Witch Doctor Leveling and Fresh 70 Guide

Last updated on Nov 22, 2019 at 22:12 by Deadset 11 comments

The purpose of the beginner Witch Doctor guide is to provide you with a build and item recommendations that will reliably carry you from leveling, through the pre-Torment difficulties and get you into low Torment farming, without requiring specific legendary or set bonuses. The guide also includes a section for Seasonal Witch Doctors, explaining how best to take advantage of the free set from Haedrig's Gifts.

1.

Why choose the Witch Doctor?

Choose the Witch Doctor if you enjoy outsmarting the enemy, rendering them helpless and broken through hexes and transmutations. Once in control, you can either dive in for the kill with a devastating curse, or revel in the carnage your pets will deliver. Figures misshapen and undead bend to your will, as will reality itself — distorted, blurred and bloodied.

2.

Progression (Seasonal or Not Seasonal)

2.1.

Leveling Build

Your progression on a given character always start with leveling to 70. To help you with that, we have a beginner leveling build that you can access using the link below.

2.2.

Haedrig Gifts' Season 19 Starter Build

After reaching Level 70, the easiest way to start gearing up and progressing towards the end-game is by using the set given by the Haedrig's Gifts. Haedrig's Gifts are cache-like rewards that drop 2 pieces of a fixed class-specific set after completing chapters II, III, and IV of the Seasonal Journey. Having a full 6-piece set bonus available to you will skyrocket your character's power well in the mid-to-high Torments. This makes the early portion of the Seasonal Journey your first priority upon reaching Level 70.

In Season 19, Witch Doctors will find the Helltooth Harness set in their Haedrig's Gifts. We have an early progression build for this set, which you can find by clicking the link below.

2.3.

Other Starter Builds

While you get a fixed free set at the start of every Season, it is not unreasonable to assume you will attain other sets in quick succession. If you are interested in switching around your playstyle, take a look at the beginner points for other sets below, and note to which endgame builds they point you after.

3.

Gear To Look For

To learn how to gear up quickly and approach a character's progression in general, check out our Beginner Seasonal Guide. It includes advice and tactics related to gambling Blood Shards, doing Bounties, Regular, Greater and Challenge Rifts, and using Kanai's Cube for easy upgrades.

Certain items can be targeted through the completion of bounties or boss kills. The following is a list of such items, in order of importance for the class.

  • This point does not apply in Season 16. Ring of Royal Grandeur Ring of Royal Grandeur is a legendary from Act I caches that reduces the number of set items required for set bonuses by one. While it might not be immediately useful, obtaining powerful bonuses (such as the 4 and 6 piece set bonuses of the Helltooth set) as early as possible for a huge spike in character power is an opportunity you should not pass up. Doing bounties will be inevitable for crafting materials anyway, so optimize your farming time and get this ring as soon as possible.
  • Avarice Band Avarice Band is an Act III cache legendary ring that extends your pickup radius by up to 30 yards as you pick up gold. This unassuming bonus has the potential to turn in the strongest source of defense during normal rifts due to its synergy with Boon of the Hoarder Boon of the Hoarder and Goldwrap Goldwrap. Their powers combined, they can render your character practically invulnerable even in the highest of Torment difficulties.
  • Illusory Boots Illusory Boots are an Act II cache legendary item that removes enemy collision — a staple of support builds in Greater Rifts, as their precise positioning for party-wide buffs and enemy disables dictates the course of Greater Rift progress. Witch Doctors have decent support character potential, with several party-wide damage buffs and plenty of damage reduction to add to the group, making Illusory Boots Illusory Boots reasonably attractive to the class.
  • Gloves of Worship Gloves of Worship are an Act II cache legendary that extends the duration of Shrines to 10 minutes, a very decent farming effect that is usually stored in Kanai's Cube. The combined power of Empowered Shrines (doubled resource gain, halved cooldowns), Frenzied Shrines (25% Attack Speed) and Fleeting Shrines (25% increase to Movement Speed and 20 yard pickup radius), often refreshing before their 10 minute duration, is a huge buff during normal rifts. Witch Doctors are among the classes that can benefit from Gloves of Worship Gloves of Worship, as the armor Cube slots of their most common farming specs (usually based around the Manajuma set) are flexible enough to fit the item in.
  • Envious Blade Envious Blade is an Act II cache dagger with one of the most powerful speedfarming bonuses in the game — a guaranteed Critical Hit against enemies at full health. A well equipped character using this dagger can oneshot entire screens of enemies in a suitable farming difficulty. Since Witch Doctors can not dual wield and their weapon slots are frequently taken by more important legendaries, Envious Blade Envious Blade is not considered a cache priority.
  • Reaper's Wraps Reaper's Wraps are meant to assist classes and builds with resource management problems. These bracers restore up to 30% of your Mana reserves when you get healed by a health globe — an easy trigger if you keep an eye on the battlefield. Note that these bracers are craftable, and the plan for their creation drops when you kill the Act V boss Malthael on any difficulty. Relying on summons and usually spending less and less Mana the closer they get to endgame, Witch Doctors mostly skip the Reaper's Wraps Reaper's Wraps crutch.
  • Pride's Fall Pride's Fall is a helm obtained through Act III cache bounties, whose legendary effect reduces resource costs by 30% after not taking damage for 5 seconds. Rarely fighting at a range that can abuse this power and never really struggling with Mana, Witch Doctors do not consider farming Pride's Fall Pride's Fall a priority.

The majority of the gear will be found by random chance as you farm normally, by killing monsters, opening chests, gambling at Kadala and upgrading rare items at the Cube. While the list below is not exhaustive, these are some of the pieces to seek, spend blood shards on, or upgrade yellows for — in order of priority:

4.

