Lore & Bio
A gaunt, bizarre figure criss crosses the battlefield, striking eerie feelings into the enemies. But that’s not the wiry silhouette’s owner's sole purpose; uneven of feature and limb, it searches the battlefield for vital weak points. The figure is that of Zharvakko, also known as the Witch Doctor. No one can doubt the power carried in his twisted physique, whether broken or mismade.
The Witch Doctor uses a long staff which thumps the earth as he advances, churning out and deploying a terrifying arsenal of fetishes, hexes and spells. Contained in his body is powerful magical knowledge learned and perfected for several lifetimes together. The island highlands of Arktura was the birthplace of it all, and now Witch Doctor was able to wield his magic with extreme precision and accuracy against his enemies.
Zharvakko is both a great ally and a terrible enemy to have; he can heal allies just as well as laying waste to those who oppose him.
In-game, Witch Doctor is described thus:
“Witch Doctor is whatever his team needs him to be. Whether aiding his team with gradual healing, stunning and cursing foes to ensure a kill, or destroying enemies himself with a dance by his mighty ultimate, few can match Witch Doctor's versatility.”
Attribute & Stats
Strength: 18 + 2.3 each level;
Agility: 13 + 1.4 each level;
Intelligence: 22 + 3.3 each level;
Health regeneration: + 2.05 each second;
Mana regeneration: + 3.41 each second;
Magic Resistance: 25%;
Turn Rate: 0.6;
Attack Range: 600;
Projectile speed: 1200;
Attack Animation: 0.4+0.5;
Sight Range: 1800/800;
Base Attack time: 1.7 seconds per attack;
Damage Block: 0.
Abilities & Talents
Skills building guide
It’s recommended to max Paralyzing Cask first because this is the main combat ability with constant stunning periods along with high damage to use on creeps. Maledict should be the second upgrade after Paralyzing Cask. If you’re laning and frequently have to exchange with the opponent’s carrier, you can upgrade one level of Voodoo Restoration in order to better survive the lane and help your own carrier. Otherwise, if your carrier proves to be surviving well on his own, Paralyzing Cask and Maledict are enough.
Paralyzing Cask (Unit Target, Magical)
Effect: Launches a cask of paralyzing powder that ricochets between enemy units, stunning and damaging those it hits. Bounces deal more damage the more they hit.
Cast Animation: 0.35+0.37
Cast Range: 700
Bounce Distance: 575
Number of Bounces: 2/4/6/8 (Talent 4/6/8/10)
Hero Base Damage: 40
Creep Base Damage: 75
Damage Increase per Bounce: 10/15/20/25
Hero Stun Duration: 1
Creep Stun Duration: 5
Partially pierces spell immunity. Cannot directly target spell immune enemies. Can bounce to spell immune enemies. Does not stun or attempt to damage spell immune enemies.
Partially blocked by Linken's Sphere. Blocked fully when primary or secondary target. Blocked upon impact. Does not stop bouncing when blocked.
Dispellable with strong dispels.
Cannot be disjointed.
The cask travels at a speed of 1000.
The projectile bounces in 0.3-second intervals.
Cannot bounce on invisible, invulnerable or hidden units, but can bounce on units in the Fog of War.
The initial target is not counted towards the bounces, resulting in a total of 3/5/7/9 (Talent 5/7/9/11) instances.
The following are Paralyzing Cask's total damage calculations (before reductions):
- All bounces together can deal up to 150/350/700/1260 (Talent 300/595/1080/1815) to heroes.
- All bounces together can deal up to 255/525/945/1575 (Talent 475/840/1395/2200) to non-hero units.
- For how much damage each bounce Paralyzing Cask deals on each level, and with the cask bounce increasing Talent talent, please refer to the chart below.
- The projectile can bounce on the same unit multiple times, but only when another target is hit between the bounces.
- This means it may hit the same target a maximum of 2/3/4/5 (Talent 3/4/5/6) times.
- Can deal up to 100/210/400/700 (Talent 180/340/600/990) damage to a single hero.
- Can deal up to 170/315/540/875 (Talent 285/480/775/1200) damage to a single non-hero unit.
