Witch Doctor is in Bad Shape

Just like the title says: Witch Doctor is in bad shape.

There are 400 possible spots to fill in the top 100 4-person groups for each Era or Season (4 people per group * 100 clears). WD currently occupies 0 of those 400 spots in Era 17, and 5 out of 400 in Season 27.

This is not some aberration confined to only this Season or Era- it has been going on for a while. In the last seven Seasons combined, WD has filled 8 of the total possible 2800 spots. The Season before that (20) was a bright spot for the class, when Mundunugu filled 99 of the possible 400 spots. But in the eight Seasons before that (12-19), WD filled 0 of the 3200 available spots. And in non-season 4-person groups, from Eras 9-17, WD has filled only 72 of the 3600 possible spots.

In solo clears, WD has essentially been bad forever, which was something I explored and discussed quite a lot about a year ago, in this thread.

The past year has not been any kinder: WD had 1 spot in the solo top 100 in Era 15, 1 spot in Era 16, and 0 (so far) in Era 17. The same thing holds true in the current season (27), where, of course, Bell Monk is extraordinarily powerful, and the current top WD clear would come in at 1819th place on the Monk board alone. In terms of overall solo clear potential without Season themes, WD’s strongest build is Arachyr, roughly the 14th strongest build in the game.

In groups, things were not always this bad. In fact, Witch Doctor was once one of this game’s most dominant classes in groups, filling 996 out of a possible 4400 spots (about 23%) in Seasons 1-11, and 886 out of a possible 3200 (about 28%) in Eras 1-8.

So… what the hell happened?

Well, it sure looks like: Necromancer happened.

Before this 7th class was released, in Era 8 / Season 11, Witch Doctor accounted for 22.4% of groups in Seasons, and 28.0% of groups in Eras. After Necromancer, those numbers are reduced to 3.0% and 4.3%, respectively. In comparison, Necro, since its release, makes up 21.2% of groups in Seasons and 14.9% of groups in Eras. Blizzard has basically put the spotlight on Necromancer, while turning out the lights and locking the door on Witch Doctor. It sort of seems as though they essentially view the one class as a replacement for the other.

Before we start in on yet another round of “Class Warfare, a’ la Diablo”, let me make it clear: none of this is the fault of Necromancer players. Blizzard devs always have been, and always will be, the ones who set the balance.

To round things out, let me mention that WD is also not very good at any non-pushing-GR activities, like running keys or bounties, or Solo XP. The highest mark they get in any of those categories is a Maxroll A-tier rating for bounties for Mundunugu Spirit Barrage- behind 9 builds belonging to other classes.

The bottom line is: Witch Doctor is a class that is not in the top rank for any part of this game. And the last time the class was in that top rank, in any way, was Season 20, which ended in June 2020- about two and a half years ago now.

I am certainly aware that it is not the only class that has serious issues at the current moment. Demon Hunter has 5 of its 6 sets in B or C tier, with LoD DH and Unhallowed being 2 of the 5 weakest sets in the entire game. Crusader has had 1 clear in the solo top 100 over the past 3 Eras combined, and has also been completely shut out of top 100 groups over the past two Seasons. Over the long haul, in fact, Crusader is the worst-performing class in groups, making up only 6.2% of groups in Seasons 1-27 and 10.9% of groups in Eras 1-17.

But, even compared to these troubles, Witch Doctor really takes the cake. No other class has been so overmatched, in so many ways, for so long.

I think that’s quite unfortunate. It’s a class with some fun and very distinct builds, and great aesthetics. And there is really no reason that the class has to underperform to such a degree.

Here is a spreadsheet showing the breakdown of spots filled in top-100 4-person groups for all Seasons and Eras:

And here is an updated version of my “top 100 solo clears for class+era”, now showing Eras 15-17. Note that for these 3 most recent Eras, I used “Adjusted Clear” for the data. This is partly because this is a more useful metric of actual power than the base leaderboard, but also because Maxroll has changed the way its “Ranks” page is displayed, and now does not show cross-class comparison of clears.


At this point, WD just needs a numbers buff to gear.

The play styles are significantly different from each other that if you tried to play Jade the same way you played Mundu SB, you wouldn’t get very far. I like the varying play styles across sets.

I just wish the other builds did as much damage as Arachyr spiders.

I do miss Firebats build, HT Garg and Zuni sacrifice.


Agreed. The overall mechanics and aesthetics are quite good. A few issues with repetitive gear or skill choices, but that’s a problem afflicting every class (just about every Barb build uses Band of Might + Wrath of the Berserker, just about every DH build uses Vengeance, etc).


