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Witch Doctor Class Overview


Introduction

Witch doctors are spiritual warriors who summon dead souls and crawling creatures to do their bidding. By surrounding themselves with conjured zombies and vermin, Witch Doctors are free to assault their enemies with exploding skulls, acrid poison clouds, and wasting curses.

Witch Doctors have many strong builds in A Tier or higher for solo pushing. They also have multiple speedy builds that are great for Nephalem Rift farming. Conjured minions and high damage skills make fighting through hordes or enemies a breeze, however the Witch Doctor isn't the most defensive class and often struggles to stay alive. Along with low defenses, the Witch Doctor can only prevent Crowd Control using Spirit Walk, making gameplay a bit more clunky and less forgiving. While not as fast as some classes at Bounties Witch Doctors can still hold their own with some great movement abilities.

In group play Witch Doctors can fill any role other than support. While not the strongest at any of the roles, they are still very high tier compared to most classes or builds for Trash and Rift Guardian Killing. Speed XP farming is where the Witch Doctor is the least useful and is not in the current META. The META is always changing as Seasons come and go and the Witch Doctor is slowly regaining its place at the top of all game modes!


Lore

Only a select few among the Umbaru tribes can ascend to the hallowed role of Witch Doctor, for they must possess both a history of battle and a talent for communing with spirits. The latter ability belongs solely to those born with the touch of the Unformed Land – the invisible realm where the Umbaru believe the spirits of the dead dwell once they have left Sanctuary behind.

When a man dies, Witch Doctors feel what they suspect is the breath of life leaving his cooling body. And, when calamity or genocide sends hundreds to their graves at once, Witch Doctors can sense their trembling and shrieking from beyond.

Witch Doctors cannot cover their ears to the voices of the spirits. As the sounds of disquiet grow louder, their choice is made. They must restore the balance between their world and the Unformed Land, or watch the torment of generations past for the rest of their lives… and forever after.

Read the full story of the Witch Doctor here


Resources

Maximum Mana: 750

  • +200 from Paragon points
  • +450 from secondary rolls on gear
  • +150 from Stone of Jordan
  • +10% from Spiritual Attunement
  • +50% from Gruesome Feast
  • +50% from Soul Harvest Swallow Your Soul

Passive Mana Regeneration: 50 per second

  • +42 from Primary rolls on gear
  • +7 from Inspire (Kormac Follower)
  • +40% from Vision Quest
  • +10 from Rush of Essence
  • +2% max Mana from Spiritual Attunement
  • +13 from Haunt Draining Spirit
  • +25 from Locust Swarm Devouring Swarm
  • +250 from Big Bad Voodoo Rain Dance

Active Mana Generation:

  • +5 per hit with Poison Dart Spined Dart
  • +3 per hit with Corpse Spiders Blazing Spiders
  • +9 per hit with Plague of Toads Toad Affinity
  • +150 per Firebomb cast from Mordullu’s Promise
  • +55 per enemy hit with Horrify Ruthless Terror
  • +20% from Spirit Walk Honored Guest
  • +5% per enemy hit with Soul Harvest Swallow Your Soul
  • +280 per dog from Sacrifice Pride
  • +12 per hit with Spirit Barrage The Spirit is Willing

Additional Mana sources:

  • Grave Injustice

Witch Doctors' Mana is a deep well of spiritual energy that is vast but slowly-regenerating. Witch Doctors must use their spells wisely to ensure they aren't left depleted and powerless against enemies. To help combat this Witch Doctors conserve Mana by summoning horrific creatures to do their bidding while it regenerates.

Primary attacks don't regenerate Resource like on other classes, instead they are free to cast. Witch Doctors can utilize items that increase Maximum Mana as well as Mana Regeneration, but generally these are not needed. Most builds achieve enough regen through passives alone ,allowing you to skip this roll on your gear and pick up something more beneficial.


Equipment

Witch Doctors' have 3 class specific items with powerful Legendary Affixes. A Witch Doctor can use most weapons in the game, however with the exception of a few Staves and Scrimshaw, you'll mostly be using a Ceremonial Knife on this Class. While Shields can be worn, a Mojo comes with far better benefits and Class specific bonuses that don't exist on other items. Finally the Voodoo Masks find their way into almost every Witch Doctor Build whether it's part of a Set or just a powerful Legendary such as the Mask of Jeram. Let's take a look at the attribute rolls you can find on each of these item classes and why they're so powerful for the Witch Doctor

Voodoo Masks

Voodoo Masks

Voodoo Masks are unique Witch Doctor helmets that have the same Base stats as a normal helmet, but also roll a few class-specific stats.

  • Primary rolls
    • 12-14 Mana Regeneration per second.
  • Secondary rolls
    • 120-150 Maximum Mana

Ceremonial Knives

Ceremonial Knives

The Witch Doctor's unique weapon is a 1-Handed Ceremonial Knife. They have 1.4 APS and include class specific Legendary Powers and stats. There are only 2 Legendary Ceremonial Knives that roll 45-60% added damage to specific skills, these are Voo's Juicer and Deadly Rebirth.

  • Primary rolls
    • 12-14 Mana Regeneration per second.
  • Secondary rolls
    • 120-150 Maximum Mana

Mojos

Mojos

Witch Doctor's also have a class specific off-hand in the form of a Mojo. Like the other items they can provide major bonuses to Maximum Mana and Mana Regeneration. They can roll added damage to skills like the Voodoo Mask does but from a much larger pool of options.

