Helltooth Zombie Bears Witch Doctor BiS Gear, Gems, and Paragon Points
Below, we detail the items and gems that you should use for your Helltooth Zombie Bears Witch Doctor in Diablo 3 and why. We also list your paragon points and Kanai's Cube items. Updated for Patch 2.7.6 and Season 29.
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. Rolls-wise, this spender-heavy playstyle makes good use of skill bonuses and Area Damage across gear. Zombie Charger % is the perfect fourth primary on the Helltooth Greaves and Helltooth Mask, while Area Damage is desired on both Helltooth Mantle and Helltooth Gauntlets. With the current class design, secondary stats have become quite important for Witch Doctors, and Helltooth builds are no exception: try to offset your Swampland Attunement weaknesses with Lightning or Arcane Resists in your secondaries.
Armor set-wise, you will also be crafting and equipping two of the three pieces of the Captain Crimson set ( Captain Crimson's Silk Girdle, and either Captain Crimson's Thrust or Captain Crimson's Waders). You will complete their full bonus via Ring of Royal Grandeur in the Cube. This set provides CDR as well as RCR bonuses, and then scales your damage dealt and damage reduced according to both stats, respectively — bringing a massive boon to the build.
The ability to store Ring of Royal Grandeur in the Cube to obtain the full Helltooth set bonus allows you to split between offense and defense in the worn jewelry slots. One of the 2.4 reworks, the Endless Walk set — The Compass Rose ring and 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 mirrors the Zombie Bears playstyle, which goes from extended periods of drawing aggro into static Zombie Charger Zombie Bears channeling (see this build's skills page for more information).
The Ring of Emptiness will occupy your second ring slot; while seemingly an odd addition to the set, this ring dramatically increases your damage against enemies affected by either Haunt or Locust Swarm.
Lakumba's Ornament will reduce incoming damage by 60% per Soul Harvest as baseline (with some variance — aim for the lowest, 1 harvested enemy requirement roll), plus additional 2% damage reduction for each stack.
The reworked Scrimshaw legendary spear has been tailored for Zombie Charger builds, eclipsing any potential competition with a naturally high skill damage multiplier and a massive skill-specific resource cost reduction value. The situation is similarly locked in the offhand, where the dedicated Zombie Charger Zombie Bears mojo Ursua's Trodden Effigy will assist you with both a damage multiplier and a skill-enhancing effect. Note that your offhand is interchangeable with Shukrani's Triumph, which makes Spirit Walk last until you attack 3 times, or an elite is within 20 yards of you — resulting in outstanding mobility right until you decide to engage in a fight, putting you in a very advantageous position. It also offers a damage multiplier while you are in Spirit Walk; and while you will lose this form when you attack, you still get a grace period as if you just popped the skill on its own (2 seconds with base Spirit Walk, 3 seconds with Jaunt), giving you another short period of damage multiplication. Simply wear your best rolled mojo between those two, and cube the other.
Desired Stats, Breakpoints and Other Notes
For Offense stats, try to obtain Zombie Charger % bonus on the Helm, Boots and Off-hand (maximum of 45%), Poison elemental damage on the amulet and wrists (maximum of 40%), Crit Chance and Crit Damage within a 1:10 ratio (ideally over 60% and 450%, respectively), and Area Damage of 130%+ (everywhere on gear you can reasonably get it — both Rings, Shoulders, Gloves and Off-hand). While Attack Speed is a helpful stat, especially in single target situations (i.e., Rift Guardians), it is not a stat worth pursuing in this build outside of baseline gains from Paragons, a fully stacked Gogok of Swiftness, and the Enchantress Focused Mind attack speed buff.
For Defense stats, aim for a life pool of 800k-900k; dropping as much as you can for offense as you grow accustomed to the build. You will mostly sustain through the Life per Hit, with at least one roll of it on gear (i.e., the bracers).
All augmentations on gear should be done with your main stat, Intelligence.
