Diablo® III

Comprehensive Witch Doctor Build Guide

84 Tauren Druid
If you come across something in the guide that does not match up with the gameplay, it is important that you let me know in the comments, so I can fix it quickly!
Similarly, if you come across something that would be beneficial to the guide, please let me know so I can add it immediately!

Note that this guide is tuned for Normal -> Hell play. Inferno builds may be viable using this set-up, but it takes more than just a build to clear Inferno.

Skip to:
In Depth Guide ( http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/4927183159?page=1#2 )
Pets and CC ( http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/4927183159?page=1#5 )

Hey all,
I see a lot of threads asking for help on builds, especially on what the build is missing, so I figured I'd write a general character build strategy and checklist! The guide is very comprehensive and will be updated to reflect patches when necessary.

If you like the guide, and think it would help others, please consider requesting a sticky, and commenting to offer feedback, new content suggestions, and critique. Thank you, and enjoy the read!

Note: I'm not telling people what to do, or that builds that don't meet my version of a checklist aren't viable, it's simply a general strategy to help get a balanced build that may be more or less effective. Want a theme build? Go for it! This is a game and is about fun after all! This is just a checklist to offer some suggestions on what they might be missing to make them more effective/survivable, especially for NM/Hell play.

Disclaimer: Any rune suggestions are just suggestions! Use what you like! Additionally, if a skill, passive or rune is not mentioned, it does not mean it is bad, or undesired for a build. Also worth noting again, this is NOT an Inferno guide. Some of the principles transfer, but others do not.

Here's a useful distance image so you can see just how big an ability's size is:

Elective Mode:
Allows use of any skill in any slot. Found in Options -> Gameplay -> Elective Mode

Some terminology:
AoE : Area of Effect
CC : Crowd Control (spell/effect)
CD : Cool Down
DoT : Damage over Time
DPS : Damage Per Second
X% Weapon Damage : Always refers to a percentile of the players currently equipped weapon.
Buff : Improve something, notably by an increase in stats due to a spell.
Regen : Regeneration
[Rune] : The syntax I will follow for all rune name mentions

Useful Information:
Higher Weapon Damage = Higher Spell Damage
Higher Weapon Attack Speed = Higher Cast Speed (Will drain mana faster)
Higher Weapon Attack Speed = Higher DoT Damage per Tick (CONFIRMED Credit: Eshi)
(Does not affect Haunt or Locust Swarm, but does affect most if not all other AoE damage ticks such as GotD, Phantasm, Acid Cloud's DoT, and Painful Transformation! Firebats needs testing!)
(Note, also goes for Spider Queen, Big Stinker, etc., as well as pet auto-attacks)
Most/All on hit effects affect MOST/ALL our spells.

Armor/Resistance/Vitality and Effective Health info:
Int (gives resists) + Resists + (Str/Armor) + Dex(dodge) = Pets that Survive better

Pet stats:
Pets gain damage boosts ACTIVELY. They do not need to be resummoned to benefit from Soul Harvest, Gruesome Feast or gear changes!
Blood Ritual synergizes with Fierce Loyalty

Life /Hit testing:

Useful Stat Breakdown:
+Damage: Gives a nice DPS boost as it is multiplied by INT and Attack Speed
+Intelligence: Gives a DPS boost, gives Resistances
+Vitality: Gives 10-35 (level dependent) HP per point.
%Attack Speed: Usually gives an equal overall DPS boost.
%Damage Increase: Same as Attack Speed.
General priority: +Damage > +Int and +Vit > %Attack Speed and %Damage increase
(Note that Attack speed and Damage increase give large bonuses, but are found in smaller amounts than Int is, if you already have high int, the %AS and %Dmg may be better than more int)
(Additional Note: Strength, Resistances, Armor, Life Regen, Life on Hit and Dexterity are very useful for survival and pet survival, especially on higher difficulties.)

Damage Formula
Average of Base Weapon Damage = D
Any +Damage from gear = XD
Enhanced Damage % = ED
Attacks per second = AS
Increased Attack Speed % = IAS
Base Intelligence = I
Int from gear = XI
Soul Harvest Int = SHI

Damage Per Second = (D + XD) * (1+ ED/100) * [ 1 + (I + XI + SHI) / 100 ] * AS * (1 + IAS/100)
(Correct this if I am wrong)

Below is my opinion on several spells, feel free to IGNORE THIS! Play what you like, not what you're told!

