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Witch Doctor write up by Capt.Planet

Created by capt.planet on 2008-08-21
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Hey guys - this is my first write up for my favorite hero. I've only seen one other approved write up on dota strategy, so I figured it would be good to see my perspective on building this hero properly. The first thing one should know about the Witch Doctor (hereby also referred to as doc, WD or Vol'Jin) is that he is probably one of the hardest heroes to master. This hero is 100% timing, and would require NO items if someone were ever to be perfect with him (near impossible, but just to make a point). This is why he's my favorite hero - he's purely skill based. In other words, if you are brand new to dota you should look to swap with someone on your team or repick. I'm only saying this because learning dota with the doc is very difficult when compared to an auto attack hero. This strategy is going to cover the witch doc as an Offensive Hero killer - who has disables for team fights and late game TANKING ability. I play the witchdoctor very aggressively to make use of his overpowered early-mid game talents.

Vol`Jin - The Witch Doctor

Range: | Move Speed: 305
Primary: INT
Str: 16 + 1.8 | Agi: 13 + 1.4 | Int: 24 + 2.9
Damage: 51-61 | HP: 454 | Mana: 312
HP Regen: 0.73 | Mana Regen: 0.97
Attack Speed: 0.66 | Armor: 1
Paralyzing Cask
Paralyzing Cask (C)
Vol'jin launches a cask of paralyzing powder that bounces between foes, stunning those affected for a short period of time (1 sec on Hero, 5 on creeps). Deals damage per bounce to non-hero units. First impact lasts 1.5 seconds.
Level 1 - 2 bounces, 75 damage to units, 50 damage to heroes.
Level 2 - 4 bounces, 100 damage to units, 50 damage to heroes.
Level 3 - 6 bounces, 125 damage to units, 50 damage to heroes.
Level 4 - 8 bounces, 150 damage to units, 50 damage to heroes.
Damage type: magical
Targets can be hit multiple times, as long as another unit is struck in between the bounces.
Casting range: 700
Bouncing Range: 600
Mana Cost: 110/120/130/140
Cooldown: 20/18/16/14
Comment: This is your POWERFUL disable. When going to kill heros, try to use it with 1-3 creeps around to perma stun the hero due to the bounces. Heros such as Geomancer, Terrorblade or any other with multiple images can be perma stunned 1v1. More on this later... For farming - this is a fast and easy killing tool. It deals a lot of damage to creeps, and stuns them for 5 seconds each bounce. You don't ever get hit while farming / jungling.

Voodoo Restoration
Voodoo Restoration (V)
Vol'jin focuses his voodoo magic to heal nearby allied units.
Level 1 - Restores 16 hp/sec.
Level 2 - Restores 24 hp/sec.
Level 3 - Restores 32 hp/sec.
Level 4 - Restores 40 hp/sec.
Heal is applied in 0.33 second intervals.
Can heal magic immune units.
Area of Effect: 340
Mana Cost: 25/50/75/100 initial + 8/14/20/26 per sec
Cooldown: 0
Comment: AoE (Area of Effect) heal that helps you absorb damage and also works as a mini health fountain for your entire team during team battles. Very effective ability. Some builds focus on this early - mine does not as I prefer an aggressive WD. I start getting this skill anywhere from level 13 to as late as level 17. It depends on the type of game. More on this later.
Maledict (E)
Targets an area with an ancient voodoo curse. Cursed heroes will not only take damage over time, but they will be dealt bonus damage every 4 seconds based on how much hp they lost since the beginning of the curse. Lasts 12 seconds
Level 1 - Enemies lose 5 hp/sec, 10 bonus damage for every 100 hp lost during curse.
Level 2 - Enemies lose 10 hp/sec, 20 bonus damage for every 100 hp lost during curse.
Level 3 - Enemies lose 15 hp/sec, 30 bonus damage for every 100 hp lost during curse.
Level 4 - Enemies lose 20 hp/sec, 40 bonus damage for every 100 hp lost during curse.
Damage type: magical
Damage is based on the difference between the HP values currently and when Maledict was cast.
Casting range: 400
Area of Effect: 165
Mana Cost: 120
Cooldown: 35
Comment: Awesome amazing ability. This in conjunction with Paralyzing casks is your bread and butter. It may be hard to understand from the description - so I'll try to explain this curse in layman's terms. This curse is basically a bonus for the amount of damage you deal. Take level 4 for example. You curse your enemy and then, for every 100 health your opponent loses (team battles, from yourself, in any fashion) he takes a BONUS amount of 40 damage. The curse itself is also a DoT (damage over time) that inflicts 20 damage per second. Cast this at the very beginning of every battle for maximum effect. The downside (and what makes this character so hard) is that its target area is a VERY small circle. You need to be fast at micro to land this thing most of the time.
Death Ward
Death Ward (D)
Summons a deadly ward to attack enemy heroes. Lasts for 8 seconds and is a channeling spell.
Level 1 - 60 (90*) Chaos Damage
Level 2 - 90 Chaos Damage (120 Chaos Damage, bounces once*)
Level 3 - 120 Chaos Damage, bounces once (150 Chaos Damage, hits 3 targets at once*)
The Death Ward is invulnerable, and can only be destroyed if its duration expires or if Vol'Jin is interrupted.
The Death Ward can be controlled and made to attack a specific target.
Can be improved by Aghanim's Scepter (* shows the improved values).
The Death Ward has a 700 attack range and attacks every 0.3 seconds.
Casting range: 300/350/400
Mana Cost: 200
Cooldown: 90 seconds
Comment: If you were around for the early dota days, this is what rikimaru used to have as his ultimate. It's a channeling spell, which means you have to stand there the entire time while its casting. More on this later in terms of strategy.
Skill Build

