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The indestructible DPS farming Dr.

Witch Doctor Class Guide

By bilansley on January 15, 2013

Intro and Theory

I will start out by giving a brief history of my D3 experience.  I have played since release and have watched the classes progress through the patches.  Started out as a Barb. . .not my style of play (Ive always liked int/caster classes the best)  Re-rolled a Wiz, loved it, got tired of the nerfs.  Recently revisited the Wiz and now occasionally use CM/perma freeze when doing group high lvl mp farming/mp10 ubers.  Then I tried out the WD.......fell in love.  I currently use my WD "FonduSauce" as my main and absolutely love the play style, flexibility, and utility that this class offers.

After changing out lots of gear, and playing with different specs I have come up with a very viable farming build that is fast and effective and has been tested up to mp6+ with great success.  I have a few WD buddies that I got hooked on this build and they suggested I make a guide.  So here it goes.  I lovingly call this farming build the "Meat Grinder".  Please note that this build is for farming, it aint so great for Ubers.

Section 1- basic play style
If I had to compare this spec to something more familiar, I would say that it is (in terms of play style) somewhat of a hybrid between a WW barb and melee CM Wiz.  It has some similarities to both but feels fresh, unique and fun.  The entire concept behind the "meat grinder" build is essentially to run into the middle of the fray and cause massive aoe destruction while passives, skills and gear constantly keep your health maxed and your cool-downs reset ensuring that you quickly blast through the acts and maximize your farming run.

Section 2- key points (to be discussed further later on)
not as gear dependent as some builds, with the exception of a few key items/item affixes
build revolves around use of key skills and passives
very synergistic build.  everything enhances everything else
highly survivable build.  Spend less time dying and wasting potions
awesome dps output.  even though your un kill-able you will still one shot trash and blast through elites

Section 3- minimum base stats
Int 2000+ (2500 is better)
Vit 750+
AR 700+
life 35k+ (over 40k is best)
Armor 4000+
loh 250+
life steal (main hand wep should have this)
life regen 200+ is where you want to be 
CC 50%+
CD 350%+ 

Gear Selection

In the Intro I talked about how this build isnt very gear dependent (especially when compared to zero dogs, etc).  With that being said there are a few items that I think are necessary for this build.  Obviously you want to maximize your int, vit, armor, ar, cc and cd but there are a few other affixes on gear that I want to talk about.

First things first; Thing of the Deep is REQUISITE for this buld.  If you dont have one or dont want to buy one, dont bother with this build.  Its a solid off hand that gives you the essential 20yd pick up radius bonus.  This is essential for this build and will be talked about in great detail in other sections.  Its also very nice to not have to run around to pick up gold.  You will get very spoiled with this.  Imagine having a gold vacuum and then imagine never having to worry about picking up gold again.  You will surprise yourself with how much more gold you can farm per hr with this item.

Now some other affixes you want to look for in your gear.

Health regen:  You ought to have around 400 life regen from gear.  This combined with your other life restoring tricks will give you a big boost in how long you can hang in a fight before bugging out and re-positioning

Life Steal:  Loh is very effective on this build especially with Rain of Toads (more on this later), but I think that for this build your main hand weapon should also have life steal on it.  Here is why.  You will be using several abilities that do a huge amount of burst damage all at once.  Since LS is a % based off damage, having this affix on your weapon will allow you get massive heals off a single aoe nuke.  It works out well because simply using your skills you will be able to heal your self for more than the enemy can hurt you for.  It makes staying alive a snap.

Health Globe bonus:  This one isnt really necessary, but if you can get this on a few pieces you will worry about dying even less.

Some gear slot suggestions: 
Head-Zuni Vision
Chest-Zuni Marrow
Boots-Zuni Trail
Ring 1-Zuni Pox
that gives you the Zuni 4 set and imho the full set bonus is imperative for keeping mana up.
Ring 2-I use an int hellfire ring with crit, ave dmg, and the exp bonus
Ammy- int, crit, cd, ave dmg, etc.
Shoulders- Vile Ward
Gloves- ideally int trifectas.  Even better if they have ar and/or vit
Bracers- lacuni prowlers with crit (duh)
Belt- Witching Hour (duh)
Pants- Blackthorne's (this can complete your loh req.)