Current Opinion of Awesome Defensive Skills
Soul Harvest [Siphon] (This will easily double your damage output and give a good heal)
GotD [Unbreakable Grasp] (Less of a slow than a full out STOP, things will crawl to you)
Spirit Walk (Great escape, great to run into a pack and Soul Harvest and run out with, no suitable replacement)
Gargantuan (Amazing tanking ability, decent damage)
Horrify (Fears almost everything around you, will save your life many times)
Hex [Hedge Magic] (Semi-Reliable heal, mixed with a nice CC that can affect even Belial (phase 1) and Izual!)
Zombie Wall (Walls off most enemies, and does damage as they try to get around it - synergizes well with GotD)

Opinion on Primaries
Darts: Best for Single Target damage. Low mana cost lets it be spammed. Good for kiting.
Spiders: Only good if you can sit back and spam it. Has NO stopping power, so does not fit in well with Run'n'Gun builds. Does reasonably well in pet builds.
Toads: Best AoE damage. High mana cost can suck you dry at high attack speeds. If you get swarmed, this skill will save your life.
Firebomb: Okay damage, but really shines in utility. Can be used at long or short range, and if the AoE hits 3+ targets, it beats Darts. Since it has range and a lower mana cost as well as a small AoE, it can compete with toads. Good for mop-up duty as well.
My current preference: Firebomb/Darts -> Toads (for use with Soul Harvest) -> Corpse Spiders

Now on to the actual guide.

Basic (TL;DR) Checklist:
1. Do I have a short CD CC or escape that I can use often and in emergencies?
2. Do I have a spell to use up excess mana?
3. Do I have a spell to use if I run out of mana?
4. Do I have a spell to use when most of my abilities are on CD?
5. Do I have AoE damage? (Important especially for Solo play)
6. Do I have single target damage? (Important for Boss killing)
7. Do I have a way to regain HP/Mana?
8. Do my passives maximize my strategy? (Survival, CC, DPS, Pets, etc..)
9. Do I have an effective way to keep enemies from hurting me? (Pets or CC)

Note: Several of these categories can be covered by one ability in many cases!

Pets will be discussed in-depth near the end of the guide (in 9.), along with CC abilities.

Bug section added at end of guide.
Edited by Randomorph#1252 on 6/4/2012 11:59 AM PDT
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84 Tauren Druid
Back To Top: ( http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/4927183159?page=1#1 )
CD and AoE: ( http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/4927183159?page=1#3 )

In Depth Checklist/Guide:
1. Do I have a short CD CC that I can use often and in emergencies?

Having one will save you often, and is useful in those “Oh SH**” moments! If you get swarmed, your pets die/get overwhelmed or you get ambushed by a group of Jailors, Teleporters, Vortex, etc., you'll be glad you took one.

Recommended abilities:
Grasp of the Dead

One of [Desperate Grasp] for reduced CD or [Unbreakable Grasp] for a powerful slow.
Spirit Walk
One of [Healing Journey] for a 14% heal which can save your life or be used when up and not in danger as a heal, or [Honored Guest] if mana is constantly running out for you. I would STRONGLY recommend this skill.
One of [Face of Death] to enhance the crappy default radius or [Frigtening Aspect] for the doubled armor, which increases your total effective health by 50% (effective health is how many hits you can take based on armor and resists).

2. Do I have a spell to use up excess mana?
If you plan on taking a lot of mana passives, and mana regen runes, you should look carefully if you'll be able to reasonably burn that much mana, especially if you have a primary in your build. With a primary, having excess mana regen isn't as valuable, as when your mana is low, you can simply use your primary until mana has returned. (Especially if given a mana regen rune!) Ideally you want a powerful AoE spell to use up that mana if you have a lot of mana regen. (Eg. Spiritual Attunement, Vision Quest, etc.)
On this note, it's usually (not always) a bad idea to have two primaries, as normally you won't be able to be using both at once.