  • Primary rolls
    • 12-14 Mana Regeneration per second.
    • 10-15% Damage to any Witch Doctor Skill (excluding Big Bad Voodoo, Hex, Horrify, Mass Confusion and Spirit Walk)
  • Secondary rolls
    • 120-150 Maximum Mana

Sets and Builds

Helltooth Harness

Helltooth Harness

  • (2) Bonus applies Necrosis to enemies hit by primary skills, Firebats, Acid Cloud, Wall of Death, Piranhas, Grasp of the Dead, Gargantuan, Zombie Dogs and Zombie Charger. Necrosis slows enemies by 60% and deals 3,000% Weapon Damage per second for 10 seconds. This bonus is relatively meaningless.
  • (4) Bonus grants you 60% damage reduction for 10 seconds after applying Necrosis.
  • (6) Bonus provides you with a 17,500% separate damage multiplier (x176) to primary skills, Firebats, Acid Cloud, Wall of Death, Piranhas, Grasp of the Dead, Gargantuan, Zombie Dogs and Zombie Charger after casting Wall of Death.

Helltooth Harness is a versatile Witch Doctor set that provides bonus damage to tons of different skills allowing you to use different playstyles. Many builds using this set aren't the strongest in the game but serve as a great starter set when paired with various Legendary Items to gain power.


Helltooth Zombie Bears - Beginner Friendly

B tier

This build Combines the power of the Helltooth Harness, Captain Crimson's Trimmings and Endless Walk to give you a huge Damage and Toughness boost. Scrimshaw and Ursua's Trodden Effigy make Zombie Bears deal devastating damage and Ring of Emptiness combined with Locust Swarm add another massive damage multiplier. This build is a bit clunky to play but can hold its own in high Greater Rifts if played properly.


Helltooth Gargantuan - Beginner Friendly

B tier

This build uses the huge damage buff from the Helltooth Harness to enhance not 1, but 3 Gargantuans thanks to The Short Man's Finger! These little guys go around dominating everything with the Mask of Jeram and Tasker and Theo equipped. Spite is used for the added Cleave damage from Humongoid and various other damage modifying items help to really juice these guys up. This isn't the strongest Witch Doctor Build, but it does a great job of filling in the classic pet build fantasy.

Mundunugu's Regalia

Mundunugu's Regalia

  • (2) Bonus makes Big Bad Voodoo last twice as long and follow you around.
  • (4) Bonus grants you 60% damage reduction for 30 seconds after entering the Spirit Realm (Using Spirit Walk or proccing Spirit Vessel).
  • (6) Bonus provides 20,000% increased damage (x201) + an additional % equal to 5 times your Mana/sec to Spirit Barrage. The mana portion of the bonus takes your character sheet Mana regeneration, but it's meaningless overall since each Mana Regen roll on your equipment represents roughly 0.3% damage.

Mundunugu's Regalia is similar to Zunimassa's Haunt in that it buffs a specific Skill that must be used to benefit from this Set. This Set has carried Witch Doctors to the top of tier lists since its inception and does exceptionally well in speedy content, as well as when pushing Solo or in a Group.


Introduced with Season 20, Mundunugu's Regalia is the most recent addition to the Witch Doctor's repertoire and despite its funny name, the set itself is no joke at all. It focuses on releasing huge AoE bursts with aspecific setup and timing needed to deal proper damage. This build dominates in solo play and is a can be useful as a Trah Killer and RGK in groups.

Jade Harvester

Raiment of the Jade Harvester

  • (2) Bonus can critically strike but using non-critical DoT damage as a base. There’s no crit double dipping!
  • (4) Bonus grants you all runes of Soul Harvest and reduces its cooldown by 1 second everytime you cast Haunt or Locust Swarm.
  • (6) Bonus cannot critically strike as DoT damage is already affected by your critical multiplier.
  • Separate damage multipliers like Power Pylon, Convention of Elements or Oculus Rings stay fully dynamic. They are applied at the moment when you consume the DoT with either Haunt or Soul Harvest. If you hit the enemies within the Cold Convention of Elements for example all damage consumed by the Raiment of the Jade Harvester (2) Bonus and (6) Bonus will get the full 3,500 and 10,000 seconds damage bonus with the 200% damage amplification applied.
  • Quetzalcoatl is essentially a 2.0 separate damage multiplier for Jade Bonuses as it makes your DoTs deal their full damage in half their duration only.

Raiment of the Jade Harvester was one of the best Witch Doctor builds when Reaper of Souls released and still holds all these years later. It has a unique playstyle revolving around harvesting Damage over Time (DoT) skills to deal instant damage. The primary skill used is Haunt followed up by Soul Harvest to trigger a massive explosion


This is an Area Damage (AD) build, since Jade (2) & (6) Bonuses can both proc it. In its current form, Raiment of the Jade Harvester is playable with both Cold (faster setup) and Poison (higher damage) with almost equal performance. Quetzalcoatl effectively doubles your DoT damage ticks and Ring of Emptiness gives it another 300% damage buff.

Spirit of Arachyr

Spirit of Arachyr

  • (2) Bonus this bonus is at the core of the build, enabling it to deal great AoE damage.The Spider Queen is commanded to move where you cast Corpse Spiders, so be mindful about where you cast them.
  • (4) Bonus makes the Spider Queen leave webs that last 15 seconds on the ground. These webs refresh the infest duration on enemies and grant you 75% damage reduction. The damage reduction effect lingers for 4 seconds when you leave the web.
  • (6) Bonus grants 25,000% increased damage to creature skills: Corpse Spiders, Plague of Toads, Firebats, Locust Swarm, Hex and Piranhas.

The Spirit of Arachyr has a flat bonus to damage for it's (6) bonus allowing you to use many different skills to deal decent damage. While many options are available, the strongest builds for this class will always utilize Corpse Spiders since the set is focused on spreading their damage around to infested enemies.


Arachyr Corpse Spiders - Beginner Friendly

A tier

This build abuses the (2) Bonus for the set allowing all of the damage from Corpse Spiders to spread to any infested enemy. This is the primary build for this set and is the only one that utilizes all of the Set bonuses. Adding in The Spider Queen's Grasp, Brood of Araneae and Endless Walk lead to some massive damage, especially when fighting singled out enemies like Rift Guardians.


