AcidBat Witch Doctor

Witch Doctor
UPDATED ON 05/17/12.

So I wanted to share my build for the Witch Doctor. It began during beta as theorycraft, and its use has succeeded my expectations thus far. It is a summoner/caster hybrid build around the (ab)use of Vision Quest.

Here it is:
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/witch-doctor#cidjYT!ZcU!aYYaaY

Overview

Pros:
+Two strong, spammable AoE spells.
+Hits from two different elemental types.
+Uses minions to tank for you and your party.
+Lots of durability from Jungle Fortitude and Bad Medicine.
+Virtually bottomless mana pool thanks to Vision Quest.
+Solid crowd control.

Cons:
-No escape spell.
-No healing spell (other than your Templar).
-Requires a lot of cooldown management.

Abilities

Firebats (Dire Bats): This spell is basically a fire-based Bone Spear from Diablo 2. Great AoE for its cost.

Acid Cloud (Kiss of Death): A strong, close range AoE spell with a fast DoT component. Procs Bad Medicine. Corpse Bomb is also a good rune for Acid Cloud, but having a DoT will increase overall DPS.

Soul Harvest (Soul to Waste): Dramatically increases damage output. I chose Soul to Waste as my rune because Soul Drain "failures" (that is, zero charges) will not override your prior Soul Drain buff, so it is advantageous to have as long a duration as possible.

Mass Confusion (Unstable Realm): A powerful CC spell. I chose Unstable Realm as the rune because you will want this up as often as possible. As the monsters begin to hit harder, you will realize that it deals a good amount of damage in its own right. Also, it allows you to re-stack your Soul Drain safely, as turned minions still count toward stacks.

Gargantuan (Big Stinker): A tanky minion that procs Bad Medicine.

Summon Zombie Dogs (Rabid Dogs): A group of minions that proc Bad Medicine.

Stats

Mana Regeneration > INT > VIT > STR = DEX

You will want as high a mana regeneration rate as possible; knives and masks will have this stat (and totems, but you might want to use a shield to toughen up those summoned minions). After that, prioritize INT, but try not to neglect VIT, as your summoned minions do get stat bonuses as well. I recommend somewhere around a 2 VIT per 3 INT ratio; durability is more important than raw damage, since you have virtually unlimited mana.

As far as gems go, I recommend Amethyst (or Topaz, if you want to MF) in your helm, Ruby in your weapon, and Topaz for everything else.

Follower

I like a Templar armed with a Poison damage weapon and stacked Vitality for my companion. His inherent bulkiness makes him a second Gargantuan.

Follower Skills:
Heal - Intervene is great for emergencies, but I think having a heal for between fights is important as well.
Intimidate - With Charge, the Templar is often the first to get attacked, and thus, all of the mobs are going to get this nasty slow.
Charge - You want your Templar in front to attract attention, and the stun is invaluable.
Inspire - More mana regeneration? Yes, thank you. The heal is pretty lame; just stay behind the mobs and use Mass Confusion when you do want to Soul Drain.

More Detailed Explanation

You likely will be spamming either Acid Cloud or Firebats pending on the circumstances. Typically, it will be Firebats. Use Acid Cloud when facing fire resistant mobs and to proc the Bad Medicine every three seconds when your Gargantuan is dead. Mana is virtually bottomless, since Vision Quest refills your mana pool at a prodigious rate (even without mana regeneration stats, you get 100 per second).

I considered Locust Swarm (Cloud of Insects) as a DoT alternative to Acid Cloud, but I felt that a pure DoT would not be sufficient to handle those fire resistant mobs. Meanwhile, a pure burst spell like Corpse Bomb may be overkill. Kiss of Death is a reasonable middle ground for now.

I replaced Spirit Walk with Mass Confusion. Both allow you to safely cast Soul Harvest and Acid Cloud, but Mass Confusion is absurdly powerful. In higher difficulties, your enemy's greatest weaknesses are themselves. Most fights last twelve seconds, and turning even a fifth of their forces virtually guarantees your victory.

