Witch Doctor Carnevil Build with Legacy of Nightmares (Patch 2.4.1)
Due to the updated powers of the Legacy of Nightmares set, the Carnevil Witch Doctor is no longer the exclusive territory of Zunimassa sets. With an arsenal of synergistic legendary items this fetish-leading, darts-centric playstyle is unlocked through the following set pieces:
This build is no longer competitive. We are leaving it on the website for documentation purposes and in case it becomes relevant again.
About the Author
This build is presented to you by Deadset, one of the very few professional Diablo 3 players. Deadset regularly publishes video guides on Youtube and streams on Twitch, where you can see how this and other builds play out in practice.
|Poison Dart Spined Dart Piranhas Piranhado 1 Big Bad Voodoo Slam Dance 2 Spirit Walk Jaunt 3 Soul Harvest Languish 4 Fetish Army Legion of Daggers
Strategy, Skills, and Runes
The Carnevil Witch Doctor begins runs by summoning Fetish Army, promptly expanding in fights to the maximum number of 23 Fetishes with the Fetish Sycophants passive. Once you spot an enemy-dense area, get control over the monsters with Piranhas Piranhado, close the distance to them and feast on their numbers with the Soul Harvest buff. Place a Big Bad Voodoo under the fight and begin the Poison Dart onslaught. When endangered, take advantage of the temporary invulnerability from Spirit Walk and either reposition, or disengage from an unfavorable fight.
Your main damage dealer is found in Poison Dart, a primary skill supported by two powerful legendary items, Carnevil and The Dagger of Darts, and a dedicated legendary gem — Simplicity's Strength. Contrary to Zunimassa set traditions, you will be taking the physical rune Spined Dart. This rune is unique in that it is a Mana generator, which in the 2.4 revision counts towards the requirements of the Depth Diggers pants.
One of the strongest utility cooldowns of Witch Doctors, Soul Harvest is a great addition to 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 and the worn Lakumba's Ornament bracers, it attains additional crowd control and toughness buff properties, solidifying its place in this melee range playstyle. The naturally overlapping duration simply sweetens the deal.
The backbone of your summons, Fetish Army is a centerpiece of the build that gets modified to tiny, mobile poisonous turrets through the Carnevil mask. Since the Fetish darts do poison damage regardless of the selected rune, and you will find safety in the sheer number of meat shields in front of you, Legion of Daggers is the generally recommended rune.
The mobility staple of the Witch Doctor toolbox, Spirit Walk finds its place in yet another build. Its moderate cooldown is compensated by its versatility: it renders you invulnerable, removes enemy collision and increases your movement speed by 50% — all for the generous 3 seconds of Jaunt.
With respect to the Area Damage fixes in 2.4 (working properly with skills and pets), 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.
Rounding out the skill choices, Big Bad Voodoo takes a firm spot in the rotation once you pick a place to fight. Standing at 20% attack speed and 30% damage increase from the Slam Dance rune, this is the strongest DPS buff in the Witch Doctor arsenal (and with the longest cooldown to compensate). When coupled with the resetting powers of the Starmetal Kukri (either in hand or Kanai's Cube), Big Bad Voodoo becomes irreplaceable.
This concludes the overview of the active skills, now let us look through the passives.
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.
Fetish Sycophants is the signature passive of Carnevil Doctors, quickly spawning additional Fetishes in this attack speed-stacking build. Capping at an impressive 15, this ability solidifies the meat shield in front of you and ensures you always have at least some Fetishes nearby to shoot with.
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.
Grave Injustice is an elegant source of Cooldown Reduction, synergizing with the point blank shooting playstyle of the Legacy of Nightmares Carnevil Doctor. 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.
Best in Slot Gear and Alternatives
As this is a Legacy of Nightmares set spec, the rest of your gear slots will be comprised entirely of legendary items. As a rule of thumb, focus on synergistic stats like Attack Speed, Area Damage and skill bonuses, and remember the rings' requirements for ancient items, as well as their restriction on other set bonuses. You can run individual set pieces with beneficial stats, as long as they do not form any set bonus.
The Legacy of Nightmares set is a 2.4 rework, allowing you to run any legendary item combination while not losing out on the damage amplification and reduction associated with the traditional 6 piece sets. As long as the two rings — The Wailing Host and Litany of the Undaunted — are the only active set bonus you have equipped, every Ancient item will increase your damage dealt by 100% and reduce damage taken by 4%. In the stats, try to obtain a combination of Crit and Attack Speed.
Rounding out the jewelry, the neck slot is best taken by a Hellfire Amulet of Intelligence — allowing you a free fifth passive slot for Confidence Ritual. Other amulets — The Ess of Johan for additional pulls or the protective Eye of Etlich — can also be slotted, but their uses are more niche than the universal effectiveness of the Hellfire Amulet of Intelligence.
The optimal chest for the build is Aquila Cuirass, whose unique bonus will halve incoming damage as long as Mana does not dip below 90% of its reserve, which is effectively a permanent bonus in this pure generator spec. Look for Intelligence, Vitality and Fetish Army % in the stats.