Main hand- Manajuma's Carving knife with socket 
Off hand- THING OF THE DEEP   the pickup rad bonus on this is broken good
some stats to look for in a TotD.  250+ave dmg, int, vit, life%, cc, and sockets are always nice too.


Passives

Lets now look at what passives are to be used for this build
  • We start with grave injustice.  This is the most important passive for this build.  Not only is it a means to keeps your mana and life maxed out, but it provides you with the all important cool down reduction on your skills.  This is what keeps you moving quickly and farming efficiently.  This passive is also why using Thing of the Deep on your offhand is so important.  The range that you need to be in for the regenerative/cool down reducing properties of this passive to take effect are increased by the pick up radius gear bonus.  Thing of the Deep gives you a massive 20yd pick up radius increase.  This essentially means that almost every enemy you kill will also restore health and mana as well as reducing your skills cd by 1s.  With out this passive you would be much less survivable and it would take you much longer to farm. 
  • Gruesome Feast is the other central passive for the meat grinder build.  Again this is a two sided passive that results in a very powerful boost to this builds effectiveness.  As you know while using this passive health globes not only grant you life, but restore mana.  Additionally for every health globe you pick up (up to five) you gain a % increase to int.  Here is where I will again stress the importance of Thing of the Deep.  Since this passive is activated by health globes, its fairly obvious why having massively increased gold/globe pick up radius is so useful.  When you are attentive to drop locations and time it right, combined with soul harvest this passive helps keep your dps during farming at close to max.
  • This last one is one that may have some options as I have also used Pierce the Veil in lieu of Vision Quest.  Right now since I rarely farm higher than mp5 on my own I have found that the 30% mana regen bonus while using your primary attack is more helpful in sustaining dps than the flat increase in dps you get from PTV.  I have found that I run out of mana much easier when I dont use vision quest.  This is with complete zuni set and Thing of the Deep.  At lower mp lvls it seems that PTV actually slows me down, becuse when i run out of mana, I can use my hard hitting skills, thus things take longer to die.