F tier

This is the #1 Meme build in Diablo 3. It's strong in speed Nephalem Rifts when geared properly, but won't get you much further than that. It utilizes the Spirit of Arachyr (6) bonus for the 25,000 damage buff to Hex Angry Chicken along with Manajuma's Way to run around at turbo speeds and blow up at will like a grenade!

Zunimassa's Haunt

Zunimassa's Haunt

  • (2) Bonus only affects Fetish Army's fetishes. Thus, Fetish Sycophants will still last 60 seconds regardless of this bonus.
  • (4) Bonus provides you and your pets 3% damage reduction for each Fetish alive, stacking additively with each other. Fetish Army Legion of Daggers is often preferred as it summons 8 fetishes instead of 5 with other runes. Fetish Sycophants, on the other hand, have a 15% chance to spawn a fetish per cast, up to a maximum of 15. This brings us to a total of 23 fetishes, granting us a total of 69% damage reduction.
  • (6) Bonus requires you to hit enemies with a mana spender ability (like Piranhas or Locust Swarm) every 8 seconds in order to benefit from its damage multiplier of 15,000% (x151). This bonus only buffs damage coming from your pets such as Fetishes.

Zunimassa's String of Skulls comes with 20-25% Fetish Army Damage as a fifth primary affix instead of the usual 10-15% affix roll. Zunimassa's Haunt only has one build variation available, but luckily it's one of the strongest Witch Doctor Builds in the game. Hundreds of Poison Darts fill the screen piercing and decimating everything in sight.


Zunimassa's Haunt relies on Carnevil and The Dagger of Darts to deal heavy damage. It is a very squishy build that is also prone to lagging, super fun times will be had! Once assembled properly your Fetish Army will shoot Poison Darts when you do, dealing insane damage to density and single targets alike. Despite its faults, it's a fun build that can destroy any content if played wisely!

No Six Piece Set

Legacy of Dreams/Legacy of Nightmares

For skills which don't have a dedicated Set, there's always an option of making a build around the Legacy of Dreams gem or Legacy of Nightmares set, which provide a 97.5x damage multiplier at 13 Ancient items.

This setup works well as an alternate option to using Mundunugu's Regalia or Zunimassa's Haunt, however both of the Set Builds will be superior options for Solo Pushing in the end game.


This build Uses the power of Legacy of Nightmares in combination with Carnevil and The Dagger of Darts to make Fetishes to shoot Poison Darts when you do. Use Fetish Sycophants instead of Fetish Army, opening up another Skill slot for Big Bad Voodoo This build is still very strong when compared to the Zunimassa's Haunt version and is easy to put together early in a Season while you gather your Set pieces.


While Spirit Barrage is best used with the Mundunugu's Regalia Set, Legacy of Dreams is an interesting setup choice as it is tankier and allows for more flexibility. Additionally, even though LoN Poison Dart dominates on the No Set leaderboard, you can have decent performances with it due to its exceptional scaling with monster density (which unfortunately requires a lot of Greater Rift fishing).


Legendary Items

Apart from 6-piece sets, Witch Doctors have 46 unique Legendary items, providing bonuses to various skills and in some cases even altering their behavior. Many of these items provide buffs to the same skill from different item slots, allowing you to stack power and decimate your foes.

Ceremonial Knives

  • Anessazi Edge
  • The Barber
  • The Dagger of Darts
  • Deadly Rebirth
  • The Gidbinn
  • Last Breath
  • Manajuma's Carving Knife
  • Rhen'ho Flayer
  • Sacred Harvester
  • The Spider Queen's Grasp
  • Starmetal Kukri
  • Voo's Juicer

Spear

  • Scrimshaw

Staff

  • Staff of Chiroptera
  • SuWong Diviner
  • Wormwood

Voodoo Mask

  • Carnevil
  • The Grin Reaper
  • Mask of Jeram
  • Quetzalcoatl
  • Split Tusk
  • Tiklandian Visage
  • Visage of Giyua

Mojos

  • Gazing Demise
  • Henri's Perquisition
  • Homunculus
  • Manajuma's Gory Fetch
  • Shukrani's Triumph
  • Spite
  • Thing of the Deep
  • Uhkapian Serpent
  • Ursua's Trodden Effigy
  • Vile Hive
  • Wilken's Reach

Pants

  • Swamp Land Waders

Belts

  • Bakuli Jungle Wraps
  • Belt of Transcendence
  • Brood of Araneae
  • Haunting Girdle
  • Hwoj Wrap

Bracers

  • Coils of the First Spider
  • Jeram's Bracers
  • Lakumba's Ornament

Rings

  • Ring of Emptiness
  • The Short Man's Finger
  • The Tall Man's Finger

Below are listed select few items that have mechanics, which aren't immediately obvious from their description.

Manajuma's Way

  • This set allows your Hex Angry Chicken to last for 15 seconds, meaning you have that long before it automatically explodes if you don't manually activate it.
  • A great thing about this is that your Hex Angry Chicken Cooldown actually starts the moment you become a Chicken and not when you explode.
  • This can be used to your advantage in that you can let the Cooldown finish while still running around as a chicken then explode, recast Angry Chicken and explode once more in an instant once you find an Elite.

