Helltooth Zombie Bears Witch Doctor Speed Farming Variation

Last updated on Sep 13, 2023 at 09:00 by Deadset 4 comments
Build Variations Updated for Season 29, Patch 2.7.6 Main Build Solo Greater Rift Progression Nephalem Rift Farming

Speed Farming

The Zombie Bears Witch Doctor deals with regular Rift farming decently all the way through the highest Torments, making it a viable build for the task. We have solo speed GR rankings and solo speed T16 rankings if you want to know more about which builds are best for speed farming.

Within the limited scope of regular difficulties, the necessary damage and toughness to triumph over the enemy is significantly smaller. Thus, your best course of action is to improve utility and speed.

Active Skills
Left Mouse Button Soul Harvest Icon Soul Harvest Soul to Waste Soul to Waste Right Mouse Button Zombie Charger Icon Zombie Charger Zombie Bears Zombie Bears 1 Summon Zombie Dogs Icon Summon Zombie Dogs Life Link Life Link 2 Spirit Walk Icon Spirit Walk Severance Severance 3 Horrify Icon Horrify Stalker Stalker 4 Wall of Death Icon Wall of Death Surrounded by Death Surrounded by Death
Passive Skills

Adapting Rotation

When you are speed farming regular rifts, parts of your playstyle will adapt to the lowered challenge and focus more on speed and utility.

Before you begin the runs, spawn Summon Zombie Dogs Summon Zombie Dogs to proc the movement speed buff of Fierce Loyalty Fierce Loyalty. Similarly to the GR progression build, you will start runs by proccing the Helltooth 4-piece damage reduction bonus by hitting something with Wall of Death Wall of Death or Zombie Bears Zombie Bears as soon as possible. You will add to it the Soul Harvest Soul Harvest buff, but unlike the GR variant where we use it for protection, here you aim for the Soul to Waste Soul to Waste movement speed bump. Horrify Horrify is also used as a movement speed buff via the rune Stalker Stalker. Refresh all three buffs regularly and never let them fall off.

You will have near-limitless mobility via the Spirit Walk Spirit Walk cooldown resets from Grave Injustice Grave Injustice, which allows you to zip through Rifts with the Severance Severance rune. Locust Swarm Locust Swarm will be automatically spread via Wormwood Wormwood, so you only need to care about aiming Zombie Bears Zombie Bears in the right direction.


Adapting Skills

Parts of the skill and passive selection will overlap with the base Greater Rift progression build, but others will have to change according to the task at hand. Ability to cross over great distances faster and more efficiently take precedence.

  • Zombie Charger Zombie Charger is still your main damage dealer, taken with the build namesake rune Zombie Bears Zombie Bears.
  • Wall of Death Wall of Death is still mandatory in the build, but you can swap the overly defensive Communing with Spirits Communing with Spirits rune for the CC-oriented Surrounded by Death Surrounded by Death.
  • Locust Swarm Locust Swarm is still valuable to the build for the Ring of Emptiness Ring of Emptiness damage amplification, but you will attain the skill for free from a cubed Wormwood Wormwood. You can use the freed up skill slot for the extra movement speed of Horrify Horrify Stalker Stalker.
  • You should exchange the unnecessarily tanky Languish Languish rune of Soul Harvest Soul Harvest for the boost of speed coming from Soul to Waste Soul to Waste.
  • You can keep some crowd control in the build with Piranhas Piranhas Piranhado Piranhado, but pulling enemies can be overkill for T16 runs; consider using Summon Zombie Dogs Summon Zombie Dogs instead for the movement speed proc with Fierce Loyalty Fierce Loyalty. Get some extra toughness via the rune Life Link Life Link.
  • In your passives, replace the progression-oriented Blood Ritual Blood Ritual and Swampland Attunement Swampland Attunement for a cheat death failsafe from Spirit Vessel Spirit Vessel and a speed bump from Fierce Loyalty Fierce Loyalty. Replace Confidence Ritual Confidence Ritual with Gruesome Feast Gruesome Feast, as it undeniably offers the strongest damage increase among its peers, provided you can keep it stacked with health globes — an easy task when farming. Keep Grave Injustice Grave Injustice for the cooldown reduction utility.

