Helltooth Gargantuan Witch Doctor Guide

Introduction

Gargs Solo Push

The Gargantuan Witch Doctor is one of the classic pet builds in Diablo 3. As a master of voodoo and spirits, it's very laid back and easy to play. While Gargantuans are outclassed by other setups such as Spirit Barrage, Zombie Bears or Jade Harvester, they can still be used to successfully both in farming and pushing solo Greater Rifts.

While a few setups are possible for this, the best set to use is the Helltooth Harness for its massive 17,500% damage bonus to your Gargantuans. The best part about is: you won't have to rely on a single pet, but instead you will have three little Gargs through The Short Man's Finger that will decimate your foes! Just stay back, activate your buffs and enjoy the show. This makes this build ideal for console and newer players!

You can add even more meatshields with Summon Zombie Dogs to make things safer for yourself. With all these distractions surrounding you, enemies will be occupied with your pets more than you.

Since you only need two core skills and a few items alongside the set to make it work, you can experiment with other setups, especially for speedfarming lower content. This guide will show you what we believe is best for Nephalem and Greater Rifts alike!

Easy to play ✔
Great class fantasy
Few buttons to press ✔
Has massive meatshields ✔

❌ Lacks speed
Very small AoE
❌ Relies on borked Pet AI
❌ No match for META builds


Core Setup

Core Build

Items

  • The Helltooth Harness set is the core of the build, giving 17,500% damage increase to your Gargantuans after using Wall of Death.
  • Spite effectively adds the most important rune (Humongoid) to the setup, giving your Gargs cleave damage.
  • The Short Man's Finger splits your Gargantuan into three, each dealing 750% of the original damage (for a total of 2,250% damage done).
  • Mask of Jeram adds 200% damage bonus to your pets. This affix stacks additively with elemental damage rolls on your items.
  • Tasker and Theo give 50% attack speed to your pets, adding another great bonus and allowing you to reach the right breakpoint.
  • Lakumba's Ornament is a core defensive item for any Witch Doctor build, buffing Soul Harvest with extra damage reduction.
  • Sacred Harvester is a great boost, adding an extra 15% Intelligence bonus to Soul Harvest and another 30% damage reduction when combined with the bracers (around +80% toughness).

Global Stat Priorities
As this is a pet build, Gargantuan skill damage acts as a separate multiplier instead of being in the additive category, making that item affix stronger than usual. Rolling this on your offhand, chest and shoulders will be the main priority. On the other hand, Mask of Jeram's damage bonus counts into the same category as elemental damage, which makes this stat comparatively worse here than in most other builds. Your overall offensive stat priority will be: Critical Hit Damage > Gargantuan Damage > Critical Hit Chance > Area Damage > Attack Speed > Physical Damage > Intelligence. Defensively you want to go with Vitality > Armor > Elite Damage Reduction > All Resistance.

Contrary to most other pet builds in the game, there are only very few fixed breakpoints for Gargantuans, which depend on whether Tasker and Theo is equipped and Restless Giant is active. Attack Speed instead scales their damage done per hit. See the Mechanics section for more info.

Assembling the Build

1. Do the Challenge Rift for the materials to cube Legendary Powers. You can complete this once a week for additional resources and we always update the guide for you!

2. Gather the full Helltooth Harness set. Each piece can be gambled from Kadala for Bloodshards. Do not salvage any duplicate pieces you find! Instead convert them to another part of the set with Recipe 4 in Kanai's Cube. If you have extra materials you can use Recipe 3 to craft the remaining pieces, but this is expensive and not recommended for new players.

