your Skills and your max Mana. A solid offensive choice. 

The Stone of Jordan 

  • Required Level: 29
    • +1 to All Skills
    • Maximum Mana to 15-20% 
    • Adds 1-120 Lightning Damage 
    • +20-40 to Mana (varies) 


Dracul's Grasp (Vampirebone Gloves) - A definitive top choice for this build. These gloves give a nice Attack Speed boost and provide a high Life Leech. They also give a high strength bonus which is very convenient for choosing equipment for other gear slots. 

Dracul's Grasp

  • Defense: 125 - 145
  • Required Level: 76
  • Required Strength: - 50
  • Durability: 14
    • +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) 
    • 20% Increased Attack Speed 

Bloodfist (Heavy Gloves) - A solid defensively focused choice that will give you +30% faster hit recovery, a solid boost to Life, and +10% Attack Speed. 


  • Defense: 17-18
  • Required Level: 9
  • Required Strength: -
  • Durability: 14
    • +10-20% Enhanced Defense 
    • +10 Defense 
    • +10% Increased Attack Speed 
    • +30% Faster Hit Recovery 
    • +40 To Life 
    • +5-10 to Maximum Damage 


Gore Rider (War Boots) - This pair of boots offers the highest possible DPS bonuses for this build. Also, the Chance of Open Wounds is very important against bosses as it prevents them from healing. 

Gore Rider

  • Defense: 140 to 162 
  • Required Level: 47
  • Required Strength: 94
  • Kick Damage: 39 to 80 
  • Durability: 34  
    • +160-200% Enhanced Defense (varies) 
    • 30% Faster Run/Walk 
    • 10% Chance Of Open Wounds 
    • 15% Chance Of Crushing Blow 
    • 15% Deadly Strike 
    • Requirements -25% 
    • Attacker Takes Damage Of 5-10 (varies) 
    • +20 Maximum Stamina 


Verdungo's Hearty Cord (Mithril Coil) - A very solid defensive option that offers a Faster Hit Recovery bonus, an insanely high boost to maximum stamina, and up to 40 (!) Vitality, but mostly, it gives up to 15% Reduced Damage. 

Verdungo's Hearty Cord


  • Defense: 125-158
  • Potion Slots: 16 
  • Required Level: 63
  • Required Strength: 106
  • Durability: 16
    • +90-140% Enhanced Defense 
    • 10% Faster Hit Recovery  
    • +30-40 To Vitality 
    • Replenish Life +10-13 
    • +100-120 Maximum Stamina 
    • Damage Reduced By 10-15% 

String of Ears (Demonhide Sash) - If you need additional defenses, this is also an extremely solid choice. The String of Ears provides up to a 15% damage reduction bonus and some Life Leech. 

String of Ears

  • Defense: 102-113
  • Potion Slots: 16 
  • Required Level: 29
  • Required Strength: 20
  • Durability: 22
    • +150-180% Enhanced Defense 
    • +15 Defense 
    • 6-8% Life Stolen Per Hit 
    • Damage Reduced By 10-15% 
    • Magic Damage Reduced 10-15 


  1. Annihilus - This fabled Charm boosts your Skills, Stats, and Resistances. It's the best Unique Small Charm, and it's limited to just 1 in your equipment. 
  2. Gheed's Fortune - The secret to Gheed's wealth and prosperity. Pretty much a must-have if you're after the best available charms. It adds 80-160% extra gold from monsters, reduces vendor prices by up to 15%, and gives up to 40% better magic find. 
  3. Hellfire Torch - The BiS Unique Large Charm that increases your Vitality, Skills, and more. 
  4. Grand Charms - These should have +Combat Skills. 
  5. Small Charms - With these, you should get your desired Resistances, bonuses to Life, or bonuses to Magic Find - whatever suits your needs, basically. 


We recommend picking up Act-5 Mercenary for extra damage output. He should be equipped with: 

  1. The Gavel of Pain - This provides Amplify Damage, which offers a very high boost to damage. Moreover, it ensures that our Mercenary can stand his ground and help us to deal with monsters effectively. A top (and expensive) choice for any Act5 merc build. It will greatly increase our overall offensive power. 
  2. Fortitude Rune Word in Armor - This will ensure that our merc doesn't die too easily. 
  3. Steelrend Gloves - For massive damage bonus and Crushing Blow. 
  4. Andariel's Visage - An extremely solid and versatile headgear that will make your merc better in all respects. 
  5. String of Ears - Very high damage reduction and excellent survivability boost. 
  6. Goblin Toe - For extra damage and the chance for a crushing blow. 



This is our premiere Project Diablo 2 build where we tried to include all of the important information on how to set up this character while keeping the guide as compact as possible. If we've missed something of importance, please let us know! 

If you have any Build requests, please post them in the Comments section below. We will be happy to cover your most requested builds in the future! Also, we hope that you have found this guide useful and informative. Also, we will be happy to receive constructive criticism that will help us improve our future work, so don't hesitate to give us your feedback. 

Pictures used in this article are the intellectual property of Blizzard Entertainment.