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Sleepy's Guide to the Witch Doctor (Contest Entry)

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(READ THIS PART! ... Please?)

This is my entry to the Diablo 3 contest :3 Wasn't planning on entering, but with D3 being laggy as hell, I decided to write this! I'm not the biggest Diablo 3 buff, so this guide will be pretty simple. However, this guide will most likely grow as my knowledge of the class increases

:D Also, the pet section may seem worked on more than the other sections, but that's just because this was orginally just going to be a Witch Doctor Pet Guide. Ok, I'm done rambling for now. Enjoy!

Sleepy's Guide To:


The Witch Doctor

"Most believe the fearsome witch doctor of the umbaru race a legend, but I have seen one in battle with my own eyes. And it was difficult to believe, even then. He dispatched his opponent with terrifying precision, assaulting his victim's mind and body with elixirs and powders that evoked fires, explosions, and poisonous spirits. As if these assaults were not enough, the witch doctor also had at his command the ability to summon undead creatures from the netherworld to rend the flesh from his enemy's body." -- 13th entry in the writings of Abd al-Hazir

Witch Doctors are pure spell casters who summon dead souls and crawling creatures to do their bidding. By surrounding themselves with conjured zombies, Witch Doctors are free to assault their enemies with exploding skulls, acrid poison clouds, and a arsenal of horrid spells. The ability to infect, slow and terrify their enemies gives witch doctors unprecedented control over a battlefield. They can manipulate opposing attacks and movements with debuffs and CC, rendering enemies easy prey for hungry pets. Witch Doctors can also lay down fields of fire and poison that slowly leech life from foes. The class has taken some inspiration from the Necromancer of Diablo II. The Witch Doctor is a much more active, spell-attacking class than the Necromancer was, though. A Witch Doctor can not succeed just summoning pets and sitting back; he must venture in much closer to the fray, constantly using attack spells to supplement the damage dealt by various short-lived pets.

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Background of the Witch Doctor-

The Witch Doctor comes from tribes such as the Tribe of the Five Hills, the Clan of the Seven Stones and the Tribe of the Clouded Valley. The lands in which these tribes are found are Torajan jungles called Teganze on the southern tip of the great eastern continent, just southwest of Kurast. The fearsome Witch Doctors of the umbaru is believed to be a legend by many, but Abd al-Hazir has seen them with his own eyes, documented in the thirteenth entry of his writings. The tribes define themselves by their belief in the Mbwiru Eikura, which roughly translates to "The Unformed Land". Their belief holds that the true, sacred reality is veiled behind the physical one we normally experience. Their vitally important public ceremonies are centered upon sacrifices to the life force that flows from their gods, who inhabit the Unformed Land, into this lesser physical realm.

Currently, there is an intense social upheaval among the tribes due to an incident written about in the short story

Doubtwalker (Click the link to read it on Battle.net!). A young Witch Doctor's (named Benu) mind is troubled after running into another Witch Doctor from a different tribe whom he calls a "heretic" during one of the Igani Bawe wars. This Witch Doctor challenges Benu's belief in the High Priests and everything he knows. After discovering a demon among the tribe, Benu learns the "truth" about the Mbwiru Eikura that he was blind to his whole life. He later died, but continued to teach young Witch Doctor's (Including you, the player) from Mbwiru Eikura.

Quote from Doubtwalker (Benu teaching some Witch Doctors, one of which I believe to be the player)

"'What is it you wish for us to see?' the few lingering witch doctors asked.

Truth. You might die in this Igani. For what reason?

'To live is to sacrifice. To sacrifice is to live,' a young warrior stated.

The spirit approached the speaker, pondering those words. Once, in the other world, he had worn them as armor and wielded them as a blade. But lives should not be given up so easily, so needlessly.

I do not want your sacrifice. This land does not need it.

Confusion and unease rippled off the young witch doctor. He hesitated before speaking. 'Then what do you ask of me? What is there besides sacrifice?'


- - - - -


Active Spells, Excluding Pets

Physical Realm Spells:

  • Poison Dart -- Shoot a deadly Poison Dart that deals 100% weapon damage as Poison and an additional 40% weapon damage as Poison over 2 seconds.
  • Corpse Spiders -- Throw a jar with 4 spiders that attack nearby enemies for 16% weapon damage as Physical before dying.
  • Plague of Toads -- Release a handful of toads that deal 130% weapon damage as Poison to enemies they come in contact with.
  • Firebomb -- Lob an explosive skull that deals 85% weapon damage as Fire to all enemies within 8 yards.
  • Firebats -- Call forth a swarm of fiery bats to burn enemies in front of you for 150% weapon damage as Fire.
  • Locust Swarm -- Unleash a plague of locusts that swarms an enemy, dealing 360% weapon damage as Poison over 8 seconds. The locusts will jump to additional nearby enemies.
  • Zombie Charger -- Call forth a reckless, suicidal zombie (SUICIDE BOMBER ENGINEER! Sorry, back to the skill) that deals 204% weapon damage as Poison to all enemies in its path before decomposing.
  • Acid CLoud -- Cause acid to rain down, dealing an initial 100% weapon damage as Poison, followed by 75% weapon damage as Poison over 3 seconds to enemies who remain in the area.
  • Wall of Zombies -- Raise a line of zombies from the ground that attacks nearby enemies for 80% weapon damage as Physical for 5 seconds.

Spirit Spells:

  • Haunt -- Haunt an enemy with a spirit, dealing 575% weapon damage as Arcane over 12 seconds. If the target dies, the spirit will haunt another nearby enemy.
  • Horrify -- Don a spectral mask that horrifies all enemies within 12 yards, causing them to run in Fear for 4 seconds.
  • Spirit Walk -- Leave your physical body and enter the spirit realm for 2 seconds. While in the spirit realm, your movement is unhindered.Your link to the spirit realm will end if your physical body sustains 50% of your maximum Life in damage.
  • Soul Harvest -- Feed on the life force of up to 5 enemies within 16 yards. Gain 130 Intelligence for each affected enemy. This effect lasts 30 seconds.
  • Mass Confusion -- Incite paranoia in enemies, confusing them and causing some to fight for you for 12 seconds.
  • Spirit Barrage -- Bombard a target with a spirit blast that deals 190% weapon damage as Physical.

Other Spells:

  • Hex -- Summon a Fetish Shaman for 12 seconds that will hex enemies into chickens. Hexed enemies are unable to perform offensive actions and take 10% additional damage.
  • Sacrifice -- Banish your Zombie Dogs and cause them to explode, each dealing 275% of your weapon damage as Physical to all enemies within 12 yards.
  • Big Bad Voodoo -- Conjure a Fetish that begins a ritual dance that increases the attack speed and movement speed of all nearby allies by 20% for 20 seconds.

- - - - -

The Adorable Pets of the Witch Doctor


"Each season, after the Igani, the emptied husks of tributes were carefully sewn together in the shapes of dogs, their bodies filled with herbal composts and dried leaves. A boiled skull of a beast was used as the head, attached just above a mane of feathers. With the blessing of the spirits, these zombified beings served as loyal minions at a witch doctor's beck and call."

You see flaming dogs hurl past you, tiny demons with daggers giggle at you feet, and a giant mass of flesh and bones smashed together tower above you. These are some of the adorable creatures in the Witch Doctor's arsenal. Not adorable you say? Pish-posh! Well, I guess it's more of an... acquired taste. Definitely the taste of an anorexic man with a beer belly, or just a 14 year old gamer girl with a strange, strange mind.

- - - - -

Zombie Dogs -- Low Level Witch Doctor's Best Friend... Sorta

Whether it be poisoned, on fire, or covered in some other dangerous substance that no one in the right mind would like (Then again, the Witch Doctor isn't in the right mind at all... I blame the Voodoo), the Zombie Dogs are the Witch Doctor's best friend! However, like any dog, they do have their issues, but these differ from just chewing up your nice shoes or peeing on the carpet; they are much more like being over-eager and attacking things that you don't want them to attack such as the Lord of Terror himself or breaking in two ... Yeah, that tends to be a problem with anything I guess :P



Summon Zombie Dogs -- a Defensive Witch Doctor skill unlocked at level 4. Summon Zombie Dogs is the first summoning skill most Witch Doctors will ever use, and forms the backbone of early Witch Doctor strategy. The dogs are not very strong individually, either in giving or taking damage, but they are effective meat shields in lower levels, allowing the Witch Doctor to use his attack spells from the back row.


  • Rabid Dogs -- Your Zombie Dogs gain an infectious bite that deals 9% of your weapon damage as Poison over 3 seconds.
  • Final Gift -- Your Zombie Dogs have a 15% chance to leave behind a health globe when they die.
  • Life Link -- Your Zombie Dogs absorb 10% of all damage done to you.
  • Burning Dogs -- Your Zombie Dogs burst into flames, burning nearby enemies for 2% of your weapon damage as Fire.
  • Leeching Beasts -- Your Zombie Dogs gain 50% of damage they deal as Life, half of which heals you.

Zombie Dogs are great for lower levels - fantastic even. However, as you move into higher difficulties, they become less and less useful. They don't do much damage and die almost as soon as they are summoned, so they don't tank as well as they did in Normal or even in Nightmare to a degree. And with a one minute cooldown, I just don't see them being worth it in higher levels.