Recommended Abilities:

[Dire Bats] for long ranged builds, [Cloud of Bats] for more close ranged builds.
Locust Swarm
Close range (Basically melee) ability, but it may not burn enough mana if using [Pestilence] or [Devouring Swarm] as you won't need to cast it that often/regen mana with each use.
Zombie Charger
[Undeath], [Explosive Beast] and [Zombie Bears] are all nice choices.
Acid Cloud
[Acid Rain] to dramatically increase the radius (useful for Bad Medicine builds), [Lob Blob Bomb] for a mobile AoE that seeks out enemies, [Corpse Bomb] to make the ability more spammable. (Note the DoT portion DOES stack)

Single Target
Spirit Barrage
“Lob spell” (see Section #3.) Does good damage and can be runed for some interesting alternate effects. Damage vs mana cost makes it undesirable right now. (Eg, compare the damage to Poison Dart[Splinters] and then the mana costs of each). However, the [Phantasm] rune is a rather effective placeable (range similar to GotD) AoE, and synergizes well with Grasp of the Dead.
Runes on Abilities
Firebats [Hungry Bats], Haunt [Resentful Spirit] (base skill does not need to be cast often enough, and has a four enemy maximum to affect, so would not use enough mana to be a spender. However [Resentful Spirit] needs to be cast every 2 seconds, and is a much more valid choice for spamming to use up mana)

3. Do I have a spell to use if I run out of mana?
90+% of the time, this will be a primary. Note that you do not NEED a rune on your primary that gives you mana because your base mana regen will be higher than the cost of the primary (except Toads!), but this will speed up how often you can use other abilities when you run out. The cost of this however is the versatility/damage of your primary. Note you should pick the rune on your primary to complement your build.

Ability Comparison:
Poison Dart

Highest single target DPS primary, with some useful runes that can give slow, mana, or a stun effect. It will hit the first object/monster it bumps into. Good for taking down strong mobs quickly, or to focus on a high priority mob you have a clear shot to.
Corpse Spiders
NO LONGER INTERRUPTS ENEMY PATHING. Has some cool effects, and has single target damage close to Poison Dart. The disadvantage is you do not control what the spiders attack. However this is a “lob” spell, and can travel over enemies and walls to where you click. Good against a crowd of weaker enemies or for single target damage, but it can be harder to use on enemies that move around quickly, eg. Scavengers and Teleporting champion packs, without [Leaping Spiders].
Plague of Toads
The mana cost on toads is cheap, but not cheap enough to spam while regaining mana. This ability also has the highest potential damage of the primaries if all toads hit the same target. This ability works like Charged Bolt from earlier games, but has a limited range and individual toads can damage multiple targets. Note that [Toad Affinity] turns this into a 0 mana ability, which could prove useful.
Long range “lob” spell with small AoE that does decent damage considering it hits a group. All variants do not have to be cast directly at an enemy to hit it, so Firebomb is miss-click friendly! Has some cool effects, that offer the potential to do very good AoE damage considering it is nearly free. Note that while [Pyrogeist] turns this into a single target attack, it does not beat Poison Dart's runed damage, and can only have one Pillar at a time. However it can be lobbed at priority targets behind enemy lines (eg. Summoners, Healers) whereas Poison Dart cannot.
Edited by Randomorph#1252 on 6/4/2012 10:34 AM PDT
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84 Tauren Druid
Back to Top ( http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/4927183159?page=1#1 )
Regen and Passives ( http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/4927183159?page=1#4 )

4. Do I have a spell to use when most of my abilities are on CD?
This is mostly here to make people pay attention to when they have a lot of CD abilities. When you have 5 abilities on CD for 20 seconds or more, and just a primary, or another CD ability even if short CD, you can't do that much most of the time. Most of the long CD abilities are there as support. Not to say builds with a lot of CDs aren't viable, notably a support build with a group or a Vision Quest build, but you should have a strong grasp of what you are doing and your limitations before you try this.

Recommended abilities are one primary, and one mana spender (usually AoE) in every build to spam while abilities are on CD.

5. Do I have AoE damage? (Important especially for Solo play)
If you're playing solo, you need to have your bases covered. This includes dealing with big groups of relatively weak enemies as quickly as possible, to avoid getting swarmed. This also frees you up to kill the stronger enemies with powerful single target abilities.

If you have a group with lots of AoE, and are going to be a dedicated Boss Killer, you can skip this if necessary. However, in all other cases, I would STRONGLY recommend having a spammable AoE.

Same as in section #2.

Additional AoEs:
Firebomb, most notably [Roll the Bones] or [Ghost Bomb]
Plague of Toads, all runes except [Toad of Hugeness]. [Rain of Toads] is a long range AoE.
Grasp of the Dead, notably [Rain of Corpses] or [Groping Eels].
Sacrifice (for optimal use, requires very specific build types, recommended to skip until more familiar with standard builds)

6. Do I have single target damage? (Important for Boss killing)
It's important to have some form single target damage to deal with powerful lone enemies, notably boss monsters and champions (once their pack has been slain).

