LoD Spirit Barrage Witch Doctor Skills and Runes
On this page, we explain how to choose and use your skills when playing LoD Spirit Barrage Witch Doctor in Diablo 3. Updated for patch 2.6.6 and Season 18.
|Haunt Poisoned Spirit Locust Swarm Pestilence 1 Piranhas Piranhado 2 Spirit Walk Severance 3 Spirit Barrage Phlebotomize 4 Soul Harvest Languish|
Your basic fight opener is Piranhado, used to clump up enemies nicely for the coming onslaught. Once they are gathered up, glance at your Soul Harvest stacks and refresh them if it is necessary (potentially using Spirit Walk to close the distance). Since a decent chunk of the damage in this build comes from Ring of Emptiness, the basic rotation of the build needs you to then prepare enemies with a cast of Haunt and Locust Swarm, in order to trigger the bonuses from the ring. You are then free to follow up with generous Spirit Barrage spam, devastating the enemy packs.
Skills, Runes and Passives
Your primary damage dealer comes in the form of Spirit Barrage, a mid-range projectile whose power is augmented by the dedicated legendary ceremonial knife The Barber. While these damage bonuses are already helpful, the top ranking viability of the build also comes from the curious interaction of the Phantasm rune (granted for free from a worn Gazing Demise) with Enforcer and Mask of Jeram — meaning the phantasms are considered pets for the purposes of the game. The preferred rune to select on your bar for soloing Greater Rifts is the cold Phlebotomize, bringing much needed sustain to this glass cannon build. Nevertheless, it should be noted that the majority of the damage in this build will come from the Phantasm procs, and the selected rune can vary with comparable results.
The build dedicates two skill slots to trigger the crucial damage multiplication bonuses of Ring of Emptiness. The first trigger is reserved for Locust Swarm, which is best taken with the protective Cloud of Insects rune to reinforce the lacking defenses of the build. The second trigger, Haunt, is ideally taken with the damage increasing Poisoned Spirit rune. It should be noted that while you are getting used to the build, you can viably alternate to the Mana restoring Draining Spirit rune.
One of the strongest utility cooldowns of Witch Doctors, Soul Harvest is almost universally a great addition. Soul Harvest acts as a damage buff by default, increasing your Intelligence by up to 15% for the reasonable requirement of 5 harvested enemies. With the Languish rune and the worn Lakumba's Ornament bracers, it nets you additional crowd control and reduces incoming damage, solidifying its place in this mid-range playstyle. The naturally overlapping duration simply sweetens the deal.
Piranhas is taken for the solitary grouping tool of Witch Doctors — the vortex effect of the Piranhado rune. It is hard to argue with the addition of a pull in a build that benefits so much from clumped up enemies, and is a major reason to include Grave Injustice for faster Piranhado cooldown resets.
Spirit Walk is the final Witch Doctor staple included in the build, and its moderate cooldown is compensated by its versatility: it renders you invulnerable, removes enemy collision and increases your movement speed by 50%. The recommended rune is Severance, whose 100% additional movement speed will allow you to reposition in the blink of an eye. Early on in the gearing process, you can also consider the Honored Guest rune to add another source of emergency Mana regeneration to the build.
This concludes the overview of the active skills, now let us look through the passives.
The strong resource restoration passive Rush of Essence fits squarely into this build, since it runs more than half of the skills that proc it.
Spirit Barrage Doctors take Creeping Death to extend the benefits of the their two DoTs — the Cloud of Insects Damage Reduction and Poisoned Spirit damage buffs — indefinitely. More importantly, this also keeps up the Ring of Emptiness multiplication going against affected enemy packs.
Confidence Ritual is another straightforward addition, increasing your damage by 25% against enemies within 20 yards — arguably a dangerous bonus to keep up, but its risk is somewhat mitigated by the Fetish meat shield surrounding you from the worn Belt of Transcendence.
Grave Injustice is an elegant source of Cooldown Reduction, synergizing with the mid-range playstyle of the Spirit Barrage 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: Skill recommendations are revised for Season 18.
- 17 May 2019: Guide was revised with additional recommendations for Season 17.
- 18 Jan. 2019: Guide was reviewed and approved for Season 16.
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