2.3 General Helltooth Build Discussion

Witch Doctor
With 2.3 out, I've wandered back to the game (though I've totally migrated to PS4 because I'm spoiled with direct character control at this point). Since I've played the crap out of the usual melee pet doctor build before the patch, I want to go with something different this time around. From what I can tell, Arachyr is pretty sub-par, so that leaves Helltooth. I was able to cube up a solid Diviner stick, so Acid Rain seems to be the best option. (Though it seems easy enough to get a spear for bears instead, too.)

I'm sort of attacking this process in a stream of consciousness way, and would love to get some feedback from anyone who can manage to suffer through all of my ramblings.

Right now this is what I have: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/witch-doctor#RbklQU!aWce!aZbbba

I'm using the full six piece Helltooth as well as Focus & Restraint, Jeram's Bracer, and a Belt of Transcendence (to proc fetishes for the express purpose of fueling my Voodoo addiction). I have SMK, Grin Reaper, and Convention of Elements cube slotted.

It's working pretty well, but I'd like to tweak it to perfection. I'm really leaning toward using corpse explosion instead of Acid Rain since I spam Acid Cloud and it's a lot more damage. I'd give up a pretty hefty range, but I'm thinking that with the mimics using the skill as well, the overall damage output would probably be better.

Another possibility is fitting in Mask of Jeram. As far as I can find, the +Pet Damage would effectively double the damage output of the mimics and the spider queens, which would probably be huge. I'd have to actually wear either the MoJ or the Grin Reaper, though, which means I'd need RoRG. I could cube equip it and give up the CoE or equip it and CoE, which would cost me the Focus & Restraint buff, but also free up a cube equip slot. I could just use SoJ, CoE, and RoRG in some combination of equip/cube equip, too. At any rate, I'd be trading either F&R set or CoE for MoJ and the jewelry cube equip slot being freed up. Worth it?

I'm struggling to decide between Wall of Fire and Surrounded By Death. Wall of Fire clearly does more numerical damage, but Surrounded By Death ends up hitting more enemies and manages to keep them bunched up quite well. I like the "feel" of the circle better than the straight line, which often ends up not quite where I want it. I can't decide...

I wonder if Pyrogeist might be better than Spider Queen? If I switch to Corpse Bomb, it has the advantage of sharing the fire element, the single target damage is quite a bit higher, and the mimics should spam it just as much as the spider.

Am I wasting my time with Voodoo? The Fetishes are okay, but unless I work in the MoJ, it seems like I'm sacrificing the ability to wear something like Witching Hour (by using the Belt of Transcendence) and my weapon cube equip slot (by using SMK there) for some sub-par pet damage and a fairly regular 30% damage boost when I can both lay down the Voodoo and manage to stay in it. If I canned the whole thing, I could free up my cube weapon equip for the Furnace (to grab 50% extra to elites), the belt slot (to grab a good chunk of raw damage via crit), and an active ability.

TL:DR/Summary of Inquiries

- Corpse Bomb better than Acid Rain?
- Give up either F&R or CoE in exchange for MoJ and jewelry cube equip spot?
- Is the +100% Pet Damage actually worth it for Mimics?
- Wall of Fire or Surrounded By Death?
- Pyrogeist or Spider Queen?
- Voodoo/Belt of Transcendence/SMK cube equip or ??? Skill/Witching Hour/Furnace cube equip?
Few things:

Belt of Transcendence is for survivability, not damage. Fetishes distract enemies, they hit you less, you live longer. It's an insane way to stay alive, their damage is not relevant to the build.

Fire Wall applies the DoT twice during it's duration, effectively putting the damage at 2200% vs 1200% by using Communicating. This is a primary source of damage for the build, and should be Fire Wall for higher grift clearing.

F&R is simply too strong to give up, and MoJ on the Clones isn't really worth it as they are inconsistent with their casting. They'll cast spiders a lot of the time and when they do thats effective DPS you're missing out on because Spiders aren't really all that much damage. Consistency in maintaining YOUR DPS as the highest form of DPS will reap better results.

Side note: Spider Queen is currently bugged, and does not receive the benefits of 6PC Helltooth or Arachyr. You may not have noticed that, but test it out and you'll see the numbers don't change. It's a real hinderance for Arachyr right now because the 2PC Spider Queen also is plagued by this bug. So don't use Spider Queen, she's effectively useless. Use Blazing Spiders for the Mana Gain to keep casting Bears/Acid Cloud. If you're Acid Cloud it's actually imperative to use Blazing Spiders.