I think it’s not because Witch Docs are incapable or lacking power, but they have so many damage over time skills. If anything, the issue is not their damage multipliers any lacking but their damage multipliers encourage the use of damage over time effects which cause lag. This is not really convenient in a 4p setup to begin with.

Look at Jade and Helltooth, both have damage over time effects in some form. Looking at Zunimassa’s and Arachyr’s; both spawn so many entities during combat at a time, again a burden for synchronization.
Only perhaps Mundunugu’s Set is free from this trait to a degree but Phantoms are a thing. Not too long ago, Arachyr’s used to have damage over time effects with the Spider Queen as well, which is removed later.

A couple of months ago, I think Mundunugu’s or Arachyr’s setups, not sure which one; been getting random connection drops when server fails to catch up with many entities they spawn around. Streamers playing solo, have been noting that. Especially after Demon Hunter lag exploit being resolved, any and all kinds of queued up data have risk of disconnecting the client.
And who remembers Helltooth Firewall build when it was popular? That it caused near constant lag spikes and made group play a chore or unplayable at times. I remember for instance. Did that alleviate in any form when playing with WD at groups? I don’t think so.

Massed damage over time and area damage procs are the cause of performance issues by stacked animations and data synchronization queued between clients. Before you demand a huge buff because you can’t stand look at your favorite class being this “garbage” that it clears GR145~, consider that first.
And no, I’m not trolling, or any against Witch Doctors getting a buff. I don’t wanna do that speak ever again, nor read any obnoxious nonsense. I’m just pointing out that game is old, it uses near two decade old physics engine and server resources are limited.

Yes, I know people don’t pick WD, but I still think there are other underlying reasons for them to not do that. In its own, Witch Doc class clears really high content but it doesn’t have a place in group play; that’s not a conundrum for me, that’s rather easy to tell.
Developers are usually hesitant because class on its own is not really performance friendly in group play (which is their priority) with most of its certain and popular setups. Boosting them in a whim while they already can clear high content, won’t do any good for servers.

For starters, when any entity is tagged with any kind of damage over time, server has to load its death animation and check if it’s dead with every tick of damage along its duration. That’s certainly not performance friendly, thinking it also has to be synchronized between multiple clients.
When builds with so many performance issues are promoted for masses to use, it can become a widescale problem for the server. That’s why you can’t expect a buff the moment you demand it. Developers have to work on the underlying performance issues first before making the build setups available and promoted for a larger scale.

In short; demand a total make up to the Sets overall, and ask for removal of any and all damage over time effect from the premises or diminish their effects.
Alternatively, a fast but unstable approach be, demanding extra debuffs (enemy afflicted with DoT takes x% more damage along DoT duration) to the lingering damage over time effects in the core class mechanics (Creeping Death passive? Skill tweak?) else a mandatory legendary item granting that.
Then the developers might consider buffing the class, so you can see it in group play. At this form even if it can clear GR150, I don’t think class would have a place on group play.


I am not so sure if you play much meta groups Rage. WD is replaced by Star Pact since Necro released. (In fact, the first season necro was introduced, the season meta started with LON SB TK and Tragoul Blood Lance as RGK) Prior to that whether LoN SB or Firebat primarily served as TK and a severe lag source, one reason for a 24 mth or 8 season start pact TK dominance was nothing could compare with its non lag, instant damage dealt mechanic. Necro during those era /seasons simply served as various RGK. Its safe to say regardless of Necro or not, rise of star pact would have replaced WD. Moving on to Mundunugu SB era, while setting up big packs for multiple elite 1 shots was very satisfactory, its relative more complex coordinated gameplay isnt as desired by mainstream anymore due to build playstyle shifted to more simpler rotation builds. Necro then emerged as first TK post Wiz SP. Regardless, many elite players are severely disappointed at the unfair nerf of various SB mechanics, while devs wanted to demote complex group plays and promote easier group metas, WD in many ways need those love back. The WD lag issue is inevitable, but somewhat controllable for experienced groups.

Bring back our Bazooka WD TK.


Thanks Rage. As a very well respected Barbarian main, I appreciate the fact you are looking out for the other underperforming classes too.

I have been a WD/DH main for the entirety of D3. I do not like the Shadow Impale or GoD playstyle, so I have been resigned to playing another class or forced into SSF if I want to play the entire season. The one season I was able to play the entire season as my class and be able to play with others was S20.