The stun treats clones, creep-heroes and Roshan has heroes, but treats illusions as creeps.
The damage treats illusions, clones and creep-heroes as heroes.
The cask first applies the debuff, then the damage.
If Paralyzing Cask is cast multiple times, the previous cast's bounce counter gets reset.
All instances coming from the same hero use the same bounce counter, instead of each instance having an independent counter.
Voodoo Restoration (Toggle, Affects Allied Unit)
Effect: a healing ability, whereWitch Doctor focuses his magic to heal nearby allied units.
Cast Animation: 0+0
Heal Radius: 500
Base Heal per Second: 16/24/32/40
Mana Cost per Second: 8/12/16/20 (Talent 6/9/12/15)
Aura Linger Duration: 0.5
Talent Max Health as Heal per Second: 1.5%
Heal is applied in smaller instances every 0.33 seconds.
Can be toggled while channeling.
Voodoo Restoration does not interrupt Witch Doctor's channeling abilities upon toggling On / Off.
Disabling Witch Doctor does not toggle Off Voodoo Restoration. However, he cannot turn it off himself while disabled either.
Heals for 5.28/7.92/10.56/13.2 health (Talent +0.495% of max health) and costs 2.64/3.96/5.28/6.6 (Talent 1.98/2.97/3.96/4.95) mana in 0.33-second intervals, starting 0.33 seconds when toggled On.
The heal is provided by an aura. The buff lingers for 0.5 seconds.
- The mana cost is also bound to the aura.
- This means when toggled Off, the ability still heals and drains mana for 0.5 seconds before stopping.
- The ability toggles Off if Witch Doctor does not have enough mana to support another heal instance.
- However, the lingering buff continues healing, despite the lack of mana, providing up to 2 possible heal instances for free.
- It does not affect invulnerable or hidden units.
Maledict (Point Target, Magical)
Effect: MagicalCurses all enemy heroes in an area, causing them to take bonus damage once every few seconds, adding bonus damage for large differences in hp since the curse began.
Damage Per Second: 7/14/21/28
Bonus Hit Damage: 16%/24%/32%/40%/55% with Level 20 Talent
Radius: 180/255 with Level 10 Talent
Cast Range: 575
Cast Point: 0.35
Total damage without bonus hits: 84/168/252/336/448 with Level 20 Talent
The bonus damage is a percentage of the difference in hp since the curse started. The spell remembers what hp the target was when the curse started, and checks to see how much health is missing every bonus interval.
Starting Health - Current Health = Health Lost
Health Lost × Percentage = Bonus Damage
If the cursed unit has more hp than when the curse started, or less than 100 hp missing compared to the starting amount, the bonus damage does not apply.
Checks the affected units' current health 4 times, once as the curse is applied, and then every 4 seconds for the duration.
The burst damage is entirely based on the difference between the hero's current health and its health as the curse got applied.
- This means the bigger the difference of current health and health upon receiving the debuff gets, the more damage the bursts do.
- Vice versa, the lower the difference gets, the lower is the damage of the bursts, so getting healed during it reduces its damage.
- It also means it does not matter how affected units lose health, as it directly compares its health values, not damage values.
This is how much of the lost health is re-dealt as damage by Maledict, depending on when the health was lost during the curse on each level (before reductions):
- 0–3.9 Seconds: 48%/72%/97%/121% (Talent 94%/118%/142%/166%)
- 3.9–7.9 Seconds: 32%/48%/64%/80% (Talent 62%/78%/94%/111%)
- 7.9–11.9 Seconds: 16%/24%/32%/40% (Talent 31%/39%/47%/55%)
Deals its own damage in 1-second intervals, starting 1 second after the debuff is applied, resulting in 12 damage instances. Together with the bursts, it deals a total of 15 damage instances. The bursts happen 0.1 seconds before each 4th damage tick, so the bursts happen after the 3rd, 7th, and 11th damage tick.
With no other sources of health loss or heals, Maledict can deal up to 109.9/249.6/423.1/634.8 (Talent 138.9/312.8/526.1/783.5) damage to a unit (before reductions).
