Diablo3: Witch Doctor Heavy DPS Builds

Diablo3 D3 Real Life Witch Doctor Image Picture

With this guide I will show you how to get the most out of your WD while soloing Inferno Act4.

There are really only 3 builds you need access to: Poison Darts (for only some bosses), Dire bats for general farming/progression, and Zombie bears for the toughest of elite packs.

My credentials? I’ve solo’d inferno all the way up to A4, and just beat Rakanoth last night (who is by most accounts unkillable, but I managed to get a kill on him). I have killed the Butcher on Inferno is less than 7 seconds. I have sold probably roughly 50 million gold worth of AH gear, mostly farmed in Act 4 inferno. I have a 188% MF gear-set that can kill elite packs in Act 4 inferno, because of a tight spec, and solid tight play that hopefully this guide will teach you.

Here are the three specs you need:

1) Dire bats, Vision quest. You need dire bats for most inferno content, the range is just OP, and unlike poison darts, Dire bats is aoe, which is absolutely crucial. Rest of the spec is up to you, but I use: Spirit Walk (with 3 sec rune), BBV (with either 20% dmg or mana rune), Soul Harvest (with either 60 sec rune, mana regen, or healing rune), Grasp (with 80% slow rune), Fetish Army (with either reduced CD rune for general farming, or legion of daggers for burst fights), Dire bats.

Passives are Vision Quest (naturally), Vessel (mandatory in all specs), and usually more mana regen (spiritual attunement I think it's called?).

2) Zombie Bears, Vision quest. You need this for certain elite packs that just aren’t kite-able. Typically stuff like Vortex, Teleporter, Fast. You aren’t kiting that pack, so you have to just zombie bears blitz it.

Typically I will use Mass Confusion instead of Grasp. If I have widdled down to only 1 unit remaining, I will use Hex with Jinx rune. BBV gets the mana rune (this adds WAY more dps than the 20% rune with a fast 1her, since you can spam it for a solid 15 sec). I sometimes use wall of zombies: pile on, replacing soul harvest (if only 1 mob to soul harvest).

PROTIP: If you back yourself into a corner, your bears will funnel out in SINGLE-FILE. This is absolutely brutal dps if you can manage to pull a boss such that you can sit in the corner and fire out machine-gun single-file zombie bears of death at him.

3) Poison Dart build, you only need this for Belial and Azmodan (and maybe Diablo, but I haven’t got to him yet). This is the standard build of Poison Dart splinters rune with Pierce the Veil rune for 20% more dmg. Every other skill is optional really. I'd highly suggest grasp with 80% slow, since you NEED aoe damage and the slow is insane. Anything else is up to you, but you'll prob use BBV for bursting single targets, and fetish army, because it's just stupidly strong.


Most people say the best setup for Dire bats or Zombie Bears is a slow 2her, and they are correct, up to a certain gear threshold. The problem with slow 2hers is that you really lose out on +dmg on rings/amulet/(offhand), since it doesn’t scale well with slow attack speed.

However, once you get thoroughly pimped out (say once you get that 1400+ dps 2h-er, and there is nowhere else to go), you actually get more dps out of a fast 1her, high dmg offhand, and high dmg/ias rings/amulets. I went from around 49k dps to almost 70k dps by switching. The tradeoff you have to make is to change your BBV into the mana regen BBV rune, but when you do, my God you kill things fast. I had a 4.5 second butcher kill, a 5 second Rakanoth kill, etc. Some of these bosses, this is the ONLY way to kill them.

Most of inferno is gimmicky like this. You have to fight these 5 second burst damage fights with zero hp and rely on your spirit walk and spirit vessel to let you DPS as a glass cannon while being invulnerable. Unfortunately, when bosses hit you for 250k, I learned pretty fast that my 80k hp build was just not viable anymore (past mid A3 inferno). So the only option is to go with 10k hp, but 70k dps and just literally never get hit.

The other good thing about doing the switch to 1hers is that you can run the poison dart build with the same gear. For Direbats grinding, I’d suggest also using Soul Harvest runed for mana, since BBV is only up so often. That being said, with some mana regen on your 1her you can regen mana really fast with Vision Quest active.

Must-Have Skills - a brief discussion on why I choose what I choose, and why you need to also!

Spirit Walk: Obviously you absolutely must have this in inferno to stand a chance. This is one of the reasons I believe that the Witch Doctor is the best inferno class right now. I used to run the life regen rune, or the severence (dmg) rune, but you absolutely, 100% need to be using the 3 second rune. This is a 50% increase in INVULNERABLE DPS TIME, and I can't even begin to give it credit. Just take it, you'll thank me. Be aware of how you use it, if you pop it, you get a little shrunken head thing that replaces you. Mobs can attack this and then reveal you. Ideal usage of this skill is therefore using it around a corner, somewhere that mobs cannot hit the voodoo head thing, so that you don't get broken out of this early.

Vessel: I shouldn't have to say why this is mandatory, but if this isn't in your spec, you are either not in inferno, or you are doing it wrong. Inferno is all about these 3-5 second burst dps encounters, and this passive is absolutely required to survive past act 2 and actually get stuff dead. Unfortunately, most content requires you to just blitz it down while you are invulnerable with this because you just got 1-shot, then following it up with a 3 sec invulnerable spirit walk. Hopefully the monster died while you were dishing out 70k dps in this 3-5 second time-frame.

BBV/Fetish Army: These aren't must-have per-se, but they are just so absurd at burst dmg that you'd be crazy not to use them.