Skill Build:

1. Maledict
2. Paralyzing Casks
3. Maledict
4. Paralyzing Casks
5. Maledict
6. Death Ward
7. Maledict
8. Paralyzing Casks
9. Paralyzing Casks
10. Stats
11. Death Ward
12. Stats
13. Voodoo Restoration
14. Voodoo Restoration
15. Stats
16. Death Ward
17. Voodoo Restoration
18. Voodoo Restoration
19. Stats
20. Stats
21. Stats
22. Stats
23. Stats
24. Stats
25. Stats
Item Build

Item Build:

1.View Details for Circlet of Nobility
Circlet of Nobility
+2 to all Attributes
2.View Details for Circlet of Nobility
Circlet of Nobility
+2 to all Attributes
3.View Details for Mantle of Intelligence
Mantle of Intelligence
3 Intelligence
4.View Details for Mantle of Intelligence
Mantle of Intelligence
3 Intelligence
5.View Details for Ancient Tango of Essifation
Ancient Tango of Essifation
Active: Eat Tree
Eats a tree to restore 115 HP over 16 seconds. Purge will end the effect even though the status icon will remain.
Note: Stacks with itself in inventory. 3 charges.
Skill Build

Early Game:

Early Game levels 1-7

About Denying & Last Hitting

In the early levels, you're going to be trying to last hit and deny as much as possible. I'm hoping that you've read a little bit on this concept, since almost every guide goes over it. I will quickly explain that by getting a feel for the timing of your attacks, holding ALT to see the creeps HP and watching the flow of your lane, you will eventually become good at last hitting. It's basically a discipline thing that you have to be motivated enough to do - as it can be very boring to learn in the beginning. One thing I've noticed is that the WD has a very good attack animation, which isn't too long nor too short. He also has a long range - which makes the doc good at last hitting.

One last important concept about the doc is that hes NOT a push hero, nor is he a spam / harass hero. Focus on getting gold to dominate the early-mid to late-mid game. The doc is a CONTROL hero.

Harassing Heros

The Witch Doc is not a spell spammer by any means. With my gear setup you have enough mana and auto attack damage to harass heroes with the occasional Paralyzing cask and auto attack. Always attack when your creep push is going to OUT-PUSH your opponents creep push. This is where you cask / and auto attack.


Early Killing

In this section I'm NOT going to go over how to kill with your ultimate and the sequence of attacks. I will save that section for the mid-game description.

What most will find is that you will get kills purely through your opponents mistakes with the witch doc. You should be focused on getting gold by last hitting / denying - do not focus on killing but keep an open mind to it.

There are two scenarios here - either SOLO or with a PARTNER


When solo, you really only focus on getting creep kills through last hit and denies. Since this guide is focused on new players (and therefore public games) I'll go over the most common scenario that presents itself to the WD where you should then switch over to hero killing.

1) The opponent doesn't respect the WD (since most are played horribly wrong) and gets caught up within the creeps while killing for gold (usually melee heroes). This is where you instantly cask and auto attack him. He may be stunned for a good 3 seconds with creeps + you beating on him. If this happens after level 1, you should stun THEN malice immediately after, using the hotkeys provided. The opposing hero will often get away but die to the nature of the curse. Important here is to get in as many auto attacks as possible, as every single attack may add to the overall damage of the curse. Don't risk dying however - him going back to the fountain is good enough.

This is by far the most common scenario. I'd say 50% of the games this will happen to you, and a good portion of that you will finish with a kill. Remember though, early-game stay passive and farm. Let the opportunity present itself - don't chase like most new players do.


The doc works even better in getting kills early if he has a competent partner. Since the early game doc is more support oriented - you two will form a killing duo. Here you can be more aggressive and share the risk with your partner. Below are a few key duo's that I really like.