The debuff can be placed on illusions and creep-heroes.
Does not affect invulnerable and hidden units. Affects invisible units.
Death Ward (Point Target, Channeled, Physical)
Effect: Summons a deadly ward to attack enemy heroes within it's attack range. Lasts a maximum of 8 seconds.
Cast Animation: 0.35+0
Cast Range: 600
Max Channel Time: 8
With Aghanim's Scepter Bounce Distance: 650
- Aghanim's Scepter upgrade: Death Ward attacks have True Strike and bounce between nearby enemies.
- Aghanim's Shard upgrade: Grants a new ability: Voodoo Switcheroo.
Can be disjointed. Upgradable by Aghanim's Scepter. When disjointed by the primary attack target, it does not bounce. When disjointed by a secondary target, the disjointing unit is not registered as hit, meaning the attack can immediately bounce on it again if within range.
The Death Ward automatically attacks enemies within its attack range, using ◉ Standard auto-attack rules. It is possible to manually give the ward an attack target with A or Keyboard White Mouse Right.png Right Click an enemy in range. With Unified Orders with Ctrl, Ctrl+Keyboard White Mouse Right.png Right Click an enemy in range commands the ward to attack the target. It is also possible to stop the ward from attacking with S (only works when the auto-attack option is ◎ Never).
Can only attack heroes, including clones and illusions, excluding creep-heroes.
The damage source is the ward itself, meaning certain on-damage effects react on the ward rather than on Witch Doctor (e.g.Blade Mail).
With its 0.22-second attack rate, it can attack up to 37 times.
- Can deal up to 386.36/613.64/840.91 (Talent 659.09/886.36/1113.64) damage per second to a single hero.
- Can deal up to 3145/4995/6845 (Talent 5365/7215/9065) damage to a single hero (before reductions).
Death Ward's attack damage is not reduced by Damage Block.
Provides 1200/800 range ground vision for 5 seconds at its location after the channeling stops.
With Aghanim's Scepter, attacks from Death Ward have True Strike and bounce towards the closest enemy heroes within 650 range.
Does not perform instant attacks. The bouncing projectiles are entirely spell-based.
This means they do not trigger any attack modifier or on-hit effects, ignore evasion, and count as spell damage.
However, damage block still affects them.
The bouncing attacks deal damage based on the damage amount calculated for the leading attack upon attack begin.
Does not bounce on invisible units or units in the Fog of War. One projectile can never hit the same unit twice.
With Aghanim's Scepter, the Death Ward gains True Strike, so that it can no longer miss.
Voodoo Switcheroo (No Target)
Effect: Turns Witch Doctor into a Death Ward for 2 seconds. Death Ward has -30 Attack Speed. He is hidden during this time. Requires Aghanim's Shard to be unlocked.
Cast Animation: 0.1+0.73
Death Ward Attack Speed Reduction: 30
Turns Witch Doctor invulnerable, hidden, and unable to act for the duration.
The Death Ward is summoned at the Witch Doctor's location. It is based on Death Ward's current level. If Death Ward is not learned, Voodoo Switcheroo does nothing on cast. Same notes as for Death Ward fully apply. The Aghanim's Scepter upgrade affects Voodoo Switcheroo as well.
Voodoo Switcheroo cannot be canceled earlier, but it is dispellable. However, since Witch Doctor is invulnerable and hidden for the duration, most dispels cannot target him. Only continuous dispels such as Demonic Purge and Nullify can remove the spell if the debuff was applied before Voodoo Switcheroo was casted. In these cases, the spell ends immediately, wasting its mana and cooldown.
The Death Ward has its attack speed reduced by 30, attacking slower than a regular Death Ward cast.
With its 0.22-second attack rate and the 30 attack speed slow, it can attack up to 7 times.
- Can deal up to 270.45/429.55/588.64 (Talent 461.36/620.45/779.55) damage per second to a single hero.
- Can deal up to 595/945/1295 (Talent 1015/1365/1715) damage to a single hero (before reductions).
Effective items guides
Tango: helps sustain health so Witch Doctor can stay in lane.
