Insomnia's "Pyropower" Witch Doctor

Insomnia's "Pyropower" Witch Doctor

While pets and Witch Doctors often come hand in hand, these masters of magic and mayhem are capable of offering so much more on the battlefield. Sometimes, there's beauty in simplicity and the best way to debilitate your enemies is to just light them on fire.

For this week's Play Your Way Thursday, Insomnia#1239 incinerates her enemies with the power of voodoo (you do?) and embraces some clever Legendary mechanics to get even more out of her devastating pyrotechnics!

About the Build:

Fire builds are pretty common for each class, given that there's a lot of great Legendary synergy available and Fire is an element every class has well represented amongst their skills. What makes Insomnia's build different from the norm isn't the elemental focus, but the way she's chosen to boost her damage through specific skill and Legendary combinations.

Pretty sure Insomnia's Witch Doctor beat me to the pun here.

Legendary items have been designed on a whole to change the way that you play. Often, you're at the whim of what loot comes your way. Insomnia has definitely made the items she's found work the best for her by experimenting with Legendary affixes first and building her skills around those items to make them sing. "I got these items with luck and patience and I tried a lot of builds that didn't work. I wanted to try new things and find something that makes my character feel special!"

What’s resulted from this experimentation is a uniquely interesting Fire build that's outside the norm and quite a lot of fun!

The Skills:

Some of the choices in Insomnia's build might seem a little odd at first. Bear in mind that this particular feature requires looking as much at the recommended items as it does the suggested skills!

Active Skills:

  • Firebomb (Pyrogeist)
    • Secondary (and free) damage
    • Source of Mana regeneration when used with Vision Quest
  • Zombie Charger (Explosive Beast)
    • Primary damage source
  • Spirit Walk (Healing Journey)
    • Great source of healing when you find your potion on cooldown
    • An excellent escape for any tricky situation
  • Sacrifice (Provoke the Pack)
    • Using Homunculus, provides a 15% damage increase every 15 seconds
    • Offers supplemental damage
  • Big Bad Voodoo (Slam Dance)
    • A solid buff for both group and solo play
    • Significantly boosts the damage output of your Gargantuan
  • Gargantuan (Bruiser)
    • An additional source of Fire damage
    • Offer some group utility by regularly stunning enemies

Passive Skills:

Alternative Skills:

  • Piranhas (Piranhado)
    • While it breaks the elemental synergy, the crowd control effect allows you group up enemies for your Zombie Charger and Sacrifice skills
    • Suggested to use in place of Gargantuan (Bruiser)

The Items:

While the Pyropower Witch Doctor can function fairly well without the recommended or complementary items listed below, these pieces of gear are what make this build unique. You'll want to track down a couple of them if you're looking to emulate Insomnia's playstyle. 

Crafted items fill in slots where Insomnia is awaiting particular items while making the best of what +% Fire Damage gear she's acquired.

Recommended Items:

  • Homunculus
    • Allows you to utilize the buff provided by Sacrifice (Provoke the Pack) without requiring Summon Zombie Dogs
    • Guaranteed Maximum Mana helps out considerably with high resource costs
  • Cindercoat
    • A strong standby for any Fire build
    • Additional Resource Cost Reduction helps alleviate the Mana increases from Pierce the Veil

Complementary Items:

  • Manajuma's Carving Knife
    • The ability to stack additional Maximum Mana makes any Ceremonial Knife a solid option
    • Guaranteed bonus Critical Hit Damage makes Manajuma's a strong contender
  • Haunt of Vaxo
    • Your Gargantuan will proc the helpful shadow clones from this item
  • Reaper’s Wraps
    • With heavy and frequent resource cycling, a great crafted go-to to get started!

Recommended Stats:

Fire is definitely the focus here, so items like Cindercoat and The Burning Axe of Sankis will serve you well. In addition, Insomnia utilizes a high amount of Area Damage, as many of her skills are concentrated on hitting clustered together packs of enemies. This takes Firebomb (Pyrogeist) and turns it from a strong single-target skill to a frequent and powerful source of area of effect damage. To better support the high Mana costs incurred by Pierce the Veil, you'll also want to keep an eye out for Maximum Mana and Mana regeneration.

Recommended Difficulty and Game Mode:

This build is ravaging Insomnia's foes in Torment IV on Normal mode, both with and without party members (though she traditionally adventures alongside a Crusader friend). This build isn't focused on one particular type of play or another, and performs equally well whether you're completing bounties or running back-to-back Nephalem Rifts. Because of its innately conservative nature, you should have little trouble translating this build onto a Hardcore character with, of course, appropriate shifts toward higher Toughness and survivability.

Why We Like This Build:

Sometimes, it’s best to just keep things simple and let the pyromaniac within run rampant. The Pyropower build definitely scratches that itch, and leaves room for iteration if you pick up a piece of gear that really demands use. It's a great starting base to work from, offering a sense of natural progression as you acquire more gear.

You know how stoked I am for this build? Enough to make that pun with no remorse.

In addition, the creative use of Homunculus is a pretty cool aspect to this build. This was a perfect example of a light bulb going off over my head when I didn't expect it—it seems so obvious in retrospect that Sacrifice opens up as an option without needing Summon Zombie Dogs when using this mojo. Sometimes it takes looking at a slightly off-kilter build to get your head out of the box, and I hope to both see and experience more of those revelations in future Play Your Way features!

Tell Us What You Think!

Are you burning the world around you on your Witch Doctor? How would you tweak this build and improve upon it? Have you found a Legendary you're using in a particularly creative way? Be sure to leave a comment below and join the discussion!

Can't wait for the next round to submit your build? Then review our submission guidelines and tell us all about your latest and greatest build by e-mailing us at! Don't forget to include all the requirements, or we may not be able to use your build.

Get Ready to Vote:

This is the final week for this round of Play Your Way Thursday before we open the polls for you to vote on your favorite build for the next livestream event! Have you missed one of the previous weeks? Then be sure to check out the other features for this round:

See you next week!