Witch Doctor 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, however almost all of them are also 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 party.

The effect is only applied once initially when the enemy is hit. This prevents it to stay 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

Situtionally 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 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 spent some time to bring them back. Additionally, you can also use the Fetishes as meatshields 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 speedfarming 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.

Grave Injustice

Mechanics

A stronger version of Messerschmidt’s Reaver, this one also heals you, refills resource 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 speedfarming 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

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 speedfarming 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.

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

Really meh 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

In case 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 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 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 lot 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.