3. Gamble from Kadala in this order:

  1. The full Helltooth Harness set
  2. The Short Man's Finger
  3. Mask of Jeram
  4. Goldwrap and The Witching Hour
  5. Nemesis Bracers, Warzechian Armguards and Lakumba's Ornament
  6. Tasker and Theo
  7. Convention of Elements and The Compass Rose

4. Craft using Recipe 3 in Kanai's Cube in this order:

  1. Ceremonial Knives to get Sacred Harvester
  2. Two-Handed Maces to get The Furnace
  3. Maces to get Echoing Fury
  4. Amulets to get The Traveler's Pledge and Squirt's Necklace
  5. Anything from the Gamble list in Step 3 that you haven't already acquired

5. Do Bounties to acquire several important items for this build:

  • Act 1: Ring of Royal Grandeur
  • Act 2: Gloves of Worship (for your follower)
  • Act 3: Avarice Band
  • Act 4: Can drop any bounty item from any act
  • Bounty Turn In: Recipe for Spite, Sage's Journey, Cain's Destiny and Captain Crimson's Trimming's

6. Once you have acquired the recipe, craft Spite from the blacksmith. The materials are quite cheap, so you should invest into a good roll here!

Item Stat Priorities

SLOTITEMSTAT PRIORITY
Main-HandSacred Harvester
Echoing Fury
The Furnace (Cubed)
1. Damage Range
2. Socket Ramaladni's Gift
3. Attack Speed
4. Damage %
5. Area Damage
6. Intelligence
Off-HandSpite (Crafted)1. Damage Range
2. Critical Hit Chance
3. Gargantuan Damage
4. Area Damage
5. Intelligence
6. Elite Damage
7. Vitality
HelmHelltooth Mask
Mask of Jeram
1. Critical Hit Chance
2. Intelligence
3. Vitality
4. Socket Flawless Royal Amethyst
GlovesHelltooth Gauntlets
Tasker and Theo
1. Critical Hit Chance
2. Critical Hit Damage
3. Area Damage
4. Attack Speed
5. Intelligence
ShouldersHelltooth Mantle1. Gargantuan Damage
2. Area Damage
3. Intelligence
4. Vitality
5. Life %
Chest Helltooth Tunic1. Sockets Flawless Royal Topaz
2. Intelligence
3. Vitality
4. Armor
5. Elite Damage Reduction
PantsHelltooth Leg Guards1. Intelligence
2. Vitality
3. Armor
4. Sockets Flawless Royal Topaz
BootsHelltooth Greaves1. Intelligence
2. Vitality
3. Armor
4. All Resistance
Left RingThe Short Man's Finger1. Socket
2. Critical Hit Damage
3. Critical Hit Chance
4. Area Damage
5. Attack Speed
Right RingThe Compass Rose
Convention of Elements
Avarice Band (A3 Bounties)
Ring of Royal Grandeur (A1 Bounties, Cubed)
1. Socket
2. Critical Hit Damage
3. Critical Hit Chance
4. Area Damage
5. Attack Speed
BracersLakumba's Ornament
Warzechian Armguards
Nemesis Bracers
1. Physical Damage
2. Critical Hit Chance
3. Intelligence
4. Life per Hit
5. Vitality
AmuletThe Traveler's Pledge
Squirt's Necklace
The Flavor of Time
1. Socket
2. Critical Hit Damage
3. Critical Hit Chance
4. Physical Damage
5. Intelligence
6. Attack Speed
7. Area Damage
BeltThe Witching Hour
Goldwrap
1. Intelligence
2. Vitality
3. Armor
4. Life %
5. All Resistance

Gems

  • As a pet build, Enforcer is the best gem in any case, giving up to 60% damage increase and making your pets practically immortal.
  • Bane of the Trapped is the second best gem, adding another 60% damage and a slow aura around your character. Gargantuans using the Humongoid rune (from Spite) will apply slows by default and buff themselves this way.
  • Bane of the Stricken is required to kill the boss in solo pushing. For farming, other options like Bane of the Powerful, Zei's Stone of Vengeance or Esoteric Alteration are useful. In Nephalem Rifts, Molten Wildebeest's Gizzard shield is great to protect your Squirt's Necklace buff if it drops too often.