Note that the stat suggestions below portray an ideally rolled item with stats listed in relative order of importance. The first four of them are main stats, and the latter two — secondary stats. If your item lacks and is unable to be rerolled into the primary stats outlined below, especially for a stat higher on the list, strongly consider its replacement. Perfecting Secondary stats is mostly a case of hyper-optimization and is not a case for discarding an item, except where noted.
To help you with farming the gear you need for your builds, we have two very useful guides that you can access by clicking the links below: a Salvage Guide to help you quickly check whether or not you can safely salvage a piece of gear and a Legendary Farming Guide to help you efficiently farm legendaries and set items.
In the Core section, max out Movement Speed to the 25% cap. Normally this is done by dumping the first 50 Core Paragon points into Movement Speed, but if your boots have an imperfect roll with Movement Speed as a stat that you cannot replace, adjust the necessary point investment accordingly by simply subtracting your roll from the 25% max. After that, dump as much as you comfortably can into Intelligence, but feel free to invest into Maximum Mana if you want to ease your Zombie Bears spam, and Vitality if you feel yourself lacking.
In the Offense section, max out Attack Speed, Crit Damage, Crit Chance and Cooldown Reduction in that order. In Defense, prioritize Armor, then Life %, then All Resistance, and finish off with Life Regeneration. In Utility, build up Area Damage and Resource Cost Reduction first, then finish off with Globe Radius and Life on Hit.
Season 29: Paragon Cap
Season 29 introduces a season-specific cap to stat benefits from Paragon levels, all while updating how Paragon point distribution is handled. For the duration of this Season, you can only assign 800 Paragon stat points to your character, removing the long-standing practice of main-stat stacking (with some gearing implications — see below) after you reach Paragon 800.
On top of that, you could only allocate 50 Paragon stat points to each of the four stats in a given Paragon category (Core, Offense, Defense, and Utility). In Season 29, you can allocate up to the full 200 points per category into any attribute, allowing you to more easily reach necessary build breakpoints (as outlined in the Gear page of the guide) for Cooldown Reduction, Resource Cost Reduction, etc.
With the changes to Paragon in mind, we recommend using the following Paragon distribution for this build:
- Core: Movement Speed: 200 points.
- Offense: Critical Hit Chance and Critical Hit Damage: Allocate points so they are as close to the desirable 1:10 ratio between the two stats, as displayed in your Character Details sheet. For weapon-and-offhand builds, this is usually achieved with the full 200 points spent into Critical Hit Damage.
- Defense: Life and All Resistance: Allocate points to maximize survivability; for Witch Doctors, this is usually achieved by evenly splitting 100 points into Life (directly increasing your Health pool) and Armor (to complement the naturally high All Resistance stat of Intelligence-based characters).
- Utility: Area Damage: 200 points.
Season 29: Gearing Considerations
In terms of gear, keeping the Paragon cap in mind is paramount, as it stymies the traditional endless supply of main stat after Paragon 800. This means re-rolling mainstat off your gear is no longer desirable, and full equipment augmentation with your main stat is even more critical. Additionally, you should take a careful look at your build and consider if you can fit the following changes to strengthen your damage and survivability:
- Guardian's Jeopardy: This is a craftable armor set, and the recipe for its creation drops from Bounty farming. Guardian's 2-piece provides a decent damage reduction bonus, but the true powerhouse of the set is the 3-piece bonus, which nets you an additional 100% of your main stats from equipped items. This is a tremendous benefit in an 800 Paragon capped Season. If the Guardian set can fit into the build with minimal sacrifices (other craftable sets, tertiary damage multipliers, etc.), consider its implementation. The available pieces are Guardian's Aversion (Wrists), Guardian's Case (Waist), and Guardian's Gaze (Head). Of course, you can wear 2 pieces of the set and complete the full 3-piece bonus with a Ring of Royal Grandeur (found from Act I bounty caches).
