Excavator Zombie is the seventh zombie encountered in Lost City in Plants vs. Zombies 2. He holds a golden shovel that can protect himself and all zombies behind him from incoming projectiles shot by straight-shooting plants like Peashooter. Additionally, he can shovel up plants when he gets close to them and throw them three spaces back. As of an uncertain update, he will no longer lose the shovel on receiving 45 damage or more in a single attack, and then walk through the plants as though they did not exist.
As the Almanac suggests, his main weakness is lobbed-shot plants, such as A.K.E.E. or Melon-pult. Additionally, he can be attacked by plants that shoot projectiles in a straight line but backwards, such as Split Pea. The player can also use an area of effect plant, like Laser Bean or Fume-shroom, to bypass him as it goes through the shovel. Note that Coconut Cannon's projectiles will not damage him at all if they hit him directly. Excavator Zombie will only take splash damage from coconuts.
Digs up plants and throws them behind him.
Damage: blocks incoming projectiles, but is vulnerable to lobbed shots
Excavator Zombie once heard a song about having a hammer. He liked the idea, but decided it was too mainstream for him - so he got a shovel. Now he's confident that he's clearly the coolest zombie, the others are just too jealous to admit it.
Excavator Zombie absorbs 350 damage per shot and degrades upon absorbing 175 damage per shot, before dying at 350 damage per shot.
Plants vs. Zombies 2
Neon Mixtape Tour: "Rescue the Gold Bloom" Epic Quest - Step 2
Big Wave Beach: "Epic Quest: Premium Seeds - Electric Peashooter!" Epic Quest - Step 3
Excavator Zombie is one of Lost City's most dangerous zombies. They are very fast, and defensive plants like Wall-nut are useless against them. After they have reached the sixth column, he is considerably hard defeating them without the help of instant-kills like Cherry Bomb and stalling plants like Hurrikale.
If you see this zombie on the seed selection screen, make sure to bring a plant whose attacks are not absorbed by the shovel (e.g. as Penny mentions, lobbed-shot plants). After seeing this zombie entering the lawn, plant a lobbed-shot plant and try to use other plants to keep him stunned for a while (two A.K.E.E.s are enough to kill him). However, this must be done quickly as it can reach your lawn mower or house if you don't defeat it in time. When these zombies come alone, using a Bonk Choy can be a good way to defeat them (the punches bypass his shovel and can attack from behind). Similar to Bonk Choy, the Celery Stalker and Split Pea can also attack the Excavator Zombie from behind. The Excavator Zombie is also weak against AoE plants since they will ignore the shovel. Two columns of Laser Beans should be enough to kill the Excavator Zombie before he get near your defensive plants.
Do not use Plant Food on the straight shooting-based plants when Excavator Zombie is approaching. It will only compound your problems, as Excavator Zombie will block them all, wasting Plant Food. Exceptions are anything that can penetrate through the shovel.
Primal Peashooters, while they will not damage the zombie, will still occasionally stun or push back the zombie making it useful for stalling them.
With Parasol Zombie
A Parasol Zombie and Excavator Zombie pair can be very hard to defeat, because they move very fast and can stop any projectile. Instant-use plants are still your best choices to kill them, along with two plants with forward projectiles and two lobbed-shot plants in the same lane. Two Red Stingers and two A.K.E.E.s can kill them. Plants that can attack through multiple zombies, such as Bloomerang, Snapdragon, Lightning Reed, Laser Bean, and Fume-shroom, can also simultaneously bypass the Excavator Zombie's shovel and damage both the Excavator and Parasol Zombie, making them another way to defeat the pair of zombies. Banana Launcher and Lava Guava are also good choices as they will cause a lot of damage to other zombies as well.
Note that, unless they are behind, above, or below it, Homing Thistles will not be able to strike him, since they will shoot his shovel rather than his back.
In this level, Excavator Zombies only come in the first and last lane, where there are endangered A.K.E.E.s. They can throw them behind, making them vulnerable. Therefore, you can plant one more A.K.E.E. to kill them as soon as possible, so they cannot reach your endangered plants. One A.K.E.E. cannot handle this zombie if he is protected by other zombies in front of him, because the target of A.K.E.E. is still limited.
Excavator Zombie only appears in 4 levels in Modern Day, one being the Zomboss battle. In both appearances he is very deadly. In Modern Day - Day 12, this zombie is paired with Parasol Zombie, as well as dinosaurs and the objective of not losing more than 10 plants. He will also appear very early in the level too. Using Guacodile in this case will help immensely, as it does not count as losing a plant. However, it is still a poor choice unless you use Plant Food or plant them directly on the Excavator Zombie. Modern Day - Day 25, is a bit different. Excavator Zombie can shovel up valuable plants like Coconut Cannon closer to the zombies, rendering them useless. It is best to revive all the Kernel-pult and the two Phat Beet in the middle of the lawn against him. The Fume-shroom can also inflict great damage if he is buttered.
