Diablo® III

In Defense of Fetish Sychopants -- Build Info

I just wanted to write a short post defending the honor of the little fetish sycophants. Even though they don't seem like it, fetishes are extremely useful if used and geared for correctly. This is especially true in the upper MPs -- contrary to the popular wisdom of the forums.
I am going to try to convince you that fetishes are actually quite viable as a part of a high MP build.

Here is the build I currently run:

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/witch-doctor#WRUYdT!aXV!bZaaYY

Here is my explanation of the build.

First, the build is a “tanky” build designed for damage mitigation. The combination of damage reduction passives (Jungle Fortitude and Bad Medicine) and my use of an Echoing Fury weapon help to proc lots of crowd control in form of feared monsters. Also, I have standard life on hit gear, which means that Rain of Toads and Acid Cloud are going to be restoring massive amounts of life per cast (as is well known). Additionally, the Lob Blob Bombs allow me to use AC + RoT very efficiently. Since the blobs stack and 3 blobs is the max that can be on the screen at any one time, I can focus most of my time spamming RoT while intermittently tapping AC to refresh the blobs as they expire. Finally, the use of poison damage on my dogs and garg is to take maximum advantage of both LoH and BM.

So far, this is pretty standard stuff. So, where do the Fetishes fit in?

Well, the Fetishes have a very nice synergy with the rest of the build, as described below:

1. They distract enemy minions. Every second chasing a fetish across the screen is one less second that the minion is hitting your dogs, garg, or you. It really helps to keep your pets alive, especially in long fights.
2. They DO deal damage. A lot of posters say that the Fetishes just run around giggling and never hit anything. Not so. After at least 50 hours of using the exact build listed above, I can say with confidence that they do hit stuff both hard and frequently. In fact, you can hear every time they hit something in the sound effects. If you don’t believe this, just try this build and listen to how many times the Fetishes slice something in a two minute fight – especially when the mob doesn’t have DoT spells so that the Fetishes can stack. It might surprise you how much they actually hit the mob.
3. They are great for “non-ideal” gameplay. Let me explain what I mean by this. Back in the day, I used to be a bear build guy. Bears are awesome and deliver awesome damage … assuming that you can actually hit your target. In many situations, either you are running from your life from an arcane laser or you are trying to chase down a flying or fast monster that is circling you and your bears end up missing. This happens even when you don’t use an EF as a weapon. So, if you can use bears and land all three bears on something, you’re going to cut through monsters like butter. But, if you miss, you’re going to be out of mana and have to start spamming spiders.
By contrast, the fetishes are good even when stuff is running around in every direction. They can chase down stuff and stab it in the back. Also, they like to gang up on monsters and get surrounds. It’s a lot of fun to see a huge group of fetishes and a dog surrounding an elite minion and working the minion into the ground while the minion tries to fight back againt 6 to 1 odds.
4. They are essentially free. The fetishes proc as a normal part of gameplay. Unlike PTV, they don’t require extra mana. So, all of the damage that you get from the fetishes is free and comes with no downside – other than the use of a passive slot.

Common Complaints:

1. The Fetishes don’t do damage
a. See above
2. The Fetishes die too fast
a. This complaint comes from people who have typically never used the fetishes much. Let’s look at possible situations:
i. White mobs: No
ii. Elites without DoT spells: No
iii. Elites with DoT spells: Yes. However, so does the other pets. With my stats and even using JF +BM, I can’t keep my Garg and Dogs alive past MP8 in things like molten, arcane, plague, electricity, etc. This is also true even if I have the ZH passive active. Typically, an elite mob with the right affixes will burn down my pets every 20-40 seconds at MP8 or above. The ZH passive – in my experience – gives me another 5-15. I will still have down time where I have neither my gargs nor my dogs up. In these situations, the fetishes actually help because they continue procing, even when my gargs are down. So, if they can distract for even a few seconds until I get my other pets back up, they increase my survivability and decrease my kiting time a lot.
3. The fetishes take up a valuable passive skill spot that could be used by something else.
a. If this argument is to hold with my build (above), then the question becomes one of which other skill I should use instead of FS. As mentioned above, ZH has been tried and doesn’t work. So, that leaves PTV, TR, a bunch of passives that don’t work at high MPs, and the mana passives (VQ, BR, SA). Let’s look at each.
i. PTV: Discussed above. But, to reiterate, the increased damage really isn’t worth the increased mana cost. I’ve experimented with PTV before, and it’s too hard to keep up 3 blobs without dumping a defensive passive for a mana passive – which means I am going to die in the upper MPs.
ii. TR:. The increased cooldown for the dogs and garg is nice. However, I have the same problem here as with ZH – pets die too fast in a lot of fights at high MP levels. At MP10 – in my experience – there are even a lot of white mobs that can kill me. Again, fetishes help reduce this damage.
iii. GF, GI, etc.: Not useful at high MPs
iv. Mana passives: This is a bit more of difficult question. The mana passives are very nice to have, especially BR with its life regen. For me the tipping point comes from two considerations: 1)The AC + RoT build is very mana efficient if you use blobs. With my gear, I can keep 3 blobs constantly up even if I don’t have mana passives. 2) The damage mitigation is just too much to pass. In my experience, my main impediment to farming upper MP levels comes from 1) Not dying a lot and 2) dealing enough DPS to burn down monsters. For 1) the fetishes help a lot. For 2) the fetishes certainly don’t hurt.
Testing: I have tested this build all the way though MP10. With my current stats, I am able to farm very comfortably in MP7. My observation has been that, with this build, I can farm one higher MP for each 5-10K dps I get. I am at ~130K currently, and have little doubt that I could farm somewhat comfortably with 150K dps at MP10.
As it stands, I can stay alive and tank at MP10, but the mobs just take too freaking long to burn down (usually 4-8 minutes per elite mob, depending on affixes). With more dps, I am sure I could bring this down to a reasonable level.