Gargantuan and Zombie Dogs (as well as the Templar) will be used to tank for you. I chose the Zombie Dogs over the Fetishes because they last longer, can be cast more often, and provide you with more durability. Still, the Zombie Dogs feel mediocre, and I may replace them in time.

In the event that your minions fail you, this build still has some absurd damage reduction--36%! With an adequate amount of HP, you are probably the most durable class there is.

Anyhow, this is my idea for a build. Discussion would be appreciated.
Instead of Life Link on zombie dogs, you can give them Rabid Dogs. They will do an additional 9% weapon damage as poison which will also trigger the Bad Medicine passive so they take 20% less damage. May end up keeping them alive longer than the life steal.
One issue i saw is with the 2x direct damage spells. You can only use one at a time. You could get a DoT spell instead as the second spell so you could use both at the same time.

Like this: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/witch-doctor#iSjYTQ!ZcU!ccYaYZ
Oh. Another assumption that I am making is that you can use both Gargantuan and Zombie Dogs at the same time. xD

But the Zombie Dogs are actually taking damage from me. I don't really intend for them to survive too long. Besides, the Gargantuan's poison aura and Acid Cloud should proc the Bad Medicine fine.

Well, I considered Locust Swarm, but it seemed to leave me pretty open if I run into a Fire Immune mob. And I fully expect to mobs with immunities, so I think that I will need to drop one of the two spells on them.

EDIT: I revised the OP to reflect these concerns.
Yes you will be able to have both dogs and gargantuan up at same time

You would have Corpse Bomb for fire immunes, and Locust Swarm for poison immunes. And things that aren't immune to either you will be able to do both to them at same time.
Locust Swarm is not enough for a Poison Immune. You're doing 52% weapon damage per second. I would much rather deal ~200% per second to Fire Immune, Poison Immune, and neither than to deal ~200% to Fire Immune, 52% to Poison Immune, and ~252% to neither.

In the end, I find PvE is all about consistency. And if Blizzard is limiting immunities to one element, having two elements that can dish out damage is very important.
Their are no immunities....
04/01/2012 04:31 PMPosted by Vaaz
Their are no immunities....

I don't think they ever said that there would be no immunities. They did, however, say that there would be no FULL immunities; that is, no Immune to Cold, Lightning, and Fire mobs. They also said that there definitely would be high resistances (X Enchanted mobs) and maybe single immunities, since they think that it's virtually impossible to build your class entirely on one form of damage like the Sorceress in Diablo 2.

In any case, my point stands. I think that it is prudent to have two sources of damage to handle a variety of mobs.
Revised the OP to reflect the discussion.

The build is mostly unchanged, though I am considering changing the Summon Zombie Dog's rune choice to Rabid Dogs.
I made a similar build.
Some differences and opinions:

As said before, 2 direct damage spells, i prefer a dot and a damage spell.

Big bad voodoo is not a good choice for a build like this imo. With no spammable primary you need the regen from vision quest to be active ALL the time. This will make it so you cant choose when to use your voodoo. Youll use it in crap mobs many times and then miss it for 2 minutes where youll problably find a champion pack...

In fact, vision quest builds are in my opinion, based on cooldowns you dont feel bad on using every time they are up.

The last difference. Soul harvest! Now this is a complicated point. No one knows how big of a buff this spell is going to be end game. So its hard to tell how important its going to be for any build. We know its 650 intelect for 5 stacks at lvl 60... but if we have 3000 intelect already, 650 is only 20% more... if we have only 1000 intelect... you get the point.

So, for my build, i changed acid cloud for locust swarm, mass confusion for soul harvest with slow rune and big bad voodoo for wall of zombies.

As for passives, i forgone bad medicine in favor of pierce the veil.

With this differences im hoping i can gain more than 40% extra damage (veil and harvest) without sacrificing much defense.

Ofc, this is only theorycrafting as no one knows how the pets will handle in later lvls and dificultys... So maybe bad medicine is a must for them to survive.

IF on the other hand pets can tank ok(ish) i would mind using the pile on rune on the wall of zombies. This is a skill similar to voodoo in this builds... if its a small pack of mobs that my pets have under control im gonna have to use the skill for nothing just to get my regen going.
With the pile on rune... i can use this spell as a big fat nuke every time without feeling i wasted it
@Flamelord

So, for my build, i changed acid cloud for locust swarm, mass confusion for soul harvest with slow rune and big bad voodoo for wall of zombies.