Big Bad Voodoo isn't in most builds because the gain of a different skill PLUS something like Furnace is just better. Furnace vs the buff of BBV one for one seems to be in BBV's favor, but when you consider Furnace ALSO lets you use another skill like Soul Harvest, it becomes in Furnace's favor.

I can't really comment on Corpse Bomb vs Acid Rain as I've only used Bears.

Ultimately, I've gone down the same road as y ou - trying to be cute and creative with gear swaps and different builds than the "top" builds atm - and everything has come up short in comparison. I hate when something is already as solidified and cookie cutter as this is but it really is pretty much set in stone as what the "best" is.
I haven't really figured out what the "top" build is going to be here. That's probably due to not having participated in the PTR or kept up with the discussions about it during that time. I guess I'm not too far off from what everyone else seems to be working with though, so that's a good sign.

08/28/2015 01:39 PMPosted by Naecabon
Belt of Transcendence is for survivability, not damage. Fetishes distract enemies, they hit you less, you live longer. It's an insane way to stay alive, their damage is not relevant to the build.


With the new mechanism of most of the dangerous mobs immediately targeting the player, is this really worthwhile now? Could you just rely on the damage reduction from the Helltooth set instead and do away with the fetishes altogether?

Given the overwhelming fail of Spider Queen -- of which I was getting a bit suspicious -- is it even worthwhile to keep Grin Reaper at all? If the Spider Queen isn't dishing out much damage, then it seems like the mimics are really only there to drop a couple of extra acid clouds and some piranhas. If the fetishes are staying, then dropping Grin Reaper would free up the armor cube equip for MoJ -- might as well double their damage if they're going to be running around anyway.

08/28/2015 01:39 PMPosted by Naecabon
Fire Wall applies the DoT twice during it's duration, effectively putting the damage at 2200% vs 1200% by using Communicating. This is a primary source of damage for the build, and should be Fire Wall for higher grift clearing.


But in order for a single cast of Wall of Fire to apply its DoT twice, a mob would have to touch the wall, eat the 4-second DoT, then touch the same wall again, correct? I get how Fire Wall would be more damage, since once the enemy moves off of the wall it continues to suffer the DoT (and could potentially reignite that DoT), but it isn't necessarily double unless the mob catches fire twice from the same wall during its duration. I expect that this does occur fairly commonly, but I'm not completely sold on it, given the control utility of Surrounded By Death, which holds mobs in place quite well.

08/28/2015 01:39 PMPosted by Naecabon
Big Bad Voodoo isn't in most builds because the gain of a different skill PLUS something like Furnace is just better. Furnace vs the buff of BBV one for one seems to be in BBV's favor, but when you consider Furnace ALSO lets you use another skill like Soul Harvest, it becomes in Furnace's favor.


That's the way I'm leaning as well. Not using BBV or MoJ just makes the fetishes from the belt seem sort of useless, unless their defensive utility is really more effective than I'm giving it credit for.

08/28/2015 01:39 PMPosted by Naecabon
F&R is simply too strong to give up, and MoJ on the Clones isn't really worth it as they are inconsistent with their casting. They'll cast spiders a lot of the time and when they do thats effective DPS you're missing out on because Spiders aren't really all that much damage. Consistency in maintaining YOUR DPS as the highest form of DPS will reap better results


I'm thinking this is probably spot on. That leaves the question of whether to go with CoE for the cube equip or something else. I'm thinking CoE is probably the best bang for the buck here unless an immunity amulet is just absolutely required.

Any thoughts on passives? I'm guessing that since you use bears, you're probably sold on Confidence Ritual?
While some enemies would love to attack you, the fact is 15 Fetishes holds a lot of the big ones in place. Their lack of mobility thanks to the Fetish wall means not only can they not get to you, but they also stay stationary in Fire Wall. Add in the slow effects of BotT and the fact that Piranhado groups them up for us, and Fire Wall will apply multiple ticks per cast a majority of the time.

Also, keep in mind that as with most classes, the Rift Guardian will be your Bottleneck. Clearing huge packs of mobs to get to the RG is a joke for how efficient our AOE damage is, but getting that RG's health to zero is the battle. Fire Wall stacking is a very, very efficient tool for dishing out massive clumps of damage.

Another note on Fire Wall: by having it as a second source of massive damage, your CoE uptime goes from 4 sec to 8. This helps in maintaining consistency with CoE. I would never, ever consider replacing it. It's just too powerful.