Specific Fights:

1. Key Farming: The fetishes help a lot with every Key Warden fight (though less so with the Act 2 warden). With the key wardens, they can basically trap warden in a corner (when combined with the EF) and make it easy to burn down.
2. Ubers: Fetishes DO help with high MP ubers. The way in which they help depends on the specific fight.
a. Maghda/King: This is a nice fight for a WD with my build and an EF because you can perma-stun Maghda in a corner while the others 3v1 King. The fetishes help to keep the skeleton minions off your back while you stun Maghda.
b. Ghom/Rak: Again, the fetishes help keep the minions off your back so that you can continue to dps. With my build, I can easily solo tank either rak or ghom on MP8 (never tried to MP10, but am assuming someone with a little better stats could).
c. Kulle/Siege: This is where fetishes really shine. With my build, I can perma-tank Siege. This is not only because the LoH +RoT proc makes me pretty much immune to reflect damage but because of the fetishes. The fetishes keep siege busy with his ground hitting animation so that he inevitably wastes it on one of them, instead of killing my dogs or garg. Then, the animation timer resets.

I have been able to “tank” for uber groups before with siege while the others 3v1 Kulle using this exact idea.

3. General Elites: See above.
Changes: I have also experimented with swapping out SH for Hex/Jinx at MP 8-10, and it seems to help a lot with burning the elites at those levels. SH is nice though because it has a nice synergy with any pet build because the extra int helps not only with pet damage but with the pet resists as well.
Also, I too would love to see other types of fetishes proc from the FS passive. We should protest and petition Blizzard for Tikis!
Caveat: I am not claiming that FS works with every build. However, I feel it works very well with mine.

Thoughts?
Edited by jjc16#1583 on 12/10/2012 9:08 AM PST
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Thanks for the comments all! Let me address some specifics mentioned below.

Sacrifice + Provoke doesn't work well in the upper MPs in my experience. The problem that I've had here is that it's difficult to keep the dogs up -- even more so than if I just use a normal dog summon spell. Even the nice 15% damage buff is hard to justify if my dogs are down 1/2 of the time.

As for bear builds, this build has a nice synergy with any build with high DPS. I actually like to think of this build (and any RoT + AC build with LoH in general) as a WD "tank" build. You can absorb and reduce huge amounts of damage, at the price of sacrificing some DPS (e.g. by not using bears). I've run this build with bear WDs and DHs and most of them really like it. All of the action and confusion around them means that they don't have to kite as much, which means they can spend more time dealing damage.

ETA: I have addressed some specific questions below. I have also noted that an AC build with JF + BM + another passive (maybe BR) is also a good build. I'm not claiming that this build is the best AC build out there. Depending on how someone is geared, there may be a better AC build out there (using BR for example). But, I do claim (and have proven to my satisfaction) that an AC build with FS as a passive is both viable and reasonable because the fetishes can contribute a lot.
Edited by jjc16#1583 on 12/16/2012 12:56 AM PST
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No doubt it's a useful skill, it just ain't as useful as some of the others. With your build, you'd be better off switching fetish sycophants for circle of life and switching summon zombie dogs to sacrifice/provoke the pack. You've got a decent pickup radius so you should have no problem keeping the dogs up. When you hit an elite, sacrifice them for a nice piece of damage and then enjoy 30 seconds of +15% dmg. You'll do way more damage this way, and you should still have enough pets to tank when needed.
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Nice guide, awesome write-up. Kudos to you, op!

