Biodiversity underlies ecosystem functioning. While aboveground biodiversity is often well studied, the belowground microbiome, in particular protists, remains largely unknown. Indeed, holistic insights into soil microbiome structures in natural soils, especially in hyperdiverse biomes such as the Brazilian Cerrado, remain unexplored. Here, we study the soil microbiome across four major vegetation zones of the Cerrado, ranging from grass-dominated to tree-dominated vegetation with a focus on protists. We show that protist taxon richness increases towards the tree-dominated climax vegetation. Early successional habitats consisting of primary grass vegetation host most potential plant pathogens and least animal parasites. Using network analyses combining protist with prokaryotic and fungal sequences, we show that microbiome complexity increases towards climax vegetation. Together, this suggests that protists are key microbiome components and that vegetation succession towards climax vegetation is stimulated by higher loads of animal and plant pathogens. At the same time, an increase in microbiome complexity towards climax vegetation might enhance system stability.