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Witch Doctor Acid Cloud Build with Helltooth (Patch 2.4.2 / Season 7)

Last updated on Jul 29, 2016 at 17:59 by Deadset 37 comments

Table of Contents

Reworked and buffed several times over the course of its existence, the Helltooth set has graduated into a Witch Doctor staple. While its bonuses allow for numerous sub-variants, this guide will focus on the Acid Cloud Acid Cloud / Fire Wall Fire Wall build. This control heavy, DoT-based playstyle is available in both solo progression and speedfarming variations, explained in that order.

The build requires the following set pieces:

1. About the Author

This build is presented to you by Deadset, one of the very few professional Diablo 3 players. Deadset regularly publishes video guides on Youtube, where you can see how this and other builds play out in practice.

2. Builds

Solo Progression Speedruns
Active Skills
Left Mouse Button Poison Dart Icon Poison Dart Spined Dart Spined Dart Right Mouse Button Acid Cloud Icon Acid Cloud Slow Burn Slow Burn 1 Wall of Death Icon Wall of Death Fire Wall Fire Wall 2 Spirit Walk Icon Spirit Walk Jaunt Jaunt 3 Piranhas Icon Piranhas Piranhado Piranhado 4 Haunt Icon Haunt Poisoned Spirit Poisoned Spirit
Passive Skills
(battle.net link)
Active Skills
Left Mouse Button Poison Dart Icon Poison Dart Spined Dart Spined Dart Right Mouse Button Acid Cloud Icon Acid Cloud Slow Burn Slow Burn 1 Wall of Death Icon Wall of Death Fire Wall Fire Wall 2 Spirit Walk Icon Spirit Walk Severance Severance 3 Piranhas Icon Piranhas Piranhado Piranhado 4 Haunt Icon Haunt Poisoned Spirit Poisoned Spirit
Passive Skills
(battle.net link)

3. Rotation

The build takes advantage of the potent Helltooth set buffs of Acid Cloud Acid Cloud and Wall of Death Wall of Death — both of which are wide area of effect, damage over time spells. Your main focus is on dropping as many Slow Burn Slow Burn and Fire Wall Fire Wall effects as you can, kiting the monsters through their AoE. You will be using a Mana-generating primary not only to restore resources, but to also proc your Focus Focus and Restraint Restraint rings — so weave it regularly into your spender spam. To maximize the effect of your offensive spells, group and debuff monsters with Piranhas Piranhas Piranhado Piranhado and Haunt Haunt Poisoned Spirit Poisoned Spirit. Finally, as Witch Doctors traditionally suffer against bursty elite affixes, their staple mobility skill is taken yet again: Spirit Walk Spirit Walk Jaunt Jaunt.

4. Skills, Runes and Passives

The first half of your major damage output, Acid Cloud Acid Cloud takes on the unusual cold element through the Slow Burn Slow Burn rune. While its AoE is surpassed by Acid Rain Acid Rain and its upfront burst by Corpse Bomb Corpse Bomb, Slow Burn Slow Burn compensates with the best damage over time and the stacking nature of its DoT. Considering the slow from the Helltooth 2-piece bonus, keeping monsters under the effect of Slow Burn Slow Burn becomes trivial, and its overall DPS reigns superior among its peers.

The other half is found in the opposite element, through the Wall of Death Wall of Death Fire Wall Fire Wall rune. While it seemingly clashes with Slow Burn Slow Burn, Fire Wall Fire Wall shares a common trait by being a stacking DoT, and its short length guarantees solid numbers for every tick. The potential of the skill is reinforced by its damage buffs coming from both the Helltooth 6-piece bonus and Jeram's Bracers Jeram's Bracers.

With its emphasis on Mana-intensive spellcasting, the build needs to include a generator. While the general recommendation is the straightforward, bursty Mana gain from Poison Dart Poison Dart Spined Dart Spined Dart, pretty much all the primary generators available to Witch Doctors can fulfill the same purpose (Corpse Spiders Corpse Spiders Blazing Spiders Blazing Spiders, Plague of Toads Plague of Toads Toad Affinity Toad Affinity). Generators solidify their place in the build by proccing the primary skill requirement half of the Focus Focus and Restraint Restraint bonus.

While seeming out of place in a non-Jade Harvester setup, Haunt Haunt is included in the build mostly as a trigger to the damage multiplication of the cubed Ring of Emptiness Ring of Emptiness, along with a cubed Wormwood Wormwood. Even so, you gain a minor active benefit in the form of the Poisoned Spirit Poisoned Spirit debuff, adding to your overall damage.

The only Witch Doctor ability to offer mobility, invulnerability and free passage through enemies, Spirit Walk Spirit Walk is a staple in most builds. While its cooldown is not the lowest among its peers for other classes, it makes up with the solid 3-second duration of the Jaunt Jaunt rune. If you value mobility over a lengthier invulnerability window, you can freely alternate into the Severance Severance rune — especially preferred in speedruns.

