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Hello everyone,


Welcome to my first Witch Doctor Guide. In this guide I will cover everything you need to know about playing and gearing a WD support in high level Greater Rifts in Patch 2.2.1 (Season 3). Since this Guide is also for beginners I will explain each of my points as good and detailed as I can, so take your time and grab a coffee!

The Group Set-Up


The first important thing to note is, that this is not a stun based support WD. That means we are not using legacy gear or the supp WD version of Dunkelvieh's Guide (check his guide in our "Guides - Witch Doctor" section if you are interested). Because of this you need a Stun Crusader in your group in order to lock down the Rift Guardian. 

Why are you not using a stun WD?




First of all, most people are not having legacy gear, and since its not farmable anymore they simply can't play 0dog.

But not only that. In my opinion a supp WD is actually superior to a stun WD because of several reasons:


- You have way more control over the rift without being dependent on the Crusader. If you are playing a supp WD, the whole rift is basically centered around you. The perma fear + root is the most important mechanic during the rift which means you have to be able to keep control over the mobs at all times if possible. 

- The grouping / stacking of mobs is faster and safer. 

- Since you are in control over the mobs you can take the initiative and be more verbal about the happenings in the rift. This is very important, but I will get to that later.

- If you have a skilled Crusader, he can stunlock the Rift Guardian just as good as a Stun WD can, so this isnt really a loss in most of the cases.

The Gear



To keep it short, I will use this pattern: SLOT - ITEM NAME - STAT PRIORITY (different colours have no meaning)


Helm - Tiklandian Visage - VIT / INT / SOCKET / ARMOR or LIFE%

Amulet - Ess of Johan - CDR / VIT / SOCKET / STR 

Shoulders - Born's Shoulders - CDR / VIT / STR / ALLRES or LIFE%

Chest - Born's Chest - STR / VIT / ARMOR / 3 SOCKETS

Ring 1 - Ring of Royal Grandeur - CDR / ATS / SOCKET / STR

Ring 2 - anything with good stats - CDR / SOCKET / VIT / STR / ... (on Season always use Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac)

Gloves - St. Archew's Gage - CDR / VIT / STR / ALLRES or ARMOR

Bracers - Strongarm Bracers - VIT / STR / ALLRES / ARMOR 

Pants - Captain Crimson Pants - VIT / STR / 3 Sockets / ARMOR

Belt - Belt of Transcendence - VIT / INT / LIFE% / ARMOR or ALLRES

Boots - Captain Crimson Boots - VIT / STR / ALLRES / ARMOR

Weapon - Starmetal Kukri - CDR / VIT / SOCKET / LIFE PER HIT

Offhand - Stormshield - VIT / LIFE% / RED. ELITE DMG / STR (Option 1)

Offhand - Uhkapian Serpent - CDR / VIT / INT / LIFE% (Option 2)

Gems - Gogok of Swiftness, Esoteric AlterationGem of Efficacious Toxin


- Explanation


Ess of Johan? No Xephirian Amulet? Yes. This is intended. As mentioned earlier the big strength of this build is that stacking / gathering mobs is extremely good. And a big part of why it is so good is because of the Ess of Johan. This amulet can be a gift, but it can also be your doom. What it does is, it periodically (ca. every 8s) pulls every mobs within 30 yards together. This is insanely good and you will notice it immediatly if you enter a new room with a lot of mobs. Together with Piranhado you can group mobs in no time, allowing your DPS dealers to melt huge packs right from the get go.


But this amulet also has 2 downsides, which should definitely be mentioned:


- You have no lightning immunity which makes you extremely vulnerable towards electrified packs. But there are options to work around this: Hide behind your pets! Your pets can tank and block the electrified and keep you safe, but you have to know how to position. The second option follows the same principle: Hide behind your Voodoo Totems. Many people (including me until Dunkelvieh told me) don't know that the Voodoo Totems can also block electrified. Since you can spam Voodoo like crazy with CDR + SMK you can basically place a wall of Voodoos in front of you to keep you safe. 


- The EoJ proc works like this: every mob that you hit, has a chance to be the centre of the pull proc, which means that if there is a mob far away from you, it can happen that everything gets pulled onto him, effectively pulling mobs out of your fear range. If this happens on a dangerous elite pack it can screw you over badly. But as always, there are ways to work around this and reduce the likelihood of this to happen by a signifcant amount. Use your Piranhado smart and position acoordingly. Once you stacked mobs with piranhado and maybe a first EoJ proc you will have almost everything grouped. If there are two splitted groups you can slowly "drag" one pack to the other with repeated piranhado casts. Remember, once everything is grouped, the Amulet proc won't screw you anymore, since it can only stack ontop of a mob.


- Conclusion


All in all, using the Ess of Johan needs experience and is definitely harder to play compared to the Xephirian Amulet. But it's also more rewarding and in good rifts definitely the way to go.

