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EfT Cultists guide: Locations, Weapons, Tactics

Updated 01.04.2023 8 Mins to read Share
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EfT Cultists guide: Locations, Weapons, Tactics

Cultists in Escape from Tarkov are a dangerous NPC-only faction. They were added to Escape from Tarkov in December 2020. Although custom cultists spawn in some areas of Tarkov at certain times, encounters with them can be uniquely challenging, making them noteworthy threats. Tarkov cultists are distinguished by their high stats and unusual tactics. While difficult, farming cultists in Tarkov can also be rewarding in terms of loot. Read EfT Cultists Guide: Weapons, Tactics to prepare yourself for this challenge!

Escape from Tarkov Cultists are mysterious by design. They were not mentioned in the 12.9 patch notes, but started showing up in raids immediately after that update went live. Since then, the community has pieced together many details about those Tarkov denizens, such as what time cultists spawn (22 PM-6 AM) and tarkov cultists' spawn rate (20-28%). We also know that cultists show up on Woods, Shoreline, and Customs maps. As yet, there are no cultists on Interchange. Even though the Reserve map has marked circles that are associated with cultists in EfT, you will not find any Tarkov Sektant or Tarkov Zhrec there. Further information and advice regarding cultists in Tarkov are worth examining topic by topic.

  What map do cultists spawn on? Here are all known Tarkov cultist locations: 

  • Woods cultist spawn locations are the two ritual spots on Woods featured in a Peacekeeper quest (The Cult - Part 2). One is by the checkpoint, the other is in the northern village. While Woods cultists spawn there, they patrol in a wide radius, making Woods cultists' locations hard to pin down;
  • EfT Shoreline cultists spawn between the gas and power stations and north of the swamp village. Shoreline cultists also wander away from spawn locations. However, the Shoreline cultist locations are more compact. Where do cultists spawn in Shoreline?     
  • Customs cultists spawn at the ZB-1013 extract. Cultists in Customs then wander to the trains or the crackhouse, patrolling the Customs cultists' location. Where do cultists spawn on Custom s?

The EfT Cultist faction consists of two enemy types: Zhrec and Sektant. Outside EfT, Sektant means simply sect member, while Zhrec is a pagan priest. In Escape from Tarkov, Zhrec is a mini-boss accompanied by a retinue of 3-5 Sektant warriors while patrolling different parts of Tarkov. While even the rank-and-file cultist in EfT has more HP than most Scav bosses, the cultist priest appears to have the highest HP in Tarkov. Sektants can have a wider variety of equipment, while Zhrec is more likely to have unique cultist gear like the Tarkov cultists’ poison knife required by the Night Sweep Skier quest. Like all bodyguards, Sektants defend the Priest, but both types can attack.

Tarkov cultists may spawn with a surprisingly varied range of gear. Sektants in particular can spawn with long and medium-range guns as well as melee weapons. While sometimes unarmored, they may spawn with armor up to Tier 5 or 6. However, their headgear is usually flimsy or absent. The Tarkov cultist priest has no armor but comes with close-range guns. Both types of cultists in Tarkov can spawn with the unique Cultist knife. This weapon does slightly more damage than standard knives, but what makes it truly deadly is the ability to inflict unknown toxins - one of the worst effects in EfT. It deals damage over time and can only be removed with a handful of items or by paying a Therapist.

The cultists’ tricky ambush-based tactics make them even more dangerous. Cultists can hide in bushes or tall grass, or behind other covers. For example, Customs cultists may camp near the extract by the Customs cultist spawn site. They can stalk people as well. Once there is an opening, an Escape from Tarkov Sektant or Zhrec will stab their prey from behind. After that, he will swiftly retreat to cover and wait for another opportunity to strike. Despite their melee preference, cultists will shoot back after engaging. They move quickly, fire with precision, and can no longer be detected with thermals after a later update. You may require coaching if you wish to take on cultists in Tarkov.