Generally speaking, you can simply cast your AoE and Primary on the target, while CCing as necessary. Any Primary can work for Single Target. However Darts and Spiders have the advantage in damage. Toads having an advantage if all three toads hit the same target, but the disadvantage of close range and high mana costs. Firebomb is useful OVERALL, but definitely pales in comparison at Single Target. However, most bosses have Adds, giving Firebomb good utility to deal with both the packs and the boss.

Worth noting is that having Zombie Dogs and/or Gargantuan will add to both your survival/soft CC and single target damage (to a lesser degree) when they gang up on an enemy. (Will be discussed after)

We don't have as many “single target” only damage abilities as some other classes, but we do have a few of note, and a few AoE style abilities that can be used effectively for single target as well:
[Dire Bats], [Plague Bats] and [Hungry Bats] being the most notable.
While any of the Haunt variations are good to add to Single Target dps for a low overall cost, [Resentful Spirit] is the best (one of our best Single Target abilities as well), as it has double the overall DPS of the base version (288% over 2s = 144% weapon damage per tick), with the downside of having to cast it much more often (2 seconds versus 12). (Haunt does not stack, and only jumps when it's current target has died!)
Locust Swarm
Normally an AoE ability, but can add a nice DoT to help your single target damage, especially with [Searing Locusts] or [Cloud of Insects]
Spirit Barrage
Using [The Spirit is Willing] to make it a cheaper nuke, or [Phlebotomize] to regain health, this “lob” spell can hit targets behind other enemies/walls and has a good damage value, however, it's damage does not justify its mana cost.
Edited by Randomorph#1252 on 5/28/2012 9:47 AM PDT
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84 Tauren Druid
Back to Top ( http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/4927183159?page=1#1 )
Pets and CC ( http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/4927183159?page=1#5 )

7. Do I have a way to regain HP/Mana?
There are MANY ways to do this, and to tweak your build to add to this, including many runes, and several passives. Generally speaking, if you're playing Softcore, you want 1 ability or passive that regens health, and one that regens mana. Hardcore players will favour multiple ways to gain HP.

Mana Regen
An easy way to regain mana, is to have a primary and spam it whenever you run out of mana. Note: Primaries still cost SOME mana, just less than regen.

You can add a mana rune to your primary, and cast it whenever you are out of mana. All these runes give a net gain on mana, meaning you get full advantage of your natural regen, plus the net mana from the rune. Example is Poison Dart with [Spined Dart], giving a net gain of 14 mana per successful hit.

There are also multiple abilities that give mana with runes including many spirit spells, notably Spirit Walk with [Honored Guest], and Haunt with [Draining Spirit]. Big Bad Voodoo with [Rain Dance] is also good, but perhaps best used in a group setting.

Mana Passives:
Spiritual Attunement

Straight forward bonus to mana pool, and a good boost to your mana regen.
Gruesome Feast
Requires health globes, gives a very nice damage boost while buff is active.
Vision Quest
Requires a lot of CDs in your build and a good nuking mana spender to take advantage of the regen.
Rush of Essence
Best used with a heavy spirit build to mitigate a lot of mana costs.
Grave Injustice
Requires a lot of Gold Pickup Radius increasing items to be fully effective as well as adds in a boss fight, however has a powerful effect when it procs. 1% Hp, 1% mana, and -1 second on CDs is pretty amazing if you can keep enemies dieing fast and in range. Note that the base range is melee radius.

Health Regen
A few great ways to regain HP:
Spirit Walk [Healing Journey]
Escape and heal, what's not to love?
Hex [Hedge Magic]
80% up time without the synergizing passive Tribal Rites, and heals allies and pets as well!
Soul Harvest [Siphon]
Heals for a large chunk and buffs you at the same time. Intelligence increases both resistances and damage. Only disadvantage is a loss of a slot for CC, or another powerful ability. (This makes your other 5 abilities more powerful when used, at the cost of a skill slot)
Haunt [Consuming Spirit]
A fire and forget HoT that when cast on multiple enemies can bring in some nice Health/sec.
Zombie Dogs [Leeching Beasts]
Helps keeps dogs alive and heals you for 25% of the dog's damage as life. ( 2.25% weapon damage per hit per dog)

Honorable Mention:
Big Bad Voodoo [Ghost Trance]
Best used with a group, or a lot of pets. If you stay in the AoE for the full duration, you will be healed for 100% of your max hp. A good ability that can seriously turn the tides of a fight.

