Diablo® III

Guide: WD Playstyles

A quick and (hopefully) painless guide on effectively building your witch doctor for cooperative play. Until otherwise noted, this is a work in progress. As long as Blizzard updates the game and players post constructive comments, it will remain such.

This isn't meant to be a be-all-end-all guide to witch doctor builds, and it might even be presumptious to call it a guide at all. I simply thought it would be prudent to summarize the various builds that keep getting posted thread after thread for the players who haven't quite "gotten" it yet.

Without further ado, meat and potatoes.

Dire Bats Spammer

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/witch-doctor#acUdTY!Ubd!YaZZZY

Currently, this build (or variations) capitalizes on Vision Quest and Soul Harvest to create the fuel for your damage output.

Preface every fight by summoning dogs and your gargantuan. Their primary function is to remain on cooldown. Restless Giant benefits from this because every time you resummon your gargantuan, the cooldown is reset. In effect, every minute your gargantuan has 15 seconds of god mode.

Begin fights by Spirit Walking into the nearest pack, Soul Harvesting, and immediately withdrawing. From here, you have the Soul Harvest buff for 30 seconds, and you should have anywhere from 15 - 10 seconds of your 300% regeneration from Vision Quest. From here, begin spamming bats as needed into the center of packs of mobs.
IF you are
a) Out of mana
b) Picking off single targets
c) Fighting a boss or elite
Use darts instead.

What is your role?

Deal massive AoE burst damage. This build is most effective against LARGE packs of weaker enemies. This build is less effective for single damage burst and/or boss fights, but is not rendered completely ineffective in those situations.

When dealing with ELITES or CHAMPIONS:
Maintain situational awareness. You can no longer rely on vision quest for mana regeneration because you need to keep your Spirit Walk off cooldown until you need to use it. From here you need to spam opportunistically, using bats only after you're either safe or Spirit Walk is on cooldown.

What are your shortcomings?

Simply put: lack of utility. None of the disables in your arsenal are utilized in this build and on top of that most of your options are, by definition, ON COOLDOWN.
Use this build when your group needs a cannon and when there are other more reliable forms of CC elsewhere.

Variants
A popular variant uses Zombie Bears instead of bats.
Feel free to experiment with passives. Some players prefer Pierce the Veil for the 20% increase in damage output.

Crowd Control Frogspam

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/witch-doctor#aWUXZR!VcX!YYcbaa

This build creates a way to take advantage of the various utility skills the Witch Doctor has at his disposal without sacrificing too much damage or survivability. If you play it right, you will be an asset to any group during those difficult random enounters. This build is not viable for act boss fights.

What is your role?
Frogs is your primary attack and is used to keep Bad Medicine up at all times as well as for its chance to charm enemies (which, in many situations can be a godsend). Control large crowds using Grasp comboed with Horrify to make them run in place. Once you're able to weed out the stronger enemies, Hex is a major asset as a disable. Stay alive using potions, Spirit Walk's Healing Journey, and at times it's okay to rely on Spirity Vessel. As long as you're alive, you can continue to administer crowd control.

What are your shortcomings?
Lack of major damage burst. You are still able to sustain moderate amounts of DPS just using frogs and Flaming Dart. Don't underestimate the damage of these abilities, but don't overextend either.

Variants
Mass Confusion can be swapped for any secondary skill here and still utilized effectively. For larger cooldown skills I'd recommend using the passive Grave Injustice as long as you trust your tank or fellow CCers.
Addling Toads can be changed to Toad of Hugeness if you'd really like some extra CC. Limited effectiveness due to its inability to swallow larger enemies.
To add survivability, consider Soul Harvest with Siphon, or Haunt with Consuming Spirit.
Edited by Jaka#1431 on 5/21/2012 7:05 AM PDT
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