Diablo 3 Witch Doctor Builds Guide

By   /   May 12, 2012


Oh boy, it’s the Witch Doctor. Inspired by the much-loved Necromancer from Diablo II, the Witch Doctor has the power of life and death in his hands, and can summon a great many allies to fight alongside him.

Pros:

  • Very powerful throughout the entire game
  • Ridiculous number of powerful allies can be summoned to fight with you
  • Can create chaos with his allies and collateral damage abilities
  • Has a wide range of on-effect equipment like Wanga Dolls, Voodoo Masks and Ceremonial Daggers
  • Fantastic self-healer
  • Best AoE damage in the game
  • Can turn enemies into chickens

Cons:

  • Most abilities are very mana hungry
  • Squishy when surrounded by multiple foes
  • Defenseless when out of mana
  • Armor development is slow, making him/her look quite unappealing for the starting part of the game
  • Irritatingly lengthy cool-downs for some essential abilities

Note:
I highly recommend that you refer to our essential Character Development Basics guide before reading this guide for familiarization with various terminologies and concepts.

For more help on Diablo 3 builds, read our Demon Hunter, Barbarian, Monk and Wizard guides.

Build #1 – Sacrificial Ceremony

Tier 1 (Level 1-10)
Though the Witch Doctor is essentially a caster, you’ll be forced to play as a DPS in the early stages of the game due to lack of available skills.

There’s no real room for adjustments and variety initially. You might be interested in using Grasp of the Dead (with the first Rune) instead of any of the other, but that’s something entirely up to you.

Tier 2 (Level 11-20)
This is the time where you leave your DPS practices and instead focus on conjuration and sacrifice – the two core aspects of the build. Your primary skill throughout this build is Sacrifice, which will make your zombie dogs explode.

The key is not to conjure the dogs and immediately explode them, but to allow them and your Gargantuan to initiate, do sufficient damage while you use aggressive abilities like Spirit Barrage and Firebats, and then explode the zombies to do some massive AoE damage.

Tier 3 (Level 21-30)
Now we’re talking. This is the core setup of the entire build. The brilliance of this build is that it is almost complete even at level 30.

Yes, it is an entirely caster-based build, which means you will cast and expect things to happen spontaneously as you just press a few buttons here and there. Many people find it difficult to play like this, but the actual prowess of the Witch Doctor is visible with this build. Once again your key skill is Sacrifice, which can not 3.5 out of 10 times re-conjure a zombie dog after explosion.

You also have Mass Confusion. Because a 60 second cool-down is too much, you’ll stick to the brilliant Unstable Realm rune, which massively decreases the CD all the way to 45 seconds, making it more usable. With your dogs, a gargantuan zombie, buffs from Big Bad Voodoo and a horde of rapidly decaying zombies at your side, you shouldn’t have much trouble at all with most enemy crowds.

Final Build:
The final build greatly resembles the tier 3 build but with a few changes. Firstly, you’re getting rid of Wall of Zombies and using Fetish Army instead.

I only recommend switching when you have both the Devoted Following Rune and the Tribal Rites passive at hand – otherwise the ability has a ridiculous cool-down of 120 seconds which makes it almost worthless. But once Tribal Rites and Devoted Following add up, the cool-down is greatly reduced, allowing you to re-conjure Fetishes regularly. A very powerful build, but the only issue is the cool-down management.

Build #2 – The Haunting Healer

Tier 1 (Level 1-10)
Once again you’ll start out as a DPS. But try to get used to using Haunt and Horrify, as this will be the core of the entire build.

Tier 2 (Level 11-20)
With this build you will be a lone man, as you lay your focus on two things: haunting enemies and leeching health with your abilities. This build rejects the conjuration capabilities of the Witch Doctor to attain some crowd control effects, DoT and lots of life-steal.

Your two main active abilities are Spirit Barrage and Firebats, though the former is just at its initial stages. The next most important ability is Haunt, which with Consuming Spirit will give you back massive amounts of health.

Soul Harvest is useful for getting some mana back, but that’s just a temporary function. Nevertheless the buff gained from the ability is quite useful.

Tier 3 (Level 21-30)
There is very little difference between this and Tier 2, as most of the core abilities of this build are unlocked in the first tier. However, what makes this build essential is not the abilities but the Runes used.

You’ll have to be patient with that, as the Runes to complete this build are available at higher-end levels (around level 40-50).

Final Build:
This is the final build, and everything except Horrify will grant you health, even your passives. This build is made to have lots of sustainability, which is a huge requirement at higher levels considering the difficulty of the game.

Your abilities should do sufficient damage to take out many enemies, but the more important factor is that you won’t die too easily.

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