Adapting Gear

The basics of your gear setup remain the same; you still run 5 of the 6 Helltooth set pieces, plus 2 Cpt. Crimson pieces and a Ring of Royal Grandeur Ring of Royal Grandeur to attain the full bonuses of both sets. Your weapon and offhand are also fixed to Zombie Bears Zombie Bears-specific items with Scrimshaw Scrimshaw and Ursua's Trodden Effigy Ursua's Trodden Effigy. The actual adaptation happens in your remaining gear pieces.

The buildup mechanics of the Endless Walk set are too slow to be of any use during speed farming; in their stead, use Rechel's Ring of Larceny Rechel's Ring of Larceny (whose movement speed bonus will be triggered constantly via Horrify Horrify), and the consistent damage multiplier from Squirt's Necklace Squirt's Necklace (its downside will be negated by the relative invulnerability imposed by the stacked Goldwrap Goldwrap bonuses). You will keep Ring of Emptiness Ring of Emptiness from the GR progression build, as it provides a time- and pacing-agnostic damage bonus at the mere cost of including Locust Swarm Locust Swarm in the build, attained via the cubed Wormwood Wormwood.

It should be noted that Avarice Band Avarice Band is a supremely useful legendary item that, in conjunction with Goldwrap Goldwrap and Boon of the Hoarder Boon of the Hoarder, will form a gold triumvirate that keeps you safe and showered in gold as you farm up T16s. When you are farming solo however, this ring can be equipped on your Follower, and its power will "Emanate" to you (meaning you gain the benefits of the item as if you wore it yourself). That being said, in group farming you will need to wear the Avarice Band Avarice Band yourself, replacing Rechel's, since you cannot have a Follower in parties.

Early on in character progression, you can keep Lakumba's Ornament Lakumba's Ornament for the immense damage reduction it provides to the build. When you have progressed your character and are comfortable with Goldwrap Goldwrap mechanics and relying on procs to survive, you can swap Lakumba's Ornament Lakumba's Ornament out for Warzechian Armguards Warzechian Armguards, which provide you with an additional speed boost based on environmental destruction. The former favorite for the slot, Nemesis Bracers Nemesis Bracers, are still quite valuable to the build; when soloing, they should be equipped on the follower however, since their power can be transferred to you via the Emanate mechanic.

Slot Pieces Stat Priority
  1. Intelligence
  2. Socket
  3. Critical Hit Chance
  4. Zombie Charger % Damage
  5. Physical or Lightning Resistance (Secondary Stat)
  6. Pickup Radius (Secondary Stat)
  1. Intelligence
  2. Area Damage
  3. Cooldown Reduction
  4. Resource Cost Reduction
  5. Physical or Lightning Resistance (Secondary Stat)
  6. Health Globe Healing Bonus (Secondary Stat)
  1. Intelligence
  2. 3 Sockets
  3. Vitality
  4. Armor
  5. Physical or Lightning Resistance (Secondary Stat)
  6. Melee or Missile Damage Reduction (Secondary Stat)
  1. Intelligence
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Poison % Damage
  4. Life on Hit
  5. Reduced Damage Melee Attacks (Secondary stat)
  1. Intelligence (or Resource Cost Reduction at high Paragon)
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Critical Hit Damage
  4. Area Damage
  5. Physical or Lightning Resistance (Secondary Stat)
  1. Intelligence
  2. Vitality
  3. Life %
  4. Armor
  5. Physical or Lightning Resistance (Secondary Stat)
  6. Life per Kill (Secondary Stat)
  1. Intelligence
  2. 2 Sockets
  3. Vitality
  4. Armor
  5. Pickup Radius (Secondary Stat)
  6. Physical or Lightning Resistance (Secondary Stat)
  1. Intelligence
  2. Zombie Charger % Damage
  3. Vitality
  4. Armor
  5. Pickup Radius (Secondary Stat)
  6. Health Globe Healing Bonus (Secondary Stat)
  1. Socket
  2. Critical Hit Damage
  3. Critical Hit Chance
  4. Poison % Damage
  5. Physical or Lightning Resistance (Secondary Stat)
  6. Melee or Missile Damage Reduction (Secondary Stat)
Ring #1
  1. Socket
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Critical Hit Damage
  4. Area Damage or Average Damage
  5. Physical or Lightning Resistance (Secondary Stat)
  6. Life per Kill (Secondary Stat)
Ring #2
  1. Socket
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Critical Hit Damage
  4. Area Damage or Average Damage
  5. Physical or Lightning Resistance (Secondary Stat)
  6. Life per Kill (Secondary Stat)
  1. High Weapon Damage
  2. Socket (preferably from Ramaladni's Gift Ramaladni's Gift)
  3. Zombie Charger Cost Reduction
  4. Zombie Charger % Damage
  5. Intelligence (or % Damage at high Paragons)
  6. Area Damage
  1. High Damage Range
  2. Intelligence
  3. Critical Hit Chance
  4. Zombie Charger % Damage
  5. Area Damage