The Barber

Spirit Barrage Phantasm

  • You can have 3 Phantasms at a time.
  • They last for 10 seconds, ticking once every 0.5 seconds.
  • With The Barber equipped, they will deal no damage while on the ground. Instead, they will accumulate that damage (as in: add up / remember what they would have done) and then release it in the final explosion at the end of the duration (with the extra damage multiplier).
  • Casting Spirit Barrage while you have 3 Phantasms active will detonate the oldest one (with its accumulated damage).
  • Each tick is scaled by Attack Speed (sheet APS being a separate damage multiplier), making Pain Enhancer your strongest DPS gem by far in high density situations.
  • The Attack Speed multiplier snapshots for each Phantasm individually upon casting. Moving out of the pull and therefore losing Pain Enhancer stacks will not reduce the Attack Speed multiplier of already placed Phantasms.
  • All damage buffs are dynamically calculated for each tick during the accumulation phase with the exception of Sacrifice Provoke the Pack, which is snapshotted upon Phantasm cast. This means that you accumulate (wait) during DPS buffs like Oculus Ring or Convention of Elements and detonate afterwards. You won't need to have those buffs when the Phantasms explode.
  • The explosions cannot proc Area Damage, hence why it's not taken as a stat and actively removed from Paragons in groups to reduce lags.

Spirit Barrage Manitou

  • Casting Spirit Barrage once will activate Manitou, an eerie ghost sentry hovering above your head.
  • Manitou lasts 20 seconds and shoots 2 projectiles per second (for up to 40).
  • With 3 active Phantasms, the attack speed is improved by ~5x (~200 projectiles per 20 seconds).
  • The Attack Speed is fixed and adding more to the character does not improve damage any further.
  • In conjunction with Voo's Juicer, the numerous projectiles from Manitou are effectively triggering the effects of The Spirit is Willing and Phlebotomize runes.
  • When accumulating for long periods of time on the same target (especially Rift Guardians), you will not see any damage done to the enemy until the The Barber explosion is released.
  • Running out of range or dying will release the explosion.
  • Manitou will immediately explode as soon as enough damage has been accumulated to finish off the target, so no time can be lost by waiting too long. You can not overkill a target (accumulate for too long).
  • If there are more than one nearby enemy, Manitou will randomly switch targets and create tiny The Barber explosions all the time. Especially in high group Greater Rifts, you should avoid using the rune since all of your damage will come from Phantasm - this will help reduce the lags.

Brood of Araneae

  • Brood of Araneae grants a 100% separate damage multiplier to Corpse Spiders by default.
  • Brood of Araneae secondary effect applies a 1% stackable debuff separate damage multiplier to the target for every Corpse Spiders hit. Each stack has an independent 5 second duration. This is where things get interesting because it effectively means Attack Speed double dips! Indeed, Attack Speed allows you to cast more Corpse Spiders, meaning you get more hits while getting more stacks of this effect at the same time.
  • The theoretical maximum Brood of Araneae stacks can be calculated using this formula, with FPA being your Breakpoint, S the number of spiders per cast, H the number of hits per spider and D the stack duration. S, H and D are all constants with S = 4, H = 3 and D = 5.

Carnevil

  • With this item equipped, the 10 Fetishes closest to you will shoot a Poison Dart when you do.
  • Fetishes will shoot in the direction of your cursor, which makes cursor and pets positioning a crucial point to manage in order to maximize damage output.
  • The Poison Dart shot by Fetishes is a special one that uses the Poison Element and deals 455% weapon damage instead of the usual 185%, meaning the rune from your own Poison Dart does not matter.
  • The Poison Dart shot by Fetishes does hit the enemies twice!
  • As a result, Fetishes' Poison Dart is around 5 times more powerful than your own.

Mask of Jeram

  • The 200% pet damage bonus from Mask of Jeram is a specific case: Its damage buff is additive with your Elemental damage (Fire / Physical / Poison / Cold). As a consequence, "Fire / Physical / Poison / Cold skills deal X% more damage" affixes (mainly found on Bracers and Amulet slots), grants a much lower relative damage increase to builds using Mask of Jeram in comparison to other builds.

Ring of Emptiness

  • Buffs all your damage by 300% as a separate damage multiplier. In order to activate the damage multiplier, the target needs to be inflicted by either Haunt or Locust Swarm.
  • Keep in mind that Fetishes don't benefit from this damage multiplier and it shouldn't be used in builds that focus on them do to damage!

Shukrani's Triumph

  • The 100% Damage bonus while in the Spirit Realm from Shukrani's Triumph is an additive damage buff, meaning its effect is additive with other buffs such as Pierce the Veil or Piranhado.
  • You are in the Spirit Realm when in Spirit Walk and when Spirit Vessel procs.
  • After the initial duration of Spirit Walk (2 seconds or 3 with Jaunt), you stay indefinitely under Spirit Walk until you attack 3 times or until you have any Elite enemy within 20 yards.
  • A very interesting property of Spirit Walk is that you do not generate aggro while using it, this means you are invisible to all monsters. This mechanic can be used to your advantage on some Rift Guardians which need a target to perform some abilities (Bloodmaw's Jump for instance).

Staff of Chiroptera

  • Gives Firebats a 150% separate damage multiplier which equals a 2.5 multiplier.
  • Halves Firebats Frames per Attack (FPA) but does not affect its mana cost. Firebats mana cost per tick is calculated this way:
  • Firebats base mana cost is 125 and its Attack Speed Coefficient is 2.0. In our situation, we have 10% Resource Cost Reduction (RCR), and benefit from the 75% less mana cost (Resource Coefficient) from Staff of Chiroptera.
    This mana cost per tick is then multiplied by our APS Breakpoint (without taking Staff of Chiroptera in consideration) to get the total mana channeling cost per second. For instance when the 3 FPA Breakpoint is reached, our mana cost will be 120.54 mana per second:

The Short Man's Finger

  • Instead of a single Gargantuan, you will split that one into three small ones which deal 750% of the normal damage. The total damage bonus is 2,150%.
  • In combination with Spite, these 3 small Gargantuans gain the Cleave ability as well as the chill effect of the Humongoid Rune, granting the build additional AoE damage.
  • The extra two Gargantuans behave and deal damage exactly like the regular one, but are much squishier. But this should not be an issue with Enforcer equipped anyway.