- - - - -

The Lovable, Huggable Gargantuan <3

The Gargantuan; the GAR - FUCKING - GANTUAN. If you haven't realized, I love this guy. I mean, look how adorable he is! No? Well, at least he has saved my ass numerous times in Normal and Nightmare. He is a huge mass of lumbering flesh and bones that will follow you all the way into Hell. Unfortunately, my Witch Doctor never really seems to pack enough brains in that unworldly skull of his. Sure, it gives him a cute derp face and a rawr, but charging into a boss and getting one-shotted not only leaves me heartbroken, but is extremely unhelpful at times.



Gargantuan -- is a Voodoo Witch Doctor skill unlocked at level 19. It summons a large zombie to fight for the Witch Doctor. Although his DPS is pretty minimal, he can soak up quite a bit of damage if your passive skills support him. But even with those passive skills, he can be easily one-shot by a pack of mobs or a boss on Inferno mode.


  • Humongoid -- The Gargantuan gains the Cleave ability, allowing its attacks to hit multiple targets for 32% of your weapon damage as Physical.
  • Restless Giant -- When the Gargantuan encounters an elite enemy or is near 5 enemies, it enrages for 15 seconds gaining: 20% movement speed, 35% attack speed, and 200% Physical damage. This effect cannot occur more than once every 120 seconds. Elite enemies include champions, rares, bosses, and other players.
  • Wrathful Protector -- Summon a more powerful Gargantuan that only lasts for 15 seconds. The Gargantuan's fists burn with fire, dealing 55% of your weapon damage as Fire and knocking enemies back.
  • Big Stinker -- The Gargantuan is surrounded by a poison cloud that deals 15% weapon damage as Poison per second to nearby enemies.
  • Bruiser -- The Gargantuan gains the ability to periodically slam enemies, dealing 100% of your weapon damage as Physical and stunning them for 3 seconds.

The Garfuckinggantuan can be slightly more helpful at times then the zombie dogs simply because he even though he doesn't have a high burst like Sacrifice, he can soak up more damage. Then you can run around and collect health globes to keep him alive. Now will he be able to tank Diablo while you sit back and spam Poison Darts? No; blizzard designed the Witch Doctor specifically so they couldn't do just that (Damn them haha). However, the Gargantuan will be able to take some of the heat off of you and hey, his derpy company is always very nice :) (I do grow tired of the Templar's ramblings).

- - - - -

Midgets with Knives... Scary Stuff -- Fetish Army

Ok, the Fetish Army isn't just scary stuff, it's freaking terrifying stuff. I mean, look at those teeth! I'm having flashbacks from Diablo 2... Mother of God... So, undead midgets with daggers and horrifying teeth? That's enough to send Diablo crying home to his mommy if you ask me. But if you are able to play Diablo 3 with your eyes closed, then Fetish Army is a handy skill to have. Not only will they send your enemies sprinting in the opposite direction just from the sight of them, but because there is five of them (Up to eight with runes), they offer a nice chuck of DPS and above all, a distraction while you try to nuke down the now "scarred-for-its-life" enemy.



Fetish Army -- is a Voodoo Witch Doctor skill unlocked at level 30, which summons group of Fetish demons to fight for the Witch Doctor. This is the Witch Doctor's only summoning skill that generates a large number of minions, albeit non-traditional, short-lived ones. Fetish army is really the only "mass-summon" spell the witch doctor has, but it's really more of an AoE that happens to do its damage by sending out creepy little midgets to fight.


  • Fetish Ambush -- Each Fetish deals 250% weapon damage as Physical to any nearby enemy as it is summoned.
  • Devoted Following -- Decreases the cooldown of Fetish Army to 97.5 seconds.
  • Legion of Daggers -- Increases number of dagger-wielding Fetishes summoned by 3.
  • Tiki Torchers -- Summon an additional 2 Fetish casters who breathe fire in a cone in front of them that deals 15% of your weapon damage as Fire.
  • Head Hunters -- Summon an additional 2 Hunter Fetishes that shoot blowdarts at enemies, dealing 20% of your weapon damage as Poison.

So, freakishness aside, Fetish Army is a pretty nice skill. Despite their size, the fetishes can nuke down things pretty fast and as stated before, are a very good distraction. However, the cooldown is pretty long, even with the rune that shortens it. So I believe it all comes down to your playstyle if you want to use Fetish Army or not.

