Diablo® III

CC-heavy VQ-bats build guide (Act 3 Inferno)

You might say what? How can a VQ build be CC-heavy when you're having to spam CDs?

Well, I'll explain.
Here's the build: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/witch-doctor#cRUPjX!UVX!aZaZbb

The basic premise behind this build is that once you hit Act 3 inferno (and to a lesser extent act 2), you will be spending a lot of your time moving, whether it's dodging projectiles, running away, or kiting. That is, you're rarely able to simply stand still and spam dps. When considering VQ, this actually works in our favour: i.e. you don't need crazy mana regen all the time.

What this means is that you can "save" your CCs for when you need it: though in reality, you actually won't need to do much "saving" at all, since you WILL need to continuously be casting your CCs whenever you have the chance. Even using Hex on a Fallen is worth it if you just prevented him from hitting you for 50% hp.

How to play this build:
Kite / run away / heal up while your CC's are down. But since said CCs make up your 4 CDs, by definition your VQ should be active. So try to squeeze in bats where you can.

When a CC comes up:
If you're in a "safe" situation (20% of the time) proudly "waste" your CC by just casting it regardless of whether it'll do anything and keep up those bats! Don't worry, another CC should come up by the time you'll need it.

If you're in a "unsafe" situation (80% of the time) (e.g. a fast mob is about to catch up to you, or many other situations inferno throws at you) then SAVE that CC. Yes, this means VQ will NOT be active and your mana regen will stop. But because you have been kiting while your VQ was active, you will have mana saved up. Use that mana now on bats. Then, at the very last minute (e.g. that melee mob has caught up to you and is about to swing his mace) use your CC. Then DPS for the duration of that CC (VQ should once again be active). When the CC is over, run.

In summary, the 4 CDs you would typically have "down" triggering VQ are:

Fetish Army (Yes this isn't actually a CC although they do sometimes take aggro off
mobs. I use this mainly as a long filler CD that costs no mana - you really want your only high-mana cost spell to be your bats)

Hex (Bread-and-butter CC)
Horrify (Another bread-and-butter CC. Don't think of it as a waste if you had to use it on just 1 "weak" mob if it means you could live to tell the tale)
Mass Confusion (Long CD CC but as above, don't try to wait for the "perfect" set-up, you'll die before that happens)

If you have multiple CCs that are "up" and you're fighting champs try to use them in a chain e.g. Hex-> Horrify -> Mob runs back -> Mass Confusion -> Mob runs back -> Hex again ... (good times vsing melee champions with no gap-closers =) )

This brings us to the 5th CD:
Spirit walk (jaunt) - your final escape spell, or that 3-seconds of invulnerability you might need to finish off a mob. Try to save this, but don't try to save it too much. Definitely save it for vortex / jailor though.

Passives
VQ
Spirit Vessel
Blood Ritual (gets better the more HP you have, the mana effect is nice)

Why not Jungle fortitude? - I find once you've crossed the 2-shot threshold it doesn't really make too great a difference (especially when your focus is never getting hit in the 1st place)

However there probably is room for experimentation with other passives.

Follower:
Enchantress: What's better in a CC build than even more CC? She actually manages to be alive more than the Templar who's on the floor 90% of the time.
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/follower#!!1001

Gear:
DPS: This build is definitely viable once you're 30k+ dps; I haven't tested it below that. I find a large, slow 2H with +crit dmg and lots of crit chance gear good with the bats.

Survivability: Try to reach the "2-shot (or 3-shot) threshold" vs most mobs by increasing your Effective HP. I personally believe there is a huge difference between getting 1-shot and 2-shot as in the latter you can react without wasting your spirit vessel. 35k+ hp and 350+ resists would probably be a good starting point.

How do you kite without a slow?
12% movement speed on boots mean you'll be able to "kite" most mobs by simple running.
Plus your CCs act as de-facto "slows"
3-second spirit walk with jaunt opens a LOT of gap (but don't use it primarily for this)

I find that both unrelenting grasp and zombie walls cost too much mana which would be better spent in actually casting bats. (A situation I hated getting in when I used those was having 3 abilities on CD, but the 4th was a grasp / wall which you didn't have the mana to cast)

vs ranged mobs
This build is definitely stronger vs melee than ranged. When fighting ranged try to group them up such that their projectiles are coming from the same direction so it's easier to dodge them. (If you get surrounded - RUN RUN). Sometimes what you can do is spirit walk into their melee-range and then use your melee-range CCs - but do this at your own risk.

Advantages of bats over splinters:
AOE damage
Less line-of-sight dependent - bats "curve" a little bit (or it feels like that because of their AOE damage). They're also more versatile going "through" stairs and up/down slopes.

Conclusion

Overall I think this is quite a fun, dynamic build. I've managed to do a few Siegebreaker runs without dying using this. Yes, there will still be some impossible affix-combos, but hey that's Inferno (Jailor-Vortex-Invulnerable Minions-Teleport = skip!)

Note that for Act 1 Inferno and below this build isn't that good - you'll do better DPS with other builds e.g. VQ bears.
Edited by yongri#6523 on 6/9/2012 7:03 PM PDT
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I just wanted to say I completely agree with this build. I have been using a very similar build ( http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/witch-doctor#cZTRdU!UVZ!aaZaZZ not to side track your post) even though I am only in Act 2 of hell currently. Because I am not yet anywhere near the one shot/two shot inferno difficulty, I had stuck with Jungle Fever. This may be a good recommendation for those trying this build out at an earlier stage.

I find that a large complaint about VQ builds is popping your Spirit Walk for your dps but the obvious solution to me is to have 5 spells with cool downs saving your SW for that escape when you need it. I have considered even dropping this spell and relying on Spirit Vessle but I find that using the Honored Guest rune helps in my build when you have trouble with mana (there are probably better solutions to this). While forcing at least 5 cool down spells can be some what limiting, I have not had any issues with spell selection.

The only issue I had when trying longer cool down spells (in your build fetish army and mass confusion) was feeling ineffective and not having the spells when I needed them most. But your interesting take on cycling through these spells is an interesting take on my build and has opened up new ideas/opportunities.

I am very curious as to what others in inferno have to say as I am not there yet but I feel that I will be using something very similar later in my characters life and give mad props for trying something I haven't seen often.

Very interesting build. Good work ;)
Edited by neybis#1383 on 6/9/2012 8:55 PM PDT
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Tried out this build in hell, surprised how little health I lose. Can take a little longer to bring down mobs, but its FUN.
Have you considered hungry bats in place of dire bats? Only issue there is hungry bats might not have the same range, but they'd be handy to use right after horrify
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