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Comprehensive Diablo III Guide

Everything you need--from the basics to theory crafting--to help take you from Noob to Nephalem.

Witch Doctor Guide

One Part Voodoo, one Part Necromancer, the Witch Doctor summons a slew of zombie minions to do his bidding while he sits back and slings powerful spells at his foes. Much like the Demon Hunter, the Witch Doctor does not fare well with direct attacks. Therefore, keeping enemies at a distance is a must and will be part of the focus for this build.

The Witch Doctor’s resource is Mana, a quick regenerating resource that allows the Witch Doctor to consistently cast abilities.

Primary Stats: Intelligence, Mana Regeneration, Plus Mana Pool, Vitality

Secondary Stats: Armor, Resistances (again similar to Demon Hunter, needs to become a focus at later levels).

Weapon:  Remember – Don’t Bring a Wand to a Sword Fight. While it may be tempting to opt for a spellcaster weapon make sure that you’re not sacrificing too much DPS to do it. However, if you are able to find a suitable weapon that offers solid DPS and Mana Regeneration pick it up. The Mana Regeneration will greatly increase your channel times which will ultimately increase your effectiveness with this build.

Let’s Make it Rain Build – First let me say that this build is not my own. It was created by D4NNYBOY1066 and you can see the build in action here. This build is fantastic, as it mitigates the risk of having to use pets, while offering insane channel damage, good kiting ability, and a decent amount of sustainability.

Why No Pets? : I know that pets are the signature ability of the Witch Doctor, but there is a problem with pets: the player has no control over their actions. While summons can deal solid damage and even tank for the Witch Doctor, they can also charge into unwanted fights, gaining agro from large packs of monsters, which is a serious problem on the higher difficulties.


Skills (Runes):

Plague of Toads (Rain of Toads) – Here is your main source of damage in this build. The Player releases a handful of toads that deal 130% weapon damage as poison when they come in contact with enemies. However, Rain of Toads causes the ability to rain from the sky instead of channelling directly from the Witch Doctor, dealing 130% weapon damage as poison for 2 seconds. This ability deals great AOE damage to enemies and does so at a safe range. Additionally, the fact that this ability is channeled means that the DPS is constant as long as the Witch Doctor has the Mana to cast it. While this ability certainly will drain our Mana at a rapid rate, the other Mana Regeneration Steroids that we have will return us to fighting shape in no time.

Poison Dart (Spined Dart) – This is our first real Mana Steroid designed to replenish our Mana quickly and unleash more toads. The initial spell shoots a poison dart that deals 100% weapon damage as poison and an additional 40% weapon damage as poison over 2 seconds. Spined Dart also makes each shot of Poison Dart return 24 Mana each time it hits an enemy. This ability is fantastic in that it deals significant damage and allows us to build back Mana while doing it.

Soul Harvest (Siphon) – Insane DPS buff and heal. This ability takes the Witch Doctor the next level. The Witch Doctor feeds on the life force of up to 5 enemies within a 16 yard radius, gaining 130 Intelligence for each affected enemy resulting in a maximum of 650 Intelligence. This ability will skyrocket your DPS output giving you the extra oomph you need to drop powerful Elites. With Siphon, players will also receive an additional 2171 life for every enemy harvested. This heal is extremely powerful and adds a great deal of survivability to this build. One of the great things about Siphon is while the initial buff of this ability is capped at 5 enemies, Siphon can heal the player for every enemy infected by this spell within a 16 yard radius.

Spirit Walk (Honored Guest) – While the Witch Doctor does not have a real form of CC in this build, this ability acts in the same manner as the Demon Hunter’s ‘Smoke Screen’. The player will leave their physical body entering the spirit realm. While in the spirit realm the player’s movement will be unhindered (making this ability a great escape). The ability can be disrupted if your body (which acts as a decoy) sustains 50% of your maximum life in damage (but this rarely happens). Spirit Walk proves to be the perfect ‘get out of jail free card’ when the player finds themself backed into a wall. Additionally, Honored Guest will provide players with 15% of their maximum Mana for every second that they are in the Spirit World for a total of 30% Mana, allowing them to get back into the fight and channel their toads.

Big Bad Voodoo (Rain Dance) – This is part of a tandem combo that will allow the Witch Doctor to burst DPS like no other. The player conjures a Fetish that begins a ritual dance, increasing attack speed and movement speed of all nearby allies by 20% for 20 seconds. This ability is not only great for increasing player’s damage output, but increasing their movement speed which helps players kite keeping distance between them and the enemies. Combine this with Rain Dance, which restores 122 Mana per second while standing in the ritual area; and this ability not only helps you ensure that you do more damage, but have the Mana to deal it.

Fetish Army (Fetish Ambush) – Here's the second part of the tandem combo: this ability will make use of the buff given by Big Bad Voodoo, dealing insane damage in a flash. Summon an Army of dagger-wielding Fetishes to fight by your side for 20 seconds. The fetishes attack for 20% of your weapon damage. While that in itself isn’t that impressive when accompanied by Fetish Ambush each Fetish will deal an Initial 250% weapon damage as physical damage to any nearby enemy. The rune for this ability supplies solid burst AOE damage that makes taking on Elites and Champion Packs a breeze. The best thing about these grouped abilities is that they are identical. Both abilities cost 0 Mana, last for 20 seconds, and are on 120 seconds cool down. It’s like they were made to be together. This truly is a match made in DPS Heaven.


Jungle Fortitude – Reduces all damage taken by you and your pets by 20%. Even considering that we have no pets in this build, the fact that this reduces damage by 20% is far too attractive to pass up. The stability that this adds to any Witch Doctor build makes it a must in my opinion.

Spiritual Attunement – Increases your maximum Mana by 20% and your Mana Regeneration per second by 1%. This is a fairly simple Passive as it gives you more Mana and lets you gain Mana faster. More Mana means more channel time and more DPS.

Blood Ritual – 15% of Mana costs are paid with your life and you regenerate 1% of your maximum life per second. This ability does seem risky, but the fact that your Mana Pool is only a small fraction of your Health Bar means the costs should be inconsequential, while the benefits from the reduced Mana costs will be quite noticeable. Pay attention to your Health when casting, if you find that you are losing a significant amount of Health when casting then consider switching this passive for something else. Otherwise though use this ability; combined with Spiritual Attunement it will greatly increase your Damage Output, which in turn increases your survivability as the Witch Doctor’s best defense is his offense.

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06/02/2012 at 12:36 AM

Good guide. I learned quite a bit.

I'm still skeptical on the AH. Seems any item worth getting is way overpriced; how can anyone afford the million plus gold some of these items go for? Maybe I'm doing it wrong... I wouldn't be surprised if they tweak the Blacksmith in a future patch, so that they remain competitive with the auction house.

Since we don't have a centralized forum, I'll go ahead and shamelessly plug my battletag.  Its Mongoose#1546. You'll know its me if I have a monk named GoldenArms and demon hunter named Desdemona as of this writing. Hit me up if you want smash/farm whatever.

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