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Witch Doctor Gargantuan Build with Helltooth (Patch 2.4.2 / Season 8)

Last updated on Oct 21, 2016 at 09:00 by Deadset 82 comments

Table of Contents

Embodying the iconic image of the Witch Doctor — surrounded by an undead army and draining the life away from his enemies — the Helltooth Gargantuan build brings this playstyle to its rightful place: endgame. This control-heavy, pet-centric build is available in solo progression, multiplayer 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 Multiplayer Progression Speedruns
Active Skills
Left Mouse Button Wall of Death Icon Wall of Death Communing with Spirits Communing with Spirits Right Mouse Button Piranhas Icon Piranhas Piranhado Piranhado 1 Soul Harvest Icon Soul Harvest Languish Languish 2 Spirit Walk Icon Spirit Walk Jaunt Jaunt 3 Gargantuan Icon Gargantuan Humongoid Humongoid 4 Summon Zombie Dogs Icon Summon Zombie Dogs Leeching Beasts Leeching Beasts
Passive Skills
(battle.net link)
Active Skills
Left Mouse Button Wall of Death Icon Wall of Death Communing with Spirits Communing with Spirits Right Mouse Button Sacrifice Icon Sacrifice Provoke the Pack Provoke the Pack 1 Soul Harvest Icon Soul Harvest Languish Languish 2 Spirit Walk Icon Spirit Walk Jaunt Jaunt 3 Gargantuan Icon Gargantuan Humongoid Humongoid 4 Summon Zombie Dogs Icon Summon Zombie Dogs Leeching Beasts Leeching Beasts
Passive Skills
(battle.net link)
Active Skills
Left Mouse Button Wall of Death Icon Wall of Death Communing with Spirits Communing with Spirits Right Mouse Button Piranhas Icon Piranhas Piranhado Piranhado 1 Hex Icon Hex Angry Chicken Angry Chicken 2 Spirit Walk Icon Spirit Walk Severance Severance 3 Gargantuan Icon Gargantuan Humongoid Humongoid 4 Summon Zombie Dogs Icon Summon Zombie Dogs Leeching Beasts Leeching Beasts
Passive Skills
(battle.net link)

3. Rotation

The build starts runs with an activation of both your pets, Gargantuan Gargantuan and Summon Zombie Dogs Summon Zombie Dogs; keep them up throughout the rift and do not hesitate to resummon if their numbers dwindle. You might also find it beneficial to reapply the pets if you get a good pack of enemies, but the pet AI refuses to cooperate and gets stuck somewhere to the side or behind — using the ability resummons them right at your side, so they can focus on the important targets. As a pet-centric spec, you will be expecting the majority of your damage to come from Gargantuan Gargantuan, and you will focus on buffing yourself, debuffing the enemy and creating density with Piranhas Piranhas Piranhado Piranhado. A vital part of your defense and offense comes from constantly capturing enemies within a Wall of Death Wall of Death circle, whose interaction with the 4- and 6-piece set bonuses of Helltooth respectively halves incoming damage and makes affected enemies more susceptible to Gargantuan Gargantuan damage. The remainder of your protection will be split between regular Soul Harvest Soul Harvests of the enemy for the armor buffs of Languish Languish, and evading spikes of damage with the temporary invulnerability of Spirit Walk Spirit Walk.

4. Skills, Runes and Passives

The driving force behind the build is Gargantuan Gargantuan, with the number of summons and each individual's damage tripled by The Short Man's Finger The Short Man's Finger. You will be taking the rune Humongoid Humongoid for its consistency and AoE superiority, which in turn dictates the elemental rolls on your gear into a focus on cold. With your reliance on Gargantuan Gargantuan in mind, keep close track of your active Humongoid Humongoids and promptly resummon them if one or more fall in combat, or get sidetracked from the main battle.

The other half of your pets come in the form of Summon Zombie Dogs Summon Zombie Dogs. You can take several approaches when picking out the rune, but the general recommendation is to keep the dogs as a utility skill to complement the build — Leeching Beasts Leeching Beasts will provide some welcome sustain into a build that struggles for healing.

A vital cog in the Helltooth machine comes with the inclusion of Wall of Death Wall of Death; while it will not be providing the majority of the DPS in this build, it is still mandatory to spread the Necrosis debuff. Interacting with all three set bonuses, the Wall of Death Wall of Death-induced Necrosis will slow down and weaken enemies to your damage, reduce your own damage taken by 50%, and skyrocket the DPS of your summons. You will be cementing your safety with the cold rune Communing with Spirits Communing with Spirits, decreasing the damage potential of affected enemies by a quarter for 3 seconds.