However, don't be frustated if you don't get the hang of it immediatly and feel like it's screwing you over more than it helps you. If you are new to support WD i definitely recommend using the Xephirian Amulet until you feel safe enough to give Ess of Johan a try. It took me quite a while to get used to it aswell, but now I wouldn't want to trade it for any other amulet ever again.


On a sidenote: Many people are using the Blackthornes Set, which is a waste in my opinion. The Fetish Belt is extremly good for generating fetishes, especially at the boss which guarantees permanent Voodoo at all times. You would lose 20% CDR by dropping Borns + Crimson Set while in reality it is very easy to play around molten and plagued. The molten trail disappears after a few seconds of fearing the mobs, which makes it a non issue. Plagued CAN be annoying if it gets casted (which almost never happens), but I have yet to experience a situation where it wasn't possible to change your position to a safe place. CDR is important in this spec in order to use Piranhado whenever you need to to maintain control over the rift and grouping mobs in the spots you want them to be. Don't use it.

The Skills





- Spirit Walk (Jaunt) : Your mobility & survivability tool.

- Horrify (Face of Death) : The skill that turns everything except the Rift Guardian into a statue. Lame but OP!

- Big Bad Voodoo (Slam Dance) : very strong buff, permanent uptime due to Starmetal Kukri. 

- Haunt (Poisoned Spirit) : Solid Debuff, procs Cull of the weak & Bane of the Trapped, also your Fetish generator

- Piranhas (Piranhado) : Your bread and butter in terms of grouping mobs, together with Ess of Johan

- Summon Zombie Dogs ( Chilled to the Bone) : Solid debuff, especially vs Rift guardian, procs CotW & BotT - Use Uhkapian Serpet if you use this (Option 1)

- Mass Confusion (Paranoia) : Solid debuff, especially vs a lot of mobs - Use Storm Shield if you use this (Option 2)



- Spirit Vessel : Second life passive? Yes, please

- Grave Injustive : the Witch Doctor's unique CDR passive, very useful

- Creeping Death : Permanent Piranhado + Haunt debuff

- Rush of Essence : unlimited mana -> Spammable Haunt & Piranhado



- Core : Movementspeed until 25% -> Vitality

- Offensive : CDR -> Attackspeed -> ...

- Defensive : Armor -> All Resistance -> Life% -> Lifereg

- Utility : Resource Cost Reduction -> Life on Hit -> ...

The Playstyle



There are a few things I will write down here, but in the end the most important factor is: Experience. Play a lot with your Teammates and you will learn all the small and big tricks when playing a WD on your own. However, here are some general things you should always take care off:


Be Vocal. 

This is underrated. Talk. Talk a lot. Talk all the time. The biggest mistake a support can make is to not communicate enough. You are the leader of the group. It is your (and the Crusader's) responsibility to delegate your DPS dealers. If they die because they stood in an area that wasn't safe and you didn't tell them it is your fault. Tell them where to go, where they are safe. Tell them to back off if you feel like you can't get control in a certain area. Tell them to change their angle to shoot more effectively (remember that DPS classes only see half of the things you do, since they are further away most of the time). Tell them when to skip, tell them when to stop skipping. You and the Crusader have the most information on the screen, you have the most control. So open your mouth and don't close it until the rift is over.


- Accept a defeat.

Sometimes you encounter situations where it is impossible to get control over. The density is too high, which means you cant group the dangerous mobs together, elite packs are split and the crusader cant pull them, the area has to many corners and is too small etc. One mistake that many people, even in experienced groups, do is: Overstaying and trying to get control over a situation that cannot be controlled. 

Once you realized you are in a situation like this you have two options: 

- You back off, and let the mobs come to you. Often times you can aggro them into a better area where its way easier to regain control. Let them come to you, and once you think they are in a good spot you go in and lock them down.

- You skip right away. If you think you can't control a certain area, you make the call to skip right away. This, again, takes experience because you need to calculate if its possible to fight there or not. This is especially tough if you can't get control over an area because of too much density. We all know those situations where we kept dying 3, 4, 5 times until we realized: "Okay, this is impossible.". And ended up having to skip anyway, or leaving the rift right away. 


- General approach when encountering a new room / an elite pack

The first thing you do if you enter a room: you piranhado to stack as much mobs as u can, check if the area is safe, and tell your DHs where to go. Sounds simple right? It is. The mechanical component when playing a supp WD is really not hard to master, its the decision making and positioning that takes time. Also, don't make the mistake of always rushing straight into an area. A lot of times it's even better if u stay at the entrance of a big area and aggro the mobs so they come to you and let them get stuck in a chokehold. Once the Ess of Johan stacked everything u can basically afk and grab a coffee until the pack is cleared and move on.

If you meet an elitepack and its aggroed the first priority is to rush to the pack and keep it controlled. The Crusader has to take care of the skipped mobs and getting them to your pack, but if you see an elite pack, you go there. No hesitation. Elites can screw you over, trash packs can't.

Final Words

Alright, I hope I covered the basics of Playstyle & Gear and that you guys liked it.
Again, the most important thing is: experience. The more you play on supp WD the better you will get.


Regards, VoiD | GaiA