Passives

Witch Doctors have very thematic passives, usually based around their pets or jungle magic - some of which are among the strongest in the game (but very situational). Core passives include Gruesome Feast, Spirit Vessel, Grave Injustice or Swampland Attunement. For more details, check out the list below:

Bad Medicine

Mechanics

Reduces enemy damage done by 25% multiplicatively. This effect stacks with multiple Witch Doctors in a party.

The effect is only applied once when hitting an enemy with Locust Swarm. This also prevents it from staying active infinitely when you combine Locust Swarm with Creeping Death.

Best use

Strong defensive and support passive

Since most Witch Doctor builds are rather squishy, adding some defense through this passive can be a boon. If your build naturally damages (almost) all enemies with Poison regularly, you can definitely include it. Even as a DPS player in groups you can help out everyone with what would already be a good choice just for yourself. Keep in mind that ongoing effects (such as Plagued, Orbiter, …) will be snapshot at their cast, so the debuff needs to be applied before.

Blood Ritual

Mechanics

The “20% of Mana costs are paid in life” actually adds 20% Resource Cost Reduction to your character, which works with Captain Crimson’s Trimmings for a 20% damage reduction bonus (equals 25% extra Toughness).

Best use

Situationally strong defense

This passive on its own is rather weak, and most Witch Doctor builds are not that starved for resources to include it. Paired with the set, however, it becomes very strong with some Life Regen on top.

Circle of Life

Mechanics

Around 1 in 7 killed enemies will spawn a Summon Zombie Dogs for you, which count towards your current maximum cap (3 by default).

Best use

Underwhelming passive

The dogs can be used as a small defensive boost with Summon Zombie Dogs Life Link or as an offensive boost paired with Sacrifice Provoke the Pack.

Creeping Death

Mechanics

Makes your Haunt and Locust Swarm last 120,000 seconds (2,000 minutes, or almost 1.5 days), which is a necessity for anyone playing the Raiment of the Jade Harvester set to even deal any significant damage and can be useful for keeping up buffs such as Ring of Emptiness or rune effects like Locust Swarm Cloud of Insects and Haunt Poisoned Spirit / Consuming Spirit or simply the Piranhas damage amplification. The DoTs will drop when you move too far away (around 1.5-2 screens) and will have to be reapplied. Also, for Locust Swarm runes other than Pestilence, the visual animation will likely bug out after a medium amount (around 20-30) targets have been affected, the effects will still be applied however.

Best use

Top-tier passive for DoT builds

Must have for Jade, really good in general for anything that involves the mentioned skills and combinations. As a Ring of Emptiness enabler, you can choose useful runes that give you back some value lost from taking the passive on top of the comfortable infinite duration.

Confidence Ritual

Mechanics

Applies a 25% multiplicative damage bonus to nearby targets.

Best use

Very strong DPS passive

If you can fit it in and survive at close range, you should. This passive is very valuable and one of the strongest DPS boosts in the game, however mostly relevant for builds that are not too squishy and can stay close without dying. To learn the radius of the passive, you can practice with Horrify, which is only slightly smaller (18 yards instead of 20).

Fetish Sycophants

Mechanics

The 15% chance spawn is applied per cast. You can spawn up to 15 Fetishes this way. This cap is shared with Belt of Transcendence, which summons exactly the same Fetishes. Mechanically Fetish Sycophants are essentially the same as those spawned from the Fetish Army, using the same mechanics, damage and bonuses. With the passive or belt and the Legion of Daggers rune, it's possible to reach up to 23 active Fetishes at a time.

Best use

Pet focused builds

When you are playing (especially pushing) with Zunimassa’s Haunt, you are most likely using Fetishes to deal with enemies, be it through their attacks or the combo with The Dagger of Darts. Regardless, you have to be careful when you are starting out a run or have lost your Fetishes in other ways (e.g. from a death), as you will be very squishy and not deal much damage until you spend some time to bring them back. Additionally, you can also use the Fetishes as meat shields on other builds, however generally other passives are more useful to build defenses.

Fierce Loyalty

Mechanics

You gain 15% Movement Speed in combat and 30% outside while you have a pet.

Best use

Great speed farming passive

Very useful especially in Nephalem Rifts and Bounties, as long as you have an easy way of summoning minions in your build. Adding a second option just with the goal of utilizing the extra mobility here is usually not worth it.

Grave Injustice

Mechanics

A stronger version of Messerschmidt’s Reaver, this one also heals you, refills resources and works for all skills at once (instead of only one). Because the radius can be extended by bonuses to Health Globe radius, it will usually proc from most targets you kill if you have a few of these on your items.

Best use

Core passive for speed farming and cooldown-heavy builds

Very useful for almost any build that goes fast, as Witch Doctor generally lacks good mobility and this helps a lot to get back to Spirit Walk quicker, or will help you with other boosts such as Big Bad Voodoo.

Gruesome Feast

Mechanics

Each stack has its own timer, meaning you can’t keep up the full buff with only one Health Globe every 15 seconds, you need one every 3 seconds on average. The Intelligence bonus is additive with other similar sources (such as Soul Harvest).

Best use

Top tier DPS passive in group play and for speed farming

If you have a support (or RGK in the case of Frenzy Barb) who can spawn Health Globes for you consistently (zBarb or zNec), this passive will give you a massive power boost and outclasses anything else in the game. Even at just an average of half its maximum effectiveness, it’s a solid choice, and can be used for speed farming alone if you manage to go at a fast enough pace.

Jungle Fortitude

Mechanics

Flat 15% damage reduction.

Best use

Mediocre defensive choice

This passive is neither good nor bad, but usually doesn’t fit in due to other passives being more important. Only use this if you are really struggling otherwise.

