Nazeebo gameplay after the patch
The changes patch brought
“Leaping Spiders” build
Alternative talent choices
Nazeebo gameplay after the patch
While i was leveling my Diablo 3 Seasonal Witch Doctor, I thought: “Hey, this guy is imba not only in D3, but also in Heroes of the Storm. And he just got changed by the patch. I should write a guide about him”. So, here it is post-patch guide about Nazeebo.
New Witch Doctor feels like poking god. Don’t get me wrong, he was good at poking before, but now, with the addition of new talent that buffs the range, the gameplay looks like the “Ignite” Kael build. You dish out tons of damage from a safe distance. Balance wise it is ok, as the damage is not as bursty as it (is)was with Kael’thas.
Right now, Nazeebo is one of the top picked/banned heroes in the competitive scene. Also, often times you can see him picked in hero league. Such popularity exists for a reason – he is very efficient at what he does, while also relatively easy to play. So, if you have trouble climbing Hero League, and you happen to be not familiar with this hero, now is the best time to learn!
The changes patch brought
When i was reading this changes for the first time, i thought that removal of “Sprint” would actually hurt Nazeebo a lot. Oh, My! I was wrong in so many ways! This patch is a huge, huge buff to Nazeebo.
M.U.L.E. (Talent) removed
Clairvoyance (Talent) removed
Sprint (Talent) removed
Stoneskin (Talent) removed
Hardened Focus (Talent) added at level 16
No longer increases the Plague of Toads explosion radius
Zombie Wall and Corpse Spider duration bonuses increased from 25% to 33%
New Talent (Level 13): Thing of the Deep
Increases the range for all of Nazeebo’s Basic Abilities by 25%
Voodoo Ritual (Trait)
Blood Ritual (Talent)
Health and Mana restoration bonuses increased from 100% to 125%
Zombie Wall (W)
Fresh Corpses (Talent)
No longer increases Zombie damage
Now permanently reduces Zombie Wall’s cooldown by 4 seconds
Dead Rush (Talent)
Now also increases Zombie damage by 50%
Plague of Toads (E)
Toads of Hugeness (Talent)
Now also increases Toad explosion radius by 20% each time they hop
New Talent (Level 7): Toad Affinity
Each enemy hit by Plague of Toads restores 5 Mana and reduces its cooldown by 1 second
Gargantuan Stomp (R)
Animation duration reduced from 1 to 0.5 seconds
Hovering the cursor over Gargantuan Stomp on the Ability Hotbar will now display a range indicator
Ravenous Spirit (R)
Damage changed from 30 (+8 per level) to 25 (+9 per level)
Damage radius increased by approximately 22%
All this changes can be divided into 2 groups. First group is about removal of the talents. Here we can see the removal of “Sprint”, which was key safe ability for old Nazeebo. Second huge talent that was removed is “Mule”. On some maps, it was part of the reason why Nazeebo was picked.
Second group is, of course, about new talents and buffs. Probably, one of the most valuable additions is “Thing of the Deep”, which buffs the range of the basic abilities. This talent is one of the core features that make Witch Doctor so good at poking. Other noticeable new talent is “Toad Affinity”. This talent is one of the main reasons why the “Toad” build exists.Lastly, the changes to “Ravenous Spirit” made this Heroic viable again.
One of the interesting things i want to point out is the addition of “Hardened Focus” talent. Generally, Nazeebo is considered to be Assassin, among professional players. I know, Blizzard has given him a Specialist, in the role column, but really his gameplay feels like a gameplay of an Assassin. His main damage source is spells, and now he has “HF” talent, which i think is underestimated. For Nazeebo, to stay out of range of enemy damage is not a problem, and having this huge cooldown reduction, might be an overbuff for him.
"I'm the new Kael'thas"
(“Leaping Spiders” build)
image source: http://blizzard.gamespress.com/Diablo-III#?tab=artwork
This is most popular and, i think, most effective Nazeebo build. It is also very good at climbing the ladder. And i think it value will increase even more with the removal of 3-4 man groups from Hero League. The effectiveness comes from huge range of basic abilities, good poking DPS, and “Leaping Spiders” talent.
Level 1 talent choice will be “Death Ritual”. This is set in stone talent for Nazeebo. Its value is hard to overestimate, as it makes your survivability similar to the Warrior heroes. I mean HP wise. In the late game you will find out that your HP will equal to the one of Warrior heroes, provided you will be able to gain enough stacks. Even if it won’t be the case, this is very strong talent, as it hugely increases your survivability.
