Helltooth Grasp Witch Doctor Skills and Runes
On this page, we explain how to choose and use your skills when playing Helltooth Grasp Witch Doctor in Diablo 3. Updated for patch 2.6.6 and Season 18.
|Grasp of the Dead Unbreakable Grasp Wall of Death Communing with Spirits 1 Soul Harvest Languish 2 Spirit Walk Severance 3 Piranhas Piranhado 4 Hex Jinx|
The build dives into combat head-on, splitting skills evenly between an arsenal of buffs, debuffs and damaging spells that work best within close ranges. Similarly to other Helltooth specs, you will be applying Wall of Death on the packs of enemies you engage, prior to spamming your main damage spell — Grasp of the Dead. To ensure optimal results of the ensuing Mana-free spam, you should also clump enemy packs up with Piranhas Piranhado and make them more susceptible to damage with Hex Jinx. On the self-buff side, make sure you cap your Soul Harvest stacks with regular uses in the thick of combat, and evade highly damaging bursts with the short invulnerability window of Spirit Walk.
Skills, Runes and Passives
Your main damage-dealing skill in the build is the (admittedly undertuned) Grasp of the Dead, which is nevertheless made viable with the Helltooth set bonus and a slew of synergistic item choices. The crippling restrictions of the base skill (hefty Mana cost and long cooldown) are both nullified — the former by taking the Unbreakable Grasp rune, and the latter via the Wilken's Reach mojo. You will be adding a free rune, Rain of Corpses, on top of your skill selection by equipping the Deadly Rebirth ceremonial knife. All these effects combined, along with the free additional spam coming from The Grin Reaper mimics, will result in respectable AoE coverage.
A necessary inclusion in Helltooth builds, Wall of Death will provide you with the vital trigger of all three set bonuses: the Necrosis enemy debuff of the 2-piece, the damage reduction of the 4-piece, and the Wall of Death damage increase of the 6-piece. The skill will further augment your safety through the selected Communing with Spirits rune, reducing enemy damage by another 25% for 3 seconds and spreading a valuable Chill effect (considering the socketed Bane of the Trapped in your gear).
Any build that can incorporate Soul Harvest usually does, and Grasp of the Dead Witch Doctors are no exception. With a cubed Sacred Harvester extending the number of possible Soul Harvest stacks to 10, this results in an invaluable 30% Intelligence increase per 10 harvested enemies — a trivial requirement to keep up. Paired with the Lakumba's Ornament bracers (reducing incoming damage in half) and the Languish rune doubling your armor, this skill is a must.
Mobility skills are a cornerstone of a balanced Greater Rifting build, and the Witch Doctors' take on the subject — Spirit Walk — is a universally desired inclusion. Providing you with a brief invulnerability period and a great speed boost from the Severance rune, this ability is vital in many situations — evading high elemental damage bursts, skipping unfavorable fights, or simply running through empty corridor time sinks.
Another Greater Rifting staple are crowd control skills that can group up enemy packs; the solitary skill in the Witch Doctor's arsenal that can do that is the Piranhas rune Piranhado, whose vortexing effect pulls monsters in a neat circle. Considering the concentrated AoE DoT of Grasp of the Dead, the build benefits greatly from clumped up enemies.
With a remaining active skill slot to play with and the need to squeeze in any extra damage at your disposal, few choices make as much sense as Hex — considering the base CC effect, layered with an extra damage increase versus affected enemies from the Jinx rune.
This concludes the overview of the active skills, now let us look through the passives.
A duo of damage-increasing passives make up the first half of your selection: Pierce the Veil and Confidence Ritual. Pierce the Veil essentially turns into a free 20% additive damage increase, since its Mana cost drawback is negated by the Unbreakable Grasp rune. Confidence Ritual on the other hand is a consistent damage increase with the close-to-mid range fighting playstyle of the build, with your strong CC capabilities allowing you to dive fearlessly into the fray.
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-like state, allowing you to quickly reposition.
Grave Injustice is an elegant source of Cooldown Reduction, synergizing with the close-to-mid-range playstyle of the Grasp of the Dead 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.
- 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.
- 14 Jun. 2018: Added the guide.
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