One of the strongest utility cooldowns of Witch Doctors, Soul Harvest Soul Harvest is almost universally a great addition — but especially in builds that take advantage of Sacred Harvester Sacred Harvester, doubling the number of possible stacks. Soul Harvest Soul Harvest acts as a damage buff by default, increasing your Intelligence by up to 30% for the reasonable requirement of 10 harvested enemies. With the Languish Languish rune and the worn Lakumba's Ornament Lakumba's Ornament bracers, it nets you additional crowd control and reduces incoming damage in half, solidifying its place in this mid-range playstyle. The naturally overlapping duration simply sweetens the deal. In speedruns, the additional damage and protection of Soul Harvest Soul Harvest will not be needed; as a consequence, you will also take out the Sacred Harvester Sacred Harvester and Lakumba's Ornament Lakumba's Ornament from the setup. Instead, this skill slot will be occupied by Hex Hex Angry Chicken Angry Chicken, which you will complement with Manajuma's Carving Knife Manajuma's Carving Knife and Manajuma's Gory Fetch Manajuma's Gory Fetch for a tremendous increase of movement speed between fights.

The mobility staple of the Witch Doctor toolbox, Spirit Walk Spirit Walk finds its place in yet another build. Its moderate cooldown is compensated by its versatility: it renders you invulnerable, removes enemy collision and increases your movement speed by 50% — all for the generous 3 seconds of Jaunt Jaunt. If you value mobility over a lengthier invulnerability window, you can freely alternate into the Severance Severance rune — especially preferred in speedruns.

With respect to the Area Damage fixes in 2.4 (working properly with skills and pets), Piranhas Piranhas is taken for the solitary grouping tool of Witch Doctors — the vortex effect of the Piranhado Piranhado rune. It is hard to argue with the addition of a pull in a build that benefits so much from clumped up enemies, and is a major reason to include Grave Injustice Grave Injustice for faster Piranhado Piranhado cooldown resets. In multiplayer grouping is best left to supporting teammates, while you replace this skill slot with Sacrifice Sacrifice — sending a Zombie Dog off to die on a regular basis for the substantial damage buff of the rune Provoke the Pack Provoke the Pack.

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

Spirit Vessel Spirit Vessel is a mainstay for Greater Rift pushing, being the Witch Doctor cheat death passive. It saves you from the death screen once every minute, healing you back to 50% of your maximum Life and puts you in a Spirit Walk Spirit Walk-like state, allowing you to quickly reposition. In multiplayer you should be safe and protected by your support teammates, and this passive slot needs to be dedicated to Gruesome Feast Gruesome Feast. Gruesome Feast Gruesome Feast is undeniably the strongest damage passive available to Witch Doctors, as scaling Intelligence is a base damage multiplier for the class. It will be the job of your supporting teammates to keep a steady supply of Health Globes for the needs of your passive. Both the safety of Spirit Vessel Spirit Vessel and the damage multiplication of Gruesome Feast Gruesome Feast will likely be overkill during speedruns, where you can allocate this slot to the additional movement speed of Fierce Loyalty Fierce Loyalty.

Midnight Feast Midnight Feast supplements the pet part of the build, increasing your Summon Zombie Dogs Summon Zombie Dogs count by 1 and enhancing overall pet damage by 50%.

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 easy to maintain due to your close proximity behind the Gargantuan Gargantuan frontline. If you are not confident in your survivability, you can safely deviate into Swampland Attunement Swampland Attunement; this passive 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 (should you choose Swampland Attunement Swampland Attunement, of course).

Grave Injustice Grave Injustice is an elegant source of Cooldown Reduction, synergizing with the mid-range playstyle of the Helltooth Gargantuan build. For each enemy killed in a 20-yard radius of the Witch Doctor, it not only reduces your cooldowns by a second, but also replenishes your health and mana reserves by 1%. Take notice of the pickup radius synergy and try to obtain that stat in the secondaries of your gear.

5. Best in Slot Gear and Alternatives

This build incorporates the complete Helltooth set bonuses, taking five of the six available pieces and cubing a Ring of Royal Grandeur Ring of Royal Grandeur to reduce the number of items for set bonus completion by one. Rolls-wise, this pet-centric playstyle makes good use of skill bonuses across gear. Gargantuan % 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. The Helltooth Leg Guards Helltooth Leg Guards and Helltooth Greaves Helltooth Greaves should be devoted purely to Toughness stats. The remaining set pieces — Helltooth Mask Helltooth Mask and Helltooth Gauntlets Helltooth Gauntlets — might be replaced with a legendary item depending on your itemization choices (see below), but the optimal stats remain the same: Intelligence, Vitality and Crit Chance for the helm; Intelligence, both Crit stats and Increased Attack Speed for the gloves.

