Guide [Witch Doctor]: Chicken Doctor

Posted by Radoslav "Nydra" Kolev at 11 August 2012 18:18
To close our rich on weird builds first cycle of guides, we dive into pure insanity as we build a Witch Doctor that transforms himself into explosive critters.

Build, Concept and Playstyle

Chicken Witch Doctor

Build Characteristics:
Required Level 55
Difficulty: Inferno, Hell
Core skills: Hex [Angry Chicken]
Hardcore Reliability: Low

You get to be a chicken that blows stuff up
High AoE damage
Many customization options
Fun alternative to cookie cutter Witch Doctor builds

Big windows of limited activity and vulnerability
Risky due to its melee nature
Hard to gear for
You might end up kiting more than you are fighting

Introduced by Sixen on his Diablo Daily, the build revolves around transforming yourself into a chicken that then explodes to do massive AoE damage in everything within 12 yards. If this sounds obscene at best to you, that's because it is...

Since hexing oneself into a chicken prohibits any other section short of moving and exploding, the build is supplemented with a long duration, one-time DoTs, debuffs or crow control spells that can do their magic while the Witch Doctor is in chicken form. Locust Swarm, Haunt, Spirit Barage or Wall of Zombies are some of the best spell one can use with this build.

It is important to learn the Chicken Doctor spell rotation upon encountering an elite pack. Star with the spells that has the longest cool down and work down, ending with a hex into a chicken explosion. For the version of the build featured in this guide, open with Mass Confusion which will give you an instant 20% damage increase and will convert some of the monsters on your side and throw in a Wall of Zombies. Next, cast Locust Swarm (together with Grasp of the Death if the situation calls for it), throw in the Phantasm in the area, go chicken and explode for sick damage. Once in human form, kite the mobs around your CC spells and refresh the DoTs until Chicken is off cooldown.

For follower, I would suggest using the Templar with all the crow control you can get, namely Intervene, Intimidate, Charge and Guardian. When in chicken, you are extremely vulnerable as with the build not using escape mechanisms such as spirit walk, you really need all the defensive help you can get.

Skills and Justification

Locust Swarm [Pestilence]
Hex [Angry Chicken]
Mass Confusion [Paranoia]
Spirit Barrage [Phantasm]
Wall of Zombies [Barricade]
Grasp of the Death [Unbreakable Grasp]


Locust Swarm [Pestilence] - One of the best DoTs in WD's arsenal, Locust Swarm will serve as the primary damage dealer besides Angry Chicken. It's runed for [Pestilence] for quicker infestation so that you need only cast it once and rely on it to spread faster than anything.

Hex [Angry Chicken] - The bread and butter of the Chicken Doctor, obviously. There's not much to say about the skill outside that it prohibits any casting, you walk normally and the chicken explodes upon command. The tricky part would be getting used to the 12 yd range of explosion so that the Chicken does not go to waste.


Mass Confusion [Paranoia] - Rarely used in conventional Witch Doctors build because of its melee range and the CC-reduction of elites in Inferno, Paranoia will probably only find place here. Taken for the 20% damage boost, Paranoia will make your chicken explode for more damage. If an elite mob joins your cause in addition to that - all the better.

Spirit Barrage [Phantasm] - Similar to Locust Swarm, Phantasm is picked for being a long-lasting, one-time cast damage spell.


Wall of Zombies [Barricade] - Another long-lasting damage skill. For five second you will get a wide line of zombies (made even wide with Barricade) attack enemies for 80% weapon damage. Make sure to kite the enemies within the range of the zombies, do not run away from them.

Grasp of the Dead [Unbreakable Grasp] - The necessary CC for this build. 80% means that the enemies will almost not move, giving you enough time to take a step back and refresh your DoTs or wait for chicken to get off cooldown.



Jungle Fortitude - As a melee Witch Doctor, you will need all the damage reduction you can get.

Pierce the Veil - As all of the spells are one-time casts, the increased mana cost is a small drawback for the 20% damage increase

Tribal Rituals - Reduces the Hex cooldown from 15 seconds down to 11.25, giving you more chicken bombs!

Skill Build Customization

Haunt [Grasping Spirit or Lingering Spirit] - As substitution for Locust Swarm. Deals more damage than LS and is very useful for elite pack but doesn't spread and thus requires 3-4 casts to reach full potency. Choose Grasping Spirit should you lack slow or Lingering Spirit for chewing through large groups of white mobs.

Soul Harvest [Vengeful Spirit] - As substitution for Mass Confusion or Spirit Barage. Trades the 20% damage increase / 45% AoE damage for five seconds for instant 70% damage plus 650 Intelligence. Highly efficient in melee builds.

Acid Cloud [Slow Burn] - As substitution for Wall of Zombies. Adds some direct damage plus a six-second DoT. Cast on top of Grasp of the Dead to make sure mobs will not run away from it.

Wall of Zombies [Unrelenting Grip] - An alternative source of slow if you want to use Grasp of the Death for other purposes.

Big Bag Voodoo [Slam Dance or Ghost Trance - As substitution for Wall of Zombies. The best WD buff for public games.


The Chicken Doctor uses a one-handed weapon in combination with a shield
Should you chose to go for Haunt as your left-click spell, find a weapon with +% Haunt Damage. Otherwise, search for Bonus vs Elites, Intelligence and Vitality. Make sure to watch for high weapon damage and NOT high DPS. High attack speed weapons are useless.
For the shield, find one with Reduced Damage from Elites or Chance to Block.
For armors, stacks Intelligence, Vitality, Armor and All Resist as main stats. If you have money left, get high armor/reduced melee damage/reduced damage from elites.
Do not purchase Life on Hit items. DoT damage of Haunt/Locust Swarm does not proc LoH, the one of Grasp of the Death is 16.5% and the only skill that will efficiently give you LoH - Spirit Barage - will sit for five seconds only.
Crit Chance and Crit Damage are useful stats but gearing with both them and enough survivability is impossible when building on a budget.

Gearing on a Budget

Chicken Doctors die so our main goal was to stack high Armor, All Resists and Bitality, combined with the highest Intelligence we can get for under 2,000,000. The initial gear cost 1,777,000 so we decided to invest the remainder of the money for a Radiant Square Amethyst for that juicy 14% Life bonus. We used THIS WITCH DOCTOR CALCULATOR to calculate the DPS.

The total:
Gold: 1,957,000
Armor: 4,900
All resist: 498
+Intelligence: 1349 (1504 total)
+Vitality: 1014 (1173 total)
+Life %: 14% (with Radiant Square Amethyst in Helm)
Reduced damage from melee: 9%
Bonus damage versus elites: 4%
DPS: 28,100 (only including Pierce the Veil)
Hit points: 32,700

ItemGold costSearched forImage
Main Hand500KBonus vs Elites


Off Hand350KReduced dmg from melee


Amulet30KAll Resist


Belt35KAll Resist 50+


Boots50KAll Resist 50+


Bracers50KReduced dmg from elites


Chest20KAll Resist

Intellgence 100+

Vitality 80+
Gloves35KAll Resist 60+

Intellgence 100+

Vitality 80+
Helm60KHas Socket

Intelligence 100+

Vitality 80+
Pants60KAll Resist 40+

Intellgence 90+

Vitality 80+
Ring 1:
All Resist 50+

Intellgence 60+

Vitality 60+

Ring 2:
All Resist 50+

Intellgence 60+

Vitality 60+
Shoulders35KAll Resist 50+

Intellgence 80+

Vitality 60+

Obviously, none of the GosuGamers crew was crazy enough (yet) to push this build through Inferno but maybe some of you have (or will) already. Share with us your experience in the comments.