Grasp with 80% slow: This ability is so important in almost every build. Not only is the slow important for keeping stuff off you, but mobs get clumped up together in the slow, making dire bats, zombie bears, whatever hit EVERYTHING. It saves your life and increases your dps by ensuring your AOE hits more stuff.

Soul Harvest:
This is a great spell for taking down elite packs, because a BBV zombie bear spam with 5-stacks of soul harvest is insane. The soul harvest buff alone accounts for upwards of 20k dps in these burst phases. Obviously not great for boss fights, but amazing for taking down tough A4 inferno elite packs.

Zombie Bears: This spell is literally the only reason why witch doctors can take down some elite packs in A4 inferno. Some bosses like Rakanoth are just impossible to beat any other way.


For gearing, your 1her priority is as follows:

One Handed Weapon:

1) Fast Attack Speed. You NEED this to be at least 1.74, the higher the better, as it will scale all your +dmg on gear better.
2) Mana regen. This helps a ton when you are spamming 2-3 dire bears every second.

1) Offhand has to have at least +240 avg dmg (i.e. +80-400, gives an avg of +240). This is so dominant that it's really ALL you care about. See my stat valuation guide below to assess if a whole whack of int/crit/etc is worth trading a little +dmg for, but generally the +dmg will scale better as you gear up with more ias, so you NEED this to be high.

After getting enough +dmg (say +89-400), you want critical chance, critical damage, and intelligence (see stat guide below for details on what proportions).


You need to get attack speed here, since it's the only place you can get it, and it's so so so important. After that, focus on +dmg, int, crit, crit bonus dmg.


As much int as you can get. If you can get crit and crit dmg bonus, you can get that too.


Mana Regeneration
is a must, then as much int as you can get.

Important note: Broken Increased Attack Speed on Non-IAS Items.

Currently if you have IAS on a belt, boots, legs, or anywhere that doesn't naturally have access to IAS, it actually will NOT work.

Stats Guide - Stat valuations:

General DPS values are as follows, translated into int equivalents:

1 intelligence = 1 int

1% IAS = roughly 12 int

1% critical hit = roughly 8 int

+1dmg = roughly 2.5 int

1 vitality = WORTHLESS.

HP is literally zero value in inferno, because you will get 1-shot regardless. It took my a while to learn this. This may change if somehow we get access to heavy dmg mitigation in Legendarys (like 75%+ reduction in melee/range attacks), but for now, vitality is absolutely zero value. At all. Zero.

Notice how I say "roughly" everywhere? This is because these equivalencies are dynamic, and they change with your current gear setup. The only true solution would be a very complex simulation/solver, that is beyond my abilities. It would need to take into account every combination of every piece of gear in the game. For now, these values reflect the equivalencies for my gear (1.74 attack speed 1her, character stats: 1900 int, 50% crit bonus (i.e. base), 60% ias on ringes/ammy/gloves).

If you stack a bunch of +crit dmg bonus, naturally the value of crit chance will go higher. Most stats have diminishing returns, so if you have more int than 1900, the value of each int past that gets lower and lower, and the value of the other things, +dmg, ias, etc, gets higher and higher. These numbers should give you general guidelines to follow though.

PRO-TIP! How to get your exact values:

The best way to check for yourself is to go to the Auction House, and buy a bunch of cheap 500 Gold Rings: One with +1 int, one with +1 attack speed, one with +1 damage, one with +1% crit, and one with +1 vit (or whatever, use this as your baseline). Then you can equip the "zero ring" (i.e. the vit ring) and then hover over each other ring and find the equivalent dps values for each stat, and figure out your own stat valuations.

Good-luck out there! Remember this guide is towards more DPS heavy way to play. It all depends on your play-style and may not be for everyone.


  1. "1% IAS = roughly 12 int"

    Forgive the noobness but what is IAS stand for?

  2. Good to know that bats and bears are still viable past Inferno Act 1! I'd hate to switch to darts unless I really have to, simply because bats and bears look way cooler. :D

    I've cleared through Act II with a Vision Quest + Dire Bat + Tons of crowd control CDs, my gears are quite bad, I completely relied on situational awareness and 5 utility/cc/escape skills to dodge everything. Exhausting but it works and I am having fun, and now I'm on Belial.

    For Belial however, I run into problems. Maybe it's simply a gear check, but I find that I can't be using bears with the 2-hander simply because the animation is too slow and I won't be able to dodge some of the attacks. Bat works a lot better because the animation is a lot faster, however then I run into problems with the snake-men, they're a lot harder to kill with bats in comparison to bears. I see that one option is to switch to darts for this fight but that would mean I'd need to get myself a fast one hand weapon, so do you think it would be possible to pull off a bear/bat build on Belial? While bear definately rules dps, between dire bat spam and dart spam (both given their typical set up, weapon and all), which one is higher dps?

    Thanks in advance! :)

  3. i do belial with bears, the only way ive been able to do it. i do VQ, vessel, and that mana thing. then you have to have your fetish army and BBV ready for the very beginning of stage 2. stage one i clear by running to the right corner and put a grasp in front on me and then very carefully using my bears to take down foes, and not running out of mana. stage two i blow off my fetish army and BBV mana regen runed and spam bears using spirit walk and my vessel. the last stage you can find on youtube

  4. Thx for this guide i really helped me out alot but the 1.04 patch will f*ck up alot on WD :/

  5. By taking the time to read a lot of information like this to add my insight