Diablo 3 Witch Doctor Builds
The Witch Doctor is the only true pet class in Diablo 3, having access to a variety of summons which can aid it battle. While these pets do not deal much damage, they are able to tank enemy damage for the Witch Doctor and act as a shield for the Witch Doctor so you can attack safely from range.
This creates a need for two kinds of Diablo 3 Witch Doctor builds: builds oriented around pets and builds not oriented around pets. Pet-based builds should be used for solo play whereas builds not oriented around pets should be used for group play.
This way, when you are playing solo, your build provides you with plenty of pets to tank for you. Since pets do not deal much damage and are less effective when enemy HP increases significantly, you can trade out your pets for some high damage abilities when playing in groups.
As a result, this Diablo 3 Witch Doctor builds guide will include two types of builds, one for solo and one for groups. You can use these builds interchangeably for both group and solo play.
Diablo 3 Witch Doctor Builds – Solo Leveling & Farming
When playing solo, we are going to focus in on buffing up our pets, reducing the damage we take, and maximizing our the damage output of our two primary abilities. Here are the six active skills and the runes used:
- Poison Dart. Use the Splinters or Flaming Dart rune. Splinters does slightly more damage against stationary targets and is generally more effective against packs of enemies whereas Flaming Dart is a bit easier to use versus single targets. Splinters deals poison damage which will keep up the Bad Medicine debuff. Also, it does not overkill weak enemies since if you take out an enemy with the first dart, the second and third dart will often go on to hit other targets. For this reason, I prefer Splinters.
- Grasp of the Dead. Use the Unbreakable Grasp rune. This skill does a decent amount of AoE damage while keeping enemies locked into place while your pets deal damage to them. This ability and rune combination makes kiting a breeze and clumps together enemies nicely for your AoE attack.
- Summon Zombie Dogs. Use the Rabid Dogs rune initially before moving over to Leeching Beasts. I think Leeching Beasts is nice because it helps keep the dogs alive. Rabid Dogs and Burning Dogs of course help with damage if your dogs have no problems living long enough between cooldowns.
- Soul Harvest. Use the Soul to Waste rune when you get it. Soul Harvest will literally double your damage, at least until you get full end-game gear. Soul Harvest is a must; getting a stack of 5 buffs of this ability will indeed double your damage, making Splinters with Poison Dart hit harder than other classes’ resource spending abilities. The extra duration rune is nice because with this build you will be mostly attacking from range; it is a bit of a nuisance to run into melee range to keep this buff up.
- Gargantuan. Use the Big Stinker rune. This will not only deal a bit of AoE damage but will also spread your Bad Medicine debuff very effectively.
- Firebats. Use the Dire Bats rune. This is a powerful mana spender for both AoE (in a line) and even single-target attacks. If you want even more AoE power, swap this skill out for Acid Cloud or another ability of choice.
For passive skills, I recommend Jungle Fortitude, Bad Medicine, and Pierce the Veil. Jungle Fortitude is a flat out 20% damage reduction for you and your pets – hard to beat that. Bad Medicine should be up practically 100% of the time between your Gargantuan zombie with the Big Stinker rune and Poison Dart, giving you another 20% damage reduction.
I like Pierce the Veil for the damage boost even though it significantly increases your Mana costs. The reason is that Poison Dart, Grasp of the Dead, Summon Zombie Dogs, and Gargantuan all have little mana cost yet stand to benefit from this ability. Soul Harvest also has a low mana cost and the extra percentage damage dealt by you will increase the strength of your abilities as well. Only Firebats really suffers from this passive, but the extra damage is worth it.
Diablo 3 Witch Doctor Builds – Group Leveling or Farming
For group play, the variety for Diablo 3 Witch Doctor builds is much more flexible since you do not need to allocate two skill slots to pets, giving you much more freedom with your skills. Here is a sample build:
- Soul Harvest. Pair with the Soul to Waste rune still as you will be sitting in the back as a Witch Doctor in most situations.
- Gargantuan. Use the Big Stinker rune again. The purpose of this is just to apply your Bad Medicine debuff, which is even better in group play than it is in solo play.
- Poison Dart. Pair with the Splinters rune. This is still your best low-mana cost single-target ability.
- Hex. Pair with the Jinx rune. Every one in your party will benefit from the extra 20% damage hexed enemies take and as a result the extra damage you bring to the group with this ability/rune combo is substantial.
- Firebats. With the Dire Bats rune, this is still a great ability for dishing out damage to multiple targets. You can always use Acid Cloud or another AoE skill here. Just make sure whatever you pick gives you an AoE alternative (Poison Dart is your main single-target skill).
- Wall of Zombies (or other cooldown-oriented ability). For this slot, pick a powerful cooldown-oriented skill so you can have something to use against tough champion packs. Whether you pick this, Big Bad Voodoo, or Fetish Army does not really matter, just bring something to the group that you can use for tough enemies or to get out of binds.
For passives, I recommend Bad Medicine, Pierce the Veil, and Fetish Syncophants. Bad Medicine applies a needed damage debuff to enemies which will benefit your whole group. This build still has a low-mana cost due to Hex, Soul Harvest, Gargantuan, Poison Dart, and Wall of Zombies, making Pierce the Veil useful. Once again, your only real mana-using spell is Firebats. Finally, Fetish Syncophants will increase your DPS slightly. You can always trade this for another passive skill if you like. If you are taking a lot of damage and having trouble surviving, swap this out for Jungle Fortitude.
Diablo 3 Witch Doctor Builds Guide
By choosing the builds outline here in this D3 Witch Doctor builds list, you now have access to two great builds for solo and group play. Solo players should focus on pets whereas group players should swap out a pet ability for extra damage, buffs, or cooldown-oriented abilities. These skills will help your group do more overall damage and survive tough encounters with hard champion packs.