Healing passives:
Blood Ritual

A somewhat undervalued ability. At a higher level, 1% of our health is more than 15% of the mana cost of our most expensive skill, therefore giving us a 1% max hp passive heal rate when not casting, and 15% mana reduction costs. At a lower level, may eat into some of your health if spam casting expensive spells.
Spirit Vessel
Essentially a free Spirit Walk [Healing Journey] (although with less healing, 10% vs 14%) upon death every 90 seconds. I would say this is almost mandatory in Hardcore, but that is just opinion. Also reduces the cooldown on Horrify, Spirit Walk and Soul Harvest by 2 seconds, making this a good survival passive. (Note the CD reduction seems to be bugged)
Grave Injustice
Requires a lot of Gold Pickup Radius increasing items to be fully effective as well as adds in a boss fight, however has a powerful effect when it procs. 1% Hp, 1% mana, and -1 second on CDs is pretty amazing if you can keep enemies dieing fast and in range. Note that the base range is melee radius.

8. Do my passives maximize my strategy? (Survival, CC, DPS, Pets, etc..)
Passives are mainly there to provide synergies with other skills you have, and for the most part should be fairly straightforward as to what will benefit which skills/build ideas.

Example Passive selections (only examples to get you thinking, feel free to tweak them):

High Dps Nuker
Pierce the Veil, Spiritual Attunement, and one of:
Gruesome Feast for Int Bonus and Mana regen -OR-
Vision Quest if you have 4 CD abilities that you use frequently -OR-
Rush of Essence for Spirit heavy builds.

Pet Survival Build
Zombie Handler, Jungle Fortitude, and one of:
Fierce Loyalty if you have a lot of Thorns and Life Regen items on -OR-
Bad Medicine if you have reliable Poison damage you can apply to groups -OR-
A passive to complement your other skill choices.

Petless Survival Build
Jungle Fortitude, Spirit Vessel, and one of:
Bad Medicine for builds using AoE poison damage (note: debuff will help your group as well) -OR-
Blood Ritual if 15% of the mana cost of your skills is less than 1% of your Hp -OR-
Grave Injustice with a lot of +Gold Pickup Radius items.
Edited by Randomorph#1252 on 5/28/2012 9:56 AM PDT
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84 Tauren Druid
Back to Top ( http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/4927183159?page=1#1 )
More Pets + CC ( http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/4927183159?page=1#6 )

Due to all the threads claiming Pets are too weak I feel this is necessary to restate outright:

The stats to improve tanking are:
ARMOR(or STR), RESISTANCE(Int will help this), and DEX(dodge). VIT has been debunked!
Additional notes: Fierce Loyalty STILL synergizes with Blood Ritual. It does NOT synergize with +Life on Hit or life leech items anymore, only +life regen items. Note that even without Fierce Loyalty, you will still get +life on hit returns from Big Stinker and Burning Dogs, but the pets do not gain the benefit with or without Fierce Loyalty. It does appear that pets are viable in Inferno when geared appropriately.

Related Links:
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/5151270517#4 (Inferno Viability)
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/5271500086 (Stat scaling)
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/5271499223 (Life regen and such)

Pet Guide:
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/5594214282 (Peter's Pet Guide)

Based on personal testing, pets seem to gain damage increase bonuses ACTIVELY. Eg, Gargles damage before Soul Harvest = 30ish, after = 60ish. No resummoning necessary.
Note: This means that resummoning to buff pets will not work/be necessary.

Also word for word: (Credit to Elegy, couldn't think of how to better reword it)
For soloing, some followers have abilities that can boost the longevity of pets. The enchantress' Powered Armor boosts your armor by 15%, which, according to Peter's testing thread, should boost the damage resistance of all pets as well. The Templar's Loyalty ability does increase your health per second stat, which, if you use Fierce Loyalty, will also boost the health regeneration of pets.

The followers' damage boosting abilities should also extend to boosting pet damage as well.

9. Do I have an effective way to keep enemies from hurting me? (Pets or CC)
First off, terminology I will use:
Soft CC: CC that does not stop a monster's AI entirely. Eg Slows and pets. Primarily used to distact, or group enemies for your spells, and reduce the amount of damage you take in the long run. Not as great for those “OH SH**” moments.
Hard CC: Completely overwrites what a monster is doing. Eg Stuns and fears. Used to temporarily make enemies stop attacking you. Much better for “OH SH**” moments.
Escape: We only have one: Spirit Walk. This lets you get out of a group of mobs/bad situation without affecting enemy AI (other than whether they target you or not).

