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If you use the increase CD of Soul harvest its really not that bad. I usually spirit walk in front of a group of mobs, soul harvest them all, and mass confusion them. I haven't had a problem taking damage at all unless its elite mobs.
It becomes really easy to keep 3-5 stacks up at all times, I hated it at first but once you get used to it its not bad at all.
As people have said. Harvest is pretty essential to maximizing damage, and you can Combo it with Horror or Confusion so that it's safe to use. Since your primary partner is a wiz, you might not even have to Grasp first. Just let them run. They'll be back.
If you don't want things running though, I use "MegaSlow, run in and do Harvest-Horror, back to back." It's safe, easy and quick.
To further increase your damage, make sure you find 2 rings, a necklace and an offhand item with the effect "+__-__ damage". That adds to your BASE damage, which means it then gets multiplied by your MASSIVE intelligence. It's really very astonishing how much those rings help damage output.
In a few levels you get Spider Queen. Maybe she'll hold you over until you get Firebomb (which IS a pretty cool and fun skill to use). With the Queen, you throw her once, then she just rampages around the field for 15s, dealing area damage over time. Otherwise, you'll just have to make due with Toads. Despite the DBZ-esque scream, they're really very powerful.
You also get Barrage fairly soon. That's sort of like the Wiz' Arcane Torrent, but it fires waaay slower. But, it seems like you want frontloaded damage instead of Dots...so maybe you'll dig it.
Gargantuan comes soon as well, and it will replace your dogs forever.
As lvl 15 I recommend this build (it s what I ve used at that lvl and worked wonders)
Use this: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/witch-doctor#acYdZ!Z!aaaaa
grasp of the death and soul harvest is the best combo there is early game! Both skills also help your dogs.
Edited by Munin#1320 on 5/17/2012 5:46 PM PDT
I saw this build in another thread and just spent the last few hours trying it out and I'm completely sold: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/witch-doctor#aSUdRT!ZcW!aaZZaY
Locust is way more powerful than I gave it credit for and it lets you keep moving while it ticks away. I like it more than acid cloud/firebats because one cast of locust can spread to a huge pack of mobs, and it ends up being less mana intense.
If you're always grouped you can swap out Gargantuan with whatever skill you want. I'd recommend big bad voodoo for group buffs, grasp of the dead if you need the snare or even acid cloud if you feel that you need more damage.
Either way, from what I've seen there are a lot of different builds that people have been successful with so play around a little and see what works best for you and your group.
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