Helltooth Zombie Bears Witch Doctor Skills and Runes
On this page, we explain how to choose and use your skills when playing Helltooth Zombie Bears Witch Doctor in Diablo 3. Updated for patch 2.6.8 and Season 20.
|Haunt Poisoned Spirit Zombie Charger Zombie Bears 1 Soul Harvest Languish 2 Spirit Walk Jaunt 3 Piranhas Piranhado 4 Wall of Death Fire Wall|
This potent AoE build squeezes maximum advantage of the Helltooth set buffs of Zombie Charger and Wall of Death, weaving their alternating use into a landscape of AoE destruction. Your primary goal is to lure as many monsters as you can into your line-shaped DPS output, optimizing the potential of Zombie Bears and Fire Wall whilst gaining massive Toughness benefits from Swampland Attunement. Positioning both the player and the AoE is also key, as Fire Wall damage stacks even if triple cast on the same location, and Zombie Bears will travel in a straight line if you put your back against a wall. Haunt will be used to make enemies more susceptible to damage, as well as to proc the cubed Ring of Emptiness. The Witch Doctor staple Piranhas Piranhado shows up yet again, grouping and debuffing the monsters for your AoE convenience. Another mainstay, Spirit Walk Jaunt, is necessarily adopted for mobility and escapes. It can also be used to reap a better Soul Harvest, diving into the enemy to maximize the Languish benefits.
Skills and Runes
Half of your damage output and the namesake of the build, Zombie Charger Zombie Bears is a hard-hitting poison skill that gets amplified by the Helltooth set, the Scrimshaw spear and various skill percentage rolls on your gear (see this build's gear page for more information). Note that Zombie Bears heavily rewards positioning: if cast in the open, the skill splits into triple lanes with low range; if cast with your back against a wall however, it travels in a focused, longer reaching line.
The other and more consistent half is found in the Helltooth set centerpiece, Wall of Death. We will be taking the arsonist favorite Fire Wall rune, its considerable DoT amped by Helltooth and Jeram's Bracers combined. It is important to remember that you can spread the AoE or create zones of focused DPS, as individual walls stack their damage even if cast in the same area.
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 Ring of Emptiness. Even so, you gain a minor active benefit in the form of the Poisoned Spirit debuff, adding to your overall damage.
A utility packed cooldown right to its core, Soul Harvest makes an excellent fit in the build. It acts as a damage buff by default, increasing your Intelligence by up to 15% for the modest requirement of 5 harvested enemies. With the Languish rune, it attains additional crowd control and Toughness buff properties, putting it right at home in this close range playstyle. Add its naturally overlapping duration on top, and you can see how it earns a skill slot — but do not hesitate to reapply it on cooldown, as the shorter lasting Armor buff is by far the biggest benefit.
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 and debuffing capabilities of Piranhado. As the build relies heavily on enemy positioning within the Zombie Bears and Fire Wall 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.
Among the most dynamic and interesting passives in the game, Grave Injustice is a Cooldown Reduction engine that feeds into the damage output (faster Fire Walls) and survivability (more Soul Harvests) 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.
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.
A straightforward addition to the build, Confidence Ritual increases your damage by 25% against enemies within 20 yards. Relatively matching the fighting range of the build, especially with Zombie Bears in mind, this passive will be up most of the time.
- 14 Mar. 2020: Skill 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: Information was reviewed and approved for Season 16 with no changes required.
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