Coming up next is “Spider Cluster” talent. With all the reworks and nerfs to the common talents, this one is also a default talent. All the other talents on the same tier are much weaker in terms of effectiveness. This talent will increase DPS of your “Q”, approximately, by 30%. The exact number, of course, depends on how well you will be able to land “Corpse Spiders” ability.
Level 7 talent tier is not so straightforward. For this build, the choice will be “Gidbinn” talent. It will buff both, “W” and “Q”. The approximate DPS increase will be around 30%, of course depending on how well, position wise, the spell was casted.
Heroic tier is very strong with this patch. Previously, you would go “Gargantuan”, as “Ravenous Spirit” was kinda overnerfed. Now, with the buffs, “RS” is viable again and is very strong ulty. The choice is situational and depends on enemy comp, the amount of disables they have, and so on. I prefer going “Ravenous Spirit”, as it fits long range poking playstyle. However, there are cases when i know i won’t be able to cast it, so i go other Heroic.
Level 13 talent will be “Thing of the Deep”, which will increase range of your basic abilities by 25%. This is when you start being super annoying. Before this talent, you had to closely monitor your positioning and playing rather safely. Now, you are out of range of most of the spells in the game. That will create “skyrocket” effect on your DPS and poking potential.
“Leaping Spiders” will be the choice for level 16. This talent will allow you to poke even from further distance, as you will be able to throw the spell near the enemy and spiders will leap on a target from a far. This talent also buffs the damage of the spiders by 25%. “LS” is the third core talent in the build, first two are on level 4 and 13, and stacks well with level 4 talent. The additional spiders that will appear from level 4 talent will also leap onto targets. This will create zoning effect for the duration of the spell.
Lastly, “Bolt of the Storm” is a standard choice. As always, it provides both, offensive and defensive potential.
Pros and Cons
Insane poking and zoning potential
In general every Nazeebo build is good at poking and zoning, at fighting for objectives and pushing with objectives, or pushing in general. The feature of this build is insanely long range of poking. This insane range comes from level 13 and 16 talents. Level 16 talent, also additionally increases zoning potential.
With no escape mechanism, and only “Zombie Wall” as some kind of protection, Nazeebo players have to pay attention to their positioning. Situation will change with level 13 talent, as it will ease this task. Lastly, you will feel yourself much easier with the arrival of “Bolt” on level 20.
Alternative talent choices for “Leaping Spiders” build
There are 3 talent tiers that we can discuss. First one is situated on level 7. Instead of “Gidbinn” you can take “Toad Affinity”. This talent will make wave clearing much easier, plus it is very good at drained out fights. Lastly, it will buff your DPS a bit, due to cooldown decrease. But so does default talent with duration increase, so choice is situational.
Second talent tier will be on level 13. Against dive oriented comps, range increase won’t do, so it is better to acquire “Ice Block” to absorb some ultimates and initiations.
Lastly, level 20 tier has options. They are upgrades to you ultimate, i case you feel that you won’t need potential that “Bolt” brings, and look to increase your DPS. Infinite “Gargantuan” will increase overall DPS, wave-clear and camping potential. On the other hand, “Ravenous Spirit” upgrade will greatly increase your team-fighting potential. It will be much easier to land your ulty, plus it will be very hard for enemy to dodge the damage.
"Arthas was scared of spiders. Imagine what i can do with frogs!"
While “Spiders” build is good at poking 1-2 targets, this build is oriented at landing huge AOE pokes and damage numbers. However, the damage numbers will come at a cost of range sacrifice. And that will lead to higher skill cap.
On the contrary to the spiders build, your main damage source will be “Plague of Toads”. And you will be mainly using this spell in the fights, and generally in the game. It will have reduced cooldown and will cost almost no Mana.
You can watch few games, with this build, from recent ESL NA Summer Major League Playoffs here:
game 1 and game 2. The games are part of two BO5 series, which happened between C9 and Tempo Storm in the finals. In game 1 you will see this build with "Gargantuan" Heroic, while second game will showcase the power of "Ravenous Spirit".
Level 1 and 4 talent choices are similar to the previous build, so I’ll skip their description.
Here comes fun, at level 7. The talent choice will be “Toad Affinity”. The talent will increase overall DPS, while also boosting potential in prolonged fights. Also, wave clearing will become very easy. Just use “Toads” from the longer minion wave distance. More minions hit equals less cooldown and more Mana returned.