Generally speaking, you'll want a way to keep a group busy while you blast them to smitherines. The Witch Doctor's more reliable way of doing this is pets, as long as you synergize them for survivability. This is because they add soft CC, and DPS to your enemies, which helps compensate for the lack of other damage abilities or passives. Unbuffed Zombie Dogs are best used in combination with Sacrifice because they tend to die much easier, and in that case are not that great as soft CC. Note that in harder difficulties, pets are less effective than Hard CC in many cases.

Comparisons of CC Skills and Runes:
Zombie Dogs
(Soft CC)
[Rabid Dogs] : Useful in conjunction with the Bad Medicine passive. Poison stacks. Poison procs your +life on hit items (for you only).
[Final Gift] : Useful in conjunction with Sacrifice and/or Gruesome Feast.
[Life Link] : Effectively a 10% damage reduction (for player) as long as your dogs are up. Pump up their survival, and you will also see a gain in survival.
[Burning Dogs] : AoE damage, can out DPS [Rabid Dogs] with a lot of mobs, although your dogs may die if swarmed, and the DPS is marginal. Note the AoE procs your +life on hit items per enemy per second (for you only).
[Leeching Beasts] : Probably the best rune in survivability for dogs. Keeps them alive longer, and you alive longer. 4.5% weapon damage per hit for dogs, 2.25% weapon damage per hit for you!

Grasp of the Dead (Soft Targeted CC)
[Unbreakable Grasp] : When it comes to slows, this is the king. 80% AoE for 8 seconds with DPS as well. Useful in nearly any build as a solid, spammable soft CC.
[Groping Eels] : Damage increase to 35% (keeps original 60% slow). Gives a 120% weapon damage increase per mob that stays in the zone for the full effect. Decent damage boost.
[Death Is Life] : Gives health globes at a low chance if an enemy dies in the AoE. Maybe useful for a Gruesome Feast or a support build.
[Desperate Grasp] : Gives you an ability that lasts 8 seconds, on a 6 second cooldown. Basically ensures you have Grasp up whenever you need it. Can be particularly useful for support builds or Petless Witchdoctors that may need the extra CC and have mana to spare.
[Rain of Corpses] : Retains the 60% slow, and presumably the 20% AoE DPS. Every 1 Second a corpse falls from the sky on an enemy in the AoE dealing 80% damage in a small AoE.

Horrify (Hard CC centered on player)
Note: Spell has a small radius, just a tad bigger than melee radius.

[Phobia] : Fear increased to 6 seconds. 50% CC duration increase, not bad.
[Stalker] : Makes this a good skill to reposition if overwhelmed.
[Face of Death] : Doubles the radius of the skill, giving it a decent AoE.
[Frightening Aspect] : Doubles your armor for twice as long as the fear is in effect. Increases your effective HP by 50% (note not your LIFE, effective HP is just how much damage you can take when you look at armor and resists). Can also be used to help absorb heavy attacks (eg boss heavy hitting abilities)
[Ruthless Terror] : Has the potential to return a LOT of mana. More likely will return a modest sum due to range limitations, and considering it is on a 15 second CD.
Edited by Randomorph#1252 on 6/4/2012 10:23 AM PDT
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84 Tauren Druid
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Spirit Walk (Escape)
Note: Can break Jailer circles, and stuns. Does NOT pass through Waller walls. Be warned.

[Jaunt] : Gives you an extra second to escape. Almost guarantees an escape.
[Honored Guest] : Excellent rune choice for Mana hungry doctors. Gives you 30% max mana and lets you escape and reposition to use up that mana.
[Umbral Shock] : There are much more useful runes, and much more effective ways to damage enemies.
[Severance] : The very limited duration of Spirit Walk makes this ability less useful, especially compared to other runes for this ability.
[Healing Journey] : Probably one of the best rune choices for Spirit Walk. Gives 14% health ( almost 1/7 your max HP), and lets you escape at the same time. Can use this when relatively safe as a low CD heal, or in emergencies. Seems to synergize best with when you'll likely use Spirit Walk, when you're under attack and taking damage.

Hex (Hard CC, Follows Player, Hexes a target every 4 seconds)
Note: Can transform Champions and Bosses, but not most "Quest" Bosses, and will not work on very specific mob types. Will Hex 3 targets for up to 4 seconds each, and can chain Hex one target, turning a 1v1 into a 1v0 in your favour for 12 seconds.