Skills

  • Gargantuans are our core damage in this setup. They do all the heavy lifting while you stand back to buff them. The Humongoid is gained from the offhand, so we choose Restless Giant for big DPS bursts when we need them the most.
  • Wall of Death is the activator for the Helltooth Harness set. The most useful rune here is Communicating with Spirits for its defensive bonuses, but Wall of Zombies can be useful for grouping enemies, too.
  • Soul Harvest Languish is our main defensive buff, adding 30% Intelligence, 100% Armor and 60% damage reduction when combined with Sacred Harvester and Lakumba's Ornament. Everything accounted for this buff gives you roughly x5 toughness and x1.3 damage.
  • Spirit Walk Jaunt is a great defensive tool that allows you to use Endless Walk and Oculus Rings more effectively.
  • Piranhas Piranhado gives you a 15% additive damage bonus and groups enemies for Crowd Control and better Area Damage.
  • The best option for the last skill slot is Summon Zombie Dogs Leeching Beasts which will fill up your life in seconds whenever you get hit. This is an insane survival boost.

Passives

  • Midnight Feast adds a 50% multiplicative damage bonus to your Gargantuans. This is a must-have!
  • Confidence Ritual adds a 25% multiplicative damage bonus against nearby enemies.
  • Pierce the Veil gives another 20% additive damage bonus with practically no downside as we are not limited by Mana whatsoever.
  • Spirit Vessel adds a cheat death when things go wrong. Swampland Attunement is another great defensive tool if you rather want to go with raw toughness or replace one of the smaller DPS boosts.

Paragon Points

CoreOffensiveDefensiveUtility
1. Movement Speed1. Attack Speed1. Armor1. Area Damage
2. Intelligence2. Critical Hit Damage2. Life %2. Life per Hit
3. Vitality3. Critical Hit Chance3. All Resistance3. Pickup Radius
4. Maximum Mana4. Cooldown Reduction4. Life Regeneration4. Resource Cost Reduction

Follower

Patch 2.7.0 revamped the follower system giving all 3 hirelings new powers and the emanate system. The first thing you should do is read our complete follower guide and remember the key takeaways:

  1. The emanation system allows followers to share certain legendary and set powers with you. The most important ones are: The Flavor of Time, Nemesis Bracers, Avarice Band, Sage’s Journey and Cain’s Destiny. Click the guide above for the full list.
  2. Follower’s powers are based on their mainstat (maxed at 25,000, but they have a 2.5x multiplier so you only need 10,000). This means we stack Intelligence on the Enchantress, Dexterity on the Scoundrel and Strength on the Templar.
  3. Followers share 20% of their Experience, Magic and Gold Find stats with you.
  4. Legendary gems do not work on followers, except Esoteric Alteration and Mutilation Guard.
  5. Cooldown Reduction does not work for any follower skill except the Templar’s Heal.
  6. Followers never deal significant damage; you’re on your own to clear the content.

With these in mind, let’s get into our recommendations for this build.

T16 Enchantress

T16 Enchantress

For T16 we recommend this Enchantress setup because she is the only follower that gives Cooldown Reduction, allowing you to spam your abilities more. Since this is T16 content, she’ll stay alive with Esoteric Alteration and Mutilation Guard and use Hand of the Prophet to gain all skills. This will give us Cooldown Reduction, Elemental Damage, Reduced Damage from Ranged Attacks, Armor, Attack Speed, and a Cheat Death.

Stat Priorities:

Since we do not have the immortality focus, we need to stack survivability on our Enchantress.

Intelligence > Vitality > Life % > Armor > All Resistance > Life Per Hit > Attack Speed.

Key Items:

  • The Flavor of Time: For double duration on Pylons.
  • Nemesis Bracers: For extra Elites, Death’s Breaths and In-geom procs.
  • Avarice Band: For the insane pickup radius.
  • Ring of Royal Grandeur: To complete our sets.
  • Gloves of Worship: For 10 Minute Shrine Buffs.
  • Sage’s Journey: For double Death’s Breaths.
  • Cain’s Destiny: For 25% more Greater Rift Keystones.