Midnight Feast

Mechanics

50% multiplicative damage boost to your Gargantuan and Summon Zombie Dogs.

Best use

Absolute must-have passive for pet builds

Can’t argue with these numbers. If either of these two skills are your main damage source, use the passive. Keep in mind this doesn't apply to Sacrifice damage.

Pierce the Veil

Mechanics

20% additive damage boost and 30% negative Resource Cost Reduction. This passive will make you take more damage if you wear Captain Crimson’s Trimmings and should be avoided at all costs in that case.

Best use

Niche endgame passive

You should only use this passive without the set and only if you have infinite resources to begin with (e.g. on Poison Dart builds. And only if you really need to squeeze out that last bit of damage at all costs.

Rush of Essence

Mechanics

Each spell increases your Mana Regeneration by 10 for 10 seconds, stacking infinitely (with individual timers on each buff).

Best use

Extremely strong mana recovery passive

If you play a build that requires a lot of Mana and uses these spirit spells often (such as Spirit Barrage with the Mundunugu’s Regalia), this is a very useful passive to solve all your resource troubles. You will be able to spam away at your heart’s desire.

Spirit Vessel

Mechanics

When you die, you are instead saved and automatically trigger Spirit Walk.

Best use

Almost must-have passive

Since Witch Doctor does not have Crowd Control immunity like most other classes and only a very long cooldown mobility skill, it’s easy to get into dangerous situations where you have no way out. Spirit Walk is very useful on that end, especially for the rather squishy builds, and even on the tankier ones can be used offensively for nuking.

Spiritual Attunement

Mechanics

Increases Mana and Mana Regen by a small amount.

Best use

Extremely weak passive

If you need Mana, simply adding one Mana Regen roll on your items or using one of the other passives (Vision Quest / Rush of Essence) will do a lot more for you than this. Try to avoid using it and solve Mana issues some other way.

Swampland Attunement

Mechanics

Every enemy in range will give you a bonus to your resistances of the specified types (Physical, Cold, Fire, Poison), making you quite tanky in big density (however you stay vulnerable to Arcane and Lightning). Caps out at 25 targets, which usually means around ~40-70% toughness increase against these elements.

Best use

Core defensive passive

One of the best defensive passives in the game - insanely strong and life-saving - especially for pushing scenarios. However, you need to be aware of its mechanics and when you are slowly getting into more trouble by killing off too many enemies. Know your weaknesses and try to get some resistances for the missing types, especially Lightning, and be aware that elite or Rift Guardian fights will feel quite a bit harder because of the missing toughness that you are otherwise used to.

Tribal Rites

Mechanics

Adds 25% Cooldown Reduction to the mentioned skills.

Best use

Niche passive

Mostly used for Big Bad Voodoo, as most of the other of these skills usually don’t need to be cast that often. But even so, it’s rather weak compared to the other great passives the class has to offer.

Vision Quest

Mechanics

40% multiplicative Mana Regen bonus.

Best use

Strong Mana refill passive

For those builds that don’t spam Spirit skills to make use of the Rush of Essence passive or have good Big Bad Voodoo Rain Dance uptime, this is a very good choice if you find yourself resource starved.

Zombie Handler

Mechanics

The 20% Life stacks additively with other sources of that stat.

Best use

Very niche passive

If you really want another Zombie Dog (e.g. for Sacrifice Provoke the Pack), you can use it. Otherwise, there are better defensive options.


Skills

Primary Skills

Corpse Spiders

Firebomb

Plague of Toads

Poison Dart

Primary skills deal little damage on their own but are free to cast. All of these skills have supporting Legendary Items and can find bonuses from various Sets as well. Two of them can be buffed to extreme levels and are the primary form of damage in their respective builds.

Corpse Spiders become incredibly strong when combined with the Spirit of Arachyr, Brood of Araneae and The Spider Queens Grasp.

Poison Dart is another powerful Primary skill, pairing it with Zunimassa's Haunt, Carnevil and The Dagger of Darts leads to a powerful interaction with Fetish Army.

Firebomb and Plague of Toads are underwhelming at best and aren't used in any relevant builds.

Damage Dealing Skills

Acid Cloud

Fetish Army

Firebats

Gargantuan

Haunt

Locust Swarm

Spirit Barrage

Wall of Death

Zombie Charger

These are the main build-defining skills. Pick one of these, a Set that buffs it, 2-3 supporting Legendaries and you got yourself a build.

Acid Cloud, Gargantuan and Zombie Charger are all decent damage options while using the Helltooth Harness.

Wall of Death is only used to activate the (6) bonus from Helltooth Harness.

Haunt is mandatory for the Raiment of the Jade Harvester build, it allows Soul Harvest to do insane damage and is used to proc Ring of Emptiness as well.

Locust Swarm deals very little damage but is vital for proccing Ring of Emptiness on most builds. It spreads much faster than Haunt especially when using the Pestilence Rune.

Spirit Barrage is one of the Witch Doctor's strongest skills when paired with Mundunugu's Regalia.

Firebats can be used with the Spirit of Arachyr or Helltooth Harness set to deal significant damage.

Fetish Army is a core part of the Zunimassa's Poison Dart Witch Doctor Build, when paired with the right Legendary Items these little guys really dominate!

Utility Skills

All the other Witch Doctor skills can be grouped together. They are used to fill in your remaining skill slots with extra defensive, offensive and mobility buffs, or to proc certain Sets or Legendary Items.

