Helltooth Acid Cloud Witch Doctor Skills and Runes
On this page, we explain how to choose and use your skills when playing Helltooth Acid Cloud Witch Doctor in Diablo 3. Updated for patch 2.6.8 and Season 20.
|Poison Dart Spined Dart Acid Cloud Slow Burn 1 Wall of Death Fire Wall 2 Spirit Walk Jaunt 3 Piranhas Piranhado 4 Haunt Poisoned Spirit|
The build takes advantage of the potent Helltooth set buffs of Acid Cloud and 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 and 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 and Restraint rings — so weave it regularly into your spender spam. To maximize the effect of your offensive spells, group and debuff monsters with Piranhas Piranhado and Haunt Poisoned Spirit. Finally, as Witch Doctors traditionally suffer against bursty elite affixes, their staple mobility skill is taken yet again: Spirit Walk Jaunt.
Skills and Runes
The first half of your major damage output, Acid Cloud takes on the unusual cold element through the Slow Burn rune. While its AoE is surpassed by Acid Rain and its upfront burst by Corpse Bomb, 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 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 Fire Wall rune. While it seemingly clashes with Slow Burn, 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.
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 Spined Dart, pretty much all the primary generators available to Witch Doctors can fulfill the same purpose ( Corpse Spiders Blazing Spiders, Plague of Toads Toad Affinity). Generators solidify their place in the build by proccing the primary skill requirement half of the Focus and Restraint bonus.
While seeming out of place in a non-Jade Harvester setup, Haunt is included in the build mostly as a trigger to the damage multiplication of the cubed Ring of Emptiness. Even so, you gain a minor active benefit in the form of the Poisoned Spirit debuff, adding to your overall damage.
The only Witch Doctor ability to offer mobility, invulnerability and free passage through enemies, 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 rune. If you value mobility over a lengthier invulnerability window, you can freely alternate into the 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 lies in the grouping capabilities of Piranhado. As the build relies heavily on enemy positioning within the Slow Burn AoE, the benefits from a pulling ability are undeniable — and Piranhado is a standout in the field.
This concludes the overview of the active skills, now let us look through the passives.
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 (see this build's gear page for more information).
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-like effect, allowing you to escape danger.
Among the most dynamic and interesting passives in the game, 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 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.
- 14 Mar. 2020: Skill recommendations adjusted to reflect the changes to Ring of Emptiness.
- 22 Nov. 2019: Reviewed for Season 19.
- 23 Aug. 2019: Skills have been 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.
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