Witch Doctor Gargantuan Build with Legacy of Nightmares (Patch 2.4.1)
Based on the foundation of the reworked Legacy of Nightmares set, the Firebats Witch Doctor spec takes assorted legendary items into a split between close-ranged spellcasting and pet devastation. This sustained damage, summoner playstyle requires 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.
|Firebats Plague Bats Piranhas Piranhado 1 Big Bad Voodoo Rain Dance 2 Spirit Walk Jaunt 3 Soul Harvest Languish 4 Gargantuan Humongoid|
Strategy, Skills, and Runes
The Firebats Witch Doctor begins runs by summoning Gargantuan, splitting Humongoid into three supercharged Humongoids with the power of The Short Man's Finger. Proceed to seek out a large pack of enemies and gather them up with Piranhas Piranhado. To avoid unnecessary damage, you might want to dive into the fray with Spirit Walk, as the few seconds of invulnerability will allow you to begin channeling Firebats and trigger the Toughness from Mantle of Channeling. Placing down a Big Bad Voodoo Rain Dance will ensure that you have enough Mana to channel Firebats indefinitely, but also keeps your reserve above the requirement for the Aquila Cuirass damage reduction. As a final note, remember to feast on the density with a Soul Harvest before you have thinned out their ranks too much.
Firebats are partially responsible for the damage potential of the build, and are the part under your direct control. With a slew of synergistic items like the damage reducing Coils of the First Spider and the damage buffing Mantle of Channeling, the skill finally crept up to the endgame. Rune-wise, you will be using Plague Bats, providing the best split between damage buildup and ranged safety, making it easier to keep up channeling bonuses and Taeguk stacks.
The majority of your damage will come from Gargantuan, taken with the strongest AoE rune: Humongoid. Through the power of The Short Man's Finger in the Cube, you will triple the number of summons and the individual damage of each. The result is a devastatingly powerful trio whose power you will augment further with Tasker and Theo and Mask of Jeram. Notably, the build has a Fire damage variation that replaces Gargantuan with Summon Zombie Dogs Burning Dogs, and logically replaces The Short Man's Finger in the Cube with The Tall Man's Finger The remainder of the guide assumes you pick the Gargantuan variation, so adjust elemental rolls to Fire and skill damage affixes to Summon Zombie Dogs if you plan on using The Tall Man's Finger variation.
One of the strongest utility cooldowns of Witch Doctors, Soul Harvest is almost universally a great addition — but especially in builds that take advantage of Sacred Harvester, doubling the number of possible stacks. Soul Harvest acts as a damage buff by default, increasing your Intelligence by up to 30% for the reasonable requirement of 10 harvested enemies. With the Languish rune and the cubed Lakumba's Ornament bracers, it nets you additional crowd control and reduces incoming damage in half, solidifying its place in this mid-range playstyle. The naturally overlapping duration simply sweetens the deal.
While it does minor damage, the primary reason you will be taking Piranhas in the build is its function as a fight opener with the Piranhado crowd control, and the innate 15% damage increase against affected enemies.
To dive into Firebats range, keep himself safe and for general mobility purposes, the Firebats Witch Doctor uses Spirit Walk. A versatile tool on a low cooldown, Spirit Walk makes you invulnerable, allows you to ignore enemy collision, and speeds you up for a generous 3-second period with the Jaunt rune.
Rounding out the skill choices, Big Bad Voodoo takes a firm spot in the rotation once you pick a place to fight. Undoubtedly the most impactful DPS buff at the disposal of Witch Doctors, this skill will also be responsible for the mana management of the build with the Rain Dance rune, directly influencing your damage reduction through the powers of Aquila Cuirass. As a consequence, finding and using the rarest Ceremonial Knife — Starmetal Kukri — is required to account for BBV's massive cooldown.
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.
Spirit Vessel is considered mandatory when pushing Greater Rifts as a Witch Doctor, similarly to other cheat death passives for other classes. On top of the second life proc, it heals you to 50% of your maximum health and triggers a Spirit Walk-like effect, allowing you to escape danger.