As far as damage output goes on higher MPs: are you actually able to deal enough with just RoT and acid cloud? I don't find AC that useful on higher MPs, it just doesn't do enough dmg. Sounds a little slow and tedious to me - how about bears instead?
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I'm adding your build to the Index to Witch Doctor Builds and Guides

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/7350275486

If you could edit your post and put some spaces between the major paragraphs that would help people read it a little easier. Thanks.
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12/10/2012 12:32 AMPosted by jjc16
I’ve experimented with PTV before, and it’s too hard to keep up 3 blobs without dumping a defensive passive for a mana passive – which means I am going to die in the upper MPs.


My only question is, why must you keep up 3 blobs?
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Nice post! I use a pet build and tried the the little psychos before, they are nice but I found that I like having pierce the veil better, its a permanent 20% boost where as the psychos last only a minute and have some dead time where you might have none on and then they take time again to get a good build up. But reading your post made me want to try and test them out again!
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I like the idea of using Dogs/Sacrifice for the AoE and damage buff feeder for bears ( in addition to Soul Harvest), but the problem I have with Sacrifice is that you either have to go 0 cooldown or nothing. I can cast them pretty regularly in a normal setting, as Grave Injustice ensures that the cooldown comes off quickly, and Circle of Life keeps my filled with dogs between cooldowns, but it only works against trash. Granted, the 30 second damage buff is great against bosses and elites, but you are looking at two essentially dead skills (and a dead passive) as you stand around waiting for the dogs to come back up again if you use the dog build (again, without 0 cooldown) in higher Monster Power. Sure, its only 15 seconds of dead time, but that can feel like an eternity while your friends are dropping traps, hammers, and bells. This beckons to the WD's essential problem: resource generation. DH's have very little down time between hate spenders, Wiz's have Arcane Power on Crit, and we have...Mana regen? Even if you have it stacked to the ceiling, it isn't enough to keep pouring on the damage, as all of your primaries, with the exception of spiders, drain way too much mana for your limited regen to counteract. The other huge problem that I have experienced (along with every other caster-type) is reflect damage. EHP for casters simply does not scale well with our DPS. I can face tank any boss or elite group, but I am effectively neutered between spirit walk cooldowns against reflect. Incidently, reflect is what killed the sacrifice-for-dps build I was going for, as more damage simply makes reflect harder to deal with. Jungle Fortitude you say? And trade what for it? My cool down reducer? My DPS raiser (the most likely option). My mana regen-er? Suggestions for a high damage WD are appreciated.
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This is great info! I've considered going this direction and have certainly put FS in my build (with RoT or Spiders as primary)

Have you considered going even farther with attack speed on your gear since you are casting primarys so often? More DPS and chance to Proc fetish?

I've been wondering about a max speed primary/fetish build with DOT backup similar to yours. More DPS from faster Primary spam than a typical WD, just for the fetish proc advantage.

Your crit damage is nice and you do have speed on two pieces. What is your final APS?
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Until they can fix Fetish dying to DoT too quick, Fetish will always be just a "fun" build.

Last night I tried Firebats again and at one point, I had 10 Fetish following me!

After the elite fight, I had ZERO even though I was attacking the whole time. There were arcane beam, fire dot... the usual.

I honestly don't feel they are offering anything of importance during elite fight. Outside of elite fight? They are fun to watch and offer great distraction but what doesn't work well outside of Elite fights?
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Until they can fix Fetish dying to DoT too quick, Fetish will always be just a "fun" build.

Last night I tried Firebats again and at one point, I had 10 Fetish following me!

After the elite fight, I had ZERO even though I was attacking the whole time. There were arcane beam, fire dot... the usual.

I honestly don't feel they are offering anything of importance during elite fight. Outside of elite fight? They are fun to watch and offer great distraction but what doesn't work well outside of Elite fights?


I'll second that, I also run Firebats and they are dieing way too fast at higher MP. After an elite fight very few of them are left standing.
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Just give us more Hunter and Tiki as they are range and they tend to stay away from dot.

Honestly, when I tried Fetish build in early 1.04, my build was very similar to OP's. I even had Lob Blob 'cause at that time I thought the 3 slime dot were stacking (not!). The difference is I took Tribal Rites instead of Bad Medicine. My goal was to summon as many Fetish as I could during tough fights.

The build was fun for a while but then I changed to WoS build. Oh my, I had no idea my damage was THAT low. I was merely prolonging the fight thinking that Fetish's damage was a great help. No, it isn't.

Fetish does about 15-20% per hit. Their hit frequency is inconsistent (unlike Hunter and Tiki who attack 16 times during 20s if uninterrupted) and high number of Fetish BLOCK each others' path. Let say you have 10 of them. That is only 200% weapon damage COMBINED once every 2-3s.

Now, take a good Bear build for example. One cast, one bear ALREADY does 236% weapon damage and they pierce. Get the picture?

Fetish's damage is really not good. You won't even feel any difference if you only have 2-3 of them. You may see a decent spike damage to start the fight but that's about it.

