Helltooth Zombie Bears Witch Doctor Speed Farming Variation
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.
|Soul Harvest Soul to Waste Zombie Charger Zombie Bears 1 Summon Zombie Dogs Life Link 2 Spirit Walk Severance 3 Horrify Stalker 4 Wall of Death Surrounded by Death|
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 to proc the movement speed buff of 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 or Zombie Bears as soon as possible. You will add to it the Soul Harvest buff, but unlike the GR variant where we use it for protection, here you aim for the Soul to Waste movement speed bump. Horrify is also used as a movement speed buff via the rune Stalker. Refresh all three buffs regularly and never let them fall off.
You will have near-limitless mobility via the Spirit Walk cooldown resets from Grave Injustice, which allows you to zip through Rifts with the Severance rune. Locust Swarm will be automatically spread via Wormwood, so you only need to care about aiming Zombie Bears in the right direction.
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 is still your main damage dealer, taken with the build namesake rune Zombie Bears.
- Wall of Death is still mandatory in the build, but you can swap the overly defensive Communing with Spirits rune for the CC-oriented Surrounded by Death.
- Locust Swarm is still valuable to the build for the Ring of Emptiness damage amplification, but you will attain the skill for free from a cubed Wormwood. You can use the freed up skill slot for the extra movement speed of Horrify Stalker.
- You should exchange the unnecessarily tanky Languish rune of Soul Harvest for the boost of speed coming from Soul to Waste.
- You can keep some crowd control in the build with Piranhas Piranhado, but pulling enemies can be overkill for T16 runs; consider using Summon Zombie Dogs instead for the movement speed proc with Fierce Loyalty. Get some extra toughness via the rune Life Link.
- In your passives, replace the progression-oriented Blood Ritual and Swampland Attunement for a cheat death failsafe from Spirit Vessel and a speed bump from Fierce Loyalty. Replace Confidence Ritual with 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 for the cooldown reduction utility.
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 to attain the full bonuses of both sets. Your weapon and offhand are also fixed to Zombie Bears-specific items with Scrimshaw and 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 (whose movement speed bonus will be triggered constantly via Horrify), and the consistent damage multiplier from Squirt's Necklace (its downside will be negated by the relative invulnerability imposed by the stacked Goldwrap bonuses). You will keep 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 in the build, attained via the cubed Wormwood.
It should be noted that Avarice Band is a supremely useful legendary item that, in conjunction with Goldwrap and 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 yourself, replacing Rechel's, since you cannot have a Follower in parties.
Early on in character progression, you can keep Lakumba's Ornament for the immense damage reduction it provides to the build. When you have progressed your character and are comfortable with Goldwrap mechanics and relying on procs to survive, you can swap Lakumba's Ornament out for Warzechian Armguards, which provide you with an additional speed boost based on environmental destruction. The former favorite for the slot, 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.
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 (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.
When doing regular Rifts, the utility provided by Gogok of Swiftness will be overshadowed by the near-invulnerability courtesy of the interaction between Boon of the Hoarder with Goldwrap. Bane of the Stricken should give way to Molten Wildebeest's Gizzard, whose shielding mechanics will safeguard your Squirt's Necklace damage bonus. Bane of the Trapped remains a universally useful damage amplification gem.
|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 will not be necessary, and is best replaced by the convenience of the self-casting proc for Ring of Emptiness found in Wormwood. As discussed above, Goldwrap trumps any other sources of protection during standard rifts, including the GR recommendation Aquila Cuirass. 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.
Your recommended potion is 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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