Stat Priorities

Slot Stat Priority
Head
  1. Intelligence
  2. Socket
  3. Critical Hit Chance
  4. Vitality
Shoulders
  1. Intelligence
  2. Vitality
  3. Life %
  4. Cooldown Reduction
Torso
  1. Intelligence
  2. 3 Sockets
  3. Vitality
  4. Elite Damage Reduction
  5. Life %
Wrists
  1. Intelligence
  2. Elemental Damage
  3. Critical Hit Chance
  4. Vitality
Hands
  1. Intelligence
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Critical Hit Damage
  4. Vitality
Waist
  1. Intelligence
  2. Vitality
  3. Life %
  4. Armor
Legs
  1. Intelligence
  2. 2 Sockets
  3. Vitality
  4. Armor
Feet
  1. Intelligence
  2. Vitality
  3. Armor
  4. Skill Damage
  5. Movement Speed
Amulet
  1. Socket
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Critical Hit Damage
  4. Elemental Damage
  5. Intelligence
Rings
  1. Socket
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Critical Hit Damage
  4. Intelligence
Weapon
  1. High Damage Range
  2. Intelligence
  3. Socket (preferably from Ramaladni's Gift Ramaladni's Gift)
  4. % Damage
Off-hand
  1. High Damage Range
  2. Intelligence
  3. Critical Hit Chance
  4. Skill Damage
  5. Vitality
5.

Paragon Points

Slot Paragon Points
Core
  1. Movement Speed up to 25% cap
  2. Intelligence
  3. Vitality
  4. Maximum Mana
Offense
  1. Critical Hit Damage
  2. Critical Hit Chance
  3. Cooldown Reduction
  4. Attack Speed
Defense
  1. Armor
  2. Life %
  3. All Resistance
  4. Life Regeneration
Utility
  1. Area Damage
  2. Resource Cost Reduction
  3. Life on Hit
  4. Gold Find
6.

Gems

Your armor sockets should be taken up by the highest tier Topaz gems you can afford at the time, while the helm is usually best filled by an Amethyst gem for a boost to Toughness. The weapon is best fitted with an Emerald. When you stumble upon jewelry with good primary stats and a socket, you should start dabbling into Legendary Gems. The Legendary Gems to consider for Witch Doctors are, in order of importance:

  • Bane of the Trapped Bane of the Trapped — staple multiplicative damage increase. The gem triggers upon crowd control (and is self-sufficient in melee range), which the Witch Doctor class excels at with his numerous skill and item-based sources of slows, stuns and disables.
  • Bane of the Stricken Bane of the Stricken — almost mandatory gem for Greater Rift progression, as it is designed to whittle down the scaling health numbers of monsters with a percentage-based increase on successive attacks.
  • Boon of the Hoarder Boon of the Hoarder — synergizing with other farming mainstays like Avarice Band Avarice Band and Goldwrap Goldwrap, this gem will not only keep you rich, but also sped up and safe during normal rift farming.
  • Enforcer Enforcer is a signature Witch Doctor gem, as the class fulfills the summoner role in Diablo 3. It offers a multiplicative damage increase to your minions, as well as majorly boosting their Toughness (important in Greater Rifts).
  • Bane of the Powerful Bane of the Powerful — the speedfarm counterpart to Bane of the Stricken Bane of the Stricken, Bane of the Powerful Bane of the Powerful offers a solid overall damage and survivability increase as long as your killing speed does not fall behind the timer of the gem.
  • Situational gems — Simplicity's Strength Simplicity's Strength is a primary skill empowering gem, strengthening your basic attacks with a multiplicative damage increase and a heal; highly recommended for Poison Dart Poison Dart setups. Esoteric Alteration Esoteric Alteration is sometimes added to close range spellcasting builds (i.e. Jade Harvester setups) to counteract bursty elemental affixes. Gem of Efficacious Toxin Gem of Efficacious Toxin and Iceblink Iceblink are often part of support builds.
Slot Gems
Helm
Torso and Pants
Weapon
7.

Kanai's Cube

Kanai's Cube choices are highly build- and content-specific, making them hard to summarize. Generally speaking, Witch Doctors should store the powers of the following items in the Cube as soon as they have the materials available: Wormwood Wormwood, The Furnace The Furnace, Starmetal Kukri Starmetal Kukri, In-geom In-geom, Vile Hive Vile Hive, Mask of Jeram Mask of Jeram, Quetzalcoatl Quetzalcoatl, Carnevil Carnevil, The Grin Reaper The Grin Reaper, Nemesis Bracers Nemesis Bracers, Goldwrap Goldwrap, Ring of Emptiness Ring of Emptiness, The Short Man's Finger The Short Man's Finger, Ring of Royal Grandeur Ring of Royal Grandeur (outside of Season 16) and Unity Unity.

8.

Follower

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.

9.

Changelog

  • 22 Nov. 2019: Overhauled the guide and updated it for Season 19.
  • 23 Aug. 2019: Updated for Season 18.
  • 16 May 2019: Updated for Season 17.
  • 18 Jan. 2019: Updated for Season 16.
  • 20 Sep. 2018: Updated for Season 15.
  • 14 Jun. 2018: Updated for Season 14.
  • 23 Feb. 2018: Updated for Season 13.
  • 08 Nov. 2017: Updated for Season 12.
  • 29 Jun. 2017: Updated for Season 11.
  • 31 Mar. 2017: Updated the guide with a starter build for the Season 10 free set, Zunimassa's Haunt.
  • 05 Jan. 2016: Updated the guide with a starter build for the Season 9 free set, Jade Harvester.
  • 21 Oct. 2016: Updated the guide with a starter build for the Season 8 free set, Spirit of Arachyr.
  • 31 Jul. 2016: Updated the guide to include leveling, a better fresh 70 setup and Haedrig's Gift use tips.
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