Here is a WD build that I've been "working" on since returning to the game after 2.0.1. It has served me well ever since and I thought I should share it with you. Maybe you find it helpful or maybe you have some suggestions or ideas for improvement.
- Poison damage, whenever possible. This is just for make "+Poison damage" as effective as possible.
- As many snares as possible to help control large packs of mobs.
- Very good AoE damage.
- I wouldn't say "tanky", but able to take some hits.
- Fun to play, without "gimmicks" and cumbersome skills.
- Good for single player.
- I never liked glass cannon builds, so I'm probably inclined to build tougher characters with somewhat lower damage. You can tweak the skills/stats balance to suit your play style, what is presented here is tweaked to fit mine. Most of the times you won't need all the defensive options this build has, but when you run into a pack of particularly tough elites you'll be happy to have them.
- This pretty much disqualifies Zombie Bears, which I always found very annoying to use due to its awkward targeting.
- In multiplayer games you don't need to many snares and pets to keep stuff off your back. There will always be some poor barbarian to happily get hit in the face for you, so you could remove some defensive skills in favor of more offensive ones. Hence, why this build ain't that good in multiplayer. It works, but it's not optimized for it, not even by a long shot.
- Can handle very large packs of mobs very easily.
- Doesn't depend on particular legendary effects, although some help a lot.
- Skill dependent (both player skill and selection of character skills), rather than gear dependent.
- Good survivability, probably would do well in HC (don't like HC myself so haven't tried it).
- Good for people trying to progress through the game's difficulty settings.
Not much to write here. Most of the weaknesses you might perceive come from the gear that you have, the build pretty much adds just:
- Not the most effective at killing large single targets, like bosses.
- Not the highest damage around.
- Might struggle in multiplayer, if the difficulty is high enough.
Here is a screen-shot of my skills window and some thoughts bellow:
"Plague of Toads" with "Rain of Toads" rune. It's an AoE, it's poison damage and it's targeted damage. The damage it does ranges from fine to great, depending on how many mobs you managed to pack together. Use this whenever you're out of mana or to trigger VQ.
- "Plague of Toads" with "Addling Toads". From my experience, this rune requires "Rhen'ho Flayer" to be effective. Even so, it trades raw damage for additional control, so only an option to consider if you find yourself having issues progressing.
The targeting of this skill is, in my opinion, bugged. It can hit "over" walls (hint: includes "waller" walls) or any other obstacle, basically "if you see it, you can hit it", anywhere on the screen. Abuse it as much as you can.
"Acid Cloud" with "Acid Rain" rune. It's poison damage, it's an AoE and it hits like a truck. This skill works brilliantly with the snares, keeping the mobs inside the "blast" zone for the secondary effect to really be effective. The weakness of this skill is obvious, stuff that moves a lot and can't be snared will not take the most amount of damage from it. The increase in range if great for AoE damage and it opens the possibility of hitting mobs that are slightly out of screen, busy engaging your distractions.
- "Acid Cloud" with "Corpse Bomb". More direct damage, less vulnerable to fast moving mobs. In my opinion, not worth it, but definitely a viable option if you're OK with trading some damage potential.
- "Acid Cloud" with "Slow Burn". More "over time" damage. Of all the options this has the most damage potential, but it is also the most likely not to be able to achieve it. A viable option which can work brilliantly most of the time, but also fail you occasionally.
- Again, the targeting of this is skill is, in my opinion, either bugged or poorly designed. If "Plague of Toads" is able to hit anywhere, with no regard to obstacles on the way, this one is ridiculously sensitive to any bump on the way. Basically, as far as I can tell, it needs a clear "walking" path to the target. Anything on the way, even a hole in the terrain - which one might thing a "rain" ability can ignore, will cause it to hit near the obstacle. Annoying, but not as bad as "Zombie Bears".
- "Spirit Walk" with "Jaunt" rune. Not much to say here, I find it hard to imagine a WD build without "Spirit Walk", it is the ultimate "Oh Shit" button and will save your skin numerous times.