Depending on your best rolled items and set pieces, you will either wear Mask of Jeram Mask of Jeram and cube Tasker and Theo Tasker and Theo, or vice versa (and substitute the appropriate Helltooth set pieces). Both items are without equal in pet-oriented builds, as Mask of Jeram Mask of Jeram increases pet damage by up to a 100% (additive with elemental damage on gear), while Tasker and Theo Tasker and Theo increases pet attack speed by up to 50% (multiplicative bonus).

The ability to store the powers of Ring of Royal Grandeur Ring of Royal Grandeur in the Kanai's Cube allows you to split between offense and defense in the jewelry slots. One of the 2.4 reworks, the Endless Walk set — The Compass Rose The Compass Rose ring and The Traveler's Pledge The Traveler's Pledge amulet — adds a unique mechanic that slowly increases your damage by up to a 100% if you remain stationary, and drains it away and increases your damage reduction while moving. This dynamic fits the Gargantuan WD playstyle, which alternates agile scouting with Spirit Vessel Spirit Vessel with periods of stationary Wall of Death Wall of Death spam. Naturally, your remaining ring slot will be taken by The Short Man's Finger The Short Man's Finger, a mandatory inclusion in Gargantuan-focused setups. This ring triples the number of summons and the individual damage of each.

As a final note on jewelry, the buildup mechanics of the Endless Walk set are unfit for speedruns; you should use Avarice Band Avarice Band and a Hellfire Amulet Hellfire Amulet instead. Avarice Band Avarice Band is an Act III cache legendary item that increases pickup radius as you collect gold, all the way to the generous 30 yards. When complemented with Boon of the Hoarder Boon of the Hoarder, it becomes a utility engine feeding into your speed, toughness (if wearing a Goldwrap Goldwrap) and damage (for Gruesome Feast Gruesome Feast). Optimally, you will pair this ring with a crafted Hellfire Amulet Hellfire Amulet with good rolls and a solid fifth passive like Gruesome Feast Gruesome Feast or Fierce Loyalty Fierce Loyalty.

The best-in-slot belt for the build when pushing Greater Rifts is the glass cannon favorite, The Witching Hour The Witching Hour. What this belt lacks in unique properties, it makes up in unique rolls: it is the only item in the slot that can roll Attack Speed and Critical Damage. Both stats are immensely beneficial to your damage output, so seek as close to the maximum 7 IAS and 50 Crit Damage as you can. When doing Torments, you can swap this slot out for Goldwrap Goldwrap, which paired with Avarice Band Avarice Band and Boon of the Hoarder Boon of the Hoarder will render you practically invulnerable. Finally — when doing Bounties, you can also take advantage of the Krelm's Buff Belt Krelm's Buff Belt for its gold-independent movespeed increase.

Introduced in Patch 2.4 and mostly targeting the Jade Harvester rework, Lakumba's Ornament Lakumba's Ornament is nevertheless an excellent bracer for a Helltooth Gargantuan Doctor as well. Synergizing with the bonuses of the Sacred Harvester Sacred Harvester (discussed below), this bracer will add 46% Damage Reduction to the build (6% per stack, multiplicative), significantly improving the survival chances of this mid-range summoner build in Greater Rifts. When farming, the protection of this bracer (and Soul Harvest Soul Harvest as a whole) will not be necessary, and you can swap this slot out for the utility of Nemesis Bracers Nemesis Bracers, speeding up the run with more elite spawns.

The appropriately named Sacred Harvester Sacred Harvester is the best-in-slot weapon for a Helltooth Gargantuan Doctor in GRs, as its unique bonus extends the number of Soul Harvest Soul Harvest stacks from 5 to 10. With no other synergistic weapon to take up the slot and the opportunity to buff up for 30% Intelligence (true damage multiplier) and reduce incoming damage in half from a simple Soul Harvest Soul Harvest, this Ceremonial Knife is hard to pass up. To complement it, the best Greater Rifting offhand you can pick for the build is the former Season 4 exclusive, Henri's Perquisition Henri's Perquisition. The cat mojo offers a significant source of upfront damage reduction and crowd control. As previously mentioned, Uhkapian Serpent Uhkapian Serpent is a viable soloing alternative offhand. The preferred rolls on the mojo are high damage range, Intelligence, Crit Chance, Area Damage and Gargantuan %.

For normal rift farming, the mandatory weapon and offhand for the build change to the Manajuma's Way set: Manajuma's Carving Knife Manajuma's Carving Knife and Manajuma's Gory Fetch Manajuma's Gory Fetch. They are essential to the speedrunning playstyle by extending Hex Hex Angry Chicken Angry Chicken to 15 seconds and doubling your movement speed while active.