Speed GR Enchantress

Speed GR Enchantress

For speed Greater Rifts we recommend this Enchantress setup because she is the only follower that gives Cooldown Reduction, allowing you to spam your abilities more. Since this is speed content, she’ll stay alive with Esoteric Alteration and Mutilation Guard and use Hand of the Prophet to gain all skills. This will give us Cooldown Reduction, Elemental Damage, Reduced Damage from Ranged Attacks, Armor, Attack Speed, and a Cheat Death.

Stat Priorities:

Since we do not have the immortality focus, we need to stack survivability on our Enchantress.

Intelligence > Vitality > Life % > Armor > All Resistance > Life Per Hit > Attack Speed.

Key Items:

  • The Flavor of Time: For double duration on Pylons.
  • Nemesis Bracers: For more progression from Elites.
  • Oculus Ring: For 85% increased damage.
  • Ice Climbers: To make your follower immune to Freeze and Immobilize effects.
  • Hellfire Ring, Leoric's Crown and Cain's Destiny: For more Experience and Attack Speed.

GR Pushing Templar

GR Pushing Templar

For Greater Rift pushing we recommend this Templar setup for the sustain from Heal, 10% increased damage from Onslaught, and the very powerful cheat death mechanic from Guardian. This is the only follower build that stacks Cooldown Reduction because it works with Heal. Since we take the immortality relic, we do not need any survivability stats.

Stat Priorities:

Since we have the immortality relic, we do not need to stack survivability on our Templar.

Strength > Cooldown Reduction > Attack Speed.

Key Items:

  • The Flavor of Time: For double duration on Pylons.
  • Nemesis Bracers: For more progression from Elites.
  • Oculus Ring: For 85% increased damage.
  • Unity: For 50% damage reduction if you're also wearing one.
  • Ice Climbers: To make your follower immune to Freeze and Immobilize effects.
  • Leoric's Crown and Captain Crimson's Trimmings: For more Cooldown Reduction on Heal.

Gameplay

  1. Summon your Gargantuans at the start of a run.
  2. Apply Necrosis (from the Helltooth Harness (2) Bonus) to an enemy using Wall of Death. Repeat this at least once every 10 seconds when in combat.
  3. Summon Zombie Dogs once to get more meatshields and their life leeching ability (from Leeching Beasts).
  4. Rush into a pack of enemies with Spirit Walk to cast your first Soul Harvest for the damage reduction bonus. Keep up Soul Harvest by using it on an enemy at least once every 30 seconds afterwards.
  5. Gather enemies by aggroing them and pull them together with Piranhas Piranhado close to your Gargantuans. Also use this on enemies that can't be moved for the extra damage bonus.
  6. Stand still as much as possible to stack up the offensive side of Endless Walk when you are not in danger, otherwise stay in movement to gain the defensive bonus instead. Use Spirit Walk to dodge enemy attacks and elite affixes.
  7. Stay close to enemies when possible to benefit from Confidence Ritual. The radius is roughly the same as the Wall of Death Communicating with Spirits circle.
  8. To optimize your DPS force-teleport your Gargantuans in case they get stuck attacking a lone target somewhere in a corner. You want to have them hitting the most targets possible and it is your responsibility to move them (and the enemies) into the right place!
  9. Make sure to keep the boss in the area of effect of either Wall of Death or Piranhado at all times to stack Bane of the Stricken. If there are additional monster spawns, try to hit only the Rift Guardian as the gem will only add stacks to one target at a time.

Hardcore

Witch Doctor is typically not a great class to play in Hardcore as you lack defensive tools like Crowd Control immunity and have a long cooldown on Spirit Walk, your only escape skill when things go downhill. Nonetheless you have three bodyguards protecting you and the overall setup is tanky enough to carry its weight. Make sure to always run with Spirit Vessel and take extra care to not drop your Soul Harvest stacks as you will most likely get oneshot without them.