- "Spirit Walk" with "Honored Guest" rune. I imagine by now people will be yelling at me that "Honored Guest" is the better rune to have and they would probably be right. There are some scenarios where "Jaunt" is better, but most of the times "Honored Guest" is far more useful. Pick the one you like more.
- "Piranhas" with "Frozen Piranhas" rune. I'm on the fence about this one. For the longest time I used "Grasp of the Dead" and was fine with it. Then "Piranhas" came along and the "15% more damage" was too hard to resist. The problem I have with this skill is the mana cost, which is too high and will reduce the number of times you can use the nuke. Can be somewhat mitigated by the "Creeping Death" passive, but a passive slot is too precious to use to buff just one ability. Anyway, you will most likely find yourself unable to use this skill due to lack of mana when the need is most dire, which means you will have to rely more on "Wall of Zombies".
- "Grasp of the Dead" with "Unbreakable Grasp" rune. Same thing, but without the damage buff and lower mana cost.
- "Grasp of the Dead" with "Groping Eels" rune. I don't like this one, as it has no utility, just AoE damage. AoE damage we have plenty in this build and much better, so I don't grade this rune very high. Still, if you want something to increase the damage of the build, this might be a good choice.
- "Wall of Zombies" with "Wrecking Crew" rune. This is basically an AoE taunt. Drop it on top of some mobs and they'll be distracted for a while. Use the time to do damage, reposition yourself, use "Soul Harvest" safely ... whatever you need to do, this skill will give you some breathing space to do it. At 8 secs CD and no mana cost, this is your primary defense when anything tries to get to you or when you need to keep the mobs in one place. Does damage as well, what more can you ask for?
- "Wall of Zombies" with "Unrelenting Grip" rune. Turns the taunt into a snare, which in my opinion is a worse effect.
- "Soul Harvest" with "Languish" rune. Awesome buff on a reasonably short CD, you want to have this up all the time and with as many stacks as possible. Don't risk your skin for it, just go in when the mobs are taunted or otherwise distracted. The rune adds a snare component which I use to deal with mobs that teleport near me.
- "Soul Harvest" with "Swallow Your Soul" rune. I would probably use this over "Languish", if it wasn't for the CD of this skill. Still, a viable option I think.
- "Soul Harvest" with "Vengeful Spirit" rune. Same as before, this removes utility and adds damage. We have better ways to do damage.
- "Big Bad Voodoo" with any rune. I'm not a big fan of large CD's and this one is as large as it gets. Great for multiplayer, but not as great for single play.
- "Fetish Army" with any rune. Again, large CD makes me grade this low. Occasionally, it's fun though to have an army around
- "Fetish Sycophants". I simply love this passive. Since both main attacks have a chance to trigger it, you will likely have 4-5 of these little dudes around most of time. After 2.0.1 they actually do decent damage, but most important is that they cause a lot of chaos. Mobs will target them, both directly and with effects, and they're good at soaking hit, so they act like mini-tanks for you. Troubles with Diablo? Have a little dude tank him while you unload everything you have on him unmolested. Awesome passive, vital to the build and totally irreplaceable.
(fine, it is replaceable ... but you will lose a lot of you replace it).
- "Vision Quest". Simple math: "Acid Cloud" = damage. More mana = more "Acid Cloud". Hence, more mana = more damage. Seriously now, this is your main mana recharger. If you have decent mana regeneration (and you should), this is irreplaceable.
- "Pierce the Veil". Not much to say about it, more damage for increased mana costs. Considering that two of your other passives are aimed at recharging your mana, you should take this.
- "Grave Injustice". Has two components, one gives you mana back, one reduces CD's. The first is awesome for us, the later is OK-ish. This build doesn't have long CD's, so the benefit from the CD reduction is limited. Still, can be helpful and frankly there isn't a better passive to take in its place.
Thoughts on other passives:
- "Jungle Fortitude". I always considered this passive to be tailored for pet builds. This build makes you so hard to hit that I don't see the point in taking this passive. If you find yourself struggling to the point where you're considering it ... you're probably trying a difficulty setting too high for your current gear.
- "Spiritual Attunement". This sounds fine really and might be a worthy replacement for "Grave Injustice". Haven't experimented with it though, so dunno.
