How to Play Witch Doctor in Dota 2

How to Play Witch Doctor in Dota 2

The Witch Doctor in Dota 2 is a ranged support hero. He belongs to the intelligence heroes category and utilizes the variety of his spells to stun, do high burst damage, DPS, and heal. His moves are highly useful in dealing damage to enemy heroes or setting up kills for your Carry. 

Similar to every other support in Dota 2, Witch Doctor is a squishy hero. Especially late game if you are not careful enough, enemy carries like Phantom Assassin could finish him off with one hit. This allows you to fully utilize the hero’s potential as a support.

Witch Doctor’s Abilities

Understanding Witch Doctor’s abilities are important if we analyze the best suitable playstyle for this hero.

Witch Doctor's Abilities

Paralyzing Cask (Q)

Witch Doctor's Ability Paralyzing Cask

The very first ability of Witch Doctor in Dota 2 is the Paralyzing Cask. It is a stun ability that can target multiple heroes at the same time, depending on their positioning. The cask bounces from player to player, stunning them within a 200 range. If timed properly, it could stun two heroes for up to 4 seconds each.

Using this ability on a single hero is useless and not reliable. You won’t be able to stun the hero long enough to put down your other moves. This move tends to really shine out during team fights where enemies tend to group together. 

Since this move stuns jungle creeps for up to 5 seconds, Witch Doctor can use this to farm during Mid game if he’s falling behind on Gold and XP.

Voodoo Restoration (W)

Witch Doctor's Ability Voodoo Restoration

Voodoo Restoration is an AoE healing ability. It allows you to heal yourself and the allies around you at a specific range. The cost of using this ability is that it consumes mana while it remains active. If you’re not careful enough, it may end up draining all of Witch Doctor’s mana, rendering him useless until he recovers it.

During the early laning phase, it’s a good idea to invest a single point into this ability. By healing your ally in the lane, you help them save gold to build core items early on and even win your lane. 

The trickle-down effect for this would be disabling the enemy Carry early on and even forcing a few rotations from Mid. This kind of gameplay would easily lead to a victory later on.

Maledict (E)

Witch Doctor's Ability Maledict

Another brilliant ability that you can use tactically before team fights begin. This ability allows Witch Doctor in Dota 2 to deliver small bursts of damage every second along with high burst damage after every 4 seconds. The earlier this move is cast, the more HP it manages to chip off the enemy. 

This can be used on enemy heroes chasing Witch Doctor the more time they spend chasing you, the more health they end up losing. Setting this move on the enemy Carry right before a team fight lowers their health, allowing them to be easily killed. 

The early-on damage from Maledict is not worth the mana it consumes. Therefore, it’s best to start using it when it’s been upgraded to level 2 or 3. Since it can be cast in an AoE, you can easily land it on more than one hero, setting up kills for your team.

Death Ward (Q)

Witch Doctor's Ability Death Ward

The ultimate ability of Witch Doctor in Dota 2 is the Death Ward. As the name suggests, Witch Doctor places down a ward that delivers physical damage to all enemies in the vicinity. Since it delivers physical damage, items like Assault Curiass and Solar Crest greatly amplify the damage dealt.

The ability does have a weakness, however, is that it needs to be channeled by Witch Doctor. Therefore, if he is interrupted or stunned, the ward will vanish. So it’s best to be careful about your positioning before you pull out this trump card.

Itemization

While items are not really as important for supports as they are for carries, still Witch Doctor would perform better with them than without. Supports get gold that they have to use other than to buy sentries, wards, and smoke bombs. 

Early Game

During the early game, it’s best to start off with a bit of health and mana regen. You can include a magic stick if the lane matchup helps it get charges. The health regen will keep Witch Doctor in the lane to protect the Carry and apply pressure on the opposing team. 

On the other hand, the Mana regen will allow Witch Doctor to use spells on the enemy heroes as well as heal allies in the lane using his W, Voodoo Restoration. 

Witch Doctor's Early Game Items

Mid Game

The Mid Game is where Witch Doctor needs to start rotating and helping out other lanes. For this, you need the tranquil boots to give him a bit of movement speed and health regen. That way, you show up to a fight with full HP. 

The Mid Game is also where you can get the most kills with Maledict and the Death Ward. Buying a Glimmer cape helps you remain invisible while channeling your ultimate so that it does not get interrupted.

The Aghanim’s Shard is a must-buy item as it allows you to use Voodoo Switcheroo. This is a great offensive and defensive ability.

Other items such as Aether lens, force staff, or the Ghost Scepter are also great additions to Witch Doctor’s arsenal. Buying these items depends on what the enemy draft looks like and who your allies are. 

Witch Doctor's Mid Game Items

Late Game

The late game is not favorable to supports. The same goes for Witch Doctor, as his effectiveness tends to drop off during this stage of the game. As carries are now stronger and can kill him in one hit. 

To survive such attacks, it’s best to purchase a Black King Bar or Aeon Disk, considering the circumstances. These items ensure that Witch Doctor does not die off too soon, or at least until he has used all his spells.

Aghanim’s Scepter is a great choice as it allows your Death Ward to deliver more damage which can be critical in late-game team fights. In the end, it comes down to how you position this hero. It’s always best to wait for the Offlaner tank to initiate first and then use all your spells to lower the enemy HP so that your cores can deliver the final blow.

Witch Doctor's Late Game Items


Selection Draft

Knowing when to pick a hero or when to avoid picking him is an important part of the game. Witch Doctor works better against some matchups as compared to others. No matter how good a player you are, if your hero is countered, you will definitely have a tough game. 

Good Against

Bloodseeker

Bloodseeker

Witch Doctor is a strong support pick against Bloodseeker. His Voodoo Restoration counters the effect of Thirst. Meaning you can heal your allies whenever they have a low HP. Additionally, Bloodseeker cannot risk using Rupture on Witch Doctor as that brings the hero to a halt and can allow Witch Doctor to put down the Death Ward. 

Lone Druid

Lone Druid

Since Lone Druid is accompanied by his bear, the Paralyzing Cask will always bounce between the two. Stunning them both, and allowing Witch Doctor to simultaneously use his Maledict. The lack of mobility from this hero also makes him an easy target for the Death Ward.

Viper

Viper

If he’s not careful, Viper is also a slow hero who the Death Ward can kill. Additionally, he has no way to interrupt the Witch Doctor while he’s using it.

Bad Against

Riki

Riki

Witch Doctor is a squishy hero. Riki can simply silence him using Smoke Bombs and finish him off before he has a chance to escape. Without sentries or Dust of Appearance, there is no way to know where Riki might strike from next.

Silencer

Silencer

Silencer counters every hero who has a channeling ability. Similarly, he can cast Last Word to counter Witch Doctor’s Death Ward. The Global Silence can render Witch Doctor useless and make him an easy target for any hero.

Playstyle

Witch Doctor is an overpowered hero when played right. The diversity in his abilities and the overall high damage output make him a great support hero. The fact that he does not need much Gold or XP early on to become a menace is what makes him overpowered. 

Understanding and utilizing your early game advantage is the key. Play strategically by shutting down the enemy Carry while supplying your own with Gold and XP. Once your Carry has its core items, the game will be a snowball thereon. 

However, overestimating Witch Doctor’s early game advantage can be a mistake during the Mid or Late game. That’s when the hero will start to slip up and fall off. Therefore, positioning is a very important element when it comes to playing this hero. You should always be watching the mini-map and positioning yourself to an advantage in team fights.

That concludes our guide for Witch Doctor. If you are interested in guides on other heroes, then be sure to check out our Dawnbreaker guide

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