Variants

Nephalem Rifts
Gargs T16

Concept
In Nephalem Rifts damage is not the main priority as the Gargantuans have no issue killing or even one shotting stuff there. Instead, focus on extra speed and utility by running the Boon of the Hoarder, Avarice Band & Goldwrap combo and taking more speed: Horrify Stalker and Spirit Walk Severance. To smooth it out, roll extra Cooldown Reduction where possible (as long as you feel your damage remains high enough) and take the Grave Injustice passive. This setup uses the Poison rune Big Stinker for the damage aura, but running with Restless Giant is totally adequate. Just change the elemental damage rolls on your items accordingly.

Gameplay
Zoom around the map to find elite packs and destroy them with your Gargantuans. Just make sure to keep up your buffs (Wall of Death, Soul Harvest) and ignore stray enemies.

Setups
If your damage feels too low, consider rolling more damage stats (Attack Speed or Damage Range) instead of Cooldown Reduction. If your Squirt's Necklace keeps dropping all the time, consider using Molten Wildebeest's Gizzard instead of Bane of the Trapped to protect it with a shield. Another option for more DPS is to use the Circle of Life passive and replacing Horrify with Sacrifice Provoke the Pack to gain additional damage buffs when you need them. If you are overkilling everything easily, you can drop Spite for Thing of the Deep and replace Avarice Band with Rechel's Ring of Larceny to gain more movespeed with similar pickup radius.

GR Solo Speeds
Gargs Speeds

Concept
In this setup we want to combine speed and damage to run lower Greater Rifts effortlessly. Due to the small AoE effect of the Gargantuans, doing extremely fast clears is impossible but if you run at a difficulty where you comfortably oneshot enemies you will be able to clear a run in 2-3 minutes.

Gameplay
Keep up your buffs (Soul Harvest, Wall of Death) while zooming from elite to elite. Try to dodge attacks to not lose your Squirt's Necklace buff too often. Using Horrify at the right time will also help you with that. When you find adequate packs of monsters, pull them together with Piranhado and let your Gargs to their job!

Setups
If you want the Spirit Vessel passive included for a cheat death, you should drop either Grave Injustice or Confidence Ritual. For extra defense, you could also run with Esoteric Alteration instead of Bane of the Powerful.

GR Solo Push
Gargs Solo Push

Concept
This is also the variation described in the main section of this guide. For Greater Rift pushing we take all the damage we can get. This includes lots of Area Damage, Attack Speed and all the other damage stats you can get. The build is very slow paced, focused around killing small packs of enemies and positioning yourself, your pets and your enemies in the right place.

Gameplay
As described above: Keep up your buffs (Wall of Death, Soul Harvest) and focus on pulling enemies together. When your Gargantuans get distracted by single enemies, try to position them better so that their cleave hits more targets. For the best DPS, stand still as much as possible (Endless Walk) and close to your enemies (Confidence Ritual). On the boss, stack Bane of the Stricken with Wall of Death or Piranhado.

Setups
If you feel like you don't need the cheat death, you could replace Spirit Vessel with Swampland Attunement to be able to tank more damage at a time.


Mechanics

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).

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.

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.

Piranhas Piranhado

  • This ability is one of the few ways in the game to pixelpull enemies.
  • If used on top of enemies, it will pull others close but not pixel them.
  • In order to get the best pull possible, it should be used on an empty spot with no enemies.

Summary

  • Summon your Gargantuan squad to protect you!
  • Keep up Soul Harvest and Necrosis from Helltooth Harness up at all times.
  • Position both enemies and your pets to maximize your DPS.
  • Play around Endless Walk to gain the most damage out of it.
  • Stay back and enjoy your Gargantuans mowing through your enemies!

While this build is not really top of the game right now, it's still quite good and decent enough if you are looking for a pet-focused playstyle.
Good luck!

Guide by wudijo with special help from Rob, reviewed by Northwar & Raxxanterax.