While it can be considered part of the spenders affected by Helltooth or a trigger to Bastions of Will, the reason to take Piranhas Piranhas lies in the grouping capabilities of Piranhado Piranhado. As the build relies heavily on enemy positioning within the Slow Burn Slow Burn AoE, the benefits from a pulling ability are undeniable — and Piranhado Piranhado is a standout in the field.

This concludes the overview of the active skills, now let us look through the passives.

Swampland Attunement Swampland Attunement is a play on the selective resistance mechanic (also observed on the Tal Rasha set), and offers considerable defenses — but only against elements Witch Doctors can use. Protecting within a starting radius of 20 yards and extendable by Pickup Radius on gear, this passive is yet another reason to pay close attention to secondary stats. Note the absence of Lightning or Arcane Resistance, and strive to obtain it wherever you can on gear.

Spirit Vessel Spirit Vessel is considered mandatory when pushing Greater Rifts as a Witch Doctor, similarly to other cheat death passives for other classes. On top of the second life proc, it heals you to 50% of your maximum health and triggers a Spirit Walk Spirit Walk-like effect, allowing you to escape danger. When speedfarming, consider replacing this passive for the movement speed increase of Fierce Loyalty Fierce Loyalty — it will be procced by the Fetish summons from the worn Belt of Transcendence Belt of Transcendence.

Among the most dynamic and interesting passives in the game, Grave Injustice Grave Injustice is a Cooldown Reduction engine that fuels the damage output and survivability of the build. It delivers a neat package of CDR, health and Mana regeneration upon killing an enemy within a starting radius of 20 yards, extendable by Pickup Radius on gear.

Confidence Ritual Confidence Ritual is another straightforward addition, increasing your damage by 25% against enemies within 20 yards — arguably a dangerous bonus to keep up, but relatively easier to maintain due to your constant close proximity to the enemy. During speedruns you can change this slot to Gruesome Feast Gruesome Feast, as it undeniably offers the strongest damage increase among its peers, provided you can keep it stacked with health globes — an easy task when farming.

5. Best in Slot Gear and Alternatives

This build incorporates the complete Helltooth set, taking all six available pieces and opening the jewelry for the damage multiplication of the Bastions of Will set. Rolls-wise, this DoT playstyle makes good use of skill bonuses across gear. Wall of Death Wall of Death % bonus is sought after on the Helltooth Tunic Helltooth Tunic, alongside Toughness stats; on the Helltooth Mantle Helltooth Mantle, it is ideally paired with Area Damage. Acid Cloud Acid Cloud % is the perfect fourth primary on the Helltooth Greaves Helltooth Greaves, and can be considered on the Helltooth Mask Helltooth Mask — if you can spare the Vitality loss. The Helltooth Leg Guards Helltooth Leg Guards are strictly a source of protection, and the Helltooth Gauntlets Helltooth Gauntlets adopt either Vitality or CDR alongside the usual Intelligence and double Crit stats.

Not skipping on any of the pieces required to obtain the 6 set bonus allows you to use a powerful offensive combo in the jewelry: the Bastions of Will set, Focus Focus and Restraint Restraint. These rings provide an impressive 2.25 independent damage multiplier as long as you alternate between primary and spender attacks, so discipline yourself to intertwine the Slow Burn Slow Burn assault with a regular primary attack. On both rings, aim for Crit Chance, Crit Damage, Area Damage, and an open Socket.

Completing the jewelry, you have a number of options for the amulet slot. Optimally, you would craft a Hellfire Amulet with good rolls and a solid fifth passive (Bad Medicine Bad Medicine, Jungle Fortitude Jungle Fortitude, or Pierce the Veil Pierce the Veil); a solid alternative can be found in Countess Julia's Cameo Countess Julia's Cameo and Xephirian Amulet Xephirian Amulet, which render you immune to your elemental weaknesses. A perfect roll would include both Crit stats, Cold or Fire elemental damage, and an open Socket.

Seemingly an odd fit for the build, Belt of Transcendence Belt of Transcendence simply gives you a better Fetish Sycophants Fetish Sycophants passive at the cost of a gear slot. With its guaranteed trigger, this belt will quickly take you to the cap of 15 summons that act as a solid meat shield and distraction for your enemies.

Undeniably best-in-slot, Jeram's Bracers Jeram's Bracers increase the damage of Wall of Death Wall of Death by up to a 100%. As if that was not enough, they also enable the use of Wall of Death thrice within one cooldown period, allowing you to cover an entire room in incinerating flames. Stat-wise, seek Intelligence, Crit Chance and elemental damage — either Cold or Fire.

While it deprives you of several potent Mojo combinations, the SuWong Diviner SuWong Diviner staff more than makes up for it with the high, two-hander damage range, rolling up to 100% Acid Cloud Acid Cloud damage, and adding the Lob Blob Bomb Lob Blob Bomb rune for free. While the skill bonus is certainly impressive, the added rune is not to be underestimated, as Lob Blob Bomb stacks the slimes and excels at single target.

