Because full groups often move fast, require single target DPS as well as AOE, this build – which you can begin using at level 30, will ensure you’re a productive Witch Doctor almost to the end of Hell mode no matter the group’s composition.
Build – Mouse over for a quick visual.
Mouse 1 – Poison Dart with Splinters.
Mouse 2 – Grasp of the Dead with Unbreakable Grasp.
Skill 1 – Spirit Walk with Honored Guest.
Skill 2 – Soul Harvest with Swallow Your Soul.
Skill 3 – Acid Cloud with Lob Blob Bomb.
Skill 4 – Horrify with Stalker.
Why These Skills
Because Poison Dart deals 100% of your weapon damage as Poison, you’re going to want a high DPS weapon in order to maximise your single target DPS. If you’re using a weapon with great caster stats yet low physical DPS, your DPS is going to suffer – grab one off the AH if you don’t having something to use.
You’ll want to use PD when you encounter packs with a minimal amount of mobs and for those times after you’ve emptied your mana pool after using Acid Cloud. The Splinters rune skill ensures we get an additional 2 darts which you’ll use while you regain mana. It’s cheap to use and you can continuously cast it on an empty mana pool.
Spirit Walk is great for a number of reasons. First, it allows you to escape death by sprinting away. I’ve found it to be invaluable when you get a pack of Champions that have difficult affixes. Alternatively, you can use it to sprint in to a large pack of mobs, use Soul Harvest to get 5 stacks (the maximum) while quickly running back out to chain cast Acid Cloud. The Swallow Your Soul skill rune supports dashing towards the mob as you’ll regain 39 mana per target.
Acid Cloud combined with the Lob Blob Bomb skill rune will allow you to AOE large groups of mobs. As you get deeper into Hell, the size of mobs can be so great that your DPS is off the charts. It’s also important to note that Acid Cloud – just like PD – uses the physical weapon damage of your weapon. Low DPS weapon = low DPS Acid Cloud. Using the Lob Blob Bomb skill run, we gain an extra 25% damage after the initial cast which is also converted to Poison.
Horrify and Grasp of the Dead are primarily used as utilities to keep mobs away from you and/or others. The Stalker skill rune provides a speed boost of 20% for 4 seconds after you cast it and you can then move into Spirit Walk if you require extra speed.
Spiritual Attunement – This increases your mana pool by 20% which ensures we can get a few extra Acid Cloud’s off. The passive regen also allows us to sustain casting Poison Dart while our mana pool is empty.
Spirit Vessel – This build uses Horrify, Spirit Walk and Soul Harvest – which means we get the full benefit of using this passive to reduce their CD’s. It has the added benefit of saving you from a death strike every 90 seconds which is extremely useful given how crazy things are getting in Hell.
Bad Medicine – When you deal poison damage to an enemy, their damage output is reduced by 20% for 3 seconds. The big question here is – given Acid Cloud is a poison based skill, does this passive apply to single target only or does AOE get the benefit? I’m unsure at this time but will report back when I have more information. I don’t want to assume that it does but it makes sense that it would.
Many of the spells, skill runes and passives used in this build have great synergy between them, making you a valued Witch Doctor as you group up to grind your way through the 30-55 levels. When you get to bosses, you might consider replacing Horrify with Big Bad Voodoo in order to provide the entire group with a DPS boost.