[Hedge Magic] : Periodic heals are nice. In a group setting can heal your allies, for a pet doctor will heal your pets, and solo will keep healing you. Excellent for support builds. Also has an 80% uptime, or 100% uptime with Tribal Rites [tribal rites currently bugged] (goes for all runes). Seems to heal 1-3 times. Needs more testing.
[Jinx] : Good for DPS builds, hexed enemies now take 20% increased damage rather than 10%.
[Angry Chicken] : Pretty much novelty. Doesn't seem to do anything useful yet. More testing is required to see if it affects movespeed/damage taken while chickened.
[Painful Transformation] : Lasts 2-4 seconds depending on Mob level and difficulty.
[Unstable Transformation] : Could be helpful for keeping up Bad Medicine, and the damage is not too bad considering Hex only costs 49 mana and can hex multiple enemies.

Mass Confusion (Hard and Soft CC centered on Player)
Note: Hard CC on confused enemies, soft CC on the non-confused enemies that engage them. Non-Confused enemies will still attack you if you're close, or if you do enough damage to them.

[Unstable Realm] : Makes the CD much more reasonable. Lets you use it that much more often.
[Devolution] : Most useful for Sacrifice builds.
[Mass Hysteria] : Can essentially stop an entire pack around you for at least 3 seconds. Could also be used on packs of Confuse immune monsters (including all Bosses) for a 3 second stun. However fear may be more useful if a monster can be feared.
[Paranoia] : Nice Damage buff for support builds and high DPS doctors. Note that ALL enemies in the AoE are affected by the increased damage taken, NOT just the confused ones.
[Mass Hallucination] : If the spirit can only damage one enemy per tick, would be subpar. If it is a large phantasm that can touch multiple mobs at once and hurt them all with the same tick, may prove useful. More testing needed.

Wall of Zombies (Soft targeted CC)
Note: May be the best CC to use on bosses, as it is not resistable! Some bosses may have mechanics that allow them to pass through/over it. Can be cast on a monsters feet, getting them "stuck" inside the wall for the full 5 seconds. This is risky if you miss, as they may just pass through the wall.

[Barricade] : A bigger wall. Definitely useful in more open areas.
[Unrelenting Grip] : Adds a GotD equivalent slow to the wall. Would be useful in smaller areas, and open areas to slow enemies trying to manoeuvre around the wall.
[Creepers] : If zombies attack once per second, damage will be 25% * 3 * 5 = 375% weapon damage if focused on one target. Not that much damage every 25 seconds, although can help in addition to the wall.
[Pile On] : Very high damage plus a knockback which will hopefully affect most if not all enemies. Otherwise the wall effect is probably more useful overall, if not as nice for a burst of damage every 25 seconds.
[Dead Rush] : Powerful AoE but loses it's CC abilities, and retains it's cooldown.

Gargantuan (Soft CC)
[Humongoid] : A 7% weapon damage per attack increase in damage, and attack will hit all nearby targets (for 32% Weapon damage).
[Restless Giant] : Could be very good for Champion killing and Boss fights. The enrage lasts for 15 seconds and is very powerful. Recommended for single target DPS increase, especially for bosses. (Hint: Resummon to reset the Hulk timer!)
[Wrathful Protector] : Seems to pale in comparison to [Restless Giant], considering after the 15 seconds, it is gone, where the Restless Gargantuan remains as a standard version.
[Big Stinker] : Very good for Bad Medicine, also offers a 15% dps increase to all nearby enemies. Beats Cleave for single target DPS increase. AoE gives full benefit of all your +life per hit items per enemy per second (for you only, not the garg).
[Bruiser] : Depending on how often this ability can proc, could be very useful for Boss and Champion (or pvp) killing. Also, the tooltip is vague as to whether this is an AoE slam or not. If it is, it would be even more valuable. More testing needed.
Edited by Randomorph#1252 on 5/31/2012 6:42 AM PDT
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84 Tauren Druid
Fetish Army (Soft CC)
Note: Due to the huge CD of this ability, maybe recommended to use Tribal Rites. Fetishes are targetable (by both attacks and CC effects like Jail), but seem borderline indestructable (beware the Skeleton King however). Very few things actually kill the fetishes, and they appear to draw aggro from nearby monsters. Fetish Sycophants trigger from CASTS not HITS, and appear to have no hard limit. (Credit: Homesuck and NightCross)

[Fetish Ambush] : Can do a great deal of damage, followed by 20 seconds of tanking minions, that gain synergies from the pet passives.
[Devoted Following] : Shortens the CD a great deal. With Tribal Rites, brings the CD down to ~67 seconds. Useful for a Fetish build using Tribal Rites and Fetish Sycophants.
[Legion of Daggers] : Assuming 1 Attack/Second for Fetish and constant attacking, will add 1200% single target weapon damage, assuming no Fetishes die.
[Tiki Torchers] : Assuming the same as above, will add 600% AoE weapon damage assuming neither Fetish dies.
[Head Hunters] : Assuming the same, will add 800% single target weapon damage, assuming neither Fetish dies.

