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WD Grave Injustice Build

Witch Doctor Class Guide

By nimblerabit on August 31, 2012

Introduction

Once you reach a certain level of gear, one of the biggest time sinks while farming is running between mobs. Movement speed gear can help some, but ultimately the fastest way to farm is through the use of movement skills. Barbarians have sprint, demon hunters have vault, and witch doctors have spirit walk. Of course, spirit walk has a pretty long cooldown which keeps it from being particularly useful for movement speed. The solution? Grave Injustice.

By obtaining some pickup radius gear and taking the grave injustice passive, it’s possible to use spirit walk to travel between packs of mobs more quickly. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than nothing.

It’s also quite fun.

Skills

  • Damage dealer for the times when you are out of mana, or in general when bears aren't a good choice.  Ghost Bomb was chosen for the nice big AoE which can be helpful in cleaning up leftover mobs.  There are a lot of options here, go with whatever you prefer.

    For the most part, the skills in the Variation section should replace this. It's almost certainly the least useful skill in the build, so use this slot to customize and make the build your own.
  • Zombie Bears are used to melt everything quickly.  Other mana dumps are certainly viable, but bears are chosen because their killing speed is unparalleled.  The range is also not a big deal since you need to be close for Grave Injustice anyways.   
  • This helps Zombie Bears mow through mobs even faster, especially elites which can really slow a run down. The more damage the better. The damage rune helps clear trash quickly, and it’s more effective than you might think. Normally the cooldown keeps this rune from being particularly strong, but Grave Injustice makes it relatively spammable. 
  • More movement speed!  Grave injustice helps keep this off cooldown, just like spirit walk, allowing you to spam the 20% movement speed bonus. The fear isn't too shabby either, and will definitely help keep you alive.

    Frightening Aspect Rune: If you're EHP isn't quite up to par, then frightening aspect is an alternate choice which will help keep you alive. Since you aren't using Stalker it won't be on cooldown during the critical moments you need it (which can really make a big difference), and that +100% armor is nothing to sneeze at. The extra armor also helps against reflect damage, which is always nice.
  • Gargantuan is your meat shield. Even with relatively good gear, it's very helpful to have a pet taking some of the hits. This is especially true in situations where you are waiting for cooldowns (such as with a reflect mob) or mana.  The reason I take gargantuan over dogs, is that he actually does a reasonable amount of damage which is more useful than you might expect.  He can help clear up trash that you didn't manage to finish off, and cut your elite killing time down (even if it is by a small amount).

    Use dogs here instead if you want to use Sacrifice.
  • Jaunt is taken to maximize the amount of time in spirit walk.  The entire purpose of this build is to move as quickly as possible, as long as possible.   

Passives

  • Since we're picking up +radius gear for Grave Injustice, it makes sense to use gruesome feast.  It works much better with a higher pickup radius which allows you to constantly grab globes and keep up the buff.  The mana is also very helpful for spamming bears, and globes drop like crazy as you're melting mobs.  The int boost can be pretty absurd, my damage regularly goes from 70k unbuffed up to 120k+ when buffed (along with soul harvest).
  • This can be changed out if you don't find yourself getting killed, but the fast and aggressive nature of this build makes mistakes more likely.  It really does help you keep up the pace without having to worry about dying too much.
  • Used to spirit walk as often as possible, keeping up the 50% speed boost.  Also keeps  horrify and soul harvest off cooldown, allowing those to be spammed for extra damage and armor.  The mana regen from grave injustice is also surprisingly strong.  With grave injustice + gruesome feast, you practically have unlimited mana.

Gear Requirements

How good does my gear need to be?

This build is for farming act 3 as quickly as possible, and consequently you will need pretty good gear.  If you can't mow through things very quickly, there's no point to grave injustice.  It's also not particularly helpful against elites, and blowing spirit walk constantly means you need to be able to engage packs without spirit walk available.

If I had to guess, I'd say the minimum dps is about 40k, and the minimum EHP 150k.  Nothing is set in stone, but I imagine things would be difficult with lower stats than that.  Feel free to give it a try anyways though, maybe I'm wrong!

Pickup Radius

Here's a good visual guide to distance in Diablo 3.  Grave Injustice is only 8 yards by default, and as you can see that's very small. Because of this, you'll definitely want some +pickup radius, ideally around 15 yards or so. This can be done through acquiring 3 items with pickup radius on them, or alternatively you can get Thing of the Deep. That one item will take care of all your grave injustice needs, and is my personal choice. Note: Soul Harvest is 16 yards, so you want at least +8 to get everything within soul harvest.



