Sunday, 26 August 2012

Witch Doctor: The Zapp Brannigan build

This build is all about using the new legendaries to send wave after wave of your own men (dogs) at the problem. I first saw it in this post on d2jsp but have since improved it.
tldr: my build | my gear
The goal is to reduce the cooldown of zombie dogs as low as possible and then spam sacrifice constantly for huge AoE damage and lots of healing. The base skill is 45 seconds. Tribal rites takes it down by 11 seconds to 34. Homunculus reduces it by up to 20. Helms have ZD reduction by up to 9 seconds. Several legendary bits of jewelry can spawn ZD cooldown of up to 8 seconds (Stone of JordanMara's KaleidoscopeSkull Grasp).
This can put the cooldown of zombie dogs at 0 seconds. With less than perfect gear, <10 seconds is easy, but you get drastic improvements in your DPS as you approach your casting speed limit (probably 1-3 seconds). The jewelry is definitely the hardest stuff to find - there are only 2 or 3 zombie dogs legendary rings/amulets on the AH at any given time. The build works without the jewelry if you have good rolls on your other gear, but having the jewelry bumps it into ultimate godmode and gives you more flexibility. I'll do the cheap version first. This can be achieved with about 2-15M, but will vary strongly depending on the price of legendaries.
  • Summon Zombie Dogs - Final Gift: This rune spawns loads of health globes. You get on average 6-8 dogs per dogs cooldown total, so roughly 1 globe per 5-7 second cycle. In my opinion this is the clear choice for the rune, but others are good if you have very high DPS.
  • Sacrifice - Next of kin: This heart of the build, and definitely the best way to get more dogs. Until you get super low dogs cooldown, none of the other runes even approach next of kin.
  • Grasp of the Dead - Death is Life: Good crowd control and a chance at more dogs/globes.
  • Mass Confusion - Devolution: 50% chance of dogs from enemy deaths in the radius, plus good crowd control. Also benefits from tribal rites, so has a 45 second cooldown.
  • Gargantuan - Restless Giant: Garg benefits from the same passives as dogs, and also has its cooldown lowered by homunculus. Restless Giant is the clear choice because you have a 25-35 second garg cooldown. Every time restless giant wears off, recast and it'll come right back. That's 50-60% garg buff uptime.
  • 6th slot: optional, but I like a DPS mana dump like direbats or acid cloud. Bears is a bit too mana intensive. If you struggle with mana, a primary like darts/firebomb is good here. Spirit walk is also an option to play it safer.
  • Passives: Tribal Rites, Zombie handler - non negotiable. Tribal rites drops all your important cooldowns, and zombie handler gives you extra dogs and health. Circle of life gives you extra dogs when enemies die.
  • Overall: You have on average 6 dogs per cast of zombie dogs, plus whatever you get from circle of life, devolution, and death is life. This is a maximum of 70% chance (effectively) to get a dog on enemy death if they're in the radius of both confuse and grasp. Additionally, you get a health globe every 3-5 seconds on average, which takes you up to full if you've been stacking health globes right.
  • Homunculus 1.04 - you NEED one of these. ZD cooldown goes up to 20. Don't buy lower than 16 or 17. 19 or 20 is far far better. Every second counts.
  • 6-9 second cooldown helm. These can be rare and are pretty cheap, but they get more expensive if you want good WD stats or a socket. Good legendaries are the Visage of Giyua or the Zunimassa's helm (legacy or 1.04).
  • Last Breath 1.04 MH: This is definitely optional, but the 15 second reduction on mass confusion is very nice, and it also has good regen and WD stats.
  • Important stats on other slots: Pickup radius, health globes, life/vit, int, AR/armor, in that order. Try to get 30-40+ pickup to maximize circle of life. Get +20-40k on health globes - a sorely undervalued stat. Since you want a huge health pool to buff your pets anyway, globes become a great way to heal. At 50k hp and 35k globes, every globe heals you to full.
Int buffs damage, but don't worry too much about on screen dps. Even 10k unbuffed isn't terrible. AR/armor aren't super important, but they make you and your pets tougher so why not.
Godmode build in the next post.