SkillUsage
Spirit WalkUsed in every Witch Doctor build as your primary movement skill. Jaunt and Severance are the most used Runes and Shukrani's Triumph is a great item to add in for extra damage.
Soul HarvestUsed in every Witch Doctor Build for its major boost to Intelligence, giving you Damage and Toughness. It's essential while playing Raiment of the Jade Harvester and further increases your Toughness when combined with Lakumba's Ornament.
PiranhasEasily one of the best "pixel pulls" in the game, any Witch Doctor build that relies on Area Damage will be using this with Piranhado to tightly group up monsters.
Big Bad VoodooThis is one of the Witch Doctor's Strongest utility skills and it finds its way into many different builds and playstyles. Boogie Man combined with the Fierce Loyalty passive give a great speed boost to Nephalem Rifts. Slam Dance provides a great damage boost for some Rift Guardian Killer builds. You even use Ghost Trance for Damage Reduction on the quite squishy Spirit Barrage build. A skill with many different benefits that can be worked into almost anything you're doing!
Summon Zombie DogsOften used as a defensive skill in various builds. Life Link provides solid mitigation and the dogs themselves act as a distraction so you can focus on dealing damage.
HorrifyThis skill finds its way into many Speed Farming and Greater Rift Pushing builds, using two different runes. Stalker is one of the best Movement Speed options available to Witch Doctors and Frightening Aspect provides a massive toughness boost for GR pushing.
HexThis skill is only used in the Angry Chicken Witch Doctor Build. It can also provide support to a group using Jinx but this
Grasp of the DeadThis skill has few supporting Legendary Items and isn't useful for any Witch Doctor Builds. It's one of the first skills you'll unlock as a Witch Doctor and can be replaced by stronger options once you level up a bit.
Mass ConfusionMass Confusion is a great name for this skill because you will have no clue how to justify using it. Paranoia used to be somewhat useful in the early days but Damage Reduction is rarely of concern any longer.

Below are listed select few build-relevant skills and their mechanics are explained in detail.

Corpse Spiders

  • Each Corpse Spiders cast throws a jar releasing 4 spiders that last 4 seconds and attack nearby enemies. Each Spider usually performs 4 attacks before despawning. Unfortunately, as is tradition for Pets in Diablo III, they have a tendency to stand still doing nothing or reposition themselves while attacking, which means you can expect slightly more than 3 attacks per spider on average.
  • Leaping Spiders can partially help circumvent the Pet targeting issue because they jump onto monsters up to 25 yards away but Widowmakers is preferred for its higher base damage.
  • The Spider Queen is useless because you can only cast one at a time and Brood of Araneae stacking damage multiplier cares about the number of hits performed.
  • Corpse Spiders is a primary skill, hence benefitting from Depth Diggers and Simplicity's Strength.
  • Corpse Spiders are considered Pets. This means they are affected by Mask of Jeram and Enforcer. Corpse Spiders Damage on your gear is a separate multiplier.
  • Attack Speed is not a separate damage multiplier nor an actual Attack Rate buff for Corpse Spiders. Attack Speed only increases the rate at which you can cast Corpse Spiders.
  • Tasker and Theo increase the Attack Rate of Corpse Spiders, allowing them to attack up to 6 times within their 4 second lifespan.

Fetish Army & Poison Dart Damage

  • Fetish Army damage on your items (Shoulders, Chest and Offhand) is a separate damage multiplier for Fetish Army as well as Fetish Sycophants.
  • Poison Dart damage from Belt and Pants is also a separate damage multiplier for Fetishes because of the Carnevil interaction, despite being additive damage for your character.
  • You can get up to 55% Fetish Army damage and 30% Poison Dart damage on your equipment, those stats put together equals a 2.015 damage multiplier for this build.

Firebats Cloud of Bats

  • Has a range of 15 yards around the Witch Doctor.
  • Has a ramp up time of 3 seconds to reach the full potential of 850% weapon damage.
  • Has an Attack Speed Coefficient of 2.0. The highest possible Breakpoint (3 Frames Per Attack) is achieved at 3.7501 sheet APS with Staff of Chiroptera at 47 Pain Enhancer stacks in this setup.
  • Attack Speed is snapshotted at the start of the channel, which means that if you start channeling a 3 FPA Firebats, it will continue attacking at that increased rate as long as you don't stop channeling.

Gargantuan

  • Gargantuans have a total of 4 fixed Attack Speed breakpoints. These are: 60 FPA / 84 FPA (normally with/without Tasker and Theo)
  • 48 FPA / 66 FPA (Restless Giant active with/without Tasker and Theo)
  • Instead of the expected Tasker and Theo bonus of 50% Attack Speed, we instead only gain a different breakpoint. Under normal circumstances, this means going from 84 FPA to 60 FPA, which is a 40% damage boost. When Restless Giant activates, the breakpoints are 66 FPA without and 48 FPA with the gloves equipped, resulting in a 37.5% damage bonus.
  • The enraging effect of the Restless Giant Rune can only happen once every 45 seconds. Resummoning your Gargantuans will not reset the cooldown. The damage bonus is multiplicative and the effect activates at a very small distance (roughly 15 yards).
  • Contrary to what the tooltip says, Gargantuans with the Big Stinker rune deal Poison damage with their regular attacks, too (and thus require Poison damage rolls on your items).

Haunt

  • Haunt cannot critically hit but it still benefits from Critical Hit Damage and Critical Hit Chance as the DoT damage is increased accordingly (1 + CHC * CHD).
  • Haunt snapshots intelligence and additive damage buffs on cast, while multiplicative buffs stay dynamic.
  • Separate damage multipliers like Power Pylon, Convention of Elements or Oculus Ring stay fully dynamic, they are applied at the moment when you consume a DoT with either Haunt or Soul Harvest. If you hit the enemies within the Cold Convention of Elements for example all damage consumed by the Raiment of the Jade Harvester (2) Bonus and (6) Bonus will get the full 3,500 and 10,000 seconds damage bonus with the 200% damage amplification applied.

