Arachyr Firebats Witch Doctor Skills and Runes
On this page, we explain how to choose and use your skills when playing Arachyr Firebats Witch Doctor in Diablo 3. Updated for Patch 2.7.5 and Season 28.
|Firebats Cloud of Bats Locust Swarm Cloud of Insects 1 Horrify Frightening Aspect 2 Spirit Walk Honored Guest 3 Soul Harvest Languish 4 Piranhas Piranhado|
Apply Soul Harvest for the invaluable damage reduction of Lakumba's Ornament, and try your best to strengthen it by casting the skill on a pack of monsters, rather than singular stragglers. This will maximize your protective stacks. Due to the powers of Shukrani's Triumph, you have near limitless mobility and safety in your Spirit Walk state, so you can pick and choose where and when to fight. Even better, you gain a damage multiplier while you are in Spirit Walk form. While you will exit the form when you attack or approach an elite (as per the offhand legendary power), you have an additional grace period that will be as long as your default cast of Spirit Walk (can be lengthened if you choose to run the Jaunt rune). When you have settled on a particular fight, use Horrify and Soul Harvest to buff yourself up, pull enemies in with Piranhas Piranhado and apply Locust Swarm on the targets. This will trigger the damage multiplication of Ring of Emptiness, so you can spam supremely empowered Firebats on the pull.
What is important to keep in mind about this build is the effect the Arachyr set itself exerts over your playstyle. Note the tethering mechanic between yourself and the Spider Queen from the 2-piece bonus, and try to form the biggest possible pull that your survivability can handle. After that, infest them by circling around the pull, with the tether passing through the enemies; you can keep track via the small black particle effect at the base of infested monsters. Make sure to keep the infestation active via the webbing the Spider Queen leaves behind. While it has a generous 15-second duration, it will provide the basis of both your AoE DPS as well as your own survivability, so you cannot afford to neglect it. Remember that you can only leave the web in short, 4 second sprints, as that is the maximum duration of the damage reduction afforded by the Arachyr set 4-piece bonus.
Skills and Runes
Firebats is among the creature skills buffed by the Arachyr set 6-piece bonus, and complemented by synergistic items like Bakuli Jungle Wraps and Staff of Chiroptera it becomes a Greater Rift pushing-worthy damage dealer. You will be taking the hardest hitting of the runes, the Fire-based Cloud of Bats. Firebats itself engulfs a 15-yard range around the Witch Doctor, enforcing a close range fighting playstyle; its damage ramps up over a period of 3 seconds, which firmly roots you in place if you want to do any meaningful DPS (further reinforced by the Endless Walk set). It is important to note that the skill's Attack Speed is snapshotted when you start channeling, so any applicable buffs will affect your channeling until you stop, even after the buff's expiry. This is especially important with Pain Enhancer stacking in mind, which comes into play during group pushing; you will be aiming to reach the highest possible breakpoint of the skill, 3 frames per animation, via 47+ stacks of the legendary gem at the start of channeling.
The build dedicates one skill slot to trigger the crucial damage multiplication bonuses of Ring of Emptiness. Your best candidate for the slot is the spreading effect of Locust Swarm, either with the protective Cloud of Insects or with the improved spread and Mana efficiency of the Pestilence rune.
A grouping skill is never amiss in a Greater Rift progression build, and Witch Doctors have a single skill for the purpose — Piranhas with the Piranhado rune. Try to time your grouping skill just prior to your burst window as described in the Rotation above, as Piranhado has a fairly long base cooldown. Note that Piranhado is one of the few pulls in the game that can stack enemies in a collision-overwriting manner, making the tightest possible clumps (the so-called "pixelpulling"). To make the most of its pull, aim at a spot free of enemies; casting on top of an occupied spot will deprive you of the pixelpull.