- Endless Walk:This is a jewelry set consisting of The Traveler's Pledge (Amulet) and The Compass Rose (Ring), and is randomly found through farming, gambling Blood Shards, and/or Kanai's Cube recipes. The Endless Walk set is a nice compromise between damage bonuses (building up while stationary) and defensive bonuses (building up while moving). It can replace glass cannon choices like the Bastions of Will set ( Focus and Restraint) and Squirt's Necklace with acceptable losses to DPS.
- Unity: A character wearing this ring, along with another Unity on their follower plus an immortality relic for them (i.e., Enchanting Favor), will reduce their damage taken by 50%. Unity can roll excellent offense-oriented stats and has an innate Extra Damage to Elites roll, which somewhat offsets losing all-out offense jewelry.
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 Languish and the Wall of Death necrosis effect from the Helltooth set.
Gogok of Swiftness indirectly provides you with more damage and survivability by increasing Cooldown Reduction for Spirit Walk, Attack Speed for faster Zombie Bears output, as well as scaling Dodge chance.
Introduced in Season 4, Bane of the Stricken occupies the third and final jewelry socket. 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. While Zombie Bears WDs do well in 1v1 combat, it is a testament to the quality of the gem that it still comes out as the biggest damage increase for the setup.
When it comes to gear gems, you will start out progression by slotting the highest available level of Topazes in the chest and pants sockets. Ideally, these will all be Flawless Royal Topazes as soon as possible. As you grow in Paragon (bulking up Intelligence in the Core section) and aim for higher tier and more dangerous GRs, you will transition those gems into the defensive Flawless Royal Ruby, scaling the lacking Armor of an Intelligence-based character (Intelligence scales Resistances). There is no specific breakpoint where you do that; the rule of thumb is to make the change as soon as you feel the lack of toughness impede your progress. Since this build is very heavy on resource spending, you should slot a Flawless Royal Topaz in your helm. In your weapon, use a Flawless Royal Emerald for the Crit Damage boost.
|Torso and Pants|
For more information about gems, please refer to our guide on gems.
You have two viable options for the armor slot of the Cube. Belt of Transcendence is the default recommendation, as the Fetish spawns provide an indirect survivability increase with their sheer number, and the "meat wall" they distract your enemies with; this option is easier to play with, since it does not require resource management. A comparable, but harder to maintain defensive bonus can come from Aquila Cuirass, but you need to be extremely careful with your Mana management to not drop below the 90% baseline for the damage reduction effect.
In the Helltooth / Captain Crimson mixture, you will need a Ring of Royal Grandeur, a cache legendary ring from Act I bounties, to tie the two sets together. The ability to run with one full 6-piece set bonus and an additional 3-piece bonus, dodging the undesirable guaranteed stats on the Grandeur by cubing its power, is a tremendous boost to the build.
The Kanai's Cube can be used for much more than simply extracting Legendary powers from items. Please refer to our Kanai's Cube guide for more information.
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.
The preferred potions for this build are Bottomless Potion of Kulle-Aid (allowing you to break down Waller affixes that impede your positioning) and Bottomless Potion of the Tower (whose Armor-increasing properties complement the naturally high All Resistances stat of Witch Doctors). Pick whichever you feel helps you out the most.
- 13 Sep. 2023: Added Season 29 Paragon Cap and Gearing recommendations.
- 22 Feb. 2023: Added Season 28 Altar of Rites recommendations.
- 26 Aug. 2022: Added Season 27 Angelic Crucible recommendations.
- 14 Apr. 2022: Guide reviewed for Season 26.
- 06 Dec. 2021: Enriched the guide and added Season 25 Soul Shard recommendations.
- 22 Jul. 2021: Added S24 Ethereal recommendation.
- 01 Apr. 2021: Added follower recommendation.
- 19 Nov. 2020: Revision of item and legendary gem recommendations, alongside advice for Season 22 changes.
- 01 Jul. 2020: No changes required for Season 21.
- 14 Mar. 2020: Item recommendations adjusted to reflect the changes to Ring of Emptiness.
- 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: Added suggestions for the baseline Ring of Royal Grandeur for Seasonal characters.
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