Passives are somewhat of a stop gap in fixing whatever issues your current gear set-up may have. Mana an issue? Take Blood Ritual. Survivability getting you down? Stack up on defensive passives. Gear in a good place, and just need more damage? Confidence Ritual is there for you. I'd say there are about 6-7 really solid passives (all obvious choices) for us that we can somewhat pick and choose from, but hardly ever any wild out of the blue picks to be made.

Also yet another note on Fire Wall - the actual area it triggers the DoT is a little wider than the animation itself, so it's very easy to clip them with it.

As for the Mimic Clones, for Bears at least... their raw damage boost is something you never want to take for granted. In Acid Cloud's spot it's actually probably better - they cast Bears based on proximity, but due to AC being ranged they will cast it far more frequently. But those skills aside, they will cast Piranhado and Fire Wall quite frequently, and those really make all the difference. I think, for how much damage and utility they offer, that they are king of the armor cube slot no question. I've actually tried rifts without them intentionally just to see if I'm taking them for granted, and found I really was. They're just too good.
Im currently running

desperate grasp(with rain of corpses knife
CSpiders- widowmakers
wave of mutilation
hp dogs
poison gargantuan
wall of death blahblahblah

with all 3 dog passives

im finding the more i pull away from char dmg and put in to pet dmg, the more overall damage i do.

ive tried zbears and poison cloud with their buff weapons but my weapons werent ancient so my dps dropped 4 or 500k. I havent teied them cubed yet...but that up to 100% dmg buff means i gots to habe it equipped. Desperate grasp ended up doing lots more dmg for me. For now.

i plan to replace focus and restraint with tall and short mans fingers when i find the latter. Im already using moj and tnt. Ill be trying all pet dmg and piddly self done dmg.

grin reaper didnt seem to do much with helltooth. Moj beat it hands down for dps with just garg and 4 zdogs out.
Okay Naecanon. Your case for Wall of Fire is pretty solid. I think I am convinced. It seems like the control utility of Surrounded By Deafh can be replaced with the fetishes anyway. I am going to try a few without the mimics and see how it works, but I think you are dead on. Using Corpse Explosion it does look like a huge damage loss, even if they only cast it once each time they are up.

That leaves the issue of what to put in that last active skill a lot that is opened up by going this route. I gave Soul Harvest a shot, and while it provides a good damage and mana boost with the right rune, I find that the necessity of getting in close and grabbing stacks tends to be rather distracting. I need up dead. Certainly I could just stop sucking if it is quantifiable as "the best" but I am exploring other choices. Gargantuan (without the finger ring) provides a bit of extra damage, and tends to draw the ire of larger mobs very well. Hex is also fairly helpful...

Bheasty, how is the pet thing working out with Helltooth? I haven't tried that out yet, but it looks sort of promising.
This is the spec I'm running with, seems quite effective. Thanks to J_Macc for this build.
http://www.diablofans.com/builds/57408-2-3-66-zombie-bears-firewall-helltooth
The Firewall dot can actually last 12 seconds total. The wall reapplies the 4 second dot as long as the monster is standing the the area.

Acid rain and slow burn is a lot stronger than the other runes, partly because of a bug. Their DoT does up to 3x the listed damage in the centre of the aoe.
Guys, how much damage are your Zombie Bears actually doing here? The more I tweak the build the more I'm wondering if 90% of the damage isn't coming from WoD Firewall and that the bears are really just supplemental.

I could well be wrong on this, but something in the back of my mind is wondering if we even need bears in the build at all.
i think helltooth works fine without the hated f+r combo, im low paragon <500 und with only 3 or so ancient pieces at all and i can beat grift56 in hc pretty easily though. havent really tried fishing higher for now but it seems more like the survivability is an issue for me.
so cube: jeram,rorg and smk
use: coe+unity
another thing is bbv actually gives your mimics twice the buff and its constantly up with the fetish belt.
the mimics really pack a punch against the rg and make it the easiest part of a grift actually, i am strugling with getting to the guardian because gathering big groups and staying alive to get most out of areadmg is quite hard with the lag and the fear of dying^^
i think helltooth works fine without the hated f+r combo, im low paragon <500 und with only 3 or so ancient pieces at all and i can beat grift56 in hc pretty easily though. havent really tried fishing higher for now but it seems more like the survivability is an issue for me.
so cube: jeram,rorg and smk
use: coe+unity
another thing is bbv actually gives your mimics twice the buff and its constantly up with the fetish belt.
the mimics really pack a punch against the rg and make it the easiest part of a grift actually, i am strugling with getting to the guardian because gathering big groups and staying alive to get most out of areadmg is quite hard with the lag and the fear of dying^^


F+R gives you >100% dmg boost (b/c multiplicative) it is really not worth having any other rings equipped, ever. I can see why you'd want to cube unity in HC, but in SC, COE is king for WoD fire cycling.
- Corpse Bomb better than Acid Rain?
Corpse Bomb does so littler damage compared to slow burn and acid rain. Details:
https://www.reddit.com/r/Diablo3witchdoctors/comments/3j6rk3/acid_cloud_stacks_all_dots_all_mimics/
https://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/18704974965

- Give up either F&R or CoE in exchange for MoJ and jewelry cube equip spot?
No. You can, but you gimp yourself vs 125% more damage from F+R.