The problem is, they are completely incompetent when it comes to how builds perform and how to balance them. Yes, Mundu’s was OP in S20 and needed 5 GR nerf. Instead, they went the lazy way and nerfed it way to hard by saying spirits are not pets and cost us Mask of Jeram. WD players keeped screaming the nerf was way too much, but they simply did not listen. HOW THE LIVING HELL ARE SENTRIES PETS, BUT SPIRITS ARE NOT?? This was WD’s only viable build for end game 4 man.

Once they over nerf a build it is going to be many, many seasons before it gets a looksie again. Hopefully, there are still some WD players out there that know how builds work and what the correct adjustments need to be and could put together a solid proposal. Your fervor and constant, persistent crusade to make the Barbarian relevant has gotten improvement for the class (I know it is still on the under-perfomer side but is far better than it was years ago).

I understand perfect balance is unrealistic, but we should have some sort of relative balance in this game after 10 YEARS. EVERY class should at least one build that can serve as a trash killer, RG, or a support and be within 20% efficient as the meta for that position.


Well, the assigned jobs in GR groups can and do move around a bit. Barb has been support (zbarb) and trash killer (Charge), Monk’s been support (zmonk), trash killer (Static Charge), and RGK (Inna), etc.

So I don’t really mean: Necromancer showed up and took the specific job that WD had at that very moment. It’s more like a general, overall withdrawal of support.

Imagine: you’ve got a friend you spend a bunch of time with, and the main thing you do together is go bowling. Three evenings a week you go to the alley and play in a league. Then he makes a new friend, and suddenly you never see him anymore. With this new friend, he mostly goes fishing. But just because the activity your friend does with his new buddy is not the same thing that he did with you, doesn’t mean you haven’t been replaced.

That’s probably not even true anymore, if it ever really was. They’ll often nerf a build because “it’s too powerful” even as they elevate a different build to be still more powerful. Today, Mundu could for sure get +5 tiers and not be better at solo push than Tal, Trag, Raekor, Marauder, etc. And not outcompete Trag, and Tal for group TK spot either.

Arachyr just needs a numbers buff. It’s about 3 tiers behind Raekor and Trag for solo push, 4-5 behind Tal. So it could certainly pick up about 60% extra damage and not be OP for solo, and that would also make it into a more competitive RGK.

Those fixes plus maybe buffing Chicken into a stronger speed build would really improve the class a lot. It’s not a major undertaking we’re talking about here, just some quick, simple buffs.


Yes, I totally agree with you on this topic.

WDs main issues are:

  1. No, good enough speed build.
  2. Some Sets could need a toughness pump. (In the range of most sets between 75-80%).
  3. Some love to some outdated powers.

Just double the damage on Manajuma set and let two chickens appear with a little more damage %.

How strong is the paragon 3000 clear of GR 144 with HT Garg on EU?


I’m not actually seeing that clear. On Maxroll I don’t see any 144s in Era 17, and in Season 27, I just see a 144 with 6.4k paragon… by Darkpatator- he’s back!

Where are you seeing that?

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It’s the second clear on WD HT board in EU, but it was a 143.

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Ok cool. So by “how strong”, do you mean what’s the adjusted clear for that?

Adjusts to 145.2.

If that is your question, keep in mind you can always check with the clear adjuster.


Really like his setup Idea. He trades Big Stinker a 10% damage increase for Shukranis wich doubles the damage. Maybe some more cause the base multiplier is higher with 585% vs 450%.

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The chicken does not need to do all the damage, it is pets that need to do the damage on the chicken doc. The chicken doc is great this season because 6 Gargs and six dogs wreck everything they touch. The chicken itself doesn’t really kill anything it is just for movement.

Asian players generally believe that the Witch Doctor is too ugly, so it is reasonable to be weak, which can reduce the appearance rate of this role.
Blizzard has received relevant feedback, so the Arachyr set is actually quite strong. Of course, I hope 2.7.5 can buff Poison Dart 3 tiers, and the fast clear GR of WD depends on LOD Poison Dart. It would be better if the Jade Harvest set could be optimized.

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You can clear GR 150 solo with Mundunugu. And you can kill an 150 RG as an RGK using LOD spider in under 20 seconds if you run with a Bazooka + Zmonk. So it isn’t that bad this season.

Generally speaking, most high ranked WDs get their 150 gems , and most of their augments from the hundreds of hours they run on their Monks , Barbs… etc… not from the 50 hours they run their docs for gear when they are bored…

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