If you're alone and not playing in Inferno, yeah, I can see this working well. But I am pretty darn sure that some minions will have high resistances, if not outright immunities. In these cases, you will see a HUGE drop in DPS if one of your spells is a DoT.

I chose Mass Confusion over Soul Harvest for three reasons:
1) Mass Confusion increases the damage dealt by your entire party and minions. This build seeks to be party-friendly.
2) Soul Harvest requires you to get pretty much within melee range of your enemies. This can be risky; especially if you're MFing and deal with dangerous mobs.
3) Mass Confusion provides much needed CC for this build.

I feel that Wall of Zombies is just redundant burst damage. I mean, aside from the damage, what purpose does it serve? With Big Bad Voodoo, I can cast Firebats for at least 20 seconds. It also gives my minions an attack/move speed boost.

Also, you shouldn't worry about not using BBV. Vision Quest does not need to be up all of the time. If you don't use it, you'll just deplete your mana pool. And hey! If you need mana and get into a fight, you can just use it. While it's on cooldown, you get the Vision Quest bonus.
04/02/2012 09:51 PMPosted by Suzut
Also, you shouldn't worry about not using BBV. Vision Quest does not need to be up all of the time.


With builds like ours... that second part is wrong.
I don't think they ever said that there would be no immunities. They did, however, say that there would be no FULL immunities


Thier are no Immunties, All attacks, can deal damage to all mobs. PERIOD
The only thing you have to worry about is resistances, and elemental affixes that add resistance, but no Immunity.
As for the actual build, I like it, you may want to consider

Kiss of Death
Spit a cloud of acid that inflicts 110% weapon damage as Poison, followed by 82% weapon damage as Poison to enemies who remain in the area.

The wording, IMO, indicates a cone, like firebats. Strong posion, followed by a DOT that would keep Bad Medicine going. Would have a nice combo I think.

Something I put together
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/witch-doctor#icUTYd!ZcU!YZZYbZ

I think without A primary attack you Must have vision quest up at all times
04/04/2012 06:07 PMPosted by D3BETA
With builds like ours... that second part is wrong.

I meant when we're out of combat. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

And I don't think I would need Vision Quest if I am fighting a small mob.

Thier are no Immunties, All attacks, can deal damage to all mobs. PERIOD
The only thing you have to worry about is resistances, and elemental affixes that add resistance, but no Immunity.

Interesting. Not even in Inferno? I cannot believe that. Will there be resistance reduction at all then? Maybe D2 has trained me to fear for the worst too well. ><"

As for the actual build, I like it, you may want to consider

Kiss of Death
Spit a cloud of acid that inflicts 110% weapon damage as Poison, followed by 82% weapon damage as Poison to enemies who remain in the area.

The wording, IMO, indicates a cone, like firebats. Strong posion, followed by a DOT that would keep Bad Medicine going. Would have a nice combo I think.

Something I put together
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/witch-doctor#icUTYd!ZcU!YZZYbZ

I think without A primary attack you Must have vision quest up at all times

Kiss of Death has really short range though. Then again, with my minions, I wonder how close I can get. If they definitely can tank Inferno, and if I decide to go with Kiss of Death, then I definitely pick up that Soul Harvest (Siphon), replacing Mass Paranoia.

But yeah, I chose Corpse Bomb because:
1) It's ranged and spammable; keep in mind that DoTs do not stack.
2) I am totally willing to sacrifice a DoT if it means more consistent damage against high resistance monsters.

I dislike Spirit Walk on this build. You don't get to cast spells while your mana is regenerating, and you usually want to hold onto it for escaping. I definitely will take Big Bad Voodoo (Rain Dance).
04/04/2012 09:33 PMPosted by Suzut
And I don't think I would need Vision Quest if I am fighting a small mob.