Despite their formidable advantages, it is possible to defeat cultists. Here are some tips on how to fight cultists in Tarkov:

  • Exercise caution when approaching Tarkov cultist spawn locations. While cultists roam, they stay within a certain radius. When in this area, move cautiously, stick to higher ground, and keep your back to walls or other obstacles. This is especially difficult on a map like Shoreline, where cultists spawn in areas with little cover for players to use this way. In such situations, it would be especially helpful to have someone watch your back;
  • Try to spot cultists at a distance. How to spot cultists? Their heads and silencers can stick out, spoiling their ambush if you pay attention. Suspiciously placed corpses may be cultists lying prone and waiting for you to get too close. You can watch Tarkov videos on how to find cultists for further reference;
  • If you can spot them, also try to take them out at the long range. While capable in a firefight, they are much more dangerous to you up close. The ideal sequence is to snipe them, use grenades to keep survivors at bay and pick off anyone who runs towards you with medium-range weapons. Equip yourself accordingly and aim for the head, as it is likely to be unprotected;
  • Always remember that cultists move in groups. Do not run after a sektant, especially in Tarkov Woods and other high-concealment areas, or you may blunder into an ambush set by his friends. If you survived an encounter with one cultist, keep an eye out for the others;
  • Have a Tarkov cultist poison antidote at the ready. The hardcore mechanics of EfT make unidentified toxins particularly deadly. It will do damage to your body parts, crippling and then killing you. Various healing items could postpone death, but only a handful of consumables in Tarkov can remove the unknown toxin. Antidote XTG-12, found in different parts of Tarkov but mainly in the Labs and craftable in Hideout with the Medstation, works in and out of raid. The more common Augmentin only seems to work during the raid. If you do not have them, your best option will be to retreat and heal with a Therapist.

EfT Cultist loot is on par with that of Scav Raiders in quality. However, they offer more of it, partly because the Zhrec has more inventory slots than most Tarkov characters. Between this rich selection of elite loot and some exclusive items, you can certainly do worse in Tarkov than farming cultists. Here are some of the benefits you might obtain from cultist loot in EfT:

  • High-level weapons, armor, ammo, and mods - all very useful for gearing efforts;
  • Cultist knives are some of the deadliest items in Tarkov due to the unknown toxin damage over time effect. You can inflict this effect twice with each knife;
  • Rare keys and keycards. Zhrec is one of the best sources for items like the Red Labs keycard;
  • SJ9 TGLabs combat stimulant injectors, which can make you harder to notice with thermal vision;
  • Pestily plague mask, a plague doctor mask that is required for the Collector quest which unlocks after completing all other quests.

FAQ About EfT Cultists Guide

What is a cultist in Escape from Tarkov?

Cultists are an elite enemy type found on certain maps. They are tough, well-equipped, and tend to attack targets from ambush.

When were the cultists added to EfT?

Although they showed up unannounced, cultists have been in the game since the end of December 2020. There were quests and locations hinting at their presence even earlier.

What maps do cultists spawn on?

Currently, cultists spawn on Woods, Shoreline, and Customs. They may spawn in other locations later.

I can’t find the cultists anywhere on those maps. Do they really spawn there?

The cultist spawn chance is 20% on Customs and 28% on Shoreline and Woods. If you haven’t encountered them yet despite visiting the maps at the usual cultist spawn time for Tarkov, it’s a matter of luck.

At what time do cultists spawn on Custom and other maps?

Cultists spawn during the night, from 22 PM to 6 AM. Note that if you started the raid before that time, they can still spawn at any of the usual EfT cultist spawn times.

I think I’ve fought cultists during the day. Is that possible?

There is a known bug with cultists showing up in Tarkov outside of normal spawn time. Sometimes it’s just the Zhrec, while at other times it can be the entire group. Be careful.

In EfT, do cultists kill Scavs?

Cultists normally ignore Scavs, including player Scavs. However, player Scavs who wander too close to their territory may be attacked anyway - so keep that in mind during your next loot raid. The Scav karma mechanic does not apply to cultists, so you will not lose anything by fighting them as a Scav.

How to heal cultist poison?

The unknown toxin in Tarkov will deal damage over time until removed. Even leaving the raid will not cure it. The only known methods are Antidote XTG-12, Augmentin, or the Therapist’s service. The latter is cheaper, but still very expensive - and you would need to get out of the raid first.

Do cultists spawn on night factory?

Cultists night factory spawn was added after the halloween event with 3% chance.

Are there cultists on reserve?

For now, we can be sure where the cultists can spawn in customs, woods and shoreline. Theoretically, there are 3 cultist spawn points on reserve, but we have not seen any confirmation of this information to date. If you can't find cultists in tarkov, contact our support. Experienced players will help to cope with any task.

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