Locust Swarm

  • When applied, Locust Swarm jumps to another nearby enemy once every second. With Creeping Death, this effect stays permanently as long as you are in range. It fades when you move ~1.5 screens away.
  • The Cloud of Insects Rune can be used to apply bleed to enemies for Pain Enhancer, as any Physical DoT effect provides the extra Attack Speed effect.

Piranhas Piranhado

  • This ability is one of the few ways in the game to pixelpull enemies.
  • If used on top of enemies, it pulls them close together but does not pixelpull most of them. In order to get the best pull possible, it has to be used on a spot with no other nearby enemies.

Spirit Barrage

The interactions and mechanics going on in Spirit Barrage builds are "a bit" more complicated than the average build. In order to optimize your Witch Doctor gameplay as much as possible, you must understand everything about it! Check out our Spirit Barrage Guide Mechanics Section to read even more about this Skill.

Spirit Barrage Phantasm

  • You can have 3 Phantasms at a time.
  • They last for 5 seconds (10 seconds with Gazing Demise), ticking once every 0.5 seconds (30 frames).
  • With The Barber equipped, they will deal no damage while on the ground. Instead, they will accumulate that damage (as in: add up / remember what they would have done) and then release it in the final explosion at the end of the duration (with the extra damage multiplier).
  • Casting Spirit Barrage while you have 3 Phantasms active will detonate the oldest one (with its accumulated damage).
  • Each tick is scaled by Attack Speed (sheet APS being a separate damage multiplier), making Pain Enhancer your strongest DPS gem by far in high density situations.
  • The Attack Speed multiplier snapshots for each Phantasm individually upon cast. Moving out of the pull and therefore losing Pain Enhancer stacks will not reduce the Attack Speed multiplier of already placed Phantasms.
  • Intelligence is snapshot by each Phantasm upon cast, including Soul Harvest and Gruesome Feast bonuses.
  • All damage buffs are dynamically calculated for each tick during the accumulation phase with the exception of additive buffs like Sacrifice Provoke the Pack or Big Bad Voodoo Slam Dance, which are snapshot upon Phantasm cast. This means that you accumulate (wait) during DPS buffs like Oculus Ring or Convention of Elements and detonate afterwards. You won't need to have those buffs when the Phantasms explode.
  • The explosions from The Barber cannot proc Area Damage as they have proc coefficient of 0, hence why it's not taken as a stat and actively removed from Paragons to reduce lags.

Spirit Barrage Phantasm & Pet Mechanics

  • Spectres from Phantasm are treated as pets and obey to very specific rules, often acting like a pet and sometimes not, which leads to several unique interactions.
  • Like other pets, Attack Speed is a separate damage multiplier for Phantasms.
  • Similarly, Spirit Barrage damage affix on your equipment is counted as a separate damage multiplier for Phantasm. This reason alone makes Voo's Juicer a solid item choice due to its fifth affix that grants 45-60% Spirit Barrage damage.
  • Surprisingly, Ring of Emptiness, an item specifically designed to work with non-pet abilities only, does buff Spirit Barrage Phantasm damage.
  • Mask of Jeram and Enforcer do not increase Spirit Barrage Phantasm damage anymore since the Season 21 launched alongside the patch 2.6.9.
  • Frostburn's legendary affix granting "Cold skills deal 15-20% increased damage" double dips on Phantasm damage, for a total of 40% additional Cold damage.

Spirit Barrage Manitou

  • Casting Spirit Barrage once will activate Manitou, an eerie ghost sentry hovering above your head.
  • Manitou lasts 20 seconds and shoots 2 projectiles per second (for up to 40).
  • With Gazing Demise, Manitou's Attack Rate is improved by 450%, going from 2 projectiles per second to around 11 projectiles.
  • Manitou's Attack Rate is fixed, it does not have Attack Speed Breakpoints, hence adding more Attack Speed does not improve damage any further.
  • In conjunction with Voo's Juicer, the numerous projectiles from Manitou are effectively triggering the effects of The Spirit is Willing and Phlebotomize runes.
  • Not accumulating for 1.5 second will release the explosion, which means running out of range as you can't stop Manitou Attacks otherwise... or dying but the explosion lacks most damage multipliers in this case.
  • Manitou will immediately explode as soon as enough damage has been accumulated to finish off the target, so no time can be lost by waiting too long. You cannot overkill a target (accumulate for too long).
  • When accumulating for long periods of time on the same target (especially Rift Guardians), you won't see any damage done to the enemy until The Barber explosion is released.
  • If there is more than one nearby enemy, Manitou will randomly switch between targets within 40 yards and create tiny The Barber explosions all the time. In high group Greater Rifts, you should avoid using this rune to reduce lag since all of your damage will come from Phantasm.

Zombie Charger Zombie Bears

  • Zombie Bears will spawn 20 yards behind your character when you cast them. If you put your back up against terrain it will force them to spawn in front of you thus increasing their range by the amount that's been compensated.
  • The interaction between Zombie Bears and terrain in general is very clunky and they will be stopped by nearly any terrain or object in your path. They don't seem to function well when stacking against a wall either so always try to get your back up against something and channel them into an open space.
  • Zombie Bears are considered a projectile but will not be slowed by Missile Dampening Rare Elites.

Summary

The Witch Doctor is a powerful class when played properly, dealing tremendous damage and providing great buffs. Their class Sets vary in power leading to some of the strongest and weakest builds in the game. They also have many Legendary Items that can be combined with the Legacy of Dreams gem to create different Builds. The Witch Doctor performs well in all content in the game and has been a niche fan favorite since launch.

Stay spooky out there!


Credits

Written by Facefoot
Contributions by Chewingnom, Northwar, Rob, wudijo
Reviewed by Northwar, Raxxanterax, wudijo


Changelog

Mar 21st 2022
Aktualisiert für Saison 26 / Patch 2.7.3