With the 2.4 reworks to its mechanics, Depth Diggers now include Wizard and Witch Doctor resource generating attacks, opening up more viable builds. The LoN Carnevil Doctor is one of them, taking advantage of the up to 100% additive damage increase to his primary attack, the Mana-generating Spined Dart. An alternative to the Depth Diggers are the Swamp Land Waders with their 20% Poison damage; if you opt to wear them, you should also switch to a poison rune on Poison Dart like Snake to the Face. The desired stats are Intelligence, Vitality, 2 Sockets and Poison Dart %.
The best-in-slot belt for the build is the glass cannon favorite, The Witching Hour. Naturally sporting the unusual combination of Attack Speed and Crit Damage, the optimal roll would also include Poison Dart %. Another viable, but noticeably weaker option is Belt of Transcendence, which allows you to free up the Fetish Sycophants passive slot for another of your choosing.
Introduced in Patch 2.4 to specifically assist Jade Harvester set builds, Lakumba's Ornament is nevertheless a great inclusion to a build that runs Soul Harvest and does not have another specific BiS. At the full 5 stacks of a non- Sacred Harvester setup, Lakumba's Ornament will reduce incoming damage by the respectable 30%. Aim for Poison damage, Intelligence, Vitality and Crit Chance.
You have two viable choices for the boots; the general recommendation when soloing are the for Ice Climbers, as they remove two deadly sources of crowd control and reduce cold damage as a whole. When grouping, you might want to swap into Illusory Boots for the removal of enemy collision and Waller affix blocking, letting you skip with ease and catch up to your group more efficiently.
There is no specific shoulder that you need to run, so any ancient item with good stats will do. That being said, several legendary shoulders still have decent bonuses to be considered: the craftable Corruption shoulders will extend your pickup radius and synergize with Grave Injustice and Swampland Attunement; and Pauldrons of the Skeleton King will give you another cheat death, albeit at a low proc chance. Optimal stats are Intelligence, Vitality, Fetish Army % and Area Damage.
For the gloves, Tasker and Theo are without equal in a pet-oriented build, as they increase your pet attack speed by up to 50%. The desired roll is, of course, trifecta of Crit Chance, Crit Damage and Attack Speed.
The Carnevil voodoo mask is a key legendary item that allows the 5 closest Fetish summons to shoot Poison Darts along with you. The mask sports the standard four primary stats and is interchangeable with a Mask of Jeram — so pick your better rolled helm and store the powers of the other in Kanai's Cube. Still, a good Carnevil is much easier to obtain as it has no range to roll on the unique property (unlike Mask of Jeram, which can roll anywhere between 75-100% bonus damage for pets), and comes as the default recommendation.
A similar situation is found in the weapon slot, where The Dagger of Darts produces the signature piercing effect. While that bonus is certainly mandatory, the primary stats are once again the standard four — thus, the dagger is interchangeable with a Starmetal Kukri, and you can cube your weaker one. Since the SMK is a much rarer drop and its natural Crit Damage roll is in the way of the preferred Attack Speed, The Dagger of Darts is the standard suggestion. Remember that Attack Speed is a priority on the weapon, ideally accompanied by high Intelligence and % damage rolls.
The best offhand you can pick for the build is the former Season 4 exclusive, Henri's Perquisition; it offers a significant source of upfront damage reduction and crowd control. The preferred rolls on the mojo are high damage range, Intelligence, Crit Chance, Area Damage and Fetish Army %.
Stat Priorities per Gear Slot
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.
- 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, and is otherwise triggered by Languish.
- Simplicity's Strength is one of the best DPS gems you can take for the build, adding up with Depth Diggers and Poison Dart % from gear into a separate damage multiplication source for your Poison Darts. Affecting both yours and your Fetish attacks, and upgrading with a steady pace of half a percent per gem level, it quickly becomes a priority and a fixture in your gem choices. Its healing secondary effect is just icing on the cake.
- 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. LoN Carnevil Doctors are among those specs.
|Torso and Pants
- Often cited as the strongest legendary effect on any Witch Doctor item, the Starmetal Kukri easily offsets its lack of elite bonuses or damage procs by effectively nullifying your two longest and most important cooldowns: Fetish Army and Big Bad Voodoo. As noted above, the cube weapon slot is interchangeable with The Dagger of Darts, depending on the weaker rolled item, but SMK is generally preferred in the cube.
- The second most desirable helm for this pet centric build, Mask of Jeram only steps down to Carnevil due to the weapon synergy. The ability to take advantage of both legendary powers by storing your weaker roll in Kanai's Cube is yet another reason why this is considered among top tier Witch Doctor builds.
- The jewelry slot will be best taken by the pure damage boost of Convention of Elements, and you will have to keep a close eye on its rotation of elemental bonuses. Once the sequence reaches the Physical and especially the Poison element, you will enjoy a significant increase to your damage — so try to adopt a strategy of drawing monster attention during the off cycles, and focus on Poison Darting during the Poison and Phyhsical cycles.
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.
- 29 Jul. 2016: Added note to mention that the build is no longer competitive on the leaderboard.
- 03 May 2016: The guide remains unchanged but viable in Patch 2.4.1.
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