Healing Salve: similar to Tango, it also restores health.
Clarity: will help sustain mana for Witch Doctor to use abilities.
Observer Ward: provides vision that may prevent enemy ganks or catch enemies when they are off guard.
Magic Stick: this is a useful health/mana restoring item if the enemies in lane are casting many spells. It can later be built into a Magic Wand.
Boots of Speed
Boots of Speed: a crucial item for many champions, can give a speed boost, offering better escape and catch-up. They can later be built into Arcane Boots.
Urn of Shadows
Urn of Shadows: with this item equipped you can have early healing and damage for participating in ganks, and can be built into Spirit Vessel.
Magic Wand: this item is good for burst healing and mana while providing bonus attributes compared to the Magic Stick.
Arcane Boots: to better the Witch Doctor’s strength is to increase his mana pool, and this item provides Witch Doctor with an increased mana pool, as well as the ability to supply himself and nearby allies with mana.
Glimmer Cape: additionally can also be a good item which grants invisibility while casting Death Ward. Good support item which can be cast on allies/self while in danger.
Town Portal Scroll
Town Portal Scroll: this item is essential for cross-map transportation. TP scrolls allow Witch Doctor to return to lane quicker after a death, meaning he misses out on less experience in the lane. They can also be used to quickly jump into a fight or defend a tower in a different lane.
Aghanim's Scepter: this is one of the core items for many heroes, particularly on Wicth Doctor which allows Death Ward to deal more damage, as well as the ability to bounce between each nearby enemy.
This allows for far greater damage output, though it is most effective when you are paired with large initiation stuns such as Tidehunter, Faceless Void, or Enigma, which will prevent enemy heroes from breaking Witch Doctor's channeling.
In addition, it also provides True Strike for Death Ward. allowing Witch Doctor to counter enemies who rely on evasion such as Windranger and Phantom Assassin.
Spirit Vessel: lets Witch Doctor keep allies healthy in combination with Voodoo Restoration, and the percentage-based damage is devastating with Maledict.
Medallion of Courage
Medallion of Courage: a cheap item which reduces an enemy target's armor. Since Death Ward deals physical damage, using the Medallion of Courage on a low armor hero greatly increases the damage dealt by your ultimate.
Rod of Atos
Rod of Atos: can be good as a pickup item for Witch Doctor support. It helps root enemy heroes, setting them up for a Death Ward.
Scythe of Vyse
Scythe of Vyse: this item gives Witch Doctor a large increase to his mana pool, as well as additional attributes and the ability to hex an enemy target. The ability to disable an important enemy target is crucial in the late game.
Black King Bar
Black King Bar: provides Witch Doctor with an increase to his low health pool, as well as spell immunity, preventing most enemies from cancelling your ultimate.
Linken's Sphere: this is a useful item for Witch Doctor for the same reason asBlack King Bar. While it only prevents one single target stun, its cooldown is much shorter and can be used on priority allies to increase their survivability.
Enemies & Allies
Enigma: Black Hole is the perfect set up for Death Ward (especially if upgraded by Aghanim's Scepter). Midnight Pulse combined with Maledict can deal huge amount of damage against high health heroes.
Magnus: Reverse Polarity stuns enemies for a long duration and pulls them together to set up Maledict and Death Ward.
Underlord: Pit of Malice traps long enough to cast a Maledict and Death Ward combo.
Undying: Zombies give excellent vision allowing Death Ward withAghanim's Scepter projectiles to still bounce to them. Also Witch Doctor typically wants a buffer in front of him which Undying does well.
Faceless Void: Beware of placing the Death Ward if Chronosphere is off cooldown, as it will cancel the effect and leave Witch Doctor vulnerable if he does not react in time.
Kunkka: Torrent can cancel Death Ward from a far distance.
Lina: Light Strike Array cancels out Death Ward from a long distance.
Luna: Lucent Beam interrupts Death Ward from a decent range. Eclipse kills Witch Doctor during Death Ward, even through Glimmer Cape.
