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.