Slot Pieces Stat Priority
Head
  1. Socket
  2. Intelligence
  3. Critical Hit Chance
  4. Vitality
  5. Life %
Shoulders
  1. Intelligence
  2. Gargantuan %
  3. Area Damage
  4. Vitality
  5. Armor
Torso
  1. 3 Sockets
  2. Intelligence
  3. Gargantuan %
  4. Vitality
  5. Armor
Wrists
  1. Cold Damage
  2. Intelligence
  3. Critical Hit Chance
  4. Vitality
  5. Armor
Hands
  1. Intelligence
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Critical Hit Damage
  4. Area Damage
  5. Vitality
Waist
  1. Intelligence
  2. Crit Damage (if The Witching Hour The Witching Hour)
  3. Attack Speed (if The Witching Hour The Witching Hour)
  4. Vitality
Legs
  1. 2 Sockets
  2. Intelligence
  3. Vitality
  4. Armor
Feet
  1. Intelligence
  2. Vitality
  3. Armor
  4. Movement Speed
  5. All Resistance
Amulet
  1. Socket
  2. Cold Damage
  3. Critical Hit Chance
  4. Critical Hit 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. Area Damage
  5. % Damage
  6. Vitality
Off-hand
  1. High Damage Range
  2. Intelligence
  3. Crit Chance
  4. Area Damage
  5. Gargantuan %
  6. Vitality

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. Attack Speed
  4. Cooldown Reduction
Defense
  1. Armor
  2. Life %
  3. All Resistance
  4. Life Regeneration
Utility
  1. Area Damage
  2. Life on Hit
  3. Resource Cost Reduction
  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, Enforcer Enforcer, and either Bane of the Stricken Bane of the Stricken (in progression) or Boon of the Hoarder Boon of the Hoarder (in Torments).

  • 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, and is otherwise triggered by Communing with Spirits Communing with Spirits and Languish Languish.
  • Enforcer Enforcer is a pet-oriented gem that both increases Gargantuan Gargantuan damage and lessens the damage the summons take. This secondary bonus grows in value during Greater Rift progression, where Humongoid Humongoids start taking considerable amounts of damage and die on a regular basis.
  • Introduced in Season 4, Bane of the Stricken Bane of the Stricken occupies the third and final jewelry socket in Greater Rift progression. Building up your damage multiplicatively in prolonged fights and with a level 25 bonus specifically targeting Rift Guardians, this gem is designed to assist AoE heavy builds in their struggle against single target, high HP enemies. Helltooth Gargantuan Doctors are no exception. In lower Greater Rifts, you can easily swap this gem out for the well-rounded damage and toughness increase of Bane of the Powerful Bane of the Powerful. In Torment runs, this slot is best taken by Boon of the Hoarder Boon of the Hoarder, whose interaction with the worn Avarice Band Avarice Band (and potentially worn Goldwrap Goldwrap, depending on your preference) will keep you rich, safe and sped up throughout the run.
Slot Gems
Jewelry
Helm
Torso and Pants
Weapon

8. Kanai's Cube

The Kanai's Cube recommendations are as follows: The Furnace The Furnace for the weapon slot, Mask of Jeram Mask of Jeram or Tasker and Theo Tasker and Theo for the armor slot, and Ring of Royal Grandeur Ring of Royal Grandeur for the jewelry slot.

  • To improve your damage, the best choice for the weapon slot in the Cube is The Furnace The Furnace — the strongest generic legendary bonus in the game. With its 50% additional elite damage affix it speeds up clear times greatly, as Champion and Rift Guardian fights are the usual GR bottleneck.
  • As previously mentioned, you should cube your weaker rolled item between Mask of Jeram Mask of Jeram and Tasker and Theo Tasker and Theo for the armor slot.
  • The final item that binds the setup together is the Ring of Royal Grandeur Ring of Royal Grandeur. The ability to run with full set bonuses, a complementary legendary item and full offense jewelry, dodging the undesirable guaranteed stats on the Grandeur by cubing its power, is a tremendous boost to the build.

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

  • 21 Oct. 2016: No changes needed for Season 8.
  • 20 Aug. 2016: Fixed mentions of Mask of Jeram and Tasker and Theo in the gear table.
  • 05 Aug. 2016: Adjusted skill and Cube recommendation to account for the August 4th hotfix to Ring of Emptiness.
  • 29 Jul. 2016: Revised the skills, passives and itemization of the build; added speedrun options.
  • 05 May 2016: Another retouch for 2.4.1 to reflect viable alterations in the build.
  • 16 Feb. 2016: Slight number corrections and added gearing alternatives.
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