- "Gruesome Feast". Strong passive, but situational. Not to my liking.
- "Bad Medicine". Everything I wrote for "Jungle Fortitude" applies to this as well.
- "Blood Ritual". Same as with "Spiritual Attunement", needs some experimenting.
- "Creeping Death". Only buffs one skill, but reduces the strain on your mana pool. If there weren't other reasons to re-cast "Piranhas" I might consider this, but you will still need to cast it when new mobs get drawn into the fight (you want large crowds of mobs to get the most out of your AoE's, so dragging more mobs in is something you want to do), which makes this situational.
- "Physical Attunement". You shouldn't get hit all that much, so ... nope.
On your items you want Intelligence and Vitality together.
When you try to figure out if X is better than Y, consider that:
- you need high resistances (at least 75%)
- you need max +walking speed (use Paragon points to compensate for what you're lacking from gear)
- you need as much HP/s as you can get without gimping your other stats
- decent mana regen
Stats to look for:
- + Poison Damage (basically, if an item can roll this stat, you need to have it. Do a search, there is a list about that around.)
- + "Plague of Toads" or "Acid Cloud" damage (basically, if an item can roll this stat, you need to have it. Do a search, there is a list about that around.)
- Critical damage chance and + Critical damage bonus
Nice to have:
- reduced resource cost
For this build, the best choice is the Enchantress. Her abilities:
- "Charm" vs "Forceful Push". Take the first, it adds another tank to your army. "Forceful Push" has a tendency to break packs of mobs apart and you don't want that with an AoE heavy build.
- "Missile Ward" vs "Powered Armor". Neither is particularly good .. I usually pick the second.
- "Disorient" vs "Erosion". Both fit the theme of the build, but I found "Disorient" to be far more useful.
- "Focused Mind" vs "Mass Control". Hmm, an ability called "Mass Control" in a build that is tailored to give you as much control as possible? Hell, yeah. (Side question here, do the chickens take extra damage?)
Basically, she dies .. a lot. When she's not dead she might cast something useful. If you're lucky she might not cast everything she has on a single mob and have everything on CD when you engage the next, large, pack of mobs.
Use these to compensate for what you're lacking from gear. Walking speed, elemental resistance, etc.
CoreWalking speed until you're capped. Intelligence after.
OffenseCritical Hit Damage.
DefenseResist All or Life as a temp solution if you're very low on either. Life regen after that.
UtilityResource Cost Reduction.
The ideal situation you want to be in with this build is when you have a very large pack of mobs bunched together. This is where both your main attacks can do the most damage. Start with "Piranhas" to slow and debuff the mobs, place "Wall of Zombies" to keep them occupied and dump your mana with "Acid Cloud". When your mana is gone use "Plague of Toads" to continue doing some damage, trigger VQ and "Fetish Sycophants". When you have mana again judge if it's worth it to recast "Piranhas" or just spam "Acid Cloud". At all times, drop "Wall of Zombies" on CD to keep you safe. Judge when it is safe to use "Soul Harvest" and go for it.
Regarding positioning, if it's safe, you want to be in mid range of your victims to take advantage of "Grave Injustice". With the taunt up, you can safely stay even in the middle of the action, if it is useful at that moment (e.g. avoid mortar mobs). Use max range only for packs that give you trouble otherwise.
Some legendaries are buffed up rares, but some has effects that can dramatically affect your build and gameplay. Sadly, at level 70, I haven't found such an item yet. At 60, I had three of them and I'll list the effect here so you know what to look for:
- "The Ess of Johan". Without a doubt, the most powerful effect I've seen so far. It will suck all the mobs in an area in one place. Ideal for AoE and also very good from keeping stuff off your back. Decent proc rate.
- "The Grin Reaper". Turns you into a skellie and summons two (was it two?) additional skellies that cast the same spells you have on your bars. The spells don't do any damage, but any snare effect will work. Decent proc rate.
- "Thunderfury, Blased Blade of the Windseeker". Very high proc rate. When it triggers it will snare whatever it hits. Awesome! Side effect, it can hit stuff that is not even inside your screen, so it will trigger more mobs that you might be able to handle and goblins before you are ready to engage them.