Excavator starts appearing during Level 11 onwards of Highway to the Danger Room. He can be very threatening, especially if multiple Lost City portals spawn early. Instant use plants should be used, as well as lobbed shot plants. However, with other zombies such as Shield Zombie and Jester Zombie, using area of effect plants are more optimal.
"Rescue the Gold Bloom" Epic Quest - Step 2
Excavator Zombies are very dangerous during punk jam as their speed doubles, making them much difficult to beat. They also tend to be paired with Parasol Zombies and Punk Zombies, whose speeds are also very fast. When these zombies appear in large numbers, they can destroy many of your plants in seconds, causing you to lose the game without spending coins on Plant Food or power ups. To prevent this, Stallia and Hurrikale are effective with slowing groups of zombies. Area-of-effect plants make good use here to take out a lane or area of zombies. It is recommended that you put plants near the back of your lawn so that they do not get overwhelmed. Infi-nut's plant food also renders them ineffective, as they are unable to use their abilities and so can be finished by a few Snapdragons.
Plants vs. Zombies Wiki has a gallery for Excavator Zombie.
- When he shovels a Potato Mine or Primal Potato Mine before it is armed, it will activate on the tile it lands on.
- If Excavator loses his shovel (using the glitch with a splash damage plant knocking the shovel out of his hands and dropping it), he will run very quickly through any and every Plant he encounters without eating it. This cannot be observed now, as the glitch has been removed.
- However, if he reaches a Hypno-shroom planted one space ahead of him, he will eat it, and become hypnotized (if it is planted right on top of him he will run through it).
- When he is eating a Hypno-shroom or the players brains (he will only do this when the glitch has made him lose his shovel) are the only two occasions that one can see him play his eating animation.
- It is unknown why he has an eating animation, as the only way to make him play it is through an unintentional glitch. It's possible that the animation was planned in the beta and the shovel can be removed directly.
- Unless it is planted right underneath him, he can shovel up Chard Guard before it can hurl him backwards.
- Similarly, Guacodile will not trigger its rush attack unless it is planted right on Excavator Zombie. If a Guacodile gets shoveled up, it will not do its rush attack after it lands unless it encounters another zombie.
- He does not eat Infi-nut's or Moonflower's shield. Instead, he smashes them with his shovel, dealing the normal damage equivalent of a bite. He also does this to delayed instant-kill plants sometimes, like Stunion and when he "eats" the player's brains.
- When he loses his arm, it will not show the bone that most zombies do. His arm pops off, unlike other sound sprites of other zombies.
- There is a glitch where a plant gets shoveled up even if the player used Hurrikale to push back an Excavator Zombie in the middle of it act.
- The phrase "a song about having a hammer" is a reference to the song "If I Had a Hammer" by Pete Seeger and Lee Hays.
- This is the first time the song is referenced, the second being in the description of Smoosh-Shroom (Whose mushroom cap resembles a hammer).
- If the plant he is shoveling is in the seventh or eighth column, it will be thrown to the rightmost column instead of being thrown off the lawn like Mecha-Football Zombie or Fisherman Zombie. This happens as long as there are no more plants behind.
- However, if the plant is in the rightmost column, it will be tossed away normally.
- There is a glitch where the sound effects of him shoveling up a plant are heard even after he dies.
- Even though Cactus has the ability to pierce through zombies, he does not take damage when Cactus' thorns pierce through his body.
- Even though Primal Peashooter's projectiles inflict no damage to this zombie, it still deals knock back.
- If the player completes a level without him shoveling up a plant, they will earn the Shovel Off achievement.
- In some areas of the Chinese version, such as the world preview, he has a silver shovel.
- In previous versions of the Chinese version, he was immune to lobbed-shot plants. This made him nearly impossible to defeat.
- He is one of the two zombies to have a shovel, with the other being Mixed-Up Gravedigger.
- He is voiced by Chris Sampson according to the credits.
- If he is hit by a straight-shooting projectile during his shoveling animation, he will not take damage despite the fact that he is not being protected by the shovel during the animation.
- In his Almanac entry (in both the international and Chinese version), for some reason the icon for health (the shield) is green instead of purple.
- He can not dig up Grave Busters, however this can only be seen in Pinata Party.
- After the 6.3 update, when he was defeated, he will still hold the shovel in his hand and another shovel is thrown fowards, appearing out of nowhere, making it seem like he dropped 2 shovels.