Slot Pieces Stat Priority
Head
  1. Socket
  2. Intelligence
  3. Critical Hit Chance
  4. Vitality
  5. Acid Cloud %
Shoulders
  1. Intelligence
  2. Wall of Death %
  3. Area Damage
  4. Vitality
  5. Armor
Torso
  1. 3 Sockets
  2. Intelligence
  3. Wall of Death %
  4. Vitality
  5. Armor
Wrists
  1. Intelligence
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Cold or Fire Damage
  4. Vitality
Hands
  1. Intelligence
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Critical Hit Damage
  4. Vitality
  5. Cooldown Reduction
Waist
  1. Intelligence
  2. Vitality
  3. Armor
  4. Life %
Legs
  1. 2 Sockets
  2. Intelligence
  3. Vitality
  4. Armor
Feet
  1. Intelligence
  2. Vitality
  3. Armor
  4. Acid Cloud %
  5. All Resistance
Amulet
  1. Socket
  2. Critical Hit Damage
  3. Critical Hit Chance
  4. Cold or Fire Damage
  5. Intelligence
Ring #1
  1. Socket
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Critical Hit Damage
  4. Area Damage
  5. Intelligence
Ring #2
  1. Socket
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Critical Hit Damage
  4. Area Damage
  5. Intelligence
Weapon
  1. Socket (preferably from Ramaladni's Gift Ramaladni's Gift)
  2. High Damage Range
  3. Intelligence
  4. Acid Cloud %
  5. Area Damage
  6. % Weapon Damage

6. Paragon Points

Slot Paragon Points
Core
  1. Movement Speed up to 25% cap
  2. Intelligence
  3. Vitality
  4. Maximum Mana
Offense
  1. Critical Hit Damage
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Cooldown Reduction
  4. Attack Speed
Defense
  1. Armor
  2. Life %
  3. All Resistance
  4. Life Regeneration
Utility
  1. Area Damage
  2. Resource Cost Reduction
  3. Life on Hit
  4. Gold Find

7. Gems

Your three jewelry sockets will be taken up by the legendary gems Bane of the Trapped Bane of the Trapped, Esoteric Alteration Esoteric Alteration and either Bane of the Stricken Bane of the Stricken (in GR progression) or Bane of the Powerful Bane of the Powerful (in speedruns).

  • Bane of the Trapped Bane of the Trapped is a potent source of additional damage, as it is its own multiplier in your total damage calculation. The gem procs itself with its level 25 property when in range, and is otherwise triggered by Haunt Haunt.
  • Esoteric Alteration Esoteric Alteration is the strongest mitigation gem available, and its impact is noticeable in this mid-range caster build. Improving your elemental resistances with every gem level and adding an emergency toughness spike through the level 25 property, Esoteric Alteration ensures that enemies will have a hard time bursting you down.
  • Bane of the Stricken Bane of the Stricken builds up your damage multiplicatively in prolonged fights and has a level 25 bonus specifically targeting Rift Guardians, making it perfect for AoE heavy builds in their struggle against single target, high HP enemies. Acid Cloud Doctors are no exception. In speedruns, the gem's damage buildup mechanic is too slow to matter, and it is best replaced by the well-rounded damage and toughness increase of Bane of the Powerful Bane of the Powerful.
Slot Gems
Jewelry
Helm
Torso and Pants
Weapon

8. Kanai's Cube

The Kanai's Cube recommendations are as follows: Wormwood Wormwood for the weapon slot, The Grin Reaper The Grin Reaper for the armor slot, and Ring of Emptiness Ring of Emptiness for the jewelry slot.

  • While greatly efficient at it, automatically spreading a generic Locust Swarm Locust Swarm with a cubed Wormwood Wormwood might seem an odd choice. However the combination of Haunt Haunt on your skill bar and Locust Swarm Locust Swarm in the Cube unlocks the potential of Ring of Emptiness Ring of Emptiness multiplication, which is far too high to ignore.
  • The Grin Reaper The Grin Reaper has been consistently buffed throughout the 2.3 testing phase, casting almost the entirety of your skill selection at an improved rate and range. The mimics will also benefit from the Helltooth 6-piece bonuses, turning into a significant, independent source of damage for the build.
  • The Ring of Emptiness Ring of Emptiness takes a firm slot as your jewelry in the Cube, dramatically increasing your damage against enemies affected by both Haunt Haunt and Locust Swarm Locust Swarm. You will be applying the former manually, while the latter will be spread by the cubed Wormwood Wormwood.

9. Follower

For more information regarding followers, we advise you to read our Follower Guide, which contains detailed advice for choosing the skills and the gear of your follower.

10. ChangeLog

  • 29 Jul. 2016: Revised the guide with slight skill, passive and cube variations; included speedrun options.
  • 05 May 2016: Slightly revised the build to reflect skill changes and variations.
  • 13 Jan. 2016: The build remains unchanged with Patch 2.4, but it is still competitive.
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