- Is the +100% Pet Damage actually worth it for Mimics?
No one has really tested because almost certainly the definitive answer is "NO!"

It works, but you lose CoE which is critical to this build. CoE is 100% more damage for you and your mimics where as MoJ is more like 80% more damage (additive with elemental % on your gear) only for the mimics.
Why is CoE 100% more damage in most builds?
Fire wall on fire rotation and acid rain/bears on poison rotation or slow burn on cold rotation.

- Wall of Fire or Surrounded By Death?
WoF with Jeram's or Cold with strongarms.

- Pyrogeist or Spider Queen?
Blazing spiders (mana spiders) are normal. Pyrogeist is good too. Spider queen makes F+R proc very difficult.

- Voodoo/Belt of Transcendence/SMK cube equip or ??? Skill/Witching Hour/Furnace cube equip?
Furnace and BoT. In a party, replace BoT with WH.

In a party, SMK can be VERY good with slam dance, if you're the only one who has it. Highly recommend, 10/10.
its not that easy, by giving up f+r you basically double your toughness by adding a unity which also translates into dmg in sc, less time death means more dmg. and the fact that vodoo ritual gains double bonus for your mimics makes them really your main dmg dealer. i think its worth a try with someone with gfg gear.
09/10/2015 11:28 AMPosted by einherier
its not that easy, by giving up f+r you basically double your toughness by adding a unity which also translates into dmg in sc, less time death means more dmg. and the fact that vodoo ritual gains double bonus for your mimics makes them really your main dmg dealer. i think its worth a try with someone with gfg gear.


unity will not let you survive getting vortexed into an arcane cluster!@#$, or ghost gangtouch or many other things, and you give up 125% damage boost. So for SC, not worth it. In fact, even in HC, I would rather still use F+R but cube unity perhaps over COE.

what voodoo ritual? how does it doubly affect mimics? Besides, their targets and casting is unreliable as a main source of damage. It's just a nice bonus for more area coverage and spotting mobs.
I guarantee that without F+R I wouldn't even be able to clear a 55, let alone 60+. Or maybe just barely.
I'm curious how people are handling WoD with CoE. Obviously you want to get your walls placed during the fire buff, but grave injustice allows us to do much more spamming of the spell. So, how are you all handling it?
09/10/2015 12:09 PMPosted by RedQueen


unity will not let you survive getting vortexed into an arcane cluster!@#$, or ghost gangtouch or many other things, and you give up 125% damage boost. So for SC, not worth it. In fact, even in HC, I would rather still use F+R but cube unity perhaps over COE.

what voodoo ritual? how does it doubly affect mimics? Besides, their targets and casting is unreliable as a main source of damage. It's just a nice bonus for more area coverage and spotting mobs.
I guarantee that without F+R I wouldn't even be able to clear a 55, let alone 60+. Or maybe just barely.


well i and many more probably did it with worse then your gear, so its 100% doable in the 55-60 range, can only speculate about 60+ though for now.
bbv gives you 30% more dmg so you mimics get the bonus even when they dont stand in the circle and they itself will get buffed by the 30% when in the circle, so its actually a 69% buff to them.
and someone above mentioned that rgs are still a big problem for wd, mimics cant really attack the wrong target when there is only 1 left alive^^
Depends if I need the wall right now (lots of stuff still alive) and there is lots of time till another fire cycle or not.

You want to start WoD just before fire phase for max effect.
Afaik bbv damage isn't a separate multiplier though, it's additive with other bonuses. So you don't actually gain that much damage.
09/10/2015 01:30 PMPosted by Josef
Afaik bbv damage isn't a separate multiplier though, it's additive with other bonuses. So you don't actually gain that much damage.


Except it's all multiplicative, so yes you do. Debuffs to mobs are a different calculation than personal dmg buffs.
09/10/2015 01:39 PMPosted by RedQueen
Debuffs to mobs are a different calculation than personal dmg buffs.


They are generally the same category - been that way since RoS shipped.

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