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.


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 Guardian's Aversion (Wrists), Guardian's Case Guardian's Case (Waist), and Guardian's Gaze 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 Ring of Royal Grandeur (found from Act I bounty caches).
  • Endless Walk:This is a jewelry set consisting of The Traveler's Pledge The Traveler's Pledge (Amulet) and The Compass Rose 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 Focus and Restraint Restraint) and Squirt's Necklace Squirt's Necklace with acceptable losses to DPS.
  • Unity Unity: A character wearing this ring, along with another Unity Unity on their follower plus an immortality relic for them (i.e., Enchanting Favor Enchanting Favor), will reduce their damage taken by 50%. Unity Unity can roll excellent offense-oriented stats and has an innate Extra Damage to Elites roll, which somewhat offsets losing all-out offense jewelry.

Adapting Gems

When doing regular Rifts, the utility provided by Gogok of Swiftness Gogok of Swiftness will be overshadowed by the near-invulnerability courtesy of the interaction between Boon of the Hoarder Boon of the Hoarder with Goldwrap Goldwrap.Bane of the Stricken Bane of the Stricken should give way to Molten Wildebeest's Gizzard Molten Wildebeest's Gizzard, whose shielding mechanics will safeguard your Squirt's Necklace Squirt's Necklace damage bonus. Bane of the Trapped Bane of the Trapped remains a universally useful damage amplification gem.

Slot Gems
Torso and Pants

For more information about gems, please refer to our guide on gems.


Adapting Kanai's Cube

In regular Rift runs, the progression-oriented damage multiplier from Shukrani's Triumph Shukrani's Triumph will not be necessary, and is best replaced by the convenience of the self-casting proc for Ring of Emptiness Ring of Emptiness found in Wormwood Wormwood. As discussed above, Goldwrap Goldwrap trumps any other sources of protection during standard rifts, including the GR recommendation Aquila Cuirass Aquila Cuirass. Ring of Royal Grandeur Ring of Royal Grandeur is still necessary to tie the Helltooth and Cpt. Crimson sets together.



The recommended follower for this build during standard rift farming for keys is the Enchantress due to her numerous utility bonuses, allowing you to smooth out your speed runs even further.

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.


Legendary Potion

Your recommended potion is Bottomless Potion of the Tower Bottomless Potion of the Tower, whose Armor-increasing properties complement the naturally high All Resistances stat of Witch Doctors (due to Intelligence scaling Resistances) for optimal survivability.



  • 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: Minor gear revision and added follower recommendation.
  • 19 Nov. 2020: Revision of item, skill and passive recommendations, alongside advice for Season 22 changes.
  • 01 Jul. 2020: No changes required for Season 21.
  • 14 Mar. 2020: Guide adjusted to reflect the changes to Ring of Emptiness.
  • 22 Nov. 2019: Reviewed for Season 19.
  • 23 Aug. 2019: Flavor of Time is now the recommended amulet.
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