As I’ve said earlier, Heroic choice is situational, but i prefer “Gargantuan”. Reason is that this build doesn’t have basic abilities range upgrade. So, your hero will be situated closer to enemies, and you want to have a body that can absorb skillshots, and slow people from time to time. Actually, “Gargantuan” stomp provides movement speed slow for 1 second!
As you already know, this is “Toad” build. So, next two talent choices will be about upgrading your “E” skill. At level 13, the talent choice will be “Toads of Hugeness”. This is second core talent for “Toad” build, and is a huge power spike. With this talent picked, you want to hit targets at max range of your skill. Getting used to do so will require some skill and experience. Also, keep in mind that the actual area of the skill will be bigger than it is displayed, as the talent also increases explosion radius.
At level 16, the talent choice will be “Infested Toads”. This upgrade will make spiders out of your toads, once they explode. This talent is similar to “Leaping Spiders” talent – it increases your poking potential a lot, but it is more AOE oriented and is easier to dodge. However, just as previous talent, it boosts your AOE damage a lot.
“Bolt of the Storm” will be the level 20 talent choice. As always, default choice for any ranged Assassin in the game.
Pros and Cons
Very good at wave clearing, lane pushing and pushing with objectives
Mana and cooldown decrease, which come from “Toad Affinity” talent, make clearing waves very easy task. Same we can say about pushing the lane, or with objective. In very short amounts of time you are able to dish tons of AOE damage, either to heroes or structures.
Very good at combo setups and provides huge AOE damage
At level 16, each your frog deals 300+ AOE damage! Each frog! And you have 5 of them. Basically, you are able to cast them each 5 seconds, as it is very easy to hit multiple targets with the spell. Also, landing them at max range won’t be a problem if you have some kind of setup.
Increased positional dependency
As the core talent of this build is situated at the same talent tier that provides “Ice Block” and range increase for basic abilities, it is obvious that playing this build will be harder task. Until level 20, positioning is the main concern of this build. In some cases, this build may not even be viable choice, as it is very position dependent.
Alternative talent choices for “Toad” build
Heroic will be first situational talent to pick. I prefer “Gargantuan” in this build, however if you are in the situation when you know that you are safe to channel the “Ravenous Spirit”, then it is better to go “RS”.
Level 16 has two interesting choices. First is to go “Leaping Spiders” talent, and have some kind of mixed build. In such scenario, you will be able to poke enemies from a far, and then, when there is a possibility, come in closer range to land frog spell. Second choice is to go “Hardened Focus” talent. With this talent you will be able to cast your “E” each 2-3 seconds, provided you hit 5 targets with first cast of “E”. This talent is insane boost to DPS, but you have to be certain that you will be able to get the value from it, both positionally and HP wise.
I always recommend choosing “Bolt” on 20, but if you are confident that you won’t need it, the Heroic upgrades are you options. What they bring to the game is described in Alt choices for previous build.
Alternative talent choices
Well, there is not much left to say here. All the talents that were viable as alternative ones, i described, for each build, in the corresponding parts of the guide. Here i can advise you some fun to play talents.
Let’s start with “Hardened Focus talent”. I really struggled to make a viable build around this one, but the only viable usage i found is in the “Toad” build. Generally, speaking it is very strong talent. However, if you are going spider build, you don’t want to miss “Leaping Spiders” on 16. If you are going to use this talent, keep in mind that your Mana will be disappearing faster than usual.
Other than that, you can also try playing with “Fresh Corpses” talent, at level 7. It will make your “W” ability have the same cooldown time, 10 seconds, as other basic abilities. Combine it with “Hardened Focus” talent and you will have your “Zombie Wall” available each 6 seconds. Same goes for other basic abilities. This will be very Mana heavy build, but it is very fun to play. People won’t expect “Zombie Wall” to be cast so frequently, 3 seconds after the first one disappears!
For Nazeebo, this patch is probably one of the best. Not only he is at the top of win-rates and picks\bans, but also he is even easier to play then before. He has pre-patch Kael’thas’ish gameplay. You just throw your spells from a far and do tons of DPS. Also, you have two viable Heroics, for different scenarios. Lastly, you have decent safe options if enemy decides to go heavy diving comps.
Witch Doctor feels like very well rounded hero, with plenty of options. In my opinion he is easy to play and is very efficient at what he does. However, this can be a double-edged sword for many players. Sometimes you can see players lose the perception of the game limits and be overconfident.
As it turned out, what at first glance appeared to be a nerf, turned out to be a huge buff. The talent that increases range of basic abilities, “Ravenous Spirit” buff, and “Toad Affinity” are one of the main reasons we see Nazeebo in every competitive game, as well as almost every pub game.