-Bonus Attack Speed on Legendaries' random rolls does not register in the DPS. (Credit Superdad)
-Tribal Rites currently appears to be bugged and not offering the CD reduction.
-Spirit Vessel appears to be bugged and not offering the CD reduction. The "Cheat Death" type effect is working however, and may be worth it for this alone.

Looking to contribute? The following could use additional testing!
  • Firebats: Does attack speed affect the tick damage/frequency of ticks?
  • Gargantuan [Bruiser]: Frequency of procs?
  • Mass Confusion [Mass Hallucination]: General Mechanics

Well there it is. My comprehensive Witch Doctor build guide. Hope the information helps!

Go back to top and sticky if you think it'd help other aspiring Witch Doctors:
Also, Report as "Other" and comment "Sticky Requested", as the CMs have ignored this for a month, despite thousands of views, likes, and sticky requests.

Let me know your thoughts and suggestions in the comments:

Thank you for taking the time to read this and all your support and help!
Edited by Randomorph#1252 on 6/4/2012 10:38 AM PDT
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85 Troll Shaman
Thank you!
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90 Human Warlock
Awesome. Sticky this please.
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Very nice. Bookmarking this.
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05/12/2012 09:27 PMPosted by Mookle
Note that while [Pyrogeist] turns this into a single target attack, it does not beat Poison Dart's runed damage. However it can be lobbed at priority targets behind enemy lines (see Fallen Shaman from D2) whereas Poison Dart cannot.

You can add that, unlike other grenade type spells like Spirit Barrage, Pyrogeist will always hit as long as it is cast in range of a mob. We can assume that the DoT stacks too.
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Good info. I've made a build, but until I see how much mana I will be using, it's hard to judge a lot.
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Tagged to read again at release.

Also, first time i see the term "lob spell". You came up with it?
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84 Tauren Druid
Note that while [Pyrogeist] turns this into a single target attack, it does not beat Poison Dart's runed damage. However it can be lobbed at priority targets behind enemy lines (see Fallen Shaman from D2) whereas Poison Dart cannot.

You can add that, unlike other grenade type spells like Spirit Barrage, Pyrogeist will always hit as long as it is cast in range of a mob. We can assume that the DoT stacks too.

Good suggestion, thank you!

Tagged to read again at release.

Also, first time i see the term "lob spell". You came up with it?

I saw someone talking about how it "lobs" over enemies at some point. I just called it a lob spell because of that. If I am the first I do not know. Thanks for the read!

05/13/2012 07:33 AMPosted by keeblur
Good info. I've made a build, but until I see how much mana I will be using, it's hard to judge a lot.

When the numbers are released with the game, I will update things as appropriate to reflect the new/current numbers, as well as add in sections about base mana regen and such.
I will likely make a new thread after as well, as an advanced technical guide using number crunching to determine min/maxing. However that may take some time. Thanks for the read!

Thanks for all the support everyone.
Edited by Randomorph#1252 on 5/13/2012 10:59 AM PDT
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Great guide, good read for those WDs who probably missed out on the beta.

I think your list of CC could include Plague of Toads' [Toad of Hugeness] though. Basically it's a 5 second stun with a 5 second cool down, that's a pretty strong CC ability for only a rune of an otherwise damage only skill.
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Yes. Plague of Toads also has a rune that can cast confuse on the target.
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Nice work! Now show me your build :)
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Good Job!
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Thank you for taking the time to post this. I appreciate the insight and recommendations on skills. That is all we can ask for at this point prior to release.

I am interested to see how Poison Dart plays out compared to Firebomb in becoming the favorite primary skill. I like the points you made about both and according to what you wrote it would seem as if it makes the most sense to use Poison Dart as a primary.

That being said, if you have Poison Dart as a primary you could have Hungry Bats as a secondary and both a fire and poison attack.

Thanks again!
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