Morphling can Attribute Shift to strength after being hit by Maledict. Since Maledict deals its damage based on the difference between HP on cast and HP after two seconds, odds are Morphling will have more HP than when Maledict was cast, thus resulting in no damage. On the upside, players prone to panicked reactions may Morph to agility, making Maledict even more efficient than intended. Adaptive Strike (Strength) can interrupt Death Ward at a decent range.
Omniknight: Guardian Angel protects allies from Death Ward's physical damage. Purification and Heavenly Grace will most likely save teammates from dying to Maledict.
Oracle: It is especially easy for Oracle to negate the damage from Maledict, and even heal through it with Fate's Edict and Purifying Flames. If by some miracle an enemy is still about to die because of Maledict, he can still save him with False Promise.
Pudge: Meat Hook interrupts Death Ward from a decent range, even through Black King Bar & Glimmer Cape. Pudge can survive the damage from Maledict because of his Flesh Heap stacks. However the damage-over-time from Rot is counteracted by Voodoo Restoration.
Riki: Without Dust of Appearance or Sentry Wards, Riki is able to silence Witch Doctor with Smoke Screen, and is likely to build a Diffusal Blade, leaving Witch Doctor without mana to cast Voodoo Restoration, as well as Skull Basher to interrupt Death Ward.
Rubick: Rubick can steal Death Ward easily as it is a channeled ability and then use it to turn teamfight to his advantage. However, a skilled Witch Doctor will toggle Voodoo Restoration immediately after placing his Death Ward to prevent that.
Silencer: Like any hero with a channeled spell, Last Word is a counter to it. Global Silence goes through spell immunity and prevents Witch Doctor from casting his spells.
Tidehunter: Kraken Shell dispels the stun from Paralyzing Cask. However, it does not dispel the damage from Maledict. Once Witch Doctor first uses his Death Ward in team fights, Tidehunter can simply cancel it with Ravage, turning the tables against him, especially if Witch Doctor does not have a Black King Bar. As a precaution, let Tidehunter use Ravage first before channeling Death Ward to turn a team fight in your favor.
Vengeful Spirit has two abilities to interrupt Death Ward, even through Black King Bar.
Black King Bar
Black King Bar: protects against Paralyzing Cask's stun and Maledict's damage.
Lotus Orb: reflects Paralyzing Cask.
Eul's Scepter of Divinity
Eul's Scepter of Divinity: is able to cancel the channeling of Death Ward. It can also be used to dodge Paralyzing Cask.
Bloodseeker: Voodoo Restoration heals to counter Bloodseeker's Thirst. Rupture is generally useless against Witch Doctor while he is staying on Death Ward. Although the Witch Doctor needs to be careful as Blood Rite can interrupt Death Ward.
Lone Druid: Paralyzing Cask is likely to bounce between him and his bear every single time. Lone Druid's lack of mobility makes him vulnerable to Death Ward and Maledict.
Lycan: Paralyzing cask bounces between him and his wolves, keeping him stunned for long amounts of time.
Monkey King: Another hero that should not leave a special circle for his ultimate. The only thing to be afraid of is Boundless Strike.
Venomancer: Voodoo Restoration heals to counter damage over time of Poison Nova and Poison Sting.
Viper: Voodoo Restoration heals to counter damage over time of Viper abilities.Viper has no way to cancel Death Ward, even through Rod of Atos icon.png Rod of Atos.
Usually Witch Doctor serves a support role for the team. You can serve as a transporter with TP and help carry items for your teammates. In addition, you can ward and generally help with vision to prevent early ganks for your allies, as well as helping your carries deny better. Try your best to help your carries trade during this time and don’t worry too much about your personal stats.
This is the time for ganking. You need to constantly search the map and find enemies available for ganking opportunities. Before ganking, it’s essential to ask your allies first so that they can help you gank better. Use Paralyzing Cask to disable the target, then combine it with Maledict and your ultimate to finish the enemy. Voodoo Restoration will also help with your ganking allies’ survival.
In the late game it’s all about helping during teamfights. Utilize Paralyzing Cask and Maledict to the utmost, and try to keep calm so that you can land your disables and help your teammates. Remember that your own survival is key, so that you can last longer in fights and help your team.