Two skills are dedicated exclusively to buffing up the Witch Doctor as he spreads his webs of death and carnage. Soul Harvest empowered by a worn or cubed Sacred Harvester is a staple of the class, as it buffs you up with a 30% Intelligence increase for a reasonable 10 enemy Harvest, and also doubles your Armor via the Languish rune and reduces incoming damage by up to 80% through Lakumba's Ornament. The final buff is adaptable to your preferences; a high-end GR pushing option is Big Bad Voodoo, which provides a tremendous combat advantage whenever it is active; note that you will have to account for its long cooldown and time its use more carefully with big, important fights. Two runes are very comparable contenders; you can use Ghost Trance early on when you are getting used to the build for more survivability, and transition to Slam Dance when you grow confident and seek to push your damage to its upper limits. Another option that is easier to play with (considering the massive downtime of BBV) is our default recommendation, Horrify Frightening Aspect, which will bring considerable survivability to the build on demand, with duration that overlaps the downtime even with the basic Paragon CDR investment. For Season 25, it is recommended that you use Horrify (or Hex Jinx) for the hard crowd control effect in order to proc the CC-reliant bonuses of the Remnant of Pain Soul Shard.
Spirit Walk is another Witch Doctor staple, and its moderate cooldown is compensated by its versatility: it renders you invulnerable, removes enemy collision and increases your movement speed by 50%. You have some freedom in your rune of choice. The recommended rune is Honored Guest, in order to add a source of emergency Mana regeneration to the build. Once you grow confident in your Mana management, you can switch to the rune Jaunt for a lengthier period of safety and extra damage from your Shukrani's Triumph power.
Note on the Helltooth Variation
If you prefer to play this build while using the Helltooth set variation, you will only need to change one skill (and, of course, swap your equipped set to Helltooth). Horrify (or Big Bad Voodoo, depending on the choice described above) will be replaced by Wall of Death Communing with Spirits in order to trigger the Helltooth set damage reduction and the damage boost for your Mana spender with the Necrosis debuff.
Conveniently matching the fighting radius of Firebats, the Confidence Ritual passive will reliably increase damage by 25%.
Arachyr Doctors take Creeping Death during Greater Rift progression to extend the effect of Locust Swarm on their targets for the duration of the entire fight, removing the necessity to re-apply Locust Swarm for the Ring of Emptiness benefits every couple of seconds. Because of this passive, it needs to be cast just once per engagement (and potentially less, as Locust Swarm can jump to the next fight over).
Grave Injustice is an elegant source of Cooldown Reduction, synergizing with the mid-range playstyle of the Corpse Spiders 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.
You have some freedom in your last passive slot, which you can adapt either to additional damage, or extra toughness. Our general recommendation is to take Blood Ritual, whose Mana cost mitigation ties in with the Cpt. Crimson set bonus, which scales your overall damage reduction according to your resource cost reduction bonuses. Other viable options include Swampland Attunement (additional resistances, but notably exclude Lightning and Arcane), or Bad Medicine (which can benefit the whole party in group play). Of course, a cheat death is never a bad option with Spirit Vessel.
- 22 Feb. 2023: Skills and passives reviewed for Season 28.
- 26 Aug. 2022: Skills and passives reviewed for Season 27.
- 14 Apr. 2022: Guide reviewed for Season 26.
- 06 Dec. 2021: Revised skill recommendations and enriched the guide.
- 22 Jul. 2021: No changes required for Season 24.
- 01 Apr. 2021: No changes required for Season 23.
- 19 Nov. 2020: No changes required for Season 22.
- 01 Jul. 2020: No changes required for Season 21.
- 14 Mar. 2020: Skills adjusted to reflect the changes to Ring of Emptiness.
- 12 Mar. 2020: No changes necessary for Season 20.
- 22 Nov. 2019: Reviewed for Season 19.
- 23 Aug. 2019: Reviewed and approved for Season 18.
- 17 May 2019: Guide was reviewed and approved for Season 17.
- 18 Jan. 2019: Information was reviewed and approved for Season 16 with no changes required.
- 12 Nov. 2017: Revised skill recommendations.
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