From the few videos shown from higher dificultys one thing is clear. Monsters are going to have loads of life (you can find a few videos. i remember one of a monk taking quite some time to kill just 3 or 4 monsters).
So, we cant expect to kill them with 2 or 3 spells and were gonna need lots of mana to kill even the smallest pack.

I expect were gonna need vision quest up to not run out of mana.

This is the same thing that makes me think the miriad of builds posted in this forums without any kind of mana regen but for spirit attunement are gonna have problems in higher dificultys.

Anyway. This is getting to long and too much of guessworking. We'll see how things turn out in one month and a bit.
I guess so. But if this is the case, I will drop Big Bad Voodoo at the first sign of trouble, kill the mobs, and have Vision Quest up in between BBV casts.
EDIT: Here is a build with more damage output. It heavily relies on minions to tank though. It's probably better for solo play:


I still agree with Flamelord, if your engaging a pack of champions, and BBV available to cast you have no vision quest active. So you drop BBV you then get CRAZY mana regen for the short time and then good mana regen for 2 mins. Seems overkill for short time and when its off cooldown you have nothing.

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/witch-doctor#icdTYU!ZcU!YaZYaZ

Spirit walk, still provides a cooldown, is a short cooldown of 15 seconds. Can be used offensively to regen huge chunk of mana and defensively to GTFO of danger.
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/witch-doctor#icRTYQ!ZcU!cacYbY

I think it is pretty good. I think people forget that with enough pets and cc you don't need an escape skill that badly. Confusion I think just waay to big of a countdown to be useful. Hex is pretty similar, stop enemies from attacking via chickenification and they take extra damage. The rune I gave it works well with bad medicine, but if you think that you have enough then you can switch it to hedge magic (however if you do this then switch the rune on BBV to slam dance). I don't think you'll need mana regen on BBV just because of the big mana bonus you get, and again I think people underestimate how much gear will affect resources. Though if I'm wrong the build can be tweaked a little. Overall it's great. But confusion has a a big cooldown, and hex can be up nearly constantly to the same effect.
@Vaaz
I still agree with Flamelord, if your engaging a pack of champions, and BBV available to cast you have no vision quest active. So you drop BBV you then get CRAZY mana regen for the short time and then good mana regen for 2 mins. Seems overkill for short time and when its off cooldown you have nothing.

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/witch-doctor#icdTYU!ZcU!YaZYaZ

Spirit walk, still provides a cooldown, is a short cooldown of 15 seconds. Can be used offensively to regen huge chunk of mana and defensively to GTFO of danger.

The thing is, having that crazy mana regeneration is useful. Have you seen how quickly Firebats can consume your mana? I mean, I really doubt I will be able to spam it too long even with Vision Quest active. Big Bad Voodoo, by the way, has a 20 second duration. It will get me through an entire room of monsters. Also, it increases the attack and movement speed of your entire party.

Spirit Walk cannot function as an escape under the criteria you put to me. If you do not cast Spirit Walk, you will not have Vision Quest. So it has no defensive value, unless it comes off cooldown precisely when you need it to escape. Furthermore, it is a lousy offensive spell. When you cast Spirit Walk, you cannot cast spells or you will end the effect immediately.

@Evilrake
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/witch-doctor#icRTYQ!ZcU!cacYbY

I think it is pretty good. I think people forget that with enough pets and cc you don't need an escape skill that badly. Confusion I think just waay to big of a countdown to be useful. Hex is pretty similar, stop enemies from attacking via chickenification and they take extra damage. The rune I gave it works well with bad medicine, but if you think that you have enough then you can switch it to hedge magic (however if you do this then switch the rune on BBV to slam dance). I don't think you'll need mana regen on BBV just because of the big mana bonus you get, and again I think people underestimate how much gear will affect resources. Though if I'm wrong the build can be tweaked a little. Overall it's great. But confusion has a a big cooldown, and hex can be up nearly constantly to the same effect.

I don't like Hex because it's random. Also, with its short duration, I cannot imagine that it would affect many monsters. =(

True. I have no idea how much mana regeneration I am looking at in Inferno level gear. If it turns out that simply Vision Quest will suffice, I will probably replace Big Bad Voodoo with Soul Harvest, Fetish Army, or Wall of Zombies.

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