Skills to be Used

Lets take a look at what skills we will use, then lets explain them
  • Rain of Toads is one of the primary means of keeping yourself alive in this build.  With 250+ loh and life steal on your weapon, rain of toads should be spammed constantly as you move about.  The proc rate for this skill is excellent and is highly synergistic with life on hit.  If you run into a gnarly pack and take some damage simply spirit walk to a new position and spam toads for a few seconds and watch your life bar raise back to max.  This skill also does aoe dmg, so it makes the effect of life on hit even better.  A second or two of toads in the middle of a trash pack will almost insta fill your life.  I run with over 400 loh and ls and reflect damage does nothing to me.  I dont lose life.  You can stand in molten, eat arcane, brush off electrified, feel nothing from plagued, just dont ever stop spamming this skill.  It also is your mana recharge tool.  Rain of toads combined with the passive vision quest ensures that on top of passive mana regen from gear, you are always receiving an additional 30% regen.  This is important. 
  • I like to use this skill on my right click.  This long range aoe nuke is great for initiating fights or for blasting off left over mobs as you dash to your next group of enemies.  It is also very powerful to spam against elites especially when they are bunched together or bottle necked in a doorway etc.  Just remember that this skill is not mana efficient.  The mana cost of this skill can be mitigated from the effects of gruesome feast and grave injustice, but remember that you have to be within range of dying enemies and health globes for this to aid you.  Now we see where the Thing of the Deep comes in mighty handy (20yd pick up rad increase = super synergy with gruesome feast and grave injustice).  Also this skill is wasted on single enemies, the mana cost does not justify the dmg that it does to single targets.  Acid cloud also procs loh.  So if you find yourself getting beat to hell by some elite pack run forward towards more trash enemies and corpse bomb a group.  Its better than popping a potion.  It should be noted that IAS increases the speed at which consecutive corpse bombs can be set off. 
  • Ive played around with using burning dogs and leeching beasts.  Ive concluded that burning dogs are superior simply because the life leech effect the leeching beasts have is too minimal to be useful.  Despite the relatively meager dps output that the burning dogs provide I find that it is at least more productive than what the leeching beasts do for me.  One may choose leeching beasts over burning dogs if they lack sufficient loh or life steal.  Ultimately your dogs will primarily fill the role of meat shield.  As you smash head on into the middle of huge packs of mobs, your puppies will draw off some of the damage you would be taking.  This is far more important than whether or not they have the side effect of dps or life steal.  They are mostly there for the crowd control effects. 
  • This skill is why I named this build the meat grinder.  I realize that this is a controversial skill and not widely used, but I think that it well suited for this build.  Cloud of bats to me is sort of the central essence of this set up.  It is mana efficient.  It does tons of aoe dmg.  It looks awesome.  It is perfect for when you spirit walk into the middle of an elite pack.  Basically this is my go to dmg dealing skill.  There is nothing more gratifying than running like an insane person into the middle of a huge pack then holding down cloud of bats.  Its like a fiery vortex of death that sucks in enemies and spits out blood and guts.  It is like watching meat being thrown into the ginder, hence the name.  The only downside I see to this skill is that cloud of bats cannot be used while moving, so as long as you spam this skill you need to stay put.  Fortunatly things die really quickly inside the meat grinder.
  • To me this is the essence of what a WD is.  I have a hard time thinking of a build that I would use that wouldn't take this skill.  It gets you from point A to B in a hurry.  W/ healing journey its your emergency bug out button.  It is also how you position yourself for the fight.  If you going from big pack to big pack grave injustice will keep this off cool down allowing you to float quickly through acts and always have an escape option ready if you need it.  Under most circumstances when you take spirit walk as a skill, there is absolutely no reason you should ever die. . . .ever.  That is why this is an essential skill for this build.  Good positioning means better farming and spirit walk is how you accomplish that. 
  • Last but not least is Soul Harvest Vengeful Spirit.  Why its awesome:  Huge aoe nuke.  Doesn't cost a ton of mana.  Buffs you up to five times (1 per enemy hit, up to 5).  Procs loh/ls.  How to use it:  Run into large pack, soul harvest (get buffed and one shot most of the pack), spam bats for remaining enemies, spam toads the whole engagement, spirit walk to next pack, rinse and repeat.
    This skill is just great.  Not only does it provide you with a massive nuke that will one shot large groups, but after nuking the poor bastards, it gives you a 30s dps buff for the next group of poor enemies you run into.  With a little timing practice you will be able to coordinate this skill so that that you never lose your dps buff and obliterate enemies by the hand full.  This combined with gruesome feast (which because of the Thing of the Deep, will also keep you perma buffed) can easily more that double your unbuffed dps constantly)

Minor revision updates

Since a few patches have gone by since I looked at this guide I decided that I would put an "edits" section in so that as I tweak my play style and build, I can refer these modifications that I currently use.  *It should be noted that that basic concept and way to play this build is not majorly affected by these edits, and simply reflect what I am playing around with at the moment.  The build in its unchanged form is still 100% viable and can be used as is*

-6/9/2013-
In lieu of using "Zombie Dogs; Burning Dogs" , I switched out this active to the "Gargantuan; Big Stinker".  My thought process was that I didn't notice the meager dmg output the dogs were doing, nor did it seem that having three of them were better at additional crowd control that if there were only one.  Thus I decided to play around with the Gargantuan.  He holds aggro on groups of enemies very well, has a nice constant dmg aura from his stinky-ness, and I am pretty impressed with his melee attack......it hits like a truck.  Either was I cant say if going Garg or Dogs is better or not, but at the current moment I am farming using Big Stinker.
 
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