For reference, my personal stats can be seen here: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/profile/nimblerabit-1903/hero/1733033

Farming Technique

This is a video of me doing keep depths 1 and 2, which should hopefully illustrate the basic technique.  The speed gains aren't absurd, nothing like what a barbarian can achieve, but it was enough to increase my xp/hour by about 5 million.

The idea is to use spirit walk (and horrify if you take the stalker rune) as you're running between packs of mobs.  Once you reach a bunch of trash, start throwing out bears while continuing to move forwards, using soul harvest as you get surrounded to clean everything up.  This should take the majority of the mobs out which will bring spirit walk off cooldown.  Immediately use spirit walk and start running towards more mobs, killing any groups as you go to keep lowering the cooldown.

Variations

This is just one possible build using grave injustice, and none of the skills are really mandatory (besides spirit walk).  I'm sure there are a lot of other good ways to make this work, and I encourage you to experiment.  Find what works for you.

Note: If you have some decent mana regen, or don't find mana to be much of a problem, one thing to consider is removing Firebomb. This lets you have an extra utility spell, and there are a lot of good ones available.

Here are a few skills you might try:


Specifically the Angry Chicken rune, because while you are a chicken you gain +15% movespeed. This effect isn't listed on the skill, but trust me, it's there. If you combine Angry Chicken with Stalker you can get bursts of +35% movement speed total. There is a video of this combination in action Mawt's guide below, check it out.


Rune of choice for higher Monster Power farming. Obviously you'll need to swap in Zombie Dogs as well, but it is worth the switch in order to pick up Sacrifice. You can use the Final Gift rune on dogs for some nice synergy with gruesome feast, and +mana rune (Pride) for sacrifice. Using Pride is very useful for filling up any time you run out of mana which is especially useful while running in groups or doing higher MP levels. The damage is also quite nice, not to mention the dogs home in for you making it effortless (and fun) to use.

Elites can sometimes take up a lot of time, especially with annoying affixes like shielding, extra health, or reflect damage.  Big Bad Voodoo would help take those pesky elites down, and grave injustice would help with that insane cooldown.  Slam Dance would be my choice, but if you don't have much mana regeneration then Rain Dance would work as well.  Rain Dance is also a good choice for grouping since mana is a bigger problem in groups.


The nice thing about mass confusion is that it reduces some of the incoming damage, and also helps hold ranged elites in place when they would otherwise be annoying and run around. On top of that it increases your damage output by making some of the mobs help, and making you do 20% extra damage if you use Paranoia.

This can be taken instead of zombie bears, or even in addition to bears.  I messed around with using both zombie bears and acid cloud for a while, mostly due to acid rain's ability to clear trash mobs extremely quickly.  I'll sometimes find myself slowed down while I spam bears at everything, but acid rain can handle that sort of situation no problem.  Eventually I switched to using ghost bomb instead (I was running no primary), but this is definitely a skill to consider.

Witch Doctor Resources

Index to Witch Doctor Builds and Guides - Sticky thread on the WD forums that has tons of links to witch doctor builds, item guides, etc. Should have everything listed here and more.

Other Recommended Guides

Recount's Budget Build Guide - Variation of this build, with lots of good information for newer WD's and WD's on a budget.
Pride / Bear - Very similar to this build, uses sacrifice to help with mana problems at higher MP levels. This is my current recommendation for tweaking the build for high MP levels.
Mawts 1.0.4 Witch PROCtor Build - Uses many of the same concepts as this guide, but utilizes acid cloud + bleed for damage.  An interesting concept. He also has a video showing the use of angry chicken + stalker for tons of movement speed.
The Zapp Brannigan Build - A zombie dog sacrifice build, including video demonstrating how it works.  Looks like a ton of fun, and it seems pretty effective too.

Miscellaneous

Pet Guide - A good explanation of how pets work post 1.0.4, and general tips for using pets.
Proc Coefficients - How effective each skill is for life on hit, bleed, or CC procs.
Grave Injustice/Bears Thread - Pretty good discussion on reddit regarding GI/Bears builds.  There are a lot of people linking their profiles here if you're looking to see the stats of other witch doctors running similar builds.

Changelog

09/05/2012
- Switched Zombie Dogs for Gargantuan.  After a lot of testing, I've decided that gargantuan works better with the build, but I plan to put zombie dogs (and sacrifice for +mana) into the variations section.
03/02/2013
- Added Hex to variation section, angry chicken is awesome.
- Moved Sacrifice up higher due to it's usefulness in keeping up mana at high MP levels.
- Switched Frightening Aspect for Stalker in the main build since that's all I use anymore.
- Added a couple of links to the Resources section (the new Builds and Guides index is especially great).
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