The Nuke Partner: Crystal Maiden

Rylai Crestfall - The Crystal Maiden Knowing how your curse works leads you to believe that any nuking partner is beneficial - and this is very true! The benefit of the CM is that she can also snare (slow) and freeze (stun) your opponents. Her Freeze lets you apply Malice with ease, and then follow it with a cask to keep the opponent stuck a second longer. The CM should then nuke (nova ) AFTER the malice, to get the full effect of the curse. Most players know how the curse works, so this should work out on its own. If they don't, then explain to them when to nuke for proper effect. Extremely good combo. Other nuking partners to look for with similar flavor:


Lina Inverse - The SlayerKel`Thuzad - The LichLion - The Demon WitchAtropos - The Bane Elemental


The DoT Partner: Warlock

Demnok Lannik - Warlock There are quite a few DoT (damage over time) Heroes in dota. A Warlock as a partner, especially for early game, is ideal for control and killing heroes early. With a DoT partner, you are more active and have to setup the kill (whereas the nuking partner does the setup in the above combo.) Your job is to land your Paralyzing Casks, and quickly apply malice with the hotkeys provided. In this time, your warlock partner should throw on his DoT as well as his chains spell that locks together enemies HP pools. The accumulated damage will greatly accelerate your curse and probably result in early game kills if your opponent isn't ready for such a heavy load. Other partners of this flavor include:

Mogul Khan - The AxeAzgalor - Pit LordDarchrow - The EnigmaAggron Stonebreaker - The Ogre MagiLeshrac - The Tormented Soul

* The Ogre Magi is a special case, in that he can nuke (stun) from afar to setup the kill and or slow your opponent with a DoT. Hes a hybrid that can be a great asset to your killing party.


At level 6 or 7, you need to assess the situation. If you can comfortable head back to your base to recharge without tower worries (that is, your opponent pushing quickly to take your tower) then head back and purchase the following:


Boots of SpeedNull TalismanNull TalismanAncient Tango of Essifation

These items will be sufficient to setup the early-md to late-mid game killing spree that is about to take place. The Ancient Tango is optional - but I like to carry them for the occasional jungle or mishap here and there.

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234 By mineskiyappetz 2014-02-28

233 By mawhpawh 2011-07-29

"Rikimaru wouldn't be the same if he was Different" is basicly what you are saying.

232 By techiesurkiller 2011-07-29

well i suprised when i learned old days dota rikimarus ulti was the same with voijin so stupid
rikimaru wouldnt be the same today if he had the old ulti

231 By geoettolil 2011-07-06

try maledict+life break with huskar in team .can take tanks down

230 By simplujupan 2011-05-16

final late game build for me:

229 By simplujupan 2011-05-16

the guide is very nice ! I tryed to play this hero a few good times. guess that soul ring and/or urn is very helpfull at the begging.I've a small guide that you guys can comment:
2.sobi mask
early-mid:(depends of the other teams heroes if there are stuner or disablers) i go for:
1.2 bracers = arcane
3.lothars(seems this item is good anyway for me)
4.shiva or/and aghanim
5.linken or/and bkb
late game:
1.guinsoo.. if the game is still dragging

228 By strider1289 2011-03-14

very good guide.. though update is needed...

227 By nikhilcoool 2010-12-16

inventry of 6 slots full k
dis inven almost impossible make any of dese inven

226 By Akshay 2010-11-19

Any one who has a problem with Avernus,try to activate his ulti then use ur cask
and then when his ulti is over use ur ward
(this is just am good advice,btw i am not some DoTA pro)

225 By Akshay 2010-11-19

And also if u get a double damage rune before lvl 4 you can easilt get a first blood(his base damage is dammn good)

224 By Akshay 2010-11-19

Hmmm I think before getting a soul booster isnt it better to get a perseverance and then upgrade it to bloodstone.
Because when u have blood stone and used Level 1 of Voodoo Restoration you dont loose mana over time but u actually gain mana over time

223 By windwaker 2010-11-02

i am quite new,but it doesnt seems hard to me :D

my build:aghanim,orchid,bkb,shiva,guinsoo,lothar

222 By DanielJDragonflame 2010-08-15

Agreed, Aghs is only Staff of Wizardry, Ogre Axe/Blade of Alacrity (I prefer Ogre Axe because of more health), Point Booster, and recipe.

Very good guide, btw.

221 By damnpr0 2010-07-10

Any idea how to deal with avernus with this guy? (other than repicking)

220 By pasta360 2010-05-27

get a blood stone and dagon for crazy damage and mana

219 By bloodmayflows 2010-05-03

Witch Doctor + Shadow Shaman = Perfect Combo / GG

218 By cappuchino 2010-04-23

217 By nhey7694 2010-03-22

dude. a dagon+a perserverance(for mana regen) would own. i dominate everytime i do this build. less expensive and a sure kill. than his ulti because u nid to rush for a BKB if u are oposing a enemies with stuns or mini stun. and note that a dagon has a less cooldown and a 1 time hit. not like a maledict which can make the enemy run for life.

stun+maledict+Dagon+ hits hits hits the enemy is dead!!! i love when they run and in the middle of that they died cause of the explosion made by maledict.

216 By stormzzzz 2009-12-24

update the guide pls

215 By inooob 2009-12-06

i rather get 2 bracers then null..that way a tad more dmg on maledict