- - - - -

Pet Conclusion


I think a good place to start this conclusion is with a quote from Bashiok:

"The witch doctor is more about using a small number of summons as damage soaks, and then casting spells for the majority of his damage. Some of which are themselves larger one-off summons. He's not a mass summoner, that's just not the intended flavor of the class."

This quote basically says it all about the Witch Doctor's pets in my honest opinion. Focus your build too much around them and your DPS will be like a fart in the wind (Bad simile FTW!

:D), but have them in your build and you have some nice little meat shields to protect you. So, in short, great build early game, and meh meat shields later on. And besides, it's always nice to have a cute Zombie Dog or huggable Gargantuan at your side! But not a Fetish, little bastards...

- - - - -

Passive Skills


  • Circle of Life -- Whenever an enemy dies within 12 yards, there is a 5% chance that a Zombie Dog will automatically emerge. The range of this effect is increased by items that increase your gold pickup radius.
  • Jungle Fortitude -- Reduces all damage taken by you and your pets by 20%.
  • Spiritual Attunement -- Maximum Mana is increased by 20%. Regenerate 1% of your maximum Mana per second.
  • Gruesome Feast -- Whenever you are healed by a health globe, you gain 10% of your maximum Mana and 10% Intelligence for 10 seconds. The Intelligence bonus can stack up to 5 times.
  • Bad Medicine -- Whenever you deal Poison damage to an enemy, their damage is reduced by 20% for 3 seconds.
  • Blood Ritual -- 15% of Mana costs are paid with Life. In addition, you regenerate 1% of your maximum Life per second.
  • Zombie Handler -- You can have 4 Zombie Dogs summoned at one time. The health of your Zombie Dogs and Gargantuan is increased by 20%.
  • Pierce the Veil -- All of your damage is increased by 20%, but your Mana costs are increased by 30%.
  • Fetish Sycophants -- Whenever you cast a physical realm spell, you have a 3% chance to summon a dagger-wielding Fetish to fight by your side for 60 seconds.
  • Spirit Vessel -- Reduces the cooldown of your Horrify, Spirit Walk, and Soul Harvest spells by 2 seconds. In addition, the next time you receive fatal damage, you automatically enter the spirit realm for 3 seconds and heal to 10% of your maximum Life. This effect cannot occur more than once every 90 seconds.
  • Rush of Essence -- Spirit spells return 30% of their Mana cost over 10 seconds.
  • Vision Quest -- Any time you have 4 or more skills on cooldown, your Mana regeneration is increased by 300%.
  • Fierce Loyalty -- All your pets get 100% of the benefit of your Thorns and Life regeneration items.
  • Grave Injustice -- Whenever an enemy dies within 8 yards, regain 1% of your maximum Life and Mana and the cooldown on all of your abilities is reduced by 1 second. This range is extended by items that increase your gold pickup radius.
  • Tribal Rites -- The cooldowns of your Fetish Army, Big Bad Voodoo, and Hex abilities are reduced by 25%.

- - - - -


My build plan for Inferno! Have all 4 slot skills on cooldown at all times and spam zombie bears. Soul Harvest provides Int. buff and Healing, Horrify for CC (Though it could be switched out for Fetish Army if need be), Spirit Walk is to get behind you enemies or escape, and Big Bad Voodoo... Well just cause

:sweat: I've already seen several videos of this build so far and I like what I see and I can't wait to try it out! :3

The pet build I used in Normal and the beginning of Nightmare before switching to a non-pet build (Oh my Gargantuan, I miss you </3). Working extremely well; my pets didn't die too often and I did some pretty good damage with Poison Darts.

More builds in the making! (I want to test them more before I post them here


- - - - -


A 9 second kill of the Butcher on Inferno with a variant of the DA BEARS build. Madness!


The Witch Doctor's smexy armor <3

Just a nice video showing how the Witch Doctor fights in mediumish levels.

- - - - -

Well, that's it! I'm sure many of you are like this:


Firstly, Y U NO READ? Go and read it and don't scroll back down here until you've read this whole thing! I know it's a giant wall of text about the size of a Gargantuan, but please read it


You have? Good, here, have a cookie

^_^ Wait, you haven't? Then give me my damn cookie back! So you seriously aren't going to read it? Fine then, here is my tl;dr...

Ooo eee, ooo ah ah ting tang

Walla walla, bing bang

Ooo eee, ooo ah ah ting tang

Walla walla, bing bang...

Ooo eee, ooo ah ah ting tang

Walla walla, bing bang

Ooo eee, ooo ah ah ting tang

Walla walla, bing bang

Yep, that's Sleepy's Guide to the Witch Doctor in a nut-shell... I'm pretty sure there was something about a Garfuckingganduan somewhere in there as well :P


~ vVv Sleepy

Edited by vVv Sleepy

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