The Zero Dogs Witch Doctor

The Zero Dogs Witch Doctor is one of the most unique builds in the game. It is one of the few builds only made possible by specific Legendary items, the few Legendary items that Blizzard actually succeeded in making into build changers. The basic idea is to reduce the cooldown of Summon Zombie Dogs to 0 with these items, and then leverage that to be able to spam the Sacrifice skill constantly for massive area damage.

Strengths

  • Great area damage capability
  • Feels like you’re breaking the rules of the game but it’s allowed and intended

Weaknesses

  • Gear dependent: Requires specific Legendaries with a specific affix and high rolls on them. Also requires a great defensive stats to survive being in melee.
  • Not the best single target damage

Skills

Mouse Left Click – Summon Zombie Dogs (Final Gift)

Summon Zombie Dogs is the fuel for this build. Unlike most Witch Doctor builds, Mana is not really the resource. It is Zombie Dogs that fuels your damage. The mana cost is so small, your Mana pool will pretty much always be full. But you need Zombie Dogs for Sacrifice to explode. With the right items you can get Summon Zombie Dogs to have a 0 second cooldown for endless resummons. Final Gift is the only rune that works well with Sacrifice. Each Zombie Dog destroyed might drop a Health Globe to keep you alive.

Mouse Right Click – Sacrifice (For the Master)

Here it is: the core damage skill. Literally, all your damage comes from this skill. It explodes all of your Zombie Dogs for high damage in a pretty good-sized area around them. Sacrifice does not have any Mana cost to worry about. Just Sacrifice and resummon constantly. Now, the damage from each dog sacrificed can stack on the same monster, but usually when fighting groups of monsters each monster will only be hit by around 2, not all of them. Also, even against bosses that get hit by all of them, Firebats will do more damage. Sacrifice is more interesting though. Just like Summon Zombie Dogs we take a rune that refills Life: For the Master.

Keyboard 1 – Soul Harvest (Soul to Waste)

Soul Harvest is a good damage buffing skill. Rather than a flat percentage bonus it boosts Intelligence. The percentage that it increases your damage is based on your current Intelligence number, but on average it’s around a 25% bonus. At low levels, it can potentially double your Intelligence, but it’s usually much lower at higher levels when you have been stacking Intelligence (as all Witch Doctors should). Soul Harvest is annoying to refresh. The Soul to Waste rune is just for utility to double the duration, halving the times you have to refresh it.

Keyboard 2 – Big Bad Voodoo (Slam Dance)

Big Bad Voodoo is another buffing skill, with a nice 30% damage bonus from the Slam Dance rune. The base skill gives 20% attack speed, which speeds up the casting animations of your Summon Zombie Dogs and Sacrifice. Because of the long cooldown, save this one for fighting Elites and Bosses. Big Bad Voodoo is cast on the ground, so be sure to be standing in it when fighting. You can use Spirit Walk to help stay inside the radius.

Keyboard 3 – Mass Confusion (Paranoia)

Mass Confusion with the Paranoia rune adds a further 20% damage bonus. It has a shorter cooldown than Big Bad Voodoo, so you can use it as you want. Just try to make sure as many monsters will be affected as possible. This is the weaker of the 3 damage buffs because it only affects monsters that are inside the radius during the cast. It’s pretty good against Elite monsters, but weak against normal monsters that go down fast.

Keyboard 4 – Spirit Walk (Jaunt)

Spirit Walk helps keep you alive when lots of environmental hazards are around. The Jaunt rune can help by allowing you to run around and pick up Health Globes in the safety of the spirit realm. This helps a lot with keeping up the Gruesome Feast Intelligence bonus (read below). It also is a really nice efficiency skill. You get +50% movement speed for the duration.

Passive 1 – Zombie Handler

The important part here is the extra Zombie Dog. That additional summon is basically 33% more damage when fighting single targets. When fighting groups of monsters it basically increases the radius of the explosion, so more monsters will be hit per Sacrifice.

Passive 2 – Gruesome Feast

Gruesome Feast can stack up to 5 times for a 50% Intelligence bonus. It is hard to keep it at that maximum stack though. It seems that each stack has its own 5 second duration. Picking up a Health Globe will not refresh all of the stacks. It’s confusing but it means you can almost never keep 5 stacks up for very long. During battles with Elites, use Spirit Walk as needed to collect Health Globes to keep it around 3 stacks. Sometimes a lot of Health Globes will drop at once for you to get 5 stacks, but usually you won’t be able to maintain that.

Passive 3 – Tribal Rites

Tribal Rites simply reduces the cooldown of Summon Zombie Dogs. The passive skill won’t do all the work. Three Legendary items are also required to knock off the last few seconds of the cooldown. You can read about those in the Good Stats section below.

Weapon Type

You must use the Homunculus Witch Doctor Mojo. This is a legendary Mojo that reduces the cooldown of Summon Zombie Dogs, more on this in the Good Stats section below. I like to see the big critical hits, so I go with the slowest One Hand weapon I can get my hands on. A faster One Hand weapon should work fine though, as Mana is not an issue in this build.

Good Stats

The key to this build is removing the cooldown on Summon Zombie Dogs, so you can spam it with Sacrifice for massive area damage. Summon Zombie Dogs by default has a 45 second cooldown. The Tribal Rites passive will reduce this to around 34 seconds, and there are a few Legendary items that can reduce this cooldown further:

With perfect rolls on all three of them, they will reduce the cooldown by 37 seconds, but you only need 34 seconds to remove the cooldown entirely. That gives you a little leeway when finding these items. You don’t need absolute perfect rolls but close to perfect. As just one example, all three could be off by 1 second, and you will still make the 34 second requirement.

For general gearing that applies to all characters, check out The Stats You Want in Diablo 3, my quick guide to stats that all characters should have.

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