Two damage-related choices will round out your passives selection. Strengthening your Firebats assault, Confidence Ritual increases your damage by 25% against enemies within 20 yards. Relatively matching the fighting range of the build, especially with Cloud of Bats in mind, this passive will be up all of the time. Midnight Feast supplements the pet part of the build, increasing your Summon Zombie Dogs count by 1 (resulting in a stronger The Tall Man's Finger dog) and enhancing its damage by 50%.
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 Fierce Loyalty or Zombie Handler. Other protective amulets — any of the immunity necklaces or Eye of Etlich — can also be slotted, but their niche defenses are inferior to the universal effectiveness of the Hellfire Amulet of Intelligence.
A duo of pet-related items are considered as the best-in-slot to support the Gargantuan damage. Mask of Jeram rolls with bonus pet damage, and while it is additive in nature with your elemental damage on gear, it goes up to the whopping 100%. Rolls-wise, aim for Intelligence, Vitality, Crit Chance and an open Socket. Tasker and Theo are equal to none when it comes to pet-related builds, increasing your pet attack speed by up to 50%. The desired roll is, of course, a trifecta of Crit Chance, Crit Damage and Attack Speed.
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 Gargantuan %. If you opt for the Summon Zombie Dogs variation of the build, you can also use the Uhkapian Serpent mojo, as it redirects up to 30% of your damage taken to your durable Zombie Dog companion.
Accounting for a significant part of your DPS and survival, two channeling-focused items will support your Firebats spam. The aptly named Mantle of Channeling will increase your damage during Firebats channeling with 25%, while simultaneously reducing damage taken by the same amount. For the shoulder stats, seek out Area Damage and Gargantuan skill damage alongside Intelligence and Vitality. Dedicated entirely to Toughness and sustain, Coils of the First Spider will reduce incoming damage by another 30%, as well as grant you up to 80,000 Life per Hit. Ideally this 5-stat bracer will have appropriate elemental damage, Crit Chance, Intelligence, Vitality and Armor.
The melee range of this build however requires even more sources of protection, and you will attain it through the resource management interaction of several items. First up we have Aquila Cuirass, which halves incoming damage as long as Mana does not dip below 90% of its reserve. This will be impossible to maintain if not for the permanent availability of Rain Dance, achieved by a combination of the Starmetal Kukri legendary power and the Belt of Transcendence Fetish summons. Note that depending on your best rolled item, you can either wield Starmetal Kukri and cube the Sacred Harvester, or vice versa.
You have some wiggle room when choosing the legendaries for your legs and feet slots. A general recommendation for the pants are the Pox Faulds, for the extra damage on enemies in melee range. The feet can be occupied by Ice Climbers, which will not only remove two deadly sources of crowd control, but also reduce cold damage as a whole. Another option are the Illusory Boots, which make you immune to getting cornered, regardless of density and monster speed.
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.
- Taeguk is a balanced hybrid of defense and offense that is quickly stacked by the Firebats spam, and its per-level scaling bonuses are a major reason to adopt an alternating attack-move pattern. While sometimes inconveniencing you with casting in thin air to keep the stacks, the damage and armor bonuses are well worth the trouble.
- 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. Among many other specs, Firebats Witch Doctors make great use of this gem.
|Torso and Pants||
- You have two equally viable options for the weapon slot of the Cube — Sacred Harvester and Starmetal Kukri — and you can freely choose which to wield and which to cube depending on the better rolled item. Sacred Harvester extends the number of Soul Harvest stacks from 5 to 10, resulting in a 30% Intelligence buff (true damage multiplier) and close to 50% damage reduction (through Lakumba's Ornament synergy) per harvest.
- Lakumba's Ornament occupy the cube armor slot; this bracer will reduce incoming damage by 6% per Soul Harvest stack, stacking multiplicatively for a maximum of 46% DR at 10 stacks. This significantly improves the survival chances of this melee spellcaster build.
- As previously mentioned, The Short Man's Finger will occupy the jewelry slot. One of the more fun effects both visually and in practice, it will split your Gargantuan summon into a pack of three, as well as skyrocket their damage well beyond their singular sibling's potential.
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.
- 16 Feb. 2016: Revised the build to reflect a general shift to Gargantuan/Cold damage.
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