Witch Doctor 1.0.8+ Pet Guide

Witch Doctor 1.0.8+ Pet Guide submitted by Peter.

Basic Information
This section contains the basic information needed for beginners to understand pets and to form their own builds.

Pet Features
  • Zombie Dogs and Gargantuan have passive Life Regeneration
  • Zombie Dogs and Gargantuan only take 10% from most aoe effects like Plagued, Frozen, Mortar and certain boss abilities.
  • Zombie Dogs and Gargantuan have Force Armor, which caps their damage taken. (See the Advanced Information below for more information.)

Stat Priority
Note: This section is not conclusive and is still subject to theorycrafting. Numbers provided are rough estimates.

Stat Priority for Defense

1. Armor/Resistance: Aim for good amounts to reduce damage, maybe 7000 armor and 700 resistances, or other variations such as 6000 armor and 800 resistances.

2. Vitality/Life %: Aim for 25,000 to 30,000 player life.

3. Life Regeneration: Aim for decent amount to heal your pets, about 1500 to 2000. The more damage reduction you have from armor and resistances, the less you need.

Stat Priority for Offense

1. Intelligence: Aim for 17,000 damage. Also boosts your resistances.

Since 1.0.4, pets are currently more durable than you, thanks to their Force Armor. However, due to the nerf to CC procs, more mobs are now going after you. Bosses who used to be stunlocked to death, will now use their abilities more often. You will take more damage, and you will die more often than your pets.

This means that this time, more effort should be done to keep YOU alive instead of your pets.

Vitality is now a more important stat, primarily for you. Pets also benefit from Vitality.
Armor and Resistances are still important, but not that important due to diminishing returns at high levels. Armor and Resistances can be lowered to make way for Vitality.

Life Regeneration is still the only stat that heals your pets.
Others stats like Life on Hit and Life Steal may be a better stat to keep you alive than Life Regeneration, but we don't know and this needs to be investigated.

The idea is to get just enough survivability to keep you and your pets alive, then focus on getting as much dps as possible for faster farming.

Advanced Information
This section contains more advanced information for extra reading.

Table of Contents
  • Force Armor
  • Inferno Boss Strategies
  • Diablo

Force Armor
Patch 1.0.4 gave Witch Doctor pets a buff called Force Armor.

What it does is it caps the damage taken by your pet at 10,000 in a single hit. This means that even if a monster does 100,000 damage or 1,000,000 damage, your pet will only receive at most 10,000 damage. This damage can be further reduced by your armor and resistances.

Formula for Force Armor
Maximum Damage Taken = 10,000 base damage x (1-Damage Reduction % from Armor) x (1-Damage Reduction % from Resistances)

Example 1 (using numbers from 1.0.4 Preview)

Damage Reduction from Armor: 45%
Damage Reduction from Resistances: 30%

Maximum Damage Taken by a pet = 10,000 x 0.55 x 0.7 = 3850

Example 2 (using my stats as of patch day)
Damage Reduction From Armor: 70.58%
Damage Reduction From Resistances: 74.78%

Maximum Damage Taken by a pet = 10,000 x 0.2942 x 0.2522 = 741.97

As you can see, for someone like me who dedicates his gear to make pets strong, they will only receive at most 742 damage.
For a lazy Witch Doctor that half-heartedly pays attention to his armor and resistances, his pets take 3850 damage per hit.

Force Armor Problems
Despite the good news of Force Armor, there are some problems with it.
  • It is not perfect. Some enemies like the Mallet Lord in Act 4 demolish Zombie Dogs, yet only dent the Gargantuan. Others like the exploding goblins in Act 3 will demolish both pets. Force Armor is also not as effective against certain damage-over-time spells such as breaths.
  • There is a bug where if you do not have the Zombie Dog Skill on your Skill Bar, any zombie dogs that you get through other means (e.g. Circle of Life) will not have Force Armor or Life Scaling.

Inferno Boss Strategies

Sample Build
  • Stats
  • Armor: 6000
  • Damage: 17000
  • Resistances: ~850
  • Maximum Life: 26000
  • Life Regeneration: 2000
  • Build Linkhttp://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/witch-doctor#WhUXYT!eag!bcabYc 
  • Skills
  • Plague of Toads (Rain of Toads): Good long-range damage spell that can pass over obstacles like Waller walls Alternative: Sometimes I use Firebomb - Roll the Bones instead.
  • Locust Swarm (Searing Locusts): Strong offensive spell for packs of monsters and certain boss fights. Intended not for Diablo, but for a universal build that can handle all situations. Another strong right click skill is Acid Cloud - Lob Blob Bomb.  Patch 1.0.8 Update: In patch 1.0.8 Fire Bats- Plague Bats deals a lot more damage than before and can be a great secondary mouse skill to use.
  • Spirit Walk (Jaunt): Almost mandatory skill for Witch Doctors to avoid death.
  • Horrify (Face of Death): Defensive spell used to keep packs of monsters away. Intended not for Diablo, but for a universal build that can handle all situations.
  • Summon Zombie Dogs (Burning Dogs): Burning Dogs aoe intended to grab aggro off monsters rather than bosses.
  • Gargantuan (Bruiser): Bruiser has a strong single-target damage. Stun also helps interrupt Diablo.
  • Passive Skills
  • Spirit Vessel: Much needed cushion to avoid death since you are more squishy than your pets. Also reduces the cooldown of Spirit Walk and Horrify.
  • Jungle Fortitude: Picked over Zombie Handler because you also benefit from Jungle Fortitude's 20% damage reduction, but Zombie Handler only benefits your pets.
  • Fierce Loyalty: Needed to heal your pets through Life Regeneration.

This sample build should allow you to defeat Diablo quite comfortably, thanks to high defenses and Spirit Vessel to save you from death once every minute. Most of Diablo's attacks will barely dent your pets and you should survive one or two hits.

Only 3 things will kill your pets during the Diablo fight.
  • The Flame Circle on the ground that damages your pets if they stay in it.
  • Your clone in the Realm of Terror.
  • The Chain Lightning Hose in the last phase.

With the amount of life and damage reduction, your pets cannot survive the Flame Circle. However, they can reduce enough damage so that if you quickly Spirit Walk away, your pets will respawn away from it and survive.

Use a combination of Spirit Walk and resummoning your pets in order to keep pets up most of the time.

Diablo will cast 6 Bone Prisons if not interrupted with CC like stun or freeze. Be careful with them, and use Spirit Walk if you must. The Spirit Vessel passive skill is a nice cushion to avoid death if you are careless.

For the clone in the Realm of Terror, it depends on what skills he use. Use Horrify to keep him off balance and kill him ASAP. Resummon your dead pets if needed.

For the final phase, Diablo will cast more than one Flame Circle at a time, cast Bone Prison quickly, and will also use the Chain Lightning. Again, use Spirit Walk and resummoning pets to keep your pets alive. Everything will be more hectic, so be alert.