Believe me, I've tried very hard to like Fetish. Anyone that's claiming Fetish build is "good" is only because WD is VERY playable. RoT and Acid are both decent skills with or without Fetish. I even stop attacking to watch my "babies" to attack.. man, they are way too slow at killing.
Edited by Jibikao#1131 on 12/11/2012 3:12 PM PST
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One question for OP, Fetish doesn't die quick against Ghom's poison cloud?

I thought about trying Firebats build for Uber but that's poison cloud scares me...
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My gripe with the Fetish Skill (as opposed to the passive) is that they die after 20 seconds...WHY?????
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12/11/2012 03:59 PMPosted by Yxalitis
My gripe with the Fetish Skill (as opposed to the passive) is that they die after 20 seconds...WHY?????


Fetish Army is really a "defensive" skill. Only one rune delivers a burst aoe damage but you have to stand really close.

Tiki only does 15% small cone. They attack about 16 times in best situation and that is only 240% weapon damage OVER 20s. Okay, you get one more Tiki so that's 480% over 20s. The other 3 are so inconsistent that I don't even care. Those 3 are mostly for distraction.

240% over 20s is 12% weapon per second. LOL Yeah, only MILDLY better than Zombie Dog.

You get the picture.
Edited by Jibikao#1131 on 12/11/2012 8:51 PM PST
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Its kinda fun to play, especially with giblinn but I find that the damage is too slow, they don't get to kill the enemy fast enough and I usually have 6-7 fetishes.
I even tried the huge toad so that they'll focus fire. The ambush army is probably the only fetish skill I think is good, even so the cooldown is quite long.

I can create allot of fetishes via poison darts/rain of toads, and i do agree they are useful for hellring quests since those bosses come at most in pair. However, you still need to get NV5 before u proceed to the quest.

I kinda hope there's any specific gear that will greatly make fetish sycophant a signature build.
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Its kinda fun to play, especially with giblinn but I find that the damage is too slow, they don't get to kill the enemy fast enough and I usually have 6-7 fetishes.


The problem with Gidbinn is that the legendary effect was designed wrong IMO.

It should do one of the following:

1. Increase Fetish damage by X amount.

2. Increase Fetish Sycophant proc chance by X amount

3. Decrease Fetish Army cool down by X amount.


Think of it as 300th Spear's bonus to Weapon Throw damage just to satisfy that "niche". Gidbinn's fetish proc was okay back in 1.04 but those pets do not scale well with Monster Power at all.

In hindsight, I wonder why they didn't see this coming? They must have a plan for Monster Power when they re-designed Legendary items. They must have known that "fixed" amount of damage doesn't scale well.

Oh well...
Edited by Jibikao#1131 on 12/14/2012 10:17 AM PST
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In hindsight, I wonder why they didn't see this coming? They must have a plan for Monster Power when they re-designed Legendary items. They must have known that "fixed" amount of damage doesn't scale well.

Oh well...

Because they have too many things at hand. Once they 'fix' a thing, it will go down to the bottom of the list unless it causes some game breaking bugs. We might get to see it fixed when they fix those above giblinn in that list. It works in Loop.

I think if they add the follower two properties, and touch up abit on the weapon dmg, it should be more than highly sought after.

1.Fetishes now deals 20% of weapon damage
2.Fetishes attack speed now follows the attack speed of players. Will randomly idle every 10-20 seconds.
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So I bought a Firebats SOJ last night. I just want to see Firebats + Fetish potential more.

I did 5 key runs at MP5. Widowmaker + Vampiric Bat, Plague Bats, Hungry and Dire Bats and the last run is with no Fetish Sycophants.

One thing that I noticed is that channeling Vampire/Plague bats costs a bit less mana than Hungry Bats and I think that's because Hungry Bats' cost is per two-bats and I have over 1.5 attack speed. Vampire/Plague drains a bit lower so I proc a tiny bit more fetish over time.

Tactics are: Fortitude (to reduce Reflect greatly) + Blood Ritual + FS

For last run, I used: Fortitude, BR and SA

Conclusion: The last run was more smoother 'cause SA allows me to channel Firebats even longer. I even dropped Dog for Fetich Army to see if Fetish performs better without Dogs because they block each other. Yes, Fetish daggers attack a tiny bit more frequent without Dogs in front of them all the time but overall, Fetish Sycophants is not worth it. :( It's fun visually but most builds are better off getting one more mana tactic or defensive tactic.

I now believe the biggest problem with Fetish is their damage. It is just way too low. They weren't dying that quick this time 'cause I learned to stand away from elite so the fire dot on the ground doesn't hit as many Fetish (they still die very fast against fire dot but less against poison dot).
Edited by Jibikao#1131 on 12/15/2012 2:14 PM PST
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Question:

How do u stun magdha?

Do the fetish sycophants stun? Unless you changed ur gargantuan rune?
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