With his huge range and ability to spam spells, Witch Doctor is currently one of the best heroes in Dota 2. You can’t really ask for a better laner than him. He holds an average winrate of 51% in lower ranks, which is great if you want an easy champ to climb with.
Who should play Witch Doctor?
Witch Doctor is best mainly for those players who are comfortable with ranged heroes. I prefer this style, but I have seen way too many people trying to force themselves to switch from melee. If it’s not your cup of tea it’s fine, there are plenty of other champions for you to use. Like Meepo for example, who is statistically even better.
You also need to be confident in your playstyle. Witch Doctor will require you to step up and initiate some fights in Dota, otherwise you will just fall off the edge and get left behind. As soon as you know how much damage you can handle, how close you can get to the enemy and how far you are willing to go for a kill, you are good to go. However, if you are constantly scared of dying and play overly cautiously, this hero won’t work for you.
And finally, if you want to climb the ranks he is absolutely amazing in lower ranks. Not so much in higher ones, because the players up there are much better at dealing with his range. But if aren’t in that group yet, Witch Doctor will work just fine for you.
What items does Witch Doctor need?
- Aghanim’s Scepter
- Aether Lens
- Black King Bar
- Glimmer Cape
Pretty simple: you start off with a ton of mana. Your ability build will provide the damage in the early game before you get Black King Bar. Up until then your tactic will consist of spamming all of your spells at enemies and hoping that you don’t run out of mana. Once you have your third core item things will get much easier.
The best choice of boots is Guardian Greaves. You can buy Boots of Speed or Arcane Boots, but they won’t be as useful and you will feel a noticeable difference.
The offensive build is not as straightforward as you might expect, though. Hurricane Pike is a good damage item, but you will need to watch out for its active ability. The same goes for Shadow Blade. If you want to get the most out of these, you need to be attentive, otherwise they won’t live up to their true potential. The last damage item on your shopping list is Vladimir’s Offering, which is pretty straightforward to use.
- +75 Death Ward Damage
- +125 Death Ward Attack Range
- +100 Maledict AoE
- +75 Damage
In most games you will need to use this build. It goes all out on damage, because as a ranged character that uses spells most of the time, you won’t have much of it in the beginning. You can balance it out with items if needed, of course, but this is optimal.
When to switch it up
Watch out for counters as always. Broodmother is listed as the biggest threat, but since Riki got a bit of a buff in the last patch he is actually much worse. He can easily close the space between you two, which means that your huge range won’t be of any use. Either way, if you begin to fall behind, start building defensively.
Spirit Vessel is an excellent choice during these times. You just need to make sure to use it on yourself and not on enemies or any of your allies. The only exception is if it’s very clear that they will die and you will survive, then you can give them that regeneration. Otherwise keep it to yourself and pay attention to your health.
Ghost Scepter and Holy Locket are also great options.
How to play as Witch Doctor
You can play as Witch Doctor as a support or a mid laner in Dota 2. The game will look pretty similar either way. Paralyzing Cask is a must-have first spell, and you will need to use it absolutely every time you can. This works best if two enemies are in close proximity of each other, but you will cast it constantly either way. Make sure you don’t run out of mana too early.
Once the mid game arrives, you become a huge target to the enemy. You will need to take a step back and watch for opportunities instead of going all in for kills and gold, which would be a surefire way to die within seconds. Instead, have your team back you up and stay with your allies for as long as you can. Stealing kills isn’t honorable, but if you want to stay on top of things this might be the time to do so.